Saturday, December 22, 2007

From Adrian Gill on Organics in Today's Times


Can we just get the organic thing clear? Organic does not mean additive-free; it means some additives and not others. Organic does not mean your food hasn’t been washed with chemicals, frozen or kept fresh with gas, or that it has not been flown around the world. Organic does not necessarily mean it is healthier, or will make you live longer; nor does it mean tastier, fresher, or in some way improved. Organically farmed fish is not necessarily better than wild fish. Organically reared animals didn’t necessarily live a happier life than nonorganic ones – and their death is no less traumatic.

More importantly, organic does not mean that the people who picked, packed, sowed and slaughtered were treated fairly, paid properly, or were free from artificial exploitation. The Chinese workers who drowned in Morecambe Bay were picking organic cockles for a pittance. If you really want to feed the hunger in your conscience, buy Fairtrade.

So what does organic actually mean? Buggered if I know. It usually means more expensive. Whatever the original good intentions of the organic movement, their good name has been hijacked by supermarkets, bijoux delicatessens and agri-processors as a value-added designer label. Organic comes with its own basket of aspiration, snobbery, vanity and fear that retailers on tight margins can exploit. And what I mind most about it is that it has reinvigorated the old class distinction in food. There is them that have chemical-rich, force-fed battery dinner and us that have decent, healthy, caring lunch. It is the belief that you can buy not only a clear conscience, but a colon that works like the log flume at Alton Towers.

In general, I applaud and agree with many of the aims of environmentally careful producers, but it is time we all admitted that the label “organic” has been polluted with cynicism, sentiment, sloppy practice and lies to the point where it is intellectually and practically bankrupt.

And it hasn’t made anyone a better cook.

Friday, December 07, 2007

La Copenhague Restaurant Paris

I'm quite intrigued by this Danish restaurant located in the heart of the tourist Hell known as the avenue des Champs Elysees. The food was great. Fresh fish. Danish classics as interpreted by a French chef (with a ten year pedigree at the Prunier Goumard restaurant, with Mr. Goumard himself), friendly staff, modern design. Scallops with gingerbread sauce, salmon cooked a "l'unilatéral". The lunchtime vibe was very businessman, but we had a fine lunch. And a nice fillet of reindeer to prepare for the upcoming holiday season!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This video is a sort of reaction to a situation recently, where a top (apparently) UK magazine , upon being pitched by yours truly responded: "We have no budget for freelance writers as most of our material is produced in-house, however, if you would like to contribute smaller articles, most of our freelancers find they can use this to lever complimentary services from the establishments they choose to cover". Now if that isn't journalistic integrity and license, I don't know what is".....The following writer described a similar situation with eloquence...

Le Troquet - GOGO review


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Afaria (or: You'll never see blood sausage the same way again)

After having done a tour of the 15th arondissement's ghetto bistronomique this week (Grand Pan, Le Troquet...), Friday's lunch at AFARIA was a superb surprise. Julien, the chef, surely has a talent far in advance of his 26 years, and many more surprises up his sleeve than the dish Parisians cross town for , the Boudin noir aux pommes, cuit en crout de moutarde. The amuse-bouche a starter of chiperons, deep fried was both light and tender, as might be compared to other's elastic offerings, followed by skewered chunks of pork cooked in espelette pepper. The starter of scallop carpaccio with artichokes and doused in a creamy pumpkin soup an excellent, light winter dish. The Lebanese "boulghour" (crushed wheat) topped with oysters and a side of hummus, remarkable for its freshness and unique texture. The famous aforementionned boudin, followed by a delicious roast maigret de canard grilled in a fig/balsamic vinegar sauce, ending with a gingered fruit salad. Their three course menu is & steal at 26€.

15, rue Desnouettes, 15th
Telephone: +33 1 48 56 15 36

Monday, November 12, 2007

Biarritz , etc...

