Miznon in Paris

Miznon is hard to write about, because once inside, it’s hard to describe what’s going on. To figure out the menu, or the structure, can take some doing. It’s better just to go in with blind faith and have the experience, without trying to control or understand it. That said, I’m not a picky eater but I do like structure. So since I’m not a…

Miznon is hard to write about, because once inside, it’s hard to describe what’s going on. To figure out the menu, or the structure, can take some doing. It’s better just to go in with blind faith and have the experience, without trying to control or understand it.

That said, I’m not a picky eater but I do like structure. So since I’m not a regular at Miznon, on my first visit I had to unravel what’s on the menu since it’s a jumble of words and phrases. In other words, don’t expect a precise list with menu titles in this post. But if you go, the counter people are helpful, if hurried. And the experience is part of the fun. (If you’ve been to Tel Aviv, where Miznon originated, you know that some of the best places to eat are more free-wheeling than restaurants elsewhere.)

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Strawberry Frozen Yogurt with Summer Fruits and Italian Meringues

I was once on a panel about food blogging and everyone was surprised when I said that at any given time, I have seventeen posts started, either sitting on my kitchen counter or partially written on my computer. With the focus on blogs being a little more spiffy than they used to be, back when you could – for example – write a haiku to…

The best of the season in a bowl! Icy-cold strawberry frozen yogurt and ripe summer fruits and berries, accompanied with a crisp meringue.

Strawberry meringue and frozen yogurt recipe

I was once on a panel about food blogging and everyone was surprised when I said that at any given time, I have seventeen posts started, either sitting on my kitchen counter or partially written on my computer. With the focus on blogs being a little more spiffy than they used to be, back when you could – for example – write a haiku to a espresso-filled chocolate candy, now you’ve got to me a bit more alert as to what you put online.

I never really thought of this space as a bijou, as the French might say, a jewel. It’s unpolished and casual, more so than a cookbook, and a place to share stories and recipes in a freestyle fashion. I love taking pictures and writing stories, but I worry about flaws, goofs, and that kind of stuff. But back in those days, it was kind of fun to share kitchen disasters and things that I wouldn’t put on the blog today. (Which some of you are probably grateful for.)

Strawberry meringue frozen yogurt Sometimes I look back at posts from ten years or so ago, with pictures taken with a point-and-shoot camera, which at the time, was cutting-edge, breakthrough technology. Seeing them now is like looking at pictures of myself wearing bell-bottoms in the 70’s. (And every time I see young men wearing their trousers halfway down their thighs now, I want to yank them up and say, “Dude, I’m doing you a favor. Trust me, you’ll thank me in twenty years when you see the photos.”)

So occasionally I’ll go back and revisit a recipe and a post, like the one for strawberry frozen yogurt, which is one of my favorite frozen dessert recipes, but the old photos were the size of a postage stamp and looked like I shot them in an airplane bathroom. Looking at the photos on the blog right now, I wonder if I’m going to have to update them in ten years as well. But for now, when I see such beautiful fruits at the market, I try to do the best I can, which is really all we can do, isn’t it?

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Celery Root Soup

I’ve always dreamed of writing a soup cookbook. A book of recipes where there’s no need to carefully measure or weigh things, variations are not only allowable…but encouraged, and cooking times are not cast-in-stone instructions to be followed like the ten commandments. It’s no wonder the French love les soupes so much! The word “supper” comes from soup, and in parts of France, the verb…

I’ve always dreamed of writing a soup cookbook. A book of recipes where there’s no need to carefully measure or weigh things, variations are not only allowable…but encouraged, and cooking times are not cast-in-stone instructions to be followed like the ten commandments. It’s no wonder the French love les soupes so much!

The word “supper” comes from soup, and in parts of France, the verb souper means having dinner, or supper. Being French, there are a multitude of ways to conjugate the verb, such as Nous avons soupé, or We had soup…or We had dinner, and Ils eurent soupé (the passé antérieur), which is even more of a mouthful. I’m not going to try to teach you French verbs, because I have a ways to go before I master them myself (although it’s a relief to know that even the French have difficulty with them too.

