© Leslie Tiano
Wine bottle tumblers from BottleHood.
The other day at the beach, I came across a supercool beer bottle neck that had been so polished down by the waves and sand that it could be worn as a ring. It got me thinking about the many other neat ways to repurpose wine and beer bottles that I've seen lately. Atlanta-based Kathleen Plate transforms recycled glass into jewelry with clean, sleek lines—her new pale-blue chandelier necklace looks like the summer sky to me. The fire escape gardener in me appreciates the compact Grow Bottle, an indoor herb planter crafted from reclaimed restaurant wine bottles. And colored wine bottles look great on the tabletop even long after the last drop has been poured: In San Diego, BottleHood recrafts wine, beer and spirit bottles into unique glassware, from frat-house-ready Red Stripe glasses to funky-elegant green glass tumblers. Its glassware would be perfect on a casual summer table—along with a chilled summer bottle that's still full, of course.
If there’s one thing I want to do in a restaurant, it’s eat something amazing. But if I get to eat something good and beat my friend at ping pong, well then things are going really well for me. Happily, there’s a whole new world of restaurants that decided to take the Dave & Busters concept to another level, combining great food with superfun extracurricular activities.
Fly Fishing at the Restaurant at the Little Nell, Aspen – The hotel hasn’t actually installed a river in the middle of their dining room. But they do take guests out for a fly-fishing lesson and chef Robert McCormick will serve a waterside lunch on fine china, along the lines of salmon crostini and housemade ice cream sandwiches. Starting this summer, they’ll make trips in a gorgeous new made-in-Montana wooden boat. thelittlenell.com
Surfing at Casa del Mar, Santa Monica – The name, Surf with Chef, says everything you need to know. You get a surf lesson with a private instructor and chef Jason Bowlin (chef at the hotel’s Catch restaurant; let’s assume he’s a good surfer); then Bowlin will slide in and serve lunch made with ingredients you’ve caught…. No! from the nearby farmer’s market, where he’ll make dishes like roasted beets with burrata. hotelcasadelmar.com
Rocking out at Sam’s, Boston – Sam’s co-owner, guitarist Drew Parsons (of American HiFi) often plays live sets on Friday nights at the restaurant. Extra credit to Sam’s: they also have a bocce court where groups can compete and sample dishes like black pepper patty burgers, and drink a Captain Hilt, a mix of bourbon, chartreuse and raspberry puree. samsatlouis.com
Ping-Ponging at Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club, NYC – Down at South Street Seaport, chef Jason Mayer serves German bratwurst on a pretzel bun (also hand-stretched pretzel snacks and cinnamon-sugar pretzels for dessert). There’s live music (George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the end of July!) and a rec room dream assortment of ping pong, foosball and pool. beekmanbeergarden.com
America’s Wacky Fair Foods
America’s Weirdest Regional Foods
American Beer, Bourbon and More
World’s Weirdest Restaurants
World’s Top 10 Life-Changing Restaurants
© Bryce Boyd
Region General Store
Anyone who knows me can attest that I'm prone to getting lost while shopping for two things: food and home goods. This is no joke, people—I have a serious problem! Lately, I'm finding it especially difficult to control myself because of my new favorite spot that recently opened: Region General Store in the Catskills, two hours north of New York City and just off the banks of the ultra-beautiful Upper Delaware River.
Luxury-retailer-turned-artisan-goods-junkie Bryce Boyd decided to open his store after building a summer home in the Catskills and realizing that his true passion was for a store of his own—one that would be stocked with things produced within 200 miles. He started plans for a modern take of an old-timey staple: the general store.
His country-chic boutique opened only weeks ago, and with much success. It seems only a matter of time before he'll need to hire a staff of people just to stock the shelves (especially with me on the prowl). Bryce sells specialty foods like an incredible cranberry-horseradish chutney (my personal favorite) from Beth's Farm Kitchen and artisan breads from a small-batch bakery, Flour Power, in Livingston Manor, New York. Also available are handmade home goods like a Halloweenish cobweb broom, ceramic juicers and luxurious soaps and candles from TV's famous Beekman Boys.
Region General Store’s website should be up and running in the next few weeks. Until then you’ll need to stop by, like me, and get lost in a world of chutneys, cheeses and pottery.
Region General Store, 3344 Route 97, Barryville, NY; 845-557-5000 or www.regiongeneralstore.com.
I travel for two things: food and surf. Next on my must-visit list is Europe’s laid-back surf capital, Biarritz, France, which offers the best of both. The Basque city has been getting a ton of buzz this summer due to the recent opening of museum Cité de l'Océan et du Surf, which is dedicated to all things ocean-related, from environmental issues to surfing (it even features a wave tube where wannabe surfers can virtually surf). The radical design was dreamt up by famous architect (and surfer) Steven Holl who decided to place most of the museum underground to mimic the feel of being underwater. Outside, the curved plaza walls look like a half-pipe for skateboarders.
