Friday, February 23, 2018

Second acts, third acts...

More ancient PB history today.
It's "Career Wednesday" again!
I was listening to Tina Brown talk about her
"second acts, third acts, fourth acts," etc. on Charlie Rose
and I was reminded of some past acts of my own.
I used to use an airbrush and my illustrations were heavily influenced by
Japanese woodblocks for their compositions and coloring.
After a serious injury (shot point blank by a mugger in the chest) landed me in the hospital, I got interested in medical art...
Always lemons into lemonade is on my menu :) Really it was the pharmaceutical advertising art you see in all the medical journals.The movie TRON had just opened - the first film to use computer graphics extensively.

I combined the TRON look with old master drawings.... Still using the airbrush (PhotoShop was yet to be in the 80's) I came up with a transparent,futuristic style that suited medical art to a T!My first illlustration flyer brought in a ton of work. Advil ads, Prozac ads, high-tech anything ads became my caviar and champagne.
Medical advertising pays nicely.
I did covers for Time, Newsweek, Business Week, Omni etc.
Are you asking
WHO IS THIS PERSON? I've no idea and if I had to pickup an airbrush
now I'd be a goner. I did this for almost 10 years. Hillary Clinton came along with her cutbacks on pharmaceutical wastage-
among them, ads that ended up in the circular file
i.e. the wastepaper basket
i.e. what I was producing
And my very lucrative medical illustration business went down the drain. Around then I volunteered for the James Beard House. And a new career evolved that still kept me in champagne and caviar. From there I went on to wine art, but that's another Wednesday story.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cafe Pouchkine, Place de la Madeleine

With endless drizzle and the Seine rising, one might need a tiny break non? A bit of 'luxe, calm et volupté' perhaps? A couple of Sundays ago Bear took me for petit dejeuner to the newest salon de thé, CAFE POUCHKINE at 18 Place de la Madeleine 75008.
And very luxe it is too.
Divinely Empire
Enough to take your breath away.
Their desserts are extraordinaire.
As is the tea salon staircase.
The basic breakfast formule will not break the bank Bear was pleased to notice.
Ta da.
Naturally I got the chocolat chaud, my poison of choice. But they had forgotten to bring ses confitures!
Never mind.  Enough mini jams arrived quickly to calm frazzled Bear.
I thought I'd paint onsite but lost my courage with all the grand Empire decor. I made just a few scribbles. When no one was looking, dear Bear snatched a jam jar (confiture de mangues, citrons verts, fruits de la passion) and tucked it into my purse for painting later.
So much better to make a mess at home.
That little jam jar became quite the instigator...
Normally I don't keep jam at home. There are bears on the premises. Suddenly there were two large jars of jam in residence. I told myself I was going to paint them. Ha. They were empty in one week. I was wondering why I was not feeling so peppy of late and started imagining flu coming on and other dire illnesses. It was eating all that jam of course. We're now safely back on jam quarentine. By the way if you've never tasted Corsican clementine marmalade (on the right from Carrefour) you haven't lived.
If you're wondering where to go for a classy petit dejeuner or afternoon tea try cafe Pouchkine. I know you'll enjoy it too. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend. I'd love to send you a mini jam jar. Instead receive Paris letters or maps in your mailbox with Parisian souvenirs
Cheers, Carolg et Bear

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet: David Lebovitz and his book, L'Appart

