Wednesday, June 30, 2010

French word of the day: cacahuete

Def: peanut

I knew Skippy and JIF were available at supermarkets like Ed and Shop!. And I told myself that, because I had other delicious spreads—Nutella and Speculoos for sweet, hummus and French butter for savory—that I could wait until I returned home to buy peanut butter. But then I saw the “American Style” jar at my bio co-op and caved. Miam miam, tartines with peanut butter!

How you actually pronounce “cacahuete” is a whole other subject…

Daily Poll: buttercream or fondant frosting?

Galignani: tons of awe and inspiration

Oh, Paris! Oh, Galignani! How I love you both so.

It’s a good thing for my wallet that the store was closed when I walked by and saw your window displays.

Hey, I know that cover! Janet Flanneur, I should pick you up again.

Hmmm… and maybe I should give Adam Gopnik another chance.

Any of these lovely books will do for Christmas, my friends.

So many words still to read…

So many sights…

Always beauty and inspiration.

Always Paris.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Work around the web


…and fashion.

I’m loving my job lately, but I also still love writing for HiP Paris, Girls Guide to Paris and The Moment.

Summer awakening

Lately, I have been alternatively jonesing for a new wardrobe and feeling absolutely uninspired and indifferent to fashion. But this weekend, I splurged a little. I went back to Merci to buy an Edun bracelet and also walked out with new earrings, a T-shirt and a fabulous Helmut Lang party dress (now I just need a party…).

I’m also reading a great profile on Mickey Drexler in the Wall Street Journal Magazine. Although I know all of my American friends are shuddering at the thought, given my current access to fabulous French brands, I’d do anything to be able to pop into a J. Crew right now and buy a boatload of tops, flats and accessories. They’re doing such a fabulous job with design.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Vegan Mondays

This morning, I thought I’d never want to eat again. But I underestimated my loyalty to food right now. My insatiability. The love affair I’m having with eating in Paris. Vegan Mondays must go on, to say nothing of what’s to come this week.

Coffee and soy milk
An orange (the health food stores here still have the best oranges in the world. Sorry, Florida)

So-so salad of greens, tomatoes, cukes and lentils

Delicious salad of greens, roasted eggplant and red pepper, sundried tomatoes and avocado
Dried apple (my current comfort food)

Paris is for schizophrenics

Fri, 6pm: Yay! I’m leaving work! To go have drinks at Rosa Bonheur! Because summer has arrived! Yay!

Fri, 8pm: Man, I’m beat from the week. Get me another sangria?

Fri, 10pm: Really? Wasn’t the scene at Rosa Bonheur better last year? What happened?

Fri 11pm: How depressing. Rosa Bonheur is already passé. And nobody is at La Trinquette or Andy Wahloo. Where are we going to hang out all summer? What is up with Paris??

Sat, 9am: Too early for a work meeting. Wrong day for a work meeting. Why, why??

Sat, 11am: Yay, freedom! Now, I have the whole weekend ahead of me.

Sat, 1pm: Score! I love my new Helmut Lang dress. Especially since it was half off.

Sat, 4pm: Sigh. Why can’t I snap my fingers and have everything written, instead of actually having to sit here at my computer and figure out what to write?

Sat, 5pm: Angst. Writer’s angst.

Sat, 8pm: Excited for the World Cup!

Sat, 8:30pm: U! S! A! U! S! A!

Sat, 8:36pm: Merde. Ghana scored.

Sat, 9:32pm: U! S! A! U! S! A! Looking good!

Sat, 9:45pm: Wow! What a game!

Sat, 10:03pm: Merde. Ghana scored.

Sat, 10:10pm: Wow! What a game!

Sat, 10:30pm: Merde. Ghana won.

Sun, 1am: Drunk, tired, get yourself home. Get yourself to bed.

Sun, 9am: I love the weekends.

Sun, 11:30am: Incredible! Exhilaration! I love this city! I love summer! I love the Velibs! I could bike all day long!

Sun, 12:30: Incredible! Exhilaration! I love this city! I love summer! I love the farmer’s markets! Cherries and nectarines and peonies and rotisserie chicken! Gimme, gimme!

