Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Poulet Rôti Made Me Do It

My husband’s favorite thing to do is work all week long into the wee hours of the night and then wake up at the crack of dawn on the weekends to facilitate my adventures. Yes, I’m being facetious… Partly. He does hate waking up early but once he’s knee-deep into my adventures he actually likes it. Remember, there is no rest for the weary.

Let me just state for the record that I have the best husband in the whole wide world. Even though he’s totally annoying, I can say with certainty that this man is a saint. He does everything that I want and dedicates his weekends to my happiness. Raise your hand if you have a husband that takes you to museum after museum, exhibit after exhibit, restaurants that only you like, flea markets, Château tours, chick shops, flower markets and farmers markets… Every. Single. Weekend. Yes, I married well and yes, he married up. :-)

However, he does all of this not without complaining. He complains when I wake him up at 7 AM on a Sunday, he complains when we have to squeeze into a tiny French elevator with my wheelchair and breathing machine, he complains that I force him to take Uber X (the fancy Uber), he complains that it’s too hot, he complains that he hasn’t had coffee yet and he complains that he has to pay for everything. He does all of this complaining in a loud French voice. His only saving grace is that he’s super handsome and I let him get away with a lot because he’s easy on the eyes. I also cut him some slack because he is one of the rare husbands that doesn’t have to be told what to wear which saves me oodles of time. Luckily I have never had to utter the words, “Please don’t wear a tank top or socks with crocs.” My husband knows how to dress… And I thank him for that.

He usually continues his complaining all the way to our destination. Once he gets a café au lait and a pain au chocolat into his system (like a fucking two-year-old girl), he stops crying and enjoys the ride. In fact he more than enjoys the ride. He actually “gets into it.” At museums, he doesn’t rush and he reads all of the descriptions and loves the gift shop as much as I do. At restaurants, he always lets me order and we share everything. At flea markets, he looks over every booth and picks up items that he knows I will like and shows them to me (he actually has a great eye). At flower markets, he smells all the flowers for me and tells me if I would like them or not (I cannot smell anything through my breathing machine). At the makeup counter he always asks me, “Do you want anything else that would make you feel pretty.” At clothing shops, he goes through each rack with me and never gets bored and tells me that blue is my color. And at farmers markets… He is the best which brings us to today’s blog posting.

On Saturday evening, I announced to my husband that we were going to wake up early Sunday morning to go to the farmers market in the 12th arrondissement (Bastille neighborhood) of Paris. I thought that giving him less than 24 hour notice was polite, don’t you? And of course, he starts complaining and mumbling his French catchphrase which includes every French swearword on the face of the earth and something about a bordello. I had to explain to him that I had heard through the grapevine about a woman named The Chicken Lady at the farmers market that we had to go to visit. Apparently, this woman named Catherine makes the best roasted chicken, poulet rôti, in all of Paris. The Chicken Lady marinates her poulet crapaudine (spatchcocked birds) for several days in a variety of ingredients like ginger, honey, citrus and sesame. The chicken is then roasted to perfection resulting in a sticky crispy skin that is irresistible. My husband replied to me, “So we are waking up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday… For a chicken?” Yep!

Of course we were going to wake up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday for a chicken… Amongst other things… such as a tomatoes… Specifically Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes. So, off to the Marché Bastille we go. This farmers market is one of the largest in Paris and is perfect for a first-time tourist in the City of Light. This market has everything… fruits and veggies, sel de Provence, quintessential French striped T-shirts à  la Picasso, piping hot crêpes au fromage, fresh pastas with homemade spicy arrabiatta sauce, Parisians’ beloved stinky Roquefort cheese, fleurs bon marché (cheap flowers), herbs and of course that roasted chicken!

