love: best of 2013

A very brief (well, OK, actually kind of long) review of some of the best things that I read, ate, or otherwise consumed this year. I didn’t bother writing down everything we ate in Paris, but yep, pretty much everything we ate in Paris.

love: buvette

There’s a long marble bar that’s both a service and a storage area for desserts, crockery, and wine chilling in buckets; we ordered vin brûlé from a silver urn, which was spicy and rich and smelled like Christmas in a Dickens novel, but lighter and fresher.

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love: summer nights at moma & sarabeths

Beth & baby Geoffrey show off the Greatest Sign Ever, in the sculpture garden at MoMA this evening. I would follow that arrow anywhere. There was live music, there was espresso gelato, there was wine, and my dear friend in town for just this one night, from Michigan. Summer in New York is sticky, muggy, and stinky, but when it brings impromptu music, a stroll up Fifth Avenue with your best girlfriends, and a long, gossipy dinner, I’ll take it.


love: wimbledon


I don’t come from a sporting family. My dad loved Formula One, and didn’t think any sport worth watching that didn’t have a machine involved. My mum would get caught up in the pageantry of the odd World Cup or the Olympics, and my brother played and followed rugby. But we all paid attention to Wimbledon, and it was as much about the ritual as the game–although I’ve come to love the game, in all its elegant simplicity, much more in recent years. Although I know it’s statistically unlikely, I remember Wimbledon as happening in hot weather, sitting inside on the floor in front of the TV with the curtains closed, getting caught up what actually seemed to me to be drama, unlike any other sport that laid claim to that. When we were eleven, my best friend Lucy and I worshipped fifteen-year-old Jennifer Capriati and used her multiple earrings as evidence that we, too, should be allowed to get our ears pierced. I rooted for young players, good-looking players, flamboyant players, humble players, players who were polite to the ball kids and players who yelled at the umpire, players who threw their rackets to the ground and players who jumped in the air.

I never had a British player to root for, really–I know tennis players grow up, but Henman to me never quite outgrew  the petulant boy who whacked a tennis ball at a ball girl, and his sheer middle-England namby-pambyness and all the “Henman Hill” nonsense made me secretly happy when lumbering Sampras shellacked him every year. But this year… we were up at nine and it was over in straights that felt like they went to five sets. Well done, Andy – hope you are good and drunk somewhere right now, and you get to enjoy this for a little while, no matter how much you pretend you don’t (good Scottish lad that you are.) I’ll be catching up on the Guardian’s play-by-play… not quite ready to let it go for another year.

love: merci

Merci is a fabulously hip boutique in Paris, 111 Rue Beaumarchais in the northern Marais. It’s vast and sort of ridiculous, but in a charming beyond-parody sort of French way. Behind a narrow little cafe that’s also a used bookstore, past the lunching models and the Japanese hipsters, it opens out into a courtyard dotted with sculptures like a ping-pong table made of Chinese waving-cat statues and a stocky red vintage farm truck. It stocks a men’s clothing line designed by John Malkovich, all kinds of fabulously expensive drapey t-shirts made of tissue-thin cotton, and has a whole lower level of kitchenwares, from enamel cups and wooden chalkboards to MoMA-design-store gadgetry.


And for three euros you can get an adorable little brass necklace in a paper pouch, with a little list-poem of what you might put in it.

your bracelet your medal
your lipstick YOUR BRASSIERE
your comb your desires
your necklace your books your barrettes
YOUR HEART your ring
your sun
glasses your eyeliner
YOUR IDEAS your atomizer
your earrings
your eyeshadow
your perfume
your night cream
your confidence your brush
your ballet shoes your eau de toilette
your cravat your mascara
your swimsuit your hazelnut
YOUR LOVE your hat
your conscience your toothbrush
your stockings your quill pen your gift
your friendship…MERCI

read & taste: ripe

ripeNigel Slater‘s Ripe is a gorgeous object: a heavyweight, clothbound, coffee-table tome that isn’t so much food porn as gastronomic erotica. There are gorgeous photographs throughout, of apricots poaching in fragrant tea and berries swooning on pillows of cream, of lacy stalks of blossom and rough hunks of pie. Ripe makes a pair with Slater’s previous book, Tender, both focused on the garden and the plate. Tender takes you through the cook’s vegetable patch and here, we’re guided through his orchard – a term he admits is generous for his tiny London backyard.

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love: saltwater sandals

These are kids’ sandals, really, but I started noticing them on various stylish grown-up ladies in the city, and they have proved to be a great little summer investment. They’re designed to be worn in & around water (hence the name) but they’re surprisingly comfortable for running around town in the summer, a season that, after all, kids have figured out best. They’re less than $40, and you can get them here.

love: lunch hour at the nypl

“Lunch Hour” is one of the most inventively curated, gorgeous, surprising, and witty exhibitions I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. It covers a huge amount of material lightheartedly and is a great exercise in cultural history, something I’m thinking a great deal about at the moment – what it is, exactly, and how to write or tell it well. The exhibition’s theme tracks major cultural changes throughout the twentieth century, in New York and beyond, as the rhythm of the workday changed, along with the place and nature of food within it.  Continue reading