Category Archives: etc

EN Japanese Brasserie

On Friday evening, after a beautiful day around the city (lunch at Soho House, walking the piers in Battery Park, cocktails at 202), a group of us went to EN Japanese Brasserie for a late dinner. There were 7 of us without a reservation, so we sat at the communal table in the bar area, which was perfect! We ordered a massive amount of sushi, sashimi, homemade tofu, edamame (soaked in dashi – delicious!), and various other small dishes – and we were all VERY happy with everythign! It was truly one of my favorite Japanese restaurants that I have been to in awhile…

The experience is that of a traditional Japanese restaurant in a beautiful, authentic space in the West Village of Manhattan. EN is a modern izakaya, a relaxed style of dining that centers on a procession of tapas-style small plates. Like in Japan, they cook with the seasons, and savor the peak flavor of ingredients.


EN adheres to the fundamentals of Japanese cooking: respecting the ingredients and their natural flavors, cooking in the moment, and not doing too much. The menu includes fresh tofu (prepared six times a night), saikyo miso black cod, stone grilled wagyu and a range of high quality sushi and sashimi. There is also a very welcome sake sommelier, Takahiro Okada, who has developed an extensive list of small-batch, artisanal sake and shochu to complement the dining experience.

After our dinner, we didn’t feel heavy or too full – we just felt very satisfied and as though we experienced a special piece of Japan. Even my husband loved EN, and he is one tough critic of Japanese restaurants…I am sure we’ll be making it a staple! 

435 Hudson Street (at leroy)

New York NY 10014

tel 212 647 9196

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August: lovely month, not restaurant

On Friday, I went to August with my husband, in-laws, and another couple. We wanted to be the in the West Village, and I had always heard good things about August so I decided to give it a try. Sadly, it was disappointing and I was frustrated that I had taken the risk…

We had a reservation for 6 people on a Friday night, which is definitely a feat. We were seating right away, but my mother-in-law sat down on a soaking wet cushion…embarrassing. We had to pile 20 napkins under her to try to keep her skirt from getting even wetter – the waitress didn’t have any other solution.

We all thought the menu sounded appetizing, and we ordered quite a variety to cover all of the different flavors. We received our first courses, and they were all fine, but my pickled vegetables were so spicy from jalapeno peppers that I wanted to shove an entire loaf of bread in my mouth after finishing – not pleasant. We waited about 20 minutes before our waitress brought us all a bowl of mushroom soup because our entrees were taking too long. Now…that may seem like a nice gesture, but I hate soup and I just wanted my entree – we all felt pressured to appreciate the complimentary soup.

Finally, our entrees came, and a few of us preferred the mushroom soup! haha. My fish was good, but no one was really impressed. The service was slow, the menu limited, the seat wet, and our food wasn’t anything special…I doubt I’ll ever be back…I’ll stick to enjoying the month of August instead.

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LOFT22creative

I want to let all of you know that I am now maintaining two blogs – one for personal interests (nyc sunflower) and one for professional interests (LOFT22).

I will still be faithfully posting on this blog, but I will be splitting my days. Please follow me on LOFT22 as well – it’s a blog dedicated to creative direction and branding. If you have any interest in fashion, art direction, photography, branding, marketing, advertising or digital media, LOFT22 will definitely keep you interested!

Thank you for following!!!

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ChatRoulette!

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were chatting with a friend about the social networks and the benefits from a marketing standpoint. To this topic, our friend began to tell us about a NEW social networking site called ChatRoulette…I had never heard about it before, but his description intrigued me to do some research…

The site is only a few months old, but its population is beginning to explode into viraldom: 300 users in December had grown to 10,000 by the beginning of February. Although big media outlets haven’t caught on to the newest thing in social networking – the blogs have taken care of getting the news out there – typical. The blog the Asylum called ChatRoulette its favorite site since YouTube,  The Frisky called it “the Holy Grail of all Internet fun.” Everyone  agrees that it is intensely addictive — another  simple idea  that  captures the  power of the Internet in a  revolutionary way.

The site activates your webcam automatically, and when you click “start” you’re suddenly staring at another human staring back at you, at which point you can either choose to chat (via text or voice) or just click “next”-  instantly calling up someone else. The result is surreal.  There already seems to be no end to the creative, talented, gross, perverted, and any other possible  description that could come from such a random social interaction with complete strangers – and without any real repercussions, which is scary.

