March 2, 2018

This and That

Snowy Paris

Hello? Is there anybody out there?
I know it's been ages, so I decided it was time for a quick catch up. The last couple of months have presented us with a few ups and downs, and I haven't been writing much, but I wanted to share some of what's been going on around here, what a few friends have been up to, some interesting links, and what I've been listening to, eating and reading.


January started off with a quiet NYE at home with a friend visiting from the US, followed by a sunny, delicious, carb-filled, 48 hour trip to Rome (which thankfully renewed my faith in that crazy city!). December and January were full of doctor's appointments to prepare my husband for hip replacement surgery. I'm going to say it again...the healthcare in France is incredible! He's now working with a physical therapist and will be ditching his crutches soon. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make my annual trek to New Orleans for Mardi Gras in February, which totally bummed me out (first world problems, I know), but being here and experiencing Paris blanketed in a layer of snow, which just happened to coincide with my birthday, was a rare treat.

And now it's March already!

At le Salon du Fromage

I spent several days this week at the annual Salon de l'Agriculture and the biennial Salon du Fromage (which is open only to professionals). Luckily the place is enormous, so I was able to walk enough to burn off all the cheese, charcuterie, crêpes, bread and wine I enjoyed over the week. Every year I look forward to seeing the animals and spending time meeting and chatting with the small producers in the regional products pavilion. This year I brought home some incredible, grassy olive oil from Provence, a few bottles of wine and a nice wedge of tomme de vache from the Lozère.


Cheese is my thing and I never want to stop expanding my knowledge on the subject. Two recent additions to my ever expanding cheese library include The Oxford Companion to Cheese and The Book of Cheese - The Essential Guide to Discovering Cheeses You'll Love by Liz Thorpe. Lot's to keep my mind busy between these books!

In addition to the cheese reads, friends are keeping my nightstand stocked with great books. David Lebovitz's honest and entertaining story of home renovation in Paris, l'Appart, is currently available in both hardcover and Kindle versions, and Ann Mah has a novel being published this summer, The Lost Vintage, about wine, war and family secrets. And I know what gift I'll be giving to all of my food loving friends with kids this Christmas. Mardi Michels of has a cookbook coming out this summer called In The French Kitchen With Kids that shares some easy and fun ways to get your kids cooking with you in the kitchen.


Forest Collins, who writes the definitive guide about cocktails and the cocktail culture in Paris on her website, 52 Martinis, and who taught me just how incredible gin can be (thank you, Forest!), launched an app last autumn called Paris Cocktails. Check it out! Download it! It's free...for now.

Winter can be dark, drizzly and bone-chillingly cold in Paris and it's far too easy to indulge in chocolat chaud and heavy comfort food. Chocolate & Zucchini is one of my go-to websites for healthy, seasonal recipes and batch cooking meal plans.


I don't listen to too many podcasts, but am currently loving the Paris based Earful Tower. You can imagine how thrilled I was when host, Oliver Gee, invited me into the studio a couple of months ago to talk about French cheese, my favorite subject!
52 Martinis also has a podcast dedicated to all things cocktail related, on which I was a recent guest to discuss New Orleans, Mardi Gras and of course, cocktails.

Minervois views

I'm intrigued by Micronutris, a company based in the south of France that offers an array of edible insects. I spotted their display in a small grocery store in Olonzac while we were at our house in Occitanie in November. On their website they advertise with slogans like, "Unwind with thyme flavored insects and a glass of crisp Chardonnay." and "Throw a handful of insects on the salad, pick up your picnic basket and put your sunglasses on" (these sales pitches definitely sound better in French than they do translated into English!). I think this is a great idea and had the chance to taste their products at le Salon de l'Agriculture this week. I especially liked the little cookies made with meal worm flour.

Along the Rue de Rivoli

One of my favorite casual eating and drinking spots in Paris' 11ème, Martin, now has a little brother, Robert Restaurant. I've yet to get over there, but with chef Peter Orr in the kitchen, it is bound to be fabulous.

I started doing yoga again after a 15 year hiatus and it has been amazing! I feel so much more flexible and calm, and who knew that core muscles were so important (or can hurt so much after years of being neglected!). If you're in Paris, or visiting Paris, Affordable Yoga offers classes all over town at both drop in and package rates.

