Eating my way around the world

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Paris Restaurant Review + A No-Recipe-Recipe for Vinagrette

I was in Paris a few weeks ago and I managed to eat at some amazing restaurants. Even with a baby on my lap.

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My husband told me to meet him for dinner at Terroir Parisian in the 6th after he was done work. He had heard it was a casual bistro serving French classics done right. He had also heard the chef, Yannik Alléno, has 3 Michelin stars for his other restaurant Alléno Paris. When we all arrived, our “casual bistro” was a bit more upscale than the joints you see on almost every corner in city. We had a mild freakout- oh shiiiiiit, we brought a baby….. But with other patrons and their humungous dogs sprawled out underneath the tables inside the restaurant, we realized that although the interior was fancy, the ambiance was not. I guess this is how you do casual-Michelin dining.

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I ordered the toddler an amazing croque-monsieur off the kids menu. Yes, there was a kids menu that had fresh pressed apricot juice on it- Loving the French even more. Unfortunately for my aspirations for kiddo’s palette, he would only eat pretzels. Our child had decided early on in the trip that he would only eat pretzels, croissants, and bananas while in Paris. We had the sandwich for lunch the next day, it was amazing- not too cheesy, and just enough béchamel surrounding chunks of locally sourced ham. That’s the thing with this restaurant, it is known for sourcing its ingredients locally, and chef Alléno was one of the first chefs in Paris to ignite this dining trend. So although the menu read casual, the food was anything but. And the wine list- we split a bottle of the 2011 Haut-Médoc Bordeaux.

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2015-03-30 22.18.21-1My husband and I shared an artichoke salad with a simple vinagrette. Actually, the vinagrette I’ve mentioned earlier on in my blog that I learned how to make from all the French mothers I encountered in Montreal. We also shared a chicken liver terrine encased in puff pastry: classic French, yet modern. For our mains I had a ribeye with bearnaise, husband had some sort of foul in broth with spring vegetables. For desert: a cheese course and a tart tatin.

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We also managed to eat at chef Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir du Relais (6, Carrefour de l’Odéon), also in the Left Bank’s 6th Arrondissement. I’m not really sure how we managed to get in, we definitely did not have a reservation (it can take Months to get a reservation), and we had the baby. But we did and it was pretty amazing. We started off with toasts slathered in lemon marmalade and topped with chunks of foie gras. O.M.G. Kiddo actually ate it too. I had more steak, husband ordered milk braised pork with poached vegetables. And for such a big name chef, the ambiance was again, super casual- the specials were written on a mirror overlooking the dining room, and not a white tablecloth in sight.

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We also discovered a “classic” Parisian bistro, patrons avec un verre du vin rouge, languidly chain smoking Gauloises underneath a red awning, near the Louvre by accident (Le Montaigne, 7, rue de Ponthieu). This one was not by a Michelin starred chef, but their bistro classics were superb, and the staff was very pleasant.

-best quality olive oil
-red wine vinegar
-dijon mustard
-whole grain mustard
-1 clove garlic, minced
-salt & freshly ground black pepper
-juice of half a lemon
-additional add-ins: juice of half a lime, walnut oil, balsamic vinegar (the older the better), a teaspoon of sugar or honey

-Since I was taught how to make this by using judgement and pretty much eyeballing the measurements, that is exactly how I will tell you to make this:
-In a short glass tumbler, pour in your oil. You will need enough for however big your salad is going to be, and if you would like to have leftover dressing or not.
-Next, add in the vinegar. The more you add, the more acidic your dressing will be. Remember, you’ll be adding in citrus which is also tart.
-Next, add in a heaping teaspoon (the type of spoon you use to put sugar into your coffee) of each mustard.
-Pinch your salt in, grind some black pepper in, add your garlic, and squeeze your citrus juice in
-Whisk with a fork until emulsified.
I like to add in the balsamic sometimes, while adding in a squeeze of lime juice gives it another dimension. You can add sweetness or not, it really depends on how bitter your salad greens are and whether you want to play that up or neutralize it.
Kind of a chaotic recipe, right? What this not-recipe (to quote Food52) will teach you is how to trust your palette and develop your good judgment as to how you want your dressing, and salad, to turn out.


Victory Dinner & The James Beard Awards


This past Monday were the James Beard awards in Chicago. No, I was not accepting a prestigious James Beard award for my slacker food blog. Instead, remember I have a day job as a freelance makeup artist? I did Laura Keller’s makeup (Eeek!), Thomas Keller’s wife, and met Thomas! (Double Eeek!) I have no gossip to tell, they were a very cool couple and I was honoured to help Laura get ready for the big event. And that big bowl of hamdmade tagliatelle with braised short ribs from Eataly was my victory dinner to myself for a job well done. 

