Industry Insiders: Andrew Templar and Margaret Mittelbach, Lab Partners

Andrew Templar, co-owner of The Bell House, regularly draws huge crowds to industrial Gowanus with an impressive rotation of indie bands. Just as popular are the bar’s monthly meetings of The Secret Science Club, which Templar founded along with natural science writers Margaret Mittelbach, Michael Crewdson (co-authors of the taxidermy tome Carnivorous Nights) and radio producer Dorian Devins. SSC events, which feature Nobel laureates and other scientific luminaries, range from science-based film screenings to lectures on the genetics of longevity. But the group’s signature happening, which this year attracted 500 fans, is the annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest, in which artists, amateur taxidermists and groupies come out to sip on cocktails called “Wet Specimens” and to compete for the Order of Carnivorous Knights Grand Prize, for the best artfully stuffed dead animal.

What’s the Secret Science Club’s mission? Margaret Mittelbach: We’re trying to advance the public understanding of science, but we’re trying to do it in a way that’s fun and exciting to people. We try to fill it in with music. Cocktails. And we also try to make the scientists feel like they’re rock stars. Because normally at The Bell House, they have music, comedy, and we’re just trying to say, hey, science is part of the culture.

How do you make a scientist feel like a rock star? Andrew Templar: For people who are in the know, they are rock stars. The scientists are surprised by how many people are here and how eager people are to meet them.

MM: For example, we had Donald Johanson, who discovered Lucy, the primate bones from Africa, and a lot of people studied this in college. And also there is the big battle about evolution in schools, so people come in, and they’re like, “Evolution, yeah!” He was a total rock star. People were cheering, and he was really good about riding that. They are stars in their own ways and because the way the venue is set up, they get to be rock stars for the night.

How did the Secret Science Club get started? AT: Our first bar Floyd, NY on Atlantic Avenue has a bocce court. We had an eccentric bocce league team, named Dr. Strangeballs that gave us a piece of taxidermy for a gift. We heard that there was a taxidermy contest at a bar called Pete’s Candy Store that was being hosted by Margaret and Michael as a book launch event, and we entered on a whim and placed highly and met Margaret and Dorian and Michael.

MM: Dorian actually goes out unlike me and Michael, and she was at Floyd and heard you were opening Union Hall, and you said, “Hey, do you want to maybe have that taxidermy thing there?”

AT: We knew Union Hall was going to have a kind of like a gentlemen’s club motif, and we wanted to have this secret Masonic basement venue. We were going to have bands, but we thought it would be cool to supplement it with scientists, and Dorian said, “I think we can make that happen.”

Why did you move the Secret Science Club to The Bell House? AT: We were turning people away from the Union Hall events. The room downstairs only holds about 110 comfortably, or uncomfortably. For one event we had people lined up to 6th Avenue. It was a big deal to turn that many people away. People were disappointed. It felt like we kind of outgrew this place.

MM: [At Union Hall] the idea was it was kind of like a secret society, and we’re meeting in the basement. Down at the Bell House, I have the idea in my mind that science is on the margins. We’re forced to meet on the fringe in this old industrial lot. Sometimes in my mind, I call you the Bell House Labs.

Who comes to the events? AT: We have some regulars who are just classic Brooklyn city people who are just interested in everything. If they’re not at science night, they’re probably off at modern dance. It’s just a smart neighborhood.

MM: It’s mostly 20s and 30s. A lot of people in the audience are involved in film and art, but then you also get some people who are actual scientists. I think one of the reasons that this is popular is that there’s a kind of zeitgeist of curiosity. Because most of the events are free, you can be curious and come and check it out without losing anything and then most people find that they’re inspired by it.

Who comes up with the signature cocktails that you serve at the events? MM: I usually come up with the names, and then they come up with the actual concoction. My favorite drink name ever was the Double (Make that a Triple) Helix.

AT: I don’t know if you want to go public with this, but we think that the global warming enthusiasts drink the most.

MM: They drink the most beer. I don’t know if they drink the most liquor, but they definitely drink the most beer. They’re thirsty. It’s hot.

Where else do you go to see some good taxidermy? AT: Freemans is a very cool spot. Red Hook Bait & Tackle has a black bear and lots of birds and fish. I think taxidermy has had a real resurgence. You see it in places where you didn’t used to.

