BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: Provocative New Trishes Single ‘Hydra’

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The Lernaean Hydra was an aquatic serpentine creature of Greek mythology, who dwelled in the Lerna in the Argolid – which was said to be the entrance to the Underworld.

“Hydra” also happens to be the name of the provocative new single by exotic LA songstress Trishes. And should you consider not quite taking her seriously enough, in the song she lyrically warns, “I’ve got a head like a Hydra / Baby don’t make me remind you / Sparks in the dark, welcome to the resistance.”

Uh huh.

“Hydra explores the role that creativity plays in human existence,” she explains. “In the macro sense, humanity developed creativity out of necessity. Without sharp teeth or fast legs or fur coats, our minds grew and adapted.”

Indeed, one is instantly reminded of English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s immortal 1839 quote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”



Trishes continues, “In the micro sense, humanity even still finds creativity in necessity. The most brilliant art and music and literature is born out of oppression or in the face of necessary change. This is why I liken creativity to the Hydra, the Greek mythological creature whose head, if cut off, would grow two in its place.”

BlackBook enthusiastically premieres here the decidedly sensual new video for “Hydra,” which features some steamy, ritualistic dancing and classically inspired fashions – by Alex Benaim’s More Rockin label.

“It’s one of my favorite lines,” the singer enthuses, “and a beautiful mix of her Moroccan heritage and American style – which I thought was really fitting given the genesis of the song. Since a Hydra is one body with several heads, I wanted the looks to be unified but each have a distinct personality. I also needed the clothing to move really effortlessly to enhance the serpentine feel of Kalbe Isaacson’s choreography.”

“Hydra” will be available this Friday across all digital platforms. And to fete its release, Trishes will play LA’s Peppermint Club on Saturday the 22rd.

Hydra Collaboration Credits
Clothing: More Rockin (Alex Benaim)
Jewelry: Hot Rocks
Director: Tamara Arroba 


Exalting an NYC Nightlife Legend: ‘Susanne Bartsch: On Top’ Premieres in LA

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Just outside a movie theater on Sunset, there’s a spectacle brewing. The makeshift red carpet is rolled out, and around it grows a crowd of elaborate, jaw-dropping looks. One jeweled prosthetic leg here, a sky-high headpiece there, a man in a butt-baring purple leotard – down in front.

Everyone’s here for one reason, and one woman. Tonight is the debut of Susanne Bartsch: On Top, a documentary written and directed by filmmakers Anthony&Alex, about the namesake nightlife queen and fashion icon.



On Top spans the entirety of Bartsch’s storied life and career: her childhood in Switzerland, younger years in London, the New York City of the ‘80s, and today. In 1981, she opened a boutique in SoHo, stocked mostly with her favorite British designers. That led her to nightlife, parties, David Barton (the gym entrepreneur whom she married in 1995), more parties, and ultimately, her legacy in NYC and beyond.

“She was creating a safe space for us, where we could be ourselves,” party-goers echoed again and again. Everything outside was a construct – gender, sexual orientation – inside the club was where you could be whomever you wanted to be. You could just have fun, as long as you dressed up. Those were the rules of entry.

The film strings the decades together seamlessly thanks to a fortress of archival footage. We get to see Bartsch in her many public and private forms over the years: doting mother, loving wife, scenestress, visionary, and of course, hardwired perfectionist.



In one scene a hair stylist chases Bartsch around her apartment (she lives in the Chelsea Hotel) while trying to trim her wig. She’s visibly irked about the look, which she says isn’t working, but waves the stylist off saying “I don’t care anymore.” She may be picky, but her looks are a testament to her obsessive attention to detail.

As are her parties. Like The Love Ball in 1989, which took its cues from vogue balls happening in Harlem at the time (long before Pose did). Held during the height of the AIDS epidemic, the fundraising event took a year to produce, and brought together a veritable who’s who of New York nightlife/celebrity. Cindy Crawford, Madonna, Keith Haring, Kenny Kenny, Amanda Lepore, and thousands of others gathered to drink, dance, vogue, and bring awareness and money to those affected by AIDS. David Byrne even judged one of the voguing contests. He told the New York Times: “It was kind of confusing. I saw things I never saw before.”



