BlackBook Urbanologie: London’s New Vegan Hotspots

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by CHLOE.

 

There was a time when it would have been unthinkable; but yes, even the Brits are getting their veg on these days. And some of London’s hottest tables for 2018 are total meat-free zones.

Here are some of best, including a Covent Garden outpost of NYC’s by CHLOE.

 

The Vurger Co.

Popular plant-based burger company, The Vurger Co, opens its first permanent site in Shoreditch – this March – following a number of well-received pop-up sand along with a successful crowdfunding campaign. The site features The Vurger Co’s full menu including their best-selling Tabasco Auburger, made from aubergines, chickpeas, red onion and vegan cheese, as well as the company’s infamous mac’n’cheese and shakes. Other soul satisfying highlights from the menu include the mouth-watering Classic, the Mexican and the MLT, packed full of baked mushrooms and rocket and topped with walnut and sundried tomato paste.

 

 

By CHLOE.

New York City’s acclaimed vegan (quick-serve) restaurant group has taken the city by storm, and has expanded with locations across the capital and nationwide. This fast-casual operation is vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli’s first foray into the restaurant business and the Covent Garden outpost (opening January, 2018) is their first outside of the States. by CHLOE. aims to share delicious, wholesome, plant-based food “that fuels and energizes without compromising flavor, taste or satisfaction”. Their chef-driven vegan menu always feature locally-sourced ingredients in their most natural form to create “innovative” dishes made in-house – with a mindset of mindful, sustainable ingredient sourcing, eco-friendly packaging and lowering their carbon footprint. The restaurants offer plant-based salads, burgers, sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, ice cream, freshly-baked sweets, and a variety of grab-and-go options.

Wildflower

Wildflower (part of the Peckham Levels project) is a vegetarian and vegan canteen serving breakfast, brunch and lunch throughout the week. Head Chef Joseph Ryan (Frank’s Cafe, Salon) draws inspiration from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian cuisine for the ingredient-led daily menu. The “relaxed, communal atmosphere” offers a laid back ‘greenteen’ setting to dine on dishes such as: roasted cauliflower, bramley apple, walnuts, Cotherstone & pickled onions and sweet potato & sage gratin, toasted oats, beetroot relish & watercress. Open 7 days a week.

 

 

The Spread Eagle

London’s first 100% vegan pub in Hackney. Purveyors of the city’s best vegan street food, Meriel Armitage (founder of Club Mexicana) brings her cult Mexican inspired dishes to The Spread Eagle, with an entirely vegan offering from bar to kitchen, fixtures and fittings, creating a modern take on a classic East End boozer. Dishes draw influence from the street food traders of Mexico and California with a concise and regularly rotating small plates and signature Tacos. The bar also has a 16 strong tap selection of vegan beers, and a specially created house ‘Spread Eagle Lager’, as well as a vegan wine list of small batch organic bottles and cocktails.

 

Purezza

Purezza (purity) was founded in Brighton in 2015, becoming the first vegan pizzeria in the UK. The plant pioneers are revolutionising Italian food through cruelty free ingredients. In February they launch an outpost in Camden.  The plant-based eaterie offers three types of pizza base – including sourdough, hemp flour and gluten-free as well as using different types of cruelty-free cheese, including their house rice-blend mozzarella as well as coconut, almond, and cashew-based options on their four cheese pizza. They also offer “meats” such as pancetta, mince and burger patties, which have been engineered with plant proteins and a wide range of raw and gluten-free options.

 

 

Urbanologie has been described as “the must have VIP lifestyle app,” designed to keep members in the know with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content on the most anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings.

A Los Angeles Day in the Life, With Honey Child’s Claire McKeown

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With all the divisive bellowing clogging up our television screens, perhaps nothing could be more welcome and illuminating than a…”choir of angels.” Which is arguably the best description of Claire McKeown’s celestial Los Angeles musical collective Honey Child.

Having launched her musical career on the operatic stage – and, naturally, with the voice to match – McKeown searched her soul for the inspiration to write her own…”pop” songs. Though the result was as much “pop” as Amadeus was just a “movie.” Indeed, Honey Child are in fact a collective of seven ethereal women, who together make self-described “heroine folk.” And in fact it might just blur all those boring old musical genre codifications. (We like to call it “chamber punk.”)

