Posts from November 2010

Goodbye Brooklyn, Hello Paris, Julie Farias Plans To Open Vivant in French Capitale, Early 2011

I heard it through the grapevine this morning or to be more precise French site Food Intelligence by Bruno Verjus.

After moving around Brooklyn, from Beer Table to General Greene, it seems that Julie Farias next adventure will find her in Paris for a duet with Pierre Jancou who was taking a breather from the capitale's restaurant scene.

The project, code-named Vivant, a bistro, is slated to open early 2011.


Bruno Verjus got the scoop (en Anglais) this past Saturday (November 22) and shared video interview where Julie confesses having never been in Paris before (maybe she means lived there).

Soul Food Thanksgiving Dinner is Served in Sydney

I mentioned Thanksgiving options for American expats before.

I don't think I had a chance to list any from down under.

Today, I remedy that thanks to a Soul Food Thanksgiving Dinner shared by Debbie Elkind for SBS Food in November 2008.

She opens her article by giving credit where it's due:

"Although I lived in California for eight years, where I enjoyed many wonderful Thanksgiving dinners, the most memorable Thanksgiving I’ve ever spent was at Victor’sSoul Food Kitchen in Ultimo (now closed), which was then owned by Louisiana-born chef Victor Kimble, a true master of American southern cuisine."

Further in her article, Victor gives us a bit of a food history lesson:

“I tell people all the time that [southern cooking] goes back to the time of slavery. People got scraps and they learned how to make the best of what they had. The beauty of it is that they made food delicious with herbs and spices they’d harvested themselves.”

The Menu suggested by the Birmigham (Alabama) native is/was: 

  • Roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce to serve
  • Honey-glazed ham with maraschino cherries and pineapple
  • Green beans or collard greens
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Cornbread
  • Pumpkin and/or sweet potato pie

Since the article was published, Victor Kimble has left the restaurant business and instead put his focus on teaching Southern Cooking to our Australian friends and promoting his sauces and spices.


Thanksgiving got soul!

(My illustration is Collard Green Dip as offered by Nealy on Dixie Caviar in November 2009)

Everything but Chocolate IV, Chocolate Research Facility in Singapore

You would think that a week after the NY Chocolate Show, I am ready to take a leave of abscence on the topic of chocolate but I turn around and discover yet another chocolate I have not tasted yet.

In the case of Chocolate Research Facility, more than a shop, it is a celebration of flavors, creativity, turning chocolate into an object of love.

Imagine, Chocolate Bars in 100 different flavors, one place.

Unfortunately, Chocolate Research Facility was not present at the NY Chocolate Show.


A trip to Singapore (Millenia Walk) where they are located would be necessary to experience it first hand.

They are opened daily from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM if you are in the neighborhood.

Seems like they have everything but chocolate IV's.

I spotted them thanks to Choc Tactics by Mark C O'Flaherty (How to Spend it).

Swedes are Vegetables Too, Things I Learned from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I have plenty of cookbooks staring at me including The Frankies Sputino Kitchen Companion and Around my French Table. I have to wrap up my questions for Dorie Greenspan interview today and what am I doing but checking what the Brits are up to in the cooking department.

At least I did not waste my time. 

I learned that Swedes are Vegetables too.

I confess that when I noticed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's swede and parsnip recipes (Guardian, November 20, 2010). I was puzzled as to what swedes were?

I added to my vocabular when i discovered it's another name for rutabagas.

I prefer parsnips though, sauted, pureed, in pancake form, send some my way, i'll eat it. Maybe I fall for the slight sweetness of parsnips.

I was surprised to read in Hugh's introduction that "in some countries, swedes and parsnips are seen as little more than animal feed."

What a shame?

Planning your garden planting for the Spring, check Growing Swede in the Winter Vegetable Garden by Dave Pinkey (Gardening Info Zone, October 19) as he suggests you plant them in May or June in our Northern hemisphere.


Now might not be too late down under!

(* Swedes in the garden illustration comes from Dave Pinkey's piece)

10 Things A Woman Dreaming of Living in Paris Must Know by Cristina

Don't ask me why?

From time to time an idea (good or not) starts percolating in my head and if it stays there I tend to follow through with it.

This is the case with this new Saturday feature (if it sticks to Saturdays) which I described to all those I asked to contribute so far as 10 Do's and Don't.

The idea being that someone (a native or a transplant) shares their do's and don't about the place where they live. Each week will feature a different person, a different city, on all continents.

We start with Cristina who writes From Buenos Aires to Paris and could teach me a few things including how to take gorgeous photos. As you might guess, she was born in Argentina.

Here is her unedited take on Paris:

Foreign Woman Going to Live in Paris (or dreamong about it) ?

This is what you MUST know…

Many years ago, my husband and I came to live to Paris. We both experienced similar difficulties in many senses : the language, adapting to new food, the weather…Ok, there are things that are common to both sexes…but which are the things a woman in particular has to face ?

