Corsican delights… in Paris

My husband and I had one of the best meals of our lives, by chance. Our odds were probably good, as we were walking through the Jardin du Palias Royale in Paris when we happened upon the dimly-lit, gorgeous and cozy restaurant with low, vaulted, brick ceilings. Casa Luna is the name. A fine mix of Corsican and French cuisine. Seriously interesting use of tomato, cucumber and eggplant in the dishes to create startlingly complex and unexpected flavors.

We started with a grilled squid tower layered with creamy, roasted eggplant, tomato and heaven. Husband had duck that was to die for and I had lamb (a cut i’ve never seen…like a steak) with figs and a base of tomato (treated in a way that was so simple yet so different). When we thought we could be stunned no more, the hazlenut pudding with hazlenut gelato, hazlenut cream, and roasted & candied hazlenuts put us into a coma. We were pleasantly awoken by the classic Corsican aperitif, Mirto—known for its strong herbal flavor—which is made from the myrtle plant through the maceration of the berries berries and leaves.

Beauty of the Barnes

After years of efforts to resolve financial problems (or some say years of scandal—see the documentary The Art of the Steal), the famous Barnes Foundation will (as of May 19, 2012) relocate to a new site—on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in the heart of Phili—from it’s historic home in the suburb of Merion.

It was founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, a chemist who collected art after making a fortune by co-developing an antimicrobial drug. Today, the foundation (curated by Barnes himself) possesses more than 2,500 objects—including 800 paintings—estimated to be worth about $25 billion.
Here are some of my favorites.

Dan Adel: Painter & Illustrator

While on a recent trip to the South of France, my husband and I met a fascinating New York expat who now resides in the medieval village of Lacoste with his wife and child. We enjoyed some vin rosé together, visited his studio and even got into some heady political dialog. All in all it was a pleasure to meet Dan Adel, a wildly talented (and famous) painter and illustrator. I took a special liking to his newer “still” life oils (like the one above).
I would highly recommend a trip to that region and a visit with the artist himself, but if you can’t find time to get to France, you can find his work on Greene St. in NYC at Arcadia Fine Arts.

Adare to Dream

I had the pleasure of visiting Adare Manor, a Gothic Revival Country Home in Limerick County, Ireland that was built in the 1840’s and designed by architect James Pain.

It sits on 840 acres of parkland, including formal French gardens laid out by P.C. Hardwick. In 1987, Adare Manor was acquired by an American family, who restored the entire building and added one of the top golf courses in Ireland and turned it into a 5-star hotel and golf resort. Though I didn’t get to stay it’s definitely worth a look. With great gothic interiors, ornate wood-trim details and exotic taxidermy, I would have really enjoyed a fireside Guiness here.

A Succulent Evening

I just went to a fabulous wedding in the Hamptons. The food delicious, the drinks overflowing, the music and lighting just right and the flora… out of this world gorgeous! …yet still laid back.

Magnolia branches clustered throughout the tent created a real-feel forest, while succulent-adorned centerpieces graced long, wood farm tables and clothed rounds (mixed!). And to pull it all together, the up-lighting had leafy gels that cast warm, dreamy shadows on the tent ceiling. Event planning and florals by the amazing Claire Bean.