Category Archives: Lifestyle

“This is not a Dinner”

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I recently found myself with this incredible opportunity to go to Spain and spend two days “decoding Dom Pérignon“. With the Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy and culinary mastermind Ferran Adrià, we were to have the gustatory experience of a lifetime joining them as brought back elBulli’s most famous “snacks” that took the global gastronomy world by storm. What Dom Pérignon was hoping to achieve through this solo tasting and minimallistic experience was a study into the four facets of their newly released 2005 vintage which are: Minerality, Intensity, Seamlessness and Harmony. Ferran built the entire menu around these four themes, making the wine the centre or “sun” and the snacks like orbiting planets orbiting around it.

We were seated at a mirrored table in a dark room, no utensils. Waiters dressed in black delivered the first wave of snacks based around Minerality. The experience would be broken up into four chapters based on the characteristics of the champagne. With each snack would come instructions, “eat this all in one bite.”, “eat this in two bites and drink this in-between.” It was insane. Things were surprisingly sweet when it looked salty, weightless when it looked dense. Everything you think you know about food you had to throw out the window.

I had parmesan ice cream, deconstructed olives, crunchy raviolis made form a seaweed shell with a lemon filling. This was not at all what I would think of when I think of ravioli but that’s precisely what Ferran loves to ask: What makes ravioli, ravioli? Because it’s made of pasta or because it’s a pocket filled? 

After the first chapter was completed the room (or, what I thought was a room) changed suddenly as the walls began to move and open up towards the sky high ceiling, revealing the other tables of guests. The lighting changed from a sharp contrast to a warm soft glow following a change in music changing the entire mood for the participates. Then, just as with Farran’s approach to food, my whole experience changed. 

The experience went well beyond the the thrill of being one of the first people to try a new Dom Pérignon Vintage. It taught me to think about creativity in a different way than just what is. How can you take something we all know and try to understand it more? How can you think one way and then teach yourself to think it again totally differently. The slogan for the elBulli Foundation is “Feed Creativity”… he did that and I can’t wait to see what they do next. 

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Minerality

-Mimetic peanuts

-Hibiscus and peanut palet

-Walnut catanias

-Yoghurt pistachulines

-Beetroot and yoghurt meringue / profiterole

-Mango croquant leaf and marigold

Dom_Pérignon_elBulli_dinner_Vintage_2005_005 Continue reading…

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Decoding Dom Pérignon

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Visiting the El Bulli Foundation is like visiting an alternate reality where utopias of learning and discovery exist and are the highest forms of human achievement. The objective is discovery, understanding the nature of food, how it is prepared and experienced. Ferran Adrià has a passion for this discovery and, after 25 years as head chef at El Bulli, he is devoting himself and his team to cataloging haute cuisine and creative expression in general.

The foundation’s walls are the inside of Adrià’s mind come to life – rooms with drawings and research pinned to foam board, books on all subjects, and a staff of artists and researchers delving into all of it. Ferran asks us questions meant to twist our expectations of food – is champagne still a drink if it’s served in a bowl and you eat it with a spoon? His mind and career has been keenly pursuing these questions for a quarter century.

Dom Perignon‘s Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy was at the foundation as well, discussing a new three year partnership between the esteemed wine makers and the El Bulli foundation with the hopes to “decode champagne”. We visited the new Dom Pérignon wing within the foundation and discussed their process of blending that yields a vintage to meet their standards. For them, tasting and decoding is a constant task, as they are tracking the changing characteristics of their wine and, in a macro sense, they look at the similarities and differences between many releases of Dom Pérignon, dating back to 1921. On a wall in one room of the foundation we see colored strings connecting Dom Pérignon releases, creating a stunning visual way to trace the complex flavors of their champagne expressions over time.

When I asked Richard what Dom Pérignon hoped to achieve by having one of the greatest creative minds decode their champagne over the course of three years, he said it was impossible to know on this journey of discovery…

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I had no creative personality before I was working in the kitchen. I think this is a good example for how important it is to do what you really like to be able to be creative. 

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I’m here for a reason. It is the same reason I was in the restaurant for. To look for the limits. But there are no limits. Life isn’t long enough. It can take years and years and our brains aren’t clever enough to understand it all… However clever you are, there will always be something you don’t understand.

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A Girlfriend’s Soirée

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This past week Ecco Domani launched a special collaboration with fashion designer Zac Posen who created a limited edition bottle design for their classic Pinot Grigio. I’ve been a huge fan of Zac Posen from the runway shows to the red carpet so we really wanted to do something special to celebrate the launch of this inspired partnership and the release of a wine bottle exclusively dressed in Zac.

Kelly put together an intimate girlfriend’s soirée at the whimsical BG restaurant designed by Kelly Wearstler (remember when I stayed at her Malibu mansion?!) overlooking Central Park and the gorgeous Plaza Hotel. Since we are talking about one of the most glamorous gown designers in the world, Kelly dressed us all in Zac Posen bringing such an air of fantasy and delight to the whole gathering.

A silver tiered tray lined in macarons, fresh fruit, meringues and Zac Posen’s own recipe for “My Little Violet Darlings” from the Bergdorf Goodman Cookbook was the center piece to the soirée table. I loved how Kelly brought a formality to the wine by putting it in a silver deco wine bucket on a stand next to the table keeping the Pinot Grigio cool in-between pours.

Why not throw your own soirée – with delicate delights, crisp and bright white wine and look out for the sparkling design of Zac Posen for Ecco Domani to add one last flourishing touch to your own summer parties.

