Grand Lake – Oakland Farmers Market

I spent the day in Oakland yesterday and checked out the Grand Lake – Oakland Farmers Market, which is open year round on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the corner of Grand Avenue and Lake Park Avenue.  With so many vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables, and samples a plenty, I’m not sure if it was a better experience for my camera or my taste buds.

© Sarah Milstein 2015

Homemade-ish Chicken Soup

Making chicken soup from “scratch” isn’t so hard when you start with two cartons of chicken soup.  So maybe this isn’t the cheapest way to make it (or technically “homemade”), but it’s much faster than starting with a whole chicken, and guaranteed to come out tasty.


  • 2 – 32 oz. cartons of low sodium Swanson’s Chicken Soup (or other chicken stock you like)
  • 4 chicken thighs with skin
  • 2-3 carrots peeled, cut in large chunks
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch chunks including greens at the end of the stalks
  • 10 sprigs of Italian parsley coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt to taste

Cooking.  Pour both cartons of chicken soup into a large pot.  Wash the chicken thighs and place them in the broth and bring to a slow boil.  Let the chicken cook for at least 30 minutes.  Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove it and let it cool.  Depending on how much the soup has boiled down, you may need to add several cups of water.  Add the carrots, celery, and parsley to the broth and continue to cook on medium heat.  After the chicken has cooled enough to handle, pull the chicken off the bone and add some (or all) of the chicken back to the soup.  (I opted to discard the skins and bones.)  We added matzo balls at the end (which my mom made separately).  But you could also add rice, noodles, or another grain if you want.

Voilà, homemade-ish chicken soup!

© Sarah Milstein 2014


The Perfect Roasted Chicken

My mom came to visit this weekend and we made my favorite dinner of all time for an early Passover Seder: Matzo ball soup, roasted chicken with red potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and roasted asparagus.  Turns out making the perfect roasted chicken is not particularly difficult.  Scroll to the bottom for the recipe!


  • Whole chicken (approx. 5 lbs)
  • 4-5 red potatoes cut into quarters, leave skin on
  • 4 carrots peeled, leave whole
  • 2 sweet potatoes peeled and quartered in long spears
  • Garlic powder
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • Paprika
  • 1 orange
  • Olive oil

Preparation.  Remove the gross stuff from inside the chicken.  Wash the whole chicken, including the inside, and pat dry.  Shake garlic powder and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on the top, bottom, and inside of the bird, and shake paprika on the top of the bird.  Place in the center of a large roasting pan.

In a separate bowl, squeeze the juice from the orange and mix it with one quick pour of olive oil.  Set aside.

Cooking (total time 1.5 hours).  Cook the chicken uncovered for 15 minutes at 400°; without removing the bird, lower the temperature to 375° and cover.  At 30 minutes, add the red potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes around the chicken, and pour the orange juice/olive oil mixture over the entire bird.  Cover the bird and vegetables and cook for another hour at 375°.  Remove roasting pan from the oven (and turn it off), and enjoy!

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Henry’s Hunan Restaurant, San Francisco

Mo Si Soup with won tons (not on the menu) at Henry’s Hunan Restaurant.  Delicious.

Henry’s Hunan Restaurant in Noe Valley, 1708 Church St, San Francisco, California 94131.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

The Borough Market, London

Come with an appetite to The Borough Market because there is bound to be something for you.  Whether you’re looking for fresh produce, meat, seafood, or freshly prepared Indian food and paella, you’ll find it.  Most of the cheese mongers are French.  For a second there, I forgot I wasn’t still in Paris.

The Borough Market is located near the London Bridge Station, at 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Paris Favorites

My friend just moved to Paris and I sent her an email with a parsed down version of the below list of my “favorites.”  I figured, maybe you’d be interested too.  Anything I should add?

