Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why Paris?

Reine-claude plums at marché avenue du Président Wilson
People often ask me why we have an apartment in Paris, is it the food (because now New York has such good food), and do I cook when I'm there.

The answers, not in the order of the questions: Paris is a beautiful city, with fabulous museums, shopping and everything else that a great city should have.  But for me, it largely is the food, but not only the restaurants. It's true that there is great food in New York, particularly Italian, new American and Asian ethnic of all kinds. But Paris is still the place for French food, and there are now so many good, reasonable bistros that one cannot get to all the worthy ones.

For me, as readers of this blog will know, it is not just the restaurants where one finds great food in Paris: I never tire of going to the open-air markets, where one finds the best of seasonal specialties from all regions of France, and the pâtisseries, fromageries, charcuteries, boucheries, poissoneries, etc., where one finds materials of amazing variety and quality.

The answer to the third question is that I do cook in Paris, but not often. Either it's for a group or lunch for myself and, if she's here, J. For example, I went to my favorite market, at Avenue du Président Wilson, yesterday, and apart from lunches yesterday and today (grazing on rôtisserie chicken and pork ribs, cheeses, fruits), and gorging on late season reine-claude green plums, I decided to dine on my purchases tonight, as follows:

  • Starter: scallop terrine with piquillo peppers and espelette pepper from a cooking class I took yesterday
  • Main: cèpe omelet, with fantastic organic eggs, shallots, garlic and thyme, accompanied by tiny potatoes (boiled then sautéed) from the Île de Ré.
  • Salad: spicy baby arugula with simple lemon olive oil dressing
  • Cheese: plate consisting of smoked Italian caccio cavallo (heresy!), aged Salers, perfect camembert and super-dry chèvre from a great English cheesemaker from (or near) la Perche, accompanied by award-winning baguette from Arnaud Delmontel
  • Dessert: terrine of bitter chocolate, with raspberries and shards of almond nougatine, also from yesterday's cooking class.

The foregoing goes a long way towards answering the first question, Why Paris? Mais c'est évident.

Bobby Jay

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