Two Favorite Paris Restaurants: Le Vaudeville and Julien

Le Vaudeville Terrace

Le Vaudeville Terrace

Le Vaudeville au Soir

Le Vaudeville au Soir

The Barman at Julien

The Barman at Julien

Art Nouveau Splendor at Julien

Art Nouveau Splendor at Julien

Last week there was a NYT piece circulating on the internet about how Paris’s high-end restaurants are experiencing a bit of une crise. Some blamed the aftermath of the Paris attacks while others blatantly stated that there’s no need to blow your budget on a fancy-schmancy night out when there are so many wonderful meals to be enjoyed at a host of other restaurants, brasseries, bistrots and cafés in the French capital. Clearly, it doesn’t have to be all about whether un resto has a star or not.

This social media conversation prompted me to think about two of my favorite Paris restaurants: Le Vaudeville and Julien. These landmark establishments rank as what the French would call une valeur sûre, or a sure value. Indeed, when you dine–for lunch or dinner–at either of them you know you’re going to delight in a fine meal in a lively setting served with aplomb. The décor of each ranks among the most historic of Paris and a moment passed here will dazzle both your eyes and spirit. It’s no wonder these long-established restaurants are considered institutions in a city that boasts some of the finest dining experiences in the whole world.

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Nights Out in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

My Mom and I laid low during the few weeks after my father passed away in March at our family home in Troy, New York. Then I said, “Let’s have some fun.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Mom said, “Yes, I’d like to break out and enjoy myself. Although don’t take too many pictures because officially I’m in mourning.”

The heck with old conventions–we’re no longer entrenched in the burdensome customs of the Victorian Age; Mom was long overdue for a little gaiety in her life. (I do, however, think there’s a lot to be said for the nineteenth-century tradition of wearing black for at least a year. It indicated to people ‘I’m vulnerable. Be kind to me.’ But I suppose that’s a thing of the past–people would just think we dressed very New Yorkish. Or Goth.)

So I checked out what was happening in the capital district area, the region that encompasses Albany, Schenectady and Troy as well as the event listings for Saratoga Springs, New York, the quaint old town just forty-five minutes north of us where I lived five years prior to moving to Colorado. Of course I zeroed in on what interested me the most in the Entertainment section of the Times Union; fortunately Mom and I have very similar tastes.

I snatched up tickets for a Sam Bush concert at The Egg in Albany and a book event featuring Augusten Burroughs, put on by the renowned Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. Mom agreed to treat us to dinner and suddenly we felt excited about life again. With all the care-taking Mom did for Dad the past six months, there’s no doubt that these plans promised to buoy her back to more fun-loving days.

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Be Not Afraid

My Father on Lake George , New York in 2008

My Father on Lake George , New York in 2008

It has been just over four weeks since my father passed away. Even though I have been almost frightfully composed, I still feel like I’m in a blur. I think I’m in the midst of processing so much.

I do want to broadcast, however, to not be afraid. My father almost died on the eve of the millennium, then in 2008 and then at the end of 2014. So I had plenty of time to ponder his eventual passing. Plus, he was 89 years old. Yet even with this mental preparation, I always imagined I’d be in pieces upon hearing the news and then, of course, at his funeral and then in the days and weeks that followed. But no, I’ve felt a calm and resiliency that has surprised me.

I mean it–be not afraid. Do not live in fear of something that will come, something that you have no control over. Those heartbreaking moments do happen in our lives and it’s unproductive to anticipate–with dread–how we will handle them. We all have an inner strength that knows no boundaries. For me, I feel that my father’s passing has helped me to get in touch with the stuff I’m made of–I am Frank Angelo Clemente’s daughter.

He was a devoted family man, an accomplished businessman and un passionnée of skiing, tennis, exercise, food, Broadway show tunes, the English language and even French. But most of all, he was extremely kind and steady, compassionate and thoughtful and always appreciative and grateful for what he had and for what other people did for him.
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Ski Dreams

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

Vail After One of Our Big Spring Snowstorms

I dreamed of skiing last night. I felt the joy of doing sweet turns on soft, slushy snow on a bright and sunny spring day. The sky appeared bluer than blue, even bluer than a Colorado sky, making the scene feel surreal. It was, of course, just a dream. But still, when I woke up, I felt the sense of freedom and exhilaration one feels after doing some great turns on the slopes. Those feelings are fleeting now but it was swell while it lasted.

I chatted on the phone with my boyfriend yesterday and he told me the skiing is fabulous in Keystone. “Nice corn snow, Hun. Really great spring skiing,” he emphasized.

I guess those words have stuck with me, particularly since I remember with great fondness a week of skiing we shared at Keystone and Breck, A-Basin and Vail this time of year a couple of years ago.

Actually I’ve been following the Colorado ski season ever since it suddenly ended for me on March 22, the day my father passed away.

Some might think that winter is over and so is the skiing. But those in the know, know that some of the best days may be relished throughout the end of March and all the way into the better part of April in the West. Those can be big snow weeks and with the base that most Colorado ski resorts have benefited from this season, even without fresh pow, the good skiing can go on and on and on.

