Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Weekend in Houston, Y'all

I am delayed on this post. Oops. A few weeks ago we went to Houston!

Everyone knows of my deep love for Texas and their items that are deep-fried and their rodeo and their people who wear boots, but alas, that was not the reason for our visit this time. Three of my besties from college live there and one of them recently had a baby so it was time to pay a visit to the Lone Star State.

(Sidebar: we ACTUALLY were supposed to go last month over President's Day Weekend, but our flight was scheduled for the day that LA saw more rain than we've seen in goddamn YEARS, so that trip got canceled. I was not happy. It was not pretty. Don't take away my vacation plans, rain!)

Anyway, so this was our raincheck trip! We got in late Friday night and after a quick stop at Whataburger (Ram's first time, HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?), we checked into our hotel (we shared a room with Gerrick and Daniel, who drove in from Dallas). I accidentally booked us at the Aloft Houston Downtown instead of the Aloft Houston Galleria - rookie move. My bad. But we were only staying there for sleeping so it was fine. I am mainly writing this down so I don't make that same mistake again.


Saturday morning our whole group (5 AEPhis + 4 husbands + 2 children + 1 baby + 1 special guest Lauren - missed you Linds!) trekked out to Pearland, Texas (pronounced "Pair-land" and not "Purl-lind" as I was rudely corrected) for some real Tejas BBQ. We waited in line at Killen's for about a half hour on the side of the freeway (#soTexas) until we got to the front of the line, where our rowdy crew of Jews proceeded to order more pig than you have ever seen in your life. Y'ALL, it was SO GOOD. Shout-out to the pulled pork and the burnt ends. And the fried mac & cheese. Oops. 



After lunch the ladies went off to the best store in the world, Kuhl Linscomb, where I celebrated the end of NO SHOPPING MARCH by spending $80 on greeting cards and lipstick and other nonsense. And then we headed off to a Houston pal's birthday party at the Karbach Brewery - I don't drink but it was a very cool place and despite Houston's humidity I remained calm and we all had a delightful time, complete with a very strange photoshoot. My friends are weird. Quick reminder that we are all in our thirties.




I don't really have words to describe dinner on Saturday night. Our whole group (including special guest Alyssa, my dear friend from college) had reservations at a new-ish Houston place, Underbelly, and it was MAYBE one of the most delicious meals I've eaten in recent memory??? We ordered tons and tons of things to share and it was so incredible I didn't even take a single picture. Ya'll will have to be satisfied with this slightly blurry photo of the restaurant sign. (See how I start saying y'all after two days in their company? Ridiculous.)




On Sunday we reunited at the Texas version of a New York Deli, Kenny & Ziggys (spoiler alert: LA's delis are better) and then marched around Nordstrom for a while - I bought two dresses and cuddled the baby so I was in fine spirits. And then before we knew it, we were off to the airport :( a too-quick trip! 


It was amazing seeing my friends - five out of the ten of us from college were together for most of the weekend, but I am already counting down to next month, when we ALL go to Philly for a wedding! We get to be together so soon!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Clear Eyes, Full Cart, Can't Lose

Hi, my name is Jordan, and I am a competitive shopper.

I love to shop no matter what. Throw in the words "special collection" or "limited quantity" or "sample sale" and my competitive nature comes out and I am IN IT TO WIN IT. 


Longtime readers of this blog will know that anytime Target does a collaboration with a brand, I tend to go a little nuts. I absolutely killed it during the Missoni for Target (remember?! I am laughing so hard re-reading this recap I wrote SIX YEARS AGO) and Lilly for Target collections - I have a very specific strategy that involves staying up late the night before until the items go live on the site, and then waking up early to go wait in line at my local Target and buy whatever else I may want in person. 

(Lilly for Target happened while I was on my blogging hiatus - I'll sum it up by saying I SPRINTED to the second floor to grab the home-goods I wanted, made it up the escalator FIRST, stole a cart from a frightened teenage associate wearing a red polo, and was out of there within 20 minutes with three sets of my beloved Lilly pompom napkins (and like a zillion dollars worth of other nonsense.)


