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NYC Trip Recap: WANDER

While food is always a highlight, my favorite moments during this NYC trip were spent just wandering around the city. I hadn’t spent much time in Brooklyn, and one day the beautiful weather demanded that we take a nice, long walk from Crown Heights to Williamsburg.

Our lovely hostess, Miss India, took this super cute pic of me and Kelly. I want to frame it. 

Isn’t the Brooklyn Library pretty? I totally would’ve gone inside but it was just way too nice outside to spend hours poring over books. 

I loved our walk through Williamsburg. So much to look at — so much potential shopping I had to say no to. Such is the life is a poor girl like moi.   

Our beautiful view while we snacked on treats from Smorgasburg. There were SO MANY options to choose from, but I finally settled on a Asian inspired taco with ahi tuna. It was amazing.

Hi Kelly.

——-

On our very first day, we walked ridiculously far, finally ending up at the High Line

I love how New York has all of these hidden spots, nestled between the bustle. It’s like a totally different world. 

I was a big fan of these birdhouses. I’d love to put one outside our window so Sawyer can get some decent bird watching in. 

Early evening view off of the High Line.  

It’s funny, since New York is in so many movies/TV shows/books/photos, I always feel like every single bit of it looks like it popped off a movie set, you know?

I’m already excited to go back. Luckily, I don’t have long to wait! 

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Isn’t it the best when you have visitors? San Francisco is so much fun to show off. And she was at her finest this weekend. Clear, sunny days made everything seem 10 times more beautiful. All of the houses seemed brighter and more colorful than usual, and the sky was the most brilliant blue.

On Saturday, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and have an outdoor adventure. 5 of us packed bags of bread, cheese, grapes, wine and a bottle of whiskey (!) and cabbed out to the Sutro Baths.

It was so windy when we got there. Of course, none of us had considered this. It was a fierce and bitterly cold wind that almost pushed us backwards as we walked down the hill to the ruins. At first, we were all a little unsure if this trip had been worth it. It was freezing.

But as we all tiptoed across the old ruin’s walls to the water, we were suddenly right at the edge of the ocean. Salty mists of water spritzed our faces, and the ocean churned into pure white froth all around the rocky shore. We all looked at each other. “This is pretty great,” someone said.

We trekked along the cliffs and found a cave that led all the way through to the other side. We huddled against the wind and snuck sips of the whiskey, and then decided to find a place to picnic.

After wandering through the cypress trees, we found a sunny and grassy spot just off the footpath. We all sat, broke bread, and sipped from our various bottles. We talked about old friends, new jobs and future adventures for a long time.

After battling the freezing wind back to the street, we hopped on a bus back to Van Ness. At the spur of the moment, we decided to finish off the day with a warm plate of mashed potatoes and gravy (and a gigantic turkey leg for some) at the oh-so-famous Tommy’s Joynt.

It was a good day. A very San Francisco day.
I love having visitors.


Happy Monday!

{I feel silly saying that. Mondays are the worst}

I had a fabulous Saturday at the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building, and I’m loving that I get to enjoy my purchases all week long.

Personally, this is my favorite SF Farmer’s Market. They have the best food cart selection. I had a mouthwatering butternut squash and Swiss chard tamale from PrimaveraYUM. Amazing to say the least.

I always feel like Farmer’s Market produce lasts so much longer than your average Trader Joe’s produce, don’t you?

After my Saturday shopping, I made: pasta with mushrooms/sage/brown butter/parmesan, arugula salad with pomegranate and lemon mustard dressing, French sourdough bread with butter.

{From the top left: 1. Bartlett pears, herb seedlings for sale, 2. heirloom tomato sauce from Happy Girl Kitchen, 3. more pickled goods from Happy Girl Kitchen, 4. gorgeous mushrooms from Far West Funghi Co., 5. ditto}

That’s all for now loves. Have a good week!

xo

Ten reasons I love Christmas:

1. The smell of pine. Everywhere.

2. Having multiple excuses to eat icing out of the bowl.

3. Getting a new Christmas ornament from my mom, and looking through all of the old ones with my siblings (and, inevitably, fighting over which ornaments belong to whom).

