Coretta, a new bistro that's worth the detour

Coretta clementine dessert
Coretta clementine dessert


Coretta, the three-week old modern bistro that’s a collaboration of three favorite Parisian restaurateurs, is a win! Chef Jean-François Pataleon of L'Affable in the 7th, and Beatriz Gonzalez and her husband, Matthieu Marcant, of Neva Cuisine in the 8th , have teamed up to create a super contemporary, approachable, just-good-food bistro that’s totally right for the times. The airy, two-story, expertly designed restaurant on the Rue Cardinet in the 17th overlooks the recently created Martin Luther King Park, and is aptly named after King’s wife, Coretta. I love the wood and marble design, the simplicity, the modern menu with food that’s just familiar enough and surprising enough to make us all happy. Do try the anguille fumé or smoked eel, teamed up with thin slices of raw veal, and a satisfying, creamy horseradish bouillon.  Silken mackerel is paired with miso, apples and ginger in a light, refreshing first course. I admired the elegant, aesthetic presentation of the lightly salted cod (cooked to perfection, breaking into giant alabaster flakes) flanked by a kaleidoscope of lightly pickled vegetables: turnips, beets, and radishes. The ris de veau --- veal sweetbreads – is already a bistro favorite here, served with panais (parsnips) cooked three ways: chips, mashed, braised. It was lunchtime, and I was not really in the mood for dessert , but soon I was glad that I changed my mind. Here, a simplified version of Beatriz’s chocolate sphere from Neva Cuisine is turned into a single chocolate disc, perched on a spicy pineapple concoction, melting into a puddle as warm chocolate sauce is poured over all. The prettiest dish of the day (photo) was the clementine sorbet joined by slices of fresh clementine, bites of crispy meringue, and a lemony yuzu (a pungent Japanese citrus), mascarpone-like cream. A few sips of Yves Cuilleron’s well-priced (7€ a glass) pure Roussanne vin de France rounded out the meal with perfection. Baker Jean-Luc Poujauran’s crusty bread is served from a warming wooden box, accompanied by a fat pat of soft butter. Downstairs , there’s a brief but appealing tapas menu.

151 bis, rue Cardinet, Paris 17. Tel: +33 1 42 26 55 55. Métro Brochant. 24€ lunch menu, 33€ and 39€ evening menus, à la carte 45 to 70€. Open Monday- Saturday. Closed  Saturday lunch and all day Sunday.

Writing about French Food: A panel discussion at the American Library

American Library panel
American Library panel

This Wednesday I am going to be joining Ann Mah in a panel discussion at The American Library of Paris on writing about French Food. We will be talking about our respective books The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence and Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons on Food and Love from a Year in Paris. There'll be wine, snacks and the opportunity to buy the books thanks to WH Smith.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday February 5, 2014, 7:30pm

The American Library of Paris

10, rue du Général Camou

75007 Paris

Tel: +33 1 53 59 12 60

New! The Book! The All New Food Lover's Guide to Paris


The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris was the first book I ever published back in 1984, and on the year of its 30th anniversary, I am elated to announce the release of its 5th edition – completely revisited, rewritten, and newly photographed for 2014. This has truly been a labor of love – visiting, exploring, scouring Paris in search of the city’s best gastronomic offerings. While some of the favorites have stood the test of time, much has changed in Paris over 30 years. Chefs have come and gone, others who were just starting out in 1984 have matured to excellence and have become beacons for some of the best dining in the world, and mentors for a whole new generation of talent. Paris now is a much more casual place of course, so this edition includes a whole new chapter on cafés and casual eateries. I have also included my favorite markets, bakeries, pastry shops, chocolates shops, cheese merchants, specialty food shops, shops for kitchen and tableware essentials, and of course wine shops. And as always, there is the ever-useful (and updated) French to English glossary of food terms, and a ready reference section to help you navigate the myriad of dining options in the city. And so that you can enjoy a touch of Paris in your own kitchen, I have included 40 recipes.

This new edition is the perfect companion to The New Food Lover's Guide to Paris app for the iPhone and iPad.

The book (and e-book!) will be released on March 11 in the United States and on April 1 in Europe, and is available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and from Indiebound once released.

In good hands with David Toutain

David Toutain Gnocchi
David Toutain Gnocchi

David Toutain is a cerebral chef. Nothing is accidental and when you enter his brand new 7th arrondissement restaurant you are subject to his rules and his way of thinking. Yet you never feel as though your arm is being twisted. This is not a restaurant for a casual meal, but rather one that is meticulously planned and thought out, and begs for, yes deserves,  your attention. And it’s well worth your time.

Toutain, a farm boy from Normandy, appeared on the Paris scene like lightening a few years back at the wildly experimental Agapé Substance, and then disappeared almost overnight. I am so glad he is back.

The setting of the new restaurant on Rue Surcouf, seems at first somewhat of a contradiction. The sparse, cool space -- flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling glass wall at the front of the restaurant -- feels relaxed, with its light wood and leather furnishings and minimalist décor. Yet the suited and formal service suggests a more serious approach to the dining experience. Immediately, this feels like a restaurant like none other.

