Eating, Drinking & Seeing: 5 Paris Favorites in February

Call it amnesia or a selective memory but by the end of each February, I'm forever stunned by how much I attempted to cram into the month. Those few fewer days mean less wiggle room to polish a story or less opportunity to accomplish a personal goal and that gap was more palpable than ever this year. My expectations were evidently misguided again because I felt stress mounting and sanity slipping a week in - undertakings, both personal and professional, too ambitious for one middling little month. Getting sidelined by mercury retrograde (am now a total believer) certainly didn't help with creative clarity either.

Which is really to say, I wasn't able to do, see or eat many of things on my long-running wish list. But here's what I did manage to squeeze in:

1// A quiet dinner at Pan
My friend Elle had been talking about this 10th arrondissement spot for ages and we finally found a night to double date to give it a try. The compact menu plays up modern bistro basics and changes regularly. We split a terrific fennel and mandarine salad as an appetizer and I followed with a delicious plate of sautéed scallops and Jerusalem artichokes. The cocktails also got our collective thumbs up but the location - a somewhat remote and quiet pocket of the 10th arrondissement- will be an even greater factor influencing my return visit. 

2// Pastry chat with bestselling author Trish Deseine 
In my latest piece for the New York Times T Magazine, I had the chance to chat with the indomitable pastry maven Trish Deseine about her favorite sweets of the moment. For those of you who have already picked up a copy of her latest book, The Paris Gourmet (or Paris bible, if we're not mincing words), her picks will be new for you.

More on Trish:
Interview for Franco File Friday

3// A night at Hotel Fabric 
Nevermind that this 4* boutique hotel is a mere 5 minute walk from my apartment. Distance is hardly an important factor when planning a mini getaway to clear one's head and this spot did the trick. The industrial-chic design recalls the neighborhood's manufacturing roots  without being gimmicky. The service was great and the furnishings in the lobby got me thinking about the changes I want to make in my own (tiny) space. For food-conscious travelers looking to be in close proximity to great eats, this spot's for you. 

View from Le Perchoir rooftop bar/restaurant

4// Drinks at Le Perchoir
My impressions of the restaurant at this ultra-hyped 11th arrondissement rooftop hangout are anything but glowing but the ability to linger over a cocktail or bottle of wine with friends during the winter with an Instagram-ready view of the city makes it worth a visit. You can read a little bit more about this elevated spot in my highlight for Afar HERE.

Change may be anathema to the French mind but there's no denying the culinary evolutions this country has witnessed (and bemoaned) in its history. One of the early champions of simplifying French food was Georges Auguste Escoffier, preeminent 20th century chef and author of the renowned tome Le Guide Culinaire. In this fascinating piece, the author questions why this emblem of French cooking has been so vaunted, especially when his techniques and unduly formal style directly inspired the Nouvelle Cuisine movement, which favors light, fresh and more inventive cooking. "How was it that Escoffier, whose best-known saying was 'Above all, make it simple', be so damned?" Read on to find out. 

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