Favorite Café Crème:

  • Loustic – 40 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • 10 Belles – 10 Rue de la Grange aux Belles, 75010 Paris (Canal St. Martin)

Favorite Parks:

  • Tuilleries
  • Bois de Vincennes
  • Butte Chaumont
  • Luxembourg (St. Germain)
  • Place de Vosges (Le Marais)

Favorite “Trendy” and/or Pricey Places to Eat:

  • Le Perchoir (sunset dinner) – 14 rue Crespin du Gast, 75011 Paris (Oberkampf)
  • Derrier (dinner) – 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Le Taxi Jaune (dinner) – 13, rue Chapon, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Café Charlot (for brunch, late night, afternoon, really, anytime) – 38 Rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Rose Café (for brunch, lunch) – 30 rue Debelleyme, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Fish Club (for dinner) – 58 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 75001 Paris

Favorite Places to Wander:

  • Le Marais
  • St. Germain
  • Canal St. Martin

Favorite Paris Blogs/Guides:

Favorite Markets:

  • Bastille Marché – Metro: Bastille.  I usually go on Sundays.  This is where I discovered my favorite cheese and practiced most of my French! (Haricot verts, s’il vous plaît?)
  • Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen – Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt, 75018, Paris

Go to Stores for Necessities

  • BHV (stands for Bazaar Hôtel de Ville) – 34 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris.  This store is like Bloomingdale’s, Barnes & Noble, an electronics store, and hardware store wrapped into one.  You can find anything from leather and fabrics, art supplies, and kitchen wares, to the latest trends from Iro, Kooples, and Chanel.
  • Monoprix – These are everywhere.  Good place for groceries and toiletries.  You can also buy clothes and other things.  It seems to be the French equivalent of Target.
  • FNAC – Galerie commerciale Forum des Halles, 1-7 Rue Pierre Lescot, 75001 Paris ‎(but there are lots of these in Paris).  Good place for electronics.  I left my adapter in Corsica and seriously went to 4 places to find one before finding one here.
Must have foods:
  • Tuks (not even French, but a delicious cracker).  I have a song and dance that goes with these.  They are just that good.
  • Compté cheese (my fav!)
  • Pain au chocolat
  • Baguettes (obviously)
  • Falafel from L’as du Falafel – 34 Rue des Rosiers  75004 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Empanadas from Clasico Argentino – 56, Rue de Saintonge, 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Ice cream from Berthillon – 31 Rue Saint-Louis en l’Île  75004 Paris (but you can find this ice cream in a lot of restaurants).  I can vouch for the moka, chocolat noir, abricot, and framboise.
  • Moules-frites
  • Foie gras (sorry, California)
  • Any and all wine (rosé is big here)
  • Yogurt – for some reason it is much better here than in the US.  Try weird flavors.  I liked the fig and rhubarb.
(Basically anywhere.  This is Paris.)
  • Rue Vieille-du-Temple (Le Marais)
  • Rue de Poitou (Le Marais)
  • St. Germain
  • Montmarte
For Overpriced (but Fun) Cocktails:
  • Experimental Cocktail Club – 37 Rue Saint-Sauveur, 75002 Paris
  • Little Red Door – 60 Rue Charlot 75003 Paris (Le Marais)
  • Candelaria – 52 Rue de Saintonge  75003 Paris (Le Marais).  They also have great tacos, but good luck finding a spot unless you go early!  (The bar is through a secret door at the back.)


  • Detergent – Ariel.  I was an idiot and was using Soupline for 2 months before realizing I was washing my clothes with a fabric softener.  Good job, me.
  • Skin care products – Nuxe.  I went to buy lotion and after staring for what felt like 20 minutes ended up with makeup remover.  The pharmacist steered me in the right direction.  I love this line of lotions and skin care products – they are all “sans paraben.”

Favorite bookstores:

© Sarah Milstein 2013

La Patache & Le Perchoir, Paris

After walking to Canal St. Martin the other day to check out a restaurant I read about on this awesome blog, I was bummed, but not surprised, to see that it was closed for August.  I’ve started to accept the fact that regardless whether a restaurant has a website, it does not mention whether it is closed in August, on said website.  It just lists its normal business hours.  Sigh.

