The Goyard name in Paris first became known as a purveyor of fine trunks for the international elite. The house soon expanded their line to handbags and other travel luxury goods in the 19th century. The Goyardine canvas has reached iconic status and is recognizable but still retains its sense of aura and uniqueness, unlike another celebrated label; Louis Vuitton. LV handbags are spotted everywhere and carried by everyone from celebrities, to housewives, to teens, and by everyone else in between. A Goyard bag is recognized on the arm of a much fewer and a much more discerning clientele. Goyard is only available in the U.S. at Barney’s New York and Bergdorf Goodman and there is also one solo flagship store in San Francisco. The best place to purchase a Goyard is in Paris where they have the best selections and the most attentive salespeople. Stepping into the boutique on the Rue St. Honore is like stepping into a 19th century haberdashery store of yesteryear. The store has a quiet elegance with its wall cabinets displaying the beautiful goods and the old fashioned glass counter tops inlaid with dark mahogany wood. A stark contrast to the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysee where there is always a mob of tourists waiting to get into the store and a zoo like atmosphere inside the gigantic megaplex.

Edmund Goyard created the Goyardine canvas in 1892, and was inspired by his ancestors who were log transporters in Burgundy, France and were members of the important guild “compagnons de riviere”  or companions of the river.  The fabric has a pattern of three Chevrons, juxtaposed to form the letter “Y”.  It evokes not only the name of the Maison itself, but also a tree.   The small dots that make up the log pattern on the canvas clearly harks back to his ancestors. The material, although very similar to appearance as leather, is made with the same natural coated cloth mixing hemp, linen, and cotton used for their clothing.  It was originally hand painted, however; the current process today uses a ground primer color followed by three successive layers of etching.  This then creates the raised trademark pattern that has become synonymous with Goyard. The Goyardine also increases its beauty with age. Goyard offers also a unique hot stamping technique that enables personal monograms on an array of products.

There are two Goyard boutiques on the Rue St. Honore in Paris. One offers the trunks and handbag lines and the other the Chic du Chien (canine chic). The innovation of Robert Goyard in 1890, the Chic du Chien was developed for the four legged dandy outfitted with velvet waistcoats, ruffle neck collars, and elaborate leashes! Today, the boutique offers unique pet accessories as well as the ultimate Goyard collar in all the colors to match your bag.

My first Goyard purchase is the classic St. Louis tote bag in black and brown. Although the price is somewhat steep for a tote bag, I carry my bag everywhere! It is especially great for travel, as the bag is extremely light and can be easily filled up. I don’t regret my purchase at all, especially since I was able to get the sales tax returned on my credit card. I took my french bulldog with me to Paris this summer, and of course we had to visit the Goyard store to purchase Louis Pascal a collar! He only gets to wear this beautiful collar on special occasions!   Maison Goyard  233, rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris  +33 1 42 60 57 04.  352, rue Saint-Honoré 75001 Paris  +33 1 55 04 72 60.

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Tucked away in an old lumber supply building on a quiet street in the Bowery, Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria is reminiscent of an Italian bistro using only the freshest of ingredients and continuing its tradition of specialty house cured meats and home baked breads.  As a result, the restaurant is good simple Italian fare so difficult to find outside of Umbria.  The place is best suited for large, non intimate groups as the main dining room is small, brightly lit, and quite noisy.  Do not leave without ordering a sample of their home cured meats!  The delectable salumi board of lonzo, capocollo, and lardo melts on your tongue with a tantalizing saltiness and even a subtle hint of sweetness and paired perfectly with the fresh bread and fig preserves.  The crispy artichokes and preserved lemon was also a tasty appetizer.  The grilled Virginia quail served with corn and chilies had a delectable robust flavor.  For the Primi course, we ordered spaghetti and the Orecchiette with homemade sausage and spring onion.  The fresh pasta was unbelievably good, so we ordered a second round of the Orecchiette!  The Salt-Baked whole Branzino was quite possibly the crowning glory of this delectable dinner.  The flaky fish was baked to perfection with wonderful hints of thyme and caramelized lemon.    The short ribs were slow roasted with Castelvetrano olives, celery, walnuts, and a touch of horse radish.  The fresh gelato tasting included rich dark chocolate, vanilla, and sea salt caramel.  The cured meats and breads are also available in the small grocery market adjacent to the restaurant.  $$$.  53 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012, (212) 837-2622.

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Cafe Boulud is one of those elegant restaurants that serves delicious food with beautiful presentation, impeccable service, and a top notch culinary experience. It lives up to its michelin star!  The restaurant’s regular patrons are the old guard upper east siders, with the occasional silver-haired gentleman and his young eastern european companion tucked away in the corner.  The dining room is brightly lit and has a classic charm with a modern flair.   The menu is inspired by Chef Boulud’s four muses:  la tradition (french traditional cooking), la saison (seasonal delicacies), le potager (the vegetable garden), and le voyage (flavors of world cuisine).  The amuse bouche, a tasty risotto croquette, serves as the prelude for a stunning meal.  The first dish, a fabulous cream pasta dish was decorated with abundant shavings of Australian black truffles.  Delectable!  The chilled cucumber gazpacho was a delicious fusion of flavors with smoked salmon, avocado, and dill.  The exquisite foie gras was accompanied with brioche bread.  I felt the brioche was too sweet and heavy to be paired with the foie gras.  The crowning glory of the meal was definitely the stuffed vermont quail.  The apricot chutney and gastrique (caramelized sugar sauce deglazed with vinegar) lent the quail a subtle sweet flavor which balanced out the taste of the quail.  The baby leeks were roasted to perfection.  The turnips, black eyed peas, and arugula also perfectly rounded out the taste of the canard a la cerise (duck with cherries). However, the natural jus of the duck helped the meat still retain its distinct essence.  The meal was paired with a wonderful Gevrey-Chambertin, a red that didn’t overpower the flavors.  The divine molten chocolate cake was served with pistachio ice cream.  The chocolate sauce that trickled out of the cake was a perfect blend of rich bittersweet.  I could not resist eating more than a few of the fresh baked mini madeleines served at the very end.  A fitting denouement to a wonderful meal. I am looking forward to the new winter menu and experience more of the seasonal inspirations of Chef Boulud.  20 East 76th Street, NY, NY  10021.  (212) 772-2600.  $$$$

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