June 12, 2014
Cravings shift with the seasons, but comfort food always finds a home on the table. Pasta is a consistent crowd-pleaser—especially in the form of a revamped classic.
At The Gander (15 W. 18th St.; 212-229-9500; thegandernyc.com)—a new restaurant, located in New York’s Flatiron District, from chef Jesse Schenker of Recette—the ethos focuses on elevating familiar dishes. Schenker’s take on spaghetti with clams at the restaurant tosses housemade spaghetti with a lobster-clam sauce, three types of clams (razor, geoduck, littleneck), guanciale and braised fennel.
“This dish is one of my favorites on the menu,” says Schenker. “The adapted version here [easy for home cooks] works well using readily available items. It’s a great recipe for summer entertaining—it’s light and briny, and summer is prime season for fresh, succulent clams.”
Spaghetti with Clams
1 lb spaghetti
16 oz clam juice
8 oz heavy cream
½ leek, chopped
½ Spanish onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed whole
20 littleneck clams, in shells
1 ½ cups dry white wine, such as a neutral Pinot Grigio
2 fennel bulbs, diced
2 cups dry vermouth
Pinch of fennel seeds
Cook pasta according to directions on box. Meanwhile, heat clam juice in a pan over high heat and cook for about 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally—making sure it doesn’t burn—until juice is reduced by half. Add the cream and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until viscous. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in another pan over high heat and add the leek, onion, garlic and clams. Add white wine and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leek, onion, garlic and clams, set aside in a bowl and reserve liquid in a separate bowl. Add 2 tbsps butter to the pan and add fennel, vermouth and fennel seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce until sticky, about 40 minutes. Add pasta, clams and sauce to the pan with fennel, toss and serve.
June 12, 2014
Home rentals are an attractive option for a traveling family—that is, when the property matches the images shown on the Internet. After experiencing a recent bait and switch in Provence, where the “villa” I was supposed to inhabit turned out to be a dilapidated farmhouse, I began defaulting to the predictability of a hotel. But while making plans for a spring break in London, I heard about the two-year-old Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living, which has packaged the idea of a prime apartment rental with the benefits of a five-star hotel. The rewards of a rental without the risk—in Mayfair, no less? I booked on the spot.
Both the location (perched at the corner of Mount Street and Park Lane) and the lineage (the house is the former 19th-century residence of Robert Grosvenor and the Dukes of Westminster) lend instant prestige to the property. But once inside, the vibe is decidedly low-key and modern. Interior-design powerhouse Anouska Hempel revamped the edifice from top to bottom with schemes that play to the building’s heritage and contemporary personality.
To wit: The lobby’s atrium is sleek and open, with strategically placed original artwork inviting guests to venture further inside. In the middle, where a grand staircase once stood, the hotel restaurant basks in the glow of a seven-story ceiling studded with a dramatic high-tech chandelier.
But the rooms are what really wow. (Grosvenor’s 130 apartments range from studios to the five-bedroom, nearly 5,000-square-foot penthouse.) Our spacious, state-of-the-art two-bedroom, two-bath unit—complete with a phenomenal view of Hyde Park—featured amenities like flatscreen televisions, electronic shades, multiple temperature controls, multi-setting lighting (excellent for makeup application), a washer and a dryer and a full kitchen. Triple-paned windows blocked the din of London traffic. The bathrooms, often a musty affair in London, were bright and had excellent water pressure. Complete living and dining areas allowed my family to eat in and relax comfortably after a busy day.
Service is stellar but understated (i.e., no hovering). The hotel scored us challenging dinner reservations, an emergency hair appointment and various tickets, but when the concierge personally trotted out to procure decongestants for my hideous cold, I knew I was someplace special. The illness is already forgotten, but the experience will be treasured. Rooms start at $830; corner of Mount St. and Park Ln.; 44-20/7518-4444; jumeirah.com.
June 09, 2014
Mark di Suvero, Beethoven’s Quartet, 2003. Steel, stainless steel, 24' 7? x 30' x 23' 3?. Loaned by the artist and Spacetime C.C., New York. Photograph by Don Pollard. Courtesy of Storm King Art Center.
If Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is any indication, the summer solstice is an opportunity for—among many things—a little magic. On June 14, Storm King Art Center, the Hudson Valley’s renowned sculpture park, honors the tradition with its own version of an evening romp in the forest: the third annual Summer Solstice Celebration.
Set to coincide roughly with the longest day of the year (June 21) and the full moon (June 13), the dinner event hosts guests on the museum’s sprawling, 500-acre grounds. In addition to private access to the park’s impressive collection—massive works by the likes of Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg and Richard Serra pepper the landscape—revelers have the chance to watch the sun set and the moon rise over the nearby mountains during the course of the evening.
In honor of the park’s newest exhibit, “Zhang Huan: Evoking Tradition” (through November 9), the foraged and farm-fresh menu—designed for the third time by Peter Hoffman of Back Forty and Shelley Boris of Fresh Company—will feature dishes inspired by Huan’s sculptures made of incense ash.
“Working with an artist who understands both the transience and the captivating power of fire is right up a cook’s alley,” Hoffman says. “Without fire we don't have civilization, without ash there is no evidence. I want to taste the process, the transformation.”
Needless to say, the Bard would approve. Tickets start at $150; 5 p.m.–10 p.m.; 1 Museum Rd.; 854-534-3115; stormking.org.
June 09, 2014
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto
From white truffles to Wagyu beef to wild matsutake mushrooms, there are enough delicacies in this world to fill any epicure’s plate. But the once cherished lobster—now served year-round at many a beach shack, food truck and fine-dining establishment—rarely makes anyone’s list anymore. That is, unless it’s from Fourchu.
Considered the best in the world for their flavor and texture, the protected crustaceans, found in waters off Cape Breton Island near Nova Scotia, are available for just ten weeks a year. Luckily, the season has just begun at L’Ecole (462 Broadway; 212-219-3300), the Michelin-reviewed restaurant of the International Culinary Center (ICC).
“Fourchu is at the southeastern part of the island, perfect for two things: very, very cold waters and deep and rocky bottoms,” explains ICC’s CEO and founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton. “The rocky bottom is important because various proteins and plankton live on the rocks, which the lobsters eat. It gives them a special and unique flavor.” Plus, she adds, the colder the water the sweeter and firmer the lobster.
According to Canadian sustainability laws, only 20 artisanal fishing boats (with three to four people onboard) are licensed to fish the area for the lobsters. Thanks to Cann Hamilton, whose family arrived on Cape Breton Island in 1760 as cod fishermen, New Yorkers can experience the delicacy through early August in either a lobster roll served with French fries for lunch or as a one-and-a-half-pound steamed lobster with gem-lettuce salad, fries and drawn butter and lemon for dinner. “Fourchu, lobster and cod are in my DNA,” she says. “I am thrilled as a food professional to taste these lobsters today and know they hold up to the world’s great delicacies.”
June 05, 2014
From June 3 through August 3, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Bermuda hotel will host a pop-up restaurant by chef Marcus Samuelsson—of New York’s Red Rooster Harlem fame, among other ventures—in anticipation of his new signature restaurant, which is set to open on the property in May 2015.
“Bermuda has a vibrant history that has resulted in an interesting mash-up of British, Caribbean and Portuguese influences,” Samuelsson says. “The Fairmont in Bermuda combines that rich culture with a modern perspective. It’s a perfect inspiration for a bold, fresh menu and seaside dining.” That includes Samuelsson’s clever reinvention of local favorites, like a croquette version of the island’s classic fish chowder and a Dark and Stormy sorbet. Rum cake with strawberry salad is pictured here.
“Chef Samuelsson’s signature, internationally influenced cooking style is a great fit for Bermuda, and there will be nothing like this on the island,” says George Terpilowski, the hotel’s managing director.
In honor of the occasion, the Fairmont is offering a Culinary Escape Package (through August 2; from $780; 800-441-1414), complete with accommodations in a newly renovated deluxe harbor-view room, a signed copy of Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef (Random House Trade Paperbacks), and dinner for two at the pop-up. Rooms start at $580; 76 Pitts Bay Rd.; 441-295-3000; fairmont.com.