While French verbs may be a challenge, soup is easy. And the French don’t complicate those. Most homemade soups are purées, or véloutés, enriched with cream, so they’re velvety. (See? French isn’t that hard to understand…)

In addition, soup recipes can be successfully multiplied or divided, and made in advance and frozen. They’re also not that finicky; if someone adds an extra bit of leeks, or an additional clove of garlic, to the pot, the world won’t open and swallow us all up and life as we know it won’t end. What’s not to like about that? It’s certainly something worth writing about.

However, the soup cookbook likely won’t happen. Still, that’s not going to stop me from making soup, which, aside from clutching our hot water bottles, Parisians use to keep warm during the winter by eating lots and lots of hot soup.

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capitale, Paris

The Paris dining scene continues to change and evolve. The pandemic changed where we ate, and how we ate…at least for a while. Restaurants are all open again, and packed. But the pause provided a chance to breathe new life into the city. The government offered support, but still, the closings affected restaurants, cafés, and bars hard, which were still reeling from setbacks that included…

The Paris dining scene continues to change and evolve. The pandemic changed where we ate, and how we ate…at least for a while. Restaurants are all open again, and packed. But the pause provided a chance to breathe new life into the city. The government offered support, but still, the closings affected restaurants, cafés, and bars hard, which were still reeling from setbacks that included lengthy strikes, unruly protests, attacks, and now, Covid.

As the city comes back to life, there are little gems that sparkle here and there. And Capitale is one of them.

The owner is Margot Lecarpentier, who may be familiar to some of you as I profiled her, and her bar, Combat, in Drinking French. It’s one of my favorite places to have a drink in Paris, perched on a hill in the multicultural Belleville neighborhood, where I do a lot of my food shopping. When writing the book, I asked Margot about the expansive bar she designed for making cocktails on, she said she wanted it to feel like a dining room table, and added, “Because I am from Normandy…and I like to eat!”

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How my family is celebrating Christmas in Paris this year

Hello, Emily here. When David asked me to share how my family will celebrate during the festive season this year I was impressed he was so organized in advance… before realizing that there’s less than 5 weeks until Christmas Day! So without further ado here are all the fun things we’ll be enjoying over the next few weeks (you can find my 2019 and 2020…

Hello, Emily here. When David asked me to share how my family will celebrate during the festive season this year I was impressed he was so organized in advance… before realizing that there’s less than 5 weeks until Christmas Day! So without further ado here are all the fun things we’ll be enjoying over the next few weeks (you can find my 2019 and 2020 versions here).

Wherever you are in the world, I wish you a happy holiday season and hope that you have the chance to connect with family and friends, whether in person or from afar.

Emily

How my family is celebrating Christmas in Paris this year

As Christmas decorations appear all over town, and I take the last of the pumpkins off our mantlepiece, I’m finally making a start on holiday preparations. I’d put off planning this year as we strongly considered spending Christmas in Australia (where I’m from) but as travel is still restricted in my home state we’ll have to wait a little longer to see Santa in shorts again. So we’re getting cozy, hoping for snow and I’ve decided this is the year I’ll finally learn some French Christmas carols. Joyeux Noël!

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Paris Booksigning at La Cuisine in Paris This Weekend

This weekend, Sunday November 21 from 3pm-4:30pm, there will be a booksigning and get-together at La Cuisine cooking school in Paris. On hand will be copies of Drinking French, L’Appart and The Perfect Scoop available for purchase and signing (see below for advance purchase info) and you’re welcome to bring already-purchased books too. It’s a great chance to pick up a book for yourself or…

This weekend, Sunday November 21 from 3pm-4:30pm, there will be a booksigning and get-together at La Cuisine cooking school in Paris.

On hand will be copies of Drinking French, L’Appart and The Perfect Scoop available for purchase and signing (see below for advance purchase info) and you’re welcome to bring already-purchased books too. It’s a great chance to pick up a book for yourself or for holiday gift-giving!

 

 

Thanks to the generosity of La Cuisine cooking school for hosting the event and we’ll be offering samples of wine, cheese, and cocktails from some of our favorite French purveyors!

