Seen @ High Point Market

I recently visited North Carolina to see the latest at the High Point furniture market and was pleased to see artists and manufacturers using recycled materials in a variety of creative ways. It was also nice to see furniture still hand-made in America—tasteful, and sturdy. Photo left shows re-used Brazilian truck tarps from Grace and Blake covering benches and ottomans, photo right is a glimpse of some of the offerings from Busbin, who design and manufacture pieces of modern, yet classic furniture that can be handed down to the next generation. It was fun to get out of the city for a week or so, see more photos from the trip here.

Drinks & Ink: Tuaca Liquore Originale cocktails and tatoos

Tuaca Liquore Originale scoured the United States to find out who could make the most creative cocktail using their liqueur, in addition to sporting the coolest tattoo. The competition’s nine finalists came to NYC to show off their mixing talents as well as their extensive body art. I have to say I was immediately intrigued by the whole idea, and made sure to attend and photograph the contestants and try their wares. The judges were chosen from the tops in the spirit and tattoo worlds, Corey Miller, seen on LA Ink was on hand, as well as Todd Weinberger, the creative director of Inked Magazine, who awarded the winner with a photo spread in the magazine. Mixologist Jason Littrell and cocktail authoritarian Gary Reagan brought their taste buds in to vote. See more photos of the night here.

For the Birds: Bird Feeder for your Window

Have the joy of watching small birds gather right where you can see them. This globe, made of recycled plastic, sticks right to your window. The double-sided suction cup uses carefully selected materials, so it will stay on the window through the hottest and coldest temperatures. Designed by Urban Butik. $19.95.

One Flight UP: Millesime and Ai Fiori

This month, coincidentally, both hotel restaurants I went to were on the second level, accesssed by a grand spiral staircase. Millesime, located in the Carlton Hotel, has the ambiance of a fancy French bistro from the 1800s, blending elegant and casual touches. Our table looked down over the lobby, giving it an air of an opera box. Photo above left shows the newly opened ceiling with decorative glass and the raw bar in the rear, above right, grilled romaine, topped with smoked black cod, parmesan and lime (tasty!). More photos from the dinner are here. Ai Fiori was the more upscale of the two. Michael White’s menu focuses on Italian specialties served with a French twist. My friend Mary and I did 3 courses with wine pairings and were completely wowed. Photo below left is the Trofie Nero, an inky pasta with small bits of seafood and breadcrumbs, photo right, the entrance at the top of the white spiral staircase. There was a photo shoot just wrapping up as we entered, which explains why the bar stools are creating a barrier to the right. More photos of our dinner can be found here. If you are looking for well-designed, apartment sanctuary in the sky, check out the rooms at the Setai on Fifth Avenue between 36th and 37th streets. The rooms are ample in size, beatufully laid out, with every amenity.


Artful support: Japan

In support of the relief efforts for Japan, MOLO has added a big red dot to their felted wool hobo bag in a special limited edition of 50. Show your support for $150, by calling the Molo studio in Vancouver (+1 604 696 2501). The full proceeds will be donated to support Architecture for Humanity’s reconstruction efforts. This bag can carry a heavy load and doubles as a lantern with an energy-efficient LED light. This Friday, April 8th, 3.11 Project presents a silent auction taking place at Openhouse Gallery, from 6 to 9 pm, featuring NYC’s and Japan’s finest talent. The exhibition will feature more than 50 artists, displaying multimedia installations, painting, photography, and sculpture. It’s your chance to own some impressive art for less. One hundred percent of proceeds goes to Japan Earthquake Relief Fund via the Japan Society. See more information about the art at this link. 201 Mulberry Street. RSVP at rsvp@foundationworld.com

Wines of Israel: Don’t Pass them Over!

I went to a tasting back in November, and got to sample lots of very nice wines from Israel. I thought it would be a good time to mention some to bring along to your Passover seder, or, make up any excuse to celebrate with these fine selections. Barkan wines come from the Galilee region. The Altitude series are 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, whose labels refer to the actual altitude in which the grapes are grown. The +720 [meters above sea level] 2007 was good, but one you might want to hold onto till next year. A really superior choice, and my favorite of the entire tasting was the 2007 Barkan Reserve +624. Both cost around $40 a bottle. For a nice everyday, soft red, around $12 a bottle, go for the Barkan Classic Merlot-Argaman 2009, and you will not regret it! In the VEGAN category: I loved the 2007 Carmel Mediterranean, a mix of 5 grape varieties from the Shomron region. My tasting notes: like a fine Pinot Noir, feminine, soft, elegant; around $60 a bottle. My second favorite, especially for its bottle design, was the Carmel Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2006 from Upper Galilee Region, which goes for around $27 a bottle. Dalton Winery is working on getting organic certification. 2009 Fume Blanc was a mix of 95% Sauvignon Blanc with 5% Viognier. A nice, light, summery taste, from the Upper Galilee region, great buy for $15 a bottle. The 2009 Estate Shiraz was a blend of 4 grapes, which gave it a deep berry, full flavor yet still light in the mouth with a peppery finish. Not bad for $18 a bottle. The 2009 Shiraz Reserve was at the top of the price range ($30) and the most elegant choice, very earthy, with its combination of 96% Shiraz and 4% Viognier, also from the Upper Galilee region. 

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

You’ve probably been hearing all about the series of books by Nathan Myhrvold (and co): Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Over three years, and a super equipped team went into the making of this book, testing cooking techniques and theories on the most scientific level. I recently attended a lecture with Nathan, hosted by Padma Lakshmi, at the National Academy of Science, across from the WTC site. Unfortunately, I ended up going a few stops into Brooklyn on the N train, so missed the beginning of the standing-room-only lecture. Fortunately, I did not miss the sample of the pistachio ice cream which was made without any dairy, using only the oils from the nuts themselves to create an ultra-nutty tasting treat. The 6 book set explores the topics of food safety, baking, braising, stewing, grilling, barbecuing, roasting, frying. The photos, alone, are enough reason to purchase the set, which feature appliances cut in half, to show the cooking within, food ballistics, and beautifully lit step shots. The set retails for $675, but is available on back order at Amazon for around $465. Check out the in-depth review at the New Yorker.