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Written by aric

north cal ’15

key west + miami + west palm ’15

Volcano Soup – Potosi, Bolivia

granted, it IS considered to be a touristy thing.

but a touristy thing for Bolivians.

which ain’t touristy for me.

and even though a lot of restaurants offer it, there was said to be only one that does it properly.

mmmm.

joshua tree ’15

a friend’s colorful ranch. Noah Purifoy. sunset + beers. Bond villain lairs. late drives. Pee-Wee. end.

Packard Automotive Plant [Detroit]

‘not allowed to let you go inside without a pass’ he said, cool as ever, but still his gun within view.

‘how do I get a pass?’ I asked.

‘got to talk to the city about that.’

‘can I buy a pass here?’ I pressed, putting $20 on the car hood.

‘baby, that’ll get you a VIP ticket!’ he laughed, and ushered me into the crumbling skeleton that used to be a powerful player in the automobile industry.

bartlesville & dewey [oklahoma]

nola. from my phone.

I loved New Orleans, but that’s already been written about.

for some strange reason, though, I never pulled out my normal camera – so what you get are these. from the ole phone. it’s more autobiographical than it is tourist, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

my new show on the BBC.

a year or so ago, I got a call from the BBC. they wondered if I had any ideas for a new show, so I sent ’em a few. one of them got picked up for 5 episodes.

it’s called ‘Treasure Hunters‘ [original, I know…] and we filmed the first season in South America.

they’re listed below, with links and a few production notes.

 

Argentina

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina [watch it here]. a long time ago, one man brought tango into the mainstream, with one startling act. in this, the first episode, I traveled to almost every neighborhood in B.A. in search of a 100+ year old record. what you don’t see in this was the constant rain, which hampered filming horrendously. when I’m sitting in the cafe, the sound is barely recognizable because it was pissing down outside. the man playing at the beginning of the show is famous, but he didn’t want me to talk about that. and the record store owner, Paco, turned out to give one of the best interviews I had on this trip, and basically carried the show. I got lucky.

 

Bolivia_22. La Paz, Bolivia [watch it here]. this was my favorite one in the entire series. half of that stems from Bolivia being my favorite place in South America, the other half being that this was black magic, something I’m obsessed with [learning about]. the treasure was good luck, but in the tangible form, so I travel from witch to shaman and back. hit with a discouraging fortune, dead llamas and a gorgeous [photo above] ceremony. and I still carry the treasure around with me.

 

Colombia

3. Bogota, Colombia [watch it here]. at one point, near the end, I border on losing my shit. this was the final episode we shot, and it all kind of came crashing down – but in a good way. remember my show on National Geographic? the one where I start crying after the Grand Canyon? same here. I suddenly realize I’m standing on the edge of the lake that launched the world’s biggest treasure hunt, El Dorado, and it’s me talking about it. on a show. for the BBC. to say it was ‘special’ doesn’t seem to do it justice. per behind-the-scenes, I went to this lake with my friend Jessica, who helped immensely. the expert at the beginning of the film was also my landlord, which seriously helped cover the cultural end of it. this is also a treasure I carry with me.

 

Ecuador4. Montecristi, Ecuador [watch it here]. this was the viewer’s favorite. it was also the first one I shot. perhaps it was the most popular because it was short, simple, but with a twist – of sorts. the town was a sad one, but the hat I left with is one I’ll pass down to my nephew. a funny side note is that I filmed all of these [save for asking strangers to hold the camera] myself. so if you notice in the walking shots, I’m looking out of the corner of my eye to make sure no one stole my camera.

 

Chile5. Valparaiso, Chile [watch it here]. this one was the most stressful, and one that I only got through because I have a dear friend who lives here. stressful because after filming in Ecuador, I got trapped at the border because of some riots so violent that they closed down the border [more on that in another post]. and then it was 30 hours of bus rides [one I got caught with coca leave on, and questioned by the police]. so then, finally, I arrive here and begin filming… only to get caught in another massive riot. I was stuck here for two weeks, with barely enough money to eat. but thanks to my friend, who happens to own a guesthouse, he refused any money and sent me on my way with a full belly.

 

 

… and that’s it, the first season. there might be a second one, there might not.

but I’m proud to have done it, to have gotten it out there.

I had an idea.

I made that idea work.

and it aired on the world’s biggest network.

so yeah…

I’ll take it.

 

 

an email to a friend [part two] re: snacks in Paris

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in the second email to a pal [first one re: drinks], I share my Paris snack spots.

I hope someday, you can try them as well.

mmm.