MM: Ryan Matthew [who won an award at Carniverous Nights] owns a clothing store that also sells taxidermy called Against Nature and Mike Zohn [another contestant] owns Obscura Antiques in the East Village, which is a really cool store.

Industry Insiders: Vinegar Hill House’s Jean Adamson, Sam Buffa, & Brian Leth

Jean Adamson and Sam Buffa met while both were working at Freemans. Their relationship gave way to sharing a love of the food and aesthetic that formed Vinegar Hill House. Sam is also partners with Taavo Somer in the FSC Barbershop. Six months into their Brooklyn venture, the Vinegar Hill House team found Brian Leth, the chef de cuisine since April, formerly of Prune and Allen & Delancey. Leth excites patron with his locally sourced menu with ethnic flairs.

How did you start in the business? Jean Adamson: I started cooking in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had a fascination with cooking and went to the French Culinary Institute. Then I worked for Keith McNally for nine years at Balthazar and Pastis, but it was too easy there for me. I was just expediting the process, so I said, “I have to get out.” I started consulting for Frank Prisinzano of Frank, Supper and Lil’ Frankie’s. I helped him standardize things. I was getting their recipes in order so that in each restaurant everyone was doing the same thing. A friend then called me to say this guy Taavo Somer was looking for a chef at Freeman’s. Their consistency was really poor, and I’m good at producing large amounts of food at once. They were transferring into the first expansion so they needed a day-to-day chef to run everything. So I worked there for three years, and that’s where I met Sam. Sam Buffa: I was helping Taavo with the basic construction of their expansion. At the same time, the space at the front of the alley became available and I proposed the barbershop idea to Taavo. It’s still sort of my day job. Jean and I, from day one, have had similar interests. I always wanted to open a restaurant but had never worked in the field. I always liked the idea of building a restaurant.

How did you come across the space for Vinegar Hill House? JA: When Sam and I met, we were showing off the cool neighborhoods we knew in Brooklyn. I was living in Park Slope at the time, and the next day my landlord came to me and said the carriage house was becoming available in Vinegar Hill. It’s the house behind where the restaurant is now. I told him that I wanted it and I waited a year for it. SB: I told her to ask him about commercial spaces. Once we got the space it was like, “Oh shit now we have to open a restaurant.”

So you did. JA: When we told people about the location they were like, “No way.” When you’re milling around on a bicycle you just end up here. We opened last November after Sam designed the restaurant. We call the downstairs space “the den” and people rent it out for private events. I was the chef but was looking for a way to segue out. Then this gem, Brian, walked in the door. He’s changed the landscape of the restaurant. I always intended on being a local farms and local produce restaurant and he made that happen. He also wanted Brian wanted a Vita-Prep. It’s amazing watching the stuff he makes with it. Brian Leth: I’m a puree guy.

Where have you worked before? BL: I started cooking in New Mexico. A friend of a friend helped steer me towards a job at Prune and I learned a lot there. Then, I worked at Blue Hill and Café des Artistes. I was at Allen & Delancey for about a year. JA: Brian has a broad spectrum of food knowledge from having worked at so many places.

Are you already thinking about the next project? SB: I think its always on our mind. JA: We want to be solid here before the next place.

Something people don’t know about you? JA: That I’m nice. SB: I used to race motorcycles BL: I’m a serious Scrabble player

What are your favorite places? JA, SB, BL: Hotel Delmonico and Rusty Knot.

How about restaurants? BL: Ippudo, Prime Meats, and wd-50. JA, SB: Sripraphai for Hawaiian pizzas, Roberta’s, The Smile, Joe’s Shanghai for soup dumplings.

What’s on your favorite playlist right now? JA, SB: Lady Gaga and talk radio. BL: The Replacements and Steely Dan.

The Boom Boom Room Is Doomed

A sweet tuxedo girl you see A queen of swell society Fond of fun as fond can be When it’s on the strict QT I’m not too young, I’m not too old Not too timid, not too bold Just the kind you’d like to hold Just the kind for sport I’m told Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-re!

