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City of Love, Or City of Lonelyhearts? Every Relationship Has Two Sides

Making Magique

Paris is for lovers. Unless you’re single. Like I was for the nearly two years I lived there. It was always a jab to my heart, like a deliberate and personally directed taunt, to see couples canoodling in dark café corners, pressed intimately together along the quais of the Seine, or just shopping at an outdoor market on a Sunday afternoon. Oh lovers, how very nice for you.

Lost in Cheeseland

Then a year after I left Paris, I returned. With a man. And indeed it was a different experience. But as happy and, oui, sometimes smug, as I felt during that week of amour, I also realized that the old adage is true: the grass is always greener.

fjludo

Every moment I basked in my City of Loooove romance was rudely followed by the memory of something I was missing from my solo days. It made me realize: no relationship is perfect. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »

Choosing Cheap Wine in Paris: 5 Things You Need To Know

Carin Olsson

I have a friend who goes to the supermarket with a set budget and sensible shopping list.

Not me. I’m a marketers dream. Bright packets of budget biscuits jump into my basket; heavily reduced items beseech me to take them home.

Carin Olsson

You can’t even imagine what I’m like in the wine section. In Paris, the shelves are lined with pretty, shockingly cheap bottles of vin. I stumble between reds from Bordeaux, sweet whites from Alsace, and row upon row of cerise coloured rosés from Provence.

Play See Feel Live & Chatirygirl & Scpgt

There is an overwhelming selection of cheap wines to choose from. My schoolgirl French does not serve me well in decoding their sexy, enticing  labels. I lunge at the looming wall of indistinguishable wines and pick a bottle based on its price-bracket and whether or not the label features a château. On the way home, I wonder if my wine will double as a paint-thinner. Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 10 Comments »

Une Vie Parisienne in New York City

Paris (Oncle Tom)

Returning home to New York hit me with the biggest culture shock I’ve ever felt. Now, I’m no stranger to culture shock. My first notable quake occurred when I moved to Paris at the age of 18 with just a handful of French words at my disposal (croissant, café, cigarette…).

Paris (Lost In Cheeseland) & (Making Magique)

The move hit pretty high on the Richter scale, but eventually I assimilated as best I could, and my American friends who came to visit told me I seemed “French.” (For the record, the French always said I seemed “Swedish.”) Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 19 Comments »

Playtime in Paris: Modern French Dining in the 10th Arrondissement

To celebrate Valentine’s Day four years ago, I dined at Le Grand Colbert, the restaurant made famous by Diane Keaton and her roast chicken in the film Something’s Gotta Give. For me, it will forever be famous for far different reasons. Over clangorous dining room voices and crumb-laden plates, my husband proposed to me.

The American couple seated next to us gushed as I beamed with joy and threw my arms around my new fiancé. The fullness of the moment was heightened by the Belle Epoque backdrop and the tuxedoed waiters who dashed back and forth with alacrity between the kitchen and the dining room, forging the surreal sensation of being the stars on a Hollywood film set. Unbearably prosaic but perfectly appropriate for the moment.

Since then, we’ve maintained the tradition of dining out on Valentine’s Day. Some of our choices have been memorable, some not even worth mentioning. We flirted with the idea of returning to Le Grand Colbert last month to relive our engagement but given the caliber of restaurants that have opened over the last four years, we couldn’t be bothered with average food and contrived theatrics, no matter how emotionally significant.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Restaurant Reviews | 7 Comments »

Impressing the French: Baking For the In-Laws

Lindsey Tremuta, the author of the entertaining blog Lost in Cheeseland, offers up regular musings on her life as an American expat in France. Here, she shares a couple recipes with us: a zucchini cake with crunchy lemon glaze that held its own during lunch with the French in-laws and a mouth-watering iced lemon buttermilk poundcake.

Hipparis: Baking for the French In-LawsDelicious ingredients: the keys for success

When I first moved to France, cooking scrambled eggs and pasta were about the extent of my kitchen capabilities. Mr. Cheeseland was understandably perplexed how I was able to nourish myself before he came along. Well a change of scenery and a couple of years to really get settled was just the push I needed to start cooking. We generally share the cooking responsibilities but I do the baking. That is, I make attempts.

One of the first things I ever successfully produced was a whole wheat zucchini bread. At that time I was always trying to find ways to make desserts healthier which usually produced a bland final product. Once I accepted that I was really only denying myself an extraordinary pleasure, I went back to basics. Zucchini, banana, pumpkin and lemon loaves without cutting corners on sugar or butter. If you’re going to eat it, might as well make it good.

Hip Paris: Baking for the French In-LawsZucchini cake with crunchy lemon glaze

Every couple of months we get together with Mr. C’s parents and his sister for lunch, an occasion that usually translates to 5 hours of grazing and drinking. His sister is outstanding in the kitchen and always cooks up something inventive and filling – rarely traditional French dishes. That being said, she’s also known for her baking. Chocolate often makes an appearance in her desserts (if it isn’t the focus) and although it’s heavenly, I often feel unable to breathe or muster the energy to move out of my chair. It’s really an unpleasant situation. As a result, I started offering to bring the dessert to have a bit of control over how much and how heavy the end of the meal is. That hasn’t stopped her or my mother-in-law from making their own desserts thereby making the the problem I was trying to avoid even worse.

Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, HiP Recipes | 5 Comments »