“I was performing scenes from Wagner’s ‘Tannhäuser,’ ‘Lohengrin,’ and ‘Die Walküre’ for the patrons of the Orange County Performing Arts Center,” Mckeown recalls, “in anticipation of the mounting of The Ring Cycle the following season. But I wanted an audience of freaks like me.”

 

 

Fittingly, the video for new single “Gotta Wait Another Night” comes off like Derek Jarman or Julie Taymor transplanting Marie Antoinette to urban Los Angeles. And the glorious glam-baroque track draws on all the stylistic iconoclasm and irreverent sexuality of Eno, T Rex and Dresden Dolls (we’re already pining for an Amanda Palmer collab). But it is the harmonic magnificence of McKeown and her curious and glorious choristers that induces the greatest chills and thrills.

As Honey Child were preparing to release their self-titled debut album on February 9 (with a record release show at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater), we caught up with her to discuss opera, sonic intoxication and a perfect day in the life of her inspirational home of Los Angeles, where she resides in Silver Lake. 

 

What made you decide to make the transition from opera to operatic pop?

I made the tough decision to not pursue a career in traditional opera. This set off a mental meltdown complete with a conversation with the Devil. I had never written music before that, and haven’t stopped since. No matter the style of music I may write, the years of training in opera will always be present in my sound and aesthetic.

How was Honey Child formed? Is it a set lineup?

Honey Child was formed when I was dealing with a slaughtered heart. I got caught in the classic and predictable affair with a bandmate of a former project. It didn’t end well. He was a huge part of my day to day life. Besides having to deal with the heartbreak, I also had to relearn how to live life with out my best friend. It was incredibly difficult, but I started writing these heartbreaking songs and arranging tons of vocal harmonies – I asked friends to sing with me in a makeshift choir to cover all these parts. For the first two years of Honey Child there was a revolving roster of choir members; but now we are a set group of seven.

 

What are the live shows like?

I try to go above and beyond for live shows, I want you to have an experience unlike any you have ever had. My favorite thing is to play to for people who have never seen us before. They see a group of seven women dressed all in white, like some sort of cult, and they know they are in for something out of the ordinary. Then when we sing our goal is to transfix, silence and intoxicate you with our sound.

What can we expect musically from the album? What are some of the influences, including lyrically?

Expect passionate honest music filled with ethereal voices. Also, expect to hear an almost live album – this was a celebration of musicians sharing time and space with each other and some of the songs are recorded completely live. My influences on this album for instrumentation and choral arrangements run from The Beatles to Bach, and vocally from Dusty Springfield to Maria Callas. The lyrics are influenced by the Jack Kerouac idea of “first thought, best thought.”

What inspires you about Silver Lake?

I’m surrounded by dreamers.

 

Clare McKeown’s LA Day in the Life

Self-Realization Fellowship, Lake Shrine

It is rare for me to brave the traffic and head to the west side of Los Angeles, but I will to go here. This is my happy place. My place to meditate, be silent, and wash myself of anything plaguing me. It is a flower filled wonderland all around a lake with ducks, turtles and swans.  The minute you enter you can feel the peace and serenity made here by Paramahansa Yogananda and the years and years of humans meditating. I stroll around the lake and marvel at the beauty of the world we live in.

Spacedust

This glam rock shop in Echo Park is filled with tons of eclectic gifts. Michelle Rose, who runs the shop, has set up a space for local artists (including her own couture) to sell their paintings, ceramics, candles, clothes, cards, bags, soaps, jewelry, books. The last thing I bought here was a David Bowie religious candle.

 

Cafe Stella

I’ll wake up early and stroll over here before the brunch crowds fill it up. I love the avocado toast and a side of bacon. Or, the soft scramble and prosciutto on sourdough. Their coffee is from the Intelligentsia next door, which is a big reason I come here.

Kombu Sushi

The happy hour lunch menu here is wondrous. They have this delicious spicy tuna on crispy rice, and I adore their chirashi bowls. The ambience is typical for a sushi bar except they may be projecting John Waters’ Cry Baby or Roger Vadim’s Barbarella on the wall.

