Best of

Best of September

Street art positivity.

Happy fall!

It’s been a wonderful month of September for me, full of exciting projects and bursting with fresh ideas. Here are some highlights.

• I have scheduled a full day of recording later this month, to capture the material needed to craft my pre-order bonus for Tasting Paris. Tasting Paris is my new cookbook that will come out in North America* on March 20, and to reward early buyers of the book, I am putting together an exclusive bonus that I think you will like very much.

(Anyone who orders the book before March 20 will get it, so you can pre-order it as soon as you like; you’ll just need to email the receipt to a dedicated address when I announce the pre-order bonus is ready.)

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Best of Summer

The view from our house in Aveyron

Oh, what a wonderful summer it has been!

Did you have fun? I hope you did.

Summertime in Aveyron

Maxence, the boys and I had a marvellous summer vacation in July: we are juilletistes, the French term for people who take their summer break in July, as opposed to aoûtiens who take it in August. Don’t you love that we have words for that?

We spent our summer vacation in Aveyron, a beautiful low-mountain region three hours north of Toulouse, and we loved everything about it. We rented a house with a gorgeous view of an untouched valley and a vegetable garden where we were welcome to pick zucchini and tomatoes and kale.

We visited medieval castles and organic farms, we rented boats to chill on lakes, we mini-hiked, we barbecued, we took part in village meals cooked in 15th-century woodfire ovens and served in barns on long communal tables, we filled our lungs with fresh air, we made friends, and we came home happy and a little tan.

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Best of June

Paris Courtyard Fountain

The pretty fountain that greeted me in the coolness of a Parisian courtyard at the height of our June heatwave.

• In June, we celebrated Father’s Day with lunch at brasserie La Mascotte, one of our neighborhood favorites, where Maxence shared mussels and fried smelt with his two adoring boys.

• If you’re curious to know what I eat in a day, you can find out over at MindBodyGreen! I am starting a collaboration with this site, which I love, and they’re asking me to cover all kinds of things people want to know about French women’s approach to health, beauty, and lifestyle. If there’s a question you’ve been dying to ask, please let me know and I’ll add it to my list!

• German newspaper Die Zeit also did me the honors this month and featured a few of my recipes around the theme of French picnics. If you want to practice your German, it’s right here.

Related: My Best Picnic Recipes.

• I developed a serious restaurant crush on Pink Mamma, the new restaurant from the trailblazing Big Mamma Group, which just opened in my hood, mere steps from Place Pigalle. Like all restaurants of the group, they serve pizzas and pasta and antipasti, but the star of the show is the meat, which is French and raised by them directly.

I shared a photo of Maxence’s rib steak below, but I confess I didn’t feel like eating meat, so I got the gorgeous caprese salad instead. The place is a total knock-out, especially the top floor under the glass roof, and every detail is carefully chosen, every square inch thoughtfully decorated. Reasonable prices, and not yet as crazy-crowded as the others, so now’s a good time to go!

Pink Mamma

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Best of May

Meet them at the door laughing

• The manuscript for my upcoming cookbook Tasting Paris is fully edited, and the photos have all been shot by the amazing Nicole Franzen. We are now working on the layout of the book, and I will soon get the manuscript back from the copy editor whose job it is to make sure everything is straightened out. I am loving how it is taking shape, and I look forward to giving you a sneak peek soon. The book will be published in the US in the spring of 2018.

• I have been leading quite a few private walking tours this month — May is deservedly a popular month to visit Paris! I’ve had guests of all ages, children, students, chefs, teens, passionate cooks, cheese fiends, chocoholics, writers, dreamers, all of them Paris lovers. I get such a thrill out of showing them around, being their best Parisian friend, and sharing everything I know about French food culture, and how to make the most of every meal in the city. If you’re planning a trip of your own, please get in touch and we’ll discuss the possibilities.

Steak au poivre at Champeaux; Australienne at Comptoirs Poilâne.

• I returned to Champeaux for a wonderful dinner with friends from out of town. I love the space, under the new canopy of Les Halles, and the menu of renovated French classics, such as the steak au poivre above, which figures in my Tasting Paris book! I also have a version of their lemon spatchcocked chicken in there. Both have been hits with my recipe testers and I’m excited to share them with you when the book comes out.

• The Poilâne team has rebranded the Paris lunch counters from Cuisine de Bar to Comptoirs Poilâne and updated the menu to feature innovative recipes around their high-quality flours and grains, such as a delicious corn bread and a barley muesli. Don’t worry, the tartines are not going anywhere, and naturally I love their avo toast, dubbed l’Australienne.

Breakfast with a good book.

Breakfast with a fine book and my mostest beloved mug.

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Best of April

Golden hour apéŽritif

Sharing an apéritif in the golden hour.

• April was spring break for school-aged children, and we took a family vacation to the Perche, a lush and beautiful countryside where we rent the same little house every time. This was over Easter, so we were able to do a proper chocolate egg hunt for the kids in the lovely garden, trying to adjust the level of hiding so the eggs weren’t too obvious for our almost-five-year-old, yet our two-year-old stood a chance. Let’s say it’s not a bad idea to keep a few spare eggs in your pocket that you can drop on the little one’s path as he goes.

• Maxence and I had a wonderful dinner at Ken Kawasaki, a pocket-size gastronomic restaurant with French and Japanese inspirations. You are seated sushi-bar-style around a counter, so you get to see the chef at work on the seven-course, monthly tasting menu, remarkably fresh and elegant. We love it there; it’s where we decided to get engaged, and went back to celebrate our four-month wedding anniversary. (See my wedding post if inexplicably you missed it.)

• I attended my assistant and friend Anne Elder’s thesis defense, which she wrote on the experience of refugee chefs in Paris. Such a rich and important topic, and her research work was exceedingly well received. There is a book to be drawn out of this for sure, and I can’t think of a better person to write it.

Anne used a beautiful poem by Nigerian writer Ijeoma Umebinyuo to open her presentation. It’s called Diaspora Blues:

“So, here you are
too foreign for home
too foreign for here.
never enough for both.”

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