Thursday, August 11, 2011
Notes from the Other Ground
You may recall that I used to post pictures of wonderful chocolates snapped (and sometimes snapped up) in the windows of Parisian chocolatiers. After a while I had to stop because they are ubiquitous in Paris.
So this is not Paris but there are resemblances. A friend brought me to Chocolatier Blue, on a nondescript block of University Avenue in Berkeley and these gorgeous colorful geometric bites of chocolate were irresistible. I limited myself to two.
And this is not in Paris either although with a name like this it should be:
In Hayes Valley in San Francisco, this little restaurant could pick itself up and drop itself down in the 11th arrondissement and look perfectly in place, although the soup I had for lunch was better than any I'd had in the City of Light.
Also in Hayes Valley was this macaron shop, which unfortunately didn't inspire the same admiration we feel for Ladurée.
On the art front however, San Francisco has nothing to be ashamed of this summer.
We've often passed close to the closed-for-renovations Musée Nationale Picasso on rue de Thorigny in the last year or so to find bewildered tourists wondering where the Picassos had gone. Now we know. They're at the San Francisco Museum of the Legion of Honor, the one built as a copy of the Paris Legion of Honor Museum in the 7th arrondissement. A show worth seeing if you're a Picasso fan, but I've never thought his best work is in the eponymous Paris museum.
Even better Picassos and many other masterpieces including Cezannes and Matisses can be found currently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which is hosting an exhibition of the extraordinary collections (now dispersed and reassembled for this show) of the Stein siblings: Gertrude, Leo, Michael and Michael's wife Sarah.
If you're in SF before September 6th, do everything you can to see it.
But if not, don't despair. The Steins' collections are going back home. The exhibition will be mounted at the Grand Palais in Paris in October and in New York in 2012. Don't miss it.
Some more French resemblances in the countryside on our visit to the Napa Valley. Outside a boulangerie/patisserie called Bouchon this little bird perches on a French-style chair waiting for crumbs from the delicious croissants and tartes.
And what is more French than a grappe de raisins hanging from the vine?
Maybe an olive tree in the middle of a field of lavender?