Tag Archives: food

quickie: “projet”

projet (n.m.) : project

Dear franglophonians:

Every now and then, we find ourselves searching for weeks, months, maybe years – feeling out what we want to do next, what will be our nouveau projet.  The past few months, I’ve found my efforts scattered – learning Italian, pursuing freelance food writing, and starting a new job in the field of nutrition and wellness.

Oh the joys of Parisian market life…like the first time I ever tried “oursin” (sea urchin)…

And in this flurry of activity, I’ve been yearning to find a way to combine the lifestyle and perspective I gained in France with all my other interests.  So after much consideration, I’ve launched a new blog called “Comme au marché“, where my love for languages, food, lifestyle, and la vie quotidienne can be celebrated in all its myriad forms, without restricting the content to francophone/phile readers.

I hope many of you will migrate to check out comme au marché.  Without la vie franglophone and my time living in Paris, it is a projet that would have never come to be.

à très bientôt j’espère,


“Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux. “
(The true voyage of discovery does not consist in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes)
-Marcel Proust


nouveau > new

la vie quotidienne > daily life

marrant > funny

mot > word

typiquement français > typically french

à très bientôt j’espère > I’ll see you very soon I hope


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reality bites: “quatre jours” (continued, journée 3)

quatre jours: four days

Journée 3 : Paris chic et gourmand (Chic and foodie Paris)

Shopping for cheese at La Fermete, Rue Montorgeuil

1. Rue Montorgueil (2e)
Start the day at the nothern end of Rue Montorgueil; this historic market street is home to the supposed best éclair in Paris, among a number of other famous and lauded fromageries, boulangeries, épiceries, et bistros.  For breakfast, I’d suggest to poke your head into Eric Kayser for a morning pastry.  The brioche au chocolat blanc is literally one of my favorite things to eat in Paris.

2. Saint Eustache
When you reach the southern end of Rue Montorgueil, pop into the church on your right – Saint Eustache.  Don’t forget to check out the unique heart shaped windows, and when you leave out the front door, look for La Droguerie, a colorful tricotage shop.

Copper pots at E. Dehillerin

3. Magasins de Cuisine (1e/2e)
As you leave Saint Eustache and pass by La Droguerie, continue to suivre Rue Coquillière to the point where it intersects with Rue du Louvre.  On this corner stands E. Dehillerin, one of the oldest kitchen/restaurant supply stores in Paris, and a personal favorite shop of Julia Child.  In fact, this whole neighborhood is filled with lovely cooking stores, appropriately surrounding the former site of Les Halles (the famed central Parisian market).  Turn left out of E. Dehillerin, and follow Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Rue Montmartre, where you will find several other worthwhile cooking stores, including Bovida and Mora.

A Parisian passage couvert

4. Galeries et Passages Couverts (2e/8e)
After you’ve spent an hour or two playing le gourmand, follow Rue Montmartre north until it becomes Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre (this switch occurs when you traverse Boulevard Poissonière).  On the left-hand side, at 31 bis, you will find the Passage Verdeau.  This is one of a handful of gorgeous covered passages/galleries that remain from the mid-19th century, when the upper-crust of the rive droite found it safer and chicer to shop indoors.  Only 20 or so of the original 150 passage remain, and they are truly some of the most spectacular, interesting, and overlooked attractions in Paris.  (For a list of the most beautiful passages, click here or check out this website with a map of the passages (in French)).  From Passage Verdeau, you can follow a series of passages until you find yourself near the Opéra.

5. Palais Garnier et Galleries Lafayette
When you’ve exhausted the succession of passages heading ouest from Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre, head towards the Galleries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann.  This historic department store is one of the oldest in Paris, and the main building has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling (over the perfume section) that is not to be missed.  Anyone craving a good peek at the Eiffel Tower – or who just wants to get their bearings – should head to the toit, where there is a lovely view of the Opéra de Paris

Palais Garnier, as seen from the roof of Galleries Lafayette

Garnier)The Palais Garnier is your next stop after Galleries Lafayette, a historic building known among tourists as the setting for the Phantom of the Opera (and a visit to the building will only reinforce your wildest theatrical fantasies).  The place does feel downright haunted, and you cannot help but imagine the lavish soirées and opening nights of centuries passed.  A self-guided tour is well-worth the 9€ entry fee, if you have the time. 

6. Madeleine et macarons
From the Opéra, descend southwest along the Boulevard des Capucines, to Place Madeleine.  Pop your head into the church, which has an impressive altarpiece (if you feel so inclined), or continue sans arrêt down Rue Royale to La Durée, the most famous macaron shop in Paris.  Sweet tooths should definitely sample a smattering of mini-macarons; my favorite flavor is cassisviolet.

