Archive for the ‘French cuisine’ Tag

Binge reading   Leave a comment

I finally did it: binged on three* Louise Penny novels back to back. There’s still another to read, but since it isn’t on my nightstand (per my New Year’s Books Resolution), it has to wait.

Most readers I know are fans of the Inspector Armand Gamache series. To those few who admit to me they aren’t, we can still be friends; although, I am disappointed.

Nonetheless, I’ll focus on All the Devils are Here, which allows me to also highlight what I enjoy so much about Penny’s work: the relatable characters, the descriptions (and significance) of settings, and, of course, the mystery to be solved. Unlike most of the previous novels, this one is set in Paris, with brief references to Three Pines, the small, tight-knit community in rural Quebec.  I was initially disappointed the usual cast of characters (residents of Three Pines) was relegated to barely-existent roles. Yet, Paris is, after all, a magical place, which comes to life through the author’s vivid imagery of people, sites and food – lots of food.

In addition to the mystery at hand, are several back stories: Armand’s relationship with his estranged son Daniel; the imminent birth of his granddaughter; and his memories of visiting the City of Lights.

Suspicions abound as Gamache works to discover who tried to kill his godfather. The inspector encounters corporate espionage, corrupt police and rumors involving the French Resistance. It’s an intriguing combination. This and the benevolent qualities of her main character are what Penny does best.

All the Devils are Here

Four Bookmarks

Minotaur Books, 2020

439 pages

*Kingdom of the Blind

A Better Man

All the Devils are Here

Bon Appetit   Leave a comment

I was in the mood for something special – most likely inspired by the biography of Julia Child I’m reading. Whatever the reason, we landed at La Baguette French Bistro. I’ve written before about La Baguette, known for its French Onion Soup and crusty bread, but the Bistro, while sharing a similar name, is a different family altogether.

This comfortable, unpretentious restaurant has an impressive dinner menu. Yes, French Onion Soup is an available starter, but we opted to begin with the Tomate, Avocado, Mozzarella Salate. It’s an upgraded version of a Caprese Salad; thanks not only to the addition of the avocado, but also the orange-infused olive oil.

The evening special was Salmon Tips in a cream sauce served over quinoa with green beans almondine, which my husband ordered. It’s hard to go wrong with a cream sauce on anything, and the salmon was no disappointment. However, this was one meal where I did not suffer from entrée envy. I was unabashedly smug with my choice of Veal a la Normandie topped with a cream sauce made with applejack brandy, mushrooms and apples. The apples added just the right amount of texture to balance the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. This was a lick-your-plate-clean meal.

An inordinate amount of attention has been paid to the décor with a French village motif. Lighting is dim, the service considerate, but the owners really need to say au revoir to the canned classic rock and roll music coming through the speakers.

La Baguette French Bistro
Four Plates
4440 N. Chestnut St.
Colorado Springs, CO