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The Daily Meal was proud to host yet another Celebrity Chef Series event in its test kitchen this past Wednesday evening, featuring none other than the world-renowned French chef and restaurateur, Daniel Boulud.
Daniel Boulud Entertains with Jambonneau at The Daily Meal (Slideshow)
Colman Andrews, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Meal and friend of Boulud, introduced him to guests as one of the French chefs who really “brings something fresh and new.”
“We’ve all at some point gotten to know his food and have followed his restaurants,” said Andrews. “We’ve come to see that the great thing about him is that not only did he establish that he can cook this incredibly sophisticated, wonderful, refined French food, but then he showed us he could make a great hamburger too!”
This really brings forth the true reason for why Boulud stands out as such a versatile chef in his category. He has always been and still remains eager to learn from other cultures and incorporate different types of food into his restaurant styles, themes, and dishes.
“I always stayed quite French despite the temptation in New York to get out of the French style and try others,” said Boulud.
Boulud brought the crew from one of his most notable and personal favorite New York restaurants, DBGB.
“DBGB is quite special to me,” Boulud said. “I love DBGB because I wanted to do a restaurant where it would be the most casual restaurant I could do.”
Guests laughed as he explained that DBGB was right next door to Katz Delicatessen, a more than famous location in New York, and that naturally they “like to put pastrami on a few things” for this reason. Clearly, it makes for a nice relationship and sharing of customer satisfaction between the two establishments.
Boulud and his staff went on to impress guests with a demonstration on preparing one of his feature dishes, Rillettes de Jambonneau Provençal, also known as pulled ham hock. The meat was prepared with olive oil, eggplant, tomato, zucchini, and basil — which he explained really helped to tone down the saltiness of the ham, while consequently adding strong flavor.
“I am always inspired by who I cook for, and sometimes even just who I meet,” Boulud said.
Many of Boulud’s dishes have been formulated through this passion of embracing different cultures. He told guests a story of how one of at least a dozen different sausage dishes featured at DBGB came about just by initiating a conversation with a woman from Thailand who later gave him an old family recipe which helped inspire him to create a flavorful Thai sausage at DBGB.
“My idea at DBGB was to go around the world with sausage,” Boulud said, as he explained it was a universally delicious meat.
As the owner of 13 restaurants around the world, Boulud has seen many come in to his kitchen to learn and develop at their craft before eventually setting off to create their very own notable reputations in the culinary world.
When asked if he still keeps in touch with these people, Boulud replied, “I see them all over the country often and it always makes us proud to see the kid who was sous chef become a chef and make the list.”
Not only is The Daily Meal thrilled to include Daniel Boulud in its Celebrity Chef Series, but we are excited to have him become a part of a new chef network called The Daily Meal’s Culinary Council. This will consist of a group of people from all around the country with distinguished areas of expertise in the culinary arts. Boulud will be featured alongside other prominent chefs such as Mario Batali, Lydia Bastianach, Alice Waters, and more!
Epicurious Entertains NYC: A Sound Bite from Mario Batali
Epicurious Entertains NYC is a weeklong celebration of home cooking and hospitality in New York City's Union Square. In this video, guest chef Mario Batali takes a break from the kitchen to speak with Tanya Steel of Epicurious.
If there's one last food or meal that you would eat
before your dying days, what do you think it would be?
It would be a meal that takes 1,000 days to eat.
Because I would want to stretch it out,
and I would have several courses every day
with several wines, and I would be forced to take up
with the old SST, what do they call that, the Concorde.
And I would fly all over the world to have this meal.
Oh my God. To stay ahead of the sunset.
Boy you've thought this out,
I'm impressed. I have a little bit.
Starring : Mario Batali, Tanya Steel
Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.
From the book’s original back cover:
“WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT is a unique recipe, combining the authors’ creativity, expertise, scholarship and great love of all good food and drink. The respect and admiration that food professionals have for them gives them access to a wonderful depth of knowledge and experience that they bring to life in their work. Karen and Andrew might just be the ultimate culinary / literary pairing!”
&mdashDaniel Boulud, chef-restaurateur and winner of the 2003 James Beard Outstanding Wine Service Award, and the 2006 Outstanding Restaurateur Award
“You can’t do better than to follow Karen and Andrew’s advice!”
&mdashLoraine and Peter Boyle, journalist and actor
“Dining will never be dull for non-drinkers again! Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg may have created their best book ever, chronicling in an enlightening and inspirational fashion the most mouth-watering marriages between non-alcoholic beverages and the foods we love to eat. Who else would have thought to serve sparkling water with a splash of melon puree (instead of Champagne) with prosciutto? I’ll also definitely be using WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT as my bible for entertaining my friends who drink. And though I’m a relative, Michael Sofronski’s photographs are unique and exciting — some of the very best food photography I’ve ever seen.”
&mdashSusan Dey, actress
“This book teaches you the principles of understanding how to find the perfect match for any meal. Whether you’re drinking Champagne or beer, sake or port, this book makes finding the perfect match easy and fun.”
&mdashRoger Dagorn, master sommelier, and David Waltuck, chef-owner of Chanterelle (NYC), winner of the 1996 James Beard Outstanding Wine Service Award and the 2004 Outstanding Restaurant Award
“What a great idea! WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EATis enormously educational and entertaining, and should fit with anyone’s lifestyle!”
&mdashRobert Mondavi, winemaker and winner of the 1991 James Beard Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional Award
“Andrew and Karen have created the most exciting and comprehensive guide to wine pairing that I have ever seen….You will be using it constantly to fulfill your own curiosity and to throw the best parties.”
&mdashEric Ripert, chef-owner of Le Bernardin (NYC) and winner of the 2003 James Beard Outstanding Chef Award
“What a brilliant idea for a book! For someone who entertains as much as I do, this is exactly the book I need.”
&mdashDeborah Szekely, founder, Rancho La Puerta and Golden Door spas
New York’s Hottest Catering Chef to Take His Talents to Texas in National Airstream Tour
Chef Yann Nury works in the Airstream trailer kitchen that is open to diners while he prepares their meals. (Photo by Mark Mann)
New York upscale caterer Yann Nury takes his Airstream food truck on the road, a luxurious twist on the food truck craze. (Photo by Mark Mann)
Chef Yann Nury converted the 1971 Airstream trailer into a sophisticated food truck. (Photo by Mark Mann)
Chef Yann Nury sets up the grill at the back of his converted Airstream trailer. (Photo by Mark Mann)
Golden Osetra caviar and sophisticated 'tater tots' are a favorite appetizer served by New York City based caterer Chef Yann Nury. (Photo by Jessica Salinger)
T he country’s — if not the world’s — most exclusive (read that expensive) caterer is expanding his purview via an Airstream food truck, of all things, and Texas is on his road map. Come November, New York City’s hottest catering chef, Yann Nury, will travel across the Lone Star State, cooking up some of the most glamorous menus ever imagined.
The 1971 Airstream, tricked out in culinary splendor, will wend its way to Austin, Dallas and Houston as Nury works to shore-up his catering business that was headed decidedly south with the onset of COVID-19. The pandemic shutdown meant cancelation of the types of spectacular parties that he has catered for Dior, Tiffany & Co., Vogue and discerning private clients. The French chef counts luminaries such as Martha Stewart, John Legend, Karolina Kurkova and Oprah Winfrey among fans.
“It was a need to find a solution to get back to work, the need to do something different,” Nury tells PaperCity. “What we love is hosting parties and serving award winning food.”
After studying hospitality under Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, and working in Daniel Boulud‘s catering business in New York, the young chef began pushing the boundaries of luxury catering with formation nine years ago of Yann Nury NYC.
In the spring, he partnered with Dom Perignon and Moët Hennessy to create his signature one-of-a-kind soirée-on-wheels. Since then, Nury and his team have spent a lot of time on the road taking their “curated culinary feasts” across the Hamptons, to Nantucket, Washington D.C., Providence, Rhode Island and SanFrancisco.
What is he delivering to clients? “Food that is surprising. Food that is not expected from a trailer. I like to highlight the high-low of it . . . duck au l’orange and hot dogs,” Nury says.
Despite the hot dog mention, Nury’s ultimate food truck menus are heavy on the food chain’s most luxurious elements — caviar, truffles, foie gras, Wagyu beef and Iberico ham. So popular has the experiment proved that Nury is considering adding two more Airstream food trucks to his stable.
“I was very surprised,” he says of the concept’s success. “It truly gave people a reason to have a party. It’s been one event a day and a lot of driving.”
