October 7, 2010 |
Montreal, it's often said, is as close to Paris as North America gets. And there's no denying that first impression: I could feel a frisson of old France slide into my mind as we rumbled along cobbled Rue St. Paul past charcuteries and cafes up to our charming hotel in Vieux Montreal. But from the opening bites of our first meal at Joe Beef - broiled razor clams Casino and sublime raw Stanley Bridge oysters with bracing Prince Edward Island brine - it was clear that chefs in this Francophone city had eagerly embraced the touchstone flavors of their Canadian DNA. But that go-local impulse, thriving in Philadelphia and along the East Coast, hits a lusty high gear in Montreal, where the meat-centric kitchens cook for winter all year long, and even warm-weather meals come laced with rich poutine gravy and foie gras.
June 16, 2007
Exalting violence Thank you for Steven Rea's excellent critic's notebook item Sunday, "When gory movies are torture to watch. " As a medic with the Marines in Vietnam, I treated the wounded and dying. Having confronted the deadly consequences of war, I understood the need to confound violence by working for peace. After 9/11, I naively assumed that our nation, having suffered an act of unconscionable evil, would turn away from the violence that permeates our society. Instead we have exalted violence.
February 1, 1989 |
Foie Gras, Magret, and Other Good Food From Gascony (Random House, $19.95) is a fine example of France's return to traditional regional cooking. Nouvelle cuisine is, indeed, old hat. The book is written by Andre Daguin, chef and owner of the Hotel de France in Auch, and food columnist and consultant Anne de Ravel. De Ravel writes that a wave of culinary nostalgia is gaining momentum in France and that people there are digging into their food heritage. The result is that regional cuisines are being rediscovered, and cooks are preparing the simple and robust dishes routinely found at their neighborhood bistros.
July 1, 2004 |
If you were on the cutting edge of food trends in 1955, you might have popped over to the Hotel Astor in Times Square, where the first Fancy Food Show was being held. Amid its 82 exhibitors' displays, you would have found a selection of mostly European imports, including lingonberries, escargots, German cookies, and tins of foie gras. Fifty Fancy Food Shows later, there were six miles of products to consider at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, with 2,300 exhibitors from 52 countries and everything from pink Himalayan salt to jars of spicy South African peppadews.
November 10, 1994 |
Some statistics of interest gathered by the staff of Harper's magazine: Number of the 16 Democratic senators up for re-election this month whose TV or radio ads mention Bill Clinton: 1. Ratio of spending on campaign ads by Bill Clinton in 1992 to total spending on all health-care-policy ads this year: 2:3. Chances that an American knows who Harry and Louise are: 1 in 8. Percentage of Americans who said last year that they favored...
April 5, 1992 |
First things first: Cyrano de Bergerac, the 17th-century duelist, poet and long-nosed hero of the Edmond Rostand play, never set foot in this French town. While it is true that his ancestors hailed from the region, and that his family continued to maintain an estate nearby, the real Cyrano was a Parisian - born, bred and buried. Second things second: It doesn't matter. Bergerac has adopted Cyrano as eagerly as Orlando, Fla., adopted a California mouse by the name of Mickey two decades ago. And although the good citizens of this ancient capital of the Perigord region have not quite managed to create another Walt Disney World in the process, they have given travelers a wonderful, whimsical excuse to stop in and enjoy one of France's most picturesque and gastronomically rewarding towns.
October 8, 1989 |
I could have danced all night. I almost did. But then I looked at my watch, saw that it was 11 p.m., remembered the puppy that would want to be walked at dawn and said a fond farewell to Founders. I had been to the Bellevue's new-this-summer penthouse restaurant months earlier. The food, which I'll get to in more detail in a minute, had been fine, but I had been met at the door by a staff member who knows what I do for a living. The extra attention that the recognition engendered made it almost impossible to enjoy that meal, much less concentrate on the business of reviewing.
April 24, 1988 |
If you agonize over the right-hand side of a menu before making your selections, you probably won't be comfortable at La Bonne Auberge. Something as simple as the house salad costs $8 here. A bowl of asparagus soup is $6.60. Regular entrees average about $25, and special appetizers such as truffled foie gras or imported caviar are $29 and $48, respectively. Worth it? The well-dressed, well-heeled folks who have been patronizing the New Hope restaurant for the last 16 years seem to think so, and after two recent visits, I'm inclined to agree.
March 27, 1988 |
The note on the menu translates deja-vu as "already seen" - the feeling of having been through an experience before. I had that very feeling after visiting Deja-Vu. Two recent dinners at the Center City restaurant - now under new ownership - were so similar to experiences I'd had when Deja-Vu was in the hands of Salomon Montezinos that I kept expecting the former owner-chef to spring from the kitchen at any moment. He didn't. Neither did his new and as-of-the-moment anonymous successor.