Archive for the ‘Americans in Paris’ Category

Rosemary’s Angels

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
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Angel Cake by Rosemary Flannery

Angel Cake by Rosemary Flannery
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Graphic artist Janeen Koconis hosted a cocktail party last night for Rosemary Flannery to celebrate the publication of the French edition of Rosemary’s book Angels of Paris. Entitled Les Anges de Paris, it is available in hardcover from Amazon.

Rosemary Flannery with Anges de Paris on left and Angels of Paris on right

Rosemary Flannery with Les Anges de Paris and Angels of Paris
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Festive Spread

Festive Spread
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Animated Conversation

Animated Conversation
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Angels of Paris by Rosemary Flannery

Read my review of the English edition of Angels of Paris by clicking here: http://blog.parisinsights.com/angels-of-paris-by-rosemary-flannery/

Bonne lecture!

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4th of July Celebration on the Ourcq Canal

Sunday, July 5th, 2015
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Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells

Tom Reeves and Monique Y. Wells
Photographs by www.DiscoverParis.net

Yesterday evening we got aboard a boat to take a 4th of July cruise along the Ourcq Canal. Organized by the Seine-Saint-Denis Office of Tourism, the tour featured jazz entertainment by the Kalini Trio, Chicago-style hot dogs by Little Kitchen, and craft beer by Deck & Donohue, an artisanal brewery.

Kalani Trio - Caroline Wyatt - Arthur Links - Gabriel Midon

Kalani Trio with American Caroline Wyatt on vocals and French Arthur Links and Gabriel Midon on guitar and bass
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

American Mike Donohue and French Thomas Deck, founders of Deck & Donohue Brewery

American Mike Donohue and French Thomas Deck, Founders of Deck & Donohue
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Darin and Sandriene Bieck, Founders of Little Kitchen

American and French Husband and Wife Team Darin and Sandriene Bieck, Founders of Little Kitchen
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Inside the Boat

Inside the Boat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Marianne of Tom's River New Jersey

Marianne of Tom’s River, New Jersey
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

A number of Americans were on board, including Marianne from Tom’s River, New Jersey. She is currently studying natural medicine in Hamburg, Germany and came to Paris for a brief stay.

Mike Donohue Pours a Cold Beer

Mike Donohue Pours a Cold Beer
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Chicago Hot Dogs and Chocolate Fondant

Chicago-style Hot Dogs and Chocolate Fondant by Little Kitchen
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

All the ingredients were there for a great 4th of July celebration: good music, cold beer, and generous hot dogs. A good time was had by all!

Celebrating the 4th of July

Celebrating the 4th of July
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

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Cooking Bœuf à la Bourguignonne with Ann Mah

Friday, October 10th, 2014
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Ann Mah bookcover

Last year Ann Mah published a delightful book about French cuisine called Mastering the Art of French Eating. I became aware of it because my own recently-published book Dining Out in Paris—What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light treats a similar theme, namely French food and dining culture. I read her book in two evenings, and then decided to try one of her recipes, Bœuf à la Bourguignonne.

Essential Ingredients for Bœuf à la Bourguignonne

Essential Ingredients for Bœuf à la Bourguignonne
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

She calls this dish Bœuf à la Bourguignonne rather than Bœuf Bourguignon, because she believes that the reader should be able to use any kind of red wine, not just Burgundy wine. I purchased most of the ingredients from the local food market on rue Mouffetard, including a bottle of Rasteau, a Rhone Valley red, from Nicolas. From Pascal Gosnet I purchased two beef cheeks; from Picard Surgélé I purchased a bag of frozen pearl onions and a bag of frozen sliced button mushrooms; from Halles Mouffetard, I purchased an onion, a leek, and carrots; and from Franprix I purchased a small bottle of Cognac, a jar of juniper berries, and lardon matchsticks (bacon chopped into small slivers). I already had the other ingredients in the pantry.

I allotted an entire afternoon for the preparation of the dish. By the time I was finished I had lots of pots, pans, and utensils to wash! But the next day, when my wife and I set down to dinner, I concluded that the hearty dish was worth the effort.

Chopped Leek and Carrots

Chopped Leek, Onion, and Carrots
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I chopped the leek, onion, and carrots into 1″ pieces as Ann instructed.

