Keen is a Brilliantly Idiosyncratic New Philadelphia Restaurant

Share Button


The word “keen” is defined as “finely sharpened” and “characterized by distinctness of perception” – as well as “intense, as feeling or desire.”

So it’s probably no accident that Philadelphia’s most captivating new restaurant is named, well, Keen. It’s initial buzz goes all the way back to spring 2016, when it was announced that yet another eatery would be taking over the space – just off Rittenhouse Square – once occupied by the storied Astral Plane, which closed in 2007 after three decades of its beloved bohemian chic.

The bi-level space is now replete with art curiosities, mystically glowing chandeliers, a glass bar, rustic-but-surreal mirrors and handrails (echoing the shapes of nature, certainly), exposed industrial piping, and – our favorite – a vintage condom machine in the loo…which dispenses the restaurant’s own namesake brand.



Chef Antonella Biundo (how could she not be cool with that name?) serves up wonderfully clever takes on comfort food: riceballs with root vegetables and celery & sage pesto; “Pig Candy” bacon with maple syrup and a shot of Old Grandad; a spicy chicken sandwich with kale and pickled zucchini; an apple-cider brined pork chop; and (yum) pumpkin trifle with gingersnaps. Pair with seasonal tipples like the Autumn Margarita w/ pear and cinnamon, or the Winter Whirl w/ rye, applejack and maple syrup.

Plan to book a table at Keen and make a weekend of Philly this time of year, as the city has one of the most exquisite holiday markets / skating rinks in the Northeast, all situated around the majestic, 19th Century City Hall. Book into the nearby and distinctly stylish Le Meridien Philadelphia, one of our fave hotels in town.


Interview: Suzi Analogue on the Launch of Moogfest’s ‘Always On’ Female + Transgender Live Streaming

Share Button


There are a thousand and ten music festivals across the country every year – and one might sincerely have a hard time distinguishing one from another. (“Oh, Frank Ocean and Lorde are playing at this one, too?”) But the electronic-leaning Moogfest, approaching its 13th year, has been one of the genuine beacons of innovation, bringing together an electrifying mix of artists and enlightenment, leaving attendees surely walking away with a new vision of contemporary culture, technology…even the socio-political.

And in the wake of the recent sexual harassment scandals and the resulting #metoo movement, they are, no surprise, once again at the forefront. Indeed, on December 6 they launch Always On, an exciting new program highlighting specifically the talents and ideas of female and transgender artists. It features 50-hours of continuous live-streaming programming from around the world, and it accompanies the announcement of its all-female-identified programming for the 2018 edition of Moogfest (May 17-20 in Durham, NC) – with none other than Chelsea Manning as keynote speaker.

We caught up with prolific NYC musician-producer (and Always On participant) Suzi Analogue, to talk about what it all means.


Above, past Moogfest performers Princess Nokia and Zola Jesus

What drew you to the Moogfest ‘Always On’ project?

I feel like it is a great response to a popular question in entertainment culture I hear often: “Who are the female-identifying/trans/non-binary producers out there?” It seems like people often draw a blank or can only name a handful; but Always On is hitting you with 50 hours of new names who are committed to the craft of electronic music making. That’s undeniable. It is demystifying who is behind the beats and sounds of electronic music.

What can we expect from the livestream event?

From the livestream you can expect to hear super interesting beats and sounds from people who have been playing and creating electronic music culture all year long, from all over the world. You might tune in and catch a club set, or ambient set, or even a synth jam session – you never know. The stream will be as diverse as the artists playing.

What do you hope for the all-female/transgender component of the 2018 Moogfest to accomplish?

My foremost expectation for Moogfest is to help us artists truly tell our authentic stories through sound and song. Once our stories are told and supported, we as marginalized womxn and trans artists can better secure ways to improve our lives and those around us.

How do you feel art can best play a role in women tipping the scales of power in the coming months and beyond?

Art is a huge catalyst of conversation, and conversation can lead to change; the goal is for change to better our communities. Womxn presenting their art about their lives all adds to a huge recipe that is currently being created to serve progressive and more humanistic decisions in our society. The more art, the more we can see, think and actively feel what needs to progress and what has held us back in the past.

It would seem we need more than ever to have women elevated to equal leadership with men – surely because men are doing such a terrible job. Do you think this might be the time for the floodgates to really open?

YES! Truth be told, historically, womxn have been a huge component to the decisions of men in power – but we were never given the same visibility, and often times written out of popular history…in music, film, science and more. Now that society is realizing this, our spotlight will hopefully become streetlights, and connect ways that we can continue to raise visibility of how powerful we have always been.

Do you have a sense, in the wake of all the sexual harassment allegations, that women feel genuinely empowered? Or really more just pissed off?

