Friday, February 24, 2017

Cows, cheese, chocolates, all things good!

Once again the Salon International de l’Agriculture is rolling into Paris. The 54th salon takes place from February 25-March 5 at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles. This isn't just a massive showcase of France's prized livestock and its world-renowned agriculture, the salon is an opportunity to eat and drink your way around this food-obsessed nation.  Each region sets up in the food hall with stands and tastings galore. And, you'll find kids games, educational activities, chef's classes, cow beauty pageants, wine and beer tastings and more. If you're in Paris, this is a delicious way to experience the rich agricultural traditions and even richer array of products.  Great for gifts, great for you!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Gorgeous textiles for your home and you from Istanbul

Tulu Textiles is one of my favorite shops in Istanbul.  The multi-level small building is packed with beautiful textiles for the home and for wearing (beautiful scarves, bags) and the upper floors have magnificent rugs, kilims and other textiles from Turkey and around Central Asia.  Tulu designs cottons and linens with contemporary designs that have their inspiration in traditional Ottoman patterns.  They are lovely and unusual.  Tulu now offers online ordering in the US, so, if you aren't going to Istanbul any time soon you can still treat yourself to these lovely products.  Check them out.
        binbirdirek mah. peykane sk.
        no:38 ersoy han kat:3 d:7 sultanahmet 34122
        istanbul- turkey

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

More fabulous chocolate... and cakes in the Marais

The 'haut' Marais (upper Marais) just keeps getting better.  While you browse the alluring shops along rue Charlot and surrounding streets, be sure to indulge your sweets-loving-self at a new chocolates and patisserie shop,  Chocolats Matthieu Bijou.

Matthieu is a fine chocolates maker with a good selection of irresistible chocolate confections.  He also makes 'sweets for children' including beautiful fruit guimauves (marshmallows) and yummy paté de fruits.  Also known for exquisite lemon cakes and other small cakes, this shop at 28 rue Charlot is worth a detour, or a beeline to go right there!

Open Tuesday through Sundays.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Icons of Modern Art at the Vuitton Museum

The Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton museum is hosting a remarkable show of 130 masterpieces from the Shchukin Collection in Russia.  Collaborating with the Hermitage and the Pushkin museums, and celebrating a year of Franco-Russian collaborations, this show is packed with works rarely seen outside of Russia.  This is an important show and one that won't be replicated any time soon.  So go!

Through February 20.  Works by artists including Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Derain, Rousseau, Cezane, Sisley, Gaugin and numerous other noted artists are included.  The Vuitton museum is located in the Bois de Boulogne on the west side of Paris.  The museum is a work of art in itself.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Black Sea Cusine and Culture in Istanbul

I am an advocate for exploring the communities on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul... Kadikoy, Uskudar, Beyerbeli , Kuzguncuk and more.   Culinary Backstreets, that estimable collection of culinary bloggers obsessed with authentic food and dining experiences (to all of our beneftis) has just written up a cultural center and restaurant in Uskudar that highlighting the Black Sea area and its distinctive culture and cuisine (and Butter!!).  Here is the link.

If you are in Istanbul and want to go, best bet is to take the Marmaray or the ferry over to Uskudar and then take a taxi to this wonderful sounding place.  Unless you are fluent in Turkish and can figure out the local buses, a taxi is probably the best and would not be terribly expensive at all.

Read and enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Dine like a French King and Queen at ORE, new at Versailles

Famed chef Alain Ducasse created a dinner in honor of Princess Diana and former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1994 and since then he has been on a mission to tell the history of the Château de Versailles via the table.

Set in a space overlooking a magnificent courtyard this is Ducasse’s riff on a chic gastronomic café by day (estimate 35 E plus drinks per person.) At night, the space is booked for  private“dîners d’exception” when guests can dine like a King (from the kingly starting sum of 500€).  So if you have a group of gourmands with a budget, this is an unforgettable option.
Ducasse and Executive chef Stéphane Duchiron delved into Versailles’ archives and, inspired by the past and the bounty of today, created dishes such as hot and cold starters, amuse bouches such as snail croquettes, foie gras cromesquis, beignets of frogs legs,  main courses such as sole with shrimp, turbot au champagne and quail pâte en croute – followed by regional cheeses and a multitude of incredible desserts including, Les Délices de Marie-Antoinette, seasonal soufflés and Ducasse's famous baba au rhum.
There’s also authentic Croque Monsieur de jambon de Paris et Comté (14€) or roast chicken sandwiches with courgette, aubergine and basil – paired with a glass of Cider or a bottle of Champagne BRUT Alain Ducasse available at any time of day for a royal snack.
Château de Versailles, Pavillon Dufour, Place d’Armes, 78000, Versailles. Tel: 01 30 84 12 97
Jaïs restaurant

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New cafe in Kadikoy. Tea and Ferries...

Late September in Istanbul was eerily tourist-free.  You can walk up to the Hagia Sophia or Topkapi Palace and get in with short waits.  You don't hear European or American accents in the streets of the Old City or other major tourist venues.  Too bad this... Istanbul is arguably no more dangerous than any major world capital these days.  And the the lira is so low that a trip is incredibly inexpensive. Hotels are offering nice rooms at great prices.  How about a four star opposite the Hagia Sophia for $47 per night?  In normal times, $175.

One of the delightful finds from my trip was a new café on the top floor of the Kadikoy ferry pier.  The city of Kadikoy has developed this lovely cafe with stunning views over the Bosphorus to the Old City with the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque on the skyline.  The ferries which go back and forth constantly provide endless visual entertainment.

The cafe is a fabulous place to hang out.  There is no alcohol, but very good tea, coffees and light snacks are served. Glorious at sunset.  A big cup of tea is 2 lira or about 66 cents.  And no one rushes you!