Hungry for Paris, a new guide to dining in Paris, provides reviews of more than 100 restaurants in the French capitol. Organized by neighborhood, with maps detailing each restaurant's location, the reviews provide deeply personal evocations of favorite eating places (but, if you're in a rush, "In a Word," bite-size reviews follow each entry). The author, Alexander Lobrano, longtime European correspondent for Gourmet magazine, is clearly smitten with the city, but don't think the book is mere boosterism. He writes despairingly that brasseries are on the decline and includes an honest appraisal of why some of the more famous Paris restaurants you've heard about didn't make the cut.
The reviews are bookended with short, useful essays on the basics of French dining, eating alone, seasonal specialties, and learning how to eat the "unspeakable" -- snails, smelly cheeses, frogs' legs and other foods that freak Americans out. "Why fly all the way to Paris to eat chicken breasts or steak?" asks Lobrano. "Push your limits instead. At worst, you'll have a gruesome gastro tale of your own to recount when you get home. More likely, you'll be amazed to discover that you actually like pig's feet, beef muzzle salad vinaigrette, and calf's brains." $10.88 at amazon.com.