On my way to Hotel Panache I noticed, as Spencer would say, a “gaggle” of people lined up in front of a pretty building. My first thought – there must be a show going on! I kept walking.
The following night as I was on my way to the hotel, my cab driver (all in French) explained to me how I was staying right by one of the best restaurants in Paris. From what I could understand he said that this place served classic French food and was very well priced. I was a bit shocked I’d never heard of it given I’m constantly on the hunt for a classic duck meal. Not only do I love French food, but I LOVE a bargain so I decided to try it!
Right after work I walked the two blocks to Chartier with my coworker Claudia to find out what all the buzz was about.
In 1896 brothers Frédéric and Camille Chartier opened Bouillon Chartier with a simple concept behind it: Reasonably priced food with great customer service.
The restaurant is generally at capacity for dinnertime so we arrived early to avoid crowds. To get to the restaurant you have to walk through a beautiful corridor and towards the back of the building to reach the entrance.
Once you’re inside the restaurant it feels like you’ve walked right into the Belle Epoch. The globe chandeliers, multiple mirrors, and arched windows make it oh so French.
Ordering is easy as the waiter comes by and jots down your order on the disposable tablecloth.
I chose duck and escargot, because you can’t get more classic, right? The duck was delicious. The skin was crispy but the meat was still tender and soft. The potatoes were cooked to perfection.
The escargot were prepared a la bourguignonne which means they are drowned in a sauce made from butter, shallot, garlic paste and parsley. If you’ve never had escargot before they are a lot nicer than you’d think. Sure it may sound gross to eat snails, but if prepared well they can be incredible.
I was insanely satisfied with my food choices. The bill came to a little under 20€ for my meal which was exactly what my cab driver said I would get – delicious food for a good price!
Le Bouillon Chartier
7 Rue du Faubourg Montmartre, 75009 Paris
+33 1 47 70 86 29
This is the look of someone who just (accidentally) spent 70€ on cheese…
I stumbled upon this magical place a few years back after visiting Le Bon Marche. A cheese shop? Well of course I was going to walk in. Now every time I come to Paris I stop by and stock up on way too much cheese. This time I over did it, I think.
Barthélemy is owned by Mme Nicole Barthélemy who stocks this place with the most amazing and smelliest cheeses known to the world. She has been in the business for over 40 years and although it’s unclear when the cheese shop opened its reputation speaks for itself having supplied cheese to France’s Prime Ministers. The staff speaks only French but they are incredibly accommodating and always help me build the best cheese board. We point, taste and nod a lot.
They will always let you try before buying and if you’re lucky they may have some ready to try pieces in small tin bowls.
Look at those pretty orange colored babies!
Even the floors are pretty…
This is the type of cheese guillotine everyone needs in their home…
Along with cheese Barthélemy is stocked with yogurt, milk, eggs, crackers, pickled vegetables and of course wine! I picked up a bottle of Sancerre for just 13€ and it was amazing.
Please notice the huge Gorgonzola wooden box at the bottom right corner of the above picture…
Like everything in Paris, this shop is gorgeous and filled with the things that make me want to desperately live there. For now, I’ll settle with twice a year visits and being able to build a massive cheese plate when I come home.
Pro tip: if you want to bring some cheese home they will vacuum seal everything so it’ll keep in your luggage and your clothes won’t reek of cheese. Unless you want your clothes to smell heavenly…
When traveling to Paris I generally stay at some larger chain hotels and my opinions of them often vary. After my last unpleasant visit to a large chain hotel I listened to my colleague, Fanny, and followed her to smaller hotel with more character.
Located in the 9th arrondissement, Hotel Panache is one of the the most beautifully designed hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Upon entering you can immediately see how every nook and cranny was taken into consideration when designing this lovely spot. One of the most striking things are the mosaic floors, white marble counter, rust accents and clean lines that decorate the lobby.
Right next door to the reception you can find their restaurant which serves breakfast from 7:30 am to 10:00 am and will cost you about 9€ to 18€.
I landed pretty early in Paris so of course I hoped my room would be ready. It wasn’t but that was absolutely no issue. I asked if there was another room available for immediate check in and they were able to quickly accommodate me for a small fee. I somehow landed with a lovely Junior Suite.
