In France, corn is mostly grown to feed cattle ― not a bad cause, of course; that cow's milk makes great cheese. But what few ears I see in French markets for human consumption look very old and tired. However, Ronald Zappardino, proprietor of French-influenced Top o' the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, California, more than meets American standards when it comes to corn. Sweet ears take a direct route from the field to his door.
One night, from a romantic corner of the restaurant, I was watching the sun slip over the Pacific Rim (a justifiably praised view) when, lo and behold, another golden orb appeared before me ― a bowl of rich corn chowder to shift my attention to dinner. As I savored the soup, it struck me that French influence on an American classic is not a bad thing. It manages to make coziness elegant.