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You’ll almost never catch me in the kitchen on a Friday night. Dinner out on Friday has become a small ritual for me…it’s the carrot dangling at the end of a long stick that is my busy work week. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, in fact, what I like best is simply hitting up my neighborhood eats, Nambodai being the usual suspect.

This little retro Thai gem has a delicious menu and a terribly trendy ambiance. Their young hip servers present you with a menu full of different types of curry, bobuns, spring rolls, and noodles dishes.  All their meat dishes can be substituted with tofu, so those of you looking for a perfect first date restaurant, Nambodai’s the place as they got you covered in the event that your date is unexpectedly vegetarian.

Mojitos are a must, along with an exotic dessert. If you like bananas, I suggest the banana-nutella nem – the equivalent of a spring roll but sweet and stuffed with nutella and banana chunks along with some crème anglaise. Or try the banana tapioca dessert served with warm sweetened coconut milk drizzled on top. yummmmy.

The candle lit tables, artsy deco, and good taste in music just lend the place a very comtemporary cool feel. It’s a place that you end up lingering in long after you’ve devoured your meal, and finished what you thought was your last drink. 😉  No wonder it is open until 2am.

PS: Nambodai has free wifi, so it is also great for studying, or if you simply want to get out of the house and browse the internet while enjoying a fresh fruit smoothie!!

Nambodai

28 Boulevard Voltaire

75011, Paris

Phone: 01 48 06 69 97

Metro: Oberkampf, Filles du Calvaire

Open Monday-Friday 8:30am to 2am

Saturday 9am to 2am

Sunday 6pm to 2am

http://www.nambodai.com/

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This penetrating Parisian gloom is chilling to the bone, and has greatly overstayed its welcome here in the City of Lights. No wonder there are so many lights here… I think they thought it might help dispel the dreary grisaille that hangs over this place 75% of the year!

For me sadly, the lights are not enough, and lately I have been looking for healthy little pick me ups that warm me  from the inside! While I am big lover of tea, I decided to take it to new level with these milk infused drinks that you can make right at home. Why waste precious euros on Starbucks when you could whip these up chez vous?

Lavender Dream:

A sprig of fresh lavander

A creamy milk drink that guarantees a good night’s sleep!

What you do:

Just heat up some milk (I usually use whole organic milk so it is extra creamy)  in a small pot on medium heat. While it is heating, add two fresh (preferably) sprigs of lavender and stir around as it heats.

Cut the heat when the milk begins to boil, and let cool a couple of minutes. Strain the lavender sprig out, add a couple teaspoons of wildflower honey, and you’ve got yourself a delicious dessert whose aromas relax the mind and heat the soul.

Or, there is…

Masala Fort - Organic Chai Tea from "Les Jardins de Gaia"

Melody’s Chai Latte:

This recipe was handed down to me by a very dear friend who has a knack for creating super healthy yet delicious treats!

What you do:

Heat up a nice thick vanilla flavored soy milk in a mug in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove top. If you have Chai tea bags, the microwave is a really convenient option. Once the soy milk is hot, dunk the tea bag in or (as I do) put in loose chai tea in the stove top pot. Let steep for 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like it. Remove tea bags or strain, add a couple teaspoons of honey and enjoy!!!

My favorite loose leaf Chai tea is the following: Masala Fort, an organic tea from “Les Jardins de Gaia”

Bubble tea!!!!

Sticky black little pearls all clustered up at the bottom of a plastic cup, oh how I have missed you! Not since my New York days have I been able to savor a delicious bubble tea, tapioca pearl by tapioca pearl…

Until now.

A new gem in the 2nd arrondissement has turned my work week frown upside down. Zen Zoo, a small Taiwanese salon de thé, offers an extensive selection of bubble tea flavors, some of which I have never encountered before. Soy Sesame for example? Delicious. Passion Fruit? Bomb.

While the salon serves full lunch and dinner menus (sweet and sour shrimp with pineapple is just one of the many tasty dishes offered), this sweet spot also has a convenient take out counter just for bubble tea. Should you stroll up past noon thirty on a week day, you’ll be sure to find yourself queuing behind trendy parisian girls ordering about five teas at a time to spread the wealth with busy co-workers.

Zen Zoo

The best deals are: 1) the lunch menu as it includes a dish with two vegetable sides, a bowl of rice, and a either a small bubble tea or a dessert, and 2) the bubble tea card. With the card, you can sign up for a certain amount of beverages for a flat fee and pay in advance, so even when you don’t have cash on you, you can still get your bubbly.

Clearly, I am in love….Card soon to be purchased and tapioca pearls soon to be savored on a routine basis. 🙂

For more info on Zen Zoo, here is the link to their website, and below is their address…

13, Rue Chabanais

75002, Paris

http://www.zen-zoo.com

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