going to: paris

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travel

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I’m leaving in a few days for Paris! It’s a weekend trip but there is a lot I hope to fit in. As usual, I made a Paris map using the map feature within my Google Drive. It’s super easy to use – basically you can drop a pin anywhere – for your hotel, restaurants you want to try, sightseeing activities, bars… You can get as specific as you like. I alternate between color coding the pins and using the little icons shaped like coffee cups or martini glasses to signify a cafe, cocktail bar, and so on.

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Deciding what I want to put on the map is the hard part, but I love travel planning and have developed a system. If you tell me you’re going somewhere, chances are I’ll research the city and, just for kicks, email you an invitation to collaborate on a Google Map outlining what I think you should do on your trip. I tend to vascillate between Instagram, Afar Magazine, blogs, and The New York Times for recommendations. If both David Lebovitz and Lindsey Tramuta from Lost In Cheeseland fame are excited about a restaurant or coffee shop, I consider that pretty fool-proof and put it on my list. Afar and Travel & Leisure both give me good ideas for hotels and some insight into what a particular neighborhood is like. And I like the “36 Hours In…” articles from the Times. While I might not follow their suggestions to the letter, I get a sense of how to pace my day.

Here’s what I’m excited for on this trip:

Visiting the Musée Picasso. It was closed for renovations the last two times I was in Paris. I just missed the reopening last summer so I am bound and determined to go this time. (That means I’ve bought tickets online already.)

Eating lunch at Septime and dinner at Le Gabriel. And dinner at Richer or Ellsworth or Verjus and maybe a breakfast at Buvette if there is time for all that food!

Coffee at Hexagone Cafe and Lockwood and Ten Belles.

Also: doing something different this time. Staying in an airbnb! Hotels in Paris tend to be expensive and rather small, and this airbnb comes with terraces so I’m psyched.

photos: laurakinsey for bklynprairie.

top 10 things to do in hudson, ny

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country / summer fun / travel

hudsonMainOne of my favorite things about living in New York City is actually getting out of it once in a while. I don’t own a car, but with a rental, a Zipcar, or the train, there are tons of options for weekends away. For several summers, we’ve rented a house for a month or two in Amagansett or the Springs, out on Long Island. (And we’re headed there this summer, too.) But lately, MK and I have been exploring more of the Hudson river valley, and I think it’s official: we’re in love with Hudson, New York.

A two-hour Amtrak ride from NYC, Hudson sits right on the river and is a walkable town with great food and shops, surrounded by rolling hills and small farms. (I saw two fields of sheep including baby lambs and I want one.) And when I say the food in town is good, I mean it’s really good – all the meat, eggs, etc. at the local diner is Animal Welfare Approved. Kind of amazing. We’ve had a blast trying to eat at every restaurant, poking around in the antique shops, and drooling over the postings in the real estate office windows. In no particular order, I bring you my Hudson must-do list.

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1. Caffinate first, every day. The first weekend we spent in Hudson, I had at least five cappuccinos in three days at Moto Coffee Machine. They just do it right. There’s a motorcycle in the window. Tables outside in the sun. And some fine looking pastries to boot, but you may want to save your appetite….

2. Breakfast at Bonfiglio & Bread. This is the breakfast of my dreams: avocado, big crunchy delicious chunks of toasted bread, some greek yogurt, poached eggs, parsley, and chili oil. But this place is also a proper bakery, with delicious breads, bialys, cinammon buns, and a most delightful rhubarb and cream cheese danish, which is probably a day’s allotment of calories but so worth it.

3. Clothes shopping at De Marchin. The owner is really sweet and genuinely excited to show you everything, and she’s got some really great stuff… hats made from one of the oldest hat factories in Rome. Linen skirts made in France. Ridiculously beautiful dresses made out of mattress ticking that look fantastic on the mannequin but terrible on your (my?) body. Last time I was in, she had really great striped linen t-shirts, too.

4. Lunch at Swoon Kitchenbar. They know what a Kir Royale is (some bars don’t – it always blows my mind) and the food is great. The first weekend we came up here, I think we ate here three times. Salads are a true test of detail to me – some restaurants treat them like an afterthought but others treat them like an opportunity, and the kale salad here is a glowing example of what a salad should be. (Take note, Ca’ Mea. Your patio and pastas are delightful but your salads are a bit sad.)