Upon entering I was transported. The room was decorated with geometric shapes which play well with the shape of the building. Above the bed you can find gorgeous touches such as brass bar fixtures with bulbs at each end. Next to the bed a Bakelite black telephone and ceramic light switches on the walls.
The reading nook with the view of the street is what really made it for me. This accompanied by the spacious desk were a nice touch to the already large room.
The first thing I want to do after getting off a plane is take bath so I really look forward to this part of my room. Luckily, the bathroom was a dream stocked with Bonne Nouvelle products – a new Parisian line of body care products designed specially for hotels. I also realized that I forgot to pack toothpaste so they sent me up some Marvis Mint. The tile work in the bathroom had a simple feel with a large tub (my favorite part) and dual vanity.
I was happy to learn that Hotel Panache is concerned with the environment and has implemented the re-use of towels as to avoid washing after one use.
Overall I think this hotel is wonderful and I’d love to visit again! If you’re going to Paris it’s the perfect amount of charm in a great location.
1, rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris
+33 1 47 70 85 87
On our walk the first day in Lisbon we ran into this adorable outdoor cafe. They had these amazing chairs all around the water front with a great view of the 25 de Abril Bridge. So, like any smart human would do – we sat.
At first we were a little confused by what we could purchase. The little quiosque looks like it can’t hold more than a few drinks/snacks but their menu is actually quote vast.
HOW WE GOT THERE
Given I was already in Paris for work it was fairly easy to hop down to Portugal. We booked with EasyJet and paid around $200 for a round trip ticket. If you book earlier you can easily get a round trip flight for under $100.The deal with EasyJet is that you need to pack light. They’re very particular about you have ONE carry on bag. That means one bag so you have to put your purse inside your carry on. I was able to leave my larger luggage at Hotel Panache for the weekend so it was no problem.
VISAS FOR LISBON
If you’re a U.S. Citizen you don’t need to pre arrange a visa to enter Portugal. Of course you will need a valid U.S. passport for at least 3 months from the date of planned return or other travel document recognized by member States of the Schengen Agreement.
PAYING FOR THINGS
I withdrew around 100€ for the whole weekend and wasn’t able to spend it all. We were able to use our credit cards for pretty much everything. I used my Chase Sapphire card, which is great for international travel as it has no foreign transaction fees. ATM’s are easily accessible everywhere and I wasn’t charged a withdrawal fee!
Portugal is on the Euro so it’s fairly simple to navigate if you’ve used Euros before. At the time we were there the currency was around 1€ = $1.23
We honestly walked everywhere which I think is why I didn’t feel like a cow when I came home (mmm, pasteis). Lisbon is very reminiscent of San Francisco and is incredibly hilly. It was pretty easy to get around by foot but sometimes my calves did burn with the hills. Uber is also very easy to use and the rates are very reasonable.
INTERNET AND PHONES
I’m personally not signed up with an international plan so I kept my phone on airplane mode. This wasnt a problem as everywhere we went had WiFi and we were able to easily connect.
NAVIGATION Due to the abundance of free wifi, we were able to use Google Maps easily while there. Prior to driving, we would connect to wifi and load our route on Maps which became very helpful. If you’re not familiar with this concept, all you have to do is open Google Maps and ask for directions as you regularly would and then just don’t close the app. The blue location dot will move along with you. Sure, there may be a short lag but nothing to be bothered by!
People were very nice and helpful. I not once did I feel like I was in any sort of danger.
Is it safe to drink water from the faucet in Portugal? Yes. Is it going to taste great (like NYC water)? No.
There are so many great places to get a good look at one of the most gorgeous things in Paris: The Eiffel Tower. However, my all time favorite spot to see the light show that takes place from sunset to 1:00 am every hour on the hour is at Les Ombres restaurant. It’s not only a great spot at night but also during the day.
This last time in Paris I went to Les Ombres for brunch and it did not disappoint! Les Ombres is located just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower and is a great place to get a private view of the tower without the crowds.
The dining room is like a large green house which allows for amazing views of not just the Eiffel Tower, but the entire city as well.
The restaurant offers à la carte items or a table d’hôte menu which is very common in Europe. I generally chose the table d’hôte as I like to taste as much food as possible (i.e. I’m a fattie).
Of course after eating all this amazing food (only half of those dishes were mine!) it’s nice to take a walk to the actual Eiffel Tower which is just a short 10 minute walk away. Once there you can sit on the lawn or walk around to see it from many angles.
