Mont-Saint-Michel: One Ancient Omelette


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We had heard about The Omelette, of course.

About how Annette Boutiaut, a late-19th Century innkeeper in Mont-Saint-Michel, had begun keeping eggs in store to whip together quick omelettes for hungry guests waiting for their dinner. We knew it was a key component of the town’s history — one that has thrived over the decades as a big tourist trap draw. 

Even so, as we approached Mont-Saint-Michel and marveled at its imposing medieval abbey on a mount rising from the water and towering over a vast expanse of grayish blue, it seemed like there should be more. 

If this grande dame of a town had to have a gastronomic one-trick pony, shouldn’t it be something more than a trifling breakfast dish masqeurading as dinner?

But there it was in every restaurant — most notably as the main course on a 55 Euro set menu at La Mère Poulard, where Annette’s omelettes first appeared. 

What could possibly be so special about a bunch of beaten eggs fried in a pan?

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Paris: The Tried And True


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The upside to visiting Paris with a first-timer: The excuse to retread paths well worn.

There is the Angelina chocolat chaud yet undrunk, the freshly baked Poilane pains undiscovered. 

The sister, she has come to Paris with guidebooks well-marked and images of Amelie’s Montmartre flitting through her head. But first, the basics must be covered; important stops must be made.

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Prelude to Paris

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I’ve been thinking about Paris.

About bumping knees with Mike at the petite tables of the always-packed Bistrot Paul Bert. And wandering the streets in search of good bread. Or shoes. Or both.

So when it was announced that Recipe #4 of the Bread Baker’s Apprentice challenge was brioche, I took it as a sign.

Sure, it seemed silly to be attempting to make brioche for the first time when in a matter of days, I’d be in the land of great brioche. But I wanted to understand it. Just last week, I’d made bagels for the first time, a Herculean task that helped me develop a mammoth respect for a bread I’d often overlooked at breakfast.

So, with one pound of butter and a carton of eggs in hand, I steeled my arteries and was ready to go.

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I'll Have The Genitals, Please


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There’s something a little inappropriate about Pho Sure/Baoguette, Michael
Huynh’s new Vietnamese noodle-slash-sandwich joint in the West Village.

There are the kneeling Vietnamese maidens in barely-there tops plastered all over the wallpaper in a comely repeat pattern. And then, there’s the bull’s penis, practically waving at you from the menu. 

Yes, that would be the sliced up genitals of a bull served either with pho or a simmering hot bowl of soup.

Feel uncomfortable yet?

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And Now For A Pause


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It always comes to this, a mad race to the finish.

I knew I was in trouble when I found myself slurping up the remnants
of a big bowl of beef ball noodles last week while plotting, mid-bite,
to have a second dinner at Swee Kee, a Hainanese chicken rice joint that’s been drawing crowds for decades.

There’s never enough time when it comes to eating in Singapore. And my last days there before heading back to New York are always filled with crazed eating marathons as I frantically squeeze in that one last bowl of prawn noodles, that one last dish of Hainanese curried squid, all to tide me over until my next trip back.

Inevitably, when I return to New York, there has to be a break.

The palate must be cleansed; the body needs a rest.

This time, I’d come back eager to rev up my stove again after weeks of squatting in my aunties’ kitchens. But, what to make?

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