Blizzards are Fun: An Inspired Menu


A snowstorm is about to slam into the East Coast. I don’t know about you, but blizzards always mean one thing to me: get cooking in the kitchen. Staring into the silence of a snowfall, your home gets all toasty-warm with the oven working in over-drive. Better yet, invite some friends over, have them bring the wine, and make this little menu tonight. It’s fairly easy to throw together at the last min as you rush home from work. And if you have people coming over, you’ll have some extra hands to help out. How is that blizzard sounding now?

  • Popcorn gets no love. It’s the best appetizer: it’s cheap, can feed a crowd, and is simple to make. My method: heat 2tbsp coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over med-high heat; put a lid on it. Add 4 test kernels. Once they’ve popped, add in 2/3c popping corn kernels. Shake the pan vigorously as the popcorn pops. Once the popping begins to subside, turn off the heat and let it pop a bit more. Once it’s done popping, pour the popcorn into a large bowl. Add salt to taste, toss (I do 2 large pinches of salt). Pour 3tbsp of melted butter over the popcorn, toss, taste, repeat if necessary with more salt and/or butter. Makes a very large bowl.
  • The best roast chicken. It’s the lemon in the cavity of the bird that makes it super moist. A tip: blast your bird at a high temp for a 1/2hr when you just put it in to get the skin super crispy: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/chicken-recipes/perfect-roast-chicken/#Y8uq3jzizkrRKdiy.97
  • Mashed potatoes with a twist: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/mashed-potatoes-clouds-recipe.html
  • Greens are so much more tastier as a gratin. You don’t have to use kale, you could use Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Spinach, or a mix of all: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/winter-greens-gratin
  • Dessert should be simple and comforting. You really can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. Grab some ice cream or gelato if you want to get fancy: http://www.marthastewart.com/344840/soft-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

Depth of field for food photography

Cooking Without Limits

A great food photography should make you so hungry that you want to eat the photo in front of you.  Depth of field is the distance from the closest point to your eye that appears in focus to the farthest point away from your eye that still seems to be in focus.

Photographers tends to use a shallow depth of field to draw the eye to a specific part of the photo (usually the main piece of food or part of it). Occasionally however, you might wish to close the aperture of your camera to capture a deeper depth of field. Both can work, depends on your style or what the client wants.

At the begging of food photography, images were shot with infinite focus. In the last 15-20 years, food photographers choose to have softer images with only one small piece of the subject sharp.

DOF (depth of field) is a combination…

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In the news: Ebola & Food Security; USDA Ok’s Importing Chinese Chicken

Ebola affects food production as well

Why is the US importing chicken anyways?

Did you know about this? I just found out, it’s pretty gross.

LSD in steak; Apples that fight obesity; Japanese farm mangas; + more in food news…


I love the magazine Modern Farmer. Here are some recent interesting articles that I’ve come across from the magazine, and beyond:

Whoa dude, trippy steak…
Apples are the new diet pill
Japanese mangas that feature farms
A step in the right direction for McD’s (I still won’t here there)
Newfoundland is making an appearance in the foodie scene; some of its items are controversial
McDonalds & fact checking
Thanksgiving dishes by state

Keeping the food movement local in India

From The Economist: It seems India is like the O.G. when it comes to the local food movement


Obesity Economics 101


The Fat Bastard, from Austin Powers

Fascinating: From The Economist, this article illustrates through statistical data that being obese makes one prone to earn less than the average; obesity = not having a bachelor’s degree.

From Humans Of New York



Eataly Chicago


Was at Mario Batali’s Eataly in Chicago for the first time last week to have dinner with a friend from out-of-town. The place is a candy store for adults obsessed with food. I walked around with eyes as large as saucers, while my friend had to help guide me through to find something for dinner, lest she loose me, drooling in a pile of pasta somewhere….
Whole Foods be damned, Eataly is where everyone should be shopping.
Along with tins of Lavazza espresso, cold-pressed olive oil, and every other food item you can think of for purchase, there was a beauty section lined with organic products made with olive oil.
For dinner, we sat down at the wine bar that serves small plates. With the above salad that contained the most delicious shards of parm, we shared perfect arancini, deep fried cod balls, and a caprese salad flecked with Maldon salt. For dessert, we went downstairs and helped ourselves to the chocolate bins, which you can purchase by the pound. O.M.G….

Cuca melons: tiny cucumbers shaped like mini-watermelons. They were slightly sweet. I suspect these will show up on everybody’s appetizer plate soon. I mean, they’re just so Pinterest friendly for all of our food snapshots….

Shishito peppers, ’nuff said.

The cheese section was Insanity. If I didn’t have a husband to answer to, I would have bought every single cheese offered. There was also butter for sale; cultured butter from Vermont, might I add. I did snag that.

Whole ham hocks & cheese for sale, in case you’re having a party. In which case, you should totally invite me……

There was a gadgets section, which I’m actually not-that-into, but this was kinda’ neato- it’s a pasta measurer. Because who hasn’t slipped up on how much dry pasta to make for 1, or 2 people?
If you havn’t been yet, get to Eataly as quickly as you can. And make sure you just got paid so that you can blow it all there.