Did anyone notice these beautiful cut-up vegetables and fruits at the back of the boutique at Olivier Ménard and Emmanuel Ryon's Un Glace à Paris? Pieces of grapefruits on top of cucumber sticks, spinach floating on top of kiwi and green apples ... What are they? Too weird to be fruit salads.
They are Jus Frappé, a very clever offering.
These cut fruits, vegetables and herbs are mixed with sorbet to make a refreshing drink on the spot.
You've probably always had boudin (blood sausage) half curved like regular sausages, and you've always eaten them with a buttery texture that comes from the fat content. You might ask, "How do you make straight, fat-free boudin" like the one you see below.
We asked Yann-Hervé De Roeck, a marine-energy engineer who becomes a semi-professional cook during his summer holidays.
This gem of an island Île de Bréhat receives half a million visitors a year with a 10 minute ride boat connecting it from Arcouest on the mainland.
Thanks to the fact it still remain unknown to the international tourism and for the lack of accommodations, the island remains, for the most part, untouched. Residents and holiday renters during the summer enjoy what has become a luxury today - old stone houses built on generously spaced lots with low-key, laid back life of gardening, swimming in 17 degree water, and biking, yachting and kayaking for the sportive.
Trouville-sur-mer, an easy 2 hour train-ride from Gare Saint Lazare, is the place to escape when it gets too hot in Paris. But where to grab a meal once you've arrived on this seaside town?
Surprisingly, Trouville, together with its renown and more affluent sister-town Deauville have yet to attract a talented chef. In front of the fish market is probably the most noted establishment hotel-restaurant Le Central. But unless you want cooked fish with white napkins, why not opt for the high-tables that align in front of the fish market and choose your own assortment?
Summer brings an added dimension to cooking: vegetable dishes. Neo-bistros whip up some amazing combinations. At le 6 Paul Bert they serve a variation on the Greek classic Tzatziki. Grilled egg plants, grated feta, and shaved zucchini.
Cyril Lignac, with restaurants and pastry shops littered across Paris doesn't need a post on my blog. His bistro Le Chardenoux is always "complet" - booked. Full. The menu is limited and inflexible formules (pre-set menus) and when you read it, it doesn't seem inspiring. But every dish is amazingly well constructed, the manager is extremely personable, and sitting out on the terrace - especially in August when there is noone in Paris and the passing traffic is reduced to 1/3 - makes it a very enjoyable corner bistro indeed.
One has to travel far to taste chocolates made by a Meilleur Ouvrier de France chocolatier Pierre Mirgalet.
Bordeaux seems provincial enough - 3 1/2 hours on the TGV fast train from Paris. But you haven't arrived - not just yet. Take a local TER for another 30 minutes or so, and you will arrive in a port town of Gujan-Mestras on Arcachon Bay.
Poisonnerie de l'Aiguillon is an establishment - the fish store for the locals here. Just a 20 minute walk from the center of Arcachon, you just walk on the board walk along boulevard de la Plage towards the port from the Casino.
Open every day from 8:30 am – 12:45 pm, 3:30 – 7:30 pm. It is, indeed, the most beautiful fish store I've seen in France.
The best part is: during their business hours, you can eat the assorted seafoods right on their terrace. They have 3 tables, and they will give you wine and condiments.
It's always enriching to find little details in local good culture you never read about in magazines and guide books. Here are a couple of things I came across during my stay in Portugalete near Bilbao.
1. On the menu at a fish restaurant was this: a fried egg over a mound of egg with tomato sauce. Is it a meal on its own or is it supposed to be an accompaniment? No clue.
Txiki Bar at Plaza del Solar in Portugalete is the bar you want to be during mid-day for pinxo lunch and to sit through the lazy afternoon ...
looking at the river and watching the gondola car move back and forth across the river on the UNESCO heritage Vizcaya Bridge. Don't forget to try their cod pinxos - they look so simple, but so, so amazingly good. The owner is super nice, which makes the experience even more special.