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The American

The very first place in Paris that Christopher Newman, the tourist-hero of Henry James’s 1876-7 novel The American, visits when he arrives is a fine restaurant. Newman is every bit the prototypical American that his name, with its allusion to the famous Genovese explorer and the world he discovered, suggests. The book opens in the […]

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There is no Ibérico or serrano, only Jamón

The novel most responsible for the everlasting romanticization of Jazz Age expat culture in Paris, Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, takes place half in Spain. When the pressures of drinking wine and eating oysters in the cafés of Montparnasse became too much to take, Hemingway, his friends, and the characters he modelled after them, escaped to San […]

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Breakfast à Paris

Although the sun had long since fallen over the Seine, flowing by across the street, the crowd at Paris’s Shakespeare and Company last night was very excited to talk about breakfast. They had gathered to hear Seb Emina, author of the new Breakfast Bible, in conversation with David Lebovitz, cookbook author and Paris food-blogger extraordinaire. So many […]

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Cassoulet

“To the untrained American ear cassoulet sounds like some sort of ambrosia.” – Julia Child For Americans in love with French food, cassoulet holds an almost magical significance. It evokes an unattainable ideal. Made with ingredients that are difficult to find or too expensive to afford outside of France – confit d’oie (preserved goose), haricots lingots (a French […]

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Le Rosbif

Le rosbif is an excellent husband: loving, supportive, and, I should stress for the sake of this blog, a very fine cook. But he has his foibles, as do we all, and those little flaws can sometimes cause great trouble – as in the case of le rosbif’s tragic pursuit of satisfactory steak frites in […]

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The Dud Avocado

It’s easy to get lost in Paris, despite Baron Haussmann’s best efforts to impose order on the city’s street plan. Sometimes I get turned around by one too many adventurous forays from a main avenue, and wind up pointed in the wrong direction. I have google maps to sort me out of course, but is […]

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Hitting the Hemingway Trail: Part I, Montparnasse

As I mentioned in my post on Hemingway’s hunger, many of the cafés and restaurants that the great man habituated remain open today. But with Hemingway being a man of such large appetites, and thus a habitué of so many venues, how can the nostalgic tourist decide which Hemingway haunt to drink at first? As […]

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Hemingway’s Hunger

“I’m very hungry,” I said. – Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1964) Published posthumously, Hemingway’s brief memoir of expat life in 1920s Paris is so popular that in “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” the stoner duo meet a prostitute named “Tits Hemingway” who explains that she got her name because “I have huge […]

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My Life in France

The title to Julia Child’s as-told-to 2006 memoir could not be more generic. “My Life in France” is a name that might be given by countless English-speaking Francophiles to the stories of their années françaises. Which makes it a very fitting title, since from its opening page Child’s memoir captures an absolutely archetypal experience. She describes her […]

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The State of French Food

One of the best restaurants in Paris today is Spring, owned by chef Daniel Rose. Or so I hear, not having had the chance to eat there myself. But last night I did have the chance to hear from Daniel Rose, at a panel event hosted by the American Library in Paris, a venerable institution […]

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