Cubed Beef

Cubed Beef
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I cut the beef cheeks into 3″ pieces. This was the hard part, because my knife wasn’t sharp and because a membrane on the cheek was too tough to cut. I removed it by cutting away at the meat rather than at the membrane. I saved this meaty scrap and boiled it later for beef stock. Then, I put everything in the pot (except the meat scrap) to await the wine bath in which the vegetables and beef would be immersed.

Pouring Wine into the Pot

Pouring Wine into the Pot
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I poured the wine into the pot. Naturally, I tasted the wine first: it was medium-bodied with a rich aroma of red fruits. Very nice!

Then I covered the pot, making sure that all of the meat was immersed, and put it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

Browning the Meat

Browning the Meat
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

The following day I removed the beef chunks from the marinade and put them in a frying pan with olive oil to brown. Ann said that they would turn golden and crusted, but they never did. Oh, well.

Browning the Vegetables

Browning the Vegetables
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I removed the meat from the frying pan and set it aside. Then I browned the vegetables. They never got very brown either, so I had to pretend that they were browned.

Flaming the Cognac

Flaming the Cognac
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I put the vegetables and meat back into the frying pan and flamed them with cognac. Then, I returned the beef and vegetables to the pot with the marinade and let them simmer for three hours.

Sautéed Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, and Bacon

Sautéed Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, and Lardon Matchsticks
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

I prepared the garniture: sautéed mushrooms, pearl onions, and lardon matchsticks. This all went into the pot with the beef, vegetable, and marinade to simmer for an additional ten minutes.

Bœuf à la Bourguignonne

Bœuf à la Bourguignonne
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

It was finished. Voilà! (The vegetables are discarded. The beef is served without the marinade. Later, I used the marinade to make a rich cabbage and carrot soup.)

At the Table

At the Table
Bœuf à la Bourguignonne Served with Mushrooms,
Lardon Matchsticks, Green Beans and Quinoa

Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

It was truly a dish that was suitable for serving on a chilly fall day. We found the beef to be tender with a somewhat gamey flavor. I speculated that the flavor came from the mushrooms, wine, and smoked bacon, not from the meat. (I tasted the meat in the beef stock that had been prepared without marinade, and it didn’t taste gamey.) There was enough beef left over for another meal, which we had two days later.

Thank you, Ann Mah, for writing the book and sharing the recipe for this savory dish!

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Angels of Paris
By Rosemary Flannery

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
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Angels of Paris by Rosemary Flannery

Rosemary Flannery has written an intriguing book about images of angels that we see almost every day while walking around Paris, but never stop to think about. Her book, Angels of Paris, lists dozens of sculptures and images of angels, cherubs, genies, putti…any human-looking creature, large or small, adult or infant, that has wings. Flannery has found them on door knockers, church steeples, pediments, sundials, columns, niches, grills, just about everywhere.

She classifies three types of angels:

Renommées – these are adult angels that celebrate the fame of a person or a group.

Génies – these are angels that one finds on public and private buildings, often flanking a seal or blazon.

Angels – these are messengers of God found on church doorways, steeples, and roofs.

Some angels are celebratory and some are simply decorative or symbolic. The large angel on the face of a certain apartment building in the 3rd arrondissement, for example, is a decorative element that softens the façade’s oblique angle. In another part of town, two génies support a lightning rod on the roof of the Châtelet Theater. Perhaps they symbolize the benevolent protection that the heavenly host accords to theatergoers on stormy nights.

Elsewhere in Paris, angels are portrayed bearing coats of arms, or gifts, such as macarons, flowers, and fruits.

Angels of Paris contains photographs of over seventy angels, arranged by chapter. Each chapter represents an arrondissement, or district, of Paris, and within each chapter the angels are arranged in chronological order according to the date on which they were installed on their particular building. The oldest angel in Paris dates from 1146 – 1148, and the newest from 1936.

More than simply a book about angels, Angels of Paris is also about the history of the city and those who participated in its embellishment. Flannery has carefully researched the lives of the artists and sculptors who created each angel and except where no information was available, recounts each artist’s role in the beautification of the city. Some readers might find her use of architectural terms deterring, but those who bear with her will find their appreciation of the architectural beauty of the city richly enhanced.

