First day in #Paris

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20130717-124838.jpgWhen we landed we were supposed to be picked up by the tour company. Several of the folks in our group had cars waiting but we had to ask for the assistance of a very kind gentleman in a dark suit. Seems that all of the drivers wear dark suits, thin ties and sharp shoes, looking like Michael Bublé. A bit of a wait later we were in the car and going through Paris traffic, gridlock not unlike any other big city in the morning. The drivers are a bit demented but the bikers absolutely nuts, winding between cars and trucks like they are on a slalom course with a death wish.

Our first night was at the Marriott on the Champs-Élysées.

20130717-123959.jpgThis gorgeous hotel was the result of many nights in the Shelton Connecticut Courtyard as we saw our son swim nearly every weekend in the fall.

Desperate for coffee I ordered some in the lobby. €18 later (yup, Euro, not dollars – welcome to Paris!) I got the necessary jolt of caffeine needed to begin our first stroll toward to Arch de Triumphe. Our friends were to arrive on Thursday so we decided to do some front work and begin exploration. I could spend a month in Paris and still not scratch the surface. We decided to start at the arch and work our way to the Eiffel Tower.

The city is made up of lots of traffic circles and spoke streets that link them all. Being so used to the grid that makes up much of Manhattan it was a bit disorienting for a day until the logic of short cuts lit in my head. After that it was a breeze.

The circle around the Arch de Triumphe is insane, and the only safe way to get to the monument is through a tunnel. We walked around and looked at the sculpture and inscriptions and honored their war heroes at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

With umbrellas in hand we then walked toward the icon in the Parisian sky. Pick pockets are everywhere and gypsies approach you with ease. Hold on to your stuff and ignore the advances. Don’t worry, they will find another mark.

Prior to reaching the tower we stopped at our first cafe, Pub Kléber, sitting with our backs to the building facing the street. How lovely watching the world go by while dining. Very Parisian!

20130717-124305.jpgWe both ordered a dry Chardonnay and I got the quiche of the day. It was a large wedge of happiness, filled with chunks of salmon. I ate a fair amount of it before I realized how light it was. It did not have gobs of cheese, just the right amount to flavor without overpowering the salmon. It went well with the wine, too.

After lunch we walked over to the Eiffel Tower. I got a lump in my throat, much like the one I always get when I see Niagara Falls. I hope Parisians get that feeling at least every once in a while.

At first I was a little bummed by the weather but seeing this picture of the gray clouds I actually think it looks even more amazing. We were going to leave the tower climbing (by elevator) to when we were with our friends.

For now we just stood in awe. We’re in Paris!

After checking into the hotel we took a short nap (not recommended but sometimes you have to give into the exhaustion. I set my alarm for 30 minutes and that got me back on track.

Our dinner plans and dining companions actually came about a few days before when a dear friend saw my Facebook post about my last minute preparation before the trip. We had not seen each other in months, had not had dinner together in years but met up with each other in Paris for the perfect beginning. We dined at Le Buisson Ardent, 25 Rue Jussieu, in the Left Bank.

They brought a “shot” of carrot puree which I found just on the edge of sweet.

20130717-124338.jpgA few at the table did not like the texture so I was lucky to have extra. I came to realize during the trip the French must love juicing vegetables because we were offered this sort of palette opener quite often.

20130717-124426.jpgI ordered Turbot rôti au beurre d’oursins, jus corsé à la’encre de seiche et combawa, riz sauvage “mangues, menthe poivrée” which means Turbot (a fish) roasted with sea urchin butter, gravy with squid ink and combawa, wild mango peppermint rice.

Tip: when you speak to anyone, a smile and French greeting go a long way. Then, ask politely for a table and most places will give you French menus with English translations.

The Turbot was prepared with the bone in so I needed to take a few careful bites before I realized how easy it was to separate the fish from the frame. The squid ink gravy with combawa (a Thai fruit) was a salty contrast to the sea urchin butter. I had never had sea urchin in any way before so I was already able to add a new food to my list. The rice was flavorful but I’m not crazy about crunchy rice so it was not my favorite. The dish overall was very enjoyable.

My dining mates all seemed to enjoy their meals, as well.

We ordered dessert in spite of not being hungry for it. I am very glad we did because each taste was very good.

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A cab ride back to the hotel, a night cap then a stroll down the Champs-Élysées was the perfect ending to my first day in Paris.

