Kick and Play: Shoes. Party. Go.

Lately, I’ve heard many people talk about the struggle to find the perfect boot – the pair that you can throw on with anything and trust it to look and feel good. Sometimes one pair of boots only works with jeans and not your work pants, and vice versa. Meet the pairs that change all that.

THE KICKS:

Wodehouse Chukka by Timberland (to the left)

A brand known for work shoes and a plain look, Timberland introduced the Wodehouse collection a few years ago, and now it lives in its own realm of personal style and function. You get that same lifetime comfort with these Timbs, but look so damn good doing it.

Wodehouse’s super-comfy Chukka boots are a slightly pointed pair with wax-coated laces. They’re built as a mid-top so you can tuck your jeans in for a refined look, or let them hang for that brilliantly messy feel. Blazer, t-shirt, oxford – who cares. They all work.

Available in both black and brown, no pair is the same, since the shoes are hand-finished, full-grain leather with a worn-in aesthetic. That being said, the more you wear them, the better they’ll look. And most importantly, it’ll be your own unique fit. Nobody else’s. Available for $295 at Nordstrom.

Not loud enough? Let’s get wild.

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

LunarGrand Chukkah by Cole Haan

For those who want something a little brighter, Cole Haan has taken their partnership with Nike to a new level by recently borrowing their Lunarlon sole technology and beautifully blending it with their very own chukka boot.

Dressed in a soft black suede with a volt (neon yellow) sole, this shoe is definitely a stunner. It’s a pair that you can wear for hours on hours and not have sore feet. With the LunarGrand, you get a great mix of casual aesthetic with traditional feel.

Also available in camel/red, grey/pink and woodbury/orange. Works great on jeans, but get bold with dark chinos. Available for $228, everywhere and here.

THE PLAY:

Smitten Ice Cream, San Francisco, CA

Hey, ice cream is good. But when you taste it at its freshest point, it just might be the best thing ever. No better way to say it, Smitten prides themselves on re-imagining the ice cream experience. Each order is made fresh, and is created from absolutely raw, organic ingredients and liquid nitrogren. Yes, liquid nitrogren. Why? Because it makes the smoothest, freshest ice cream you will have ever had, literally.

Gjelina, Los Angeles, CA 

A staple in the Venice community, the creative fusion-Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for the foodie. Seasonal menus, beautiful people, and all types of energy are here. Hey, it’s LA, right? Atypical from the typical Los Angeles characteristic, the menu is meant for sharing, so the more you order, the better you eat. Known for eclectic array of pizzas, but so good for their grilled goods like corn, shisito peppers, and carrots, Gjelina gives you great food, the LA culture and, likely, a good story. Rock your boots to brunch or dinner, just don’t ask for substitutions.

Momofuku Milk Bar and Bakery, New York, NY

Let’s call 2013 the year of the cookie. And ice cream. And pie. Is that too much? Momofuku is that creative baker-friend you always wanted. Remember sipping on that bowl of cereal milk after you finished your Cheerios? That’s the milk Momofuku uses to create their fantastic soft serve. If ice cream is too cold, try their famous Compost cookie, made of chocolate, butterscotch chips, oats, graham crackers, coffee, and potato chips. It’s one hell of a cookie. And then…the ultimate dessert – the crack pie, full of butter, cream, brown sugar, more sugar, and corn flavoring to give your palette a hit of salty and sweet. As Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi is known for saying, it tastes better “with your favorite someone.”

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well. 

Where Celebs Go Out: Christina Ricci, Leigh Lezark, Eva Amurri

Christina Ricci at the Whitney Art Party: I like Da Umberto and Il Buco for pasta, the Peking Duck House for duck. ● Leigh Lezark of Misshapes: Kenmare, they make really good gnocchi. I do like the brunch at the Tribeca Grand. ● Eva Amurri: Jumbo’s Clown Room in L.A. is super fun. I also love to have a drink and get something to eat at Gjelina, which has amazing tuna crudo and really good vegetable sides and pizza.

Chris Benz: The 18th floor of the Standard, the Boom Boom Room. Kenmare is amazing. ● Geordon Nicol: Kenmare and La Esquina. I love the corn there. ● Maggie Grace: Gjelina in L.A.. My favorite dish there is the burrata. ● Ivanka Trump: Well, now my favorite restaurant is Quattro. I’ve been living there, I love it. There’s an amazing cod that I love, and there’s a beet and goat cheese starter. ● Jennifer Esposito: I love going to Tartine, a quaint little French bistro right by where I live. I like the omelettes. ● Paul Sevigny: Daniel—get the whole tasting menu. ● Kim Carnes at the Songwriters Hall of Fame” Awards gala : We went to a wonderful restaurant, Freemans, last night. It was incredible! I’m a vegetarian, so my favorite is any vegetarian dish. ● David Foster: I just went to a restaurant on Second Avenue and 84th Street. God, it was amazing, I wish I could remember the name of it! Ask my lawyer, Alan Grubman, he was there last night. We had pasta.

