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That's why Patricia Wells's updated guide, now in its fourth edition, is a hit. With detailed information on 450 restaurants, Wells takes readers by the hand and demystifies the culture so well known for its luscious food and demanding gourmands. Sidebars abound: she dissects breads, foie gras, and oysters--and even gives the cultural background on why the French may drink wine in the morning (to kill worms, of course), as well as discussing the pros and cons of eating the rinds of cheeses. Also listed are the best bakeries, cafés, and specialty shops, as well as 50 recipes to try at home.
If there is a criticism to be made of this sturdy and informative book, it's of the writing of this International Herald Tribune critic, which is sometimes riddled with stock descriptions and clichés. Yet readers are likely to forgive her this occasional foible, as Wells's interesting details and enthusiasm are enough to send devout Italophiles, even, to Paris--where they can sink their teeth into those crusty baguettes. --Melissa Rossi
An inveterate explorer of all things culinary, Patricia Wells brings us the very best of Paris: not only unforgettable evenings in her foolproof selection of restaurants, bistros, and cafes, but the places to find the flakiest croissants, earthiest charcuteries, sublimest cheeses, most knowledgeable wine merchants, gleaming pots and pans, and the holy grail of breads, pain Poilane.
Whether the urge is a simple one, like satisfying a midafternoon sweet tooth on the rule de Buci (try Jean-Pierre Carton for its puckery tarte citron or deep, rich tarte au chocolat), or grander - deciding between hallowed Taillevent or the poetic, audacious Pierre Gagnaire - Ms. Well's guidance is infallible. She tells us what is new and wonderful (more than 50 restaurants and 100 specialty food shops have been added to this edition) and what is gloriously familiar and still to be treasured. She even manages to coax recipes from her favorite chefs - 50 are included in the book.
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