Discovering French Bistros

I’m a foodie, which makes me a French food enthusiast. French food is about quality and tasty food. In addition to the food, I enjoy the warm and inviting ambiance and decor of French bistros. They are great places to relax and enjoy dining or just coffee and listening to the ever-present French music. I have traveled extensively in the U.S., Canada, and Europe for business, and French bistros are some of my fond memories.

Edith Piaf singing La Vie en Rose

French food grew in popularity in the U.S. as the result of two world wars. In the 1950s everything was French – décor, food, and fashion. French cooks Jacques Pepin and Julia Child on PBS-TV helped to popularize French cuisine.

Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home - Series Highlights - YouTube

French cooks Jacques Pepin and Julia Child on PBS-TV

“French cooking is about making beautiful, refined food out of simple ingredients. There is some mystery and magic that draws people in,” Maryann Tebben cookbook author. Chef Daniel Boulud calls it “inspiring, accessible, entertaining, and delicious.”

Sous le ceil de Paris by Yves Montand

Imagine after a day of touring the streets of Paris embraced by your lover, you are sitting at an outdoor café on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees, watching Parisians strolling by in designer clothes, while you are tasting great delicacies and sipping your favorite wine with music and cooking aromas filling the air. Bon appetit!

La Mer by Tatiana Eva-Marie


Downton Dish: Vichyssoise - The Armchair Anglophile

I first tried vichyssoise at a French cultural festival and was blown away. Served cold in a chilled bowl set inside a bowl of ice. This delicate potato-leek soup was first recorded in France in the 18th Century. It is a unique taste treat that is light and flavorful.

In a pot cook 2 leek white parts sliced and a small onion chopped in 2 tb butter for 5 minutes at medium heat. Add 3 small peeled potatoes sliced, 2 cups of chicken stock, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Pour the soup into a blender and blend. Return to the pot, stir in 1 1/2 cup milk, add salt and white pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cool soup and then add 1 cup of heavy cream. Serve cold in a chilled bowl.

Lobster Bisque

Easy Lobster Bisque Recipe |

There is something wonderful about this traditional French creamy and savory soup with chunks of lobster.

In a large pot melt 3 tb butter and add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped leeks (white part), 2 celery ribs chopped, and 2 carrots chopped. Cook at a medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 thyme sprig, 1/4 tsp of salt, 6 peppercorns, 2 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 2 tb tomato paste, and 3 tb flour. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Reserve meat from two cooked lobsters. Pour broth into a blender, add 1/4 cup of lobster meat, and blend. Return the broth to the pot and stir in 3 cups of milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of dry white wine, and the remaining lobster meat in small pieces. Cook on a low heat until thickened for 30 minutes.

Salade Nicoise

Quick Nicoise Salad | Recipe Cart

An easy to make taste treat. Salade Nicoise is a colorful dish of Albacore tuna, optional anchovies, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, bell peppers, boiled red skin potatoes, cooked green beans, onions, olives, capers, cucumbers, and spring mix greens. A vinaigrette dressing is added.

Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tb wine vinegar, 2 tb lemon juice, 1/2 tsp dill, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp dry mustard.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy) is a rich, indulgent beef stew in pinot noir wine and a thick brown sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, cook and drain 6 oz of cut up bacon. Pat dry 3 pounds stewing beef cut in 2 inch cubes. Brown on all sides in 1 tb olive oil, add bacon, set aside. Cook 1 sliced carrot and 1 sliced onion in the same oil. Set beef, bacon, onion, and carrot in a casserole dish with 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp salt, 2 tb flour, toss, turn down heat to 325 degrees. Add 3 cups pinot noir wine, 2 to 3 cups beef stock, 1 tb tomato paste, 2 mashed garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf crumbled. Bake for 2 hours or until beef is tender. Add 18 to 24 miniature onions, 1 pound quartered mushrooms, 1 carrot cut up. Cook until done. Refrigerate overnight to blend flavor. Reheat the next day.

Cuises de Grenouille

Smells Like Food in Here: Cuisses de Grenouille aux Fines Herbes, aka Fried  Frogs' Legs

A surprisingly light and delicious dish, frog legs are like chicken but better, softer and more delicate. Separate legs individually and soak in milk for 30 minutes then pat dry. Dredge in flour and saute in butter and garlic, remove. In the pan add butter, garlic, and lemon juice for a sauce.

