Thursday, May 28, 2015

When I met the Hermes Scarf Designer

When I met the Hermes Scarf Designer, I was on my way back to the hotel from le Parc de la Villette and I took the metro with a new Brazilian friend (with Lebanese origins) I met at Ouishare. We accessed the metro line with our ticket and I ripped off mine because I figured that I wouldn’t use it anymore. I was discussing with my friend my point of view about Capitalism and its progress in France, after listening to the political talks at the conference, as well as its impact on Lebanon, having read myself a couple of books from educated Arab emigrants who travelled to the western countries in that mandatory Arabic course that turned out quite interesting!
The controller of the metro must have been hearing our conversation going on in English and picked up that we are not her regular kind of French residents. She smelled the golden needle in the haystack of the crowd. She decided to check our tickets and only ours, in fact. Except that I didn’t have mine anymore, it was torn down into a billion pieces and thrown away in the rubbish bin. I gave her one I haven’t used already and my luck sucked because I actually didn’t know at all about this control and I really didn’t cheat. She ended up imposing me a fine of 33 Euros. I could not argue because she would have sent the fine at the embassy both way and that was going to be too complicated to deal with later on so I paid on the spot.
She went off the metro on the next stop, rushing like a thief, and I was just waiting that moment to sputter an insult, hey I’m not pretending to be an angel on my page! An Asian woman approached me and told me she saw me coming in with the ticket and ripping it off. A Déjà vu for this Korean in her late thirties, she told me that the exact same thing had happened to her when she first came to Paris for her studies.
My metro ride was soon coming to an end and I really wanted to tell her that her scarf is beautiful! I usually like to compliment people on their outfits often because I think that it actually feels good to have someone tell you too—and women do spend a lot of time getting ready and I feel it should be recognized!
“Thank you, it’s my work…” and after stopping a while with a pinch of a hesitation, she followed, “at Hermes”.  My friend who was quick to understand repeated so I could in turn understand, “Wow! At Hermes?” Well, she ended up being the particular needle in the haystack. I said, “You mean that I can actually buy this very scarf you are wearing at Hermes?”, “Yes!” she replied with a smile.
I told her that I write a lifestyle blog and I managed to take a picture with her before the metro reaches my final stop. I look tired on this picture but it doesn’t matter because it has a bigger value to me.
I went off the train in an utterly different mood than the one I would have gone with after paying the fine. This ought to be the most fashionable coincidence ever, right? That woman definitely made my day, cheers to all designers and artisans and their divine work!  

I was wearing a printed crepe pants and white trois-quarts top from Zara, Ralph Lauren navy blue sweatshirt, and cracked leather Stan Smith. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Café La Favorite, Le Marais Paris

If you follow me on Instagram (@ak_elsa), you would know that I am in Paris since Monday morning! I came for a conference at Cabaret Sauvage about the sharing economy that extends on three days starting today and until Friday. I took this trip to my advantage and decided to spend the week in Paris. I spent the afternoon shopping on Monday and tried to rush as much as possible because most boutiques close down at 6pm, 7:30 or 8pm at most. (Unlike Lebanon which most stay open until 9 or 10pm) I skipped lunch for that reason and promised myself to have a worthwhile dinner. But it was only by pure coincidence that I ended up going to La Favorite, a renowned café that is at a walkable distance from le BHV Marais or Adidas Originals where I went last. La Favorite serves brunch, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It also has a happy hour in the late afternoon although I am not sure around at what time it is precisely. La Favorite is at the cross section of Rue Rivoli and Rue Malher at the 4eme arrondissement. It is located in a historical area close to La Bastille if you are visiting and Centre Pompidou. You can also enjoy sitting on the terrace facing the church of St. Paul and St. Louis like the typical individualistic Parisian would, (and I did).
To be honest, I did check the review from the google map just to make sure the place was okay before I sit there. I ordered the Madame Burger, an icon with an egg, a juicy patty cooked à point, and a crispy bacon along with its own tartare sauce and Arugula or Rocket leaves. The fries that came with it were amazing too; and believe me, it is coming from a French fries addict.
The prices are slightly higher than the average café but I thought the burger was worse its 19.50 euros.
I would definitely recommend this restaurant for you. If you happen to pass by during the day, grab an ice cream at Amarino (before it closes at 8pm) and visit la Place des Vosges and its nice garden.

