Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Phoenix: My Two Favorite Coffee Stops

I'm going to keep this short and simple. My top two spots for coffee in the Phoenix metro area are Lux in central Phoenix and Crave Café at the Montelucia resort in Paradise Valley. I am always on the lookout for exceptional coffee or espresso in the valley, so feel free to send suggestions.

Crave uses Lavazza coffee for their drinks and they know how to brew it--my personal favorite is an iced coffee with a splash of cream and touch of agave ($2). The iced coffee is much stronger than a latte--something to do with the way it's prepared here. Try the gelato made on site at Crave, it is amazing. The affogato is a traditional Italian dessert and worth tasting-it's a scoop of gelato with a shot of hot espresso poured over it($6.50).

Crave Cafe at the Intercontinental Montelucia Resort

4949 E. Lincoln Rd.

Scottsdale, AZ 85253

Second stop on the coffee train is Lux coffee on Central avenue and Highland. I'd say it's a mac-friendly crowd at this trendy little joint. Lux can get pretty groovy on Sundays with a live DJ who mixes up everything from R&B to techno for background music.

I wasn't always a mocha drinker, but Lux has me converted. Ask for a dollup of the homemade whipped cream with your drink--it's unreal.

I generally like to taste a café's espresso to get a real sense for the quality of the coffee, but I haven't had one yet here. My husband will vouch for the drip--he says it's stellar.

Towards the back of the main area, there's a small room with an older victoria lido roaster. Beans are roasted on site in small batches almost every day. Lux offers delicious locally-made baked goods, better than what a great at-home baker can make. I also love the yogurt and fruit--ask for a side of fresh granola to stir in.

LUX coffee bar
4404 n central ave
phoenix, az 85012

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Be There!: Barnes & Noble Kierland Book Signing, this Saturday, September 25 at 1pm

Please stop by to say hello if you can--this Saturday at the Barnes & Noble Kierland, Scottsdale location from 1-3pm! B&N told me they will have a table set up by the café and travel section. Thank you! (photos: mark1554, flyer6757)

Meet Kim Levesque, Author of Pampered in Paris!

Author Signing, Author Event
Kim Horton Levesque is a travel writer and French translator who lives in Phoenix. In Pampered in Paris, you'll find profiles and photos of more than 50 of the city's premier spas, beauty salons, perfume boutiques, and thermal baths.
Saturday September 25, 2010 1:00 PM

Kierland Commons

7030 E Greenway Parkway Ste 150, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, 480-948-8551

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Little Love...from Paris

The relatively obscure 'I Love You' wall, le mur des je t'aime, can be found near the metro stop Abessess in the Montmartre district of Paris. It is easily missed, so check the signs for Square Jehun Rictus as you exit. The words 'I Love You' are written over 300 times in 250 languages in this inconspicuous little corner dedicated to love.
(photo credits from top to bottom: robseye76, ConstantineD,GooGaBu, h-i-jack)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stay off the Grass! Pelouse Interdite!

The French are such awesome spazzes about their precious, green lawns in public parks and squares. Here are a few signs telling everyone to 'KEEP OFF THE GRASS', something you will encounter everywhere.

Imagine the scene: you've been trekking around the Louvre for 2 hours and the kids are ready to let off some steam. A brilliantly green and inviting public lawn sits before you--then you see the dreaded sign 'PELOUSE INTERDITE.' You send your children out to run anyway and within seconds a policeman or park attendant appears from nowhere and very sternly warns you 'PELOUSE INTERDITE, Madame!'

Paris' city hall has an entire page on their website dedicated to warning folks that they will incur the wrath (at the very least) of the gendarme (police) if they step foot on the grass. Once in a while you will stumble upon 'PELOUSE OUVERTE'--open/accessible lawn.

Il est très agréable, le printemps venu, de s'allonger sur les pelouses des parcs, jardins ou bois de Paris. Mais, pour qu'elles soient en bon état pour vous accueillir, il faut les respecter et veiller a leur bonne santé...

N’oubliez pas qu’en période de repos hivernal (15 octobre – 15 avril), même s’il n’y a pas de signalétique, toutes les pelouses sont inaccessibles pour permettre au gazon de se reposer.

Puce environnementPelouse ouverte Ces panneaux signalent les pelouses mises à votre disposition. Suivez les recommandations des Agents de la Surveillance Spécialisée.

Puce environnementPelouse au repos Ces panneaux signalent les pelouses qui font l’objet d’une remise en état et l’interdiction temporaire de les utiliser.

Puce environnementAération Opération qui consiste à perforer le sol pour l’aérer et qui peut être suivie d’un sablage.