Where Celebs Go Out: Marc Jacobs, Amanda Lepore, Adrian Grenier, Emma Snowdon-Jones

At David Barton Gym annual toy drive: ● MARC JACOBS – “In Paris, there’s a small club called Montana, and there’s a restaurant called Thiou. Bars I really don’t hang out in. Oh, there’s this great club that happens once a month in Paris called Club Sandwich. And it’s at the Espace Cardin. And everyone gets super dressed-up, so it’s really, really fun. I try to go whenever I’m in Paris, if it’s going on. And we stay out all night and just dance like crazy. And in New York, my favorite restaurants have always been the same. I love to eat at Pastis. I love the Standard. I love Da Silvano. I eat in the lobby of the Mercer a lot, the hotel. I usually go to Pastis for lunch, and there’s a sandwich that was on the menu, but they don’t make it anymore, but I always insist that they make it for me. And it’s really fattening, so I shouldn’t eat it, but it’s chicken paillard and gruyere cheese and bacon. And it’s so delicious. It’s really good. And it’s my weakness. It’s just like the most perfect sandwich.”

● DAVID BARTON – “Oh, I can’t think where I like to hang out in Seattle except my new gym! There’s a great place that just opened up in New York, up on 51st, called the East Side Social Club. Patrick McMullan is one of the partners there. He’s co-hosting with me tonight. Great place; really cool. It’s very old world, kind of like going to Elaine’s, kind of little cozy; sit at a booth; very cool. Love a little place called Il Bagatto, over on 7th between A & B — little tiny Italian place, East Village, kind of a neighborhood place that I go to. What else? I don’t know restaurants. I’m very casual. I’m so not that into food. I mean, I could eat cardboard — I’m just not into food! I like people. I like atmosphere, but I’m just not that into food.” ● AMANDA LEPORE – “I definitely like Bowery Bar and I like Hiro. Boom Boom Room. Just anywhere where everybody is, I guess! [laughs] Novita, I like, my friend Giuseppe. Any favorite dishes? I try not to eat too much! ● PATRICK MCDONALD – “My favorite restaurant in New York is Indochine. It’s been around for 25 years. Jean-Marc, I adore. I love the bar at the Carlyle. I don’t drink, but I like to go there for tea in the afternoon. And I love Lady Mendl’s Tea Salon on Gramercy Park. I love Pastis, Odeon, and everywhere. I like the French fries at Pastis.” ● PATRICK MCMULLAN – “I love going to Waverly Inn downtown. Boom Boom Room is fabulous. That’s really a new, great place. SL, on 409 W. 14th Street, down below is nice. Of course, I have the East Side Social Club that I’m involved with, and that’s great for hanging out in, for eating. Favorite dishes anywhere? Oh, I don’t know, just anything that people recommend. I usually go with what people recommend ’cause most people know what’s good — the waiters know, so I think that’s the best thing. Red wine is good to have to drink sometimes. They have a drink called the Eastsider at the East Side Social Club that’s really good; any of their pastas; their ravioli is great there. What else do I like? That new place that’s open, the English place, on 60th in the Pierre — Le Caprice, that’s a nice place. At the Waverly Inn, I like the macaroni and cheese. It was funny because the macaroni and cheese is about two dollars less than a room at the Pod Hotel, which is where the East Side Social Club is! The Monkey Bar is fun. There are so many cool places in New York. I just go where people tell me to go.”

At elf party for Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe:

● JENNY MCCARTHY – “In Chicago, I would have to say Gibsons Steakhouse still; in Los Angeles, Katsuya, still love that sushi; I’m addicted to it. And in New York, Koi. I’m very trendy and boring, but, hey, that’s where the good food is, so …” ● PERI GILPIN – “In L.A., we like BLT a lot. We have five-year-old twins, so we’re like in bed by nine o’clock — pretty boring. Corner Bakery for soup.” ● CANDACE CAMERON BURE – “L.A., hands down, our favorite restaurant is Gjelina, which is in Venice. And we love Craft; love Michael’s in Santa Monica. Here, in New York, my favorite restaurant is Lupa, which is a Mario Batali restaurant; love it here. And I don’t go to clubs anymore, nightclubs; I don’t ever! At Gjelina, they have a burrata with prosciutto and, usually, a warm pear or a warm peach. I love that! I really love tapas. I enjoy getting a lot of appetizers, more than just a main dish. We, actually, have had our own wine label, Bure Family Wines, for two years, which is at several restaurants, so matching the food and the wine is a big part for us. We’re big foodies” ● DEAN MCDERMOTT – “There is a great bar, Ye Coach & Horses in L.A., on Sunset. I’m so bad at this stuff! Oh, Katsuya, in the Valley, awesome sushi. It’s our favorite place. We go there like three times a week.” ● KEN BAUMANN – “In New York, my favorite restaurant is Il Cortile. It’s in Little Italy, and it’s run by this guy named Stefano, and it’s incredible, phenomenal food. In Los Angeles, my favorite restaurant’s gotta be Cut, which is in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.” ● SHAILENE WOODLEY – “Honestly, I’m not really a club kinda girl. I’d rather go to a local bar with some friends and hang out there. Or just go back to my house and have people come over. I’m more of the congregate-at-my-house kind of chick. I’m 18, so I don’t drink, so I don’t go to bars. There’s a place called the Alamo, which has karaoke and it’s a bar, but we go and karaoke there probably once a week.” ● FRANCIA RAISA – “I’m not a big club person. I really like bars and lounges. In L.A., I like to hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings, watching sports and drinking beer with my friends. I really don’t go out that much. I hang out at home and have my own glass of wine, watching Grey’s Anatomy. Oh, I just tried this restaurant yesterday at Gramercy Park Hotel. It’s a new, Italian place — Maialino. It was amazing. And again, I’m very simple, so I like pizza, and John’s Pizza out here is amazing to me, too. And hot wings I like at Planet Hollywood. I’m obsessed with them!”

