Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Sunken Chip, Paris

Post-burger comfort food still has its hooks in the French dining public (an hours wait for a Camion qui Fume burger is proof enough), and although us expat Anglos have been waiting for years for well done quick grub, only a few have got it down pat. The latest, and one of the greatest, is the Sunken Chip, on the rue des Vinaigriers (Vinegar Bottle Street, funnily enough) , just off of the Canal Saint Martin. The tiny place, all white tile, communal wooden counter and smiling employees, is the brainchild of cult bistro Roseval's chef Michael Greenwold and James Whelan,  former Monocle magazine employee and owner of the trendy bar L'Inconnu. The concept is simple enough: a few line caught fishes from the Finnestere region ("the closest we can get to English fish and chips taste", says Michael) from an up and coming small boat fisherman,Thomas Saracco, the all covered in light batter, accompanied by well turned out chips and iconic sodas and beer from the UK. Predictably the place was heaving at the seams with hipsters, curious local neighbors, French media types and yelpers, bloggers and pseudo food writers, many of which didn't even come to eat, but to check in and take photos.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Howie's Homestay, Chiang Mai, Thailand

My recent sojourn throughout the North and South of Thailand (my first) was full of surprises from exceptional expats, although perhaps none as enriching as my short stay at Howie's. The Homestay, located about 30 minutes outside of Chiang Mai is a custom built private villa in the foothills of the national reserve it is off of and was the fruit of seven years of work and many millions of dollars. The gorgeously landscaped site, designed by Thai resident and American architect Bill Bensley (he built the next door Four Seasons), embraces the local Lanna style of architecture and comports a main villas and a few attendant bungalows, a lily pad pond, pagoda and infinity pool with mountain views. The name, a riff on the Northern Thai city's many backpacker hostels, belies one of the most luxurious and comfortable "hotels" in the country. Howie, a Boston born businessman who has been living in Thailand for more than 20 years, is a perfect companion, and the entire complex, including their personal kitchen, fridges, etc are open to visitors. Howie's advice on the surrounding region is priceless and the delicate, generous home cooking from his wife, Jerri, perhaps the best we tasted on our trip. Believe me, it's worth going to Thailand just to experience this.