We arrived at the farmers market by 9 AM and that was almost too late for the chicken. By the time we got to The Chicken Lady, 90% of her chickens were already sold. Luckily, we managed to score one of the last remaining ginger and citrus chickens. Let me tell you, the scent of roasting chickens dripping with fat onto roasting herbed potatoes is enough to book a flight to Paris ASAP, regardless of the heat wave. I could hardly wait to get the chicken home so we could devour it. Yes, I reminded myself that I’m a part-time vegetarian only in theory. I dare you to pass up this chicken, my vegan friends.


All my wildest dreams came true with this chicken… Crispy, sweet skin, almost caramelized, almost candied. Tart with the ginger, mellowed out with the honey and a little crunch with the sesame. Moist and juicy meat, a perfect complement to my sage stuffing and juicy tomatoes.

And this is why we wake up at the crack of dawn to go to a French farmers market, dear husband. He didn't complain once and he took all of these photos.
A toute!

*Something you don’t know about me? I’m quite critical. Surprise surprise. :-). While I recommend the Marché Bastille for The Chicken Lady, I don’t recommend it for the diehard farmers market goers. It’s a bit generic with the usual characters of vegetables and fruits. It’s a bit loud and there are too many Americans sporting golf shirts, fanny packs and comfortable shoes. My favorite farmers markets are the Marché Grenelle and the Marché Raspail.

The Marché Grenelle is located under the metro tracks in the 15th arrondissement and it is where the true Parisians shop. There is no fluff here, no tourists and is all about the produce. This is the real deal and no one bats an eye at the politically incorrect potatoes cooked in goose fat. They are delicious and that’s all anyone cares about. The mushrooms look like mushrooms and the cheese smells like cheese. Nothing is sugarcoated here. If this is a problem for you, remind yourself that you are in France and not Santa Monica.


If you need a little bit more ritz in your farmers market like I do sometimes, I head to the Marché Raspail in the 6th arrondissement. Everything here is très jolie and parfait and bio (organic). Lovely and subdued, there are no screaming vendors here like at the Marché Bastille. Prices are higher because they cater to easily impressed Americans but who cares, it’s all gorgeous and delicious. It’s like Gelson’s… But outdoors. I usually go to this market when I need my Barefoot Contessa fix as Ina Garten, herself, has been spotted at this market numerous times (her apartment is nearby.)

Do you want to hear a funny story? Sometimes I just can’t bear farmers markets… Because I have a very delicate constitution. My equilibrium is very sensitive and fragile. Stinky cheeses, fishy fish, meaty sausages quite literally put me over the edge. Case in point: About eight years ago, I was in Mallorca, Spain at my friend Diandra Douglas’ drop dead gorgeous villa. I will do a blog on it this week so you can see… You will die. Anyway, this is a vacation house which basically means that this is a party house (no kids on this trip) and this particular Saturday night we had been partying quite hard… Lots of Palo de Mallorca cocktails, lots of Spanish cigarettes, and lots of flamenco dancing with roadside gypsies until the sun came up… A wee bit of debauchery. Come Sunday morning, I was ready to check into a rehab, but Diandra had different plans for all of us. She was in tip top shape because she had been raised in Mallorca and her body was immune. The rest of us, her weary novice guests (me, my husband and my cousin) were toast. We were exhausted, filthy, hungover and quite possibly needing our stomachs pumped. However, our lovely host, Diandra, was up and ready to take us to her favorite farmers market. Jesus fucking Christ.