So, I was left to my own devices and after wandering a bit, peaked through the window of La Patache (Rue de Lancry, 75010) and saw three women eating roasted chicken and potatoes.  Done.  I ordered the same and it was delicious.  Actually, the potatoes were pretty heavenly.

Saturday, my friend scored a reservation at Le Perchoir (Rue Crespin du Gast, 75011).  The rooftop bar reminded me a little of High at Hotel Erwin in Venice, California.  Only, instead of the Pacific Ocean, there are panoramic views of Paris, freshly sliced charcuterie, absinthe, abundant wine, and an amazing restaurant just one floor down.  The only option is a prix fixe, which comprised of 8 dishes, each possibly better than the previous (sea bass sashimi, ahi tuna, roasted eggplant, veal, roasted potatoes, tomato provençal, cantalope soup, and a berry variation of mille-feuille).  However, if you ask my friend, the tuna was the best.  It did come atop a giant potato chip like thing.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Angelina, Paris


Was it worth the hype?  Maybe?  It was good.  But kind of just tasted like my mom’s hot fudge melted just enough to make it drinkable.  You’d think you’d be wired after all that sugar, but I felt more like sleeping.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Food Coma, Partie 2

I know, I haven’t been writing about restaurants or bars much.  But don’t worry, I’m still eating and drinking.  (Not that you were concerned.)  I don’t love taking out a giant camera at a restaurant, only to find it’s too dark for my camera to focus, and then standing there awkwardly like a tourist, so I’m giving you a small sampling of places I liked.

Le Taxi Jaune.  This restaurant in Le Marais is amazing, but pricey.  I actually went because it was written up for its “[s]pectacular mussels,” which were unfortunately not on the menu.  However, my friends and I were not disappointed.  After my friend talked us into getting a last-minute reservation (in French), we sat at the last table in the house.  The menu is seasonal–the chef only cooks meats and vegetables in their prime.  My vegan friends would not approve, so I will spare you the details.  However, I think between my friends and I, we counted five different animals that contributed to our meal (some were in the form of cheese).  The chef came to each table and spoke with the guests.  My only complaint was that I heard a lot of English being spoken, but we ordered in French.

L’Atelier Guy Martin Cooking Class.  Okay, so I’m not sure if it was false advertising, or my ignorance of French (I will go with the latter), but I expected my class to be taught by Guy Martin.  I suppose the price (only 60 Euros) should have been my first clue–a spot at his 2 star Michelin rated restaurant can easily run you over 300 Euros a person.  However, I had a great time, and we actually made things I would make again: Carrot gazpacho, duck, and a frozen berry soufflé.

L’As du Fallafel.  Who hasn’t written up L’As du?  (Besides Parisbymouth, see reviews here, here, here, and here.  There are probably more, but I’ll let you scour the Internet for them.)  The first time I went, I walked by, told the guy standing outside I didn’t want any, only to make a full circle around the neighborhood, look at an article on the best falafel in Paris, and find myself standing in front of the very same guy.  Awkward, yes.  However, we laughed and then he got me a chair.  That falafel was delicious.  The eggplant made it–it was hot and super flavorful.  I went back again and it was good, but not as good the first time.  I still finished it though.  Warning: Be prepared to get messy.

Amorino.  This probably isn’t the best ice cream in Paris, but you can find an Amorino conveniently located next to Place des Vosges (and every other tourist attraction in the city).  What’s nicer than ice cream on a hot day that’s slapped together to look like a flower?  I can’t really complain.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

The Perfect Café Crème

My new favorite spot: Loustic.  So far, the best café crème I’ve found brews here.  Other perks include a friendly owner, wifi, and comfortable seating.  Pretty much, it’s just an all around good spot to read/draw/space out/hang out.