We have tons of upscale coffee shops, and wine is more popular than ever in North America, so Eater asks what seems to be a simple question: Natural Wine Is Everywhere in America. Where Are the Wine Bars?
I say “seems” because the answer is long and fascinating for a number of reasons: economic, cultural, and gastronomical. It’s a smart piece. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a snippet of what I mean:
It’s sad to see something so ostensibly simple become another exclusive pleasure, so I keep looking for the neighborhood wine bar of my dreams — which is honestly just a cramped room with bottles of interesting, affordable wine on the wall and, like, a cheese plate? Yet this seemingly simple thing is stupidly hard to find. It’d be sort of funny that cosseted American wine bars struggle to attain the loose charm of Paris, given that France is stereotyped as the place that’s snooty, rules-bound, and tradition-obsessed, if the result wasn’t such a bummer. While yes, there are a lot of rules, France also has a more open culture of public life; you don’t need to make plans to go out to drink wine. And though wine signifies many things in French culture, an air of sophistication because you drink it is not one of them. The appeal of enjoying wine in France, at least as the kind of person who’s moved by wine but still needs bolds on the list, is that French wine culture feels so much less precious than in America.
I love stories about colours and their origins, but this one on Paris Green is especially good: This Trendy But Toxic Shade of Green Left Thousands Dead in the Victorian Era.
Turns out 19th century patrons loved this tint that was produced using…arsenic. You can imagine how this turns out, but save your imagination and read the story.
Image and story from Town and Country, of all things. Not sure how I came across it, but I am glad I did.
Not for everyone visiting Paris, but if you want to see Paris in a way untypical of most visitors, consider this: Paris on Foot: 35 Miles, 6 Days and One Blistered Toe – The New York Times
Affordable dining in Paris is possible, and the New York Times is on it.
For more, see: Three Courses, 20 Euros: The Affordable Dining Renaissance in Paris – The New York Times
Like many, I am well aware of Pei’s work at the Louvre. I was not aware he designed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. I liked this piece, Six of I.M. Pei’s Most Important Buildings – The New York Times, because it showed the diversity of Pei’s work and touched a little on how he approached new projects.
A good way to remember a great architect.
According to this piece, they are. A key indicator/quote pulled from it:
Around 30 years ago, bistros represented about half of all restaurants in Paris…Today…that figure has dropped to 14%.
Bistros are challenged because the cost of providing that type of establishment in Paris is limited by such things as rent — a problem not limited to Paris — as well as international threats like fast food joints.
At one time bistros were fast food joints. But there’s more to bistros than fast food. I agree with that article that says a good bistro should be
open continuously morning to night, serves French comfort foods at moderate prices, and houses an active bar where locals can gather for a drink and some lively conversation
That seems right to me. McDonald’s in Paris will never be a bistro, no matter how fast the food or how French they make the decor.
Paris will always have low cost places to eat (e.g. cafes), but it would be a shame if they lost their bistros. (It would also be a shame if the ones that remain are expensive museum pieces and less casual places to dine.) Best to get yourself to them now while you still can.
The wise David Lebovitz has great tips on how to host a dinner party in the manner that Parisians do. If that sounds daunting to you, it shouldn’t. It’s filled with such smart advice such as “Keep it Simple” and “Finish with chocolates”. If you have a dinner party hosting coming up, drop everything and read and follow this: How to Entertain Like a Parisian Tips – David Lebovitz. . From the good people at Food52.com.
(Photo from here)