Posts Tagged ‘French food’

As promised, here are some things I ate or saw in France (Bordeaux, Paris, Giverny) a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

Creme Brulee at an everyday kind of brasserie at the Place St Michel. Delicious. Burned to perfection.

Steak Tartar at Le Bistrot du Sommelier in Bordeaux, 163 Rue Georges Bonnac. Also fabulous. Very laid back. Very "homey" food. But it's entirely prix fixe, fast, rude-friendly (I suppose you'd call it), and certainly an experience. We had pink Champagne that night.

Fish, artfully jumping out of and diving back into...ice at Auchon, mega-awesome-supermarket

Tourte aux pommes. Giverny. Respite from the tourist hoards I had a luncheon fit for only the pudgiest of gourmands. No holds barred, a large bottle of San Pellegrino, 500 mL of red Bordeaux, duck pate, lamb brochette with amazing gratined potatoes, and this chunky rustic natural apple pie. Followed by coffee.

The potatoes!!! Best part of my lunch by far in Giverny.

The yummy lucky ducky luncheon I treated myself to on my very-hot-art-and-shopping- in-le-marais-day. What better than a salad on a summer afternoon? That would be fois gras (center) duck confit and preserved duck all around atop some heavily-dressed greens. Heaven. I believe I had a carafe of Sauvignon (blanc).

Cafe de Deux Magots. The famed literary cafe where all the greats drank and dined. St Germain. And now we, the tourist hoards, pay tenfold what the starved artists a century ago paid - and I'm not talking about inflation. I said to hell with it, it's expensive anyway, I might as well get what I want. Better a slightly overpriced gourmet salad than the death-provoking highway robbery-priced ham sandwich. The fois gras and smoked salmon salad (house specialty) was dainty, but worth every bit. Washed down with Leffe. Refreshing.

My last dinner. A bit disappointing. A bit of comfort food nonetheless. Jambon and fromage crepe with an egg on top. Yup, a croque madame a la Bretagne. The best part of the meal was a rich, smokey apple cidre - served in that brown bowl.

My first glass of Cinsault! A rose, but a Cinsault rose. I've been dying to try it since I learned that Pinotage was a hybrid of Cinsault and Pinot Noir. It was interesting, and not at all like what I expected.

Martzipan potatoes and figs. They were terrible, but only because of this particular shop. A decent potato consists of a small amount of cake, covered with a thick dense layer of marzipan (shaped into a potato) and then rolled entirely in unsweetened cocoa powder. It's my mother's favorite.

Macarons! Exceptional French cookies. Melt-in-your-mouth meringue and creme and almond and wow. So colorful and dainty. Specialty macaron shops seem to be popping up like the cupcake shops were a while back in the US. Much tastier, these are. The flavors are getting super-creative. I had a bergamot flavored one!

Last but not least. Desserts (a fairly typical, but typical is extraordinary here) at Le Bistrot du Sommelier. We have a semi-fredo with raspberry (if I remember correctly), creme brulee, profiteroles (my favorite this trip), and a chocolate fondant cake with pistachio ice cream.

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The Golan Heights Winery Big Wigs (and the 7 wines we served) at our stand at Vinexpo, June 2011

I have been an international lady as of late. Blogging has suffered. The huge events that have dominated my life since my last post have been:

  • Vinexpo – Bordeaux, France – one of the largest (if not the largest) wine exhibition in the world. Kilometers long. Immense.  Exciting.  And the Golan Heights Winery (and its daughter winery, Galil Mountain), the only Israeli winery represented (and has been for over 20 years), invited me to come with them.  A brilliant week!  I spent my days speaking French with lots of wine professionals and led them through “une degustation,” a tasting, and teaching them about our wines.  I got to know the head winemakers and management well, which was so much fun – it honestly started to feel like a school trip….and the eating and drinking through the city like there was no tomorrow was certainly a perk.
  • Paris – I spent almost a week in Paris after the expo – two/three days of which was with my parents who happened to be in town, unplanned.  I spent time with family friends, too, walked all over the city, relaxed, and ate very very very well.
  • New Job! The winery hired me to manage, train, and recruit all of the wine stewards in Israel.  This is a huge honor, and it’s a job I’m loving.  It’s not easy, but it’s mainly logistics and some training.
  • New love – a beautiful, exciting, and ultimately sad story. I met a man that I’m crazy about. It has been one of the most emotionally satisfying, significant and devastating months of my life.  He is leaving to go abroad for a very long time (years) in two weeks (we will have had about 5 weeks together). I’m not sure how I’m dealing with it all.  With the new job I love and a career I’m trying to forge,  I finally accepted the fact that I’m staying here and putting a stake in this place.