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Chanceux

The other day, for some reason, the subject about the “decline of French cuisine” which had been much-discussed and debated about subject a decade ago, came up. At the time, books were written about it, a Time magazine cover featured a sad mime bemoaning the end of French culture, newspapers wrote articles bemoaning faltering bistros and wondering ‘‘Who could save French cuisine?’, and French television…

The other day, for some reason, the subject about the “decline of French cuisine” which had been much-discussed and debated about subject a decade ago, came up. At the time, books were written about it, a Time magazine cover featured a sad mime bemoaning the end of French culture, newspapers wrote articles bemoaning faltering bistros and wondering ‘‘Who could save French cuisine?’, and French television reporters rifled through the garbage of esteemed bistros and restaurants to show empty packages of pre-prepared and frozen foods that likely had been served to customers. The future of French cuisine was a subject of international interest.

People asked me to chime in on it, too. It was a rather loaded subject because there were a lot of issues surrounding any “decline,” but it was also hard to define – “What is French cuisine?” Yes, it’s Duck confit, Hachis Parmentier, œufs mayonnaise, éclairs, and Paris-Brest, but the new generation of cooks began recasting the focus of food in France, putting the quality and diversity of the ingredients first, and supporting local producers while taking cues from the various regions and cultures in France (which has always been the foundation of French cooking), rather than sticking to a codified script.

So I was excited when Chanceux opened in my neighborhood recently. I’d met Thomas Lehoux a few years ago, and featured him in Drinking French because he decided to improve the reputation of French coffee (another hotly-contested issue) and opened Belleville Brûlerie, a small-scale coffee roasting company that he founded in Paris with his business partners.

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Cheesemaking Class at Paroles de Fromagers

There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist. In fact, one of my favorite things to do in Paris is to “play tourist,” which means you get to do something fun around town rather than live like a local and stay home and do paperwork. The stars aligned when my friend Jane from La Cuisine cooking school and I both wanted to take a cheesemaking class…

There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist. In fact, one of my favorite things to do in Paris is to “play tourist,” which means you get to do something fun around town rather than live like a local and stay home and do paperwork. The stars aligned when my friend Jane from La Cuisine cooking school and I both wanted to take a cheesemaking class at Paroles de Fromagers in Paris. I’ve been to a number of cheesemaking caves around France, but never one in Paris. So we signed up.

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Le pommeau de douche

After what seemed like a year, and a rather long one at that, my bathroom and shower have finally been fixed. What seemed like ages ago, I came home from lunch with a friend one day and heard a bubbling, brook-like sound coming from my bedroom. When I walked in, a steady cascade of water was rippling out of the wall and about a centimeter…

After what seemed like a year, and a rather long one at that, my bathroom and shower have finally been fixed. What seemed like ages ago, I came home from lunch with a friend one day and heard a bubbling, brook-like sound coming from my bedroom. When I walked in, a steady cascade of water was rippling out of the wall and about a centimeter (1/2-inch) of water covered the floor, as well as the floor of my bedroom, courtesy of a broken pipe in the building.

People in Paris are no strangers to fuites d’eau (water leaks) and this wasn’t my first. And unfortunately, it probably won’t be my last. A combination of ancient plumbing, rising rivers, old buildings, disagreements between neighbors, and property managers, who Capital, a French Consumer Reports-style magazine described as having regular “bad buzz” and défiance institutionnalisé (widespread suspicion), keeps Paris awash with water woes.

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Tapisserie

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space…

Years ago, at a flea market in Paris I pickup up some old metal letters from a bakery in France that spelled out PATISSERIE. Being a baker, of course I was thrilled (although still despondent that someone else snatched up the matching BOULANGERIE letters…) and proudly displayed them on the shelf of my apartment. Since my apartment at the time was so small, shelf space was at a super-premium. Yet I was happy to give a lot of it up to have those letters reminding me of my métier.

When I lent my apartment to some visiting friends, I noticed the P and the T had been reversed, and it spelled TAPISSERIE. I got a kick out of it and thought that was very clever. When a new bakery in Paris called Tapisserie from the team of a noted restaurant, I figured it wasn’t a place to purchase a tapestry, but a clever – and original – place to get terrific desserts.

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