Celebrating Julia! She’d be 100 this week!

Courtesy of the Smith College Archives

 Yes, that headline is correct. If Julia Child were alive today, she’d be a hundred years old on August 15th! America’s first lady of cooking was well into her thirties when she moved to France, became passionate about French food, and took cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu.

Julia mastered the techniques of her adopted cuisine, but it wasn’t her French knife skills that made her famous once she returned to America. It was her personality and her joie de vivre that we all loved.

Over 6 feet tall, she towered above her cook top in her first television series, and with that high, proper voice, gave amusing commentary while turning out omelets and whipping up soufflés with boundless enthusiasm. Viewers adored her because she was so down to earth, and had a willingness to make fun of herself when something didn’t come out right.

Continue reading

A Pair of Terrific Paris Restaurants—The New and The Old

Brill with Rhubarb Sauce and Haricots Verts at Auguste


Although I’ve been in France’s capital only a few days, I’ve already managed to dine in two exceptionally good restaurants. Both were in Paris’ fashionable 7th arrondissement, but the ambience and the menus of these two places were worlds apart.
At Auguste, a restaurant that opened a few years ago, the décor was modern with a gorgeous red velvet banquette taking center stage in the main room. The talented chef’s creations were truly original and inventive. My first course, a green asparagus bouillon studded with slices of white asparagus and garnished with a celestial foam, was a definite winner, while my tender fillet of brill topped with rhubarb puree and julienned haricots verts, was just as tempting. For dessert a warm pistachio soufflé was superb distinguished by the exquisite flavor of toasted nuts. A small ramekin of blood orange sorbet made a refreshing garnish.
Salad of Haricots Verts, Artichokes, and Foie Gras at Le Voltaire
A short distance away at Le Voltaire, on the Quai Voltaire, overlooking the Seine, I had another memorable meal, this one composed of French classics. The dining room with its beautiful wood paneling, plush banquettes, and soft lighting was timeless as well. My stellar first course was a salad of extra thin haricots verts and fresh artichoke hearts tossed in a vinaigrette and served with a generous slice of foie gras. My “onglet de veau” was a masterful dish of tender cooked veal morsels paired with fresh apricots accompanied by two creamy purees, one made with potatoes and another with golden-hued squash. A tarte Tatin, France’s popular upside down apple pie, was served with dollops of rich crème fraîche, and practically melted in my mouth.
The tab at each restaurant was on the high side, hovering around 100 euros per person including moderately priced, but good wine. I’d go back to both in a heartbeat, heading to Auguste for innovative fare and to Voltiare for familiar French comforts.
54 rue de Bourgogne
Paris VII
01 45 51 61 09
Le Voltaire
27, quai Voltaire
Paris VII
01 42 61 17 49