One of the advantages of walking in Paris is that you may find places you would miss using any other mode of transportation. The slower pace of life here can take some adjustment, especially for people from cities in the US, but there are rewards of pleasurable discoveries like La Trésorerie (they are working on an English version of their website, but they have people who speak English answering their phone lines). Prices are reasonable, neither the lowest and nor the highest for brand names and types of products; you may find lower prices in the big department stores during sales, but this place will have less crowds and better service.

I don’t really have room for any more pots and pans, but it’s always fun to browse:)

Tea and coffee sets and cups give you an option of making a beverage at home.

They have utensils from butter spreaders to zesters.

If you need extra hooks, they have those too.

Lights, tables, throws, curtains,

and coordinated linens to enhance your decor.

They even have practical things like cleaning supplies and tools.

The most practical part of this store was their attached cafe,

with Swedish snacks and sweets to sustain you as you shop:)

Even though it may seem charming to walk the streets of Paris with an umbrella, I prefer to spend cold rainy days indoors, so I’ve spent most of the Winters here hibernating in my heated home. The lure of shopping with friends in a warm covered market got me to venture out a bit to the Marché Saint Martin. We were seeking something to bring to a goûter, or the afternoon snack between lunch and dinner. Even though my three friends were all French natives, no one had ever been to this market, so we meandered and shopped the stalls as tourists:)

Fresh vegetables for crudites,

 cheese from cows, sheep, and goats,

 and bread made with pumpkin seeds, nuts, and sesame.

 It wouldn’t be a French market without wine,

 and local beef.

 If you don’t want to cook, you can buy prepared food to warm up at home,

 or snacks to nibble on as you await dinner.

 The center area was full of bins of oysters,

 or you can opt for seafood, already cooked and ready to eat.

Some of the stalls were closed on Saturday, like the one selling pastries, but you can always have fresh fruit for dessert:)

It would take several lifetimes to find all the neighborhood treasures in Paris. The only way to really get to know where they are in any quartier is to live, work, or attend school in the area. I am lucky enough to have friends who have done the hunting for me, and found Les Parigots, which literally translates to “The Parisians”, near Place de la République.

This warm comfortable café is what most Americans think of when imagining a meal among the neighborhood natives. For those of you who want to eat in a classic casual place away from tourists, Les Parigots has two added incentives for Anglophone visitors: they serve food all afternoon, without a mid afternoon break between lunch and dinner; and they have an English menu printed on the reverse of their French one. Even with the restaurant completely full, I did not hear one word of English, so I’m not sure why they had the translated menu, perhaps having it printed avoided having the servers trying to explain the menu to any non French speakers. The menu choices include enough variety for vegetarians, meat lovers, and fish eaters, all very reasonably priced for quality ingredients.

The front room has views of the street, and behind the bar, there is a back area for larger groups. We opted for sidewalk view and ordered 4 kirs to start and a 46 ml carafe of red Samur to share with our meal, totaling about 40 Euros or $50 USD for all our drinks for the four of us.

Two of my friends ordered the mushroom risotto, made with shiitakes, served with a side arugula salad and confit walnuts for 16 Euros, or about $18 USD. I found the rice needed salt, but since a salt cellar was on the table alongside a pepper grinder, it was no problem to add it.

I ordered the hand cut beef tartare, which came with crispy excellent fries, and a nicely dressed side salad for 16 Euros, or about $18 USD. Condiments were offered on the side, including Worcestershire, tabasco, mustard, and ketchup, so I happily mixed my tartare to my taste. The meat was tender, lightened by bits of Granny Smith apple, and although I appreciate cheese, I picked out the cubes in the tartare to eat with my salad rather than my tartare.

The other meat lover at lunch ordered the steak for 25 Euros or $30 USD which she requested bleu (very rare) but warm. It came bleu but not warm, and it was such a large piece of meat that it took her 30 minutes more than the rest of us to finish her meal.

Since everything is made in house, the desserts were creations that allowed the chef to be fanciful, like this grapefruit “pie” on a cookie crust,

and this “soup” of clementines with cardamon and bits of meringue; both desserts were 8 Euros or $9 USD, and both were refreshingly light ways to end a meal.

The best part of any meal is the company:)

Not far from the shopping area near the Opéra is a great little bistro called the Bon Georges, which reopens today after their holiday hiatus:) They have a great lunch menu for 19 Euros ($21 USD), but the daily specials tempted @ALadyInFrance and me too much to resist.

I chose the fish, a delicate merlan, or whiting, perfectly done with a crispy skin, braised endives, and a tomato relish.

She chose the tarragon chicken breast special, but it was so dry, even the sauces couldn’t save it.

