An Insider’s Guide To Eating & Drinking in Athens

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Elad Yifrach has made it his life work to bring his inspired travels into the home with his lifestyle brand L’Objet. Having traversed the world in search of unique beauty and localized culture, He has built a global following with his artisan eye and gorgeous collections.

 

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With a passport filled to the brim, Elad nevertheless keeps coming back to his one of his great loves: The Mediterranean.  He is constantly enamored with Its people, its lifestyle, its art, its way of life and of course, its food. When it comes to Athens, for him, the restaurant and cocktail scene couldn’t be any better. Here are his top picks for the very best in the Greek capital.

 

La Maison Du Grece

Situated in the suburb of Kifissia, this casual yet refined café is a spot for true design lovers. Patterned mosaic tiles pay homage to traditional Greek architecture, whilst the mismatched chairs give it a fun, modern vibe. The produce is organic and regionally sourced, making it popular with the locals. The perfect spot for a chill and relaxed breakfast.

La Maison Du Grec

 

Zonars

Originally created by a local chocolatier, Zonars is one of the hottest addresses in town. Located by Syntagma Square, this Athenian legend was an artist’s hangout and a hot spot in the 40s, with many of its historical elements incorporated into the current design. The ambiance, music, and food + drink are all carefully considered…including decadent ice cream sundae desserts and expertly prepared cocktails.

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Cycladic Cafe

This recently remodeled café is located in Kolonaki and was inspired by traditional Cycladic art – evident in the namesake museum building’s classical structure. Exquisitely designed, the giant sun roof allows for plenty of natural light to beam through the sculptural ceiling, whilst the wall of dense vegetation reaches all the way to the top. A seasonal menu of fresh, local cuisine is served up in the in a serene setting.

Cycladic Museum Cafe press image

 

The Zillers Roof Garden

Situated on the rooftop of the trendy boutique hotel of the same name, its on a small street near the Cathedral Square, For obvious reasons, it’s the perfect spot for a sunset drink in a lively atmosphere, with an epic view of the Acropolis and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

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Capanna

Capanna is great for its fresh and delicious pizza paired with authentic Greek produce. It might sound like a weird combination, but it truly works. Set in the vibrant neighborhood of Kolonaki, It has a cosy, chic and intimate setting, and this fusion of Greek and Italian culture can also be seen in restaurant décor itself.

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O Kostas

For simple and delicious street food, head to O Kostas, which has been a landmark in Athens since the 1950s, and is still a truly authentic experience. No frills, just get your sandwich at the counter and enjoy the explosion of flavors…like the Souvlaki, a traditional Greek dish made from cooked veal or pork, in a pita with yogurt, fresh cut tomato, parsley and onions.

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French New Wave Hits the Lower East Side with ‘Le Turtle’

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Photography: Leta Sobierajski & Wade Jeffree

On the corner of Chrystie and Rivington in the Lower East Side, modern french restaurant, Le Turtle, sits chicly with the cool laissez faire of any member of the downtown crowd. Inside is a decor dream with an all marble bar, raw concrete accents, a plush pink velvet perch, Horween-leather lined seating and nods to architectural icons like Carlo Scarpa and Sol Lewitt.


HyperFocal: 0Photography: Scottie Cameron

Founded by Taavo Somer of Freemans and Carlos Quirarte of The Smile, Le Turtle is all about atmosphere. The scene is a mix of fashion types, creatives, film stars and a table of patrons that were surely Andy Warhol’s friends. At the bar, you’ll overhear a debate about whether or not Purple Rain was the greatest record of all time and under the neon lit tables conversations are adamantly declaring that Julianne Moore saved the new Greta Gerwig movie.

When it comes to music direction, expect a soundtrack transitioning between old school Biggie, Major Lazor, Rick Ross, Jay Z and ’90s R&B. There might be a moment when Rihanna comes on and the host starts dancing to “Work,” which infectiously inspires the rest of the restaurant to begin moving their shoulders, as well. What else would you expect from a staff outfitted in straight up jump suits?

Oh, and the food is great, too. Order their signature Whole Sasson Chicken For Two. It’s the best in the city.

Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali Launch 2016 EAT (RED) Culinary Tour

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Mario Batali, Courtesy EAT (RED)

 

If you could eat well and save lives at once, you could hardly say no, could you?