4. Having Seth wake me up at the crack of dawn to open our stockings.

5. My mom’s amazing blueberry strata for breakfast.

6. Sipping on hot apple cider while taking pictures in front of the gigantic tree in Los Gatos.

7. {Wrapping paper fights.}

8. Pork tenderloin/lamb/roast beef/whatever new and delicious feat my dad  and stepmom cook up this year.

9.  Still leaving out cookies and milk for Santa. Just because.

10. Staying up late, eating cold pie, with the living room lit by {Christmas lights} and {embers} from the fireplace .

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Why does everything just feel like magic around Christmas? I love it.

I hope you all are gearing up for cozy/delightful/family filled days.

Everyone deserves to have something special happen to them on Christmas.

(This is why I’ve been keeping a little extra change in my pocket, for the sweet man who sits on the corner around from my office. It’s Christmas for pete’s sake.)

xo

Happy Friday!

The boy is gone this weekend, so I’m treating myself to a couple days of much needed rest and relaxation, both in the city and in Los Gatos.

Here’s hoping to sunny days and crisp nights of…

Girl talk and margaritas

 

Old movies and this maple-butter spiced popcorn

 

Pool side lounging

(I realize it’s October, but it’s still 80 in the South Bay!)

 

bakingbakingbaking

 

image via smittenkitchen

 

(the blackberries are ripe and ready at my mom’s house. I’d say it’s time for some nectarine blackberry crisp…)

 

Big cups of lavender lemonade and Earl Grey tea

 

Painting my nails and laughing over old pictures with my mom

 

 

(I’m totally obsessed with this photo btw)

Mmmm. Getting warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

Happy Weekend loves!

Bonjour mes amies.

Finally, post #2 on Paris!

Let’s see, where did I leave off?

Jour 4:

resting our tired dogs in front of the Eiffel Tower

Of course, I was very proud of myself at this point, because I hadn’t felt a whiff of jet lag. Proud of my brain’s ability to overcome silly things like time differences, I woke up on Day 4 ready to embrace the day. But, jet lag decided to arrive to the party late and I had a moment of complete panic when I realized it was 1:00 in the afternoon. Those who know me will understand my shock. I rarely sleep past 9:30… let alone til one!

We decided not to  waste the day, and had our now ritual morning breakfast of deux croissants with raspberry jam and espresso from Alice’s espresso machine. After getting dressed, we ventured through Paris, making our way to Avenue des Champs-Élysées. We made a few tourist stops along the way: L’église de la Madeleine, Église de la Sainte-Trinité, Place de la Concorde, and Arc Du Triomph. Of course, our addiction to window shopping could not be denied and we had to pop into Ralph Lauren, Kenzo, and St. James for a peek at the goods.

The boyfriend shuffling cards as I prepare to kick his butt at Crazy Eights yet again.

We rested our feet for a while on Champs-Élysées and people watched. After making our way up to Arc du Triomph we were both craving a crepe–BIG time. We made our way through an upscale neighborhood to Le Tour Eiffel, and bought two crepes and one can of Coca Cola to eat in front of the Tower. After snapping a few quintessential tourist pics on the lawn in front of the tower, we hopped on the metro home–unknowingly throwing ourselves in the midst of rush hour. A very nice French man warned us “It can get very crowded.” That was an understatement. I’d braved the MUNI (yes, even the T Train) during rush hour in SF many a time, but that was nothing compared to the Metro in Paris around 7:00. People were squashed in like sardines, literally throwing themselves into the crowd in hopes that there was a square inch of space. Once we finally made it out (squished but alive), we saw tourists at Gare du Nord snapping photos of the dozens of people hanging on for dear life on the trains.

Finally, we got back to Montemarte. I made a dinner of gnocchi with tomato cream sauce, salad, a baguette, and the remaining gruyere. And of course, two bottles of cheap bordeaux. We played cards and listened to French radio before finally falling asleep.

