Perhaps it’s ’cause I’ve got a serious case of the travel bug, but my feet are itchin’ to move. I mean, I haven’t traveled in more than a year (and Maui for a friend’s wedding last autumn doesn’t count). I’m talking real traveling — India, Marrakesh, Kuala Lumpur. Far-flung destinations to shock the senses and lubricate the mind.
The hubby and I thought Istanbul this spring, but that had to be pushed back. Maybe in the fall? Until then, I’m going to have to be content with travels of the imagination. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to satiate (for now) the wanderlust in me.
FRANCE: Fig + Olive
Now, I haven’t been to Europe since my attorney days, when I used to travel every six months just to get through the next six months of billable hours, endless discovery paperwork and motions galore. Back then, Italy was my destination du jour (everywhere from the Amalfi Coast to Cinque Terre), but I also managed to hit Barcelona, Andalucia, London, the Cotswolds, and even followed the Jane Austen trail from Bath to Rye.
One place I purposely didn’t go, however, was France. Paris I was saving for something — or rather, someone — special. There’s so much romanticism and hype surrounding France, I wanted my first time there to be meaningful.
I’m glad I waited. Not only will I be renting a house in the Latin quarter, shopping at Collette’s, and getting lost in the Louvre, but, thanks to my semi-foodie husband, I’ll now be eating the best France has to offer. And I don’t mean the highest rated or the most to-be-seen-in restaurants. I mean, the local boulangerie, random crepe stands, fresh cheese from anywhere.
I got a taste of what to expect at the Fig + Olive opening two weeks ago. The New York-based restaurant, founded by South of France native Laurent Halasz, opened its first on the West Coast, on the Melrose Place offshoot of famed Melrose Avenue. They officially opened with three big kick-off parties showcasing different regional specialities — Spain, Italy and South of France. We attended the South of France night and we were not disappointed.
We attended Audrey Magazine and KoreAm Journal‘s free screening of Sex and the City 2 at the Americana in Glendale, Calif., last night. With a theater full of enthusiastic SATC fans — many of whom were dressed very Carrie-appropriate — needless to say, it was a fabulous time.
And the long-awaited sequel didn’t disappoint. Sure, plot points weren’t exactly razor sharp, but with that much eye candy (the eye-popping clothes, the stunning locales, Carrie’s mesmerizingly smoky eye, and all the wealth and excess one can conjure up in the Middle East), frankly you don’t have much time to ponder over it.
Adding to the glut of eye candy is Raza Jaffrey, who plays Carrie’s personal hotel butler Guarau. Critics who were otherwise lukewarm about the movie are hailing him and his storyline (Guarau works in Abu Dhabi to make enough money to visit his wife back in India every three months) as the one bright spot in the film.
Of Indian-British descent, Jaffrey is an English actor best known for his roles in the BBC series Spooks and Mistresses. He’s also starred in the BBC mini-series Sharpe’s Peril with Sean Bean, and was in the film Eastern Promises (Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts).
The 35-year-old, who once aspired to be a pilot, started his acting career in theater, most notably as the original star of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of A.R. Rahman’s (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) musical Bombay Dreams. Jaffrey is also the creator of the dance-musical spectacular, Red, which performs around the world. The show incorporates dozens of styles of dance from flamenco to hip-hop, from Indian kathakali to ballet, all backed by the music and spectacle of Bollywood.
Other Asian faces you’ll see in SATC2 include Charlotte’s adorable daughter Lily (played by twins Alexandra and Parker Fong), and Minglie Chen, who plays the Bergdorf’s saleswoman. For tickets and showtimes, check out the official website.