Food

An Afternoon in Paris

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As Californians, we were slightly intimidated by the idea of Paris in the middle of winter, but by the time we made our way through a series of memorable shops, restaurants and sights, we nearly forgot about the chill. Our first stop of the afternoon was Colonel, a spirited and dynamic design shop founded by Isabelle Gilles and Yann Poncelet in 2012, and located just off the Canal Saint-Martin. Beyond the green-blue, heavily glazed storefront lies a smart curation of Scandinavian-inspired goods in an array of energized hues and creative textures.

  We recognized a few new offerings (and new colors!) from some of our favorite lines while getting to know the selection of lighting, furniture and objects designed in-house. Colonel's creations mix natural materials, bold graphics and exuberant colors, elevating everyday objects, like a turned wood bowl, to the extraordinary. 

We recognized a few new offerings (and new colors!) from some of our favorite lines while getting to know the selection of lighting, furniture and objects designed in-house. Colonel's creations mix natural materials, bold graphics and exuberant colors, elevating everyday objects, like a turned wood bowl, to the extraordinary. 

Next, we crossed over the Saint-Martin Canal, stopping to watch the resilient ducks huddled on the icy water while pedestrians strolled along the waterway in the afternoon sun. The tree-lined canal is flanked by numerous shops and restaurants and we longed to come back on a summer day to enjoy some outdoor dining.

It's hard to tell how much time we spent at our next destination, Artazart Design Bookstore. Name a niche in design and Artazart has multiple cutting-edge books on hand to provide insight. From packaging design in Japan, typography trends, color theory for web design, DIY home renovation guides, cookbooks from superstar chefs, to rising fashion markets around the globe, this shop will keep you up to speed and full of knowledge and inspiration.

Naturally, the Lotus Bleu team fell deep into the rabbit hole while digging into the textiles and decorative arts section. "Look at this! Look at that!," we exclaimed, giddily bouncing our favorite finds between one another. This repetitious pink and red fruit motif was of particular interest to Jeannie, whose last name (Fraise) is French for "strawberry"!

Our minds now dizzy with design inspiration, we decided to come up for air and headed over to Pause Cafe, located near the Place de la Bastille. Pause Cafe hit the mark on all levels; exceptionally fresh and modern French dishes, bountiful warm energy and an interior that captivated us throughout the meal. 

The design of Pause Cafe harmoniously integrates centuries of decorative features. Crisp white, classical details line the ceilings and frame time-worn pastel paintings of delicate florals and gliding birds. From the aged ceilings, warm glowing light extends into the dining area through a combination of rugged industrial pendants attached to creative wiring channels and radiating frosted globes. Coarse mosaics sprawl underfoot, adding a jagged counterbalance to channeled banquettes and curved wood chairs. Cafe stools at the mirror-backed bar pull out the lone burgundy from the flooring palette and marry with bold mediterranean blue legs. Finally, hardened tile and concrete walls are draped in lush, flowing plant life, softening-up otherwise cold materials. Pause Cafe was a perfect nest of toasty respite and comforting cuisine, a great way to cap off an afternoon of exploration in a charming pocket of Paris.

Scottish Eateries

Last summer, we visited Scotland and discovered two unique restaurants, not only in terms of the food served, but also in terms of their design.  

The first restaurant we visited in Edinburgh, called "The Scran & Scallie: Public House with Dining," is a gastropub not only renown for their great brunches, but also a holder of a Michelin guide Bib Gourmand 2017.

 Offering menus showcasing Scottish food, or "scran," and traditionally brewed ales and artisan beers, they source everything locally in Scotland. This charming map displays the origin of the ingredients, carefully handwritten on tags and pinned up.

The food was a hearty modern take on Scottish breakfast food and the perfect first meal after our arrival in Scotland and walk around the artsy Stockbridge neighborhood and its weekend market.

The relaxed dining room was also a feast for my eyes, with a charming, countryside pub appeal and smart mix of toile wallpapers, obligatory Scottish tartans, and well-worn leathers benches.  But the wallpaper is not your traditional toile, but instead a clever modern rendition by one of our favorite design companies, Glasgow-based Timorous Beasties, featuring their  "Tree of Life Toile" and "Two in a Bush" patterns.  

Here, my husband Christophe, got cozy and acted the part of Scottish Laird in this chair topped with a fuzzy sheepskin throw.

We found Dulse & Brose, based in The Bosville Hotel in Portree, after driving through the magnificent Quaraing mountain ridge on the Isle of Skye, featuring modern Scottish food.  

My favorite design feature here was the cool bench seat covers which wrap over each banquette and are finished with whip-stitched edges.

 The use of different textures and materials like heathered wool tweeds, soft worn-in leather hides and roughhewn wood finishes was so original and the curated selection of wares on their shelves made we wish I could buy something from them.

Not a bad place to perch with a view of the sea over the cliffside road and grab a late afternoon bite on our way back to the mainland.