Sunday, May 31, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
I found this champagne at Legrand on rue de la Banque, a dozen or more years ago. I used to bring a magnum of champagne home in my carryon every time I made the trip, usually Gosset rose or Larmandier, and in a wooden box, if possible. Those days are sadly past. I can find it here at Hi-Time Wines in Costa Mesa, but it's pretty dear. Now, if I were to rent a house in France, I would absolutely ring up Pierre and Sophie and have them ship several cases (6 bottles to a case in France) to the house....there would be no problem having it consumed....
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Nothing I did today or this weekend or this year can compare. I had good sales, I got shorted of my delphiniums today and that made me really mad; I talked to lots of great people; I saw an oscar-winning actress. When I was on the way home, going by the VA, I gave a buck to the vet who was panhandling. Today they are all vets, I know; Homeless Vet signs work well today and we have no way to verify. He was really happy that tomorrow he would get treated to a BBQ at the VA-- Free! In Laguna, there was a guy also panhandling at the grocery store, and I asked him what he would do tomorrow; would he go to the Heisler Park pancake breakfast? That costs $5, he told me, which he did not have.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
......... ......In France, organic wine is called "biodynamique" or just "bio." Growers use various methods, including the addition of compost & manure, microorganisms, and teas of certain steeped ground-up plants applied at key moments. Some allow weeds to grow under the vines and think this helps the soil maintain its natural balance; others follow the cycles of the moon and the relative positions of the zodiac. Hey, why not if it makes great wine? The goal of all of this is to "encourage the natural rhythm of the vines" and of course to allow the soil to be truly alive. Certification rules apply if you want to call yourself "bio."
In Burgundy, the growers we know take it one step further: what's the point of going "bio" if your neighbor is pumping and spraying pesticides and chemical fertilizers on their vines? My lens was not crooked in this photo; the "cote" of Beaune is steep, and if it rains, you can imagine that you might get some runoff from your neighbor up the hill. And the parcels are of course packed together, so if you spray, your neighbor gets your drift, so to speak.
So, what they do is get together with their neighbors and agree that either all of us in this little area are going to be bio, or we can't make it work.
So where am I going with this post? Well, of course I am always ready to share interesting vignettes of France, but more importantly, there was an article in the Register about a national report on beach water quality by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has Laguna scoring in the top tier.
My point is: isn't a good score in Laguna diminished if your neighbor (e.g. Doheney down the coast) is chronically one of the worst? E-coli anyone? Ear infections? Gastro problems? Yuck! We each take care of our little corner of the world, of course, but in the end our actions relative to each other and the global picture also matter....
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I have so many posts I could do about this weekend, but I want to start with two dear brave souls who went around the Pacific Palisades farmers market, one dressed as a plastic bag monster, to raise awareness of plastic bags. They did a fine job!! They gave me a count, I think it was about 90 bags on this kid.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
It was a treat to be back in Corona del Mar market today, after 2 weekends of early days in LA. Today I did all blue and green on the front; net bags and baskets, and two cache pots of blue hydrangeas to set it all off. I would have taken more photos if it had been sunnier....It was nice to have a few surprise visits from friends and green-associates too!
I got home with a few produce items from the market, as well as some of my favorite fresh lemon-spinach ravioli from "Kelly the pasta lady." It's a little grey today, so I don't feel guilty about having a little down time and getting home "early" at 2:30.
If I have down-time or vege-time, it's often spent with a good book. I used to buy books constantly, in New York and Paris, new or used or very used; Rizzoli on 57th and the bookstore at the Louvre are favorite places to shop or just browse. Now every shelf I have is full, so I shop more carefully. I used to buy old French magazines (Maison et Jardin helped me learn French!) or World of Interiors' issues on 6th Avenue in the Village, from the street vendors who also sold incense (still have all those magazines and refer to them). I kept my syllabi from the Ecole du Louvre and I slowly track the books down since some of them are out of print or hard to find. From time to time I buy chez FNAC in Paris or online; it's expensive, but the only place to go if you're looking to complete your collection of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, for example, which could only be read in original French and comes in beautiful small blue linen bound books; exquisite! I'll have to do a post on the French and their books one of these days. Now I like to look for decor and style titles at Juxtaposition, Rogers Gardens and Anthropologie, and online at 1stDibs' Required Reading; I like to read just about anything except fiction (yuck!). But when I buy, the first place I look is Alibris, for used books. I used to like to shop at Strand in NY, which was new and used, and I still love to find new books at a discount to list.