Measuring only 6¼” by 6¼”, Angels of Paris is a small hardcover book that can be carried and consulted as one strolls around this enchanting city.

To learn more about Angels of Paris, follow this link: Angels of Paris – An Architectural Tour Through the History of Paris.

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Monique Y. Wells’ Interview on IDFM 98 Radio Enghien

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
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Ollia Horton and Monique Y. Wells at IDFM Radio 98 in Enghien

Ollia Horton and Monique Y. Wells at IDFM Radio 98 in Enghien
Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

Ollia Horton of Happy Hour on IDFM 98 Radio Enghien recently interviewed our own Monique Y. Wells. Here is a synopsis of the interview.

  • Monique’s background
  • Why we created Discover Paris!
  • Why we created African-American history in Paris walks
  • Beauford Delaney – an American artist
  • Dining Out in Paris – our new book
  • Discover Paris! – our activities around food, including gourmet tours
  • Monique’s experiences in learning French and why she wanted to live in France
  • Follow this link to listen to the interview: Ollia Horton’s Happy Hour – Radio IDFM 98. (The interview is roughly 19 minutes long.)

    Bonne écoute!

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    Award-winning Author Reviews Dining Out in Paris

    Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
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    Dining Out in Paris

    Indispensable! Tom Reeves’s Dining Out in Paris doesn’t just recommend places to eat. This is a guide book that decodes all the little customs, cultural quirks and expressions of speech a visitor to Parisian eateries will encounter. A longtime American expatriate who knows and loves his adopted city, Tom Reeves proposes restaurants that are off the beaten tourist tracks. Best of all, this book celebrates the multiculturalism of Paris, in all its variety and vibrancy. For visitors in search of an authentic Parisian dining experience, this book is indispensable!

    Jake Lamar, author of Rendezvous Eighteenth and Ghosts of Saint-Michel.

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    Paris under the Occupation – A Guided Walking Tour with Thierry Heil

    Sunday, July 20th, 2014
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    Lily Heise, our friend and manager of Context Paris, recently invited us to join a new walking tour that Context has organized called “Lights Out, Paris under the Occupation.”

    Thierry Heil of Context Paris

    Thierry Heil of Context Paris
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    We met the group leader, historian Thierry Heil, at the Cadet metro station in the 9th arrondissement for a three-hour trek that began in the Jewish quarter that lies to the north of the Grands Boulevards and ended at place de la Concorde. Along the way, Thierry narrated somber stories of life in Paris under German occupation during WWII: razzias, deportations, executions, resistance, collaboration, denunciation, and finally liberation.

    Plaque in Memory of Orville J. Cunningham

    Plaque in Memory of Orville J. Cunningham
    Located on Rue Boissy d’Anglas

    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Heil pointed out buildings where the Germans established their headquarters, a synagogue and schools that Germans and their French police collaborators raided to capture Jews, plaques on walls that recalled executions and deportations, and locations of street battles between German forces and members of the French resistance. One plaque that he mentioned (that wasn’t on the walk) was placed in the memory of an American resistance fighter, Orville J. Cunningham, who was captured by the Germans on September 24, 1942 and executed on December 4, 1943.

    Travelers to Paris who have an interest in French history or the history of WWII will find this walk to be fascinating and enlightening.

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    Are We There Yet? – 90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French

    Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
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    Author Shari Leslie Segall and publisher Lisa Vanden Bos have collaborated to produce a witty little book, 90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French, in the guise of a checklist for Americans living in Paris to help them determine how well they have integrated into French culture.

    Colorfully illustrated by artist Judit Halász, this concisely-written book challenges expat readers to reflect on how much they have adapted to what they initially must have perceived as quirky customs when they first arrived in the French capital: stores closed at inconvenient times, crossing the handwritten number 7, addressing people with the formal “vous” rather than the informal “tu,” eating bread without butter, putting on a stoic face—rather than a happy one—when walking down the street…the list goes on.

    I took exception to a few of the depictions of the French, not finding them to ring true from my experience. But Segall has been living French corporate culture—she is a consultant in cross-cultural communication—and her experiences are necessarily different from mine. I find, for example, that the French are quite punctual, and I am always surprised when I hear people declare that they are not.

