After an enviable amount of taste-testing, I think my favorite gelato in Rome was from Giolitti. Pear and chocolate with the thickest scoop of whipped cream on a cone — absolute perfection. Giolitti has a remarkably long history in the city. It is still run by the Giolitti family and is still located in the same spot on Via Uffici del Vicario where it opened in 1900, quite near to the Pantheon. I love the authentic, elegant tea room and shop where, in addition to the countless gelato flavors, you will also find lovely pastries and candies. It doesn’t get much more Roman than this.

Giolitti, Via Uffici del Vicario, 40, Rome 


I adore the stretch of avenue du Président Wilson between place d’Iéna and avenue Marceau in the 16th arrondisement, with the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion and directly across the street, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Palais de Tokyo.

The latter are two of my favorite museums in Paris, both for their fantastic collections, exhibitions and programming, but also for the history of the structures that house them — built for the 1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne, one of the most important international expositions of the 20th century. The Musée d’Art Moderne owns countless masterpieces of modern art, including murals by Sonia and Robert Delaunay and Raoul Dufy. The Palais de Tokyo is simply one of the coolest art spaces in the city. It also houses a very inspired garden created by the visual artist Robert Milin. Located on rue de la Manutention along the side of the Palais de Tokyo, Le Jardin aux Habitants is divided into sixteen plots, each tended by a different urban gardener. I even spotted a chicken roaming around! I think the best time to visit this particular area is on Wednesdays and Saturdays when one of the biggest and best open air markets in Paris can be found right in the middle of the avenue.


The weather was so outrageously gorgeous in Paris that breakfast, lunch and most dinners were enjoyed outside. My lunch of choice is generally salad, and some of the most beautiful, which are often the most simple, can be found in this city. The one I continue to think about more than two weeks later is this exquisite goat cheese salad at Café le Nemours. All sorts of goodness — greens, grains, sultanas, peppers, herbs, sprouts, seeds and that sublime chèvre chaud. Nestled among the Palais Royal and the Comédie Française on Place Colette, classic and lovely Café le Nemours is my kind of perfect. 


Photograph by Ditte Isager, Recipe by Alison Roman

We are not really in the habit of sharing recipes here on THE BATON, but sometimes a single cookie can change everything. That cookie for us can be found in the January 2014 issue of bon appétit, page 94 or right here. Savory, rich and chewy, they actually look exactly like this gorgeous photograph when baked. Yum!  


No trip to Montreal is complete without stopping at one of the city’s wonderful public markets — Marchés Publics de Montréal. Our favorites include the Atwater Market and the Jean-Talon Market. Jean-Talon is especially magnificent. You could spend hours there, it is that huge. In addition to the numerous fruit and vegetable vendors, there are fishmongers and cheesemongers, butchers, sellers of eggs, sweets, wine, olive oil, and flowers, and so much more depending on the season. Open every day, all year long, it definitely feels like the open air markets in Europe, completely transporting.


We are planning a trip to Montreal in November, we think one of the best times of year to visit one of North America’s best cities. We thought we would share some of our favorite spots in Montreal this week, quite hard to narrow down in fact because there are so many! 

We should start by saying that we eat very well in Montreal. Our go-to restaurants include Olive + Gourmando for lunch and L’Express for dinner, always. This next trip will also include Au Pied de Cochon, a place we have been meaning to go to for years. At the very top of our list is Joe Beef, hands down one of the restaurants we most enjoy, anywhere. It’s not just the food, which is consistently amazing and enlightened and changing daily, but the total experience. The first word that comes to mind is authentic. The vibe is relaxed, friendly, unpretentious, and thoroughly cool. One immediately gets the sense that every person in the building loves being there, staff and guests alike. Joe Beef and its neighbor, Liverpool House, are owned by great friends and Montreal restaurant veterans David McMillan and Frédéric Morin. It feels like a very personal extension of themselves and it is such a pleasure, if only for a meal, to be a part of their fun and happy world. Take a look at their fantastic cookbook and love letter to Montreal, The Art of Living According to Joe Beef. We guarantee, after reading it you will be booking your own trip to their great city.

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef (Ten Speed Press, 2011)     


The perfect day in Portland starts at Standard Baking Co. Opened in 1995, it is the best kind of French-style bakery — gorgeous food created with fresh, simple ingredients; a relaxed, friendly vibe; and absolutely no pretension, in the space, the baked goods or otherwise. It is straight up and straight forward and we adore it. And, we were thrilled when they published their first and very beautiful cookbook last year, Standard Baking Co. Pastries. We now always have a batch of chocolate walnut biscotti (page 122) at the ready, although it is certainly not the same as being there!

Standard Baking Co., 75 Commercial Street, Portland, Maine 


Last summer we discovered the most exquisite handmade ice cream in Maine. Rococo Artisan Ice Cream in Kennebunkport uses local ingredients in their traditional Argentine-style ice cream which they describe as “rich in cream, full of flavor, and frozen slowly; with less air and served warmer to enhance the flavors.” Those flavors, totaling nearly 60, are stunning. Made in small batches, our favorites so far include olive oil, rosemary infused caramel and toasted pepitas; sweet avocado cayenne; strawberry basil; and coffee pow! — truly the best coffee ice cream on earth. The ice cream bar has definitely been raised, in fact we think it is now off the charts.  


Vintage-inspired postcard from Daytrip Society, Kennebunkport, Maine
Last week we spent several glorious days in Maine, certainly one of our most favorite places. Still thinking about our time there, we feel compelled this week to share some of the spots that we tend to visit again and again. Of course at the top of our list are the magnificent rocky beaches — so unique to this great state, and quite indescribable, we feel, in words alone. You must experience those for yourself. When we’re not at the beach, however, we find we eat incredibly well (we have already posted on some exceptional Maine food here and here), we try to see some art, and we always manage to do a bit of shopping. Daytrip Society in Kennebunkport is one of the best curated and stylishly-arranged shops we know. Owned by two native Mainers who after a stint in New York City in the music industry were drawn back home, Daytrip Society features special items made in Maine, and those inspired by and for the woods, the sea, and nature at large. They also have a lovely collection of vintage books and pennants scattered about. But we’re really just skimming the surface here. A perfect balance of whimsy and really good design has definitely been achieved in this establishment. And they have a store for kids, Daytrip Jr., right around the corner! Best of all, Daytrip supports local nature conservation organizations including the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge.