france

A scandalous incident on a TV food show. No, not that one.

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By now you have probably at least heard about the brouhaha over the owners of a restaurant/bakery that appeared on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares show (U.S. version). If not, you can read about it here and many, many other places.

There was a big to-do surrounding a TV food show here in France too. The show in question: Top Chef. (Yes there’s one of those in France.) continue reading...

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Pondering two food documentaries: Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Kings of Pastry

Two documentary films that show the importance of sushi, and pastry, in their respective cultures. continue reading...

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Monday photos: This little pig is not a guinea pig

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Why do we have a problem with eating things with faces? continue reading...

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Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Winter in Provence

Some weeks to go until spring, but in the meantime the scenery is beautiful. continue reading...

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Monday photos: Hotel Le Royal Lyon

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A delicious, tiny morsel from a most elegant French hotel. continue reading...

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Monday photo: Sack of bread, Aix-en-Provence

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A photo and a story, first in a series. continue reading...

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Personal update

Hi everyone. I put up a post about my health situation over on my personal site. Please take a look if you’re interested.

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Obsessively obsessing about my kitchen

The kitchen

The current object of my obsessions is this space. continue reading...

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Tomatoes, at what temperature? Plus a super-easy tomato recipe

Heirloom tomatoes for lunch

Ahh, tomatoes. What temperature is right for them? continue reading...

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Stuck in a French hospital

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About how I ended up in a French hospital, and how it’s been. Some angst and pretty dodgy looking food pics follow. continue reading...

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French natto!

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As I slowly settle in to my new life here in France, I’m finding out about quite a lot of interesting local suppliers of the things that I want to eat, wear, sit on, or otherwise use. But I never thought that I’d find this: French natto, as in natto made right here in my region of France! continue reading...

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The start of my new adventures...in Provence, France

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In February 2009, I left the house I’d been living in off and on for years, and embarked on a quest for a new place to live. Last week the quest finally ended, and we’re now settling into a new house, which is actually a pretty old house, a new country and a new area for us - Provence, France. continue reading...

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Julie and Julia: An overly long and very late review

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Last night I finally got to see Julie and Julia. Here is my very long and otaku-ish take on it. continue reading...

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Postcards from Southwestern France: Gazpacho or cold soup, Cassoulet, Albi, Moissac, Conques

Conques, France

We left Provence this week for a little trip to the Midi-Pyrénées in the southwestern part of France. We’ve been trying to save money by cooking at home most of the time since we started our nomadic existence in France (see previously; not that that’s much of a hardship, since the produce and other foodstuffs in Provence are spectacular). But this week we’ve been staying in an apartment in a 17th century townhouse right around the corner from the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum in the heart of Albi, the capital of the Tarn Department. Since there are tons of great little restaurants here, we’ve been indulging ourselves a bit. continue reading...

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Japanese food shopping in Lyon, plus different Asian stores as sources for Japanese food

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This is a continuation of my series on Japanese food shopping, and frugal eating, in Europe. Previously I visited Paris and Düsseldorf’s Japantown.

Lyon, the third largest city in France and arguably the second most important one after Paris, does not have a large Japanese expat or immigrant population. However, there are some Japanese corporations that have factories or offices in the area, not to mention a large university population. So in terms of the availability of Japanese groceries in France, it ranks second to Paris, although it trails behind by a large margin.

It also gives me a chance to talk a bit about where exactly you can find Japanese ingredients, regardless of the town you’re in. continue reading...

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Workshop Issé: Purveyor of the finest Japanese food and sake in the heart of Paris

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From the outside, Workshop Issé looks like just another unassuming little Japanese grocery and gift store. There are quite a few stores of this nature scattered about Europe these days. But inside this little boutique in the heart of the Japanese quarter in Paris, you can experience something quite special: A crash course on top quality artisanal Japanese food and drink. continue reading...

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A Frugal Eats (mostly Japanese) blitz through Paris

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Pursuing cheap Japanese (and other) eats in Paris. continue reading...

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Romancing the truffle in Richerenches, Provence

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Originally published on December 9, 2006: We won't be able to go to Provence this winter because of work, but I still dream about it, and plan for the next trip hopefully in the spring. Here is an article from our trip last year, about a wonderful truffle market in northern Provence. I hope you enjoy it!

