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Gastro Chic

occupying the tiny intersection where fashion and carbs meet

Updated: 2014-10-06T21:27:36.131-04:00


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Baoguette Cafe


What should banh mi be: traditional or new-style? How you answer that question greatly affects which banh mi you'll like of the many new sandwich shops opening now. Just arrived in the old Bamn space on St. Mark's (RIP to that noble effort to revive the automat) is Michael "Bao" Huynh's new Baoguette Cafe, a follow-up to Baoguette, which opened in Murray Hill earlier this year. With its offerings of things like a "sloppy bao" with green mango and curried beef, Baoguette falls squarely in the new-style camp.It's hard not to be of two minds about the new-old quandary. On one hand, experimentation should be part of any cuisine, but on the other, if you already consider banh mi to be perfection, how could any change be an improvement? As a traditionalist, I decided to go for the most middle-of-the-road banh mi on the menu, the namesake "Baoguette."There's nothing kooky about the ingredients in this one - you've got the usual suspects of paté, terrine, pork, pickled daikon and pickled carrots. There's a nice burst of cilantro flavor when you first bite in. I asked for it spicy and could have withstood more spice had I added it from bottle of Sriracha hot chili sauce on the table. As it was, the spiciness was more of a slow chili-garlic burn. The paté has an earthy, almost nutty taste that adds another layer of complexity to this sandwich.One banh mi purist in the NYT article, Andrea Nguyen, contends that the baguette shouldn't be chewy artisanal bread but just the frame for the sandwich. The bread at Baoguette is excellent, and that's the problem. Cheap, hoagie-style bread is easier to bite into and leaves the focus on the sandwich ingredients, while Bao's fancy bread from Tom's Bakery almost steals the show. Eating po' boys or banh mi made with expensive bread feels like ordering crab cakes at the ball game.If you want to go the traditional route, try the Hanco's Vietnamese Sandwich and Bubble Tea that just opened in Cobble Hill. There the bread is toasty, light, and basically an afterthought. The drawback? The filling isn't quite as good as Baoguette's. If it's gourmet ingredients you're after, Baoguette will not disappoint.Baoguette Cafe37 St. Marks Place, at Second AvenueNew York, NY 10003212-380-1487Baoguette61 Lexington Avenue, between 25th & 26th StreetsNew York, NY 10010212-518-4089Sauces and even fresh jalapenos are on hand.Baoguette's pho is intensely flavorful, better than many other Vietnamese places in the city.Michael "Bao" Huynh works the phonesPhoto murals of Saigon on the wallsThe kitchen is in the same spot as Bamn's, but now it's an open kitchen.Seating is super casual.Baoguette Cafe menu[...]

Adventureland Playlist


Love, love Greg Mottola's new flick Adventureland. It's a grown-up version of a coming-of-age story, with complicated characters (think comp lit majors mixing with conservative Catholic girls) and side plots (doddering dad meets social-climbing stepmom). But there's no need to get philosophical about it: one of the best things about this film is the music. Tracks from Husker Du, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, the Cure and the Replacements will take you back, if you were born before 1990 (unlike actress Kristen Stewart - yikes).The problem? The official soundtrack doesn't have nearly as many songs as the actual movie. Fortunately, Reel Soundtrack Blog got them all. Here's an abbreviated, alternative music version of the Adventureland soundtrack, after the jump - basically all the songs they weren't making fun of - with links to iTunes. Rock on.Adventureland Songs (in order of appearance)The Replacements, Bastards of YoungThe Velvet Underground, Here She Comes NowDavid Bowie, Modern LoveHusker Du, Don't Want to Know if You Are LonelyNew York Dolls, Looking for a KissBig Star, I'm in Love With a GirlThe Jesus and Mary Chain, Taste of Cindy (Acoustic Version)The Rolling Stones, TopsThe Velvet Underground, Pale Blue Eyes Nick Lowe, So It GoesCrowded House, Don't Dream It's OverLou Reed, Satellite of LoveThe Cure, Just Like HeavenJudas Priest, Breaking the LawYo La Tengo, Farewell AdventurelandThe Replacements, Unsatisfied[...]