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5. Drive up to Mt. Merino, Sunday-driver style. Imagine what it would be like to have one of those little houses overlooking the Hudson River. Notice how nearly every yard has beautiful blooming lilac trees (in May, anyway). Sigh a little.

6. Shop your heart out for home goods at places like The Hudson Mercantile, Harvey’s Counter, The Finch, Red ChairHudson Home, Ida’s Eye, and Valley Variety. Or at least look. The antique shops in town know what they’ve got, and items are priced accordingly. This isn’t exactly the place to come hoping for a bargain, but at the very least you’ll walk away feeling inspired. Either that or you’ll find the embroidered wall hanging of your dreams.

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7. Take a walk on the side streets. Warren Street is where virtually every shop and restaurant is located, so it can feel a bit bustling. Head over to residential Union and Allen Streets to gaze at the architectural detail offered by nearly every house, including the tiniest Ionic columns I’ve ever seen, doors of every color, whitewashed brick townhouses, and turquoise corbels.

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8. Have a pre-dinner drink at the bar at Fish & Game. Or sit by the fireplace on a beautiful tufted brown leather sofa and drink your drink there. I tend to stick to wine but their cocktail list looks top-notch to me. I also love their red-flocked wallpaper and proper loo with wooden toilet seat! Dinner is available in the form of an ambitious (and somewhat successful) tasting menu.

9. Have dinner at Food Studio. If you’re not sure if the food at a cash-only, Asian-fusion restaurant in the Hudson River Valley will be any good, let me assure you: it’s pretty phenomenal. Fried chicken buns and crispy brussels sprouts with fish-sauce tinged aioli are solid app choices. I had a spicy chicken and rice noodle dish, garnished with loads of fresh herbs and shredded carrot. I ate way past the point of being comfortably satiated to painfully full but I couldn’t really stop myself. MK can vouch for the half roasted chicken with rice and sauteed greens.

10. Have a night cap at Red Dot. It’s a little rough around the edges, but not in a bad way. The bar is open till 4 am. I’m pretty sure that if you want to meet the town weirdos – and I say that with affection – this is the place to be. Alternatively, this is a nice brunch spot. Not exactly for the food (it’s okay) but they do offer a great Bloody Mary and a beautiful backyard space with a little waterfall.

Where to stay:

The Hudson Milliner. I loved our stay in the Fedora Room

Airbnb. Found a great house on Union Street. Listing here.

Hudson Merchant House. Haven’t stayed here yet but I’m keen to try. Looks like a beautiful reno.

 image credit: top photo | second row: Moto Coffee, breakfast at Bonfiglio & Bread | third row: flowers around town | fourth & fifth row: architecture around town | sixth row: waterfall on the Red Dot patio, entrance to Fish & Game, all by lkd

make it: korean chicken tacos

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food & drink / make it

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Delicious recipe alert! The korean chicken tacos from gp’s It’s All Good are really very, very good. I wanted to make something for a romantic dinner-at-home that was relatively healthy and where I could do most of the prep ahead, since I knew I’d be out during the day. So the day before, I made the salsa, the korean barbecue sauce, roasted the chicken, and made the quick cucumber kimchi. I recommend making the slaw the day of – by the time everything else is out and the table is set, the flavors of the slaw will have had a chance to combine. I think it turned out fab. The slaw is great as a salad on it’s own, or with some of the chicken mixed in and topped with a fried egg(!)  – also known as my breakfast a couple days later.

I didn’t grill whole chicken breasts/thighs per the recipe – I roasted them off the day before and shredded the meat, and the next day warmed it through with the korean barbecue sauce just before assembling everything. That just worked a little better for my do-it-ahead plan. I also added a little lime juice to the korean salsa, but everything else what pretty spot on as-is. I really detest typing out recipes that already exist… some other bloggers have written it all out which is very nice. I’ll just say, try to find the gochujang, or red pepper paste, that the korean barbecue sauce recipe calls for. Don’t substitute sriracha, it’s really not the same thing. And Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves work really well as a wrapper, if you want to skip the corn tortillas.

