A chance dinner last Sunday led us to dine in Sens’o, an empty Italian restaurant on one of the Paris islands with a superlative scallops risotto and a chance encounter resulted from talking from the idle waitress who happened to be a free-lance journalist. We talked for quite a while on her previous trips to Haïti, Egypt, and field hospitals at the Syrian border in Turkey. (The restaurant was empty for a combination of reasons, from the drop in tourists after the November 13 killings to January being a low tide month, to a blistery Sunday night being unattractive for revellers. Not because of bad reviews…)
Archive for the Wines Category
I received the above bowl (or jar?) above as a[nother X’mas] gift. Not only it is a beautiful pottery from a Norman handicraft centre, at Noron-la-Poterie, but it is specially designed to cook Norman-style rice pudding, and it does it superbly! (The recipe stems from bakers cooking rice in cold and creamy Norman milk while their traditional wood oven was cooling down. The ensuing slow cooking produces a very creamy rice pudding.)
Besides testing this new bowl, I further experimented on the kitchen front this week with a Nutella galette des rois and a red wine risotto, both of which were far from successes! Maybe due to the poor Pic Saint-Loup I used… The most notable achievements were borrowed from two recipes I found in The Guardian. Including a sweet potato tarte tatin. Even though the sausage and kale dish found therein let me [and even more my family] quite dubious about the appeal of kale for human consumption…
In connection with the big snow storm of last weekend in the U.S. North-East, The New York Time published an airport survival guide that includes a comprehensive Best Dining section on each major airport. Sections that I find somewhat hilarious in turning what is just the thing to avoid (why would you need food before sitting in a plane for several hours?!) into a hype! Here are some particularly crunchy and savoury quotes (and a mention of the brewery that makes the famous Fat Tire!):
“Less healthy but perhaps more popular, Garrett Popcorn Shops, also in 2 and 3, specialize in the Garrett Mix, a blend of cheese and caramel popcorn.”
“At B Gates, Elway’s steakhouse is popular for its burger as well as Colorado-raised steaks, and New Belgium Hub serves microbrews from the Fort Collins brewer.”
“There is a strong Cuban accent in Miami’s airport restaurants, beginning with four Café Versailles, branches of the Little Havana landmark.”
“At its culinary rival, Terminal D, Bisoux will box your croque monsieurs and other bistro fare to go.”
(with the last one managing to stuff two French grammar mistakes in one line).
Visiting relatives for the New Year break, I had two wonderful opportunities to sample chef’s restaurants in Normandy. One was Ivan Vautier’s IV in Caen, who had recently lost one Michelin star out of two, but seems to deserve two from the quality of the food and service we received for lunch. For instance, this poached egg… (Definitely above the X I tested twice in 2015.) Plus a great touch of connecting with the local producers, whose pictures were posted in the entrance to the restaurant. The second restaurant was Pavillon de Gouffern, located in a forest near Argentan (and almost on the path of my traditional half-marathon). Worth recommending if only for the setting, in a former hunting lodge, superbly quiet with great views. Plus a well-made scampi risotto, ultimately creamy. And a wide collection of local pear-ciders.
Last Sunday, I gave a talk on delayed acceptance at the 9th International Conference on Computational and Financial Econometrics (CFE 2015), joint with CMStatistics 2015, in London. This was a worthwhile session, with other talks by Matias Quiroz, on subsampling strategies for large data, David Frazier, on our joint paper about the consistency of ABC algorithms, and James Ridgway not on Pima Indians! And with a good-sized audience especially when considering the number of parallel sessions (36!). Earlier that day, I also attended an equally interesting session on the calibration of misspecified Bayesian models including talks by Peter Green [with a potential answer to the difficulty of parameters on the boundaries by adding orthogonal priors on those boundaries] and Julien Stoehr. calibrating composite likelihoods on Gaussian random fields. In the evening I went to a pub I had last visited when my late friend Costas Goutis was still at UCL and later enjoyed a fiery hot rogan josh.
While I could have attended two more sessions the next morning, I took advantage of the nice café in the Gower Street Waterstones to work a few hours with co-authors (and drink a few litres of tea from real teapots). Despite this quite nice overall experience, the 36 parallel session and the 1600 plus attendants at the conference still make wonder at the appeal of such a large conference and at the pertinence of giving a talk in parallel with so many other talks. And on about all aspects of statistics and econometrics. One JSM (or one NIPS) is more than enough! And given that many people only came for delivering their talk, there is very little networking between research teams or mentoring of younger colleagues, as far as I can tell. And no connection with a statistical society (it would be so nice if the RSS annual conference could only attract 1600 people!). Only a “CMStatistics working group” of which I discovered I was listed as a member [and asked for removal, so far with no answer]. Whose goals and actions are unclear, except to support Elsevier journals with special issues apparently constructed on the same pattern as this conference was organised, i.e., by asking people to take care [for free!] of gathering authors on a theme of their choice. And behind this “working group” an equally nebulous structure called ERCIM…
While the “robbed” in the title could be interpreted as wondering at the reason for paying such high registration fees (£250 for very early birds), I actually got robbed of my bicycle while away at the conference. Second bike stolen within a calendar year, quite an achievement! This was an old 1990 mountain bike I had bought in Cornell and carried back to France, in such a poor state that I could not imagine anyone stealing it. Wrong prior, obviously.