Day Five:

The weather prediction was outstandingly gloomy for this day. Rain, rain, and more rain. So–we decided to embrace it and use the rain as an excuse to peruse the catacombs and visit Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. We had our ritual morning breakfast, and took our time getting ready and listening to French radio. Now Metro pros–we hopped on and jetted over to the Catacombs. It was delightfully gruesome and gloomy. We had a fantastic time walking through the winding tunnels and feeling uber touristy. It was wild to think about the history of the place–we had done our homework before and Wikipedia-ed the Paris Catacombs, so we were up to date on the story of the miles and miles of underground graves.

one of the water pools in the catacombs

We weren’t far from the Cemetery and it wasn’t raining when we emerged from the caves, so we walked through the 12 and 13 arrondissements. Of course, as soon as we had made it to the 13 arr. it started to pour. While I was pretty tired of having wet Sperry’s, the rain ended up making our tour of the cemetery that much better. The air felt fresh and clean, and the mist rising off of all the maus0leums and graves seriously added to the mood. Surprisingly though, the cemetery wasn’t that scary, or even sad. It was actually really great to think about how much people had loved–and still love–the important people in their lives. All of these graves were beautiful (and expensive) monuments to celebrate someone’s life. And so many of them had fresh flowers and candles around them. It was really special to see how lost loved ones hadn’t been forgotten.

getting lost in Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Eventually we made ourselves to Jim Morrison’s grave, and admired all the messages written by fans on a graveside tree. We took a few pictures and suddenly realized we were ravenous. We ran to the nearest Metro and went to Montmarte, having yet another crepe du jambon et fromage (this time I added oeuf. Amazing!) and took a short catnap while watching Toy Story 3 online (so good. A must see if you haven’t already).

After a couple hours, we woke up and raced up the hill and up and down at least 8 flights of stairs to try and get to a famous Fromagerie before it closed. We didnt quite make it, but we did pick up some brie and a fresh baguette at a local grocery store, and picked up some salumi at an adorable charcuterie (the owner spoke no English but was so incredibly sweet).

We caught a gorgeous Montemart sunset on the way back. We made dinner, drank wine, and played cards til late–making it to La Fourmi just in time to grab a beer before it closed.

big beer and little beer at La Fourmi

Day 6:

I desperately wanted to have a very French picnic in one of Paris’s many parks and gardens. Since there was a low chance of rain this day, I decided that now was the perfect time. We left Alice’s apartment early in the day, walking through Paris on Rue Montorgueil, and stopping in a few random stores along the way. We found a Farmer’s Market before crossing the river, so we picked up some fromage (brie of course), grapes, olives, and a baguette. Right as we were paying for the olives, I started to feel a few drops on my arm–and (due to lack of umbrella) we sprinted to the nearest cafe. Called “Le Chien de Fumer” (the dog who smokes), we indulged in some amazingly cheesy french onion soup while we waited out the rain.  The sun came out shortly, and we walked the rest of the way to the Luxembourg Gardens.

the gazebo we were forced to take refuge in

The gardens were heavenly. There were metal chairs littered all over the place for people to sit down and enjoy the gorgeous scene. We plopped ourselves down by the fountain and opened our brie and grapes. Of course (with our luck) literally five minutes later, we started to feel the raindrops, and the clouds opened up in a quote and unquote by the boyfriend “apocalyptic downpour.”

There were a few minutes of madly sprinted around the park looking for refuge. We finally found it in a little gazebo by the entrance, where we huddled wit other tourists, eating grapes until the storm passed.

20 minutes later, the rain had stopped and we headed out to enjoy the high end shopping area around the Luxembourg gardens. We popped into a few stores (boyfriend had to visit APC) but didn’t buy anything. Right as our feet started to hurt, it started to rain again, so it was time to Metro to our little Parisian Home.

Of course, we had to eat our new favorite meal: bread, cheese, and salad (I made a nicoise with fresh eggs and the olives we had bought with green beans and tomatoes from the store), and got ready to head out to the Latin Quarter, where some friends had recommended a fun bar.

We metro-ed over to the Latin Quarter, and after wandering about, found Chez Georges. The bar was hidden down a few connecting alleyways, and as soon as we turned the corner there was a massive crowd of students in the street, spilling out from the bars, smoking cigarrettes, taking pictures, sharing beers.

dance party at Chez Georges

It was like college all over again.

We popped into Chez Georges and crawled down the tiny staircase into the cave like basement. Comprised of two teeny stone-walled rooms, the basement of Chez Georges was musty, ridiculously warm and full of sweaty people. Mediterranean music pumped out of the speakers by the DJ, and groups of girls were dancing and passing around bottles of wine. We ordered two beers from the bar hidden in a nook in the wall of the cave and settled down at a table in a nook of our own. The heat became pretty unbearable and after we finished a few beers we decided to venture out onto the street and see what else we could find.

