Frenchie and a Bowl of Soup

18 Nov

When the team at the Charlotte Agenda asked me for a fall-inspired recipe, a soup came to mind immediately.

Some might say what’s a soup other than random vegetables puréed and mixed together?

Sounds too simple. Sounds too easy.

But a soup is so much more. A soup is complex.

First, a soup is texture. How will it feel as soon as the spoon touches your tongue? How will it linger after the first mouthful? What was added to the bowl to make it an interesting meal experience?

A soup is character. How well do the ingredients and intertwined flavors complement one another? Does it take on a new dimension as you continue eating?

A soup is also art. Will it charm your guests after the first taste? A well-styled bowl of soup to trigger excitement and happiness, bringing emotions to the eyes as you look down at the bowl placed in front of you – big spoon in hand.

But a soup is also comfort. The relief felt from feeling warmer after a cold winter walk. Smiling as both hands hold the heated bowl. Eased at the idea of eating something nutritious. Comforted when sick and bed stricken – grandma and grandpa lovingly caring with a pot of simmering soup going on the stove. Perhaps there will be toasted bread? Or croutons? I hope it will be creamy and a bit spicy.

Mange ta soupe, ça te fera du bien.

A bowl of soup to feel better. 

A bowl of soup to ease the pain.

A bowl of soup to warm bodies and souls.

And sometimes, a bowl of soup is all we need to find serenity and support while gathering with friends around a steaming pot at the dinner table. When we need it the most. When we need a human connection. When we need to talk about life, freedom and personal liberties. When we want to be serious. When we need to laugh and be silly, escaping life for 5 quick seconds.

A bowl of soup to find comfort when tragedy strikes.

A bowl of soup for France and Paris.

Go to the Charlotte Agenda page for more photos and the full recipe of the roasted pumpkin and shallot soup with walnut and spinach pesto croutons.

Frenchie and Fall Cooking Days

3 Nov

The oven is on and the vegetables are roasting.

With fennel seeds, of course.

And a sprinkle of coriander, a dash of cumin, smashed garlic cloves, sea salt and olive oil.

The house smells like fall.

I’ve been roasting vegetables almost every day since mid-September.

That time of the year again when the light changes, the shadows more prominent on food, the mood a bit darker and time spent in coffee shops to get warmer.

Unexpectedly busy, this season took me from New York, to Boston, through New Orleans, and finally to Asheville.

Scouting for food. Color hunting. And snapping pictures along the way.

I will be back soon with two new recipes inspired by the latest travels and photos.

Recipes for the fall. Recipes for a change of season.

Frenchie and the West Coast

16 Sep

How long after being back home from a lengthy and restful vacation would it be considered normal to still daydream about it?

It’s September. I’ve been back for a month. My eyes and mind are still filled with picture perfect coastal ocean views and pastel colors.

From Vancouver, BC to San Francisco, on the coast, on the road, and going through every temperature and weather combination possible.

Way too many photos to share.

Too many tips and addresses.

So here is a Top 20.

Until next time…

When in Vancouver, BC, do not miss:

  • The Granville Island Market – bright yellow tones, seafood, city views and more food you could ever taste. Special mention to the Sandbar for their oysters.
  • Random finds are usually the best – and this is what happened with exile bistro – an artisan restaurant and cocktail bar. A must try when in the city. I cannot recommend it enough.
  • Stanley Park of course! And rent a bike, it’s a fun way to go around the bay and see everything the park has to offer including the lagoons.
  • Stop and explore Yaletown – warehouses and rail yards converted into living neighborhoods. It will remind you of some of New York City’s industrial yet swanky areas.

If you already know Seattle and are continuing to explore the city:

  • The very unusual Gas Works Park and its old abandoned coal gasification plant provides great views of the city. It also helps that the park is right next to Westward for oysters and other apps overlooking the city and The Whale Wins for dinner.
  • Oddfellows Cafe+Bar for lunch, dinner, or both. Everyday if possible would be nice, thank you!
  • A ferry ride from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands Archipelago – Orcas Island, Lummi Island, Lopez Island. An experience like no other. Evergreen coniferous trees, needle foliage, cones, seafood and water as far as the eye can see. And did I mention lunch at a shellfish farm?
  • Walking in the Queen Anne area of the city and watching the sunset from Kerry Park – magical!

 

As I left Portland, I thought ‘can we go back soon?’

For a first time in the city and Oregon, experiencing and discovering the food, people, vibe and flavors of the area was a spectacular treat:

  • There aren’t enough bullet points for me to list all the great food places I found, were recommended and discovered along the way. Portland, OR is that kind of city. AviaryMÅURICESalt and StrawPok PokLe PigeonSE Wine Collective just to name a few.
  • Alphabet District and N.W. 23rd Ave – if you are going to visit the Pittock Mansion, make sure to stop in this area on the way back down to the city for some play time.
  • If you are nostalgic about old photo booths and want to hang out in a space like no other, the lobby at the Ace Hotel has one of those booths. Fun times ahead with a cappuccino from the coffee bar next door. Also, do not forget to check out Clyde Common next door for a cocktail and some nibbles.
  • While everyone else focuses on the Multnomah Falls, 10 minutes past the falls is the Oneonta Gorge which requires climbing, crossing treacherous obstacle courses, walking in waist-high waters and feeling extra small at the bottom of a beautiful gorge.

From Oregon to California on the coast.

Green on the left. Blue on the right.

Rock formations, rugged and ragged coastline.

Wild in Oregon.

More commercialized in California.

  • Cannon Beach, OR is a wonder not to be missed. The rocks, the view, the infinite ocean of small waves creating shimmering almost blinding white fluffy cloud-like movements.
  • Alloro Wine Bar in Bandon, OR – a gem found in a haystack by mistake. A must-go if in the area.
  • Ferndale, CA for one of the best preserved Victorian hamlet in the country. It is not a movie set, it is very real and oh-so cute.
  • Mendocino, CA and the Point Arena Lighthouse – a scenery that seems to only exist in picture-perfect postcards and travel books. And if that’s any indication, the Murder, She Wrote house is located in Mendocino even though the show supposedly to take place in Maine. It’s that kind of pretty!

Discovering and rediscovering San Francisco has been a joy in my life.

I am lucky to have one of my best friends there and had many opportunities to visit over and over.

It allowed me to observe the city through different angles and lenses while unearthing new material for inspiration:

  • If you are looking for new views of the city or the Golden Gate Bridge, China Beach and the Ina Coolbrith Park provided new perspectives I had never seen before.
  • A bright blue restaurant front and good food? Yes, at Loló in the Mission. A view like no other on both the bay and the city with wood fired meatballs and moroccan chickpeas? Yes, at Barrel House Tavern in Sausalito.
  • Buena Vista Park and colorful Victorian houses on Haight Street.
  • Quirky Bernal Heights neighborhood

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