As plate after plate arrives from the 68€ carte blanche menu, we are presented with flavors that explode in our mouth but do not overwhelm, as Toutain draws out the essential flavors of each and every ingredient. On the plate, he presents other-worldly creations, but in the mouth, flavors are familiar, calming, and even unusual combinations seem natural and obvious in his care.

Toutain’s ability to see new and interesting potential in ingredients makes him extremely unique – a bouillon of potato skins that smelled like someone walked past you with a dish of freshly baked potatoes, or Jerusalem artichokes transformed with a little sugar into an apple-like dessert. And who on earth would think of combining kiwi fruit with a raw oyster? And who would believe that, on the palate, the pairing would appear perfectly matched, totally sublime.

On one hand, this multi-course excursion can make your brain spin, even give you a headache. The food that comes from the hands of the boyish, mild-mannered Toutain reminds me of many meals I’ve experienced at the table of Pierre Gagnaire: the same cerebral attention, the same wildly experimental flash of genius, the same surprise and pleasure.

There is so much going on – porcelain, glass, cutlery that dazzle and beg for your attention – that a diner might lose sight of what is best about Toutain’s food. Each ingredient is impeccably chosen, each cooked to a perfection that makes me gasp. It’s as though he puts a camera lens on each ingredient and then blows it up, eeking the most honest flavor, texture, pleasure imaginable. He makes any oyster taste like the freshest, most delicious oyster you have ever tasted. He draws a new, welcoming seamless texture from a tiny cube of foie gras, turns what he calls gnocchi into a little pillow that melts in your mouth (photo). The meal is full of “why didn’t I think of that” combinations, like a sprinkling of freshly ground coffee beans at the edge of the plate, for dipping bites of exquisitely roasted pork.

To say that the 68€ menu is a bargain is an understatement. But for my money and time, I could have had a bit less food. And though I am not a huge fan of the no-choice surprise menu, I’ll put myself in Toutain’s hands any day. Service here is friendly and personal, and the wine list offers some real treasures. I loved the sommelier’s two wine recommendations: The Vincent Gaudry aromatic Sancerre was willing to serve as a quiet understudy to Toutain’s food, while Christophe Pichon’s 100% Syrah Saint Joseph was clean, spicy, and forceful. So go, sit back and enjoy, and don’t think too much – David has already done the thinking for you.

RESTAURANT DAVID TOUTAIN, 29 rue Surcouf, Paris 7. Tel: +33 1 45 50 11 10.Métro: Invalides or La Tour Maubourg. Open Monday-Friday. Closed Saturday & Lunch & dinner: 68 and 98€ menus (118 & 158€ with wine), 158€ seasonal truffle menu (210€ with wine) Reservations: recommended.

Chestnut honey squares that satisfy in one bite

Time after time, the students in my cooking classes in Paris or Provence tell me “I don’t bake.” These same students are often delighted when I assign them a dessert, for they know that they will at least learn to make one wonderful sweet. I think that they also secretly hope that by week’s end, they may actually get over their fear of baking.

When it comes to cooking, my philosophy is to keep it simple and make sure it’s delicious. One foolproof recipe in my repertory is for chestnut honey squares, a confection that satisfies in a single bite. It can be made ahead, does not require exotic equipment, is relatively simple (you pat the crust in the pan) and it’s beautiful, with a glistening glaze. Stored in an airtight container, it stays fresh for days.

The inspiration came from the Paris bakery Moulin de la Vierge. I was sampling a wide selection of sweets, and as I bit into the honey-kissed square, I stopped, almost stunned at how special it was, something you could eat out of hand with a bit of crunch and only a hint of sweetness.

The crust is butter-rich but not too much so, an easy blending of flour, almond meal, unrefined sugar, butter, an egg yolk, vanilla extract and a touch of fine sea salt to brighten the flavors.

A quick pulse in the food processor with a bit of water, and the pastry is ready to pat in the pan and bake. We all think our ovens are sometimes temperamental; I love that this crust will turn out just fine at a range of temperatures.

I find that most home cooks tend to underbake, especially pastry, so I instruct my students to make sure the pastry is golden and crisp, not pale and limp. I don’t even mind if it is really, really dark. As my friend Eli Zabar likes to say, “Burnt is best!” I might not go that far, but it must be fully baked.

The topping comes together in minutes while the pastry bakes. Sweetened with just 2 tablespoons of intensely flavored honey, like chestnut honey, it is a simple blend of butter, sliced almonds, cubed candied orange or lemon peel, and vanilla extract, just melted in a saucepan over low heat. The darker honey is crucial; you can find it online if not in a specialty store.

Once the pastry is golden, spread on the topping, bake until deep golden, remove from the oven and let cool. I cut it into tiny squares (32 is a good number) to produce a bite-size dessert.

I am thinking of creating a variation with the flavorful organic Sicilian pistachios I find at my local co-op, toasting the nuts, grinding some to a powder and chopping the rest for the topping. I’ll make it with the organic lavender honey from our farm in Provence. It will glow, and I’ll pat myself on the back.

This article was originally published by the  New York Times, December 17, 2013 Photo by Jeff Kauck

I share this recipe from my latest book, The French Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Lessons from Paris and Provence.