Womxn feel everything right now. Empowered, strong, frustrated, pissed, exhausted, excited…this is the most hopeful time to be a womxn known to humankind. Us artists are just setting the soundtrack for that, so we can sing and dance in these times together.
– Star Baby Ariel’s Fave Miami Hangs + Debut Single & Video ‘Aww’

Share Button
Image by Kacie Tomita

Just 17-years-old, Baby Ariel (real name Ariel Martin) is already the paradigm modern media star. Having first garnered attention in 2015, posting videos on the lip-synching app, she’s since built an astonishing audience of more than 30 million, including 2.4 million followers on YouTube and 7.7 million on Instagram.

She’s also been featured in Billboard, on CNN and 60 Minutes…and was given an “Innovator Honor” by The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps most importantly, in 2015 she launched #ArielMovement, a high-profile anti-bullying campaign.

Surely it was merely a matter of time, then, before she took the conventional route, and released music on an actual record label (Baby A, to be specific). Indeed, her charmingly funky debut single “Aww” is out today, with Ariel poignantly philosophizing, “Everyone wants somebody who looks at them like that / And everyone wants somebody that never hurts them back” over a bouncing, infectious beat and a particularly beguiling groove. Best moment in the accompanying video: the skateboarding cat.

A Florida girl, in true BlackBook fashion we asked her to share with us her fave hangouts in Miami – at least that is until she becomes the international sensation she’s pretty much destined to be.



Lincoln Road

Great place to visit near South Beach for shops and cafes – but mostly, for the best people-watching in SoFla.

Books & Books

Old school bookstore that has old and new books, and a little cafe. A cozy place to sit, read, and journal with a latte in hand.



Boardwalk on Hollywood Beach

Rent a bike (or tandem) and take a ride down the beach. Get a slice of pizza, a frozen yogurt, or an iced coffee. Then take a swim in the ocean and build a sand castle.

Wynwood Walls

Murals and street-art painted on building and warehouse sides. Great place to check out new art, street performers, and get a bite at the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.




I love movies more than anything! But here, you get to order a full-on awesome dinner, have it brought to your recliner seat, and then enjoy your movie in surround.


My favorite place for a quick, healthy meal. Build your own bowl how you like it, with your favorite base, protein, and topping. Yum!



Flamingo Gardens

When you want to get away from it all, a slice of hidden nature in West Central Broward. Stroll through the trees, see the flamingos, and soak in the vibe.

Adrienne Arsht Center

Catch a musical, a symphony, or a play (this month it’s The Book of Mormon and The Hip Hop Nutcracker). Then head to Mary Brickell Village in Downtown Miami for dinner.





Le Bernardin is Named Best Restaurant in America

Share Button


The 2017 La Liste worldwide restaurant ranking has arrived. And not exactly shocking, Le Bernardin was deemed the absolute best restaurant in these United States of America.

The three-Michelin-starred eatery actually debuted in Paris all the way back in 1972, under the direction of legendary chef Gilbert Le Coze and sister Maguy Le Coze. Moving to New York in 1986 (just in time for all that 80s-era decadence), when Gilbert suffered a fatal heart attack in 1994, a 29-year-old Eric Ripert took over the kitchen at Le Bernardin, and has been dazzling epicures ever since. (Maguy remains a partner.)

Possibly the most rock & roll Michelin-starred chef anywhere (Anthony Bourdain is one of his best buds), Ripert’s 4-course, $157 prix-fixe menu continues to awe, with dishes like ultra-rare smoked sea trout, warm artichoke panaché, and whole red snapper baked in fresh herbes-de-Provence. Dinner at Le Bernardin is indeed a paradigm experience – yet not in the least bit stuffy.

Topping the La Liste this year was Guy Savoy‘s exalted, eponymous temple of French cuisine; the top ten also included such godhead chefs as Joël Robuchon, Jean-Georges and Alain Ducasse.



La Liste 2017 Top Ten


Guy Savoy

Paris, France



Kyo Aji

Minato, Japan



Le Bernardin

New York, United States



Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée

Paris, France



El Celler de Can Roca

Girona, Spain




New York, United States



Osteria Francescana

Modena, Italy




中央区, Japan



Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville

Crissier, Switzerland



Joël Robuchon

Meguro-ku, Japan



BlackBook Exclusive: Chef Jonathan Wright’s ‘Terrain-to-Table’ Recipes From the Silo Ridge Field Club, Part II

Share Button


In spring of 2014, the announcement went out: Brit Jonathan Wright was named Executive Chef at the newly reopening Rainbow Room. The restaurant was arguably New York’s most famous ever, an icon of the city since 1934; so despite having done time in such high-profile kitchens as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford and Raffles Singapore, he would surely be facing the greatest challenge of his life at 30 Rock.

