Food and the City: Intro

[Photography by Maxence]

What is it with a city that makes you fall head-over-heels for it? Is it the energy that it glows with, is it the sunshine, is it the fabulous food, the designer boutiques, the million little streets just a few blocks from the skyscrapers, the feeling of being in a movie, the meeting of like-minded friends, the walking, the walking, or maybe the walking?

Most certainly a combination of all those quality ingredients, magically enhanced by the company of the love of your life, who is just as enthused as you are — and ever so patient with your mile-long list of food recommendations that make you stop in your tracks at every other street corner, exclaiming with glee (“Oh look! There’s such-and-such! Someone wrote to me about it!”), and will happily walk with you to take a closer look.

So many recommendations, so little time and stomach room! I have managed to vicariously enjoy a great many of them — studying menus, gazing through windows, walking around stores, eavesdropping on the merchants’ advice, watching the other customers, and collecting little cards for keepsake. As for the actual, real eating (the “oh yummy-yum-yum” kind) I have tried to get as wide a range of tastes as I could, sticking to the things that are difficult-slash-impossible to find in Paris, whether for the ambiance or the food itself.

Is your appetite whetted yet? It’s going to be a challenge for me to recapture in blog form the six hectic days I spent in NYC — which felt like so many weeks — and I have thought a bit about how best to organize my tale. Rather than make it chronological (as my scribbled journal notes are, of course), I will adopt a thematic approach instead, and you can expect the following posts to trickle in over the next few days:
All things sweet,
Midscale and Lunch restaurants,
Upscale restaurants,
Ethnic restaurants,
Only in NY,
Food shopping.

Before we part and I go write it all up, I will share with you one of the huge highlights of the trip: the get-together for drinks at Otto on Sunday night! It went fabulously well, the bar area was the perfect space for us, and I would like to warmly thank the participants (about 40 of you?) for their utterly delightful company and their smiling faces, not to mention their sweet ‘n tasty gifts (I know! Who knew there would be gifts involved? Can we do it again soon?). I am truly grateful to have readers who really understand and appreciate what I do, with whom I feel an instant connection (and I don’t mean wireless), and — huge cherry on the cake — who seem to enjoy each other’s company, too!

For other guests’ accounts and pics, you can visit David, Lulu, Samantha, Jessica and Kate. (If you have posted about it on your own blog and don’t see it listed here, please let me know and I’ll add a link!)


Oh, and a nice surprise to go home to is that Chocolate & Zucchini is included in the 50 Coolest Websites 2005 list by Read their review, and go congratulate Kate, too, for the honorable mention!

  • Sorry I missed your gathering when you were in NYC, it looked fun. I just started my NYC food/recipe blog so I would have been a newbie!

    This is my site;

    Let me know what you think.

  • Hi Clotilde,

    It was great to meet you, and the get together at Otto was a lot of fun! You’ve probably heard already, but a bunch of us are planning another get-together/picnic in Central Park in a few weeks.

    I did mention the gathering in my blog, but not in great detail, because I was tired when I wrote it, so I started rambling a bit about blogging in general — not my best peice of writing ever, but the link to the post is:

    I am looking forward to reading your posts about NY — I hope you had a wonderful time! And congratulations on the award — I saw that yesterday and was so proud for you!

    Keep in touch


  • bertrand

    I discovered your blog a few weeks ago and fell in love with it. Even though I’m no great cook, I’ve already tried two of your recipes: I laughed a lot reading your “citronnade à la menthe” recipe, but I followed it step by step (it’s very hot now in the south of france) and loved it.
    Then I wished I had lived in New York to join you all guys at Otto, you seem to have enjoyed yourselves a lot. Finally I would like to congratulate you for being on the Time’s list! ‘Félicitations’!! one of the 50 best websites… waoO! Impressive!
    Everyone in France should read your blog! Why isn’t it available in proper, understandable French?
    Keep it up in any case. Thank you for sharing your passion.

