Breakfast by the Canal St. Martin

4 July 2012

For six years I’ve lived in the 11th arrondissement, right on the border of the 10th. When I first moved to Paris, these areas were relatively untouched by tourists. Visitors would go as far as the Bastille and maybe venture to the rue Oberkampf for a taste of its vibrant but less polished nightlife but the 10th arrondissement was rougher and far from being emblematic enough to compete with the city’s refined storybook image.  Now, both neighborhoods are products of stark and rapid gentrification which means that formerly forlorn buildings, cafés, dive bars and shops have largely been supplanted by artsy boutiques, trendy bars and coveted al fresco eateries. In a trajectory that arguably rivals Williamsburg (Brooklyn), the area along and around the Canal St. Martin, specifically, has experienced tremendous transformation, commanding more attention among travelers and locals alike than ever before.  Picnics and strolls are still de rigueur in these parts but it’s the morning meal in particular that has earned the hotspot its gold stars over the last year. Helmut Newcake (Paris’s first entirely gluten-free bakery and salon de thé), Le Sésame, La Chambre aux Oiseaux, Du Pain et des Idées (one of my longtime top picks) and Les Enfants […]…

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Colunching at Coutume Café

27 September 2011

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of moving abroad is the inevitability of starting over. Even if you’re fortunate enough to know a few people in your adopted city or town, it probably won’t be enough to constitute a solid network. That’s exactly what my parents were concerned about when I made the move to Paris – that I would struggle to form connections other than those facilitated by entering into my husband’s network (but as I mention in this interview, I didn’t win over his friends immediately). It wasn’t until I went to grad school in Paris that I developed an extremely tight group of friends, some of whom eventually left to return to their home countries. While those are people who will forever be in my life, regardless of their home base, I attribute my social wings to blogging and heavy social media use. Whereas it was once unacceptable to meet strangers online (let alone admit it), it has become the fastest way to integrate and make friends in Paris. Fortunately for those without blogs, Twitter accounts and only mild internet addiction, there exists a fun, free, social service to facilitate meeting locals. Colunching is a communal dining social network […]…

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Getting My Egg On at Eggs&Co

26 July 2010

New signage for Eggs&Co coming soon! Ever since I was a little kid, eggs, in all its forms, have been a staple of my diet. My gastronomical fussiness growing up meant coercing my parents to prepare separate meals for me when I didn’t like what was being served and this often included scrambled eggs and toast. Although incorrigible and finicky, I was content with this arrangement. During my high school years, my father and I would go out to breakfast almost every Sunday to overly simplistic retro diners with waitresses in unflattering hip-hugging dresses and bottomless coffee, you know the type. Yet what these places lacked in originality and aesthetics they made up for in quality. Quality pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs that I never seemed to be able to recreate properly at home.  What I’ve always loved about eggs is their versatility – one of the few foods that can acceptably be prepared for breakfast, lunch or dinner in any one of its forms. A deli outside one of my undergraduate university buildings provided my (almost) daily mid-morning snack of egg and melted cheese on a whole grain bagel. Hard-boiled eggs were regulars in my lunchtime salads, and scrambled […]…

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Brunching, Birthdays and Twinkies

4 April 2010

There’s nothing better than knowing that Sunday isn’t the end of the weekend. I love what I do for work, but sometimes it’s nice to have a 3 day weekend to decompress and come back fresh and recharged, or at least that’s what is supposed to happen. This weekend was not unlike many weekends, complete with brunches, overeating and friends. Saturday may have been gray and rainy, but the day was filled with good eats and good people. I met a friend for brunch at Twinkie which is like a bohemian hybrid of British, American and French breakfast/brunches spots. Breakfast fare of bagels, muffins, fresh fruit juices, eggs, club sandwiches, savory tarts, cheesecake, scones, sausage and beans and a gluten & lactose-free menu, is served all day from 10am-6pm. The decor was minimalist yet inviting and somewhat resembled what I would imagine a Scandinavian canteen would look like. The service was efficient and pleasant and they were even accommodating, allowing me to substitute matzah for the bread basket that came with my menu. Luckily there was nutella and jam to make up for the cardboard-like consistency of the matzah. And while there were boxes of twinkies on the shelves decorating […]…

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Book signings, apple pie and good conversation

13 September 2009

There’s nothing I love more than a sunny Paris day with lots to do. For the last couple of months, I’ve gotten heavily into blogs – reading them, following them, writing… I don’t know why I never took the plunge before, but there are a ton of interesting and relevant bloggers out there, many of whom are based in Paris. One such blogger, who barely needs an introduction, is David Lebovitz – an American pastry chef of the famed Chez Panisse in San Francisco who has lived and written in Paris for the last 7 years. He has a huge following and a relatively new book called “The Sweet Life in Paris”. He tweets, facebooks and cooks all day…. I feel so sorry for him. Anyway, he held a book signing at a bouquiniste along the Seine yesterday and since I recently bought his book, I figured it was a great way to put a voice to the man of many talents. After that, it was off for a nice walk home (quite a long walk too – Pont Neuf to Parmentier), most of the way with Robert. Everyone and their mother was out and about in the Marais and […]…

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