30 July 2010

It's kind of a funny story.

This will be in my Netflix queue, sometime, in the (hopefully not too distantly) future.

Iceland Wedding by Bragi Þór Jósefsson

Iceland continues to charm me with these wedding photos by Bragi Þór Jósefsson. Echo and Rich, of Michigan, decided to have a tiny intimate celebration with their friends and family in the tiny chapel featured above.

You may also be interested in: this Iceland tourism video, Harpa by Henning Larsen in Reykjavik and Sverir Thor photos of the volcano erupting.

28 July 2010

Fragment Lamps

From Anzfer Farms, these lovely lamps are made with fragments found on the San Francisco shoreline.

Pulp Furniture

Inspired by pulp spacers used for packing- and made from paper- this coffee table and chair set from Odelia and Dan is strong enough to use!

Clever Photos of a Sleeping Baby

From the active mind of a copy writer on maternity leave, Adele Enersen has created a clever set of photos of her baby girl. View more at her blog!

25 July 2010


In preparing for my post on Libation, I couldn't decide whether to pull the inferior quality photos from the facebook album of the event, or to dip into other online sources...then I found this video on Libation's official web page. Videos are cooler, right? What it doesn't show is the third-floor walk-up to the private room, the unisex bathroom with arguably seedy male attendant (I'd like my dollar tip back, I can dry my own hands) or the trays of food: artisan cheese, hummus with pita, skewers with steak, prawns, chicken and marinated vegetables. The food was decent given my low expectations. Duly noted that the goat cheese actively excited one friend, "I want to put this in my purse!"

Coupled with a DJ and bottle service options, this micro experience of a club is a good option for a birthday or bachelor party, as well I've heard that corporate holiday parties are also hosted in the private rooms. Admittedly, we did break out in dance, or at least I did with a number of others. And(!) my college staple, Andre, is served. Nothing wrong with stirring up a little collegiate enthusiasm. This was a Triple Birthday Mega-Jam, after all.

a brunch at SideBAR

This weekend I learned that it's illegal in New York to sell or serve booze before noon on Sundays. A law, which I probably shouldn't have had to have learned at 11am this past Sunday. Let's be fair: shopping at Trader Joe's in Union Square is much more palatable after a Bloody Mary (I have been called an "Uptown bitch" by an elderly woman before, to which I corrected, "I live Downtown.")

I decided to waste some time before noon, a pursuit, which was quite fruitful, as I discovered East Village Cheese. Ready to seek a little shelter from the heat, I noticed the door to SideBAR was open. About a year ago, I had a deeply satisfying brunch with one of the best Bloody Mary recipes I've encountered. The story goes that the chef believes the cocktail should be treated like a food, and therefor is prepared with a consistency comparable to gazpacho.

At 11:45am, the overtly friendly bar keep welcome me in for a cocktail. Win. After pouring my drink, he continued to labor over a chalkboard selling the brunch prix fixe special: $20 all you can drink bloody mary/mimosa with an entree. I'll give it a go. I did walk here from the Southern most tip of Manhattan, and my stomach was grumbling (a dangerous combo when grocery shopping). I requested the BLT with hand cut fries. The sandwich is spot on for a hot day with extra crispy bacon, mescalin, ripe tomatoes and spicy mayo. Other choices included a burger, chocolate chip pancakes and a bagel with lox and cream cheese.
I also recommend the attached restaurant, Vintage Irving, for small plates and wine.

Image: from my iPhone

Backyard Chicken- Financial District

I'm rarely in the Financial District during business hours- a detail which has segregated my desire to try Backyard Chicken, from my reality- until last week! A bit groggy, I decided to stay home to sleep. In nursing myself back to health, comfort food seemed appropriate. Roasted chicken is a good alternative to chicken noodle soup, right? Kind of like having a rice crispy treat for breakfast, because it's made from cereal?

For six dollars, you are given 1/4 of a roasted chicken with two sides and lemonade. For fifty cents more, you can get an additional side (you won't need it, unless you're sharing). I chose the mashed potatoes with gravy and mac n' cheese- if you're going the comfort food route, you might as well go big with the carbs. The mashers could have been creamier, but the edition of dill was a pleasant surprise. The mac- not too greasy and reasonably flavorful. However, the chicken, wasn't anything to write home about. The meat was dry (that's pretty hard to do when you leave the skin on, which they do in their preparation). My pug was much less discriminatory.