Puce environnementScarification Opération destinée à retirer les mousses et déchets végétaux de surface.

Puce environnementSemis de garnissage En complément des opérations précédentes, ensemencement destiné à redensifier le gazon.

Puce environnementDécompactage Opération mécanique consistant à ameublir le sol en profondeur. Les travaux d’entretien courant (arrosage, tonte) sont effectués de mars avril à octobre novembre. Puce environnementLa réalisation d'une pelouse - Préparation du sol : ameublement du sol par un labour puis émiettage de la surface pour recevoir les graines de gazon. - Le semis : un mélange de graines d’espèces différentes, sélectionnées pour leur résistance, est semé soit en automne, soit au printemps. - La levée du gazon : au bout de trois semaines, la germination a lieu. Pendant cette période, le semis est fragile et le moindre incident compromet l’avenir de la pelouse. Le gazon est levé mais n’est pas encore enraciné. Il faudra au moins 10 mois avant d’ouvrir la pelouse au public. Lorsque la pelouse est usée ou trop affaiblie, elle se dégrade beaucoup plus vite et une remise en état est alors nécessaire. L’hiver est une période difficile pour le gazon. Les sols gorgés d’eau ou durcis par le gel fragilisent les graminées et leur système racinaire, ce qui facilite l’arrachement ou L’asphyxie. Aussi, pour qu’une pelouse soit belle au printemps et en été, il faut systématiquement la fermer au public du 15 octobre au 15 avril.

Puce environnementCe que la pelouse ne supporte pas - les jeux de ballon et les chaussures à crampons - les vélos et autres deux roues (pour éviter d’arracher les racines du gazon) d’être piétinée en période hivernale - les chiens (pour des raisons d’hygiène et parce qu’ils grattent la pelouse) - Pensez à ramasser vos déchets et à les déposer dans les poubelles

Puce environnementCe que la pelouse supporte - la marche avec des chaussures de ville - le bain de soleil, un landau, une poussette, le repos sur une serviette, un pliant… - les jeux avec les jeunes enfants (balle en mousse) - le pique-nique à condition de récupérer les déchets

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Paris: My Favorite Casual, Organic Eateries

I love long, leisurely meals in Paris but my schedule was so tight during my last visit that I had to find some better options. The following three restaurants offer seldom-found self and counter service in a casual atmosphere--no long waits for service or the check. The first two are all organic while the last listing incorporates conventionally-grown produce in their menu.

Bio Boa: 3, rue Danielle-Casanova, 1st arr. Telephone: 01 42 61 17 67, Metro: Pyramides, Open Monday to Saturday from 11am to 6pm.

This hip organic eatery offers a self-service refrigerated section or order-at-the-counter service. Daily specials include a Menu Detox, with choice of soup, sandwich and fruity dessert (11E), Menu Veggie, with choice of a salad, veggie burger and dessert (13E), or Plat Chaud a hot selection like grilled fish or chicken breast (14.5E). There is an excellent selection of sandwiches and salads, all between 4E and 5E. (Photo: Seargeant Killjoy)

La Ferme : 55, rue Saint Roch, 1st arr., Telephone : 01 40 20 12 12, Metro : Pyramides, Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 7pm, Sunday 10am to 7pm.

La Ferme has several locations in Paris and serves organic, natural and artisanal quality food. There is a self-service section with drinks, yogurts, cold salads and sandwiches and a counter where diners can order up hot food. Several set meal menus that include a choice of tourte a quiche-like or a warm platter, salad and dessert are available (12E). The tomato, spinach and goat cheese tourte is addictive. There are irresistible desserts and baked goods behind the glass that are included in the meal combos; brunch is served on Sundays. (Photo: elaurant33)

Cojean: 6, rue de Sèze, 9th arr., Telephone: 01 40 06 08 80, Metro: Madeleine, Open Monday to Friday from 830am to 6pm and Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

Cojean is a healthy and contemporary eatery with fresh food and specials that change daily. It has 15 locations in Paris including one inside Le Bon Marché and Printemps Mode department stores. There is a wide choice of salads (6.70E), sandwiches and vegetarian selections. A chalkboard shows the daily specials that always include soup (4E), a grilled vegetarian (6.20E) or club sandwich (6.60E), quiche and salad (8.70E), and a hot selection like lasagna (8.70E). Cojean serves a good selection of fresh-squeezed or blended fruit and vegetable juices including orange and carrot, grapefruit and rose or a blended mango, orange and strawberry (4.10E-4.50E). Cojean doesn’t bill itself as an organic restaurant, rather one that offers fresh, seasonal choices, so ingredients are mixed. (Photo: vincent-t)