This is the name of the first book Debbie and I pull out in advance of each trip to Paris. A few years ago we went on a very special food and wine tour in Paris and Switzerland. The once in a lifetime gastronomic adventure was organized and led by internationally acclaimed cookbook writer and pastry chef David Lebovitz (author of My Paris Kitchen)(See David on a culinary adventure in Paris in the video below). On our opening night in Paris, David’s friend Alexander Lobrano, former European correspondent for Gourmet and author of Hungry For Paris, joined us for dinner.
I had recently finished reading Hungry for Paris and wanted to be specific in telling Alec about my favorite vignette in his book. That night the name of the, “snug Latin Quarter brasserie” escaped me (Le Balzar) but most of Alec’s incredible description of an “ unabashedly privileged creature” at a nearby table did not.
In Hungry for Paris Alec describes the scene. You will soon see why Alec is one of the most distinctive and humorous writers and critics in the world of French dining. Alec writes:
And most memorably, a solid woman in a marled tweed suit of autumn colors-pheasant, maize, vermillion, scarlet-who ate every scrap on her plate, burped deeply and proudly without excusing herself, and paid only the most occasional notice to her faded-looking husband. After a coffee and a small Cognac, the unabashedly privileged creature belched again and then bid the waiter adieu, while loudly noting that she would certainly return again soon in the hope of eavesdropping on such an astonishing conversation, ours, a remark of such cunningly serrated snideness it took one’s breath away with admiration and horror.
Absolutely vintage Lobrano, and the perfect introduction to a writer whose books you will just not be able to put down and will, through the years, return to often, as Debbie and I have. Before Debbie and I return to Paris this fall, I will have completed another in-depth reading of Hungry For Paris, scribbling dozens of more red ink notations through it’s revealing pages. Tops on my red ink notations list, this read through, is a reminder to not miss booking (a must) at Le Florimond which Alec describes as offering a stunning “signature dish,” stuffed cabbage with lush brown gravy.
Alec concludes his most compelling introduction to Le Florimond writing “ In a word: Aristocratic loden-coat-wearing locals with dachshunds tucked under their tables mix it up with the occasional well-advised tourist, UNESCO types and top military brass with intimidating posture (Ecole Militaire is just down the street) in this warm, welcoming neighborhood bistro.”
What a terrific book!