The Scent of Success
Martin Katz and DKNY pair up to create the first million-dollar fragrance bottle for DKNY's Golden Delicious.
October 03, 2011
Martin Katz, Beverly Hills jeweler to the stars, has partnered with DKNY to design the world’s first million-dollar fragrance bottle. Filled with DKNY’s new Golden Delicious eau de parfum, the one-of-a-kind, apple-shaped flacon will embark on a global tour before being auctioned off to benefit Action Against Hunger, an initiative to end world hunger. Inspired by the lights of New York City, the bottle is carved out of 14k white gold and features 2,700 round brilliant white diamonds and 183 golden yellow sapphires representing Manhattan’s skyline. A flawless 2.43-carat canary diamond tops off the creation, which sits on two tiers of glass that contain models of the earth’s continents made of precious stones sourced from all over the world, including turquoise from Brazil, a 7.18-carat oval cabochon sapphire from Sri Lanka and round pink diamonds from Australia. A true collector’s item, the bottle will be available for purchase through DKNY’s Facebook page when its international expedition is complete.
Fashion Collaboration: Birds of a Feather
Fashion designer Valentino Vettori and illustrator Blue Logan come together over a shared avian muse.
October 03, 2011
FROM LEFT: Velentino Vettori and Blue Logan; a drawing by Blue Logan
Valentino Vettori took over the Helmut Lang store in the Meatpacking District in February and transformed it into a concept store for his ready to wear line, Improvd. In addition to the designer’s avant-garde basics, the space serves as a gallery for artists whose works Vettori will rotate out once a month. This month, Improvd presents a series of sketches by British fashion illustrator Blue Logan, which are based on Vettori’s Spring 2012 collection. We caught up with the pair to learn more about the collaboration.
We don’t normally see much color in your collections. Why now?
VALENTINO VETTORI: The inspiration for my runway pieces was the parrot, because it was a Spring/Summer collection and I had to find colors. For me color is very difficult because it’s all too contemporary and easy. I don’t like the ’60s, ’70s look. I like something a bit more intellectual using black, gray and white, so I had to find my own way to do colors. The other challenge was not to have it become Rio de Janeiro.
BLUE LOGAN: Valentino made that very clear. It wasn’t this fantabulous, colorful St-Tropez look. It was more of a parrot-at-night look. Imagine a parrot flying through the Lower East Side—it’s a darker, more sinister parrot.
What is inspiring about parrots?
VV: Last summer I went down to Miami with my two-year-old daughter and we visited Jungle Island where they have these humungous parrot birds that climb on you. I noticed their amazing colors and that’s when I knew what my next season was going to look like.
Were you trying to express something special with this collection?
VV: This for me was about creating this animal, which is my woman, who is very aggressive but very feminine. The clashing of the armory leather mixed with the fluid print of the soft chiffon creates this royal effect.
How did the two of you come together for this?
VV: I’ve always liked partnership and linking myself with other people who I respect, and when I saw Blue’s beautiful runway sketches I asked him to sketch my vision. I like his young, new energy.
BL: We met through a mutual friend after I told her the night before Fashion Week that I was interested in doing a project on birds. Lo and behold she was out on Fashion’s Night Out talking to Valentino, who told her he was doing this whole collection based on parrots.
And why birds for you, Blue?
BL: Birds and fashion go hand in hand. I think they share an affinity in some way with fashion and kind of look like glorious ball gowns. Even the humble pigeon shitting on a roof in Chinatown with a half moldy leg still has grace and elegance.
And that’s coming from someone who’s drawn his fair share of ball gowns. How many fashion weeks have you been involved with now?
BL: Too many to count, but I started because I liked the speed of it and found that there was something quite nice created in the lines. Then a whole fascinating world opened up when I started drawing the front row. I still like doing it, but I wanted to move on and do some other things yet still work in fashion but push the boundaries. So Valentino and I got together to do something that involves the inspiration behind the outfits instead of simply drawing the outfits themselves.
Since you didn’t have the immediacy and the high-speed action for these illustrations, how do they look and feel different than your usual work?
BL: I was a big fan of Arthur Rackham’s fairy books as a child, and as I was drawing these I kept thinking to myself, Oh God, am I a fairy artist? Should these be in a new age shop? Do they belong with a dream catcher in the window? But these are much more detailed than my usual stuff. There’s no pencil work in there at all—just painted straight with a brush, so there’s detail but also more freedom in the same picture. You see, speed versus detail doesn’t make much difference. If your line hits true, you capture the look and it just works.
Food Fight: Meatball Madness
The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Meatball Madness was a tasty hit.
October 03, 2011
More than two-dozen chefs vied for the top prize in this year’s Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Meatball Madness competition hosted by Giada De Laurentiis. The sold-out crowd savored meatballs made from beef, veal, pork, chicken and even vegetarian options. In the end, The Little Owl’s Joey Campanaro won the Judge’s Award with his Italian grandma’s gravy meatball slider. “Water is my secret ingredient,” he said. But it was The Meatball Shop that wooed the crowd with its steak and bacon cheddar balls on buttermilk biscuits, and went home with the People’s Choice award. “It feels utterly balltastic to win,” said co-owner Michael Chernow. He added that the inspiration behind the unconventional meatball was co-owner Daniel Holzman’s dad’s Philly cheesesteak.