Can you imagine I've been living for more than a decade in France, and that I've never been to the Basque region ,and that I've been missing out on this?.....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Saga of the Red Bull come

This Pennsylvanian chain restaurant left an indelible mark on my childhood memory with its dark dining room, buxom waitresses and buttery lobster. Sadly the chain no longer exists, but it' worth reviving the memory for what I believe to be one of America's greatest ideas in mass food, especially since there seems to be very little info on the web....more soon...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Despite, I'm still the least read and crappest food blog around...

This appeared in last saturday's Figaro, confirming my opinion that gastronomic God François Simon is indeed the most visionary critic writing in French today. I mean, even He found hope in my faithless mess of a blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

La Bulle, 75010, Paris

In my quartier, before a few weeks ago, there wasn't much to look forward to, aside from fake nippons, bad kebabs, and greasy-spoon brasseries. All that seems to have changed, with the new bistro, La Bulle, a fresh new reincarnation of what was, a few months ago, a pretty skanky bar/café. The exposed walls have remained, but with a fresh modern remake: soft lighting, good music, a young, friendly staff, and a cuisine "pimpant". Tuna tartar with wasabi "guacamole" and homemade "papadoms", an oriental-ish chicken filet and herb salad, seabass with mango, lambchops with bordelaise sauce,mushrooms, cumin-flavoured carrots. A young chef who's done England, Spain and Italy, a 30€ menu: entrée, plat, dessert. Two weeks after opening, on the right track. Nothing too radically creative, but good food and attitude. Looking forward to what they can acomplish....

PS apologies for the crap photos, but I've yet to figure out how the settings on my new SONY work...

"Oriental" chicken salad with herbs

Tuna tartar, with avocado/wasabi cream and "poppadom"

Seabass fillets with mango

Lambchops with bordelaise sauce, mushrooms, and cumin-infused carrots

La Bulle
48 rue Louis Blanc, 75010, Paris
Telephone: +33 1 40 37 34 51

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Le Floors, Restaurant/Diner Paris

Haute burgers in the Barbès badlands. This modern/nostalgic French bobo version of an American diner is a short walk from the skanky Barbès metro, a quick trot up the rue de Clignancourt. The building is pretty impressive-looking- a former print shop, three stories of glass and white concrete at the intersection of three streets, in a gentrifying neighbourhood, at the bottom of almost-Montmartre. The service, all-female, attitude wrapped up in tight designer jeans is friendly enough, the crowd, chain-smoking yuppies with kids, gays, creative types, etc etc , the music vintage '60's soul and pop. The burgers, perhaps more interesting on the menu than in real life, come with a number of luxe/comfort extras like foie gras, truffles, San Daniel ham, bacon, satay sauce, and accompanying salads, chinese noodle (strange taste and texture), coleslaw, beetroot and raifort,etc. The (most expensive) cheesecake in the 18eme, tasty with real Philly cream cheese, but hardly worth the 9.50€ they charge (I have the feeling it's made with Philly they bought in some overpriced American grocery store in the Marais).

"Du McDo, sauce bobo" says the Figaroscope, and I'm inclined to agree.

New York Times Vélib Bull***t

Why is it that almost every time I read a US publication article on Paris, I find it rife with mistakes, lies and fabrications? Eric Rainman's (oops, Rayman) latest on the Vélib bicycle rental craze in Paris comports some important, fatal errors.

NO Vélib stations currently have the card "swipe" he claims using. What they have is a slot for credit card with smart chip only. Swipes WILL be installed soon, but haven't been yet, making this dubious ...

Vélibs were developed initially for the Parisian market not tourists...

The vast majority of American tourists will NOT be able to Vélib anytime soon...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

That was nice to get off of my chest...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mon Vieil Ami (Mushroom Menu/Dégustation Cepes)

Adrien and Adrian

Hot and cold mushroom salad

Filet of Saint Pierre with Cepes

Veal sweetbreads with cepes

Tarte fine with mushrooms and melted tome cheese