Monday, January 31, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

I've been on a total health kick lately. I mean, I'm still on codeine and antibiotics and I haven't moved in weeks and I'm still nibbling at chocolates and dried pineapple almost every day. But I'm also eating my five alive. Gone are the baguettes, pastries and sandwiches (for now). In with the superfoods. And it makes Vegan Mondays a whole lot easier.

Coffee & soy milk
Supergreen juice

Whole wheat capellini with sauteed kale and tomatoes, onions and almonds
An apple (damn, they're just not as good as French apples)
A powerbar (don't ask; it was in my drawer and I was hungry)

Celery and hummus
Roasted butternut squash

Blast from the past

That's me and Jo, doing our best to look like hip Parisiennes at an autumn vernissage. Tee hee.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

3 weeks, 4 degrees, 5 snowstorms

It’s been three weeks since I left Paris and arrived home in New York. Three weeks with a few jabs of nostalgia and sadness (for Paris), a few waves of giddy joy (for New York), but mostly three weeks of being in a fog.

I’ve been slogging through work (wasted no time, back at Ogilvy), scrubbing and organizing my apartment (lots of dirt and accumulation to get through), and trying to visit friends whenever possible, though sometimes that’s been thwarted by work and the weather because, oh yes, if it’s not snowing or sleeting, it’s a frigid four degrees. So as much as I’ve been yearning to reconnect with the city, it’s been too crummy outside and, besides, for two of the three weeks I’ve been home, I’ve been sick. Last week, I was on codeine (weeeeeeee!), now it’s antibiotics.

In other words, it hasn’t been the most charged or graceful landing back in New York. I’ve had a tough time feeling excited and inspired. So not much writing or posting going on. Which makes me cranky.

All those times over the past couple of years when I’d return home, I had mini culture shocks: The noise, the crowds, the obesity… But this time, other than being hyper-aware of the aggressiveness of people here, it’s not the city that’s bumming it out, it’s me.

But luckily, I think that’s changing.

My apartment is finally coming together. If I can just find homes for two more piles of stuff, I’ll be done.

I’m confident the antibiotics will kick in and soon I can get back to having enough energy to go to yoga (and dancing!).

I’m (looky here) starting to blog again. Today, I’ll even get to my book.

And in the meantime, I’m enjoying a few only-in-New York moments and pleasures. I had some of the best sushi of my life last week with Ben and Merrill. I’ve made nearly daily visits to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods (not as lovely as rue Montorgueil, but still, a whole other degree of delicious fascination). I’m getting my fix of Pat Kiernan on NY1. Enjoying soft towels and t-shirts, tumble-dried in the dryer instead of being hung dry and stiff in my treehouse.

I’m getting back into movies ($13 a ticket!) and saw the fabulously dramatic Drums at a teeny, sweaty hole near my apartment. Finally catching up, one-on-one, with my dear friends. I’ve even been to a few hot spots: The Lion, The Smile, Essex & Beauty

Oui, I can feel it… I’m getting my NYC feet back again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Weather check: out of the frying pan, into the fire

While it was snowing up a storm in Paris, it was a balmy 40 degrees in New York. Which is what I thought I'd come home to. No such luck. Three weeks, five snowstorms and over three feet of snow later, I have decided that the next time I make a life-changing, transatlantic move, I will wait until spring.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Parisian Pantry

It’s been almost three weeks, sans rue Montorgueil. No daily run to Eric Kayser for bread or to the market for the sweetest, snappiest apples (and I am doomed because the apples here in the states are nowhere near good as France’s… doomed!). No being seduced by the shape of a jar of honey at the fromagerie or the scent of pain aux raisins at Stohrer.

Although I did stockpile some bonbons and chocolates for my trip back to New York (boxes from Un Dimanche à Paris and Franck Kestener), if I could have carted a whole Parisian pantry, here is what I would have brought home with me:

• Cote d’Or Speculoos bar – okay, this one is technically from Belgium, but, still, its crunchy-spicy-dark chocolatiness haunts me
• Lucques green olives – from Spring Boutique
• Maille mustard – the grainier, the better
• Honey from any street market
• Ruinart – rosé, s’il te plait!
• Bordeaux – cases and cases of it because, even though I’ve ordered a glass of Bordeaux a couple times while out at dinner, it just hasn’t tasted the same
• Nicolas Alziari olive oil
• Sea salt
• Nutella
• Eric Kayser jam – raspberry or apricot
• Haribo – While I grew up on the gummy bears and colas, it wasn’t until Paris that I met the deliciousness of Dragibus (sans gelatin!) and those darling little pink Tagada
• Bernachon tablettes – a giant, expensive stash from L’Etoile d’Or

What am I missing?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adoring Dior

Look at these gorgeous photos from Christian Dior’s Spring-Summer haute couture show.

Don't they make you wish we still dressed?

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Same drill, different city!

