From the market’s parish church to the tastiest street in Paris

From the market’s parish church to the tastiest street in Paris

In Paris this winter, we visited Saint-Eustache as consolation for the closure of Notre-Dame cathedral. With its soaring spaces and grandest pipe organ in Paris, Saint-Eustache (saint-eustache.org/) provided a real spiritual uplift. Although the church's present structure dates mainly from the 16th century, part of the plan was loosely modeled on the 12th-13th century French Gothic cathedral—a hint of glory by association. Saint-Eustache was originally the parish church of the market district, known as Les Halles since medieval times. When Paris moved the central fresh market to the suburbs in 1971, many people viewed the destruction of the old market buildings as a crime against the spirit of the city. One of the side altars in Saint-Eustache memorialized the loss in a mass of statuary...Read More
Shopping for cookware in the shadow of Escoffier

Shopping for cookware in the shadow of Escoffier

When it comes to making food, the right tools make all the difference. A dull knife, a thin pot with hot spots, and trying to make do with a microwave when you really need a conventional oven are the kind of inconveniences that keep Grubhub and DoorDash in business. To cook with enthusiasm and joy is much easier with the proper batterie de cuisine, as the French call the arsenal of kitchen utensils, pots, and pans. And, let's face it, dinner tastes better when eaten on something other than paper plates and plastic cups. So save some extra room in your checked bag the next time you visit Paris. Two shops within steps of each other in the former Les Halles district of Paris sell...Read More
Warming up with hot drinks in wintry Paris

Warming up with hot drinks in wintry Paris

We were happy to go to the Paris sales in January and early February because the climate there is notably milder than our home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. But winter is still winter, and cold rain and mist can be even more chilling than drifting snow. While tramping all over the city (the transit strike had slowed the Metro), it was nice to duck in for something warm. True, there was an enterprising vendor near the north side of Notre-Dame who sold cups of vin chaud to go. But drinking mulled wine from a plastic cup on a crowded sidewalk turned out not to be quite as warming as we hoped. So we explored a few salons de thé, the undisputed queen of hot chocolate shops,...Read More
SOLDES! Chasing Parisian style at the winter sales

SOLDES! Chasing Parisian style at the winter sales

Of all the mellifluous words in the French language, none has a better ring than ‶Soldes.″ Usually written in all capital letters, it's the term for the twice-annual sales in Paris. We don't really know why the government regulates markdown seasons. But whatever the reason, the winter and summer sales are a real boon for travelers who want to score a bargain and bring home a little memento of Paris style. This year, winter sales took place January 8 to February 4. (Summer sales will be June 24 to July 21.) When we arrived in the City of Light during the third week of January, SOLDES signs were everywhere. We had admittedly missed out on the frenzy of the opening days when the sales racks...Read More
LEON makes us happy again, this time with curries

LEON makes us happy again, this time with curries

Between the ubiquitous Gordon Ramsey and ‶The Great British Baking Show″ on PBS, the long-battered reputation of British food is enjoying something of a rehabilitation. Moreover, the LEON restaurants, which launched in London in 2004, inoculated British cuisine with the idea that healthy eating and fast food were not necessarily mutually exclusive. The chain spread its gospel of ‶Naturally Fast Food″ to Washington, D.C., in 2018 and has started building more in the capital region. By our count, LEON Happy Curries (Octopus Publishing, London, $19.99) is the eighth cookbook in the LEON series showing how to replicate the restaurant's dishes and philosophy at home. But this book is a little different than the earlier ones. It represents the magnificent fusion of a homely European cuisine...Read More
Canned tomatoes from Europe recall the taste of summer

Canned tomatoes from Europe recall the taste of summer

This time of year we really start pining for summer tomatoes. Even the best hothouse tomatoes don't measure up. They're not as sweet or as acid and even the ripe ones are usually far too firm. Mind you, we always have some homemade marinara sauce in the pantry, but cooked sauces are no substitute for fresh vegetables. We've tried using any number of U.S. canned tomato products, and they too fall short. But the same isn't true for certain European canned tomatoes—especially those grown and packed in Italy. And, more to the point, those grown and packed in southern Italy and packed without added calcium chloride or preservatives. This may not be immediately obvious, since the front of the labels don't carry the European geographical...Read More
Jeff Ruby’s brings prime beef pizzazz to Lexington

Jeff Ruby’s brings prime beef pizzazz to Lexington

Every great American city deserves a great steakhouse but we confess that steakhouse chains give us pause. We're especially suspicious when the nationwide roster rises to 50 or more or when the chain trades on associations with various gambling destinations. We get it. Steakhouse spells success, glamour, ostentation. When you walk in, you might think that's the aroma of beef on the grill, but it's really the scent of money to burn. So when our friends in Lexington, Ky., suggested we all go out to eat at the newest pride and joy of downtown, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse (101 West Vine St., Lexington, Ky.; 859-554-7000; jeffruby.com/lexington), we kept our expectations in check. The Lexington incarnation, after all, was following versions in Louisville, Nashville, and Columbus, Ohio....Read More
Regal Kentucky Castle serves great humble biscuits

Regal Kentucky Castle serves great humble biscuits

If we lived in the South, we'd probably eat biscuits warm from the oven and slathered with butter every day. A good biscuit is the transfiguration of simple ingredients. Moreover, no two biscuits are exactly alike. Every home cook seems to cherish a grandmother's special recipe and many restaurant chefs like to add their own spin to this Southern classic. A couple of years ago, we shared the recipe for black pepper biscuits from Gralehaus in Louisville https://hungrytravelers.com/biscuits-unite-louisville-southern-indiana/]. On our recent visit to Kentucky, we discovered another winning variation at the Kentucky Castle (230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, Kentucky, 859-256-0322, thekentuckycastle.com) just outside Lexington. We expected to see gorgeous estates as we drove through horse country on a rainy morning to have breakfast at the castle....Read More
Honeywood showcases updated Kentucky cuisine

Honeywood showcases updated Kentucky cuisine

When we visit our friends in Lexington, Kentucky, they usually can guess our first question. “What's Ouita been up to?” we ask, referring to chef Ouita Michel. In the two decades since she and her husband Chris Michel opened Holly Hill Inn (426 N. Winter St., Midway, hollyhillinn.com) in a mid-19th century Greek Revival home, Ouita has led the dining revolution in Bluegrass Country. Ouita is fiercely committed to local growers and producers and is equally at home showcasing Kentucky products in fine and casual dining establishments. She now oversees nine restaurants and cafes, including two outlets of Smithtown Seafood (501 W. Sixth St., Lexington and 119 Marion St., Suite 160, Lexington, smithtownseafood.com). Here's the link https://hungrytravelers.com/at-smithtown-seafood-local-is-measured-in-feet-2/ to our earlier post about this unique collaboration...Read More
Lost among the ‘dusties’ in Lexington’s House of Bourbon

Lost among the ‘dusties’ in Lexington’s House of Bourbon

Brian Booth tapped the back wall of Justins’ House of Bourbon at just the right point, and the wall swung open to reveal a windowless den behind the shop. It was a veritable speakeasy of some of the rarest vintage whiskeys ever brought together in one vault—old bottles known in the trade as “dusties.” That's a big part of what Justins’ House of Bourbon (601 West Main St., Lexington, Ky.; (859) 317-8609; thehouseofbourbon.com) is all about. Note the placement of the possessive apostrophe. This Mecca for bourbon nerds is the brainchild of Justin Sloan and Justin Thompson, both of whom began collecting vintage bottles of bourbon more than a decade ago. When Kentucky law changed in 2017 to allow the sale—by the glass and by...Read More