Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rue Daguerre

In yesterday's post I completely messed up Cara Black's book title, Murder BELOW Montparnasse. I've been doing mea culpas nonstop since. Granted it could be a case of belated jet lag or dyslexia or being so enthralled with her book I skipped the title or none of the above. Please forgive.
Rue Daguerre is mentioned in Murder BELOW Montparnasse and it turns out to be a darling rue I had previously overlooked chock-a-block with everything under the sun to eat etc.
Plus Brit watercolor artist Ian Sidaway let me know he was coming to town AND staying on rue Daguerre. Did I have a choice to miss this street?
When I Googled rue Daguerre AirBnB popped up with rock bottom 18 m room for a mere 40€ right in the coeur de Daguerre.
Y'all come.
A good portion of the rue is paved and for pedestrians only much like tres charmante rue Cler.
A plethora of cafes line this street...
The French are Very Big on honey/miel in case you'd like to be French. French girl had it every single morning on her toast for breakies.
You can DIY here at Famille Mary #11 rue Daguerre. I wish they had the same with peanut butter...you didn't hear me say that.
Paella is on offer at the clever fish monger - this I could go for in a big way.
I'm a big moules/mussel fan too. These are hot of the presses fresh in from Brittany.
A vintage clothing shop of course on rue Daguerre and mentioned in the new hot book, Paris C'est Chic (with English blurbs included).
Cows ABOVE Montparnasse?
The French do love their cows and rightly so. Now that I've petted a few I can heartliy say they are well-behaved/bien elevee and perfectly lovely.
The Dog Of The Day is going BELOW Montparnasse (NOT 'under' as some idiot would have it ahem).
You better believe it!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Murder Below Montparnasse

Mardi 27 fevrier Murder Below Montparnasse by Cara Black
I'm thrilled to give you the heads up on Cara Black's newest Aimee Leduc mystery, Murder Below Montparnasse. It's quite gripping tales. 28 pages to go and I'm chomping at the bit to finish. People look at me strangely in the Metro as I wreck havoc on the book with my yellow marker and ball point pen, but there are so many details I don't want to forget.
What I'm loving is the way Black makes you experience an area of Paris in a fresh new way. I thought I knew the 14th arrondissement. No way!
It has tons of little quotidienne details that stop you in your tracks and you say to yourself "of course!" So that's what this is etc.
Murder BELOW Montparnasse is loaded with historical references especially artistic ones:
Virtually penniless painters, sculptors, writers, poets and composers came from around the world to thrive in the creative atmosphere and for the cheap rent at artist communes such as La Ruche. Living without running water, in damp, unheated "studios", seldom free of rats, many sold their works for a few francs just to buy food. Jean Cocteau once said that poverty was a luxury in Montparnasse. First promoted by art dealers such as Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, today works by those artists sell for millions of euros. Back then they used them to barter a meal in a cafe.
Black's mysteries are as twisty-turny and convoluted as a Parisian balcon. The tension rises to a breaking point in Montparnasse. A hidden Modigliani painting is stolen. Russian oliogarchs are involved. Murder in the Metro. Lots of racing about in Metros and taxis. Plus Aimee is looking for her long lost mother missing since she was eight.
Private detective Aimee is of course hired to find the lost Modigliani.
Black can be depended upon to include museums in the area plus artist references. Whose been to the Antoine Bourdelle musee raise your hands. I hadn't but it reeks of atmosphere and includes his atelier where Giacometti studied among other notable sculpturs.
Aimee drops into countless cafes drinking countless express and Perroquets...this one on rue Daguerre (known as village Deguerre - a fabulous long and mostly pedestrian rue you could miss in the blink of an eyelash). I love it that Black names names. Sleuth out all her locations and have a mad adventure doing so. Merci Cara!
And I'm a big fan of Black's atmospheric writing. A few examples:

As the taxi sped over Pont Alexanre III, she called Saj. Outside the window, globed candelabra lights lined the bridge, misted in fog. The Seine below, a dark gelatinous ribbon, caught furred glints of light.

"Un express," she said, sitting at the counter and catching the scurrying white-aproned waiter. Next to her a young woman cut into a scallion-fringed croque-Madame, on a thick slice of Poilane bread. Tempting.