Steak au Poivre

Julia Child's Steak au Poivre – Leite's Culinaria

A very flavorful steak. Use beef steaks 1 inch thick, I like Delmonicos. Rub steaks with coarse ground pepper corns on both sides, let stand for 30 minutes. Pan sear steaks in a skillet with 2 tb butter and 1 tb olive oil until desired doneness, I like medium rare. Pour 1/4 cup cognac or brandy over steaks, ignite to flambee, remove steaks, add some beef stock to liquid, bring to boil, and pour over steaks. Serve with French fries.

Pike Quenelles


A unique light and fluffy dish with a subtle yet rich taste.

In a saucepan heat 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup butter, bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, dash of pepper, cook until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat, cool to warm, beat in 2 eggs and 2 egg whites, set aside.

Chop 1 pound of boneless pike, process in a blender a little bit at a time. MIx fish and sauce and chill. Mold fish mixture into 2 tb oval shapes, place in a skillet. In a separate saucepan combine 3 cups hot water and 3/4 tsp of salt, pour down side of skillet around the fish, simmer 10 minutes. Serve with a sauce of heated cream, gruyere cheese, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Coquilles Saint Jacques

Coquilles Saint Jacques | Recette de St Jacques | Ducros

Combine in a saucepan 1 1/2 pounds of scallops out of the shell, 1 cup dry white wine, 1 tb lemon juice, 2 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp of salt, cover and simmer 2 to 4 minutes. Remove scallops, strain mixture to reserve 1 cup. Saute 1 cup chopped mushrooms and 2 tb chopped green onions in butter for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tb flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, dash of pepper, 1 cup of reserved liquid, and 1/2 cup of milk. Remove from heat. In a separate bowl combine 2 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of cream, whisk. Gradually stir in egg mixture with the other ingredients, add scallops and simmer 2 minutes. Spoon ingredients into baking shells, sprinkle with bread crumbs and butter on top, bake for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

Moules a la Mariniere

Moules marinière – The Nosey Chef

Delicious. Clean and soak up to 6 quarts of mussels in the shell. In a large pot bring to boil 2 cups white wine, 1/2 cup minced shallots, 8 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp pepper, and 6 tb butter. Add mussels and cover tightly. Frequently grasp the pot and shake up and down to open mussels. Ladle into dishes with some broth, sprinkle with parsley.

Lobster Thermidor

Beth's Lobster Thermidor Recipe - Entertaining with Beth

Take the meat from 2 lobsters or two lobster tails. Reserve the tail shells. In a pan add 1 cup sliced mushrooms, 4 chopped shallots, and gently stir in the lobster meat, saute in butter. In a separate saucepan, melt 2 tb butter, stir in 4 tsp flour, 1/4 cup sherry, 1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, and dash of pepper. Stir in lobster mixture, keep hot.

Sauce: heat 2 egg yolks, 1 tb water, and a dash of salt in a double boiler, whisk until creamy. Remove from heat. Beat in 1/2 cup melted butter, stir in 1 tb lemon juice, cool and stir until blended. Place lobster mixture into lobster tail shells, spoon sauce on top, broil for 2 minutes.


What to Eat in Provence: Best Provençal Food to Try Celebrity Cruises

This is a wonderful classic fisherman’s seafood dish of Marseille that goes back to Greek and Roman times.

Saute 1 cup minced onion, 3/4 cup minced leek white part, 1/2 cup olive oil, stir in 4 mashed garlic cloves, 1 pound chopped ripe tomatoes, cook 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 quarts water, 6 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp fennel, 2 pinches saffron, 1/2 tsp dried orange peel, 1/8 tsp pepper, 1 tb salt, 3 to 4 pounds fish heads, bones, trimmings, shellfish remains, bring to a boil and simmer 30 to 40 minutes, strain. Add 6 to 8 pounds cut up fish such as cod, haddock, sole, etc., and shellfish such as lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, octopus, etc. Boil 5 minutes or until fish is tender.

Seared Duck Breast

Seared Duck Breast - Healthy Recipes Blog

Duck breast is juicy and delicious, cooked best like a beef steak medium rare. Clean the breasts and add salt and pepper. Sear in butter until medium rare. Orange sauce can be made by deglazing the pan with a splash of wine. Add some chicken stock, heat to reduce down, add a little butter and some orange juice and zest.


