Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Home is where there is abundant beauty.

Home is charming.

Home is where the sea is.

Home is where the friends are.

Home is where lobster rolls...

 ... and crispy fish salads abound.
 Home makes me very, very happy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A wee sampling of street art

I didn't see as much street art in Paris as I did on my last visit. Probably because my head was always stuck under an umbrella.

But I loved the irrepressible romantics...

... the creepy-cool skeletons that stretched in front of Les Invalides...

... and the dance of evil and beauty...

Monday, May 21, 2012

My (almost) Vegan Mondays

Coffee with soy milk
Green juice (I am certain these fresh, alkalizing veggie juices are going to be my salvation in the long run: kale, cucumber, celery, lemon juice, banana and green superfood powder every morning. Sounds sort of gnarly but is so delicious!)
Roasted soy nuts

Cannellini bean salad with roasted tomatoes and zucchini, avocado and pumpkin seeds
Whole wheat roll
Apple & cinnamon oatmeal (I did a little reversal of breakfast and snack today)

And, well, yes, that would be pie. A creamy Nutella pie. Nothing vegan about it.

But the lovely and charming Tatiana Nicoli, owner of Boulevard Books had invited me to do a reading at her fantastic indie bookstore and cafe, in conjunction with local baker Joann Marino's baking demo. Joann made Nutella pie. With lots of whipped cream. Was I supposed to refuse? Exactly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Brooklyn: What’s not to love?

I’ve been having a serious, albeit sporadic, love affair with Brooklyn for a year and a half now. Ever since moving home last January, I’ve been telling myself I’m going to start house hunting there. A big, fat flat near Jack the Horse Tavern is the goal.

There have been amazing meals (Homemade, Vinegar Hill House, Al Di La) and drinks (Maison Premiere, Weather Up). Soirées and strolls. Dates, both romantic and platonic. But even all the love and charm I’ve fallen prey to these many months didn’t prepare me for the explorations of this past weekend.

Old relics and harbor views from Red Hook…
The greenest, leafiest, most transporting blocks of Ditmas Park…
Farmers markets!
Candy stores and chocolate factories!
It was a gorgeous, glorious weekend, from Red Hook to Cobble Hill; Boerum Hill to Park Slope; Sunset Park to Ditmas Park; Prospect Heights and, finally, back to Manhattan. I can hardly wait to see what part of Brooklyn I eventually call home.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Merci à tous

It’s been three and a half months since Paris, My Sweet came out. In some ways, the whole publication has been very humbling (now I know why some writers say to never read the reviews). In other ways, it’s been the most thrilling experience of my life (champagne, macarons, best friends, family, hooting, hollering, pride, joy…). Mostly, like other projects and labors of love, it’s just a lot of work with high points and low moments tossed in for flavor.

At the risk of sounding like a total cornball, I will say the most gratifying thing has been the support I’ve received along the way. Living in New York, it can be way too easy to become hardened and cynical. Indeed, sometimes I am downright misanthropic (that’s another story…). But the store proprietors, publicists, librarians, chocolatiers, bakers, authors, readers and fans I’ve met while promoting the book dispel all those thoughts and soften my curmudgeonly ways. People are just so… nice.

I’ll be sitting there at a signing, and strangers will come up just to say “congratulations” and wish me well. At readings, people are so enthusiastic about the book, about Paris, about sweets—it’s like a party to know everyone and gush over these shared passions.

So thank you.

From the mother who brought her adolescent daughter with a budding obsession with Paris to Bobby’s on Main Street in Boonton, to my friend from San Francisco’s best friend who trekked to Chelsea Market Baskets to scoop up multiple copies for friends; from my dear old colleagues who surprised me by showing up at Books, Inc. in San Francisco to my fabulous relatives who surprised me by showing up at Three Tarts here in the city; from Chow Chocolates in Buffalo to Third Avenue Chocolate Shoppe in Manasquan; from Seymour to Le Citizen; Lola’s to Sugar Daze; White Bliss to Posman Books; to every foodie and Francophile, and everyone, everyone, everyone who has emailed, posted on Facebook, come to a reading, thank you for sharing all of this. Thank you for keeping me soft. Thank you for everything.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chez L’Ami Jean

When you dine at Chez L’Ami Jean, it’s impossible not to develop a crush. If not on Chef Stéphane Jégo, then on the restaurant itself.

Two of the three times I’ve eaten there, I’ve been right near the kitchen, closely watching the chef in all his frenetic edgy glory.

The first time, we also dined under the shadow of several tennis ball-sized truffles. After commenting on their enormity, Chef Jégo generously shaved some onto my friend’s dish. I guess it’s just the kind of guy he is.

While this last visit didn’t include banter with the chef, it did offer some of the best soup you’ll ever have in your life.
 Poured tableside...
The tangy calamari entrée wasn’t so bad either.
 For my plat, I had beautiful pink and tender duck.
But I was really just waiting for dessert.

Our neighbors (and best friends for the night—two older couples from the Upper East Side, who were as hip and fun and funny as you could ever hope to be seated so closely with), ordered the Paris Brest. I know from past experience that it’s a sublimely decadent treat.
But if there is one reason to go to Chez L’Ami Jean—other than Chef Jégo, other than its insane menu, other than the nightly theatrics—it’s for the rice pudding.
A giant creamy bowl is served with sides of salted caramel cream, candied nuts and granola bits, and crunchy meringues, this should be a Parisian landmark.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

Here we go, here we go. While my willpower has been pitiful lately (to wit: this weekend included (multiple) cupcakes from Georgetown and Firefly and chocolates from Chow) I don't mind patting myself on the back for remembering my Vegan Mondays. It's not much, but it's something.


Steamed veg and roasted potatoes
A granola bar

Carrots and hummus

Thursday, May 10, 2012

French word of the day: potelé

Def: chubby

I love this word. Not the way it feels, but the way it sounds.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Look up!

Look up, look up! Many of Paris' treasures are up above.
Take the stairs and you will be rewarded.
Even in the most fanciful interiors, the decor is not limited to the walls...

...and even in the most renowned buildings, the sites are not only at eye level.

The trees are decorated...
...and the guardians, alert.
Look up!

Look up!