She passed a rain-beaded plaque that listed Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp as one-time residents on the painted geranium-fronted hotel. A former one star, the hotel had now jumped to three stars for the remodeled ambience.

I could go on and on quoting Cara...

Now to get down to the nitty gritty.

Here's your chance to “Win A Killer Trip to Paris” with Cara Black as your guide for 7 days visiting all the ins and outs of Aimee's adventures in every book. This sounds so terrific, I'd love to try for it. You can enter the sweepstakes by buying Murder Below Montparnasse before the publication date on March 5.


Cara's Coton de tutear is not part of the sweepstakes but he definitely has good taste in reading. Win this prize PBers!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Le Salon de l’Agriculture

Pet a cow or goat or pony or sheep
Or eat yourself silly tasting all of France's regional specialties. I did.
And I only hit half the regions.
I must go back for the rest (in building 7.3)
I was there opening day.
So was President Hollande glad-handing...
This is one huge exposition. I only got to buildings 3, 4 and part of 7, but I can easily say it's the BEST exposition I've ever been to. Better than the salon du Chocolat or SIRAH or any of them. For one thing you understand the deep respect the French have for their land and their animals. No wonder the cuisine is magnificent. You can't separate French food from the land. It's a direct result of great attention to details. Another thing: this is a terrific way to visit France 'profunde'.
Small purveyors proudly share their products with you generously
Impossible to resist. As chef Marthe told me, 'these people could sell milk to a cow' - they are that charming and persuasive. And this cow bought the farm or tried to.
I got to taste gateaux Basque cerise straight out of Cara Black's Murder in Passy. I must visit Basque Country! Miam
On 7.2 I tasted food from the Loire, Corse, Normandie, Lorraine, Midi-Pyranees, Augverne etc. There were accompanying restaurants serving formule lunches of each region. This is a foodies paradise. I must get this apple peeler-slicer thing! 15 euros only.
By the end of the show I felt I was still lugging overloaded suitcases like at CDG the day before...
I resisted tempting regional lunches and bought products instead. For once I was the ant/squirrel and not the grasshopper.
These are tortue(sp) a kind of fromagie gateaux?
Oh you tell me svp.
Did I say regional wines were flowing?
More out of this world cheese cakes me thinks...
What I lugged home. It could have been so much more. I must return and so must you if you're in Paris till the 3rd of March.
The Agricultural Salon lasts a full week and is such a special experience. You won't see many chic scarved Parisians there. But plenty of big families from the boonies I guess having a super grand time.
And so will you I promise!
*If anyone knows how I can get an INTERNATIONAL PRESS CARD do tell please. They would not count me as 'Presse'.Hmmm...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Le Mont Blanc

Dimanche 24 fevrier Angelina creme de marrons
Mont Blanc tasting on Sunday = an immediate plunge into the shark tank of Parisian cuisine
Oh woe is moi/Ooh la la la la!
Organized by Raids Patisserie expert Louise Chouchard
12 guests - 12+ Mont Blancs to judge including a recent Lenotre pastry graduate, a chocolate consultant, a pastry chef
Let the judging begin!
The beauties parade
We salivate/l'eau a la bouche?
All Paris has shown up for this concours/contest
Angelina -Carette - Gateaux et du Pain -Jean Millet- Laduree- Marletti- Lenotre- Patisserie des Reves- Petite Rose- Sebastien Gaudard- Stohre- Yamazaki
This perfect example (one of my favs) was made by Veronique Ung, recent grad of Lenotre.
Hire her!
The Austrian confectioner, Antoine Rumpelmayer, established Angelina, named after his daughter-in-law, in 1903. For over a century, the Angelina tearoom has established itself as a high point of Parisian gourmet pleasures.
Mont Blanc g√Ęteau, in case you were wondering is a cake made in perfection with light whipped cream and chestnut cream vermicelli.
An 'extra' Mont Blanc creation created and present by pastry chef William Lamagnere
Another extra from Hotel Le Burgundie
All the pretty boxes...
Let the deconstructing/distruction begin!
My illegible notes ahem
We were to judge nez/scent, texture, taste/gout and general overall response with stars **** being the best and * degulase/the worst Ouch
The end.
Results will be on Raids Patisserie in a day or two.
Henceforth give me a plain roasted chestnut outside of Galeries Lafayette.Well at least today...