Best of May

Sinking building on rue Lamarck

When you’re out and about in Paris, it’s good to remember to look up, so as not to miss a special architectural detail, a beautiful play of light between buildings, or an especially striking perspective. (You do want to look back down at your feet often enough, though, as some Parisian dog owners shirk their responsibilities in a despicable manner.)

And sometimes it’s sideways you should look, such as here, at the foot of the Sacré-Coeur, where a steep little slope on your right allows you to get this trompe-l’oeil view of a “sinking” building on rue Lamarck.

Good Eats

Best of May

• We had a delightful dinner at Yard, a pocket-size restaurant in a super cute micro-neighborhood of the 11th that serves market-fresh dishes and natural wines in a fun, unpretentious atmosphere. The stand-out for me was this starter of trout with slim grilled zucchini and almond cream. I would have licked the plate clean, but their beautifully crusty bread volunteered to mop up the sauce.

• Whenever I’m in the Belleville area, I can’t not get a fabulous banh mi from Saigon Sandwich. Maxence and I have been total fans of their Vietnamese sandwiches for years and years, and in fact, they were my first meal after I gave birth to each of my sons, special-delivered by Maxence to my room at the maternité. My favorite is the chicken (poulet spécial) with extra chile peppers.

• I was happy to discover the Compagnie générale de biscuiterie, the brand-new cookie shop that star pastry chef Gilles Marchal (formerly of La Maison du Chocolat) opened in my neighborhood. (Montmartre is becoming more and more of a must-not-miss destination for pastry enthusiasts. Ask me about my walking tours!) It’s a workshop-slash-boutique where you can see the team at work making puff pastry treats and butter cookies. I recommend the paper-thin arlettes and the chocolate chip sablés.

• If more proof was needed that Montmartre is on the rise (ha ha), Melbourne coffee shop Hardware Société chose it to establish its Parisian outpost. It’s a gorgeous space with lots of light, a beautiful view, and a wall of butterflies you kind of want to take home with you. On the menu: all-day brunch (what’s not to like?) such as these poached eggs served with grilled mushrooms, ricotta, mâche and watercress on a thick toast of walnut bread. (On weekends, get there early or late to avoid the crowds.)

Find my top Paris spots on this map of favorites, and follow me on Instagram to see many more food shots and Paris recommendations throughout the month!

Latest Reads

Markets of ProvenceThe Pot Thief Who Studied EscoffierBonjour KaleMinimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking

More reading recommendations »

Food Blogger Pro Enrollment

Food Blogger ProNot long ago I told you about Food Blogger Pro, a membership site that offers invaluable resources for food bloggers. I continue to draw great value from my own membership, and you can read about it here; I’m especially excited about the new food styling course that they just added in. The current window of admissions is closing on June 2, so if you want to give it a try, this is your chance. (You can sign up for just one month if you’re unsure, and they have a 60-day money back guarantee.)

5 Cool Links

  1. My friend and fellow food writer Caroline Mignot has a YouTube channel where she shares behind-the-scenes videos with the best food artisans. I especially enjoyed her recent video on massaging butter and the one with pastry chef Johanna Roques of Jojo & Co. It’s in French, but just watching is enough!
  2. The elaborate politics of using the grocery belt divider at the supermarket.
  3. Puzzled about edible seaweed? This quick guide should clear things up.
  4. Do you let your kids near sharp knives and hot stoves? (Related: My Parents Who Cook series.)
  5. Surprise surprise (not) there’s a big gap between what “foodie culture” presents and what people actually cook and eat. I’m no elitist and think that any kind of home cooking is a win. What are your thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter and like the C&Z Page on Facebook for many more links throughout the month.

Note: This post contains some affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase using those links, I will receive a commission from the vendor, at no extra cost to you. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Best Eats in Bordeaux, From a Local

Bordeaux

Travel season is upon us, and I want to make sure you see and taste the best France has to offer! When it comes to Paris I’ve got you covered, but there are many other cities with exciting and delicious things for you to experience. So I’ve asked a team of French bloggers from different cities to share their favorite spots, and I am offering them to you in this new series.

In Bordeaux, Bénédicte recommends…

Benedicte Baggio-Catalan of my little spoonFor our first destination, I’m happy to introduce Bénédicte Baggio-Catalan, the author behind the French blog My little spoon. Bénédicte is originally from La Rochelle, but she fell in love with Bordeaux in 2002. She created her blog in 2008, in which she shares seasonal recipes for daily cooking and for entertaining. She is currently working for the Cité du Vin, a new venue devoted to wine that will open in Bordeaux very soon.

In addition to her blog, I recommend you follow Bénédicte on Facebook and Instagram. (The photos are hers unless otherwise noted.)

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30-Minute Spinach and Chicken Coconut Curry

30-Minute Spinach and Chicken Curry

This post is sponsored by Revol, a French manufacturer of top-quality ceramic cookware. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Chocolate & Zucchini.

It’s Confession Tuesday and I have one to make: I don’t really like spinach.

On my early twenties’ quest to rediscover and fall in love with the vegetables I’d grown up not liking (I’m looking at you, Brussels sprouts!) spinach was a total fail.

I blame years and years of school cafeterias and well-meaning summer camp counselors. Unless the spinach is of pristine freshness and cooked with fairy dust in really inspired ways, the metallic aftertaste makes me shudder and push my plate away.

So I hardly ever buy spinach at all. But on a recent trip to the Perche, when we got to the organic produce stall where we buy a week’s worth of marvels (and then some) the minute we arrive at the greenmarket, we saw he had gorgeous spinach that was selling out fast. Maxence was tempted, I relented, and we snatched up an armful.

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Edible Paradise: A Food Lover’s Coloring Book (Giveaway)

Edible Paradise

Coloring books for adults are all the rage right now, and deservedly so: with an increasing portion of our lives happening on screens and clouds, what could be more grounding than to sit down at the end of a long day with an actual paper coloring book in your lap and favorite pencils scattered around you?

Indeed, it’s an ideal activity to unplug and unwind: low-pressure (I mean, we can all color, right?), high-satisfaction (in just a few minutes, voilà, your page is all pretty and complete), and wonderfully meditative, as your fingers busy themselves and your mind is free to wander.

I have seen quite a few such books for sale in bookshops here in Paris, and I was thrilled when a talented Paris-based illustrator I know, Jessie Kanelos Weiner, released one of her own, titled Edible Paradise: An Adult Coloring Book of Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables, celebrating the edible plant kingdom.

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Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker

Coconut Spiced Rice in the Rice Cooker

This coconut spiced rice has been on heavy rotation in my kitchen lately, and it’s all thanks to Maxence.

A little while ago, he expressed the desire for us to acquire a rice cooker. I admit it: I scoffed. I argued that we could cook rice on the stovetop just fine, that we didn’t need a specialized appliance for that, and where in the world would we put it anyway?

But I could see he really wanted one, and considering that 90% of the stuff taking up room in our kitchen cabinets is, ahem, by all intents and purposes, well, my stuff, the least I could do was green-light the rice cooker. (And that’s the secret to relationship longevity right there. You’re welcome.)

So Maxence went off and researched the heck out of the rice cooker equation, because that’s what he does (I don’t have nearly as much patience for it) and he decided on this model from Cuisinart, which happens to be pretty good-lookin’, too.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I’m eating my words.

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