I was so happy to be invited by Le Meurice for a tea time tasting of their pastries, which are renowned, and rightly so given the dedication to French excellence in pastry arts and cuisine that is promoted by this Dorchester Collection hotel.
But an article about tea time at Le Meurice will no doubt spark a conversation about the recent media frenzy over the boycott against hotels owned by the sultan of Brunei, a small sovereign nation that is pocketed on a Malaysian coastline. Anna Wintour and all the celebrities have a very valid point in boycotting hotels owned by this sultan who is integrating sharia law into his country’s customs. I IN NO WAY SUPPORT SHARIA LAW IN ANY WAY. These laws are intrinsically homophobic, misogynist and inhumane. I think radical leaders like Hassanal Bolkiah should be given a taste of their very own oppression and discrimination. I support Anna Wintour and the fashion industry boycotting the Dorchester Collection hotels. But… I also support the dedicated and open minded professionals that work in and for these hotels. These people have nothing to do with the garish laws implemented in Brunei, nor its sultan’s opinions or religious inclination. These people who work in hotels such as Le Meurice, uphold the standards of luxury and tolerance of people from all walks of life. The wonderful people who work for Le Meurice support French standards of business, liberté, égalité, fraternité. I find it sad that these people are the ones being in essence hurt by this sultan’s decisions, and it isn’t fair for them at all. They do an amazing job of running a hotel with high French standards. I do hope the public opinion can put enough pressure on the sultan for him to retract his decision for sharia law without putting in danger the jobs of those who work in his hotels.
Now… can we talk about pastries!?! Read more →
Coretta is a restaurant that will forever mark an amazing change in my life, the reintroduction of dairy into my diet. For about ten years now I have nixed dairy from my intake, and at all the restaurants I visit, I must always inquire about the lactose contents of the menu and carefully select accordingly which often limits my choices to a sad one or two dishes. Often, the kitchen has to make special dishes for me, if they are in the mood. But recently, I have daringly tested out my dairy intolerance, because, they say that every ten years or so your body chemistry changes. It all started with a Pierre Hermé salted caramel cream macaron that DIDN’T make me feel sick. I was astonished. I made a few more attempts at Pierre Hermé macarons, and a couple bites of friends’ desserts to test the theory. It seemed to have some truth to it. Coretta was the first restaurant where I dared to have a whole dish that contained a little bit of cream in the sauce… A revelation of flavor came over me and I remembered what amazing food can taste like! Butter and cream and cheese really do make a difference.
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I am going to tell you about a wonderful new spot in the Haute Marais quarter. Open since Novemebr 2012, this place offers something rare in the old parts of Paris : space. It’s called Beaucoup, and it has beaucoup d’espace for a Paris restaurant. It’s the third Parisian restaurant by the duo Ludovic and Julien. They seem to have a knack for opening trendy chic spots. But what I find so delightful about Beaucoup, besides it’s décor, menu and atmosphere… is that it’s right around the corner from the well known spot Merci. To me it seems to be the obvious suite to the installation of Merci. Merci… Beaucoup. And I hope someone opens a place just down the street from Beaucoup, and calls it « De Rien »! It could be a cute little place that serves up something different every day according to what they have available. It would be like they are making something from nothing! Get it? « De rien »? Every meal there would be a surprise! But… I digress with my little Paris restaurant fantasy. Read more →
In my (unadmitted) quest to discover all the fun restaurants in the Batignolles quarter, I was able to suggest Le Club des 5 when planning a dinner out with Chéri and our artist friend Barbara. I had walked by it many times and it has such a fun delightful interieur that seems to dram me in, that I couldn’t wait any longer, so I insisted.
I wasn’t disappointed!
I do chose restaurants based upon décor and ambiance first, and food second. I feel that just as food presentation is important, so are your surroundings and the decorum in which you eat. I can’t eat in a messy room, for example. Read more →
It would seem that Springtime draws me out and exploring the cafés of Paris. I think the easing of chilly weather makes me feel more adventurous and I am inclined to exit the comfort of home for the chairs, benches and divans at various unexplored cafés around town. Although it isn’t that difficult to entice me outdoors given the many attractive café establishments in the City of lights.
I spent a little time recently in two that I had never discovered before…and all in the same afternoon.
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I probably would never have treated myself to such an extravagant meal had it not been for my very good friend, Alana, who is also a connoisseur of fine cuisine and has a palate that would challenge most of the well-known food critics out there (whomever they are). We wanted to have a girls’ dinner out and wanted something that screamed « indulgence » but did not want to skimp on food quality. Not an easy feat with my dairy intolerance. so when I called up Spring and asked them if they could accommodate someone with a dairy allergy, and they said « oui » I squeaked with such joy, Alana told me I sounded like I had won the lottery. I NEVER would have EVER thought that such a posh restaurant would be willing to modify their whole menu just so I could eat there. (I later found out one of the reasons why they were so willing to accommodate).
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Le Clan Des Jules
We found this fantastic little place on rue Brochant in the 17th. It has everything you would want on a cold dreary winter evening when you go out for dinner : warm colored décor, interesting and appetizing menu, friendly service, good wine, and a fun theme to the whole thing!
So the theme is a sort of tongue-in-cheek way of saying it’s a mob owned restaurant. It isn’t, that’s just the theme. From the vintage items strategically placed around the restaurant, to the 1920′s mobster machine gun racked up on the wall, to the bullet casings lined up on one of the shleves; even one of the menu items played into the theme : on the dessert menu the last choice was « Rien, le parrain m’attend 0€ » (Nothing, the godfather is waiting for me 0€).
We were set in a cozy corner, and although when we got there were only the second table to fill, in about 30 minutes there was not a single table empty… (all French people, no tourists) and it was a week night! Thank goodness we reserved. I highly suggested doing the same if you want to head there for a meal.
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Laurel Sanderson was one of the founders of the wildly successful Sugarplum Cake Shop and was the heart, soul, and sunshine of their tea salon… We were all sad when she left the Paris baking/eatery scene, but that didn’t last long! She’s baaaaaaack! And she has created her own little place that is full of her contagious and addictive charm and warm cheerful hospitality, serving up her fantastic recipes for lunch and brunch, and that amazing carrot cake she is so well known for.
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After seeing the amazing David Hallberg dance the Sleeping Beauty prince… Chéri brought me to the Kong for dinner. We thought we would make a fabulous night of it and eat at what I assumed would be a swanky and chic address with amazing fusion food. (I had been to the bar for drinks this summer and had some grand illusions about dining out there).
So the swanky part was not to be denied. The place is prime Parisian real-estate. But the sparkle of all that was so tarnished by the down sides that it didn’t seem as fabulous as one would expect from an establishment that boasts presence in a Sex and the City episode. Read more →
It’s Like New York has landed in Paris all of a sudden! (But suffice it to say that Paris is sweetly infiltrating New York as well). There are eateries and bistro joints popping up all over that have an authentic NYC/Brooklyn style to their charm. And frankly, I am not opposed since these two cities seem to have a little love affair with each other. Bagelstein is a lovely little franchise and can be found in several cities in Paris, and in several neighborhoods in Paris. It has arrived finally close to my work, which means I can indulge occasionally at lunch. Read more →