La Superior


One of the worst things about eating Mexican food in LA is coming back and eating it in New York. The New York version of Mexican food is almost sure to disappoint after you've had the vibrant, spicy food at a random hole-in-the-wall in an LA strip mall. Even the most successful NYC Mexican restaurants don't source traditional ingredients like goat, and they get the cheese all wrong - Vermont cheddar is surely not a staple south of the border. Most Mexican food in New York is what Italian food was here in the mid-'80s: dumbed-down Mexican-American, not authentic Mexican.That's why it was such a relief to discover La Superior in Williamsburg after reading Pete Wells' $25-and-under review. As soon as the first dishes landed, we knew: they got the cheese right.La Superior's requesón is a mild but cheesy cheese, fresh, with the consistency of a crumbly cottage cheese. Though it's said you can use ricotta as a substitute, I don't find the taste the same at all. (One close flavor you can sometimes find is Mexican Cotija cheese - not at high-end cheese stores, but at corner bodegas.) Here it is sprinkled on top of the flautas de pollo, which were very crisp and topped with bright, fresh greens and salsa that contrasted with the creaminess of the cheese.Gorditas, typical Mexican street fare, are highly addictive little corn buns, split and stuffed with chorizo, lettuce, and more requesón. La Superior's taste a little like huitlacoche, the surprisingly tasty weird corn fungus. If you want to spice up the gorditas some more, the green salsa served alongside does the trick.The quesadillas also come street-style, more like heftier empanadas than a mere fried tortilla. But for me this amount of bread overwhelmed the filling.Their tacos are amazing little delights, each one a separate burst of flavor. (This too is where so many other NYC Mexican places get it wrong - all Mexican dishes shouldn't taste the same.) Clockwise from top, these are the camarón al chipotle (very spicy shrimp tacos), the carne asada (smoky grilled skirt steak), the carnitas (pork confit topped with sweet white onion), and the phenomenal rajas, roasted poblano pepper strips cooked with that fabulous cheese. This was a really intriguing combination. Usually you think of a creamy cheese as something to quell the spiciness of pepper, but when they're cooked together, the cheese has the effect of drawing it out.Alas, there may be a shortage of authentic Mexican food in New York, but if you can locate Cotija cheese, here's a recipe for a Mexican salad for you. But if you're going to La Superior, here's your strategy:Arrive early (7-ish). If there's a wait, you'll have to wait in line - they don't take cell phone numbers.BYOB! There's a bodega around the corner with a good selection of beer.Prices are crazy cheap.Their idea of "decor" is a single string of colored lights. You're not here for the romance.It's much easier to get a table on busy nights as a party of two than as a larger party.La Superior295 Berry StreetWilliamsburgBrooklyn, NY 11211718-388-5988[...]

Mexican Poblano and Tomato Salad


Mexican Cotija cheese isn't for sale at New York's fancy cheese emporiums, but you can find it in some corner bodegas. If your hunt for authentic cheese is successful, here's a recipe for a Mexican salad for you. It ran many years ago - in the LA Times, of course.

Mexican Poblano and Tomato Salad

4 poblano chiles
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crumbled
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
3 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 head butter lettuce
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese
wedges of lime dipped in chile powder, for garnish

Roast the chiles on a gas burner or grill until charred all over. Place them in a Ziplock bag and close. Let them stand until cool, then slough off the charred skin. Core and seed them, then cut lengthwise into thin strips.

Toss the chiles with tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes. Arrange butter lettuce on four salad plates, top with pepper mixture, and sprinkle with Cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 4.

Variation: If you can find requesón cheese, try substituting it for Cotija. Combine a 1/2 cup of requesón with the chili mixture, and instead of letting it all sit, heat it gently on the stove for about 5 minutes, until warmed through. Serve on top of cool butter lettuce, garnish with limes. Think of it as a salad version of La Superior's rajas.

