beautique ny

beautique || 8 w. 58th street, new york, ny 10019 ||

“first impressions are of utmost importance, especially in a pretentious setting.”

blame it on the recent write up on page six in the new york post attracting a particular high profile clientele now scrambling over to this venue like there’s no tomorrow. wear your 9′s, bring your 10′s because this is serious.

upon entering beautique [after getting the approval from the almighty gatekeeper that you are worthy enough to join] you are instantly greeted by a beautiful giant bouquet of flowers + a shiny birchwood baby grand piano — double win.20140723-235100.jpg20140723-235118.jpg20140723-235205.jpgnaturally i had to test it out. 20140723-235328.jpgthen you pass a staircase of angled mirrors [last looks to ensure your face is perfect] before you descend into a den of judgmental patrons & staff more opulence. [the staff was actually very warm + welcoming.]20140723-235345.jpgwallpaper of bittersweet cut rose heads or lychee, i haven’t quite figured it out yet, but either way, really contributing to the aesthetics. they care!20140723-235437.jpgif you are special enough, you will be guided through the kitchen to a secret back room only available to the VIP & such. the walls are covered in artwork including warhol originals & other reputable artists.20140723-235452.jpgof course i made a pitstop behind the kitchen counter. “i’m topchef i swear!”20140723-235833.jpgconcentrating on placing the snow pea shoot perfectly onto the roasted leg of lamb dish. 20140724-000031.jpgquick snaps of a few dishes: salmon + soft-shell crab. the lighting is dark in the back room & since i dislike flash for dishes, i didn’t photo-document the complete dinner. 20140724-000039.jpgrecommended appetizers not photographed: mixed green salad with fruit – simple yet delicious. // spaghetti in a sweet tomato sauce.

recommended main courses not photographed: roasted chicken breast – very juicy & tender – not overcooked at all – i was impressed. // roasted sweet potato over buckwheat, mushrooms, & spinach mix

basically i’d like to return for the 3rd time to try everything else on the menu, especially the items laced with foie gras, & even more so after learning that beautique is under the helm of star chef craig hopson, formerly of le cirque.20140724-000543.jpgespresso martini + double espresso20140724-000614.jpglouis xiii + other fine whiskey20140724-000812.jpgkeepin it classy with the soft shell crab: slightly salty but the bed of puréed peas & greens was delightful.20140724-011313.jpgsnap of the ladies. you can’t sit with us but you can try to charm us.

i hear tuesday nights are especially great there since rogue nights brings in a crazy wonderful bunch. from the beautiful decor to the trendy, upscale crowd to the attentively crafted menu selection, this is a rare combo + gold medal winner.

beautique is simply magnifique!

also it’s located near the infamous plaza hotel & right next to the paris theater…oh paris.20140724-012344.jpgparting is such sweet sorrow, but there will always be tomorrow!20140724-173701.jpgchanneling the end of the night scene of [classy] drunks on the piano from gatsby.

Share Button

novikov – london

novikov || 50a berkeley st., london || +44 20 7399 4330

touchdown [fancy] londontown!

this dark [yet perfectly lit for footos: foodie photos], decadent, festive, sexy venue filled with beautiful people [with british accents] & especially fresh seafood [+wifi!] deserves a proper standing ovation, so here it is:
20140714-141458.jpgles poissons, les poissons…20140714-141628.jpghee hee hee…20140714-141658.jpghoh hoh hoh…20140714-141716.jpgafter saying hello to the kitchen staff & shaking hands with the lively seafood on display, onto the real excitement – the eye candy food & beverages:20140714-142922.jpgfrom the bar area, starting with perfectly crafted espresso martinis – not overly sweet like one too many places.20140714-143538.jpgas we venture over to our table, the dining room faces the fresh seafood flown in first class from various parts of the world + the seemingly open kitchen for you to enjoy the art of cooking segregated by a glass wall so as not to ruin the scent of our carefully slathered perfumes [or colognes].20140714-144358.jpgshrimp dumpling topped with ikura.20140714-144442.jpglangoustine carpaccio – YES.20140714-144606.jpgo-toro, you’re so fatty. hotate, you’re so hot. YES.
20140714-144821.jpgikura, you’re so ballsy. YES.20140714-144956.jpg[edible?] floral drinks for the ladies. 20140714-145058.jpgcrispy fatty duck with microgreens, pomegranate, pine nuts = mixed guilty + guilt-free feelings cancel out = nonetheless, delicious.20140714-145256.jpgking crab legs cooked with superman butter.20140714-145338.jpglightly seared razor clams in a citrus sauce – YES.20140714-145439.jpgspicy sea bass in an orange sauce [think fancy orange chicken] – not my favorite but still done well.20140714-150325.jpgcrispy soft shell crab – yum.20140714-150402.jpgi changed it up to a whiskey-based drink served in bamboo for a tropical effect. for dessert, we had few more espresso martinis – they were consistently great. overall, wonderful experience! bravo novikov!

next stop: the rififi club [members only] for restaurateur arkady novikov’s newest creations. more soon!