Paris has always held a special place in my heart. The first time I ever visited this gorgeous city was with my friend Bridget when we studied abroad in Spain.
I remember it being exactly what I thought it would be: the most romantic place on earth. Was it the buildings? The people? The food? The fashion? Everything?
When I landed my first job in textiles I never imagined part of my job (“job”) would be to visit Paris twice a year to attend a textile show and then do some competitive shopping. What does competitive shopping mean? It means my favorite thing in the world – going into different shops and see what the competition is up to. What fabrics are they using? What techniques are out there?
The first place I always stop at is Colette. A true Parisian institution. Colette opened in 1997 but in July of this year we all woke up to the news: Colette would close its doors in December of 2017. Of course with that in mind I made a stop at my beloved little shop.
The whole upstairs usually would house looks from Gucci, Balenciaga, Simone Rocha, Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Coach and Sacai to name a few. As of late the boutique has been been taken over by different designers – most recently Sacai. Of course the conceptual layout was impeccable.
I was so lucky to see Colette one last time. If you’re there before end of December make sure to stop by.
Want to know the best way to spend a Friday night past the age of thirty? Cooking Class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). Years ago I took a class there and it was so much fun that I decided to go again.
Of course, the amazing human being that introduced me to this place is Dotty…as she’s generally pulling me out of my day to day to do fun things like take cooking classes, visit museums and try new restaurants. For those of you who’ve never heard of Dotty let me give you a little history. Dotty was my very first roommate in NYC. I rented a room in her amazing (huge!) UWS apartment for a year and then Spencer and I moved in with her together. We started our little NYC life alongside the best roommate ever. We now consider Dotty our NYC family.
So, Dotty and I met for a four hour 6:00 pm class of Fall Favorites where we learned the cook the following:
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Truffled Croutons and Shiitake Mushrooms
Kale Salad with Pickled Onions and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Beet Pappardelle with Goat Cheese and Roasted Hazelnuts
Fontina-Stuffed Veal Scallopini with Wild Mushroom Sauce
Guinness-Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and Roasted Cipollini Onions
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pancetta
The class was started off by giving a rundown of the different ingredients we would be using and explaining their purpose. Did you know that you can eat the stems of beets? And that Kale is sweetest in October? We also went over a few knife skills and some advise on good food practice. For example;
Eating In Season & Why You Should Do It:
Food tastes better as it’s growing in prime condition
Once the basics were covered we were split into three groups of four. Each group got to make all the entrees and we split the sides/soups between the three groups.
I loved how the class was run as it was very well organized, the menu and recipes were clear and the Chef and Assistant were very helpful and knowledgeable. Our Chef that night was Chef Wai Chu and assisting him was Cristina who’s last name I don’t know but was insanely funny and added a nice touch to the kitchen.
As we were ready to start a new recipe we were presented with a tray that had everything we needed. Some things were even measured out already!
The recipes were involved and complex and like nothing I had ever cooked so it really made me feel like the class price tag was worth it ($120). Chef Wai would do mini demos each time we were about to start a new recipe so that everyone was clear on what was expected.
It was super fun to cook with beer. The Guiness-Braised Short Ribs took about two hours to make so we started that off first. We had to keep checking on them every 20 minutes or so to make sure nothing was sticking to the bottom of the pan. I have to say everything we cooked with from metal bowls, dutch ovens, to the knives were perfect and high quality.
As were finished some of the recipes we plated them to later be put into the warming oven. From top left Clockwise: Fontina-Stuffed Veal, Gingerbread (to be used with dessert), Caramelized Pears (to be used with dessert) and Kale Salad with Pickled Onions and Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
My favorite part of the whole class was making pasta! I actually had never made pasta and I’ve been dying for a KitchenAid Pasta attachment so it was a total treat to try one before committing to the purchase. We added beet puree to the dough which was like adding something amazing to an already amazing thing…amazing!
The last few minutes of cooking class really felt like being in a professional kitchen. We were a little bit rushed for time so it was all hands on deck to make sure the dinner was ready by 9:30pm. We finished a little bit past 9:30 but it was worth it to ensure everything was perfect. At the end of class we all sat down to eat a family style dinner. ICE was generous and provided us with delicious wine to go with our meal. Of course everything was incredibly good. Best part? We got takeaway containers!
