Monthly Archives: November 2011

Canstruction 2011

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After the Chocolate Show I went to the World Financial Center to see Canstruction, an annual design competition and exhibition that benefits City Harvest.  Twenty-six design and architecture firms participated in the event and built sculptures out of cans, which are on display throughout the Winter Garden.  The sculptures are very impressive and have accompanying artistic statements.  My only complaint is that the layout/continuation of the event isn’t well labeled.  I thought I saw all of the sculptures, but when I looked at an article online about the exhibit, I realized I missed a few.  I would have loved to see the can version of the Brooklyn Bridge!

Visitors are asked to bring canned goods, which are donated to City Harvest, along with the cans that are used for the sculptures.  I brought vegetarian baked beans.  Canstruction is on view until November 21, from 9am-6pm daily at 220 Vesey Street.  For more details about Canstruction, visit the website here.

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Chocolate Madness Saturday

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Today I attended the 14th annual NYC Chocolate Show, which is open until Sunday (tomorrow) at the Metropolitan Pavilion.  The Chocolate Show consists mostly of vendors selling and sampling chocolate, but there are also cooking demonstrations, book signings, and children’s activities.  There are some seemingly unrelated booths promoting alcohol, spices, NYTimes subscriptions, etc…but for the most part the show will appeal to chocoholics.  The first day of the show there was a chocolate fashion show and the wears can be seen on mannequins scattered throughout the room.

Some standout booths were American Heritage Chocolate (historically inspired colonial hot chocolate), Chocolate for the Spirit (costumed salespeople selling adorable chocolate buddhas), Gnosis Chocolate (raw/vegan chocolate), and Maison Boissier (colored chocolate petals).

I hadn’t been to the show in several years and my only complaint is that the event is now condensed to one room, which was packed with people.  I also think the admission fee of $30. is high, but you can bring two children for free per ticket.  For more information about the Chocolate Show, check out the site here.

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12 Days in Paris: Day 7

Similar to my first day in Paris, day seven was an epically long day.  The day heralded a changing of the guard, as Charles left and my friend Monica arrived within 20 minutes of each other.  It was Monica’s very first time in Paris, so I wanted to show her around, but I didn’t want to overwhelm her, as she hadn’t slept on the plane.  I decided to take her to the Marais, since it is my favorite neighborhood and not as crowded as the major sites (except on Sundays, but this wasn’t a Sunday).  We started at some of the oldest buildings in Paris.

Medieval architecture

We visited the oldest mansion in the Marais, which has a bullet hole on its façade.

Oldest mansion in the Marais

We also stopped at the (unpictured) Holocaust Memorial, which was appropriately somber.  It was additionally sad that the memorial had very intense security.  For lunch we got take out from L’As du Falafel, which is the most famous falafel place in Paris and Lenny Kravitz’ restaurant of choice.  The falafel was good, but not significantly better than Chez Marianne, where I ate the week before with Charles.

L'As du Falafel

Casher = Kosher

We walked to Place des Vosges, which as previously described is where I would want to live in Paris.  We toured Victor Hugo’s apartment, which overlooks the square and is now a free museum.  I definitely recommend stopping by as a quick and cultural visit, although the apartment is a bit dark.

Place des Vosges

Chinoiserie room at Victor Hugo's apartment = my favorite room!

The rest of Victor Hugo's apartment

We walked to the Institut du Monde Arab (Institute of the Arab World), which is housed in a very innovative building designed by Jean Nouvel.  The windows of the building have metal geometrical designs, which open and close based on the light exposure and in turn control the lighting in the building.  The Institute has changing exhibits, a large bookstore, a cafe, a restaurant, and a free rooftop deck with great views of the city.  We stopped at the cafe for a pick-me-up and I ordered mint tea.  It was super strong!

Institut du Monde Arab

Cool window

Mint tea service

We then walked to the nearby Memorial to the Martyrs of the Deportation, which memorializes the 160,000 people who were deported from France to concentration camps.  The design is supposed to evoke aspects of a concentration camp, with narrow passages and restricted views of the outside world.

Memorial to the Deportation

Memorial lights

The memorial is close to Notre Dame Cathedral, so that was our next stop.

Notre Dame from the back

I thought this gargoyle was so cute! Not exactly the desired reaction...hehe.

Our last stop was Shakespeare & Company, which is frequently mentioned in one of my favorite books, Ernest Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast.”  Hemingway and other famous deceased writers used to hang out there and borrow money from the owner Sylvia Beech.  The shop was cute and I especially liked that there were a couple auditorium style seats where we could rest and flip through books.

Shakespeare and Co. (and Monica's backside)

After a very exhausting day, we went to my friend Véronique’s apartment for a welcome dinner party.  Véronique is of French tunisian descent and she is an expert couscous maker.  She cooked couscous merguez, which was the best I had in Paris.  This was also the last time I ate couscous merguez because by this time I had officially ODed on it.

Couscous merguez with peppers and melon

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