If you love Paris you already know DAVID LEBOVITZ, probably follow his blog (since 1999), his INSTAGRAM or read his Facebook (I go there before checking the NYTimes) or cook from his many cookbooks. David's latest book L'APART caught my fancy
Its about his first digs in Paris, a double chambre de bonne or maid's room (much like my own mouse hole), his 3-year search for a bigger, better space and the renovations that took place (and are still on-going!). Altogether a very funny book plus recipes.
I have David's book on my kindle so no book signing for me.
David has written 8 glorious cookbooks.
David kept us amused and happy for about 30 minutes. Afterwards a British woman rushed up to me in WH Smith's magazine section, where I go for US nostalgia.
She said, I was 10 minutes late. I've just moved here. What did I miss? 
Huh?
David did not reveal his plumber's name or other details about his renovations. He did tell of his early experiences moving and adjusting to Paris. How he made lists and visited every pastry shop in town. 
When someone asked for his favorite Paris restaurant and patisserie, he didn't tell. His fav restaurant is too small and he wouldnt be able to get in any more. And anyone who lives here for a bit soon discovers there is no one best patisserie in Paris. You go to different places for different things. He did say he loved the chocolatier Fouquet. They make their chocolates on the premises.
I took a Context marché tour with David in 2006. I'd been reading him avidly for a year and had just started Parisbreakfast. With David I got the complete and indepth tour of Marché d'Aligre.
I remember visiting this tiny bean shop in the marché. David knew the owner and all the best items. 
If some fortune teller told me then,"In 10 years you will be living in Paris and mapping this marché" I would have said "Getouttahere!"
If you live in a chambre de bonne you're on the top floor and have gorgeous views like this.
Or like out my window. You're also very hot in summer and freezing in winter...
And you do not have a gorgeous kitchen. This is mine not David's. Fortunately my mini-bar fridge broke last summer and now I have space for ice cubes and even a light inside. Major luxury in Paris.
I was seriously tempted by this proper oven in the vide grenier(street flea) last weekend on boulevarde Saint Germain.
David mentioned he was looking for a new waterheater but his partner won't let him buy a white one. They are used in old age homes. Uh oh...so far Bear hasn't said boo to me.
David's book is full of tips..the little quotidian things you only pick up from living in Paris a while. After I read his tip on the French preference for green beans I ran out to Picard.
Don't you know the petit French woman in front of me, made a bee line over to the vegetable case, opened it, picked out the haricot vert among the multitude of choices and moved on.
Here's another David Lebovitz secret. The absolute best Tarte Tatin in Paris awaits you at Berthillon. They have a smashing chocolate brownie too that must be all ganache. Not a crumb of flour.
We all left david's talk happy and full of Paris secrets.
No matter how tiny your apart is, Paris offers such grand spaces to enjoy. Its the right balance. Iwent to Mont Saint Michel last March after reading David's post on it. Yesterday I painted La mere Poularde copper pots. Read David's book. I know you'll enjoy it too. Thanks for reading Parisbreakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend. I wish I could send you a copper pot from Paris. Get Instead a painted letter in your mailbox and souvenirs too.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Europain Intersuc 2018

Last weekend was the annual professional EUROPAIN INTERSUC fair held at Parc des expositions a short RER train ride outside Paris. I have been munching and painting bread ever since.
I did not expect to fall madly in love with DANONE yogurt at the boulangerie fair but I did. Danone cleverly brought back their original 1919 glass jars. The yogurt inside tastes very creamy and the fruit on the bottom is not too sweet. Perfection in a jar. Plus they make lovely water jars for painting. You'll only find these in your local boulangerie come Spring, not the supermarché.
Europain is huge yet intimate at the same time since you're constantly tasting. No breads are for sale sadly.
But you can munch like mad on the enticing samples provided by the big flour (farine) companies.
Where can I find these breads in Paris is the question?
Dozens of tastes. I don't thnk I've ever eaten so much bread in my life.
I want her job.
They do give out baguettes freely. People on the train home were loaded.
My free baguette is now weapon-worthy. Hard as a rock 4 days later, but still good for modeling.
The best baguettes of tradition have large airated holes inside like this demo.
Ah...the smell of bread baking. Nothing else like it.
Viennoiserie forever.
I ate my croissant model. In fact I ate several croissant models. I am not getting on the scale this week.
Thanks for reading Paris breakfast. If you enjoyed this newsletter, forward to a friend. I wish I could send you a baguette from Paris. Get Instead a painted letter of a baguette or other Frenchie things in your mailbox and memories too.
Bonjour French bread!