Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mark and Lynn interview author Eloisa James about Paris in Love


In 2009 NY Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a chance that many people merely fantasize about: she sold her house, took a break from her job as a  Professor of Shakespeare, and summarily moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her sweet, funny and eventful year soaking in the fashions, art, atmosphere and of course food and drink (with her Italian husband and entertaining young children in tow) in a city well known for it's romantic quality.

Ms. James was nice enough to correspond with Mark and Lynn about her work, French food and what it takes to be a good romance novelist. 


M & L: How did living in Paris change your palate and the way you eat?  



EJ: "I don’t think it changed my palate. But it made me wistful for a life I don’t have here in the U.S., where I am overworked: a life in which one spends two hours lingering over an excellent lunch, followed by a peaceful nap (not a cat nap), and then caps the day with a lingering meal with people one loves, none of whom are teenagers. Perhaps in my next life!"

M & L: Did all of the great food and wine make you jaded or cause you to take this aspect of your life in Paris for granted?



EJ: "It made me envious. Although, as I point out in Paris in Love, there is an extraordinary amount of bad food served in Parisian restaurants. One has to be careful not to idolize the French too much: they happily eat at restaurants that could not survive in New York City, in my estimation."



M & L:  What would you say your favorite food/meal was while in Paris?  Your least favorite?



EJ: "I grew to treasure the way the French make hot chocolate, with one small pitcher of steaming milk, and another of excellent chocolate, so rich and dark that it slides into the milk like a helping of mud. Mixed together—in just the proportions that you love—it is truly a drink for the gods."

"My least favorite meal took place, unfortunately, at a Michelin starred restaurant. I ordered tĂȘte de veau, or calf's head, and that was a mistake."

M &L : Was it hard to stay in shape in Paris with all of the great, rich food or did you manage to keep yourself fit?



EJ: "In a word: Yes!"

5.  What do you believe are the key differences between a good romance novelist and a bad or mediocre one?


The best romances have a rhythm and a promise that works. I know the world is a tough and cold place; I’ve lost my mother and I have a child with a chronic illness. But—and this is a big but—I also know that love and joy make all the difference. A great romance reminds the reader that if there’s a pattern to the universe, it’s one shaped around and by love. We can all use that reminder now and then.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fish in the West Village hits a comforting, nostalgic note for Mark & Lynn


Lynn and I and family made our way through the West Village and ended our eventful day at Fish which is, as you might imagine,  is a New England style seafood  restaurant with low ceilings, nautical and fishing ephemera and a raffish vibe.  The night we were there we found a rowdy, but mostly friendly Labor Day crowd (oddly, the couple sitting next to us seemed uptight and humorless for some reason, oh well).

We have had a lot of luck with finding good seafood in restaurants and markets but the seafood here was really particularly amazing and some of the best we have had outside of Boston and, Fish was the rare seafood restaurant that we had experiences with a comfort food vibe.  


I have rarely seen grilled calamari on menus on Long Island (or elsewhere for that matter) so it was a great treat to have a very flavorful yet simply prepared version here (too many restaurants weigh calamari down with overpowering sauce).  Lynn had a colorful, flavorful serving of "angels on horseback" which Lynn appreciated as a nostalgic "Mad Men" era appetizer from the cocktail parties of her parents when she was a youth.  


We hit Fish on a Saturday night so it was rocking and rolling.  We imagined that it might be pleasant to go during the week when the pace was not so breakneck as the staff was very accommodating and the bar was welcoming.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Flo's Food Truck raises the bar on food trucks for Long Island...


Long Island has mostly lagged behind in the food truck craze, but this has changed at least in the community of Bayport where the venerable Flo's has just unveiled what is possibly the most magnificent food truck on Long Island.  A total pleasant surprise (the truck maintains most of the Flo's menu with the exception of some of the raw seafood offerings) for Lynn and I but a testament to the way the food forward luncheonette manages to keep up with the zeitgeist.  Hopefully, this will also allow Flo's the opportunity to keep themselves on the radar well into the fall.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mark and Jackson hit Prodigy Coffee in the Village

My grandson Jackson and i hit the East Village over the weekend and our first thought was that we needed to get something to drink.  Jackson said he needed "cold, cold water" and as for me I needed some serious caffeine.  Shortly after we started our hike down Carmine Street we ran into the small, elegant coffee outpost Prodigy Coffee.  Our attractive,  exotic barista paid us particularly good attention and etched a small leaf in the Cafe Au Lait I ordered (or was it a tree?).  Jackson was quite happy with his "cold, cold water" and seemed to feel particularly grown up with his sustainable coffee cup and his Phineas and Ferb tattoo

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Jackson makes a big impression at Centro Vinoteca in the Village...


Jackson and I walked and walked around Greenwich Village on Saturday and our feet, though pretty much invincible, eventually tired and we found respite at a chic restaurant/wine bar called Centro Vinoteca.  On that hot afternoon the place felt like a gift from the Deity.

Predictably, Jackson made quite an impression on the attractive hostess and French accented waitress who both quizzed him on 1)where he was from 2) why he was in Manhattan and 3) could she (they) get him anything?   Jackson had a glass of cold water, I had a glass of chilly Rose and I was grateful but somehow not surprised  when the restaurant sent over a small plate of complementary appetizers.   Suffice to say by the time we left everyone bid Jackson and I farewell by name...
M

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A day at the US Open...


The heat allowed me to sweat out my Grey Goose martini in record time...



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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...

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