What’s Inspiring Me Lately Part Deux

Lately it seems I’ve become increasingly inspired and excited by many things (sure, most of them happen to be food-related), but in a fervent attempt to make this post NOT just about food, I present to you this:

  • This podcast.  Matthew and Molly are a delight to listen to.  Their random and witty banter is genuinely nerdy and entertaining in the most lovable way, and in between sudden fits of laughter and anecdotes, they provide some helpful cooking tips and recipes.

  • Nina Simone.  I was listening to some of her songs in the car the other day (from a jazz mix I made way back), and she’s just incredible.  There’s no one like her.  Her voice is so distinct and I love that she was a classically trained pianist and civil rights activist as well.  When I listen to her music, I feel like I should be relaxing on a terrace of a Parisian apartment in the summer, having a cocktail and watching the sun go down.  My favorites are “Feeling Good,” “Just in Time,” and “Love me or Leave me.”

  • The rich, velvety, imagery-inducing musings on life, love, travel, and food, by Pat Conroy  (as well as the delicious looking recipes).  This was a gift I just gave my boyfriend (a big Pat Conroy fan), for Valentine’s Day, and he read me an excerpt about Pat’s honeymoon with his second wife, to Umbria.  This was the first time I had ever been exposed to his writing and I was hooked.  If this man can’t persuade you to visit Umbria or make biscuits, I don’t know who can.  I intend on stealing it when my boyfriend is finished reading it!
  • This restaurant.  It is my favorite.  Valentine’s dinner was spent here, dining in the “red room,” over crusty bread with kalamatta olive tapenade, bordeaux, duck confit salad (frise, grapes, walnuts, blue cheese, vinaigrette), “classic” moules frites (white wine, shallots, thyme, butter, maybe a hint of garlic), and gratin (elbow pasta, gruyere and lardons).  Nothing short of heavenly.  And the bartender gets my cosmo right every time (shaken violently for a long time, so it turns a pale coral color – never red).   Everything about this place is exquisite.  It completely transports you to the south of France.  You forget you are in Durham and not in Bordeaux or Provence.  I am forever indebted to genius chef Matthew Kelly, for making my stomach this happy.

And because of Vin Rouge, and my boyfriend getting me David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris, I feel as though I am on a big French kick, so I will also leave you with this French inspired playlist…I hope your Valentine’s Day was as lovely as mine.

  • “Melt with You” – Nouvelle Vague
  • “Married Life” – Michael Giacchino (from the Up soundtrack)
  • “La vie en rose” – Louis Armstrong
  • “C’est Si Bon (it’s so good)” – Eartha Kitt
  • “La Mer” – Charles Trenet
  • “La meme histoire” – Feist
  • “Little Waltz” – Basia Bulat
  • “You and I” – Ingrid Michaelson
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