New York upscale caterer Yann Nury takes his Airstream food truck on the road, a luxurious twist on the food truck craze. (Photo by Mark Mann)
Menus and size of the events vary depending on COVID-19 restrictions in individual communities and client budgets, but typically Nury entertains groups of 8 to 12 with the kitchen open for diners’ entertainment.
“The kitchen is usually hidden,” he says. “The kitchen becomes the front page of the dinner. The table is close. Guests can walk up and talk with us and engage with us. It’s a far more open experience.”
Before the pandemic, the sky was the limit on Nury dinners with one extravagant meal reportedly costing $15,000 per person.
“I’ve flown chickens private,” Nury told the New York Post in 2018. “I had my Parisian driver go to Rimowa to buy suitcases, line them with Styrofoam, go to the supplier in Bresse, pick up 14 chickens, bring them to the airport and drop them into a jet. I can’t even tell you what that cost.”
As for his Lone Star trek next month, the chef says, “We’ve catered worldwide but the Texas crowd is by far the most fun. I love coming to Texas.”
In fact, Nury met his wife in Houston where she was a university student. He was visiting friends and taking in the modern and contemporary art scene. He references Rothko, The Menil Collection and Richmond Hall while noting, “It was so exciting for me to find this world of French art in the United States.”
Yes, You Can Pair Cocktails With Food
On Tuesday chef Giada de Laurentiis hosted a dinner at Frankie's 457 in Brooklyn, NY each of the four courses was paired with a Frangelico cocktail created by Distilled's Micaela Piccolo—not an easy feat to pull off considering how sweet the hazelnut-flavored liqueur is.
"I think people are becoming a little more savvy about what's happening and are understanding ingredients and appreciating food in a different way," she told me. "They're starting to see that there's more than just wine and they're trying to educate themselves."
Praise the lord. We live in an era of a cocktail renaissance, and sometimes it seems as if anything is possible as long as it involves a tumbler or a highball. But pairing cocktails with food at a formal meal? Would anyone other than the infallible Ms. de Laurentis risk the disapprobation?
"Absolutely," says Darryl Chan, head bartender at Bar Pleiades, Daniel Boulud's bar on New York City's Upper East Side (he's planning to pair cocktails to courses at a spice-inspired dinner in conjunction with spice purveyor La Boîte at Café Boulud on August 12). "I was at a wine tasting not too long ago at a well-known restaurant and the topic of cocktails and food came up. Many of the sommeliers were saying how the alcohol in cocktails is too strong for pairing with food, but I thought, 'Really? We can control that!'"
It's true. Unlike wine, the service of which sommeliers can really only control in their choice of glassware and decanters, cocktails can be changed on the fly by "adding flavors, controlling temperatures, playing with textures and more, all done a la minute and catered to the guests' tastes," Chan says.
Her favorite combination last night? The Hazel Eyes cocktail (Frangelico, Scotch, orange liqueur, and Palo Cortado Sherry), whose "smokiness and tad bit of sweetness was the perfect balance between" her own almond cake and a chocolate hazelnut torte.
De Laurentiis has said that when she entertains she chooses a cocktail first and then come up with a menu around that drink, a practice that helps "create the theme of the party."
Ann Tunnerman, who founded the annual New Orleans cocktail festival Tales of the Cocktail in 2003, has been hosting Spirited Dinners—with cocktail pairings—since year one.
"People thought I was crazy up until about 2009," she says. This year there were 22 spirited dinners over the course of the five-day event.
Gina Chersevani, mixtress & owner of Washington, D.C.'s Buffalo & Bergen, collaborated with Chef Kristen Essig on drinks for the menu at Meauxbar. One pairing called Eos, The Goddess of Dawn (above), combined a dish composed of an egg cup, fennel custard, trout roe, pickled fennel, chives, and a crisp with a cocktail called the reBirth that was made with Milagro tequila, fennel-lime cordial, a dusting of fennel pollen, and a salt rim.
Here's how a few mixologists and chefs mix cocktails with food:
"I do it in one of two ways. The first is to pair complementary or similar flavors. Cocktails allow you to create flavors not found in traditional spirits or wine. With this range, I can really manipulate a cocktail to match the dish a guest is eating, fully engaging their palate in that particular taste experience. The other approach I take with cocktail pairing is to use the beverage to cut through the taste of the food and cleanse the palate. It's a lot of fun to uncover what that juxtaposition. In terms of process, I like to both lead with the cocktail, then working with Chef to develop just the right dish, or taste a dish and use that to inspire the cocktail that will work best."— Leo Robitschek, bar director at Eleven Madison Park and the NoMad Hotel
4 of 6
Recipe: Spaghetti With Turkey Meatballs
The cook: Nancy London, 38
Her mother: Joy, 68
When Nancy was a child, her mother, Joy, spent such long hours at the office that she rarely made it home to eat dinner, much less in time to prepare it. A babysitter cooked meals for Nancy and her older sister. (Nancy&rsquos parents divorced when she was about a year old.)
It was only on Sundays that Joy, a venture capitalist (now retired), would get behind the stove. &ldquoShe made a few dishes very well, and spaghetti with meatballs and gravy was one of them,&rdquo says Nancy, a vice president for an international hotel group. &ldquoWhen we spent an afternoon together, I loved cooking this recipe with her, which was handed down from my Sicilian great-grandmother. What I loved more, though, was the way my mother left the business world outside and focused on me.&rdquo
Joy nicknamed Nancy her &ldquolittle shadow&rdquo because she followed her so devotedly around their apartment. As an adult, Nancy continued to follow in her mom&rsquos ambitious footsteps. Like Joy, she works long hours and travels extensively, which means she rarely cooks for her husband and stepdaughters, Jenna, 17, and Maria, 16.
But when Nancy does have a few free hours, she spends them in the kitchen of her Norwalk, Connecticut, home. &ldquoWhen I&rsquom cooking, I can let my guard down in a way that I can&rsquot doing anything else. It&rsquos an escape for me, like it was for my mom,&rdquo says Nancy. And the recipe she turns to most often? For family occasions, it&rsquos Joy&rsquos version of spaghetti and meatballs. (Nancy has lightened the recipe by replacing her mother&rsquos beef and pork with turkey.) &ldquoThere&rsquos nothing fancy about the dish,&rdquo says Nancy. &ldquoIt doesn&rsquot require a sophisticated palate. It just tastes good.&rdquo
Eat the Big Apple
Dining out in Manhattan is doing a U-turn. Out with the chrome and steel postmodernists, and back to the future with the grand 1930s, 1940s and 1950s temples of haute-architecture and cuisine. Bye, bye Sarah-Jessica and Ally McB, hello Jackie O and Ava G.
Diners are returning to these familiar places for style and cuisine - because the hottest tables in town are no longer the hip new establishments in the Village or TriBeCa. They're the mid-20th century classics in the heart of Midtown.
Tim Zagat, quoted in food magazine Bon Appetit, says: "Some of the great restaurants that reportedly offered little else than history are now enjoying a renaissance. Diners are returning to these old, familiar places for the comfort and cuisine they provide."
Some cite the chilled atmosphere after 9/11. People are eating out less and want genuine value for money when they do. Others say there's nothing like the comforting surroundings of a grand old city institution, or the reassuring feel of properly starched linen.
La Caravelle, 33 West 55th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue (001-212) 586 4252. F ormer speakeasy, with Dufyesque murals of Paris, owned and run by Rita and Andre Jammet. A fantasy-like place which has seen them all - the Windsors, the Rainiers, Dietrich and Coward - and dispenses a unique brand of NY magic.
Who's cooking: Troy Dupuy (ex-La Cote Basque, Le Cirque, Lespinasse).
What's cooking: truffled pike quenelles seared yellow-tail roasted loin and rabbit confit.
What's the vibe: Talk To Me Harry Winston, Tell Me All About It.
Celeb-watch: Diane Sawyer, Carolina Herrera, Harry Connick Jnr.
Price: prix fixe lunch $38 prix fixe dinner $72 pre-theatre $48 chef 's tasting menu from $90. Jacket required.
Daniel, 60 East 65th Street between Madison and Park Avenue (212) 288 0033. Lyonnais emigre Daniel Boulud is the most acclaimed chef in town and his flagship restaurant in the sumptuously swagged and colonnaded 1920s lobby of the former Mayfair hotel is the meal ticket to which all New Yorkers aspire.
Who's cooking: Daniel Boulud and executive chef Alex Lee (ex-Le Cirque, Alain Ducasse Monte Carlo).
What's cooking: truffles, foie gras, own-brand caviar, roast squab, venison with chestnut sauce.
What's the vibe: dark suits, little black dresses, a long credit line.