Finally, when we think we’ve seen all that one woman could possibly do, the film brings us back into the future (or, 2015) where the Museum at FIT is holding Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch, a retrospective of her ever-growing couture collection. We watch as she runs around pulling designs from racks (Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen), sizing up the space (she appears nonplussed at first), and running a team of various artists and assistants, including makeup artist Deney Adam, who we see applying countless breathtaking looks throughout the film. As one can imagine, Bartsch spends a lot of time getting her makeup done, even in the movie.

And while yes, Bartsch may be outgrowing nightlife a tad (she’s 50 this year) the film reveals there’s always another project around the corner. And a party. Tonight it’s at The Standard in downtown Los Angeles, where revelers and filmgoers carry on late into the night. Bartsch is there, at the helm, kissing cheeks and saying her hellos in a gold jeweled unitard sprinkled with pieces of metallic armor. A gold horn wraps around her right eye. A bionic pop star? Goddess of the underworld? Whatever she identifies as, she’s always always the life of the party.



Pagan Ceremonies and Vintage Vacation Photos Converge at LA’s Kopeikin Gallery

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Kirsten Tradowsky, Woman in Gold Car, 2018, Oil on Canvas 28″ x 32″


Photography has long served as a glimpse into our everyday realities: vacations, family portraits, a celebration, or a simple moment in time. With its ever-growing presence in our lives (Thank you, Instagram?), the idea of gazing at another photo shoot or old snapshot of someone we’ve never met can feel almost numbing, another image in the never-ending scroll.

So it was particularly refreshing to find three artists’ work on display in LA’s Kopeikin Gallery that is collectively reinterpreting the medium with new vigor.

Painter Kirsten Tradowsky gives vintage, found photographs an entirely new storyline as oil paintings in her new series, fittingly titled Time Echo. The subjects of the once grainy, muted prints – women in front of old cars, children on tricycles, a pool party on a hot day – take on a deeper sense of anonymity with each stroke. Races, faces, and other elements are blurred into a new reality.


Kirsten Tradowsky, Afternoon, 2018, Oil on Canvs 30″ x 40″


The 47 on display are the result of a year-long collaboration between gallery owner Paul Kopeikin and Tradowsky. Upon seeing her work, he asked her to paint some photographs from his own collection.

“Paul would send her photos or she had her own, and then she would paint from those vernacular photographs,” says Nicole Kutz, Kopeikin’s gallery manager, who says there are more of her paintings from the series in storage.

Also on display is Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick’s Madame Lulu’s Book of Fate. Conversely, this exhibit draws us immediately into an alternative universe through real photographs – whimsical depictions of characters caught mid-act.

“The whole idea was to collaborate and create and have different performances and ideas of fun and mysticism,” Kutz explains. “Even though they’re constructed or staged, it still feels like a genuine moment.”


Kahn & Selesnick, The Proposal, 2018


Witches, jesters, and dandies participate in pagan ceremonies. In one photo, we see two young men pushing a boat against rough waters; in another, a man stands quietly in front of the camera, a mask of flowers covering his face. The circular centerpiece and stark white borders make us feel almost as if we’re peering through the viewfinder. (Remember those?)

We may have easy access to myriad imagery these days with our always-on social feeds. However, seeing it on walls, undistracted from the counting of likes or digital buzz, reminds us that it’s still possible for photography to engage us in a much deeper way. 

Both exhibits will be up until July 7.


Kahn & Selesnick, R&D, 2018

LA’s Animal Restaurant is Launching its ’10th Anniversary Fairfax Tour’

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Longtime friends and business partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo bring a singular vision to just about everything they do. And they do a lot.

The restaurateurs and chefs opened the meat-centric Animal restaurant in 2008, and won a James Beard Award for it in 2016 (while winning celeb fans the likes of Jessica Alba, Jon Favreau and Justin Timberlake). They opened Son of a Gun (casual seafood) in 2011; and then came their forever buzzing Italian spot on Fairfax, Jon & Vinny’s. On top of that, they run Carmelized Productions, a catering company frequently called upon by the Hollywood elite. They’ve got a hand in Ludo Lefebvre’s three LA restaurants, as well as Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson’s Kismet in Echo Park. They’re even partnering with Delta Airlines, to kick those first-class meals up a few thousand notches.

