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I actually discovered Coté Bac on the Deck & Donohue website, and was so excited to find somewhere in Asnières that served their delicious beer. If you didn’t know already, we live in Asnières, so just outside of the city’s northwest limits. The other few times we’ve tried to make it to this place it’s been last minute, and they were always booked up. One night during the heatwave, we made it for a dinner date.

If you haven’t noticed already, most neo bistros and seasonal bistros are in the 10th or 11th districts. Yeah, I know. Frustrating. People are definitely not getting creative with locations. I looked at my saved places on my mobile Google Map, and it’s depressing how many empty neighborhoods they are (I do have more exploring to do, of course, but most of my saved places are either favorites or “to try” places that I see on Instagram or hear about through friends). ANYWAYS. Long story short, I was thrilled there was something unique to discover in Asnières.

Côté Bac is a seasonal bistro. French food. Presented very nicely, on the pricy side. Bottled craft beer and good wine on the drinks menu. It’s definitely a gem in the sea of kebab places and opticiens in this particular suburb. Entrées were colorful and full of flavor, I went with a tangy shrimp dish and I don’t remember what Louis got. As for the entrées, Louis’s fish was far too grilled, sadly to the point where not edible because the taste was solely the burn and not the fish – but I think and hope it was just a one-time error – they docked the bill by a couple of euros as the young waitress noticed he had only like 2 bites when she took his plate after being “terminé”, ugh, a shame… is it American of me for wanting them to offer dessert or something? Whatever. On the contrary, my filet mignon was sublime with super-duper-thin-cut fried veggies and a perfectly sized portion of risotto. My dessert was a magical meringue cut-out paisley ball with fresh red berries and sorbet inside… oh là là… My date went with the chocolate profiteroles, one of his all time favorites. This joint is definitely on the pricier side, count on 50 euros a person or so if you plan to do appetizer, entrée and dessert with wine. Despite the heatwave (I think we went one of the days when it was 40 degrees celsius), the staff was friendly and rather attentive. They did alter the time of my reservation when requested over the phone that same day, which was odd because the place wasn’t full at all when we were there that night, but whatever. A nicely lit place to check out again for lunch or dinner. It’s nice to know we have a nice neighborhood joint with quality grub for when there are visitors in town.

Côté Bac
30 Rue du Bac, 92600 Asnières-sur-Seine
01 47 94 28 94
Reservations recommended

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In April of this year, Louis and I took our first trip together (like actually relaxing trip) since June 2013. I KNOW. We wanted to go somewhere not too far, with a beach and nice weather. The Canary Islands seemed like the perfect option in terms of distance and ticket prices. Plus, I had heard nothing but great things about the islands from pals.

We did one of those all inclusive hotels on a beach with a pool and food and the works which is pretty hilarious, but you know what… it was perfect because basically all we wanted to do in reality was lay around in the sun somewhere and do nothing. As much as I would have liked to find a charming little AirBnb and all and cook ourselves every night and go out and about to discover cute towns (la prochaine fois…) – let’s be honest – trips can be pretty damn expensive. I’m still grumpy about how much my ticket home for Christmas in Colorado cost me, oy vey. This trip was a be-lazy-and-lay-around-and-soak-up-the-sun type of trip, and not an adventurous-cutesie-discover-the-culture-and-whatnot type of trip. Ever feel the need for that kind of escape?

In the middle of our super duper lazy island getaway, we rented a car and roamed the island. We started by wandering up the northwest coast of the island, with the endless white sandy beaches, then up to the northern tip at Corralejo where we had some typical Spanish grub and the most enormous servings of food I have ever had in my entire life at Avenida followed by some local ice cream at La Cremeria.