Nearly two years after leaving a successful run at the Rainbow Room, he could surely be forgiven for retreating from the rigors of big city chef life. Now as CEO of Wright Food & Co, he is heading up the culinary program – and the Ridge House restaurant & bar – at Discovery Land Company‘s private Silo Ridge Field Club rural estate in Amenia, NY (Dutchess County, Hudson Valley). Overseeing a vigorous organic gardening curriculum, and surrounded by farming communities, the on-site and very local sourcing has allowed him an unparalleled level of creativity and freedom.

We chatted with him about the new opportunity, and asked him to share some of his most inspired recipes. (More to come in Part II.)


What made you want to venture out of the city?

I naturally gravitate to the countryside, farmland and rugged, natural landscapes. I was born and raised in an agricultural environment and spent much of my youth working on farms in Shropshire, England, which I loved. In my profession as a chef, I like having the ability to influence the ingredients that I use. I value a close relationship with the farmers who grow and rear my ingredients, and this is easier to cultivate when you’re actually cooking near the farms that are your sources. In my opinion, Silo Ridge Field Club offers one of the best and most unique culinary experiences available.

Do you find a lot of the so-called farm-to-table claims by NYC restaurants are just “marketing?”

Farm-to-table as a catch phrase feels a bit overdone, so I prefer “terrain-to-table” as a more meaningful claim. It was a way of life when I was growing up in rural Shropshire, where we grew most of our produce and reared our own meat and poultry. Nevertheless, I believe that the principles and intentions behind the present-day farm-to-table movement make sense to the health of our communities, our local economies and simply our physical well-being. Call it what you want, but it is not going away.
However, consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the origins and quality of the ingredients that go into the food they are putting into their bodies, so simply ‘farm washing’ a brand to make it appear authentic is not going to ring true to the growing population of savvy consumers. I take “terrain-to-table” seriously. The education of everyday consumers of food is a very positive thing; professional culinarians should already be knowledgeable about their sources and purveyors.


What are the concept and “mission” at Silo Ridge?

The concept is to evolve with and feature the best of the Hudson Valley seasons. We make our own vinegars, sourdoughs, jams, honey, and we utilize local artisans for foods we don’t produce ourselves. We work with our gardener, Sandra, to cultivate produce in our kitchen garden. We try to maximize our resources and byproducts; for example, the ash from our wood burning oven is used to make a salt crust to roast our beets and carrots, and the rest goes back to the soil, so we have very little waste. We also compost our vegetable matter back to the garden. What we don’t grow is mostly sourced from 75 vendors within 25 miles of the property.
We also cure and smoke almost all our own meats, and make all our own breads using natural fermentation processes. Many of our chores are based on the seasons and the tasks they evoke; this allows us to stock our pantry for the long winters and enjoy many of these flavors and ingredients in deep winter.

What is special about the bounty of the Hudson Valley?

The Hudson Valley seems to have an influx of young entrepreneurial farmers and artisans looking to create a new life for themselves and their families. They are distilling bourbon and gin, making charcuterie, raising heritage breeds of livestock; it’s an exciting time to work here.

Who is your clientele there?

Most are Silo Ridge members, but some of the clientele come from Manhattan, the surrounding region, or they may own a property at another Discovery Land community. Discovery Land develops very unique, private lifestyle communities in stunning locales that include Abaco Islands, Bahamas, Chileno Bay in Cabo San Lucas, and the Yellowstone Club set in the Rocky Mountains. At Silo, members can be in touch with nature, and the clientele appreciate the Hudson Valley setting.

What are you doing that is special for autumn?

We are air-drying our own corn – we planted two acres – to make cheese grits from scratch, which we serve with a slow-cooked, 62-degree egg and bacon crumble. We puree our sunchokes and serve with oven-roasted and pickled sunchokes with braised lamb tongue and crispy lamb belly. One of our new dishes is Samascott apples, hollowed out, lined with apple butter and then baked as an apple soufflé – served with Applejack [apple brandy] sorbet. We also have the Hudson Valley roasted and lacquered duck.

How would you ultiimately describe your “terrain-to-table” philosophy?

I see my terrain-to-table philosophy as being a continuum of what the farmers do. It takes farm-to-table to another, more devoted level of culinary expertise. For example, we buy from a local sheep farmer that rears heritage breeds. We then prepare and serve the lamb with the sort of plants that are natural to the lamb’s environment (sometimes what the lamb itself would eat). We might roast it in hay and serve it with parsnips and turnips. Deer eat blackberries, huckleberries, chanterelles, which compliment the natural flavors of venison. This has been done for generations and generations, so at Silo Ridge we’re just staying true to what dining was always meant to be.



