- Le Ciro's - from its days when it was the pretentious and not so good restaurant in Deauville, the Ciro's has grown into one of the best places to have lunch or dinner on the Normandy coast, and clearly on the Deauville boardwalk, the famous Planches de Deauville. Perfect sole, delicious salmon starter, mouthwatering puddings for those who like them, and excellent service (Le Ciro's, boulevard de la Mer, 14800 Deauville, +33 231 14 31 31, or go through the concierge at Normandy or Royal to book)
- Qui plume la lune - the best newcomer (or not so new anymore) on the Parisian food scene in years. Everything is great about this Bastille tucked away outpost, from the smile of the owner to cuisine of the chef (who I believe is also an owner). Named after an 80s film with Jean-Pierre Darroussin of Mes Meilleurs Copains fame (Y'a pas l'feu au lac, on va s'faire un super cafe...), this Flintstone-decorated place has a simple principle: guests do not chose what they want to eat, but share their dietary requirements and the number of dishes they want (2, 4 or 5). Then the chef adapts, feeding you with always the same quantity of food (i.e. the size of the dishes decreases as the number of courses increases). Expect a festival: perfect nera di sepia risotto, warm foie gras, and amazing fish, cheese to die for, even the puddings (which I do not normally like) are worth it. And if something is missing, not on the menu or you want to taste a new wine, just ask, the owner is there, with smart ideas and good advice - and a smile. To the point one believes we are not in Paris anymore...
- the appearance of trays on the Eurostar luggage belts for a couple of months now - I did not want to write about it before, as I was worried this would disappear, as all the good ideas usually do, but this avoids having to take one's jacket to the laundry each time one commutes between Paris and London. After 25 years of existence, great innovation!
- that Air France boarding passes now work with Passbook. SO CONVENIENT, well done! If Aegean - great airline btw - could do it, Air France could as well, and did it. For those who don't know how it works, when you check in online on your iPhone (do it on the Air France app, not on the site), you get asked "Save to Passbook". Press on it, and your boarding pass pops into the Passbook app, which is built in with iOS 6. All your passes in one place, and your iPhone gets a bit more tidy
- Manchester - first time in Manchester this week, and clearly a nice beautiful provincial Britland city. Stay at Radisson Blu, convenient, mega-nice staff, great spa and gym and very central, if not super charming. One point of caution for fast lane travelers: the Manchester airport lounge operates "a strict three-hour policy. Even if your flight is late, you will be required to vacate the premises after three hours". Ah, le charme discret de la provinciale bourgeoisie...
- Bright lights, big city by Jay McInerney. Everyone knows, or should know, McInerney. At least every fan of Scott Fitzgerald, Brett Easton Ellis and other writers who have made a name in describing wittily the f***ed up way of life, East Coast or West Coast, of the American jeunesse doree. The plot is simple: a quite well-born fils de famille gets an inferior job at a good newspaper and marries an aspiring model. And from there on, everything gets in shambles... Quick beach reading
- Vanity Fair, French version. I had not bought the first issue, but the second one is remarkable. Lots of articles with content, Pistorius, Hepburn, Saint-Laurent, Galliano, even if the topics are not always unheard of, the wealth of details in the content deserves tribute
- the rejig of Daft Punk's Get lucky by Stephen Colbert - initially a simple story: Daft Punk cancelled on Colbert (whose Colbert Report is broadcast on Comedy Central) on the back of their exclusivity contract with MTV. So Colbert called upon his address book to produce a "slightly amended" version of Get Lucky. When one's friends are call Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges, Mel B or Hugh Laurie, this proves even better than the original one. Watch on YouTube
Je n'ai pas aime:
- Monsieur Bleu - yes, everyone has been talking about it for weeks, months even. Yes, it was expected to display the same cocktail of babes, unbearable waitresses, standardised food and power people than any new high profile restaurant opening in Paris (the previous one with so much hype having probably been the Ralph's). Yes, the place is wonderful and the terrace is breathtaking, even though some are disappointed to face a busy road. I so wanted it to be a success that I went multiple times. Each time: a total fight to book a table (no phone bookings apparently possible, closed for 2 weeks in August and do not take September bookings before the break), never a smile at the entrance and they manage to fatify (yes, fatify), even the healthiest dishes (why the heck add cream on seabass carpaccio). It is a shame. I will continue to go, as I want it to succeed but please, Monsieur Bleu, put a smile on the hostess face and teach her the rudiments of politeness, take out the cream and improve your booking system. Merci!
- the new HSBC retail banking app - the UK one works fine-ish, but the new French one is an absolute nightmare of complexity and failure. Complexity, because one needs at least a PhD in IT to be able to use it (it is so complex that explaining the mere complexity of it is too complex...). Failure because the iPhone app (not the iPad one so far) sometimes blocks itself (it gets Doctor Watsoned, for those old and geek enough to understand the joke) and never comes back. You then have to desinstall it, and reinstall it. I can cope, but what about my 90 year old grandmother?
Je n'ai pas tranche sur:
- Grille - THE place to have lunch these days in Paris. Think about it: a kebab place in the heart of uber-trendy Paris 2nd borough, with veal by Hugo Desnoyers, spelt bread, all of this dressed with white horseradish mixed with mint and coriander. Very good, indeed, but probably not to justify the hour of queueing that seems to be the norm these days. And the lack of tables (2 inside, 2 outside) means that it rules itself out from being used by people who do not work or lunch in the immediate surrounding. Some progress to make, but a welcome addition to the fast yet high-quality lunch (15, rue Saint-Augustin Paris 2e)
Je veux essayer:
- the Cardok parking system: the picture is self-explanatory. You dig into the ground and once your car is on the Cardok place, it goes deep in the ground, freeing up a nice garden above your garage. See the photo...