So Victoria Beckham for Target hit stores yesterday and I was EMOTIONALLY READY. I made plans to go with my friend Natalie at 7:30am on Sunday morning (ugh) and sadly fell asleep before midnight on Saturday night BUT as luck would have it, the shopping gods smiled upon me and I coincidentally woke up at 5am. I rolled over to grab a pillow and in my sleepy haze it occurred to me that the collection was probably live - AND IT WAS! So I quietly got out my laptop and dropped like $380 while my darling husband slept innocently next to me, probably dreaming of a time when our credit card bill was not insane. And then I was too wired so I laid in bed excitedly until my alarm went off and it was time to shop again IN PERSON THIS TIME.

I'm glad I went in person but to be honest I got everything I really wanted online (I actually didn't buy THAT much but I bought everything I liked in 2 sizes since I didn't know if things would run big or small.) I did pick up a few things that didn't catch my eye online but looked super cute in store - namely, the black satin bomber with jeweled details and the navy sweater with lace appliques. And a girl came over to me and said she recognized me and read my blog, so that was fun! (Hi Sloan!)

I have a feeling by the time this post goes live, most of this stuff will be sold out, 
so I'm not including links - but it's worth it to go check!

Meanwhile, my friend Natalie is 6 months pregnant and she CLEANED UP with the baby clothes. She seriously bought one of everything and each outfit was cuter than the next. I fell in love with this little girls' dress and walked around for a few minutes debating whether or not I should attempt wearing the kids XL as a shirt, but alas, it was not meant to be :)

It seems each time Target does one of these collaborations, it gets better and more streamlined and less chaotic. There was an orderly line outside the store, no one ran when the doors opened, the rules were made clear to cut down on reselling (you could only buy two of each item in a particular size), and there were sales associates everywhere putting things back from fitting rooms so you could potentially grab your size if it wasn't available on the racks anymore. It was actually quite organized and an overall lovely shopping experience!

Each time I shop one of these Target collabs, I think to myself, "How will they ever top it again?" And yet they do. From Missoni to Lilly to VB, I have loved it all and I can't WAIT to see who they partner with next. Fingers crossed for Chanel for Target!? A girl can dream.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Beach Bags

I know yesterday I talked about what I plan on bringing along on vacation, but I saved a different fun roundup for today since I thought it deserved its own post - beach bags!

Listen folks, I am Jewish. I am perfectly content to lay in the sun for hours upon hours, but only if I have my water bottle, 2-3 magazines, a book, my Kindle, an array of sunscreens, moisturizers, and tanning lotions, a ponytail holder, chapstick, and sunglasses right next to me. Basically, I carry an arsenal down to the pool, and I need a cute bag to hold it all.

For the past few years, my go-to has been a Mara Hoffman beach tote - my sister and I each have one and we trade them back and forth. Unfortunately, Mara doesn't seem to be coming out with any new patterns or designs anymore, and so I am in the market for a new one.

Here are some of my favorites that I've found so far:



one (the tassel is removable!) / two (25% off right now) / three / four
five / six / seven (super cheap!)


As you can see, I like a BRIGHT bag. Bring on the color and pattern and pompoms and tassels, the more the merrier. Even if you're someone who doesn't typically wear such girlie things, this is an item where it can be fun to try something new.

I am leaning towards number six because it has a few things I like: the top fully zips and it also has a zippered pocket inside - perfect for my phone and the hotel key! I think the runner up is probably two (can't resist those pom poms) or four (very cool pattern).

It's already spring and summer is around the corner. Treat yourself to a new bag. You deserve it.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hawaii, Here We Come

In just over a week Rami and I will be back in Hawaii and I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT.

We are actually going back to Maui - we were there six months ago for our two-year anniversary and had such a good time that when we were deciding where to go over spring break, it was kind of a no-brainer. (Rami works in education so we can really only travel on big trips during his spring break, winter break, and of course, summer.) 


So we are basically doing the exact same trip as we did in October and even though I love going to new places and having new adventures, I am so ready for a week of relaxation. When we were there in October we literally did nothing but lay in the sun and swim and eat ahi tuna for a week straight and really, what's better than that?