  1. Don’t feel bad to show yourself naked ! Yes, when you go to gym, you will see all the French ladies, engaged in conversation, going to the hamman, reading their E-mails in their I-phones…completely naked ! Yes, nobody will try to wrap even a little towel around their anatomies…What for ? Naked is beautiful !
  2. Don’t run away from your gynecologist office ! He’s not a sex maniac ! I will never forget my first RDV !! The doctor told me to take off my clothes ! I went into the cabin..I saw nothing to cover myself so I went out in my underwear..The doctor looked at me (rather crossed) and told me to take off ALL my I did ! To increase my embarrassment, he made me fill out some papers while in this « condition » Then, my French friends told me this is normal…( ???!!)
  3. Be ready to share a minuscule elevator with a man ! I think we all know how small Parisian elevators can be ! On arriving in the hall of an apartment building (mine), a gentleman was waiting for the elevator. It arrived. He didn’t let me in first, but rather, he volunteered sharing the 50cm2. I turned down his offer politely…believe me, it would have been a « more than close » encounter !
  4. A woman might not always go to the Ladies’ : You are leaving on vacation. « Journée rouge » (peak day) Plenty of cars in the highway. You stop at a gas station to go to the Ladies…50 women queueing for the Ladies’..Nobody in the Gents. Don’t be surprised to see French women going to the Gents.. « c’est normal…There is nobody » If when they come out of the WC cabinet, there is a « monsieur » standing « relieving nature » , they will explain with a long speech, that the « Ladies’ is congested » while the « monsieur » continues his « standing activity ».
  5. Always have a book in you bag, to read in case you have to wait ! But not any book, it has to be a « prix Goncourt » (literary award) just to show the other people waiting that you have a « certain cultural level » literary speaking…
  6. But don’t go with the book to read alone to the Jardin de Luxembourg !! It appears that it is « the » thing to do if you want to be approached by a handsome young man in search of a lonely (and cash generous) lady !
  7. Always go to see the latest art exhibit !! You are not interested in that painter ? It doesn’t matter !!! You will be completely out of all the conversations and what’s more people will think you are not very learned.
  8. It is OK to drink a « kir » (white wine and cassis liquor) or champagne at 11.30am, alone, sitting at a café ! Pour quoi pas ? (Why not ?) It’s apéritif time, and nobody will think you have a problem with alcoholism !
  9. Don’t take a home-made cake when visiting someone..unless your cake looks like a Lenôtre one ! (or one that you learnt to make reading my blog (a bit of publicity ?) Your guest will give you a « poor thing » look that you will never forget !! (In fact, I think this is the reason why I started taking cooking lessons !)
  10. Always wear a foulard ! Yes, it’s the symbol of French élégance, together with « la petite robe noir » (little black dress), but don’t buy it in H&M. A good carré, preferably Hermès, is a lifetime investment…more than that ! it will be something you will pass onto the next generation ! Ok, it is true that nobody wears it like a French woman does…this is why Hermès has published a little orange book : 100 ways to wear a Hermès carré…oh là là !!


What better way to illustrate this top 10 than a photo of the lady herself taking a walk in the city of lights.

10 Do's and Don't # 1: Paris by Cristina

60 Seattle Bloggers Bake for Bake Sale to Benefit 'Northwest Harvest' on November 20

It is often very gratifying to be able to take part in group efforts for good deeds on the blogosphere.

On November 20, 2010 (Saturday), 60 bloggers from Seattle will combine their sweat equity and the goods they baked for a Bake Sale benefiting Northwest Harvest, a local food pantry.

You can find all the details on Will Bake for Food including portraits of some of the parties involved.


One of them is Miss Wasabi Prime and her 'Icicle Loaf' (above)

The sale takes place on Saturday, November 20th, 2010 from 10am-2pm (or until they run out!)

Where: University Congregational Church, Ostrander Hall 4515 16th Ave. NE, Seattle

If you're in the Seattle area, pay them a visit and do your bit.

Sheep Milk Ice Cream, All the Taste, Less Than Half the Calories, Ewe

After tasting Johnny Iuzzini's Hay Ice Cream, I was curious to know if any ice cream company out there happened to sell some.

Brad Thomas Parsons of Serious Eats mentioned in Ice Cream Sunday at the New Amsterdam Market (August 2010) that small batch producers Early Bird Cookery from Cochecton (NY) offered it.

It must be on their Spring/ Summer menu because it is not included on their Fall/Winter list. Apple cider and maple-nutmeg sound perfect in late November.

So I came back empty handed in the Hay Ice-Cream department put discovered a healthy alternative to cow milk ice-cream.

I have sampled Goat Milk Ice Cream in the past but never did try Ewe or Sheep Milk Ice Cream, some call it dessert, described as all the taste with less than half the calories.

Is it more of a UK trend?

In Hay-on-Wye, a small scale producer, Shepherds calls its treats, the original sheep's milk ice-cream.

Flavors you will find at Sheperds year round are vanilla, toffee and fudge, choc mint chip, amarena cherry yoghurt, mokka, banana toffee crunch, and chocolate along with exotic ones such as cardamom and lavender, blackcurrant cheese cake, rose, liquorice, mango and chilli, chocolate and chilli depending on the owner's inspiration.

They have become a popular fixture at Glastonbury.

