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Hungry for Paris Paperback – 15 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade (15 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812976835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812976830
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 979,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eur Ing Paul Bethel on 19 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
I've actually bought TWO copies, and have already visited several of the recommended restaurants. Each has been as described, and each a wonderful find. I highly recommend this book to anyone going to or living in Paris.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By francophile on 3 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
A great read if a little formulaic on occasions. However, beware if you are planning to use this book for a weekend trip. Quite a lot of the places reviewed (and which sound super) are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. On that basis I would have preferred a few more alternatives that are open at the weekend and are not of the more expensive ilk.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 54 reviews
50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Almost as much fun --- almost --- as dining in Paris 21 April 2008
By Jesse Kornbluth - Published on
Format: Paperback
Dollar skidding, plane fare soaring --- it's not likely I'll be having dinner in Paris any time soon.

But that doesn't mean I can't eat in Paris by proxy. Naturally, the lucky stiff who's having the meals I'm missing is an American --- someone with an expatriate's appreciation of culinary greatness. This person can write as well as he/she can enjoy the handiwork of a fine chef. And, finally, this gourmet can appreciate the value of the dollar.

On the basis of Hungry for Paris, Alexander Lobrano is my Paris rep.

He's so American: "My first visit was in August 1972, en famille, with my parents, two brothers and sister. We stayed at a now-vanished hotel just off the Champs Elysees and every day began with a glass of warm TANG, which my late father mixed up in the bathroom water glasses, as a bit of thrift."

Lobrano is an ideal guide because he remembers who he was, how he became the expert he is now, and how you can acquire expertise. And he can do that hard thing --- see what's in front of him: "The French never drink Perrier with meals because they think its large bubbles make it too gaseous to go well with food." He has a good ear for the quotable restaurant owner: "Come on, eat! Go ahead! I'm going to charge you a lot of money, you know!" He can let it rip: "A heavy rain filled the gutters with bronze-covered chestnut leaves last night, and the city is suddenly the city is nude." And, above all, he has an awareness of ultimate goodness: "It is hard to imagine a better lunch than a creamy wedge of Camembert smeared on a torn hunk of crackle-crusted baguette and a glass of red wine."

But, eat in restaurants he must, so he's off to 102 of his Paris favorites. Some of them are mine, too. Most, refreshingly, are not. And, refreshingly, he's not shy about explaining his enthusiasms. Le Pamphlet: "the best risotto in Paris." L'Alcazar: "better service, better lighting and a more cosmopolitan menu" than La Coupole. L'Epi Dupin, which he hears about from "the nice lady at the post office." Le Florimond serves his beloved stuffed cabbage "in a pool of brown gravy so lush it had already skeined on its way to the table."

Reputation means nothing. Neither does atmosphere. Lobrano is all about what's on the plate. L'Ami Louis is "for high rollers more interested in a brand-name experience than good food." Bofinger's "beautiful decor...can't compensate for the kitchen's mediocrity." Le Divellec is "stuffy...and exorbitantly expensive."

Even if you never go to Paris, this book is wonderfully educational. I've seen aligot on a menu; I didn't know that the whipped potatoes are mixed with Tomme de Laguiole cheese and garlic until they have "the texture of molten latex." Joel Robuchon makes spaghetti carbonara with Alsatian bacon and creme fraiche --- I'll try that at home. And more, and more, until the meal fantasies merge and I have to...well, if truth be told, I need to pour a small glass of red wine, tear off a hunk of baguette and slather it with cheese.

Alexander Lobrano serves up gastro-porn of the highest order.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
In a Word, Fabulous! 8 Aug. 2008
By Wendy Lyn - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Paris resident and food travel pro, my job is to refer clients to the best dining options around the world. I rely on a combination of personal experience and expert food journalist knowledge to make the best possible suggestions. It is often the equivalent of being asked to arrange a blind date though, since individual preferences vary and expectations are high, i.e. "This is our first trip to Paris and we can't wait! Can you suggest a charming restaurant in a fun area, with great food and wine that is not too expensive?" What is charming, fun, with 'great food & wine', and affordable for me personally might not be to someone else. I usually need to ask more questions to understand what the client is expecting, so that they aren't let down.