Because we have manners, we agreed to join her. Bad idea. This was the last place I should be. Driving like a Formula One champion, Diandra navigated the winding treacherous hillside roads with precision. Winding roads and hangovers do not mix… Neither does 100° heat and a hangover. I kept looking out of the car windows for a hospital. No such luck and we arrived at the farmers market. This is quite possibly the worst day of my life. Loud, sticky, sweaty, stinky Mallorccan farmers market with a hangover is hell on earth. At the first booth my senses were assaulted by tangy scented ripe sausages and dead pigs hanging by ropes buzzing with flies. Diandra chatted lyrically in her beautiful fluent Mallorquin indigenous dialect and ordered about 400 pounds of sausage and ham. I started to get dizzy. At the next booth, Diandra bought pound after pound of robust Manchengo cheese and then continued on to the next booth where she bought three birds and I think, a cat. That was it, I was ready to die. Sweaty ham, stinky cheese and dirty animals put me over the edge. I had to walk away. I had to walk away! My cousin cautiously steadied me and had no choice but to sit me down on the sidewalk… next to a bar. Yep, it got worse. Because she is halfway nice, my cousin found a hot Sprite for me and tried to get me to drink it. Hot Sprite just made it worse. Because she is halfway mean and hysterical she wickedly whispered one word to me… “Jambon” and then I just heaved all over the sidewalk. I was laughing, crying and puking at the same time and then my husband had to carry me to the car where I sat in silence thanking Dios that we were out of there. Gracias/no gracias Spanish farmers market.


  1. After a dismal period of 9 years without visiting Paris; my husband and I will be there in November. Thank you for the market information. I am so looking forward to November. Your blog makes me giddy thinking about Paris.
    You are amazing.

  2. OMG - you have made me soooo hungry for roasted chicken! It sounds divine! Any chance of getting the recipe for the marinade?

  3. Oh I want some damn citrus ginger chicken! The market looks so beautiful and I want to come! I'll bet the tomatoes are even better this year with the heat. If I come to Paris, I'm going to the market with you in cargo shorts, crocs, and a shirt with a bald eagle on it.
    That awful hangover story makes me feel sick! The car ride, the grossness, the meat, the heat. Eeeeeew. Haha believe it or not, I've had to soldier through a hangover or two. One of my shining moments was at a flea market on a Saturday morning when I threw up behind a breakfront.

  4. I'm hungry! I love farmer's markets, but of course, here, health regulations don't allow open meat displays. (Thank goodness!) The piles of fruits and vegetables are beautiful, and the flowers, too. So sweet of your husband to smell the flowers for you, and the other things he does as well. Except the complaining :-)) Hope every weekend is filled with new adventures for you, Huge hugs!

  5. This post has highs and lows, and I loved it. I LOVE plain old Costco rotisserie chicken, and can only imagine it with honey, sesame and super crispy skin as you described. I do love making hay while the sun shines and cheers to your party night in Spain. However, I HATE doing anything hungover other than laying in bed watching old shows while carefully selecting what I eat and drink all to my hearts content. Your description of your worst day was exceptional and horrible at the same time. Gosh you've got the best husband in the world. Mine is very good, but yours is tough to match with the looks and energy and camera skills. Looking forward to your next adventure (from Knoxville, TN.)

  6. You chose well. He lucked out! Together you make a great pair. The chicken sounds delicious, well worth the early rise.

  7. Mallorca Farmers Market - Your'e just too F'ing Funny . Made me sick just reading it ! Love , Love , A

  8. Your husband asking you at the makeup counter if "you want anything else that would make you feel pretty" is about the sweetest thing ever. I am now an official fan of your husband! (I've been one of you for some time now!)

    1. That was my favorite thing too. :)

    2. This is so sweet! Truly one of a kind your dear hubs! Most men get the hives around a makeup counter!
      Both of you lucky in love!

  9. You had me at "The Chicken Lady marinates . . . in a variety of ingredients like ginger, honey, citrus and sesame. The chicken is then roasted to perfection resulting in a sticky crispy skin that is irresistible."

    But then you lost me in the Mallorca farmers market. ;)

  10. Must have some roasted chicken tomorrow!

  11. Feeling hungry and sick at the same time is really a curse. Your stories are always entertaining! A toast to you and your saintly husband! Thank you for reminding me how bad hang overs really are.🍷😉

  12. Ha! You and "the cat" jump started my morning. Will laugh a good part of the day. Bless you!

  13. You can't beat a perfectly roasted chicken!!! It's my all-time favorite dinner. Hands. Down. Loved your post.

  14. What a lovable pair you two are!
    I always love the farmer's market descriptions and I was longing for one of those chickens! Just getting ready to check flight schedules when I got to the hangover part! Now, I will be content with my morning coffee;)
    Great chuckle to start the day! Thank you!