TopShop Opening Day Photos


There were a lot of trendsters in line on the opening day for TopShop - in fact, there was more fashion outside than inside TopShop, due to the sheer volume of TopShop fans.The biggest trend? Jean shorts in a variety of washes and cuts, often paired with tights and Doc Marten's. New York designers may be channeling the '80s right now, but this generation definitely seems to be having its own 1993 grunge moment.Denim shorts: first sighting.A more tailored version of jean shorts.First male TopShop fan in line. He was dressed a lot like the TopShop guys in their uniform of cropped pants.Bright colors continue to be a big spring trend.A variety of footwear. The heels are killer, but I would probably go with the other two choices for standing in line for two hours.The official TopShop male uniform. Love the socks and the blazer with piping.Sir Philip Green, left.Kate Moss in a green dress, her own design, blocked from view by a cop who promised paparazzi he would move out of the way when the time came. Thanks, buddy.Doc Marten's, first sighting. Very appropriate for this occasion since they're a British brand.A glam rock look.This look is sort of lazy-post-collegiate. Very artfully done.A couple in plaid.The floral, feminine dress belted with a rough-looking leather belt is right on target. It echoed several of the Kate Moss Liberty prints inside.Doc Marten's and plaid.Model Coco Young. Her blazer is perfection! The shoulders are just strong enough without being overwhelming.More Doc Marten-esque boots, this time paired with a stretchy black miniskirt.The waiting game.The ripped denim shorts paired with ripped tights and Doc Marten's are classic early '90s - but the feminine blouse and cool headphones place the whole outfit in this era.[...]

Kate Lanphear in Paper Mag


There's an excellent photo of Elle editor and Gastro Chic style muse Kate Lanphear in this month's Paper Magazine in their "Beautiful People" issue, shot by Jiro Schneider. Here she poses with stylist Keegan Singh.


Look at this close up of her fabulous studded bracelets! From Hermes, naturally. The photo was styled with clothes and accessories courtesy of the mag, but this is true to what she wears in real life.


Love this portrait. For fashion week sightings of her, click here. And it's definitely worth picking up Paper Magazine to see the whole spread.



Pizza, pizza: it's cheap, delicious, and in the news—even making it into Page Six today via a Jimmy Fallon incident at Posto—an enviable feat for any food item. (Even burgers should be jealous.) Every time we turn around, a new pizza joint seems to be opening: Emporio, Spunto, Ignazio's, Sora Lella, Scuderia, Kesté Pizza & Vino, Tonda—and that's just within the last month.Before you go chasing after the latest speck-inflected wonder, however, don't forget the classics, because the one thing pizza shouldn't be is trendy. A hot oven (wood- or coal-burning), 00 flour, the finest, freshest toppings and the correct technique are what go into the ideal pizza.I had a madeleine moment when I bit into the pizza at Lucali's in Carroll Gardens for the first time last week—it transported me to a rustic little pizzeria outside Florence, years ago. The Italians would drive for miles to get to this place. And so it is at Lucali, where even at 7:15, the wait for a table for two is two hours. Don't go hating on the reverse bridge-and-tunnelers like me, though, for the wait—most of it is due to local fans who put their names in, then happily go home and wait.In Lucali's open kitchen, which, because of the wood-burning oven, is more of an open hearth surrounded by a white marble countertop, the chef grates the bufala mozzarella by hand. The choices for toppings are traditional, not trendy. One particularly sublime ingredient is the pepperoni, which, according to Serious Eats, comes from Esposito's around the corner. This plus the onion was a fantastic combination--the sweetness of the onion contrasting with the smoky spiciness of the pepperoni. An excellent pizza is all about balance: the crispiness of the crust versus the chewy pockets of air at the edges, the tang of the sauce versus the creaminess of the cheese, then the high notes of basil and a little garlic. Lucali's achieves this and then some, since all of the ingredients are potent and fresh enough to stand on their own. The attention to detail is particularly impressive: there's a scant amount of freshly grated Parmesan sprinkled on top to give the cheese the slightest edge.The ingredients aren't the only thing here with an excellent pedigree. Slice reports that the oven comes from defunct Leonardo's down the street, and owner Mark Iacono, who was raised in this once primarily Italian-American neighborhood, uses recipes from his Italian granny and aunts.And guess what? The candlelit restaurant is actually romantic. There aren't very many romantic pizza restaurants in NYC, and this one lets you BYOB, so our tab came to about $30 for two.Lucali's StrategyGo early and put your name in. The hostess will take your cell number and call when your table's ready.There aren't any bars right near by. A good option a couple blocks away is Court Street's Minibar, which has a nice selection of wines by the glass.Dress as if you'll be sitting outside for a half hour or more in the cold, because you very well may be. There is nothing on the menu but pizza and calzones. Literally.Don't forget to bring your own wine. Small corkage fee - $4?If all else fails, Lucali's also offers take out!Lucali's575 Henry StBrooklyn, NY 11231718-858-4086‎[...]

