Sunday, October 30, 2011

Louis, Louis

It was supposed to happen in January. And then, March. Then June... September... October 15... Finally, the site that we pitched and toiled on forever is live!

There were many long hours, much drama and even some fun that went into this. My last big contribution was the shoot for the Icon films last November. Although I haven't personally touched this since 2010, it's exciting to finally see it live.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Franco File Friday

When I was in Paris in September I asked mon amie Lindsey to take some headshots of me for my book. Because not only is she a kickass writer and a to-die-for baker (you haven't had brownies until you've had Lola's brownies, trust me), she's also an amazing photographer.

It was a spectacular evening with gorgeous light. Unfortunately, it was also at the tail-end of my two-week chocolate and pastry binge. I was suffering from sugar bloat, as if I were storing all those macarons and pralines I had annihilated in my cheeks. I know. We’re our own worst critics. But only Lindsey could have salvaged the situation and captured some fab photos. While I tried mimicking some moves of a seven-foot-tall model, also getting her pictures taken on the Ile Saint Louis…

…this is the one we’re going with for the book:

I love it. It’s the perfect shot for the book. But I especially love the photo we picked for her super sweet and generous Franco File post of me this week. I feel like Lindsey really captured “me” and I’m honored to be featured on her blog.

Thank you, Lindsey! Merci, merci! xo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

With fond memories...

It was only six weeks ago that I was in Paris. Indulging and smiling like crazy.

(Wouldn't you, with a half dozen Pierre Hermé boutiques to choose from?)

More from New York, a bientot!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The week, in one big blur

I worked. And wrote. And worked. And wrote. It was a grueling week, one of those what am I doing with my life? periods that includes tense shoulders, bleary eyes and a scary realization that time does indeed fly. It didn’t in the least bit resemble Carol G’s week, but there were highlights to be sure:

• I had lovely dinners at two of my favorite West Village restaurants: Joseph Leonard and Buvette. All I can say is, yum.
• Pretty walks to and from work through the village; in the morning, the sun made my backside tingly and warm.
• A visit to Whole Foods (yes, this really makes me happy).
• I got to yoga and spinning.
• And Friday night was absolutely brilliant, meeting Bennie and Merrill at St. Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO for the Karen O “psycho opera,” Stop the Virgens. Extraordinary! Inspiring! Followed by dinner at Jack the Horse Tavern, also out of this world! The smoked trout salad there is officially one of my favorite dishes ever. Ever.
• Best of all, I finished my Belgian chocolate article! I’ll turn it in tomorrow and look forward to a week that’s at least a wee bit more relaxed.

I hope you have great weeks, too!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Frugality in cooking has a long and powerful history and a pathetic present. With the exuberant abundance of the post-war half-century, many Americans forgot the lessons brought over from the old countries, honed during the rapid but harsh development of the 19th century, the lean years of the Depression, the rationing of the 1940s. Old-timers made soup from scraps, saw potatoes as a main course and considered three squares the pinnacle of good living.

Can you imagine? Now fast-food joints litter the eight-lane thoroughfares that rip through most cities and suburbs. If you want a pizza, you reach into the freezer or make a phone call; you get hungry, you pop something in the microwave, pull into the drive-thru, wait on a line. We have become accustomed not to real food but to “convenience,” one of the filthiest of modern catchwords, and to the ill health and waste associated with it. (Some estimate that 50 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, and that doesn’t include the junk that isn’t worth producing in the first place.)

I have re-read this post from Mark Bittman, not just because it espouses so many food ideals that I believe in, but because of many conversations I’ve had recently.

Food is political. It's worth getting worked up over. It's worth making conscious decisions about. I believe this more and more, especially reading after reading more of the excellent reportage and opinions of Bittman. In another article, he wrote:

Cooking changes lives in ways that eating never approaches. Cooking makes you care about nourishment, family meals, nutrition, pleasure, relaxation, skills, control, health, the environment, culture and the earth. And it leads your kids to care about these things too.

Why not make your Mondays vegan, too??

Green tea
Cereal with almond milk

Salad combo: roasted broccoli and leeks and chickpeas

Veggies and hummus
Granola bar
Red wine

* Admittedly, a lame dinner. But the french fries and brussels sprouts AJ and I had last night at Joseph Leonard were vegan... that counts, right??