Collaboration is no foreign territory. So it made sense then, that in celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Animal, they’d call upon their celebrated chef brethren and sistren for the honors. They’re officially calling it The Animal 10th Anniversary Fairfax Tour, which will be a year-long series of exclusive dinners created by some of the industry’s biggest names: Thomas Keller (French Laundry), Tom Colicchio (Craft LA), and Gabriela Camara (Contramar) are all on board. Check out the full list of participating chefs.

In the lead up, we sat down with Dotolo, who spilled some of the details of the tour.



How did the idea for the Fairfax Tour come about?

We wanted to celebrate the milestone by having friends, mentors and colleagues come cook with us at Animal. The tour idea was set as if a band was to come to a famous venue to play. This will be like that.

Ten years in this business is no small feat. What are some of the ways you’ve seen the restaurant grow and evolve that have been particularly inspiring to you as chefs and restaurateurs?

Ten years feels pretty amazing, it’s honestly a dream come true. The restaurant is constantly changing and evolving from food and drink to service procedures, uniforms, new bathrooms. Sometimes it’s things people don’t see; we always seem to be fine-tuning daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. What inspires us is our amazing customer and fan base, as well as our amazing teams that make it all happen every day.

You’ve got an incredible roster of chefs on board for this tour. How did you manage to get everyone to come on board?

Some of them have cooked at Animal before, like Chris Kostow, Naomi Pomeroy, and Nate Appleman. We literally just started texting and asking people and we had a really great response. We had so many others we want to invite, but it was hard to squeeze everyone into the time frame we set.



Do you see this as potentially going beyond just the year?

We’ve been doing a “cooking with friends” series since the first year at Animal. Sometimes it’s been a lot of people in a year and sometimes it’s mellow. We’ve hosted lots of cookbook dinners over the years, but as far as the ten year is concerned, we are just planning what we’ve outlined…though we might add a second leg [of the tour].

What kind of presence will you have at the dinners, if any?

We will do some things on menus if the chef we are hosting wants us to. We’ve split menus in the past, and also let them have the entire thing. It’s really up to them. Our job is to be good hosts and give them all the support they need and show them a good time in LA.

What are you most excited about with this tour?

Giving our staff the opportunity to learn from these incredible people and chefs.

(Each dinner will be formatted differently based on the chef. Tickets will be sold on RESY. Pricing and details for each will be announced 30 days prior. To stay in the loop and score tickets, sign up for the Animal newsletter on their website.)




BlackBook Exclusive: Herringbone Los Cabos Exec Chef Alex Branch’s Ceviche Secrets

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Its provenance is hotly debated. Ceviche is said to have come from the Moors, who brought it to Peru in the Spanish invasion. Others declare it an Incan dish – invented somewhere between Ecuador and Peru. Polynesia, North Africa, the Middle East all come up in origin stories.

But no matter where it’s from, there’s a reason ceviche has transcended borders and cultures for thousands of years: its simplicity, light citrusy flavors, and natural cooking method make it a go-to dish from Latin America to North America to Europe. 

Alex Branch, exalted Executive Chef at Vidanta Los Cabos’ Herringbone and Casa Calavera, knows plenty about making a heavenly ceviche. He features them on his menus, using locally sourced ingredients (an essential component), in regular rotation. We recently had the privilege of sitting down for an life-altering ceviche brunch with him on a recent visit to the posh resort – where he imparted insider tips and exclusive recipes. 

Here’s what we had – and what you need to know to do it yourself.




The Insider Tips

Freshness is Everything: Always use fish that “smells like the ocean, not like fish,” says Branch. Buy from a reliable market, keep it on ice until ready to make your ceviche. Make sure to remove the bloodline in the fish too. It will add a fishy flavor.
Go Line-Caught: It’s a more sustainable method of fishing. Also, when fish are pulled out of the ocean alive, they’re less susceptible to absorbing bacteria from the ocean water.
Avoid Oily, Fatty, or Muscle-y Fish: The best fish for ceviche are semi-firm, white-fleshed fish like sea bass, striped bass, rockfish, snapper and cod. Avoid fish like mackerel, salmon, and swordfish.
Don’t Over-Marinate: Most chefs cure their fish for about 10-20 minutes or until fish is just opaque, depending on the desired doneness. Don’t overdo it or the fish could fall apart.