Share Button

world cup

inspiration for the finals:
20140712-135609.jpgmister italia perfecto, fabio cannavaro.20140712-135617.jpghail to the glorious dolce & gabbana ad campaign. team italia!20140712-135624.jpggo italia! oh wait they’re not involved anymore. so sad.

brazil should redeem themselves & get 3rd, germany 2nd, & argentina should take 1st & make evita proud. all the winners should do nude half-naked ad campaigns featuring their perfectly-sculpted bodies. this is what world cup is about. this is real life.

july 13 add-on: ok so brazil didn’t really redeem themselves. those cutie pie netherland boys played better & won deservingly, despite some controversial referee calls.20140713-124801.jpgbut go argentina! take home the trophy!20140713-125055.jpg

les benjamins

love notes from paris,
drums on my heart…

20140709-104726.jpgparis fashion week is here. an up & coming turkish designer brand is making waves across the borders: les benjamins. the cocktail party in le marais hosted by the lovely paula was filled with special guests & fashionistas as the new collection was unveiled.20140709-195015.jpgwhen paula & i first met @ cannes film festival, all dolled up & glowing #tbt20140710-142315.jpg20140709-195028.jpgmy favorite piece in the collection: albert einstein + miley cyrus. e=m[iley]c[yrus] squared. brilliant. 20140709-195044.jpgsister loved it too.20140710-183340.jpgcute + hyperactive dog spotted. must pick up. he went for a kiss.20140709-195103.jpgmust take photos.20140709-195349.jpgsome help from his owner.
20140710-030655.jpgme: is he neutered? [random question]
he: what? [laughs hysterically]20140710-030802.jpgfinally got the shot [after 20 tries]. meet easy, the dog.20140710-030902.jpgthanks to victor malecot at ten days in paris for our sibling photo.20140710-031017.jpgcoolest kids in town selfie: L-R yours truly, myself [in creepy shadow]; benoit, a talented jazz musician [& natural charmer]; martin the attorney; baby co, the little sister & attorney in the making.20140710-031058.jpgbaby co had harassed chased down stalked pet every single dog in sight during our monthlong eurotrip. what is one more lovable italian greyhound?20140710-031114.jpgles benjamins has an effortless chic & feel to their designs. trendy streetwear full of attitude mixed with symbolic images allow one to ponder about pop culture and its influences. the understated cool factor is here to stay.

a great celebration it was with champagne & beer flowing since it was also a glorious win for france against nigeria that day. allez les bleus!20140710-175934.jpg

Share Button

osteria pastella – florence, italy

osteria pastella || via della scala, 17/r – 50123 firenze || 055 2670240

“this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!”

ciao! as i explored italy with my sister, we stumbled upon this place all on our own – no tripadvisor, no help from yelp. i was instantly drawn to the front window showcasing a sous chef making fresh rows of pasta. what can i say, i fall for appearances, thus, this new restaurant had already stolen my heart passed the first test & quickly became my favorite in florence. [plus they have wifi!] 20140706-075904.jpgpuff of joy starter.20140706-075935.jpg20140706-075955.jpgthe caprese was interestingly stacked high & executed well, tasting of mouthfuls of freshness.20140706-080018.jpgthe fresh tagliolini alle vongole was hands down the best vongole i’ve had in italy [at such a reasonable price too]. the strong but well-blended wine + the finely chopped garlic parsley as their sauce was magical – this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!20140706-080109.jpg20140706-080139.jpg20140706-080151.jpgwe went with the pio ix dessert option which was recommended by our server & it was indeed a unique delicacy. i don’t know much beyond the fact that it is named after pope ix & it was delicious. took me a lot of googling to find out exactly what that nostalgic tasting fruit was: a european gooseberry.

then as a very kind welcome to osteria pastella + florence, the [awesome] big boss presented us these following italian specimens: tasty dessert wine & [drum roll] grappa. a lot of grappa.20140706-081649.jpg20140706-081703.jpgit was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

their usage of flavors + quality of ingredients + presentation are comparable perhaps even superior to fine dining places but without the arm-chopping fine dining prices [and snobbery]. it really shows they care about maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine with no extra side orders of bs. such a wonderful experience overall. this is a must-visit when in florence! cannot wait to return to try more from the menu.

note: on fridays, they have live jazz :D what more could you ask for? big thank you to pietro for being a wonderful human being who truly appreciates the arts all across the board – grazie & salute!
20140706-140233.jpgregrettably, i didn’t do justice for the welcoming window photo the first time around.

20140706-142157.jpgso we went back. arrivederci!

