San Francisco’s Wayfare Tavern is for (Organic Fried Chicken) Lovers

Tyler Florence, celebrity chef and television host, recently featured one of his San Francisco restaurants, Wayfare Tavern, on the Food Network show, “The Great Food Truck Race.”

The restaurant opened in 2010, but briefly operated as a food truck at the start of the pandemic when many restaurants had to close. Their food truck service is now on hiatus, but their restaurant has reopened!

Wayfare Tavern and the Transamerica Pyramid in the background

Chef Tyler’s Organic Fried Chicken was named one of the Best Fried Chicken in the United States by Food & Wine Magazine (2019).

The magazine even reveals the cooking technique used to achieve its special quality. (Hint: after marinating in buttermilk brine, the chicken is baked on low heat for a few hours before frying!)

Enticed by the idea of trying this special chicken on a special occasion, my husband immediately booked a lunch reservation at the Financial District restaurant to celebrate our anniversary.

Burrata Toast, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

For appetizers, we ordered charred country bread with burrata. The soft, creamy Italian cheese was lightly sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, served with several cubes of watermelon, cantaloupe, and pear, and topped with some fresh microgreens. My elder daughter called first dibs on the prosciutto di Parma. (By the way, she snapped all of the photos shown here. 📸)

While we waited for the Burrata Toast, we nibbled on warm popovers (our American version of Yorkshire pudding). My younger daughter and I thought they were freshly baked croissants until we tore off a piece, revealing a soft, hollow inside. The popover was especially tasty with a spread of butter!

As for beverages, I recalled Sancerre’s recent win as « Le village préféré des Français » on the France 3 program of the same name, so I decided to have a glass of the Karine Lauverjat Sancerre 2019. I thought it was light-bodied and soft. I wondered, Is this typical for this appellation? Didn’t matter – I liked it anyhow! Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed his red sangria cocktail of Tempranillo and rum with licorice-flavor from the French tarragon.

Preceded by the distinctive scent of roasted garlic and the woody aroma of rosemary, the main course arrived, at last. After removing the rosemary sprigs that were perched atop five assorted pieces of golden fried chicken, I squeezed some lemon on top and took a bite. I decided it was definitely worth the splurge: the chicken was simple, but tender and seasoned to perfection!

Organic Fried Chicken, Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco

In San Francisco, mask-wearing and social distancing are still required indoors (regardless of vaccination status), but neither rule seemed to be strictly enforced here. Despite the full house, the noise level was comfortable. At our table, we could hear each other without having to shout. We couldn’t hear others’ conversations either over the cheerful music playing softly in the background, like this tune:

🎶

With its mahogany walls giving warm British pub vibes, savory Italian cheese appetizers, lively Cuban music, and sweet French wines from the Loire Valley, Wayfare Tavern is true to its name – the atmosphere lent a feeling of journeying to distant lands!

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience – and that’s not the sauvignon blanc talking! 😉

Cheers / à votre santé !

Petit Pot: Organic French Pudding Made in California

Updated: January 18, 2021

[Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Thanks to Petit Pot for giving me samples of Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice pudding. There are no affiliate links in this post.]

Image: Petit Pot

J’adore Petit Pot!

J’adore Petit Pot! I first saw the cute jars of pots de crème at my local grocery store a couple of years ago. As a Francophile, I was charmed by its logo: a blue jar wearing a striped shirt, an orange beret, and a smile. He even has a name: Il s’appelle Louis!

Petit Pot (say “peh-tee-poh”) creates their sweet and velvety French-style custards and rice pudding (riz au lait) desserts using local ingredients! They’re located in Emeryville, California, which is about 10 miles/ 17 km east of San Francisco.

Of the eight flavors they currently offer, my favorite is Dark Chocolate. The desserts are thick, creamy, and just the right size to satisfy a sweet tooth craving (each jar is 3.5 oz/ 100 g).

You can enjoy them as is or put a little whipped cream on top for some added flair!

