Your Shakshuka Fix – Café Méricourt

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They say Café Méricourt has the best shakshuka in town and it shows: the line was a good 20-30 minutes long on that Sunday morning. However, as I approached the café, I saw a queue that was shorter than I had imagined. Little did I know, it had ‘potential’. Wink*

It was freezing and the sudden drop in temperature had taken us all by surprise. We were shivering and shaking as we greeted each other and quickly caught up over the events of the past week.

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Finally we were ushered in and shown to a table for three. The ambiance was warm and cosy, the slightly rustic but also bright and simple décor contributing to the overall feel of the restaurant. The menus were placed in front of us and we were given ample time before the waiter came around to take our orders.

Truth be told, the service was rather slow and not particularly friendly but as it was a busy morning, I can understand. However, in my mind, no matter how slow you are in serving the coffee, they should all be served at the same time. Not two first and the last ten minutes later but perhaps that’s just me being picky. The food was served at the same time though.

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We had all ordered the small shakshuka which was more than sufficient. The dish was served in a mini pan with a portion of yoghurt littered with nuts that was a delicious and light counterpart to the shakshuka that was heavy in spices and flavour. In addition, the bread was EXCEPTIONALLY good and this deserves a special mention of its own.

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In conclusion, does Café Méricourt deserve its title as one of the best brunches in Paris? I would say yes! For the ridiculously affordable price point (10 euros for a shakshuka + 4 euros for the coffee), it makes my list and I will definitely be returning to try its other equally well-known dish: the breakfast roll at only 8,50 euros!

See you soon~!

Address: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
To learn more about Café Méricourt:
Official Website (check out the menu here!)
’21 Totally Unmissable Brunches in Paris’ – Timeout Paris

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Afternoon Retreat – Caudalie Spa

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It is hard to imagine that less than an hour outside of Paris, you could find such peace and quiet.

Situated between this magical French capital and Versailles, is the Caudalie Spa that I should’ve written about many weeks ago but as a professional procrastinator…I have put it off until now.

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What is there more to say though? This gorgeous little retreat is tucked away neatly inside a 4 star hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant next to a pond where many take their afternoon walks.

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The service is friendly and professional, as you would expect from Caudalie and you get a bag of goodies along with your bathrobe and slippers. It contains:

  • a 15ml Moisturizing Sorbet
  • 5ml Clear Skin Purifying Toner
  • 2ml Skin Perfecting Mattifying Fluid
  • 1ml Energizing and Smoothing Eye Cream
  • 7ml Nourishing Body Lotion

Strangely, I have a feeling that these are the products that sell the least and as a “two birds one stone” strategy, they’ve given testers out to clients who visit the spa. None of the products that I really want to purchase (and that sell well) have made it into this goodie bag. Right now, I have my keen eye on the VinActiv line, mainly the serum and detox oil.

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Regardless, we spent a good amount of time in the jacuzzi and hammam, alternating between the two and taking a wine break in their gardens which were bathed in warm, golden sunlight – the kind you get only in Autumn…

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For more information, visit their website!

 

 

 

Mucha – King of Art Nouveau

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One summer at the age of 16, I fell in love with the delicate lines and romanticism of Alphonse Mucha’s works. It was the summer I volunteered at the National Palace Museum and this was their temporary exhibition.

Imagine my contentment when I saw the first few posters for the Mucha expo at Musée du Luxembourg popping up all over Paris! Imagine my excitement when I was offered the tickets!

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Alphonse Mucha was a Czech painter and lived in Paris during the Art Nouveau era. He rose to fame with his first ever poster of Sarah Bernhardt (a famous Parisian actress/comedian) and later became known as “the greatest decorative artist in the world”. From posters, he extended his talents to designing covers of menus, biscuit boxes, even jewellery and the interior of a jewellery shop!

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In 1894, Mucha would meet the Swedish author August Swindberg who was deeply interested in the occult and mysticism. This led Mucha to join the Freemasons which advocated “the improvement of humanity”. He would then give up his signature style, the Mucha style, to create art driven by a social and philosophical vision of unity.

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Sadly, the Mucha style is my personal favourite. I much prefer the gaiety of the colours and figures in his posters to the sombre depictions of suffering shown in his later works. It is also the Mucha style that drove him to fame and fortune. All the same, I do admire the man for believing in something more than the superficiality of mankind.

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Unfortunately, as a well-known figure and a Freemason, Mucha was one of the first to be arrested by the Gestapo during World War II and died 10 days after his 79th birthday…

Regardless, the beauty and grace of Mucha’s art lives on and is much appreciated by fans such as myself.

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Angelina Café next to Musée du Luxembourg
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Cake designed for the Mucha expo – sadly, it didn’t last under the heat!

For more information on the exhibition at Musée du Luxembourg, feel free to visit their website. However, I have included some useful information below.

Dates: 12 September 2018 – 27 January 2019

Opening times: Everyday from 10:30 – 19:00 (until 22:00 every Friday)
The museum will also be open for extra night shifts every Monday from the 12th of November until the 17th of December.
The museum will be open ’til 18:00 on the 24th and 31st of December and will be closed on Christmas (25th December).

Tickets: 13 euros full price

 

Street Bangkok Local Food – Imaginez…Bangkok…Ses rues électriques…

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Paris has never experienced a shortage of exotic cuisines and flavours and Street Bangkok is a perfect example of why.

Its simple, trendy and hip decor topped off with the typical tables, chairs and utensils that one would usually find at a food stand in Thailand complete the whole vibe.

