21 January 2019

Louvre to myself

Anyone who's ever visited (or tried to visit) the Musée du Louvre, the most famous if not biggest museum in the world, knows about the endless crowds, the lines, the mayhem, the coveted skip-the-line tickets.

But last week, thanks to an unexpected invitation, I found myself in the surreal position of being practically alone roaming its vast halls, galleries and sumptuous rooms and, as in the epilogue to The Da Vinci Code, surrounded by "masters' loving art."

Below: the Louvre Museum as few will ever see it
(click to enlarge)

More in February newsletter

19 January 2019

Tiny trees

A tiny Christmas tree is attached to each of these rainbow parasols in the Marais district.

Below: a street view

18 January 2019


 Hot chocolate, coffee, and tarte tatin warm up a late winter afternoon.

Above: add crème chantilly and it's viennois

Café de Flore
172 Boulevard Saint-Germain 75006

17 January 2019

A bagel in Paris


Years ago living in Spain I taught myself how to make bagels. Quite simply, I craved them - and couldn't find any to my liking. I'd been making my own breads for awhile and found the entire process - measuring, mixing, kneading, letting the dough rise, baking (or, in the case of flatbreads, rolling out and pan grilling) - a relaxing way to spend a weekend afternoon.

For bagels I'd get up early, and as the morning edged towards brunch time there would be drop-ins, music, a glass of something and, in cold weather, a blazing fire, and in no time at all the bagels were ready. They were water bagels - boiled before baking - and when finished we'd split them open and toast them, open-faced, then pile alongside a huge platter of smoked salmon, smoked whitefish, flavored cream cheeses (home made), thinly-sliced tomatoes, red onions, some capers, olive oil, lemons, salt and pepper. Champagne with a splash of Cointreau, a "French touch" (thank you Ralph), was the standard accompaniment. And Moroccan spiced coffee. Making bagels from scratch meant I could control every aspect: size (I prefer smaller), types of flour, ingredients, and toppings - which changed with every batch depending on what I had on hand.

So where is my favorite bagel in Paris? As of this posting, and as far as I'm concerned, chez moi. BPJ

Above: whole-wheat bagel tartines topped with chicken salad made with a light dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, chopped mint, salt, pepper

Topping: black sesame seeds, fennel seeds, coarse salt, za'atar (Middle Eastern mixture of thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, salt, and sumac. Make your own or buy at Lebanese market stalls)


[Photos were forwarded by dear friends to a cousin whose brother was Barry of Barry's Bagels in Ohio and, I am told, they "made his mouth water" - and that's good enough for me.]

- Recipes in February newsletter -

16 January 2019