Paris, Eat Like a Local

Most Parisians have either a light breakfast of a croissant or tartine with butter and jam along with coffee or no breakfast at all. In fact, omelets are ordered at lunchtime or even for a light dinner. In recent years, a spate of new cafés in Paris, where we live, have opened serving American-style breakfast and weekend brunch catering to Parisian hipsters and Millennials. Here are some of our top picks.

Breakfast in America: When American expat Craig Carlson moved to Paris, one of the things he missed most about the U.S. was his American breakfast. Not able to survive on just croissants first thing in the morning, he decided the only way to fill his hearty breakfast craving was to open his own American-style diner in 2003.

Fast forward to 2017: Breakfast in America is a runaway success with three locations — the Latin Quarter, the Marais and the Grand Boulevards area — with waits of up to 45 minutes on the weekend. Pancakes with toppings of bacon, blueberries, chocolate chips and bananas, French toast, breakfast burrito, cheese, western, mushroom and Swiss omelets and New York City bagel and lox are just some of the enticing dishes. Besides serving breakfast all day, Breakfast in America also offers a full hamburger menu, including chicken, veggie and fish burgers, along with Bacon Cheese, Chili con Carne and classic beef burgers.

The interiors of the restaurants have the feel of American diners with red vinyl booths and bar stools, toasters on the tables and plastic ketchup and mustard dispensers.

Craig Carlson wrote a bestselling book in 2016, “Pancakes in Paris,” about the trials and tribulations he went through to open his first Breakfast in America, which can be found at 17 rue des Ecoles, 75005. B.I.A. 2 is at 4 rue Mahler, 75004, and B.I.A. 3 at 41 rue des Jeuneurs, 75002.

Holybelly: Opened in 2013 in the trendy Canal Saint Martin area, Holybelly has become a neighborhood institution in a short period of time. The owners of Holybelly, expats Sarah Mouchot and Nico Alary, have a simple philosophy about their café, which has paid off handsomely, judging by the crowds: Good food, good coffee and good service in a consistent fashion.

Known for their all day breakfast menu, the menu changes monthly, supporting seasonal availability of ingredients. On a recent visit there, some of the specialties included black rice porridge, pancakes topped with eggs served with homemade butter and maple syrup, and artisanal bread from the renowned boulangerie, Du Pain et Des Idées. Eggs any style are served with house made home fries, baked beans or sausage.

A cup of java – always fresh – is supreme at Holybelly and serious coffee aficionados can sip classic drip, espresso, latte and other varieties. They work with an array of different roasters, so on any given day, patrons can talk to their barista to find out what’s brewing.

Menus are in English and the staff also speaks English, a plus for visitors who don’t speak French. Holybelly recently relocated a few doors down to 5 Rue Lucien Sampaix, 75010.

Ladurée offers a more formal setting for breakfast and weekend brunches in Paris.

Ladurée: A more formal setting for breakfast is Ladurée, the famed macaron house at 18 Rue Royale, 75008. The original Ladurée bakery was opened in 1862 by Louis Ernest Ladurée. His wife came up with the idea of a daytime salon for women to meet freely, since women were not allowed to go out in public unescorted during the early 1900s. The first tearoom of Paris was born in 1930 with Italian-style hand-painted ceiling frescoes, plush carpeting and velvet chairs. Ladurée’s grandson, Pierre Desfontaines, invented a new style macaron, by taking two macaron shells and putting a ganache filling inside, thus inventing the super popular modern day delicacy.

Today the elegant tearoom serves a full breakfast, including eggs with caviar and soft-boiled eggs with Scottish smoked salmon, avocado and toast. On the weekends, Laduree offers a brunch of a breadbasket with homemade butter and jams, French toast, granola and yogurt, fried eggs, a selection of cheeses and fruit salad with two macarons.

Afternoon High Tea 

Tea-loving Millennials who want to splurge a bit during an afternoon of shopping or sightseeing in Paris can drop by Le Meurice hotel between 3:30 and 6 p.m. That’s when high tea (50 euros or about $60 per person) is served at the hotel, which recently unveiled a redesign by Philippe Starck.

