The Sweet Life

David Lebovitz is such an amazing pastry chef, that he can bake even with a vanishing left arm! (Or, erm, that's just a blurry photo)

Last night, pastry chef, cookbook author, and blogger extraordinaire David Lebovitz spoke to the largest crowd WH Smith has ever seen. Chairs were dispensed with, the crowd simply standing in any available space on the ground floor while David spoke from the stairs.

It was my favorite kind of author event – the writer speaking off the cuff, relating stories and anecdotes as they arise. Of course, as he himself noted, you can’t exactly read a cookbook aloud. But more than that, the format fit his personality: informal, funny, and not afraid to tell it like it is.

I won’t give a blow-by-blow of the evening. Frankly, I like Lebovitz, but I’m not a devotee (of which there were many in attendance). I don’t even own an oven, for heaven’s sake! His recipes are something I scroll through, intimations of sweet dreams that have nothing to do with my reality (plus, I can just go to the patisserie).

The crowd waiting for their just desserts (Lebovitz's new book is called 'Ready for Dessert')

I did meet up with two other Paris bloggers, Res I(p)sa and Karin, An Alien Parisienne. It’s always fun to match a face to the writing (and in Res’ case, a real name to the writer!)

One seemingly unrelated tidbit I learned is that Cafe Etienne Marcel will host two weeks of ‘Sex and the City 2′ launch events starting next Monday for any of you fans out there. Why do I know this? WH Smith is a partner and hosting several author events. The bookstore’s marketing director explained that there would be classes on ‘mixology’ (the perfect cosmopolitan, anyone?), making cupcakes, and walking gracefully in heels. Lebovitz seemed surprised to learn that he was programmed for an event there, too.

After the book talk/signing I joined Karin for a birthday drink (hers, not mine. I’m a Scorpio, baby!) I tried a ‘violette’ kir which I had never even heard of before. (The basic kir is white wine and cassis liqueur.) Seemed a propos to sample something new – we had stumbled onto the Carpe Diem cafe.

Me + kir in matching colors! Faux sexy edition! (Be careful: the violet kir causes controversy. Love it or hate it). Thanks, Karin, for the photo.

All in all, it was a great evening, with elements I imagine people populate in any dream of Paris: pastries, posh drinks, hours passed in classy cafes.

The fact that I don’t actually bake, wear sneakers instead of heels, and am more shabby than chic doesn’t change the fact that all of these things could be a part of my life. On certain warm May evenings like last night, I find myself drinking pretty cocktails that a cute waiter has just delivered with a smile. Sometimes it’s fun to pretend.

P.S. That would have been a nice place to stop, right? I can’t help myself, though. As I sat writing this, a group of teenagers walked by and started laughing at me maniacally for no reason I can discern. And so my new persona – Sex and the City, City of Light version – evaporates in a fury of self-consciousness. Just like that :)

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12 Responses to “The Sweet Life”


  1. 1 Lindsey May 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Glad you had a good time! He’s a hoot.

  2. 3 Res May 20, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I’m sticking my neck out, putting my foot down, taking a stand on this one: I like violette kir.
    Just for the record.
    Sorry couldn’t join you girls for the birthday drinks, mother duty called, but hopefully some other time! (perhaps at the “SITC” café?!)
    PS: I have a confession. I own an oven but don’t know how to cook. I just like pretty pictures of chocolate things.

  3. 5 melanie May 20, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I knew I missed something last night! So jealous that you got to see him. I love his website and his recipes but more than that, I love his tweets. He makes me laugh. Love the picture of you and the violet kir!

  4. 7 pariskarin May 21, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I am a devotée of DL’s not because of the baking — I can’t eat most of the fare he writes about anyway — but because he is one of the most delightful and funny men I have ever had the pleasure of reading or hearing. He is the gay older brother I never had but always wanted, and I gravitate to his personality like a moth to a porch light.

    He is also the kind of person I aspire to be like, so there is that attraction, too. He’s a kind of role model to me of a successful, hardworking, yet down-to-earth and normal human being. He’s very refreshing.

    I am so glad we got to connect at the event, and you look lovely in violette! My kir gave me a really stuffed up nose (an allergic reaction of some kind) but it was worth it. :) I had such a good time getting to see David and meeting up with you and my friend Karen, and learning that “res ipsa” means “the thing speaks for itself (I love that and will not forget it! It was fun meeting the woman behind the thing speaking for itself, too). It was a memorable birthday. Thank you for helping me make it so.

    I’m excited about the SATC thing… it sounds like it will be fun.

    • 8 paris (im)perfect May 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      Hi there. Yep, I know DL’s appeal is his wit and charm. I just have trouble keeping up with all the blogs there are to read! It was great to hear him speak in person and know he’s as funny in “real life” as he is in his writing.

      I’m glad you had a good birthday and that I could be there to celebrate. Sorry you got an allergic reaction to the violette kir – yikes! (Yet another strike against it?) Personally, I really liked it and didn’t have any problems. Folks, you’re just going to have to try for yourself and decide :)

  5. 9 PigletinFrance May 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Yet another Paris event I wished I could be living in Paris to attend! Your blog certainly makes me green with envy Sion!

    As for Violette Kir, I love it but have unfortunately found out that too much makes me physically sick… I’m now loving Fig Kir.

  6. 11 Carolyn May 24, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Ooooh I’m not (yet?) wired in to DL but am totally jealous of you, Karin and Res all meeting at the bookshop — such talented bloggers — and the violette kirs sound good too! Can’t wait to try one of those.

    Cheers and enjoy.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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