Slices of caramelized banana coated in anise liqueur laid down on a pillow of puff pastry possess sophisticated flavor for a process so simple. Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook provides a recipe for an open-faced "pie" that's sure to be consumed faster than it takes to bake.
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To many American drinkers, Provence is synonymous with wine, but this romantic region of Southern France holds so much more, from sweet black currant liqueur drinks to complex grape brandy. It's not that you shouldn't lap up the local rosés with your duck breast salad, but when you're on vacation in Southern France, there's so much more to tempt you into a mid-afternoon aperitif beyond the bottles that regularly make it across the pond.
One sure-fire way to start an argument with me is to say that absinthe makes people hallucinate. It doesn't. But if you think it does, you have something in common with French regulators in the early 1900s. Back then, everyone was panicking that absinthe would drive people insane because it contained wormwood. Before more people could succumb to absinthe madness and chop their ear off à la Vincent van Gogh, they outlawed the spirit. (The fact that absinthe was 140 proof and people were drinking it like wine had more than a little to do with the crazy behavior, but I digress.) With absinthe out of the picture, people needed another delicious anise-flavored alcoholic beverage. That's where pastis came in.
Pastis is an anise-flavored aperitif that's one of life's little luxuries, and you can make a richly flavored homemade version by steeping some spices and bark in a jar for just a few days.
There's not many places in the city where you can casually drop by for Crepes Suzette in the afternoon, but Pastis is one of them.
I'm not French, I'm not Bohemian, nor am I an old man who enjoys the hot summer sun of Provence on my back as I smoke cigarettes and argue over the finer points of pétanque. But here's something I have in common with many of those characters: I love pastis.
The Croque Monsieur at Pastis is both a classic and a monster. At $13, it is the complete opposite from the delicate version at Buvette and big enough for two meals (don't even think about trying to finish this).
Pastis is one of New York's legendary mob scenes (the crowded kind, not the Mafia kind). The restaurant, Keith McNally's follow-up to Soho's iconic Balthazar, is a legend in its own right—the kind of eatery that seems to anchor a neighborhood. Were it not for McNally (and of course Florent), the Meatpacking District would not be what it is today. Breakfasts and brunches command lengthy waits, and on weekends, you're lucky to get a seat at the bar after midnight.
This granita is a cross between a cocktail, a dessert, and a palate-cleanser. Unusual and potent in flavor, it adds a touch of the exotic to the daily dessert grind.
[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky] Traditional moules-frites are so popular that we often forget their equally delicious cousins: moules-farcies, or stuffed mussels, broiled in the oven and served something like clams casino. Persillade is a traditional mix of parsley and often garlic,...
Shake Shack french fries. Photograph by Robyn Lee Last Friday AHT founder Adam Kuban couldn't take it any more. He heard me complaining about the Shake Shack's frozen French fries once too often. "Ed," he said with a wry...
Enter the Corpse Reviver #2. Part of a class of "corpse reviver" cocktails—so named because of their purported ability to bring the dead (or at least painfully hungover) back to some semblance of life—this drink was a staple of bar manuals back in the 1930s, only to fall off the map in the last half of the 20th century.