August 29, 2014
It’s seems that Boulogne, a relatively staid suburb of Paris, is becoming spunkier as a different breed of establishment seems to be seeping into the area. Concept stores, pizza joints with NYC aspirations, a combo cookie shop/tattoo parlor and the like are making a bit of a buzz that has caused some to liken the area to the “Brooklyn of Paris.”
Never having lived in Brooklyn, but being very aware of its use as a trendy descriptor (one of which I’ve been guilty myself), I asked friends who have lived both in Paris and New York for their take on this latest cultural comparison. I received some interesting and enlightening responses like: “Boulogne is by no stretch of the imagination ‘The New Brooklyn.’ One might, with a little reach, say it is trying to become Williamsburg-wanna-be-sur-Seine.”
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July 28, 2014
Falling in love with romance-infused Paris – the grandiose Haussmannian architecture, the Marais’ winding streets, and the city’s bistro scene – is easy. But if you’re not born here, living in Paris is another story. It’s a whole other lifestyle, a mentality. And although it is hard not to love Paris for its compelling beauty alone, not everyone takes to Parisian life like a duck to water. While most will relish in its temptations, others will see its grayer side. The very visible problem of homelessness, the significantly different humor, the mentality…even the party chitchat is different. The grimy metro, overflowing museums, and the onslaught of hipsters all take some getting used to as well. Paris may not be very far away from London, my hometown, but when I moved here, everything seemed far removed from what I knew. The unashamed indulgence in pleasure, the variety and standard of the food, the slower pace of life, the abundance of cultural activities, and the city’s manageable size are features I had a hard time finding elsewhere.
And then one day, I woke up Parisian. In other words, living a dichotomy of loving and hating the city, yelling at people for inconsiderate behavior on public transport, eating out most days, and when the sun shines, running to the nearest grassy spot no matter how crowded are now commonplace. Continue Reading »
Posted in Parisian Living | 8 Comments »
April 23, 2014
Lise Kvan and Sarah Mouchot at Holybelly (Holybelly & Kim Laidlaw)
As we know well, the promise of gastronomic delights is enough to inspire travelers to explore the world, seeking out hard-fought reservations and off-the-beaten-path restaurants in the name of really good food.
It’s easy to forget that behind these curated culinary experiences there is a team of dedicated professionals committed to using their talents and passions to improve and diversify the general landscape of food and dining. Certain events, TV shows, publications, and guidebooks spotlight some of these talented and resolute food professionals.
While these “foodie guides” are becoming more and more ubiquitous, they are unfortunately not always comprehensive as they far too often exclude women from their lineup. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living | 2 Comments »
March 13, 2014
You can call it tapas, mezze, hors d’ouvres… But, whatever you call it, small plate dining has been big news in Paris for the past few years.
Artisan (Fanny Twin) & Buvette
Places like Verjus, Au Passage, Mary Celeste, l’Avant Comptoir, Bones and Frenchie Wine bar have upped the ante when it comes to these meals made up of mini-servings. With so many spots, it’s hard to choose. So, if you’re interested in partaking in this particular fad, here’s a hat trick of SoPi hotspots for an all night tapas tour.
Since Artisan doesn’t take reservations, it’s best to begin your night here to guarantee a seat. This laid back location is the latest from the group behind La Maison Mère and they’ve up their game thanks to the one-two punch of barman Frederic Le Bordays and chef Vanessa Krycève. Continue Reading »
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February 18, 2014
On a windy night this past fall, I brought my godfather to his first proper Paris dinner. Naturally, I went with a restaurant I was dying to try: Roseval. Tucked away in the 20th, north of Pere Lachaise and just off the Rue de Menilmontant, the location was sort of perfect. I’ve come to know this off-the-tourist-path neighborhood a bit better over the past few years and love the foodie ventures it draws.
The exterior of Roseval is unassuming — a beautiful and perfectly aged stone façade. The interior, a rustic-meets-industrial space with just a handful of wooden tables.
