Book Club

book

There are stories that will forever remain in your heart. This one, by Paul Kalanithi, is one of those. Imagine being on the cusp of your dream job. Years of school and training and residency. The finish line so close. And then, to be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. It was through this unfortunate turn of events in which this memoir was born. Take the time and read this moving story. Discover for yourself what makes a virtuous and meaningful life. Time, as Paul shares with us, is fleeting. No amount of schooling or training or praying can change that.

“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

 

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Places

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The dining scene in Boston just keeps getting better and better, which makes me a very happy girl. Last Friday, K and I were finally able to score a dinner reservation to Tiger Mama, Tiffani Faison’s second eatery in Boston. And let me tell you. She hit it out of the park with this one {pun intended as it is around the corner from Fenway Park}. I would describe the menu as Tiffani’s love letter to Southeast Asia, a region that she describes on the website as having “some of the most effortlessly brilliant food, the kindest people and the most beautiful sights the world has to offer.”

We started our dining experience with the red snapper crudo with puffed rice {with just the right amount of heat}, followed by the roasted beets, the crispy pork lettuce wraps and finished up with the chicken curry. Every bite was even more exciting than the last. Tiger Mama, like many these days, is adhering to the small plate trend. Our sweet server suggested 2-3 plates per person. We ordered 4 and I think it was just the right amount of food {knowing that we had SoCo ice cream in the freezer helped too}.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cocktail program, which is quite impressive and the living green wall. It’s amazing. Need a little more info to pull the trigger and make a reservation? Check out this review from the Boston Globe.

Tiger Mama. A welcome addition to the Boston food scene and one I hope will continue to shine for many, many years!

Tuesday Travel

Paris

For my 37th birthday, K surprised me with a trip to Paris. Truth be told, the surprise came last November, after the horrific attacks, when K sat me down and revealed that she had booked tickets to Paris for early May. With mixed emotions and a broken heart over the events that unfolded, I remembered the words of Audrey Hepburn who said “Paris is always a good idea” and thus we decided to move forward with the trip. And how happy I am that we did!

I spent the last several months doing an extensive amount of research on the must do’s in the City of Lights. Once I had what I thought was a final itinerary, I emailed it along to my sister Michelle, who lived in Paris for three years during university. She wrote back and said “cross 2 things off your list for each day.” I guess I didn’t realize how big Paris really is. Did you know that Paris is made up of twenty arrondissements, or neighborhoods? That is quite a bit of territory to cover. To help ease planning, I tried to plan each day around visiting one or two arrondissements.

A few things to note: the Metro is super easy to navigate and I highly recommend using it to get from place to place. Uber is also available in Paris and we used this on rainy days where walking to the metro proved to be a bit of a challenge. Almost everyone we met from shops to restaurants spoke English but we always greeted each other in French. I think it’s the polite way to show you are trying. Oh and if you want to see the full collection of my photos from the trip, check out my Instagram feed and search #MayinParis.

Stay

Stay

After contacting several Airbnb owners with little success, we decided to book a room at the chic Hotel Henriette, a design boutique hotel located on the left bank in the 13th Arr. near Les Gobelins metro stop. Everything about this spot was perfection. We stayed in Room No. 44, a deluxe double that had a delightful king bed, day bed seating area and a tub. Every detail was perfect. After a day of exploring, I would make myself right at home on this little day bed.

room

Do

museum

There is so much to see and do in Paris but since both K and I had visited several of the main attractions in Paris before {Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versaillies} we decided to spend more time exploring a few key neighborhood {the Marais, Montmarte}. With that, though, we did make time to visit a few mainstays, which I suggest you add to your list should you be planning a trip.

Musée de l’Orangerie – located in the 1st Arr. in the Jardin des Tuileries, this small but mighty museum is a must. The two rooms featuring the curved Monets will leave you mesmerized.

Musée Rodin – located in the 7th Arr. on the left bank, we enjoyed our first afternoon in Paris in the sculpture garden, seeing such works as “The Thinker” and “The Gates of Hell.”

Notre Dame – K and I have developed a little tradition when traveling abroad. We like to light candles for our loved ones who have passed in as many churches as we can and thus a visit to Notre Dame was a must.

Sainte-Chappelle –  Just to see the 1,113 pieces of stained glass is reason enough to visit Sainte Chappelle. You know what I fell in love with though? The floor tiles. Just look.

tiles

Shop

shop

I could devote an entire blog post to the shopping in Paris! It’s incredible. A few of our favorites shop include:

Le Bon Marché – located in the 7th Arr., this department store has everything. My favorite part? This escalator.