There was a man who wore a deer head and opened every conversation with “What up DOE!?” A guy from Sweden was reportedly speed-drawing strangers’ portraits. Someone with a guitar was improvising songs for anyone who’d give him a topic. Others dressed like ninjas, tried to persuade women to expose themselves, and played spontaneous transcontinental games of Connect Four. Occasionally, people even made nonvirtual connections: One punk-music blogger met a group of people from Michigan who ended up driving eleven hours to crash at his house for a concert in New York.

The internet has done it again…another medium that we will need to figure out to determine the pros and cons…ChatRoulette does seem to be the most dangerous because its meant to meet strangers – not friends and family…doesn’t the name say enough?!?!?

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Fisch for the Hip…consignment shop with discerning taste

Yesterday, my husband and I were walking home from our friends’ new apartment – from the West side to the East side…we came across a very cute consignment shop called Fisch for the Hip. Thankfully, my husband is as curious as I am when we see some vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases in the window…so we went in to see what we could find.

Fisch for the Hip is a fabulous Chelsea consignment shop with a meticulously edited selection of everything from Chloe, Missoni, Marni, Vera Wang RTW, Stella McCartney, Gucci, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Dolce, Alaia, Hermes bags, men’s designer suits and all sorts of other things that you will not find anywhere else in NYC. The owner and staff of Fisch for the Hip choose their consignment items with care to create the ultimate shopping experience for you – although I’ve read some bad reviews from people trying to sell their items in the store… The selection is large enough to dress even the most selective of shoppers, but at the same time, you aren’t searching through tons of things that no one would want…every piece seems to have a purpose.

We didn’t buy anything…but I definitely saw lots of things that I loved – the kinds of pieces that are like gems in a wardrobe to keep yours from ever looking like someone else’s. The prices were better than buying new, but the $10,000 Hermes Birkin bag was still hard to swallow…

Fisch for the Hip

(917) 512-8250

153 W 18th St

(Between 6th Avenue and 7th Avenue)

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Custom Men: a cut above the rest

For all you tailored men out there…if there are any other than my husband…I have a recommendation for you!

On Saturday, we went to Custom Men – a custom suit maker on West 57th Street – to get my husband a new suit to be ready for the Spring.  Remember – he is Italian and it has been VERY hard to find something to substitute for the old Italian tailor that he used to go to in Milan…

The experience was fun and charming and in an old-world kind of way. When we arrived to the building, we had to call a phone number to be let in and led upstairs. They don’t have a typical office  or retail establishment – actually far from it. We entered a large room with tons of fabric samples, design books, dressing mirrors, a big consulting desk and a sitting area (for those who are just assisting with confirmation and fabric choices – me, in this case). The gentleman who helped my husband was very pleasant and polite – he knew what he was talking about, he didn’t rush my husband or push for a sale, he negotiated the price to be VERY reasonable, and he even appreciates his loyal customers by offering two custom shirts for every referral!

I wish that more men would try to dress well and get things that actually fit their shape. Although it is more expensive than shopping at Zara or Daffy’s, the fabrics alone are worth the price. Not to mention the fact that the suits are MADE for the customer.  Off-the-rack suits never fit perfectly – a jacket may fit on the chest, but it’s either too big or too tight on the waist. If a shirt fits around the neck, it’s either too big or too tight around the rest of the body. And if the pants fit around the waist, they are usually too long or too baggy around thighs and knees. A custom-made suit gives you the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE. Custom Men even makes hand-stitched button holes and include personal embroidery on the inside pocket.

Ladies: they also do women’s custom tailoring, but I think it pays more just to have them fix up our men!

CustomMen
140 W. 57th Street,
Suite 4C (Near Carnegie Hall),
New York, NY 10019
Tel: (212) 767-0545

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The Jane Hotel – Cafe Gitane

the Jane Hotel

This past Saturday, we had dinner with three friends at Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel. I have been to the Cafe Gitane in Nolita, and it’s always been a staple hot-spot to grab a quick coffee or bite to eat – or a long one if I was lucky enough to score a table outside on a nice sunny weekend afternoon. I wasn’t sure what to expect for dinner at their new Jane Hotel location, though…