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Goodbye to Dad

Dad Taking His First Look at the Grand Canyon in 2010

Dad Taking His First Look at the Grand Canyon in 2010

Yesterday was a tough day. From the first look at the notifications on my phone, I woke up sad about the news of the terrorist attacks in Belgium. My heart goes out to Belgium, my Belgian friends, Europe and to all of humanity in general. It’s hard not to feel down about the state of world affairs today.

I headed out to ski–to teach a lesson to a little boy I had been with the past few days–and experienced the worst day on the mountain of this season. It was windy, icy and horribly bleak. Fortunately I was skiing with a joyful six-year-old who was thrilled to be on the hill, no matter the conditions.

We stopped for a hot chocolate break. I settled my little guy into his seat at the table with another instructor and his young charge. Just as I was plopping the marshmallows into the chocolate at the beverage counter, I got the call. Yes, THE CALL. The one I had always dreaded, the one that informed me of the passing of my father. It was, of course, from Mom. We spoke no more than a couple of minutes and although this was unexpected news, I got it right away. Mom and I connected on this and then we let each other go.

I almost passed my boy off to another instructor but I decided to keep him; I chose to complete my assignment, largely because we had done some serious bonding and I didn’t want the last part of his Telluride Ski School experience to be with someone new. I shed some tears with other members of my Ski School family while my little dude twirled ice cubes in his frothy drink. We then headed out to ski.

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Luxurious Telluride Stay and Travel Planning to France at a Discount

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Icicle View

Icicle View

Yay! It’s KOTO fundraising again. This is when you can snatch up all kinds of great deals on hotel stays, restaurants and other travel perks. I applaud the generosity of so many that donate alluring premiums to our community radio station during this time. Thank you also to those of you that bid on them. It makes the fundraising for Telluride’s homegrown radio so much more fun.

Summer at Mountain Lodge Tellu

Summer at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Serving Up the Smores at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Serving Up the Smores at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride, one of my favorite properties in our beautiful mountain destination, has once again stepped up and donated a two-night stay in one of their handsome condos. Valued at $1,000., these superlative accommodations come replete with a king-sized bed, leather pull-out sofa bed, fully-equipped kitchen, gas fireplace, balcony and all the amenities that come with a stay at an elegant mountain lodge. (There are even robes in the closet–a rarity these days–which you can use to pad over to the outdoor heated pool and hot tubs.)

Ski in/ski out in the winter, hike in/hike out in the summer–no matter the season, you’ll enjoy the convenience and breath-taking views of Mountain Lodge’s location.

Situated in the main lodge, The View Bar & Grill has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike due to its excellent food and fun, heartwarming ambiance. They haven’t let their success go to their heads either because they still offer one of the best price/quality relationships on their food and drink around. Read my story Chef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge Telluride.

I’m setting the opening bid at $250. for this two-night stay with all proceeds going to KOTO. Contact me ASAP to make a bid or a pledge. I will close out the auction Friday, March 11.

My Travel Memoir

My Travel Memoir

Pondering a trip to France? If so, my Travel Planning Consultation might be a good fit for you. After having lived in Paris eleven years and written four guidebooks on shopping and touring in France (three on Paris and one on the French provinces) as well as a travel memoir that leads you over hill and dale in this glorious country, I do know how to help you plan your travels to this top destination.

For a $40. donation to KOTO, I will chat with you for an hour about your trip planning to France. Valued at $70., this premium also includes a copy of A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, my travel memoir that will also inspire you to explore some of the most scenic regions of France along with the City of Light. For this, too, please contact me ASAP.

Voilà! That’s all folks. Thank you in advance for supporting KOTO community radio in Telluride. I hope you will find the opportunity to tune into Travel Fun, my talk show on travel, which airs every other Thursday at 6:30pm MST. You can tune into it at KOTO.org and also listen to some interviews that I’ve posted as podcasts here.

Telluride Ski School History: A Rich and Storied Tale

Instructors Lined Up at the Gorrono Meeting Place

Instructors Lined Up at the Gorrono Meeting Place

Teaching a Student

Teaching a Student on Skinny Straight Skies

The Early Days

The Early Days

Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School magazine, I’m posting my expanded version of my Telluride Ski School History story below along with photos from days gone by and shots from this season.

The mountain was raw. We were into steep skiing. The town was wild. We never knew it was going to go this far,” says longtime Telluride ski instructor Cindy Smith about the early days of Telluride. “There was a lot of craziness,” she adds, “but boy, was it fun.”

From people riding horses into the New Sheridan Bar to lines of cocaine laid out on the tables of certain establishments, there was some outrageous behavior going on in T-ride during the old days (the seventies through early eighties) and indeed some blatant lawlessness. “Some people even say that firemen would come in and hose people down in the the bars on really rowdy nights,” Cindy continues.

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Be My Wine

St. Kathryn's Cellars Lavender Wine

St. Kathryn’s Cellars Lavender Wine

The Mosel Valley of Germany

The Mosel Valley of Germany

Mumm Brut Rosé

Mumm Brut Rosé

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of days away, so it’s time to get shopping. Whether it’s for yourself, your love, your mom or dad or your Galentine, I suggest you pick up a few bottles of wine before you go forging for chocolates and flowers. There’s nothing like getting giddy over sips of a delicious wine. Red, white or pink, velvety, fizzy or bubbly, wine–long the nectar of the gods–has been putting people in the mood for love for ages. Here are some of my recommendations for memorable, reasonably-priced wines for this holiday and always.

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