A larger scale producer is Exmoor with its popular Styles Farm Slim Ewe on sale in some branches of Waitrose, the UK supermarket chain.

Jacqueline Mair in It had to be ewe (JLP E-Zine, May 2010) writes:

"Slim Ewe looks like ice cream, tastes like ice cream but is far too healthy to be officially called ice cream.

The creamy iced dessert, now on sale in nine Waitrose branches, is made from sheep's milk naturally high in cream and sugar and comes in at around 75 calories per 100ml compared to the 300 calories found in a premium dairy ice cream.

But it has just half the fat (2.5 to 5 per cent) needed to make what is officially ice cream."


It could be a smart move for those like me who need to bring down their cholesterol level.

(* illustration is Slim Ewe from pages of JLP e-zine)

Random Picks, Weihenstephaner 'Vitus' Weizenbock Beer

After NY Chocolate Show 2010 on Sunday, I wanted to have a chillout dinner and on my way to catch the train back home stopped at Whole Foods to pick a few essentials, a baguette, sugar (for morning coffee), some fruits and on my way to the register noticed some single beers.

Call me stingy but I did not want to spend $8 to $10 dollars on a single bottle.

I ended up choosing the Weisenstephaner 'Vitus' Weizenbock (a pint) from Freising near Munich.

I enjoyed this serious brew with good body, enough to stand up to my meal.

Merchant du Vin in a fact sheet on another Weizen-bock from Ayinger (also from Bavaria) shares these words on that style of brew.

"The weizen-bock style is relatively uncommon, even in Bavaria: they are wheat ales (weissebeer or weizen beer) that are brewed to be as strong as a bock - with corresponding fuller body, and enhanced flavors. They can be pale ("helles") or dark ("dunkles"). Classic Bavarian weissebeer aroma suggesting spice and cloves; smooth body from wheat" before turning to landscape poetry "the flavor offers the essence of the wheat harvest, fresh-baked bread, maybe even - somehow - the sunshine of a fall afternoon."

I definitely agree on the spice and clove tones.

As far as food pairings go they suggest "hearty German cuisine - smoked pork shops, sauerkraut and sausages; full-flavored game or duck; Weizen-Bock can pair beautifully with spicy Mexican or Indian cuisine."

(* Retails for around $3)

Hay Ice Cream, Oysters, Beets, Ganache, the Daniel Patterson and Johnny Iuzzini Show

I had a rocky start on my way to 'Alchemy of Taste and Smell' in New York, last Saturday.

The train left without me, then I had to catch a bus which got stuck in traffic.

All this meant I did not make it to Astor Center until 1:30 PM, halfway through the Harold McGee session.

I made up for what I lost with what followed, the Daniel and Johnny Show. The calm more cerebral Daniel Patterson alongside the ebullient, fun and spontaneous Johnny Iuzzini took us through a journey in 6 dishes.

Smelling your food before you taste it was strongly recommended.

Rather than serve a laundry list of specs and kitchen talk I will try to give you a feel for what took place in that hour.

Daniel started with the Oyster Teaser (below). Greens, not the sea beans, had a crunchiness to them. Slight saltiness brought the ocean.


Then came a Spoonful of Beets garnished with some edible flower. My memory is playing tricks on me as to what it was.


Third was a Jasmine and Concord Grapes bubble by Johnny Iuzzini who confessed to being a Concord grapes fanatic. He blames it on growing  up in upstate New York.


Johnny then took us along for a ride with his Hay Ice Cream, nuttiness, smoky, delicious.


Next was the mini Ganache Log which offered a myriad of flavors and textures from the ganache itself to the surprisingly strong finish courtesy of magic dust underneath it.


Last came a duo, Chocolate with elderflower and Tobacco bonbon.

Along the way Daniel and Johnny pointed that beyond the aromatics of each ingredient, food is linked to emotions. As we move along in life we build a taste memory. Any dish can trigger different reactions and they think everyone has the right to their opinion rather than fall for bland conformism.

Some food cravings, potato chips for example they noted, are created by habit, having grown up with them.

Beef Rendang on Last Day for Malaysia Kitchen Food Truck, New York, November 19

It took me a train ride to New York to discover the Malaysian Kitchen Food Truck which since October 11 as been offering FREE samples of Malaysian food from local Malaysian restaurants in various spots across Manhattan and Queens.


On November 19, they drop the curtain on this wonderful initiative that got people to discover new flavors and culture.

The Malaysian Kitchen Food Truck last stop will be in Elmhurst near Junction Blvd ( I think actually 62nd Ave. & Queens Blvd) from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM.

Looks like they are offering Curry Laksa and Beef Rendang from Taste Good  (8218 45th Ave, Elmhurst, Queens). 

I noted that one of Taste Good most popular dishes is Fish Head Mee Hoon...Never had it, I wonder what it looks like.

Unfortunately, i did not find the time to make it to one of the Malaysian Kitchen Food Truck stops, next time hopefully.

For Malaysian restaurants and events in London and beyond check Malaysia Kitchen UK.

(* illustration copyright malaysianyc, check their Flickr stream for more, photo by Sylvester Zawadski)