Category Archives: French

Julia Child’s Editor Passes Away

Judith Jones who edited Child and other cookbook authors passes at 93.

Judith Jones, then an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Julia Child’s publisher.

Without Judith Jones, who died a few days ago at age of 93, we might never know Julia Child — one of the country’s most influential cookbook authors. Ms. Jones had lived in Paris and knew a great deal about French cuisine and technique, when, as The New York Times wrote, in her obituary…

…a shopworn 800-page manuscript by three unknown women with no literary credentials landed on her desk at the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house in New York. The book, too long and with the uninspired title French Recipes for American Cooks, had been rejected by several other publishers.

Ms. Jones, who knew a great deal about French cooking from her years in Paris, began reading the manuscript and was so enthralled, she could not put it down. She took it home and tried some of the recipes, which proved to be magnificent. It was a lucid, approachable cookbook that took the mystery out of coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon and hundreds of dishes long thought to be too daunting for the American cook.

Her excellent radar for important books was also on during her Paris years, when she discovered The Diary of Anne Frank, and caused it to be published in English.

Click  here and here for Times reports and reminisces about her.

Julia Child’s Cottage in Provence on AirBnB

Stay in a culinary legend’s equally legendary country home.

Anyone traveling France whose lodging budget is on the threshold of $700 a night can stay at Julia Child’s home in Provence via Airbnb — if it is available and not being used for cooking classes. This is where she herself mastered the art of French cooking. Child, a traditionalist in the kitchen, died in 2004 and could hardly imagine such a lodging set-up.

Julia Child’s French kitchen, as it appears today. The pegboards are a legacy of Paul Child, who customized kitchens for his wife, the beloved French Chef.

Here’s how the decorating magazine, Domino, described it:

Foodies rejoice: Julia Child’s picture-perfect cottage in the Provencal countryside—dubbed La Pitchoune (“The Little Thing”) by Child and her husband Paul—is now available to rent on Airbnb. For just under $700 a night, the legendary bungalow, designed and built by the Childs in the 1960s, could be all yours, including the kitchen that helped spark the French cooking movement of the 1970s.

Nestled on several acres of rural land just North of Cannes, the cozy cottage once owned by Child offers three bedrooms (that can sleep up to six) and three-and-a-half bathrooms, as well as multiple gardens, terraces, and a saltwater swimming pool. Variety reports that the current owners bought the house in 2015 from the family that originally leased the land to the Childs. It has been updated since Child’s time, but many original details remain.

Click here for the AirBnB listing, noting that few dates remain for 2018 and reservations are being taken for 2019.

Cross-posted to http://travel-babel.com.

Happy Bastille Day!

Salade Niçoise for a potluck.

BastilleDayThe Boulder Media Women potluck always calls for a salad, if seems, and when it falls on the 14th, making a Salade Niçoise seemed like the right thing to do.

There are as many recipes for the specialty from the South of France. Commonalities are tomatoes, green beans,  anchovies, hard-boiled eggs, Romaine lettuce and tuna.  A vinaigrette is obligatory to dress it. As usual, I mixed, matched and in general winged it. I didn’t make notes of exactly how I prepared this year’s salad, but I did take some pictures.

Ingredients.
Ingredients.
La salade.
La salade.

‘Julie & Julia’ at Bistro Vendome

French restaurant + film about French cooking.

Marc Piscotty/News Staff Photographer SHOT 5/26/2003 - Bistro Vendome food and scenics
From Bing Images

There’s a new French connection in Denver in a few days as Bistro Vendome debuts its Movie Night series with one of my favorite food movies, “Julie & Julia,” made from one of my favorite food books of the same name. The story involves a young woman in New York who embarked on an ambitious project to take her mine off her dreadful job. The project: Julie Powell cooking her way through the Julia Child opus, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Along the way, she started a blog, which caught the right attention that resulted in a book contract and then a movie.

Bistro Vendome’s state-of-the-art audiovisual system in the main dining room is showing the delightful movie on a 103-inch screen. Guests are served the classic culinary comedy paired with a three-course prix fixe menu by chef Adam Branz.

  • Heirloom tomato bruschetta
  • Choice of Fillet of Sole with brown butter, lemon, parsley or Boeuf Bourguignon
  • Apple Tarte Tatin

Show time is 8 p.m. on Monday, July 11. Please make reservations at 303-825-3232. The restaurant promises future movie nights. It is at 1420 Larimer Square, with an entrance via the Sussex Breezeway.