Images: Midtown Lunch

Bahn Mi- Financial District

New York Magazine has named Ba Xuyen's sandwich among the best in the five boroughs. Given that it's practically in Timbuktu (Sunset Park, Brooklyn), I've settled few Chinatown alternatives. Not to continue to encourage my laziness, but I was actively excited about a Vietnamese sandwich shopping opening on Pearl Street, a stone's throw from my apartment, in the Financial District.

Cement floors, a cheap grand opening sign and fake grape vines hanging from the ceiling set the stage. A good thing, in my opinion. The sandwiches are double the price of the shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan Chinatowns, but that is expected given the neighborhood. Among the classic menu choices (ham pate, chicken, etc), I requested the pork. The massive grinder came with the traditional elements: pickled carrots, cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeno, cucumber, mayo and pate. The pork was decent, a bit firm, but flavorful. The sandwich really can't compare to those in the grungy shops, but it's an agreeable alternative when you do not have the afternoon to travel.

Image: Roadfood.com

a brunch at Kitchenette

Before the brunch crowds descended on Tribeca's Kitchenette, we shuffled through the glass door, to be greeted by a few smiling faces and scads of Candyland-style bright bakery treats. A buzz of servers clad in handkerchiefs stirred up a bit of collegiate nostalgia- as they could have been in any of the cafes surrounding my liberal arts university- with their earthy, make-up free faces (I was noted as an anomaly at the school for wearing pumps to the bars!)

The room consists of pastels, polka dots and old doors painted and encased in glass for tables. The theme lends you to believe you might be in the country home of you eccentric great aunt (which she shares with her eight cats). A few jars of water were set before us, as well a larger jar of iced coffee. With all this in mind, I decided to make simple choices, rather than look for items which offer unique twists.

From the griddle, my partner chose the French toast with scrambled eggs and bacon. Served in a heap of delicious, bacon a whipped butter with strawberry completed the classic breakfast platter. I decided on the artichoke and tomato omelet with cheesy southern-style grits. Dressed in a savory and satisfyingly fatty pesto, I'd have to say this was a pretty delicious brunch after a night of drinking wine. Not to neglect the biscuit! Homemade and served warm with more of the whipped strawberry butter, I probably could have filled my pocketbook with them and nibbled all afternoon!

Images: NY Mag, the food: from my iPhone.

a dinner at Brasserie Les Halles

I decided to give Brasserie Les Halles a second chance. To be honest, I would have happily dined the first time, however, my company seemed offended by the lack of air conditioning. With a bit of a buzz from Bar Seven Five, we were easily comfortable with a table crammed amongst others in the middle of traffic. We sipped a few glasses of sauvignon blanc and nibbled on bread with unsalted butter while debating the menu. There must have been a bit of confusion between the servers on whose territory we were in, but they seemed to get a handle on it after the third inquiry on whether or not we'd like something to drink (to which we held back smirks as we pointed out the wine sitting before us).

For dinner, we decided to share a few plates. A favored practice of mine, and the company I keep, it seems. Moules frites were a clear choice. Among the selections, the Portugeus were the most appealing with garlic, cilantro, white wine, chorizo and tomato. We also requested the Merguez, a lovely soft Moroccan lamb sausage with dressed greens and frites. The dishes were lively with spices and complimented by mountains of frites- which I requested a a side of mayo, as well ketchup for dipping- when in Rome!

Images: NYC Go

take cocktails at Bar Seven Five

Andaz Wall Street continues to impress me with the improvements it's made to the neighborhood. The farmers market- and now Bar Seven Five, which despite its slow start, is now drawing regular crowds of upwardly mobile bankers. The (nearly) uncomfortably minimalist space includes horizontal rows of lights, vertically slated wooden walls and black blocks for tables- lacking a central bar.

Servers approach to locate you a block (do not come alone) and settle you with a long, drawn-out menu filled with quotes encouraging drinking. We ordered a few house whites, at happy-hour- a light $6 and a few beers. Our overly friendly, in you -work-in-a-hotel-bar-sort-of-way server delivered our drinks to us in a basket, which frankly, he didn't seem to quite have a handle on. We forgave him. He did after all bring us our drinks.