Flavors and Cuisine of Provence, France | EF Go Ahead Tours

Ratatouille is a traditional savory dish of stewed vegetables, which originated in Nice.

Peel and cut lengthwise 3/8 inch thick slices of 1/2 pound of eggplant and 1/2 pound of zucchini, let stand in a bowl for 3 minutes, drain, pat dry. Saute eggplant and zucchini in olive oil. Remove and set aside.

In a skillet, cook 1 1/2 cups diced onion, 1 cup diced green peppers, 2 mashed cloves of garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and 4 tb olive oil. Peel and cut up tomatoes to have 1 1/2 cups, place alternate layers of tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini. Cover casserole dish, in an oven simmer 10 minutes, raise heat to 350 degrees and cook 15 minutes.

Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors, the next day slowly reheat and serve.

Salmon Mousse

Layered Salmon Mousse. This should send your unsuspecting dinner guests  screaming from the table… | Salmon mousse recipes, Smoked salmon mousse,  Tuna mousse recipe

Salmon mousse is a light and delicate. It tastes wonderful, not fishy at all and does not have a heavy salmon flavor.

Flake, debone, deskin, and strain one 15 1/2 oz. can of salmon. Reserve the salmon fluid and heat it along with two gelatin envelopes. Add 1 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/4 cup tomato sauce, 2 tb of lemon juice, 2 tsp Worcestershire, and partially chill. Fold in salmon, 1/2 cup finely chopped celery, 2 hardboiled eggs minced, 2 tb chives chopped, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Fold in 1/2 cup whipping cream and then pour into a mold. Chill until firm. Unmold mousse unto a tray with crackers and cucumber slices.


Escargot with Garlic Butter Recipe by Paul Rybak - Cookpad

Cooking escargot is rather simple. Take 1 pound helix snails without shells, cook snails in a saucepan with 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup parmesan, and a splash of dry white wine. In an escargot baking dish, arrange cooked escargot and cover with the garlic butter sauce. Bake until bubbly and slightly brown, about 10 minutes.

Sole Mueniere

Sole Meunière Recipe - NYT Cooking

This is a simple delicate dish. It uses Dover sole that is a flat white fish with tender flesh. Flour and saute filets in butter until done, add cream, lemon juice, and parsley.

Blanquette de Veau

Blanquette de veau - Daily recipes - Elle & Vire

Veal stew in a cream sauce. Take 3 pounds of veal stew meat cut in 2 inch pieces, cover with water in a casserole dish, simmer 2 minutes, drain. Pour 5 to 6 cups of chicken stock over veal, simmer. Add 1 onion studded with cloves, 1 carrot quartered, 2 celery stalks, and an herb bouquet (8 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp thyme). Simmer 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, strain, reserve the broth.

While the veal is cooking, simmer 18 to 24 pealed miniature white onions, 1/2 cup of the veal stock, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tb butter. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes. Set aside. When the veal is done drain and return veal back into the casserole dish. Add the onions.

Make a Veloute sauce, in a saucepan simmer4 tb butter, 5 tb flout, 3 1/4 cups of veal cooking broth, simmer 10 minutes, add 18 to 24 fresh mushroom caps, 1 tb lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Pout sauce and mushrooms over veal, pour 2 tb cream over veal. In a separate pan blend 3 egg yolks, 1/2 cup whipping cream, 1 cup of the hot sauce, pour over casserole.

Foie Gras

Forbidden Foie Gras | KQED

Foie Gras is specially prepared goose or duck liver that has a rich nutty flavor. Pan sear a thick slice in a hot skillet until browned and crispy on both sides Serve with an orange sauce, fig jam, berry sauces, baked apples, onion chutney, Dijon mustard, or other items. Best with Sauterne wine.

Pheasant a l’orange

Roasted Pheasant with Herbs Recipe | D'Artagnan

My dad and I would go pheasant hunting and cook the birds with an orange sauce.

Stuff the cavities of 2 pheasants with two peeled, chopped oranges. Tie legs and bind birds. Place in a roasting pan breast side up. Combine 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 2 tb brown sugar, 2 tb cider vinegar, 2 whole cloves, and 1/4 tsp ginger. Pour over birds. Cover pan and bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees F. Remove birds and place on a baking sheet and bake to brown skin. Remove and discard orange stuffing.