June 05, 2014
Photo by Rob Kalmbach
Between the writing, casting and rehearsing, a typical star-studded theatrical production can take years to develop before it ever hits the stage. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as they say.
This month, however, 24 actors, six writers, six directors and two musical guests will prove otherwise for the fourth annual 24 Hour Plays: Los Angeles (June 20; 8 P.M.). Held at the Broad Stage theater at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center, the showcase benefits Urban Arts Partnership (UAP) (urbanarts.org), an arts-education organization working in more than a hundred underserved schools in New York and Los Angeles.
The talent—which includes boldface names like Glee star Ashley Fink; actress (and UAP artistic board chair) Rosie Perez; Emmy Award winner Ben Karlin, a writer for The Colbert Report; and Rob Greenberg, director of How I Met Your Mother—will create and perform six original ten-minute plays, all in 24 hours. Two students from L.A.’s ArTES High School, where UAP teaching artists work with classroom educators to bring arts into the curriculum, will also join the cast for the marathon event, which is sponsored by Montblanc. (Gillian Jacobs, Anna Camp, Wilmer Valderrama and Skylar Astin [pictured above, from left] worked together last year.)
“The 24 Hour Plays epitomizes the creative process,” explains UAP CEO Philip Courtney, listing motivation, persistence, critical thinking, collaboration and fearlessness as the keys to succeeding onstage. “It has been proven that these exact five qualities are what a young person develops as a result of having arts education in their lives. UAP develops the next creative thinkers, problem solvers and community leaders.”
“It always ends up being such a fun event,” says Sin City actress Jamie Chung, who is participating this year. “I’m a nervous wreck 23 out of the 24 hours, but there’s no better feeling. Plus, we are supporting Urban Arts—and they always throw a great after-party.” At 1310 11th St., Santa Monica; tickets, from $200; urbanarts.tix.com; for information on exclusive-access packages (from $500), contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 05, 2014
Photo courtesy of Island Outpost
Secluded and stunning, GoldenEye, the exclusive resort in Oracabessa, Jamaica, once the home of James Bond author Ian Fleming, is like few other places on earth. On May 28 (Fleming’s 106th birthday), the destination unveiled a new way to experience its charms: For the first time, guests can book either a single room ($2,500) or all five rooms ($5,500) of the legendary Ian Fleming Villa.
Formerly Fleming’s home and creative headquarters (where he hosted friends like Noël Coward), the villa—complete with a private beach, pool, staff and gardens and numerous remnants of its glamorous history, including the writer’s desk—is the resort’s marquee perch. And on the occasion of such a monumental anniversary, GoldenEye owner Chris Blackwell wanted to expand the opportunities to experience it.
Continuing the good news, there will be more of the resort to love next year: Currently offering 19 accommodation options (nine beach villas, two lagoon villas, six lagoon cottages, an oceanfront villa, the Fleming Villa), GoldenEye will open 25 new ocean-view cottages in winter 2015. Rooms start at $620; 876-622-9007; goldeneye.com.
June 04, 2014
© Diego De Pol
Many hotels claim to be situated at the crossroads of culture, fashion and design, but the five-star Carlton Hotel Baglioni in Milan literally is. Overlooking Via della Spiga, a cannoli’s throw from some of the world’s chicest boutiques and must-see design destinations, such as Nina Yashar’s agenda-setting Nilufar Gallery (Via della Spiga, 32; 39-02/780-193; nilufar.com), not to mention the Duomo and Teatro alla Scala, the Carlton could not be better oriented.
But it’s not just the hotel’s prestigious location that makes it an important cultural hub. The 87-room gem, which was recently refurbished by the Milanese studio Rebosio+Spagnulo, houses a series of rotating exhibits, showcasing the works of Italian design legends like Ettore Sottsass and Achille Castiglioni alongside those of emerging talents such as Chiara Andreatti.