    Americans living in Paris will enjoy reading this book, and those first-timers dreaming about living a Parisian adventure will profit from the knowledge they gain before setting foot in the City of Light.

    90+ Ways You Know You’re Becoming French can be purchased on Amazon. Click here to learn more!

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    Sally Hemings in Paris

    Saturday, April 12th, 2014
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    Marisa Williamson as Sally Hemings

    Marisa Williamson as Sally Hemings
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Artist Marisa Williamson came to Paris recently in the guise of Sally Hemings, the slave-mistress of Thomas Jefferson. Williamson was turning a film about Hemings, who could have chosen to remain a free woman in Paris rather than return with Jefferson to the United States to live as a slave.

    From left to right: Avery Williamson, Charlotte Bayer, Monique Y. Wells, Marisa Williamson

    From left to right: Avery Williamson, Charlotte Bayer, Monique Y. Wells, Marisa Williamson
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Dressed in period costume, Williamson played the role of Hemings, a young woman who was “struggling to decide whether to claim her freedom in a foreign land, or return home…” She interviewed a number of African Americans to learn why they came to Paris and how they perceived themselves as blacks living in France.

    Marisa Williamson and Monique Y. Wells

    Marisa Williamson and Monique Y. Wells
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Williamson was assisted by Charlotte Bayer, who filmed the encounter of Hemings with our own Monique Y. Wells on a park bench in Paris, and her sister Avery Williamson, who photographed the shoot. The film is scheduled for release in August 2014.

    Information about Marisa Williamson’s film project can be found here: Hemings in Paris.

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    Meet Michael D. Poole – Chocolate and Pastry Maker

    Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
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    Chef Michael D. Poole

    Chef Michael D. Poole
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael D. Poole, firehouse chef from Seattle. He’s in Paris honing his skills on macarons, one of the products that he sells alongside his French chocolates back on the West coast.

    Michael has been coming to Paris for a few weeks every year since 2000. He first came to study basic cooking at the Cordon Bleu and continued at that school year after year until he received the Grand Diplôme in 2003. He returns every summer to work with chocolate and pastry makers, learning new techniques and reviewing old ones. He has applied his skills to chocolate making and now sells French chocolates at six different retail outlets in Seattle, as well as on his Web site.

    He recently began offering macarons at a couple of the retail outlets, hence his current interest in perfecting his macaron-making skills. This summer he is working at Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Pascal Pinaud on rue Monge, where he has learned to get the consistency he was seeking in his macaron batter (which consists of egg white, almond powder, and powdered sugar). He wanted his macaron shell to be a little bit firmer than what he’s been producing until now. Michael is a perfectionist in his craft and doesn’t stop until he gets it just right. Not that any of his customers back in Seattle were complaining, mind you!

    Macarons

    Michael’s Macarons
    Photograph by www.DiscoverParis.net

    Back in Seattle, Michael offers four different flavors of macaron to his customers: lemon, pistachio, coffee, and chocolate. He will soon add a fifth, orange. Hence, I purchased these five flavors, all of which he had made at Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Pascal Pinaud using Mr. Pinaud’s recipe. I took them home to try. Here are our tasting notes:

  • Lemon – mild, sweet lemon flavor
  • Pistachio – the almond in the macaron is more pronounced than the mild flavor of the pistachio.
  • Coffee – thick, creamy filling; relatively thin lower macaron shell.
  • Chocolate – this macaron felt heavy in the hand due to the density of the flavorful chocolate cream.
  • Orange – this was our favorite. A strong orange taste that reminded me of the Dreamsicle of my youth. My partner declared that it tasted like candied orange.

    All of the macarons had light but firm shells, which allowed us to pick them up without crushing the delicate crust. When bitten into, they were chewy. They all had a creamy filling.

    We think that Michael’s customers in Seattle will be pleased with the new orange flavor that he plans to introduce!

    Check out Michael’s Web site!

    And if you are in Paris, stop by Pâtisserie Chocolaterie Pascal Pinaud to try any of their nineteen different macaron flavors:
    70, rue Monge
    Tel.: 01.43.31.40.66

    Metro: Place Monge (Line 7)

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