When I wrote about the hamburgers at Kincaid’s in Fort Worth recently, I was slammed with comments about other burger joints in the area – most notably, Dallas’ newest, Maple & Motor. Open just a year, in an old taqueria on Maple Ave. across from Elliott’s Hardware, M&M’s brisket/chuck half-pounders had already achieved legendary status among the Dallas burgerati, and lines out the door into the parking lot were common, I’d heard.
So far, it has not been the easiest of trips. Not long after I landed in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, I got sick. Then my computer froze. Wouldn’t even do the beach ball. But the 20-something on other end of the 1-800-helpy Mac desk assured me that it was probably some sort of start-up glitch, so I worried not. The next day, I toted my little MacBook to the closest Apple store, hopped on a bar stool, and Genius Alex told me matter-of-factly that it wasn’t a start-up issue at all — it was my hard drive. It had crashed.
X and I were killing time the other night, waiting for the pizza place in Passy to open at 7 for dinner, and we came across Aux Merveilleux de Fred, a little shop on rue de l’Announciation selling meringues. Meringues in four different sizes, from small, individual ones to meringue “cakes” that feed eight.
When I saw the recent story by Oliver Strand in The New York Times about the awful coffee in Paris — true, it’s often burned, weak, tasteless, or all three — I sat up in my chair, with my medicore cup of morning Joe and took note. He said that a new café near Pigalle called Le Bal had the best coffee in town, so I did a quick Google map search, realized that it was only a few metro stops away, and when X came home from walking Rosedog, off we went.
I have a confession to make about le macaron: for a long time, I didn’t like them. But oh, how I tried! For years, I sampled macarons all over France — at weddings, where they’re often made into a conical tower, resembling a Christmas tree; at patisseries in cities and in the country — and with few exceptions, they were always a disappointment; two soggy cookie outsides with a gooey filling. Bleh.
It seemed appropriate to be meeting James Beard award winner and culinary superstar Dorie Greenspan for lunch at a place called Les Fines Gueules, which is French for “refined mouths,” “gourmets,” or even more loosely, “good taste.”
There’s nothing more Parisian – or satisfying – than tearing off the end of a crunchy, just-baked baguette, and eating it while walking down the street, on my way home. And with good reason. Since the iconic, slender loaf was first created — food historians’ best guess it that it was around the time of the Industrial Revolution, because Viennese steam ovens were used — it literally has been the daily bread of its citizens, who would no more dream of giving up their loaves than I would tortilla chips.