Chef Jonathan Wright’s Silo Ridge Recipes, Part II


Crispy Fried Egg and Lamb Bacon, Garden Greens, Ranch Dressing


  • 50ml xeres vinaigrette / see recipe
  • 50g Cavolo nero / black kale / sliced thinly ¼”
  • 50g Curly green kale / sliced thinly ¼”
  • 50g mizuna
  • 50g water cress
  • 50g mustard
  • 50g arugular
  • 30g Brussel sprouts leaves from peelings deep fried
  • 20g Finely chopped Shallots, whared cold water,dried in cloth
  • 20g Fresh mint finely sliced
Ranch Dressing
  • 2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. finely diced onion
  • 2 tbsp green onion finely sliced
  • 2 tsp chives finely sliced
  • 3 tsp. flat parsley finely sliced
  • 2 cloved minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp finely chopped oregano
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Juice of one lemon
Lamb Bacon
2 qt      Water
4tbsp   liquid smaoke
3 oz     Kosher Salt
4 oz     Maple Syrup
8          Bay Leaves
4          Heads of Garlic, halved, broken
1oz      Black Peppercorns
1          Bunch Flat Parsley
1          Bunch Thyme
Crispy Fried Egg
  • 12 each large free range eggs
  • 100g of plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150g of white breadcrumbs
  • Place all dry ingredinets in a bowl, gently mix by hand
  • Add vinaigrette gently mix then arrange in a pile in the middle of the plate
Ranch Dressing
  • Whisk mayonnaise and butter milk together
  • Add all remaining ingredients
  • Cover and refrigerate dressing for at least 1 hour bedor using . Stir dressing well before serving. Dressing will keep, refrigerated in a cover container, for up to 2 weeks.
Fried egg
  • Lower the eggs into a pan of boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Refresh under cold running water before carefully peeling the eggs – this can be a little tricky so take your time
  • Prepare 3 bowls for coating, then dredge the eggs through each in turn. Set aside until ready to use
  • Deep-fry the eggs at 355 f until golden brown, then rest in a warm place for 1 – 2 minutes so that the residual heat can continue to cook the eggs slightly
Lamb Bacon
  • To make brine add all ingredinat togther and bring to boil, then cool.
  • Add lamb belly and brine for 24 hours.
  • Remove from brine and dry
  • Set oven to 385f and roast for 2 hours. Cool and press over night.
  • Slice thinly and heat in the oven prior to serving



 Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Toasted Pistachio, Pecarino and Mint Salad


o    50ml pistachio vinaigrette /  see recipe
o    100g Cavolo nero /  black kale  / sliced thinly ¼”
o    100g Curly green kale / sliced thinly ¼”
o    30g Brussel sprouts leaves from peelings
o    60g Brussel sprouts shave thinkly on manadoline 1/8”
o    20g Finely chopped Shallots
o    30g Pears / thinly slices
o    5g Fresh mint finely sliced
o    10g Toasted pistachio nuts roughly chopped
o    5g Pecarino, micro plained
o    Place all dry ingredinets in a bowl, gently mix by hand
o    Add vinaigrette gently mix then arrange in a pile in the middle of the plate
o    Micro plain the pecarino over the top
o    Drizzle a little of the vinaigrette over and arround the salad
o    Finish with additional deep fried brussels sprout leaves



Hummus, Roast Lamb Belly, Parsley and Mint Gremolata / Grilled Bread

  • 500 g Dried chickpeas
  • Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 3 Liters Water
  • 540 g Tahini
  • 8 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 8 Large Garlic Cloves
  • 200 ml Water
  • Salt
Lamb Belly
  • Three (3) Lamb Bellies
  • 100 ml Olive Oil
  • Four (4) Cloves Garlic
  • 20 g Cumin Seeds
  • 6 g Smoked Paprika
Parsley and Mint Gremolata
  • 50 g parsley leaves, sliced
  • 20 g fresh mint, slice
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 300 ml Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
To Finish
  • 200 g Fried Onions
  • 200 g Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Olive Oil
  • Soak dried chickpeas overnight in cold water, twice their volume
  • Next day drain chickpeas, place in pan over medium heat with baking soda
  • Stir for 3 minutes
  • Add 3 liters water, bring to a boil
  • Skim off foam and any skins that float to surface
  • Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until very tender
  • Drain chickpeas
  • Blend in food processor until you get a very firm paste. With machine still running, add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, 3 teaspoons salt and finally the 200 ml ice cold water
  • Blend to a very smooth paste
Lamb Belly
  • Salt
  • Remove silver skin from lamb belly, score
  • Mix all ingredients together and rub into surface of lamb belly
  • Roast at 350 F on wire rack for 3 hours
  • Allow to cool, thinly slice
  • Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until coarsely chopped 
  • Spoon Hummus into shallow bowls, leaving a slight hollow in the center
  • Warm the sliced lamb belly
  • Place into a bowl
  • Add the parsley mint gremolata, pine nuts, crispy onions, some fresh parsley leaves and gently mix before spooning into the center of the hummus.
  • Drizzle with olive oil before serving with grilled bread, drizzled with olive oil and rubbed with a clove of garlic.




