One magazine’s cover features supermodel Karlie Kloss licking cookie dough from her perfectly manicured finger. The other, a close-up shot of a red-wattled rooster and a coverline that reads “Wild Pigs: it’s a war and we’re losing.” It’s clear even before opening Cherry Bombe and Modern Farmer—two new gastronomically-focused journals—that they come from opposite ends of the foodie spectrum. Modern Farmer, founded by Ann Marie Gardner'—a longtime editor whose resume includes stints at W and, more recently, Monocle—gets down and dirty about where food comes from, with a fertilizer story titled “Poop, it’s back,” lots of veggie-growing how-to, and an in-depth piece about humane livestock slaughter. (Warning: the unflinching photos might turn you into a vegetarian.) Cherry Bombe, meanwhile—its chicly matte paperstock notwithstanding—covers the glossier aspects of cooking and eating: Sophia Coppola’s favorite cocktail, a cake inspired by Dries Van Noten’s spring collection, a picture-perfect dinner party in a Williamsburg loft. Its editorial director, Kerry Diamond, once covered the beauty industry for W’s sister publication, WWD, and now heads up public relations for Coach and co-owns three stylish Brooklyn restaurants. Despite their differences, both journals offer plenty to read and to look at—the sort of long form writing and considered photography largely absent from the ever-expanding food blogosphere. And, perhaps most importantly, each of them left us hungry for the next issue.
Images: Cherry Bombe: courtesy of the publication; Modern Farmer: Richard Bailey/Modern Farmer
Since it first opened in 2009 in a rickety old townhouse on Bond Street, the Smile has served as the neighborhood haunt for downtown’s art and fashion crowd—a distinction that has a much to do with the restaurant’s warm, genial vibe, as it does Melia Marden’s cooking. Described by the 32 year-old chef as “Manhattan Mediterranean,” the fare consists of simple, seasonal comfort food, rooted in the flavors of Morocco and Greece, where the Marden family (her parents are the painters Brice Marden and Helen Marden) has spent nearly every summer. On April 2, Marden will release her first cookbook Modern Mediterranean (Abrams-Stewart, Tabori & Chang), an intimate, easy-to-follow guide for making such mouthwatering recipes as minted snap peas, pomegranate and goat cheese pizza, Moroccan meatballs, fish stew (currently, her favorite dish to cook at home), and pears poached in Greek wine. It also includes old family snapshots, fond food memories, and suggested menus, such as “Spring Dinner,” a feast of fava bean crostini, rosemary pork chops, grilled asparagus, and rhubarb crumble that we can’t wait to serve up.
Photo: courtesy of the subject
As far as thrift shops go, Housing Works has always had great taste. At its many retail outlets throughout the city, midcentury modern furnishings rub shoulders with second hand Philip Lim jackets and Marc by Marc Jacobs bags. On Monday, the organization will host its fourth annual chef’s tasting benefit at the Housing Works SoHo bookstore, where high profile chefs like Joe Tarasco from Maialino and Brian Yurko from Saxon + Parole provide ample opportunity to put your money where your mouth is: all proceeds benefit Housing Works’ efforts to end AIDS and homelessness.
Housing Works Taste of Home
Monday, March 11
126 Crosby Street
7PM-9PM (VIP entry 6PM)
General Admission: $100; VIP Admission: $250
Buy tickets here: housingworks.org
It was not your average night at Per Se, if there’s such a thing at the legendary Manhattan restaurant helmed by the legendary Thomas Keller. Last week, a small group of gourmands gained access—through American Express’s By Invitation Only program—to a private meal hosted by Keller and Chef de Cuisine Eli Kaimen. Little did they know that they were about to experience a modern interpretation of a feast that might have been enjoyed by Marie Antoinette (though wile she might have enjoyed hundreds of courses, guests received a much more palatable nine). To set the mood, period instruments were being played in one corner, two women in full 18th century garb (powdered wigs and all) worked the room, and Keller himself got in on the spirit in a period chefs hat. He was also sure to explain to guests where the champagne bowl they were sipping from got its shape (answer: Marie Antoinette’s breast).
After Keller escorted small groups through the labyrinthine and immaculate kitchens, past bacon-wrapped partridge that had been slow-cooking surrounded by aromatic veggies and butter for days, and past the pastry chefs putting the final red and pink rose petals on some brightly-colored galettes—it was time to eat. The dining room had been draped in red and gold fabric and smoke from dry ice machines billowed across the floor, a sign that signaled a new course.
A healthy heaping of freshly shaved black truffle.
“The time of Marie Antoinette was a great time for food,” Keller explained to the group. “But it wasn’t a great time for restaurants because the greatest chefs were in the court.” And Keller and Kaimen would certainly have been cooking for the court. Accompanied by wines from producers that existed in the 18th century, out came the feast: dishes like wild hare consommé with freshly shaved black truffles, a healthy (or not so healthy) portion of foie gras, the aforementioned slow-cooked partridge hand-carved by Keller in the center of the room, and a beautiful table of six decadent desserts.
Thomas Keller carves the partridges in the dining room.
It was certainly a departure from the ordinary, but Keller explained that AmEx regularly challenges him to create over-the-top experiences for their cardmembers. They began the tradition in 1922 with a 30,000-mile, four-month around-the-world cruise and have since offered events like shopping with Roberto Cavalli, viewing America’s Cup from a private yacht, or an upcoming Keller extravaganza at his other legendary spot, The French Laundry. Marie Antoinette seems like it would be a natural theme for that meal, but with no chance for a repeat, one can only imagine what he’ll cook up next.
Images courtesy of AmEx.
