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David Lebovitz

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Posts posted by David Lebovitz


  1. I ate at Allard about a year ago. We ordered the Côte de Boeuf for 2, saignant (medium rare), and it came out completely well-done (à la semelle). Perhaps they figured because we weren't French, we wanted it overcooked. But it was very expensive and for those prices, they should make sure they cook the beef how the customer orders it. I would skip it.


  2. Abooja: Glad you tackled the Racines cake! Interestingly the owner of the restaurant left to open a new place and I don't think they're still serving this one, but last time I ate there I had a very, very (very) dry chocolate cake - which was supposed to be one of those little warm melting ones. So perhaps they should go back to this one : )

    The cake is supposed to crack a bit, it's normal. (Scroll down to the last picture.) So you didn't mess it up at all...

    Frogprincess: It must be a chocolate festival at your house. I'm sure your neighbors are thrilled!


  3. Un Dimanche à Paris is a nice chocolate shop and is indeed also a full-on restaurant with meals and some cooking classes. The menu is pretty swanky but has savory dishes (whereas Jacques is a dessert-only place). The à la carte prices are fairly stiff at the restaurant although I don't know anyone who has tried it as a regular paying customer. But I think it'll be interesting to see how it develops.

  4. Hi Dan: It's not only very difficult to get publishers in America to publish books in anything other than cups and tablespoons, but readers are reluctant to buy books with metrics (and imperial) measurements in them because "the recipes too complicated."

    Because I live outside of the states, I added metrics. It actually took quite a while to reconfigure all the recipes but I really wanted them in there. But I know quite a few other authors that wanted to add other measurements to their cookbooks and got nixed by the publishers. Thankfully mine is very open to what I do.

    There is going to be a UK edition of the book sometime in 2011 but for those interested in various measurements, folks can let publishers know that's what you'd like to see in a book (and just as importantly, buy the ones that do!) by writing a letter or an e-mail, and perhaps they will consider adding them to more cookbooks.


  5. Yes, you need to make sure that springform is water tight. No matter how much you think it may be, water finds its insidious way into those things. Although we can't get it in France (at least not that I know of) in the US there is very wide foil that's nice and thick that should work.

    Incidentally, someone did bake the cake without the water bath and said it worked just fine, but I haven't tried it.


  6. Glad you're all working your way through Ready for Dessert. The recipes are all my favorites and some I've been making for decades, literally. If you make the chocolate chip cookies, be sure to use all the chocolate bits (and dust) when you chop the chocolate; they contribute to the cookies being nice and chewy.

    And the frosting on the Banana Cake should come to room temperature so it's thick enough to spread as frosting on the cake. Somehow the line about letting it sit mysteriously got omitted during printing, but is being added back for the upcoming next printing. Hopefully it's evident to bakers to let it cool down so it resembles the cake, as shown in the book.

    Happy baking...and enjoy the book!

    -David

    www.davidlebovitz.com


  7. I agree with Ptipois; the best butter I ever had was at Fromagerie François Olivier in Rouen. It was sold from a big wooden crock and was quite salty...and incredibly delicious. I wish I could buy it here, or a similar butter. I think because these butters aren't widely distributed, and folks who don't live in or visit Paris, can't get them, they don't get the publicity that Bordier gets.

    (Beillevaire butter is available in their shops around Paris. The first time I had it was at le Jules Verne and the maître d told me I could buy it in their stores. It was v. good, however it wasn't quite the same, so perhaps they get butter made for them.)


  8. The (in my opinion) excellent Italian gelato purveyors, Grom, have apparently opened up a summer shop in the concept store, Merci, located on the northern end of the boulevard Beaumarchais.

    Yes, they have. They only have a few flavors (I think it was 6) when I was in there.

    But one was Crema di Grom, which is one of their best.


  9. You could try taking finely-pulverized pine nuts or peanuts and drying them in a very low oven to get as much of the moisture out as possible, then proceeding. Because their flavors are strong, you also might want to cut them with some corn or potato starch as well.


  10. Someone served me the cocktail almonds from Monoprix, which are similar (or actually are) Spanish Marcona almonds, and were fabulous.

    David: were the almonds Monoprix's own brand?

    Yes, they were. I think they came in a green foil bag, but I'm not 100% positive since someone was serving them to be at the same time as an apéritif. I guess I need to go for myself and check 'em out.


  11. Acting on a tip from a friend, I tried some of the bio products at ED. The organic colza oil is quite good, the Mexican-Peruvian coffee is not. I use their cream cheese, since I often need four bricks or more for a cheesecake, and buying the Philadelphia elsewhere would drive me to the poorhouse.

    Franprix sells Illy coffee pods for a fraction of the price elsewhere. I used to assume they were mismarked but at around €5 per tin, they're a great deal.

    Someone served me the cocktail almonds from Monoprix, which are similar (or actually are) Spanish Marcona almonds, and were fabulous.


