Paris, je t’aime with Tarajia Morrell

Tarajia Morrell New York, New York

I write about food, wine and travel for publications such as WSJ Magazine, Food & Wine and Departures. I am a partner at Mettā, a sustainability-focused restaurant in Brooklyn.

Where did you eat your best meal and what was it?

Déviant, a delicious wine bar (with incredible food) in the 10th that always feels like a party, and Fulgurances in the 11th, which functions like an incubator for wonderful chefs who have played supporting roles to famous chefs and are ready to launch their own spots.

Déviant, a delicious (and naughty) restaurant

Where did you stay…and want to stay forever?

I did an apartment swap with a Parisian friend, which I have to say is like cracking the code. It meant I had a real home in Paris and that I knew my own plants were in good hands in New York.

I could spend hours at the Rodin Museum, but really, I could spend hours on the terrace of any decent cafe or restaurant, drinking tea or wine, and people watching.

What’s the one thing you’re glad you packed and why?

Traveling from mid October to early December meant the seasons changed while I was away. Plus I visited 5 countries on this trip, and with their various climates and myriad activities, packing wasn’t easy and necessitated layers, so I was so glad that I packed a 1950s fur jacket because I could layer it underneath a Barbour or my favorite vintage navy wool cape to adapt to the weather.

La Buvette is a wonderful lilliputian spot with natural wine in the 11th perfect for apéro, perhaps the most important “meal” in the French’s day.

What souvenir(s) did you buy and why?

I definitely expanded on this trip. I bought a vintage purple velvet YSL blouse from the 1980s that I found at the Marché aux Puces; an incredibly simple and cheap French red wine vinegar that I adore and tons of tinned delicacies like foie gras to give as Christmas gifts. My bag coming home was so heavy.

Unfortunately the food at Closerie de Lilas is dated and uneven, but the people watching can be wonderful. Plus there are the ghosts of Hemingway, Cézanne and Man Ray, lurking, which is why I visit on occasion.

What do you wish you’d done, but didn’t get to?

There was a Dorothea Lang show up at the Jeu de Paume that I wish I’d made it to because I adore her work and it’s incredibly timely now given the worldwide refugee crisis.Now, given the fateful fire, I wish I’d invested the time and braved the tourists for one more visit into Notre Dame to enjoy its former splendor.

Cravan is the loveliest little jewel-box of a café-cocktail bar in the 16th. It’s absolutely worth the trek for the care taken with each element and the lovely walk back to the center along the Seine.