Share Button

explorations

explorations, incomparable. can i ever go back?

my recent hiatus can solely be blamed on my latest travels: new york – lake como – milan – venice – florence – naples – rome – nice – london – paris. i will have amazing photos [and stories] to prove it soon, i promise. til then, arrivederci! au revoir!

20140627-232202.jpg

20140627-232735.jpg

shiki beverly hills

shiki beverly hills || 410 n. canon drive, beverly hills, ca 90210 || (310) 888-0036

part of the excitement of food documentation is when you come across a new spot that has not been overdone with hundreds, thousands of reviews prior to yours [similar to claiming ownership of new territory, minus the bloodshed]. this time, it was finding shiki beverly hills, a recent addition to the greater los angeles area since april 2014, and to [restaurant] namedrop for the obsessed snobby knowledgeable foodies, the executive chef mr. shige fujimoto has done his infamous rounds [10+ years] at matsuhisa & a notable michelin starred period at asanebo. rumor has it that he is the reason the latter had earned its star 2 years in a row. well this venture was sure to be promising.

20140515-183238.jpg

peaceful murals of cherry blossoms. am i in tokyo or beverly hills?

20140515-183110.jpg

“shiki” means four seasons. the characters on the chopsticks are the type of wood used, i’m told by one of the young, adorable staff members

20140515-183303.jpg

the delicate cat-like plate for the sake glass

20140515-183047.jpg

MUST-GET: seared wagyu beef with peach. its sister appetizer is the seabass + peach. next time…

20140515-183213.jpg

mixed mushroom + ohba leaf soup in stone teapot. heartwarming.

20140515-183120.jpg

MUST-GET [especially scallop lovers]: seared scallops over marinated plum tomatoes + ohba leaf + a perfect citrusy appetizing sauce.

20140515-183128.jpg

toro tartare topped with caviar + wasabi soy dressing. delicious.

20140515-183153.jpg

MUST-GET FAVORITE: halibut + truffles + ponzu sauce + arugula flowers = LOVE.

20140515-183203.jpg

if you love it, take 2 photos of it. then eat it all! :D

20140515-183057.jpg

miso black cod – a standard dish at many places. fish was delicious.

20140515-183143.jpg

grilled octopus + tomatoes + onions. not usually a fan of octopus [because i think of ursula] but this was very tasty. the tomatoes were flash fried and its texture turned into a happy mystery.

20140515-183221.jpg

what ursula became after king triton banished her.

20140515-183229.jpg

stewed wagyu beef + shishito peppers. FATTY. TENDER. GREAT.

surprises do happen: 5 of the staff surrounded me with this glorious plate, singing the happy birthday song to me. no, i was not embarrassed.

20140515-183252.jpg

a wonderful array of desserts for my belated birthday celebration: 1) vanilla ice cream + fresh berries // 2) passion fruit gelée + panna cotta // 3) blood orange gelée. the combo of the 3 was perfectly sized & not too heavy for the weight watchers. the palette was happy.

20140520-193048.jpg

happy [late] birthday to me.

20140515-183313.jpg

yes, it’s time for the bathroom selfie check. did i stuff myself, check. but can i still take a decent photo, check.

visit shiki beverly hills for a sophisticated but relaxed & proper japanese dining experience to impress a foodie friend with something brand new & awesome. friendship/courtship points will be given for sure. attire is business casual and the lighting is actually pretty bright [like soto ny] + perfect for food photographing without the obnoxious flash chatting with my dear friend about the details of her upcoming wedding in lake como! can’t wait to share that experience with you soon. til then, let me know what you think of shiki so i can relive my experience there! じゃあね!

animal.

animal || 435 north fairfax avenue, los angeles, ca 90036 || 323-782-9225

me: if you were to be a dinosaur, which would you be and why? i’d be pterodactyl so i can fly + oversee everything.

he: i think you’d be t-rex.

me: …cuz i can be such a man meat-eating heartless [queen] b*tch?

he: cuz when the bill comes, your arms are so short, you can’t reach the bill.

returning from such a long hiatus, you’d think i’d have some animal cooler than a llama to post [does that exist?], but no, just food. from the restaurant, animal, where males and females are [wom]animals, the omnivores that we were created to be. it’s a “thing” ya know. first walking in, it’s a dimly lit, casual cool setting with a lot of tables full of animals feasting on their latest kill, sniffing their next bambi-esque victim made of wood, very reminiscent of new york, [or am i just missing it?] especially traif, except minus the foie gras. here goes:

20140512-144521.jpg

starting from a semi-blank slate

20140512-144551.jpg

resembles classic barf but the best gnocchi i’ve had as of late: ricotta gnocchi + 6-hour bolognese. i had one piece & i already felt full. so rich.

20140512-161647.jpg

hamachi tostada – one of my favorites not just because it was raw + light + refreshing but probably because it was raw + light + refreshing with an asian flair to it.