  15. You are always a perfect way to start my day... Thank you for making me laugh...

    xo xo and prayers, Loreen

  16. Love love love your posts! Never disappointed and certainly no disappointment in today's blog - what a hoot! I bet there are several who could tell stories of their first visit to Bourbon Street here in the French Quarter of New Orleans and the subsequent hangovers. I prepare roasted chicken at least once a month. Any suggestions on the marinade?

  17. Ellie your descriptions are least your husband knows how to dress and is easy on the eyes, no crocs with socks or tank tops!! Welcome to some of the men in the Midwest ( of course a few know how to dress and I'm looking for one (like my late husband!) The Market in Mallorca with Diandra, I don't know that I could have gotten out of bed!

    The Chicken lady needs to come to the states!

    The Arts by Karena

  18. I would kill for one of those chickens and a blue and one of those stripe shirts. I will haul anything from the USA if you have those 2 things waiting for me. Agreed?
    Mallorca sounds amazing. I can say you have a great life, but I think you know that already. xo MB

  19. Just saying: this is nominated for Best Blog Post Title Ever.

    Aaaand: I want one of those chickens. I will trade you some Betty and Veronica playing cards.

    With Love and Strength to you beautiful one,
    Melted Heather

  20. I kinda feel like that NOW.Had my neighbors SPANISH dish last night ate too much............can't think of the name and then couldn't sleep last night! HOT HERE TOO...........this morning huge bang in my backyard!GARBAGE TRUCK went backwards down a hill and hit a CAR.
    MAN SCREAMING CALL 911 call 911...........that was MY JOB I did and they took too long to get here............I then walked in my bathrobe through the poison oak to see if I could be of help!
    I am SPENT.......feeling slightly ill.
    Today we head to your old haunt THE IVY and INDIGO SEAS...............I hope the poison oak does not like ME and that I feel better as I will be celebrating my 55 th birthday TOMORROW!!!!!!!!
    YOU are a TREASURE.................keep writing!
    How is the book coming along?

    1. BOOK??? BOOK??? There's going to be a book??? Oh, I would LOVE that! I hope so!!! All of these blog posts would make a FABULOUS book. I would LOVE a signed copy, please!!! I'll pre-order it whenever I can! Just let me know!!!

    2. I couldn't open the CARD Ellie........will try again tonight!
      THANK YOU!!!
      NO POSION OAK either..........!!!

  21. Oh Contessa, I hope you're OK. Poisen OAK? No!

    Ellie, you have truly made me ill. How do you get that chicken recipe for the rest of us?

  22. Ellie, nice post as always. Give a look at this blog, maybe you will like it.

  23. Your wicked storytelling never fails to amuse ;)

    I've been wanting that chicken, with the schmaltz drenched potatoes, ever since I watched a food special on the Chicken Lady. Totally worth getting up early for. Thank you David & Ellie for sharing the photos and thank you for NOT sharing the photos of that Spanish Farmer’s Market – ugh! Okay, I’m not going to let your Mallorcan nightmare overshadow my heavenly Mallorcan food memories, however, I appreciate the head’s up on staying away from the Palo de Mallorca’s! Had to Google that and now it's safe to say you were beaten by the “stick of Mallorca”! ;)

    *Something you don’t know about me? I was about to raise my hand in response to your question about husbands because mine is really GREAT! He loves museums, only goes to restaurants and on tours that I choose, BUT there’s no way in Hell he’d ever go through every rack in a clothing store. David must be the “Best Husband in the World” and when he finds your cure for ALS? Instant Sainthood! XOX Forever hopeful.