A bar across the way, O’Neills, was open, and was offering a special for the University of Paris business school. We ordered a few cheap beers, and had just settled in a booth, when two french boys literally fell on top of us. Clearly quite drunk, they were thrilled to find out we were from California (“California Girls! California Girls!”), and wanted to talk all about their favorite American TV Show—How I Met Your Mother. This was particulary enjoyable for me as I watch reruns ALL the time and the boyfriend constantly makes fun of me, claiming its the worst show on television.

After our friends had departed, we ordered one last beer, and decided to pay up and catch a taxi home.

one of the glow sticks our Parisian friends gave us

Day 7:

Our last day in Paris.

We decided to use this day to just wander. At first, the initial goal was to go to the Musée Rodin, but we really didn’t want to rush anything. We marked a few places that we were interested in going on our very tattered map, and decided to just head out and do the best we could. It ended up being a great day. We stopped in Colette and admired the massive display of Beats (yay Dad!). We walked through the Jardin des Tuileries, and it was so gorgeous, we stopped for a bit, had a Coca Cola Light, and just enjoyed sitting in the sun.

sipping a Coca Cola light by the Louvre

We crossed the river, and had a great lunch (Omelette du jambon et fromage with salad for me, and croque monsieur for the boyfriend), and then wandered through the shopping district of St. Germain. There were a ton of furniture stores, so I did a bit of window shopping. We had to pick up some espresso for Alice, so we popped into the store that sold them, and bought a few. We were pretty exhausted after walking all over the city, so we went back to Montmarte, and packed and cleaned before heading out to dinner.

Of course ,the dinner we had the last night was probably my favorite. We walked around Montmarte until we stopped by a restaurant that was serving these amazing potatoes with every dish. The boyfriend and I took one look, and glanced at each other–yup–we were eating here. It was a delightfully indulgent last meal. I had demi poulet with the divine potatoes (super thinly sliced, they had roasted the potatoes in garlic and herbs), and the boyfriend had the ultimate indulgence: a big plate of potatoes with cheeses and french bacon. Topped off with a carafe of wine, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect send off.

xoxo.

(sorry so long… it was just too fun for me to relive all the minor details)

I already can’t wait to go back

Paris me manque…

Sorry for the delay in posts lovelies. The boyfriend and I were lucky enough to be able to take a trip to Paris last week.

It was absolutely heavenly.

view outside our bedroom window

Partly to visit Maison-Objet, and partly for pleasure, we had an amazing time just wandering around the city, shopping at random stores and farmer’s markets, and eating many many crêpes du jambon et fromage in Paris’s beautiful parks.

This is Part 1 of 2 posts on our little trip:

Jour 1:

Two long flights and several airplane food meals later, the boyfriend and I arrived at CDG around 12:00. Exhausted, and semi deaf from the wailing infant behind us, we couldn’t wait to get to our apartment and buy as many crêpes as we could eat. After a bit of scurrying around and trying to figure out how to work the ticket machine for the RER (it took a while for a rather frustrated French man to explain that the machine only took French credit cards and coins), we took the train to Gare du Nord, and swooped on the Metro to Anvers. A nice American couple pointed the way to Sacré Coeur, and we walked up the hill to our apartment. We had rented a teeny studio (mainly for the epic view of the Basilica) from a darling French girl named Alice. Her building was old (like most of the buildings in Paris), with gorgeous solid oak doors and heavy iron fixtures.

our meal for the first night: wine, and chocolate covered waffles

Of course, her apartment was located at the top of the building on the sixth floor–no elevator. We were so exhausted, the boyfriend and I could do nothing but laugh as we lugged my hundred pound suitcase up six floors. After a grand tour from Alice’s friend Antoine (she had already taken off on vacation), we showered (her bathroom has an amazing view with Notre Dame in the distance) and set off to explore Montmartre.