A Moveable Feast
The city’s most popular food trucks converged at FoodParc for Carts in the Parc.
October 02, 2011
Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern took a break from his busy, offal-eating schedule to host Sunday’s Carts in the Parc, a grand food truck tasting in the courtyard of the Eventi Hotel’s FoodParc that began the wind-down of the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival.
Nearly 20 food trucks and carts piled into and around the courtyard to serve their best and boldest à la carte dishes. Michael White and Zimmern teamed up to serve a spit-roasted porchetta sandwich that everyone raved over, but it didn’t win the coveted People’s Choice Award. That honor went to the venerable Biryani Cart, which served a mixed meat biryani and chicken kati roll, a roti taco of spicy chicken and yogurt sauce. We’re pretty sure White wasn’t too broken up about the loss: We saw him teaching his daughter how to eat one of the Biryani Cart’s popular roti rolls.
Other highlights came in the form of The Milk Truck’s Gruyere, bleu cheese, cheddar and mushroom grilled cheese; Rouge Tomate’s buttery yet light squash soup with apples, toasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil; China Grill’s sesame and hoisin-glazed lamb rib, which was slightly sweet and unthinkably unctuous; and The Red Farm Stand at FoodParc’s duo of wood ear mushroom-topped pork shumai and flash-fried cod atop a smooth avocado tart, two of the tastiest morsels we had all day.
For those with a sweet tooth, options were plenty. We had a delightful tea, ginger and pear slush from Kelvin Natural Slush Co. and Melt Bakery’s peach ice cream and brown butter bourbon shortbread sandwich proved delicious and architecturally sound—no ice cream run-over whatsoever. Bucking the other trucks’ one-dish philosophy, Sweet Street Desserts offered a staggering array of pastry, ranging from generously stuffed cream puffs to luscious Key lime tarts. None other than the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck served our final and favorite dessert of the afternoon, which consisted of extra-thick vanilla ice cream, Key lime curd, graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream. The ice cream had a rich taste not unlike mascarpone cut perfectly by the tart Key lime curd.
Thrillist’s annual BBQ & The Blues event was a saucy success.
October 02, 2011
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone hosted Thrillist’s BBQ & The Blues during the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival atop the picturesque Hudson Terrace rooftop. Local restaurants including Hudson Hall, Sushi Samba, Takashi and more participated in the barbecue-themed tasting, featuring braised brisket, ahi tuna and chicken—all doused with a generous amount of each chef’s signature sauce. To bring the Southern ambiance full circle, New York Dixie band Baby Soda rocked the crowd with toe-tapping banjo classics such as “When The Saints Go Marching In.”
photograph courtesy of Thrillist
Heaven on a Half Shell
Farm-raised oysters received the royal treatment at the annual Oyster Bash.
October 02, 2011
There was an embarrassment of culinary riches at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival Oyster Bash, hosted by Chopped star Ted Allen and presented by The Lobster Place. The speed at which quivering, farm-fresh oysters were shucked and artfully dressed in mignonettes and inventive toppings was dizzying. Booths manned by eight local chefs and numerous oyster farmers lined the perimeter of The Standard Biergarten boasting a whirlwind variety of fine oyster specimens hailing from Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Maine and further-slung oyster hotbeds.
A sense of respect for the main ingredient was evident in all of the chefs’ preparations—flavors were clean, crisp and unfussy. On behalf of The John Dory Oyster Bar, chefs April Bloomfield and Josh Even put forth a New Brunswick oyster specked with pink peppercorn and served with a vodka, Worcestershire and tomato water shooter. The idea was to chase the shooter with the oyster.
Chef Mary Redding of Mary’s Fish Camp prepared a Florida citrus and datil pepper mignonette for her Rhode Island oysters, which had a kick of cilantro and reminded us of Key West. The Standard Grill chef Dan Silverman was thinking citrus as well with his pink grapefruit, jalapeño and scallion mignonette over Maine oysters. Oceana chef Ben Pollinger also used citrus to contrast the cucumber and Middle Eastern spices topping his Prince Edward Island oysters.
Things took a savory turn at Balthazar chef Shane McBride’s booth, where New York oysters were topped with barbecue sauce and smoky, crunchy coleslaw. The unlikely flavor combinations in McBride’s oyster were addictive and paired perfectly with the Bloody Marys, craft beers and crispy frites being passed around like candy.
Tied for our personal favorite were Taverna chef Michael Psilakis’ Washington oysters dressed in Greek yogurt and pomegranate, and The Mermaid Inn chef Michael Cressotti’s Washington oysters buried below a rustic spinach, cherry tomato and feta salad. Both had a fruity, ambrosia-like quality that was unmatched by any other booth.
New Yorker to Know: Damien Scoditti
Meet a member of APrivateClub.com, New York’s most elite social networking site.
