Five Random, Beautiful Things I Learned While Away…

#1 Eat & Unwind

Remnants of Coquilles St. Jacques and beef at Le Comptoir. Once in a while, it’s good for the soul to eat a full, proper lunch. None of this salad-while-standing-up, wrap-on-the-run, fast-food business. The Brits say “Keep Calm & Carry On. My mantra is “Eat & Unwind… and Then Carry On.” 

#2 Slowly, Slowly…

Confit is the process where a piece of meat is salt-cured for several days and then it’s slowly poached in its own rendered fat (the fat that was “sweated” out during its spa-like salt rub-down). The meat is then slowly cooked between 170-275 degrees until its meltingly tender and just cooked through. Best plate of my life. Taking the time to do something well–and not being afraid to have patience and do it slowly–always yields memorable results.

#3 Style

In Paris, I put on a proper ensemble (as my best girlfriend, Ellen, would call it). In New York, well… I admit that I run around downtown with Parker in my Equinox yoga pants, a puffy jacket and Pumas. I hang my head (I know I should be sporting something a little more sleek and stylish) and I swear that I’ll be better tomorrow. But, tomorrow morning I have a spin class and then I head to the butcher and then to the post office… No more excuses! I need to get dressed and hold my head up. Style feels good. 

#4 Live

Eat dessert, stop to read the inscription on the brownstone that you pass every day, duck into a church for a moment of peace and reflection. For five days, I laughed more, I sipped more, I felt more, I saw more, I lived more. And all the emails still got written, all the work still got done.

#5 Look–or Understand French Bistro Menu–Before You Leap

I crunched and I chewed and I crunched again. I stared down the French-only menu and repeated the word “groin” out loud.

I just ordered pig groin… pig’s balls?!@# (There, I said, it–balls. My mother probably prefers that I call them ‘testicles’ but that doesn’t really do justice to my and Katie’s reaction once we dipped the deep-fried orbs into tartar sauce and then sunk our teeth into the jellied fat.)

After an emergency, trans-Atlantic text home to Jamie, I was relieved to find out that “groin” actually means “snout.” Or, as Jamie texted, “Honey, that’s snoot, not poot.”

 Always know what you’re getting into before you’re in too deep (restaurant ordering or otherwise).