Best of

Best of 2008

As I get things ready for the New Year’s Eve party we’re throwing tonight — a very casual affair, mind you, it’s the only kind we like (or know how) to host — I’d like to take a moment to say goodbye to 2008, and remember the good things it has brought.

Besides the release of the French version of my cookbook and the US publication of my new Paris book, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris; besides a memorable trip to Western Australia and another to Croatia; besides the birth of the most lovable of dimple-cheeked nephews, the purchase of a spiffy bike, and the demise of my oven, I give you, in no particular order, a few of the things that have marked my year:

Favorite food-related book: Della T. Lutes’ The Country Kitchen, a fantastic gift from Adam, who found a vintage copy of it at Bonnie Slotnick’s store in NYC.
Contenders: Diana Abu-Jaber’s memoir The Language of Baklava and Monique Truong’s novel The Book of salt.

Favorite new cake recipe: the flourless poppy seed cake.

Favorite new chocolate: El Ceibo‘s 71% chocolate, produced by a Bolivian coop.
Contenders: Claudio Corallo‘s chocolate with raisins and cocoa pulp in bitter liquor, Poppy‘s “pure bliss” raw chocolate hearts, and Taza‘s 80% bar of stone ground chocolate.

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Best of 2007

Best of 2007

As 2007 gets ready to tiptoe out the back door, let me catch it by the sleeve and sit it down for a cup of tea and a chat, in remembrance of what the year has brought. It can then go back to packing its bags, and I to my New Year’s Eve preparations. (I have fifteen people coming to dinner and no game plan. Wish me luck.)

2007 has left me no time to idle: my cookbook came out in the spring, I went on a US book tour and on television to promote it, translated it into French, did more events in London and Paris, wrote another book on Paris restaurants and food shops, started a French version of Chocolate & Zucchini, created a silly side blog, and took on some freelance writing assignments.

It has been a good year indeed, but I look forward to 2008 even more: the French edition of my cookbook will be published by Marabout in February, my second book will come out in the US in April, I have a trip planned to Australia, and I’ve been nursing more projects and planting more seeds for the year to come — we’ll see what blooms!

And now, for the traditional list of personal awards:

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Best of 2006

Happy New Year! As we slowly ease into 2007, recover from the holiday season and draw up virtuous resolutions we’ll promptly forget so we can unearth them in December and have a good laugh, let us take a moment to bid a fond farewell to 2006 (where do years go when they’re over?) and reflect upon the good things it has brought. Here’s my Best of list:

Most Inspiring Cookbook: Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. Contenders: Mes Recettes pour votre ménage and The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating.

Favorite Fancy Meal in Paris: Lunch in the gardens of Le Bristol. Contender: Dinner at Le Sensing.

Favorite Fancy Meal Elsewhere: Dinner at Cordeillan-Bages, where Thierry Marx officiates. Contender: How could I not mention El Bulli in Roses, Spain?

Favorite Simple Meal in Paris: a côte de boeuf pour deux with garlic potatoes at Corneil.

Favorite Simple Meal Elsewhere: The Crack’d Conch in Key Largo, Florida.

Favorite Soup Recipe: Beet Soup with Anchovy-Walnut Paste

Favorite Main Course Recipe: Le Poulet de Muriel served with Chicken Family Green Beans.

Favorite Addition to my Baking Repertoire: Gâteau Sirop.

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Best of 2005

As the year draws to a close (remember that they’re adding an extra second for free! What are you going to do with it?), here are a few of my favorite food things from 2005.

Favorite recipe for a first course: Warm Leek Salad with Fresh Walnuts. Contender: Artichoke and Goat Cheese Mille-Feuille.

Favorite recipe for a main course: Asparagus and Strawberry Tart.

Favorite recipe for dessert: Blueberry Yogurt Cake. Contender: Peach and Apricot Compote with Poppyseed Cream.

Favorite Paris meal: a sparkling lunch at Les Ambassadeurs in the Crillon palace, where Jean-François Piège officiates. (Weekday lunch menu at 70€.) Contender: Gaya, Pierre Gagnaire’s new seafood restaurant (44 rue du Bac in the 7th).

Favorite meal elsewhere in France: Chez Gianni in the Luberon. Contender: Manechenea in the Pays Basque.

Favorite meal abroad: Blue hill in NYC. Contender: a tapas bar in San Sebastián.

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