Celeb-watch: Bill and Hillary Clinton, The Leonard Lauders.
Price: prix fixe dinner $80 fivecourse tasting menu $105 eight-course tasting menu $140 also ' la carte. Jacket required.
FiftySevenFiftySeven, 57 East 57th Street between Madison and Park Avenue (212) 758 5757. Revitalised after spring arrival of executive chef Brooke Vosika, this colossal high-ceilinged Midtown modern - on the ground floor of the Four Season's Hotel - achieved classic status eight years ago. Don't miss the "double" martinis in the adjacent bar.
Who's cooking: Brooke Vosika (ex-Four Seasons Washington and Tokyo).
What's cooking: "Layers of flavours" - Hudson Valley-inspired New American cuisine.
What's the vibe: gnomes and gastronomes in search of (and finding) perfection.
Celeb-watch: Michael Bloomberg, Christiane Amanpour.
Price: three-course menu du jour $45 four-course Taste of New York menu $75 vegetarian menu, featuring products from 50 states of America $52 also a la carte.
Le Cirque 2000, New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st Street (212) 303 7788.
Relocated from the Mayfair Hotel in 1996, and reinvented by patron Sirio Maccioni and sons Mauro, Marco and Mario - this "circus" is flamboyant and assured even non-celebs get the full star treatment.
Who's cooking: Pierre Schaedelin.
What's cooking: pumpkin ravioli, osso bucco, lobster club sandwich (in the bar).
What's the vibe: table hierarchy, see-and-be-seen, nothing exceeds like excess.
Celeb-watch: assorted Trumps, assorted Gabors, everyone.
Price: three-course prix fixe lunch $44 a la carte $80. Jacket and tie required.
Cafe des Artistes, 1 West 67th Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West (212) 877 3500.
To call this a cafe - fabulous Howard Chandler Christy 1930s murals - is a bit like saying Marie Antoinette lived in a cottage. Marcel Duchamp, Isadora Duncan and Alexander Woolcott were regulars now the hotspot for magazine editors, movie moguls and Gucci-Democrats.
Who's cooking: Emilie Bousquet.
What's cooking: mussel soup "Billi-Bi" lobster salad pot-au-feu.
What's the vibe: anything goes (everything's already gone on).
Celeb-watch: Woody Allen, Tina Brown, the Spielbergs.
Price: three-course prix fixe lunch $23.50 ' la carte $50.
21 Club, 21 West 52nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue (212) 582 7200.
Ultimate meeting place for the rich and powerful - dark, clubby, utterly correct yet atmospheric in spades. Opened at the height of the Depression, the only depressing thing will be the bill.
Who's cooking: Erik Blauberg.
What's cooking: Steak Diane, aged-sirloin hamburger.
What's the vibe: Citizen Kane in overdrive.
Celeb-watch: Far too discreet to mention such vulgarities.
Price: prix fixe lunch $29 pre-theatre $33 a la carte $80. Jacket and tie required.
Cooking In Marfa: Welcome We’ve Been Expecting You
By Virginia Lebermann and Rocky Barnette
Intro : Welcome to the number one cookbook podcast, Cookery by the Book with Suzy Chase. She's just a home cook in New York City sitting at her dining room table, talking to cookbook authors. Hi I'm Virginia Lebermann and I'm Chef Rocky Barnette of The Capri and we've come up with a book called Cooking In Marfa: Welcome We've Been Expecting You.
Suzy Chase: Dusty ranch land surrounding a tiny rural town near the Mexican border and an internationally renowned art mecca far off the beaten path is Marfa, Texas, 200 miles South of El Paso "with its ethereal high desert landscape, cavernous blue skies and views for 50 miles" as the artist Donald Judd once put it. Hotelier, philanthropists, and Ballroom Marfa co-founder, arts pioneer, Virginia Lebermann along with your partner, chef Rocky Barnette have written this wonderful tribute to your restaurant, The Capri but before I go on, let's talk about how Marfa put a shelter in place, right when COVID began and how has that affected you, and the restaurant and your life?
Virginia & Rocky: We shut the restaurant March 17. Yeah. Officially started the talks on the 13th and we have not reopened. When we initially shut due to mandates, we had a big staff meeting or a series of staff meetings really and just came together and talked to everyone about how they wanted to handle it. Yeah, it was kind of a democratic process because we were concerned first of all, about their health and then second about West Texas in general and then third, we wanted them to be a part of the decision making process. And the general consensus was that we would ride this thing out as long as we needed to and just keep everyone safe. So that's how we handled it. So nine months later, they're on their second shelter in place. The nearest hospital is 26 or seven miles away in Alpine, Texas and that hospital has two ICU beds and two ventilators and the Midland hospital and the El Paso hospital have stopped taking transfers so it's been very, very touchy for that small town.
Suzy Chase: The Capri was originally intended to be a cultural arts project housed in one of the three Adobe and steel army airfield hangers, which you bought in 2007, along with The Thunderbird motel across the street. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Virginia & Rocky: My dear friend, Fairfax Dorn and I had started Ballroom Marfa. We opened our doors in 2003 and we were bringing in artists from all over the world and commissioning new work and bringing people in to see that work. It became difficult to house people. And so I became a partner in The Thunderbird Capri Project and then ultimately bought everyone out. And we ran the Thunderbird hotel with the intention, really of focusing on housing artists for the Chinati Foundation, for Judd, for the Lannan Foundation for all the foundation projects that were bringing really serious people into town so that's how the motel happened and The Capri was actually a sister motel and we renovated it in such a way that it became more of an event space and we would have our first program there ever with ballroom was we had Sonic Youth come and play for a Chinati weekend. It was wild.
Suzy Chase: Back in the day when things were wild. I love to hear your vision to connect the food to the region, to the culture and the design of the restaurant.
Rocky Barnette: I think at the beginning, I guess with the food to the region is Virginia's mother has a ranch, seven miles West of town and going out there, there are still spots along the ranch where you can see where fires were built and there was a series of caves where you can still find arrow points and tools for grinding, cooking and cutting and so some of those have been carbon dated to be 10,000 years old. I'm like, okay, people were here 10,000 years ago. The landscape was a little different weather patterns are a little different, but what were they eating prior to dairy queen or, or
Rocky Barnette: Um, so that started this line of questioning. And then Virginia inspired me greatly about this because she would say, well I used to live in Terlingua and down there and we would make prickly pear wine and we would make some bread out of mesquite bean flour and I'm like, what is all this stuff you're talking about? And so it just kind of opened up my mind to start trying to rediscover or reinvigorate a sort of way to eat in the desert without flying in seafood.
Suzy Chase: Most cookbooks that are affiliated with restaurants don't mention the design aspect at all and that's one of the lovely things about this book is you describe it in great detail. How do you create spatial fluidity in a perfectly rectangular box? That's the question of the day?
Virginia & Rocky: You section a little bit of it off because it's a large box. When we called Sean Daley, who is a very dear and very old friend to ask him to participate in the project. I had a little narrative that I had woven in my own head to share with him about where we wanted to go with the space and it was about the old mercantile stores on the border and in Southeast Texas, where I up were really the center of social activity for these ranchers and farmers. I think in the book, I say, you could buy a can of Folgers coffee and maybe a broom if things are flush and some twine to tie some things together, but really it was all about sitting on the front porch and talking about your neighbors and talking about the weather and that's sort of the feeling that we wanted there, a historical reference with some modern edges to the texture, to the materials.
Suzy Chase: In the book you wrote. "There's a magic that bar stools can make when they're all lined up perfectly and make a sculptural statement."
Virginia & Rocky: That is my Virgo coming out. I love to walk in to the restaurant and these beautiful turquoise leather bar stools in a line, make my heart swoon. If they're not lined up she starts twitching and screaming about centipedes. A part of the design too was that Sean Daly pulled a lot of colors from the landscape, like he pulled colors from not the foliage in the spring when it was bright and vibrant but the foliage in the winter when it was a little dull and so that would be some colors of the curtains and then they were brightened up by the barstools themselves. And so it's a really good contrast.
Suzy Chase: Where exactly did you two grow up?
Virginia & Rocky: I grew up on my family's ranch in Southeast, Texas on the Gulf coast, went to school in Austin, which is certainly the bastion of progressive thought in the state of Texas. So that's where I am proper Texans. I'm seventh generation. And I, well, I was born in Asheville. I was part of a military family. So I also lived in Fort Huachuca Arizona for four years, and then Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and then back to Hendersonville area and then went to culinary school, Asheville.
Suzy Chase: So Virginia, you went to Nepal when you were 19. Did your family think you were crazy or were they all for it?