  • Jean-Paul

    Welcome back in Paris. As-tu été chez “Grimaldi’s” pour les pizzas? Moi le mois dernier je suis allé chez “John”s Pizzeria” dans Bleecker St, Franck Sinatra ne mangeait que ces Pizzas !!!!!!!!!! Super quartier.
    Ton oncle

  • David

    Wow Clotilde, sounds like a marvellous gathering with some great people. And what an attractive pair you and Maxence are!

  • Andrea

    Hi Clotilde and Maxence- so wonderful to meet you both (I am the girl in the pink sweater and we spoke about museums and getting around NYC). Glad your trip was so joyous. Yes walking, walking and more walking is the best way to experience New York. Looking forward to reading about your adventures. I would love to do this again soon – NYC or Paris. Bon Chance

  • Hi Clotilde and Max,

    It was awesome meeting you both at Otto. Thanks for taking the initiative to get us all together. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip – you’ll just have to come back soon for more adventures!

  • Hi Clotilde,
    Awesome, I can’t wait to read your accounts. Sounds like a great way to organize everything. Oh, and my name is Jessica, not Su. A lot of people call me by my last name, though. :-)

  • Hi Clotilde,

    So glad you had a great time… I can’t wait to read about your trip. Congratulations on the top 50 award as well, very impressive. But we all know how great your site is!

    Talk to you soon!

  • New York City is THE Dining and Gastronomic Capital of the World. A One Star restaurant in NYC , would rate Four Stars in many other cities in the country. Never before in history, have there been more great restaurants concentrated in one city.

  • Love your column.
    The 1st item I saw today (LA Times newspaper – travel section) was this letter (below) from David Lebovitz, it has a deperate, whiny tone to it. DL is having a Mexican food break-down.
    My daughter who left for Paris last Thurs can’t help. Maybe if you have an opportunity you can stuff a packet of tortillas in your suticase, maybe it will lead to a fiesta.
    My daughter left for Paris with no feeling in her right hand…reading you columns, emailing/faxing for Paris restuarant reservations.
    Look forward to your blog. Sue
    Copied Letter in Los Angeles Times Travel Section Sun/6/25/05 – Corn tortillas to go, please, to Paris
    REGARDING “When in France, Don’t Eat the Fajitas” [Traveler’s Journal, June 5]: I went to a Tex-Mex place in Paris called La Perla and ordered a burrito. I asked the waitress if it was very large. She said, “Mais, oui!”
    The burrito that appeared was about the size of a disposable lighter.
    To the author, Robin Rauzi, if you come back, please bring me handmade corn tortillas. Even the ones from Trader Joe’s would be appreciated.
    David Lebovitz, Paris

  • Jenji

    Clotilde, thank you so much for that Otto fete! I must admit, I sadly didn’t get to actually talk with you… there were so many people, all fun to chat with, but by the time I had to scoot along to Father’s Day plans, I hadn’t yet had a chance to meet you, and you were deep in conversation so I didn’t want to interrupt… ZUT! But it was great to see your grin spreading wide. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip. Special thanks too to Jessica for the macarons.

  • Alisa

    Just knew that you would have a good time in NY!
    One of the 50 best blogs – wow – but we knew that too!

  • Sounds like you are having a good time in NY – it is a city that truly inspires.

    Anyway, I’m tagging you for the latest cookbook meme – the questions are at my blog –

  • Wow! What a great time meeting the two of you and the rest of your readers. I’m looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip and what you found.

    Of course, there are Photos ( and more photos ( I tried to get everyone’s name, but if you see yourself and you’d like to be identified, drop me an email.

    I’m starting to think we should do a reverse trip to Paris. A long weekend, Chocolate and Zucchini style! Starve yourself for two days beforehand and have everyone meet up at one of your favorite places.

  • Hi Clotilde! I’m so sorry to have missed my chance to meet you, but Father’s Day got in the way… And it sounded like such a lovely gathering. Next time, I hope.

    Mazel tov on the Time thing!

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