Tuesday
Apr072015

Seven Unforgettable Meals in Paris

Image: Le Jules Verne

 

Let's start things off with one of the best meals we had in Paris, Le Jules Verne, atop the Eiffel Tower. Helmed by chef Alain Ducasse, what make this destination so special is the combination of scenery and world class cuisine. Make your reservations early and skip all the elevator lines straight to spectacular views. Savor every bite of this decadent meal, lingering through the lights on the Eiffel Tower exterior that make the entire dining room sparkle on the hour, after dark.


Image: The Selby


Le Chateaubriand, from chef Inaki Aizpitarte, makes the list as number one spot for my next visit to Paris. If the first seating doesn't bother you, go ahead and make a reservation (it's the ONLY seating they offer reservations for). Never fear if you get there and the line is too long- pop in next door to Le Dauphin, Aizpitarte's sister establishment that catches all the overflow.


Image: Tkseuro.com

 

Simply the best of the best, Le Cinq in the Four Seasons is my all time top spot for special occasion dining in the city of lights. From the dazzling flowers, to the food, and wine, this is one meal you will never forget. I mean, I had a stool for my purse and was told that passing up dessert was simply not possible- my kind of people. Don't look at prices.......just order up, you can figure out the tab tomorrow;)

 

Image: Goust


We stopped into Restaurant Goust during out petite babymoon to Paris last year and we were NOT disappointed. In fact, we were blown away. The Spanish cuisine of chef Jose Manuel Miguel Rodriguez and the wines of World's Best Sommelier 2004, Enrico Bernardo are a match made in heaven. Do yourself a favor and get the tasting menu with wine pairing. You'll be glad you did it.


Image: L'Assiette Champenoise

 

Tucked away in this chateaux/hotel outside Champagne, this dining destination deserves an honorary spot on my Parisian dining list, even though it isn't exactly in Paris. It makes the round up for its foie gras four ways first course- which had us thinking we had ordered four appetizers in error. Oh and the watermelon marshmallow and brioche they sent us home with. There may have been a course or 5 in between all that as well. Not a bad weeekend outside Paris. When in Champagne......

 

Image: Zagat 

 

Believe it or not this fabulously cozy little nook is run by American chef Daniel Rose, right in the heart of Paris. The menu changes every day. All you need to come with is your appetite and sense of culinary adventure. The open kitchen is your show for the eve, so be ready to be entertained and enthralled course after course.

 

Image: L'Atelier Joel Robuchon

 

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in my favorite neighborhood, Saint Germain, is a gourmet meal to remember served up at bar seating. The food was memorable to be sure, but I remember most loving the show in the kitchen. And the amazing family of 5 seated next to us, which had three children under the age of 10. Who all had the tasting menu. My first lesson in how European children eat and behave vs. American tots. They lasted longer than we did. And ate every morsel. Don't forget to stroll to Pierre Herme post dinner for a macaron or three!

 

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Thursday
Apr022015

CSA Cooking: Wheat Berries with Roasted Veggies, Pecorino & Parmesan Recipe

 

A CSA cooking recipe when it's not yet fully spring? How can it be? Tis' possible, since I stocked up on a bunch of local grains this winter before the farmshare shut down. 

Grains I had no idea how to cook or use. But that's half the fun, right? Welcome the wheat berry, which has quickly become a new favorite in my house. They take a while to cook til rendered soft enough to eat, but they stand up really well in salad type sides- of which there are infinite possibilities and combinations.

This roasted vegetable dish happens to to be one of my favorite winter, meat-free, mains. I have that darn meat aversion thing while pregnant, so I am happy to nosh on this for dinner......and maybe make a slab of meat for husband to accompany if feeling generous. 

Think about all the variations. I have done this with a light lemon shallot vinaigrette, folded in some fresh spinach, raisins, and chopped golden beets. Left the berries pretty bare, just adding some parmesan and olive oil. You can even cook up wheat berries overnight in a crock pot for a warm brekafast porridge the next morning (next on my to-try list).

 

Wheat Berries with Roasted Veggies, Pecorino & Parmesan

Makes about 4 cups

 

Ingredients

Roasted: Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sweet potato, red onion, and broccolini 

2 cups wheatberries (uncooked)

1/4 cup pecorino, plus additional for top

1/4 cup parmesan, plus additional for top

garlic, 2-3 cloves, grated 

3 tbsp aged balsamic (the good stuff!)

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup good quality olive oil (plus extra for roasting)

salt and pepper to finish (plus additional for roasting)

 

Directions

Place two cups wheat berries in a large sauce pan and cover with at least two inches of water. Cook for at least 60 minutes (more than that isn't an issue, they aren't going to be overdone), or until they are soft enough to chew. Keep in mind this is a pretty crisp grain, so they always have a lot of 'spring'. 

While wheat berries are cooking, prepare veggies for roasting. Place mixed vegetables on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and top with additional oil, salt and pepper. Roast all veggies in oven, at 400 degrees, for about 30 minutes (some items may begin to char before others, like those tomatoes and broccolini, just take them out and return others to oven). Remove and let cool.

In a liquid measuring cup (which I like to use to eyeball measurements at the same time), add olive oil, balsamic, grated garlic cloves, dijon, cheese, and salt + pepper. Stir. 

Drain any excess water from the wheat berries when done cooking and then add oil and cheese mixture- can definitely all be done in the big pan you just cooked up the berries with. Stir in roasted veggies and finish with seasoning. Shave additional cheese on top before serving. 

 

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Tuesday
Mar312015

Interior Inspirations: A Modern Tudor in Newton

Images: MICHAEL STAVARIDIS/TRENT BELL/The Boston Globe

 

Love them or hate them, when you buy a Tudor-style home, you join a club of sorts.

A special club, complete with tudor related design issues, repair and restoration issues (don't even get me started on my 'beautiful' pain/pane glass windows), and design dilemmas, it helps to seek others out who share your plight.

Living in a Tudor myself, I make it my business to ear mark interesting design and updates to other Tudors. I actually have an entire pinboard devoted to the topic.

It's important to stress: you aren't locked into one aesthetic or style when you own a Tudor.  Contrary to popular belief, and so beautifully demonstrated by the homeowners of this Tudor, in Newton MA, you can mix modern with Tudor design. David and Ronnie Hurvitz wove a special kind of modern inspired magic in their 1932 Tudor revival, thanks to Hacin + Associates, with architect Eduardo Serrate and interior designer Jennifer Clapp.   

The color palette is neutral but the overall design is fun, as well as utilitarian, which it needs to be for a family with youngins'. Whimsical wallpaper used on the dining room ceiling, in the bedrooms, and even their office/closet add print and pattern while cool shades and tones anchor everything from room to room, giving it cohesion throughout the entire house. And thank goodness they didn't touch the grand fireplace in the dining room- instead, they made it the focal piece of the space, staying true to this original work of art. Knowing what to keep and what to update is 3/4's of the battle, my friends. So beautifully done, I had to share. Hope you draw some inspiration from this gorgeous house.

 

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