Wednesday Wanderlust

Chicago

Oh Chicago! You really are one fantastic city. You have the charm of my beloved Boston and the big city feel of my one and only NYC. Your lake is majestic, your skyline breathtaking, and your people so kind. Thank you for a wonderful Memorial Day visit. We can’t wait to visit you again!

Stay

Stay- Chicago

When K and I decided to travel to Chicago this past Memorial Day weekend, I was torn between staying at the newly opened Soho House Chicago in the West Loop and Public Chicago in the Gold Coast. The decision was made easy when I learned that my request for a holiday weekend at the Soho House was not fulfilled. So Public is was.

With 285 rooms, this hotel is much larger than we typically like to stay at. The rooms are tastefully designed by Ian Schrager and the common areas on the first floor are beautiful, including a coffee bar, a library den and a movie room. However, I must be honest and say I was a bit unimpressed with our experience. We heard our neighbors, the bathroom was tiny and had few amenities {no robes, only 2 towels and lackluster products} and the accent chair in our room was dirty and stained. Thankfully we had lots to see {and eat} so there wasn’t much time spend relaxing in our room.

Eat

Eat Chicago

While I was disappointed with our hotel of choice, the food in Chicago did not disappoint. My favorites include:

Little Goat – Located in the West Loop, Little Goat should not be missed. We had our first breakfast here and loved every single delicious bite. We started with their enormous ooey gooey cinnabun and shared the Kimchee + Bacon + Eggs + Pancakes Asian Styke BreakfastTasty Thing. This is the actual name… I promise! And the service was fantastic. We asked our waiter, who had just been in Boston oddly enough, his not to miss spots. Fortunately, we had dinner reservations at his top spot. Score!

The Winchester – Located in East Village, we enjoyed a leisurely Sunday brunch here. The interior is beautiful and my cocktail of Allagash white and grapefruit juice with a salt rim was delightful. A perfect neighborhood spot!

Doughnut Vault – I’m a total sucker for a good doughnut and the old-fashion buttermilk glazed is all I’ve been thinking about since I left. So good.

Floriole – Located in charming Lincoln Park, Floriole is the bakery of my dreams. And although we didn’t visit on this most recent trip, I have indulged in the pastries at this french inspired cafe more times than I’d like to admit!

Milk & Honey Cafe – Located in the eclectic Wicker Park neighborhood, I would refer to Milk & Hone as the Flour Bakery of the midwest. Great sandwiches, pastries and plenty of room to eat. It really is a place where “fresh and goodness meet!”

avec -Meaning with in French, avec was initially designed as the place to enjoy a light bite before your meal at critically acclaimed Blackbird next door. However, avec has now become the place to go for your meal. A dinner reservation is nearly impossible to get so we opted for lunch, which I highly recommend. The chorizo stuffed dates with bacon in a piquillo pepper-tomato sauce is worth every calorie.

Big Star -The place for tacos in the Windy City. Located in Wicker Park, right by the L, this is a great place for meeting up with friends. They have a huge patio and the beer list is quite impressive.

Piece Brewery + Pizza – Although Chicago is known for it’s deep dish, I’m a thin crust girl so highly recommend this local establishment with musical roots. Just guess who is a part owner? Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick!

The Bristol – Located in Bucktown, The Bristol is that neighborhood spot I wish we had in Boston. Good comfort food, tasty cocktails and friendly staff. You can’t go wrong.

Girl & the Goat – You all remember Stephanie Izard from Top Chef, right? With her winnings, she opened up this Must-go spot in her hometown. If you can’t score a reservation, Little Goat is hers as well.

Ruxbin – “People who love to eat are always the best people.” One of my favorite quotes from Julia Child and the introduction to the menu at this Chicago gem in Noble Square. Ruxbin’s concept is a curated, family style meal. You pick two small plates, two large and two desserts. Meals arrive on the most beautiful pieces of pottery that are available for purchase here. The chickpea pierogi with apple, zurek, celery leaf, and radish bonito has moved onto my top 5 best dishes I’ve ever had list.

Maudes Liquor Bar – Located down the street from Girl & the Goat, this is a romantic spot to grab an after dinner drink and dessert. The chocolate mouse was sinfully smooth.

The Allis – The most well designed bar I’ve ever been to. I literally could move right in. They also offer afternoon tea service. A must!