Tomorrow: the official Tauck French Waterways tour begins.

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Quick Skewers – Quick Dinner

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It’s that time of year, isn’t it? The days are longer and we somehow seem to have even more to do. If you’re like me, you don’t want to spend all the daylight inside cooking. I try to sneak at least a half an hour each evening to getting things done outside. Winter is SO LONG!

skewers

The other night I wanted something quick on the grill. I bought a teriyaki seasoned steak from Wegman’s.

I cut it up into bite sized pieces and used a new set of skewers my cousin gave me for Christmas. Good cousin! I seasoned pieces of orange bell pepper and tomatoes that were about 2 inches in diameter with olive oil, salt and pepper. I think next time I will not use the tomatoes and instead use onions chopped into large cubes. Alternating, I added the tomato, beef and pepper trying to put the skewer into the middle of each piece.

We grilled them until the beef was caramelized on the outside (teriyaki marinade has a little sugar in it) and medium rare on the inside, about 8 minutes total.

 
potatoes

I served them with boiled tiny red potatoes with butter and sea salt

sprout bowl

Wegman’s makes roasted Brussels sprouts that we eat like candy. Imagine a vegetable, especially this one, eaten like candy. We just love them. But, they did not have them this past week. What to do?

Make them myself!

Remove the stem and peel off outer leaves of the Brussels Sprouts.

Remove the stem and peel off outer leaves of the Brussels Sprouts.

 

Dice a few pieces of Pancetta that you can get at the deli counter. Ask them to cut it thick, about 1/4". Dice it into small 1/4" cubes. Do this easily by stacking them on top of each other and cutting them all at once.

Dice a few pieces of Pancetta that you can get at the deli counter. Ask them to cut it thick, about 1/4″. Dice it into small 1/4″ cubes. Do this easily by stacking them on top of each other and cutting them all at once.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1 Pound Brussels Sprouts

3 ¼” pieces of Pancetta

Olive oil

Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Roast them for about 30 minutes, until the outside is caramelized (the vinegar does the trick this time) and they are tender.

Join me on Facebook and let me know if you try this recipe. How would you tweak it?

Have a yummy day!

Social Media and Ginger Cake

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Let me open this by saying were it not for social media, you would not be reading my food and life blog on WNYPapers.com. Here’s why:

When I decided to spin my blog away from an online news source in 2012 the first follower I had on my WordPress.com site was WNYPapers. It was not immediate but it got me thinking about the folks who were interested in reading my work. Who are they?

It’s relatively easy to figure out with social media.

Primarily I use Facebook and Twitter. My foodie persona on Facebook is JudeTheFoodie and can be found here. Here people can chat with me directly and I find this to be the easiest way to have direct interaction with other foodie friends. By “liking” this page you can also become part of the conversation.

Twitter is still a mysterious social media to many with lots and lots of rules attached that to someone with little experience would view as mishmash. @JudeTheFoodie is the “handle” I use on Twitter to Tweet my foodie experiences including travel.

Here are just a few things to know about Twitter to help you understand the puzzling world of Tweeting.

When you “follow” someone you can read their Tweets (messages 140 characters or less). Unless they follow you, they cannot read your Tweets. The idea is that we follow folks with whom we are interested without regard to their wanting to know anything about us.

For example, I follow Martha Stewart. I can see all of her Tweets. She, however, (sadly) does not follow me. If I want a Tweet to get to her, even though she does not follow me, I can begin my Tweet with @MarthaStewart and it will show up on her feed. The feed is the list of Tweets from all of the people you follow.

Once you follow a large number of people the feed is very congested. You could spend the entire day reading your feed. I say that a Tweet is a lot like standing on the 50 yard of a stadium and speaking to a packed house without a microphone. In order for your Tweets to have any impact (and for most people to see them) you need to mention someone (using the “@” symbol and their Twitter handle like @MarthaStewart) or use a “#” called a hashtag.

The hashtag is a way to group Tweets. If you Tweet “I love watching #Chopped. The ingredients in the basket are crazy!” anyone else who enters #Chopped in the search area can see your Tweet. It’s pretty cool and you can chat with folks from around the world.

I also post my columns on Pinterest. It is a cool way to group my recipes and travel articles in one place for people who do not follow me on WordPress.com. WordPress is the blogging platform I use and what runs my website. I am slowly gaining followers on my website. If you follow my blog at JudeTheFoodie.com you can click on follow. Whenever I post anything on my website you can read it on your WordPress.com reader.

