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Omavore’s new home

6 Mar

Omavore has a new look — and a new address. Please update your bookmarks and readers to



On The French Cafe

28 Feb

My husband and I went on our first date at the French Cafe. I suppose I chose that spot for all the usual reasons that Omahans chose it for more than 40 years: It seemed romantic. Impressive. Fancy. Cultured. And I was an Omaha girl who wanted to impress an out-of-town boy. A long time passed between that first date and our second date (another story for another blog post) but years later, after we had fallen in love and settled together in a one-bedroom apartment on 13th Street, my husband insisted we go back to the French Cafe on a Saturday night.

We had already gone to dinner and had a drink. I’m fine with going home, I said.

He insisted again. I didn’t get it.

He asked for the same table we’d occupied on our first date. I still didn’t get it.

Then, hands trembling, he pulled a Borsheim’s box out of his pocket and asked.

It was as romantic as it sounds.

That’s us about an hour after our wedding, at the same table .

I felt sad, but maybe not surprised, when I learned yesterday that the French Cafe had closed. I know I’m far from the only person in Omaha who got engaged there, or who has lovely, romantic memories of the place. I remember going there as a little girl and being enchanted by the huge black-and-white photographs on the west wall. I stayed enchanted with them every time I went there, even the last time, for a drink a few weeks ago, when we were nearly the only people in the place. I wondered then what would happen to the French Cafe. I realized then that the city had largely deserted it.

The restaurant in 1980.

I can’t say I went there a lot. I think many Omahans can say the same thing. And even though the restaurant has floundered these past few years, making lots of changes and trying frantically to find itself, I don’t think I ever thought it would be gone.

The French Cafe kick started the Old Market. The Old Market: The first place I drove my red Pontiac Sunbird when I got my driver’s license. An escape that I’ve always returned to, even when we moved out of that one-bedroom apartment on 13th Street. A place where I first felt like I could be myself. A part of the city where I still eat many meals and drink countless glasses of wine with friends. The best part of Omaha. So for that, if nothing else, I will always remember, and appreciate the French Cafe.

It helped to make my Omaha what it is.

Vintage photo courtesy of the Omaha World-Herald. Wedding photos by my friend and OWH photographer Matt Miller.

Omaha’s Beard Semifinalists

21 Feb

Clayton Chapman and Paul Kulik

We’re getting there, Omaha.
Two of our own — Clayton Champan, of The Grey Plume, and Paul Kulik, of The Boiler Room — are semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Awards. Read more here.

{Happy Valentine’s Day}

15 Feb

Matthew and I enjoyed a cocktail at the Boiler Room last night followed by a delicious dinner at La Buvette. Tres romantic. (It’s also very dark in Buvette, so pardon the photos. But enjoy them anyway.)

I hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day, too.

We loved the curated wine rack and chose a lovely bottle of Barolo from the shelf.

Candle-lit cheese plate

Steak frites

Lamb Osso Bucco

Snow Day

4 Feb







Top to bottom: morning snow, crock pot of chili simmering for dinner, hot chocolate thanks to Ben and Stephanie, new vintage mug, today’s footwear of choice. Snow days aren’t too bad every once in a while. Stay warm!

My crazy week, in review.

1 Dec

So Chick-Fil-A and it’s soft opening and opening took over my life earlier this week. I can’t say I’ve ever seen so much frenzy over a fried chicken sandwich (or so much controversy over the politics of restaurant owners, for that matter.) I also had to finish writing my story that ran Wednesday about creative hostess gifts (seriously, check out the cheese board that’s featured with the story — it’s amazing) and write my review for tomorrow’s paper and of course compile dining notes. Tomorrow’s review is a good one. I can’t wait to share it here.

Oh yeah, and I have a little column called art notes that always seems to get lost in the fray.

On Monday, I escaped my desk for a photo shoot for the gift story. Yes, that’s my back at left (and my own hand wrapped gift and front door, I’ll add.)

So those are all the reasons that Omavore has been quiet this week. But I’ll be back on track next week, beginning with a recap of this weekend, which I’m spending in Kansas City with my husband. His favorite band is playing a show Saturday night — can’t wait. Next week I’ll tell you about all the good food we eat and the good things we drink over the weekend.

Until then.

Chocolatier Blue and my first giveaway!

17 Nov

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner of the “Adventures with Chocolate” cookbook via a random number generator is commenter #11, RachelWarne. Congratulations!

I’ll give you the full scoop in my dining notes column tomorrow in the World-Herald about Chocolatier Blue coming to Omaha. I was lucky enough earlier this week to get a sample box of Chris Blue’s chocolatey goodness. My oh my. Some of these (and yes, I’ve eaten a few) are amazing. Below, I’m sampling my favorite so far, the White Russian (a.k.a “the caucasian.”) I’m saving the cardamom-flavored chocolate for last, because it just sounds so, so good.

To continue on the theme, I’m offering Omavore readers the chance to win a prize in my very first giveaway! The prize is a copy of the brand new just-released book “Adventures with Chocolate” by chocolate expert Paul A. Young. Young is a renowned British chocolatier, and his book recently won the Best Chocolate book in the World award from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Fancy!

The book includes 80 recipes — even savory ones. One that looks amazing to me is chocolate water biscuits that are meant to be served with cheese. This sounds like the best idea ever.

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment on this post and tell me what’s your favorite way to eat chocolate? I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday. Good luck!