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However, what truly brings the place together is still, of course, the food.

The richness of the spicy curry sauce, the aroma of the white rice with its condiments of coriander and cucumber, the affordable price point and its generous portions.

Sadly, they no longer offer khao man gai which is the most common street food one could have in the alleys of Bangkok. Another point worth noting is that the poulet grill on their “hot” menu is not a typical Thai dish and is never served with rice. Instead it is a BBQ starter (chicken satay with peanut sauce) to be enjoyed with a cold beer. Regardless, this momentary lapse of authenticity doesn’t take away from the taste.

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If you have a moment and a craving for Thai food, and if you are conveniently around Canal St. Martin, Bastille or metro Etienne Marcel, make sure you go in for a tasty experience that will transport you to the tropics of Thailand.

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Street Bangkok Local Food
Official website: www.streetbangkok.fr
Canal St. Martin address: 3 Rue Eugène Varlin, 75010 Paris
Bastille address: 13 Rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris
Etienne address: 112 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris

Developing My Aquatic Addiction At Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產

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One of the things that I missed the most while in Paris was good, affordable, fresh sushi. Unfortunately, you have one of three options: 1) pseudo-Japanese restaurants 2) chain store sushi places and 3) super expensive Japanese owned sushi restaurants that will easily cost you over 100 euros for two.
Luckily, France is well-known for some of the world’s best seafood so I was able to quench my cravings at places like Bar à iode.

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However, nothing beats Taipei’s Fish Market in terms of affordability and taste. As a veteran, I have tried all four restaurants and feel sufficiently informed to give an opinion.
Legend has it that they were going to demolish the building when it was bought and turned into the seafood paradise we have now; a bit like La Felicità in Paris. The entire space has been divided into the Supermarket, the Sushi Bar, the Seafood Bar, the Charcoal Grilled, the Hot Pot and Trésors de la Mer.

Now, there are a few ways you could go about eating your seafood. You could simply grab a couple goodies from the supermarket where they provide everything from miso soup, salmon rice, mentaiko grilled salmon, nigiri, sashimi and grilled meats – which is what I did today as I was short on time – or you could sit yourself down at one of the many restaurants in the Fish Market, except for the Seafood and Sushi Bar where they were going for more of a standing sushi bar/sushi on the go concept.

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Trésors de la Mer has got to be my favourite as they do everything from seafood platters to hot pot. It is a three floor restaurant on the far end of the Fish Market that overlooks the Charcoal Grilled. The Charcoal Grilled comes in at a close second because having a mini barbecue on your table in an open space amidst all the fairy lights with a huge screen showing old, black and white movies makes for a beautiful summer moment and scores high on the originality scale but lacks the appeal of raw seafood. The Hot Pot rates even lower on my list because hot pot places in Taipei are as numerous as the stars in the sky. However, it needs to be said that both the Hot Pot and the Charcoal Grilled provide quality ingredients and excellent service.

Regardless of whether you end up munching on a skewer stick or swallowing French imported Gillardeau oysters whole, a trip to Taipei is not complete without visiting its Fish Market.

Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產
Address: No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Official Website: http://www.addiction.com.tw/

Recommended by CNN – Smoothie House

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This is SO three years ago and I know I’m late to the party but adverts for the best shaved ice in Taipei are still up in Dongmen MRT station. They stretch for metres along the escalators and they all say one thing, “Recommended by CNN“. Smoothie House is also referred to by locals as “the famous shaved ice place” and rightly so as it was packed with tourists and the staff are trained to speak English.

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Taiwan has always been the stuff of tropical fruit dreams so it wasn’t a surprise that their Super Mango Snowflake Ice is highly recommended. We took one of those and a Yoghurt Berry Snowflake Ice, both around 220NTD.


Smoothie House definitely lives up to expectations with flavours that are natural and fruits that are freshly bought from local farms. You don’t feel an overload of sugar when you finish the bowl but sharing is advised as portions are quite large. Shaved ice is a must for anyone visiting Taiwan!

Address: No.15, Yongkang St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 10650, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: +886-2-2341-6161
Opening hours: AM 9:30 ~ PM 11:00

The Epitome of Instagram-worthy: Drunk Café

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After a meticulous search across the worldwide web, Wendy came up with this gorgeous location. My phone vibrated continuously as the pictures came in; it looked perfect!
“Wonderful! See you on Sunday!!” I typed back.

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Sunday night and I was the first to arrive. The café was gorgeous with its fairy lights hanging from the black ceiling like a thousand stars, throw pillows adorning every sofa and armchair. The feathered ceiling lamps were like something from an interior design magazine and the whole effect was completed with neon signs.

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I was rather surprised that the place seemed much smaller than in the pictures but it turned out that half the café was closed due to renovations…

The food is standard with prices that are quite affordable (NT$320 for the spaghetti, NT$200 for a glass of white wine) but I’m sure the majority of clients come back mainly for the decor and perhaps the cocktails on their lengthy and impressive list but I have yet to try those.

All in all, it is the perfect place to catch up with the girls over a drink and to take a few (or a couple) Instagram photos. Wink*
Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend Drunk Café for dinner as the tables are quite low which makes it impractical for eating but mainly because it really is more of a beverages and snacks establishment than a proper, full-on restaurant.

Regardless, it is definitely worth a visit.

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Drunk Café
Address: No. 9, Lane 116, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
Telephone: 02 2731 8787