Virginia Lebermann: They thought I had absolutely lost my mind. That was pre cell phones. So I would send a postcard home that would take three or four weeks to get there. They thought I was absolutely mad, but I went through a program with Brown University and it was a life changing experience on every level for me, as you might expect.
Suzy Chase: Then in your twenties, you spent time in Africa and then you traveled around Europe and did all the things, but you say your travels in Mexico have always had the most profound reverberations for you. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Virginia Lebermann: You know, I think that the antiquity that exists in Mexico is so much more vibrant to me personally than even the antiquities of Greece or Rome and it is on the same landmass that I grew up on. You know, you can sit on the back porch at the ranch and you're looking down into Mexico and that connection to the land, but then the real mystery for me of the Mayans and the Aztecs and what they were eating before the Spaniards came has just always been really exciting to me and I think it has to do with proximity a lot of it, you know.
Suzy Chase: And you wrote in the book "out here you can drive for hours and often never see a vehicle, I find that thrilling" you wrote and I imagine it was the same way in Mexico.
Virginia Lebermann: Oh yeah. And Nepal and Africa, there's definitely a thread. There's something that I love about that feeling that you're the first, albeit an illusion let's be clear, but that you're the first to be there sort of.
Suzy Chase: Rocky, I want to hear all about Evelyn Juanita Barnette.
Rocky Barnette: That was my great-grandmother. So I'm from Appalachia. Everybody starts procreating very young there apparently. So my mother had just turned 16 when she had me and so she was working a lot and still trying to go to school and so I was essentially raised by my great-grandmother for the first three years of my life and then from the time I was seven til she died when I was 20. And so she was an old Southern lady. She had 13 siblings, grew up in the great depression through every single war and she and my great-grandfather, the front of the two-story house was right on the highway and they turned it into a produce stand because it had a giant garden in the back, and that was their business. He was a mechanic across the street at a truck line, and then he, and she would both run the produce stand on a daily basis. So it was like a mini farmers market.
Suzy Chase: Was she a good cook?
Rocky Barnette: Yeah. Pretty good.
Suzy Chase: Do you think that's where you got your culinary skills from your innate culinary skills?
Rocky Barnette: Yeah, sort of like inspiration because my mother is going to be ashamed said this, but she's not the best cook in the world but I was inspired by my great-grandmother and what I started doing. She started getting sick when I was a teenager because she was old. So I started trying to recreate things that she would make before I went to culinary school.
Suzy Chase: Before culinary school, your mom finagled a job for you at Shoney's when you were 13. Right. And Shoney's is so much better than Denny's.
Rocky Barnette: Yeah. It's funny that that Shoney's that I've worked at then got bought out by Denny's and I was like, I don't want to work there anymore.
Suzy Chase: So you made money to buy Nintendos and sneakers, and then you moved on to Chico Tacos and Henderson, North Carolina, where you were hired by the German owner, Kurt Markel, who sort of took you under his wing and suggested books for you to read. Then you made your way down to Mexico with a friend of the family's name, Ray who owned a fruit packing business, apple orchards, and a trucking line. Fast forward to your first culinary epiphany in Mexico. Can you tell us about that?
Rocky Barnette: I think my only understanding of Mexican food at that time was like TexMex sort of things and even though I worked in what I thought was a Mexican restaurant for three years, but I was high up in the mountains, like the Sierra Occidental Mexico and we were eating beans every day and they were firing fresh tortillas at every meal and you would have a salsa or onions or something with it but when I was at home growing up with my grandmother your traditional Appalachian meal is pinto beans, cornbread, and chopped up vidalia onion and you wound up eating that a lot because it's inexpensive. So I felt right at home. I was like, well, I must be Mexican.
Suzy Chase: So, this cracked me up. So you get back to North Carolina three months later and your mom is freaking out.
Rocky Barnette: Oh yeah. So this was also the time when there weren't cell phones, no nothing there's no police, running water, postal service, phones, like you'd have to drive an hour down the mountain to use a payphone.
Suzy Chase: Did she think you just died or something?
Rocky Barnette: Yeah. She she was beside herself. She was like trying to call the national guard and they're like, yeah, we, sorry, can't help you.
Suzy Chase: Oh, your poor mom.
Rocky Barnette: She thought I was going for a week and I thought I was going for a week or two and then it turned out to be about three months.
Suzy Chase: We just talked about how you started your culinary career at Shoney's. So did it blow your mind when you got the internship at the famed Inn at little Washington in Virginia?
Rocky Barnette: It was so new and so refreshing and so foreign and so exotic to me that I was just so happy to be there, that I was willing to do anything that they told me to do like go wash the dog, wash somebody's car, go do this, polish this, work 16 hours a day. Yes, yes, yes. And I don't mean any of that as a bad thing. I was so excited to be there and I found it so thrilling, no matter how hard the work was or how long the hours were, because I'd never smelled things like that and never seen things like that. I mean I never tasted French butter before. My grandmother loved produce and she loved food and she was a great cook, but we didn't use fresh herbs in anything. I'd never tasted fresh herbs and I was 20 years old. And so I learned what they call the traditional brigade system it's like the chef is the chef and then everybody trickles down from there. And I was happy to have just been able to start anywhere. And I started as a dishwasher.
Suzy Chase: Then you wind up catering shows at The Capri, really thinking about something that you could do for the community you wrote in the book, you had no courage or capital only compunction. How did the idea come about?
Rocky Barnette: Well, I'd spoken to Virginia like a few years before, cause I was doing catering events for Ballroom Marfa or I'd like deliver some soup to her house. I had a job at the time, but it was boring to me so she started talking about how she originally intended to have a kitchen at The Capri and we talked about it and I looked at some plans and then we started dating and then she had a captain who could exact your plans. And she intended to do that. That's what I say. Yeah.
Suzy Chase: Yeah. In the book Virginia wrote "eventually it all came together we had a classically trained chef on the loose in the culinary challenged town of Marfa we had a town with a lack of great restaurants and incredible adobe structure sitting empty without its next story, we had a match made in heaven" Virginia. Can you tell us about that?
Virginia Lebermann: The Capri had been used for some music shows and things like that with Chinati Foundation and Judd and Ballroom, and then people had rented it here and there for events, but it's such a gorgeous building and sits on such a beautiful piece of property in the middle of town. I just felt like ballroom needed its extension and it needed to be a culinary extension, sort of a laboratory to think about where we live. And Rocky seemed like the perfect person, the force to do that with me.
Suzy Chase: Like you two have complimentary super powers that when they come together, it makes for something crazy amazing.
Virginia Lebermann: And that's very generous of you to say.
Suzy Chase: Virginia, the subtitle of this book is Welcome, We've Been Expecting You. And that phrase is sprinkled all throughout the book. What does that phrase mean?
Virginia Lebermann: So that happened when I did call Sean Daley, our friend and designer of The Capri to tell him this crazy story of mercantiles along the border and what we wanted it all to feel like I spoke for, you know, seven or eight minutes. And without missing a beat, Sean Daley had just responded from dead silence to welcome we've been expecting you. And I said, yeah, you get it. And he's like done I'm on board. I want to be a part of it. So it's on the matchbooks that we have at The Capri. We kind of use it. It's the spirit, the essence of what we're trying to accomplish and what we're trying to have the space feel like that you walk in and you take that sigh of relief because you know, somebody is there who is interested in taking care of you.
Suzy Chase: And I heard your drinks come fast, you don't have to wait long for a drink.
Virginia Lebermann: You don't, we impress that on the boys for sure and the ladies.
Suzy Chase: Virginia Food & Wine said you're at the heart of the more recent design and hospitality movement in Marfa. Do you think design and hospitality as a concept will change post COVID or do you think it's going to go all back to normal the way it used to be?
Virginia & Rocky: I think that is such an incredibly profound and wonderful question and it's so hard to answer. I think it's what everyone in the restaurant business and the design world are. Everyone's talking about that right now. What has become superfluous? What is still sort of mandatory for the essence of our human spirit in terms of design and culinary endeavors. I have a handful of chef friends from restaurants throughout the United States at this point, and there's one thing that there's this epiphany that they've had where it's like, you know what? I kind of liked this model of people pre-ordering and then we go put it out on the sidewalk and they just like drive by and pick it up without stopping like logistically it's easier to control in a certain sort of way doing delivery where it's like the reinvention of the takeout window but at the same time, what you worry about is when you grow up in restaurants and you love going to restaurants, there's the possibility that, well, you're absolutely going to lose a bunch of restaurants that used to love to go to. And there's a possibility that if it changes too much, you won't be able to go to a restaurant in the way that you did before. And it's not a natural chain of evolution. I don't think it's good for restaurants like Daniel Boulud's restaurant at restaurant, Daniel in New York like I think those things have a purpose in life and Jean-Georges and La Bernadin but these places with these tablecloths, these things like 11 Madison Park has its place, but also every single dive bar and every ethnic restaurant in Queens, like everything has its place in the grand scope. But if it all becomes about the bottom line and how to control inventory and staff hours and all of that, then you've lost the community aspect and the human aspect. Can you imagine all of the ideas? The only design will be what kind of box you get your food? Right? I mean, all the ideas that have happened from the community of restaurants, the poetry that's been written, the paintings on the walls, restaurants and design, and all of these things are such a steadfast place. Spilling sauce on a velvet chair.
