A look back at twenty twelve

January ~ I learned to shuck oysters, it’s actually not that hard…
February ~ what’s better than traveling to Paris? Traveling to Paris with awesome girlfriends.
March ~ ran my first half marathon with the husband
April ~ voted in the French presidential elections (in May too)
May ~ third time’s a charm, traveled to San Juan for work again.
June ~ cheered for France in the EuroCup. Not hard enough apparently…
July ~ there’s actually a PEZ factory… it’s in Connecticut and I visited it.
August ~ watched Mitt Romney accept his party nomination at the Republican
National Convention in Tampa, FL
September ~ Hung out with Chef Art Smith at the Democratic
National Convention in Charlotte, NC – oh yeah, and saw Barrack Obama accept his party nomination too 😉
October ~ discovered Budapest’s cafe culture with my two favourite world travelers
November ~ Said goodbye to someone I had known my whole life
December ~ beefed up my jewish creds by lunching at Katz’s on Christmas Day. Spending a stress-less holiday in New York City with the hubby was pretty awesome.

Monsieur JR Goes to Washington

While the entire city is bubbling with Natitudes and buzzing about the Expos Nationals this afternoon, I have been busy obsessing over the new mural that just went up at 1401 T Street, NW. JR is a French artist who considers himself a photographer first, a street artist second and an activist third. His civil-right themed 14th street mural reflects all three elements of his work.

“I am Man” Mural at 14th and T Street NW. Photo by moi, taken at 2PM on Wednesday, October 10 2012 

JR began his career of taking art outside of the traditional setting of museum in Paris, where we have a LOT of museums! He plastered pictures of suburbian youths first on the facade of the grim subsidized housing projects where they live, then on the nicer buildings of posh parisian neighbourhoods. His illegal street art was just the sort of thing the French adore and he received a pretty good Parisian official stamp of approval when he was then asked to wrap Paris’ HĂŽtel de Ville with his photographs. Since then, this TED Prize winning Frenchie has been pasting large-scale black and white portraits in cities around the world, especially tense areas like Rio’s favellas, the wall between Israel and Palestine, Kenya etc. On two occasions, his work has taken him to the United States…

Inside Out – New York, on the high line [picture courtesy of JR] 
JR pasting in New York, from Inside Out Lakota tribe project, at the corner of Prince & Mulberry. Photo by moi. 
Wrinkles of the City – Los Angeles [picture courtesy of JR] 

… and Washington, D.C. is his third. Brought to the district by Contemporary Wing art gallery (1412 14th street, NW), the civil right themed mural at 1401 T Street NW is part of the artist’s “Unframed” series, which reinterprets in huge formats photos from important photographers taken from the archives of museums. For D.C., he chose a photograph by Civil Rights movement photographer Ernest Withers, of the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968. I think it’s a great addition to our urban canvas and I’m thrilled that I can now add “had a mural by JR” to the list of thing Washington and Paris have had in common 😉

Pont Louis Philippe decorated by JR to promote Women as Heroes [picture courtesy of Jean-Paul Margnac] 

Soccer in the City at Yankee Stadium

Now, I’m not actually a Paris-Saint-Germain fan. I’ve never been to any of their games. I don’t think I’ve even watched one on TV either. I couldn’t name a single one of the players currently on the roster. But I am from Paris and for all intents and purposes, PSG is my home team. If they cross the Atlantic to play an exhibition match a few hours away from where I live now, you bet I’ll be right there in a spanking PSG(ish)-branded shirt I had a really hard time finding here in the US 😉