Upon being seated, two menus were quickly dropped off for our review. Listing several ingredients for each course, we were given a brief glimpse into what we’d be eating that evening but no sense of the form, as is becoming increasingly common with this style of new wave, low key gastronomic bistro. I love this element of surprise though it may not be best for a pickier eater (also in part because there are no options; you get what they give you). Our ingredient list included:
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January 9, 2014
Ma Puce, mon lapin, ma biche, mon chou, ma poule, ma caille, ma cocotte…
These hidden terms of French endearment appear from the most unlikely places to surprise you inside Ma Cocotte, the restaurant designed by Philippe Starck in the heart of Paris’ enchanting antique and flea markets (aka, Les Puces).
As you bite into your roast chicken, a little hidden love message ‘Ma Poule’ (hen) appears on your plate. Take note as you dive into your bowl of hot chocolate, ‘Mon Amour’! ‘Mon Lapin’ (my rabbit) is displayed on the wall, perhaps replacing the portrait of a loved one? Continue Reading »
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January 7, 2014
As Europe’s largest oyster-producing country, France has a long history with the tasty bivalves. Busy brasseries boast display cases with servers who expertly shuck them for seafood platters and passing shoppers.
The year-end provides the perfect excuse to indulge in the festive combination of oysters and champagne. And, while they’ve always been part of the country’s culinary fabric, some of the city’s new chefs have been bringing them back to the forefront of the food scene by infusing a bit more energy and creativity into their service.
With seafood and shellfish playing a starring role in so many of the city’s new and popular restaurants, the team behind Septime finally unveil their own take on the trend with their third venture, Clamato. Continue Reading »
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December 30, 2013
“I don’t cook for everyone; I cook for those I love.” So says Mariko, the Osaka-born owner/chef/gallerist who helms La Maison des Frigos, the tiny café on the ground floor of the artist squat, Les Frigos, in a rejuvenated section of Paris’s 13ème. Indeed, to eat in her dining room is to be invited into her world and – word to the wise – to follow her rules.
(No chatting on your cell, no photos, no credit cards, and – in an overheard admonishment to some fellow diners: Chez moi, we eat our main course before the melon…).
But for Mariko, a former painter and longtime Paris transplant, cooking is a labor love, inspired by the riot of color and creative chaos that defines the building she inhabits. It’s a unique place. Continue Reading »
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November 26, 2013
Sundays in Paris are perfect for indulging in a savory home-cooked meal. Though I often make these week-end dinners at home with fresh ingredients purchased at an open-air market that morning, I deviated from this routine on a recent Sunday and am thrilled I did.
After receiving a tip from Erica, the Owner of Haven in Paris, about this bistro tucked away on the East side of Sacre Coeur, I was intrigued.
Practically, this option made a lot of sense: the restaurant was within walking distance of my apartment (I was living on the rue Lepic and for a month and a half), I had two girlfriends from New York coming into town the following week and had yet to make a dinner reservation for us, and Le Grand 8 opens for Sunday dinner. Perfect, I thought. Continue Reading »
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November 19, 2013
Paris’ 18th arrondissement, to the north of the city, is a vast and varied area, encompassing some of the most affluent enclaves (right up at the top of the hill) and some of the shadiest (La Goutte d’Or), as well as one of the city’s most frequented tourist spots — Le Sacre Coeur and the surrounding streets and squares in Montmartre.
But slightly off the beaten track is the more unassuming part of this neighborhood: the residential area in the foothills of Montmartre, extending from the arrondissement’s town hall – where I happen to have lived for the best part of a decade – which is well worth the detour to discover the lesser known shops, restaurants and more that the guide-book clutching hoards are yet to discover.
Manufacture Parisienne (Kim Laidlaw)
Here is a selection of my favorite new and newish places that look set to make this part of the 18th a destination on any discerning visitor or local’s itinerary. Food in the area ranges from a quick bite and coffee right up to fine French dining. Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews, Shopping | 6 Comments »