Enjoy the Serge while you read…

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Last nights in Paris are tough. There is something about the city’s energy, its history, its sights and smells that make it impossible to leave. To soften the blow, last nights in Paris are overtaken by the consumption of delicious and innovative French Food. Last year was Le Verre Volé, a restaurant in a wine store serving up gentrified provincial cuisine–for this occasion Sanaë and I finished a bottle of Vouvray together. This year it was Paris’ newest “bobo” bistro in the 10th Arrondissement, Inaki Aizpitarte’s Le Chateaubriand, a chef and his restaurant stacked with all the hype the world can offer. Maybe by oblivion or sheer naivete, I was unaware that Le Chateaubriand, was just ranked #15 in the WORLD on San Pelligrino’s list of top 50. Without preconceived notions of perfection, Le Chateaubriand’s 60€, mercurial prix fixe exceeded our expectations and awoke the magic that emanates from Paris’ cobblestone streets on last nights.
 
Yes, we were exhausted from a day of travel from the South; yes, it was a bit too hot inside despite the cool air outside; yes the wine arrived a bit too late, and yes the clientele was a bit over the top. But these were only blips in a two hour, 5 course meal filled with warm service, chilled watermelon soup and mint ice cream, funky whites and juicy reds, and proteins from the land and the sea.
 

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Musical Accompaniment:
 
The Smiths–Unloveable

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The Smiths–Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

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Morrissey–Suedehead

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An excerpt from my illustrated novel The Woo:
 
Stop & Shop’s different at night. Desperate. Shouldn’t be here when not working. You couldn’t find a more pathetic way to spend your 20th birthday. Not telling anyone it’s today. I somehow thought I’d be famous by now. Who should really be famous is Justine.
 
Mark holds up two cantaloupes and says: “Nina’s melons!” Ryan throws an apple. It hits Mark’s arm. Nina Lowry? Nina Lanuto? Nina Vacarri? Mark starts juggling oranges and Justine pelts him with green grapes. I’m surprised to feel responsible, like I need people to behave. How do I behave around Ryan now? He acts like nothing happened so I do too, pretending I don’t notice every little thing. I don’t want to know. Nina Scarduzio?
 
Mark buys a gallon of water. Justine pockets a pack of Trident. Thank God Fran’s not on. I don’t know the checkout girl. Ryan smiles at her. She has fake nails. He has no discrimination. I’m starting to feel supremely stupid.
 
 
 



 
BROOKLYN BACKYARD BRUNCH TUNES:

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Sometimes phenomenal food experiences come in waves. Maybe it is because when you enter that elevated gastronomic mindset, it’s hard to fall down. In this instance, we piggybacked one of the greatest NYC restaurant experiences at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Café one night, with a well-executed homemade brunch in my Brooklyn apartment the following morning. In fact we really never stopped living and dreaming about food. Sanaë and I went straight from Union Square Café, where we ate and drank to say the least — tempura fried asparagus with crispy pork belly, linguine with flaked halibut & broccolini, slow cooked baby lamb, a sundae of porter ice cream & salted caramel popcorn and multiple glasses of wine — directly to Whole Foods to pick up ingredients for our brunch party.
 
Over our dinner at Union Square Café, we put together a strategy for the morning’s menu. Sanaë wanted to make sea salt brownies, chickpea salad, a “breakfast” ricotta and orange cheesecake from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook, River Cottage Everyday and a zucchini-ricotta galette from Smitten Kitchen, all fairly labor and time-intensive dishes. Planning ahead, Sanaë made the brownies when we returned home the evening prior, and the dough for the galette early in the morning as soon as she woke up. On the other hand, I took on a couple of dishes to be cooked and served minutes before eating: a baby spinach salad with oranges and a balsamic, Dijon vinaigrette, and mushroom, spinach, shallot frittata sandwiches with pickled onions on mini toasted brioche buns. As a result, entertaining guests was quite hard for me. Sanaë watched her tarts and cakes rise and bake in the oven while sipping a grapefruit mimosa.
 

RECIPES & TRACK LISTINGS


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Sebastian’s Favorite Italian Tunes by Vinicio Copossela

 
We met with Sebastian Widmann on a warm February afternoon. The restaurant hadn’t opened yet and Sebastian was drilling holes in the wall for a wooden bench. He wore simple dark green linen trousers, a cotton grey t-shirt and as usual, was unshaven. You would never guess that Sebastian is in his late thirties or owns a restaurant: he is effortlessly handsome, tall, and looks like a scruffy actor or a European philosopher. His mother is British, his father German, but both of his parents were born in Argentina and have traveled the world. He wears a t-shirt or a thin shirt no matter the weather, and he has that slight tan of someone who spends more time biking around then scrambling through the New York subways. He likes to talk, he stops by tables to chat with customers, he smiles, he is calm and well spoken. Women will often stare at him but he seems oblivious to their glances and continues to coolly walk around the restaurant in his brown sneakers.
 
Many people stumble upon the restaurant industry, especially in New York City. In pursuit of a wallet to sustain an artistic lifestyle, artists, writers and actors alike, find themselves more times than not waiting tables, running food or even managing restaurants. They soon realize that the perks of a borderline normal occupation, and a semi-regular paycheck are grand. At Malaparte, a budding, Italian neighborhood restaurant in the heart of the west village, co-owner and general manager Sebastian Widmann stumbled upon the life of a restaurateur after a meandering path. As we listened to him tell his tale through the world of international relations, journalism, documentary film, philosophy and his peripheral forays into the restaurant world, we asked Sebastian, “At any point in your life did you imagine opening a restaurant in New York City?” To which he replied, “After a while you have to commit to something…the restaurant world made me unmotivated to find another job.” It is not so often that someone “settles” for the volatile, nocturnal life of running a restaurant, but for Sebastian, this just made sense.
 
The Restaurateur: Sebastian Widmann

Photo Credits: Kira Simon-Kennedy

 

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A New Mixtape from Nicky Offenberg, with Album Artwork from Colin Sutherland. Nicky was inspired by old school mixology and psychedelics. “Its new music that pays homage to an offbeat era.” Colin channeled what he was hearing, depicting a clandestine distillery with a 1960′s feel. Throw this mixtape on at your next cocktail party, and try infusing some of our Brenden Susens-Jackson’s (our new mixology contributor) absinthe recipes into your repertoire. Directions below..
 

 

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A Japanese State of Mind Mixtape: Click Play and listen to this short mashup of Japanese influenced tunes over a bowl of Udon, Samonyaki Mayonaiseaji, or pick one of Forsyth’s most delectable sweets off the album cover below.
 

Mixtape Cover Compliments of Forsyth Harmon

 

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