From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Veteran restaurateur Couet and food photographer David Loftus team for a tour-in-recipes of the City of Light, its neighborhoods, and all the culinary nooks and crannies they hide. Couet acknowledges the quaint bistros and brasseries indelibly linked to the city, providing classics like Pommes Frites, Quiche Lorraine and an easy but luscious appetizer of baked goat cheese and honey. Couet argues that genuine Paris comes through in the city's many ethnic neighborhoods. The spicy lamb sausage called Merguez takes home cooks to the city's Arab Quarter; a simple but exotic salad of pineapple, coconut and pomegranate spiked with lime juice and a habanero chile transports readers to Paris' African neighborhood; and the Asian Quarter can be sampled in a crisp Green Tea and Cilantro Martini. Loftus expertly supplements Couet's rustic dishes with color and black and white photos. For many, the culinary cornerstone of the book will be Couet's take on Parisian markets and street food, in which he offers tips on creating a menu for an impromptu picnic: a trio of marinated olives, pickled sardines, wine-cooked artichokes and stuffed camembert among them. Readers who have never set foot in the French capitol will feel like they've just returned home after taking in this multifaceted cookbook.
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Paris , like all great metropolises, is a city of neighborhoods where newly arrived immigrants congregate together to preserve native traditions and establish systems of support within alien cultures. Within many of Paris’ fabled arrondissements, enclaves of distinctly non-French cooking hold sway. Couet has collected typical ethnic recipes from these local markets, cafés, and restaurants. From the Marais, centuries-old host to a sizable Jewish community, come carrot kugel and potato blini. The Fifth Arrondissement’s Greeks prepare fried squid. The Avenue d’Ivry is noted for its Vietnamese spring rolls. The Arab community near the Barbès Metro stop offers duck tagine. East Africans roast chicken rubbed with exotic spices, but the cooking methodology is still verifiably French. Couet also includes examples of provincial French cooking from some of the city’s bistros and brasseries. The book brims with photographs of food and of Paris’ streets and parks. --Mark Knoblauch