20140512-161702.jpg

veal brains. i tried it. it’s like other animal brains. brains will be brains. #hannibal

20140512-161714.jpg

uni dish. almost like a greek salad, but with uni.

20140512-161725.jpg

spicy beef tendon chips w/charred onion pho dip – this dip was phenomenal. all the flavors of vietnam in a dip.

20140512-161851.jpg

chicken liver toast – as great as everyone hypes it up to be. the additional concentrated caramelized onion on top was a happy surprise.

20140512-161905.jpg

crispy pig head. wasn’t too crazy bout this. i was looking for a fattier texture in the meat.

20140512-161916.jpg

“toad in a hole” basically duck egg, truffle, english pea, french ham, gruyere. more like a brunch piece.

20140512-161926.jpg

poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar. basically fancy chili cheese fries.

20140512-161936.jpg

roasted bone marrow with chimichurri sauce. great, but FAT, but great. bone marrows are easy to make, but this sauce really did it for me.

20140512-161946.jpg

help. i want to tap out already. but notice their dinner napkins with a buttonhole. can be attached as your baby bib, or to your fancy cuff links.

20140512-161954.jpg

fried rabbit legs. couldn’t touch this. i don’t eat adorable little bunnies anymore – i made a promise.

20140512-162003.jpg

crispy broccoli [yay, something else healthy!] slathered in pancetta vinaigrette that tasted of butter sauce, soft egg, & parmesan

20140512-162014.jpg

yellowtail collar, jerk spices, watermelon radish, citrus, palm sugar. this was another light + refreshing dish with an asian flair done well.

20140512-162025.jpg

fried chicken wings.

20140512-162032.jpg

melted p’tit basque & chorizo. i couldn’t touch it.

20140512-162039.jpg

if “flirt with me & love me” were to ever be translated into a dessert, it’d be this LOVELY one: blueberry, frozen brown butter crumble, yogurt, bay leaf ice cream topped with purple edible flowers.

20140512-162350.jpg

interesting [but not a fave] dessert: meyer lemon sherbet, frozen citrus, white chocolate, malted milk

20140512-162123.jpg

this photo doesn’t do justice to my other favorite dessert: cheesecake pudding, passionfruit, seascape strawberries, graham. perfectly balanced so it’s surprisingly not heavy at all.

20140512-204036.jpg

errrthang on the menu, almost, except a few.

20140512-211914.jpg

warning: beer & wines only – no hard liquor. the scotch enthusiast at our table [me] was quite disappointed. but i did enjoy the last bottle of the rosé we chose.

i was shocked to have eaten so much cooked, hearty food that by the end, i felt i had transformed into the beast. a heavy yet exciting journey this was!

20140512-220549.jpg

…so then the beast roamed the streets of los angeles, ripping apart palm trees and claiming bentleys.

llama cop premiere

a llama always has a smile on his face, and it’s infectious.

20140403-024230.jpg

on april 1st, the biggest, coolest april fool’s nationwide was having a real llama walk through the velvet ropes of new hollywood hotspot bootsy bellows [compared to the likes of the box in new york] named after co-owner david arquette’s mother’s burlesque stage name. the premiere for the new starz digital web series, llama cop has finally arrived with a big bang in the club, a debut on tmz, and a notice from the public health department threatening to shut it down [or give it a silly slap on the wrist, but either way, marketing genius for the show + club worldwide]. exclusive evidence that this was real life & that alcohol was served within the club premises with a live llama follows:

20140403-024257.jpg

20140403-024317.jpg

20140403-024328.jpg

20140403-024348.jpg

20140403-024407.jpg

20140403-024419.jpg

20140403-024429.jpg

someone went crazy with the champagne selfies. it’s not everyday a llama walks into the bar…and i’ve met him before…

20140405-023901.jpg

with the 2 starz of the show, como t. llama [in a tux] and walter masterson [where's yours?!]

20140405-024112.jpg

walter giving us a pre-screening speech, and como t. llama giving me the llove stare.

20140405-024146.jpg

3 men & a llama…in a photobooth

20140405-024238.jpg

pose, pose. who needs a red carpet when you can have a llama cop?

20140408-152118.jpg

como t. llama was not ready to leave the club after the premiere… *smirk*

20140408-154624.jpg

instead of smothering faces with a hot groupie at the premiere, he just wanted some hay. that’s a classy llama.

for more photos of the llama star & his friends [dalai llama, barack o' llama, pajama llama, drama llama] back in his fancy shangri-llama ranch before he was splashed all over tmz, now famed like serge [the llama kidnapped by those silly drunk brilliant kids from a zoo & brought around for a fun night out], visit the la la llama post here from their wrap party, without the silly harness [like he would ever bite c'mon. he only spits]. otherwise, enjoy their trailer & show! congrats guys!

Share Button