Eating, Drinking & Seeing: 5 Favorites in April

The best Rugelach in Jerusalem at Marzipan

April was an action-packed, unforgettable month. So much so that I find myself still thinking about the lasting impact some of these moments will have on my life. To be determined! Until then, a few highlights:

1/ I became French
A year after I submitted my application and a series of interviews, I received a letter granting me French citizenship (with a French birth certificate from Nantes!). The succinctness of the missive didn't make it feel very official but all of that should change in May during the naturalization ceremony. When I began studying French, I never thought the linguistic focus would lead me where it has and I certainly didn't anticipate integrating and finding a true home here. Nothing is markedly different but somehow it feels like the puzzle pieces of identity have come together.

2/ The book I worked on with Vélib was published! 
The central conceit: get out there and go beneath the surface of this incredible city with the help of 50 recommendations and ideas.  It was fantastic to work with the team at La Mairie de Paris and I truly hope Parisians see the value in the approach. You can order your own copy HERE.

Verjus celeriac dumplings

3/ 'Snacking' with Katie Parla at Verjus
She writes (well), she eats (everything), and she travels (everywhere...to snack!). Writer/blogger/food historian Katie Parla isn't just the inspiration behind what has, to my astonishment, become my most-read post on this blog but my legit girl crush. I admire her work (the girl went on a pizza pilgrimage!) and her fierce resolve to educate travelers about what's really happening in the Italian culinary world beyond the romanticized image they've been sold in the media.

We've been communicating online for ages but finally met in person this month when she rolled through town with her mom to run the Paris marathon and engage in some serious snacking. We spent an evening sharing stories and regaling ourselves on wine and small plates at Verjus. While I'm disappointed we don't live in the same city (although perhaps that's better for both of our waist lines), I am more motivated than ever to return to Rome and book one of her food tours.

4/ Interview with David Lebovitz 
True story: Over a year ago, David was testing some new recipes for his recently-published book 'My Paris Kitchen' and asked if I'd like to take home some of the carrot cake he made. I imagined taking home a couple of slices, he was leaning more toward an entire five pound cake. I've demolished considerable amounts of carrot cake in my life but his was the perfect balance of sweet with punchy carrot flavor (if you're curious about the recipe, it made the final cut of his book). Cake aside, I had a ball getting to chat with him about travel, cooking and the Parisian food scene for my story for Fodor's. Click HERE to read the interview!

Camel at the Mount of Olives

5/ Eating, drinking and getting spiritual in Israel
I'm still thinking about this trip (and feeling envious that my pal Igor got to see more of the country than I was able to! You can see his pics here) and I can only hope that the heightened perspective it offered me isn't short-lived. For more on that experience, click  HERE. 

How did your April play out? 

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