Children playing in the Palais Royal courtyard

7. Saint Honoré et Palais Royal

While you nibble on macarons, quickly poke your head down to Place de la Concorde, renown as the spot where Louis XVI (and other important historic figures) lost their têtes to the guillotine.  Head back north on Rue Royale, and swing right on Rue Saint Honoré, the most chic shopping street (no it’s not the Champs Elysées) in modern-day Paris.  Home to stores such as the much-lauded concept store Colette, this street also runs adjacent to several historic squares, including the Place Vendôme and the must-see Palais Royal.  Make sure to take a tour through the arcaded garden and courtyard of the latter monument, which houses such institutions as the most-prominent Parisian antiques dealer and the oldest (continually operating) restaurant in Paris.

8. Et après?
The nearby Louvre is actually lovely in the evening, whether for a jaunt through the courtyard or a proper visit to the musée.  The Louvre des Antiquaires is also à cô– a veritable wonderland of antiques that could intrigue even the most bored of museum-goers.  Or if you’re feeling outdoorsy, perhaps it’s time to vadrouiller through the Jardin de Tuileries.  Those in the mood for a cocktail (or a nightcap) might enjoy a stop at le Fumoir, and the nearby Rue de l’Arbre Sec is a hot-bed of culinary hit-makers, housing some of the very best restaurants in Paris (if you haven’t made reservations, try for a spot at Le Garde Robe, a small bar à vins).

(Journée 2Journée 4)


fromageries, boulangeries, épiceries, et bistros > cheese shops, bakeries, grocery stores and bistros

brioche au chocolat blanc > white chocolate brioche

tricotage > knitting

suivre > follow

le gourmand > the foodie

traverse > cross

rive droite > right bank (of the Seine river)

toit > roof

soirées > parties

sans arrêt > without stopping

macaron > a typically Parisian dessert – meringue sandwich with jam or cream like filling

cassis-violet > blackcurrant-violet

têtes > heads

musée > museum

à côté > next door

vadrouiller > ramble

bar à vins > wine bar



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quickie : dégustation

dégustation (n.f.) – tasting

A Paris preview : hanging out on writer Boris Vian's former balcony.

Je sais, je sais, I’ve been M.I.A. since returning from a very reposant  week in Paris.  I will certainly debrief on all my travels soon – but probably not until I get back from Italie in mid-june.  So for now, let’s backtrack with a bit of what I have been keeping up with lately – and that means food-writing.

Check out this vidéo of me hanging out at DFW’s (Daily Food & Wine) most recent team dégustation – featuring a Bulldog Gin cocktail with “detoxicle” glaçon.

And lisez my latest review of a chic place to bruncher : Chicago’s Publican.


je sais > i know

reposant > restful, relaxing

Italie > Italy

lisez > read (conjugation of lire)

bruncher > (go to) brunch, anglicized verb

vidéo> video

glaçon > ice cube

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reality bites: “meilleur”

meilleur (adj.) : the best

I’ll be returning to Paris in two weeks (for the first time since I left in August ’10) and I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of meilleur – and more specifically about mes meilleurs souvenirs of Paris.  The places I loved best, the food I can’t stop dreaming of, the songs that were a soundtrack to my time there – not to mention the people I shared all of this with.

And so if it be for paresse (see: the desire to break out of normal prose) or nostalgie – or even just a reminder that you should check out my Paris page (and my New York page while you’re at it)…

I’m starting a sort of countdown in installments, of the places, things, songs… – that are if not le meilleur, they are mon meilleur de Paris

Part I : Mon meilleur… (Paris comestible)

a sandwich on a Huré baguette


– (overall): Moisan; (5 Place d’Aligre/2 Rue De Bazeilles and other locations)

casse-croute : the brioche de chocolat blanc at Eric Kayser (87 Rue d’Assas and other locations)

– baguette : Huré; (18 rue Rambuteau/10 Place d’Italie)

– sandwich : Guichard Stephane (5 rue Vavin)

– meringue : Boulangerie (64 Rue des Gobelins)

fougasse : Richard Lenoir market (Thursday/Sundays at Bastille, along Blvd Richard Lenoir)

Pain de Sucre marshmallows ("guimauves")


fromagerie : Laurent Dubois (47ter Boulevard Saint Germain)

fromagerie (cheap) : Cheeses of the Day at Genty Gastronomie (169 Boulevard Vincent Auriol)

– spices : Goumanyat (3 Rue Dupuis)

– spices (cheap) : Graineterie/Epicerie du Marché d’Aligre (8 Place d’Aligre) — also my fave for dried beans and other products

– health food : Au Grand Appétit (9 Rue de la Cerisaie)

vin : Again, Le Verre Volé (67 rue de Lancry)

– cooking supplies : Mora (13 Rue Montmartre)

– sweets (general, not a chocolate specialist) : Pain de Sucre (14 Rue Rambuteau)