Part of what was so beautiful about Fuerteventura was all of the different landscapes: white beaches, volcanic beaches, seaside towns with white stucco, flat desert roads, infinite red hills, cliffside nude beaches, windy mountain roads with chilly breezes… we genuinely had no idea when we decided to take a tour around the island just how many different astonishing views we would see. And come on, it’s not like the island is huge, you can drive around it easily in an afternoon. Anyways, heading back down South that day we found ourselves amongst goats in Betancuría (goats are EVERYRWHERE) on the highest of hills with nothing but grades of red hills as far as you can see. It was surprisingly refreshing to not have a GPS and to just go through little towns and follow signs towards the towns we recognized or that were printed on the shitty map our hotel gave us. The next day was devoted to the very very southern tip of the island, that is called the Jandía peninsula. Some pockets are definitely more touristy, but we found a very lovely little nude beach called Playa del mal Nombre that I highly recommend if you’re looking to just lay around (there are goats there, too). If you’re feeling crazy drive up in the Parque Natural Jandía, but fudge it was scary with the little roads that swirve up mountainsides and when another car comes you’re worried one of the cars will roll off the steep hillside. It was serious offroading.

Bref, a week well spent.

MY FUERTEVENTURA TIPS:
Playas on the northeast coast of island, facing the Parque Natural Corralejo
Hills of Betancuría and surounding little mountain towns
Playa del mal Nombre
El Cotillo Lighthouse
Eat garlic shrimp everywhere
Drink honey rum on the rocks

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One of the best parts about living in a city like Paris is that people pass through, it’s a city that people often keep close to they’re heart if they’ve lived here at any point in their lifetime. Hunter, one of the two roommates I’ve ever had in my lifetime (we had an epic Montmartois apartment before the area exploded with trendiness) came through not too long ago which really made me a happy girl. We met and became friends when our University put on the musical Rent in early 2010. He was Angel, I was Maureen. Our mutual friends said we’d work well as roommates because we both loved the musical Rent so much. Let’s just say that they were right, we hit it off immediately. Hunter and I were roomsiemates during a big part of my life, when I met and started dating Louis and all. It was towards the end of University when I felt more like an actual big kid, and it’s the room I kept when I started to feel like Paris was my home. I also got really good at making quiches during that period. Oh, how time flies. It’s funny, when people you spent so much time in Paris with come back, it feels like they were never gone, despite how much Paris has evolved. This guy is irreplaceable.

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I had been doing 5-liter batches from when I started to homebrew early last year. Not so long ago after Louis and I’s move into a bigger apartment with gas burners (the simple things in life), I decided to bump it up to 20-liter batches. I’ve still got my 5-liter carboy so I can do small batches whenever (clonebrews, here I come), but I wanted to get used to a more classic quantity referenced in books I have. I’m pretty thrilled to say that said, I’m learning from every single batch: best practices, figuring out what when wrong in my brewing process, why for example this batch photographed above was so damn bitter. It’s quite exciting to understand what is actually happening during the brewing process… I was always horrible at science when in High School, and chemistry god forbid… I was nulle. Anyways.

I have some new goals this year now, one of which being to disconnect from work when I’m home, which is directly linked to the fact that I want to take advantage of hobbies where I’m not glued to my phone. Ha! Things like riding my bike to work, homebrewing… giving my eyes a break from screens. I want to take advantage of the long summer days. I plan to brew 2 times per month. One recipe. A Pale Ale. Until I get it the way I want it to be. Let the games begin. To my Paris friends reading, your tasting expertise will be very much appreciated.

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Every summer since 2009, bike lover Parisians get together dressed up as if it was really la belle époque and go for a ride from a Paris destination to the Bois de Vincennes (humongo picnic destination on the long grass where you feel far far away from a city). It’s just spot on. Red lipstick, curls, long skirts and brogues, flat-top hats, mustaches and suspenders… these Parisians know what they’re doing.

This year, I was so thrilled to be in town for the picnic, as I always had LLB’s coverage of the event in mind. The summer heat has finally arrived, so heading down to south eastern Paris was the perfect excuse to soak up sun sun with some lovelies. It was absolutely adorable to see everyone all dressed up, with or without their vélos. I will admit that I’ve been really good about biking everywhere, so I was so pumped to actually be a part of the ride from République to Bois de Vincennes… but after extensive biking in the canicule Friday and Saturday, my legs simply couldn’t take it to literally go to the polar opposite end of my little Asniérois nest. Oopsie daisy. Perhaps next year, with a groovy basket and ensemble and baguettes all over the place.

Magical company of Lauren, Ylenia and Flo, Lali, Rachelle, Gemma, Emily and Sophie.

Ride Béret Baguette on their Facebook page.