Monday, February 28, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Boy, were the Oscars a snooze last night, or what?

Coffee & soy milk

Miso soup
Salad trio: Curried cauliflower and spinach, sweet potatoes and cranberries, and wheatberries with sundried tomatoes
Fuji apple

Couscous with chickpeas, roasted carrots and walnuts
Hummus and crackers
Dried figs

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The perfect fusion dinner

I can still speak French! I still love French! And I love New York!

Tonight I had dinner with my friends from Paris. Lionel and Sylvia were always the most welcoming and thoughtful locals when I moved there. Lionel turned me onto macarons (c’est vrai; I owe it all to him), Sylvia hosted wonderful dinner parties. They were cheeky and generous, fun and empathetic. And now they live here. We can dine and laugh together again.

We met for dinner at Vinegar Hill House, which I’ve been dying to go to. It was everything I was hoping it would be: sincerely cool and great food—the atmosphere and the dishes were inventive, but not tragically overdone (chicken pot pie was served as a little tart, on a cutting board; farmhouse wood planks were daint-ified with silver and china). Prices were right (an entrée for $14? I’ll take it!). Service was good (neither cloying nor disdainful). It was a great neighborhood spot. But more exciting than going to a great restaurant was speaking French again!

I haven’t give a thought to French since I’ve been home. Scratch that. Every time I have thought that I should practice, or find a group, or do some exercises, I banish the very thought immediately. The idea of challenging myself with anything foreign, of removing myself from the comfort zone in which I’ve been enveloped since arriving in New York, hasn’t been even remotely appealing. Jusqua ce soir. Tonight, I loved speaking French. I loved hearing French. I loved being part of a little group of Frenchies. For their friend, Yves, another Parisianne tres sympa was visiting from Paris. I loved feeling part of a gang. A French gang. In Brooklyn. It was one of my finest nights home yet.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee & soy milk
Half a grapefruit
Toast with almond butter (my first brush with almond butter... oily but absolutely delicious)

Hummus and toasted pita and carrots and celery

Lentil soup
A couple martinis

Parisian touches

When I moved to Paris, I brought 10 boxes with me, most of which were clothes, and, in the nearly two years there, I learned (sort of) not to consume so much as I knew I’d have to pack it all up in the end. It was good practice in living with less and enjoying an uncluttered home.

Now that I’m back in New York, I’m trying to maintain the same sparse (but cozy) aesthetic. I’m also trying to honor my time in and trinkets from Paris. It’s taken me awhile to unpack and settle back in, but slowly my apartment is coming together. And when I look around at my imported Parisian touches, it makes me happy and feel connected to my “other” life.

I now have a mini library devoted to Paris...

I'm still figuring out how to display all my fabulous chocolate and macaron boxes, but my Ladurée Earl Grey candle, which was a gift, has prime space on my table...

I can drop earrings, elastics and whatnot into my little tray before dropping off to sleep. And the lovely perfume atomizer, a gift from Jo, gives me a happy pause...

You can't see it, but this little tray says "Paris", which I received as a gift before moving. But I like the other memorabilia... a little chocolate box from Un Dimanche à Paris, a coaster from the bar at the Ritz and my Louis Vuitton bear key chain—my very first "Vuitton" product, complements of Mel's awesome eye on her journey to Tokyo.

On my desktop, I keep my pens in the little cup I bought at Le Petit Atelier de Paris. And the post card behind it, of a woman stretching rapturously behind Notre Dame, reminds me of how many times I felt that sentiment, criss-crossing the Seine.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Date Tone Create

If you were going to choose three active words to live by in the next six months (à la Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love) what would they be?

I feel like I was so lucky in Paris: I did all the eating and traveling a girl could dream of. And while I sort of pine for those days, I’m also happy to be in a new place, focused on new adventures. For now, my three-step mantra is: Date Tone Create.

Date That’s right. Dating is at the top of my list. The Great Parisian Drought was brutal. Not dating for the better part of two years?? I don’t remember what butterflies and heart palpitations feel like. I miss feeling like I’m about to throw up because I’m so excited to see someone. It’s time to hop to it.

