NOTE: This post was sent out as a newsletter on July 1, 2019. If you’d like to get my newsletter sent straight to your inbox, please subscribe on the bottom of my homepage.
Bonjour from Paris,
Because I’ve been working here for the last few weeks and haven’t had time to post much about where I’ve been or what I’ve found, I thought I’d use this month’s newsletter as a Paris catch-up.
When we first moved to Paris, I’d work at home during the day and then, late in the afternoon, I’d take my work out to a cafe for a glass of wine and a good edit. For many years, we lived steps from Place Saint-Germain des Prés in the sixth arrondissement, and I’d alternate between the neighborhood’s two great cafes. Some days I’d work at a back banquette at the Café Deux Magots – my favorite seat was under the picture of Ernest Hemingway and Janet Flanner, who chronicled Paris life for The New Yorker – and some days at a corner table along the wall at the Café de Flore. Both places were considered great literary cafes. Both were homes-away-from-home for Sartre and de Beauvoir, who were rumored to go to one cafe until their bills came due, and then take up residence in the other. We still live in the 6 th, but now we’re a few blocks from those cafes. And, while I still go to them both, you can usually find me at Les Editeurs, the perfect name for a place to write and edit. These days, I work there for a while in the morning over coffee and in the afternoon over wine. Here’s the view from my office (and yes, that’s Le Comptoir, one of my favorite bistros, across the street).
There’s been a lot happening in my neighborhood lately.
A new ice cream shop set up two weeks ago on rue de l’Ancienne Comedie, next door to Le Procope, the oldest continuously operating cafe in Paris and the place where ice cream was first served in the city. It’s an odd juxtaposition, the gold-leafed Procope next to the new shop, which looks as cold as its name, 0 Celsius – it’s got icicles coming down the sides of the room and the servers were sporting blue I’m-freezing-cold lipstick on opening day. All of the ice cream is made in PacoJets – there are about a dozen of the machines lined up behind the counter looking like robots ready to march off in formation – and served in cones. The cones are the best part: they’re delicious and leave 0 waste.
And we’ve got a new wine bar too, Augustin. The set-up is interesting: The wine bottles arranged against one wall, double as the wine list. Pick a bottle to take home or add 10 euros to the price and have it there, along with cheese, charcuterie, a few nibbles or a couple of desserts. The wines are all natural and Augustin, the eponymous owner, describes them so exuberantly – and so well – that you want to taste them all.
ACROSS THE RIVER
While I spend a lot of time in the sixth, I do venture beyond its borders … often.
Last week, it was fun to settle into lunch at Kodawari Ramen, which is an easy walk across the river, one I could do blind-folded, since two of my favorite restaurants, Juveniles and Ellsworth, are on the same street, rue de Richelieu. The place is small and they take no reservations, so get there early – the line for lunch starts forming before noon. Fish is the specialty and the space announces it fantastically: it’s decorated with cinematic flair and fabulousness to resemble the famous Tsukiji market in Japan. I had lobster noodles, no broth, and I’d have them again … and again.
Speaking of fish … I had the most extraordinary turbot at Mokonuts – it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a long time. And I had cookies. Of course I had cookies. Since Moko and Omar, the owners and chefs at Mokonuts, have been featured in the New York Times, Saveur and just about everywhere else lately, it’s not easy to score a table at their petite, homey place, so plan ahead! If you can’t get to Mokonuts soon, you can find my New York Times Magazine story about it and Moko’s recipe for Rye-Cranberry Chocolate-Chunk Cookieshere (subscription required for The New York Times).
We had delicious small plates – and lots of them – at Le Grand Bain. Don’t miss the teensy, tiny, eat-the-shell-head-and-tail-too fried shrimp.
Once again, we relished – as in licked our fingers – skewer after skewer and plate after plate of remarkable food at Le Rigmarole. Be prepared: you sit down thinking you’re going to have some quirky version of yakitori and then out comes the pasta and it’s so good you want to giggle (which is what I did). Robert, Jessica and Chris do everything right here.
OK, THIS ISN’T ACROSS THE RIVER BUT …
There was this memorable treat from Hugo & Victor. Hugues Pouget, founder and chief pastry chef at H&V, has a singular talent for taking what we think we know and making us rethink it. He also makes a sweet tart crust that I can’t get enough of. Here’s his strawberry tartlet. I know, I know, how clever – and beautiful – is the shape.
AROUND RUE MONTORGUEIL
A few days ago I took a walk around the neighborhood just beyond rue du Nil, that’s the short street where Gregoire Marchand set up his first restaurant, Frenchie, and helped the street become a food-destination (it should be renamed Food Street) – it’s a fun area to explore. Start on the rue Montorgeuil – stop at the historic Stohrer pastry shop and the hip Fou de Patisserie – and then turn off on the rue Greneta, and visit Stoney Clove Bakery. Then continue on to the rue d’Aboukir (just behind the rue du Nil) and go to Jean Hwang Carrant Cookies and then Boneshaker Doughnuts. And then write and tell me how happy you are!
All three shops are founded by women. All of the women are American. And each of them makes some wonderful things.
The sweets at Stoney Clove Bakery are American through and through. If you’re an American in Paris and feeling homesick, head here and have a brownie, a cupcake, a slice of carrot cake – they’ll cure all that ails you.
The baker Jean Hwang Carrant makes only cookies, lots of them. Some are reminiscent of American favorites and some flavors tip toward Asia. I’m partial to the Black Sesame.
And Amanda Bankert and her husband, are the Boneshaker doughnuteers. I didn’t have the heart to tell Amanda that I’m not a doughnut lover and it’s a good thing I didn’t because, it turns out, I love her doughnuts. If you’re in Paris, go now – as in NOW! – while cherries are still in season and Amanda is making her cherry pie doughnut. A mind-changer! Oh, and go early – once the doughnuts are gone, the shop closes for the day. By the time I took a picture of my Cherry-Pie Doughnut, it was a mess – I ate most of it and then remembered that I wanted a shot. So take a gander at these caramel popcorn beauties.
MAKE BELIEVE YOU’RE IN PARIS – BAKE!
And if you’ve got EVERYDAY DORIE – you have it, right? – why not make the Cherry Clafoutis. ‘Tis the season.
JUST FOR FUN …
Finally, because I can’t resist, here’s Michael, my adorable husband, “on the beach” outside our kitchen
Sending sweet wishes – xoxo Dorie … PS: Don’t forget, if you make one of my recipes and post it to Instagram, I hope you’ll tag me – I’m @doriegreenspan (which is who I am on Twitter and Facebook too). I try to keep up with the tags and try to respond, so if I miss you once, please don’t give up.