Chez Madeleine

Monday, June 26, 2006


pizette with squash blossoms, originally uploaded by sarahlpearse.

Pilgrims trek to famous cathedrals. Muslims to Mecca. I pursue culinary icons and the restaurants they create. Recently, I had the opportunity to dine at Cafe Chez Panisse, the little sister of world-renowned Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' indellible mark on the restaurant world. For those who don't worship at the alter of food, Alice Waters birthed California Cuisine-the concept of season, fresh, simple food. Inspired by time spent in France (remind you of anyone you know?) and passionate about local produce, farms, and products, she introduced an entire state, and entire country really to the kind of cuisine that makes you wonder what you ever ate before you tried it. The beet and cucumber salad below was dressed with a rough pesto of marjoram and mint.

beet salad

Eating at Cafe Chez Panisse in Berkeley last week was one of the highlights of my eating career. The simplicity and synergy of ingredients and flavors is still fresh on my mind. Her squash blossom pizzette, pictured here, was the inspiration for my party last Friday, and I have found myself scrolling through my photos of her food like a girl reading a trashy novel. The colors, the simplicity, and the radiant glow of freshness have me inspired.


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