For the Pastry:

120 grams (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour

45 grams (1/2 cup) almond meal (see note)

35 grams (3 tablespoons) sugar, preferably unrefined vanilla sugar (see note)

1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

80 grams (1 cup) sliced almonds

30 grams (1/3 cup) candied orange or lemon peel, cut into tiny cubes

65 grams (1/3 cup) sugar, preferably vanilla sugar

2 tablespoons chestnut honey or other intensely flavored honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9 1/2-inch-square baking pan with parchment, letting it hang over the sides for easier removal later.
  2. Prepare the pastry: In a food processor, combine flour, almond meal, sugar and salt. Pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of water. Pulse to incorporate. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water through the feed tube, tablespoon by tablespoon, pulsing until just before the pastry forms a ball. You may not need all the water.
  3. Turn the dough out into the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake until the pastry begins to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. While the pastry is baking, prepare the topping: In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the almonds, candied peel, sugar, honey and vanilla extract. Heat just until the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Remove the pan and spread the almond-honey mixture evenly over the pastry. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the topping is a deep gold, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and transfer to a rack to cool in the pan. Once it has cooled, remove from the pan and cut into 32 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 32 squares

NOTE: Whole, unblanched almonds can be finely ground in a food processor to make almond meal. To make vanilla sugar, cut 1 or several vanilla beans in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and reserve for another use. Dry vanilla bean halves at room temperature and place in a large jar of sugar. Store for several weeks to scent and flavor the sugar.

Paris book signing at WH Smith December 17

WH Smith author event
WH Smith author event

It's wonderful to be home in Paris after my chock-a-block US tour for The French Kitchen Cookbook. Thanks to everyone who came along to the events, it was great to meet all you food lovers!

The tour continues in Paris however, with an event next Tuesday, December 17 at WH Smith, from 6-8pm. I'll be signing books from 6 to 7pm, with a presentation from 7 to 8pm. I'd love to see you there!

WH Smith, 248 rue de Rivoli, Paris 1

Tel.+33 1 44 77 88 99

Nutritious life week at the Golden Door

Golden Door 11 6 13

This week I have been fortunate enough to participate in Nutritious Life Week at the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California. Along with 5-mile morning mountain hikes, classes in Fast Fit, daily workouts with my trainer, strenuous water aerobic classes, and daily tennis lessons, the days are sprinkled with massages, manicures, pedicures and facials. There is also time for me to talk to the guests about my own fitness program, my cooking, and signings for my new book, The French Kitchen Cookbook. Pictured above are a few guests enjoying the spa's first outdoor picnic, held overlooking the 3-acre organic vegetable garden, a paradise that right now is bursting with multiple varieties of beets, carrots, fennel, kale, society garlic, nasturtiums, oregano, and Mexican tarragon. Tonight, in our cooking class, we sliced many of these vegetables paper-thin, blanched them, then tossed them with an avalanche of herbs and a Yogurt, Lemon and Chive Dressing (recipe follows.) We also prepared a lighter variation of my Miniature Onion and Goat Cheese Appetizers, as well as Grilled Polenta Squares with Tomato and Onion Sauce, both variations on recipes from The French Kitchen Cookbook.

Yogurt, Lemon, and Chive Dressing

Equipment: A small jar, with a lid.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

1/3 cup finely minced fresh chives

In a small jar, combine the lemon juice and the salt.  Shake to dissolve the salt.

Add the yogurt and chives. Shake to blend. Taste for seasoning. Store covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week. Shake to blend again before using.

About 3/4 cups

Miniature Onion and Goat Cheese Appetizers

These tasty, savory, miniature appetizers are a huge hit in my cooking classes. There is always a great sense of satisfaction, when one removes a tray of these fragrant, golden nuggets from the oven. These are best warm from the oven but are also delicious at room temperature. They can serve as appetizers or as sides to a simple green salad.

Equipment: A food processor; 2 nonstick petit four molds or mini muffin tins, each with twelve 2  1/2–inch (6.5 cm) cups, or a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound (500 g) onions, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half moons

Fine sea salt

Coarse, freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces (125 g) soft, fresh goat’s milk cheese

Grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic

3 large eggs, preferably free range and organic lightly beaten

1 teaspoon fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme leaves

Fleur de sel, for garnish

  1. Evenly center two racks in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat to low, add the onions and a pinch of salt, and sweat – cook, covered, over low heat until soft and translucent – about 10 minutes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  3. In the food processor, combine the goat cheese, lemon zest, eggs, and thyme leaves and process to blend. Add the cheese mixture to the onions in the skillet and stir to blend. Taste for seasoning.
  4. Spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into each mold or muffin cup.
  5. Place the molds in the oven and bake until the mixture is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Then remove them from the cups. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with fleur de sel.

Makes 24 miniature appetizers

Wine suggestion: The mineral-rich flavors of this blend of Marsanne, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Bourboulenc with their touch of spice make this white wine –Domaine du Paternel Cassis Blanc de Bancs -- a perfect palate opener to pair with the tatins.

Grilled Polenta with Tomato and Onion Sauce

This light, colorful vegetarian weeknight dinner is a favorite, and this soothing, comfort-food dish knows few rivals, particularly in cooler weather.

Equipment: A 1-quart (1 l) gratin dish, 4 warmed dinner plates.