Here is what I am planning on bringing along with me this time!



ONE: UM, is this the world's cutest cover-up? I'm gonna have to go with yes.
TWO: For my nails, Essie Secret Story = the PERFECT hot pink + Essie Tart Deco = the best coral for my toes.
THREE: My go-to sunglasses - Karen Walker Superstars with mirrored lenses. I love the rose gold studs in the corners!
FOUR: A very cute and sassy ponytail holder with a built-in bow. I am torn between leopard and chambray - which usually means I will end up with both.
FIVE: My FAVORITE sandals of all time and they are from Target and SO comfortable and less than $20. Buy them immediately in both colors before they sell out. Trust me on this. SIX: A must for laying out in the sun? A Swell bottle! Fill it with ice water before you head down to the pool and it will keep you cool all day. Shoutout to my BFF who bought me this cute Gray Malin one for my birthday last year, but I love the leopard and rose gold ones too.
SEVEN: Not hating this bright floral bathing suit. Love the mesh boob situation. (Also here in plus)
EIGHT: Is it really a vacation if you don't bring along a fun pair of tassel earrings? No, no it is not.



Counting down the minutes til ALOHA!
 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What to Eat in Vegas

Though more than two years went by without me updating this blog, during that time I received lots of emails from readers, which was super nice - I always love hearing from new friends! And during that time, the majority of the emails were about one thing.


Could I recommend some restaurants in Las Vegas?


Hell yes I could.


Seriously, I have received countless emails in the past few years asking me for restaurant recommendations for Vegas. I figure some of you may also be interested in this list, so I’ve expanded on it!

My number one recommendation is Craftsteak. I tell everyone about Craftsteak. It is my favorite restaurant outside of LA and trust me, I go to a LOT of restaurants. #opentableVIP It’s an upscale steakhouse owned by Tom Collichio (of Top Chef fame, who can GET IT by the way) located inside MGM and the food is just fantastic. Usually, we are only in Vegas for a weekend, which means two dinners - we ALWAYS go here for one of the meals. The menu is super seasonal and changes virtually every day but I can tell you what we get everytime I go with my mom - a couple oysters to start, the charcuterie platter with pretzel rolls (which is a thing of BEAUTY), occasionally the heirloom tomato salad if it’s spring or summer, the hanger steak medium rare, and the mushroom assortment as a side. That’s our standard order and it’s unreal. 

Other things on the menu that are really delicious: the Persian cucumber salad (also seasonal), Caesar salad with anchovies (Rami’s favorite), wagyu tartare, their french fries with paprika and vinegar, monkeybread for dessert (I think I have had this only twice because usually we are so full from dinner), and they make a mean mojito. You really cannot go wrong here. It ain’t cheap but it is DAMN good every single time.


Two different Craftsteak meals, two mandatory charcuterie plates


For Italian, my top recommendation is Carnevino, inside the Palazzo. Carnevino is a Mario Batali restaurant and we all know that man knows Italian. I have a soft spot for Carnevino because my favorite slot machine is right next to it so altogether the two make for a very happy Jord. I like that at Carnevino, the pastas come in truly Italian portions, meaning not huge, so you can get one for a starter if you’d like rather than a main course. I have had many of the pastas over the years and my favorites are the ricotta and egg raviolo with brown butter, the sausage orecchette, and the spicy spaghetti fruitti di mare (with seafood). They are also known for their octopus, which is out of this world, and their meat (carne means meat!) - I recommend the veal scallopine or sweetbreads, or if you’re winning at the blackjack table, the porterhouse steak.


For a great brunch, I recommend Yardbird, between the Palazzo and the Venetian. We all know how much I love the south and this place is just too cute. My mom loves chicken and waffles and they have a great one - I am partial to the shrimp and grits, but whatever you get, do not miss the biscuits or the fried green tomato BLT! They also serve lunch and dinner but I kinda like starting my day off with a biscuit and a sweet tea, Vegas style. 


The family that eats fried chicken together stays together?


