Saturday, January 6, 2018

Happy New Year – Catching Up with You

It’s a funny thing, but after the mad rush before the holidays when it seems there’s never enough time, once the holidays hit time seems to stand still, at least for me.  Routines are put on hold as we disconnect from daily life to reconnect with loved ones.  It’s all so worth it. 

Miss Kiri Kat Taking a Christmas Cat Nap

Now it’s time to play catch up and to catch up with you, my lovely readers, as we look forward together to a new year and all that it promises. 

My holidays were wonderful, thank you for asking, and I hope yours were the same.  I got some great Christmas presents from family and friends.  My friend, Earline, who is truly the busiest person I know all year round, but especially during the holidays, always stops by a few days before Christmas with some little Christmas “doodles” as she calls them (guest soaps, home-made Christmas cookies, a tiny Teddy Bear wrapped in candy-cane-striped jammies and night cap) and we sit down for some girl talk and a cup of tea before bolting out of the Christmas starting gate. 

But my absolute favorite Christmas gift this year was not something I got but something someone else got because of me.  Huh?  Let me explain. 


You may remember that I met some friends for tea at the Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room the week before Christmas (see Christmas – Ready or Not).  You may not remember, because I didn’t tell you, that as I left the tea room with my friend Anna, I saw this fabulous dress in a display case in the hotel lobby. 

The dress was from Boyds Philadelphia, and the instant I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for her.  Don’t forget, I spent years dressing clients so I have an eye for these things. 

“Look, Anna,” I said, “This is your dress.  It’s perfect for you.  You would be stunning in it.” 

Anna looked at it and agreed it was gorgeous, then wrinkled her cute little nose and said, “It’s probably very expensive, and I don’t really have anywhere to wear it.” 

She was right on the first point (It was very expensive!) but wrong on the second.  Like us, Anna and her husband are fellow opera goers at the Met and all over the world, and the opera house is one of the few places you CAN wear a dress like that.  Besides, when you own “a dress like that” you find a place to wear it, even if it’s just to take out the trash. 

Anyway, I found the dress on the Boyds website and sent her the picture.  She showed it to her husband and he agreed that the dress was, indeed, too expensive.  What a pity!

On Christmas Eve night I got the following text message from Anna. 

“I just got my Christmas present from N (Anna’s husband).  Big box from Boyds.  The dress!!!!  Cannot believe it....What color shoes?” 

I joked to my husband that I should get a finder’s fee from N to which my husband replied with a grin, “I think you’ve already cost him enough money, don’t you?”  Not only do I NOT feel the least bit guilty, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about someone else’s Christmas present.  Can’t wait to see her in “the dress”!!!!

We’re still in the deep freeze here and expecting more snow over the weekend.  This weather always makes me think of one of my favorite family-style, French/Swiss/Savoyard comfort foods (Wow!!  That’s a mouthful) – Raclette.  I could have thrown in hearty, satisfying, belly-warming and the best way to spend a convivial evening around a hot grill with family and friends, as well, but you get the idea. 

Raclette is actually the name of the cheese that you melt in your personal pan under the grill and then scrape off (racler –“to scrape” in French) and put over an assortment of vegetables and charcuterie (deli meats) that you have grilled on top of the grill.  You can also add various sauces and/or grainy mustards.  Yummm!  You’ll never have so much fun sitting around a hot grill. 

My husband had his first Raclette dinner when we visited friends in Courchevel in the French Alps to celebrate my 50th birthday.  It was truly a memorable evening, at least what I can remember of it, that lasted well into the early morning. 

You can get a Raclette grill in the US, but getting the right ingredients to go with it can be harder to come by, unless you live in New York.  New York Cheese Party, a young company founded by a French couple who, like many of us, really miss the real thing, have created a business that will deliver everything you need chez vous for your very own Raclette party.  Wouldn’t this be the perfect way to spend a snowy evening?  All you need to add is the wine, the friends and the ugly sweaters!!  Voilà!!  What a great way to start off the New Year!! 

And while we’re on the subject of food, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Alina Dizik “On – and Off – Menus in 2018” clues us in as to what will and won’t be on the menus of high end restaurants in the new year.  Apparently, the decision to take things “off” the menu is dictated by what shows up “on” medium-priced to fast food restaurants.  In other words, if it’s on the menu at Olive Garden, it’s off the menu at trendy eateries.  So, what gets the axe for 2018?