At Zeno “Hot Spot” launch party @ MTV Studios:

● SKY NELLOR – “I am a huge sushi fanatic, so I just had Katsuya three times in two days in L.A. What is it about Katsuya? It’s the baked-crab hand roll in a soy-paper wrap. It’s just so yummy. I want one now! In New York, I have a fixation with Bagatelle. I just love the fish and the veggies. Nightclubs, nightlife, oh, my God! Apparently, I’m a really good bowler, so I hang out at Lucky Strike everywhere — Miami, L.A., Kansas! We just had a bowling party, and I won, so … Oh, they didn’t let me see my score. I just kept getting strikes to the point where they were, like, ‘Give her more shots! We have to stop this girl!’ And the drunker I got, the better I got. Clubs — if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out to dance. And I’m going to go where the DJ is playing. I don’t care what club it is. I went to a dive in L.A., at a party called Afex, just because some of the best DJs were playing that night. Like, I don’t care about the crowd. I don’t care about the scene. I care about the music. I don’t think the venue has a name. I think it’s called No Space. They just move the party around.” ● SUCHIN PAK – “I have a great place. It’s called Broadway East, and it’s on East Broadway. And I love it because it’s a beautiful space, but also it’s literally across the street from my house. That always helps. And then there’s a really fantastic place called Bacaro. Oh, it’s amazing! It’s downstairs. It’s almost a dungeon-like place. The people that used to do Peasant, the wine bar there, moved to this place. I like to say the Lower East Side on East Broadway is where the grown-up hipsters go. For a true Lower East Sider, it may not be true Lower East Side, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve moved more south than east, and I keep trickling that way.”

At charity:ball for charity:water:

● ADRIAN GRENIER – “Brooklyn. Fort Greene. Habana Outpost — it’s run mostly on solar power, and it’s a sustainable business.” MARK BIRNBAUM “Well, if I do say so myself, Abe & Arthur’s on 14th Street; SL, the new club underneath it. I still love Tenjune. And I like hanging out at home other than that. What about places other than your own? So I shouldn’t say the Chandelier Room, in Hoboken? I really like going to Bar and Books in the West Village — that’s our spot. You know where else I like to go? Miami — the new W South Beach is unbelievable, by far the best hotel down there. The design is incredible; the pool area is very nice; they have good restaurants there — there’s a Mr. Chow’s and the other one is good; the rooms are really nice; it’s very well done; it’s just very fresh, the entire thing; and the artwork is incredible. You don’t feel like you’re in South Beach — not that there’s anything wrong with it — but it’s really, really, really, well done.” ● NICOLE TRUNFIO – “I just found this really cool jazz club in Paris where they still dance to old, rock-and-roll music in partners. It’s a location undisclosed. I don’t remember what it’s called. It’s in the Saint-Michel — it’s just off it. You can jump into a taxi, ‘cause we went to a jazz bar called the Library, but that was closed. So we asked the taxi driver, and he took us to this place. So, I’m sure lots of local French taxi-drivers would know the place.” ● LAUREN BUSH – “Oh, gosh, I’m like so uncool! It’s such an obvious question, it’s so hard … I’m a vegetarian, so I love Blossom restaurant. They have a good, quinoa-tofu dish. It’s like gingery. It’s really good. ● EMMA SNOWDON-JONES – “I love Le Bilboquet because it’s consistent, and mainly wherever your friends are it makes the place. It’s on 63rd, between Park and Madison. I’ve gone there since I was in boarding school. I’d come into the city on the weekends, and I’d go there. I think anyone that’s been in New York as long as I have knows it. That’s a really, bloody long time, sadly. As good as my Botox is, it’s too long!” ● KRISTIN CHENOWETH – “I am an old-fashioned girl, and I still love Joe Allen’s. I go there all the time. And right next-door above, is a place called Bar Centrale, and I go there, too. I was just there last night for three hours. I like the manicotti at Joe Allen’s. It’s excellent!” ● JULIAN LENNON – “Probably the Jane bar and the Rose Bar in New York.”

At launch of S.T. Dupont in-store boutique @ Davidoff on Madison Avenue:

● RON WHITE – “I love the bars in Glasgow, Scotland. You could go sit in a bar by yourself and in five minutes, you’d be talkin’ to 10 people because they’re so curious about anybody that walks in that’s not normally in there. They just want to go talk to ’em and find out what they’re about. They’re just as friendly as they can be. I was there for the British Open, or the Open Championship, as it’s called. And if you go to a bar in New York City, you can sit there for the rest of your life and not meet another person because they’re not really gonna come up to you and go, ‘Hey, what’s up? What are you doing in town?’ That just doesn’t happen here.”