I love to add fresh raspberries:

Chocolate pudding on spoon with a raspberry

I’ve saved many Petit Pot jars since 2018 and I’m thinking of creative ways to reuse them which I’ll share in a future blog post.

Special Holiday Flavors: Mint Chocolate & Pumpkin Spice

Petit Pot offered two seasonal flavors in 2020: Mint Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice. (Note: As of 01/18/2021, both holiday flavors are out of stock. Petit Pot may bring them back, so stay tuned!)

They are made with organic ingredients, including: whole milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, and cane sugar.

The Pumpkin Spice flavor is made with organic pumpkin purée. Although I could taste more cinnamon than pumpkin, I like its smooth texture; it’s like eating a pumpkin pie.

I love chocolate in general so I expected to like the Mint Chocolate flavor and I was right! It tastes like their Dark Chocolate flavor, but with just the right amount of mint, like after dinner mints. The Mint Chocolate flavor is made with organic ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, natural vanilla extract, and peppermint oil.

To learn about all of Petit Pot’s delicious desserts that use USDA organic, gluten-free, peanut-free, and locally-sourced ingredients, as well as helpful information about their sustainable packaging, shipping schedules, other special offers, and more, visit Petit Pot today!

Have you had Petit Pot desserts? Which flavor is your favorite?

“Emily in Paris” Will Make You a Francophile

Do you remember the quote, “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings” from the film, “It’s A Wonderful Life”?

Well, I’m convinced that every time anyone says « Bonjour » in Emily in Paris, a Francophile is born!

I know, because this is the sort of content I would have eaten up when I was around 12 years old – the age yours truly became a Francophile.

The new Netflix comedy-drama centers around a 20-something marketing professional from Chicago, Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins). Her boss was supposed to work in Paris for a year, but when she learns she’s pregnant, she sends Emily in her place.

I’m biased so I must say the best part of the show is that it’s set in Paris. It’s all there: seductive sights, high fashion, thrilling romance, and timeless magic in the City of Light.

One of the things I especially like about Emily in Paris is how the show informs viewers about some cultural or linguistic nuances. For example:

  • The ground floor of a building is floor zéro (not the first floor)
  • Préservatifs are not preserves
  • « Je suis excitée » does not exactly translate to “I’m excited” in the sense that you’re really looking forward to something

Emily and Mindy enjoy a meal here

How cliché

I also like how the show addresses (in a fun way) some of the so-called Ugly American traits (returning food to be “properly” cooked; speaking loudly), as well as French stereotypes (dog poop everywhere; rude shopkeepers).

Perhaps I’d been wearing rose-colored glasses, but I don’t recall seeing any poodle presents left on the sidewalks of Paris. Shopkeepers aren’t rude, either. Just because many of them don’t flash a big toothy grin (a common American characteristic), it doesn’t mean they’re impolite. In fact, we Americans inadvertently commit a faux pas by not saying « Bonjour » upon entering a shop, which is considered rude.

These bits of dialogue give me the sense that the show had both American and French audiences in mind by providing critiques and teaching moments about both cultures.

My favorite characters

If Emily’s character was the epitome of what it means to be American, then her French counterpart would have to be Sylvie, played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu.

My favorite character in the show, Sylvie has the je ne sais quoi of a self-assured woman. Her clothes are understated, yet elegant, which allow her own beauty to shine through. You can almost catch a whiff of her perfume through the screen. Beneath the snarky attitude, you could tell she has a softer side.

Another character I adore is Mindy, played by Ashley Park. Aside from being a good friend to Emily, I love her humor, outspokenness, and ability to speak English, Mandarin, and French. Who doesn’t aspire to be a polyglot?

Bof!