Now, what does a ginger cake have to do with social media? The recipe I used the other day to make a very moist ginger cake can be found here: http://theworldinourkitchen.com/2011/03/08/ginger-cake/

I have never met Chef and Jen but due to social media I can say they are friends. We started following each other on Twitter which led to Facebook which led to Words With Friends which led to the realization we are only 50 miles apart. We hope to meet this summer.

Every day I post a “JudeTheFoodie.com Question of the Day.” Late last week it was Cake or Pie? Over 600 people viewed that post (and I only have 159 followers on this Facebook page). Chef waxed poetic about his wife Jen’s ginger cake. I asked for the recipe and through the power of social media I baked this cake a few days later.20130422-082849.jpgThis cake is moist and dense. I little piece has a big impact. The recipe calls for ¾ or a cup of ginger and I used the whole piece which turned out to be a little over a cup. I think I will use the recommended amount next time because the ginger was very powerful (not unpleasant but strong).

Also, I recommend using a medium saucepan to heat the one cup of water. When you add the soda you have a bit of a chemistry experiment as it will bubble up. Add the chopped ginger to the pan, stir then add to the batter. Caution: this batter is much thinner than you would expect so don’t worry, its fine.

The recipe does not call for any topping and while it does not need anything to taste wonderful I am going to make a sweet whipped cream to serve on the side the next time I make this great cake.

Please “Like” JudetheFoodie on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @JudeTheFoodie. Begin a Tweet with @JudeTheFoodie to let me know you read this column.

Have a yummy day!

Our 1st Quick Bite Quick Sip Contest

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Win $25 from the

Lewiston Village Pub!publogonew-01-125

‘Quick Bites and Quick Sips!’

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of every month, we will announce the theme of the month. You drink and dine around town and nominate your favorite sip or bite. You must describe why you like it in 140 characters or less.

Feel free to take a picture. Send the “Quick Bite” or “Quick Sip,” picture (including the name of the restaurant or tavern) to us by Wednesday March 27.

Include your first and last name. You will be notified via email if you are the winner of a $25 gift certificate to the Lewiston Village Pub.

There are lots of ways to submit your entry:

You can go to the exclusive Jude The Foodie page on WNYPapers.com and contact us there.

You can submit your entry on the Jude The Foodie Facebook page. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook so you can get all of the announcements and win prizes.

And you can e-mail JudeTheFoodie@gmail.com with all of the information.

Restaurants are welcome to invite their patrons to participate.

On Monday, April 1, we will announce a winner and publish their “Quick Bite” or “Quick Sip” along with the next month’s theme.

 March theme: “Grandma’s Kitchen”

I’ll start: When I think of Grandma’s kitchen, I think of the biscotti at the Village Bake Shoppe in Lewiston. It’s a memory of Grandma’s house!

 Now you get out there and give it a try. Have a yummy week!

Nothing Tastes Better Than The Food We Remember

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A few weeks ago I posted this picture on my Jude The Foodie Facebook page.

My status:

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“Working from home…actually licked the dip off the plastic cover…is that wrong?”

Now, at the time I had 122 wonderful foodie friends following me. If 50% of them viewed this picture I would have been over the moon. Facebook does all of these cool analytics and they will tell you how many people saw each post. They give two numbers. The first group is described as organic (those folks who subscribe to my page). As of now, 74 or my followers have seen this post. That means that 60% of my foodie friends saw this post. Cool!

Here’s the cool kicker: 357 more people were viral viewers. This means they saw the post from a friend or a friend of a friend. Even cooler! In addition, 23 people “liked” it and there were 34 comments.

And this is all because I mentioned that I licked the dip off the plastic cover. Maybe I should not call it the cover but the removable film that protects the product from contamination. I would never lick the actual cover that you put on to store it in the refrigerator, not unless I knew I was going to eat the whole thing, like a yogurt.

We love food. Food brings us back to memories of youth, to a simpler time, even if it was anything but simple.

People talked about that delicious Bison French Onion Dip like it could help them channel their youth. And for those few moments when they were engaged in the conversation they may have actually gone back in time. I had friends from around the country wax poetic about how they would buy it in Western New York when visiting and bring it back home to enjoy.