 

 

Figaro Bistrot

I come here to pretend I am in Paris. I can admit this nerdy behavior since I know I am not the only one who does this. Their pastries are so good and almost too beautiful to eat – the almond croissant is the best I have ever had. That with a latte and a book to read and I’ll stay for hours.

Taix

This is the first place I always suggest when meeting friends for drinks. I recently heard it described as “the punk rock senior center,” which make me smile because it is so true. I always order an Old Fashioned when I am here, because their’s may be the best in town.

 

 

Mh Zh

This is a contemporary Israeli restaurant. I come here with friends and we order everything on the menu. The highlights for me are the lamb ragoo, the ribeye, hummus and bread, and the braised cabbage. So basically the whole menu.

The Theatre at The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles (United Artists Theatre)

This place steals my breath and I feel lucky every time I walk through its grand doors. I was there last Halloween for the newest Philip Glass opera La Belle et la bête and was elated for days due to the ingenious show and the opulence of the venue.

 

Erasure Reveal North American Tour Dates: Go ‘Classical’ With New Album ‘World Beyond’

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In the depths of winter, it helps to have something to look forward to – especially if it involves dancing in the aisles.

And to be sure, summer calendars should be marked for the arrival of Erasure on these shores this summer. They will indeed take to the stage at Miami’s Fillmore on July 6, launching a seven-week North American tour that takes them from New York to Toronto, Chicago to San Francisco and virtually everywhere in between – before ending up August 26 at LA’s Wiltern Theater.

In the meantime, they’ll be trekking across Europe, with a new album, World Beyond, appearing in the midst of it all (March 9, to be exact). Fascinatingly, it is a modern-classical reworking of their 2017 release World be Gone, in collaboration with Brussels’ Echo Collective. They’ve also just released a short film on the making of the record.

“It was great to talk through ideas with Echo Collective,” recalls Erasure’s Vince Clarke, “and then see how their arrangements took shape. The collaboration has given elements of the album a whole new feel and Andy’s vocals remain as powerful and uplifting as ever.”

 

 

Erasure 2018 Tour Dates

January 29 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia
January 30 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia
January 31 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia
February 2 – Dundee, Scotland – Caird Hall
February 3 – Edinburgh, Scotland – Usher Hall
February 4 – Newcastle, England – City Hall
February 6 – Liverpool, England – Philharmonic
February 7 – Hull, England – City Hall
February 8 – Manchester, England – O2 Apollo
February 10 – Cambridge, England – Corn Exchange
February 11 – Birmingham, England – O2 Academy
February 12 – Nottingham, England – Royal Concert Hall
February 14 – Ipswich, England – Regent
February 15 – Southampton, England – O2 Guildhall
February 16 – Cardiff, Wales – St David’s Hall
February 18 – Aylesbury, England – Friars Waterside Theatre
February 19 – Brighton, England – Dome
February 20 – Guildford, England – G Live
February 22 – Norwich, England – UEA
February 23 – London, England – Eventim Apollo
February 24 – London, England – Eventim Apollo
February 27 – Cologne, Germany – E-Werk
February 28 – Hamburg, Germany – Mehr Theater
March 1 – Berlin, Germany – Columbiahalle
March 3 – Leipzig, Germany – Haus Auensee
March 4 – Munich, Germany – Tonhalle
March 5 – Frankfurt, Germany – Batschkapp
March 7 – Hanover, Germany – Capitol
March 9 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Royal Arena
July 6 – Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore
July 7 – St. Petersburg, FL – Mahaffey Theater
July 8 – Orlando, FL – Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
July 10 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
July 15 – New York, NY – Beacon Theater
July 17 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
July 18 – Philadelphia, PA – Merriam Theater
July 20 – Washington, DC – Warner Theater
July 22 – Pittsburgh, PA – Byham Theater
July 24 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theater
July 25 – Grand Rapids, MI – 20 Monroe Live
July 27 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre
July 29 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theatre
July 31 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat
August 1 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
August 3 – Dallas, TX – Toyota Music Factory
August 4 – Houston, TX – Smart Financial Centre
August 5 – San Antonio, TX– Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
August 7 – Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Live
August 10 – Denver, CO – Opera House
August 12 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kingsbury Hall
August 14 – Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre
August 15 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum Theatre
August 19 – San Francisco, CA – Masonic Auditorium
August 21 – Santa Barbara, CA – Arlington Theatre
August 22 – San Diego, CA – Symphony Hall
August 26 – Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern Theater

Egghead is Doing Gourmet Breakfast at the New Moxy NYC Times Square

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Photo courtesy of Egghead

 

New Yorkers make a routine of their morning bagel from the corner stand or their grande iced latte at Starbucks. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why should it be so mundane?