For all the delightful parts, there were several parts that were so unrealistic, you just had to shrug it off – Bof! For example:

  • Emily doesn’t speak French, but she was sent in place of her boss to work for a French company
  • Emily is hired to bring an American perspective yet she is chastised for being American (smiling too much; talking about work at a party; and arriving early/on-time for work)
  • Even after a run, Emily’s hair and makeup are intact
  • There are impossibly handsome men at every turn and every one of them falls in love with Emily
  • The First Lady of France helped one of Emily’s Instagram posts go viral

There’s a scene where Emily talks about the importance of teamwork, saying there’s no “I” in team. Then Sylvie points out that the French word for team is équipe, which does have an “I” in it. It goes to show that some jokes don’t translate well between French and English.

About teamwork, Emily doesn’t always practice what she preaches. Whenever there’s a problem, she does very little consulting with the team. But soon enough, voilà, problem is solved. Emily saves the day.

That said, longtime Francophiles like me will find the show a fun escape – much needed in these challenging times.

What I’d like to tell budding Francophiles watching Emily in Paris is: Go ahead and indulge in the visuals that the show offers – they are real places and they are beautiful – but one must also have realistic expectations when visiting Paris.

For example:

  • your hair won’t always be as shiny and wavy like Emily’s
  • your appartement likely won’t have an incredible view of the Parisian rooftops
  • your neighbors won’t necessarily be Harry Styles clones who also happen to be talented chefs

Finally, I’d tell first-time visitors to France that greeting the shopkeeper « Bonjour » is always a good idea!

Have you seen Emily in Paris? Did you love it or hate it?

Why You Shouldn’t Cancel Netflix over Cuties (Mignonnes)

[Image: Netflix] Medina El Aidi (Angelica) & Fathia Youssouf Abdillahi (Amy)

Cuties (Mignonnes)

Cuties (Mignonnes) is an award-winning French film written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré.

It tells the story of an 11-year-old Muslim girl who just moved with her family to France from Senegal. At her new school, she observes an energetic group of girls dancing. Eager to fit in, Amy makes friends with them and quickly learns their modest dance moves. They want to enter a dance competition and Amy is convinced that adding provocative choreography like the kind she has seen in music videos will help them win.

Controversy

You may have heard about the recent backlash on social media with thousands of people urging others to join them in canceling their Netflix subscriptions because of the film’s content.

Suddenly, everyone was calling the film pornographic due to scenes with sexually suggestive dance moves (“twerking”). They were worried that the movie, rated TV-MA for mature audiences, would attract pedophiles.

Many others took offense at the film’s promotional posters.

While the poster for Mignonnes (the name of the film in the original French version) shows 11-year-old girls laughing and smiling after an apparent shopping spree, the poster for Cuties features the same 11-year-old girls posing suggestively and wearing revealing clothing.

My thoughts

No need to cancel your Netflix subscription over this film. Don’t judge a film by its promotional poster.

The way I see it, the film does not endorse the behavior; it’s only a small part of the bigger story of how we try to shape our identities in order to fit in.

The suggestive dancing scenes are brief – no more than a total of 3 minutes throughout the entire film, which has a running time of 96 minutes.

The provocative dancing by young girls is one thing. But I’m more troubled by other things in the film. For instance, there are depictions of child neglect, gun violence, playing dead, physical violence (hitting, pushing, slapping), bullying, body shaming, bulimia, voyeurism, catfishing, stealing, and lying.

I wasn’t expecting any of those things, but I’m glad I decided to watch the contentious film anyway. I’m also glad I decided to watch it with my own 11-year-old daughter.

While there were a few scenes — including one involving a selfie — that made us gasp in shock, my daughter told me that she liked the film’s message in the end: you don’t have to change yourself just to be liked.

One thing is certain. This film will spark challenging discussions, especially between parents and their children. How can that be a bad thing?

More information

Cuties (Mignonnes) received the Directing Award/World Cinema Dramatic at the 2020 Sundance International Film Festival & the Special Jury Mention at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival/Generation Kplus.

Watch the Cuties (Mignonnes) Trailer here.

Watch the “Why I Made Cuties” interview with Maïmouna Doucouré here.

