Try the world in a box

Try the world in a box

September 6, 2013  |  featured, inspiration  |  No Comments

Idée cadeau

How would you like to be surprised every two months with a little box of goodies arriving at your door offering you the flavors of the world? This is the brainchild of founders Kat and David, who met at Columbia University, traveled the world, then decided to create a company and a product that would instill the same feeling of surprise and wonder they experienced in their travels.

If you subscribe to Try The World, you will be taken on a “gourmet tour around the world,” and your packages will include food items representing the best of the local culture, as well as artistic add-ons, such as a “ music playlist, a list of top local films, and even a poem.”

The Paris Box - TTW

The first box you will receive is the Paris box. It is prepared and crafted with true French Style, and it looks gorgeous. Inside you will find artisanal jams by Alain Milliat, signature tea blends by Le Palais des Thés, and hot cocoa powder by Les Confitures à l’Ancienne, as well nougat, chestnut cream, a pouch of rare artisanal salt from Brittany, a poem, Paris tips, and much more. Be prepared for a true cultural immersion and a few delightful surprises upon opening the box.

The Paris box is only le début of the story. Next on the list are Rio and Tokyo, and many more cities to follow. The ultimate goal of the company is to help people discover new cultures, and to “be able to send a culture box from any great city to any corner of the world!”

Discover Try the World by going on their website, and be ready to receive the best of the world at your door!

Kat and David


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We Love Chez Papa

We Love Chez Papa

August 21, 2013  |  featured, food & drink, san francisco  |  No Comments

It seems that every neighborhood in San Francisco has at least one French bistrot, and some have more that one. What a city! Potrero hill has Chez Papa and its sister Chez Maman, and there is no way that it could be otherwise.

As usual, it was a cold San Francisco night. On Van Ness Avenue people were hiding in big sweaters and sporty clothes… Yes, the city will never be the fashion capital of the world. Let’s blame it on the harsh wind and that summer fog. As I crossed 18th Street at Missouri, downtown San Francisco revealed itself in all its urban glory, and the wind quieted down. It is really quite view, even for locals like me.

Chez Papa is the staple place of the hill, and it draws an elegant and eclectic crowd. On the night I visited, the ambiance was quiet and lovely. One table over, a trendy couple was dining on mussels and wine. A group of friends were enjoying their food and each other’s company – even the kids were well behaved and eating their frites with a focused gaze.


The restaurant is small, sleek, and decorated in earthy red tones. It has a few tables outside for the brave ones.  As we walked in, a server greeted us immediately and offered us a nice table. The service was prompt, courteous, and very discreet. Servers and bussers left us the space we needed, keeping an eye from afar and knowing when to come and go. The manager, Raymond, whom I know, also came to our table to say hello, and we had a small friendly chat.

The web site says this about the food: “We strive to recreate the simple yet subtle flavors of Provence cooking.” A tasty tapanade is brought to each table as a welcome gesture and for wine sipping time. We ordered a second serving, and it was delivered in seconds. As a main course, I chose the black cod on a lentil bed and a side of veggies. It was absolutely delicious and cooked with flair. You can find the whole menu and special dishes by going on their web site. Their menu offerings are delightful and right out of a Provence table.



Dining out at chez Papa is definitely worth the trip, even from as far as Marin, East or South Bay. And any guest to the city would tremendously enjoy the location and the charm of this so, so San Francisco French bistro on the top of a hill.

Chez Papa Bistrot | 1401 18th St. San Francisco | 415 824-8205

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Learning French Demystified

Learning French Demystified

June 28, 2013  |  featured, inspiration  |  1 Comment


As summer approaches and friends start talking about their summer plans, we start remembering our old dreams about going to Paris, sipping coffee at an Eiffel Tower Restaurant, ordering lunch in French, and feeling great about speaking a new language. We all know the benefits, the transformation, and the excitement about learning a foreign language, but somehow, we always manage to put it off. Too much effort, not essential, maybe one day, I am bad with languages… our minds invent countless pretexts not to pursue our dreams.

Contrary to widespread beliefs, learning French is not the most difficult thing you will ever do in your life and could become one of the most satisfying experiences you’ve ever had. It could open doors that you’ve never imagined and could bring excitement, joy, and new passion for life. Remember that William the Conqueror brought to England his Norman French, and English still has a large pool of French words. To make you feel even better, English words like cool, boost, hot, are used all over French fashion magazines. But of course, this shared linguistic foundation will not help you start a conversation with a waiter at a French café or a gorgeous girl sitting at the bench next to you.

Learning French is a beautiful process. If you start today by following the advice below, you can be sure to realize your dream quite fast. You can bet on this one, and I can show you how. So, where to start?

Call your local Alliance Française, enroll in a class or contact us. We offer one to one online classes through our virtual school. I wish that you could do it alone, but I advise you against it. A teacher would not only give you the grammatical foundation but also immerse you in the cultural aspects of the language. Under the guidance of a great teacher, you will start to understand the basics and learn the best way to study and assimilate the material. A teacher will show you how to explore the vast pool of resources found online and build your skills on your own. If you are brave and have the means, fly to Paris and enroll at the Alliance Française in Paris or find another language school. Not only are you already in town and sipping your coffee in Le Quartier Latin, but you are also discovering your linguistic ingenuity and making new friends. In the meantime, grab a copy of the novel “French Lessons by Ellen Sussman and get inspired.

Curiosity grows with focus. The more you learn, the more you would like to know. If your local cable provider carries TV 5, the French international channel, get it. It is worth every penny. As you watch, notice the words you understand. In the beginning, you would capture a word, but in a few months, you would be able to comprehend a sentence, then a conversation. Indulge yourself with French movies on Netflix and YouTube. Download a free French radio on your smartphone. Buy a magazine in French at your local bookstore and read the titles, and then challenge yourself with an article. You will be amazed at the progress you are making. If you are bold, stop any French tourist you meet and introduce yourself. Why not have fun with the process? Go to your local French restaurant or bar and start a conversation. For more questions, lessons plans, prices, and for fast immersion on your way to France, email the editor at

So, are you ready to start? Have fun, be bold and enjoy! And lastly, sing with Edith Piaf and imitate her accent.



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