If you are brave and want to venture off the strip, you MUST go to Lotus of Siam. It’s known as being one of the best Thai restaurants in AMERICA and it’s randomly in a slightly seedy stripmall about 10 minutes off the strip. Great for groups (they take reservations!), great wine list, a lot of super spicy dishes, and everything is delicious. You can get your pad Thai, but this is the place to be more adventurous! I recommend the garlic fried prawns, nam kao tod (crispy rice salad), Chilean sea bass with drunken noodles, and braised short rib with coconut curry sauce. YUMMMM.

For a nosh while shopping, we always like to go to Spago, inside Caesar’s Forum Shops. Here’s a tip - if you sit inside the restaurant, yes, it’s quite expensive. But if you sit on the little “patio” (you’re still indoors, but it feels like you’re outdoors), you’re given the Spago Cafe menu, with more reasonably priced options. My absolute favorite thing to get is the Smoked Salmon Pizza with creme fraiche and salmon roe - a Wolfgang Puck specialty. They also have a fabulous bread basket. #carbs


A couple other favorites:
Best view on the strip? Mon Ami Gabi, inside Paris. Sit on the patio and you’ll have a great view of the Bellagio fountains. Order the moules frite (mussels with french fries) and thank me later. 
Great burgers? I enjoy Holstein’s, inside the Cosmopolitan, for delicious, inventive burgers, fries, and amazingggggg milkshakes - some of them with booze.

 Milkshakes at Holsteins after Britney!

Good for a group? I think tapas is always fun when you’re with a group - I like Julian Serrano inside Aria, and Jaleo inside the Cosmopolitan. I also have gone to Sushi Samba inside the Palazzo with a big group and we had a great time - I’m not the biggest fan of sushi in Vegas (since sushi in LA is so good), but most of their menu is good.
Pretty food in a pretty place? You’ll want to go to Giada. It has mixed reviews but I have always enjoyed my meals there and the decor is GORGEOUS, with an amazing view overlooking the strip! Small portions, though, so be warned. I like their chicken meatballs, their shrimp with lemon spaghetti, and their charcuterie plate. Plus there is a photo booth! Fun!


 
I hope this list helps you plan your next trip! Let me know if you have any questions or want some more personalized recommendations. Viva Las Vegas ya’ll!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Street Eats!

Last weekend I looked at the calendar and realized Ram and I had a whole weekend without any real plans. That sounds glorious for the most part, but I am the type of person who needs SOMETHING fun scheduled, so I poked around and decided we should take a cooking class...

...So off we headed to the Eatz Cooking School!

(Side bar - I have blogged about Eatz before, but also - last year, my friend Natalie and I took a six-week Culinary Basics cooking class at Eatz and it was THE BEST. It was held on six consecutive Saturdays in the spring and we had so much fun, made such delicious food, and learned so much! We learned knife skills, the five French "mother sauces," compound butters, soups and stocks, chicken entrees, how to cook different kinds of seafood, how to cook beef and lamb, and of course, pastry and breads - sadly, we both missed the pizza and pasta class, but REST ASSURED we will be making it up :) If you live in LA and want to learn how to cook, or even if you know how to cook and want to become better at it (me), this is a seriously awesome thing to do and I highly recommend it!)


I was laughing as we walked in because I remember the first time Rami and I took a cooking class, years ago when we were dating, and he was a total newbie in the kitchen and he was SO nervous. I remember he drank an entire bottle of wine and I was scared he was going to chop his fingers off. But here we are, almost two and a half years married, and he is perfectly comfortable in the kitchen and the best sous chef!



The menu for that day's class was "Street Eatz" - spicy chicken satay with peanut sauce, shrimp & scallion pancakes, pork potstickers with sesame soy dipping sauce, and grilled Mexican street corn. HASHTAG YUM. Every single thing was delicious and ridiculously easy to make. 

I am very into Instagram Stories right now (do you follow me? @queenjord, duh) so I was posting plenty of pictures - here are a few:

Spicy Chicken Satay:




Shrimp & Scallion Pancakes:



Pork Potstickers - YUMMMMM:




 


Here is the recipe for the Grilled & Loaded Street Corn - you will not regret making it! 

