Tag Archives: food

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 Perignon 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 Perignon, dating back to 1921. On a wall in one room of the foundation we see colored strings connecting Dom Perignon releases, creating a stunning visual way to trace the complex flavors of their champagne expressions over time.

When I asked Richard what Dom Perignon 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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Why? Friendship! I believe that all good projects on earth start with the heart of the individuals. When you look at the success story of several things, it’s always about individuals. Somebody once told me, there is a stage in friendship where you get to come up with projects… Love would be kids, and friendship would be projects.

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If you have not created the Big Bang, everything is an evolution, everything. The creative result – because creativity is just the capacity to create – depends on many things.

 

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Decoding Dom Pérignon at elBulli Foundation

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Ultimately, one way to explain what we are doing – one of the ways, not the way – is to reflect on the creative process and creativity. If we look at Don Perignon, it leads us to this reflection … If we are talking about the creative process, creativity it is our common language.

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There is a big part which has to do with the experience. In your life you have lived Don Perignon in many ways. You have to decide which one is the best for you… Apparently wine is always something what comes together with the food, secondly. I understand that there might be moments when you go to a restaurant and it is just the way it is. But with Richard we wanted to created an experimental experience where Don Perignon could become the sun, surrounded by the food.

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“We wanted to created an experimental experience where Don Perignon could become the sun, surrounded by the food.”

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Creativity is going to the soul of Don Perignon…from the ground of the soul. It is very poetic.  But life can be lived in a poetic way, even though you might be a practical person – because at the end you need to be practical – but you have to ask yourself why. There is a part in this project,  trying to reach the soul in a certain way. Richard already has done this many times in his life. He is already doing it when he creates Don Perignon – but in another way.

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Every person lives the experience in a different way. If you have never drunk champagne before, if you have never drunk Don Perignon – the experience is history for you. It is a different story for a person who never drunk champagne in his life to drink a glass of champagne than for a person who drinks champagne every day. If you only drink Don Perignon it’s another story again. And if you drink different vintages of Don Perignon – again.

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Backyard Pizza Party!

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I met Gaby a few years ago on a trip through Chile and then later we were travel companions again through Brazil. We bonded over Pisco Soursred lips, and avocados (Gaby is VERY serious about them). I taught her the term “on brand” as a way to get in or out of any situation, and she taught me that slutty brownies are the greatest thing on Earth. Gaby is that west coast girl I fantasize I could be- healthy, fit, tan, on it, bikes everywhere, doesn’t drink eight cups of coffee a day like I do, and makes the most amazing food on the internets.

When she found out we were heading west to LA this week she called up her best friends and creative soul mates: food photographer Matt Armendariz and food & prop stylist Adam Pearson and threw together a backyard pizza party in our honor. Knowing that Ecco Domani pairs well with pizza parties, Kevin and I brought over a mirage of wines by Ecco Domani to pair with the different style pizzas from the red Merlot to the Pinot Grigio and ended the night sipping on the sweet prosecco by the outdoor fire.

Being a New Yorker, anytime I get to go to someone’s freestanding home is thrilling, and this backyard setup was one of the best I’ve ever been to. Matt and Adam have been working together for 10 years as a photography & styling duo for multiple cookbooks and industry giants such as the Food Network and in the new media world for places like Gaby’s site. Aside from curating a beautiful historic 1920′s Long Beach Home, running a successful studio that banks on editorial style and natural light, they were also married seven years ago on the first day same sex marriage became legal in California.

Cooking, eating, and hanging out with three major foodies comes with a bounty of tips and new recipes to update your traditional pizza. Pizza is one of mine and Kevin’s favorite at-home meals which typically occurs on Sunday night paired with a bottle of red wine and Game of Thrones. Of course it would be different taking this pizza party out west with old friends and new. Matt and Adam set up a pizza topping station where you could customize your own pie while we all hung out, caught up on our world travels, enjoying that perfect LA weather with our California sun kissed skin.

It’s nice to be reminded that the best things in life are shared memories with friends over good food and great wine. I hope this inspires you to have your own pizza party with friends or family and try out one of the recipes below and, of course, any pizza can only made better with a bottle of Ecco Domani.

 {PS- I brought one of my old Polaroid cameras some impossible film to take some instant party pics, the kind you can hold on to and rediscover one day in an old shoe box. You’ll see some of the moments developed below!} 

Scroll down for new recipe ideas and pizza cooking tips Adam & Gaby!

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For your pizza party, arrange jars of a variety of ingredients for guests to mix and match their favorite flavors and try to add some surprises such as roasted corn, jalapeño, green onions and soy-rizo (soy version of chorizo!).

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We always make our own dough, it’s so easy and makes the whole pizza process even more fun. Gaby’s recipe for homemade pizza doughContinue reading…

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FAENA Miami

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Before Miami, the name Alan Faena didn’t mean much to me… that is until I stepped into his world. The suave Argentine man who always dresses in white has a Gatsby-eque mystery about him. Where did he come from? What are his plans? What is he thinking? Over the course of Art Basel he hosted the most beautiful asados, a South American tradition of barbecue, with the famed Patagonia-raised, French trained Chef Francis Mallmann. Chef Mallmann uses every aspect of the fires: from the flames to the thick smoke and smoldering ashes, a style of cooking he grew up with in Patagonia hanging around the gaucho cowboys with their simple way of life. He has now taken it all over the world including, on this day, the spectacular seaside of Miami.

So here we are at this beautiful asado on Miami Beach where Alan Faena has choreographed a collection of artist collaborations, celebrity friends, and world media for one big purpose- to talk about his vision for FAENA Miami, a new cultural district covering six city blocks complete with a hotel, shopping bazaar, multiple restaurants, arts center and the most exclusive condos in Miami with asking prices starting at $50 million. Just to paint a small picture of what is to come, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and his wife Catherine Martin have been enlisted to remake the 1940′s Saxony Hotel which I can only imagine will be… spectacular, spectacular.

If this new Miami cultural district is anything like what Mr. Faena already built in Buenos Aires, this might set a new bar stateside of hospitality and experience.

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5 Favorite Lunch Spots of Tribeca

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We’ve been living in Tribeca for a year now – not that long, but long enough to sample many of the neighborhood’s restaurants and make habits of where we like to go most often. Here are my current top 5 Favorite Lunch Spots of Tribeca

KAFFE 1668

coffee shop turned lunch spot

I’ve been coming to Kaffe 1668 for coffee and organic juices (the Brazil nut is my hangover cure) for months before I realized they have an extensive and amazing lunch menu with many of the ingredients coming from local farms. Their Alkalizing Salad with Quinoa is a weekly staple of mine but when I’m really feeling like an all-American treat I go for the Turkey Club which is TO DIE FOR. Bonus – your lunch items come with a complimentary tea. Yay.

Kaffe 1668, one of my 5 favorite Tribeca lunch places I'm currently loving

Below, outside Kaffe 1668 in Banana Republic’s recent collaboration with designer Roland Mouret which made the PERFECT high-waisted pant I’ve been living in! The collaboration is mostly sold out online but can still be found in-store.

Kaffe 1668, one of my 5 favorite Tribeca lunch places I'm currently loving

TINY’s

The little space that could…

First off, it’s pink. When you’re a building as old as the one Tiny’s hangs out in, you have to really make a splash to be seen. Even if the facade wasn’t pink though, we’d still know about it because the food is DELISH. Why I love it: Perfect lunch spot for business meetings or casual dates with a very ‘hip’ crowd…. and the burata salad with peach compote is on my list of “last meal” items. SO GOOD.

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