If you want a copy of the recipes please don’t hesitate to reach out! What’s your favorite go to recipe?
I finally had some time to sit down and write this post which I’m exciting about all over again.
The second day of the League of the Flying Pig was actually my favorite. We had a day full of activities going around the farm which included Distilling with Dave, Blend Your Own, Bottle Your Own and, Barrel Tasting!
My favorite events were Blend Your Own and Bottle Your Own. Although I was terrible at bottling my own.
BLEND YOUR OWN
This was a super fun event that really gave me a glimpse at how difficult it is to come up with a whiskey recipe that tastes good! We had five different whiskies of varying ages to blend with from which we had to limit down to three. We could only use a certain percentage of each which we kept track of by writing down on forms given to us. From all the groups visiting the farm, four would be chosen and the grand prize winner would be announced at dinner. Of course it was fun but very challenging. Sadly our blend didn’t win but it was pretty good nonetheless.
BOTTLE YOUR OWN
Okay, this one is pretty self explanatory. We were able to join the WP team and see exactly how a bottle is..well…bottled!
Step One: Grab a bottle!
Step two: Apply all necessary labels (not like I did!)
Step three: Fill it up!
Step 4: Cork!
Step five: Add plastic seal
Although this was super fun I was insanely terrible at it. I put the labels on the wrong side (PW?) of the bottle and in the wrong places. I could not add the plastic seal myself (which is why its not pictured) and I nearly left my bottle behind. Cue eye roll.
Barrel Tasting was held by one of my favorite people at the farm – Jake! We were able to taste Whiskey aged in a Tokaji Wine barrel. It was what sweet dreams are made of. Sweet and syrupy but not in an over kill sort of way.
CASINO NIGHTS + DINNER
Okay, when I said earlier Bottling and Blending was my favorite I lied. My favorite was the Casino Nights and dinner. We arrived at the farm around 6 pm and were promptly escorted to a wall filled with envelopes. We were told to pick an envelope and head upstairs with a glass of champagne in hand.
The envelopes included tokens to play poker upstairs but little to my knowledge they also included prizes. Upon opening my envelope I was quick to figure out I had won one of 12 helicopter rides around the farm!
I rode the helicopter with Grisa who I met on the spot and just happened to have won as well. The ride was insanely fun and we were able to go out to see the sunset over Lake Champlain!
Dinner started the way every dinner should – with a huge cheese and charcuterie plate!
Casino Nights in the barn – super fun!
The whole weekend up at the WhislePig farm was pretty amazing. I am so happy I got to partake in the festivities and hope I’m invited back next year!
If you know and love whiskey then you’ve heard of WhistlePig – the small Shoreham, VT based distillery was established in 2008 and in a few short years have position themselves as THE name in American Rye Whiskey. After racking up numerous awards including Best in Show at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and WhistlePig continues to push the boundaries in the spirits industry.
A couple of weekends ago I was lucky enough to be invited by my husband, Spencer, to be a part of the League of the Flying Pig celebration at the WhistlePig farm. This yearly event invites 200 food and beverage professionals from around the country to experience life at the farm through a mega celebration. This farm is what dreams are made of, guys. I loved driving there through small windy dirt roads, as it was like I was exploring another world just a short five hour drive from NYC.
Things you should know: there is zero phone service once you get to the farm, there is a one way road leading up to it, and no signs as to where you actually are. I’m shocked I didn’t get lost!
Upon my arrival at the farm I was amazed at how gorgeous the grounds were and of course I gravitated towards the animals first:
The two day event started with a casual evening at the farm. There were guided tours of the distillery, farm excursions on Gators, live music, food and of course, award winning Whiskey.
My favorite drink was the Jaws Found Love: WhistlePig Farmstock Rye Whiskey, Lemon, Strawberry, Tiki Bitters and Mint!
I was insanely happy to find a true Vermont staple: Ben & Jerry’s! The WhistlePig crew had an on site scooper delivering amazing scoops of Vermont’s very best ice cream…
As my husband working a lot of the time I had to make friends during my time at the party. I met Andrew, Zigis and Jeremy! We were partners in crime for the Gator tour and we had a blast!
We ended the night with some dancing and corn hole! Next on blog I’ll tell you all about day two.