The Boom Boom Room isn’t doomed at all, really — it’s just changing its name. A source tells me that “they were sort of trying out the name but decided we need a new one … we didn’t realize how many other Boom Boom Rooms were out there, one of the names André Balazs is considering is QT, as in on the QT.” For those who don’t know the expression it means on the quiet; it’s been around since the mid 1800s and was featured in the movie LA Confidential. It’s the Danny DeVito sign off of his newspaper column: “Off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush.”

QT or whatever it ends up being called is the best room ever. Changing the name will not take the boom boom from the room. There is nothing Standard about it. The crowd is wonderful, the design’s the best this town has seen so far, and the view is spectacular and romantic. I told Kamil Parchomienko, who’s running the room, that its old school elegance reminds me of the clubs in the old black-and-white movies where everyone wore a tux or a gown. Kamil said, “Yes, it makes everyone want to dress up,” and he had the courtesy not to look me up and down.

Opening night was all that I ever dreamed nightlife could be. It was like a Jay Gatsby, party only André Balazs is no phony. He is at the top of his game here. He has created and orchestrated the best room I’ve ever seen. Every door was opened by a gentleman with a polite hello or thank you. Every staff member was impeccable and intelligent and helpful with a smile on their beautiful faces. The only thing missing was pretentiousness so often found in the “best places.” It’s even better than what everyone is saying. Now the whole downtown hipster crowd may never embrace it, but the ones with substance will. I didn’t see much plaid in the room, but style ruled this roost. It is “the” best adult playground I’ve ever seen, and I left awed and inspired. Sometimes nightlife is like a big meal, and you leave it bloated and exhausted. I left the Boom Boom Room full but inspired and wanting more. There were no lines outside as you were either in or you were not, and it’s going to be like that. QT, if that’s what they end up calling it, is Old Hollywood, putting on the ritz New York, F. Scott Fitzgerald and all André Balazs. It’s not really “off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush” anymore — indeed it’s the talk of the town. I’ll use this new American slang to commend Mr. Balazs: he can talk the talk and he can walk the walk.

A text from BLVD honcho Eddie Brady read “Mr. Steve, Mr. Black’s preview party is tomorrow [that’s tonight] within their new home in the private area in the back of BLVD, coming?” That Eddie sure is clever, and yes I am. I would not miss it for the world. I don’t know if that message was for everyone though, so keep it off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush for now, OK? This is the perfect spot for Mr. Black. Although a bit smaller than Mr. Black guru Stuart is used to, its downtown location is a big plus. Much of Stuart’s crowd can stumble home from the Spring and Bowery location.

So Pink Elephant members shuffle into the Room Service space, displacing Mr. Black just as I get a message off the M2 mass text service declaring Tiësto and his considerable boom boom skills will be actualized at the 5th anniversary party this coming Tuesday at the Pink Elephant we all know on 27th Street. This is going to get testy — I can feel it. I hear the name is going to be fought for. It’s one of the best names ever for a nightclub, and it’s a brand that all parties worked hard to establish. Rocco Anacarola is still on 27th, while David Sarner goes to Room Service. So what will the Sarner Pink Elephant crew call the Room Service space? How about the Room Room, room?

There’s lots more to tell you but I’ll leave you with this off the record, on the QT, and very hush-hush, despite denials and a huffy hush-hush “don’t print that.” Two and a half good sources swear that the Freemans Alley crew will land squarely in the the Kelley & Peng space at 2nd Street and the Bowery. I called Uva owner Massimo Lusardi, who has the lease, and asked him if he was involved with the Freemans dudes, and I was told a serious “no comment.” A no comment is not a “what the f are you talking about, that isn’t true at all,” and never will be. So for now I’m heading boom boom boom back to my room. Does anybody remember that Paul Lekakis song? Youtube it.

A Celebratory Cocktail for Freemans’ Fifth Birthday

Freemans is celebrating its fifth birthday. At lunch a few days back, I was reminded of just how well they do atmosphere. Hunting lodge chic may be a city staple now, but it doesn’t feel contrived at Freemans, and not just because they led the parade. Maybe it’s the difference between distressed finishes and legitimately beat-up. The crew is always interesting, too. Our waitress admired my friend’s sleeve — a series of silhouettes falling through a cloudy sky. She thought she’d seen it before, but it’s a unique design. “Maybe just in my dreams, then,” she said. Down by the Hipster alerts us to a great special running through Monday, September 14. In honor of half a decade, artichoke dip and Freemans Cocktails are going for just $5 a pop, lunch and dinner. If you aren’t planning a trip down the alley this weekend, you could also make up a batch of Freemans Cocktails for home entertaining.