3  1/2 cups (875 ml) 1 % milk

Fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 cup (135 g) instant polenta

1/2 cup (3 ounces; 90 g) freshly grated Gruyère cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 large onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into thin half-rounds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 fresh or dried bay leaves

One  28-ounce (765g) can peeled Italian plum tomatoes in juice

Fresh, flat-leafed parsley leaves, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, 1 teaspoon of the sea salt, and the nutmeg to a boil over medium heat. (Watch carefully, for milk will boil over quickly.) Add the polenta in a steady stream and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 minutes.

2.Remove from the heat. Add half of the cheese, stirring to blend thoroughly.  The polenta should be very creamy and pourable. Pour it into the gratin dish. Even out the top with a spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to firm up. (Or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.)

3.Prepare the tomato garnish: In a large skillet, combine the onion, the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt and sweat – cook, covered over low heat until soft and translucent – about 5 minutes. With a large pair of scissors, cut the tomatoes in the can into small piece. Add the bay leaves and tomatoes and their juices and cook, covered, over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

4.At serving time, preheat the broiler. Cut the polenta into 8 even squares. Place on the baking sheet, cheese side up. Place under the broiler and broil until the cheese sizzles, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the squares to the warmed plates, stacking the second slice at an angle over the first. Spoon the sauce all over. Garnish with parsley and cheese.

4 servings

WINE SUGGESTION: An inexpensive everyday dish suggests an equally fine but gently priced wine. A favorite is Michel and Stephane Ogier’s La Rosine Syrah, a deep purple vin de pays from the hillsides north of the old Roman town of Vienne.

MAKE AHEAD NOTE: Both the tomato sauce and the polenta can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, then covered and refrigerated separately. Reheat at serving time.

THE SECRET: When using whole, canned tomatoes, use a scissors to cut the tomatoes into small pieces, making for a still chunky yet finer sauce.

Okuda, a new Japanese star in Paris

2013-10-11 14.24.20.jpg

Once you watch Japanese master Toru Okuda wield a knife, you’ll never want to touch one again. Precision. Care. Attention. Discipline. Perfection. Okuda – whose stable of Tokyo restaurants include both a Michelin three-star and Michelin two-star – has come to Paris. And we diners are the better for it. His serene, pale-wood, pottery-filled trio of dining rooms (a main floor counter for seven; a downstairs dining room for twelve; and a private room for four diners) transport you directly to Japan, with all the accompanying courtesy and gentleness one expects. There is only a single, multi-course kaiseki menu, and diners are presented with a simple printed list of the offerings as they begin their pleasant journey. I was lucky enough to be seated at the bar, with chef Okuda in front of me, demonstrating his amazing proficiency with a knife. It is hard to choose a favorite of the eight courses, but I guess I would have to say the soothing, delicate flan, rich with fresh crab meat and a perfect foil of warm autumn mushrooms (flan salé au tourteau, sauce épaisse aux champignons). It was course number two, and if I had to stop there, I would have been a happy woman. Brilliantly fresh tuna, paper thin slices of squid from the I’ile de’Yeu, and delicate white flounder (carrelet) arrive as a sashimi selection, seasoned with the most delicious seagreens, including an unforgettably bright-flavored fresh-water nori. Not that the dish needed embellishment, we were instructed to season one bite of the squid with the dollop of caviar set on the plate, and take a second bite paired with fresh wasabi that had been grated only seconds earlier. Mouth in heaven, mouth on fire! It will be a while before I forget his grilled bar – oh so perfectly cooked over a charcoal fire – just lightly smoky, falling easily into chopstick-worthy bites, seasoned with salt and sesame. And who would think to actually fry an avocado, transforming both the texture and flavor, making me think of a freshly harvested butternut squash, cooked to create an autumn-worthy purée. Morsels of charcoal-grilled French Limousin beef fillet from butcher Hugo Desnoyer arrive so tender you can eat them with a chopstick, while just about every dish leaves your palate with a clean, citrusy aftertaste. But the one dish that I will be making at home is Okuda’s spectacular dessert (photo) : It consisted of a peach compote, using no less than three varieties (a white peach, a pêche plate and the rare pêche de vigne) set in a glistening crystal bowl, surrounded by a fragrant and fruity-sweet sparkling peach jelly, and of course a perfect peach sorbet, garnished with pungent leaves of fresh mint.


Traditional Japanese kaiseki

7, rue de la Trémoille

Paris 8

Tel: +33 1 40 70 19 19

MÉTRO: Alma-Marceau

OPEN: Wednesday to Monday

CLOSED: Monday lunch and all day Tuesday

PRICE: 160€ fixed menu at lunch, 200€ fixed priced menu at dinner. No à la carte menu.