BlackBook Staff Picks: Dining, Drinking, Shopping, & Staying

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where cool customers go out — bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, you name it. So why not flip the frame and let you see where we go out? Here’s a periodically updated, exhaustive list of hotspots currently favored by everyone at BlackBook, from the mighty bosses down to the humble interns, from the charming local lounges around the corner to the jet-setting temples of luxe living.

EDITORIAL ● Editorial Director/Editor-in-Chief – Ray Rogers, Café Mogador (NYC) – Hummus, crack-caliber coffee, and outdoor patio for primo people-judging and “novel writing.” ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Babettes (East Hampton) – Don’t let the word “organic” turn you off . ● Executive Editor – Chris Mohney, Pegu Club (NYC) – OCD cocktail heaven. Pith helmet and ivory cane optional. ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, The Jane Hotel and Ballroom (NYC) – Latest smash from Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode gets all Edwardian on the WVill.

● Editor-at-Large – James Servin, The Raleigh (Miami) – The local equivalent of LA’s Chateau Marmont. ● Staff Writer – Ryan Adams, Republic (NYC) – Minimalist fave and only vaguely communist, which is more fun than the full-bore thing. ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Wurstküche (LA) – Hey, sausages! Downtown hipsters with a secret inner-manly-man are pleased. ● West Coast Editor – Matt Diehl, Cole’s (LA) – The 100-year-old buffet-style cafeteria comes back as something new (but the French dip stays). ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, La Esquina (NYC) – Day and night, eating, meeting and playing. ● Paris Correspondent – Dana Thomas, Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel (Paris) – Posh sips & historic ambiance at the Ritz. ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, Tokyo (Montreal) – Buy one for the buff bartender while you’re at it—he’s a starving actor. Cayte GrieveCafé Asean (NYC) Foster Ethan KamerLa Superior (NYC) – Quite possibly the best little taqueria this side of town. ● Editorial Assistant – Eiseley Tauginas, Alta (NYC) – Alta, as in “high,” as in “haute,” at this sexy Village tapas spot. ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Sripraphai (NYC) ● Editorial Interns – Annie Clinton Moto (NYC) – High-flavor food with dungeon loos. Sure, Moto’s for metros, but it’s hot anyway. Delia Paunescu Schiller’s Liquor Bar (NYC) – McNally’s successful entrée into the LES mess. Desiree Pais, Lit (NYC) – Rock bar du jour for hos and bros of the ain’t we the shit? set. Alexandra Vickers, Colette (Paris) – Art, style, music, sex and water.

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Five Leaves (NYC) – Café posthumously funded by Heath Ledger does justice to the work and hype put into it. ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Brandy Library (NYC) – Highbrow mixology, let us know when it’s time to dust off the antique bottles on the upper shelf. ● Design/Photo Interns – Angela Chen, Dinosaur BBQ (NYC) – Roadhouse bringing southerners to Northern Manhattan. Krista Quick – Ottobar (Baltimore) – What can we say, this place rocks.Jeremy Jones – Tokyo Bar, (NYC) – Schizo décor and food, but decently done all the same.

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Director-at-Large – Elizabeth Sulcer, China Grill (NYC) -Heaping plates of Asian fusion amid fashionable environs. ● Market Editor – Bryan Levandowski, Bondi Road (NYC) – Wizards of Aus in NYC, we like your style. ● Fashion Assistant – Wilson Mathews III, Per Se (NYC) – Advanced gastronomy at the Time Warner Center. Thomas Keller pulls out all the stops. ● Fashion Interns – Samantha Shaw, Chez Janou (Paris) – Boisterous southern bistro near the Place des Vosges. Julien Blanc, La Esquina (NYC) – Fairly authentic Mexican and one of the city’s best-known “secret” bars. Laura Watters, Café Habana (NYC) – Scarfing roast pork is so much better when Mary-Kate is watching, longingly. Lindsay Abrams, Sketch: Gallery (London) – Quirky soho hot spot. BlackBook magazine Founder – Evanly Schindler, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Café Select (NYC) – SoHo café marries Swiss Alpine to downtown design, garners Next Brunch Place status. ● Director of Finance and Operations – Joe Friedman, Lucky Strike Lanes (NYC) – Scenester bowling from the dudes behind Marquee and Tao. ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick of Drew Patrick Law, Dutch Kills (NYC) – Modern-day antique saloon from New York’s cocktail kings. ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Motorino (NYC) – Belgian-bred Mathieu Palombino’s Billyburg pizza joint serves up personal pan-sized genius, one pie at a time.

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Gascogne (NYC) – Southern French cooking without the Southern French ‘tude. ● Account Executive – Brian Kantor, Botanica (NYC) – Dive that must be working some kind of Santeria to keep prices down in this excessive nabe. ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, La Piaggia (Miami) – Keep your feet in the sand and your hand on the rosé glass at this waterfront café francaise. ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, Blind Tiger Ale House (NYC) – Beer bar institution finds new home, devoted crowd. Kristen von Bernthal, Pure Food and Wine (NYC) – Say goodbye to a future of pacemakers and a gut the shape of China. Raw food is real food. ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Perennial (Chicago) – This could easily become Chicago’s summer hotspot for years to come. ● Andrea Forrester, Mirai (Chicago) – Thumpin’ music and bumpin’ elbows don’t deter crowds from gathering for some of the city’s finest sushi. ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, Gjelina (LA) – New Venice, new American hotspot takes on Hollywood posturing and tude. ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, 15 Romolo (San Francisco) – Bourbon & Branch without the passwords and financial types. Shawn O’Meara, Suppenküche (San Francisco) – Fun place, hearty food. Check the diet at the door. Sales Coordinator – Claire Pujol, Fat Baby (NYC) – Dank in a clean way. Do not enter without skinny jeans.