Tone Since I wasn’t dating, I gave into my love affair with Parisian pastries. It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s like having a sucky hangover. I am just getting back to the gym to work my body after not exercising for six months. It’s not pretty. (Consequently, I am eating a milk chocolate almond bar as I type this. Genius.)

Create Beyond the book (which is due June 1—gulp), I want to create and cultivate new projects. I’m working on a couple fun articles about Paris right now, but beyond that I’m not exactly sure what I want to do except feel productive and proud.

So… what is your three-verb mantra?

Monday, February 14, 2011

This past year, I fell in love with…

• Café Constant and Chez l’Ami Jean
• Joel Robuchon
• Art by Joanna Concejo
• Brooklyn Heights
• The Drums, Wild Nothing, Neko Case
• Blogging
• Speculoos. To go with my already raging affair with Nutella.
• Dried apple. To go with my already lifelong affair with dried pineapple.
• Arles and Positano, just a little more than Capri
• Bill Cunningham and Steve Martin (no wonder I’m still single)
• My niece and nephew, just a little bit more
• My godson, Max
• Debailleul
• Daunt Bookstore
• I Am Love
• The Cornet Vegetarien
• A gazillion little moments

Whatever and whoever you have fallen for, I hope your heart is full of love today.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

American Speak: Sex Friends

Oh, you haven’t heard of that movie? The cute rom-com with America’s new sweetheart, Natalie Portman, and Ashton Kutcher? Then you must be reading from the states and not France.

Apparently the French couldn’t quite translate the idiom “No Strings Attached” and opted for the very classy “Sex Friends” instead.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The best movie of 1985

I admit it. I’m a total sap. There are some movies, some people, some songs that get me every time. Like, say, anything by John Hughes.

I must say my all-time favorite John Hughes movie is Sixteen Candles. But when I came across the trailer for The Breakfast Club recently, my heart skipped a beat.

How did he do it? The humor, the timing, the actors… the music. Everything John Hughes created was a magical balance of sweet, raw, smart, cheeky, fun, tender and hopeful. It makes me feel like I’m 38 going on 13 again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My last choco blitz in Paris

Reading this piece on The Moment, which I filed just before leaving Paris, gave me all kinds of bittersweet pangs and chocolate cravings.

Get on your Velibs, mes amis, and start making the rounds... if only for me!

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Livestock production is responsible for a huge chunk of global green house gas emissions. The more meat we eat, the more we produce, and the carbon footprint gets bigger. As Meat Free Monday reports, a sustainable future demands that we cut this consumption and yet between 1961 and 2007, while the world population increased by a factor of 2.2, meat consumption quadrupled and poultry consumption increased 10-fold.

"To build a better world in the future we all need to make changes in our lifestyles now."

Coffee & soy milk
A supergreen smoothie: kale, celery, banana, apple and lemon juice and ice. Sound gnarly? En fet, c'est super!

A mélange from Whole Foods' salad bar: quinoa with beets; spinach, fennel and orange; wild rice with cranberries and pecans; grilled eggplant, roasted sweet potatoes... oh, how I love Whole Foods

Whole wheat pasta with kale and pesto
Tea and honey (actually, can honey be considered vegan?!)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My favorite Paris restaurants

Now that I’m back in New York, hitting up local restaurants again (The Lion: kickass interior, incredible menu, wildly expensive wine list but just-okay food; The Smile: a fun cool kids’ hangout with just-okay food; Toloache: delicious Mexican… though isn’t Mexican supposed to be cheap?; Scarpetta: rich and delicious), I’m sentimentally looking back on some of my favorite spots in Paris.

Little Gems
Guilo Guilo

Classic & Refined
La Régelade Saint-Honoré

Classic & Boisterous
Chez l’Ami Jean
Au Vieux Comptoir
Café Constant

For something (or someone) really special
Le Grand Vefour
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Quietly Fabulous
Café Panique

Trendy, trendy
Mama Shelter
Hotel du Nord

I Love Lunch
Merci Cantine
My sandwich guy

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The view from the 11th floor

While it's no Champs-Elysées and there are no Eiffel Towers or Arcs of Triomphe, the view at my new Ogilvy office isn't too shabby.

Looking west into Times Square:

Looking north at sunset:

And, more often than not this past month, the view of snow, snow, snow falling from the sky:

It should be interesting to see what this new home has in store for the year ahead.