To that end, this year’s edition of the highly anticipated EAT (RED) kicks off June 2 in New York, with the (RED) Supper at Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place, hosted by those ubiquitous, globe-trotting celeb chefs Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain. Other participating a-list culinary talent for the night will include Dominique Ansel, Frank Falcinelli, Nancy Silverton, Tom Douglas, Vinny Dotolo, Angela Dimayuga, Kristen Kish and Kevin Gillespie.

The overall goal? To raise money for the ongoing (RED) #86AIDS effort, by means of 27 days of edible nirvana. Indeed, the “tour” continues through the 28th, with special dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour or cocktail events and offerings by many of the world’s hottest epicurean gods and goddesses at their exalted, signature restaurants.

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Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy CNN)

To name but a few: Enrique Olivera at Mexico City’s Eno, Stephanie Izard at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner, Jason Wass at London’s Polpetto, April Bloomfield at NYC’s Spotted Pig, Thomas Keller at the Las Vegas and Beverly Hills Bouchon Bakery locations, Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Jose Andres at DC’s Jaleo, as well as Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s own B&BHG Vegas restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo, including B&B, OTTO Enoteca & Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse—with scores of delectable options to choose from in two dozen cities across four continents.

“Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the sum of our efforts always far exceeds what we can do individually,” says Batali. “EAT (RED) is an opportunity for all of our restaurants to collectively contribute to a tremendously worthy cause while doing what we do best: making delicious food.”

LeftBank_GnocciGnocchi at Left Bank NYC, Courtesy EAT (RED)

The (RED) charity, of course, was founded by Bono in 2006, with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its primary recipient. EAT (RED) debuted in 2014, and has become one of its most high-profile annual events. N.B. Plan to reserve in advance. It’s a hot ticket.


Kelis Will Teach You How to Bring All the Boys to the Yard…With a New Cookbook

Kelis Cookbook
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Image via Kyle Books

The culinary arts have been a recurrent theme in Kelis’ oeuvre—with albums entitled Tasty and Food and singles like “Milkshake” and “Jerk Ribs,” news that she’s coming out with a cookbook should come as no surprise. Especially since she studied at Le Cordon Bleu during a hiatus from music, has a line of sauces, and hosts a show on The Cooking Channel (yeah, we didn’t know any of that either…thanks, Wikipedia!)

Entitled My Life on a Plate: Recipes From Around the World, Kelis’ cookbook comprises recipes that run the gamut from Southern soul food, Caribbean, and Asian cuisines, as well as some new, eclectic dishes formulated by the singer-chef.

In a statement, the musician-cum-chef said of My Life on a Plate:

“It’s an exploration of tastes and cultures, and my experience as a chef, musician, mother and wife. It’s a lifestyle, and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you.”

It sounds interesting, but the word “lifestyle” scares us since it can bring to mind terrifying comparisons to Goop, but we expect more from Kelis.

The press release said nothing of a milkshake recipe, though. We’ll have to wait and see if we can finally make what the guys go crazy for:

Bar Tartine Mingles Science & Cuisine

San Francisco Food
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Illustration by Joseph Larkowsky

A low-ceilinged flight of stairs leads down into the groundbreaking restaurant Bar Tartine’s sprawling basement. In a wine cellar, multiple kinds of house-made vinegars are blooming, including a blood orange variety that tastes as if the citrus made a crash landing in southern Spain. Hachiya persimmons hang from rope, emulating the Japanese method for preserving the fruit. Upstairs, four dehydrators sit high on a shelf next to an oversized rice cooker filled with garlic bulbs. In a little over a week, the garlic bulbs will transform, turning black and sweet. All around are enormous plastic tubs loaded with cabbages and mustard greens morphing into sauerkraut and pickles. Dozens of dairy products bubble and age in a fridge. A boundless collection of quart containers are filled with homemade dried ingredients and powders: onion, parsnip, burnt eggplant, stevia, coriander, flowers, burned bread. The clock seems to slack its gait as these ingredients decay, ferment, pickle, and desiccate.

Johnny Cash’s “Daddy Sang Bass” pours from Bar Tartine’s speakers. A prep cook chops button mushrooms. Nicolaus Balla, one of the restaurant’s two co-chefs, mutters, “We’re fucked,” as Mindy and Juston Enos of Full Table Farm deliver a produce bounty, including pea shoots, pea tendrils, Portuguese kale, and an early crop of green garlic. The Enoses do this twice a week. They bring nearly anything and everything that grows at their farm in the Napa Valley. “It pushes our creativity because we never know what we’re getting from Justin and Mindy,” Balla says.