Suzy Chase: I know I miss going to this bar here in the West Village and listening to the jukebox, sitting at the bar, talking to some rando who probably has an amazing story and listening to some Lynrd Skynryd.
Rocky Barnette: Where are you going Blue Smoke?
Suzy Chase: No it's called WXOU on Hudson.
Virginia Lebermann: Fantastic. Well, I miss that too.
Suzy Chase: There's that scene in the movie giant where Elizabeth Taylor is welcomed to town with a huge party of barbecued meat. What principles of West Texas hospitality do you to embrace?
Virginia Lebermann: The largesse of it all. Though certainly the excess is a trademark style of any Texan who entertains. We talk about that in the book where you walk in and if, if you are a known quantity and loved by Rocky, he comes out of the plating room and has the entire restaurant clap for you.
Virginia & Rocky: It's really fabulous and it is embarrassing and very warm and funny at the same time. That's really an appropriately posed question cause you say welcome to town. The last thing you want to do as a guest is to arrive somewhere and feel like, what are you doing here? So you want people to say here put this down your gullet, sit down.
Suzy Chase: I saw the Donald Judd exhibit at MoMA last week and I got to thinking, did Donald Judd influence Marfa or did Marfa influence Donald Judd?
Virginia Lebermann: I'm not a Judd scholar. So I'm always a little bit anxious about speaking to a few, simply about what I think happened with Judd but you know, he was influenced by the landscape. It was there where he had the space to create these enormous bodies of work and have them installed in a way that had a relationship with a forever landscape. And conversely, he put Marfa on the map very slowly. You know, when I first started going to Marfa as an adult who was sort of aware of the art world, the people who were there to see Chinati and the Judd installations they were from Germany, they were from all over Europe we never saw a Texan, hardly ever, and a flash of New Yorkers. It's been a very slow process. I mean, if you, if you're touched by the art world at all, you know who Donald Judd is. And so that in turn affects the tourist base in Marfa and the tourist economy there,
Suzy Chase: The construction and design of this book is a work of art. Speaking of art can you tell us a little bit about the look and feel of the book
Virginia & Rocky: I happen to be holding in my hand right now. We were introduced through a friend, Jess Hundley who was sort of an external advisor and editor on the book. She's from Los Angeles and has worked on many, many, many books. And she introduced us to a designer called Brian Roettinger, who also based in LA and is actually quite famous for his album covers and wins Grammy's for those and we loved Brian's work. Then we asked Phaidon if they would break with protocol a bit and use a designer that we introduced them to and they very patiently and kindly said yes and so Brian came out to Marfa. I understand is quite different from many books where usually the designer is far away and perhaps doesn't ever see the space or the restaurant or the town or the region. And so Brian got to come out and this is where I think he created a journal. It's a travel journal, the quality of the paper Douglas's photography, which we haven't even touched on yet it's just amazing. The incredible food styling by Rocky Barnette but Douglas the photographer who is also a dear friend. It was a wonderful project because we were also close, but Douglas has a house in Marfa and he has become quite a famous photographer in his own right but did this project very much out of love for all of us and for Marfa and we worked on this photography for a year, we would work on it every time he came in to town just to come home from being on the road. So I think it has that feeling of, oh, it's very personal. Yea Doug is one of the most incredibly effective and professional people I've ever worked with.
Suzy Chase: So Rocky, I'm dying to hear about your famous guac.
Rocky Barnette: What do you want to know about it?
Suzy Chase: Well, why is it so famous?
Rocky Barnette: I don't know. I guess people really like it. I think, I guess it tastes good. I grew up mostly in Asheville, North Carolina, and there are a lot of vegetarian restaurants and they're really good and there's a lot of good produce around there. When I first started going to school, we were going to vegetarian restaurants or Mexican restaurants and I've learned about what foie gras was seared foie gras I was like why couldn't I do that with an avocado? And so then I was like, well, I'm here in Texas 20 years later might as well grill these avocados. And the strangest thing is that my Italian sous chef at the Inn at Little Washington, his name is Raphael De La Huerta is the one that taught me to make guacamole. I never knew how to make guacamole, but he taught me things like sneak a little cumin in and use some really fine extra virgin olive oil. And well maybe I'll add some extra lime juice and finally grill the avocados like my vegan foie gras dream and then it turned into guacamole and everybody wants to eat it all the time. And it's painful to have to produce. And in Texas if you don't have guacamole and a steak, you're just in big trouble.
Suzy Chase: I made your recipe for Watermelon Radishes with Habanero Vinegar, Aged Balsamic and Lime on page 100. Can you describe this recipe?
Rocky Barnette: We started the restaurant in November and we started serving food in January. We're in the middle of the desert and the only thing that I could get that was like resembling a vegetable was watermelon radishes and we had habanero's and we had pickled watermelon rind that I've made before and balsamic. So it was like, well, I'm gonna try to recreate a carpaccio. It pretty simple in my mind, but it just turned out to taste pretty good. The locals got sick of it after about six months to a year. By June, still the only vegetable we can get is without mail ordering something was a watermelon radish, but it was just kind of a sort of take on watermelon on watermelon on watermelon in terms of a carpaccio and just trying to bring out as much flavor as possible.
Suzy Chase: Now for my segment called Last Night's Dinner, where I ask you what you had last night for dinner.
Rocky Barnette: So glad that I can tell the truth. I made Crab Fried Rice, my new thing that I like to do with Nantucket Bay Scallops. Now that we're not in the desert anymore for this moment. And Nantucket Bay scallops are in season right now. And so I use sushi grade rice, and then I just try and chop up every kind of vegetable that I can find and then folding in the crab meat. And then I like to cook bay scallops with just fresh parsley, butter and fresh squeezed lemon or pink lemons, which we had recently and I don't mean to be a show off, but, um, and I call the crab fried rice, the mashed potatoes and the Nantucket Bay scallops become the gravy and so you put one on top of the other and it's just really light and refreshing cooked in coconut oil and a lot of ginger and garlic and onions and everything kind of comes together if I do it right, and don't drink too much while I'm cooking.
Virginia Lebermann: Suzy, I eat a lot of Rocky's food and that Crab Fried Rice, I can't believe it. We were at a friend's house last night and he was making it for Gordon and Gordon stood up after his first bite and marched into the kitchen was like, this is legendary, what is this? It's pretty special.
Suzy Chase: So where can we find you on the web and social media?
Virginia & Rocky: So we're @CapriMarfa on Instagram. And we do not have a website at all. We still use a quill pen. haha We're pretty simple,The Capri remains a secret.
Suzy Chase: Well now I'm officially obsessed with Marfa. I cannot thank you enough for coming on Cookery by the Book podcast.
Virginia & Rocky: We are honored. You are so sweet to have us. Thank you so much. And we are indeed honored.
Join the catwalk crowd
New York Fashion Week starts today and every fashion editor, buyer, supermodel and stylist will be there, alongside front-row celebrities and designers such as Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Zac Posen.
Big British names Luella Bartley, Matthew Williamson and Roland Mouret have shunned London for New York, and making her catwalk debut this year is the Queen of Bling, Jennifer Lopez.
Most catwalk shows are in tents in Bryant Park, but hip design duo Proenza Schouler (aka Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez) are showing at Milk Gallery (450 West 15th) while Marc Jacobs is at the New York State Armory (Lexington Ave).
On Tuesday, Matthew Williamson shows at a venue on 71 W23rd (Cat Deeley will fly out to support him), while Jacobs showcases his diffusion line (again, at the NY Armory) before whizzing off to his Louis Vuitton party at the LV shop on East 57th.