Most exciting is the food from Michel and Marie Cassou-Debat, who worked at France's legendary Troisgros and who own Biarritz’s stellar restaurant The Sissinou. The ground floor has a casual, cafeteria-style restaurant. Upstairs, the fine-dining restaurant, The Sin, overlooks both the Ilbarritz Castle and the sea, and it features a menu of just-caught seafood and excellent French wines.
© Erica Simone
The custom kitchen at Jay Kos.
New York City fashion designer Jay Kos finds shopping for clothes boring. "We all have what we need, but we shop because we love to express ourselves creatively. The experience should also be creative." To make the shopping experience at his new menswear store, which opens today on Mott Street, more fun for both him and his clients, he's installed a fabulous custom green-glass kitchen designed by Italian manufacturer GD Cucine. The food-obsessed fashion designer, known for his preppy haberdashery, is often inspired by the colors of produce in the green market. He will also use the farmers' market to inspire the dishes he cooks at the shop, though he says the signature dish will be an omelet with artichoke hearts, which he learned to make in Italy. A Russian baker friend will also be baking tarts starting next week.
The Sidebar Project: cabinet and cocktail glasses
Anna and Andrew Hellman of Teroforma
and Darin Montgomery and Trey Jones of Urbancase
had design-savvy home mixologists in mind when they dreamed up the Sidebar Project, a liquorcabinet with its own complementary barware set. Making its debut at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, the piece is the first in a new collaborative program, Crafted
. The idea behind Crafted is to have established design studios step out of their area of focus and work with Teroforma to create new concepts for the home. The Sidebar Project, was born from a conversation the four designers had about how tough it is to design when you don't know the context of where your piece will "live" as well as a mutual appreciation for a well made cocktail. For the collaboration, Urbancase designed the retro-style cabinet with a decorative motif that reappears as the cuts in Teroforma’s cut-crystal tumblers and cocktail glasses. At ICFF, the designers gave away drink recipes
specific to each Sidebar cocktail glass. Click here for more cocktail ideas
Designers Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rützou are the darlings of Copenhagen’s star chefs. The duo behind the firm Space Architecture & Interior Design has designed nearly every restaurant of note in the city, from René Redzepi’s famous Noma to Bocuse d’Or winner Rasmus Kofoed’s Geranium. While in NYC for International Contemporary Furniture Fair they dropped by to tell me about their most recent project, star chef Bo Bech’s newly opened restaurant, Geist.
“We work very closely with every chef,” says Rützou. “Geranium feels very James Bondish, and we reinvent Noma each summer, but it always reflects René’s vision of staying true to Denmark and local roots. With Geist, the design is a bit wild and flamboyant.” Geist is divided into two rooms, one with lounge chairs and tables, the other all bar stools. “Designing a bar stool comfortable enough to sit on for an entire meal was a challenge,” says Henriksen. The resulting stool is part of the new Spine Collection that SPACE debuted last month at Salone del Mobile in Milan; it will soon be available in the US here. The Spine lounge was used in Noma and the Spine high chair (above) in Geist. My favorite piece is the new double bar stool that seats two. “Bar eating always lacked that intimacy, so this is like our take on the dating chair for the bar,” says Henriksen.
© Donnie Miller
Chefs Chris Consentino, Marcus Samuelsson and Aarón Sánchez rock their new kicks.
I adore Mario Batali’s cooking, but still can’t bring myself to embrace Crocs. Finally, a more stylish line of shoes for the professional and home cook has launched. We gave a shout out to Mozo Chef Signature Shoes
in Food & Wine’s March Trendspotting column
. Last night, the chefs-turned-shoe-designers behind the new line were in NYC to give a sneak preview of their designs, which go on sale in May. The ever-so-stylish Marcus Samuelsson
of NYC’s Red Rooster named his shoe the Uptown. The copper detailing around the eyelet is a nod to America's diner culture, while the image of the Brooklyn Bridge on the heel is a shout out to NYC. Aarón Sánchez
of Centrico got a bit more edgy, recreating a Mexican sugar skull in red stitching on the top of his shoe. Chris Cosentino
, who was slicing killer charcuterie that he flew in from his restaurant Boccalone in San Francisco, wins the award for most outrageous design. The top of his shoe (named the Fifth Quarter) resembles honeycomb tripe, and he designed a pig on the footbed that duplicates a tattoo on his arm of a 16th-century butchery diagram. Perhaps the biggest news of the night was that Mozo would donate $10,000 in the chefs’ honor to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program
Over the last few years, the generic hotel gift shop has been rethought into a super-curated retail experience. Now, hotel guests can buy Kelly Wearstler–designed pieces in the Viceroy Miami’s store, Opening Ceremony in the Ace New York and even surfboards at the new Waikiki Edition.
Now, the Surrey hotel on NYC’s Upper East Side has partnered with Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi to exclusively showcase her newest collection of jewelry. The Padma Collection’s Fall/Winter 2010 line was inspired by Padma’s global travels. Guests can purchase pieces, which are on display in a grand armoire in the lobby, directly through the hotel concierge through March 2011.