Book Review: “The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux”

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux

Author: Samantha Vérant

Publisher: Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House (New York)

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Genre: Fiction; 352 pages

Synopsis

As a child, Sophie Valroux spent summers visiting her grandmother in southwestern France. Sophie credits “Grand-mère Odette” for instilling a love of food and cooking in her.

Today, 26-year-old Sophie is a chef living in New York City. She dreams of being part of the 1% of female chefs running a 3-star Michelin restaurant. At the restaurant where she is a chef de partie, Sophie is sabotaged by another chef, causing her to lose her job.

She is in the process of figuring out her next steps when she learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke. Sophie travels back to France to care for her and finds out that the home where she spent her childhood summers is now a château with two restaurants and a vineyard.  

My Thoughts

As a Francophile who also loves good food, I couldn’t wait to read this book. Usually, in this type of novel (or, at least, the ones I’m drawn to), the main character moves to France, specifically Paris. In this novel, the main character is actually French-born; Sophie and her mother, Céleste, moved to New York when Sophie was a baby.

In addition, this story is set in the Toulouse area in southwestern France, bringing a welcome change. Lively descriptions of the Place du Capitole and surrounding areas reminded me of my own visit to La Ville Rose, or the Pink City.

I also liked how Sophie is not obsessed with romance. She’s not coy or playing hard to get either. She merely has a pragmatic and take-it-slow attitude toward relationships.

However, Sophie is indecisive and she gets in her own way at times. Her pride doesn’t let her easily accept gifts that she didn’t work for (namely, the gift of running the château’s restaurants while her grandmother recovers).

Nevertheless, the one area that Sophie does not waver in is food. For example, she knows exactly what she wants when developing menus, which I noticed almost always includes a velouté (a velvety savory sauce) and daurade (sea bream fish)!

Apart from Grand-mère Odette, the other characters in the novel were well-developed. I got the sense that they’re more like family than staff working at the château. Rémi and Jane provide tension throughout the narrative, as they weren’t thrilled about Sophie’s arrival. Fortunately, Sophie has supportive friends in Walter, his boyfriend, Robert, and Phillipa, who happens to be Jane’s sister.

The loose ends are tied up rather quickly, but happily-ever-after isn’t what you’d expect it to be. It’s Sophie’s own indecisiveness that keeps her happy enough.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about good food, family secrets, and supportive friendships. (Content warning: mentions of sexual harassment, depression, and suicide).

Not to miss: At the end of the book, Sophie shares a few recipes, including one for crème brûlée, which I’m inspired to make one of these days!

About the author

Samantha (Sam) Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, at home French chef. She lives in southwestern France, where she’s married to a French rocket scientist she met in 1989 (but ignored for twenty years), a stepmom to two incredible kids, and the adoptive mother to a ridiculously adorable French cat. When she’s not trekking from Provence to the Pyrénées or embracing her inner Julia Child, Sam is making her best effort to relearn those dreaded conjugations.

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram. Visit her website or Amazon (this is not an affiliate link) to order the book.

Thank you to Berkley/Penguin Random House for inviting me to read The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux by Samantha Vérant. I received a digital advance review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: “Paris, Part Time”

ParisPartTimeCover

© 2020 by Lisa Baker Morgan 

 

Paris, Part Time

  • Author: Lisa Baker Morgan
  • Publisher: ciao yummy! (Los Angeles, California)
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2020
  • Genre: Memoir, 396 pages

Paris, Part Time will appeal to readers interested in food, parenting, photography, travel, France, and specifically, the process of buying property in Paris!

For author and personal chef, Lisa Baker Morgan, her affinity for France began in her French class at her Southern California high school. She later dreamed of visiting France, but her college classes and job offered little free time for her to travel or take part in study-abroad programs.

But thanks to her father, who gave her a plane ticket as a college graduation gift, Morgan finally got the chance to visit Paris! Soon after, she went to law school and fell in love with a fellow aspiring litigator. Eventually they got married and had two daughters.

