Paris and Voge Silliness

You might ask yourself, just what does Vogue sell?`What value does it add?


In my view, its principle value is to stimulate consumption of beauty products. To make one feel that walking around without enhancements is like walking around in the nude.

And Vogue does this in a clever way.  It does not just write about Paris as a fantastic place to visit for fashion week, It does that, but  Vogue also challenges our “obsession” with Paris,

…  ask yourself: Even if you were able to master these mysterious tricks (of French life), is this really what you want? Do you want to sit all day in a Marais café with your perfect dirty hair (strange but true—I have it on good authority that the French only shampoo twice a month!), where you can’t get ketchup for your frites with some sullen dude who wants to talk about Derrida in a tongue that despite four years of high school French followed by four years at a very fine university with an excellent language program, you will never master?


Wouldn’t you rather hang out over here, with your clean hair and your slovenly college friends (who at least have a job—the French unemployment rate for young people is nearly 25 percent) getting drunk and singing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island at 4:00 a.m. on Avenue A?

Getting drunk and singing the Gilligan’s Island theme song?  I wonder what lipstick one would wear  for that …


Tartu, a Hidden Gem

It is not often that I find Tartu in the news, and so when I do — as a loyal resident — I take note.  Today, “Rough Guides” says this about us

Tartu, Estonia

These days the Estonian capital attracts a swathe of stag and hen parties, but mercifully the second city of Tartu is not similarly blighted. This vibrant student town – considered by many Estonians outside Tallinn to be the country’s true intellectual and cultural heart – offers superb nightlife without a stag night in sight. Tartu’s picturesque old town is home to all sorts of theatre, film and art happenings, as well as fittingly the country’s oldest university.

In fact, I suspect that a few locals do throw “stag parties” here from time to time. But it is true that you tend not to find zombie like victims of all night binges staggering about in the morning on the prowl for a cappuccino.

And about that “old town”. Tartu has had an old town. In fact, its old town was older than Tallinn, which is old by most standards. But sadly, Peter the Great decided that he didn’t want an old town there, so he had it destroyed. The space that the old town did occupy at the top of Toome Hill was made into a part in the 19th century. And it is quite lovely. The rest of the town center is not very old, actually. Just a few hundred years. Here is a view of the town square – a nice place to sit in the sun with a glass of plonk.

New York: Cosme is On My Agenda

I am gathering up ideas for where to dine when I visit New York this summer, and today i bumped into this possibility (from Traveler)

Even in Mexico itself, there is new excitement percolating. Chef Enrique Olvera recently opened his sleek and modern eatery Cosme in New York to much acclaim, but he’s been pushing the boundaries of his ancestral cuisine at the fine-dining spot Pujol in Mexico City for years. Olvera is also the architect behind Mesamérica, an annual gastronomic congress that draws chefs and thought-leaders from around the world. A perennial presence at Mesamérica? Danish culinary sensation René Redzepi, whose spare, Nordic cooking at Copenhagen’s Noma triggered one of the most pervasive and influential recent food trends. Redzepi, for his part, agrees: The cuisine of Mexico is the next big thing.

Chateau Palmer, Please has been running some interesting posts about wine trends, and this one really caught my eye. I have been a fan of Chateau Palmer for many years. Now I find that they are going “biodynamic”. What does that mean? Well, it is a method of organic farming. I am all for it and may order a case just for fun.

Dreaming of Buffalo Mozzarella

Here is q question for you from the Guardian

How many mozzarella’s have you eaten in  your life?

In fact, as the article points out, you should only count the “real” stuff made in Campania, Italy.  And of course, it should be buffalo mozzarella. Why? From the article

The strong flavour is bittersweet. It oozes milk at each bite, is denser when you chew it than ordinary mozzarella, and has a smooth, brilliant porcelain-white (rather than yellowish) surface. It’s best eaten the day you buy it, as it doesn’t stay fresh for too long. There are three vital ingredients to proper mozzarella di bufala: a warm climate that produces great grass to graze on, free-ranging buffalo, and dairy skills handed down over generations.

Consider the Vegetable

A while ago, a friend said something that at the time, I thought was a bit odd. He said that he was a vegetarian because he loves vegetables and he doesn’t enjoy eating meat. The sad thing for him was that not many restaurants were good at preparing vegetables. Well, my friend might be celebrating. Traveler reports

“Lardcore” was the cuisine of the early aughts, when recession-strapped Americans welcomed the easy comfort of salty, fatty meat. But the ascendency of juice cleanses and avocado toast over the past few years signals a sea change: Healthy is hip. Specifically, vegetable cuisine is hip, and restaurants that exalt produce (without being expressly vegetarian) are trending around the country. In New York, there’s Narcissa, where diners regularly pass over meatier dishes in favor of prestige entrees like a flaky carrot wellington. At Semilla in Brooklyn, the meat is relegated to sidekick: a bit of creamy salt cod to set off a rutabaga spring roll, or a whisper of pork fat upping the richness of a buttery, bean-stuffed cabbage leaf. At Chicago’s Grace, guests choose between chef Curtis Duffy’s “Flora” and “Fauna” menus; they cost the same, but the former is a dazzling vegetable showcase—sunchokes paired with lentils and nasturtium, or parsnip with oats and tangy Buddha’s hand citrus. Over in Los Angeles, Roy Choi is flirting with the concept at his greenhouse restaurant, Commissary (pictured above). There’s even a vegetable-focused fast-food chain in the works. Beefsteak, conceived by Spanish chef Jose Andrés, opened its first location in Washington D.C. in March.

And if mostly-meatless doesn’t cut it, there is change afoot for strict vegetarians, too. At the new Dirt Candy in New York, Amanda Cohen shakes off the hippie handcuffs, slinging dishes like spinach mille-feuilles and broccoli hot dogs. And in Philadelphia, chef Richard Landau is earning acclaim for his boundary-busting work in the vegan kitchen at Vedge.

Like you, I am always on the look out for things that make life better. And if restaurants are finally waking up to how to prepare veggies,  horray!

Paris: Sex and Drugs Perhaps, But Hold the Rock and Roll

The other day, I saw that it is possible on a trip to Istanbul to pay over €5,000 for one night in a rather austere hotel suite designed by Bentley.

Who in their right mind would do this? On the other hand, I could imagine spending a tidy sum to stay over at a hotel that offered a unique combination of luxury, mystery and exoticism.  With this type of feel

Here the headboard is a bit distracting but interesting

And what is this place?  Here you can find the story

A spate of new cocktail bars and fashion boutiques has revived Paris’s SoPi (South of Pigalle) neighborhood in recent years, helping to shed the area of its seedy reputation as a red-light bazaar for sex shops, bordellos, and cabarets like the Moulin Rouge. But as urban renewal softens the area’s edges one cool-kid newcomer at a time—the Experimental Cocktail Club’s first hotel concept, Grand Pigalle, is set to debut in April, for example—the just-opened Maison Souquet is hoping to keep some of the raffish spirit alive. Here heritage-chic master Jacques Garcia (New York’s NoMad Hotel, Hôtel Costes in Paris) plays up SoPi’s past with a sultry design that turns the former pleasure house into an elegant Belle Époque bolthole.