The fries accompanying her dish were fantastic, crisp, obviously home made, and she was generous enough to share:)

Jennie opted for a dessert to end the meal on a sweet note:)

The total with a glass of wine was 70 Euros ($80) for both of us, and service was so friendly and pleasant that we left a bit more for the waitress who not only hung our coats, but got an extra chair for our handbags!

The Musée Rodin reopened this year with over 7 acres of gardens and sculptures. You can easily spend a day here wandering around contemplating the meaning of life:)

The temporary exhibit usually has a very short line, but the permanent exhibit line stretched down to the edge of the sculpture garden. Entry fees range from about 3-11 Euros ($4-13 USD), with the first Sunday of every month free, but be prepared for lines on sunny days. These days there are security checks for all museums, so leave your backpacks at home.

There are sculptures along the side of the garden which are protected from the elements due to their fragile nature.

The sturdier sculptures are scattered throughout the garden.

 

This gives you an idea of the scale of the garden area; this view is looking back at the building with the permanent exhibitions,

and this is one of the pathways from the permanent exhibition to the rotunda,

with a pond surrounded by sculptures.

One of the nice things about having sculptures outdoors is that you can literally touch them.

The Eiffel Tower is hidden by the fog, just behind the “Thinking Man”, as obscure as his thoughts…

As much as I love France, there are some things from the US that just do not exist here. My friends. Trader Joe’s. The weather in Los Angeles. Great restaurants open ALL afternoon. Free checking. Customer service which allows instant refunds and / or exchanges. In exchange for all those things, I have heavenly bakeries, healthcare and medicine that is almost free, low cost efficient public transportation, and a spirit of community which treats everyone, including restaurant servers, with respect and gives them a living wage. No place is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still try to find all that I want no matter where I am in the world.

Finding good BBQ in Paris is one of my quests. I had a truly good spicy pork rib at Frog Revolution, a pub with 24 beers on tap, but it is more a place to go drink with food than the other way around. The Beast, on the other hand, is a place to eat with great drinks, including craft beers and very rare bourbons. Prices range from 9-24 Euros ($11-27 US) for the meats, 4-5 Euros ($5-6 US) for the sides, and a lunch menu of 15 Euros ($17) for a meat, side and drink, it’s a good deal for the best BBQ I’ve had in Paris. The first time I went, I had the pork ribs with a side of greens, and a beer. the pork ribs were tender in the center, but dry on the end, needing the delicious tomato based BBQ sauce to moisten the meat.

The beef brisket was excellent, with a wonderful peppercorn crust, nice smoke, and juicy meat, good enough to eat without any sauce at all.

The smoker is from Texas and they had to remove the doors to get it inside the place.

The greens weren’t bad, with plenty of pork goodness, but they needed salt and heat to make them better, unfortunately Parisian taste is not known for having any tolerance for spice, so sneak in some hot sauce if you want to perk up this side, or take it home and doctor it up.

The pickles and pickled onions were excellent, with a crisp texture and vinegary bite.

The baked beans were the best side I tasted, with a smokey tomato base, just slightly sweet.

The decor reminds you that the owner spent some time in Texas, but fortunately there were no chainsaws in sight:)

Transformations are inevitable as cities and people adapt to change, some are wonderfully revitalizing like the new shops and restaurants in the Meatpacking district, others are simply more commercial like the chain stores and tourist traps in Times Square. The changes in Battery Park are less noticeable at first glance, with modern high rises and busy thoroughfares bustling with energy as they always have in lower Manhattan.

One World Trade Center is a reminder of transformations that have occurred here on many levels, not all of them physical. Quality of life depends on how you react to challenges and changes. New York City channeled its grief by building the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, a beacon of life standing high above the skyline.

My last night in New York started with a glass of champagne for $16 at nearby North End Grill.

I wasn’t going to eat the fabulous looking bread,

but when they offered me a plate of a delicate salmon rillette, I had to spread it on something:)

Crisp radishes with coarse salt and an anchovy sauce also arrived before my order

of grilled sardines for $16, so fresh and artfully done that I wished I had more room to try another dish.

Walking over to the Memorial after dinner, the sound of water and the wide open space

were soothing to the senses, easing the transition from past to present.

I rented a place with AirBnB in Chelsea for part of my stay and my wonderful hosts, Kenny and Romeo, made my trip even more fun. The apartment is on the upper floor of this building in the gallery district, with views of the Hudson, and near many bus and subway lines, so getting around town is a breeze. If you prefer to get to your destination directly, the concierge will hail you a cab.

The lobby is sleek and modern,

with a waterfall in front of the elevators,

and even the elevators are designed beautifully.

A 24 hour gym is in the building and there are sitting areas by an outdoor atrium.

My rental was in the middle of the living area, but my host had his own room, so it was like being in a studio apartment.

