© Joe Termini
The Surf Lodge, Montauk.
© Joe Termini
© Jen Murphy
Butcher-chic design at J.E.M. in Boston's South End.
I was in Boston for the weekend and while bakery hopping through the South End I stumbled upon a fantastic new design shop called J.E.M. The store has a very John Derian-esque feel to it with cool pieces like organic ceramic pots from Susan Raber Bray, and apothecary bottles and bar carts made from reclaimed steel. It felt like a quirkily curated curiosity shop-cum-museum.
J.E.M. has also started hosting in-store salons with artists and designers. South End artist Isabelle Abramson, who sells her gorgeous, delicate, doily-patterned porcelain bowls there, will be in-shop this Thursday.
The store also doubles as a showroom for owner/designer Jane Miller who is responsible for the awesome furnishings made from repurposed wood and metal. In addition to enormous chunky dining and coffee tables, there are clever pieces like a terrarium that Miller crafted from a broken table. My favorite piece was an enormous sign (pictured) salvaged from Faneuil Hall Marketplace that embraces Boston’s current butcher and beast obsession. Apparently it’s been confusing some South End shoppers. “We had an elderly couple come in and try to order lamb chops the other day,” the girl behind the counter told me. I can’t help but think a design-butcher shop would probably be a great new trend.
© Alessandra Bulow
Cradle of Life flaming cocktail at Painkiller.
In addition to smooth daiquiris, flights of mini zombie drinks and all-you-can-eat hot dogs (“They’re not going to be fancy, Grade-A or kosher, but they’ll be free,” said Boccato), they’ll be serving fantastic rum-based flaming cocktails like the Cradle of Life (made with spiced rum, white rum, lime and orange juices and almond syrup; the green chartreuse on top is set on fire, pictured). The menu will also include communal drinks served in custom-made ceramic vessels called Scorpion Bowls. Each Scorpion Bowl will be named after a 1970s NYC street gang, like the Electric Coffin, a large coffin-shaped bowl that will billow steam from a hidden chamber for dry ice in its underbelly.
Boccato got the idea for the Scorpion Bowl names while narrating a friend’s documentary about the gangs and he's continuing the urbanized-oasis theme by asking some of NYC’s classic old-school graffiti artists to tag the walls of the bar.
“Half of tiki is about presentation,” said Boccato. “Tiki bars usually look like a dive, a Disney ride or Grandpa’s basement. We’re going for something different.”
© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.
Last night, star chef David Bouley turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.
After a week of snowboarding in the Alps, I splurged with a side trip to the Dolder Grand Hotel. This storied property set on a hill just outside the center of Zurich closed in 2004 to undergo a massive renovation and reinvention by star British architect Norman Foster. Now a sleek, futuristic new modern wing wraps around the spired, chateau-like 19th-century building. The result should be the blueprint for all projects melding old and new.
My favorite new addition is the 40,000-plus-square-foot spa within the modern wing. Here, the most outrageous highlights:
* The two enormous spa suites with mother-of-pearl walls, fireplaces and even mud baths.
* Sunaburos, Japanese-inspired “pebble loungers”: basically deep, egg-shaped tubs filled with smooth, warm pebbles that release muscle tension.
* The ”snow paradise” chamber, a superchilly room with a snow-covered floor and ice formations.
* An indoor, infinity-edge swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. The outdoor hot tubs (for those brave enough to run out into the cold, or in my case, a mini-blizzard) have the same killer views.
* The spa café, tucked into a white room with oversize flowers painted on the walls, is probably fabulous, but I held out for dinner at the Dolder’s excellent, Michelin-star restaurant. The meal probably canceled out my day of detoxing, but it was well worth it.
© Philip Greenberg
The Guggenheim's futuristic new restaurant, the Wright.
As F&W's travel editor and someone with a serious case of wanderlust, it’s rare that I’m home for more than a few days at a time. But I promised myself I’d start off the new year in NYC and kicked off 2010 with a megadose of culture paired with some great meals. Here, a mini winter arts cheat sheet for Manhattan:
*MoMa has put together a brilliant, mind-bending retrospective of Tim Burton’s work that includes slightly disturbing teenage doodles, 3-D monsters and a showing of Burton's films. After, go to the bar room at the Modern and eat chef Gabriel Kreuther’s Alsatian thin-crust tarte flambé with crème fraiche, onion and applewood-smoked bacon and his decadent slow-poached farm egg served in a mason jar with Maine lobster, sunchokes and sear urchin froth.
*I dare anyone not to get dizzy as they wind their way around the Guggenheim viewing Wassily Kandinsky’s wild, geometric paintings. The museum’s new restaurant, the Wright, offers more sensory overload with a sleek space designed by British artist Liam Gillick that makes you feel like you’re riding Disney’s Space Mountain roller coaster. The food, from David Bouley-alum Rodolfo Contreras, is appropriately gorgeous with delicate dishes like roasted red and golden beets topped with sheep’s-milk cheese, citrus and pistachio and a fantastic spiced pumpkin and chocolate cake with pumpkin-seed-oil ice cream.