ATMOSPHERE: Smart casual

Le Tourette: Like a trip to Spain


Take a trip to this tiny, 22-seat bistro-cantine that looks, feels, smells, and tastes like Spain. It’s called Le Tourrette, a cheery, newly revived gathering spot dating from the 1920’s, a classic bistro that survived well into the 1980’s. Owner Olivier Mourin (also proprietor of the Ibérique Gourmet, a Spanish specialty shop nearby at 3, rue Paul Louis Courier) has garnered a band of Spanish specialists to offer diners an authentic Spanish treat. The silken, fragrant, delicate Ibérian ham is expertly hand cut paper-thin before your eyes, served with excellent pan con tomate, or crisp slices of baguette rubbed with both garlic and fresh red tomatoes. Bouqerones (classic Spanish vinegar-marinated anchovies) arrive glistening, layered on slices of grilled country bread, surrounded by gigantic cured caper berries and thin slices of yellow heirloom tomatoes. I loved the riz noir aux calamars (photo) a huge portion of wholesome rice seasoned with squid ink and flanked by moist, delicate, baby squid. The poulpe à la galicienne arrives as a colorful, paprika-dusted portion of steamed baby potatoes in their skins and bite-sized pieces of the most tender octopus. There are just 10 stools and a table d’hôte that seats 12. Everything here is generous, personal, and friendly.



70, rue de Grenelle

Paris 7

Tel: +33 1 45 44 16 05

MÉTRO: Rue du Bac or Sèvres-Babylone

OPEN: Lunch Monday through Friday. Dinner Friday and Saturday.

CLOSED: Dinner Monday through Thursday, and all day Sunday.

PRICES: Starters, 7 to 12€, main courses, 12 to 21€, Wines by the glass, 2 to 4€




Use your ID and go to ES: A treat in Paris

2013-10-09 13.03.34.jpg

Years ago, chef Joël Robuchon told me that his trips to Japan greatly influenced his own personal style of cuisine. He felt that the French and the Japanese shared a great sensibility and respect for food, showing special consideration for flavors, colors, textures, presentation. Today in Paris, diners can see how intensely Japanese-born chefs are responding to that shared awareness. Many --- like Akihiro Horihoshi at La Table d’Aki and Shinichi Sato at Passage 53 – have worked in some of the finest kitchens in Europe.  Chef Takayuki Honjo ---with a CV that includes Astrance, Noma, and Le Mugartiz – joins the club with his tiny, quiet, all-white, angelic, monastic dining room, ES, on rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank. The dining room staff includes an Italian, a French, a Japanese, making this an international scene. Taka’s food is beautiful in every sense of the word. I feel as though he has been immensely influenced by Pascal Barbot’s food at Astrance, just across the Seine. But he’s not a copycat. And his flavors are direct and forthright, not a slammer but a gentle tap. One of the best dishes sampled at his table was a roasted guinea fowl (pintade), teamed up with a delicate and colorful green pool of spinach cream, a shower of perfectly cooked autumn girolles (chanterelles), and the tiniest, most flavorful sautéed baby new potatoes, the size of an olive. But the crowning glory came in the way of a soothing hazelnut cream, applied like a palate knife to the plate, a nutty luxury that unified the entire dish. A creation triumphant in its simplicity and clarity of flavors. I would be proud to make and serve his caramelized codfish, and loved the idea of his cream of corn soup, flavored with a jasmine essence. Dessert almost hit the ball out of the park: A delicate, tiny meringue shell was filled a sweet, fruity poached peach, topped with a peach sorbet (too forcefully flavored with almond extract), and set in a pool of soothing, bright pink, peach jelly. Crusty country bread from baker Jean-Luc Poujauran, and wines from a favored winemaker, Simon Bize in Burgundy, all add to the pleasure.  The restaurant name is a translation of the Freudian “ID,” meaning, the component of personality at birth that is the source or our wants, desires, impulses, and drives. So use your “ID” and go to “ES.”

Restaurant ES

Modern French

91, rue de Grenelle,

Paris 7

Tel: +33 1 45 51 25 74

MÉTRO: Solferino.

OPEN: Tuesday to Saturday.

CLOSED: Sunday & Monday.

PRICE: 55€ fixed menu at lunch; 75€ and 105€ fixed menu weekday dinners. 105€ fixed menu Saturday dinner. No à la carte menu.

The French Kitchen Cookbook and Tour!

French Kitchen Cookbook.jpg

I am  excited to announce the release of my latest labor of love: The French Kitchen Cookbook. Two years in the making, this cookbook is a collection of my favorite recipes and lessons from my cooking classes in Paris and Provence. Here's information on purchasing the book and my book tour! Hope to see all of you! PATRICIA

To order:


New York, New York

Monday, October 21:

5 to 6:00PM            ELI’S MANHATTAN – book signing

1411 Third Avenue, (corner of East 80th Street) New York, New York 10028

212 717 8100

Northvale, New Jersey

Tuesday, October 22:

7:00PM                    BOOKS AND GREETINGS—Talk and signing

271 Livingston Street / Northvale, New Jersey 07647

Contact: Kenny Sarfin 201) 784 2665

Darien, Connecticut

Wednesday, October 23:

7:00PM                    DARIEN LIBRARY with BARRETT BOOKSTORE—Signing

1441 Post Road / Darien, Connecticut 06820

Contact: Rosanna Nissen 203 655 1234

Bookstore: 203 655 2712 www.barretbookstore!

