wanted to share some photos from a loosely Vietnamese themed shoot I did in the spring. this was super fun to work on, mostly because in the back of my mind i knew mark & i were planning a trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam in the fall – which we’re just back from. more on that soon!
also, check out this little video of the chicken pho shot being put together here.
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.
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.
One 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.
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.)
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 Chair, Hudson 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!