ANYHOW: I will be putting together some incredible photos in the subsequent posts.  Stay posted for gorgeous food.  And I mean gorgeous food…

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Neil Gaiman's Xmas by 39 Degrees North

Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating! And a very Happy Weekend to the rest!  Despite being Jewish, I miss Christmas, and being in Israel, I feel unashamed at saying so. It’s like I don’t have to be vigilant in guarding my religious traditions by not celebrating others’. I made egg nog, and I found Christmas carols (love the #christmas tag-tuner), and we hung some fairy lights, and we ate a Bouche de Noel (French Yule Log Cake) and a Galette des Rois (Cake of the Kings – another French tradition).

AND these videos were the life of the party and made my week that much easier.  I think they capture the spirit.  If you have a few minutes, they’re intriguing or inspiring or hilarious.  Enjoy!

Neil Gaiman Christmas poem.  WOW:

Trouble with your Blackberry?

Yoga has been so underrepresented on Broadway:

PINA BAUSCH and WIM WENDERS (http://vimeo.com/17772908).  I cannot wait to see this:


Nursing home talent contest.  Hilarious!

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I’m transferring some older blog posts from various sites I’m abandoning to my new, hopefully, permanent blog.  Here’s a particular favorite of mine from a trip to the south of France in late September ’09… Enjoy!


Oh boy did I have an appetite for destruction last night. Tired off my butt, and I mean so tired that I almost didn’t leave my hotel room (then remembered that eating one small sandwich all day long and having walked 10k+ wasn’t healthy and consequently nearly fell asleep several times over dinner) — I ordered the only thing on the menu that would send every foreign tourist running for the hills — “Pieds et Paquets.”

Pieds et paquets translates as “feet and packages.” Yes. You heard that right. Even the “packages,” part. The dish consists of sheep tripe folded into elegant little objects much resembling large tortellini stuffed with herbed breading, as well as sheep feet (bent ankle bone and all the stuff further south), slow cooked in a very lovely savory sauce which I’m told is based on white wine.

I don’t know how I did it. I really don’t. That’s not to say it wasn’t delicious. It was. I eat strange things. All the time. I think it’s exciting and makes life more interesting to take risks like this. But when you think you’re coming down with a cold and feel weak and haven’t slept in two days and are not really convinced you’re hungry in the first place, this could have been a disastrous mistake.

Thankfully it wasn’t. I don’t know if any of you dear, dear phantoms of readers have ever experienced this before, but I’m going to try to describe the sensation of what I was going through. My brain and body were in a battle from the moment the covered silver platter was set down beside me, and a deep elegant ceramic bowl was placed in front of me. See, I really wasn’t sure what I was going to get. Didn’t know how it would look or smell or anything. I did have an inkling of what the texture would be like, having eaten tripe many times before. But not sheep. And not in this manner. And certainly not in my vulnerable physical condition. The word I would use for the entire experience would be “musky.” For some that’s great. For others it’s sickening. It was gamey and gooey and chewy. And the whole time I cut apart my first piece, the musky gamey smell wafting up into my nose, I was fighting nausea. Not a strong nausea. But a tiny persistent, “ah, you there, ya you…are you quite sure that’s such a good idea…” kinda nausea. Some people would have listened to that little voice. But not me. And in the end, as I didn’t get sick, slept very well through the night, and feel better than ever today, I’m very glad I didn’t.

Most of you will never want to eat tripe, especially not sheep tripe rolled into big meatball-sized bread-filled bundles and stewed with its relation, the foot (which by the way, is all fat and skin and cartilage with hardly a trace of muscle). Hopefully, though, I’ve now communicated that it cannot and will not kill you, and if you can get over the musky smell and uber-strange texture so common to offal, you may enjoy it, and it may in fact cure your weary body and send it on its healthy way.

Anyway, I just got to Avignon. Again exhausted, but not quite so much as in Marseille. And instead of a steep 2-story walk-up with super-heavy luggage, I had a 4-story walk-up with heavier luggage (thanks to a chance encounter with an H&M yesterday and an adventure in an immigrant-filled market this morning).

The town is gorgeous, and it’s so sunny, it really does look like an impressionist painting or a post card. I’ll have a gander as soon as I rest my weary head for a spot and consider showering off the accumulating sweat. Yes. I just said accumulating sweat.

Cheerio! Or rather, A bientot!

And if you ever want to try making your own paquets…

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