We grabbed a crêpe du jambon et fromage and walked up the hill to Sacré Coeur to enjoy the 180 view of Paris. While wandering down winding cobblestone streets past pubs and cafés, we found a little restaurant nestled at the bottom of a dead end road. Le Troubador was small, quaint, and irresistibly French–a little wooden shingled apartment sat above the indoor bar, while the majority of the restaurant was situated in a tiny terrace out front. We shared a bottle of Bordeaux and people watched as the sun set. On the way home, we popped into a little shop (and made friends with the Tunisian owner)  to stock up on more wine, tabac, and some fantastic chocolate covered waffles. It was a perfect first night–which we finished off with a final bottle of wine while listening to French radio and enjoying Alice’s perfect view of the city.

Jour 2:

A darling French family took this photo for us.

We heard from just about everyone that Paris is best explored on foot–so we were thrilled when we woke up and saw the sun shining. The Louvre has free admission on the first Sunday of the month, so we headed over to the museum, stopping and enjoying the random patissieries, boulangeries, fromageries, and other little stores along the way. My personal favorite? A store just outside of Montmartre that was completely dedicated to ribbon. Since it was Sunday, it was closed (of course!), but I got a good peek at the rows and rows of shelves chock full of ribbon in every color imaginable.

We walked along the Seine, poking through the little booths that sold old photos and advertisements from the 40s, until we finally made it to the Louvre. The line looked pretty terrifying at first, but we ended up only having to wait for about 45 minutes–and the weather was heavenly so we couldn’t complain.

I could’ve spent forever exploring the long hallways and infinite rooms in the Louvre. We saw the Mona Lisa, of course, but our favorite parts were the apartments of Napoleon III, and the hall of Louis XIV (who doesn’t love looking at crown jewels?).

I probably could've spent the entire week in the Louvre

Our feet got tired eventually though, so after a quick rest in Jardin des Tuileries, we had lunch on the trendy and lively Rue Montorgueil (the best part of lunch was probably when a group of Brazilian acrobats/drummers came walking down the street, literally jumping OVER pedestrians). I stopped for a baguette, some amazing Gruyere, and vegetables on the way home, and we had what became our staple dinner in Paris: baguette, fromage, salad, and a bottle of Bordeaux. We’d heard good things about a local bar, La Fourmi (which means “The Ant” in French), so we headed over for a nightcap. Montmartre is very “bobo” (Bourgeouis-Bohemian), so there was some great conversation and people watching.

Jour 3:

Monday meant I had to work for a bit, so I set an alarm and woke up early to catch the RER to Parc du Expositions. Maison-Objet happens twice a year in Paris–and is one of THE places to go to see the best of the best, and get a good look at new trends in the world of interiors.

some sneak peeks from Maison

I’d been warned that Maison is incredibly overwhelming, but I was definitely not prepared for the eight massive buildings–each one full of new and exciting product. Luckily, I had a list of people I wanted to go see. The outdoor furniture pavilion was amazing. Kettal is always a favorite, but there were a few other new lines that blew me away. After passing out business cards and magazines, and sneaking a few pictures in, the boyfriend and I decided it was time to take the train back to Montmartre and take a much needed nap.

After some shut eye, we decided to take off for the Marais District–where a few of the boyfriend’s co-workers had made some recommendations. We were unaware however, that a street bordering the Marais is known for its abundance of prostitutes. It was an adventure… to say the least.

After that, we were in desperate need of a drink, which we accompanied with some Camembert at a bar close to the Notre Dame.  We polished off our wine and decided there was no better time to take of a tour of  the church then at night. It was vaguely creepy but completely amazing. I’m so glad we went when there were no crowds. The gargoyles are particularly effective at night and totally creepy at night.

The boyfriend was desperately craving moules et frites, so we headed to the Latin Quarter on a mission. Right as it started to rain, we found a great and cheap restaurant that had moules et frites on the menu. We had it along with another cheap bottle of wine (always), and a DELISH salad with French bacon, warm chevre on toast, and probably the best salad dressing I’ve ever had.

Naturally, we had to top off the meal with crème brulée.

The Latin Quarter at night

We were stuffed afterwards… and walking all the way back to Montmartre was not an option. Luckily, we managed to catch the Metro before it closed and promptly passed out on the couch.

(well, I did anyways)

Days 4-8 to come soon!

xoxo mes amies!