this past friday, i trecked down to los angeles along with my mom and another food-loving mother/daughter duo to try the new joan’s on third, which opened recently in studio city. i already know this area well because it is the home of my favorite vegan restaurant, sun cafe, as well as many other cute shops and eateries so when i found out joan’s was opening its second location here, i was over the moon. the grand opening was while i was in ohio but all semester, i was looking forward to visiting when i got home. the space is much like the third street location but seemed much more spacious and airy. the food was wonderful as always and we walked out with a few extra treats and last minute christmas presents for friends and family. so happy to see my favorite LA eatery growing and thriving and fingers crossed they open a store in orange county soon
on our last night in paris, after a busy day of sightseeing and exploring, emily and i ate at le pure cafe in the 11th arrondissement. its adorable and quintessentially french but what makes it truly special is that it was the location of one of my favorite scenes in before sunset. i was so starstruck just by being there and i completely lived up to my expectations. it’s small and quaint but really comfortable and the food was so delicious! i had the most amazing crab cakes i have ever encountered. if i had to pick something for my last meal on earth, it would be those wonderful crab cakes. yum! emily and i really embraced the experience and stayed late into the night, drinking and eating and chatting. it was magical! and here ends my paris series. sorry it was so long but i really wanted to do justice to how wonderful of an experience it was.
while researching places to go in paris, ten belles came up again and again. everyone seemed to be raving about the adorable exterior, friendly service and most of all, the great coffee. the coffee truly was worth the hype. i still don’t think it was quite on pare with intellegensia and some of my other favorite los angeles joints but it was rich and delicious and just hit the spot after wandering around all day. the cafe is tiny inside but we were lucky enough to snag a seat upstairs to people watch and enjoy the environment. after our coffee break, we took advantage of the surrounding area and explored this hip, up and coming district. the people here were probably the most stylish i saw in all of paris! i will never forget the girl i saw wearing striped ankle socks with mens pants and tank top looking oh so stylish with a cropped parisian haircut or the guy who looked straight out of the 1900s with round glasses and a baguette under his arm. if i ever get the chance to live in paris, the tenth arrondissement is definitely where you’d find me
i have realized that as i have gotten older, most of my old sweet vices have slowly gone away. most baked goods are off limits because of my gluten allergy, ice cream because of my dairy aversion, candy seems too sweet, chocolate too rich, etc. but i will never tire of macarons. they are light and gluten free (usually) and when done right, just the perfect amount of sweetness and richness. so since paris is the macaron capital of the world, i couldn’t go without trying as many as possible. i was fortunate to go to paris with emily, a fellow macaron lover. i have a theory that people either adore macarons or detest them and we are definitely in the first camp. one afternoon, we decided to stop by the two macaron kings in town, ladurée and pierre hermé, to test each and see which actually was the best. after spending a pretty penny (those things aren’t cheap!) and having the hardest time finding the pierre hermé shop on the champs-élysées (it was in a high end pharmacy… who’d have thought?), we finally settled in the jardin des tuileries to test our purchases. there weren’t as many flavor overlaps as we had expected but we tried a chocolate, pistachio, lemon and rose from each store, as well as many other unique flavors. overall, the pierre hermé flavors were stronger and more unique while ladurée’s were more delicate and simple. i preferred pierre hermé while emily liked ladurée but we came to a consensus that ladurée has the best rose, pierre hermé the best lemon and the chocolate were too different to even compare. my favorite flavor of the day was vanilla bean and marie antoinette from ladurée and passion fruit and pistachio from pierre hermé but honestly, almost every flavor hit it out of the park (except for licorice and salted caramel… never again). our taste test in the tuileries is definitely one of my favorite (and yummiest) memories of the trip
when I was 11, I went to montmarte with my family. I was young and completely overwhelmed but the bohemian vibe with artists painting everywhere and beautiful views was indelibly marked on my mind. so when we were planning where to go this trip, I knew I wanted to re-experience montmarte again through new eyes. montmarte was close to our hotel but it took quite a few days to actually get over to that part of town. after getting lost (typical), we finally saw sacré coure beckoning from afar. probably in all of Paris, montmarte is where we felt the least safe. there were tourists everywhere and people haggling us to buy things and guys telling us we’d be prettier if we smiled (so odd) and honestly, it was pretty stressful. we were beginning to feel like montmarte was a lost cause when we began to descend the hill and stumbled upon the cutest cafe I have ever seen. they had the largest array of gluten free treats I had seen yet in Paris and conversation cards (in English!) and glorious lemonade and seemed like an oasis after our hot and stressful bout. we stayed for hours and people watched (all the customers were intimidatingly cool) and chatted and enjoyed the good food and decided our trip to montmarte was pretty great after all.