Executive Chef Jason Hall of Egghead has the answer. His egg-centric sandwich shop has just opened at the Moxy NYC Times Square hotel, and it makes us want breakfast for every meal. Conveniently, they’re open all day and late night.

 

The Hot Coffee at Egghead. (Photo courtesy of Egghead)

 

“The rising popularity of ‘all day’ breakfast restaurants inspired our concept for the venue and was a great fit for the area,” says Hall. “With Moxy Times Square’s millennial following and close proximity to Madison Square Garden, we knew that breakfast sandwiches would be a hit, especially if we offered them all day through late in the night after the party at our Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge.”

And what better way to end the night with some top quality ingredients prepared in the most sublime way? Indeed, after testing more than 20 varieties of eggs, Hall landed on the richest and most colorful yolk from Chino Valley Ranchers in California. And they bake their Kennenbec Potato Brioche bread in-house daily.

It’s the details that count with their Classic, which comes with a fried egg, thick-cut Nueske’s bacon, American cheese, tomato, fried shallots and spicy aioli, and their Hash Brown, which comes stuffed with pecorino cheese.

“We are looking to make the best egg sandwich by putting emphasis on sourcing high-quality ingredients,” Hall concludes.

 

Above: The Potato Hash Brown at Egghead. Below: The Classic at Egghead. (Photos Courtesy of Egghead)

 

Egghead is now open at Moxy Times Square. Find more info here.

First Images: Paris’ Legendary Lutetia Hotel Will Reopen in Spring

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Dating to 1910, Paris’ glamorous Left Bank legend Lutetia hotel has an absolutely glittering history, including playing host to the likes of Hemingway, James Joyce, Picasso, Matisse, Miles Davis and Serge Gainsbourg. David Lynch even styled his own suite. It was also one of the first “fashion designer” hotels, with Sonia Rykiel having opened an on-site boutique, before dazzlingly revamping the interiors during those so fabulous 1980s.

But closed – and sorely missed – since 2014, the Lutetia is now scheduled for a spring rebirth (as a member of The Set hotels), after a $150 million renovation. We have the first images here.

Heading the makeover was exalted French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte; and gone are Rykiel’s flamboyant flourishes, replaced by something of a more rarefied elegance. Though the historic details are all left gloriously intact – especially the stunning Art Deco glass ceiling above the bar.

What to expect from this new era? A chic new jazz lounge (Parisians love their jazz), an open-air courtyard, and surely most importantly, the rebirth of the Lutetia Brasserie, under the direction of three-Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat – of Marseille’s Le Petit Nice. Not to mention brilliant people watching, especially whenever the Paris Fashion Week crowd storms the capital.

Come April, you’ll know where to find us.

 

 

BlackBook Urbanologie: London’s Best Russian Restaurants

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Mari Vanna

 

With the Mueller collusion investigation heating up, and Donald Trump antagonizing London mayor Sadiq Khan, we couldn’t think of a better plan than hopping a flight to Blighty’s capital to indulge in some of the city’s best Russian restaurants – which is definitely a thing, since a large expat population has some Londoners referring to Blighty’s capital as “Moscow on the Thames.”

We turned to our partners at Urbanologie for their expertise on the subject.

 

Mari Vanna

Laden with extraordinary attention to detail and elaborately decorated, this quaint (shabby chic) restaurant immediately transports you into an archetypal Russian home adorned with the iconic Russian Bear, stacking dolls and Cheburashka, bookshelves filled with Russian literature and elaborate chandeliers. Following the success of Mari Vanna in St Petersburg, Moscow and New York – the London outpost (opened in 2009) is well positioned in the heart of Knighsbridge and on the doorstep of Hyde Park. The restaurant offers “babushka cooking” – traditional homely fare – with influences from Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan and with a contemporary style. Mari Vanna really invokes the feel of an old Russian home and the theme continues through to the menu, which features classic such as borscht – beetroot soup with beef – and well as Olivier salad and beef stroganoff with buckwheat.