Alain Ducasse is the hotel’s current chef and his pastry chef Cédric Grolet has created an impressive array of pastry and savory bits at teatime. The menu reflects a traditional English high tea with scones, jam and clotted cream, small pastries and finger sandwiches (with fillings such as olives and artichokes, beets with goat cheese and beef gravlax). The presentation, however, is very French and the delicacies are served on an oblong cart with a chrome frame and black glass tiers. Besides traditional and exotic teas and coffee, hot chocolate from Ducasse’s bean to bar chocolate boutique is served.

Paris: Always in Fashion

One of the greatest couturiers and fashion designers of the 20th century, Christian Dior, is having a grand fete for the 70th anniversary of the eponymous fashion house. The massive show taking over the entire 30,000-square-foot exhibition space of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs is the first to show the entire 70-year history of the brand and all of the subsequent designers after Dior.

In 1947, Dior opened his own couture house in Paris and his first collection was coined “The New Look” by Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow, which expressed a whole new feminine look like none before, with cinched waists, soft shoulders and accentuated bust line. Dior became the toast of the town and raised Paris back to center of the fashion world.

After Dior passed away in 1957, the house ushered in a series of six designers: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and today’s director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. The exhibition traces the evolution of the brand with each impending designer giving their own signature to the house while retaining its roots. The lines can be long, so advise clients to purchase tickets online or otherwise in advance.

Lahaina, Hawaii



(Recently posted in Miama Herald)


This tropical town may be better known for its touristy souvenir shops and cafes, but a stroll along Lahaina’s waterfront yields a glimpse into Hawaii’s past, from its whaling days to King Kamehameha’s extracurricular activities.

Some walking tour maps suggest that you include 28 historic stops on your stroll – and start early in the day, so you don’t swoon from the heat as you contemplate Herman Melville’s cousin’s grave and a tennis court that was once the site of a sacred pond. We may be die-hard history buffs, but 28 seems like a lot. Besides, there’s a beach waiting – and the promise of margaritas.

So we’ve narrowed the field to an eye-popping eight and traced a path that leads from Lahaina’s spectacular banyan tree to dinner and cocktails. Consider it a Lahaina history appetizer. And if you’re still hungry for more, check out the extensive trail map designed by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation (, which has spent decades restoring and mapping 65 historically important sites in Kamehameha’s royal capital.

1. The Banyan Tree

This enormous tree is not just the centerpiece of Lahaina’s courthouse plaza. It’s a Hawaiian icon and one of the largest banyans in the U.S. The tree was just 8 feet tall when it was imported from India in 1873 and planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the arrival of American Protestant missionaries.

Grab a coffee – or better yet, a scoop of Heavenly Hana ice cream at Lappert’s (693 Front St.) – to enjoy in the shade as you contemplate the history of this island nation and what happened when Christian missionaries arrived here. You’ll have no problem finding shade: The tree, which has 12 major trunks, is more than 60 feet tall. Its branches shade a 2/3-acre expanse of the park.

Details: Open 24/7 at Lahaina Banyan Court Park, 671 Front St., Lahaina

2. The Old Fort

The banyan is actually planted on the grounds of the historic Fort at Lahaina, which was built in 1832 to protect the town from cannon fire. In the first half of the 19th century, whaling ships anchored off Lahaina’s shores by the hundreds, their sailors eager to re-provision and enjoy a little shore leave. The carousing was cut short in 1825, when Hawaii’s royal family enacted a kapu – a religious ban – that prohibited prostitution and alcohol sales. Years of protests, rioting and death threats ensued, much of it aimed at missionaries, who sailors blamed for encouraging the royal decree.

In 1827, a British whaling ship fired cannons over a missionary’s house, which prompted the queen to order an old mud and sand fort rebuilt into something more substantial. Built from coral blocks, the 20-foot tall walls of the Old Fort were topped with 47 cannons. What you see here now is a partial reconstruction, done in 1964.

