CARROUSEL FRANÇAIS

Who doesn’t love a good wine bar? Personally, my tawdry love affair with wine has been well documented throughout the years and, despite numerous interventions, I continue to enjoy sipping this refreshing beverage in stylish environs.

So, you can imagine my delight, when one of my dear friends decided to open such a place. Not your traditional bar, the centrally located Carrousel Français employs a most marvellous concept, where a wide selection of cheese, charcuterie and desserts just coasts by your table waiting for you to snatch up whatever takes your fancy. A most civilised means of service, indeed.

The ambiance is charming, the wine is very, very drinkable and the food is absolutely delicious…especially the rosette à la truffe! The only danger is that you’ll be tempted to overindulge in pretty much everything really, leaving you to waddle home in shame. Trust me, I’ve learned from experience, although self-control has admittedly never been one of my virtues.

Fancy a Cuppa?

My name is Jimi and I’m a tea-aholic! Granted, this is hardly a grand revelation for my nearest and dearest, whose knowledge of my liquid predilections sees me gratefully receiving many tea-related offerings when it comes to gift-giving occasions – Toby the tea-straining robot being the latest fabulous addition to my collection. That being said, it’s hardly a closely guarded secret from the world at large either, as anyone entering my kitchen would soon see for themselves the true level of my addiction. Honestly, I could comfortably host a tea party for a hundred and barely put a dent in my supplies.

My grand love for tea may be due, in part, to a small spot of English heritage asserting itself over my Australian and Polish genetics.  Fortunately, I’ve found a happy compromise with a tasty Long Island Ice Tea easily combining my refined and drunken natures all in one happy concoction. But I digress.

GMF

It may come as something of a surprise to my long-time readers but I don’t actually spend all of my time in dark, dingy, dens of debauchery whilst visiting Berlin. Granted, they are definitely a main part of the reason I go there, but occasionally a boy needs a break. To that end what better place to enjoy a spot of wholesome fun than at GMF?

Held at Café Moskau, in the Avenue Club near Alexanderplatz, it’s the place to be on a Sunday night. I’ve attended this wonderful recovery party more than a few times over the past few years – most recently over the Easter weekend – and the place is always packed to bursting with an abundance of Adonises in attendance. Admittedly, I did much prefer the previous venue – Weekend – which was located in a nearby office building with sweeping views out over the city…and a marvellous rooftop terrace when the weather permitted. That being said, the change of location hasn’t seemed to affect either the hotness of the boys or the quality of the music.

Le Pain et La Pâtisserie – Jean-François Fayolle.

I have often written about how much I enjoy my trips up to Megève in the French Alps and Le Pain et La Pâtisserie is one of the many reasons why. There are many fine bakeries in this picturesque mountain getaway but this is the one I find myself returning to day after day on my stays there – usually to the detriment of my waistline. In fact, it was my mother-in-law who first introduced me to this little gem, as she’s been a faithful customer for quite some years.

The staff is always friendly and welcoming, and if you can’t wait until you get home to sample your purchases there’s a handy bench outside so you can happily munch away while looking at the marvellous mountains in the distance.

This purveyor of pastries is handily located in the centre of town and has a wonderful array of sweet and savoury treats to tempt even the most diet conscious among you. Sadly, they seem to have stopped their range of savoury macarons…mmm blue cheese.

XXL

Last month I finally made my merry way to XXL in Southbank. I must admit that my friends had been raving about the place for years and I was intrigued. Indeed, I had truly been meaning to go every time I visited fair London but something always came up. So, on my last trip over, the stars aligned and I managed to get act together and go and I was happily far from disappointed.

Originally, the club started off as a place for the more sturdy, hirsute gentlemen – hence the name -  but the fantastic music and friendly atmosphere soon drew in gays from all across the spectrum. Today, it truly is a one-club-fits-all soiréé with the crowd ranging from the beariest of bears to the twinkiest of twinks and every delightful flavour in between.

Cereal Killer Café

Normally, I avoid any hipster-like endeavours like the plague but my inner child would not be quietened when I heard about the Cereal Killer Café opening up in London. Not only does it have the cereals of my youth but it also lets you have breakfast at any time of the day…much like one of my other favourites - Benedict in Tel Aviv.

Kiss Me Kylie…

It’s time to talk about one of the most fabulous – and by far my favourite – divas of today. Yes, that’s right my beloved Kylie Minogue.

Everything about her screams gay icon, from her tumultuous love life, to falling out of favour, her bout with cancer and the fact that she is still effortlessly beautiful after a career spanning decades. Granted, she is starting to look younger than she did twenty years ago but what’s a little botox between friends?

This pint-sized goddess has been an integral part of my world since I was but an awkward adolescent trying to work out how I could convince some of my hotter classmates to participate in a bit of experimentation – unfortunately something that I was unable to manage; although not for lack of trying let me tell you.

Happy Hallowqueen…

Surprisingly, I was a bit of a latecomer to the fabulousness that is Halloween, especially since it has two of my favourite things – dressing up and gorging on candy. For a sweet tooth, such as myself, the idea of being practically forced to eat your weight in sugary treats is like a gift from heaven, I tell you!

Granted, Halloween was never a big thing when I was growing up in the Australian suburbs, as it was seen as something thoroughly American, although these days it seems to be an increasingly popular phenomenon…even here in gay Paris.  It helps that my lovely friend Ella always hosts a most smashing shindig – complete with costume contest – to mark the occasion. This year I had the pleasure of freaking out fellow commuters by taking the metro to the party in full Grim Reaper attire… some people get so flustered by a guy wearing a creepy white mask and carrying a scythe.

La Cookiterie.

Calling all cookivores! Your newest addiction has opened its doors and is ready to cater to all your gluttonous needs.

It’s so heartening to see someone successfully following their dream and this is exactly the case for the proprietor of my latest Parisian culinary temptation – La Cookiterie. The marvellous Michel has a true passion for cookies and it shows in every delicious mouthful. Indeed, he has already found a hungry clientèle to prove my claims.

La Demence!

Brussels isn’t particularly known for a raging nightlife but once a month it more than makes up for it in a spectacular fashion.

La Demence is held on a Friday night and is something of an institution. In fact, it has been kicking on for some twenty-five years now! That’s quite an achievement given the fickleness of gay men – not to say that they are all easily distracted by the newest, shiniest thing…actually that’s exactly what I’m saying. My point, now that I’ve come back to it, is that it does take something quite remarkable to hold the attention of today’s party boys given the array of bars, clubs and events all targeted towards this highly sort after market.