Sun, 2pm: I love the weekends.

Sun, 3pm: So. Tired. Must. Nap.

Sun, 4pm: So. Groggy. But must. Write.

Sun, 5pm: Angst. Writer’s angst.

Sun, 6pm: Lovely. The sun is out. I have eaten well. Summer is here.

Sun, 9pm: Yay. A couple more hours of writing, done. A reward to myself: Crazy Hearts download from iTunes.

Sun, 11pm: That was more depressing than I bargained for. Sigh. Not exactly the high note I was looking to end the weekend on.

Sun, 11:10pm: NO.

NO, NO, NO. Omigod, no! My fucking cap did not just fall out!?

Sun, 11:11pm: Mom, can you pick up the phone?!

Sun, 11:15pm: Why did this happen to me? Why am I living 3600 miles from home?? Why am I alone?? Wtf am I doing?

Sun, 11:20pm: Thank god for good moms. Thank god for my mom.

Sun, 11:25pm: How am I going to find a freakin’ dentist?

Sun, 11:30pm: It’s okay. I will be able to stop crying soon.

Sun, 11:32pm: Wtf am I doing?? Why am I living so far from home?

Sun, 11:40pm: Thank god for friends. Thank god for Mel.

Sun, 11:45pm: Immense gratitude.

Sun, 11:55pm: Immense sadness.

Sun, 11:59pm: Immense loneliness.

Mon, 12:10am: It’s okay. I will get through this.

Mon, 12:20am: Wtf am I doing?? Why am I living so far from home?

Mon, 12:30am: Everything will be okay.

Mon, 12:40am: Wtf am I doing?? Why am I living so far from home?

Mon, 1am: I am so freakin’ tired. Why can’t I sleep?

Mon, 7:30am: Merde. It wasn’t a bad dream.

Mon, 8am: Ohmypuffyeyes.

Mon, 8:01am: Ohmyscarymouth.

Mon, 10am: Thank god Mel’s dentist can see me.

Mon; 10:30am: Did someone drug me? Or is this what could be called an emotional hangover?

Mon, 11am: That’s it? A 20-second procedure to fix 12-hours of personal trauma?

Mon, 11:30am: Thank god. I have all my teeth back, firmly in place.

Mon; 11:50am: Seriously, did someone drug me??

Mon, 1pm: Starving.

Mon, 2pm: Anxiety. Is it safe to eat?

Mon, 2:30pm: Relief. It stayed in.

Mon 3pm: Exhausted.

Mon, 4pm: Clarity. The fog is lifting.

Mon, 5pm: Incredulous. Here’s to a less erratic week.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cue, sound

One of the things I love about summer is having the windows open. Beyond the sunlight and breeze coming in, I like hearing my neighbors’ activities: the clanking of dishes as dinner is being prepared; the phone ringing (unmistakably, a landline); the piano being played (oui, people still play the piano!); little kids skateboarding down on the street and laughing. The way these sounds are soft and echo-y is so romantic and evocative, it makes me feel like I’m living in a movie.

On shuffle

I broke out my Central Reservation CD today, inspired as I was after last week’s performance. After my dose of Beth Orton, I relied on shuffle keep me company, and to keep me happy.

Same As It Ever Was
- Talking Heads
Staring at the Sun – TV on the Radio
Smile Upon Me - Passion Pit (happy, happy)
My Same – Adele (thank you, Connie & Nina!)
Say It Isn’t So – Hall & Oates
Home – LCD Soundsystem
Little Sister – Rufus Wainwright
Neon Rider –Junior Boys
Creator – Santogold
Il Est Parti Un Jour – Francoise Hardy
England – The National (thank you, Mr B!)
Gender Bombs – The Stills
Blood Red Moon – The XX

I wonder what the soundtrack of the summer will be?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Des canards bébés

Even ducks flock to Canal St-Martin in the summer.

Weather check: happy girl

It was a loooooong time coming. In fact, just last weekend, I was shivering in my apartment beneath three layers of clothing. Today? Bare feet, bare shoulders, wee skirt. It's summertime, mes amis. I couldn't be happier. (Or more relieved.)

