BlackBook Exclusive: Tantalizing Cocktail Recipes From Downtown NYC’s Buzziest New Bars

 

We can veritably feel the electricity in the air, as the annual arrival of spring approaches (though admittedly, this was a wimp of a winter). Extended daylight, warming temperatures, and let’s face it, serious FOMO, make for the perfect inspirations to spend these more pleasant evenings sipping your way through seasonal cocktails at the newest downtown tippling hotspots.

Soho’s hotel bar scene, for one, just got much more interesting with the opening of A.L.B. at the Arlo Soho, over on the western fringe. Sitting by the floor-to-ceiling-windows facing the verdant courtyard is the perfect way to decompress after another day of soul-crushing headlines. But the East Village is also heating up, with Mr. Paradise, an Art Deco inspired boite, and Paper Daisy, a serious cocktail spot in the former Cafe Orlin.

 

A.L.B.

 

Finish the night by ducking into into the sultry Peppi’s Cellar, the bar under the new Aussie-by-way-of-Italia stunner Gran Tivoli, fittingly in NoLIta, The brick walls and moody lighting make one feel as if you’ve been transported to a Tuscan wine cellar, only with a thing for forward-looking cocktail creations.

Having made the rounds, we asked each to share with us the secret behind a favorite from their impressive drinks menus. Do try these at home – but make sure to also sip them in situ. And leave the designer parka at home.

Where’s Dallas (pictured top)

Paper Daisy, Bartender Thomas Flynn

1.5oz Spring 44 Vodka
0.5oz Lillet Rose
0.75oz grapefruit cordial
0.5oz lemon juice
grapefruit
Seltzer
Method: build ingredients, shake with ice, and fine strain into a highball glass with ice and top with seltzer

Ilegal Poker Game

A.L.B. at Arlo Soho

●      1.5 oz. Shiso infused Absolut Elyx Vodka
●      1.5 oz. K-G-L cordial (equal parts ginger syrup, kalamansi juice, and lychee syrup)
●      .50 oz. Lime juice
●      3 dashes Thai Chile Tincture
●      Glassware: Double Rocks Glass
Garnish: 3 Dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters over the Ice, Shiso Leaf, Ginger Candy
Method: Add all ingredients into a small tin. Add a small amount of crushed ice and whip until you no longer hear the ice moving. This should aerate the drink without over dilution. Strain over crushed ice. Add more crushed ice to create a cone and garnish.

 

 

The Party Lobster

Mr. Paradise, Bartender Will Wyatt

4 Dashes Fermented Habanero/Garlic Brine
1/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz Mezcal
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Clarified Watermelon Cordial
1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
A riff on the spicy margarita, sets your mouth on fire with habanero, but here it’s fermented and paired with savory garlic, watermelon, lime, and a blend of agave spirits.

 

Amaro-Palooza

Peppi’s Cellar, Dave Fisher, Beverage Director

0.75 oz Lemon Juice
0.33 oz Orange Juice
0.75 Simple Syrup
1 oz egg white
0.17 oz Branca Mentha
0.25 oz Triple Sec
0.25 oz Cappalletti
0.25 oz Campari
Method: Double shake and strain over cubed ice in a highball glass. Top with some. Garnish with a orange wedge

 

Peppi’s Cellar

 

First Images: Nobu Hotel Palo Alto Will Become the Palace of Zen-Minimalist Extravagance it Has Always Meant to Be

 

There’s enough money in the Silicon Valley corridor right now, that it’s not the least bit surprising a luxury brand would skip right over San Francisco, and plant its flag in the high tech corridor just to the south. And that is indeed exactly what Nobu did, taking over the Epiphany hotel in Palo Alto in 2017 – with plans just announced to last ratchet it up to the brand’s lofty level of zen-minimalist extravagance (with apologies for the seeming contradiction in terms), in the form of the rebranded Nobu Hotel Palo Alto.