Wilton, Connecticut

Thursday, October 24:

7:00PM                    WILTON LIBRARY with ELM STREET BOOKS—Signing

137 Old Ridgefield Road / Wilton, Connecticut 06897

Contact: Karen Danvers 203 273 3469

Bookstore: 203 966 4545

Chicago, Illinois

Friday, October 25:

6:30PM                    ALLIANCE FRANCAISE DE CHICAGO—Prix Charbonnier Award

810 N. Dearborn Street / Chicago, Illinois 60610

Contact: Aimée Laberge 312 337 1070

*Patricia in conversation with Bill Daley from the Chicago Tribune

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Saturday, October 26:

12:00PM                  LAKE PARK BISTRO with BOSWELL BOOK COMPANY—Ticketed luncheon and signing

3133 E. Newberry Boulevard / Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211

414 962 6300

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Sunday, October 27:

12:00PM                  PAINE ART CENTER AND GARDENS—Ticketed luncheon and signing

1410 Algoma Boulevard / Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901

Contact: Trina Woldt 773  218 2197

Chicago, Illinois

Monday, October 28:

11:30AM                 FROGGY’S FRENCH CAFÉ with LAKE FOREST BOOK STORE—Ticketed luncheon and signing

306 Green Bay Road / Highwood, Illinois 60040

Contact: Ann Walters 847  234 4420

Bookstore: 847 234 4420

7:00PM                    ANDERSON’S BOOKSHOP—Talk and signing

123 West Jefferson / Naperville, Illinois 60540

Contact: Ginny Wehrli-Hemmeter 630  355 2665

Larkspur, California

Tuesday, October 29:

6:30PM                    LEFT BANK LARKSPUR BRASSERIE with BOOK PASSAGE—Ticketed dinner and signing

507 Magnolia Avenue / Larkspur, California 94939

415 927 3331

Bookstore: 415 927 0960

Contact: Marguerita Castanera

Berkeley, California

Wednesday, October 30:

7:00PM                    MRS. DALLOWAY’S—Talk and signing

2904 College Avenue / Berkeley, California 94705

Contacts: Ann Leyhe & Marion Abbott 510 704 8222

Danville, California

Friday, November 1:

7:00PM                    RAKESTRAW BOOKS—Talk and signing

522 Hartz Avenue / Danville, California 94526

Contact: Mike Barnard 925 837 7337

San Diego, California

Saturday, November 2:

4:00PM                    LODGE AT TORREY PINES—Adventures by the Book ticketed event

11480 North Torrey Pines Road / La Jolla, California 92037

Contact: Susan McBeth 619 300 2532

*In partnership with the American Institute of Wine & Food, a ticketed reception with appetizers and a signed book in a meet-and-greet setting, followed by a dinner created from recipes in the cookbook by Chef Jeff Jackson

Escondido, California

The Golden Door

Sunday, November 3 to Sunday, November 10:

Patricia will both speak and offer a demonstration cooking class during the week. For details:

NEW! Saint Helena, California


Tursday, November 14

5:00pm                   PRESS Restaurant November

587 St. Helena Highway South, Saint Helena, California 94574

Seattle, Washington

Wednesday, November 20:

12:30PM                  CAFÉ PRESSE—Ticketed lunch and signing

1117 Twelfth Avenue / Seattle, Washington 98122

206 709 7674

7:00PM                    BOAT STREET CAFÉ—Ticketed dinner and signing

3131 Western Avenue #301 / Seattle, Washington 98121

206 632 4602

Seattle, Washington

Thursday, November 21:

10AM to 11AM     BOOK LARDER—Talkand signing

4252 Fremont Avenue N / Seattle, Washington 98103

206 397 4271

7:00PM                    THE CORSON BUILDING—Ticketed dinner and signing

5609 Corson Avenue S/ Seattle, Washington 98108

206 762 3330

Miami, Florida

Saturday, November 23 and Sunday, November 24: MIAMI BOOK FAIR INTERNATIONAL

For details see

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Monday, November 25:

11:30AM –              KITCHEN RESTAURANT with FLYLEAF BOOKS—Ticketed lunch and signing

1:30PM 764 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard / Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

Restaurant: 919 537 8167

Bookstore: 919 942 7373 Contact: Jamie Fiocco, 919 942 7936

Raleigh, North Carolina

Tuesday, November 26:

12:00PM                  QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS & MUSIC—Ticketed lunch and signing

3522 Wade Avenue / Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

Bookstore: 919 828 1388 Contact: René Martin, (919) 828-7912

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Friday, November 29:

12:00PM                  SOUTHERN SEASON—Ticketed lunch and signing

University Mall, 201 South Estes Drive / Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

Store: 877 929 1733

Contact: Marilyn Markel 919  913 1241

Tecate, Baja California, Mexico

Rancho La Puerta

Saturday, November 30 to Saturday, December 7:

Patricia will offer both a demonstration cooking class and two hands-on cooking classes during the week. For details:

Doctor Wells

When the Fed Ex van made it to the top of our Provençal hill on a late summer morning, it was a much happier occasion than many of this summer’s deliveries, a long stream of page proofs and editorial requests that Patricia has described as “publishing hell. ” Hell is over, and the heavenly results are apparent elsewhere on the site.

But back to that August morning: the delivery was from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, which in May awarded Patricia an honorary doctorate of fine arts. Officials at the distinguished college had shipped the framed certificate announcing the artium doctoris; the black, white and scarlet academic “hood” the she is now entitled to wear in future academic processions; and the charming and extensive description of Patricia’s accomplishments, written by Dr. Kathryn Wixon of the college French department and read by Peyton R. Helm, president of Muhlenberg, as he conferred the degree.