The toilet is HEATED and has a built in bidet:)

This view of the sun setting over the Hudson is from my bed!

The rental is walking distance (or two stops by bus) from Chelsea Market, so for a quick bite, I went to Mokbar, behind the spice merchant. I was too early for Happy Hour when they have small plates and discounted drinks, but I was so happy to have a place open all afternoon, unlike in Paris when everything closes between lunch and dinner.

I chose the bulgogi rice bowl for $13, which was loaded with grilled crisp beef and vegetables, but I added garlic spinach $2 anyway. It was a big hearty serving and the kimchee was a perfect spicy acidic counterpoint to the rich beef.

I’d never had Tiger beer ($7) from Singapore and was so intrigued by the name I ordered it, and now I think I may actually like a beer enough to order it again! The Gold Medal awarded beer is smooth and rich, a perfect accompaniment to a hearty bowl of beef. The total with tax and tip was about $28, but as I learned in NYC, everything is a bit pricey compared to LA or even Paris. If you’re looking for  a bite of something less expensive, my friend from LA suggests the taco stand directly opposite Mokbar which sells $4 tacos which are as close to West Coast tacos as you’ll find in NYC.

One of the main reasons I rented a place in Chelsea was because a good friend lives in the neighborhood, so the advantage of being a few blocks away from her place meant we could walk to meet each other at a place like Tia Pol. What better way to start off a reunion than with a glass of Cava? This brut was delicious, so we had two:)

She recommended the crispy artichoke and asparagus salad for $13 to start, and it was much tastier than it looks; the crisp artichoke added a nice earthy texture to the tender romaine and white asparagus, and the lemon vinaigrette perfectly dressed the salad. One person could easily make a meal of this if they weren’t very hungry.

Since I love anchovies, I got two of the olive, pepper, and anchovy skewers for $2 each, and they were so good, I forgot to take a photo before eating one:)

The lamb skewers with Moorish spices at $7 for two were perfect little bites of flavorful meat.

The crispy marinated fish with lemon for $12 was a bigger plate and we were very happy splitting the plate that would’ve been too much with all the other plates we had ordered.

She wanted the patatas bravas for $8 with a spicy aioli, and I took a bite just for research:)

The classic flan for $6 was a smooth sweet way to end the night.

As night fell on the city, it was time for me to go to bed,

where Romeo was waiting for me:)

For authentic Chinese food, the best bet is usually to go to a city’s Chinatown, so while I was in NYC, I went back to a neighborhood that I used to know as a child. Like all of New York, it has changed dramatically and at the same time, pockets of familiarity remain.

The streets are still lined with fruits and vegetables offered for incredibly low prices,

especially for exotic fruit like rambutan and dragon fruit.

Vegetables more familiar to western palates are also a bargain,

as are vast arrays of shellfish,

and roasted meats, ready to eat.

No, I didn’t eat here, but this place shows how the diversity of New York comes together through the common bond of food.

I was craving beef chow fun, a rice noodle dish which just doesn’t taste the same in Paris as it does in the states, so after some research I ended up at Hop Kee. It wasn’t until I was at the subterranean entrance that I realized this was the same place I used to go to when I was a child with my family.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who used to eat here:)

When I walked in they immediately started speaking to me in Cantonese and when they saw the blank look on my face, they gave me an English menu. About 3/4 of the diners were Asian and this place only accepts cash, so if you want an authentic local place, this is a good choice. The beef chow fun for $6.50 was a huge plate of tender beef with bean sprouts, greens, and rice noodles. It didn’t need any condiments even though there was an array on the table.

I ordered the sauteed watercress redolent with garlic for $8.95 to go with my noodle dish, even knowing that there was no way I could finish either plate. The beauty of huge portions in the US is there is always a doggie bag option for leftovers, and I took half of both dishes to go after satisfying my craving for Chinese food.

On the border to Chinatown is Little Italy,

and the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn,

so there are plenty of places to walk off your meal:)

Chelsea Market is both a place to shop and a place to eat, with temptations galore,

from shops selling every conceivable kitchen gadget,

to wines,

and food, both raw and cooked.

Need spices

or nuts to add to your recipe? No worries, it’s all here.

Freshly made pastas,

shellfish,

sushi appetizers,

chowders,

smoked fish,

or cooked lobsters,

with a side of caviar,

or some fresh fish.

A Japanese television crew was filming a first taste of Maine lobsters as I filmed them:)

For sweet lovers, there was cake, gelato, and freshly made donuts.

The hardest choice is where to go next:)

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Dessert is usually cheese and fruit for me; some goat's milk cabecou and raw cow's milk hard cheese from Savoie along with fresh raspberries from the Marché 😀🗼

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