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Kingswood (NYC) – Creative Aussie eats. Feel like king of the W. Vill woods. ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) – Sunken Japanese paradise. Delectable sushi, incredible drinks. ● Interns – Rebecca Hill, Chicago Brauhaus (Chicago) – One of the last of Chicago’s great German restaurants with live oompah bands and an Oktoberfest menu year-round. Delna Joshi, Hudson Terrace (NYC) – Rooftop pleaser for drunk summer afternoons. Brianne Murphy, Beauty Bar (NYC) – Kitschy theme bar serving up mani/drink combos under a row of hair dryers. Elizabeth Pirozzi, Pink Elephant (NYC) – Gangsters, models, and house. Where one goes, the others must follow. Monica Dybuncio, Cha Cha Cha (San Francisco) – The Haight’s never-ending Caribbean party where Santerias and sangria rule. Emily Pflug Presidio, Delfina (San Francisco) – Overly moussed males, technophiles, and high-class hipsters collide in this local fine dining favorite. Lea Abeyta, The Annex (NYC) – Grown-up newcomer from Dark Room boys. Tiswas Saturday, Interpol’s Paul B holding down Wednesday. Joanna Rubinstein, Bar Breton (NYC) – Fleur de Sel’s tastes of Brittany now available in brasserie form. Marie Baginski, East Andrews Cafe & Bar (Atlanta) – Label toters run amok at Buckhead restaurant-bar and pack the place on Thursdays and Fridays. Megan Kunecki, Blender Theater at Gramercy (NYC) -New indie rocker hosting artists you put on your iPod for show while you’re really listening to “Since U Been Gone” again. Jay Kassirer, The Smile (NYC) – Earnest Sewn owners take over abandoned Double Crown space for Med-inspired cafe/boutique. Suhee Eom, Momofuku Ssäm Bar (NYC) – Chef-of-the-minute David Chang fancies up Korean burritos and gets avant-garde after 6pm. Jaime Marie, Sueños (NYC) – Sweet dreams of organic tequila and make-your-own-tacos really can come true! Rana Razavi, Sanctuary (Miami) – Swank rooftop bar and the promise of hanky panky in the pool.

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Yerba Buena (NYC) – Petite hot zone with wide range of Pan-Latino small plates. ● Lead Architect – Matt Hackett, Beast (Brooklyn) – Small plates and top brunch, come get lost in Prospect Heights. Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Motor City Bar (NYC) – Front like you remember how to drive and these 8 Milers might let you hang. ● Developer – Dan Simon, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Manuel’s (Austin) – Immaculate cleanliness, smart design, and Wine Spectator-designated mole don’t come cheap even for the downtown lunch crowd. ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Pacific Standard (NYC) – Mellow, big-hearted Slope pub keepin’ it pacific. ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Stone Park Café (NYC) – White on white, Williams-Sonoma, Maclarens, fish sandwiches, and burgers. ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Centolire (NYC) – Mangia, mangia, and then ride up and down in the funny glass elevator until the hostess kicks you out.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS ● Bob Hoff, Guys & Dolls (LA) – Sophisticated sexy in West Hollywood. 7 nights a week. ● Ari Horowitz, L’Ecole (NYC) – Get schooled in fine French cuisine at this tasty training center. ● Eric Gertler, SoHo House (NYC) – Members-only decadent den where you may find scruffy English rockers or snaggle-toothed English bankers. Guess which is more likely. ● Joe Landry, Local (LA) – Anything goes, as long as it’s not beef. ● Irwin Lieber, Fishtail by David Burke (NYC) – Fresh seafood in the UES by celeb chef David Burke. ● Dan Pelson, Marea (NYC) – Hopes for a high tide abound at Michael White’s temple to Italian seafood. ● Barry Rubenstein, Shun Lee Café (NYC) – Haute Chinese and dim sum on a glossy, ’80s-fabulous set. ● Jack Sullivan, Blue Ribbon (NYC) – Bromberg bros brasserie takes care of Soho’s after-midnight crowd.
Brian Wilson Tickets Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury Tickets Westbury Tickets

The L.A. Q&A: Norman Ollestad Jr., Survivor Type

Norman Ollestad Jr. would be living a singular life even without the early tragedy. Growing up on Topanga Beach before the government stripped the shack houses from the surfers and the locals, Ollestad was the son of a former child actor turned FBI agent turned whistleblower, who was also a fan of extreme sports. Ollestad Sr. would push little Norman to the limits, teaching him to surf the roughest waters and ski the hardiest terrain. The latter experience led to Jr. becoming a skiing champion; on their way to a race, he, his father, his father’s girlfriend, and pilot all crashed in the San Gabriel mountains. The crash killed his father and the pilot instantly, and the girlfriend perished soon after, leaving 11-year-old Norman to fend for himself in the wilderness. He writes about his experience in his just-released memoir Crazy for the Storm. Now a father himself, Ollestad has resurfaced in Venice Beach, where he lives in the Canals, surfs and skis, and takes in the local scene.

