Place Settings #44: January 25, 2015

IMG_4289Eat | These are bacon pancakes with a blob of avocado mash. They were delicious and super easy to make: I just chopped up some bacon, cooked it, and added it to the pancake mix.

Drink | More Baruir’s coffee.

Read | Still going strong with Moby Dick. As I read, this book keeps getting higher on my list of favorite books. Whales are constantly on my mind — I went on an extended YouTube deep dive of whale documentaries — and the infamous whale chapters are actually the best ones. (more…)


Place Settings #43: January 18, 2015


Hello! We’re back

Eat | A wheat berry and brussels sprouts salad (recipe here).

Drink | Coffee from Baruirs Coffee, a 45-year-old, family-run coffee store around the corner from me.  (more…)

Place Settings #42: June 22, 2014

Place Settings 42

Eat: Camembert and baguette.

Drink: Hold on to your hats, everyone, I have finally assembled a pour-over coffee station for myself. After a friend sent me some Blue Bottle beans from New York and I stumbled upon a ceramic Melitta cone in Berlin, I picked up the Hario hand grinder (daily arm workout included) and a small travel scale to complete the set. The Nespresso machine is sitting glumly in the back of a cabinet now. This morning I’m drinking Small World House Blend.

Read: During my travels to various English-speaking countries, I was able to pick up two copies of The New Yorker, a magazine that isn’t really available over here. I’ve been working my way through these two issues slowly, trying to drag out the experience for as long as possible. (more…)

Coffee Catch Up

Coffee Catch Up copy

Grab a cup of coffee and your pastry of choice while I give you a quick catch-up on my life.

o n e || Obviously, I have been really bad at posting the past two weeks! After I got back from Berlin, it was my Paris best friend’s last weekend in town and then it was time to pack up and fly back to the States for my 5th college reunion. As is typical for alumni of my school, I have a huge amount of love — bordering on obsession — for my college days; I’ve been waiting for my 5th reunion since the moment I graduated. I got back to France on Monday afternoon and have been wallowing in nostalgia and mild depression ever since. In any case, we’re back on track now!

t w o || In other big news, I only have about a month left in Paris — everything is beginning to take on the tinge of nostalgia, even my laundromat. On July 10, I have a one-way ticket from Charles de Gaulle to Berlin Tegel Airport where I’ll be spending a month living with one of my best friends, whom I somehow convinced to join me from New York. I love Paris very much, but I’m also beyond excited to get to know Berlin.

t h r e e || A final life update: I’m moving back to New York in August to go back to school! I’m not too excited about the idea of returning to New York (I know, I know, I’m trying to adjust my attitude), but I’m very excited to be hitting the classroom again, especially to study creative writing.

Thanks for bearing with absent me the past few weeks, and hold onto your hats as we go to London this weekend, Paris for a few more weeks, off to Berlin for a month, and then back to the Big Apple!



A Weekend in Berlin


As I mentioned on Sunday, I was in Berlin over the weekend for an all-too-brief visit. I flew in early Saturday morning and left midday Monday and felt like I saw only a tiny fraction of what I wanted to see. That being said, I did cover a lot of ground for what was basically 48 hours and wanted to share the highlights with you.

Obviously above we have the Brandenburger Tor, which is actually the closest I ever got to West Berlin (other than riding the bus through it en route to/from Tegel Airport). When you spend a lot of time in Paris, I think you fall victim to something I’ll call the Triomphe Effect; the afflicted lose all sense of scale when it comes to arches and gates because the Arc de Triomphe is so huge. To me, the Washington Square Park arch in New York now seems laughably tiny and when I visited the Tor in Berlin, I was also surprised by its size. In my head it was much larger — and less cluttered with inebriated Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München fans who nobly took it upon themselves to prepare for the 20h Germany Cup final from the early morning hours (I’m happy to report that BM won, as my childhood Germany stints took place in Bayern). Despite the Triomphe Effect and the football horde, the historical symbolism of the Tor is still palpable. (more…)

Place Settings #40: May 11, 2014

Place Settings #40

Eat: A kiwi, some sliced mango, and spicy mashed avocado on Krisprolls. A very satisfying breakfast after doing one of Tone It Up‘s HIIT workouts. My friend Dani (check out her great health and fitness blog Eat, Sweat, Smile) has been a big fan of Tone It Up for years and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon since a knee injury has been keeping me from running.

Drink: Red Rose tea, almond milk, honey. I actually don’t even have any coffee in the apartment right now, can you believe it? I have, however, been frequenting KB Cafeshop the past few weeks for my fix of filter coffee, reclaimed wood tables, and bespectacled, Macbook-toting café-mates.