Breaking News: New Yorkers Don't Eat at Applebee's


(image) In a shocking discovery, the Times revealed today that no one is dining at an Applebee's in Manhattan: in fact, the restaurant is full of empty tables. The exact reason is unclear, but it may be because there are so many other similarly mediocre restaurants in the Times Square area offering up stiff competition, including Chevy's, Dallas BBQ, ESPN Zone, and Dave & Busters.

Top analysts concur that as the demand for bad food lessens, many restaurants serving bad food are vulnerable to closure. Applebee's franchise owner Zane Tankel once considered his only competition to be the inimitable Olive Garden, but:
“We’ll see some weeding out,” he said one recent lunch hour, sitting in a near-empty Applebee’s dining room overlooking 42nd Street. Noting a restaurant above him and another across the street, he said, “One of the three of us is not going to be here.”
Will Manhattan's dining scene survive without Applebee's? Where will local heroes like Plaxico Burress eat before putting a loaded weapon into the elastic waistband of their pants? If such pinnacles of New York fine cuisine fall prey to the recession, the future looks grim indeed.

NYT: Empty Tables Threaten Some Restaurant Chains

TopShop NYC Opening - Video!


OK so this is the first Gastro Chic video ever, so it's a little rough. But I wanted to show you what it was like inside TopShop on opening day, April 2nd.

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All That for an Ice Cream Cone Top-Shop


(image) I finally left TopShop at 4:32, 5 1/2 hours after I arrived to photograph the crowd (11am-12:20pm), wait in line (12:20pm - 2:30pm), shop (2:30pm-3pm), wait in the dressing room line (3pm-3:50pm), and finally try on clothes and check out (3:50pm-4:30pm). Note that the total time spent shopping was only 1/2 hour. All that for an ice cream cone top, three other items and the freebies: an "Everybody Loves TopShop" tote and a Union Jack tee.

TopShoooooop! Arghghghgh.

If I had to do it again, I would just buy clothes in my size (TopShop's run small - buy a size up from your regular American size), try them on at home, and return the rejects. You have up to a month to return your purchases, and unlike Forevs 21, TopShop actually gives you your money back, not store credit.

So here's the ice cream scoop top, one of four items bought. Kinda Sonia Rykiel-ish, but only $65. Was it all worth it? I don't know. But I did notice the ice cream cone top was sold out by the time I left, and it's not available online.

nah nah.....

More TopShop Waiting


Waiting in line 50 minutes for dressing room. I could make clothes
myself in this amount of time. Even if I had to start with a loom and
some thread.

At least they're playing Lady Gaga?

In TopShop


Got in at 2:30. Total wait 2 hrs 10 mins.

Crowd inside in a shopping-induced haze. Excellent DJs blast Belle & Sebastian and The Smiths. Free manicures on one floor, free updos on another. This is not your grandma's store opening. This is shopping as spectacle.

Sequins, fringe, acid wash: definitely not need-based clothes and accessories. Many items are over $100. Yet people are in line for the dressing room with 10 or more items. One woman strips down on the floor in front of a mirror and tries her clothes on there.