Apple Cinnamon Doughnuts

Ingredients / Doughnuts
  • red apples, such as Cortland or McIntosh
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 large egg plus 2 egg yolk
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 vanilla pods scraped
Ingredients / Apple Glaze
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Add Checked Items To Grocery List
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Directions doughnuts
  • Core and coarsely chop or grate the apples, leave skin on.
  • Combine with 2 cups cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat; cover and cook until softened, about 12 minutes.
  • Add the roasted pumpkin or butter nut squash puree uncover and continue cooking until all are tender and the cider is almost completely reduced, about 5- 8 minutes. Puree with food processor until smooth. Measure the sauce; you should have 2 cups, if too much reduce further and then cool.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  • Beat the granulated sugar and the shortening in another bowl with a mixer on medium speed until sandy. Beat in the egg and yolk, and then gradually mix in the apple mixture,
  • Using a hook on a mixer or kitchen aid gently Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and vanilla, and then the remaining flour mixture. The dough should be sticky. Do this gently so not to over mix.
  • Turn the dough onto a lightly floured sheet of baking paper and pat into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours
  • While resting make apple glaze. Reduce 2 cups cider in until reduced to ½ a cup then add the caster sugar and cook until dissolved and shiny.
  • Mix the remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl for dusting.
  • For frying a electric fryer with thermostat is always the preferred method. If not use and heavy bottom pan with a thermometer.
  • The oil should be only 2 inches deep 350 degrees.
  • Cut the dough into 3” rounds, using a biscuit cutter, then cut out the middles with a 1-inch cutter
  • Carefully slide into the oil using an oiled spatula hot oil and fry until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side transfer to the paper towels to drain.
  • While warm brush each doughnut in the cider glaze, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar or roll all over in cinnamon-sugar, if desired. Serve warm.


The Oscar Wilde Bar’s Discerning, Eurotastic Whisky-Sipping Guide

Share Button


Much as we love Camus and Baudelaire, one imagines if there were bars named for them, they might not be all that much fun. But NYC’s glorious new Oscar Wilde Bar is precisely as brilliant as a you’d expect a bar named for the legendary Irish wit to be.

But, cultivated tipplers that we are, we were especially thrilled to discover that it wasn’t all Jameson and Tullamore when it comes to their whisk(e)y selection. Indeed, esteemed Beverage Director Denise Prykanowski has stocked the place with the very best of the brown spirit, from countries you’d never actually expect it come from. After all, have you ever bellied up and asked, “Could I get a whisky rocks? And make it Austrian?”

Intrigued, we spent an evening there taking something of an EU tour by way of whisky (with one quick diversion to Taiwan.) And Oscar Wilde’s head bartender just happens to be one of our fave Downtown nightlife impresarios, one Johnny Swet – who threw in a couple of his best whisky cocktail creations for good measure.

And so here are Prykanowski’s top whiskey/whisky picks (along with her rather rapturous descriptions), and the recipes for Johnny’s Whisky Nowadays and Smoked Old Fashioned cocktails.


The Belgian Owl Single Malt, Belgium

Produced from all local ingredients in Hesbaye, Belguim, the whisky is distilled in copper pots from spring barley and aged for three years in American Oak (ex bourbon casks) from one distillery. A lighter, younger style of whisky that is approachable for the first time drinker or easy to sip all night long. Delicate and fresh with notes of ripe pear, apples, lemon, cocoa cream, and hints of vanilla on the nose and palate.


Navazos-Palazzi Grain Whisky, Andalucia, Spain

Produced from 100% Spanish corn and finished in fresh Valdespino Palo Cortado casks. A savory style of whisky with prominent sherry notes that give it flavors grounded in roasted nuts, dried fruit, toffee spices and a touch of salt. Perfect for sherry lovers.

Reisetbauer 12-Year Limited Edition Whisky, Austria

Hans Reisetbaur is well known for his eau-du-vies and he uses a farm-to-bottle approach for the production of this whisky. The barley is grown on his farm, malted, twice-distilled in traditional copper pots and finished in trockenbeernaulese barrels (Trockenberrnaulese is a sweet wine made from grapes affected by Noble Rot). The whisky is elegant and complex, opening up with red apples, cherries, mocha and fine herbs, with a slight sweetness on the finish from the barrels.



Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky, Wales

Part of the Gold Collection from Penderyn, this medium-bodied whisky is produced from barley and distilled in a unique Faraday copper still, then finished in Madeira casks. Pale gold in color, it opens up with tropical fruit, hazelnuts, lemon peel with light baking spices and raisins on the finish. The higher proof gives the whisky a little edge and balance on the palate.

Kavalan Whisky Sherry Cask, Taiwan

A sweeter and fruitier style of whisky made from 100% malted barley, distilled in pot stills and finished in sherry casks. The tropical climate gives the whisky a deeper, richer flavors of dark red fruits, chocolate, dates and dried plums with underlying savory notes. A great choice for an after dinner whisky.