After several years, however, the marriage ended. Morgan’s child custody arrangement allowed her to travel to Paris while her daughters were on school breaks and staying with their father in Los Angeles.

During one winter break, Morgan spent the holidays with friends in the south of France. During that trip, she contracted a bacterial infection that required surgery. While recovering in a Monaco hospital and consumed with thoughts of her mortality, Morgan decided to transform her dreams into an active “To-Do” list. At the top of that list were her dreams to become a chef and to move to Paris.

The book moves at an urgent pace illustrating Morgan’s determination to reach her goals. For instance, while her daughters were at school, she attended early morning cooking classes or created new recipes. While she was in France looking at Paris apartments, she took the opportunity to visit other parts of France to do some food research.

On occasion, she would unwind by meeting friends over cocktails or having dinner with a love interest. It seems that meeting new people was easy for her; she became acquainted with well-connected people wherever she went.

Through it all, I found myself cheering her on, much like a supporter on the sidelines handing out cups of water to runners at marathons, which Morgan also likes to run.

While she admits to having moments of doubt and wonders whether she was acting selfishly in pursuit of her dreams, she remained focused and optimistic.

“While it seems I am juggling a thousand things at once – from escrow and raising children on one continent to cultivating contacts and researching food and apartments on another – I know things will come together” (p.79)

Before reading this book, I had no clue about the process of buying property in Paris. The bottom line: learn all about the notaire (notary) process before you start. It’s helpful advice should you ever want to buy your own pied-à-terre in the French capital.

I liked how Morgan provides a realistic view of the process. Things didn’t always go as planned. There were misunderstandings. There were delays. There was even a stubborn lamp that just wouldn’t work, even with fresh lightbulbs! Since she was splitting her time between Los Angeles and Paris, coordinating telephone meetings across time zones made the process extra challenging.

In her writing, you do get the sense of Paris being part time as chapters alternate between her life in Los Angeles and her life in France. Throughout the book, Morgan sprinkles in some French words and expressions, which are followed smoothly by English translations. In addition, she tells time using the AM/PM 12-hour clock system that’s used in the United States.

Furthermore, she employs arrondissement numbers when describing movement from one Parisian district to another. This presumes the reader has prior knowledge of the snail-like configuration of the City of Light. Pas de problème! It’s not a problem, though – just keep a Paris map handy.

In the book’s slower parts, she effectively conveys the sense of calm she feels in certain moments, like shopping for fresh produce then slicing celery, onion, and carrots, or mirepoix, to make a flavor base for soup; tucking her daughters into bed, or folding and packing her daughters’ summer clothes into a suitcase.

Her writing contains beautiful descriptions. When she talks about the dishes she prepares, it makes you wish you had the recipes. Then, as if she’d just read your mind, voilà! The recettes (recipes) appear like tasty hors d’oeuvres in between chapters leaving you wanting more.

The book also features over 100 photographs taken by Morgan. Like the recipes, the black & white and color photographs are in between chapters so you can enjoy them in batches.

The book includes images of her young daughters, food from the marché, and the varied landscapes of the places she’s visited, like the French regions of Alsace, Normandy, Loberon, and Provence. Other French cities she’s traveled to include Gordes, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and Colmar.

The takeaway from this gripping memoir is: You must follow your dream – if not now, when?

About the author:

Lisa Baker Morgan graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in English literature. She obtained her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School and her culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Today, Morgan continues to divide her time between Paris and Los Angeles. Her eldest daughter will begin college in fall 2020. In 2022, her youngest daughter will follow, and Paris can then be “full-time.”

For many years, Morgan authored a travel and food blog. You can also find her on Facebook, TwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

Visit her website or Amazon to order the book.

Thanks/Merci to Lisa Baker Morgan for giving me a copy of her book, Paris, Part-Time, in exchange for an honest review.