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Above- Zac Posen’s limited edition bottle design for Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio chills in a silver deco ice bucket.

Below- The table dressed with a three tier serving tray, Devonia large and small serving plates with matching hand gilded wine glasses, and Alain St. Joanis flatware. I love surrounding a table and room in fresh flowers, these Diane James arrangements are actually silk and no one knew the difference!

Zac_Posen_Ecco_Domani_005    Zac_Posen_Ecco_domani_029 Continue reading…

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Appreciate the Ones You Love

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Pandora Jewelry is all about appreciating the ones that you love and when they approached me about gifting charms to someone in my life I immediately thought of two of my best friends, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, who have impacted my life greatly over the years.

History

We first met back in 2010 at a little coffee shop on the Upper West Side and they told me about their dreams of starting an emerging designers platform called Of a Kind. Not only did I come to learn these were two of the most intelligent, visionary women I have ever met, I would also find out that bonds between women are so important and powerful not only in our personal friendship but in the bond these two share.

We shot together, we shared the original Ann Street Studio in the financial district together, I photographed Erica’s wedding (something I never do – but for her, anything), unofficially Claire’s and even all the way down to Texas for SXSW. We’ve laughed and cried, swapped beauty tips and fashion tricks, and seen each other though relationships and moves, business ups and downs, and endless conversations about that future of our lives. I even bought one of Claire’s Grandmother’s paintings!

10 Things

This is all very personal, so what do you need to know? First off, aside from being women entrepreneurs in New York City (BRAVO!) they write THE BEST NEWSLETTER ON THE INTERNET. It’s called “10 Things” and comes out once a week. I’ve literally been on photo-shoots where art directors have stopped the shoot because “10 things” that week just arrived in their inbox and they needed to “know what’s in the know”. It’s full of everything from the best chickpea kale salad recipe of the week to where to rolodex your go-to restaurants and the best new beauty products in the industry.

On being friends

Being the good friends they are they are always up for my antics. I’ve shown up to shoots with my hair in rollers, or that time I got bangs (MISTAKE) or my bachelorette party at the 21 club somehow got very fuzzy towards the end. I got them to join snapchat, which proudly I will state on the record it is now the main form in which we communicate. Then, they were brave enough to have me on their radio / podcast show (an extension of “10 things”) knowing the loose canon I am.

Growing together

It’s a funny thing to take a step back after five years of growing together, growing businesses, growing friendships, growing relationships, and put that into powerful words such as “loyalty“, “heath“, “creativity“, “courage” and think about what these two inspiring women mean to me on a greater scale. To go back to the beginning when I was emerging in the digital space, they were two of my biggest champions and I realized with this project I have never taken the time to tell them how special I think THEY are.

As they have been my champions I hope, in my own weird way, I have been theirs. I’m happy Pandora offered this opportunity for me to tell them how much they mean to me, something I don’t think we regularly take the time enough to do. I gifted them each 6 Pandora Essence Collection charms that to me, represent which each of these women are… and isn’t it nice sometimes to have someone say, “Hey, you’re special for these reasons and here’s why….”

See below for a window into the soul of two friendships I couldn’t have made it through life in New York without and I encourage you to do the same with ones in your own that mean a special something to you.

 

Claire Mazur

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Claire and admire:

Courage- her ability to start her own company and the courage to get it out there to anyone she could talk to

Strength- always problem solving solutions instead of letting them bring her down

Generosity- I’ve received so many special gifts from Claire for birthdays or Christmas to even thank you flowers for shoots, her thoughtfulness and generosity is so wonderful.

Health- Claire runs everyday and makes the most healthy food at home with recipes that appear constantly in “10 things” and makes me want to make healthier choices in my own life.

Passion- She has such a vision and ideas for business and then comes at them with so much passion and energy you can’t help but get behind her in whatever next thing she dreams up.

Appreciation- I have a lot of appreciation for Claire, the way she championed my own career in the beginning while giving me the consistent opportunity to shoot for Of a Kind.

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Erica Cerulo

Here are the charms I felt most represented what I appreciate so much about Erica and admire:

Patience- It takes a lot of patience to start a company with your best friend. In a great balance to Claire’s energy- Erica’s patience keeps it all running smoothly.

Loyalty- I’ve never met someone with as much loyalty in her friendships and relationships. With Erica, you know you have a loyal friend on your side

Trust- I always know I can confide in Erica with anything going on in my life and work.

Creativity- Erica is one of the most talented writers online and in print. She contributes regularly to magazines and is one of the reasons the editorial side to Of a Kind is so amusing to read. Also, her email responses are spot on.

Stability- She never really has ups and downs, she has great emotional stability and mental strength.

Dignity- You’ll never see Erica acting poorly, drinking too much, treating someone badly. She has such a grace and dignity to herself I find wonderfully admirable.

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Claire & Erica

Pandora_Claire_Erica_ofakind__03Claire & Erica’s makeup was provided by Chelsa Crowley for Stowaway Cosmetics

Claire wears a top by Theory, shorts by 3.1 Phillip Lim, Loeffler Randall shoes, Morgan Parish for Of a Kind handbag, Tamaki Niime scarf and Ray Ban sunnies

Erica wears a dress by Jonathan Simkhai, Alice & Olivia shoes, Madewell jean jacket, Atelier Delphine for Of a Kind handbag and Raen sunnies

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Thanks to PANDORA Universe for making this possible.

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