Freemans Cocktail by Toby Maloney ● 2 ¼ oz rye ● ¼ oz simple syrup ● ½ oz pomegranate molasses (heaping bar spoon) ● ¾ oz lemon juice ● 2 dashes orange bitters Combine all ingredients in shaker, shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a flamed orange twist.

Industry Insiders: Larry Poston, Room Service Provider

Larry Poston officially opened the West Village resto Hotel Griffou with business partner Johnny Swet on July 1. Poston made his name in New York restaurant circles as a manager at Pastis and the Waverly Inn, and Swet gained his hospitality know-how at Balthazar and Freemans. Most recently occupying the 9th Street space was notorious speakeasy Marylou’s, but the name of the new joint is after the original, French 1870s occupants. The modern dining rooms are themed as a salon, library, and artist’s studio with a French-inspired classic cuisine menu. Poston gives us an inside look at the new spot.

What are you focusing on now that you’re open for business? My business partner Johnny and I are really priding ourselves on great food and great service. That’s what we know. We’ve learned from Keith McNally that no matter all the fanfare and no matter what comes in, great food and great service are the only things that keep them coming back ten years down the road.

How did you first meet Keith McNally? I started waiting tables at Pastis in 2000, so I interviewed with Keith. He hired me, and I worked there for six months and then moved out to LA with dreams of being an actor. I was a pool boy at the Chateau Marmont for four months. So that was my West Coast experience. I hated LA. I came back and started waiting tables again at Pastis. They promoted me to manager on the floor, and I worked at Pastis for six years.

Most important thing you learned from McNally? Keith had been a maître d’ when he first started out. He taught me a lot as far as what to look for with people, and he would say, don’t just seat the people in front of you with the suits and the flashy money, because they always get a table. Look behind them and see the nervous couple or the little old couple or the funky-looking group that doesn’t always get a table, and seat them. That adds to the room and also keeps that eclectic mix of New York going. You don’t always want suits, you don’t always want fashion people, you don’t want all of any one thing. I would love to have Mick Jagger over here, some drag queens over there with a rock band and then some Wall Street guys. That’s what keeps it interesting. That’s New York to me.

Then you worked with another legend, Graydon Carter. It was just that time, that point of trying something new and spreading your wings and getting out there. And that’s when I met Graydon Carter over at the Waverly Inn. That was a whole other aspect of service and learning people because that’s a man who is like maître d’ to the stars. He’s the epitome of a host. It’s his room, and he knows where everyone should go. I got to know a lot of names at the Waverly Inn, obviously.

What’s the Waverly’s secret for remaining A-list over the years? You have Eric Goode and Sean McPherson who know restaurants, and they also have their own chic clientele of people who they bring to any project they’re involved in. You get that mixed with the energy of Graydon Carter and all these amazing A-listers in there for a great dining experience. You get the mix of a person who knows the people and the people who know how to run a restaurant. Once, I was telling a friend some of the names who went in the place one night, and he was like, “So, what you’re telling me is, if the Waverly was to explode right now, it would be the end of civilization.”

What’d you take from that experience to opening Hotel Griffou? How to deal with certain people. There are a million different personalities here in New York City, and then you have a certain amount of clientele that is …

High maintenance? Well, the great surprise is when the ones you expect to be high maintenance aren’t. It’s just having to deal with personalities. Higher-end personalities have higher expectations. You learn how to coddle egos in a way. I think that’s what the Waverly taught me: how to really deal with egos. That’s a good way to say it.

What came first for Hotel Griffou — the concept or the space? Johnny and I talked about doing this for awhile, and we had a concept. We had this place over in the East Village at one point, because we were thinking of modeling after some of those southern juke joints, speakeasy-type places that have great names like the Playboy Club or the Lizard Lounge. But you have to walk into a space that feels right. Johnny worked at Freemans, and I worked at the Waverly Inn, and both those places are very unique — Freemans is down that alley, and the Waverly Inn is at the bottom of a townhouse. In New York. It has to have a special vibe or a special space, then the bones were here and boom. I was never here for the Marylou’s experience, but I’d heard these amazing stories about what was here before. We’re hoping we can return it to some of its past glory.