The Exclusive Recipes 


Tuna Poke

35 g Bluefin tuna, diced
15 g charred pineapple, diced
8 g Fresno pepper, sliced thin
10 g Maui onion, cut ¼” slices
5 sprigs fresh cilantro, divided
1 pinch chili powder
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz. Fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 oz. soy sauce
½ oz. sesame seed oil
Lime wedges for serving
Clean the tuna and cut into bite-sized chunks, set aside. In a bowl, mix the pineapple, onion, Fresno pepper, 3 cilantro sprigs, juices, soy sauce and sesame seed oil. When ready to serve, add the tuna to the pineapple mixture and top with the rest of the cilantro sprigs and lime wedges.




Totoaba “Sea Bass” Ceviche

Makes: 4 servings
80 g white fish like sole, sea bass or grouper
20 g kosher coarse salt
50 g lime juice, separated
30 g white onion, chopped
15 g olive oil
 5 g serrano chili pepper, finely diced
10 g California banana peppers, thinly sliced
28 g capers
15 g green olives, roughly chopped
80 g cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
20 g fresh cilantro leaves
1  diced avocado
Dice fish and add salt and lime juice to cure, set aside 10-20 minutes. Add in chopped onion, olive oil, serrano chiles, and Banana peppers, mix well. Add capers, olives, and tomatoes. Top with cilantro and a wedge of avocado.

Ceviche de Maiz

Makes: 4 servings
80 g white fish
25 g lime juice
20 g kosher coarse salt
30 g white onion, chopped
16 g olive oil
30 g sweet corn on the cob, removed from cob
30 g white corn on the cob, removed from cob
 5 g serrano chili pepper
20 g avocado, diced into cubes
20 g fresh cilantro leaves
Dice fish and cure with salt and lime juice, 10-20 minutes. Add chopped onion, olive oil, and corn, mix well. Add serrano chili pepper and avocado cubes. Top with cilantro and serve.



Above two images by Megan Martin

Revisiting LA’s Relentlessly Hip Silver Lake…Before the Tourist Invasion?

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It happened in Williamsburg. While that now media saturated hood had already become ground zero for the unstoppable hipsterization of Brooklyn, when the first sceney boutique hotel, The Wythe, opened in 2012, it was off to the races…and on to the inevitable yupsterization phase.

Arguably its Los Angeles equivalent, Silver Lake, has already sort of gone beyond having that moment; at this point, it’s a bit of a parody of a neighborhood having a moment. Celebrities, boutique coffee roasters, and critically acclaimed chefs are as common a sighting as people in wool hats rolling their own cigarettes. Surrounded by Echo Park, Los Feliz, and East Hollywood, Silver Lake is the ultimate epicenter for the young and trendy of LA.

But word has it that SL’s first boutique hotel is set to open at Sunset Junction in early 2019…which means hipster-seeking tourists will be soon added to the mix.



We would tend to avoid anything that’s already been labeled “tragically hip” (as Silver Lake was in a GQ piece earlier this year); but after recently spending the day meandering through rows of sun-drenched houses, sipping on high-voltage cold brew and feasting on produce fit for the gods, we too found ourselves newly enamored of its undeniable charms. And so just might try to get in as much time pre-hotel opening. 

Should you be so intrigued, here is our by-no-means-exhaustive guide to Silver Lake at this pivotal cultural moment. Funny enough, and in very un-LA fashion, you can actually get everywhere on this list without driving.


A Cool Caffeine Jolt

First things first, coffee. Intelligentsia (3922 Sunset Blvd) is located in a bright red building in Sunset Junction’s open air pavilion. Unlike many of the austere, minimalist cafes trending as of late, it has a refreshingly vibrant sensibility. They’re one of several single source roasters in the area; and like Stumptown, they were recently acquired by Peet’s. Dinosaur Coffee (4334 Sunset Blvd), co-owned by one of the founders of Cards Against Humanity, and Philly export La Colombe (3900 Sunset Blvd) are just a stone’s throw away, as well. 