Johnny Swet’s Top Whisky Cocktails for the Oscar Wilde Bar

Whisky Nowadays

build in Collins
3 dash angostura
.25 honey syrup
.25 lemon juice
1 Montenegro amaro
1.5 templeton rye
In a tall glass, ice, ginger ale and twist



Smoked Old Fashioned

In a smoked glass,
3 dash orange bitters
0.5 smoked simple syrup
2 Jim Beam bourbon
In a smoked rocks glass, add block ice, lemon twist


Epicurean Fall Getaway: Wine, Whiskey and the Good Chocolate Stuff in Loudoun County

Share Button


Sunset Hills Vineyard


The lure of autumn weekends in New England has, let’s face it, been dampened by a climate change reality that finds the thermometer hitting 92 degrees in mid-October. So as the cooler temps at last began to register, we decided to forego the foliage, and instead headed south to Northern Virginia – Loudoun County to be specific – to investigate an artisanal tippling culture that has started to generate a palpable buzz.

What we found was a laid back sophistication, with just the right dose of southern charm, plenty of breathtaking scenery…and yet just a short zip from all that D.C. culture and urbanity. It’s also one of the wealthiest counties in America – so, as happens, there’s a serious equestrian scene.

Here’s how to do Loudoun County right.


Lansdowne Resort and Spa

A sprawling estate of greenery and serenity, occupying 476-acres along the majestic Potomac River in Leesburg…and it’s very much focused on the restoration of one’s health. The spa offers signature wine facials and wine wraps, Aromasoul ritual scrubs and River Rock stone massages; there’s also yoga, guided meditation, zumba and PIYO, a TRX Suspension Trainer, and an indoor heated pool. Amateur melittologists and horticulturalists will want to check out the onsite beekeeping program and commune with the herb garden that feeds into Lansdowne’s kitchens. Seriously, you could really just luxuriously lose yourself in this place for a few days – but make sure to take them up on their custom hiking and biking excursions, so as not to miss out on the beauty of the surrounding nature.



Loudoun County Wine Country

There are actually more than 40 vineyards now scattered around Loudoun County; and from Food + Wine to The Washington Post to Wine Spectator, many of them are starting to win raves. Our fave was the rustic-yet-modern Sunset Hills Vineyard, where the main tasting room is housed in a 150-year-old Amish barn, beautifully restored; there’s also a stunning terrace overlooking the vineyard. The winery itself is powered by a couple of hundred solar panels. Highly recommended are their Viognier, Cab Franc and Rosé.
Other top Loudon County wineries: Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, for its small planting wines like Rousanne, Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir; Purcellville’s rustic Otium Cellars, with striking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains (try their Blaufränkisch); and the opulent Creek’s Edge in Lovettsville, for its Viognier aged in acacia wood.

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery

It’s true, even in Virginia, this small brewery comes off pretty hipstery. But they offer 20 excellent beers in a stylish, rustic-industrial taproom (and terrace), on the 53-acre Black Hops Farm. Ask for a flight of four, and make sure it includes the Ghost Fleet IPA, the Wraith witbier, and their exceedingly flavorful milk stout. On weekends there are decadent barbecues, and every other week they host Sunday Morning Yoga (with beer, of course). Weekdays, pick up tasty sandwiches, salads or box lunches from Leesburg’s South Street Under before heading to Vanish.



The Horse in Ancient Greek Art

A can’t-miss for the equestrian-inclined is the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg. And this fascinating exhibition explores the role of the horse in Ancient Greek society and mythology, through an impressive collection of art and pottery.

Lansdowne Smartphone and Winter Wildlife Photography Classes

Face it, you’re always snapping away on your smartphone camera without really putting all that much thought into it. So book a session with Lansdowne’s resident photographer Gregg Stuessi, who will guide you around the ethereal grounds to learn some incredibly insightful techniques, those that will make your Instagram page seriously pop; add another class specifically for winter wildlife shots. Share the results at #LansdowneLife.



Coton & Rye

The Lansdowne is a particularly epicurean destination, as well – with half-a-dozen options for sating your autumn appetite. Absolutely do book a table at their signature restaurant, Coton & Rye, where the name hints at its culinary pièce de résistance. Indeed, its great point of pride is a namesake private label rye whiskey, created in partnership with the nearby Catocin Creek Distilling. Start with their signature Cherry Blossom Julep, which is made with that same rye, or The Boulevardier cocktail, with rye, aperol and sweet vermouth. German chef Marcus Repp’s menu takes in the best of local ingredients: Chesapeake blue crab dip, Tidewater seafood chowder, roasted rockfish, heritage pork chop with Virginia mustard crust…even the, um, Swiss cheese is sourced from the Old Dominion State.



Lansdowne Cooking Classes

Every Saturday afternoon guests and locals gather with members of the Lansdowne culinary team to learn how to better incorporate real (as opposed to the marketing-speak) farm-to-table ethos into their own cooking. And, of course, to eat the finished product.