Avocado toast is showing up in too many low-end restaurants and is too too 2017. 

Tuna Tartare is a trend that has peaked (yawn) say the Gourmet Gods.

Kale is soooo 2010 yuppie puppy “Whole Foods”.  To be honest, I was never wild about it. 


Veal is no longer trendy not because of any animal rights issues but because it requires a sauce and diners are apparently trending away from sauces. 

Since most of my favorite foods (Artichauts, Fois Gras, Cassoulet, Blanquette de Veau, Pot au Feu, Coq au Vin, Tarte Tatin) go back hundreds of years, not to mention Raclette which dates back to medieval times, I guess I’m not going to be a cutting edge foodie in 2018.  I’ll drink to that!!

Tous mes meilleurs vœux du nouvel an.  
Happy New Year !!!


  1. Good Meowning! So glad to see you this morning;

    1. Always purrrrrfectly lovely to see you, too.

      Cheers, M-T

  2. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Well cheers, here we are already well into 2018 as it rolls on!
    So happy for your special friend Ann and no doubt she will look stunning inside that dress; you have great judgement.
    Kiri Kat is a smart cat, as are our kitties who know where to lounge during cold or wet days of winter.
    They teach us so much but we seldom find the time to do the same.
    Today i am glad for having showered and shampooed my hair right after breakfast as we have no longer water due to a big, ugly leak alongside the road. They're messing up our lawn - big time!
    What can we do?
    My off time in Florida was perfect, regardless the driving part for me and my lingering back pain but it left me alone after a few days being south. Knowing too well that i'd overdid it by completing too much before we left.
    Yesterday Pieter faxed out the many forms to the pharmacy company of his newly prescribed medication. Since it is not yet generic, his out of pocket pay is close to five hundred dollars a month!
    We're hoping that they will find a better way for continuing the use of this great drug; it has really given Pieter a stable heart and we're elated about that.
    But needless to say that none of us planned on doing such research on line, printing out the forms and filling out, having his cardiologist fill out and sign and faxing things off, with the latest tax papers. Oh my - hate all things that involve too much paperwork!
    But it's part of life.
    Saturday our Choir will sing The Star Spangled Banner for a basketball game for which we have to travel about one-and-a-half hour. But it will be fun and a great distraction!
    Looking so much forward to the spring. Enjoy wearing my cozy boots and got compliments on my long Chanel boots with the 'currency' buttons on the side. Those were a gift in the form of one thousand US $ tip at a Mushroom farm in California where we both worked. So proud of them and got them at the Chanel boutique in San Francisco, having them mailed out to me in order to save on state tax.
    Sending you big hugs,

    1. Yes, ma chère Mariette, our kitties have much to teach us, especially when it comes to conserving energy for when it is most needed. Miss Kiri Kat is excellent at that. Basically, she hangs out wherever I/we are. Loves the company of people and has no problem at all w/dogs. Her first friend as a bedraggled little stray when I rescued her was a neighbor's German Shepherd, who returned her affections. It was precious!

      I am so happy that Pieter's medicine has been effective, but horrified at the price. Paperwork in all its forms has indeed taken over our lives, particularly those of us "of a certain age."

      Chanel boots!! Gorgeous!!

      Big, warm hugs from Haddonfield coming your way.

      Tous mes meilleurs voeux du nouvel an -- Bonne Année.

      Gros bisous, M-T

  3. Comment sent to me from my friend Anna:

    "I cannot believe I was the subject of your recent blog. What a delightful surprise. I will wear the dress to the Met and an upcoming wedding in Toronto next month. Hope I will not freeze. That was my happiest Christmas ever too since we never ever exchange Christmas presents and this came as a total surprise. N cannot buy me a present, tried several times but had to give it to me right away. Now I just get something that I really like when we both see it.

    I still cannot believe it happened!

    I too read about the not in foods, can do without the steak tartare and a greens, but love avocados and will keep eating it even if that makes me not with it."

  4. A feast for the eyes, that Boyds Philadelphia dress and stomach, Raclette. Happy New Year, Marie-Therese!



    1. I hope to have pictures of Anna in her dress soon. I can't wait to see her in it.

      Hmmmm. Raclette!! Makes your mouth water, doesn't it? And makes your tummy all warm inside on a cold day.

      As always, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!!

      Cheers, M-T

  5. Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the amazing spirit.

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