La Colombe


An SL Art Fix

Next stop, the Sunset Pacific Motel (4301 Sunset Blvd). It’s known to locals as the Bates Motel, because of its location on Bates Ave, and its menacing facade. In 2015, artist Vincent Lamouroux whited out the abandoned building with limewash, in an activation he called ProjectionLA – prompting other street artists and passersby to leave their marks. And though it’s inevitably going to be torn down and redeveloped, for now, it’s living public art.
Speaking of public art, remember the cover to Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 album, when he stood in front of that black and white swirl mural? The photo was shot by Autumn de Wilde on Sunset Boulevard (4334 Sunset Blvd), and part of it still stands today. But only part of it. This past year a wine bar replaced half the mural with glass block windows. The neighborhood revolted by never going there, putting the bar out of business less than a year after it opened. When will they learn? Don’t mess with emo kids.



Upscaling Mexican

After paying your respects, pop in to Trois Familia (3501 Sunset Blvd). The imaginative, if not totally practical, fusion concept blends French and Mexican cuisines (though leans more French). Ludo Lefebvre joined forces with Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo to bring this idea vividly to life with dishes like the beet tartare tostada and a double decker potato taco with lime and crème fraiche. The rainbow neon, ‘70s funk music, and strip mall location all feel exceptionally on-brand for the area.

Gorgeous Things (To Buy)

If your credit cards are like hot, burning coals in your wallet, there are plenty of places to use them. Find yourself an orange and blue vase from the ‘60s or a hand-woven rug made of alpaca fur; there are no shortage of stores filled with good-smelling, carefully considered wares. Le Labo (3531 Sunset Blvd), Clare V. (3339 Sunset Blvd) and the Dream Collective (1404 Micheltorena Ave) are all within spitting distance.
A winding, twenty-minute detour leads to Silver Lake Boulevard and 1619 (1619 Silver Lake Blvd), a gem of a vintage store with elegant silk slips, kimono robes, crocheted dresses, and so much more. They also have a sprawling outdoor patio, where they plan to host regular craft fairs over the summer (how very on-trend).


Clare V.


Trendy Sustenance 

A few steps away is L&E Oyster Bar (1637 Silver Lake Blvd). Grab a spot on the outdoor balcony for some dry white wine, fresh-shucked oysters and other seafood menu delights. It’s pretty easy to snag a bar seat or table here at any given time – there’s a lounge upstairs, and a full-service restaurant downstairs.
Just across the way is Botanica (1620 Silver Lake Blvd), which opened to much anticipation last year. The multi-platform establishment (part market, part all-day restaurant, part publication) is owned by editors and chefs Emily Fiffer and Heather Sperling. Their expertise in California produce and natural wines shines through on the menu. The airy, wood-lined space (formerly a liquor store built in the 1940s) was reimagined by design firm Weekends.




Hipster Bands + Hipper Comedy

If the sun has fully set, or who cares if it hasn’t, make your way to Silver Lake’s obligatory legendary music venue, The Satellite (1717 Silver Lake Blvd). Rilo Kiley, the White Stripes, and even the New York Dolls have graced the marquee and stage here. It doubles as a comedy club too, with regular sets from local faves John Early and Neil Hamburger.


The Satellite


Four Days, One Deadly Sin: Eight Gloriously Indulgent Moments From ‘Vegas Uncork’d’

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It’s true. In Vegas, there really is no such thing as too much or too many. Tourists, drinks, casinos, pools – the bigger, the biggerer.

In the last decade and a half, this philosophy has taken over the restaurant scene as well, and the concentration of celebrity chefs is borderline intoxicating: Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Wolfgang Puck, David Chang, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, and pretty much everyone else you’ve ever heard of is setting tables on The Strip. And every year, Bon Appétit throws a really big party with them.

