Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marooned on a tropical island

I was supposed to see Aimee Mann tonight. I've wanted to see her for years and was so excited to finally have tickets. Needless to say, the show was rescheduled and my thwarted attempt to see her is small beans to what's happened in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

It sounds like New York is a mess. Lots of people—friends, family and strangers—are making do, getting by, offering help, and taking up offers from others for help. So who I am to say peep? I'm stuck in the Caribbean!
I do feel bad that so many people are without electricity and cleaning up atrocious messes. But if my flight was going to be cancelled and I was going to get stuck someplace, Grenada is a pretty sublime place to be.

This island is a paradise of fruit, spices and... chocolate!

 Amazing chocolate, at that.
The people couldn't be friendlier, the vibe of Grenada is peaceful, happy and mellow, and it's just... spectacular.

 I've hiked through the rainforest...

 ... swam in the sea...

 ... and am eating it all up.
Until I'm back in New York this weekend, I'm hoping everyone stays safe and well.
Thankfully, I have good neighbor-friends who are seeing that Milo is safe and well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sailing away

I’ve treated myself to an early birthday present and I’m off to sunny, beachy climes—Grenada to be exact. You see, I turn 40 (f’ing 40!!) in less than two weeks. I’m not afraid to say I deserve a little seaside reflection. So that’s where I’ll be. Not blogging. Not working. Not shivering in New York. Not doing anything but reading, napping, eating, drinking, swimming, hiking and dipping into the plunge pool. And then when I come back, it will be time for cake.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Next Big Thing

This isn’t me willingly talking about it. I’m actually not quite sure what my next thing will be, much less my Next Big Thing. But when Karen Wheeler, aka Mimi Pompom of the fabulous Tout Sweet series, invited me to share details of my next project through this pay-it-forward web event, who was I to say non? After all, anyone who loves Spinal Tap, Anna Wintour and pink champagne (and France!), and graciously gave Paris, My Sweet a plug (“Willie Wonka for grown ups”), is someone I’m in with.

So, without further ado… let the questions begin!

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s been a slow simmer. I’ve been thinking through several different book ideas over the past few months, trying to figure out which has that perfect balance of excitement (for me), novelty (for readers) and salability (for publishers)—something I’d want to write as much as people would want to read. After mulling over these ideas and sort of shelving them, I just suddenly had a new idea while walking up First Avenue that I’m very excited about.

What genre does your book fall under?
If my agent is into the idea and it’s written and sold, it will be under the label of food journalism.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
It would be awesome to have the real characters play themselves. In fact, it would be a killer documentary. Hmmm… I like it! I hadn’t thought of that before!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Too soon to say.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My fabulous agent is with Dystel and Goderich Literary Management.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I just started the book proposal so I’m looking at a long but delicious slog ahead of me.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I would never compare myself to my writer-idol, David Kamp, but The United States of Arugula is great inspiration.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Everything about the food world—from the sublime to the inane—and all of us suckers who worship it.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
It will be timely, it will be fast-paced and it will be delicious.

Now I’m supposed to tag five writers who will share details about their next big thing, but my friends Ann Mah and Sion Dayson were already spoken for. So while I’m only tagging three, they’re wildly talented and I’m more than happy to pass the torch to...

Alyssa Shelasky. When I first discovered Alyssa’s blog, I was immediately sucked in. And seduced. Crazy girl crush ensued. She has a fabulous lifestyle, cool friends, dreamy writing assignments—and yet she’s totally honest, vulnerable and down to earth. And wickedly funny as her blog-to-book, Apron Anxiety, attests.

Jeryl Brunner is the sunniest New Yorker you will ever meet. Not only is she a lovely person in the flesh, but her wit, wisdom, generosity and passion come through on every page of her book, My City, My New York. Lucky for Angelinos, she’s spotlighting LA in her sequel due out in the spring.

