Archive for the ‘bistros’ Tag

Hippie Meals   Leave a comment

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Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook by Alice Waters is like dining at what’s supposed to be a very good restaurant but only a few of the entrees are enjoyable. Unfortunately, not all of Waters’s memoir is interesting. The parts that are, really are though.

Waters is credited with helping change the culinary scene in the 1960s by opening Chez Panisse which relied on a prix fixe menu that changed according to what was fresh that day.

Waters shared too much minutiae from her childhood. I don’t care about a costume party when she was four years old or that her step-grandmother was a cold woman. Things pick up when she transfers from college in Santa Barbara to Berkeley. What I found most interesting was how a trip to Paris her junior year of college and her years in Berkeley made such an impact.

The narrative is told mostly in chronological order leading up to the opening of the restaurant. Anecdotes about life post-opening are indicated in italics throughout most of the chapters. These asides are noteworthy, but they are also distracting.

The story of Chez Panisse begins with Waters’s desire to replicate flavors she experienced in Paris through a cozy, hip bistro-like ambiance. What set her apart at the time was what is now recognized as the slow food movement and the reliance on the freshest possible ingredients. Yet, there’s scant mention of either, nor of her recognition today as an advocate of sustainable agriculture.

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook
Three-and-three-fourths Bookmarks
Clarkson Potter Publishing, 2017
306 pages



Au revoir   Leave a comment

crepeexterior On Oct. 31, La Creperie will officially end its 35-year reign as the crepe queen of downtown Colorado Springs. Although, I suspect the crown has been slipping a bit in recent years. A friend asked that we celebrate his birthday with lunch at the bistro. We both admitted that it had been years since either of us had dined there. We’d had no official falling out, nor could we explain why we’d allowed so much time to elapse between meals there. It made sense to enjoy a swan song repast before La Creperie’s doors closed for good. crepepotate I would have fared better to have let the restaurant fade away in my memory. My recollections overshadowed the quality of the food served, so I was disappointed. The highlight of the meal was the Gratin De Pommes De Terre. The tender slices of potatoes were decadently rich thanks to béchamel sauce and cheese in which they were baked. I had to exercise extreme self-control not to eat the entire serving on my friend’s plate. crepechicken The chicken with mushrooms and almonds crepe was topped with Hollandaise sauce. The filling, when mixed with the sauce, was satisfactory, but not exceptional. The real disappointment was the crepe itself, which was dense and bland. I picked my way through the filling leaving a shambles of the crepe’s former identity on my plate. My companion did the same. I’m opting not to rate the meal since La Creperie will only be open a few weeks longer.

La Creperie
204 N. Tejon St. Colorado Springs, CO