Oui Oui! Macaron

la vie en rose (et verte): rose macaron sprinkled with matcha green tea

The nursery rhyme, “This Little Piggy” came to mind when I saw this macaron shop! Housed in a powder blue shipping container in the Emeryville Public Market, Oui Oui! Macaron is a good place to pick up a small dessert after having lunch or dinner from one of the food stalls.

“This little piggy went to Public Market…

This little piggy took some Oui Oui! Macaron all the way home!”

I took home a box of six:

Top row: strawberry balsamic, coffee

Bottom row: churro, lavender vanilla, vanilla, matcha rose

I was excited to try the churro macaron, which tasted and smelled like the cinnamon sugar fried donut, but I found it to be a bit chewy!

Once again, the vanilla macaron was a winner for me! The shells were crispy, but not too chewy. The filling was light like a whipped cream, but tasted like rich buttercream!

Overall, I say, yes to Oui Oui! Macaron!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my other posts about macarons:

Tous les Jours: French-Korean bakery in Dublin, California

This photo was taken at the Dublin, California location of Tous les Jours, a French-Korean bakery:

baguette and a chocolate flaky pastry

Have you been to a Tous les Jours bakery near you?

According to their website, “Currently, there are more than 50 stores in the United States and more than 1,500 stores all around the world.” Tous les Jours bakeries have been in the U.S. since 2004, and for the first time ever, I recently visited one! I went to their Dublin, California location (about 35 miles/ 56 km east of San Francisco).

When I walked in, it was instantly familiar. I had been to similar bakeries before where you take a tray, place a piece of wax paper on it, and take a pair of tongs. Then you walk around the pastry cases, take the baked goods that you want and place them on the tray. At times, however, the offerings looked better than they tasted.

But at Tous les Jours, I was pleased with all of my selections! I picked up a baguette, a chocolate flaky pastry, and six macarons.

The baguette was soft and delicious. I didn’t need to put butter or jam on it.

The chocolate flaky pastry (feuilleté au chocolat) was so good, I practically inhaled it!

There were around 14 flavors of macarons. In general, my favorite macaron flavor is vanilla, so I got one of those, along with coffee, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, and Earl Grey tea flavors.

coffee, vanilla, blueberry lavender, rose, lemon, Earl Grey tea

I could tell the macarons were fresh. When I bit into the vanilla one, there was a delicate crunch. The filling was light and flavorful. It was just the right size to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Overall, I enjoyed my first taste of Tous les Jours bakery!

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested in my previous posts:

La Farine: French bakery in Oakland

La Châtaigne: French bakery in Lafayette

Macaron in My Carry-On

Sunday Brunch at La Note Restaurant Provençal in Berkeley, California

Go to La Note where brunch has been redefined as “a meal you plan to eat at breakfast time, but will eat by lunch time” (my words). Harsh, I know. But I’m not alone.

Many online reviewers have commented about long wait times to get a table at the East Bay eatery. But the gripes seem to only add to the restaurant’s cachet rather than deter both locals and visitors. That could explain why La Note has been serving up French fare since 1997.

Sunday Brunch

Seeing is believing, so my family and I decided to visit La Note for brunch. Maybe the food was worth the wait, we thought! After initially being told there would be a 40-minute wait time, we kept getting pushed back. Meanwhile, couples and groups of 5 people or more (some with small dogs even!) who arrived after us were being seated. Apparently, it’s not so easy to find a table for 4.

Finally, 90 minutes after putting my name on the list, my family and I got seated. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long to place our orders. We even got our coffees, pink lemonade, and Orangina almost immediately.

individually-wrapped sugar cubes are so cute

We ordered a few items à la carte, like a butter croissant, with a side of bacon, and an almond croissant, with two eggs sunny side up. From their Weekend Brunch menu, we ordered their Cote Est plate of scrambled eggs, strips of bacon, and a large pancake. I ordered the Pan Bagnat sandwich with a green salad.

Top: Pan Bagnat | Bottom: Cote Est plate

I know pan bagnat means “bathed bread” but the one I got must have been given a “warm” bath due to the roasted tomatoes. It didn’t taste bad – it just wasn’t the temperature I was expecting. I did, however, enjoy the baby spinach salad with La Note’s house Dijon vinaigrette dressing.