Juliette Sobanet. If there is one thing that the publication of Paris, My Sweet has shown me, it’s that there are a lot of Francophiles and chocophiles out there. Juliette is a case in point. A kindred spirit, we share passions for Paris and chocolate. But if we’re to believe at least a little personal experience informed her two best-selling novels, Kissed in Paris and Sleeping with Paris she was definitely a little luckier in the love department.

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

Coffee with soy milk
Oatmeal with honey

Roasted potatoes and steamed veg
Christopher Elbow dark chocolate bar with Pop Rocks - amazing!

Lentil soup

I was delighted to hear that Cookshop in Chelsea has a Meatless Monday menu. Brilliant! Do you know any restaurants that also support the movement? 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The week in food

It was a great eating week but my picture-taking capabilities were so crummy so there is little photo evidence. Drinks and snacks at Buvette. Dinner at The Dutch. Cocktails at Jimmy, Hudson Clearwater and the King Cole Room.
Plus, this…
… and these.
More on my pastry binge soon. In the meantime, I have to figure out how I'm going to put a bathing suit on later this week for my first beach vacation in eons.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A few things to love about Paris

Apropos of nothing...
My old view at sunset.
Sipping wine in the afternoon.
That blue.
The Louvre.
The masterpiece called the Cornet Vegetarien.
Iconic French fashion. Pourquoi pas?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

One of those weeks

Vet visits. Doctor visits. Client presentations. Insomnia. Traffic. Rain. There wasn’t a lot to love about last week. But Friday night, taking off on an airplane for a special weekend, and then having a little time and space to count all the things you’re lucky for, and enjoying a weekend outside of the norm with lovely people… everything is good again.
Apple cider… rain showers... new hardback books… a matinee… a great phone call… what did the week bring you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paris, My Sweet goes to Brazil

It’s been over eight months since Paris, My Sweet came out and nearly every week I get some sort of surprise. An amazing email from a reader (thank you, for taking the time). A kind note on my Facebook page (ditto). Discovering that the book is in stores halfway around the world, as I did when my friend Dominique emailed this photo from Cape Town (merci, Dom!).
But in other worldly news, Paris, My Sweet was translated into Portuguese this summer and is now available in Brazil!
Isn't the cover gorgeous? "Minha Doce Paris"—I love it.

I was also thrilled to hear that Barnes & Noble will be featuring a “Love Stories” themed table from January 1 – February 14, 2013 and Paris, My Sweet will be featured. Hip hip!

And for anyone who happens to be in Kansas City this Saturday, hankering for a brown butter and molasses bonbon, I’m doing a reading at the most amazing chocolatier, Christopher Elbow, at 2 pm. Please come and eat some chocolates with me!

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

I can't believe it. I think I was the only person who didn't have to work today. I'm usually the sucker stuck at work while the rest of the world is out playing. But today the tables were turned and it was me, let loose.

That said, it was a totally un-glamorous day. I did yoga and laundry in the morning. Went to a dermatologist appointment at which they've patched 80 potential allergens to my back. (No work outs or showers for me for two days - eek!) I switched my summer and winter wardrobes (appropriate, seeing as it's barely breaching 50 these days). Brought shit to the consignment shop. And edited my newest New York Times piece, which hopefully comes out this month. I never even put makeup on or did my hair today.

But that's okay. I met Charlie Rose and chatted with Gayle King at an event Friday night (really!). Saw Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig and Brian de Palma at Lincoln on Saturday. Attended a screening at the New York Film Festival. And walked along the park in the quiet rain on a Sunday night. Un-glamorous Mondays are okay, I guess, when on the heels of such lovely New York weekends.

Coffee with soy milk
Green juice

Salad bar from Lifethyme
Two slices of dried pineapple
Pita chips

A kindergartner's lunchbox meal: peanut butter and jelly and carrot sticks

Here's to a great and glamorous week!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The week in food

A little bit posh.