And the top floor of TopShop? Shopping nirvana: the shoes.

Cold TopShop


Very cold standing in shade on Broome St. Should have worn fleece - f* fashion.

Wondering why there's more traffic out to the Holland when I realize: evening rush hour has started. Total time in line: 1 hr 51 mins.

Taco truck across the street. So. Far. Away.

The Wait


Waiting in line. Am one of approximately three nonsmokers of the hundred or so people in line. Estimated wait time: 1 1/2 hours. Note to potential TopShop shoppers: bring food and water.

Inexplicably, the woman ahead of me buys a $5 TopShop gift card from someone...for $5.

Kate Moss Has Left the Building


After a very disappointing paparazzi stake out that resulted in limited, blocked shots.

But it's always entertaining to hear the paparazzi's fashion and beauty commentary:

On a woman walking by in this season's red-orange lipstick: She looks like that bird from Florida.

On a not-very-attractive woman with bright purple hair: Because when you look that good, you wanna draw a lot of attention to yourself.

On a large lady leaving from the same door Kate would eventually come out of: That's not her!

TopShop Mania


Location: new TopShop store in Soho

Scene: Very crowded, line wrapping all the way around the block down to Grand St. No sign of Kate.

Equipment: iPhone, 2 cameras, Flip video

Overheard: "I thought everyone was broke!"

Bright Spring Bags at Piperlime


Refinery 29 has a good post today on bright spring bags--which reminded us, there are a lot of bright bags for $200 or less on Piperlime, a site that we've heretofore ignored but that seems to be getting better by the minute, mixing new brands with the tried-and-true. And it's almost always reasonably priced.

Check out this delicious Hayden Harnett Ibiza Convertible Flight Tote ($200) in saturated purple.

And this cheerful yellow "Emily Shopper" by Francesco Biasia ($198).

(image) Convertible bags are all the rage now, and this Nine West Justine Medium Flap bag is only $89. Why? It's not made of leather, but it sure is hard to tell the difference.

(image) It seems like designers are reinterpreting "flash," taking it from flashy logos and translating it into a flash of color instead. Note that all these bags make a statement with their shape and color - not their name brands. Bravo.

Opening in PM Space: Griffin


(image) After the total bust that was last night's NYLON party at the Thompson LES - where one solitary dude worked a door mobbed with people then declared the party closed at 9:45 - Nomes and I headed to a nearby swanky cocktail lounge.

Lo and behold, what should we discover from a source there but that a new club Griffin is opening in the old PM space in late April. It will have an "antiquey" theme with fancy, expensive cocktails - $18 for a regular drink, $26 for a "specialty cocktail" (because the $18 cocktails aren't special enough?). If the bartender training at Little Branch is any indication, Sasha Petraske seems to be consulting on the cocktail menu.

The PM space is a great one, but the question remains - will the same dude who usually orders five Ketel One and sodas instead opt for for two gin rickeys, two Moscow mules, and something made with egg whites for $18-$26 a drink when the crowd is three deep at the bar? Let's hope not.



