28 February 2019

26 February 2019

25 February 2019

Deux entrées

In France, an entrée is the starter course, the appetizer, the entry to the meal (makes sense, doesn't it?), not the main course, as in the USA, and every course is carefully thought out so that the entire meal adheres together as a whole.

Above: two entrées - a platter of lobster preceded by home-made foie gras de canard w/its confit d'oignons (caramelized onions) and still-warm toast, to be followed by a main course such as a roast and veggies

23 February 2019

Magic steps

Steps where Gil Pender (played by Owen Wilson) waits every night to be taken back to 1920s Paris in Woody Allen comedy, Midnight In Paris. 

22 February 2019


For caviar fans a wall sculpture of caviar flowing from faucets.
Galeries d'art contemporain
Place des Vosges

20 February 2019

My tribute to Karl

An illustrator presents fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld with his portrait, October 2015, Paris.


The name Karl Lagerfeld was, and always will be, associated with innovative, elegant couture - and the House of CHANEL. Wherever he went, he was like a rock star: legions of fans and paparazzi crushed to be near him.

The first time I saw him was completely unexpected. It was an early fall morning in 2008, and I was off to La Palette, a favorite café just doors from my first Paris apartment on rue de Seine. Men dressed completely in black had made a tight circle around someone, but who, at a terrace table. Black limos were parked halfway onto sidewalks because of the narrow streets, and when I pushed my way past, there He sat, holding court.

It was then I recalled a near-miss brush with "Karl" as he was simply referred to, well before: it was the 90s and I was on rue de Rivoli during Fashion Week. People were swirling everywhere when a well-dressed older man tapped me on the shoulder as I started to cross the street and handed me his card. He was a models' agent, and asked me to call and leave my information in case they needed "replacement models" on the runways that week. But I was leaving the next day to join family in Rome, and never did. Sometime later I was to learn that he represented Karl Lagerfeld.

In 2010, I was to run into The Karl again, but this time in New York. It was a rainy night and I'd just finished a long lovely dinner at Soho fixture The Mercer Kitchen with actor Denis Leary and his wife Ann, whom I'd met in Paris. Denis was filming his series Rescue Me and they had an apartment nearby. It was late when we parted and I would wait upstairs in the lobby for friends to pick me up. There, much to my surprise, sat Karl Lagerfeld, at a corner table, scribbling on a notepad. Alone. Surreally, it was just the two of us, and he was All Karl: the fingerless gloves, the white hair tightly pulled into that familiar ponytail, dressed in black from head to toe. And for one moment, we smiled at each other, wanly; outside the rain had turned into a thunderstorm.

Over the years there were to be a couple more Paris sightings and in late 2015, invited to a private preview of his photography called, "Karl Lagerfeld: A Visual Journey," I was to see him for the last time (see blog post, Karl Who?). We'd gone to the exhibition with an eccentric French photographer--who turned out to be the photographer who took Melania Trump's controversial nude photos--and, like the maestro he was, Lagerfeld arrived, unfashionably on time, followed by an adoring and fawning entourage. An exceptional photographer, he had a great eye for beauty. No surprise there. Beauty, he'd say, was his obsession. But he was unforgiving when it came to the obese, the grossly overweight, of those, he said, who became like that for no other reason than "letting themselves go," blaming "fat people" for all "societal woes" [Vox 2/19/2019]. And he could talk: for much of his life he had struggled with his own weight issues.

Once, at the CHANEL boutique on rue Cambon, Coco Chanel's first Paris shop and where she had an apartment, an elderly French woman told me something I never forgot. She said that in spite of his "severe looks" Karl Lagerfeld was "a very thoughtful and kind man" and a "pleasure" to work for. She'd known the CHANEL years and had worked for both. She said that when Coco Chanel arrived to work, it was almost like a "Devil Wears Prada" scene: as Ms. Chanel approached employees would whisper, "She's coming!" to each other and assume their best posture and behavior. But Karl Lagerfeld, she said, made them feel motivated and relaxed, which led to great productivity. He'd greet every employee individually and remember personal details from their lives, such as whether someone's grandmother was in hospital.

Agree with him or not, Karl Lagerfeld was a fashion genius, and his legacy will surely live on. - BPJ

R.I.P. Karl

February 19, 2019

Below: a KL boutique window, Marais district

18 February 2019

Plugged in

Café culture and laptops: Compatible - ou pas?

Above: it's closing time and a customer who's been nursing a café crème for hours disconnects his laptop from the café's internet and prepares to leave

Below: due to high turnover most Anglo-run coffee shops and torréfacteurs don't allow laptops on weekends

16 February 2019

A time for tajine

Rien de tel qu’un bon tajine pour se réchauffer....

 Paris' packed restaurants make it seem like *everyone* is always eating out, but like most Parisians, I prefer my own cuisine: you will note that cuisine in French means... kitchen. (As a child in the U.S. we had an uncle who used to visit and, at the table, he'd roll his eyes back while blotting his lips and tell my mother, in his French accent, "I love your kitchen!")

There is no getting around the maghrébine gastronomic influence in the capital, and on cold evenings there's nothing like a hearty tajine. Its cone entraps the steam and inverses it, slow cooking ingredients on the lowest heat possible. A perfect winter dish, tajines contrast sweet, salty, spices and textures, and create a combo of flavors that are both satisfying and decadent at once. - BPJ

Above: sea bream w/caramelizzed garlic, onions, spices and eggplant melt into a sauce
Below: skinless chicken breasts (I prefer with skin) w/leeks, dried apricots, almonds; salmon tajine w/green olives, artichoke, cilantro, preserved lemon; a serving of lamb tajine w/garlic, toasted almonds, chick peas, cinnamon, dried figs atop couscous

Post Valentine

Wishing everyone a love-filled post Valentine's Day weekend.

15 February 2019

14 February 2019

Heart filled

Yves Saint Laurent's flirty heart-shaped bag.

Happy Saint Valentin 2019

[Still time to reserve at Alain Ducasse's Oré restaurant at Château de Versailles for an exclusive Valentine's Day Dinner] 

13 February 2019

Be mine

Some desserts are irresistible.

Arnaud Larher
Pâtissier et Chocolatier
53 rue Caulaincourt 75018

11 February 2019

9 February 2019

Old-time papeterie

A rare place: everything from wax to seal envelopes and unique stationery to inkwell pens and hand-crafted place cards to enhance a dinner party table.

Mélodies Graphiques
10 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe 75004

2 February 2019

Standing order

No stools or chairs here: find a space and squeeze in at the counter for innovative French tapas and fabulous wines by the glass or bottle. 

Above: grilled croque monsieur of comté cheese and black truffles

Yves Camdeborde, chef de cuisine

L'Avant Comptoir de la Terre
3 Carrefour de l'Odéon 75006

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