Sleeping: Soho House The place to be for the British fashion crowd (including the team from British Vogue). 29-35 9th Ave, (001) 212 627 9800, www.sohohouseny.com. The Maritime
'There's a bit of a buzz about The Maritime,' says Gaia Geddes, fashion editor at Harpers & Queen. She's right: Matthew Williamson and Luella Bartley stay here for the Matsuri sushi restaurant, Hiro lounge and La Bottega trattoria. 363 W16th, (001) 212 242 4300, www.themaritimehotel.com.
Louise Chunn, editor of In Style magazine, stays here. 'It's small, chic and has a great bistro called DB, after chef Daniel Boulud.' 55 W44th, (001) 212 921 5500, www.cityclubhotel.com.
The Grandes Dames Joan Burstein, owner of Browns, stays at
The Four Seasons, while Kim Hersov from Harpers & Queen is at the St Regis. Four Seasons, 57 E 57th, (001) 212 758 5700 St Regis, 2 E55th, (001) 212 753 4500
Eating: Employees Only
Andie Cusick, of Manhattan-based magazine Nylon, tips this. The decor resembles a Twenties speakeasy - the waitresses are in one-of-a-kind Betsey Johnson outfits, and the barflies are the cream of Manhattan nightlife. 510 Hudson St, (001) 212 242 3021.
Design duo Proenza Schouler adore this restaurant, with its stuffed animals and fashionistas. Freemans, Freeman Alley, (001) 212 420 0012
This Japanese restaurant is still one of the hottest spots. 'Calvin Klein was there last time I went,' says Chunn. 369 W16th, (001) 212 243 6400. Others worth trying Harriet Quick, of Vogue, recommends Omen, a rustic Japanese in SoHo Bottino, an Italian on the West Side, and Bar Pitti in Greenwich Village. Omen, 113 Thompson St, (001) 212 925 8923 Bottino, 246 10th Ave, (001) 212 206 6766 Bar Pitti, 268 6th Ave, (001) 212 982 3300.
Parties: The location of the hottest parties is never revealed until the last minute. Calvin Klein always throws a dinner, as does Narciso Rodriguez (often hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker). If you can't swing an invite to those, try some of these fatally hip bars.
Gypsy Tea Nylon, IMG and Ford models have already thrown Fashion Week parties here, while bashes for Alice Roi (who is showing on Tuesday), Wilhelmina Models and French Photo magazine (in conjunction with Man Ray in Paris) are due to take place. 33 W24th, (001) 212 645 0003, www. gypsyteanyc.com.
Hiro At the Maritime Hotel, Japanese-inspired Hiro is the NY bar of the moment. Hilary Bowers - girl-about-town and founder of cool online boutique Yoox.com - says: 'Models will definitely be at Hiro, hanging out with Nur, the owner.' Try the 3 Monks cocktail, a mix of orange juice, amaretto and three types of sake. 366 W17th, (001) 212 727 0212.
A members' bar run by Frederick and Laurent Lesort (the brothers behind the Buddha Bar), this is where Jefferson Hack's Another magazine recently threw a party. Incredibly exclusive - it's tough to blag your way in - entrance is by fingerprint scanning. 8 W58th, (001) 212 752 6200. After-hours scene: Cabaña A stylish rooftop bar at the Maritime hotel, run by Amy Sacco of Bungalow 8 fame. 363 W16th, Maritime Hotel, (001) 212 242 4300.
Milk Studios An art gallery/studio space in Chelsea, where Calvin Klein shows on Thursday. Rossi, the owner, is the man to know. 450 W15th, eighth floor.
Hammerstein Ballroom Italian label Diesel is showing for the first time in New York on Thursday. The party will carry on here afterwards. 311 W 34th.
Get the look: Manhattan style is either slick (Gwyneth Paltrow) or slightly offbeat (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Marc Jacobs Katie Grand (Über-stylist and editor of Pop) name-checked Marc Jacobs as the shop to visit. The first European one opens in Paris this autumn, but until then, it's only here and in LA. Ready-to-wear, 163 Mercer St, (001) 212 343 1490 Marc by Marc Jacobs, 403-405 Bleecker St, (001) 212 924 0026.
Century 21 Still great for bargains - find end-of-line stock from Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan. 22 Cortlandt St, (001) 212 227 9092.
A Bathing Ape (Bape) This hip-hop-inspired label is huge in Japan. Pharrell Williams hosted the January launch party at the New York boutique. 91 Greene St, (001) 212 925 0222.
Jeffrey Über-fashion department store stocking Véronique Branquinho, Balenciaga and Dries Van Noten. 449 W14th, (001) 212 206 1272.
Barneys Great collections and layout, and fabulous own-label cashmere. For cheaper options go to Club Monaco and Anthropoligie. Barneys, 660 Madison Ave, (001) 212 826 8900 Club Monaco, 121 Prince St, (001) 212 533 8930 Anthropologie, 375 West Broadway, (001) 212 343 7070.
Pearl River Unbeatable for Chinese slippers and pyjamas. 277 Canal St, (001) 212 431 4770.
65 Things We Love About Palm Beach
This island institution has been serving generations of Palm Beachers since 1938. The ultimate social equalizer, the luncheonette—with its Formica counter and no-nonsense service—proves no amount of money can provide the same comfort as an excellent patty melt washed down with an absurdly thick coffee milkshake.
2. New Year’s Eve with The Coconuts
Photo by Chris Salata/Capehart
Since their founding in 1935, The Coconuts—who now number 25 of Palm Beach’s swellest swells—have held an exclusive New Year’s Eve party at the Flagler Museum. Don’t fret if your invitation never arrives: You can still watch the fireworks display billionaire David Koch donates.
3. Scoring the table at Ta-bóo
Forget its invention of the Bloody Mary: As one of the oldest restaurants in Palm Beach, Ta-bóo has been the site of more delicious food and scandal than anywhere else on the island. For a front row seat, request Table One, which provides a view of Worth Avenue as well as diners’ comings and goings.
4. Thrifting at The Church Mouse
The Bethesda-by-the-Sea resale store has garnered a nearly mythical reputation in the world of thrift shopping. No visit to the island is complete without poring through racks of designer clothes and a sublime selection of antiques and collectibles. Should you ever run into someone while wearing her cast-off, be sure to compliment her impeccable taste.
5. The Garden Club of Palm Beach flower show
Plant lovers have been flocking to this biennial display of horticulture and design since 1929. The show’s preview party is always a sellout, and this year’s event, held at The Society of the Four Arts April 8-9, will feature a keynote lecture by Jeff Leatham, artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel Georges V in Paris.
6. A standing reservation at the Palm Beach Grill
The only way to secure a coveted table at this hot spot is to call at exactly 10 a.m. on the morning of the fifteenth of any given month to make reservations for the following month. If you get a busy signal, keep calling. And calling. And calling. The moment a person answers, snag a slot for your favorite days and times. You can always cancel and gift unseasoned mortals your abandoned table.
7. The Circle room at The Breakers
A gala in The Circle room at The Breakers, with its 30-foot frescoed ceiling depicting Renaissance landscapes, is more intimate than those held in the hotel’s famous ballrooms. As beautiful as it is at night, The Circle also boasts the most decadent Sunday brunch in Palm Beach.
8. Communing with art at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens offers visitors a momentary respite from the everyday while maintaining the serene feel of an artist’s retreat. Insiders take full advantage of the setting with an alfresco brown-bag lunch in the shade of Norton’s towering works of art.
9. Faux Seaman Schepps earrings from Mariko
Seaman Schepps jewelry may be stunning, but the prices can give even the toniest islander pause. Fear not. After snapping up the real thing at Seaman Schepps on Worth Avenue, wander down the block to Mariko and grab a handful of Schepps-inspired baubles. Madam calls them her “travel jewelry” since, naturally, she already owns the original.
10. Free birthday dinner at Okeechobee Steak House
/> Photo by South Moon Photography
The steaks are reason enough to frequent this Okeechobee Boulevard stalwart, which proclaims itself the oldest steak house in Florida, having opened in 1947. But we head there on our birthdays to devour an 8-ounce New York strip dinner, compliments of the house. It makes getting older a little easier to stomach.
11. Driving along South Ocean with the top down
Sure, cycling and walking are good exercise, but the best way to feel the wind in your hair is in a convertible—and if it’s a Phantom Drophead Coupé or a vintage 911, so much the better.
12. Exposing youngsters to the Palm Beach Symphony
Since its founding in 1974, the Palm Beach Symphony has imbued our lovely surrounds with world-class classical music. It also grows future audiences and inspires tomorrow’s musicians by presenting children’s concerts, hosting master classes at schools, and donating instruments to talented students. Music to our ears.
13. Fanjul Christmas Card
Its arrival heralds your entree into the upper echelons of Palm Beach society. Receiving the Christmas card from the Fanjul family of sugar barons means they consider you an insider: The card includes every family member’s phone number.