Saturday, October 15, 2011

French word of the day: pompette

Def: tipsy

What a fun word for that pitch-perfect feeling of being, not drunk, not snockered, but just a wee bit inebriated. Everything in the world is beautiful.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweet on Paris

Did you see my HIP post on Ladurée's macarons here in New York?

Or my Parisian patisserie piece for National Geographic Traveler?

I think I need a new edible assignment, tout de suite!

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

Give it up for me, mes amis! I exhibited otherworldly willpower tonight by eating at one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Joseph Leonard, and sticking vegan! Granted, I was there with my vegan friend, Craig, who made it not only easy, but fun, but still… the scallops looked really good...


Coffee and cereal with almond milk

Cannellini bean, avocado, roasted tomato and pumpkin seed salad from Amy’s Bread – dee-lish!
Granola bar

A glass of red wine
Salad with caramelized shallots and roasted carrots, roasted brussels sprouts, “vegetable cakes” with bok choy and mushrooms, and hash browns*

*See? Easy, fun and delicious!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The decline of France

There’s been much hand-wringing in recent years about France’s culinary and cultural standards falling. That Frenchies today eschew sit-down lunches at bistros for pre-made salads (or Quick burgers!) on the go. That boulangeries no longer bake from scratch but rather buy industrial dough. That things aren’t as civilized and food isn’t as fresh and la belle vie just isn’t as it used to be.

I never used to let it rustle me because everything is relative. Coming from New York, Paris was still packed with plenty of little holes in the wall where men in suits and little old ladies ate bifteaks and omelettes. Cafes and tabacs were always packed in the evening with everyone enjoying an apero before heading home to supper. Life was great and food was delicious as far as I was concerned.

But on my most recent stroll down rue Montorgueil, the alarm bells were ringing. When I lived there, sure, a couple fast-food joints opened. But mostly it was a glorious stretch of café life…

…beautiful fruits and veggies…

and les fleuristes et cavistes with charm and beauty.

This time? More fast food.

American imports.

And, yuck!, a nasty cheap shoe store—a frightful harbinger of things to come.

Here's to the artisanal boulangeries, indie cafes and free spirits winning out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

He was one of the rare ones

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
—Steve Jobs

It was such a punch to the gut to hear the news about Steve Jobs. It seems everyone, everywhere felt the same way. So it was no surprise to see the TV crews and crowds set up outside the 14th Street Apple store this morning.

Nor to see the written notes and tributes that accumulated on the window throughout the day—sort of sweet that they were such low-tech sticky notes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Vegan Mondays

I posted a day late in order to keep my subtitle inquiry at the top of the blog and everyone’s attention (thank you for all the comments and opinions! And if you haven’t weighed in yet, just hop down below.)

But speaking of weighing in, the five pounds I lost earlier this summer on the alkaline diet stubbornly returned. I guess that’s what happens when you binge daily on pralines and pastries like I did in Brussels and Paris. So now, I’m dutifully eating better again. My stash of Mary and Pierre Marcolini is gone. Out with the bonbons, in with the apples! (Sigh. Doesn’t have such a lovely ring to it, does it?)


Coffee with soy milk
A mélange of Cheerios and Honey Nut Clusters with almond milk (god, I love cereal)

Smoked tempah wrap
Roasted broccoli

A couple glasses of champagne (out at a company event)
Hummus sandwich (back at the homefront)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I need your help!

You may remember that the title for my book is:

Paris, My Sweet

And, the subtitle:

A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

But the publisher is on the fence about the subtitle, so we're exploring options. Which of these three speaks the loudest to you, and would seduce you to splurge on it versus (or at least in addition to) all the other candy-colored "foodoirs" displayed at your local bookstore?

Paris, My Sweet
A Love Letter Measured in Croissants, Chocolate and Macarons

Paris, My Sweet
A Love Letter in Madeleines, Chocolate and Croissants

Paris, My Sweet
A Year of Edible Explorations, Rich Moments and Delicious Discoveries in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

As always, thanks a gazillion for your delicious thoughts!