Zima

A venture from Russian chef Alexei Zimin that combines Russian street food and drink in a kitsch speakeasy-style atmosphere. Zima occupies the basement of a Grade-II listed townhouse on Frith Street in Soho, right next door to the legendary Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. For the interior ‘think Russian dacha and Soviet-era ryumochnaya (vodka bar)’ – adorned with slogan-and-symbol-embossed propaganda porcelain. The site is the first venture for Zimin outside Russia, and combines street and gourmet food in an array of tapas-style dishes featuring classic ingredients from all corners of Russia and the former Soviet Union. Dishes are prepared around ingredients such as sturgeon, herring, scallops, crab, venison and, of course, caviar. As well as food there are Russian beers like Siberian Crown, and cocktails using vodka infusions flavoured with fennel & tarragon; basil & strawberry and lingonberry & apple with curry leaves. Well-known in Russia, Zimin runs his own restaurant and cookery school, Ragout, in Moscow.

 

 

Bob Bob Ricard

This glamorous and very opulent Russian restaurant is perfect for a trip out of the ordinary. The menu is a mix of British and Russian dishes made with unrestrained creativity and a wide variety of luxury ingredients. Expect starters served with vodka shots (chilled to -18C), and every table is furnished with a ‘Press for Champagne’ button, enabling the restaurant to boast the widely coveted ‘most champagne poured at a restaurant in the UK’ title. The eclectic design of the interior is a stand out feature, distinguishing it with marble tabletops, colourful leather upholstery and gold accents. The dining area is separated between the Blue Dining Room (designed by David Collins and inspired by the Orient Express) and the Red Dining Room (with oriental patterns and backgammon motifs in the centre). There are no individual tables but booths, making the place almost reminiscent of an American-style diner. A new City outpost, Bob Bob Cite, is expected to open shortly – with the kitchen overseen by Eric Chavot, formerly of Brasserie Chavot, and the menu features signature Bob Bob dishes with added twists.

 

 

Urbanologie has been described as “the must have VIP lifestyle app,” designed to keep members in the know with up-to-the-minute insider news and exclusive content on the most anticipated restaurant, bar, club and hotel openings. 

Vegetarian Nirvana: The Charming west~bourne Opens in Soho

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The funny thing about the post-Goop/Gwyneth New York City, is that it actually started seeming quite a bit more like LA (yoga this, organic that) than even LA looks like LA now.

Which is not all bad, fortunately – especially when eating healthy turns out sometimes to be ridiculously tasty. And so it is with California girl and former Union Square Hospitality exec Camilla Marcus’ new Soho vegetarian eatery west~bourne. In the old Sullivan Street space which once housed the fabled Jean Claude (where we whiled away untold evenings), the interior looks plucked straight from the pages of an issue of Dwell. And thoughtfully designed for stylish shape-shifting, light woods and white tiles make it a bright, welcoming space by day; in evening, the beamed ceiling, moody lighting, and cozy quarters of the rustic-mod space facilitate the transformation into something impossibly romantic and date-night ideal.

A sort of retro West Coast trippy-hippy philosophy infuses the culinary mission, with sustainability and zero waste at its heart; and the fun, all-day menu is meant to overthrow the the boring breakfast-lunch-dinner paradigm. So, at any time of the day you might find yourself ordering the Goldilocks wild hives farm porridge; the Over the Rainbowl basmati rice bowl with lentil falafel, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, pickled beets and jalapeno tahini; The Bounty raw and cooked vegetables; or our new obsession, The Bay Cities Cauli, with Pyrénées Brebis sheep’s milk cheese.

A bonus? With Soho’s art world / nightlife glory days far behind, upon leaving west~bourne, we were reminded of the neighborhood’s enduring aesthetic charms – which, despite all the decadent nights we once indulged here, is really what we always loved so much about it.

 

 

 

The Next Great Weekend Getaway: Norwalk, CT

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Amongst NYC’s many great failures of infrastructure and urban planning, the lack of worthwhile public spaces connecting the citizenry to the city’s waterways is a particularly glaring one. But what if you could simply jump an MTA train, head an hour north and be around all sorts of watery wonders?