The Conche

Located nearby in downtown Leesburg, this chic restaurant is built around its Chocolate Lab (get it?), which influences much of what celeb chef Santosh Tiptur presents on your plate. To wit, mac & cheese with chocolate covered applewood smoked bacon; New York strip with Burgundy chocolate reduction; deviled eggs with cacao nibs. Dessert is obviously insanely decadent, from the Guanaja sour cream chocolate cake, to the Manjari Madagascar chocolate mousse, to an artisanal chocolate platter that might just change your life. There are also cocktails made with chocolate bitters, and signature spiked Tipsy Coco drinks. For full immersion, book a chocolate making class.
Other Loudoun destination restaurants: Mokomandy, for contemporary Cajun-Korean fusion; The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, which serves on-site-sourced organic dishes in a beautiful greenhouse setting; and Hunter’s Head Tavern, an authentic English pub in an 18th Century heritage building, with a menu of Certified Humane, sustainable Anglo and American comfort food.

The Conche

BlackBook Exclusive: ‘Hungarian’ Steak Tartare Recipe From NYC’s The Eddy

Share Button
Image by Dayna Lee


Just because The Eddy is an East Village institution doesn’t mean its 23-year-old chef Jeremy Salamon is afraid to change it up a bit.

As part a second generation Hungarian family with a fondness for shared meals, it’s not surprising that he fell in love with food – and told his mom at age nine that he was going to be a chef. Which is why his menu now emphasizes shared plates and exploration. Take for instance the local oysters on the half shell, served with concord grape mignonette, a sweet and seasonal riff on the traditional dipping sauce.

Salamon recalls that at family dinners, his mother would ask, “…if I wanted to ‘do business.’ That was her way of suggesting we share multiple dishes, sometimes swapping plates mid-meal and eating communally.”

Fittingly, even his steak tartare is influenced by the old country, presented as it is with Hungarian lángos. And what exactly is a lángos?

A fried, tender flatbread that incorporates potatoes into the dough, they are as common in Hungary as pretzels are in NYC. They’re filled with any variety of savory ingredients, like fried meats and sauerkraut, and you can find them on every street corner there, made fresh to order.

“Steak tartare is a classic [raw] dish,” Salamon says, “and the briny and acidic nature requires a fatty vehicle like the lángos.”


Dinner time at The Eddy 


The combination is utterly swoon-worthy, so it’s not hard to see why he “fell in love with it after having it at the Lehel Market in Budapest.”

Despite his working closely with Local Bushel, which connects NYC restaurants directly to Upstate farms, most items are made in house at The Eddy. And he intends to continue to influence the restaurant’s menu by way of his heritage – with the goal of utilizing more Hungarian ingredients, “like cured mangalista [the Hungarian wooly pig]. It’s like prosciutto, but fattier and better.”

What else can one eat with lángos? As far as Salamon is concerned it’s, “Lángos all day, every day!”


Jeremy Salamon’s Steak Tartare and Lángos for The Eddy

Yield: a dozen small lángos

2 Medium Yukon Gold Potato, Peeled and Cubed
1 Tbsp. Instant Yeast
2 tsp Sugar
1 cup Warm Milk
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-½ tsp Kosher SALT
3 cups 00 Flour
– Boil potato until tender
– Strain and cool
– Add yeast + olive oil to warmed milk and let foam. About 5 minutes.
– Combine the flour and salt
– Rice potato through a food mill or puree in a blender
– Add yeast mixture and process
– Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and working with hands gradually add flour until a wet
ball begins to form. Do not knead!
– Let dough proof at room temp for 1-½ hours until doubled in size
– Form the langos using extra flour to coat your hands and surface
– Fry at 350F (1 minute per side)
– Drain on paper towels

Steak Tartare

1 pound best-quality beef sirloin
3 tablespoons chopped drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon Tobasco
2 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
Chill beef in freezer 15-30 minutes; cut into ¼” pieces. Mix beef, capers, parsley, oil, garlic,
Tobasco, worcestershire and shallot in a chilled large bowl; season with salt.
*I like to serve in a handsome bowl with a few spoons so guests can help themselves to top
their langos.

Weekend in Stockholm: An Autumn Guide to a Stylish Stay in the Swedish Capital

Share Button



As surely the most comely Scandinavian capital, there are always so many reasons to love Stockholm. Picture perfect, and with beautiful inhabitants to match, it boasts 13th century medieval castles and jaw-dropping architecture, spread over an expansive archipelago of islands. Its cutting edge design, vibrant culinary scene and legendary nightlife continue to make it an imperative destination for the style set.

Here are some of the highlights from our most recent visit.


ABBA: The Museum

For campy fun, visit the museum that houses the world’s largest collection of everything about Sweden’s most famous musical export. Marvel at the music, films, memorabilia and, especially, those ’70s fashions. It’s a fully interactive experience.