Indeed, this past weekend, Condé Nast’s epicurean bible hosted its 12th annual Vegas Uncork’d, a four-day festival that includes a plethora of food and wine events scattered over several of the higher-end resorts. Thousands came just for the occasion, including us, and left vowing not to eat again for at least a month.

But, of course, it was all an impossibly indulgent good time; and here are some of our favorite experiences, flavors, and run-ins from the big – no bigger – festival.


The Sheer Magnitude of Friday Night’s Grand Tasting Event

A massive gathering at a most appropriate venue, Caesar’s Garden of the Gods Oasis, 2,500 hungry fans assembled to worship at the altars of their favorite chefs. Marble statues gazed upon the palatial grounds as festival-goers elbowed their way to bite-sized tacos, meatballs, puff pastries, chicken lollipops, cheesecake, and so, so, so much more. Our favorites included Rao’s veal and pork meatballs, crispy crab tacos from Joe’s, and Beijing Noodle No. 9’s salt and pepper chicken. Over 50 top chefs participated, and over 100 wine and spirits were represented as well. Fit for an…emperor.



The American Wagyu Carpaccio from Gordon Ramsay Steak

Say what you will about the firm-but-fair star of Hell’s Kitchen. The fact that his team flawlessly executed hundreds – okay, thousands – of small plates of Wagyu beef carpaccio with deviled quail egg, aioli and peppery arugula speaks to his perfectionist, do-or-die attitude. Gordon Ramsay Steak is just one of six of his restaurants in Vegas. He also just opened Hell’s Kitchen at Caesar’s. $)(&$^)#^@!!!


She has a last name, but it’s totally unnecessary. Giada’s like the Cher of the culinary world, and notably just the third female chef to open a restaurant on The Strip, the eponymous Giada’s at the Commonwealth. Ceiling shattering aside, much like her celebrity chef brethren, she’s also quickly opened a second spot bearing her name this year, Pronto by Giada at Caesar’s. The former features the no-fail takes on Italian cuisine that made her cookbooks and TV show so ubiquitous…as well as those spectacular views of Bellagio’s fountains. The latter offers an impressive selection of Italian and Californian wines by the glass, bottle, and flight. We did all of it.

Chef Nobu Matsuhisa

Chef Nobu made history in 2013 when he opened the first restaurant-turned-hotel located adjacent to Caesar’s Palace, aptly named Nobu Hotel. He now owns three eponymous restaurants in Vegas, one in Caesar’s, one at the Hard Rock, and a 12,775-square-footer at the Nobu Hotel. Naturally, his presence was everywhere this weekend. He even hosted a private dinner where he indulged guests in Nobu caviar, fresh-shucked oysters coupled with Dom Pérignon Champagne, and of course, a variety of sumptuous traditional sushi. Heaven.



The Midsummer Night’s Dream Vibes at Picnic at The Park

We followed the Grand Tasting with a flight of Italian wines at Pronto in Caesar’s, because when in an opulent, artificial replica of Rome…well, you know. So heading back into the festival decadence once more felt trying. That is until we arrived at MGM’s The Park (formerly the Monte Carlo). The sweaty tourists slapping the pavement in flip flops were but a distant memory as we were whisked into a neo-Elizabethan dream sequence. There were fresh florals, models in full body paint, and a dozen more small plates to sample. Chefs like Masaharu Morimoto, Shawn McClain, and Michael Mina, along with Ketel One, put together a beautiful lunch al fresco.



Meat, Meat, Meat

Picnic at The Park was a celebration for carnivores, undoubtedly. The wafting scents of short ribs, acorn-fed 100% Iberico de Bellota, lamb rib, octopus, prime rib, and smoked bone-in Wagyu brisket all being grilled, smoked, or cured on-premise made certain that Moby and Morrissey would be nowhere within ninety miles.

A Taste of New York at the Cosmopolitan

What’s great about staying at The Cosmopolitan, aside from their positively chic and fabulous rooms in the newly constructed Boulevard Tower, is that guests can get a taste of New York’s finest. From Blue Ribbon to Momofuku to STK to Beauty and Essex, outposts of some of NYC’s trendiest and tastiest can be found there. As we’re now based in LA, we eagerly indulged in some of our old Gotham faves, from the Blue Ribbon steak tartare, to David Chang’s pork belly buns and hamachi crudo.