The mover and shaker in all this was Sandy Jaffee, who came to Provence as one of Patricia’s students and became a great friend. A retired executive vice president at Citibank, she’s on the Muhlenberg board.

This was Patricia’s second honorary doctorate – the first was from her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, in 2006.

I’m posting a PDF of the Muhlenberg citation here – Patricia was resistant to the idea, but she’s not always right.

– Walter Wells

Lazare, a new star

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The super-talented chef Eric Frechon (of Paris’s Hotel Bristol and the Mini Palais) brings us a modern, up to date brasserie called Lazare, serving, as he likes to say,  “real, authentic food and a return to what’s essential at the table: history, memory, laughs, tears, family meals and a simple dinner tête à tête.” Set at the ground floor entrance of the Gare Saint-Lazare – the train station near the Madeleine that sends travelers to Normandy and points west --- the bright and contemporary brasserie offers good food, fine service, a cheerful setting, and hours that are hard to beat: 7:30 AM to midnight, nonstop. You don’t have to be traveling to love the place, and I can imagine popping in for a quick breakfast or a snack while shopping at the department stores Printemps or Galeries Lafayette nearby. Frechon hopes to bring back the authentic Parisian brasserie, a loud and happy-sounding spot with such classics as mussels in cream, steak tartare, seven-hour leg of lamb, and a green bean salad with artichokes, hazelnuts, and hazelnut oil. The décor is modern --- shelves filled with stacks of white plates and rows of shiny copper pots; a recipe for their Paris-Deauville dessert, handwritten on a huge blackboard; and an industrially exposed ceiling, painted all white. I’d go back again and again for the moist, perfectly cooked lamb, falling off the bone, set on a bed of well-seasoned bulgar, the meat itself flavored with black olives, tomato, thin slices of lemon, and whole pieces of star anise. Yum! Just right for pairing with a glass of Marcel Lapierre’s Morgon. I love as well his rendition of the classic green bean salad, paired with freshly cooked artichokes, whole hazelnuts, and a hazelnut oil dressing (photo). On one visit we feasted on a giant portion of the tiniest girolles (chanterelles), enough for a vegetarian main course! I was less convinced of the roast codfish (cabillaud) served in pleasant green sauce (sauce vierge) and topped with lightly cooked baby spinach. His rhubarb tart is delicious, perfectly tangy with a crisp, not-too-sweet crust. And cheese comes from young cheesemonger Claire Griffon (with a shop at 23, bis avenue de la Motte Piquet in the 7tharrondissement). Do try the young goat cheese – chèvre – marinated in fresh thyme and olive oil.


Gare Saint-Lazare (front side, street level)

rue Intérieure

Paris 8

Tel: +33 1 44 90 80 80

Métro: Saint-Lazare

Open daily 7:30AM to midnight.

9€ breakfast menu. 26-79€ à la carte at lunch and dinner.

Come a Casa: Just like home

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Flavia Federici is an architect, born in Rome and transplanted to Paris. Her passion for food, design, and all things Italian led her to open – at the end of August -- her tiny, welcoming trattoria just steps from the Voltaire Métro in the 11th arrondissement. Walk into the casually but carefully appointed brocante-decorated eatery and you instantly feel as though you’ve been transported to Italy: the aromas, Flavia’s earnest smile and accent, the assortment of aged Pecorino cheeses sitting like a still life in the window. Her enthusiasm and energy are evident everywhere, in the careful selection of the 1950’s cast-off chairs and tables, the serving plates, as well as silverware. On the menu you’ll find a carefully crafted assortment of Percorino sheep’s milk cheese brought in regularly from a small producer in Umbria: some smoked, some aged in stone grotte, or natural caves, served with homemade confiture. Fat slices of rye bread from the Parisian bakery Blé Sucré arrive lightly toasted, rubbed gently with fresh garlic, topped with outrageously delicious ricotta salata (firm, aged, and salty, from the same Umbrian cheesemaker) and sprigs of fresh rosemary. One could make a meal of that! But don’t stop there: My favorite here is the ethereally light lasagne (photo) with fillings that change from day to day, with such variations as artichokes, spinach, or pesto, all topped with slivers of fragrant Parmesan and a touch of arugula. The wine list is compact, including a spicy, elegant Mazzi Brunello di Montepulciano and the dry Tuscan Sangiovese red, Lodola Nuova Vino Nobile de Montepulciano.



7, rue Pache

Paris 11

Tel: +33 1 77 15 08 19

Métro: Voltaire

Open 10:30AM to 3PM and 6PM to 10:30PM

Closed Sunday

Prices 15€ starters, 15€ main courses, 7 to 9 € desserts

Reservations recommended

Allard, a new beginning?