Santa Monica based Montalba Architects, who designed Nobu Ryokan in Malibu, will oversee the upgrade. Keeping with the landscape’s natural theme, the light chiseled stone and golden hued wood will make for an elegant display of minimalism fit for a Wallpaper* magazine shoot. Guests will be welcomed via a floating stone and teak railed staircase to the second floor reception lounge, complete with fireplace, mid-century George Nakashima lounge chairs, and sculpted lighting courtesy of John Wigmore. And if it even need be said, a typically splashy Nobu restaurant will occupy two floors of the eight story property.

 

 

The 73 Asian influenced and tech enabled rooms will be outfitted with Alexa for smart commands over various fixtures (designed to impress a steady parade of Silicon Valleyites), Toto Neorest, washlet toilets, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows with private patio access. (Special bonus: views to the ethereal Santa Cruz Mountains.)

For a distinctive Nobu experience, book one of the Ryokan traditional Japanese styled rooms, which will feature high ceilings, slatted teak wall paneling, 90” televisions (especially important to Game of Thrones fans, surely), and a freestanding wood soaking tub.

Other amenities will include a 24 hour in-room Nobu dining menu, and a state-of-the-art fitness studio with Peloton bikes.

Considering all the free-flowing expense accounts, expect other super-luxury hotel brands to be currently scouting Silicon Valley locations. For its part, the new Nobu Hotel Palo Alto will be unveiled in early 2020 – with a $500- $700 price tag on the rooms.

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Sublime Velvet Chicken Recipe From the New Philippe Chow Downtown

 

Arriving from Hong Kong in the late ’70s, Philippe Chow was quickly swept up into the new upscale Chinese dining trend. He would go on to spend 25 years working in the kitchen for the already legendary restauranteur Michael Chow (no relation), at the NYC outpost of the super swanky celeb-magnet Mr. Chow.

A decade ago, the by-then celebrated Chef Philippe opened his first namesake restaurant on New York’s Upper East Side, and has been serving up Beijing-style dishes to a distinctly cosmopolitan crowd – it remains an uptown hotspot. So it made sense then, that he would eventually make his way down below 23rd street – and so the dazzling new Philippe Chow Downtown arrived this month to much fanfare.

 

 

The subterranean location at the Dream Downtown hotel, is a visually decadent oasis, with a mirrored staircase, gold leafed ceiling, bold red accents – which signifies good fortune and joy in Chinese culture – a dark, sexy bar area and, naturally, a gold bamboo encased DJ booth. The all day and late night menu features Chow’s signature classics like salt and pepper lobster, peking duck carved table side and served with freshly made pancakes, and dim sum options made from hand-pulled noodles and dumplings.

The great culinary master was kind enough to share with BlackBook his inimitable recipe for Chow’s Velvet Chicken. But we highly recommend visiting Philippe Downtown post haste, to enjoy it in the proper surrounds.

 

Chow’s Velvet Chicken

Ingredients:
– 2 chicken breasts
– 1/2 of a carrot
– 2 celery
– 3 Chinese mushrooms
– 3 tablespoons of Chicken broth
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– 1 teaspoon of corn starch
– 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
– 2 pieces of Chili (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Cut up 2 chicken breasts into strips.
  2. Chop 1/2 of a carrot, 2 pieces of celery, and 3 Chinese mushrooms into small pieces.
  3. Put 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in the wok and heat it up for 1 minute.
  4. When the oil is heated, put the chicken strips into the wok.
  5. Put 3 tablespoons of chicken broth into the wok.
  6. Then, put the chopped carrots, celery, and mushrooms into the wok.
  7. Stir it for 30 seconds.
  8. Then put 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch into the wok.
  9. (Optional) If you would like the velvet chicken spicy, place 2 chopped chili peppers into the wok.
  10. Cook for 5 minutes.

 

BlackBook Rooms With a View: The Stylish New AC Hotel New York Downtown

 

It’s a thing with us: admittedly, we’re sometimes more taken with what we see outside our hotel window than what’s actually there between the four walls. And a recent stay at the new AC Hotel New York Downtown did, indeed, find us pressing nose to glass, taking in the august tableaux of the afternoon sun glinting off the towering edifices of Lower Manhattan.

