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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Feasting on Fondue and Raclette in Telluride

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

A Bubbling Pot of Fondue at Alpinist and the Goat

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Providing a Heartwarming Welcome

Serving Up the Bubbles

Serving Up the Bubbles

Brrrr. Baby it’s been cold outside, at least here in the Rocky Mountains. Tis the season to eat lots of warm, hearty foods–calorie-rich meals that refuel you after charging down the slopes all day at Telluride Ski Resort.

And baby do I have a recommendation for you. Book your table at Alpinist and the Goat where you can delight in melted cheese in its most delectable forms: fondue and raclette. Both specialties from the Alps, here these convivial dishes are served with salad, seasoned bread and apples. For the fondue, you can choose from seven different options such as traditional, truffle and Cortina, a twist on the classic recipe blended with creamy gorgonzola. More adventuresome gastronomes will want to try the Basquel, a spicy fondue made with traditional Emmenthaler, Manchego and chorizo or Cajun Fondeaux, a rich blend of cheese finished with crawfish tails and Cajun seasonings. Yum. Leave it to Americans to innovate a centuries-old classic from the Alps.

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Grateful for Telluride and the Telluride Ski Resort

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

The Town of Telluride, Colorado After the Storm

With all that’s happening in the world, most of us are feeling extra stressed these days. This is true even in Telluride, Colorado, one of the safest and most beautiful places on earth. No one is immune to feeling reverberations from all these horrific terrorist acts. As I wrote in my story, Paris Attacks Hit Home, we are one.

The Telluride Scene

The Telluride Scene

Still though, we are so privileged in this sweet little ski town. Few people lock the doors to their cars and houses except during bear season, since our local bruin population has become pretty savvy about entering spaces redolent with lingering pizza, berry and pie smells. We live in a bubble of sorts where our biggest threats come from pushing it too hard on the slopes or getting caught in an avalanche during a backcountry ski.

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A Local’s Take on the Telluride Film Festival and How to Do TFF on the Cheap

TFF: Great Films in a Spectacular Setting

TFF: Great Films in a Spectacular Setting

“Aren’t you tired of seeing movies?” my Hunny asked me as I rolled in last night after the last film of the After the Festival Telluride Film Festival viewings.

“No, you know how I love movies, Hun. Plus, I only saw eight over the span of five days. Some people see that many within the first two days of the festival.”

Still, I’m happy that Film Festival has passed. Just like every other festival in Telluride, it represents a workout of sorts. There’s always so much to take in and experience, whether you’re working it or attending it or doing some combination of both (as is the case with most Telluridians); it’s physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. But it’s still pretty fantastic.

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Nova Scotia Highlights

The Scallop Boat Fleet in Digby

The Scallop Boat Fleet in Digby

Beddeck on Cape Breton Island

Beddeck on Cape Breton Island

I’m high on Nova Scotia. Really. I recently spent seven days and seven nights in this Maritime province of Canada and I’m busting to tell the whole world about it. Really.

One of a Gazillion Little Boats I Admired in Nova Scotia

One of a Gazillion Little Boats I Admired in Nova Scotia

Ready for the Bay of Fundy Tides:  the Biggest in the World

Ready for the Bay of Fundy Tides: The Biggest in the World

Lunenberg Loveliness

Lunenberg Loveliness

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m a big storyteller. And I can’t wait to share my travels in Nova Scotia with you. For now though, I’ll keep the words to a minimum and let my pictures tell the story. Hopefully they will be enough to entice you to begin pondering a trip to this charming destination. Spring, summer and fall rank as the best times to go although I’d love to see this endearing land beneath a blanket of snow as fierce gale winds blow in from the Atlantic.

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Another Wonderful Visit to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

The Outer Banks of North Carolina

I recently spent a week at the beach with my boyfriend, Steve. We were on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX), one of the most alluring surf side destinations in the world, and a spot he has been frequenting for almost three decades.

So Pretty

So Pretty

Almost There

Almost There

Steve’s an avid beach enthusiast and I love the fact that he can just as easily appreciate lounging in a sun-baked dune as catching a ten-foot wave in the surf. Depending on the season and the weather patterns, you can find big swells in the waters off of Nags Head, Rodanthe, Hatteras, Frisco, and a slew of other OBX surf spots revered by  surfers and beach aficionados from around the world.

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A Scintillating Sanctuary in Phoenix

Sultry Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Sultry Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Elements:  Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

Elements: Where the Quality of the Views Rival the Food

It has been cold, rainy, snowy and windy here in Telluride, Colorado all week. I don’t mind because we always need moisture in the West and it’s also good catch-up-at-my-desk weather. But still, I can’t help daydreaming about more sunny, hot-as-a-baked-potato-fresh-out-of-the-oven environs.

I’m letting my thoughts drift to the desert, the Sonoran Desert to be exact, which I’m sure is in glorious bloom right now. Heating up nicely, too. I enjoyed a terrific visit there–within greater Phoenix/Scottsdale/Carefree–last summer with my mom, my fourth trip to that part of Arizona since I was young. And each time, I love it even more. Yes, we went last summer. It was a sunbaked sojourn and we reveled in it. (You just have to make sure you’re not basking in the sun during the heat of the day.)

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