The lady vendor with the intense blue gaze and the black beret on her head looks a little like a French Resistance worker from an old movie. She gestures with her hands as she talks, occasionally taking one of her wares gently in her slender fingers. Around her a curious group of people gathers, looking and sniffing intently, asking questions. I slowly inch my way to the front and look into the bowl, then up to her face, my meager French deserting me. She smile and tells me to pick one. continue reading...

Some thoughts on the vegetarian experiment in Provence

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For the last two weeks I was in the Provence, I tried a short term experiment of cooking vegetarian dishes only. Here are some thoughts on that experiment.

As I’ve stated here before, I’m not a vegetarian though proportionately I don’t eat much meat. Therefore, I thought that the experiment should go quite easily. It was easy in some respects, due to the easy availability of an abundance of fresh produce. continue reading...

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Salty bread and salty tears

monsegur-lostsign.jpgThe sign that is no more.

As we approached the tiny hilltop village of Montsegur-sur-Lauzon in northern Provence, my mouth was already watering in anticipation of the bread at the one and only boulangerie (bakery) there. I’d been looking forward to this for months, ever since last November, when we’d made one last stopover to load up on bread to sustain us for the long drive back home and a couple of days beyond.

I’ve written about my love for this boulangerie before. The bread there was the best I’ve ever had - bursting with flavor and character. Even when the loaves turned a bit stale after a couple of days, they were still so good. I was convinced that if the baker, Monsieur Metaud, was in Paris, he’d be world famous.

It was a Sunday, and there was a small queue of people waiting for their bread in the tiny store. Neither of the two people behind the counter, a young man and a middle aged woman, were Madame or Monsieur Metaud, but that didn’t concern us - they had other people selling bread there before, especially on weekends. But as we shuffled closer to the front of the line, something seemed a bit off. The collection of exotic teas that used to line the wall shelves were gone. The pretty display of confections was quite pared down. continue reading...

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Encore Provence

Speaking of travel…we’ve paid in our house-rental deposits now, so once again we are going to be spending the better part of a month of our summer in Provence. We’ve been there at least once a year for the last few years, and no matter where else we go I just have to go there or I don’t feel my year has been complete. Last year we even went twice, for a total of six weeks. (Thank goodness for broadband or our clients would just fire our asses. :) ) I’m not sure we can manage that again this year but at least I will have my Provence fix.

To see my way of experiencing Provence, start with A Food Lover’s Way of Exploring Provence. This year I plan to do a bit more around the coastal area to the east of Marseilles - I fell in love with the small resort town of Cassis in November, and want to see it in its summer glory. Otherwise it’s going to be markets, vineyards, and as many visits as we can squeeze in to my favorite bakery in the world. Ah, heaven.

Are you making your summer travel plans already? Where are you going? Do you let your tastebuds and stomach guide where you go as much as I do?

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A further education in truffles

A jar of truffles

A few days after visiting the truffle market in Richerenches, we were staying in the medieval town of Uzès in the Gard. While the Gard is technically part of the Languedoc region, it feels very much like Provence. continue reading...

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Is it possible to have bad food in France? Of course it is.

I think I'm guilty of waxing too lyrical about the food in France sometimes, and I'm certainly not alone in that. If you believe some people (many of whom have a vested interest in upholding the myth) you may think that French people eat delicious, fresh, well-prepared gourmet food and heavenly pastries all the time. That's just not true, of course. I'm just back from a two week stay in Provence, and while most of the food was wonderful as usual, there were some definite low lights. continue reading...

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Provence, Part 5: A Heavenly Boulangerie

Baguette au vin et rosette Baguette au vin et rosette from the village bakery in Montsegur-sur-Lauzon

I have a confession: I planned my vacation around a bakery. continue reading...

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Provence, Part 4: The Farmer's Market at Velleron

Marché Agricole Sign, Velleron, Provence, France

In my previous post in this series, I described my favorite regular Provence markets. I've saved the best for last however: the extraordinary Marché Agricole (farmer's market) at Velleron. continue reading...

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Provence, Part 3: To Marché, to Marché (2)

Olives Olives at a market stall in Grignan continue reading...

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Provence, Part 2: To Marché, to Marché; (1)

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In my previous post I described how I center my Provence travels around the glorious marchés. If you are fond of markets, there is really no other place I think of where you can indulge yourself as much as you can here. continue reading...

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A Food Lover's Way Of Exploring Provence

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I'm certainly not unique in my love of the Provence region of France. Nevertheless, it's a truly magical place for me. I've been there for at least a week every year for the last four years, and whenever I leave, I dream of the day I can go back again. continue reading...

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