France, old and new

My girlfriend just sent me a little reminder of a French rap song that we went crazy for a couple summers ago at the beach: Travailler by TTC. I still love the song, but the video is so silly. Writhing bikini-clad girls on a conference room table; dorky white guys trying to act badass; cheap fashion, cliché scenarios, poor production values… but, oui, great song.

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to Francoise Hardy all week. Ah, Tous les Garcons et les Filles…. so sweet and innocent. Life’s just an amusement park ride, n'est ce pas? When the girls’ skirts flutter in the wind, they titter like demure, precious creatures. Everything is so plain and simple.

My question is, what happened in the four decades between these two songs? Surely, the French produced other music than Serge Gainsbourg, Johnny Hallyday and Phoenix?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Daily Poll: muffin or brioche?

Edun comes to Paris

It was at one of my favorite stores in Paris.

It was a beautiful summer night.

There were men in black…

…and other arty, fashionable, socially-conscious (in theory) people…

…including Ali Hewson (aka, Mrs. Bono).

Edun has launched its beautiful line at Merci.

I am very excited for this story to continue.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I went in for the olives and came out with Speculoos

Doomed, I am.

I popped into Spring Boutique to pick up my new favorite snack, Lucques green olives. There is something about the nutty sweetness of these that bowled me over. And I’m not even an olive girl.

But, of course, what I’m really a sucker for is Speculoos. Can’t have it in my apartment if I am to make it through this bare skin season. So, now what?

I’ve discovered Dolfin makes a milk chocolate bar with Speculoos.


Daily Poll: carnivore or herbivore?

Pause & reflect

I have a growing obsession with stop motion video. This one is particularly lovely. Beautifully stylized, a sweet/melancholic song, super sharp ‘direction’….

It’s a true adventure through life, n’est-ce pas?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer, is it really you?

And are you here to stay?

I felt your presence going to the party...

As well as going home...

Please don't go anywhere. I could really get used to having you around.

A contagious perspective

"Nothing can compare to Paris."
- Eustache Deschamps

(Except, well, maybe, New York...)

Daily Poll: un espresso or un crème?

Just when you thought he couldn’t get any cuter

A few weeks back, while I was traveling, Milo was so lucky as to have visitors. My good friend, Jo, brought her mom ’round to my treehouse so she could paint some Parisian rooftops. Lo and behold, Milo charmed is way into one of her darling watercolors.

Merci, Erin!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

French word of the day: grignoter

Def: To nibble or eat away

This is me to a T lately. Insatiable. On a tear. Eating anything and everything and needing to do what I can to avoid grossir (putting on weight) and getting grosse (big) and grasse (fat).

Daily Poll: fried or mashed?

Moderately gaga for Gaya

I don't necessarily object to being called a restaurant whore. I love dining out. I keep up on restaurants. And when I go to a party, I’m happiest when the conversation turns to food and restaurants and who’s been where and what everybody’s best meals have been. I love it all. So to be living in Paris, where you can have incredible experiences like the one Michael and I had at Le Grand Vefour a few months back is pretty perfect.

But that lunch at Le Grand Vefour set the bar pretty high. We’ve been inspired to indulge in a grand dejeuner every month or two and recently set our sights on Gaya Rive Gauche, Pierre Gagnaire’s modern fish bistro. We went on a nice and balmy June Friday (yes, we’ve had one or two of those), which was perfect for the restaurant’s aesthetic. Metallic “fish scales” along one wall, periwinkle chairs that contrasted against grey carpeting, and a crisp, bright, organic feeling all around that made me happy I was wearing my mariner stripes. After we ordered a carafe of chilled Valfalunes Blanc, I was happier still.

Bread and butter and olive oil and sea salt (how often do you get one or the other, much less both in this town?!)...

...served in charming and appropriate containers—along with amuses bouches that included a gorgeous octopus salad which we speared and sparred with toothpicks—accompanied us as we read through the menu. But it was nontraditionally, and, to us, incoherently, organized into groupings such as “Unusual” and “Modest Tide” rather than “Entrées” and “Plats”, so we had to ask for guidance. But if the menu’s structure was confusing, at least the food was obviously delicious.