[email begins]

okay…

what to eat:

macarons: Laduree off of the Champ Elysees. hands-down. might be a line, but you have to try [pistachio being the best.]

ice cream: okay – this is a must. right behind the Notre Dame and over the bridge, you’ll find this place – Le Flore en I’lle. amazing for sitting and people watching, but even more amazing for their ice cream. now, don’t order anything fancy, just a few scoops of vanilla, an espresso and a few chocolate truffles [see photo above]. you’ll die. I die. I’m dying while writing this. 

croissants: best thing you’ll ever eat. so simple, but so amazing. [let me know where you’re staying and I can tell you the best places in the area]

foie gras: Comptoir de la Gastronomie. the best – hands down. near the Lourve.

cheese: you all seem like you know good cheese and in Paris, the choices are infinite, but… you have to, at least once, go for a few faves: 1] ask any cheesemaker for a ‘double creme’ – something foul, stinky, terrible. pair this with a nice rouquefort and something mild [even a brie or something light] and you’re in business.

with the above cheese, you have to grab a jar of rillette. the cheese shop should have plenty. some of this, some grapes, a fresh baguette and a bottle of rose and find a park. so jealous.

cassoulet – this is a funny one. with all of the things you have to eat, I’d buy some in one of these tins and bring it home. surprisingly good, and gets the nod from even the most pretentious of Parisians. you can find them anywhere.

crepes you can find anywhere… but if you want to be very, very local, find a place that does galettes. hard to say where in Paris, as it’s a Normandy dish. but if you do, order it with ham/cheese, pair with a proper cider and you’ll be so happy.

now… my favorite thing. the reason I always put on weight in France… saucisson. [sorry for all of the wiki links] best thing ever. find a butcher, ask for his saucisson especial. stay between the 4 and 6 Euro range and you’ll be good. look for a dark red, less fat [still need some] and smell. they’ll let you sample it before you buy. put on a baguette with cheese or just snack on it alllll day.

ratatouille can be made here at home. you can miss it.

… I could go on-and-on, but these are your basics. the big thing is that you don’t have to go all haute cuisine. French food, as it’s base, comes from a love of home cooking and the fancy stuff rarely stands up to a meal you could get in a quiet little bistro. the more I know about where you’ll be, the more I can send you to different places. but plan on a lot of picnics in the park – Siene in view – with a handful of cheese, meat, grapes, bread and wine.

am so jealous! have fun.

-a

[email ends]

an email to a friend [part one] re: bars in Paris

par_25

you might find this helpful.

or maybe not.

but here’s where I like to drink in Paris.

[email begins]

oh god… this one could go on forever. I’ll try and keep it short/manageable.

first things first, my two favorite bars and ones you have to visit. at least one of them… it’ll bring me great joy to know I passed them along to a friend.

the first is called Le Tambour. don’t be put off by any of the negative reviews about this place, it’s verrrrrrrry Parisian, which means the waiter will be a dick to those who he needs to be a dick to. you guys will be fine. I always forget his name, but if you sit outside [you must], he’s bald. and funny. at night, it’s a gorgeous setting, with decent food [not spectacular, but decent. which in Paris is still impressive] – go for the French Onion soup, but stay away from the charcuterie platter [it lacks]… but then, as the night goes later, it gets more and more interesting. it never closes, never stops serving drinks and is the best spot for late night people watching [and in a safe neighborhood].

my second favorite – Bar Ourcq [above, pictured] is a hike, but so, so pretty and if it were central, would be the BEST bar in Paris. it’s a South of France bar, which means very nice people, GORGEOUS funky design and amazing drinks. but what you do is grab one in a plastic cup and then walk across the street to where all the old fellas will be drinking their Pastis and playing petanque. photo attached – it’s a very pretty neighborhood and a place most won’t ever get to see.

my third favorite is a wonderful little place in BoBo [your daughter will probably be shopping in this area anyway] called Chez Prune. if you can get there right around 2p, it’s right out of the Paris of our dreams. small, dark wood, outdoor tables next to the water, amazing. food is okay, a coffee or Campari is better. 

next – something in the Latin Quarter/St. Germain [remember the book I begged you to read?! this is where Larry lived.]. you HAVE to sit where Papa Hemingway sat at Cafe de Flore and have a drink. never mind the crowd, it’s one of those thing you gotta do ’cause his ghost still walks around there, grumpy as hell. it’s a staple of French and tourist alike and simply has to be done. has to.

… now, as stated, I could go on-and-on and once I know which arr. you’re staying in, I can offer up a few more hints. 

that being said, there is no better place to sit and sip than on the banks of the Siene, looking up and out at the Notre Dame. grab a bottle of something [it’s allowed] and take in that gorgeous church. the more rosé you have, the more things get slightly blurred and it all turns into a Monet.

some stand out buys:

– a rosé [as mentioned] from the South of France. any kind will do.

– a Fernet after any meal.

– any punchy read from the Languedoc region. they’re doing some amazing things down there.

– absinthe. if you’re going to dare it, do it right at La Fee Verte. they’ll take it easy on you. other places it’s not to be trusted [fake]. 

– beer. skip it. you’re in France.

– white wine – a Sancerre from the Loire Valley. delish. 

… right, think that’s it for drinks. 

shall get back to you soon-ish on snacks.

do you know your dates yet? 

-a

[email ends]

[second email re: snacks]