Though the 17th century war ship at the center of this maritime museum sank less than 30 minutes into its maiden voyage in 1628, it was dredged up in its entirety 333 years later and restored to its glorious splendor. Predominantly intact after laying underwater for over three centuries, this is a fascinating time capsule of Sweden’s nautical history.




The lovely Djurgarden was formerly the royal hunting grounds, and now a national park – where you will feel worlds away from the pace of the city center, which is just across a short bridge. Visit the Rosendals Trädgård, a fascinating biodynamic farm and greenmarket which grows its own flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. Relax over a fika – the Swedish version of a coffee break – at their café, which serves casual farm to fork fare. For something a little fancier, book ahead for the opulent 19th century Villa Godthem, which was the former private residence of opera singer Carl Johad Uddman – and now serves classic Swedish cuisine in a plush setting.


One of Scandinavia’s top photography museums, its current Autumn Salon exhibition focuses on nature and climate change. Its award-winning namesake restaurant is run by notable chef Paul Svensson, whose specialty is vegetarian seasonal dishes built on sustainability – and here, they come with panoramic views.



Langa Raden at Hotel Skeppsholmen

Greater Stockholm consists of 24,000 islands in a vast archipelago; the idyllic Skeppsholmen is one of the most picturesque, in the heart of downtown, and offering beautiful views. Taking advantage of the scenery is the gorgeous restaurant Langa Raden, located in the Hotel Skeppsholmen. Enjoy trad Swedish fare with a contemporary twist in a lush garden setting, right on the water’s edge. It dates back to the 17th century.


Offering panoramic rooftop views over Stockholm, this newly opened bi-level hotspot is helmed by Sweden’s rising newcomer Chef Frida Ronge. Trained in the fine art of the cuisine of Japan, she has gained numerous accolades for her Nordic-Japanese creations, which use seasonal local ingredients. When it’s not too cold, the alfresco rooftop terrace turns into an all-night party.


Tweed Bar

(To properly navigate Stockholm’s electric nightlife scene, we enlisted the help of Ricardo Dynan, the Global Brand Ambassador for Absolut Vodka.)
Located in the oldest part of the city, Gamla Stan, Tweed resembles a vintage British gentleman’s club, with Chesterfield armchairs set amongst antique nautical décor and plaid-lined walls. Its known for its extensive cocktail list, curated by Hampus Thunholm, who also created the beverage program for Fäviken (recently featured in Netflix’s Chef’s Table series).



Linje Tio

Recently named the 25th best bar in the world by Drinks International’s “World’s 50 Best Bars.” Has all the proper bells and whistles of a Brooklynesque hotspot, and is appropriately located in the hipster hood of Hornstull/Sodermalm. The creative cocktail menu changes seasonally; expect Negronis made with strawberries and saffron, and a beet-infused Absolut Vodka mixed with coconut, ginger, lemon and nutmeg. The front houses a barber shop which functions as an overflow lounge during peak hours.

Haktet Vänster

Roughly translating to “jail cell on the left,” this stylish “speakeasy” is fitted into two neighboring townhouses off Sodermalm’s busy Hornsgaten. Sip custom craft cocktails in a cozy space decorated in vintage kitsch, mixed with 18th century antiques spread around tufted banquettes. Though the menu features a bevy of original concoctions, the knowledgeable bartenders are always up for mixing something based on your taste preferences. It’s accessible only by an intercom.



Getting There: SAS Air

The easiest way to arrive into Stockholm is via SAS Airways, who offer the most non-stop direct U.S.-to-Scandinavia flights. They recently redesigned their long haul Airbus 330-300 aircraft with ultra-modern, hi-tech cabins, including SAS Business (fully flat beds), SAS Plus (Premium Economy) and SAS Go (Economy). SAS Plus cabins also feature spacious seats and free WiFi, large entertainment screens, in addition to lounge access, and extra luggage allowance. All travelers can enjoy onboard cell service. The seasonally changing Nordic themed culinary program was also redesigned by celebrated head chef Peter Lawrence. And through a partnership with Danish brewer Mikkeller, passengers can also select from more than a dozen craft beers, brewed with high-elevation in mind. Roundtrips from Newark start at just $549.

Stay: Downtown Camper

Stockholm’s latest hospitality hotspot – located in the downtown neighborhood of Brunkebergstorg – it’s themed around “glamping,” playing to Swedes’ love of nature and the outdoors. The lobby is reminiscent of a hip tech company’s HQ, with design nods to sustainability, and a skylit concrete lobby adorned with usable kayaks. Exuding that invariably chic Nordic minimalist aesthetic, the cozy rooms are awash in a neutral gray with wool throws and a window box couch to stretch out on after a day of exploring. Refuel in their signature restaurant, aptly named Campfire, which serves delicious and unfussy Scandi comfort fare amidst sumptuous sofas and tufted chairs.