I have quite a bit of the salsa left, and may try roasting some fish in it, Provençal-style. It’s basically tomatoes and onion… with the addition of some olives, lemon and parsley, and a nice fish like halibut or cod, it might turn out rather nice.

wanderings: south of france

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holiday / travel

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Better late than never, I suppose. I’m finally paying some attention to photos i took in the south of France back in June of 2013. I spent a few days in Paris (see more about that here) before heading to Cannes for a week and taking a couple solo day trips. One was to Grasse, where I wandered the town and took a tour of legendary perfumery Fragonard. I’m still hooked on their Etoile scent. Another morning, I took a spur of the moment train ride to Antibes (I think it took all of 9 minutes) and walked by the water, peeked around the small but lovely Musée Picasso, (lots of Picasso’s food illustrations!) and had a croque-monsieur to die for before heading back to Cannes and its famed croisette. The day before coming home, we took a  ride over the border to a seaside town in Italy for lunch. Wait, did that all really happen? It’s nice to dust off these old photos and recall memories from this trip – hope you enjoy them, too.

photos 1-7: grasse  |  8-11: antibes  |  12-14: bordighera, italy

new work

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work

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Hey hey! Happy February, all.

Earlier this month i had the pleasure to do a test shoot with a talented photographer and lovely new friend, Anne-Claire. She blogs here, and you can see more of her work here. We got together on a chilly Sunday morning and I’m happy to share the results. It was a day of cake, ice cream, tea, snacks, and, so we didn’t bounce completely off the walls, some nice healthy vegetable juices. Enjoy!

winter citrus salad

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food & drink / healthy / make it

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one of the few things i really love about this time of year is that citrus gets really good. when the high in NYC promises to be something crazy like 18 degrees, peeling a clementine or segmenting a cara cara orange over my salad honestly makes me feel like i’m somewhere beautiful and warm. it tricks my brain.

last winter, i kept ordering the citrus salad at one of my favorite restaurants over and over. it disappeared from the menu once spring hit, and i’ve been pining for it ever since. this is the version i make at home… it has a few additions, but it’s ever so lovely and quite easy, too.

you’ll need:

1 each cara cara orange, blood orange, navel orange, ugli fruit, and pink grapefruit

1/2 of a small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline

3 tablespoons greek yogurt

2 tablespoons pickled cranberries, halved (see note)

1 tablespoon honey

small handful arugula

sea salt & freshly cracked black pepper

good olive oil

garnish with:

hulled hemp seeds

reserved fennel fronds

to assemble:

mix greek yogurt with honey. set aside.

with a small, sharp knife, cut away all citrus peel, including the white pithy part. i like a combination of segmented citrus and sliced citrus for this salad, and would suggest segmenting the grapefruit and ugli fruit and slicing up the rest. put all prepared citrus into a bowl with the sliced fennel, arugula, and pickled cranberries. toss with your hands to combine.

transfer to a plate. spoon the honeyed greek yogurt onto the side. add sea salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with nice olive oil. give a generous sprinkle of the hemp seeds and tear some fennel fronds over the top, and you’re done. this salad creates its own vinaigrette as the juice from the citrus mixes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. it is so, so good, and pretty cleanse/detox friendly, if you’re into that this time of year.

a note about the pickled cranberries: skip them if you want. but i love the tangy-sharp crunch they add. here’s a quick recipe:

place 4 oz. of fresh or frozen cranberries into a container with a tight-fitting lid. bring 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons each of salt and sugar, and 1 teaspoon each of black peppercorns and juniper berries to a boil. pour over cranberries and let sit for 2 hours or overnight. use the leftovers in any sort of quinoa or rice bowl, in a green salad, with leftover chicken, etc.

 

photo credit: laura kinsey

 

 

 

 

renegade craft fair: new york edition

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gifty / love it / market / new york city

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I love a good fair. Craft fair, food fair, furniture fair… really anything but a street fair. You know, the kind that shuts down part of Sixth Avenue when you’ve decided that’s the day you’re going to rent a zipcar and go to Home Depot or something.