October 01, 2011
Photograph by ElkStudios.com
As the youngest son in a family of well-known restaurateurs, Damien Scoditti grew up in the restaurant industry and always wanted to continue in the family business. Inspired by teenage years spent in Italy (Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia and Campania), Scoditti opened the Flatiron district’s Brio Downtown last year. With the help of renowned architect Tony Chi, who has decorated for hotel groups such as the Park Hyatt, InterContinental and Mandarin Oriental, the modern restaurant exudes an understated sophistication to match its simple yet scrumptious Italian fare.
What do you love best about your restaurant’s neighborhood?
DAMIEN SCODITTI: I spend 15 hours per day at the restaurant, which is located in the Flatiron district, and my favorite part about the neighborhood would definitely be the architecture. There is an increasingly residential character about the neighborhood that has always reminded me of Europe.
Describe your morning routine:
DS: I wake up, kiss my wife and watch clips of Italy winning the world cup while drinking an espresso. Then I am off to work.
What about New York inspires you?
DS: What inspires me about the city is the grit, because it’s not about perfection like most people think—it’s about force, and work and sweat. The weak fall fast and the strong will try to make their name and maybe a fortune, if they are lucky.
Where do you go to relax?
DS: Other than my apartment? The Ace Hotel.
What has been your proudest moment?
DS: Opening the new restaurant, but it has also been my biggest challenge.
What was your last purchase?
DS: Dita Condor sunglasses from Tina Catherine Eyewear.
If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?
DS: That I could speak every language in the world, and that no one could tell where I was from because my accent and vocabulary would be so impeccable.
What is your all-time favorite film?
DS: 8 1/2 by Federico Fellini
Damien Scoditti's City Picks
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Uncorking the Meatpacking District
Style and sustenance found a happy marriage in the Meatpacking District.
October 01, 2011
Jellyroll cupcakes at Sweet Street Desserts
A stretch of sidewalk along 10th Avenue, between West 12th and West 14th Streets, housed 50 local restaurants, food trucks and boutiques for the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Meatpacking Uncorked, presented by Corcoran Group Real Estate. Tasting options ranged from upscale Italian cuisine to gourmet dessert truck sweets, while shop stops included area favorites such as Trina Turk and Scoop.
At Corsino, run by ‘inoteca empire owners Jason and Joe Denton, a trio of crostini topped with spicy peperonata sauce, green olive tapenade and roasted squash and mascarpone was served. The creamy squash and mascarpone crostini was a refreshing contrast to its spicy peperonata and briny green olive counterparts.
Those in need of a more substantial bite needed only walk a few steps to Fatty Crab, where Zak Pelaccio served char-grilled chicken wings glazed with cincalok (a fermented shrimp condiment) and palm sugar.
At Gorilla Cheese NYC, fromage fans enjoyed a grilled cheese made with sharp New York cheddar, crispy bacon bits and tomato on buttery French bread. It was everything a grilled cheese should be, and a little more.
Words can hardly do justice to the jellyroll cupcake served at the Sweet Street Desserts truck. The moist vanilla cupcake hides a delicious raspberry center and is topped with a swirl of rich, raspberry icing and raspberry jelly candies.
The Art of the Taco
Tequila and tacos were the main event at Soho’s 82 Mercer.
October 01, 2011
The Art of the Taco, one of the most anticipated events at this year’s Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, whisked guests into Soho’s 82 Mercer space for a wild fiesta boasting tacos of every variety, shape and flavor. More than 32 restaurants crowded into the space to serve their idea of a unique and ideal taco. Host Bobby Flay whipped up a mouth-watering smoked salmon taco while cult-favorite taco bar La Esquina stuck to its guns with a traditional beef carnitas taco. Not to be overshadowed by the tasty tacos, the Patrón Lounge offered a lecture and tasting on the art of tequila distillation and mini bars served potent margaritas and tequila sunrises around every turn.
photograph courtesy of Gilt City
A Super-luxe Sleep
Stearns & Foster launches a new luxury mattress collection.
September 30, 2011
Stearns & Foster has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1800s. Making the leap from horse carriage cushions to luxury mattresses, the brand still holds true to the quality craftsmanship it was built on. In celebration of its heritage, Stearns & Foster just launched a new luxury collection called Lux Estate (starting at $2,200) that features some interestingly innovative technology.
Lux Estate mattresses are made with a new, patented titanium alloy IntelliCoil spring, which is essentially a spring inside a spring. The outer coil offers a comfortable, welcoming embrace while the inner coil provides essential deep-down support. Some also have a top layer of CaressFlex foam, a responsive grid that bends and conforms to the body. (The tufted top is lush and billowy.) Though the technology is impressive on its own, the major selling point for us is the packaging. Luxurious touches like tufted borders, peek-a-boo fabrics and hand-stitched embroideries give a nod to the brand’s carriage history. And the Mongolian horsehair, silk and cashmere fabrics make for a cloth more suitable for a designer suit than a mattress. It’s almost a crime to cover it with sheets. Macy’s, 151 W. 34th St., 212-695-4400