coffee culture is probably my favorite place in york to hang out. the lack of internet and space make it a difficult place to do homework and the big windows and interesting customers make it impossible to attempt any kind of productivity at all but it is the perfect place to take friends, grab a coffee and chat. and one of my favorite friends to go on long coffee dates with is ingliv. she is one of my dearest friends this semester and we can chat for hours about everything from music to the bible to my fascination with norway (her homeland) and our mutual obsession with tattoos. we got to know each other because we were both placed on baking and hospitality at the church as our service this semester and the friendship has grown from there. rarely a day goes by that we don’t spend some sort of time together and i know she will be the person i miss most when i leave this place. love you, ingliv!
me and mrs fisher is a cafe i’ve been dying to try my whole time in york. i kept reading its rave reviews online and i knew i just had to go there with my friends. after attempting a few times while they were closed (who closes sunday and monday?), we finally caught them while they were open and we’re so glad we did. it is honestly one of the cutest cafes in york, which says a lot because york is chock full of quirky coffee shops and eateries. the first floor is a tea room and cafe and the second is a craft shop and classroom. the food was simple and sweet, the coffee was good but the ambiance made it exceptional. maybe it was the great company or the torrential rain but i dont think i’ve ever felt so cozy in my life. it not only lived up to but exceeded my expectations and my only regret is not finding it sooner in my semester so i could go back again and again.
it is probably already a well known fact on this blog that i love farmers markets. so when i found out i would be living just blocks from one of the biggest farmers markets in nice, i was over the moon. i walk through the market almost daily to get to class but i only just recently got to properly visit and shop. it’s so interesting how different farmers markets are in france than the ones i’m used to back home. in america, they seem like an event. things seem much more staged and more attention is paid to aesthetics and detail. here, they are apart of life. they are much more pedestrian and gritty and feel more natural. i’ve been told this is probably because the market i shop at is the ‘locals market’. the farmers market more geared towards tourists, the famous Cours Saleya, is more organized and visually pleasing but also more expensive. another thing i was surprised at was the lack of variety. it seems like almost every vender sells the same things! and very few booths are organic (or if they are they don’t advertise it). i did find a bio (organic) vender who is very kind and has very good prices so when i do shop at the market, thats my first stop. afterwards, i’ll pick up flowers or hunt for other things i need or just people watch and enjoy the sights and sounds and colors of the market.
for another bible study meet up, ellie and i met at green house in long beach. this place was absolutely adorable and such a surprise! from the plants populating the balcony to their amazing hemp honey latte (a new obsession of mine), this place is heaven. there is even a juice and smoothie bar next door which basically means i could live here. we ended up staying for hours and hours talking and drawing as usual. if this place wasn’t so far from home, i would be here constantly. looking forward to my next honey hemp latte.
theres no getting around it: portola is the gold standard of coffee shops. i mean coffee is serious business there. the baristas wear lab coats and make coffee in beakers and they have a testing lab in the back room. it’s that intense. but the coffee here is gooooood. not normal good but “spend-all-my-extra-money-on-soy-lattes” good. the fact that they have a tea bar next door and an acai bowl place down the hall doesn’t help the amount of time and money i spend at the mix mart. its so bad the people who work there are starting to know me by name. birdy, the place with amazing acai bowls, also carries brown bear eats baked goods, which is my friend and her moms cookie company that has the best treats i’ve ever tasted. and the fact that most things they make are gluten-free or vegan makes it all the better.
so with all the said, i thought that the mix mart would be my perfect place to take my friend christina who is visiting from arrowhead because she is a fellow fine coffee, veggie packed salads and gluten-free vegan baked goods lover. we had lunch at the new green leaf (so yum but a little too hectic for my liking) then headed over to portola for a drink. everytime i hang out with christina, i’m reminded why we are best friends and how blessed i am to have met her half way across the world. we had so many laughs and reminisced about good times and talked about our plans for what’s next in our lives. we always have a great time together but it’s really great to hang out with her on this side of the world. so blessed to have such great friends! love you girlie