Cafe Gitane

Since I have been to Marrakesh, I was probably a bit pickier about the authenticity of the French-Moroccan menu, but it did resemble Morocco at least. The attractive, Euro-chic clientele has certainly transplanted themselves from their Sunday brunch in Nolita to their Saturday dinner on Jane Street. The fashion set dine on warm avocado toast, brie with apple, and couscous towers served with chicken, shrimp or sausage and a dollop of hummus. My friends and I definitely enjoyed our dinner, but I wouldn’t say it was because the food was amazing – it was good and fresh. I can’t blame them for the simplicity of the menu, though – they’re cooking with electric burners in there! They could improve their bar selection, though. Their clientele definitely want Averna or Moscato at midnight…or at least a Moroccan equivalent…

Averna

High ceilings and more square footage make this location much more conducive to group dinners and table-hopping without bumping into the servers. The black-and-white checkered floor, marble bar, waitresses clad in apron-style dresses and male servers in sailor-striped t-shirts make Cafe Gitane at the Jane Hotel as charming as ever.

Cafe Gitane

113 Jane Street (212-255-4113)


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Club owners shouldn’t open restaurants…

So…last night we ate at Abe & Arthur’s and it was quite an experience. The food was good, the design of the space was nice, but that was ALL that was good about this place.

James van der Beek

Let me list the disappointments:

  • there was already a crowded bar when we arrived at 6:45pm without any place to sit
  • waitress was bitter at the world and was hustling us the entire evening
  • checking our coats was a HUGE mistake – they couldn’t find my boss’ wife’s bag for 20 minutes and we were being pushed by a huge crowd trying to be seated, get their coats, or check their coats. One of the hostesses actually got loud and asked for a security guard when my husband requested that they let him look for the bag.
  • James van der Beek was waiting with us at the coat check – I haven’t seen him since he was kissing Katie Holmes in Dawson’s Creek
  • some moronic investment banker was screaming at the coat check girls above my head with the most annoying shriek of a laugh I have ever heard
  • we couldn’t make our way to the front door because the bar area was a messy club scene
  • I lost my voice trying to speak over the loudness in the dining room
  • there was a BOUNCER at the door when we were leaving – honestly?!?!?
  • last but CERTAINLY not least – there was a girl from the Jersey Shore waiting to get in when we were leaving…never did I think I would be at the same place as someone from that show…

Jersey Shore cast

My conclusion…EMM Group should stick to clubs!

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speaking of…

I was looking around Opening Ceremony’s online shop and I found a skirt that The Sartorialist posted yesterday!

Here it is on The Sartorialist:

The Sartorialist - 2.17.10

Here it is for sale at Opening Ceremony:

denim-trimmed skirt - Opening Ceremony

connecting the dots…

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Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony - NYC

I follow a few other bloggers to find inspiration and stay on top of what’s going on – primarily in NYC, the art world, the restaurant industry, and in fashion. Bloggers can be the best source for honest content and new ideas, but it can be overwhelming and somehow depressing to see how many blogs are out there – all with the same purpose: to share their voice with the world. I decide not to let this discourage me because I use my blog to digest my thoughts and share my world with others – some of whom are my family and my in-laws in Italy – its a way of communicating my life to those I care about and to strangers who may be interested.

Jane Aldridge - Sea of Shoes

One blogger I enjoy is Jane Aldridge from Sea of Shoes – I think she’s adorable and I like her point of view – its like she truly has a love affair with every outfit she puts on. Being a girl from Texas who has gained a voice of authority in fashion is also quite an accomplishment. A few other bloggers I enjoy are: The Sartorialist, Garance Dore jak & jill, the year in pictures…my favorites list changes quite often…just about as often as blogs change…

Scott Schuman - The Sartorialist

One thing I have taken from the blogs this week is that I need to visit Opening Ceremony. I have read about it countless times this week – as many fashion bloggers have been in the city for fashion week – and most of them mentioned stopping in at this store.

10 Corso Como - Milan

Opening Ceremony is a multifaceted environment with retail spaces, a showroom, and a gallery. This brings 10 Corso Como to my mind…which is one of my favorite places to visit in Milan. Opening Ceremony differs from 10 Corso Como in that it focuses on bringing together emerging American talent with both young and established designers and artists from abroad.  Opening Ceremony recreates a shopping excursion based on four different perspectives: established designer, emerging designer, one of a kind vintage pieces and select items from the open-air markets.

It’s on my list  –  thank you bloggers!

Opening Ceremony New York
35 Howard Street
New York, New York 10013

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