You’re obviously alluding to that with the name. Hotel Griffou was what is was in the late 1800s. It was owned by this woman by the name of Madame Marie Griffou. It became this real mecca of ideals, artists, writers, and poets. One of the true stories is that Mae West actually did come here after her indecency trial, which is funny.

How long has this been in the works? From embryo to now — about two years. We initially started construction this past February.

What’s your favorite part of the interior? I can’t really choose. The inspiration Johnny and I talked about was an artist’s town house. There’s something about the feel of the salon, and I like the studio because of the crazy art and all the work that’s been contributed. Johnny spearheaded the design, but it was collaborative, and all the work that was contributed was by artist friends.

How much input did you have in the menu with chef Jason Michael Giordano (of Spice Market)? Johnny and I had ideas of what we wanted on the menu . We wanted those traditional dishes. Classical American cuisine is what we called it, and then we discovered that this place was owned by a French woman, and we had to throw a French nod to the cuisine. We wanted a signature dish, which is the lobster thermidor fondue.

Is that the most popular menu item? Yes, as well as the poutine, which is French fries with duck confit topped with a little buffalo mozzarella. It’s amazing. Also, the fried seafood basket, which is something from home. I love fried food, fried fish, cod, fried shrimp, fried oyster, with chips, we’re calling it Calabash, we’re not going to call it Southern, but yeah, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a mix of some rich dishes and some light dishes. We thought that the idea of a great restaurant was that you can go here three or four nights a week and always have a new experience.

True that the pork cutlet recipe was found on the menu from the 1800s here? It’s very true. We have a sautéed pork cutlet recipe that was on the original Madame Marie Griffou menu from 1892. They’re sautéed, lightly breaded with this delicious pork gravy au jus with green beans. They’re delectable.

How was your soft opening? It was great because we invited a lot of industry people that we’d worked for and trusted their opinion. We got really good feedback and notes that we can take with us to keep improving. You get a little anxiety about your peers coming, and knowing you’re going to really hear the truth — which can be unpleasant, but always necessary. The bottom line is that everyone was pleased with the look, the feel, and the vibe of the place, which is important.

Where do you go out? I like Norwood a lot, and Little Branch. As far as dining I still love Indochine and also Peasant.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? The Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Photo: Scott Pasfield

Rose Byrne Tries to Remember Her Favorite NYC Bar

Damages star Rose Byrne claims to be more of a foodie than a bar-hopper, but when I asked her what her favorite New York restaurant is, she names Barrio Chino, the Lower East Side tequila bar. Why? “Fantastic margaritas … and guacamole and chips,” said the Australian native, in town to promote her upcoming role alongside Nicolas Cage in the apocalyptic thriller Knowing. “Also Freemans, but it’s really hard to get a table.”

Byrne currently lives in Los Angeles, but spent two years in New York, doing most of her time downtown. As for her aversion to New York’s notorious nightlife scene, the actress realized she’s denying her own heritage. “I know, it’s pretty boring and very un-Australian of me. You need to ask my man. He’s the one who gets home at six in the morning. I’ve got to work.” But there was one watering hole Byrne is particularly fond of, if only she could remember its name. “It’s called … fuck! It’s like the only remaining dive bar in the Village. It’s low-key, and you don’t have to line up. You can just walk into the bar and have a beer. It’s like 1322 Hudson, maybe Hudson and 10th? It’s right near Employees Only, like north of there.” Could she be talking about Automatic Slim’s? Suggestions welcome.