In walks Cortney Burns, Balla’s partner in restaurant and life, fresh from a double- header of yoga and a Barry’s Bootcamp session. She changes clothes, dons an apron and starts trimming the edges of a steamed squash cake that will be served as dessert with chestnuts and buttermilk.

The food Burns and Balla cook is hard to categorize. When the pair started cooking at Bar Tartine in 2011, they were running an ostensibly Hungarian restaurant. Even now, there is usually vivid red paprika in the kitchen. There is pork, too, and lots of sour cherries when they appear in midsummer. But these days, Bar Tartine feels more like the prismatic vision of two curious, talented chefs who wandered to the Pacific coast from the Midwest. The couple’s cooking references antiquity with its focus on preservation. It nods at Japan, with an assimilation of that cuisine’s savory intensity and clean building of flavors. Bar Tartine in Burns and Balla’s hands is old, new, Japanese, European. It is personal and perfectly now.

Chefs from Chicago to Copenhagen are enraptured. Food insiders and curious home cooks have been fawning over Burns and Balla’s Bar Tartine cookbook: a useful, beautiful treatise that captures the innovative soul of their handiwork. All that project cooking the two do at Bar Tartine — the powders, the pastes, the pickles — play with time, arresting a range of deeply flavorful ingredients at various points of intensity. That teeming pantry becomes an arsenal, a battalion for layering flavor. One crazed example: the simple sounding “warm mushrooms with bone marrow.” For that dish, beef broth is spiked with seaweed and Japanese-style dried fish, then reduced to a syrup. Then wild mushrooms are added, and it is all cooked down again into an intense paste. To order, whole roasted wild mushrooms are set on the concentrated paste and topped with pieces of melting bone marrow. The way Burns and Balla cook is like a 50-person orchestra seamlessly condensing its notes into one wall of integrated sound: You feel every note acutely, but you cannot extract the individual ones.

Japanese cuisine, pickling, and preservation — much of what interests Burns and Balla is now popular in the hipper subsets of the food world. “We never meant to be on trend,” Burns says. “We want to make things we like and that people do, too. You just hope people think your food is delicious.”

Balla comes near to investigate the squash cake. Johnny and June’s “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” comes on. Burns and Balla’s camaraderie is apparent, though you wonder whether constant proximity is ever a strain. “She gets sick of me,” Balla says as he squats to pick something up. “I never get sick of her.” Burns grimaces and squints her eyes. “Yeah, right,” she replies.

As the clock ticks toward the arrival of the first guests, the restaurant begins to quicken. Much of the work is done already. Bar Tartine, fully armed, bolts to life. Its stoves flaming, its plates wiped clean, and the clinking and clanking of giddy people eating, most of them unaware how all around them — from the upstairs larders to the basement cellars — time is slowing, stopping, and starting.

BAR TARTINE’S FERMENTED HONEY

Fermenting honey gives it slight acidity and a more complex flavor. Capped honey will not ferment in its natural state of 17% to 18% moisture content; it will ferment, however, if it is above 60 degrees with greater than 20% moisture content. Use this honey as you would any other honey.

Servings: 1 cup
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons water

In a small glass jar, stir together the honey and water and cover the jar with cheesecloth. Place in a clean, well-protected, low-light area with an ambient temperature of 60 to 68 degrees for two weeks. Stir the contents once daily, just until the honey starts to sour very slightly. The flavor will be subtle when the honey is finished fermenting. Cap tightly and refrigerate for up to one year.

How to Eat Like Elettra Wiedemann + More Fashion World Faves

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Elettra Wiedemann courtesy of Farfetch

It’s common knowledge that the fashion industry is all over what’s new, hot, delicious, and buzzy when it comes to the world’s restaurants. It’s why New York City’s Indochine has stayed on the map for over 30 years; fashion folk flock to it. So why not take advantage of the industry’s discerning tastes? In a new book published by Assouline, online retail site Farfetch has curated restaurants the world over, with favorites and recommendations from the likes of Leandra Medine (the Man Repeller), Anya Ziourova, designer Jonathan Saunders, and plenty more.

Model Elettra Wiedemann (and daughter of Isabella Rossellini) plays a part in the book, too, with a recipe for her favorite breakfast.

Here’s how to make Elettra’s omelette.