You are a lifelong Angeleno. What was it like growing up here into your teens and turning 21? I grew up on Topanga Beach … I was 21 when I was 15 ’cause you had to have your fake ID. By the time I was 21, I was over it. I was kind like, “I did that.” Partying in the early-mid 80s in L.A. was pretty much the pinnacle of partying. It was all downhill from there.

In your book you talk about learning to surf and ski with your father — did you ever get into the surf music scene? Or were the Beach Boys a national fantasy of California livin’? In Topanga, there were a lot of bands always playing on the porches. One called Blue Juice had some of the best surfers around. They’d play every weekend — big parties with three or four hundred people, in the summer or winter, nothing stopped. There was a lot of bluesy sixties vibe to it. You could surf and hear the band while you were surfing. In those times it didn’t cost ten million to live on the beach, it cost fifty bucks to live in a giant house. Then the government declared eminent domain. We fought them for seven years; we had seven “last summers.” It was in ’79 that we finally lost. It was the summer before the plane crash.

You survived a harrowing experience; do you ever go back to those mountains for recreation, or is it too hard? The mountains are so beautiful, but people forget how dangerous they can be. Sure, there’s great hiking there. I met up with the rescue guys’ son … it was interesting. Leonard Cohen — he used to live there at the Zen Center. He went through this whole monk phase … it was up in Mount Baldwin. The mountains are really steep and rugged, and that’s where he did his whole zen trip. It has a lot of history in terms of lore, because they are such rugged mountains, there are always people being rescued there. People are always fallin’ or dyin.’ But it’s great recreation. In an hour and ten minutes you could be walking down a creek amongst big boulders, and you’d think you were in Colorado.

Your are not necessarily a nightlife guy, but when you do go out, what do you like to check out? What do you think of the Venice scene? How has it changed over the last few years? I like the Venice scene. I live on the Canals, and I can hop on my bike, go to Gjelina and sit at the community table, and meet new people. I’ll get a call from William Attaway, a local artist, and he’ll be having a party. This happened recently — there were people in from India. He just had a spontaneous party with all his sculptures out, and the Indians were playing music. I’d never heard that sound before. This happens all the time. And you ride your bike the whole time. It’s all five minutes away … it’s all contained. It feels like a communal experience, and it is.

What about the gentrification of Venice? Sure, money changes everything, and not all for the worst. There’s a lot of great places like Gjelina to go eat to get great food. I used to surf for Chris Cahill and just to go check out your board and get it shaved was terrifying. You never knew if a drive by would roll up on you. It’s nice not to have that anymore.

Sometimes gentrification can tip over too far and kill the original charm of a place. I don’t think it’s tipped over yet. You can go to Brooks or Indiana and score some crack. They are all out on Brooks and Indiana — the crackheads are out wild-eyed and tripping. I had five bikes stolen in last year and a half — crappy bikes — so it’s still there.

Describe your perfect L.A. day — and night. I wake up — there’s be a big pumping swell — and surf one of the secret spots in Malibu which I can’t mention. You’d go to lunch at John’s Garden — it’s in the Malibu Country Mart, but it’s been there for 30 years plus. Get a tuna sandwich. Maybe give Malibu a second go. I live on the Canals — maybe have people come by play a little music. Go to Gjelina or Shima. Shima is great sushi … it just blows everything away … everything is organic, even the beer. And then if there’s not an artist party, go up to the Brig. If it’s Sunday or Monday night, go to Hal’s and listen to some blues. If I do venture to Hollywood, I go to Cheebo — it’s a restaurant, run by some guys, an American who lived in France. It’s a combo of French and Italian, but it’s clean Californian fare. Or I’d got toHotel Cafe if I wanted listen to music. They’ve got nichey great music … it’s rock and roll, kind of folksy.

What work of art — film, book, or short story — best represents Los Angeles? Less Than Zero. That was in my era, and I think it captured it really well. I think Bret Easton Ellis a great writer.

Which Los Angeleno do you most admire and why? That’s a zinger. I don’t think about people that way. Well, OK, it’s a weird one but: Vince Scully, the baseball announcer for the Dodgers. He’s been there … he’s the longest-lasting announcer in America. He’s considered one of the greatest sports announcers that ever lived. Luckily he’s alive and does the Dodger games. He’s been here forever. He’s a legend, really.

Why him? His commentary, his way of talking about baseball is like great writing. It’s like poetry, his metaphors, everything.

What’s the most annoying cliché about Los Angeles? Ah, well, this doesn’t really answer the question, but … well, people say, “That’s so L.A., those people are so L.A.” I’m a native and not one native that I know is acting in that “so L.A.” way. If you are at a party and someone is acting “so L.A.,” it’s always someone who moved here that is acting so L.A..

