I recently met Alisa Morov at a fabulous soirée she co-hosted with Louise Brody of Atelier 7. The two women launched VerySwell, a fun new project that combines exclusive settings with imaginative cuisine and fun themes. The Mad Men Cocktail Club, the kickoff for their collaboration, was held in Picasso’s former atelier on Boulevard Raspail. Guests attired themselves in cocktail dresses and suits at least inspired by the era, while sipping cocktails, eating fabulous finger foods prepared by Alisa’s company, and enjoying a background soundtrack from the 50s and 60s.
Alisa, who moved to Paris from Los Angeles nine years ago, is the kind of gal who makes you feel right at ease in a crowd of strangers, and the two of us spent the night convinced we’d met before. We still haven’t figured that one out, but I was dazzled by this energetic woman who, juggles motherhood with her own company, the American-inspired Sweet Pea Baking, while releasing two cookbooks. Her third book, “Happy Gateaux” was just released and is available in bookstores and on Amazon.fr.
Alisa took the time from her crazy schedule to share some of her Paris favorites with us.
The area that straddles the 10th and the 11th arrondissements, starting at the Canal St. Martin and moving south and east, exploring all the little streets, towards metro Parmentier and metro Couronnes. You can feel art living in the streets, in the cafés, shops, bars and galleries. It’s inspiring, comfortable – it feels like “home”.
Chateaubriand in the 11th. I was there on the third day after they opened, and I still feel the same. The food is amazing, surprising, a “wow” for the senses. The atmosphere is sexy, comfortable, fun. All the best reasons for liking anything.
Choosing just one is a bit of a challenge. Today, it would be Anahuacalli at 30 Rue des Bernardins in the 5th arrondissement. The best Mexican food and margaritas I have found in Paris (and coming from a Southern California girl, this is a huge endorsement). The atmosphere is warm, inviting, authentic, but not kitschy.
L’As du Fallafel at 34, rue des Rosiers in the Marais, because it is so, so good! Even the event of getting a table is fun. I’ve tried other things there, and they are good, but nothing beats the signature Falafel sandwich with their homemade Harrisas (red and green).
I find great, weird foodstuff in the tiniest, most unusual places. For the consistent “Oh, look what I found,” it’s a toss-up between Tang Freres (48 avenue d’Ivry, 13th arr.) and La Grande Epicerie de Paris (38 Rue de Sèvres in the 7th). I can’t imagine my cooking being as fun without these two.
This one is easy: Le Bon Marché (24 Rue Sèvres, 7th arr.). The shoes, the furniture, the cooking department, the clothes. Equally important to my shopping life is Merci (111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 3rd arr.). It’s sort of a department store, right? Between the store and its cafés, I’d just like to live there.
Michel Cluizel (201 Rue St Honoré, 1st arr.) for the taste, the beauty, the creativity – the Orangettes dipped in chocolate.
G.Detou (58, rue Tiquetonne, 2nd arr.) and MORA (13 Rue Montmartre, 1st arr.), for ingredients, tools and supplies. As a baker and a cook, these two equal heaven.
Trésor by Brigitte Masson (6 Rue Trésor, 4th arr.). Beautiful, original, sexy, fun and wearable.
Place for cocktails
There are so many places still unexplored. Right now, for a great martini, a hot dog and quirky ambiance, Harry’s Bar (5 Rue Daunou 2nd arr.). Searching for great cocktails and food is, however, what led to starting VerySWELL. Our signature champagne cocktail calls my name. (Not meant to make a shameless plug, but it is so good.)
I eagerly await La Fête de la Musique every year. I pick a different neighborhood each time. It’s all serendipity, magic and some great music finds. This year, the Féte is on June 21st.
My favorite is Le Moulin de la Vierge, (166, avenue de Suffren, 15th arr.), with artisanal breads and perfect pastries very worth the calories. For a complete indulgence, Pierre Hermé at any and all locations.
Chez Moi. Mornings with my children are unbeatable, with the Nespresso machine on, a view of the Seine, a baguette with wonderful butter or my homemade scones. And it doesn’t matter what I wear.
There are a few places along the Seine where I love to hang out, read, get a tan and watch the boats.
At the Lobby lounge in the Hotel Meurice (rue de Rivoli, 1st arr.), every chair is different. After champagne and caviar with a few close friends, a walk around Paris at night crossing bridges before grabbing a taxi very late in the night and asking the driver to take the long way home.
Day trip from Paris
Almost anywhere in Normandy, where I can enjoy nature, cheese, and cows with soft ears.