This past November when my son came home for his first Thanksgiving since moving to New York he posted a list on my personal Facebook wall. What was number one on his list?

Bison Dip

Number two was Molson Canadian (in bottles) and number three was DiCamillo’s bread.

There were as many comments about the “dip delivery system” as there were with the dip.

It was interesting having my dipping moxy challenged.

I had some multi-grain pita chips and decided that Crosby Stills and Nash were right when they crooned that you should “Love The One You’re With.” But Bison Dip purists would agree that Wavy Lays are the best chip to use because the need for “chip extraction” is reduced.

I laugh as I write about “dip delivery system” and “chip extraction” because these were part of a real conversation I had with my son and nephew who have thought way too much about this whole business.

Yes, we love food. We love to eat it, prepare it and talk about it. I asked my friends to talk about their favorite food memory and where they grew up. I delighted in their answers.

Jucy-lucy

Jucy-lucy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My cousin Sharyl, who has lived in Minnesota for many years, spoke about a burger called the Juicy Lucy.

Her description: yum!

I did some research and learned it is a cheese burger with the cheese on the inside. You have to wait a few moments before biting it because many people are burned by the melty cheesy goodness that squirts out.

There are two bars in Minneapolis that spell it differently. The 5-8 Club calls it the Juicy Lucy and while Matt’s Bar calls it a Jucy Lucy. The competition reminds me of Philadelphia and their cheesesteak where Pat’s and Geno’s duke it out every year.

We love food.

Karyn mentioned a pizzeria/bakery in Niagara Falls (it is now in Lewiston NY – a top 10 Small Town in the USA). I remember Trucello’s because it was not far from my grandmother’s house. Karyn says “it covered all five senses. A true food experience.” I just remember the oil dripping up my arm as I ate it. And, that was not a bad thing.

Mary, who grew up in Annapolis Maryland remembers Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs. There is nothing like eating seafood that was likely swimming the day before.

“My grandmothers cornbread made in little cob shaped cast iron molds. She served it with butter and honey! Yumm!” was posted by my friend Sandra who hails from Nashville, TN. My sister and I pass our grandmother’s molds back and forth because you cannot beat a well seasoned pan.

Terese remembers Rocco’s Pizzeria in Waterford Michigan. “My Mom and Dad took us every Friday on a pay week! Mr. Rocco was behind a glass window flipping the dough for your pizza!” I asked her what made it so special and she said “the sausage they used for a topping, and the wonderful show he put on for his customers! It was definitely a treat to go out for dinner!”

I’ll bet she hasn’t thought about Rocco for years but simply by the detailed description she went back to a simpler time, when dad got his paycheck and the family was together.

We love food.

Close your eyes and remember the one food that brings you back in time. What is it? Care to share?

Have a yummy week.

Last week: Setting The Table for 2013 JudeTheFoodie.com

Can’t Have It? Then I Want It!

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This whole thing about Twinkie’s20121117-065615.jpg

has gotten me thinking…

The mind games we play with ourselves about food is absolutely crazy. And, to tell the truth, is likely one of the main reasons why it’s an obsession for so many.

We have given an inanimate object a great deal of power.

Take the Twinkie. Hostess has caused quite a stir, announcing they are closing their plants and no longer producing the iconic Twinkie along with other products like orange cupcakes

20121117-083036.jpg or Wonder Bread

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My sister’s favorite was the Ho Ho.

20121117-083653.jpgI liked it but always deconstructed it as I ate it…first nibbling off the chocolate coating (chocolate so waxy that it built up on your teeth), then unrolling it and licking off the cream filling (so sweet it sometimes made me shiver) and finally eating the chocolate cake. That was a lot of work for a thin slice of cake!

But, I digress. My Twit Feed and Facebook wall is filled with Lamentations about the closing of Hostess. Boomers like me are all going down their own culinary memory lane. With Thanksgiving looming we are all talking about food memories (or maybe it’s just that I have foodie friends…birds of a feather…) and over and over I hear about how bad Twinkies are.

You would think Twinkies shoved themselves into people’s mouths!

We give food power.

News flash: it has none. No food is completely good and no food is completely bad. As soon as I made up my mind that I could eat anything I wanted I took the power back.

If I want a Twinkie I would eat one. Bad example…I would never actually crave one but you know what I mean.

Reframe. Food has no voice…we are ventriloquists. If the food speaks it is really our words.

