Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Smiths | A little bit of England in the heart of Saint-Germain


Parisians have always been obsessed with American food, which is obvious from the abundance of cupcakes, donuts, McDonald’s and stores that specialize in American goodies. But judging from the positive response given to the opening of The Smiths Bakery, they have not forgotten their neighbors across the pond either.

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The Smiths offers an interesting mix of French and British/Anglophone treats. Like most boulangeries, they serve a variety of sweet and savory foods. If you stop by for lunch, check out their sandwiches which range from a Croque Monsieur to a hamburger. They even have bagels! They offer a lunch menu for under 10 euros with one of these sandwiches included.

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Markets in Paris | The Many Names and Faces


Marché is a familiar word to all us, and, as we should all know is the French word for market. I dare say it is impossible to visit France without walking through or past one, whether intentionally or not. Markets are an institution in Parisian culture. But what about all these other things like brocantes, vide-greniers and braderies?  “What’s the difference?”, one might ask. Allow me an attempt at clearing this up.IMG_0290

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LeCab | Not your Average Taxi


We are very fortunate to live in a city where there are multiple options for efficient public transport.  The metro is a faithful companion, as are the buses.  Velib’s have revolutionized our ability to hop on wheels and enjoy the city on bike.  Although these are worthy choices, sometimes given circumstances call for another means – the cab.  No need to go into details of why that may be, but we’ve all been there.

Anyone who has ever lived in a big city, knows the giant hassle it can be to track down a taxi when in need (there are always loads of them when you don’t need one!).  Even when calling a company to reserve a cab, there’s no telling how long the wait time will actually end up being, or if it’ll show up at all!  Oh la, it can be such a joy.  Well, count your lucky stars!  There is hope, and it goes by the name of “Le Cab“.

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Crêperies in Paris | How to Choose!


A crêpe is to Paris what pizza is to New York City.  Crêperies can be found in every corner and on virtually every street.  There are several areas around the city where the concentration is particularly high and crêperies line the streets.  How in the world does one choose!!  As a historically indecisive person, I’ve been faced with this same dilemma.  Allow we to shed some light on a few nuggets of information that may aide in at least knowing what to look for and what you want.  C’est parti!

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What to Wear in Paris | Spring 2013


The weather is finally starting to cooperate and feel more like spring! As you shed your winter coat in favor of spring clothes, here are some trends to keep in mind to feel ever fashionable walking around Paris.

Colors and Patterns

When you think of spring, normally you think of soothing pastels. Once again these are definitely in style, with mints and pinks being the colors to go for.

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Crave Paris | The New Young Paris Supper Club


On a calm Sunday night after the Paris Marathon, we made our way into a calm apartment on the boarder of the 11th and the 20th arrondissements for a new supper club dining experience by the name of Crave.

The duo behind Crave gets their talent from Ferrandi Culinary School. Camile, who is half French, half American and Rita, born in Taiwan and raised in Vancouver, started Crave in order to show off their culinary creativity outside of school and internships.

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The two young ladies bring fresh new flavor combinations to their meals that are based on the market-fresh ingredients they find at the Parisian marchés.

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Loustic | A Local Coffee Haven


On an unseasonably cold April morning, I decided to check out a newly opened coffee haven in Beaubourg after hearing some buzz from our friend Kristen of The Kale Project.

A quiet, comfortable and friendly atmosphere welcomed us as we looked through our coffee choices and settled down in the quiet back room. The décor is a little eclectic with lots of graphic wallpaper and almost an Aztec pattern on the couch cushions a little reminiscent of Café Pinson. Not a big surprise as the two coffee shops share the interior design genius of Dorothée Meilichzon who is known for her work on the Experimental bars.

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Walking in, there is a long banquette with small octagonal tables for a quick coffee and a cake and as you continue into the back, there is an elevated level with long couches and larger tables. The atmosphere of Loustic really calls for quiet and relaxation. It is a real  relaxing haven from the busy city.

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Jambo, l’African Explorer | A Restaurant, A Jem


The smell of hookah hits my nostrils as I round the street corners in search of L’African Explorer.  This little Rwandese gem is tucked away on a fairly conspicuous street in the Belleville neighborhood, just behind l’Hopital St. Louis. Word on the street was that not only was the food excellent, but the owner’s story was equally, if not more appetizing.  The not so conspicuous bright, yellow restaurant facade and bamboo window shades peaked my interest and suggested that this was not going to be a typical Parisian “experience gastronomique”.

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We were welcomed by the owner who sat us and then offered us one of their specialty drinks.  Who can turn down a spicy ginger Ti Punch or Bissap Cocktail?  He warned me that is was quite spicy, and I happily accepted.  The food was nothing less than exceptional.  My friend had tanzanian squid with coconut milk sauce (to die for!) and I had Rwandese ragout which is beef with onions, tomatoes, red beans marinated in spices, which vaguely resembled a chili con carne – delicious!  Encompassing each main dish is a selection of about eight or so accompaniments regional to Rwanda (rice, sweet potato puree, sautéed manioc greens, etc.).  After discovering our affinity for “spicy”, he brought two forms, one liquid and one a sort of salsa, of the pili pili, or “African bird’s eye”, pepper.

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The restaurant celebrated 7 years in March.  But what I wanted to know, was why Pierre (otherwise known as “Pop”), decided to open an African restaurant, of all things.  For 17 years, this man was abroad doing humanitarian work, either in African with Medecins  Sans Frontieres, or in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia working as a coordinator for tsunami relief.  He’s worked for the UNHCR, otherwise known as the UN Refugee Agency.  What a life!

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How does one go from refugee advocate to restaurant owner?  Pop explained that he and his wife, who is Rwandan, wanted to take a little “pause”.  Quite a successful pause it has been!  They plan to open around six or so new Jambos around Paris in the next year.  He insists that the quality won’t be compromised, as the food will continue to be prepared fresh daily, as is it now.

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It’s amazing to think of all the stories not yet discovered, behind doors that could be just a mere three blocks from where you go home to every night, streets passed daily and never noticed.  One thing is for sure – this is one story worth “tasting” for yourself.  We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Jambo, L’African Explorer

23, rue Sainte Marthe

75010 PARIS

01 42 45 46 55