14. Palm Beach cheese puffs
Every hostess worth her weight in Gruyère has a favored variation of this delectable one-bite morsel. The fun is in trying them all and figuring out who does it best.
15. A 12-carat D-flawless emerald-cut diamond solitaire ring from Graff
Just as a Hermès Birkin or Chanel 2.5 classic flap bag are considered the only acceptable handbags to carry by a certain species of Palm Beach women, so too is it understood that when extending one’s hand, one must flash a certain bauble. Preferably emerald-cut, although asscher-cut will do. Tiffany and Cartier may whisper, but nothing screams like a million-dollar ring from Graff.
16. Jellied Madrilène at the Everglades Club
This obscure delicacy hearkens to a bygone era of culinary sophistication that the Everglades Club manages to capture with resounding success. A glass dish of jellied consommé is served in a chilled bowl set in crushed ice. The simple execution delights the palate while providing an elegant option for members conscious of their waistlines.
17. Exploring Peanut Island
Photo courtesy of Discover the Palm Beaches
This 80-acre county park abounds with historical allure. Arrive by kayak, water taxi, or powerboat and explore the Palm Beach Maritime Museum, a former Coast Guard station and John F. Kennedy’s presidential bunker. Exit the presidential digs and go jump in the water, where spectacular snorkeling awaits.
Leave it to Palm Beach to ensure even its grocery store is housed in a building reminiscent of a Mizner mansion. No need to bother parking your car. This is Palm Beach, after all, and Publix offers complimentary valet service. Shoppers know to look their best lest they run into acquaintances while grabbing a tub of seafood cheese spread, without which no cocktail party is complete.
19. Gay night at The Colony Hotel
If you’re wondering where the boys are on Thursday nights, head to The Colony Hotel’s Polo Bar. No one is sure how the tradition began, but every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. the company is as fun as it is handsome. The young and the young at heart make for a riotously good time.
20. Southern Benedict cooked by chef Alex Castro at Howley’s Restaurant in West Palm Beach
This Dixie Highway diner puts a hip spin on classic comfort food. You’d do well to order the Southern Benedict: sweet cornbread with house-made spicy pulled pork and poached eggs topped with hollandaise.
21. Ubering to and from dinner to keep yourself off the front page of The Shiny Sheet
There’s nothing quite so reprehensible as waking to find your photo splashed on the pages of the Palm Beach Daily News because you’ve pulverized someone’s privet hedge after one too many martinis. If you haven’t the luxury of a chauffeur in your employ, do the next best thing and order up an Uber Lux. No one will be the wiser .
22. Supple Stubbs & Wootton slippers
There never was a Mr. Stubbs nor a Mr. Wootton. Nevertheless, the natty slippers are a must-have sartorial addition to any proper Palm Beach outfit. Those in the know eagerly await the after-Easter sale, lining up before dawn to snap up shoes at half price.
23. The Gold Plate Special at the Bath & Tennis Club
Dining at the exclusive Bath & Tennis Club is a one-of-a-kind experience. If you haven’t had the pleasure, imagine a boarding school cafeteria (tray and all!) that serves the most flavorful food known to man. It’s truly the holy grail of WASP gastronomy.
24. Strutting your stuff at the loudest party of the year
Photo by Tracey Benson Photography Photo by Christian Horan Photography
The Beach Bash, sponsored by Lilly Pulitzer and benefiting Loggerhead Marinelife Center, is a fashion free-for-all. Scheduled when every millennial is in town for winter vacation, the uproarious party is definitely for the younger crowd. If you graduated from college more than 10 years ago, you may be mistaken for someone’s parent.
25. Seaside sophistication at Four Seasons Palm Beach
Oh, Four Seasons Palm Beach, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways: picture-perfect oceanfront location, renowned hospitality, and an island-casual vibe that reminds us why we love living in Palm Beach. We can’t wait to see what this summer’s renovation brings.
26. Savoring Clay Conley’s cuisine
Diners return to Grato for the irresistible thin crust pizzas, best enjoyed from a perch at the pizza bar, which makes for divine dinner theater. Equally convivial is the community table at chef Clay Conley’s other culinary masterpiece, Buccan. You’ll be making new friends in no time.
27. Anticipating the Norton’s new look
Photo courtesy of Foster + Partners
It’s an exciting time at the Norton Museum of Art, which broke ground last year on its new multimillion-dollar expansion, designed by Lord Norman Foster and scheduled for completion in 2018. While we await the ribbon cutting, the museum offers free admission, including to local favorite Art After Dark.
28. Furniture finds at Nearly New Shop
Sale proceeds at the Nearly New Shop, which recently relocated to Antique Row, benefit the seniors served by MorseLife Health System. Although it carries clothing, savvy shoppers frequent it for the amazing furniture, ranging from Karl Springer telephone tables to sofas worthy of any South Ocean Boulevard mansion.
29. Chez L’Épicier marshmallow roasts
Who knew a pair of French Canadians could so charm Palm Beach? Obviously, the way to our hearts is through our stomachs. Not only is Chez L’Épicier a chic, sociable space, it also lets us be kids again by roasting homemade marshmallows at the table.
30. Palm Beach’s most historic home
Photo courtesy of Flagler Museum
The Flagler Museum is a monument to the man responsible for fostering the idea of Palm Beach. Henry Morrison Flagler believed that if he built it, they would come. In this case, the “it” was the Royal Poinciana Hotel and the “they” were trainloads of wealthy northerners. If it wasn’t for Flagler’s foresight and ingenuity, we might all still be watching Alligator Joe wrestle gators on the site of what is now the Everglades Club.
31. Orchids from Family Produce & Palm Beach Flowers Shop
The level of service and quality of orchids at this South Dixie Highway store is unsurpassed. It might be oddly off the beaten path, but the line of luxury cars idling outside indicates you’ve arrived at the right place. Ask for Jamal.
32. Thanksgiving at Terry Allen Kramer’s
An invitation to Thanksgiving at Tony Award–winning Broadway producer and Allen & Co. heiress Terry Allen Kramer’s 43,000-square-foot South Ocean Boulevard mansion is indeed reason to give thanks.
If it’s a Sunday in season, you can be sure the Palm Beach set is heading to Wellington to take in a polo match and pop a few corks of Veuve Clicquot. The fashion scene is a spectator sport of its own.
34. Pampered pets at Onblonde
For four-legged family members, Onblonde Pet Spa & Boutique is an island must. The blueberry facial and milk thistle paw soak are givens, but there’s nothing like “a day at the farm,” the supreme pet retreat.
35. Romantic dinners for two at Chez Jean-Pierre
Photo by Girona Consulting
The inventive decor may be a Salvador Dali aberration, but the French cuisine at Chez Jean-Pierre remains as scrumptious as the day chef and owner Jean-Pierre Leverrier opened the doors in 1991. The scrambled egg with caviar is unrivaled, as is the cozy Table 29, popular with canoodling couples.
36. Adoptions at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
Palm Beachers in search of a furry friend visit Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League to adopt a lovable dog or cat in need of a home. We suggest naming your new addition Johnnie Brown in honor of Addison Mizner’s favorite pet pal.
37. Campus on the Lake at The Society of the Four Arts
From classical music appreciation classes to workshops on crafting seashell art, there are countless opportunities for self-enhancement at this educational island institution—and plenty of household-name speakers, too.
38. Sunday night buffet at the Palm Beach Country Club
This eating extravaganza is truly a site to behold, both from a food and decor perspective. Although the Italian-themed evenings are popular, members and their guests flock to the elaborate Chinese food feasts.
39. The Preservation Foundation’s annual dinner dance
In a town as social as Palm Beach, this party is not to be missed, especially because supporting the Preservation Foundation assures the continued beauty and architectural integrity of the island.
40. Santa’s show-stopping descent upon Worth Avenue
It’s Palm Beach so, naturally, Santa arrives by exotic car for the annual Worth Avenue tree lighting. A parade of prime rides owned by local collectors precedes Santa’s appearance—and there’s never a reindeer in sight.
41. Table 41 at Sant Ambroeus
The Palm Beach outpost of New York City and Southampton favorite Sant Ambroeus has quickly become the place to nosh and nibble, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Power players vie for Table 41, which provides the opportune vantage point to see and be seen while sipping a cappuccino.
42. Exploring Floridian flora at Mounts Botanical Garden
Mounts Botanical Garden is a veritable Eden that teaches visitors about plants that thrive in Florida’s challenging climate. This spring, Mounts will open Windows on the Floating World, a collection of walkways that will allow guests to traverse a tropical—and wet—wonderland.
