© 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.
Currently showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: “May Your Glass Be Ever Full: Drinking in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europe,” featuring glassware like a crystal goblet from 1745 engraved with the words, “The Hell Fire Club.” Here, our own glassware guide with excellent cocktails to serve in each type of glass:
• Coupe: 10 superb cocktails for the coupe like the margarita-like Flor de Jalisco and the grapefruity Hemingway Daiquiri
• Rocks: 10 outstanding cocktails for the rocks glass like the Manzarita, a tequila smash prepared with apple juice and cinnamon (pictured), and the citrusy Hibiscus Petal
• Highball: 10 terrific cocktails for the highball like the almond-flavored Fog Cutter, a classic tiki drink, and El Gusano Rojo, prepared with ginger beer and mezcal
• Martini: 10 exceptional cocktails for the martini glass like the classic martini and the lemon-basil martini
• Flute: 7 great cocktails for the flute like the Americana, prepared with Champagne, bourbon and sliced peaches, and the minty Champagne mojito
Tonight at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: a discussion on “From the Spoon to the City,” the current exhibition of 20th century design pieces named after Italian architect Ernesto Rogers’ famous declaration that he wanted to design everything from “a spoon to a city.” Our own way to honor the spoon is through these excellent stocks, stews, and chili recipes:
• Stews: 15 hearty stews like a Catalan chickpea stew with spinach and chorizo (pictured), a sweet and tangy Middle Eastern lamb-and-eggplant stew, and Yucatán pork stew with pleasantly bitter ancho chiles and lime juice
• Stocks: 3 versatile stocks to give a flavor boost to soups like Mario Batali’s chicken stock (excellent in a lentil and linguine soup), rich beef stock (superb in a Hungarian beef soup), and oregano-and-thyme-flavored vegetable stock (terrific in a 30-minute minestrone)
• Chili Recipes: 7 outstanding chili recipes like pork cheek and black-eyed pea chili, turkey chili with hominy, and fragrant, cumin-accented chili
In London, Ilse Crawford’s incredible design firm, Studioilse
, is hosting a series of "Kitchen Table Talks"
at Leila’s Shop
restaurant, starting tonight and running through October. Crawford has gathered a Who’s Who of design, food and eco-mindedness to discuss the link between growing food and building community. The lineup includes Randolph Hodgson, founder of Neal’s Yard Dairy
; Dennis Paphitis, founder of cult beauty brand Aesop
; and Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal
. Click here
for dates and details.
At the London Design Festival
, which runs through this weekend, prolific Brit designer Ilse Crawford
debuted her new furniture collection, cheekily named Seating for Eating
. The solid chestnut settles (long, high-backed benches), stools and benches, made by De La Espada
, were inspired by vernacular English furniture. The collection will be will be at the restaurant, Leila’s Shop
, (for viewing and seating) through November 1.
In the prime upper-right-hand quadrant of New York
magazine's always awesome Approval Matrix
this week: A super-adorable do-it-yourself lunch bag from Design*Sponge
. Full details of the project, including a template and easy-to-follow instructions, can be found here
. Here, F&W provides 10 great ideas on how to fill it
, including Indian pulled-chicken sandwiches
, meat loaf club sandwiches
and nutty apple pie bars
For the last two years, foodies have been talking about the exciting restaurant scene in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, particularly its hot food ‘hood, Zona G (which has restaurants from Peruvian star chefs Rafael Osterling and Gastón Acurio). I got to experience it for myself last March. I also spent a week eating around what I believe may be Colombia’s next great food city, Cartagena.
The historic walled city by the sea has finally started to get some excellent restaurants. The most recent addition, Vera, opens next month in Latin fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s amazing new seven-room boutique hotel. Vera means truth, as the food will be authentic coastal Italian prepared by chef Daniel Castaño, a Mario Batali protégé who is also the head chef at Bogotá’s popular Emilia Romagna and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based supper club social experiment A Razor, A Shiny Knife. Opening menus will include a classic seafood risotto loaded with clams, mussels and shrimp and pollo al peppe, black-pepper-crusted chicken breast served with confit thighs and a date, watercress and macadamia salad. Castaño's food will be complemented by a 100-plus-label wine list of bottles from Italy, Spain, Chile and California.
© Tcherassi Hotel + Spa
Vera restaurant in Cartagena's new Tcherassi Hotel + Spa.
The coolest new place to take in great design, food and wine is MADCrush . This new pop-up bar appears for the first time tonight at NYC's great new Museum of Arts and Design. Restaurant design genius Stephanie Goto created the space largely from recycled wine boxes and crates and it will appear on the museum’s seventh floor every Thursday from 5 to 10:30 p.m., until the end of August. The menu: wines by the taste, glass and bottle from Crush Wine & Spirits. Del Posto’s Mark Ladner is cooking for opening night. Future guest chefs will include George Mendes of Aldea and Scott Conant of Scarpetta.