Details: Open 24/7. Find the ruins at the southwestern edge of the park.

3. Old Courthouse

See that cream-colored, Greek Revival building with the terra cotta tile roof? Originally built as the Lahaina Court and Customs House in 1860, this was the place where the Hawaiian flag was retired and the new U.S. flag raised in 1898, when the American government – incited by U.S. business titans and Sanford Dole, the son of missionaries to Hawaii and a cousin of the Dole pineapple family, whose empire rose in 1899 – annexed a sovereign country and deposed Queen Lili’uokalani.

Today, this beautiful building, which was renovated in 1998, is the home of the Lahaina Visitor Center and, upstairs, the Lahaina Heritage Museum (

Details: Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Free admission. 648 Wharf St. at Banyan Tree Park

4. The Pioneer Inn

Maui’s first hotel was opened by a 6-foot, 5-inch Royal Canadian Mountie in 1901 at a time of immense change. Theodore Roosevelt had just become president. The Victorian era had just come to a close. And for the next 50 years, the Pioneer Inn would be Western Maui’s only lodging option – and a popular Hollywood filming site. Today, the hotel and saloon are owned by Best Western, so guests get air-conditioning and Keurig coffeemakers, along with that sense of history.

Before you go inside, though, stop and look at the Lahaina Lighthouse on the waterfront across the street from the hotel. King Kamehameha III had a 9-foot tall lighthouse built here in 1840, its lamp fueled with the whale oil procured in Lahaina’s waters. It predates any lighthouse on the U.S. Pacific coast. In 1866, the lighthouse was expanded to 26 feet and the whale oil was replaced by kerosene. The 55-foot tall lighthouse – with its Fresnel lens – you see today was built in 1905.

Details: 658 Wharf St., Lahaina;

5. Hauola Stone

Look for the brass marker pointing the way to a sacred stone half-submerged in the water. For centuries, it was used as a royal birthing seat. According to legend, a Hawaiian queen had to give birth in one of these chairlike stones, lapped by ocean waves, for her child to carry the royal lineage.

6. Baldwin Home Museum

Whatever your views on Hawaii’s missionary experience, Dwight Baldwin, a Harvard-educated doctor and missionary to Maui, is a figure worth celebrating for this fact alone: His insistence on vaccination in 1853 saved Maui, Molokai and Lanai’s residents from the smallpox epidemic that killed 12,000 people on Oahu and the Big Island. Baldwin spent months traveling from village to village to administer immunization shots.

Today, the Baldwin family home is a museum that offers a look back at 19th century missionary life, from medical equipment to mosquito net-draped beds and games of Konane, a Hawaiian game similar to Chinese checkers that uses black and white rocks on a wooden gameboard. The Masters’ Reading Room is right next door and worth a peek, as well.

Details: Tickets $5-$7. Open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and until 8:30 p.m. on Fridays at 120 Dickenson St.; Lahaina

7. Wo Hing Museum

Chinese immigrants first arrived on Maui on 19th century trade or whaling ships. If you’ve driven the Road to Hana, you can thank Chinese labor for building that challenging road’s many bridges. In 1912, the Wo Hing Society – Wo means peace and harmony, Hing means prosperity – built this two-story building, with a temple upstairs. The first floor now houses a museum.

Details: Admission is $5-$7, but admission to the Baldwin House covers both museums. Open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily at 858 Front St., Lahaina;

8. U.S. Seamen’s Hospital

This stone-front building was commissioned as an inn for sailors in 1833 by Kamehameha III and later used as a hospital for injured seamen. It had a much more colorful purpose, too. Situated on the outskirts of town, it was a good mile from the missionary settlement – and the king needed a rendezvous spot for trysts with his sister, the Princess Nahi’ena’ena. The idea of sacred marriages between royal siblings is an ancient one, and it extends back through generations of Hawaiian royal lineage. As you might guess, the missionaries did not approve.

Details: 1024 Front St., Lahaina;

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