Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zombies at Astier

We really did make quite an attempt at dinner, despite a prolific jetlag that attempted to take down at least four of us. You know what, jetlag, we had reservations and limited time and a cheese plate calling so you'll have to do better next time!

It's all about sharing at Astier, where you can help yourself to as much herring as you'd like for your starter.   M described it perfectly as the salad bar coming to you!

And the baba au rhum is bar none.  This really doesn't capture the depth of the rum at the bottom of the bowl, so let me tell you that there was plenty.  After a lengthy pour (I think we were sitting there with our mouths open when he finally stopped pouring), the waiter told us that if we wanted more rum just to ask for it!  This is definitely a dessert to be shared.

Napa Napa Napa

What a fine time we had in Napa, celebrating the wedding of B + L.  California wine country is exquisite, and we were able to admire it properly at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

The rehearsal dinner was exceptional, held at the bride's godfather's house, overlooking some of his 60 acres of vineyards.  This is not his main house but the cottage, which was just perfect in its elegant rusticity (and came complete with kitty tenant).  And the view!  It was like a silent guest, the one you rushed to see first and couldn't stop talking about the rest of the night.

As if all that wasn't lovely enough, then the food came... a lobster boil!  

It was a dream, bibbing up and eating the most indulgent of crustaceans in the glowing light of a fading Napa day.  I kept asking myself, how lucky am I to be a part of this?  Pretty lucky, indeed.

And then the wedding.  It was a small ceremony, held right in the vineyards.  (We snuck a grape or two during...)  The groom was dashing, the bride was beautiful, and their orange and green colors were a perfect manifestation of their effervescent personalities.  Again, I felt lucky to be there.

Look at those pretties!


We drove up to Sacramento to see B's family.  Unfortunately his mom was out of town on business, but we got in plenty of family time nonetheless.

Delicious In-and-Out on the drive up.


Wall art in downtown Sacramento.

How could we even have entertained the idea of getting a croissant?  This one was deemed inferior and left behind.  Shame on us.

B's mom's bunny!  So cute!

Don't Call It "San Fran"

What a time!  First, a last-minute (for her) meet-up with Kim, who was on her last night before returning to Philly.  Then brunchers and shopping with Stells.  Dinner at Bar Agricole, where an errant dinner "guest" afforded us an extra dessert and where we all passed around Britta on the phone to congratulate her on her darling new Cassidy!  Then there was dinner at Locanda (so so so GOOD) with Casey and the charming Risa.  Then lunch and an afternoon stroll with Lynsey and babycakes Finn--what a doll!  And coffee and shopping with Sachi (has it really been that long??).  And finally, drinks to admire Justine's interior design skills and catch up with Monika, Lou, Tracy and Justin, and Nyja some more.

Though it's been years, I do miss SF bunches.  It really is a singular place.

 Kim and I, not in a sauna.

The best spot.  

 Oh, the glorious figs of northern California!  Here with berries and fresh cheese at Bar Agricole.

(Stolen from Shelby!)  The crew after eats at Bar Agricole.

We stayed at the Phoenix Hotel, which was a little divey, but had a built-in scene (and yummy food) at the bar.

The HOOD.  Either I got soft or the Tenderloin got harder, because the level of crazy was pretty unhinged.  

Bob's donuts... just as good as ever.

Lunch with Lynsey and Finn... look how cute he is!

Sachi pretending to be too cool for coffee.

Stuff on Walls #32

Well, stuff "against" walls, anyway.

Stumbled upon these while lost in an entirely new part of Les Halles the other day.  Somehow they made that awful, ridiculously large mall less infuriating.  

Warthogs make being lost in a dead mall less vexing!

So Many Things

Oh, goodness.  The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind.  Sure, I had a vacation, but it was nuts... constantly going going going, running to meet people and maximize our week in California.  And then--just in time for our flight home--I got a cold.  (What is my deal with that??)  We landed Monday morning back in Paris, and I had to drag my germy self to Texworld all day.  Then there was a zoned-out dinner with some favorites and, well, the week was off and running.

Today there is absolutely nothing to do.  The weather is wonderful (l'ete indien), we have cleaned the apartment, and later we are going to watch The Maltese Falcon and eat spirulina pasta.  Not a bad way to unwind.

Anyway, let the posting begin!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fashion Weak

Here I am at CDG, getting ready to board my flight to SFO. (I have to stop in Chicago along the way.) I kept almost posting a snarky status update on FB about how annoying Paris becomes during fashion week, but I couldn't sum it up in one sentence without sounding like a jerk, so I will try here, with a little more space.

During fashion week, the city is different. The "hip" spots that you read about in the NYT or on the fashion/travel blogs are mobbed. It's so rote, so boring. Why don't these people evolve and find new places? If they are the Paris habitués they put on to be, why are they always at the same ol' boring La Perle or Le Progres??

(Disclaimer, I like both of these places, too... just not during fashion week.)

It makes my skin crawl just walking by these crowded terraces during FW, what with all of the peacocking and loud-talking and senses of entitlement. It makes me crabby that I have to wait for an hour to get a seat at Nanashi when all of these people have descended. And I won't even go near Bob's! I went there during FW last time and there was enough kissy-face-ing to almost make me lose my appetite.

I guess what gets me is the way these people (and maybe I am projecting here) go around like they "own the place." There's just so much... fronting.

I mean, I appreciate good people watching as much as the next guy--and some of these people do bring the good styles--but I'm more inspired by the outfits the older Parisian ladies pull together or by the kids who work at that crazy shop on Bretagne with the tv's and the rats, who are probably also pissed that their haunts are full-up right now.

I guess what I'm saying is that Paris is stylish enough without all of the fashion out-of-towners. Is this another post about authenticity? Perhaps.

Well anyway, I'm off to SF to sit this one out.

Au revoir, you snazzies.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Words can't even...

one of my favorites here in Paris...

the ambiance, the fresh flavors, the bright colors, the desserts...

these are bentos like no other.

My heart leaps a little each morning when I turn onto Rue du Forez and smell the goodness that is and see the work that begets the Nanashi desserts.

The matcha cheesecake....  oh, the matcha cheesecake...