Friends for 15 years now, we have the same taste in macaron flavours, but not in football teams
It was a night of firsts
 My first time cheering for the Paris-Saint-Germain. My first time at Yankee Stadium. I’m pretty sure my first time in the Bronx too. It was also the new Yankee Stadium’s first time hosting a football match as Les Parisiens met European power house Chelsea FC on Sunday night.  Playing without newly acquired Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, Paris pulled a 1-1 draw against the 2012 Champions League winner (who even brought their trophy and Blues mascot Stamford the Lion along for the trip
). This all happened in front of a very honourable crowd of 38,202 soccer fans. If it hadn’t been for the covered up pitcher mound, the well-behaved crowd and the American accents around me, I could have thought I was at London’s Stamford Bridge. I’d estimate some 38,000 people were there to cheer for the British team 😉 Despite the large French community living in New York, barely anyone showed up to cheer for Paris. Perhaps they’re all OM fans. Or are too busy vacationing in the Riviera right now
 There was notheless a small pocket of Paris fan behind one of the goal who were thrilled when Nene opened the score at the 30th minute. Paris dominated the first half of the game but Chelsea made some smart changes at half time and finished the game on a higher note, with Piazon equalizing at the 82nd minute. Oh well, no one wins, no one loses.
Yankee Stadium was turned into a soccer field for the occasion
What’s next for the two teams? The MLS World Challenge tournament continues and Chelsea is headed to Philadelphia to meet Frenchie Thierry Henry and Ben Olsen’s MLS All-Stars team. Paris on the other hand is spending a few days practicing its A Rod-like acquisition (who may or may not make his debut with the team here in the U.S.) at Princeton University before heading to
Washington, D.C. Of course, I bought my ticket and planned my whole excursion to New York BEFORE they announced that PSG would replace Juventus in the July 28th friendly against D.C. United at RFK
. Oh well, I guess that just means I get to cheer for Paris twice in one week! How do the commercials go again? Trip to New York: $75. Brand new PSG shirt: $20 (yes, I went cheap). Tickets to the game: $140. Cheering for Paris at Yankee Stadium with one of my oldest friend: priceless (even though she was cheering for Chelsea!) And the best part is I get to do it all over again this weekend!

Treat or treat! LadurĂ©e Celebrates Halloween

There’s pretty much only one way to do tasteful halloween macarons and LadurĂ©e ‘s nailed it.

la duree halloween, laduree, macarons, halloween macarons, laduree halloween macarons


Now that Ladurée  is established in New York City, it is embracing some American traditions with the release of its first ever Halloween-inspired macarons box.  The bright passion fruit orange macarons are sold exclusively here in the US starting October 21st.

Macaron Madness

March 20th is more than the first day of spring or the beginning of March Madness in NYC. It’s officially the launch of macaron madness! A few weeks ago, I was quoted in a Wall Street Journal arguing (well, the word the WSJ chose to use was sniffing) that “macarons are not meant to be mainstream.” I fully stand by that statement and thought I had an ally in New York based French pastry maker François Payard.

pierre herme, pierre herme shops

Last fall, Mr. Payard took the macaron as culinary jewelry analogy up a notch. Pierre HermĂ©, the Picasso of macaron, exposes his sweet creations in a tiny parisian shop designed to look like a jewelry store, with gloved vendeuses handling the delicate treats. Part of the experience of enjoying a macaron is the packaging, the presentation and that’s why I cry when I see macarons sold for 90 cents next to your average croissants and pains au chocolat at the McCafĂ© in the Louvre. François Payard seemed to share that concept and even brought macarons to an actual jewelry store when he opened a chocolate bar on the fourth of Mauboussin’s Madison Avenue flagship boutique. And yet, as the sponsor of the 1st annual New York Macaron Day on March 20th, he seems keen on bringing the macaron craze to the masses, even stating on the front page of the event’s website that *le sigh* macarons are the new cupcakes.

Macaron Day NYC is inspired by and will coincide with the 5th annual Jour du Macaron in Paris, organized by Pierre HermĂ©. Several New York bakeries will give out free macarons all day. The participants include Almondine, Bouchon Bakery, Burdick Chocolate, Butterfield Market, DessertTruck Works, FC Chocolate Bar, Macaron Cafe, La Maison du Chocolat (home of the best vanilla macaron I have ever had!), Mad-Mac at Bernardaud, Madeleine, and Silver Moon Bakery. Now of course, anyone who appreciates macarons knows that one is never enough. While you will receive one free macaron at each participating location by mentioning the promotion, some of the bakeries are eactually encouraging you to have more by donating a portion of the day’s macaron sales to City Harvest. Hum… perhaps I should organize a macarons bracket…