Merci – located in the 3rd Arr., Merci is a concept store that has a carefully curated collection of goods for the house, the garden, and your closet, in addition to a wonderful cafe situated in a library. I contained myself and only purchased my fourth Paris travel guide that I justified as it isn’t available in the states.

Paper Tigre – In every city we visit there are two places I need to visit: the local cafes and the paper store. Paper Tigre, located in the 3rd Arr., is a fantastic paper shop that was the ideal place to pick up a wonderful collection of gifts for upcoming birthdays. They had a wonderful selection of candles named after each garden in Paris. The perfect keepsake to bring home!

La Tresorerie – located in the 10th Arr., La Tresorerie is stocked with a wonderful selection of items for your kitchen, living spaces and bathroom. I found the greatest colander that I was able to fit in my carry-on for the trip home. Next door to the shop is a delightful cafe named Cafe Smorgas that is a must after some shopping.

Jamini – with locations in the 9th and 10th Arr., Jamini is a beautiful shop filled with textiles made in India.

Jacques Genin Chocolate Shop – A trip to Paris isn’t complete without a visit to a chocolate shop. My favorite was this one, located in the 3rd Arr. Their chocolate covered orange peel… I’ve been thinking about them since our return.

Pierre Herme – My most favorite dessert in the world is a French macaroon and thus a visit to this Parisian institution is a must. We purchased a box of 16, with flavors including Mogador {my favorite – milk chocolate and passion fruit}, vanilla, chocolate, matcha, mint, and caramel. They are almost too beautiful to eat, don’t you think?

Eat

MaryCeleste

Les Cocottes – located in the 7th Arr., I first read of this spot in the Goop city guide. We arrived early {6 pm} to avoid the crowds and I suggest you do the same. Also, order the chocolate tart. It’s incredible!

Rose Bakery – located in the 3rd Arr., we enjoyed a healthy and delicious breakfast here on our second day in Paris. They are known for their baked goods, especially their carrot cake. Try it!

L’As due Falafel – located in the 3rd Arr., this is my favorite place to eat in Paris. Get the falafel sandwich with the grilled eggplant, add the harissa sauce {you have to ask for this} and sip on a lemonade. I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will also be the cheapest meal you eat. Trust me!

Fragments Coffee Bar – located in the 3rd Arr., this charming coffee shop is a must visit while exploring the Marais. Their lemon cake is divine as well as their brews. And the facade, worth a photo or two!

coffee

Le Mary Celeste – located in the 3rd Arr., this is the place to go for a cocktail in the Marais. Wish it were my neighborhood bar!

Claus – located in the 1st Arr., this is where I celebrate the first meal of my 37th year. Delicious eggs with roasted tomatoes and a yummy bread basket. We ordered a piece of lemon cake to go and it may have been my second most favorite thing I ate in Paris.

Honor – located in the 8th Arr., Honor is Paris’ first outdoor cafe. They also serve a selection of pastries from Broken Biscuit. A wonderful place to escape from the husle and bustle of the Champs.

Buvette – located in the 9th, this is the second location of the famed West Village french eatery. We enjoyed the coq au vin, the carrot salad and the chocolate cake. All amazing. My favorite part of the meal… the cocktail menu. It’s a work of art.

Septime – located in the 11th, Septime is a place that shouldn’t be missed. Since it is nearly impossible to obtain a dinner reservation, we opted for a lunch reservation and decided upon their 6-course tasting menu. Let’s just say, this meal was the top dining experience of my life. We had hoped to make it to their sister restaurant Clamato, a charming oyster bar, but time ran out.

Le Sirocco –  located in the 13th and across the street from our hotel, Le Sirocco was a delightful find. We had reservations to eat at Candelaria for our final night but we were both exhausted so decided to just take the walk across the street for dinner. And what a dinner we had. A traditional Moroccan meal that was an experience for the senses. Should you find yourself in the 13th, I highly recommend going.

Du Pain et des Idees – when you think about food in Paris, one thing comes to mind, right? Croissants. This bakery in the 10th Arr. is claimed to have the best in Paris. Go!

*****

Bon

“There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.” I couldn’t agree more with this quote from Ernest Hemingway. I can’t wait to plan our next trip to Paris. There is still so much more to discover in this city!