AC, if you didn’t know, is a Spanish hotel company (partnered up with Marriott in 2011) that has always put design at the center of its singular ethos. Last summer, the jaw-dropping AC Hotel by Marriott New York Times Square debuted across from The New York Times Building, with one of the more fabulous rooftop scenes in the city. Its recently opened, dramatically glass-clad downtown cousin, perched on a low-key corner of Maiden Lane, is a more intimate affair, though hardly less disposed to good looks.

 

 

Indeed, a sprawling, living-room-chic second-floor lounge-bar has the cool residential feel of your Wallpaper*-reading friend’s very smart apartment. It’s a comfy place for work and meetings by day, a very stylish spot for cocktails in the evening.

But the minimalist elegance of the rooms, with their warm woods and sharp, clean lines, also includes impressive floor-to-ceiling windows, even in the bathrooms (so you can shave and primp to a spectacular view). On a clear day, the skyline reflections are literally breathtaking. And with the AC’s reasonable rates, splurging for a King Terrace River View Room will kick that visual dazzle up several notches – especially on a clear day.

With the banks all leaving and the former Financial District going much more residential these last few years, as well as the location just a couple of blocks from the newly fashionable Seaport District, the AC Hotel New York Downtown is definitely our pick for aesthetes traveling on a less-than-five-star budget.

 

BlackBook Exclusive: Chinese Deep Fried Flounder Recipe from American Son Chef Tim Ma

 

Venerable D.C. chef Tim Ma’s new restaurant American Son (opened last August) is a collaboration of his experiences growing up as a Chinese-American in the U.S. during the 1970s. Located in the lobby of the also new-ish Eaton Hotel D.C., the 150 seat eatery is both airy and modern, outfitted with garage doors that roll up to the city sidewalk, as well as chrome and leather seating, an expansive open kitchen, and plenty of greenery.

American Son – aptly named, as it was how his parents often referred to him – serves comfort food from Ma’s global perspective. The menu, which gives vegetables a prominent stage, focuses on seasonal and organic fare to mesh with the hotel’s wellness (of both mind and body) ethos. Among the bites, plates, and large format dishes, definite highlights include the house made ricotta with lavender honey; tofu gnocchi with white miso beurre monte, apple, sunchoke, chive, and black truffle; and spaghetti squash ssam with buttered lettuces and ssam Korean sauces.

Though a genuine Ma signature dish is the deep fried flounder, a homage to one of his best NYC memories, when his family would drive into NYC on the weekends for the the flounder and snails at Hop Kee, the iconic 50-year-old restaurant in Chinatown. Loaded with a handful of Chinese spices and sauces, it is definitely worth breaking your New Year’s diet resolution for.

Chef Ma was generous enough to share the special recipe with BlackBook.

 

Image by Adrian Gaud

 

Chef Tim Ma’s Deep Fried Flounder

“This dish is inspired by the iconic NYC restaurant  Hop Kee on Mott Street in Chinatown, which celebrated 50 years in operation this year. I fondly remember this restaurant because my parents would drive us from Pleasantville, NY every weekend to have this flounder and the snails. Also because one of my best NYC memories is the Chinatown gangs having a fireworks battle on the rooftops as my parents shielded us and we sprinted to get out of way.”
1.5 # Whole Flounder (S & G)
2 cups Rice Flour
2 cups Corn Starch
1/4 cup Chinese 5-spice
1/4 kosher salt
Chili Garlic Sauce
20 red thai bird eye chilli, chopped
10 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup ginger, minced
1/2 cup shallots, minced
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sesame oil
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp fish sauce
Pickled Ginger
1 quart peeled ginger, julienned
2 cups rice vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/8 cup sugar
For the pickled ginger:
1. Heat rice vinegar, water, salt, sugar until salt and sugar dissolve.
2. Pour over julienned ginger
3. Cool down and refrigerate over night
For the Flounder
1. Slice 3 or 4 cuts on each side of the flounder, all the way to the bone
2. Mix the rice flour, corn starch, 5-spice, and salt together
3. Dredge the flounder and completely coat in the rice flour mixture
4. Fry at 350F for 6 minutes or until fish is fully cooked
For the Chili Garlic Sauce
1. Mortar and pestle the chiles, garlic, ginger, shallots, palm sugar, kosher salt, sesame oil together to form a paste.
2. Whisk in the rice vinegar, fish sauce, and tamari to the paste.
3. Pour sauce over fish, serve with pickled ginger, lime wedges, and some sprigs of cilantro
4. Make sure to eat the FINS.

