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Day 171: Happy hour

It’s Alex’s birthday today (joyeux anniv’ Alex!) and after work, we headed out for a little celebratory food and drink session. With happy hours everywhere in the city (they usually run from around 5-6pm till 9-10pm) time to enjoy a cocktail or two before dinner, and off we went to Café Mabillon.

My choice of cocktail is new in concept for me – it is red wine-based instead of particular liquour(s). I can’t remember its exact name, but it sure is fruity and rather easy to drink, accompanied with nuts and olives as nibbles. The soft candies garnish were not quite as “marshmallow-y” as I thought they would be, which would be fun to dunk into the drink. What can I say? Food and drink are very much about the senses and playful food evokes child-like excitement ;)

Day 170: Come to Daddy!

There is a particular humour to this rather basic graffiti found at Bassin de la Villette. “Come to daddy!” says the monster with an evil and gleeful grin. The phantom-y cat knows something’s up and and couldn’t try to escape quickly enough!

It is Father’s Day today, and it is a rather poignant day for me. I do not remember any celebration that I may had had with my late father, and at home, it was more of a day where we celebrated it with granddad. However he is no longer with us for another celebration. As I walk the streets of Paris, I’m reminded of us planning a trip for him to visit me here after my move but time ran out on us.

Anyway, sorry for the change of mood. Back to happy. Think happy thoughts. Think Happy Father’s Day. Think happy memories :)

Day 169: Musée Jacquemart-André

Tucked away in the rather posh and affluent 8th arrondissement is Musée Jacquemart-André, formerly home to a certain Monsieur Jacquemart and his wife Madame J neé André. Not a museum frequently visited by foreign tourists, there was nonetheless a queue when I went there for a visit with my friend, most of them French and trying to catch the Caillebotte Brothers exhibition before its closure in a couple of weeks. Like me really. I’ve been wanting to see the Impressionist-half of the siblings, while being mildly curious about the photographer-half of the duo.

The museum is absolutely stunning. I could not justifiably describe it – it is something you should see for yourself. The tropical conservatory, ornated staircases, decorated apartments and opulent dining room are but some of the features. The dining room is today a café that serves delicious salads and a few other special dishes, and they entice diners in by displaying a mouth-watering selection of cakes and tarts right by the door to enter the eatery. Smart marketing move ;)

Day 168: Column-y at Palais Royal

Adjacent to the Louvre is the Palais Royal, with distinctive black and white columns of varying heights at its forecourt. Les Deux Plateaux, also known as Colonnes de Buren, were a total of 260 columns installed by Daniel Buren some 25 years ago for considerable costs. They were recently restored over a period of about a year for an amount close to €6 million.

Each time that I’ve passed by these columns, a few common activities were observed. One, children running around and jumping on and off the shorter columns. Two, people standing on the columns, often pretending to be statues, taking posed photos. Three, teenagers congregating around certain columns. And last but not least, folks with camera trying to find a way to photograph these columns and still do a good job of it. I was in the last group and I’m not even entirely sure if I did a decent job with my shot…

Day 167: Oh sugah sugah!

Now that I know a handful of pâtisseries and chocolatiers of Paris, I’m branching out to another form of soother to my über sweet tooth – candies! I do wonder what would a candy shop be called? Bonbonerie?

Le Bonbon au Palais is a total candy wonderland. Its unique selling point is that they gather candies and chocolates from different regions of France and bring them all under one roof. Imagine to have one stop shop for all your French candy needs… I reckon the owner recognised the sugar-crazed look in my eyes because he was offering samplers of this and that and guess what, I bought them. Such a sucker, right? Still, who can resist candies?! Yum, yum and yum!

Day 166: Go Brasilia!

The food challenge continues and this evening I even managed to round up a few partners-in-crime for a spot of Brazilian food in the northern neighbourhood of Notre Dame de Lorette. It was fun to have a girls’ night out like this, chit-chatting over dinner, and for some, a lot of giggling after the potent cocktails they served – you know who you are ;)

We were also mildly amused with the decor within. A whole lot of thongs hanging from the ceiling – not string underwear thongs but flip-flops thongs, painted murals, bedazzled figures, multi-coloured disco-lights in toilet, carneval footage on (silent) tv screen. And of course, a whole lot of photos of people we don’t know all over the walls. Un peu bordélique

Day 165: Cuba Compagnie

I don’t think I have mentioned in this blog yet, of my current culinary project: Resto A-Z. The concept is simple enough. Take an alphabet, pick a country’s name based on the alphabet, choose a restaurant that serves the relevant cuisine and eat out. It’s quite fun really, and a very good way to explore international dining experience within the city.

I started with A a few weeks back with an Afghani restaurant, then Ethiopian for E and I’ll be going to a Brazillian restaurant tomorrow in honour of B. Tonight though, it’s C for Cuba. I know, it’s not in alphabetical order, but say, imagine if you’re hankering for some Thai food – do you really want to wait all the way to T? No, right? Having said that, I’ve also done French, Indian (and Italian), Japanese, Lebanese, Moroccan, Thai and Vietnamese so F, I, J, L, M, T and V are off the list too. Pretty good going :D

Day 164: Knight in shining armour

I am a knight and I am shiny

Street art in Paris is not just about mural or graffiti pictures. There are quite a lot of tiled and mosaic images too, such as the Invader series (I have a few photos from different locations which I should create a mosaic of sometimes, hehehe) but for today, let’s just work with a single tiled image. Of a knight in shining armour.

I have been joking with friends that I need a strategy to get my paperworks going. I’m still waiting for various documents, running around bugging different people for different attestations etc. Perhaps I should play a damsel in distress, and that I am really really worth rescuing from all the red tape inconveniences. Except I don’t quite know how to. And I don’t even have those huge round eyes à la Shrek’s Puss in Boots to evoke sympathy. Drat.

Now, where is my knight to come to my rescue?

Day 163: Parc des Buttes Chaumont

Parc des Buttes Chaumont sits near Belleville and since I was in the neighbourhood for lunch today (excellent authentic Thai food, if you’re wondering), I could not resist taking a walk there for some post-lunch afternoon stroll. Not longer as off the beaten path as it used to be – yes, tourists have discovered this little gem in the north-east of Paris, although they seem to head straight only for the belvedere – it is still one of my favourite places in town.

Perhaps it is the memory that I’ve attached to the park. I was visiting Paris one summer before heading to Italy, staying with a friend, and for the first time, explored the city extensively by car, and the park was one of our visited places. I remember us sitting on the slopping hill, basking in the sunshine while talking about our dreams and aspirations for the future. How simple life was back then. I was idealistic, naive even, with so much I aspired to do. It was very good time.

Day 162: Cupcake ramblings

Looking at these cupcakes at a shop window, I feel a pang of longing – I can’t tell you how much I miss having an oven in my kitchen. Nearly 3 months now without one, it goes without saying that I haven’t been baking, roasting or grilling anything. No quick breakfast muffins, no shepherd’s pie, no roasted vegetables… Good thing this city is full of cakes and tartes and quiches, so it’s not all lost.

One thing though – the price tag. I would quite happily fork out a small fortune for a fantastic piece of pastry, especially when it’s something that I could not made easily myself (read: I am rubbish at delicate cakes and tarts) but for cupcakes which is not too complicated at all, I am soooo not willing to pay anything between €3-4 for one. That’s even enough for me to buy the basic ingredients to make a dozen or two of cupcakes (minus the fancy icings) already!

Ps: I’m not claiming I could whip up the best cupcakes ever though, ok? ;)

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