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 tbsp smoked paprika
Salt, to taste
4 ears of fresh corn
2 scallions, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro minced
4 slices of bacon, chopped, cooked crisp &
drained
4 oz cotija cheese
4oz Mexican crema

Preparation:
Mix the butter, smoked paprika and salt in a bowl. Take a paper towel and smear the butter all over the corn. Wrap each piece of corn in a piece of foil and place on a hot grill. 
Cook for 10-12 minutes turning every 2-3 minutes. You should hear it sizzle.
When ready, unwrap and sprinkle the corn ears with the herbs, bacon, cotija and crema as desired. Eat hot. 
Serves four


We had a great afternoon and I am already looking forward to our next class. I'm thinking Greece is The Word? Or maybe Your Home Steakhouse? Yum... We shall see! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

NO SHOPPING MARCH: An Update, With Many Complaints

The end of NO SHOPPING MARCH is in sight but let me tell you friends, it has not been easy. 

Every time I do this I am actually legitimately incredulous when I realize how difficult it is to not shop. At least once a week, I run to Target on my lunch break to pick something up for the house and end up adding a pair of shoes or a cute top to my cart without even thinking about it. On weekends, I'm usually at the mall with my mom for a few hours. And as I mentioned before, I am ALWAYS shopping online. It's just too easy to get an email about a sale, click through, and buy something within minutes. I am an online marketer's wet dream.  

Before I go on much further - let me just say that I DID break NSM for one thing and I felt so guilty I confessed to like five of my friends and knew I had to confess here too. I'll reveal what I bought next month - but in my defense let me just say it was something I have been waiting to come back in stock since LAST JULY. So. Please absolve me. 

Anyway, this month I have been pinning up a storm to my "Wanty McWanterson" board on Pinterest so I thought I'd share some stuff, you know, in case YOU want to buy it. I'm generous like that. But don't buy the last one because I'll be pissed. 



ONE: I love the pattern on this dress and the full-length zipper. I think it could be equally cute as a real dress with platform wedges and as a beach coverup with sandals. (Also available here in plus size.)

TWO: So I own these Kate Spade shoes and they are the MOST COMFORTABLE EVER. I can barely wear high heels anymore without falling on my face (v. classy) but these have a low thick heel yet aren't granny! I have them in beige leather but have plans to get another color - either these pink ones or maybe cherry red?

THREE: Oh my GOD I want this so bad. Rainbow pom poms? SIGN ME UP. 

FOUR: No, I'm still not over the tassel earring trend. No, I don't think I will be anytime soon.

FIVE: I hadn't really been in love with bucket bags until I came across this one - so chic with the leopard pattern, and it'll hold so much!

SIX: As mentioned above, I cannot walk in stiletto heels anymore (#veryold) so these platforms look super cute, yet comfortable and sturdy. I can't believe I am using "sturdy" as an adjective that appeals to me these days but there ya have it folks. Also, I have several pairs of Pour La Victoire heels that are pretty comfy, and these are the same brand.

SEVEN: Oh, a tiny dish with a little Frenchie on it? YAS PLZ.

EIGHT: This is one of those sweaters that I would lust after for months, finally order, hang it in my closet, and then... not wear. For like months. But that doesn't mean it isn't cool as shit. 


So... polka dots, leopard print, tassels, hot pink, and pom poms. Sounds about right for a Jordan Marisa Rose wish list. April - hurry it up. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

#CheerioRaffs

Last week I talked about travel tips and then did a little recap of the first part of our 2016 Eurotrip, and then promptly had house guests for three nights and forgot to blog about the rest of our trip. Oops. Here I am. ANYWAY!

After leaving Paris, we took the high-speed train to London and voila! Less than 3 hours later we had arrived and my terrible British accent was out in full force, much to Rami's utter delight.



Once again, we turned to our trusty Starwood points, and stayed at the W Hotel. I had absolutely no idea when I booked it, but the W is actually smack in the middle of Leicester Square, Chinatown, and the West End (where all the Broadway shows are), and most everything we wanted to see or do was SO close by. We walked everywhere! I will say that Leicester Square can be compared somewhat to Times Square - it is PACKED with people at all times of the day and night and can be a little overwhelming, but in my opinion, it makes up for that by its convenience, and our room was very big and luxurious.

