19 October 2010

Travels & Interludes


Writing a food blog for over three years is a difficult thing. There are only so many ways I can tell you that something is delicious without starting to sound cliche and repetitive. And there are only so many stories one can tell about, say, cauliflower, or fresh basil. The same words become tired, as if a piano off key, and you start to recognize that same tiredness in other food writers' writing. But I've been traveling for most of the past month, eating lobster in Maine and roast eggplant in the Middle East and gratin dauphinois in Paris,and if those things don't inspire you I don't know what does.

reine claude!

It had been a few years since I've been to Paris, and I felt when we were leaving as if I were being cleaved away from a trip that wasn't ready to end. Oh, sure there were strikes and protests, and the Picasso museum is closed until 2012, but there was delicious stinky cheese to be eaten on a picnic and petanques players in the Luxembourg gardens, and the most delicious meal I've had in quite a long time eaten in a tiny bistro with an old zinc bar and antique silver flatware.


In the middle east, pomegranates are in season, and at juice stands everywhere you can find fresh squeezed pomegranate juice and (my favorite), carrot juice. Fresh dates are in season, bright yellow fading to sticky sweet brown, plump figs, and a reminder that no one does chickpeas quite like the Lebanese.

luxembourg gardens

There are times writing here that I want desperately to talk about anything but food. To tell you about the latest novel I've read or my thoughts about health care reform or to discuss the deepening divide within Lebanon. And then there are times when I've got a great dish I want to share with you but I forgot to take a picture or it came out horribly, or I just can't think of anything to say. That's where travel comes in, time on the plane to plow through novels and time to see new things. So, I hope I've returned re-invigorated and re-inspired, and happy to spend some quality time with my kitchen again.

Recommended in Paris:

Le Chardenoux

Bistro founded in 1908 with classic French cooking executed to perfection. Warm service concludes with a fresh madeline offered to you straight out of the baking tray along with the check.

Shan Gout
Exquisite Chinese food in a tiny place near Bastille, nice wines and delicious cooking, we loved the sichuan eggplant and the crispy sesame pork.

The hot table in Paris, be sure to reserve ahead.

Le Verre Vole
Also very trendy, this tiny place isn't fancy but is fun, and specializes in offal (think pigs ears and boudin noir).

Marche Aligre, for a good market experience.


arcadia said...

I am utterly, utterly in love with those pomegranates.

Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds lovely. I just found your wonderful blog while searching for a recipe for umm Ali. I also found an old entry describing a trip to Houston with the streets lined with live oaks and trip to Central Market. I live on one of those live oak lined streets and shop at Central Market regularly! Keep up the great work on your blog. I am looking forward to trying some of your recipes.

Dad said...

Writing your blog for 3 years or 4 years??

Who cares, I still love it!

Looking forward to the fallout from your re-inspiration!!

(no relation)

Rivki Locker said...

What an absolutely spectacular photo of pomegranates, one of my favorite fruits to eat and photograph! Thanks for a beautiful blog!

claudia said...

I have been reading your blog for a long time now. I don't always read for your recipes. It is a small window on a place I like. I enjoy your writing and your pictures. I would love to read more about what you really want to write about. You don't have to be faithful to the blog but to yourself. Think about it. I'm sure many others agree. take good care

Food Jihadist said...

Beautiful picture of pomegranates. Nothing is better than a fresh squeezed cup of pomegranate juice when they are in season in the Middle East.

Milli said...

I think when you have a photo like that (inside out pomegranates) you don't need to write anything. I spent a good few minutes oogling them. When you think you know something so well and someone does something creatively different with them it's fantastic like how the Japanese make radishes into flowers!
Love your blog!

retro sweets said...

Wow, what picture-perfect pomegranates! I envy you for travelling so much while me, I'm always stuck up in my computer and work. I hope you can visit the museum some other time. Nice blog you got here.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for quite a while and I have made a few of your recipes...I have yet to be disappointed! I noticed this post when you first put it up and I made a mental note; I knew I was headed to Paris after graduation. Last week my mom and I went to Le Chardenoux and it was fantastic. Such a perfect first meal in Paris! Thank you so much!

retro sweets said...

Just a quick comment to show that I keep comming back to your blog,its really interesting to me as I dont get to travel as much as I would like to!