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.
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.
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:
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.
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.