Building on the bread I had already demolished, I started heavy on the carbs: with ravioles printanières. Hidden beneath lots of green veggies—broccoli, snap peas, zucchini—I told myself it was as nutritious as a salad.

(At least it was healthier than Michael’s pork terrine. Well, maybe.)

For my main plate, I got the pavé de cabillaud (which was, I think, filed under “The Essentials” on the menu), deliciously and decadently poached in god knows how much butter and served with a julienned salad of carrots, apple and seaweed.

Michael’s poisson was an enormous filet of féra, a white fish from Switzerland.

Being loathe to leave without dessert, no matter how much our bellies protested, we decided to split dessert. Behold…

...a beautiful chocolate praliné cake, served atop rhubarb and accompanied by salted caramel ice cream a few hazelnuts.

By now, we were lounging and lazy and had befriended our neighbors, two lovely women from LA who were vacationing and, with their tales of dining, shopping and French Open viewing, clearly living the high life. By chatting with them, we stretched lunch to three hours—which gave us enough time to also demolish the petit fours—mint macarons, mini strawberry financiers and caramelized sesame brittle—delivered with coffee.

We were utterly filled to the gills. (Oui! Je blague en francais!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Vegan Mondays

Can quinoa continue expanding after it’s cooked and is inside your belly? I woke up twice last night with the most horrendous stomachache. The only culprit I could think of was the quinoa salad I made in anticipation for Vegan Monday (right? It wouldn’t have been the cherry clafoutis I had from Carette?!). Alas, it was a pretty boring eating day.

Coffee and soy milk
Fresh strawberries
Wheat toast with raspberry jam
Granny Smith apple

Tossed salad

Another banana
Toast with hummus (I eschewed more quinoa)
Carrots with hummus
Dried apples

Another award-winning journey

Last summer, we won the FWA Site of the Day Award for the Astronauts (ride, Sally, ride!). This summer, we turn from the moon to the football field with Zidane, Pelé and Maradona.
Although the Annie & Misha site has a special place in my heart (having actually been on the shoot), it's of course gratifying to get accolades for our work—especially to read all the comments and know that people actually see and like what we create at work.

(I’m also tres excited for the next campaign, coming early fall!)

Daily Poll: pain perdu or French toast?

I.e. Sugar, egg, vanilla and cinnamon doused bread served with creme fraiche for dessert, or eggy bread served with warm maple syrup and berries for breakfast?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Festival and Co

The invitation from Shakespeare & Co said the soirée—part of their Storytelling and Politics Festival—was sponsored by Louis Roederer so I expected beaucoup champagne to be flowing. And while I was disappointed that it was wine only, I could hardly complain with a spread like this. It was un-croy-able.

I tried about nine varieties of goat cheese.

And ate about four kilos of dried apricots, plums and the plumpest blueberries ever.

I was even tempted to snag some of the lavender that was scattered everywhere but figured that would be pretty low American behavior.

The soirée was at the Réfectoire de Cordeliers, which had a lovely courtyard and attracted a nice mix of old and young, Frenchies and Anglophones, good and bad fashion.

Somewhere in this crowd, Kristen Scott Thomas was mingling—can you see her right eye in this picture?

Some of the other attendees might have been there to see Alan Riding or The Paper Cinema. Or maybe they were just there to see and be seen. I went for Beth Orton (and Louis Roederer, oui), who, after four years, is finally working on a new album.

It was great to hear her voice again.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shopping the Haut Marais

To shop the “Haut Marais”, it’s helpful to understand the English translation. This neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood is the “High Marais”, which literally means it’s north of the heart of this now-touristy (but still charming) quartier. And figuratively, it means it’s more exclusive than its southern parts. Not exactly the haut couture of Avenue Montaigne, but also not your average duds.

Mingling between art galleries and cafes, the Haut Marais is charming, trendy and chockfull of boutiques that offer everything from handmade jewelry to bespoke leather goods the most avant-garde clothing. For the most bang for your buck, concentrate on these three key streets (but, bien sur, feel free to stray and explore the area’s wonderful little corners).

