Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Macarons or cupcakes?

I mean, who isn't obsessed with Paris vs. New York??

It just so happens that Colette just launched an Vahram Muratyan exhibition, the witty artist behind the web site, to celebrate the upcoming launch of his book. And I got to profile it for The Moment. Even better, I get to see the exhibition next week! Paris, here I come...

Monday, August 29, 2011

In one week...

...I will be in Paris!

I will actually be in my beloved city in six days. I leave in five. But in between this summer's crazy schedule, my recent trip to London, and life in New York City, it only dawned on me tonight that soon I will be able to exhale, indulge and feel the peace and inspiration that I only feel in Paris. I really can hardly wait.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The scene from New York

We love our drama here in New York City. In anticipation of Hurricane Irene, everyone started boarding up their windows on Friday afternoon; clearing out supermarkets, entire shelves at a time; and most businesses, from Trader Joe’s to Bloomingdale’s to all the movie theaters, preemptively closed for business both Saturday and Sunday. (Hrmph. I was supposed to go see The Idiot Brother.)

Better safe than sorry, but needless to say the alarm bells were a bit much. By the time the storm reached the city, it was indeed a storm, downgraded from a hurricane. The rain started late in the day Saturday and was done by the time most New Yorkers woke up this morning. I went for a walk up to Central Park to see what was happening around town, post-Irene…

Fifth Avenue is flooded! Flooded with foreign tourists who have absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to do. The entire city, from museums and theaters to restaurants and boutiques to coffee shops and parks, remains closed. Such a bummer. Can you imagine traveling to the “city that never sleeps” only to be pretty well shut out for 48 hours??

Some retailers (Bergdorf) completely plywooded their windows. Others (Barneys) did nothing, leaving their expensive displays and pristine plate glass windows up to fate. Analyze as you will.

Besides midtown, where all the restless tourists are making the most of the day, the city is relatively quiet (it’s actually strange to be here without the crazy noise; the whole city hums as if there’s a giant engine cranking just below the surface—sort of magnificently eerie). Earlier in the day, the only people out were dog walkers and cops. But with nary a drop of precipitation since 10 a.m., people are now itching to be out and about. The bodegas and diners that were prescient and/or ambitious enough to open are doing a booming business, some with lines out the door.

The water and wind set off alarm bells, particularly up on Madison Avenue, and knocked down tree limbs—one blocked the entire street down here near Gramercy Park. But otherwise, despite lots of leaves and branches on the sidewalks, I’ve seen worse street flooding during ordinary rainstorms.

So it was a bit anticlimactic. But also, an awesome excuse to be antisocial and lazy. I severely dented my towering stack of September issues. I churned through six episodes of The House of Eliott (if only I had more on hand…). In addition to napping yesterday, I got a good night’s sleep last night. I made tea and toast, and soba noodles and edamame. I had bonbons and dried pineapple to snack on. And after scrubbing my apartment on Saturday, Irene generously power washed my windows during the night.

Now, if I’m really lucky, the office will remain closed tomorrow due to neighboring towns without power and, oh yeah, the MTA not operating.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I’d rather be…

… eating pastries in Paris.

Wonderful, glorious French pastries.

Eclairs from Stohrer and Paris Brests from Jacques Genin…

… croissants from Boulangerie Julien and Eric Kayser…

The otherworldly Pralus praluline.


.... I’d rather be eating pastries in Paris.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Vegan Mondays… and Tuesday

I did Vegan Monday. But I was too sick to blog last night. In fact, I caught a British bug on Saturday and was too sick and tired last night to watch the end of Down by Law, much less chronicle my boring day's worth of food. Or my trip home in Business Class (!). I’ve been fast asleep at 9 pm the past two nights but, when I awoke this morning at 6 am, I finished the movie. Genius, you are, Jim Jarmusch.)

Anyway. So I did Vegan Monday. And I did Vegan Tuesday. More by happenstance, but it’s worth mentioning, no? The point of Vegan Mondays is to remind everyone—including my own gluttonous, greedy ass—that resources are limited and cravings are not sustainable and that modest compromises and sacrifices really aren’t a big deal after all. Grilled salmon and blueberry muffins are as big of indulgences as double cheeseburgers and steak frites. Seriously. So, a simplified version of the past two days worth of eating:

Green tea
Kashi Go Lean Crunch with almond milk and blueberries*

* I need to just say here that cereal, along with sandwiches, is one of my all-time favorite foods. I could eat almost any variety, at any hour, and be sublimely blissed out. But Kashi Go Lean Crunch, especially when left to soak in milk for awhile, is so especially delicious. It tastes so much like Sugar Smacks that I have a hard time believing it’s good for you.



Hummus and crackers, toast and/or carrots

And now I'll leave my ranting to the stars above and shaking earth below and go to sleep early again. Bon nuit, mes amis.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Borough Market

Visiting an outdoor market is one of my favorite things to do in a foreign city (after visiting the local bakeries and chocolatiers, bien sur). Before leaving London this weekend, I made it to Borough Market on the South Bank. Sure enough, this huge and historic market has it all.



And plenty of of sweets...

In fact, forget whoopie pies, macarons and cupcakes. Brownies are the most ubiquitous sweet in London...

Neighboring streets and alleys are also devoted to food.

Monmouth Coffee has the most insane following.

And then there’s the heavenly Neal’s Yard Dairy.

If only I'd had a picnic to pack or a dinner to cook, if only I wasn't coming off a week of straight gluttony, I might have taken one of everything.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The last commute

Nothing could ever beat my commute to work in my early days in Paris.

But taking the river bus to Canary Wharf yesterday was a nice way to wrap up the week.

We departed not far from Westminster, Big Ben and the London Eye...

... saw lots of new building along the way.

Past to OXO Building, the Tate Modern and under the Millennium Bridge.

And the vibrant Tower Bridge.

(And then the day ended drinking with the locals and eating fish and chips. Bien sur.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The gluttony continues

Ah, London. It’s been a brilliant week so far. But today—despite chilly rain and traffic-clogged streets—has been the best day yet.

Each culture has its own style. Japan is austere and elegant. France is chic, whether it’s in the country or city. Scandinavian countries have their pure, refined design. What I love about English style is the mix of high and low; posh and kitsch; stellar quality and, well, crummy quality. Today’s lunch at The Parlour was the perfect representation of that.

A cool, lofty space filled with contrasting modern and country furniture and details.

Cheeky, playful displays of food.

And a fresh and yummy menu. My butternut squash and feta salad came enrobed in giant romaine lettuce leaves.

Which, voila…

...revealed the goodness inside.

Then Sally an I made sure we got out of work at a decent hour in order to make it to Bocca Di Lupo, sans reservations. We got to the Italian restaurant in Soho, which I had read about on Kimberley’s Redvisitor.com, just in time to score two seats at the bar. What followed were six plates of heaven.

Sardines—the freshest and most delicious of my life—and panzanella salad.

(The coil of meat was solely Sally's doing!)

Creamy smoked buffalo mozzarella.

Fried zucchini blossoms, stuffed with savory ricotta and anchovies.

And garfish—a new fish for me; similar to mackerel—bruschetta.

We had a carafe of beautiful chilled Blauburgunder. Divine olives. Fresh focaccia.

The staff was lovely and friendly. It was just an extraordinary meal.

Followed by a nightcap at Experimental.
Weeeee! My favorite Paris bar landed in London last fall and has exquisite cocktails, just as dangerously delicious as I remember.

Ah, London, you're growing on me…