How much do you love Da Silvano? A lot? Really, really a lot? If so, you're in luck, because the enterprising restauranteur Silvano Marchetto has effectively colonized Sixth Avenue between Houston and Bleecker: first Da Silvano, then Da Silvano Bistecca, and now Scuderia.Sure, officially, Scuderia is the brainchild of his daughter, Leyla Marchetto, who was once a fashion publicist--the perfect qualification for running a restaurant, since you know how those fashion people love to chow down. We don't know Marchetto junior by sight, but Silvano was definitely in the house, looking befuddled."I looked around, and I didn't see anyone I knew," he said, to someone he eventually realized he knew. He was even wearing the infamous $895 custom-designed Scuderia sneakers, which was molto Silvano of him.It may be to early to tell how the food will shape up--at this point it's different on different nights. On the first night we went, everything was underseasoned--undersalted or underdressed, like this otherwise appealing-looking insalata di rucola, with baby rucola, tomatoes and shaved parmesan. The next time we tried it, it weighed in at "fine." The same goes for the beet salad, below, which was disappointing because it looked delicious. When we returned another night, someone seemed to have rediscovered the salt shaker.One must-order on any snacky Italian menu is usually the arancini (fried rice balls). Scuderia's are served with a very tasty traditional ragu, in which meat is cooked slowly in tomatoes, then removed from the final sauce before serving. But--horror of horrors--the balls themselves were made of brown rice! This is highly unorthodox, and not in a good way. Please, please, do not let the insidious creep of brown rice into rice balls be the legacy of fashion affecting food. (For proper arancini that will rock your world, go to Manganaro's.)The polpette, meatballs with fresh tomato, fared better, since there was nothing unorthodox about them, just a crunchy exterior, mildly seasoned interior, and a nice sauce. And the specials are usually good, like a bruschetta with tomatoes and olives.On both nights, at this interlude between courses, we looked up and noticed that the entire room was full of women. The ratio of women to men was at least 3 to 1, and most of the men there had been dragged by women, cavewoman-style. "It's like a chick factory," J.Marciano quipped. "I'm suddenly getting my period...and so is everyone else in the room."It was hard to have this conversation sotto voce, however, since you had to scream to make yourself heard. (J.Marciano actually lost her voice after dining here.) I've been in German beer halls that were quieter than Scuderia, and that's with an oompah band.At least we were distracted by the food. Pizza is supposed to be the star player here, and expectations were running high because of the ecstatic ravings of commenters who attended sneak preview dinners. On the nights we went, the pizza ranked as good but not spectacular. Where was the crispy, thin, slightly charred crust we had dreamed of? Not to get all Gael Greene on you, but the ideal slice of pizza should stand up in your hand, not get all limp and floppy.Scuderia deserves points for putting an egg on the yummy occhio di bue (eye of the ox) pizza, above, along with spinach, pancetta, and pecorino, but there was little crunch to the crust. The bianca al pesto, right, was quite good, however, somehow crispier and made with an addictive pesto dotted amid the ricotta.(Side note: a surprisingly excellent pizza was discovered at t[...]

Minetta Tavern


Finally! Minetta Tavern is open. Yes, that one, the place that's been around for 72 years.Amid all the buzz about Keith McNally's new venture, there was always one thing that wasn't clear. Why had he chosen this crusty old place as the next incarnation of McNallyism? If you've lived in New York long enough, you know the Minetta Tavern because you've walked by it--often solely for the purpose of getting away, fast. Once the intersection of cool and the setting for Serpico, MacDougal Street and Minetta Lane is now only the home of Cafe Wha? (and the underrated Bellavitae) and has gotten as touristy as it once was cool.Of course, there are exceptions. 124 Rabbit Club opened up across the street, and before that, underground jazz den Bar Next Door. So maybe the writing was on the wall.But as soon as you walk into Minetta Tavern, the answer is apparent. There's an old school bar, murals and caricatures on the wall, the decor harkens back to an earlier age of the Village, and gorgeous Ralph Fiennes is sitting across from you. Is Minetta Tavern McNally's answer to the Waverly Inn? Certainly McNally had an unlikely rival in Graydon Carter, who never so much as dabbled in restaurants before, then came in to gather up the celebs in one fell swoop.If Minetta Tavern is the next chapter, McNally has come up on top. He's wisely gotten away from Italian and back to his bistro roots, installing Riad Nasr of Balthazaar in the kitchen. The Pat LaFrieda burger (called the "Black Label Burger" on the menu) that has inspired so much worship appears here, and, as steak meat ground into burger form, it's exactly right for the times. If we like to have our steak and eat it to, this is it - and yes, it's all it's cracked up to be.The Dodd cocktail - a tasty mix of bourbon and absinthe. Also - the wines. There's a great $9 Malbec that goes perfectly with the Black Label burger.Mesclun salad with goat cheese.This was quite tasty - and owed something to Jodi Williams, I thought. Stuffed calamari with salt cod, like a brandade. Delicious sauce and olives, too.Comfort food alert: the Pommes Aligot.The Minetta Burger - pretty darn good for a regular old cheeseburger.Choux Farcis - stuffed cabbage.The supposed Holy Grail of burgers, the Pat LaFrieda patty, was excellent. Really more like a ground steak than a burger, but we're not complaining. For God's sake, don't you dare put ketchup on it.The back dining room, definitely a little more chill and quiet than the front.The bustling front room. It's really hard to get in - literally - because of the log jam at the door. But the front of the house staff is very quick.Caricatures on the wall.Beautiful old bar (totally packed). There are lots of interesting little details like the mural of boxers (?) on top.Looks quiet outside but wait until you get inside.Old meets new? Minetta Tavern and Cafe Wha, two Village standbys.Minetta Tavern113 MacDougal Street, at Minetta LaneNew York, NY212.475.3850[...]

