Most fashion designers would never think to put an automated Japanese toilet on one of their designs, but that’s precisely what makes Christina J. Wang’s whimsical, colorfully illustrated scarves so desirable.
Since launching her line of printed silk, cashmere and lightweight wool scarves in 2014, the New York City–based painter turned designer has produced various limited-edition collections that reveal both a cheeky sense of wanderlust and an expert’s insight into a particular city or place. Last December, Wang debuted a special scarf emblazoned with various treats from NYC pastry chef Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar. Her latest spring collection, a tribute to Hong Kong, Japan and New York, features a mash-up of quirky cultural symbols and objects — such as the Japanese toilet, or the diverse foodstuffs of Asia’s World City — that make the scarves more than just souvenirs, but rather zeitgeist-y depictions of some of Wang’s favorite things. “That’s important for me in every scarf and everything I do, for it to have an authenticity and personal connection behind it,” explains the 29-year-old designer. (more…)
Call it foresight: Six years ago, when Anastasia Koutsioukis and her husband opened Mandolin, their exquisite Aegean bistro tucked away in Miami’s Design District, the neighborhood was still a far cry from the trendy, art-fueled destination it is today. For years, Mandolin remained a best-kept secret among members of a certain creative set, not just for its beautiful Turkish- and Greek-inspired fare, but also for Koutsioukis—aka “Mrs. Mandolin”—herself. A perennial hostess with an exceptional eye for design, the former New Yorker is thankfully expanding the brand with a recently opened beachfront outpost at Miami’s Soho House, and another location at the Soho House in Istanbul.
This spring, Koutsioukis will also debut MrsMandolin, a lunch counter and coffee bar specializing in breakfast and lunch dishes, while a separate boutique area will be outfitted with an assortment of lifestyle products, tabletop items, and travel finds selected by Mrs. Mandolin herself. Visitors to Miami should make a point of dining at Mandolin posthaste, but as Koutsioukis is proud to note, there’s an abundance of new arrivals worth experiencing as well: “Miami is having its moment right now. It’s an exciting time as the creative community helps to redefine this seductive city,” she says.
Here, she offers up her favorite Miami spots for eating and drinking. (more…)
Pair the fashion designer Rachel Comey with chef Ignacio Mattos of Estela for a dinner-party-slash-fashion show and you’ve got a recipe for one very chic unofficial start to New York Fashion Week, which begins today. Add in a musical performance by Justin Vivian Bond, choreographed models donning Comey’s spring/summer 2015 collection, a sprawling arts venue near the Brooklyn waterfront, and it’s no wonder the event last night drew a crowd that included notable artists and performers, as well as fellow figures from the style and culinary worlds.
The event, held at the artist Dustin Yellin’s Pioneer Works center in Red Hook and co-hosted by Adam Rapaport of Bon Appetit magazine, was the kick-off event for the magazine’s Feast or Fashion series, now in its fifth year, which highlights the flourishing symbiosis between fashion and food with several events each season. It was also a much-anticipated evening for Comey’s regulars, who each season look forward to her relaxed, elaborate evening dinner parties, which she began throwing two years ago in lieu of the standard-format runway. “I don’t go to many fashion shows during the week — only the few that I have a personal connection to. And Rachel’s are always really interesting and different,” said Debbie Harry, a regular attendee whose fellow guests last night included Emily Mortimer, Zadie Smith, Cindy Sherman and the actor Paul Dano.
The vegetarian-heavy menu trend in downtown Manhattan is picking up steam, but unlike other food fads, this one doesn’t seem like it will go out of fashion. In March, Bobby Flay opened the Mediterranean-inspired Gato, where the best-selling item is a kale and mushroom paella. In SoHo, stylish diners are flocking to Navy, where Camille Becerra incorporates ingredients sourced from a Pennsylvania farmers’ cooperative into a vegetable- and seafood-based menu that includes charred snow peas with peanuts, chili and basil. Later this fall, Amanda Cohen will move Dirt Candy, her popular meat-free restaurant, to a larger space on the Lower East Side, while Jean-Georges Vongerichten is expected to open his newest spot, a vegan and vegetarian eatery for ABC Home, in early 2015. At Narcissa, in the newly revamped Standard East Village hotel, John Fraser has made vegetables from the hotelier André Balazs’s upstate farm the basis of a fantastic meal. “Chefs aren’t thinking about how to make ‘vegetable’ dishes anymore,” according to Flay. “They’re making interesting, healthier dishes in general, and vegetables have become more a part of that.”
Crack pie, compost cookies, cereal-milk-flavored soft serve — six years ago, these hilariously named confections would have been the stuff of fantastical sugar-laden dreams and late-night binges. Today, they’re signature trademarks of Milk Bar, the growing bakery franchise co-owned by David Chang and his pastry chef Christina Tosi. These madcap items are more than just trailblazing baked goods — they’re Tosi’s edible manifestations of what it means to be unapologetic about what you believe in.
Of course, trusting her gut plays heavily into the 32-year-old’s story of finding success as a chef and entrepreneur, most notably when she moved to New York to study pastry at the French Culinary Institute), and again when she joined David Chang’s Momofuku team — taking on a non-cooking job — back before the restaurant franchise was even a shadow of the globally known phenomenon it is today.
This past Saturday, the Steven Alan Home Shop in TriBeCa served up a sweet deal: complimentary cold-brew green tea blends from the Brooklyn- and Japan-based purveyor Tea Wing, and cookies and tea cakes from Burrow bakery for anyone browsing the store’s wares.
Having (iced) afternoon tea at the store wasn’t completely out of left field (the Home Shop stocks Tea Wing’s products year-round), but it was the first time Steven Alan had invited Kurokawa to fill the space with her unique treats, like lemon and hazelnut tea cakes. Although she’s best known for her custom portrait cookies — uncanny facial renderings in the form of palm-sized iced shortbread cookies that can be ordered online — Burrow’s founder and sole baker Ayako Kurokawa lends the same artfulness to her many other confections.
Camille Becerra is no stranger to departures and homecomings. “We actually lived here before,” the chef and food stylist says, waving around her sun-filled TriBeCa loft. “That day the towers went down, we physically left,” she says of Sept. 11, which prompted her to flee with her then six-month-old daughter to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, where they lived for seven years. During that period in her new neighborhood, Becerra opened Paloma, a restaurant housed in a converted parking garage, which she named after her daughter. In 2008 the restaurant burned down, and Becerra returned to her beloved loft in Manhattan.
With all of its patisseries and boulangeries, Paris might seem like a punishing destination for those shunning gluten. But there’s good news for non-wheat-eaters: Even in the land of pain au chocolat, there are new restaurants and cafes offering “sans-gluten” foods that are downright delicious. These three establishments all have 100% gluten-free menus, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination, so even celiac sufferers can indulge with abandon…
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It has been 40 years since Ed Schoenfeld helped open Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan, New York City’s first four-star Chinese restaurant. Working as a captain in the front of the house, he hosted an illustrious clientele that included Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Andy Warhol, before going on to preside over the dining rooms of several other landmark eateries throughout the city. These days Mr. Schoenfeld, one of the country’s foremost experts on Chinese cuisine, is the proud co-owner of RedFarm, a popular dim sum restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. A second RedFarm location is due to open on the Upper West Side next month, in addition to a new bar and dining room in the space downstairs from the original location. Last January, Mr. Schoenfeld and his wife, Elisa Herr, a financial editor, moved from Park Slope, Brooklyn, to the Forest Hill neighborhood of Newark, N.J. He spoke to us in the kitchen of the 1909 Georgian-style house that he and Ms. Herr share with their cat, Cocoa Chai Latte.