Mizuna Denver’s Top French Restauant

French-flag-mapTimeOut.com, which I don’t normally check out, ran its selection of “The 21 Best French Restaurants in America.” I’m glad they selected Mizuna to represent Denver, but if they’d included Boulder, I would think L’Atelier should have been a worth contender. But here’s what they posted about Mizuna:

Fifteen years may be a millisecond in the history of some cities’ dining scenes, but in that of one as young as Denver’s, it’s an aeon, which makes Frank Bonanno something of an elder statesman who—after launching, on average, nearly a concept a year since 2001—could be forgiven for coasting a spell. Instead, he just keeps pushing himself and the talents he nurtures further, and his contemporary French flagship on Capitol Hill is the ultimate proof. With low-key decor that belies its high-energy atmosphere, Mizuna presents a monthly changing menu that’s as full of surprises now as it was when it opened. Think ostrich strip with confit chanterelles over Idiazabal fondue; slow-braised octopus with chorizo-poached mussels, green-cabbage marmalade and pine-nut butter. The beverage program, meanwhile, may be the best it’s ever been, thanks to the combined efforts of wine director Kelly Wooldridge and bar manager Austin Carson, both gentlemen and brilliant scholars of their craft.

Lunch in Long Beach

Crepes & more in downtown restaurant.

P1060752We paid a long-overdue visit to friends in Long Beach, and after a gabfest at their home, we headed downtown for a bite of lunch.  French fare always hits the spot, so I was happy to visit Crème de la Crepe, a delightful little restaurant — and perhaps our own little food tribute to the recent tragedy in Paris.

This appears to be a small local chain. The Long Beach one is light, airy  and has French literary quotes stenciled on the ceiling. Yellow appears to be the theme color, carried out with yellow cloth napkins and a yellow rose on each table. I am generally not a fan of chains, but I would not be unhappy if someone from Colorado would buy a franchise.  One reason: at least at lunch, the fresh mixed salad with an authentically French salad dressing, not the bottled orange glop, that came with each dish four of us ordered.

Crème de la Crepe is a "restaurant tres charmant."
Crème de la Crepe is a “restaurant tres charmant.”
Chicken Panini with potatoes au gratin.
Chicken Panini with potatoes au gratin.
Crab (not crabcake) Benedict, with hefty French bread slice.
Crab (not crabcakes) Benedict, with hefty French bread slice and also potatoes au gratin.
Croque monsieur with the customary accompaniments.
Croque monsieur with the customary accompaniments.

P1060754

A dessert crepe was called for. Caramel-mango crepe with a zig-zag of chocolate sauce on top, and ice cream and whipped cream alongside.
A dessert crepe was called for. Caramel-mango crepe with a zig-zag of chocolate sauce on top, and ice cream and whipped cream alongside.

Price check: None to add. The menu is not on-line, and since I assumed it would be, I didn’t take notes.

The restaurant is at 400 East First Street, Long Beach, CA; 562-437-2222.

Crème de la Crêpe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

J’ai Une Bonne Anniversaire a Paris

Translation: I had a wonderful birthday in Paris.

P1050721We had plenty of OK but forgettable food in Paris, eating wherever we happened to be when our stomachs rumbled. But dinner on September 9, my birthday, was one to remember. Our AirBnB host recommended Maguey (“expensive but very good”), and it was both — and happily is located just down the street from where we stayed.

Simple, stylish and understated décor lets the food shine.
Simple, stylish and understated décor lets the food shine.

We had to leave for the airport early, so made a reservation for 7:30 — early by Parisian standards. The small, stylish restaurant was empty  half-an-hour before anyone else arrived, but when we left at 9:30 or so, it was packed. The suave, efficient waiter explained the restaurant’s intriguing format. The “menu” consists of two adjectives and three courses. The diners select the adjectives that best suit their tastes (convivial, exuberant, playful, silky) tell the waiter what they might be allergic to — and the chef, whose name I do not know, tweaks the dishes to order. Beverage pairings are suggested for each course, but with an early morning departure for the airport, we each ordered just a glass of celebratory champagne.

The menu is deliberately vague, so that the specifics of what will appear on the table is a surprise.
The menu is deliberately vague, so that the specifics of what will appear on the table is a surprise.

At the end of the meal, the waiter brought small menus (in French) of what was selected.  Here are some of the gorgeous and delicious items we had with just the most basic labeling of each dish. No time to translate the full roster of components.

Continue reading J’ai Une Bonne Anniversaire a Paris