My guess is that you’ve always been a West Side guy; do you spend much time on the East Side — is there a spot you like? When I go to the East Side, I love Cheebo or Little Door … they are all in Hollywood.

I love that Hollywood is as far East as you go. I go to Dodger games in Atwater, do the Silverlake thing. But it’s an extra grind for me. I’ve been there. I think it’s really groovy. It doesn’t really fit my thing. I need the water. There’s not much good surf in Silverlake. If I was gonna do that urban thing, I’d just move to New York, but I guess you wouldn’t have the weather. However, if you are into fashion, cold weather comes into play. You can wear all your cool outfits. All the designer stuff you can’t wear that here, it’s too hot.

Andy Warhol said, “I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” What do you think of that? I think that’s an example of what I said before. There’s nobody from L.A. that’s plastic … it’s only the people that come from somewhere else. That take on this plastic image, and everyone says how L.A. they are, just like Andy Warhol.

Norman Ollestad is reading from Crazy for the Storm three times in the next few weeks: Vroman’s Bookstore (695 E. Colorado Blvd., June 25, 7pm), Diesel Books (3890 Cross Creek Rd., June 28, 3pm), and Village Books (1049 Swarthmore Ave., July 9, 7:30pm).

Photo: Jules Revelle

Email tips to {encode=”tromano@bbook.com” title=”tromano@bbook.com”}.

Industry Insiders: Megan Sheehy, Lady of the Lake

Megan Sheehy, GM of Locanda del Lago and Cafe Bellagio in Santa Monica, pours out a glass of food-shovers, female bosses, and why Wolfgang Puck is still the man.

Where do you go out? In Venice Beach, I like Gjelina because it is a local Venetian eatery with a casual, hip environment where you can eat delicious small plates and enjoy good wine while being entertained by the energetic crowd and decor. In Aspen, I love the Pine Creek Lodge because it starts out as a journey, taking a horse-drawn carriage an hour to the restaurant, then continues on to a culinary journey of very flavorful, fresh game meats that the chef prepares on order for the guests. Lastly, in New York, I enjoy sipping a glass of Champagne or having a freshly muddled mojito at the Rose Bar in the Gramercy Hotel. It maintains a top spot in my heart for its swanky atmosphere, exclusive identity, and truly New York-style posh crowd.

Who do you admire in your industry? I admire West Hooker, my boss and co-owner of Locanda del Lago and Caffe Bellagio, for his consistent dedication to keeping up with the times while maintaining a “tradition over trends” philosophy. He is constantly trying to improve, change, redesign, and polish all areas within the restaurant.

The second person I admire is Wolfgang Puck. To me, he epitomizes the idea of branding one’s business. He started as a small-town Austrian who, through dedication, hard work, and creativity, was able to become a superpower in the culinary field. He has reached people through every facet imaginable, from Spago in Beverly Hills to frozen pizza at Ralph’s to cookbooks and cookware on HSN. He is synonymous with food to the American people. That is the great art of branding oneself.

Tell us about being a woman in your industry. It seems like a relative rarity. I don’t notice a difference in treatment or acknowledgment by guests or colleagues in the hospitality industry. It is a rarity, though, so I suppose it makes me feel even more successful having been able to achieve the accomplishments I have within a predominantly male field.

Have you seen any positive trends in restaurants lately? I am excited by the trend of locally grown, organic ingredients being used by restaurants. I believe, in addition to being healthier for our bodies, it also has people slowing down to appreciate their meals rather than simple eating for maintenance sake. As people become more and more aware of what they are putting in their bodies, they also are taking the time to make choices about what they are eating and then enjoying that meal even more than if they had invested no time and just gone for a quick dollar burger at a fast food joint.

What’s something you’ve seen increase recently in the restaurant world that you don’t like? I see a decline of service standards in general. I enjoy the art of serving and appreciate when someone does it well. When I go out to dine, I am privy to when my server has impeccable timing, when she/he has the knowledge to decide when to interrupt and when not to. This decline has many causes, one I believe is simply that the general population prefers speed and efficiency over grace and hospitality, therefore causing servers to evolve into non-friendly order takers that simply shove the food out as fast as possible.

What is something that people might not know about you? I graduated with honors as an electrical engineer and only began in the restaurant industry to support my collegiate goals.

What are you doing tonight? Working. Then I will go home, fix something scrumptious to enjoy and dine with my sweetheart. Plans yesterday and tomorrow will keep me quiet and peaceful this evening.

Industry Insiders: Lauran Hoffman, Bubble Lounge Bombshell

Bubble Lounge at the Brig promoter Lauran Hoffman on the advent of the lesbian joint, the best weekend pick-up spots, and what she’ll be doing to sleep with us.

On January 28th, Bubble Lounge is moving the Wednesday night craziness just around the corner to The Garter at 2536 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291.