Coffee with soy milk

A medley of salads from the agency cafeteria: roasted garlic broccoli, sweet potatoes and corn, grilled tofu, lentil salad with scallions and tomatoes—overall, pas mal.

The most amazingly delicious carrot-ginger soup I made this weekend
Tea with honey*

* One of the reasons for the honey is I’ve been sick. And working a ton. And unpacking and organizing my apartment. And catching up with friends. And trying to stay warm (four degrees this morning—I didn’t sign up for this!). Or, to put it simply, I’m feeling guilty that I haven’t been writing. But I will! Soon! I miss you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The little things I love

Because I still love you, Paris...

And even though I rarely made an espresso pit-stop at a Tabac...

I always loved walking by and seeing the old men quietly sitting with beers...

...whether it was 10 in the morning or 5 in the afternoon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Welcome Home!

That was the oh-so-sweet subject line of my friend Mitchell's email. Mitchell is my faux-beau; I, his fruit fly. We met in San Francisco, were roommates in our early New York years, and have done more than our fair share of cocktails, movies and dance floors; laughing, sharing and crying; bitching, wishing and consoling. We are madly, deeply, truly in love. So I was touched by his thoughtful email. Until I saw its contents:

Aww, thanks sweetie.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From 3600 miles away

What a week! Last Monday kicked off an impressive food frenzy as if I were never going to see Paris again: Comptoir salads with Opal at Merci’s cantine. Morning pastries from Boulangerie Julien. A divine lunch at the classic bistro, Chez Georges. A pop-in to l’Etoile d’Or. Un chocolat chaud at Café Wepler. Drinks at Chez Prune. Dinner at Le Verre Volé. And a nightcap at Experimental.

I was invited to the maiden lunch at Rachel Khoo’s La Petite Cuisine de Paris. I enjoyed a visit with Chloe Doutre-Roussel of Chloe Chocolat. The troops gathered for drinks (and damn good frites) at Le Perle (merci à tous! And a special merci to Michael for bringing the Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate galette de rois). There was a nightcap at La Trinquette. One last salad at Cosi. And let’s not forget the Nutella street crepe! Double miam. Visits to Franck Kestener and Un Dimanche à Paris sandwiched a pit-stop at Sugarplum. And au final, cocktails—one round too many (sorry, Mel, but we had to do it!)—at Le Carmen.

It was consumption of epic proportions, and I would have had it no other way. They were my last few days in Paris! Needless to say, by the time I doped up Milo for the 12-hour trip and carried my bags down the six flights of stairs, I was done. Exhausted. Fini.

The journey home included a bit of feline angst and mediocre plane food (thank goodness I packed an Eric Kayser galette de rois), but at least I was distracted by movies (The Social Network, You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, and The American) and my book (Freedom). And then I arrived. Home.

I must say, it feels great. My best friend threw me a party. Within 24 hours, I got to catch up with a dozen good friends over prosecco and American hugs. There was late-night Two Boots, then a taxi ride through Central Park and down Fifth Avenue, one of my favorite rides, which deposited me in my neighborhood, my apartment, my bed. So comfortable and familiar!

I’ve been to Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I went to yoga and got a mani-pedi. I have dinner dates this week, and next week come the concerts (The Drums!) and movies (Somewhere!). I am seeing the city and how it is different today, while remembering eight years of my life, before Paris.



It’s too soon to plot a quick trip over; I’m enjoying being back in New York too much. But I’m thinking of you all, I’m thinking of the city, and I’m wondering what this year of Transatlantic adventures will hold.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Je t'aime, Paris

A la fin

Mes amis, it is with a very heavy heart I write this last post from my perch: in the corner of my lovely little treehouse, in the middle of Paris, the most beautiful city in the world. The sound of the rain on the zinc roof is romantic but, today, a bit melancholic; the view of Sacre Coeur blocked by the fog. I just took a last stroll up rue Montorgueil (trolling for food, comme d’hab), and the taxi arrives in 30 minutes.

It’s been a journey! Incroyable! Something I never dreamed would (could) happen to me. But it did. And I will carry these last 22 months in my heart for the rest of my life.

And, of course, this blog, the fact that you’re reading this right now, is part of the journey. I started God, I Love Paris as a way to stay connected to friends and family back home. It was a way to share my daily life and then became a way I filtered feelings and processed information. Incredibly, it lead to new friendships, both with wonderful people here in the city and all of you from Buenos Aires to Milwaukee, Sydney to Rambouillet. With all the chocolate boxes and Ladurée candles and fancy shoes I bring home with me, it is this blog that I am most grateful to have, for both the memories and connections.

So thank you. Thank you for sharing my journey and lending your support and being interested in and gracious about my world and generous with your time and thoughts. I can’t express enough how much it means to me.

