food 02.1.05

Remember French Food?

The single best thing we ever ate was in 1985 at the then-three-star restaurant Alain Chapel in Mionnay, France. M. Chapel paired a piece of lobster with a thin slice of fried potato — something that wasn't far from a potato chip. The chef, a genuine wizard, took familiar ingredients, and through some mysterious alchemy, created a taste, a moment, a pleasure we'll never forget, if we can't quite explain. (And we'll never be able to get to the bottom of that mystery — M. Chapel died in 1990, very much in his prime).

Remember French food? Even without a Chapel in the kitchen, it can provide so many pleasures from familiar ingredients. But when was the last time a friend suggested meeting for cassoulet? These days, it's much more likely to be 'let's eat Thai' or tapas, or sushi. We're quite sure it has nothing to do with Franco-American relations or, returning to the kitchen, Mother sauces and organ meats. Perhaps it was inevitable that as our culinary horizons expanded in the past couple of decades, our infatuations would also be farther flung. It seems strange to say, but, even as we let our classic French restaurants slip away, we think French cooking is due for a revival, at least in terms of our affections. And whether or not it rises to Michelin-worth-a-detour levels, nothing tastes as good as French food on a dark winter night. A few suggestions:

· Fleur de Sel, 5 E. 20th [Bway/5th] 212.460.9100
· Le Refuge, 166 E. 82nd [Lex/3rd] 212.861.4505
· Paradou, 8 Little W. 12th [Greenwich/Wash] 212.463.8345
· A Table, 171 Lafayette [Adelphi/Clermont] Bklyn 718.935.9121
· Le Gigot, 18 Cornelia [Bleecker/W. 4th] 212.627.3737

· Burgundy Wine Company, 143 W. 26th [6th/7th] 212.691.9092

· Artisanal, 2 Park [32nd] 212.725.8585

· Payard, 1032 Lex [73rd/74th] 212.717.5252
Hot Blogs, Get Yer Hot Blogs
Several new blogs have launched. Fans of original Gawker writer Elizabeth Spiers, with co-editor Christian Moerk, are writing Fishbowl NY about NY media. It's off to a good, skewering start. Meanwhile, at Ms. Spiers' old old stomping grounds, the Gawker Media empire, two new blogs have been added to the rolls: Gridskipper, an edgy travel guide, and Lifehacker, about the latest computer software and websites. The Observer has added a political blog called The Politicker.

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