Exalted Roman Chef Stefano Callegari Brings His Pizza Ecstasy to Soho

Images by Francesco Sapienza

 

Famous for creating the trapizzino, a modern Italian street food (last year an outpost of his Rome restaurant of the same name opened on New York’s Lower East Side), Stefano Callegari is a star chef in his own right. Now he’s doing a dedicated pizza spot, La Rossa, in Soho – insinuating himself in great debate between Chicago and NYC pie supremacy.

So what makes this pizza so special? It’s all in the dough, if you must know. Callegari – who also has restaurants in Florence and Milan – attributes his passion for the art and science of pizza making to his many visits to Naples, as well as his travels as a young flight attendant. This all led him to challenge the status quo dough, resulting in one that is palpably smoother and more easily digestible.

 

 

La Rossa is serving up classic but delectable pizzas like the Buffalo e Pachino (fresh cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, basil), and the Napoli, with anchovies. But our particular appetite led us straight to his signature collection pies, influenced by the popular pasta dishes of Rome. To wit, the Cacio e Pepe, a pecorino romano, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil creation with a crispy, airy crust and that same creamy texture that you get from its namesake pasta. Irresistibile!

Pizzas come in traditional round and pizza quadrata by the slice. But if you are a fervent antipasto-ite like us, you can make a magnifico sharing meal of plates of suppli, insalata, burrata and salumi.

And with all apologies to NYC and Chicago, the best pizza really does come from Roma and Napoli. Now you can find out for yourself.

 

 

 

Visiting WhistlePig: Five Steps to Understanding a Great Rye Whiskey

 

 

As temperatures drop, there is something to the warming feeling you get after a sip of whiskey, as the spicy amber liquid flows along the back of your throat and tingles the rest of your body.

With that in mind, we recently had the rare privilege to visit the bucolic WhistlePig Farm in Shorham, VT – where the award-winning rye is grown and distilled. As we tasted our way through casks finished with Sauternes, Pinot Noir, and Port, we found our appreciation for the sometimes misunderstood spirit elevated to a whole other stratosphere.

The legendary distiller Dave Pickerell (who, sadly, passed away not long after our visit) credits the rise of cocktail culture, coupled with his time as master distiller at Makers Mark, as the impetus for his aspiration to simply make the best rye in the wold. WhistlePig remains a testament to his passion and innovation, which has contributed to the spirit’s robust comeback – perhaps as the craze for bourbon begins to level off. The farm’s triple terroir – rye grown from its fields, water from its well, and oak from the surrounding trees – as well as the on-site mill, distillation house, and bottling facility, are the essence of its success.

 

 

“Dave would always talk about our 12 Year Old World, with its triple finish marriage, likening it to a symphony,” recalls WhisltePig CEO Jeff Kozak. “The madeira finish, the bulk of the blend, acted as the bass and strings section, with bigger, spicier notes setting the tone for the show. The sauternes finish, with its lighter, sweeter notes, came in as the woodwinds and horns, lending complexity to the tune. And the port finish, with its big, fruity punch on the back end, was the percussion, adding cymbal claps at just the right moments to complement the melody.”

Having the opportunity, we asked Jeff Kozak and Master Blender Pete Lynch to enlighten us.

 

Five Key Elements of a Great Rye

Balancing the natural, bold spiciness of the grain with the more subtle herbal, floral and sweeter notes.
*
Choosing the right barrel profile and allowing enough time in barrel to hit the sweet spot of aging, where the barrel character is present but does not dominate the grain character of the rye. Rye can typically stand up to much longer aging due to the boldness of the grain flavor.

*

Blending the right barrels to find that proper union between all the flavors rye has to offer, presenting a whiskey that is not only complex, but well balanced.