  12. Does anyone know if there's such a thing as 'kosher salt' in France? It's prevalent in the US, even though (I suspect) a majority of people who use it don't use it for koshering.

    I've checked in some of the Jewish épiceries in the Marais, as well as in the kosher section of supermarkets, and never saw anything. Was just wondering if it is available.

    (According to that bastion of truth, Wikipedia says that only in the UK is there something called 'koshering salt. Elsewhere, they say, it's called "(coarse) cooking salt." Hmmmm....because the gros sel in France, grey or otherwise, is a lot larger than the kosher salt that I'm familiar with.)


  13. A popular fish merchant at my market was telling me that all his salmon was wild, even the slabs that were tangerine orange-colored, and a deal at just 6€/kg. Um, ok. I've been buying mostly sardines, which are inexpensive and good for you. And their harvesting isn't damaging to the environment.

    I, too, wonder who buys those 90€ lobsters?

    I've wanted to try one, but don't feel like blowing the money. I can't imagine anyone buying a couple and taking them home for dinner.


  14. Are there any places you would recommend in Quimper?

    Just outside Quimper is Paul Coïc, in Kerscouédic. Call before you go to check if they're open (02 98 91 14 11). He makes excellent fresh apple cider.


  15. Interestingly, I was in there in June 08, more specifically downstairs by the ovens, and they said, "No pictures." Which I thought was kind of odd, since that was one of M. Poilane's things: being open about what they do. I don't know if that's a new policy or not. If so, it's certainly a change.

    They do have new, spiffy bags, which are smaller, which is great. So if you buy a quarter pain Poilane, there's not so much wasted paper.


  16. I am glad to hear others agree with me. I really didn't expect anything "great" in going there, but I have heard many, many times people saying to go there for their duck with olives!

    Yes, if anyone wants to start a post about what a lousy experience and meal they had at Allard, count me in too...


  17. It's common to leave some coins, or a few euros, for a low- or mid-priced meal in France if the service is good, but what does one do in a 3-star restaurant?

    In most places, 'rounding-up' is the standard formula (ie: leaving 3€ on a 47€ check). But when dinner is 550€, would or should you leave 50€? Is that too much?

    Assuming the service is good, which is should be in a 3 star place, it still seems that's excessive in France. After all, service compris is already included. But still, a gesture of thanks is often given.

    So I'm wondering what people think is acceptable to leave in high-end restaurant in France?


  18. A delegation of Paris cab drivers may be waiting for me at the door with tar, feathers and ropes as I write this, but I have clearly noticed that the adoption of the euro — which has allowed most prices to rise dramatically — has induced a definite change in the attitude of cab drivers. Now they no longer expect tips and, when you do round it up by, say, telling them to keep the whole thing when the fare is 9.50 and you hand them a 10-euro bill, most of them thank you warmly. And when you do not tip at all, they don't mind.

    Though I realize it's nice to get a tip when as a waiter you've worked very hard, I am not an enthusiast of the concept of tipping. France is definitely not America, tipping is never mandatory and is only an expression of how satisfied you were. And it should be moderate. I would hate to contribute to a practice which, in the long run, could lead some employers to situations of abuse. I only tip at restaurants and in some taxis when the driver has been cool and showed intelligence in choosing his itinerary.

    I have to agree. As an American, I've had a few instances where waiters haven't brought me the change from the check. And when I've inquired--"Oh? We thought it was for the tip, monsieur."

    In that case, they get nothing. I don't think they'd pull that with a French person.

    I've gotten over the "I have to tip" mentality, since I don't want people to automatically expect tips from Americans. And I also don't want to be responsible for a cultural shift.

    (Well, any more than I already am...)

    When I've tipped in cabs, they are hyper-thankful, which is nice. I'm happy to tip in restaurants when merited & I usually do, especially since I know wages are low in Paris and it's an expensive place to live. But for me, it's always as a gesture of thanks, not something I do because I'm expected to.


  19. Yes, the sucre cristal has larger grains than American granulated sugar, which means that if you're making pâte de fruit, it wouldn't dissolve so quickly, creating a nicer, more stable coating.

    If you're looking for a quantity, depending on where you live, you might wish to contact a sugar refinery (like C&H on the west coast) and see if they sell other grades of sugar specifically for professionals as they usually have much more available than what they sell to the public.

    I may be wrong, but 'sanding sugar' is similar in size, but some brands might contain wax for decorating purposes.


  20. If you want to experience Maxim's grandeur you don't need to eat there. You can visit their Musee Maxims which is open certain afternoons. I believe you should make a reservation. The interior is pretty spectacular, as is the history. Before you go, there's a couple of excellent essays in 'Remembrance of Things Paris' from Gourmet magazine which recount the history of the place including one by Joseph Wechsberg which gives some excellent historical background. It's pretty interesting.

    (Maxim's also has a website, but turn your speakers off before you click on the link...trust me.)

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