– overall : Place d’Aligre

– indoor : Marché Saint-Quentin (85 bis Blvd Magenta)

– cheap : Marché Auguste Blanqui (Blvd Auguste Blanqui)

My fave "ethnic" food in Paris - Lebanese at Paris Beirut


bar à vin with food : (tie) Café de la Nouvelle Mairie (19 rue des Fossées St. Jacques) & Le Verre Volé (67 rue de Lancry)

– tasting menu : Chez L’Ami Jean (27 rue Malar)

– sit-down crêperie : Breizh Café (109 Rue Vielle du Temple)

– ethnic (non-French) : Paris-Beirut (242 rue de Tolbiac)

– cheap : Au Pied de Fouet (96 Rue Oberkampf)

crèpe at Breizh Café

– outdoor : Chez Prune (36 Rue Beaurepaire)

– lunch : Rose de France (24 Place Dauphine)

– lunch (cheap) : (tie) Art Macaron (129 Blvd Montparnasse) and Cuisine de Bar (8 rue Cherche-Midi)

– nicer/date-night : La Gazzetta (29 Rue de Cotte)


– coffee : Café Malongo (50 Rue Saint-André des Arts)

chocolat-chaud : Les Deux Magots (6 Place St Germain des Prés)

– people watching : Again, Les Deux Magots

– studying/reading : Café Maure, Mosquée de Paris (39 Rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire)

This may not be an exhaustive list – but I think it’ll get any happy gastronome started…
(Please note, in terms of meat, fish, roasted chicken, vegetables etc. – I always bought them in my favorite markets.  This is why separate stores are not listed).


mes meilleurs souvenirs > my best memories

paresse > laziness

nostalgie > nostalgia

le meilleur > the best

mon meilleur de Paris > my best of Paris

Paris comestible > edible Paris

boulangerie > bakeries

casse-croute > snack

brioche de chocolat blanc > white chocolate brioche (eggy, fluffy pastry)

fougasse > a flat, almost pizza-crust-ish bread with olives or other bits mixed in

bar à vin > wine bar

crêperie > crepe restaurant

chocolat-chaud > hot chocolate

fromagerie > cheese shop

vin > wine

gastronome > food-lover, foodie

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foodaphilia : “façon”

façon (n.f.) : way, manner

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about tradition, repetition, certain façons de faire that get handed down from generation to generation by diligent listeners who swear “this is the best way”.  A grandmother’s foie gras, an aunt’s tarte tatin, or even a mother’s mac n’ cheese – these food memories inscribe themselves on our soul – and rest largely unchanged…or so we claim.

Did your mother really use pre-shredded cheese?  Your grandmother, certified-organic liver? Your aunt, the same pommes?  Even for the most nostalgic among us, these recipes change with time, error, and necessity – for le mieux or le pire.  And yet, many cling to the idée of tradition like a rock in the culinary storm, a buoy to hold tight while trendy waves of culinary experimentation pass by.

Pourquoi pas? Presenting the brie and tabouleh sandwich.

Pourquoi pas? Presenting the brie and tabouleh sandwich.

I have to say, however, as a cook who hates to mesurer and follow recipes – change and modification is my whole gimmick.  I love opening a placard, grabbing the odds and ends inside, and attempting to make something delicious.

I’ll admit, my meals can tend towards the whimsical, make-shift, or odd.  Tonight, steamed broccoli rabe was tossed in leftover ricotta, olive oil, red chili flakes, and grey sea salt.  Delicious, healthy, and practical – like a pizza without the crust.  Snacks get weirder – combining savory and sweet.  Consider sirop de liège and cheddar cheese on wasa crisps or kettle corn dipped in labne.  The constants in my cupboard? Old-world grains, legumes, canned tuna or salmon, nuts/raisins/seeds, spices, 4 types of salt, 3 types of vinegar, and 5 different types of honey.  My refrigerator?  There’s always Maille whole-graine moutarde, garlic, and old white wine – with frozen herbs and leftover bones for stock in the freezer.  These are the props for my improv – a nightly show of sprucing up leftovers and using up of anything about to go bad (I’ve only had to throw out produce once in my life).

Paule's secret tart recipe in action.

Paule's no-longer secret tart recipe in action.

But I’m not the only kitchen scientist around.  In Paris, my friend Paule taught me to make tart crust by pre-heating all the ingredients (save the flour) in the oven, mixing it warm, and molding it into the tin before it cooled.  This seemingly painless, measure-by-eye method (at least once you get the hang of it) is perfect for a “half-baked” pâtissière like myself – though most traditionalists are scandalisé by its ease (and success).