*I may never look at paper the same way again after viewing Slash: Paper Under the Knife at the Museum of Arts and Design. Drop by late and then have dinner at the just-opened restaurant Robert. The comforting Italian dishes like chicken cooked under a brick and papparadelle with wild boar ragu are delicious. Also amazing: the Central Park views and the room’s funky art and Jetson-esque design pieces (there’s a video-art piece by Jennifer Steinkamp and Barbie-pink acrylic lighting designed by Johanna Grawunder).
© Jen Murphy
Mark Ryden's "incarnation" painting at Art Basel Miami Beach.
I just returned from Art Basel Miami Beach. Here, a food lover’s highlights:
* Jennifer Rubell, daughter of the legendary Miami art collectors Mera and Don Rubell, created an edible installation titled “Old-Fashioned” for the “Beg Borrow and Steal” show. It featured 1,521 Dunkin’ Donuts nailed to a white wall.
*Timothy Thompson’s aluminum cupcakes were on display inside of a 1960s camper van at the Camper Contemporary exhibition’s mobile art gallery.
* Artist Marky Ryden showed his new painting, "Incarnation," (above) at the Paul Kasmin Gallery booth. Ryder has the ability to make raw meat look mesmerizing and, in this case, turns it into a carnivore’s haute couture. The painting sold for nearly $900,000.
© Kristin Donnelly
Dining Table made by SILO tables.
I’m cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner from start to finish on Thursday. What I’m thankful for this year: my guests won’t have to eat in front of the TV. After months of searching, I finally found the perfect dining table that fits my budget. I wanted it to be modern but made of rustic wood. Ideally, the legs would come off for easy transport. Like the answers to many New Yorkers’ prayers, I found the table on Craigslist. Or more appropriately, I found the carpenter there. Jed from Silo Tables built the table from reclaimed pine wood that’s loaded with character, with all kinds of quirky knots and even a few visible nails. The simple legs are made from reclaimed carbon steel and they screw in easily to the mounting plates under the table. Bonus: Jed delivers for no extra fee.
Included on my Thanksgiving menu:
- Roast Guinea Hens with Cumin-Date Sauce: With only four meat-eaters at dinner, I’m opting for smaller birds—I’m going to make F&W Marcia Kiesel’s clever, delicious Guinea Hen recipe using Cornish hens.
- Root Vegetable Gratin: With barely any cream, this gratin is all about the sweetness of the root veggies. Plus, it’s an elegant dish for vegetarians.
- Bay-Steamed Broccoli: I love the peppery, herbal flavor of bay leaves with juicy steamed broccoli, and this dish takes no time to make.
- Spiced Upside-Down Apple Bundt Cake: Because it’s just fabulous.
© The Berkeley
Haute-cookies at the Berkeley hotel in London.
I’ll be blogging this week about discoveries from my recent eight-day trip to London. The city was buzzing with pop-up restaurant/design projects, ambitious new hotels and hip new British comfort food joints. One of my favorite finds was at the Berkeley hotel, which just introduced the fall/winter collection of its super-popular Prêt-à-Portea (the menu changes every six months to reflect the new fashion season). This haute-couture-inspired tea service features edible designs inspired by Christian Lacroix, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Adorable confections include a Roger Vivier chocolate boot cookie, a Mulberry "Bayswater" white-chocolate-and-coconut-truffle "it" bag and a cinnamon Burberry Prorsum trench-coat cookie with a caramel belt and buttons. All are served on Paul Smith china alongside a proper cup of English tea.
The restaurant at the Crown Inn.
Superhip Brit designer Ilse Crawford is constantly innovating. Her latest obsession is reinventing the idea of the coaching inn, which offered travelers in the mid-17th century a place to eat and sleep. Last year I stayed at her first such property, the Olde Belle, outside of London in Hurley. And I just spent the weekend at her second, the Crown Inn, about 40 minutes outside London in Amersham. Crawford has modernized the bed-and-breakfast, combining a cozy place to spend the night with an enticing, comfortable restaurant that's perfect for having a cocktail or a superfresh, farm-to-table dinner. Imagine if New York City's Spotted Pig gastropub added rooms upstairs—that's basically the Crown. It features incredible design juxtaposing the modern (flat-screen TVs and funky white-fur throws for the rocking chairs) and the historic (Room 12 has a section of hand-painted wall dating back to the 1500s), with smart touches like Aesop body soaps and Welsh wool blankets. Rosie Sykes and chef Mark Bristow are in charge of the food and make a satisfying breakfast spread for guests that includes homemade breads and sesame-hazelnut granola, chocolate muffins, eggs and hash. The chalkboard dinner menu changes daily, and some regulars convinced me to try the hearty beef-and-ale pie with a pint of local hard cider. I'm hoping Crawford brings the concept to the U.S. next.