In my experience, I have found that what most people are actually looking for is an ambiance suggestion, yet, most culinary guides heavily reference the chef and menu items. Knowing the chef trained with Ducasse and that the writer dined on langoustines with ginger foam is significant - perhaps more for serious foodies than the casual visitor - but where a chef trained and what 'was' on the menu doesn't say enough about what to expect overall.

Hungry for Paris is one of the few reference books that I trust based upon M. Lobrano's discerning palate and his extensive dining experience in Paris. However, it is the "In a Word" section at the end of each listing that is the most valuable in my making a decision. For instance, page 259 recommends restaurant Carte Blanche in detail, and then sums up, "Excellent, imaginative contemporary French food in a pleasant setting with well-drilled service makes this restaurant in the heart of the city well worth seeking out." Based on the detailed entry plus the summary, I would know what the client will most likely experience as well as who is in the kitchen and what kind of food will be on the menu.

Congratulations (and thank you) to Alexander Lobrano for setting expectations while comprehensively paving the way to the best dining suggestions.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Wonderful Guide and a Charming Read 5 Aug. 2008
By Inveterate Gourmet - Published on
Format: Paperback
Having just returned from Paris, I highly recommend HUNGRY FOR PARIS as a superb source of restaurant information and an absolutely wonderful read. What I especially loved about this book is that it offers a brilliantly chosen selection of restaurants for every possible occasion and pocketbook; guidebooks that offer 500 or 1000 restaurants are of no use to me--how do I know which ones are really good? Lobrano's sensible selection solves this problem, and even better, his writing is sublime. With great originality, he's created a hybrid book that's a mixture of a guidebook, a memoir and a delightful portrait of Paris. I loved this book!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Great orientation for Paris dining 10 Oct. 2010
By Ed - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you need help demystifying the vast array of dining options in Paris, this book is great. My wife and I recently traveled to Paris for the first time, and the vast number of dining choices was almost overwhelming as we were planning our trip. Then we got Hungry for Paris. It helped frame the options in terms of variation in regional cuisine, location, atmosphere and price point. We ended up dining at three of the restaurants described in the book, and each was excellent. We also avoided some of the "big name" places that get great mentions in general guide books, but got less than enthusiastic responses from Mr. Lobrano. We love smaller, neighborhood restaurants, and this book is a great source to find some of the best. The book was also helpful to orient us to dining in Paris, so we didn't come across as neophytes as we explored the many excellent dining options the city presents. So, if you love food and are going to Paris, I heartily recommend this one.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I loved this book! 10 May 2008
By Carole L. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I loved this book, and recommend it to any food lover who is either planning or dreaming about dining out in Paris.

Alec Lobrano is a superb writer and a well-seasoned gourmand, who shares his love and knowledge of delicious French cuisine and great chefs in his own inimitable style. He takes you on a first-class tour inside the best restaurants in Paris as if you were his dinner companion, and lets you taste and experience, albeit vicariously, its finest French and international cuisines and the perfect wines to enjoy with each sampling. .

This book reads like a autobiographical novel, filled with charming, and often amusing, short stories chronicling this world famous gourmet's earliest memories of "eating anything specifically described as French, - the éclairs my mother bought at the A&P supermarket in Westport, CT,... long soggy pastries shaped like hot dog rolls" and "heat-and-serve" frozen croissants, to the canned Vichyssoise , French toast, and beef burgundy stews she made at home, to his savory descriptions of his first experience at age 11, in a real French restaurant, Le Charles V, on the east side of Manhattan, which made him "rabidly anxious to get at some more French food."

Lobrano chronicles his first trips to France with his family and his adolescent awakening to the gastronomic joys of French cuisine, - and the development of his palate as he "ascended the pyramid of French gastronomy and discovered some spectacular food at its higher altitudes," and finding in the end - or at the top of his list - that "it is bistro food, or rustic cooking with deep roots in the various regional kitchens of France, that remains the blessedly eternal bedrock of the French kitchen."

Like a chef, Lobrano describes the ingredients, the preparations, the cooking and serving of the most favored, and simplest, meals of the French people, and also takes us out to dine at the most expensive, moderate, and least expensive restaurants where good French food is always served. His stories about chefs and French celebrities are written with an elegant style of one who has been invited to all the best parties in Paris.

Hungry for Paris is not just a guide book for dining out in Paris, but a veritable masterpiece on the history and culture of French cuisine,

This is a classic!
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