Wednesday, June 23, 2010

paris: art's l'art du basic at shouka

On the Rue Vielle du Temple there is a bare little shop called Shouka.  The sparse racks are hung with the most perfect silk basics, made by a company called, fittingly, ART'S l'art du basic.  There are about 8 different styles of blouses and dress, each in simple, wearable colors and cut in a chic, loose fit.  I got one in a soft dove gray.  The brand is a bit of a mystery; I can't find anything about the it online.  Does anyone know anything about it?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

paris: glou

In Paris we had a lovely dinner at Glou in the Marais.  Request a table on the second floor by the window and order the lamb terrine.
(photos: erica berman)

Monday, June 21, 2010

antwerp: dries van noten

While we were in Antwerp we checked out the city's most famous fashion house: Dries Van Noten.  Quirky prints and rich colors galore.  Some of my spring favorites are below.

Friday, June 18, 2010

wishlist: puppies!

These are my future dogs, Heinz and Maude.  Aren't they sweet?  They will accompany me on all my errands around town in my bike basket.


Katie, my dear, tiny-handed friend and go-to source for all things music and design-related gave me a sweet mention on her blog, Big Head, Small Hands.  Thanks, Katie!  For excellent music reviews and info on the coolest emerging artists, check out her blog.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

paris: hôtel plaza athénée

This is the most flawless, elegant and luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in.  Truly haute Paris, The Plaza Athenee is impeccable.  I could go on about the plush marble lobby, the swanky hotel bar (Le Bar), the multitude of perfectly trained staff, the restaurant, the views of the Eiffel Tower, the stylishly appointed rooms, etc., but the detail of our stay I remember most fondly is the heavy-stock embossed cards (cream on the front and the hotel's signature red on the back) that the concierge wrote our directions and addresses on. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

paris: alain ducasse at hôtel plaza athénée

Dinner at Alain Ducasse at the Hotel Plaza Athenee is, by far, the most extravagant meal I have ever or will ever eat.  The wine!  the cheese!  the caviar!  the desserts! even the butter!  A full explanation of our menu would be too much for this little blog, but I will mention my favorite dish- langoustines with heaping dollops of caviar and a delicate lobster broth.  This was just the amuse bouche and an indication of the quality and intricacy of the dishes to follow.  The legions of staff were attentive and service was flawless.  The cheese garçon was especially impressive, thoroughly explaining every offering on the overflowing silver cart.  If you go, request a table by one of the courtyard windows facing in towards the center of the room.  You'll see the Plaza Athenee's impeccably planted interior garden over one shoulder and have a prime view of the rituals of Parisian haute cuisine in the sparkling dining room.

paris: roses at hotel costes

I like abundance.  (This is a problem when you share closet space) There is no better place to revel in plenitude than the rose shop in Hotel Costes on the Rue St Honore.  It is absolutely overflowing with luscious, heavy, velvety roses in every color and the scent is heavenly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

paris: hotel de caron de beaumarchais

Hotel de Caron de Beaumarchais is a picture-perfect Parisian bed and breakfast at the south end of the our favorite neighborhood, the Marais.  It's storefront lobby is furnished to look like the sitting room of one of it's 18th century inhabitants.   Our top floor room (61) had original wood beam ceilings and a tiny balcony where we had our breakfasts overlooking the rooftops on the Rue Vielle du Temple. Totally charming, convenient and affordable, Caron de Beaumarchais is our new home away from home in Paris.

Friday, June 11, 2010

jacques-yves cousteau

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jacques-Yves Cousteau.  There is a lovely little tribute to the ocean explorer extraordinaire at today.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

brussels: around town

brussels: au vieux saint martin

In Brussels we had a lovely lunch at Au Vieux Saint Martin on the Place du Grand Sablon.  The restaurant serves traditional Belgian food, excellently prepared.  Since we were wrapping up a weekend of culinary indulgence, we kept the meal light- Belgian radishes with sea salt, Salade Niçoise and an omelet.  It's a pretty restaurant, light and airy, decked out in cherry red laquer and hung with original works by P. Alechinsky, Fred Bervoets and Walter Swennen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

paris: l'avenue

L'Avenue seems to be the spot for lunchtime people watching in Paris.  After shopping up and down the swanky Avenue Montaigne take a seat outside on the terrace, preferably facing down the Avenue towards the Eiffel Tower (the inside feels a little gaudy and dated to me).  Of course, it's overpriced, but the food is good and the entertainment is priceless. 

paris: musee de l'orangerie

The Musee de L'Orangerie is the perfect place to start a morning in Paris.  Get there early before people start to queue up and enjoy the massive Monets bathed in morning light.  It's a relatively small museum so you'll have time take a leisurely stroll through the Tuileries before lunch

antwerp: hotel julien

Stylish and discreet, Antwerp's Hotel Julien has dramatic, high ceilings covered with  gorgeous, ornate moldings and plasterwork.  I'm guessing, but the ceilings in our room must have been at least 14ft high! The public rooms, including the sleek hotel bar, are comfortably outfitted with modern furniture. Limed wood floors and linen upholstery feel clean and fresh while hinting at the history of the 16th century townhouses the hotel is housed in. The interior courtyards are cool, green outdoor alcoves- artfully planted and each with a pleasantly gurgling fountain. Stay for breakfast: fresh fruit, piles of pastries and perfectly cooked eggs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

london: the wolseley

The Wolseley occupies an old bank building right next to the Ritz on Picadilly (actually, it was first an automobile showroom for Wolseley Motors Ltd).  It's a showstopper of a joint- all slick marble, polished brass, dark wood and high, vaulted ceilings.  A bit on the noisy side, it's a great spot for a boisterous dinner party or for dinner before a big night out.  Have a martini and be sure to sit at table 32.  It's the table with the best view; you'll be able to check out all of the comings and goings of London's stylish set.  The menu is rather simple so stick with the basics- oysters, grilled prawns, rib eye with fries...


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