A Cat, A View

Unfortunately I have some sad news to share as well; our little Domino suffered a heart attack and passed away while we were down south in November. The vet thinks he had an aggressive tumor growing in one of his lungs. His sudden death has truly left an empty place in our hearts and in our home and we will eventually adopt another cat, but currently have our hands full with the care of our 17 year old chihuahua.
We miss you, Domino!

Rainbow over the Eiffel Tower

So as not to end on a such a sad note, here are some stories I read this morning of people who have restored my faith in humanity. It was a nice way to start the day.

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Mardi Michels said...

I'm still here! Lots of interesting links in this post (thanks for the shoutout!) - bookmarking to read over the weekend. Sending you hugs re: Domino XO

Taste of France said...

I love the Earful Tower and enjoyed your interview!
My SIL sells cheese and has been a great resource--not just for info but also as a filon for the real-deal demi-roue for raclette. We enjoyed it during the cold snap, but now it's warm and sunny in the south and our thoughts are turning to outdoor dining already.

Mary and Bill said...

Glad to have you back! So sorry about little Domino; we do love our furkids.

Working Girl said...

Really enjoyed the recap of all your doings. I'm glad your husband is doing well and am so sorry about your little cat. It is sad when our pets go. My little cat, Tache, is sitting on my lap as I type this--she sends a purr and a cuddle to you both.

Pauline Kenny said...

So sorry to hear about Domino. One of our cats died when we were on a trip and it was heartbreaking to not have been there for him.

French Girl in Seattle said...

Bonjour Jenn. I am still here and enjoyed reading your news... all the way to the end when I found out about poor Domino. I know you miss him. He was featured on a regular basis in your IG feed as I recall, or maybe on your FB page. You do lead a full life and make the most of your Parisian years, (in spite of ups and downs) like you did in southern France, and later in Normandy. That is why you have been, and remain, a favorite American expat of mine in social media. Bonne année 2018. Looking forward to bright days, Paris strolls, and apéros with friends ahead. A bientôt, Veronique (a.k.a. French Girl in Seattle)

Wendl said...

I'm so sorry about Domino. It is so hard to lose a pet family member. I'm glad Barry is doing well, and that he has the benefit of the great French health care system. What a wonderful post with beautiful pictures! And I'm sorry I missed your birthday. I hope it was wonderful, and that 2018 treats you well!

L Vanel said...

So hard to lose a loved and cherished pet. I know Domino hit the jackpot in getting you and had a great life. Kisses and hoping we'll see you again one day soon.

Unknown said...

So sorry about your kitty!

Sharon North said...

So glad you’re back and blogging- I missed you! Glad your husband is recovering well but really sorry to hear about Domino. Pets so quickly become family members and are missed terribly when they’ve gone.

Jennifer said...

I can't wait to see your book! Hope you had a good weekend and thank you re: Domino. xx

Taste of France
Glad you enjoyed listening to the podcast and you are lucky to have a SIL who is a fromager.

Mary and Bill
Thank you. It is so sad when they leave us.

Jennifer said...

Thank you and thank Tache for the lovely purrs. :)

Oh, that's awful! Sending you hugs!

Thank you for your lovely comment! He was featured often on IG because he was so photogenic. :) If you have time, please look me up the next time you come to Paris and we can have an apéro together. Bonne Année 2018!

Jennifer said...

Thank you my friend. One of the highlights of 2017 was seeing you and your family and I hope not too many more years go by before that happens again. All the best to you in 2018! xx

Thanks, hon. He had a good life and we loved all the years we had with him. Hope to see you soon...let's work on making that happen! xx

Thank you!

Jennifer said...

Yes, pets become such a huge part of our lives, so it really leaves a void when they're gone.
Thank you for taking the time to comment and for sticking around. :)

Emm said...

Faithful Reader still here. Sorry about Domino, it hurts so much when they go.

PJ said...

I am glad to see that you are back again. Been missing your blog. I am sorry about your loss of Domino. I remember him from when you rescued him. I rescued one looking just like Domino about 4 years ago all the way to the black marking on the mouth.

Jennifer said...

Thank you! It really does. :(

I'm glad you rescued (what sounds like) his twin. And thank you for continuing to read!

Travel said...

It is always nice to stop by and hear what is happening in your world.

Unknown said...

What part of France is the Salon de l'Agriculture and Salon du Fromage?

What do they talk about on the Earful Tower?

Jennifer said...

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

The Salons are in Paris.
You should listen to the Earful Tower and find out! :)