Pastry and Paris sights become one and the same
What makes a better pair than food and travel?
Pastry Paris by Susan Hochbaum (HANDOUT / December 23, 2011)
Little Bookroom, $19.95
This book takes its subtitle literally because, according to author and graphic designer Susan Hochbaum, everything in Paris does indeed look like dessert. Maybe part of the reason is that a patisserie seems to be on every city block and pastries are sold all day "to people who never get fat."
Hochbaum also sees pastries everywhere. In this quirky and delightful book, she matches photographs of nearly 100 pastries with their equivalent (to her) settings.
Thus the elongated shape of an eclair resembles the shape of a Metro station sign; the mille-feuille (called "Napoleon" in the U.S.), a puff pastry with white icing, approximates the shape of the Sacre-Coeur church in Montmartre; and, perhaps most ingeniously, the humps of two brioches are reminiscent of Claude Monet's famous painting, "Haystacks." Two full pages are devoted to the delicate and colorful French sweet the macaron — 28 varieties, including pistachio and pear/caramel.
A delicious, startling and inventively humorous collection of architectural confections.
"The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture: Travel Edition"
This travel edition of Phaidon's atlas to world architecture briefly describes the best works of contemporary architecture constructed around the world since January 2000, including the work of some 670 architects from 90 countries. All the big names and firms are represented here, as are those less known to the general public. It features more than 1,000 office buildings, private houses, schools, art galleries, libraries, museums, railway stations and other structures. The portable guide divides the world into six color-coded regions and contains numerous maps. Each entry contains a brief description, a photograph of the structure, the architect's name, the building's name and, when available, its address.
Examples include the National Stadium (commonly referred to as the bird's nest) in Beijing, built for the 2008 Summer Olympics; the striking cantilevered roof of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff; the undulating Footbridge Simone-de-Beauvoir in Paris; and many more.
This is a quick and marvelous introduction to contemporary examples of world architecture and a must for travelers fond of architecture.
"Cafe Life San Francisco"
San Francisco is famous for its cafe culture. In this colorful guide, writer Joe Wolff and photographer Roger Paperno explore the city's neighborhoods in search of the best cafes. Wolff offers lengthy portraits of each cafe and its owner, while Paperno's gorgeous photographs give the book an elegant finishing touch. Each profile is accompanied by an anecdote. Caffe Greco, for example, makes an "almost proprietary" Greco cookie that is orange-flavored and dipped in Belgian chocolate.
Some of the venues, such as Emporio Rulli Il Caffe in Union Square or La Copa Loca in the Mission District, specialize in Italian pastries and gelatos. Famous cafes and bakeries such as Liguria Bakery, in North Beach, also are here.