The John Dory


The problem with seafood is that it's become another word for "diet." Just as diners have their "diet plate" section with the cottage cheese and fruit plate, nearly every restaurant now offsets decadent meat dishes with an obligatory light seafood dish. The ploy is so obvious that they might as well have an asterisk after these neglected fish entrees - "for the ladies!" And because a plain fillet of fish can't put up much of a fight against meatballs or pork belly, most non-dieters have been ignoring fish altogether.Well, no longer. There's nothing remotely "diet" about the seafood at The John Dory. Chef April Bloomfield of the Spotted Pig has found the fat in fish, or when it's not there, added it in the form of butter aplenty. How unladylike! But if her goal is to bring hearty, pub-style seafood to New York, she has certainly exceeded it. The most exciting fish dish I remember eating in London would be the excellent fish and chips at Geales in Notting Hill.The whole aesthetic of the place is very appealing: old school nautical, like a seaside restaurant you'd stumble upon in a tiny resort town. What makes it citified is the obvious expense that went into it, plus lots of visual puns like the lures "swimming" in the resin countertop of the bar, and the lighted tank of real fish doomed to watch their brethren being consumed - which may be why it's also the site of an infamous eel suicide incident.The most difficult thing about the menu is deciding what to order, since there are so many appealing things on it. Marie Fromage and I started from square one, a mix of East and West Coast oysters, which were fresh, clean, alternately salty and sweet, and accompanied by an interesting mignonette made of peppers instead of the usual shallots.If there were one dish that summed up the direction of the food, it would be the fantastic oyster pan roast with sea urchin butter crostini. First you have excellent quality ingredients - huge, plump oysters, salty-fatty sea urchin, and fabulous butter - then you have the technique. The oysters are submerged in a buttery sauce with a slight vinegar/lemon edge to cut it, like a hollandaise laced with fresh tarragon. It gives another meaning to "slow food" - the only way to eat it is slowly.For the seafood equivalent of foie gras, look no further than this monkfish liver dish. This was seriously decadent and should only be attempted by true liver fans.Of course we had to spring for the signature dish, the John Dory. The only problem is, you have to choose whether you want them to filet this fish for you ahead of time or if you want to do it yourself. This presented a sort of quandary, since I actually like to see (and photograph) the whole fish before I eat it. The alternative is rather disappointing, like carving a Thanksgiving turkey in the kitchen instead of at the table. And perhaps because the majority of the seating is at the bar, they don't offer to filet it tableside. When the waiter disappeared, leaving us with a whole fish staring back at us from the plate, I felt like a flailing "Top Chef" contestant, racking my brain for some memory of fish fileting technique.When we did manage to hack it to pieces, it was quite good. The exterior had a wonderful char and the interior was light with an herbal perfume to it. The salsa verde was perhaps a little too acidic for the fish, but overall it was an excellent.We visited the John Dory right after Bruni's review and were surprised he gave it two stars instead of three. The casual d[...]



Saw UK band Tindersticks this weekend, compliments of D., at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Fort Greene, which is a great place to see a show. It has the intimacy of a high school auditorium,


if your high school were cool. Lead singer Stuart Staples has a haunting, hypnotic voice and moody, Smiths-like melodies, though the multi-layered sounds of the huge band are thoroughly modern. They got two standing ovations from the crowd.