Where do you hang out? The Abbey is like the most popular sibling in your family. It’s sometimes hard to like because of all the talent it has that can overwhelm even the most hardcore clubber, and it’s impossible not to love. The mere religious and blasphemous connotations of the bar’s name are enough to keep ‘em coming back for communion — into eternity. I dig going dancing at the Garter. They have cool DJs, and when they don’t want to play the song I requested, they say so with so much attitude, it’s almost respectable. Also, it teeters between posh and dive-y. I’ve always thought it’s important to spoil earthy girls and shock the high-maintenance ones for the simple reason that earth girls can’t be shocked, and high-maintenance chicks are bored with being spoiled. The Garter provides the perfect formula to bring home either effect. The Speak Easyis my favorite dive or hang to fall into on a Saturday for the friendliest karaoke, pool playing, or practically free cocktails. Don’t expect to get any bottled water in this place, but if you want an awesome bar to take someone you’re cheating with and grind her on top of the pool table, this is your scene.

You’re also a bit of a foodie. Where do you eat? I eat at the same two restaurants every day for lunch. Axe is so zen, highbrow, and healthy that they can only karmically get away with being open for five days a week. The other days I gladly split with Cora’s. The soups are mind-altering, vegan, and you can eat as clean or as sleazy as your mouth will order for you. Every dish is masterful, and the ambiance does its part in facilitating a nooner.

If it ain’t sexy, I don’t want to eat there for dinner. That’s one reason Gjelina is my new favorite. The atmosphere is European, every dish is sultry perfection. Joe’s is consistently great, scene-y, and comfortable. I sit at the bar where I can dine and people-watch with impunity. Capo is my all-time secret spot that I wouldn’t share unless I was trying to sleep with you, which apparently I am. Not cheap, but then, neither is sleeping with you.

In your own words, what do you do? You know how, when someone forgets to shut a door, you yell at them, “What, were you born in a barn?” Well, I was born in a bar. At least psychically. Having grown up in a small town where if you were outed as gay they’d hang you from the nearest oak — the discovery of my first lesbian bar was like losing my virginity, in the fun way.

There weren’t any lesbian bars on the west side until The Brig welcomed Bubble Lounge on Wednesday nights. This is totally a Venetian phenomenon. Venice has managed to maintain an open-minded hippie and bohemian mystic that hasn’t changed since the ‘60s. I can have dinner at Joe’s, Hal’s, Primitivo, Beechwood, or Gjelina. Go dancing at the Garter, or the Air Conditioned Bar, and totally make out with a chick without getting hassled by the staff, or dudes who think it’s hot and want a three-way. As long as it’s not their date I’m macking on. So the main thrust of Bubble Lounge was to create a scene that would replicate what all the straight restaurants and clubs in Venice Beach do naturally, while making it a predominately homosexual scene including gays, lesbians, and any straight people who want to dive in for the cool energy. In Hollywood dialogue, it’s where the living characters from the series Mad Men would hang if they were real and gay. The clientele is stylish, sophisticated, and stimulating. I have Dave Reiss, the owner, to thank for thinking outside of the box and allowing a once a week event club to grab hump night in his intensely cruise-y, pick-up scene bar.

Who do you admire in the hospitality industry? Ruthie, the owner of the Speak Easy, sings her heart out during karaoke — in between slinging shots and beers behind the bar. She’s super hip and someone whom I aspire to be like when I grow up. Chris is the manager at Gjelina. I’ve been friends with him for 10 years, but that wouldn’t help me finagle a table at the most popular new restaurant in town. He is too unpretentious to even approach with that kind of, “I have juice,” behavior. Last week, when I came in with a date, and she asked him what his job description was, he replied sincerely, “I am the bringer of smiles.” Enough said. Brian Everingham is the man who tends bar at Capo and makes the whole world feel at your beck and call as soon as you step into the room. If I could only get a dame who treats me as well.

What do you see in nightlife these days that you like? I see all bars and clubs becoming more mixed. Gay, straight, lesbian, all ethnicities, everyone. Brown is the new black, kumbaya.

Anything you see that you don’t like? I see only the positive. Which some might think is a real drawback.

What is something that people don’t know about you? I have fixed many people up who are now in relationships together. Sure, some have had children, some divorced after a decade, but I was there at some point to jump in and manipulate their destinies. It’s a dangerous business. I’m lucky to still be alive because eventually a couple will want to blame someone.

What is your favorite album? I’m embarrassed to admit this because it might me look like a nerd-ball with corrective glasses. Not so far from the truth. Let’s just say the last album I purchased from iTunes was We Dance. We Sing. We Steal Things. By Jason Mraz. And the one before that isn’t gonna help my case either: Pink’s Funhouse.

Where’s the best place to pick up girls? The Abbey on a Sunday afternoon seems to be the best thing going for lesbians who don’t mind being out before sundown. It’s a bold statement for a girl to make an advance in broad daylight. But you know if you pull down someone in the day, you might actually get a decent night’s sleep and be up in time for work the next day. Bubble Lounge has also been great for landing chicks thus far. The music isn’t so loud that you can’t have a conversation, and the space creates perfect pockets in which to easily maneuver.

Plans for the future? I do a weekly blog that goes out to all the people who attend my club. It’s a funny, slutty commentary on the whole gay and lesbian dating scene. The blog will soon go out to 20 other gay sites on a feed. Whatever that means. Anyone who wants to get the blog could let me know at myspace.com/bubbleloungevenice.

And lastly, what are you doing tonight? I’m going out to Hump Sushi restaurant in the little Santa Monica airport. Then Hump night at the Bubble Lounge, and then, hopefully a trifecta hump later upon leaving the club.
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