Phillip Park’s Wine Tasting

Phil Park ascended the chain at Caesar’s over the years, beginning as the head sommelier at Guy Savoy, and now holding court as the director of wine for all of the Palace. Bon Appétit’s wine editor Marissa Ross welcomed guests to the first-ever Sip of the Culinary Empire at Vista, and the two-hour tasting took guests on a drinking tour of Caesar’s famed restaurants. They started with glasses of Krug Grande Cuvée champagne, followed by Hokusetsu YK 35 sake out of cedar boxes (a la Nobu). But the absolute winner was a divine glass of 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Caymus Vineyards in Napa – a wine that, much like the rest of this highly curated weekend, will make going back to Seamless and cheap reds feel like an absolute crime.


Opening Weekend Report: Calvin Harris + Steve Aoki Man the Decks at OMNIA Dayclub at Vidanta Los Cabos

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Steve Aoki at OMNIA Dayclub


This past weekend marked the gigantic, super hot opening of not two, not three, but four new Hakkasan Group properties at Vidanta Los Cabos. To celebrate, they managed to put together the all-starriest of all-star lineups at the new OMNIA Dayclub – namely DJ Steve Aoki, Zedd and Grammy winning globetrotter Calvin Harris. The splashy Vidanta is fast on its way to reinventing the mega-resort experience, and this weekend proved they have the grandiosity of vision to pull it off.

Here’s how it all went down – at least as much as we can remember. 



Lunch at Casa Calavera

You can’t go to Mexico without indulging in, well, real Mexican food. But the alliterative Casa Calavera takes the cuisine to dizzy and creative new heights. The menu features a range of ceviches, ensaladas, tacos with made-to-order tortillas, and cooked-to-perfection meats like the Korobuca baby back ribs. The open-air design is chicly complemented with a colorful display of Mexican tiling and various Day of the Dead references. And all just steps away from the beach…

Dinner at Herringbone

Chefs Brian Malarkey and Alex Branch personally introduced us to the Cabo rendition of Herringbone’s renowned “Fish Meats Field” coastal cuisine – using carefully sourced local ingredients. Waiters ushered out plate after plate of delicious fare: ceviche, buffalo octopus, and entrees like the grilled sea bass and prime-aged beef. Each course had a cocktail to match, concocted by Hakkasan’s wonderful and self-proclaimed Galactic Beverage Commander Constantine Alexander. We particularly loved the Hibiscus Margarita and the Just About Pearfect – spiked with the weekend’s most prominently placed spirit, Absolut Elyx.




Steve Aoki at OMNIA Dayclub

The Vegas-style sister of Hakkasan Group’s new-to-Cabo properties, OMNIA opened its doors for a pool party spectacular and apparently, the wildest nighttime DJ set known to man. Aoki showed up (eventually) to play well into the night, spiking the energy levels from 10 to off-the-Richter-scale…as he does. Fireworks, flowing bottles of booze, and those tubes that shoot blasts of white powdery air into the crowd – all there. So was the most gorgeous crowd of people ever to share the air in one Cabo venue. Night one set the tone for a weekend of Spring Break-style fun, replete with glittery scenesters, glam fashion blogger types, and the boyfriends tasked with taking their photos.



Happy Hour at SHOREBar

We’d settled in nicely to our routine of eat-drink-dance at this point. the SHOREBar (yes, another one of Hakkasan Group’s famed nightspots) served as the central meeting point / clubhouse for playing ping pong, snacking on late-night quesadillas or prepping for da clurb over more cocktails. Friday night’s party was but a trace of EDM memory after our ceviche and paloma lunch at Herringbone. We were ready to see Zedd, and so were hundreds of other daytime revelers. Back to OMNIA…




Zedd at OMNIA Dayclub

German record producer Zedd brought the house down as we watched this place do what it was meant to do: reign supreme as the day club of Cabo. The place was packed with drinking, swim/wading, wet t-shirted twenty-somethings bouncing up and down to their favorite tracks. Three model-esque women in shamrock-green suits lathered each other with sunscreen in front of the stage before leading a conga line through the party, oversized bottles of champagne their batons. Madness ensued, but in the best possible way. Two thumbs up for OMNIA security – the worst we saw go down was a phone in the pool.