In the end, I had mixed feelings about the place.

While the wait time to get a table was long, the food and drinks arrived soon after we ordered. But, sadly, the food was not worth the wait. My family and I agreed that everything we had eaten was “just OK.”

I’d like to come back for either lunch or dinner when it’s less crowded and when they take reservations!

For more information:

La Note Restaurant Provençal

New Sara Bareilles Music Brings Comfort “Amidst the Chaos”

Whether you enjoy introspective ballads or uptempo songs with a throwback sound, you’re sure to find calm and comfort amidst the chaos in Sara Bareilles’ new music!

American musician Sara Bareilles has expressed in interviews that she was inspired to write/co-write all the songs on “Amidst The Chaos” after the 2016 United States Presidential Election.

The album title comes from a lyric in the song “Orpheus,” the eighth track on the album:

“Don’t stop trying to find me here amidst the chaos/ Though I know it’s blinding there’s a way out”

Image from Amazon Music

Some of the chaos she describes involve hot-button topics, like the #MeToo movement (in her song, “Armor”), immigration policies (in a duet with John Legend, “A Safe Place to Land”), and mental health (“Eyes on You”).

Regardless of your stance on these and other political issues, you’ll find comfort in the familiar melodies of her new songs. For example:

  • If I Can’t Have You (written by Sara Bareilles, Emily King & Aaron Sterling) – This song has a bouncy Motown sound with the most clever lyric and hyperbole:

Image from Amazon Music

  • Miss Simone (written by Sara Bareilles & Lori McKenna) – This song is reminiscent of another Sara Bareilles song. The track “1000 Times” from her 2013 album, “The Blessed Unrest,” laments unrequited love or losing a romantic partner. In “Miss Simone,” the melodic continuation makes it easy to imagine the same person moving on and basking in the tenderness of a more positive and reciprocal love relationship.
  • Wicked Love – This upbeat song’s hook, “I don’t want your wicked love” recalls the part in The Beatles’ tune “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” that goes “La la how the life goes on.”
  • Orpheus – This song starts slow and despondent, evoking the melody of “Comme d’Habitude/ My Way.”

No matter how tough or chaotic life gets, we’ll get through it. Like a good friend, Sara Bareilles’ songs will reassure you that you’re not alone.

Listen here:

Review: Oui Petites French-style Yogurt

#notsponsored

As a chocoholic and a Francophile, I was naturally charmed by Yoplait USA’s new Oui Petites French-style yogurt in Chocolate with Shavings flavor.

First, the good stuff:

  • Snack sized (3.5 ounces / 99 grams)
  • Glass jars
  • Four flavors available (so far)
  • The foil wrapper has an inspirational quote on it
  • Gluten free
  • Each jar has 140 calories
  • Non GMO

Now, here are a few things I didn’t like:

I read that Yoplait USA is trying to get more people to eat yogurt outside of breakfast hours. I say, if the yogurt is good, don’t worry, people will eat it at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any time in between. I eat yogurt any time of day!

Because of its fancy packaging, I was expecting a fancy dessert. Instead it’s just plain yogurt with chocolate syrup at the bottom and these things called shavings. Wood? Iron? Hair? Oh, chocolate shavings! Why didn’t you just say chocolate shavings?

Why is it “Chocolate with Shavings?” It sounds like each jar contains yogurt, chocolate, and a third ingredient called shavings.

The chocolate bits remind me of the stuff you find in Stracciatella gelato. For a yogurt “inspired by our traditional French recipe” it had me dreaming about an Italian vacation instead.

Conclusion:

I say Non to Oui Petites in Chocolate with Shavings flavor. In my opinion, it doesn’t have a rich enough chocolate flavor. I’ll stick to eating the regular Oui yogurt.

For more information:

  • Oui by Yoplait (link)
  • Press release (link)