Another must is a Chicago hot dog. We had ours down on the waterfront from a street vendor but I’m told the best place to go is Downtown Dogs. The poppy seed bun, relish, mustard and celery salt make you realize you don’t need ketchup after all!

A few places that we didn’t make it to but are on the list for next time include: Mott Street, Parson’s Chicken and & Fish, The Hampton Social and Fat Rice.

Do

Besides eating my way through a city, I always like to take in a bit of history and a bit of culture. I highly recommend an Architectural Boat Tour, a walk around Millenium Park and Cloud Gate and a visit to The Art Institute.

And if time allows, get tickets to a comedy show a Second City Not sure I’ve ever laughted so hard in my life.

Can’t wait to see you again, Chi-town!

 

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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!

Tuesday Travel

Hudson.jpg

Hi friends and happy Tuesday to you! Today I’m excited to share all the deets from our weekend getaway to Hudson, New York.

Located 2.5 hours from Boston and about 1.5 hours from New York City, Hudson is becoming quite the scene. Many now refer to it as Brooklyn north, which made both K and I laugh as we secretly pretend we live in Brooklyn {or at least I do}. One day. Upon check-in, we decided to do a little exploring by foot. Warren Street is the main road through downtown Hudson and is lined with antique shops, coffee shops, boutiques and several empty store fronts waiting for a pop-up to arrive. One thing we noticed in several storefronts was the presence of a whale. Growing up on Nantucket, seeing this iconic symbol made me pause. Saturday afternoon, while gathering goodies for a picnic, we asked the kind gentleman behind the counter at Talbott & Arding “what’s up with all the whales?” to which he replied “we use to be a whaling center.” This explains why I have wanted to explore this town for so long. It’s in my roots!

Here’s the story. A group of men from Nantucket and New Bedford {seafarers, owners of whaling ships, my people} were convinced that King George would not be content to let the American colonies go, and the British would be back to recapture what they’d lost. These men feared their location along the Atlantic, which they believe made their lives and their livelihood vulnerable. And thus, in early 1783, Thomas and Seth Jenkins {brothers representing an association of men involved in maritime commerce} set out to find a safe harbor where they could relocate their families and their ships. Sailing up the Hudson, they found what they were looking for about a hundred miles north of New York Harbor: a high bluff on the east bank of the river with a natural harbor on either side. They bought the land on the bluff and along the river from Dutch families whose ancestors had purchased it from the Mohicans generations before, and they set about to create a seaport far from the sea. The last known whaling ship to leave Hudson was in 1819. I really need to check the family history to see if any relatives were part of this plan.

I can’t say enough about this little getaway. The highlights of our itinerary are below. Enjoy!

Stay

hotel

Rivertown Lodge is THE place to stay in Hudson. Located in a 1920s movie house, Rivertown is the first venture of two friends and hospitality veterans who saw the need for a revamped lodging option in Upstate NY. They collaborated with Brooklyn-based Workstead {who also designed The Wythe} and the result is swoon worthy. I came home and wanted to redecorate our entire apartment. The little details make the space. My favorite part was The Pantry located next to our room {we stayed in #3) which was filled with local salty snacks, sweet treats and beverages. As someone who loves a good boutique hotel, Rivertown Lodge is in my Top 5. Oh and they offer complimentary bikes too.

Eat 

Fish+Game

The food did not disappoint in Hudson {and the surrounding towns}. A few favorites include:

Food Studio – Located just a block from Rivertown, we enjoyed dinner here on Friday night in the window seat. I had the chicken albondigas {meatballs} with yellow curry, sweet potato, long bean and glass noodles. I’ve been craving them ever since.

Bonfiglio & Bread – Located across the street from Rivertown, Bonfiglio is known for their delicious breads and pastries. Their pecan roll was sinfully good but I was a little disappointed with my egg sandwich. Later I was informed I should have ordered their bialy {bagel}. Next time! They also offer pizzas for lunch, which by the photos on Instagram look pretty delicious.

Talbott & Arding Cheese – The most incredible cheese shop. We stopped in after shopping on Saturday to pick up all the fixings for a little picnic. Their cheese selection is outstanding {we opted for the Dutch knuckle from Sugar House Creamery} and their sweet treats make it hard to just order one. We indulged on the ginger cake and the homemade marshmallows.