43. Feeding the mind at Florida Atlantic University
The Lifelong Learning Society at Florida Atlantic University offers a remarkable array of lectures, programs, and concerts to students of all ages. Speakers range from local personalities to well-known political and cultural figures.
44. Saturday mornings at the Green Market
With more than 80 vendors, the West Palm Beach green market is the ultimate weekend outing, enhanced by its waterfront location. Freshly baked bread from Importico’s and a savory spread from Macy’s Smoked Fish Dip are a winning combination for an impromptu picnic at the adjacent Centennial Park. For green thumbs, the orchid selection is epic.
45. Rubbing elbows at the annual Policemen’s Ball
Held at The Mar-a-Lago Club, the Policemen’s Ball sells out every year thanks to its reputation as the party on the gala circuit. Le tout Palm Beach is on hand to toast the force and snap up $1,000 bottles of Dom Pérignon. Let’s just say it’s easy to let one’s hair down knowing the police is in the room.
46. The unmatched steak and scene at Flagler Steakhouse
We literally dream about the filet mignon at Flagler Steakhouse, washed down with a (shaken) martini, preferably enjoyed while seated at a table on the terrace overlooking the golf course.
47. Thought-provoking theater at Palm Beach Dramaworks
Photo by Brantley Photography Photo by Reynaldo Martin
A cultural mecca in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Dramaworks presents professional repertory theater to an audience of passionate local theater lovers. By the closing curtain, you’ll have convinced yourself you’re in New York.
48. French flavors à la Patrick Lézé
Patrick Lézé’s macarons at his eponymous Sunrise Avenue patisserie rival those of famed Ladurée. The salted caramel variety is a must-try.
49. A quarter century of entertainment at the Kravis Center
When the Kravis Center opened in 1992, it signaled a new era for the arts in West Palm Beach. Today, it’s home to Broadway productions, touring stars, and local companies like the Palm Beach Opera.
50. Brunch with a garden view at Sundy House
Sundy on Sunday? Why not? Head to the Delray Beach hidden (literally) gem to partake in a heavenly brunch while gazing at the Taru Garden, home to more than 5,000 plants.
51. The Conservatory at the Maltz
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is shaping the next generation of superstars at its Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts. It offers children’s camps and classes as well as adult tutoring in acting, dance, and musical theater.
52. After parties at Cucina Dell’Arte
Photo by Edie Beiler/Oak Media
During the day, the restaurant serves predictably tasty Italian fare. But something changes at the stroke of midnight, when the disco ball above the bar starts to revolve. To suggest the trattoria transforms into Studio 54 in its heyday is an understatement. The only rule: What happens at Cucina stays at Cucina.
53. Lounging at the Eau Spa
The Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort is one of the most sybaritic experiences in Palm Beach. Where else can you combine exquisite pampering with rubber duckies, Champagne, and cupcakes? Think of it as elegance with a sense of humor.
54. The coconut cake at Kitchen in West Palm Beach
For years, Kitchen restaurant chef and owner Matthew Byrne’s claim to fame was his stint as Tiger Woods’ personal chef. These days, his American bistro fare is hogging the spotlight. Whatever you select for your main, save room for the coconut cake.
55. The Bear Trap at PGA National Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of PGA National Resort & Spa
The trifecta of holes—15, 16, and 17—is considered among the most difficult three-hole stretches on the PGA Tour. Named in honor of golf and local legend Jack Nicklaus, it serves to separate champions from mere duffers.
56. Fried chicken and waffles at Coolinary Café
The long wait to score a seat at Tim Lipman’s farm-to-table resto is worth it. Once you do, be sure to order the fried chicken and waffles, which Lipman reinterprets with a jalapeño-cheddar waffle paired with preserved lemon and a perfectly crispy bird.
57. Fashionable fêtes courtesy of Hospice Foundation
What do you get when you pair philanthropy with fashion? The must-attend, sartorially significant Hospice Evening. The annual happening features a fashion show showcasing current looks by top design houses (Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera, to drop a couple of names).
58. Movie magic at the Festival of the Arts Boca
For 10 straight days in March, the Festival of the Arts Boca entertains with music, dance, jazz, and literature. The highlight is a screening of a classic movie accompanied by a live orchestra. This year, laugh along and tap your feet to the 1964 comedy The Pink Panther on March 11.
59. Pad cha duck at Kao Gang in Palm Beach Gardens
Photo by South Moon Photography
60. Pimento cheese at The Regional
When it comes to Southern food, Lindsay Autry knows her stuff. The petite powerhouse cooks up a storm at her new eatery, The Regional, at CityPlace—and the locals flock to worship at the altar of her pimento cheese, prepared tableside.
61. A hipster haircut at Cut + Shave Co.
Haute and hirsute gentlemen make a beeline to Stacy Sims at Cut + Shave Co. in Wellington. The soft-spoken Sims knows her way around a straight razor and is renowned for taming the luxuriant tresses of her polo-playing clientele.
62. Play dates at the Italian Restaurant at The Breakers
Parents can have a delicious meal while the tykes tire themselves out on the fantastic playground adjacent to the restaurant or the arcade inside. Who can imagine a better date night without having to hire a babysitter?
63. Warm madeleines at Café Boulud
As otherworldly as the cuisine is at chef Daniel Boulud’s eponymous restaurant at the Brazilian Court Hotel, there’s something positively charming when, at the end of dinner, the table is presented with a complimentary basket of warm, lemony madeleines sprinkled with powdered sugar.
64. Turning back the clock with Kaffee’s miracle fluid
The ladies who lunch have a secret. Kaffee Keldie, of Garden Spa fame, makes a certain concoction known in inside circles as the “blue bottle” and the “fountain of youth.” Kaffee’s Aloe Hydrating Fluid is made with aloe and sodium hyaluronate and has justly earned a cult following.
Palm Beach in the height of the season can be a whirlwind of charity lunches, gala dinners, and cocktail parties. Sometimes the best thing to do is stay home in the chic confines of one’s abode. Oceanfront estate or comfy condo, just getting to call Palm Beach home is reason enough to celebrate.
Salsify for a special occasion
History is visible in visual splendour at Salsify at the Roundhouse, so let me first share a little of my personal history before we celebrate theirs.
My introduction to my mother-in-law was at the age of 13 years, and she has been an enduring inspiration in my culinary journey. We share recipes, recipe books (and of course, love the same man!) In early days, she would expose me to ingredients that I had never heard of, and in her quest to perfect a dish, like a flan, was known to make a few dozen and top them with outlandish combinations. Combinations which now are the norm. While her family groaned, I was intrigued. Her avocado ice cream was new and novel in the 70s, ice cold it was heavenly and different, but as it melted it was hideous, so yes, I too suffered along the way. I am grateful that she raised a son who has the love of food and wine flowing in his veins. For her birthdays we take her somewhere special for lunch where her taste buds will be teased with inventive flavour and texture combinations. This year? Salsify.
The current seven-course tasting menu offers a broad spectrum of ingredients and dishes that showcase the season well. We opted for the lighter four-course option (excellent value at R395) starting with a 63-degree hen’s egg with chestnut, and a sherry and red onion cream – delightful in its texture contrast. For starters, the older, yet more adventurous Mrs Handley, opted for the sashimi with tamarind and yuzu dressing, nettle and ginger. She is still talking about it…before she devoured the miso-grilled octopus with fennel and white grape, cured tofu and jellied aubergine – equally delicious. The lamb rib and loin with toasted garlic dauphinoise, burnt and braised leek, boasted pungent flavour, contrasting with gentle presentation. The delicate portions of both desserts, the satsuma ice with tonka bean panna cotta, granadilla curd and lemongrass sorbet and the quince caramel tart with rhubarb, hibiscus and brown-butter ice cream, were superb. Humble, yet accomplished chef Ryan Cole needed to be lured out of the kitchen to accept our lavish compliments. It was as he was getting used to the limelight in the openness of The Test Kitchen that he and Luke Dale Roberts opened this gem.
After enjoying sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean during our meal, despite cloud cover, we took a moment to absorb and appreciate the innovative style in the former hunting lodge of Sir Charles Somerset. Take time to explore the inventive decor, conceptualized and crafted by Sandalene Dale Roberts, like bold graffiti that exposes more about the infamous Dr James Barry, who posed as a man. Whilst admiring the sculpture in reception by Otto du Plessis, the very attentive staff shared the vision behind this masterpiece.
Allow me to leave you with a taste of intrigue so you put Salsify on your secret-season must-dine-at list.