The thing I wanted to do most in London? HIGH TEA. I am obsessed with the idea of afternoon tea and as someone who doesn't drink coffee but loves tea, this was my #1 request. The first tea we took (HA I AM SO BRITISH) was something I had read about literally 10 years ago - "Pret-a-port-tea" at The Berkeley Hotel, where all the little pastries and cakes are shaped like purses and shoes and accessories and are based on the latest runway fashions from haute couture designers! 




We also had an amazing tea on the last day of 2016 at Sketch London. Sketch kept appearing on everyone's lists of their favorite things to do while in London so I was curious - and when I investigated, I knew we had to go. I don't even know how to describe it - avant guard? Whimsical? Slightly insane? It was so cool and colorful and beautiful inside. While we drank our tea, a full on GOSPEL CHOIR came out of nowhere and performed Christmas carols. The bathroom stalls were futuristic pods and the ceiling had rainbow lights and there was a whole room that looked like a forest and I just loved everything. 




The weather while we were in Europe was really nice - we totally lucked out - it was cold but not rainy, and we had warm jackets so it wasn't bad at all. The day we went to the Tower of London, however, was foggy and freezing and windy, and of course that was the day we waited outside in line for an hour to see the Crown Jewels! (Thank you husband for fetching the hot chocolate so I did not freeze to death.)




I also highly recommend the Churchill War Rooms - I love history museums and we really enjoyed going into the building that housed a secret World War 2 bunker. It was a little claustrophobic but we managed to have fun anyway.




If you know us, you know we love theater - despite my BEST ATTEMPTS, we were unable to get Harry Potter show tickets which was mildly devastating to say the least. Instead, we bought tickets in advance to see School of Rock on New Years Eve - we didn't know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised - and actually, while wandering around, we realized that a singer from NYC who we really like was also in London for a 10-night show, so we saw Christina Bianco perform one night as well! 


Other fun things that I recommend: as tourists, we did our due diligence and saw Big Ben, the London Eye, and Westminster Abbey. We took a very cool London Rock Music Tour, where we were driven all around the city in a comfy bus and got to see apartments and buildings that have a place in rock & roll history - Rami loooooved it. 



We visited Harrah's for some shopping and a little nosh. (When I die, sprinkle my ashes in that Food Hall. It was the most amazing ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my entire life.)




London is also known for their amazing Mediterranean food right now - the best restaurants in the genre are NOPI by Ottolenghi (of Plenty and Jerusalem cookbook fame) and a new place called Palomar. We went to both and enjoyed both but I'd give the edge to Palomar, actually. 


All in all, we were there for 10 days and had a really awesome time. I am already thinking about where we can go next and use more of our Starwood points - Tokyo? Barcelona? Thailand? THE WORLD IS HUGE AND I WANT TO SEE ALL OF IT!!! 

PS. You can see more pictures from our trip on Instagram - #bonjourraffs for Paris pictures and #cheerioraffs for London pictures. I like coming up with a hashtag for each trip. I'm also the go-to for coming up with clever wedding hashtags. Is this my legacy?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#BonjourRaffs

In December, Rami and I went to Paris and London and had THE BEST TIME. We were there for 10 days and I loved every minute. I had never been to either place - Rami had, in college - so we acted like total tourists and really had such a wonderful trip.

I'm not going to post every single thing we did - just the highlights - but if you are planning on going to Paris and/or London and would like a copy of my itinerary, please just email me and I'd be glad to share it!


So first - Paris! As I mentioned a few days ago, we flew to Heathrow direct from LAX and then bought a one-way ticket to Paris from London. We arrived late on Christmas Eve and checked into our hotel, the Westin Vendome Paris. It was a beautiful hotel in a fantastic location, walkable to so many places and sites - our room wasn't huge, but everyone was so kind and friendly and the concierge service was great. I highly recommend.