You’d be in Norwalk, of course – one of Connecticut’s most urbane, good-looking harbor towns, and arguably a still under-considered getaway from Gotham.

Tri-Staters, obviously, have the tendency to make for New England every spring and fall for all the obvious reasons. But we’ve been popping up to Norwalk for as long as we can remember, especially for its restaurant-rich, historic SoNo district – which also happens to be right on the harbor.

Come spring, the beaches, bicycling and boating opportunities are like siren songs for stressed out urbanistas. But we recently made a well-fed winter weekend of it, complete with one of the prettiest snowfalls we’ve ever experienced.

Here’s what we did.

(Check out the Fairfieldista Instagram page before you go.)

 

Pedego Sono

Proprietor Mike Heslin has a plan: he wants to make the word “Pedego” a verb. In other words, “Let’s go Pedego today!” And once you try these exceedingly cool electric bicycles, you’ll wonder why it took so long for someone to make this a…”thing.” The bikes themselves have compelling names like the Interceptor, the Trail Tracker and the Boomerang – and they’re actually quite stylish rides. Essentially, you can shift constantly back and forth between peddling them like regular bicycles, and throttling them like motorcycles – so, obviously, it’s a ridiculous amount of fun, especially trekking around water’s edge.

 

 

Simple Sono

Admit it, there have been innumerable times when you just thought to yourself, “How can I get that dashing, cultivated Jeremy Irons or Kate Winslet look?” The elegant Simple Sono boutique answers that and many more of your most pressingly urbane fashion questions. To be sure, there’s almost something of an Anglophilia at work in their stylistic mission. They stock men’s and women’s – quite a bit from Europe – and you’ll find labels like Adriano Goldschmied, Majestic Filatures, and Calleen Cordero accessories. Don’t forget to pick up one of the ethereal LAFCO candles.

 

 

Factory Underground

This is a great diversion from the usual, especially for music geeks. Book a tour of this thriving studio, and enjoy the anecdotes of owner Ethan Isaacs and his amiable staff. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at vintage guitars being repaired; perhaps meet the next great singer-songwriter singing or writing that next great song in one of the rehearsal rooms; and watch raw video footage being edited into something exciting. Check with them about the occasional on-site special event.

 

 

El Segundo

Despite the Latino moniker, El Segundo is actually a thrillingly international affair. The menu is broken up into continents, so you can make a meal of Venezuelan arepas, Vietnamese banh mi, and Portuguese style grilled sardines. Pair it up with a Japanese Road Soda gin cocktail or a Jamaican Red Stripe, and it’s like doing an epicurean world tour. We loved the Indian curry soup and the insanely delicious esquite shaved corn with cotija cheese. The crowd is cool, the music is well chosen reggae and dub.

 

 

Beach House Sono

If you’re counting the days until summer, this is a great place to wait it out. The decor is appropriately breezy and beachy, the vibe totally laid back. No surprise, seafood dominates the menu, from organic Scottish salmon to seafood risotto to rock shrimp tempura. Landlubbers should try the truffle mushroom flatbread and goat cheese wontons. Chef Kane Xu also lords over the super-trendy Beach Cafe, the sister restaurant in Greenwich.

 

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Cigar Factory Outlet

A top international cigar seller, their lounge is one of the few places that you can actually still sit and enjoy a luxurious smoke and sophisticated tipple. We loved kicking back with an Oban single malt and a super smooth Oliva Serie V Melanio Figurado, 2014’s Cigar Aficionado #1 pick (they also recommend the Oliva Serie V Belicoso, and the Padron Serie 1926 No. 2 Natural), while owner Brian Shapiro explained to us that the highest quality cigars are now coming out of Nicaragua, and not, as generally assumed, Cuba. They also offer their own El Cobre line from that country, and boast an in-house hand roller, Daniel Cruzeta, for the ultimate bespoke experience. They’re planning more nights with live music and / or DJs.