The Madame Burger I had ordered.

Church of St. Paul and St. Louis.

(Above picture and first picture, credit:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Flower Spring Coat

For the little breeze in spring, choose a nice light cropped flower-patterned coat. Just enough to cover up what’s underneath and stay warm :)
For this outfit, I paired the coat with a matching navy blue “confetti” skirt and an embellished headband.
I really love the setting of the location where I shot the outfit; it’s at Clé, a pub in Hamra. The interior design is singular and a bit kind of picnic-chic with the colored furniture and beautiful wrought iron details.
I am wearing the skirt and the coat from Scarlet Beirut and Prada denim slip-ons.
(Photo credits: Patrick Sawaya)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Memory Lane, Mar Mikhael Beirut

   Memory Lane is a new multifunctional place that located on Armenia Street in the Mar Mikhael neighborhood. I actually love the concept of this all-inclusive space—I was never able to make a choice myself, so why specialize in one thing when you can be Everything.
   Memory Lane is before everything else a restaurant; it is divided into a section with a terrace-like setting yet indoors and an area for couches with a long table à la Urbanista for working space. You can find a more typical restaurant setting—yet with nothing typical as for the decoration—downstairs where people are more prone to enjoy a complete meal.

   Memory Lane also offers coffee and pastry to go—just perfect if you have to pass by Mar Mikhael before heading for work! Moreover, the coffee is not a rip-off, the prices range from 3,500-5,500 L.L.
   More recently, when I went there, there was a pop-up stand exhibiting casual and very French-simple linen clothes designed by Creative Space that you can actually buy on the spot. That Pop-up stand is Memory Lane’s meeting point, and it will be there to showcase different fashion items or design over time.
   Memory Lane’s local used to be an old sewing factory, which you can feel in the decoration of the restaurant. The detail that you cannot miss is the sewing machine on the butler table.

   A place where memories were made and will be made, Memory lane does not shy away from its Lebanese heritage. In fact, it offers a menu that highlights our all-time favorite the Lebanese Kaak.  

The starters are all for the same price, (15,900 L.L.). Memory Lane offers the best choices as it comes to the main platters, at a bargain price of 25,900 L.L for all platters, however, with portions that would satisfy your beach-body-consciousness. I would suggest you to consider appetizers or a salad or a dessert to feel full.
I loved the refreshing Labneh Kaak with the whole mint leaves and cherry tomatoes, (all Kaak and sandwiches are for 9,500 L.L). I think the Nachos should have more cheese dripping everywhere—I’m a “gourmande” what can I do—and guacamole, (we ordered one more starter as a full bowl of guacamole).

   The Coup-de-Coeur of my visit at Memory Lane was the Wasabi Salmon Tartar starter. It was just what I was craving for—a creamy texture with the avocado, a burst of freshness with the apple, and a sense of sweetness with the sweet soy sauce.

   Both my brother and my mom had the Grilled Salmon Passion Fruit platter with its amazing potato foam that I tasted. I had the Fresh Shrimp Roll with my favorite sweet and sour sauce as a main meal. Honestly, I was deceived because there were too little shrimps and tooo much noodles inside the roll that is actually already rice paper. I think they could add some more vegetables like grilled red and yellow bell peppers and mango to cut down on the noodles.

   They have an impressive wide choice for desserts, 22 to count, relative to other restaurants (thumbs up!). After long minutes wasted on my indecision, I ended up picking the Pistachio Strawberry Cake. A cake filled with Pistachio cream—love—and a line of strawberries on top—heaven. This dessert is definitely a must-try.

   As for the service, I believe it was timely and the waiters were nice and responsive. The estimated budget for an appetizer (all for you), a main platter, a dessert, and a coffee is on average 55,000 L.L, ($37). The attractive prices, the limited portion size, and the wide variety of choices incite you to try out more things to discover the menu. I believe it to be a critical success point to achieve for restaurants.
   Besides the “too little” remark that I must have repeated, I think Memory Lane is the perfect dreamed-of destination for price-sensitive gourmet food lovers and certainly a great place with great food!
 I will definitely go back for a meal and try out more desserts! 

For reservation call: 01 562808 - 01 562806