(Brunch at Lincoln. Divine beet salad with smoked ricotta; frittata with penne and mascarpone; petit fours.)
A little bit boozy. 
(The lovely bar at The Beagle.) 
A little bit cultish.
 (Prune. You can never go wrong.)
A little bit homemade.

Blueberry pancakes from scratch!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What to do in Paris?

Every once in awhile, it seems as though everyone I know is off to Paris. For some, it’s their regular pilgmriamage. For others, it’s a special occasion or a business trip. For many, it’s their first time.

Ahhh, Paris for the first time.

When two friends, an ex-colleague and a current colleague all approached me recently for some tips and must-dos for their upcoming trips to Paris, I dug out a list that I had assembled while living there. Granted, it’s a couple years old now and hot boites like Le Carmen and restos like Terroir Parisien weren’t yet around. But it's still a trusty little guide.

I first wrote it for a friend's mom who was visiting with her friends. I broke it up into daily tours of specific neighborhoods, always suggesting places to eat. It's by no means meant to be comprehensive or trendy. But re-reading it put a smile on my face and steered my friends in the right direction.

First Arrondissement, A
Lunch at Grand Vefour
Grand Palais: The shops, the garden, the Daniel Buren installation
A tour of the Opera house – beautiful!
Dinner at Le Garde-Robe or Spring

First Arrondissement, B
Walk the Seine: bookstalls and bridges
The Tuileries Gardens
Evening cocktails at Le Saut du Loup (beautiful setting outside Museé Arts Decoratifs)
Dinner at Frenchie, La Régalade Saint-Honoré, Au Vieux au Comptoir, Chez Georges or Le Soufflé

Notre Dame
Boat ride leaving from Pont Neuf
Sweets: Bertillion ice cream
Restaurants: Mon Viel Ami, Chez Julien

Third Arrondissement
Picasso Museum
Place de Vosges
All the charming, little streets: wonderful for exploring and getting lost
Lunch at Chez Janou or the Merci cantine
Sweets: Jacques Genin
Dinner at Glou or Robert et Louise

Sixth Arrondissement
Picnic and stroll in Luxembourg Gardens: pick up yummy goods either on rue Moufftard (fifth) or rue Buci (sixth)
Shop: all the streets – just meander
Sweets: Pierre Hermé, Gerard Mullet, Ladurée
Ladurée would be a nice spot for lunch, too
Coffee at Café la Flore
Dinner at L’Itineraire, L’Avant Comptoir or Fish Boissoinerie

Between Sixth and Seventh/rue du Bac
Musée d’Orsay
Shop: Le Bon Marché, rue du Bac
Sweets: La Patisserie des Reves, Victor et Hugo

Seventh Arrondissement
Eiffel Tower
Rodin Museum
Lunch or tea at Les Deux Abeilles
Markets of Rue Cler
Sweets: Michel Chaudon chocolates
Dinner at Café Constant, Les Cocottes de Christian Constant or Chez l'Ami Jean

For more ideas on Paris for the first time.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A moment on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

The limestone facade. The buckle door fixture. The salesman in the suit. The bicycle. The Vespa. The evocation of Inès de la Fressange. There are so many things I love about this random snapshot. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Vegan Mondays

After a reckless and hedonistic week of eating with my mom—Roberta's pizza, cake and cookies from One Girl Cookies, Georgetown Cupcakes, dinners at The Smile, ABC Kitchen and Cafe Cluny, candy from Sugar Shop, dried fruit from Russ & Daughters, plus tuna melts and fries, at Hallmark in Connecticut—it was time to get back on track. Today’s Vegan Monday, after a week of modest atonement, did me right.

Coffee with soy milk
Green juice (kale, apple, cucumber, celery, frozen banana, lemon juice)
A giant Cortland apple
Steamed veggies and roasted potatoes
Blueberry Nutribar

Kale salad with apple, celery and walnuts
Three plump, juicy, gummy rings of dried pineapple, Amen

Who did Meatless Monday today?