In New York, I’ve met people who use coffee in their chili, red wine-in their stir-fry, curry in their pasta sauce – foodies that would rather be found behind a four than in a restaurant, curious outliers in a city that runs on take-out and delivery.  These food friends are my favorites.  Some of their best creations come out of late-night drunken rummaging through cupboards or camp-fire dearths of ingredients de base.  I’ve eaten impromptu vegan pancakes and butter-free cakes that would make even the most inflexible traditionalist drool.  Runny jaunes d’œufs added to… well, anything has become a favorite trick.  In Paris, this culinary inventiveness becomes a survival skill for anyone who woke up too late on Sunday to make it to the supermarché (let alone the normal marché).

What I love most about these edible adventures is that they are fun.  I believe in tasting the basics, so that you learn what it’s “supposed” to taste like.  But in adult lives already so bereft of creativity – having a little fun with what’s on our plat is one of the only simple pleasures we have.  And so I’ll take, anyday, a dish à ma/ta/sa façon, relevé with a bit of humor, risk, and wit.


façons de faire > ways of doing, methods

foie gras > foie gras (fattened goose liver)

tarte tatin > upside-down apple tart

pommes > apples

le mieux > the better

le pire > the worse

idée > idea

mesurer > measure

placard > cabinet, closet

sirop de liège > a fruit-based spread from Liège, in Belgium (a personal favorite, hard-to-find item)

moutarde > mustard

pâtissière > baker

four > oven

de base > basic (from/of the base)

jaunes d’œufs > egg yolks

supermarché > supermarket

marché > market

à ma/ta/sa façon > in my/your/his/her way

relevé > highly seasoned

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quickie : “émission”

émission (n.f.) : show (tv, radio)

Depuis my departure from Paris, I haven’t thought much about French food.  I’ve looked forward to the myriad cuisines of Manhattan – the savory ethnic dishes whose scent wafts out of closet-sized kitchens, the glamorous understated details of the best Keith McNally restaurant (I love the café/bistro Balthazar), the constant turn-over of new restaurants, food-trucks, and must-eat-menus.  The opening of Eataly!

And then came Anthony Bourdain.

Bourdain, known for his Paris-named restaurant Les Halles (a district of Paris that, while it may have been the ventre of the city at one point, today inspires little hunger in me) is actually most connu for his série on the Travel Channel, No Reservations.  As suggested by the show’s name – on his most recent (and 100th) émission, Bourdain seemingly spontaneously makes his way into some of the hottest restaurants in Paris, from Le Chateaubriand to L’Atelier – but I suspect he had more than a little little help from famed chef of Le Bernardin, Eric Ripert.

A Sicilian feast > Stuffed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and shaved white carrots at La Tete dans les Olives

If my stomach wasn’t feeling nostalgic avant, it is maintenant.  From La tête dans les olives to le Comptoir to the Mouffetard market (which is actually, more picturesque and less practical than say, Place d’Aligre) – I watched as Bourdain (somewhat of a hero of mine, minus his whole drug/bad-boy period) traveled in my well-worn pas, munchingly along happily.  At first, I felt fière (then a frimeur) to be able to say I ate at most of the places he visited (though l’Atelier remains sadly untouched by my palate…).  But eventually I just felt…faim.

So I cooked up a pile of bok choy, chinese broccoli, and sesame pork.  Because emulating French bistro food was going to be oh-so-unsatisfying in comparison to the marscapone-fish heaven served up by Inaki Aizpitarte (who I happily sat across from one day at lunch at Le Baratin (I’ll take a chef over a celebrity sighting anyday, and I’ve been toe-to-toe with Yoko Ono!)).

En tout cas, the point is : aller, regarder this émission – because if your ventre wasn’t already grumbling for Paris, it will be now.


Depuis > Since

connu > known

série > series

avant > before

maintenant > now

pas > footsteps

fière > proud

frimeur > a show-off

faim > hungry

En tout cas > In all cases

aller > go

regarder > watch

ventre > stomach

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snapshot : “pain perdu”

pain perdu : literally “lost bread” (aka French toast)

How did I not think of this before?  Posting photos of food on the blog should have been évident, but I it never occurred to me – that is, until I juxtaposed on an assiette two things so ridiculous that I thought it might be worth sharing.

haricots verts & pain perdu (covered with basque fromage and iberico jambon – bread being a nutty loaf from Du Pain et des Idées)
sous-titre(s) :
“I’m so glad I thought this was a balanced meal; thank you graduate thesis!”
“This one will make my sister jealous”
“One day I’m going to either make a man very happy (or very fat)”
“They should call it du Pain et des Idées dangereuses
and lastly, “If I were back in the US, this meal would have been followed by  self-loathing and guilt…oh well!”


évident > obvious

assiette > plate

haricots verts > green beans

fromage > cheese

jambon > ham

Du Pain et des Idées > of bread and ideas

sous-titre > subtitle

dangereuses > dangerous

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