 

 

Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint

This will automatically be one of your favorite restaurants ever. Run by the charismatic Greer Fredericks, the bar up front is a totally buzzing local scene. And in the elegant main dining room, you could actually score big points for atmosphere on date night. The Southern-influenced food is just ridiculously good: the Cajun confit wings are almost indescribable, as are the truffle grits and the pulled pork mac ‘n’ cheese – which might just ruin you for everything else you ever eat. There are also unexpected dishes like roasted butternut squash & burrata salad, or the crispy pork shank cassoulet. Bonus: enjoy a hipster-free live music scene at the wood-beamed, exposed-brick upstairs venue.

 

 

Washington Prime

This is as good a steakhouse as any we’ve been to in the last year. And though they’ve got a ribeye that might just change your life, you’ll literally swoon over the steak tartare with truffle vinaigrette and quail egg, or the thick slab bacon with their signature sauce. Specialties also include the roasted duck and the crab-stuffed filet of sole. Their happy hour, particularly, is totally aces: come for specially priced Copp’s Island oysters and littleneck clams, as well as nicely priced signature cocktails. Atmospheric interiors are rustic-industrial chic, with hanging vines wrapping around dangling bulbs.

 

 

Even Hotel Norwalk

A new Intercontinental brand devoted entirely to health, the vibe at the Even Hotel Norwalk is somewhere between cool, retro airport lounge and casual, contemporary spa – all done in soothing, mellow earth tones. There’s a top class Athletic Studio in house, rooms with workout equipment (including fitness channels on the television) and eucalyptus fiber bedding for that special calming effect. The Cork & Kale Market Bar, which also has organic grab and go food items and awesome breakfast smoothies, is replete with comfy, wi-fi-equipped public spaces for working or just people watching over an evening cocktail. A concept hotel that actually does what it says on the label. (There are outposts in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with Seattle, Pittsburgh and Miami on the way.)

 

 

And Yet More Sono…

Stop in for a Deep Chill session at Saraswati’s Yoga Joint; pick up Game of Thrones worthy accessories at Knotted Bone Leatherworks; do some kitschy Euro food shopping at A Taste of Holland; hit trendy Mecha Noodle Bar for pho and ramen, Match for great classic cocktails, Barcelona Wine Bar for happy hour tapas, and Troupe 429 for the city’s best LGBTQ nightlife scene. And do not miss Norwalk’s amazing Maritime Aquarium.

 

 

Where to Eat in Paris in 2018: Three ‘Délicieux’ New Hotspots

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Above, Les Grands Verres

 

Another Paris Fashion Week will be soon upon us. And let’s face it, even models and designers have to eat…sometimes. But even before the City of Light is beset by stylistas (February 27 – March 6), it’s worth snagging a table at any or all of these three new (opened in the second half of 2017), stylish and very buzzy eateries, for both the people watching and the surprisingly not typically Parisian cuisine.

Book ahead, bien sûr.

 

Carbon Paris

Despite the name, the exceedingly hip Carbon is not a copy of anything we actually know of in Paris. The latest from Argentine restaurateur Sabrina Goldin, and influenced by the carnivores’ dens of Buenos Aires, Swede chef David Kjellstenius’ menu is an homage to land, sea and nature – from the Clavisy lamb shoulder to the barley risotto with octopus. Located on a particularly charming corner of the Marais, it’s perfect for a post-shopping repast. Or come late and join the cool crowd in the basement cocktail bar, La Mina, where you’re actually allowed to smoke. (Reminding you, of course, that you are indeed in the French capital.)

 

 

Les Grands Verres

The name actually translates to “The Big Glasses,” which may mark another new trend: the French exhibiting a sense of humor. It’s actually located in the always bleeding edge Palais de Tokyo contemporary art museum (with its stark, Corbusian architecture), and it has an epic, Euro-modernism interior to match. All the fashionable signifiers are ticked off: sustainable, Medi-influenced menu by American chef Preston Miller; international specialties (chopped vegetable fattoush, matbucah buccatini); and a sleek, late-night cocktail bar. The people watching is aces.

 

 

La Condesa

Follow the new foodies to this chic bistro in the 9th, where Mexican chef Indra Carrillo does thought-provoking dishes like wild cauliflower with coffee, cod with achiote and summer vegetables, and seaweed marinated veal with rhubarb – offered in special four- and six-course menus, and paired with a selection of natural, biodynamic wines. The elegant interior is all black, white and warm woods, with moody, almost romantic lighting, while the location makes it ideal for a sophisticated pre-opera dinner.