The Lion and Crown have become such staples in the fashion flock’s eating habits downtown and uptown, respectively, that it was only a matter of time before the owners brought their brand of modernized old New York to midtown. After all, even the chicest of diners must occasionally venture into that waylay station between the West Village and Upper East Side. Enter Bill’s Food & Drink, a multi-floor, all-American restaurant housed in an 1890s brownstone, once home to the Prohibition Era speakeasy, Bill’s Gay Nineties. The former tenant’s piano holds court in the downstairs bar and with help from designer Meg Sharpe, the owners set about preserving much of the building’s past while making it 2012-ready: original moldings line the main dining room, there are circa 1940s murals on the first floor and round silver dollars in bar’s floor; mixed in is a sculpture by Michael Combs, meat paintings by William Beenie and antique oil paintings, maps and line drawings sourced from auction houses in the Hudson Valley and London’s Portobello Market.
As for the food, don’t be fooled by the selection of prime-aged beef and veal on the menu.
“We don’t really consider ourselves a steakhouse, more a classic American bar and grill with our homey, bistro feel,” explains Sean Largotta a partner of the Crown Group Hospitality (John DeLucie and Mark Amadei round out the owners). Homemade pasta, classics like chilled seafood salad and Florida stone crab claws, and all manner of potato preparations help round out the offerings. Cocktails are contemporary riffs on prohibition-style beverages—the Bill’z Royal Rickey has Aylesbury Duck vodka, cedia acai berry, chartreuse and fresh ginger lemonade—for those who like their booze with a side of sly subversion.
Bill’s Food & Drink is currently open for dinner and will start lunch service in December. 57 East 54th St, 212.518.2727
Looking for a great steak? The Upper East Side hasn’t traditionally been a must-stop destination for carnivorous cravings. That may change with today’s opening of Arlington Club, courtesy of the TAO Group and chef Laurent Tourondel, of BLT and Brasserie Ruhlmann fame. Situated in a vast, bi-level space on Lexington Avenue in the 70s, the Beaux-Art-inspired restaurant is modeled after old school steakhouses (the name comes from a vintage soda bottle the design team stumbled upon whose name read ‘Arlington Club Soda’). Brick-vaulted ceilings, and sepia-toned light brown walls frame tufted navy leather banquets, an oak bar and floor-to-ceiling dividers of salvaged wine refrigerators that block off a private dining room for up to 25. An upstairs mezzanine provides additional scenic seating. And the menu has enough offerings for meat-lovers and fish-nibblers alike (this is the Upper East Side, after all). Every possible cut of beef, including a New York sirloin and rib-eye bone in, both dry-aged 28 days, can be customized with a vast array of sides and sauces (jalapeno chimichurri, anyone?). Those more in the mood for lighter Japanese fare can try a grilled lobster roll with Thai basil, avocado, jalapeno and honey-citrus or an Ahi tuna tataki with sansho rub, jalapeno and pickled ginger. But even with these modern touches, you’re sure to be transported to a more civilized time.
“The New York steakhouse is an old concept and it was important to capture that, not only in the menu, but in the look and feel of the restaurant,” says Touroundel. “When you walk in the room, you’re taken back to that time period.”
Photo: Melissa Hom
Fans of the homey, old-school Lower East Side restaurant Sons of Essex (and its adjacent delicatessen) and the once hopping nearby club the Eldridge may start trekking West for their nightly endeavors come early December. Co-owners Matt Levine and Michael Shah are set to open their latest venture, The Rowhouse Inn, a subterranean boite in a building on Gansevoort Street in a landmark neighborhood. Inspired by the row houses of late 18th and early 19th century New York, the lounge will boast an understated décor of plush Chesterfield vintage banquets; walls covered in mirrors, tufted panels and black and white photos of old New York; red and maroon design accents and a William Shakespeare quote emblazoned in neon signage. Patrons can sip specialty cocktails and nibble sharing plates while listening to music from a rotating cadre of DJs like AndrewAndrew, Krunk Pony, and Cougarskin. Your typical meatpacking district rager this is not.
The new logo for The Rowhouse Inn.
“With a rumored farmer’s market opening across the street, the Whitney coming down the block, we hope to expand on the art and culture coming to the Meatpacking area, bringing some of our own Lower East Side creativity,” says Levine.
Sockerbit—the one-stop West Village destination for all of your Scandinavian candy needs—has collaborated with local all-natural popsicle purveyor Go-Go Pops to serve up innovative frozen treats with varieties of incredible specialty candy inside them.
Sockerbit popsicles in a variety of Swedish flavors
Each of the limited-edition flavors— they include lingonberry, elderflower with lemon, and salted licorice—have a distinctly Swedish flair; the flavors are also aligned with seasonal produce offerings and naturally sweetened with cane sugar, making for a cold treat that’s noticeably fresher than the competition. “There’s only one cup of sugar in every 500 popsicles,” boasts Sockerbit founder Florence Baras.
Aside from popsicles Sockerbit is a go-to spot for candy lovers
Though the Popsicles are only available at Sockerbit's West Village outpost, their candy is available year-round in-store as well as at sockerbit.com. (89 Christopher St., New York City; 212.206.8170)
A selection of open-face sandwiches from the Café Kristall menu
But, unlike, say, Café Sabarsky, there’s a high degree of bling as well—with a hand from Nadja Swarovski, who helped obtain the two spherical Tom Dixon chandeliers, which throw brilliant light on the upstairs dining room; and a two-story tall Vincent Van Duysen chandelier leads the way downstairs in a cascade of crystal. Even the wallpaper is embedded with Swarovski gems. It’s enough to make Gutenbrunner revise his personal restaurateur theory: “It’s like my home,” he said, looking about the bedazzled space, “except there’s money involved.”