Archive for November, 2013

Where To Eat in Paris: Brasserie Lipp

Rainy day at Brasserie Lipp

My favorite Parisian brasserie focuses on Alsatian cuisine and serves a healthy dose of attitude, which is something I usually despise.

Brasserie Lipp is located in the 6th arrondissement, close to the Abbey of Saint-Germain-Des-Prés. It’s practically across the street from some of the most famous cafés in Paris– Cafe de Flore (which was undergoing renovations during my recent visit) and the literary and artistic centric Les Deux Magots. But it’s Brasserie Lipp that I return to time and again. You’ll find it on several lists for the best brasseries in Paris, but it’s not for everyone… or the easily offended.

The 1920s deco atmosphere feels straight out of a time warp (or at least Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds), with snobbery that is so in-your-face I have to stifle a giggle. As soon as you enter you see a sign stating that shorts are not allowed. You can be a tourist and eat here, but you sure can’t dress like one. Once my waiter went all TMZ on me and blocked my shot with his hand when I attempted to photograph my frisée salad. For some reason, I didn’t find this annoying. At Brasserie Lipp, it’s indeed part of the charm. Plus the food is so delicious.

Left: The Frisee salad is delicious Right: My waiter went all TMZ when I attempted to photograph my food

The crowd at Brasserie Lipp is a good one if you like people watching– a mix of wealthy Real Housewives of Paris, older men rocking professorial sweaters with leather elbow patches and some assorted foreigners. I once sat next to an American rock star here who spoke French and noticed he got just as much attitude as I did (but ordered the steak tartare).

What to order: steak tartare, steak frites, ham with lentils, frisee salad, with lardons, Dover sole. If you’re craving something sweet, I’ve heard the baba au rhum is good, but I’ve never eaten dessert here because it’s so close to Ladurée and I’m always going to prefer macarons.

This ain’t California– no salad as meal at Brasserie Lipp

Brasserie Lipp Paris

151 Boulevard Saint-Germain,
75006 Paris, France
+33 1 45 48 53 91

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#FriFotos Geometric Shapes in Hong Kong

The IM Pei designed Bank of China building lights up with geometric patterns at night

Night view of Bank of China Building in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Night Panorama

Geometric details in the car park and escalators at The Upper House

Angles and shapes on the staircase at The China Club in Hong Kong

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Food stalls of Marrakech: A Photo Essay

The Baker

Marrakech’s biggest square, Jemaa el Fna, turns into a giant food court after dark. You can buy everything from dried figs to grilled meat on a stick. The smell is exotic and alluring, and, the vendors are a friendly bunch.

Left: The dried fruit vendor Right: Figs galore

One of my favorite things about wandering around Jemaa el Fna is how it’s a spot that is frequented by both locals and tourists. You can eat what the locals eat here, and cheaply. And if you grab a seat at the grilled meat stand, you’ll likely find a dining camaraderie not unlike that of a sushi bar.

The Spice shop, complete with a painting of a spice shop

It’s always amazing to me that the basics, like eating, tend bring out similarities among cultures. I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t appreciate good food, and Morocco has a lot of good food. For those with sensitive stomachs, you don’t have to eat any of the street food to enjoy how much it represents a culture. Most of the vendors did not mind me snapping a photo after hanging out and watching them for a few minutes.

Left: The daily special Right: Citrus drive-by

All these images were shot on my iPhone 5s using the Hipstamatic Oggl app. If you use Oggl, you can find & follow me @lax2nrt.

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Mirrors at the Royal Mansour Marrakech

Mirrors are just one of the finishes at the Royal Mansour

It’s all about the details at the Royal Mansour. The construction of this Marrakech luxury hotel was overseen by Morocco’s reigning monarch, Mohammed VI. He employed over 1,500 Moroccan artisans specifically to show off the finest in Moroccan craftsmanship, including some very beautiful mirrors.

Left: Mirror in the dressing area of one of the riads Right: Mirrored vanity

The dressing areas in the guest riads were very impressive, with duel walk-in closets.  The dressing areas including velvet-lined jewelry storage that could easily accommodate an Oscar Night’s worth of fine jewelry and watches.

A gorgeous bathroom with exquisite finishes and a mirror over the sink

The details are really what jumped out at me during my two day stay here. Anyone who has remodeled a bathroom– and survived– would be blown away by the quality and sheer number of fine finishing touches. The custom zelij mosaic tile inlays, to the individually chosen wash basins, tubs, and and marble for the 53 one, two, and three bedroom guest riads.

I was particularly charmed by this sink/mirror combo in one of the guest Riads

Room rates start at about $2,000 per night.

Royal Mansour Marrakech

Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti,

Marrakech 40000, Morocco

Disclosure: this post would not be possible without the generosity of my hosts at the Royal Mansour.

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Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech: A Museum Not to be Missed for Photographers

The Courtyard of the Maison de la Photographie in Marrakech

If you’re into photography and looking for things to do in Marrakech, don’t miss visiting the Maison de la Photographie. The raid style museum located right in the medina showcases a private collection of fascinating Moroccan photography, including vintage Berber photographs from 1870 to 1950. The museum also screens short films and documentaries about Morocco. It’s a great way to gain a visual insight about Moroccan history and culture.

Looking down at the peaceful courtyard at the Maison

Maison de la Photographie founders, Patrick Manac’h and Hamid Mergani, opened the museum in 2009  in a converted fondouk, in an old section of the medina. The Maison de la Photographie has a thoughtful edit of images hanging, and can easily be visited in an hour or so. The museum’s archives are located in another building off site. I particularly enjoyed the portraits of Moroccan women through the ages. 

The rooftop cafe at the Maison de la Photographie

There is a even a lovely rooftop cafe which overlooks the medina so you can have a nibble and a drink after looking at some very interesting local photography. The Maison de la Photographie is also in prime location, very easy to reach from the nearby and more often visited Ben Youssef Madrasa. The Maison de la Photographie also had the most interesting selection of fine art post cards I found in Marrakesh.

The Portraits of Moroccan women are definitely worth checking out

Entry fee 40 MAD (approximately $ 4.80 USD)
Maison de la Photographie de Marrakech
46 Rue Ahl Fes, Rue Bin Lafnadek, Moukef, Marrakesh 40030, Morocco


Monday-Sunday 9:30am – 7:00pm


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