Just change your mind.

RIP Twinkies.

Have a yummy day!

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Lewiston NY: One Of The 2012 Best Small Towns in America

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My friend Mary Lesa posted something on my Facebook wall yesterday. My beloved home town was included in the 10 Best Small Towns in America..

Lewiston NY was ranked fifth on the list. Our town participated in the 2012 Best of the Road contest and rallied together to host the Road Bros in what turned out to be an epic visit.

Small towns can be quite amazing. It is difficult to explain unless you experience it. When you walk into your local cafe someone will know you. Your local pubs are filled with folks to clink your glass. The food you eat in local restaurants are not only prepared by your neighbors but they are likely family recipes passed from generation to generation.

To my friends in Lewiston and Youngstown, feel free to comment on this column and plug your restaurant or shop. Let’s build some momentum for Shop Local Saturday.

“Like” my Facebook page and give yourself a shout-out to let folks know why it’s not only fun but smart to shop locally.

I will feature as many as possible so come on, play!

Have a yummy day!

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Don’t Be Disagreeable (dis-uh-gree-uh-BULL)

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20121102-074848.jpgI just noticed that the end of the word disagreeable is BULL! How funny (and ironic) is that?

I read my timeline on Facebook and have concluded that half of my friends disagree with me and the other half, well, the other half do, too.

You see, social media has made it easy to perpetuate lies. And, I mean lies on both sides. The lies are presented to allow someone to justify being disagreeable.

But, I’m here to say, being disagreeable is not a lofty goal.

Since we now have a 24 hour news cycle, each hour on a cable news channel has some news but what you are really watching is opinion with a sprinkle of news. Again, on both sides.

Remember the “funny saying” years ago “I read it in the newspaper, it must be true!”?

Now we hear: “I read/heard/watched it in/on the newspaper/radio/Internet/cable news show, it must be true,”

How is it we have allowed strangers who are in many cases no smarter (or even better informed) than we are to whip up such frenzy?

We all bring our own opinions, perspective and, dare I say, prejudice to every decision we make.

Here is my desperate plea: be passionate about what you believe in. Take ten minutes a day to read/listen/watch the dissenting opinion. Give those with whom you disagree the same respect you would hope for yourself.

Practice the art of disagreement without being disagreeable.

Oh, and one more thing…

VOTE

Have a yummy day!

Everybody’s Doing It!

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Well, maybe not everybody…not even very many people but you could make it everybody! :o

If you read my Jude The Foodie column in Below The Falls or on JudeTheFoodie.com (you are likely already here) it would be great if you would “LIKE” me on Facebook.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/JudeTheFoodie 
The thing I love about the Facebook platform is that we can more easily talk to each other. JudeTheFoodie LogoI get a lot of ideas from my Facebook friends so join the crowd – everybody’s doing it!
Have a yummy day! JudeTheFoodie.com

Best of the Road #LewistonBest Videos and Media Coverage

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I got a Tweet the other day and wanted to be sure to share this video with everyone. Just as Lewiston is competing for Best Food in a small town in America, Brian and Mike – The Road Bros are competing for the best judges. We watch and share their videos and they get closer to their quest.

Remember, get ready to set your DVR for the Travel Channel July 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm to see Lewiston shine on national TV.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwKZUXZqcJ0&feature=youtu.be]

And, just like washing your hair(wash, rinse, repeat) please WATCH, SHARE, REPEAT).

Here are some more links: http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/06/20/birds-eye-view-of-niagara-and-lewiston/

This is a great post about the Welcome Rally at the Silo http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/06/25/gracious-and-exciting-welcome-in-lewiston/ For a great summary of the judging day in Lewiston check out this blog: http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/06/27/lewiston-may-be-small-but-with-huge-heart-and-vast-variety/

Come to Lewiston! http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/06/28/take-a-lewiston-left-and-see-what-the-locals-have-to-say/

Joshua Maloni of WNY Papers Niagara Frontier Publications did a great job covering the Road Bros! http://blog.bestoftheroad.com/2012/06/22/local-media-coverage-for-team-road-bros-from-lewiston-ny/

And more stuff!

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go9aesVkv3k&feature=autoshare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOkVvpxYrog&feature=autoshare

Notoriety – Lewiston Porter High School – Fantastic Job!!!

Have a Yummy Day!

JudeTheFoodie.com