Because we were in Europe over the holidays, everyone told us not to miss visiting a Christmas Market! There was one on the Champs-Elysees a 5-minute walk from our hotel and I absolutely loved it. (There was a terrorist attack in a Christmas market in Berlin the week before our trip and I was a little nervous, but our hotel assured us it was very safe, and indeed we did see plenty of armed policemen and guards and felt very safe once we were there.) We bought gifts for friends and tasted all the delicious food and loved seeing all the decorations.

Of course, we visited the Louvre - I particularly enjoyed taking the traditional tourist photo outside the building (#sobasic)...



But our travel agent Sybil (if you need a good one SHE'S THE BEST) recommended the Fondation Louis Vuitton and it. was. incredible. It has nothing to do with fashion so don't get too excited - rather, it's a STUNNING building about a half hour outside of the city filled with the most incredible modern art. The museum itself, designed by Frank Gehry, has the most incredible architecture - I couldn't stop gaping at it - but inside, the art... I was swooning. I loveeee modern art and this museum had the most incredible collection from the Shchukin family - Matisse, Picasso, Monet, Degas, Van Gogh... That particular collection is no longer there anymore, but the whole museum is a must-see!!!



Whenever we travel to a new place, Rami and I like to take a food tour. I find it is a really fun way to see a new city and get to taste the local specialties while getting to know a guide who shares a common love of food! On this trip, we took the Paris by Mouth Taste of Le Marais Food Tour and absolutely loved every minute. We walked all around the Marais - a trendy (and Jewish!) neighborhood - and tried the city's recent award-winning baguette, fresh cheeses and pate and charcuterie, gourmet chocolate and pate de fruit, cream puffs, wine, and more. 





I have to tell you - I was SO excited to see the Eiffel Tower. We bought a little package on Viatour that included cut-the-line admission to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, plus two tickets on a Paris River Cruise of the Seine, and I highly recommend doing so - we bypassed lines of hundreds of people! When we first walked over to meet our tour guide for the Eiffel Tower, I said to Rami, "I'm so excited, I can't wait to see it," and he started laughing and said "Look up!" So I did, and this is what I saw:



View from the top! 



Of course - it goes without saying that we had some spectacular meals in Paris. I made it a point to make some reservations for us at places with Michelin stars. After years and years of dreaming about it, we got a lunch reservation at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and I was SO EXCITED. Our lunch was like 15 courses, took three and a half hours and I am still dreaming about those mashed potatoes. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I am so glad we did it.



We also ate at some other great restaurants - I particularly liked Camille (a true French brasserie), L'Aus Du Falafal (every single person recommended we go here so we did, it was very very good but I personally feel LA has equally excellent falafel - Rami disagrees and thought this was better), another Michelin restaurant, Ze Kitchen Gallerie (French/Asian fusion, very very good), and lunch at L'Ami Jean, which is a restaurant that was featured on my VERY FAVORITE NEW SHOW, "I'll Have What Phil's Having," which I lovingly refer to as "What Did Phil Eat Today?," hosted by the one and only adorable Phil Rosenthal. L'Ami Jean was VERY French and very AUTHENTIC and when we left my winter coat smelled like foie gras for the rest of the afternoon. 


Other places we visited that we loved: I did some shopping at the Galerie Lafayette department store and bought this sick Furla bag. While I was there, Rami went to the Cinamateque Francais Museum and nerded out about French movie stuff. We walked around the Notre Dame late one night when it was kind of deserted and it was gorgeous. We had the BEST breakfast at Angelica Restaurant one morning, featuring super-thick hot chocolate and truffled scrambled eggs and $17 dollar orange juice (oops, don't do that). 




We were in Paris for a total of five nights and had the most incredible time and could have stayed another week. I CAN'T WAIT TO COME BACK. But on the sixth day, we woke up and took the Eurostar high-speed train to London, and the second part of our adventure began! Bye bye #bonjourraffs, hello #cheerioraffs!

PS. The whole time we were there, I WAITED AND WAITED to see a REAL French bulldog. On our last day, this little guy pranced by us across the street and I almost fainted on the cobblestones. WORTH THE WAIT!