The convergence of hospitality and design is driven by Guido Polito, the chief executive of Baglioni Hotels, who, along with Vincenzo Basile of Basile Artico, curates the exhibits at the Carlton’s Caffè Baglioni (pictured above), as well as other cultural projects that the hotel group backs (for example, a recent art show in the new Roman Penthouse of the Regina Hotel Baglioni in the Eternal City).
“The whole concept behind Baglioni is to give our clients a full Italian experience,” Polito explains. “The idea of transforming the bar into a gallery comes from this. We want our guests to enjoy a drink while experiencing the best that Milan can offer, including beautiful artworks and design objects, some of which are rarely seen prototypes or pieces from museums or private collections.”
The commitment to spotlighting local talent is also evident at Amaranto, the quaint boutique overlooking the hotel’s ground-floor garden, which happens to be the brainchild of Polito’s wife, Maddalena Grassi Polito.
“All luxury travelers have Chanel, Hermès and Armani in their wardrobe,” she says. “So the idea with Amaranto is to offer something very Italian and unique so that a lady can go to a party and know that she is not going to see five other ladies in the same dress or the same bag.”
And for those who like a little rubbernecking with their culture, the hotel’s famed restaurant Il Baretto al Baglioni remains the place for the city’s elite to meet and eat. Rooms start at $395; Via Senato, 5; 39-02/77077; baglionihotels.com.
June 03, 2014
© Joan Marcus
When Here Lies Love—the dancey, on-your-feet theater experience inspired by the life of Imelda Marcos—premièred in April 2013 in downtown New York, it was met with breathless enthusiasm by critics and audiences alike, who were taken not only with the voice of lead Ruthie Ann Miles (playing Marcos herself; pictured above, middle) but also the infectious music by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and DJ Fatboy Slim. For those who missed it the first time around, the show has returned for an open-ended off-Broadway run at the Public Theater. The show (on an open end run in New York) opens in London in the fall as well, and it's worth seeing live—even the newly released cast album, great as it is, doesn’t compare to the real thing. 425 Lafayette St.; 212-967-7555; publictheater.org.
May 29, 2014
Courtesy of Park Hyatt Vienna
While we were unwinding over the long Memorial Day weekend, Park Hyatt was busy debuting its newest hotel property—its first in Austria.
Set in a hundred-year-old building that once housed the Austrian Hungarian Monarchy Bank, the hotel stands on Am Hof, one of the city’s most beautiful squares. The location makes it the only hotel in Vienna’s Golden Quarter—a UNESCO World Heritage site and new pedestrian-only shopping district, home to Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent and Prada’s recently opened flagship.
“We were inspired by Vienna’s rich artistic history and had a lot of fun with the building’s past as a bank,” says Katherine Melchior-Ray, vice president of luxury brands. “Our design goal was to reinterpret the past with a modern approach. As such, we preserved the most interesting aspects of the building and then made them our own.”
That includes the ceiling mural discovered beneath layers of paint, now restored and on display in the hotel’s main restaurant; the golden-colored, stone-tiled pool area, which plays on its location in the original vault; and the Art Nouveau–style panels of polished inlaid wood, hand-picked Italian and Greek marble and fine leathers and custom-designed carpets featured throughout. “We created a sense of place that celebrates the traditions of Vienna in a sophisticated, uncommon and enriching way,” she adds. “It’s a mélange of old and new.”
The hotel’s 143 guest rooms include some of the largest in the city, with 14-foot ceilings and accommodations ranging between 430 and 1,830 square feet. The Arany Spa features six treatment rooms, a Technogym fitness center and a separate wet area with steam bath, sauna, sanarium and vitality shower. The four food and beverage options include Austrian and international cuisine at The Bank, Wiener schnitzel and tapas at The Pearl, afternoon tea and pastries in The Lounge and single-malt whiskeys and cigars in The Living Room.
“The brand brings to life the culture surrounding each hotel,” Melchior-Ray says. “And we feel that Park Hyatt Vienna does just that.” Rooms start at $510; Am Hof 2; 43-1/ 2274-01234; vienna.park.hyatt.com.