There is no shortage of craft/food/antique fairs to choose from in New York City. For example, I’ve blogged before about the Hester Street Fair; have spent many a happy afternoon wandering the outdoor Brooklyn Smorgasburg; there’s still the Brooklyn Night Bazaar to try out, and MadSqEats in the fall is one of my favorites for food. Two weeks ago a friend and I checked out the new winter home of the Brooklyn Flea in Crown Heights after our Brooklyn Bodyburn class, and poked our heads into the adjoining Berg’n beer hall, too. I am also highly excited for the Hester Holiday Market opening on December 1st at One Penn Plaza. Hey, sometimes I’m in midtown.

Last weekend the Renegade Craft Fair came to town – it’s been here before, I’ve just always missed it in the past. Unlike some of the other markets, it doesn’t hang around. It’s here for two days and then it’s gone, so I was thrilled to finally attend, and I have to say I was really pleased to see such quality stuff, and to chat with small business owners and makers who are really excited and passionate about what they do. There was a little bit of everything – clothing for women, men, kids. Great scarves, bags, and jewelry. Really yummy bath and beauty stuff. Beautiful ceramic vases and spoon rests. And my favorite category – kitchen and tabletop goods, like tea towels, wooden spoons, cast iron pans, trivets, and aprons. You name it, someone is making it. These are some of my favorites! Enjoy.

1 planters from Cara Taylor ceramics | 2 wooden arrow spoons (plus everything else) from Amelie Mancini | 3 indigo clothing & accessories from Katrin Reifeiss | 4 ceramic sake set from Soul Vessel Designs | 5 i’d like everything from btw ceramics, but this striped serving bowl is top of the list | 6 all kinds of beautiful wooden boards and serving pieces at East to West Woods | 7 Herbivore Botanicals gorgeous Pink Clay soap | 8 i love the knotted ropes from Tack & Ward | 9 city metro maps from line posters…especially the Paris one.

reading list

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food & drink / gifty / home

it feel like i’m always buying a cookbook. that said, there are always more that i’m dying to get my hands on…

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lately all i want to eat is thai, vietnamese, chinese. dumplings, noodles, spring rolls. korean bbq and hot sauce. i didn’t grow up eating a lot of food like this, but i’m on a mission to incorporate this style of food into my repertoire. every page of this book is gorgeous. every. page.

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david lebovitz’s blog is a treasure… it’s more or less chock-full of everything i’d ever want to know. i scoured it deep this summer and last while planning long-weekend trips to paris. (thanks for this recco, by the way…) so it’s a no-brainer that i need this book.

this cookbook is so exciting that it has it’s own video! which i’ve watched about 17 times, because i also love the apartment. i don’t know if i really need a lot of the recipes in this book (does anyone really need a recipe for avocado toast or a grain bowl?) but it looks stunning all the same.

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obviously. if you don’t already own yotam ottolenghi’s earlier cookbooks, ottolenghiplenty, and jerusalem, get those while you’re at it. you need them.

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last on my list, for now at least, is this book. it was a great pleasure to be one of the assistant food stylists on this book. quite possibly the most fun two weeks ever! being around so much beautiful food, gorgeous props, and nice, talented people was a real treat.

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funny story.

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home / new york city

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this story is funny kind of like the way finding a hair in your soup is funny. it involves something that every new yorker loves to talk about: real estate.

it goes like this: couple finds apartment they want to buy and renovate. it’s decently priced in a brooklyn neighborhood that is about to experience skyrocketing rent and sale prices. they make an offer and it’s accepted! contracts are signed! hooray! couple waits as seller cancels the closing one two five seven times for mysterious reasons having to do with building code violations and fines.

but before all the canceled closings, couple puts almost all their belongings into storage and moves to furnished airbnb apartment in new neighborhood to more easily oversee renovation that surely is about to start any second. couple quickly realizes temporary apartment is a mouse and cockroach infested shit hole. even the dog is depressed. couple moves again four months later to second unfurnished temporary location which is actually lovely and HERE WE ARE.

are there worse problems out there? obviously. we have an apartment. it’s on a block with three community gardens. one of them has chickens. it’s close to the subway. i like living here very much.

basically i’m just anxious to get going… to start designing the new space, to get everything out of storage and unpacked and settled away. that’s all. i have pinterest and houzz folders that might explode because they are crammed full of ideas for lighting and flooring and faucets and plates. i have four versions of floor plans drawn for all three floors.

someday… it will happen someday.

anyone else have a buying-real-estate-in-nyc horror story? drop me a line in the comments, i’d love to hear about it.

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