Industry Insiders: Leading the People’s Revolution

Kelly Cutrone, the founder of People’s Revolution, embarked on her first public relations venture when she realized that fashion was the new rock ‘n’ roll. With the help of now-partners Robyn Berkley and Emily Bungert, People’s Revolution is a leading bi-coastal marketing and branding firm and a frontrunner in the fashion industry. The one-time affiliates of The Hills have their hands full for the fall ’09 collections — handing names such as: Yigal Azrouel, David Delfin, Buckler, Mara Hoffman, Nicholas K, Sergio Da Vila, Alexandre Herchcovitch, and Chado Ralph Rucci. The lightning-speed lifestyle required for the job has earned the firm a tough-as-nails reputation, but it occasionally takes a toll on the team. Upon arriving at the People’s SoHo office to sit down with BlackBook, Emily Bungert announced that her bi-annual Fashion Week ailment was already creeping in. “I’m losing my voice,” she said, “I lose my voice every Fashion Week. It’s just usually not two weeks before … it’s usually right in the middle or towards the end.” Read on for more from the power trio on the days leading up to the mayhem, nostalgia for Fashion Weeks past, and, without doubt, The Hills.

What’s this soon-to-be-legendary event that I’m hearing about? Kelly Cutrone: This year at Fashion Week, we’re doing three designers in one show. It’s the first time ever in the tents at Bryant Park that they’ve allowed one time slot for three different designers.

What’s the setup? KC: The setup is that there will be three of them, and they’re all going to have separate shows. So as one finale goes, and the lights will go down; there will be a sign change, and then the lights will come up, and the next designer with a music change will come out. It’s really fast. Robyn Berkley: All of the editors have to sit through all three shows. KC: The backstage will be crazy because there will be 80 models and three sets of hair and makeup.

Was it one invite? RB: No, three different invites.

How would you describe yourself in work mode? RB: Perfectionist, conscientious, innovative, and ambitious. KC: I’m brutally honest. In my role, I’m the leader.

Tell me some memorable Fashion Week stories. RB: One of our designers decided to change the number for the RSVP line that we had set up for him to his cell phone number. At the last minute. Emily Bungert: At the Sass and Bide show, when we were filming The Hills, the designer wouldn’t start the show until her friend — who was flying in from Australia — arrived. RB: Emily’s out front. I’m on the headset, and everyone is screaming at us to start the show. EB: The friend was flying in just to see the show from Australia, and the models are literally lined up, ready to start. The designer is just refusing to start, and we had to argue over the headset and decided that we had to start at that very second, and couldn’t hold the show anymore. Her friend didn’t end up getting to see it. RB: Another one for me is when we did the Heatherette show. They had to close the front of house, and there were still close to 1,000 people outside. Everyone was screaming. And then, we had never done production, and we had to call the show for Heatherette. I wasn’t there for the runthrough, so I get on the headset, and I’m like, “Okay, what’s the whole idea for the show?” All of a sudden, there are all these little fairy girls who are maybe ten, who are walking out with Amanda Lepore and there are dancers — and it was a full-on choreographed routine, and I had no idea. That was pretty dramatic. EB: One year at LA Fashion Week, we did three shows back to back in three hours, and it was all being filmed for The Hills. Andre Leon Talley was there floating around. He’d never been to LA Fashion Week before, and he sat backstage while we were calling the show. He stayed for our shows and sat in the fourth row — he never sits in the first row, he sits in the back. We weren’t completely sure why he was there.

Who’re your favorite clients? RB: I love Jeremy Scott’s shows. The energy there, the crowd, the music … Michel Gaubert does all of the music. It’s always really powerful. EB: Andrew Buckler has really good shows. He has really great models, so there are always a lot of cute boys floating around. That’s the fun thing about doing menswear every once in awhile. He loves to pull some little tricks, and he’s been known to have interesting things happening on the runway. One season, the theme was spaceships and aliens. It was in Bryant Park, and there, everything has to be done by the book, and you have to have insurance for everything. We get to the show that day, and backstage, there are these huge stilts. He didn’t tell us about it, but he hired a guy to be an alien, and the alien had to walk on six-foot stilts, and the stilts were taking up the entire backstage. The people at Bryant Park came up to us and were like, “You need insurance for these stilts.” And there was also a unicycle, and a man in drag was going to be riding it in a corset and a hat and a full face of makeup. But that’s like a typical thing that would happen to us. RB: We did a really good job for Yigal Azrouel when he did his first menswear presentation. He got an amazing response, and this season, he’s nominated for the GQ designer of the year award.