But this is not it! I am not done with Paris, and I am not done with this blog. Oui, I will be posting again. Soon. So stay tuned—it might take me awhile to resurface but as we all know now: Paris is in my blood. I will be back.

Gros bis. xo

Thursday, January 6, 2011

So simple, so enormous

"Dare to be yourself."
—André Gide

Weather check: snow, of course

Oh, the cruel irony. November and December, I endured cold, wind and daily snowfall here in Paris. In New York, it was "unseasonably mild". Until the Christmas blizzard, the weather gods were very well behaved over there. But now that I am flying home, the forecast is for... snow. Of course it is.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter two

When I come back to live in Paris, it's going to be somewhere like this.

(A girl can dream.)

One more for the road

I'll take her!

Goodbye, Galignani

I’m enjoying my goodbye moments this week, many of which are random and unintentional (like when I went to Café Wepler yesterday for un chocolat, I passed the crummy hotel I called home for my first three weeks in Paris, and I was all too happy to say goodbye to it for a second time).

Other farewells are a little more bittersweet, like Galignani. Yes, I am waxing poetic about a bookstore. But if you know Galignani, you know this bookstore is magic. The big picture books, the international magazines, the literary and artsy clients, and the overall aesthetic.

I also love seeing that book design seems to be having a resurgence—the covers of reissued classics and new titles are just gorgeous.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

French word of the day: dénégation

Def: denial

The state I've apparently been in, only now getting around to packing two years' worth of shoes, clothes and household stuff for the movers who come at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Rodin, lovely and amazing

Is it just me, or is the Rodin Museum one of the most romantic places in Paris?

It’s both majestic and rickety…

… grand and humble…

…and all of those sensual, chiseled sculptures.

There are the magnificent gardens and views…

The best of Paris.

American idol

"If the American woman has learned anything from her, she feels, it is that she can be a woman and live a man's life: she can be on her own and never be lonely, she can care about money, she can have all the lovers she pleases, she can marry or not marry, she can start a business and wear a dress, she can be truly free."

Who's the She? Diane von Furstenburg. Love her.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee and soy milk
A couple of clementines

Comptoir salads from the Merci Cantine: quinoa with radish and beans; hickory with orange and pomegranite, washed down with an orange-carrot-ginger juice
Apple-raspberry crumble*

Avocado toasts
Sauteed carrots and parsnips
Another apple... so I wouldn’t make Nutella toast

* If you’ll forgive the butter used in the crumble (I mean, butter’s forgivable, right?!), along with the egg in yesterday’s quiche (they’re just eggs...) and the cream in Saturday night’s ganache-filled bonbons (c’mon! cream!), then I’ve actually had a three-day vegan stretch.

I’ve been saving myself for the eating to be done the rest of this week.

To the market

I couldn’t resist a last stroll through the Raspail Market yesterday.

I felt healthy just being there.

The crowds were as fierce as ever.

God, I'm going to miss the dairy in France.

Jackpot! The potato galette... it smelled... so... delicious...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I’m bringing home with me

This is it, mes amis. My last week in Paris. This time around, anyway.

Just as I believe fate and the chocolate gods conspired to bring me here almost two years ago, I know I will be back. Whether it’s visiting for semiannual holidays, coming for months at a time, or, one day, moving back to Paris again, this city is under my skin and in my blood. There’s no shaking it.

So what am I taking home with me?

Friends who have lived abroad assure me it could take months to figure this out, but, inevitably, I will discover this experience changed me in ways I don’t realize or can’t fathom now. I know this is true. While I’m still deciphering and articulating what those “life and character” changes will be, I can look back on the past nearly two years and reflect on a gazillion memories, photos and blog posts (!). I definitely hit some highs and lows, experiencing acute bliss and bitter loneliness. I made beautiful friends, some of whom are lifers. And, for now, I’m looking around at a treasure trove of tangible and intangible, practical and frivolous things, to remind me of my Great Parisian Adventure.

• A good 6-8 pounds (sigh)
• A killer portfolio (merci, Louis)
• At least two pairs of kickass shoes, though I’m generally disappointed by my French fashion finds
• A book contract (I hope you can stay with me until March 2012, when it’s published!)
• A pretty collection of chocolate and macaron boxes
• Some great new art
• Passport stamps to Italy, Portugal, Uganda and England
• A few new recipes and kitchen skills
• Adoration for some unexpected tastes: duck, sardines, burrata, Lucques olives and Speculoos
• Some French slang
• A heart, both heavy and buoyant

Sweet wheels

I've always loved this bike, parked humbly outside Le Meurice.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A 16k view

And I thought the Ogilvy offices had a killer view of the Eiffel Tower.

Voila, the view from the seventh-level suite (be it from the king-sized bed, the tub or the 100-square meter terrace) at the new Shangri-La.

Yours for just 16,000 euro a night.

Happy New Year

Sending out wishes to everyone for the dreamiest, most delicious New Year.