Today I bought a book I've been meaning to buy, Nicole de Mazery's French Interiors. It has a fine collection of photos, including a beautiful series of photos of Hubert de Givenchy's chateau; I have photos of it in a French book entirely devoted to Givenchy, but this is the first time I've seen some of these photos in the US. I have a few of Nicole's titles already, and in French; if I have my choice I will always buy a book in French over English if the subject matter is French; in this case I'll buy in English and check it out later in France. I always come home from France with several coffee table books.
I am still looking for photos of Christian Lacroix's new home, or is it a chateau? There was a brief article in the New York Times about it a while ago, with Lacroix sitting on the sofa with his mother and his Parson Russell terriers. The canape was covered in a rich leopard velvet, and behind the sofa was a table with several fabulous taxidermy leopards, surely from Deyrolles. It was entirely fabulous and entirely French!
This evening I have to go see Erin to go over instructions for Brentwood and give her a few supplies; tomorrow I will be in Palisades for my first time, so we'll be out the door before 6am.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Today we were in West LA for a rare mid-week show. What a nice group of people today! Thank you Melinda for a lovely event.
I was up before 5 and got there early; Erin and Kailea joined later and ran the boutique; they are in training but doing a great job.
I am so tired now I have little else to say except good night!!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I really like to do driving tours. Me at the wheel. I used to take people on a driving tour of Manhattan and show them all the important places out the window: Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building; Rockefeller Center; Soup Nazi's store, where Letterman is filmed; JFK Jr's apartment building, where John Lennon got shot. In Paris, voici le Tour Eiffel and Champs de Mars, the Louvre, Concorde (the obelisk not the plane though that is on display at CdG), the key bridges; Garnier Opera House, the Champs Elysee and the Etoile, Notre Dame; Chanel on Rue Cambon; we do the drive from the Ritz to the tunnel under Pont l'Alma, where Diana was killed. People love to see a mix of history and current culture.
But I have a list of places I always go when I am in Paris, and now I'm starting to wonder how I will fit it all in. I always go to the Louvre when in town (though it's a brief visit); always to a few favorite shops, like the one in the post I did for Sister Cities; it's a total inspiration, and I load up on little scented candles and glass and silver pieces there. I always go to les Puces, even if it's a brief stop. I know just which marches and which vendors I want to see; some silver, some fabric, some garden pieces, some crystal. I always go to see the vintage Hermes and Vuitton dealer though I never buy.
The one I am most worried about is Aux Vieux Paris. I didn't go there the last time I was in town and someone told me the building was condemned and that it is now closed. So I have to go see. It's a bar, but it doesn't open until midnight. It opened after the War, and precious little has changed since then; it's totally authentic. It is owned by Madame Francoise, who must now be in her late 80's; she always has nice jet black hair in a bob and pumps with a large chunky heel, like Minnie Mouse, except she has pretty bad edema in her ankles, so you always wonder how long she will last. And how she can be up and pouring drinks and on her feet in the wee hours; you see, she works the bar. Serge is on the accordeon, also handing out les paroles (pages of written song lyrics). He is alternatively scolding and disapproving and encouraging, looking at you with dark eyes that have some serious bags under them, and a little shoe polish hair. Why wouldn't he have major bags, working most nights midnight to 5am? No clapping is allowed, it's only finger snaps, and he enforces that strictly. Mme Francoise's daughter Simone rounds out the trio of characters.
You see, this is a singing bar; you come to sing along to the old French songs and have a glass or 5 or 10, until 4 or 5am when it closes. I've closed it down a few times, and the sun is coming up. If you want to learn French, you must give it a try; I guarantee you will be speaking French faster and with less inhibition when you leave than when you arrived. That's in part because you have been singing and reading French all night, and part because you're most likely pretty sauced when you leave! Just sing Jacques Brel's La Valse a Mille Temps a few times and I guarantee you'll be making progress! He was Belge, but the French adopted him.
I also always go to Dehillerin for the best and least expensive cooking/chef supplies, and I'd like to go see the peacocks (paons) at Deyrolle. One day I want to buy one, though it's sort of a folly and I have no idea where I would put it. I used to think I would stuff Napoleon when I lose him, but he's not quite as pretty as a peacock. Deyrolle is the place to go for taxidermy and natual history; actually the boys might quite like it. We will of course also go to Bertillon for the best gelato to be found just about anywhere. I hate to be a snob but it really is the best.
I'll get it all sorted; I guess I have to also discuss with the boys. I would like to let them wander alone for a bit, but not sure yet. I wonder if I can get them reading some French before the trip so they can go to Vieux Paris...? I'll have to post more stories about it later.