Strain off fat from juices. Reserve the juice. Make an orange sauce in a sauce pan, combining 1 1/2 cup of reserved liquid, 2 tb of orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, and a little cornstarch to thicken. Spoon a little sauce over the birds and put the rest in a gravy boat to pass.

Coq Au Vin

COQ AU VIN FOR TWO | You Must Love Food

In a pan cook 4 slices of bacon until crispy, remove, crumble, and reserve. Dredge 4 to 6 chicken thighs in flour and add to the pan with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Brown over a medium heat for 15 minutes, turning. Pour 2 tb of cognac or brandy over chicken. Remove chicken and set aside.

Stir in 1 tb flour and 1 cup dry red wine, cook and stir until bubbly. Add 1 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp thyme, reserved bacon crumbs, 1 diced onion, 1 clove garlic diced, 1 cup diced mushrooms, 1/2 cup diced carrots, and 1 rib celery diced. Return chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 35 minutes, until chicken and vegetables are tender. Remove chicken and vegetables. In the liquid blend in 2 tb flour and 2 tb butter. Cook until thickened and pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Poires au vin

Poached Pears with Raspberry Sauce Recipe: How to Make It

Peel, core, and half lengthwise 12 pears. Place 12 pear halves in a pot with 1 pint dry white wine, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 slices of lemon, and 3 slices of orange. Poach pears until tender and remove pears to cool. Reserve the liquid for a sauce and to make more poached pears.

In a separate pot, place the remaining 12 pear halves with 1 pint red wine, 1/2 cup sugar, 3 slices of lemon, and 3 slices of orange. Poach pears until tender and remove pears to cool. Reserve the liquid.

Sauce: puree 1 1/2 cups of frozen or fresh raspberries by pressing through a sieve to remove seeds. In a saucepan put the pureed raspberries, 1/3 cup of the white wine liquid, and 3 tb of orange liqueur. Heat.

On a plate place one white pear half and one red. Pour a little berry sauce over the pears. Garnish with a whole raspberry.

Crepes Suzettes

Crepe Suzette Flambe, France | Crepes, Panqueca

Fold 8 dessert crepes into triangles. In a frying pan mix 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup orange liqueur, 1/4 cup orange juice, 3 tb sugar, and cook until bubbly. Arrange crepes in a pan and simmer until the sauce thickens. Add 2 tb of brandy and ignite for a flambee. Serve when the flame goes out. The flambee burns off the alcohol and enhances the flavors.

Dessert crepes: combine 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 2 tb sugar, 1 tsp oil, 1/8 tsp salt, blend into a batter. Heat a small skillet, spoon 2 tb of batter, spread evenly to form a thin pancake, brown both sides.

Crème Brulee

Creme Brulee – Modern Honey

In a double boiler pan beat 6 egg yolks with 1/3 cup of sugar until thick. Blend in 1 tsp of cornstarch dissolved in 3 tb of milk. Stir in 3 cups of heavy cream. Simmer pan over water, stir constantly until it thickens. Remove from water and stir in 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract.

Pour custard into 6 individual heat proof serving dishes. Sift brown sugar 1/8 inch deep on top of custard. Cool and chill until firm. Set dishes on a baking sheet under a hot broiler and let sugar caramelize. Let cool to serve.


  • Food Network
  • Bon Appetit
  • Gourmet
  • Saveur
  • Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1951, revised 2010.
  • The Good Housekeeping Cook Book, 1942, revised 2007.
  • The Joy of Cooking, 4th Edition, Irma S. Rombauer, 1931, revised 2019.
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child, 1961.
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood
Bruce J. Wood, founder of AOIDE Bruce J. Wood has worked on Wall Street in business finance and strategy, and has written hundreds of finance business plans, strategic plans, economic feasibility studies, and economic impact studies. Bruce has lectured on creativity and strategic thinking, as well as worked on the development of numerous publishing, film, television, and performing arts projects, along with downtown revitalizations, using the arts as an economic catalyst. As an aficionado of music, art, and dance, Bruce is also a writer and an outdoor enthusiast. He has written poetry, blogs, articles, and many creative project concepts. He lives in the Metro Detroit area and enjoys writing poetry, backpacking, and ballroom dancing.

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