Zedd at OMNIA Dayclub


Back to Herringbone for Dinner

Yes, we indulged in another three-course, forty-dish dinner at Herringbone because…when in Rome. Ceviches, fresh salads, octopus, seafood towers of oysters and crab claws – and those were just the apps.

Calvin Harris at OMNIA Dayclub

Squeezing our way into this party was a feat. The crowd was popping off, as they say. Though this space will continue to serve as a day club, it’s without question a hot, hot nightclub. The only problem being the pool, which ate up the space, forcing everyone to squeeze around it without falling in (it was a bit too cold for nighttime swims) throughout Calvin Harris’ incredible four-hour set. Mind you, it was now Saturday. Most guests had been in Cabo at least 24 hours at this point, and everyone had really hit their festi stride. Let’s just say, the evening was a success of monumental proportions. Harris played well past his set time, and a fireworks display synchronized to Katy Perry’s “Baby, You’re a Firework,” made everyone go f*cking nuts. And after hours and hours of soaking up the spectacle of crowds dancing on daybeds, ordering this many bottles, and basically climbing the walls to deep house – we escaped into the quieter confines of ShoreBar before calling it a night.


Calvin Harris at OMNIA Dayclub



Recovery Brunch

Ahhh, Sundays in Cabo. Inevitably, a wave of end-of-vacation sadness hits land, but it’s hard to stay sad at Vidanta. Birds chirped and the ever-kindly staff smized at us as we made our way, one last time, down the path to righteous salvation: brunch. Sunshine poured into the airy space at Casa Calavera, and a handful of us indulged in a final family meal. And what a meal to bid us adieu: french toast, huevos rancheros, enchiladas in mole sauce, chilaquiles, scrambled eggs with lobster. Some kind of effervescent tincture. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.
All in all, the perfect party weekend. By the looks of it, the first of many, many to come.


Above, Casa Calavera, the Skywalk at Vidanta Los Cabos

Calvin Harris + Steve Aoki to Open Extravagant New OMNIA Dayclub at Vidanta Los Cabos

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As if there weren’t enough reasons to jet down to Cabo for the weekend. It’s only a short two-hour haul from L.A., Dallas, or Phoenix (and just a couple more if you’re in one of those “Upper States”).

There’s already no shortage of hooks: infinity pools, year-round sunshine, all-night clubs. But now, with the Hakkasan Group putting its extravagant lifestyle-entertainment stamp on the lavish Vidanta Los Cabos, we find ourselves officially out of excuses to not make a break for the border.

February 23 marks the opening weekend of the resort’s brand-new OMNIA Dayclub, SHOREbar, and two new on-site restaurants. Naturally, they’ve got a major, long-weekend-long wingding planned, a three-day launch party that includes superstar performances from Calvin Harris, DJ Steve Aoki, and hotshot German-Russian record producer Zedd. 

Here’s what else to look forward to.


OMNIA Dayclub

Overlooking the Sea of Cortez, OMNIA Dayclub makes an excellent escape from, well, reality. The DJ-centric scene features VIP bungalows, private infinity plunge pools, and, well, lots of sexy people watching. 



Casa Calavera

Skip over to this restaurant in between DJ sets at the OMNIA. Casa Calavera sits adjacent to the club and offers up deliciosos platos of authentic Mexican eats, in a Day-of-the-Dead-chic atmosphere.




If you’re interested in escaping the untz untz for a moment (we definitely get it), then the SHOREbar will be your ideal wind-down jam. It’s a casual but still kinda fancy cocktail spot, with a wooden thatched roof overlooking the resort’s main pool. Great drinks, good vibes, audible conversations.




For a more plush dinner experience, it’s all about celeb chef Brian Malarkey’s first-ever “Fish Meats Field” concept restaurant located outside these United States. Here, you can immerse yourself in the beachside beauty and while indulging his signature creative dishes based on locally sourced ingredients. Minus the thumping soundtrack.