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Chef-entrepreneur Alain Ducasse has moved in to resuscitate yet another classic Parisian bistro (both Benoit and Aux Lyonnais are already in his stable), and he’s off to a start -- but he needs to roll up his sleeves. The standard dishes from the days of Madame Allard are there, including their landmark duck with olives (photo), garlicky snails, giant sole meunière. The etched glass windows, burgundy banquettes, and elbow-to-elbow seating remain unchanged, and unchanged also, it seemed on a recent Sunday, was the obvious detachment of the waitstaff.  But the trademark duck with green olives, the big garlicky snails and the sole meuniere were as good as they get, and the updated wine list includes some winners such as Henri Bourgeois’s fresh Sancerre, and Les Cailloux’s meaty Châteauneuf-du-Pape. But my salade de frisée (curly endive with cubes of bacon and croutons) arrived as an ignored orphan, without even a sprinkle of the classically vinegary dressing,  a very sad presence amid  the rest of the table’s offerings. The green bean salad starter was brightly dressed with a touch of tarragon cream, and the oeufs cocotte (eggs baked in a glass terrine) arrived warming and welcoming, dressed up with freshly cooked button mushrooms. Desserts have a way to go: The small round profiteroles filled with cream and sauced with chocolate were delicious if just chewy enough to make me think of yesterday, but both the fig and the blackberry tarts looked and  tasted as though they had been made for a much earlier date,  with under-cooked crust not worthy of a neophyte let alone this famed bistro, which was celebrated for its hearty fare since opening in 1932. The well-priced lunch menu is there for those who want to get at least a hint of what Ducasse is up to here. Though I don’t think I’ll be racing back right away.



41, rue Saint-André des Arts

Paris 6

Tel: +33 1 43 26 48 23

Métro: Odéon or Saint-Michel

Open daily

Prices: 34€ lunch menu. A la carte, 44 to 86€

Reservations recommended

Atmosphere smart-casual

A view, a terrace, fine Lebanese fare

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As beautiful as Paris can be, it is not rich in restaurants with grand views or open terraces. Le Zyriab, perched high in the sky on the 9th floor of the architecturally modern Institut du Monde Arabe on the Left Bank, fills that bill. Even if you don’t intend to dine there (and you should) you can take the elevator up to the terrace floor just to admire the spectacular view: Notre Dame is almost in your face. The towers of Montmartre and the Bastille are there for your eyes to explore. The cuisine here is authentically Lebanese, and comes from the omnipresent house of Noura, which has several restaurants, cafes, catering shops and patisseries around the city. (See for details.) The dining room, which seats 90 guests indoors, is bright, spacious and comfortable, and each table offers diners a stunning view. Service is efficient and warm, and the food clean, clear, well-seasoned and memorable. All the favorites are there, from the refreshing parsley-rich tabbouli to a particularly spicy version of the chickpea puree, hommos Beyrouti. The thick, white drained laban cheese comes well-adorned with crisp cucumbers, and the falafel (deep fried balls of seasoned chick peas) arrives crisp, crusty, moist, and satisfying.

Do try the mixed grill, kebabs of moist, seasoned chicken breasts, lamb, as well as a particularly assertive version prepared with ground lamb.. I could easily make a meal of the yeasted flatbreads --- including manakiche, a pizza-like pleaser topped with zaatar, or a local blend of thyme leaves, sesame seeds, sumac,  and the lamb-stuffed arayes, a dish that with a touch of leban could become a major snack of its own. There’s a good list of Lebanese wines, and we loved the  white  Chateau Kefraya from Lebanon Bekaa Valley, a complex blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc,  Ugni Blanc, and Chardonnay. This is a great place to go with a group, so one can share in a multitude of flavors

LE ZYRIAB BY NOURA, INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, 1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard,Paris 5, Tel: +33 1 55 42 55 42

Métro: Cardinale-Lemoine. Open: lunch only Tuesday-Sunday. Dinner Friday & Saturday. Closed Monday. Lunch: 45€ menu. A la carte, 35 to 45€. Dinner: A la carte 35-55 € Reservations: Recommended

Good food finds at the Paris fleamarket

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Designer Philippe Starck has finally given we flea market lovers a smart, trendy, easy place to lunch before or after wandering the stalls. I’ve been a regular visitor to the Clignacourt market since 1980, and have furnished many a room with treasures gleaned from long and leisurely Sunday strolls. His Ma Cocotte, right at the parking entrance of the Paul Bert market is conveniently located, and since its opening in October, 2012 has been a surefire hit, especially at lunch on weekends, when no reservations are taken. So go early, and walk off the lunch as you stroll the aisles. The food here is nothing more than “correct” but if you go with that in mind, you’re not likely to be disappointed. The huge open kitchen sports a giant rotisserie, with roasted chicken and beef often on the menu. Simple salads of beets, lamb’s lettuce, and soft-cooked egg arrive fresh and perky, while the first course of smoked salmon is divine. The bread is outrageously delicious, and the wine list – which includes some well-priced Burgundies from Olivier LeFlaive – make the experience all that much more digestible. The restaurant is comfortable and not an “in your face” Starck experience. There is plenty of space for outdoor dining, the all-white bathrooms are a must visit, and service was as the French would say, without a fault.

MA COCOTTE, 106 rue des Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen, Tel: +33 1 49 51 70 00, Métro: Porte de Clignancourt

Open: Daily, 8 am-11 pm. No reservations taken at lunch on Saturday or Sunday.

Lunch and dinner: A la carte 28-40€.