Read: I started French classes on Monday, so I’ve been devoting a lot of my reading time to studying. It might seem strange that I’m only just starting French classes after four months of living here, but it’s because I spent the first several months learning a lot just by listing and running errands (I started from basically zero French). To study, I’ve been reviewing our textbook and making flashcards on these handy Muji Key Ring Memo Blocks.

I’ve also been reading about Berlin because I’m going for three days next weekend. Do any of you have Berlin recommendations? So far my schedule includes a bunch of museums and as many coffee shops as possible (The Barn — I’m coming for you).

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

PS Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Place Settings #33: March 16, 2014

Place Settings #33

Eat: My apartment here is wonderful in many ways, but it is a cave. It is so dark all the time that I need to turn the lights on, even if it’s the middle of a sunny afternoon. It’s easy to stay reclusive in there on the weekends, but today I forced myself to go somewhere for lunch.  I wanted to get coffee and a pastry from Telescope, but it was closed and I ended up with this salad at H.A.N.D. (Have A Nice Day). It’s a cute restaurant with burgers on the menu and mid-century Americana on the walls. My salad was tasty, but I don’t think I’d go back unless I had a few burger-craving friends in tow.

Drink: Mediocre café crème glacé. I’m dying for a Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee. (more…)

Three Cups of Coffee

Over the course of three days this week, I met three people over three cups of coffee. My social strategy in Paris has been to cold-email people I find interesting on the internet. In a past life, this idea would have terrified me, but three years in publicity will convert even the digitally taciturn into email machines and the strategy has been quite successful here. I’ve met many other interesting people here as well, but with a memory card full of coffee photos this week, I thought I’d share these cups with you.


I met Bryan for coffee at Ten Belles. Bryan is a fellow blogger, runner, food enthusiast, and coffee consumer who, like everyone I’ve cold-emailed, more than graciously entertained my overtures of friendship. Part of the Belleville/Le Bal family, Ten Belles served us two excellent cups of filter-brewed coffee. I actually prefer brewed coffee to espresso beverages (blame the mild lactose intolerance and file this under “Things You Needed to Know About Me”), and though I’ve found some places that pull excellent shots, I was happy to guzzle this mug of coffee.


Place Settings #26: January 26, 2014


Eat: Butter and banana bread at Fondation Café with the fantastic Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland. I love how butter comes with everything here.


Drink: Finally, not a Nespresso! Fondation was on my list of coffee places to check out in Paris, and it lived up to my expectations. This was my second visit in four days and I’ve now sipped both their drip coffee and a cappuccino. The beans are from Belleville and though you guys know that pour-over is my favorite, both the drip and the cappuccino were excellent. Bonus: we got to celebration Australia Day with the Australian owner of the shop.

Read: I elected not to read during my chat with Lindsey today, but having finished Never Any End to Paris, I am now back on the Infinite Jest train. It was one of my January goals to finish the book by the end of the month, but that obviously is not going to happen. New goal: end of February.

I’m going to keep it quite brief this week as, honestly, it was a bit dreary weather-wise this week and I’m feeling a little worded-out from working on my fiction this weekend. Hope you all have a lovely Sunday evening!


Week in Photos, January 20-25, 2014


Happy Saturday, everyone! I thought I’d post some photos, even though I had minor camera problems this week. I genuinely thought that I had either broken my camera or had a tumor pressing on my optical nerve (my ex-therapist would classify this as “catastrophizing”) because I couldn’t get anything to focus in the viewfinder, even though the shots turned out okay. Long story short, I realized just moments before sitting down to write this post that the knob I had been absent-mindedly fiddling with the other day actually does something, and that something is focus the viewfinder. So if some of these shots are not in perfect focus, it is because I have been under the impression that I was speeding towards legal blindness for unknown reasons for the past week.

Above is the espresso I drank at the tabac (obviously where tobacco products are sold, but also often places to get espresso and drinks) while writing and waiting for my laundry. Less glamorous than Café de Flore, but more authentic.


I was quite apprehensive about doing laundry here. For one thing, I have never used a laundromat before because in New York I always chose apartments that had laundry in the building. For another thing, my French is not at a level where I would feel comfortable having an argument in public with a piece of French machinery. After much googling of “how to use a French laundromat,” compulsive translations of the words on images of French laundromat machines, and critically low levels of underwear, I gave myself a pep talk and did some laundry. Turns out, this is an easy and painless process. If you are ever in France and have similar laundrette anxieties, let me know; I’m happy to help. (more…)