If you missed them this time around, you can hear a few of their songs on My Space.

Marc Jacobs FS09


Nowhere was the radical change in NY Fashion Week more apparent than at the Marc Jacobs show. Where last season Posh and JLo walked the red carpet hand in hand amid a crush of paparazzi, now there were just gates, strict warnings about invitations, a small group of editors and buyers going in, and one very disappointed paparazzo standing next to me. But the end result isn't that different from a (not much) earlier time before celebrities discovered fashion week, when it was actually all about the clothes.Melissa Ventosa-Martin of T Magazine, right, in a fabulous feather (?) coat.Anna Wintour arrived 25 minutes ahead of time, though she is even harder to photograph now that she comes with two very large bodyguards blocking the way. A result of the fact that 60 Minutes may be doing a story on her? P.S. This may be the only time that you'll ever see Anna Wintour and Ray's Pizza in the same frame.Carine Roitfeld. She wore this coat several times during fashion weeks here and in Europe. It's a myth that the fashionably dressed "never wear the same outfit twice." In fact, it seems that when they're really in love with a piece, they'll wear it over and over. Certainly a more sensible (and economical) approach.Cropped trousers like these will soon be everywhere for spring.Brightly striped cardigan.This mix of lurid colors looked quite jarring as this woman was going into the Marc Jacobs show; after it was over, however, it seemed prescient. Marc Jacobs showed a lot of loud '80s colors that injected a note of optimism for fall - photo below from the slash of bright red lips against the neutral gray of her trench.A quirky haircut and funky blazer.The fur flies as this woman runs to get to the show in time. Ever since the complaints about his show starting hours late a couple years back, Jacobs has been almost sadistically punctual.An excellent menswear look.More menswear style, this time on Roberta Myers, editor in chief of Elle.Joe Zee in a Barbour jacket.Her rolled up shorts fall into that "boyfriend"-anything trend. Also watch for camouflage and any army-navy-store type clothing - very recession-friendly.A fellow photographer who looked to be a model-turned-photographer - very pretty and chic.Love, love the dilapidated chic of this outfit. The scuffed loafers and Burberry trench look like relics of wealthier times.It's true - bowl cuts are appearing on women. It doesn't seem like such a bad thing to try right now, but if you wait 30 seconds, it may get annoying.Chanel bags are another totem of dilapidated chic. Since they're classic, you could have bought it years ago, or even got it from Mummy. Either way, it looks right.A great mix of high-low with the fur jacket and jeans, plus the sparkly headband.Glenda Bailey of Harper's Bazaar steppin' out in some hot shoes.Kate Lanphear of Elle joking around with some guy friends. She was captured in a similar outfit by TopShop, which featured her in their newsletter - a fashion coup!More colored fur.Nina Garcia in all black.Cecilia Dean in a striking black-and-white coat.Meredith Melling Burke carrying a still-fab Chloe handbag.Lynn Yaeger's mash-up vintagey style seems particularly a propos this year.A detail shot of her amazing embellished Gucci bag - rabbits! - and knit scarf - cartoon characters!Grace Coddington carrying a Stephen Sprouse Louis Vuitton bag.The leopard print is great, but this model has amazing hair! Wavy-haired girls, this is your mo[...]

Object Lesson: IKEA Cowhide Rug


OK, it's not exactly necessary to use the hides of animals as rugs, especially now that we've discovered things like wool. (Demetri Martin has a great bit about bearskin rugs. Not only do we put an unnecessary pelt on the floor, we keep the head on because "we want to know who this was.")

But, as you may know from reading this blog, I'm so not a vegetarian, so...this new cowhide rug at IKEA is pretty fab. The "KOLDBY" is only $249, versus the usual $800 price tag you'd usually see at a fancy boutique. If you can manage to not spill red wine all over it, it would make a nice addition to a den or living room, especially layered over a plain rug like the HELSINGÖR ($99-$199), below.