What are your fashion staples? RB: My new favorite jeans are the KSUBI Spray-On jeans, and anything Yigal Azrouel. I wear Chloe dresses. Lots of chain jewelry and big bangles. And the Alex and Ani Halo Necklace. They’re launching on ShopBop. I love Jo de Mer swimwear, and Camilla & Marc — who just launched their new swimwear collection. It’s the best thing I’ve seen in years. I only shop at one store in New York, called No.6. EB: I wear the Alternative Apparel Burnout Tee. We’re all obsessed with the Rag & Bone riding pants. RB: We wear black and white all the time, or else I wear Jeremy Scott.

Where are your places? KC: I go nowhere cool, first of all. Except for my clients’ places. I love Southside, Webster Hall. I love the Sunset Marquis hotel. I’m their publicist, and they’re my oldest client. We’ve been working together for 13 years. I love this hotel in Hermosa Beach called the Beach House, which nobody knows about. It’s the un-Malibu. It’s really beautiful and you can sleep on the second or third floor and have your door open and have the ocean rock you to sleep. I love this little, tiny restaurant on MacDougal street called Monte’s for Italian food. I am also known to pop into Little Italy and go to Angelos. I like it because the maitre’d treats fashion people like shit and is only nice to the mafia. He’s always like, “What you want?” He screams at me. And that, for some reason, I love. I love Savore, which is another unknown restaurant in SoHo, across the street from Mezzogiorno. And they have homemade foccacia. I go to Barolo once in awhile on West Broadway. I only go to places in a five-block radius. I love the Carlyle Hotel for the lobster sandwich, when I want to feel grown up. I love Sullivan Street Bakery. I like Omen, the Japanese restaurant. We love Lucky Strike. They’re like our living room. We love Sanctuary Tea. It stayed in business in a haunted space. Before they took it over, no one could stay in business there for more than six months. They give us free lattes during Fashion Week. RB: My best friend just opened up Charles. I love Nobu. I likeBar Pitti. I like Supper. I like Southside and Beatrice. I like Smith & Mills and Café Habana. I love the Vinegar Factory. We also like the backroom at Raoul’s. EB: La Esquina is my favorite restaurant. We like GoldBar. I love Café Gitane and Freemans. There’s a great restaurant in Williamsburg called Aurora. They opened one in Manhattan, but I like the one in Williamsburg better.

What is one thing that people may not know about you? EB: Well, I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I don’t think that people would expect me to be from Minnesota. RB: I always wanted to be in the circus. I wanted to be a trapeze artist. EB: Something that people don’t know about Kelly Cutrone is that she’s a really talented ice skater. She used to compete when she was younger. We were ice skating with her in Syracuse, and we’re on this local ice rink all wearing all black. Kelly was showing off her moves in the middle of the ice rink, and all the younger girls were getting really jealous.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? KC: My guiltiest pleasure is re-dating my ex-boyfriends. Recycling. Eco-dating. And just so you know, I’m down to my last ex-boyfriend to re-date. So it’s a very interesting time as to what’s going to become of me now that I’ve re-dated everyone that I’ve previously dated. RB: I cut all of them out. Three months ago, I started this intensive cleanse program, and I stopped smoking, drinking, eating, and now, I go to bed really early. I also cut out sugar. But if I wasn’t doing that, they would be smoking, drinking and eating. EB: I love red wine and Arturo’s pizza. RB: I sometimes get really obsessive watching CSI, like 10 episodes at a time.

Next is People’s Revolution — the reality show? RB: We can’t really talk about it yet. It’ll be announced right around Fashion Week. Most likely it will start pretty soon … everyone wants to delve right into it. EB: It’s definitely happening though.

Was your decision to get involved in reality TV based on The Hills and The City? EB: Kelly’s had a big presence on both shows and has gained a huge fanbase. That started everything. It will be very different from those shows though. It’s going to show what goes on during Fashion Week and with our clients and within the company. It’s more about People’s Revolution itself. It’s funny … Kelly goes to Target and has people going, “Oh my god, that’s the lady from The Hills.” It’s really funny. We went to Syracuse, Kelly’s hometown, and we stopped at a restaurant, and these young girls were staring at her and she’s like, “Oh no, Hills fans.” Her strategy is that she goes up to them and says hello because otherwise they’ll just sit and stare.

Will this be a huge lifestyle change for you? EB: I just hate having to think about my hair and makeup and what I’m going to wear.