 

 

Choosing the right finishing barrels, from ex-wine casks, to new oak, and even other spirits. We have a wide variety of flavor profiles in ryes from across North America, and each takes well to certain finish types. Our goal has always been to add a harmonic top note to the flavor we already have by using shorter finishing times and carefully monitoring the casks, so as to not overwhelm the base whiskey.

*

Patience, persistence, and experimentation. Experimentation was one of the hallmarks of Dave’s approach to Rye Whiskey, and can be witnessed in products like the 12 Year Old World or FarmStock Rye. Ever one to try new things, Dave’s vision seemed boundless.

 

Holiday Suggestions: for a seasonal cocktail, add mulled cider; with dinner, add a splash of 10 Year into your gravy for a spicy kick; as an after dinner toast, serve neat, on the rocks, or in a simple, classic cocktail like an old fashioned

 

The New UNIQLO x Alexander Wang HEATTECH Collection Wants to Keep You Warm This Autumn

 

As it turns out, while we’ve been searching in vain for garments that can cool us down in the oppressive summer city heat, UNIQLO HEATTECH has been chicly warming those for whom winter presents a much bigger challenge.

Of course, in these collab-crazy days, it’s hardly a surprise that, ten years on, two fashion giants would reconvene for just that purpose. And so it is that the UNIQLO x Alexander Wang HEAATECH Collection arrives in stores this Thursday, November 8, a decade after their first alliance – and just as the chillier climes seem to be taking a decisive hold of our weather situation. This time, it’s all about achieving your inner” stylishness – as the women’s and men’s undergarments making up the collection are meant to peek chicly out from under all those on-trend upper layers you’ll be flaunting this autumn and winter.

 

 

“When I look into expanding into additional categories,” explains Wang, “I seek out partners that really can innovate the product we make, and how our fans can access it. UNIQLO are the ideal partners for this collection of innerwear, because we share an appreciation of functionality and utilitarianism.”

There are well-fitted, good-looking crewneck tees, ribbed bodysuits, bikini shorts and ribbed leggings for her, ribbed tank tops, boxer briefs and extra warm long johns for him.

Wang concludes, “I’m am thrilled our collaboration has resulted in developing a new HEATTECH line; the perfect place to pick up from where we left off ten years ago.”

Let it snow, let it snow…

 

Moby, Rufus Wainwright Join ‘Swing Left’ Rallies in NYC & LA to Get Out the Vote

Moby image by Jonathan Nesvadba

 

Surely never before in our lifetimes has voting in an election been so crucial as in the upcoming midterms – with the future of so many significant issues at stake.

Electrifying the cause will be progressive political organization Swing Left, formed in early 2017 in the wake of the shocking election of Donald Trump to the presidency. To wit, their ‘Last Weekend’ Kickoff Rallies will be taking place on both coasts next Thursday, November 1, with a galvanizing a-list lineup at each agitating for the cause.

In New York City, in the Great Hall at Cooper Union, musical talent Sara Bareilles and Chloe Flower will be joined by actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Piper Perabo, Taylor Schilling and Amber Tamblyn; while in Los Angeles, a veritable festival of musical guests will include Moby, Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Karen O & Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Dave Grohl’s The Bird and The Bee.

“In order to drive voter turnout on the scale of a presidential election this year,” explains Michelle Finocchi, CMO and Founding Member of Swing Left, “we need to drive volunteering on the scale of a presidential election.This is what Swing Left’s cultural mobilization efforts are all about.”

But Swing Left’s mission goes beyond the traditional registration endeavors – they are determined to motivate people to be genuinely engaged and involved in the fight to make change.

“Prior get-out-the-vote campaigns have prompted people to simply pledge to vote or to register to vote,” she says. “But in order to win this year, we need to go further and not just vote; they need to also volunteer to support Democratic candidates across the country and help us take back the House.”

Of course, those who don’t live in NYC and LA are very much encouraged to take up the cause, and influence elections in their own states.

As Moby himself has said, “It’s heartbreaking that so many hundreds of millions of people around the world are desperate for the right to vote; but here in America people stay home on election day.”

Swing Left wants nothing more than for you to prove him wrong.