31 January 2023

Tuesday tasting

Well yesterday was National Croissant Day, and while I try to avoid two food posts in a row, I came across this photo taken on an autumn morning in Provence. The plateau of just-baked buttery croissants and pains au chocolat was irresistible.


30 January 2023

Meaty Monday


In Paris, vegetarian and vegan options are getting easier to find but for now, meat is king.  Especially beef. In most café-restaurants, bistros and brasseries steak is on the menu, with all the usual suspects on board - côte de boeuf, entrecôte, bavette, faux-filet, rumsteak, filet mignon and plain old steak, bifteck. [Note: unless filet mignon is followed by the word boeuf, it's always pork!] Paleron and gîte get simmered to tenderness in colder-weather stews such as Boeuf Bourguignon or Pot-Au-Feu. Côte de boeuf, beef on the rib or côte, is greatly prized. It's pricier, might have to be reserved in advance and, because of its size, shared. No T-bone here.
At the butcher's, the race bovine or cattle breed is proudly displayed, often with a photo: Charolais, Salers, Aubrac, Limousin, Rouge des prés, Gasconne, and for the past few years, Angus. Where the beef comes from (origine France for example) is required to be posted, somewhere. 
A particular cut of steak is expected to appear on plates in a particular way, and that’s all part of it. So sauce béarnaise and frites maison are the usual accompaniments to côte de boeuf and sometimes, a marrow bone is thrown in. Seared entrecôte will arrive with a just melting pat of beurre maître d'hôtel. No bavette, a sort of flank steak, is worth its weight if not served with sauce à l'échalote, a wine-shallot sauce. And so it goes.
American tastes usually find that meat in France - and this includes lamb and duck - is underdone when it comes to their desired cuisson: saignant (rare), à point (medium/medium rare), bien cuit (well done). The most popular (French) choice for steaks is saignant and à point for cheeseburgers. The good news is, meat that's not cooked enough to one's liking can always be sent back to the kitchen to be cooked up. The bad: just ordering beef "well-done” (Anglo style) is usually a non-non and could elicit a comment here, a pffft there, or, as recently happened to a friend visiting from New York who ordered her steak well done, she turned around and caught the waiter making grimaces behind her back. - BPJ

Above: côte de boeuf (between saignant and à point) w/three sauces

Below: a
côte de boeuf (saignant


29 January 2023

Chinese New Year

Paris celebrates Chinese New Year in four distinct Asian neighborhoods.
Ends February 5, 2023


26 January 2023

Throwback Thursday

Throwback to recent trip to London over the holidays.

Above: life-sized moving window displays at ultra department store Fortnum & Mason in Piccadilly


London: 3 hours (or less) from Paris


23 January 2023

Maki Monday

Gourmet maki, temaki, sushi.... Japanese comfort food on a cold day.
Blueberry Maki Bar 
6 rue du Sabot 75006

22 January 2023

Paris Design Week

 Once again cutting edge international designers have descended on Paris for an exciting week of graphic design, furniture creation, decorative arts and interior innovation.

Above: Paris is my living room




Paris Design Week 2023

Ends Monday January 23 




18 January 2023

Wednesday whimsy


For a limited time Louis Vuitton's flagship store on the Champs-Elysées embraces the art of 93-year old Yayoi Kusama whose work has been making waves internationally.

Above: sculptural self-portrait; polka dots and strong colors, a signature of her work



13 January 2023

A planche in winter


Warming up a Paris afternoon with a classic planche mixte - selected French cheeses and charcuteries - and wine.


11 January 2023

Wistful Wednesday

Large teddies, leftovers from le confinement, can still be seen at some restaurants and cafés all over the city.
Above: outside a café in the Latin Quarter

9 January 2023

Christmas blues

"Christmas isn't over until we say it is!"
In France, we love holidays and try to prolong the Christmas season for as long as possible. Decorations, cards, holiday wishes and even galettes des rois (so far we've had three) are tout à fait normale until the end of January. - BPJ
Above: Place du Tertre in Montmartre



6 January 2023

Fève Friday


Would you like a crown with that?

 Above: just-made galettes des rois ready to take home for this evening's Fête des Rois
Reprint from "Feast of kings" 1/6/2019

 Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, and in France it is celebrated with a galette des rois. The tarte-like cakes begin to appear in pâtisserie and boulangerie windows in December and children adore this tradition where the youngest goes under the table and calls out each person's name to receive a slice. Whoever's parte contains the coveted fève - usually a small porcelain figurine of one of the gift-bearing Magi (although there are now many variations, including cartoon characters) - he/she/them will be crowned King or Queen and get to crown his/her/their King or Queen of choice, so every cake is (or should be) sold with two crowns.  

The galettes usually contain crème frangipane, an almond cream, but upscale bakers have been creating away with pistachio cream (my current favorite) and other fillings, trying not to stray too far from the original. I've made my own galettes in the past - it's not difficult - and like to serve the cake warm, heated for a short time in the oven, never micro-waved (quelle horreur!) so its crispness remains intact. And did I mention its classic accord is a cidre doux - or second choice, a bubbly crémant? - BPJ



1 January 2023

Into a New Year

- Bonne Année / Happy New Year 2023 -



Meilleurs vœux de bonne année à tous