What are you doing tonight? RB: I am getting on a plane and going to Miami. I am going to dinner with the team from Longchamp. Maybe seeing ex-boyfriends. I don’t really recycle them, but I have my ongoing conquests that don’t go away. EB: I am working on my sore throat so I don’t get too sick before Fashion Week. Taking some Emergen-C. I try not to make plans until March.

Photo: Patrik Andersson

New York: Top 10 Cold-Weather Cocktails

imageForget spiked egg nog, pumpkin-based drinks, and all those other seasonal libations. Don’t even think about a chilled beer or frozen concoction unless you plan on spending the night perched over your heater. Instead, head to one of the spots below where the mixologists are whipping up specialty cocktails for sun-deprived-drinkers.

10. Thai chili hot chocolate @ Thom Bar (Soho) – Made with Thailand’s national spirit — Mekhong, which is sort of like a pisco — there’s no hotter way to beat your chills. 9. Wake-Up Call @ Brandy Library (Tribeca) – You could spend all night sifting through the never-ending list of options, but make it easy for yourself and go straight for this warm, aptly named mix of espresso, vanilla vodka, and homemade chocolate and coffee liqueurs. 8. Gingerbread cocktail at Empire Hotel Rooftop (Upper West Side) – The sunny skies may be gone, but the rooftop continues to attract with sweeping views, dim lighting, and a crackling fireplace — all of which are best enjoyed while sipping on their creation made with gingerbread syrup, Ten Cane Rum, apple juice, and lemon.

7. Black currant sake martini at Bond St. (Greenwich Village) – Get your blood pumping with this mix of gin, acai berry liquor, sake, triple sec, and black currant puree. 6. Hot chocolate martini at Gramercy Tavern (Union Square) – The winter equivalent to a summer burger at Shack Shack, Gramercy Tavern’s hot chocolate comes spiked with Stoli Vanilla and amaretto. 5. Woodcock Reserve hot spiced cider at Via dei Mille (Soho) – Forget about any brewing winter storm with this homemade classic. 4. Madame’s preserves and jams at Madame Geneva (Soho) – Skip dessert and indulge in a spoonful of house-made preserves served over Beefeater Gin or 42 Below Vodka — the 18th-century-inspired concoction comes in three varieties: mixed berry & vanilla, orange & green cardamom, and fig & ginger. 3. Whiskey-based hot toddy at Aspen Social (Midtown West) – Only in NYC could you find an Aspen-inspired cabin with this much glitz. 2. Hot buttered rum at Freemans (Lower East Side) – Nothing like warm rum and taxidermy to take away the winter chill. 1. The Randy Toddy at The Randolph (Nolita) – Conjured-up with Sasha Petraske-precision by a decidedly attractive and friendly staff, this enticing libation is made with honey, lemon, Applejack, hot water, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

New York: Top 10 Best Appetizers

Sometimes the first course is worth the whole meal.

1. Grilled corn Mexican style at Café Habana (Nolita): The corn comes two to a plate, grilled and topped with a generous pile of chili powder, lime, and cotija cheese. 2. Devils on horseback at Freemans (Lower East Side): The bacon-wrapped figs are the perfect mix of sweet and salty. 3. Carcofi at Bacaro (Chinatown): The stuffed, lightly breaded artichokes here are a must-have.

4. Any mozzarella at Obika (Upper East Side): The mozzarella here is a veritable smorgasbord of smoked and sweet flavors. 5. Soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai (Chinatown): Put the dumpling on your spoon, gently break the shell until the soup leaks out. Eat. Repeat. 6. Crispy potato gnocchi with foie glazed balsamic figs at Thor (Lower East Side): The best gnocchi I’ve ever had, anywhere. And I’ve lived in Italy. 7. Half-pint of prawns at Double Crown (Greenwich Village): The heads are the best part … just pretend they’re deep-fried potatoes. 8. Chorizo champinon fundido con queso at Xicala (Nolita): Delicious homemade chorizo or mushroom (or both) with melted cheese in a small pot. I dream about the cheesy goodness. 9. Local diver scallops at Park Avenue Winter (Upper East Side): The seasonal menu changes, but if scallops are on the menu, order them. 10. Tuna spring rolls at The Mercer Kitchen (Soho): I can’t come here without ordering at least one, sometimes two.