Rue du Vieille du Temple
This street, which runs north, is home to a mélange of well-known French chains and indie boutiques that will have you pinging and ponging from one side of the street to another. For example, if you’re looking for a dress for a summer soirée, don’t miss the finely tailored, sophisticated pieces at Vanessa Bruno (#100) or check the more moderately priced flirty frocks across the street at Stella Forest (#117). CH.IND (#117) is another oasis of femininity, featuring a lovely collection of shirts and blouses. Back to the other side of the street, you’ll find the new store of French handbag maker Louis Quatorze (#106), which features luxurious leather goods in bold colors such as orange, green and blue. The street wear label Surface to Air (#108) also has new digs on rue du Vieille du Temple. Though the men’s collection is much larger at this Parisian flagship, the modern, urban pieces here—as well as a few stores up at A.P.C. (#112) offer simple alternatives to the ruffles and flowers that dominate all the other shops.

Rue Charlot
Before tackling the trendy boutiques of rue Charlot, fortify yourself with a salmon burger and, more important, glean some fashion pointers from the hipsters at Café Charlot (38, rue de Bretagne). Then take a left (north) to discover a treasure trove of small boutiques and designer ateliers.

Pop into the showroom of fashion-forward Parisian native Gaspard Yurkievich (#43) to check out his pricey sculptural clothing and wild shoes. More modest wares—tote bags, sun hats, blazers, and skirts, made from antique fabrics and recycled military canvas—can be found at rustic-chic boutique Yves Andrieux & Vincent Jalbert (#55). No60 (#60) offers of-the-moment lines such as Chalayan, Margiela and Anne-Valéry Hash, and is flanked by two local designers’ ateliers. Valentine Gauthier’s (#58) creations are slightly avant-garde and perfect for going out, while Korean designer Moon Young Hee (#62) creates complex but whimsical pieces.

Rue de Poitou
With its cozy interior and abundance of soft, beautiful basics, Vénus et Judes (22 rue Debelleyme) is perfect for homebodies looking for loungewear. Next-door neighbors Swildens (#22) and Oxyde (#24) will set you up in summer’s best trends with collections that are heavy on floral prints and light-as-feather cottons. Across the street, partners Laetitia Azpiroz and Cyrille Railliet transform old leather goods into cool new bags and jackets and sell them alongside unique jewelry at Matières à Réflection (#19). From Louboutin platforms to Vuitton backpacks, Violette et Leonie (#27) could very well be where you score your next big label item—since it’s second-hand it won’t drain your bank account.

And, of course, you can’t shop the Haut Marais without a visit to Merci (111 boulevard Beaumarchais). Scoot over to this mini-department store for the best from Acne, Isabel Marant and Chloé, plus wonderful shoes, jewelry, handbags, housewares and second-hand books.

Weather check: surely, you must be joking

June 19. It is gray and cool and rainy and I am still swaddled in scarves. When am I going to wake from this bad weather nightmare and be able to picnic by the Seine?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Daily Poll: sole meunière or coq au vin?

Clandestine dining

I can’t say where we were or why we were there, but Carol G and I had the opportunity to dine at a hoighty-toighty eighth arrondisement restaurant this week, and, if nothing else, it was comical.

We were background diners for the recording of a TV show; a reality show in which young’uns are getting trained to be proper servers. Said servers whom were allegedly more than halfway through their apprenticeship.

But they were so abominable, they were unwittingly our afternoon entertainment. (I can’t wait to see the episode and will share its coordinates then.)

The food was certainly nothing to write home about. But the retractable roof and good company made up for it.

Carol’s the heart and talent of Paris Breakfasts. She has created the kind of life that I am angling for: doing what you love (art, writing), and living where you love (NY), but making it a point of traveling to and being part of the world that is simply, inexplicably part of who you are (pastries in Paris).

We should all be so lucky…

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mini planters

Molds of Minis.(Or is that a Fiat?)

With trees sticking out of them.

Scattered around Place Vendome. What gives?