The need to know: two happy hours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays- the traditional after work until six and reverse happy-hour from 9pm- 12am. However, I must note that the server neglected to observe this on my night cap last Saturday, a detail which I was a little too tipsy to argue with. It was time to go home. Good news is, home is next door.

Image: Thrillist

a dinner at Cipriani Wall Street

We stepped into Cipriani Wall Street with thoughts of New York Restaurant Week. While the massive columns and celebrity rich past of the original Harry's Bar in Venice (Ernest Hemingway and Peggy Guggenheim were among the regulars) draw images of grandeur, the interior is a bit simple- bookshelves, lights that could be muted and kitschy Cipriani logos on every- single- glass and plate.

We took a seat at the bar for a cocktail while waiting for a table outside on the terrace. About thirty minutes later, we were seated (mind you, we had a reservation). We looked over the Restaurant Week prix fixe and found it unappealing. We decided to get the proper experience by ordering from the regular menu. Pitch-perfect servers brought us a bread basket and bottle of pinot grigio.

For our appetizers, we partook in the Bresaola and the Insalata di Fagiolini Caciocavallo E Pomodoro. The Bresaola came folded and laid over a bed of dressed arugula and thinly shaved fresh parmesan. Absolutely spot on, though I must admit I harbor a particular affection for all of those ingredients. The Insalata di Fagiolini also impressed me with large slices of Octopus served poached and chilled with braised green beans, halved grape tomatoes and black olives. Both plates were massive in terms of appetizers and better suited for larger parties- or perhaps just one appetizer to be shared between the table.

For our mains, we decided to continue dining family-style. We selected the Cotoletta Alla Milanese and Scallops. The Cotoletta is perhaps the best veal I've ever tasted. Lightly breaded, it nearly melted in my mouth with a sexy buttery aftertaste. The Scallops were a good contrast, plump and massive, they circled a pile of broiled and olive oil rich artichokes. Both dishes came with oversized bowls of white rice pilaf, which in my opinion could have been avoided all together. I'm not quite sure how we finished the plates (the rice went nearly untouched), but perhaps it was the two and a half hours we took to indulge.

What happened next- well it nearly ruined the idyllic New York dining experience. Three men in goofy smiles surrounded us with dying desserts- a slumped over berry and cream cake, something chocolate and something- well whatever it was- it had seen better days. A simple menu or perhaps a better presentation would have sold my already full stomach. This however, was discouraging. A detail, that I must admit I am thankful for, as we really didn't need to punctuate the night with gluttony.

22 July 2010

Draw attention to your luggage.

Designed to stick to anything, these suitcase stickers from The Cheeky might draw the wrong kind of attention, or make you some new friends at baggage claim.

21 July 2010

Leslie Oschmann Totes

Amsterdam artist Leslie Oschmann creates art from found and discarded objects. These gorgeous totes are one of her recent pursuits. She gathers and constructs the bags from old paintings found in Dutch markets, French homes and Belgian antique shops.

Graffiti + Nature

The World Wildlife Fund has put together some pretty clever posters which ask, "What will it take before we respect the planet?" When I was a little girl, I used to pretend-play with my neighbor friend that we worked for them.

Confetti-Inspired “Falling Garden” Installation

From the hands of Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger, the Falling Garden installation was created for the 50th Venice Biennial Art Exhibition (in 2003). The artists collected items from around the world, among those- plastic berries, baobab seeds, thorns, cattail, plastic snakes, orange peels and celery roots.

19 July 2010

Bastille Day Festival- Brooklyn

From the cafes, to the food-centric culture, to the mini Arc de Triomphe, it only seems appropriate that Brooklyn's Boerum Hill would host the annual Bastille Day Festival.

In preparation for the Pétanque tournament, sand is spread over Smith street. The competition is impressive with over eighty teams showing from around the world. Folks crowded in white Lillet hats with glasses of sangria and Ricard.

French food and music is also served up in the streets tightly packed with slow-moving folks.

....And the guillotine! A bit nervous to stick my head in there, I investigated the blade, to confirm it had been replaced with something non-threatening.