Ingredients:
3 free-range eggs (I get mine from the Union Square Greenmarket every Monday)
1 knob of butter or 1 tsp coconut oil (available at most health food stores)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Elettra’s Healthy Omelette fillings (optional): sauteed leek and rosemary/kale and cayenne pepper/mushroom and arthichoke

Preparation Method:
Crack the eggs into a bowl; beat with a fork until smooth and then season. Melt a knob of butter or heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan. Saute the fillings, and pour the eggs into the pan when the butter or oil is piping hot. Using a wooden fork in a circular motion, move the eggs in the pan around whilst moving the pan back and forth across the heat. Allow the eggs to form a light skin, and then remove the pan from the heat. Using the side of a fork, fold the omelette in towards the middle on both sides. Tip the omelette onto a plate, and serve.

Pick up the book for more culinary inspiration. Shop it right here.

Skipping Work is Worth it for Brunch at Bustan

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“I’m in chocolate heaven,” said Avneet.

Last Friday afternoon, BlackBook staffers Emily and Avneet decided to skip out on the office and head uptown to Bustan for a mid-day feast. If you’re going to go all out, this is a pretty good place to do it.

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We started off with guava fruit juice, which had a slightly spiced flavour and a macchiato to keep us refreshed.

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Garlic flatbread and black olives for the appetizer, yum.

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Chicken and foie gras merguez shakshouka! A tongue twister that tasted unreal.

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Jumbo lump crab benedict with potatos and spinach drizzled in truffle oil. Rich and tasty, just the way we like it.

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Layered with chocolate and sprinkled with bananas, the Nutella flatbread was one for the sweet tooths.

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To finish off, the challah bread French toast  with syrup, crème fraîche, and blueberries, was a real treat.

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Emily enjoying the French toast!

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Bustan is located at 487 Amsterdam Avenue, New York.

South African Dried Beef! Food Trend Watch 2014

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Poor Morrissey. Surely he dreamed we’d all be herbivorous irreversus by now. But tragically for the Moz, in 2014, meat is “moder” (than ever).

Still, burgers are so passé, and beardy butchers déclassé. So as the trendometer plunges further below the class-divide line, what could be more hip than an upscaling of that old truckstop staple, beef jerky?

Behold: Biltong. But, um, please don’t actually call it jerky.

Apparently, while Americans were for so many years unquestioningly scarfing down their Slim Jims, South Africans had enjoyed a more epicurean incarnation of the machismo-infused snack that is dried beef.

And now it’s taken up a brick-and-mortar presence in NYC’s West Village, in the form of Monique Daniels’ jauntily named Jonty Jacobs. (BlackBook etymology lesson: A “jonty” can be either a right amazing bloke, or a poshie faux rudeboy.) Here the Biltong comes in dried slices, slabs and sausages (those known as Droewors), all grass fed, additive free, low-carb, high-protein…and it lasts for three years! (Unless you eat it, of course.)

For the carnivorous who still prefer their meat in “squishier” form, the shop also sells tasty beef, pork and lamb Sosaties–essentially South African kebabs–as well as stocking a range of other gourmet goodies.

Will Biltong go the, erm, full Jonty in the States? Hard to see how not. After all, isn’t the real American dream to have your beef and eat it too…without the corresponding angioplasty?

Outsmart the Holidays with Wunwun

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We touched on it last week: Wunwun, the anything-on-demand app that helps you get anything that you want from any NYC store (standing in lines for $24 per hour), with a customized helper sending texts, pictures, and asking questions along the way. The service works perfectly, with the real joy being that it allows you to be in two places at once. Since it’s the holidays, there is no time this could be better put to use, whether you’re a New Yorker home for the holidays or a tourist spending the holidays in the city (Wunwun is Manhattan-only right now). Shopping is so much of a hassle this season, especially because of the lines, and Wunwun will stand in them for you.

Here are a few ideas on how to use Wunwun to score last minute gifts and outsmart the crowds:

Ladurée

The beloved purveyor of French macarons, currently has only a single Upper East Side location. While the goods are certainly worth the wait, it could cost you an hour of your time. Send a helper to pick up a dozen for you.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

The home of this summer’s biggest craze, Cronuts, still requires a pre-sunrise, early morning commitment. Holiday parties and their ensuing hangovers will make this impossible. Send a helper and check something off of your list before you even wake up.

Ippudo  

Arguably the best ramen (at least the most famous) in the city, with waits clocking in at cinematic lengths, Ippudo makes the perfect end to a day out shopping in the cold. Send a helper to hold your place while you enjoy a drink nearby or peruse nearby shops.

Download Wunwun in the app store.