Gaskins – Located 20 minutes south of Hudson you will find Gaskins, which has now become one of my favorite restaurants. It is everything you want your local spot to be. Cozy bar, delicious food and the most gracious staff. The roasted carrots, mac + cheese and brownie sundae were comfort food to a T. K enjoyed her burger and the Hill Farmstead beer on tap. Owners Nick and Sarah Suarez  “aim to be a haven, a place you can feast and celebrate or just drop by for a quick beer. Nothing makes us happier than when the farmers who grow our food come eat with us at the restaurant.” I can’t wait to visit this gem again.

Fish & Game – We had Sunday brunch at this Hudson staple which is run by chef Zak Pelaccio and his wife, chef Jori Jayne Emde. The Johnny cakes topped with an egg were to die for and their granola was the best I’ve ever had. For dinner, the menu changes nightly, focusing on the freshest ingredients from local farms.

I should also mention that Rivertown Lodge just opened their kitchen and offers weekend brunch and dinner. By the looks of it, their brunch is the place to be on a Saturday or Sunday in Hudson.

Shop

shop

I was certainly surprised by how many amazing antique shops are in Hudson. When K and I buy our dream home, I know exactly where to come for our mid-century pieces. A few other shops not to miss include:

Mutiny – Run by a surgeon and his sculptor wife, Mutiny is a beautiful storefront with an electric mix of men’s wear, home goods and an impressive stationary collection, including Postalco notebooks.

Les Indiennes Showroom – A showroom dedicated to hand-blocked textiles… yes please! I have long been a fan of Les Indiennes pillow cases and enjoyed seeing their entire collection, which includes wallpaper too. I purchased one of their signature candles in the sweetest little blue hand-blocked draw-string pouch. The perfect gift to have on-hand for a last minute gift.

Hawkins New York – I literally wanted one of everything at this interior designer’s dream shop. From rugs, to linens, to beautiful pottery and furniture, this is the place to go for that unique piece that everyone will ask about. And their signature candles are pretty incredible. I suggest purchasing their Hudson scent to always remind you of this charming town.

Red Chair on Warren – I am going to forever refer to this shop as Heaven on Warren. This beautiful shop is focused on Swedish, Belgian and French antiques. Owner Jocie Sinauer makes frequent buying trips to Europe and hand selects every item in the shop. If we weren’t leaving for Paris in 3 weeks, I would have left with several french bowls to add to my collection.

Colonia – My second favorite antique store on Warren Street. I was so pleased to see they have an Etsy site.

2 Note – This shop is a trip for your senses. Offering beautiful perfumes, shampoos, body lotions, face lotions and even multi-purpose house cleaner. I loved the scent of Adagio.

Flower Kraut – Located across the street from Rivertown, this little floral studio has an impressive selection of cacti, succulents, and pots. And their beautiful floral arrangements are a nice treat to bring home.

*************

I am fairly certain Hudson will be a place we return to again and again. Our itinerary is already coming together for our next visit: dinner at Fish & Game, a visit to Olana State Historic site, and a meal at The Corner at Hotel Tivoli.

 

Spring Bucket List

Spring

The sun is setting at 7 pm tonight. That must mean spring is here!

I seem to be encouraged with the change of each season to take pause and think about what I want to take place over the next couple of months. It’s all about intention and what you put in the universe. With that, I wanted to share with you a few of the items on my Spring Bucket List:

Craft. I come from a long line of crafty ladies. I know I have the ability inside of me. I just need to tap it. So this spring, I’d like to try my hand at some needlepoint work. Maybe one day I’ll be able to create a piece that looks like these.

Sweat. This seems to make all my seaonal bucket lists but I really do need to get out there and sweat. Not only for my physical health but also my mental health. Soul Cycle has opened a studio a few blocks from my apartment. I think it is about time I get myself on a bike!

Connect. April is National Letter Writing Month. With that, I am making a commitment to write a letter a day to friends near and far.

Learn. My sister and I are signed up to attend Laura Hooper’s calligraphy class in May. Hopefully Laura will get me on the lettering kick I’ve been wanting to be on.

Grow. “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Wise words from Audrey Hepburn. With recent events, it is easy to become distraught about the state of the world. Last summer, we planted a small herb garden and watching our basil, thyme, mint, dill grow brought a sense of peace to my life. And thus, this spring I hope to expand our garden. I’m thinking to add a few different lettuces to the mix. Any suggestions?

I look to you to keep me accountable to these. I promise to share the highlights too!