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.

BLACKBOOK MEDIA CORP ● Chairman – Bob Hoff, Voyeur (LA) ● CEO – Ari Horowitz, W South Beach (Miami) ● Associate Publisher – Brett Wagner, Da Umberto (NYC) ● Director of Finance and Operations – Tim Umstead, Aquagrill (NYC) ● Corporate Counsel – Drew Patrick, El Ay Si (NYC) ● Executive Assistant – Bridgette Bek, Manhattan Inn (NYC)

EDITORIAL ● Creative Director – Jason Daniels, Morimoto (NYC) ● Vice President Content – Chris Mohney, This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef (NYC) ● Senior Editor – Nick Haramis, Freemans (NYC) ● Features Editor – Willa Paskin, The Sackett (NYC) ● Writer-at-Large – Alison Powell, Jean Philippe Patisserie (Las Vegas) ● Nightlife Correspondent – Steve Lewis, subMercer (NYC) ● Assistant Editors – Ben Barna, LeVack Block (Toronto), Cayte Grieve, Vince (NYC), Foster Ethan Kamer, Sel De Mer (NYC), Eiseley Tauginas, Maialino (NYC) ● Copy Editor – Michèle Filon, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Miami) ● Editorial Interns – Megan LaBruna, Crash Mansion (NYC), Averie Timm, Madiba (NYC), Hillary Weston, Les Halles (NYC), Annie Werner, DBGB (NYC), Ashley Simpson, Barcade (NYC), Michael Jordan, Destination Bar & Grill (NYC)

ART ● Art Director – Amy Steinhauser, Union Pool (NYC) ● Assistant Designer – Serra Semi, Five Points (NYC) ● Photography Assistant – Stephanie Swanicke, Provocateur (NYC) ● Freelance Designer – Krista Quick, Fornino (NYC)

FASHION & BEAUTY ● Fashion Editor – Christopher Campbell, Grand Sichuan International (NYC) ● Fashion Interns – Jillian K. Aurrichio, Greenhouse (NYC), Anabele Netter, Il Buco (NYC), Nicole Applewhite, Vanilla Bake Shop (NYC), Deanna Clevesy, Tao (NYC)

ADVERTISING ● Senior Account Executive – Dina Matar, Blue Duck Tavern (Washington, DC) ● Executive Director, BlackBook Access – Gregg Berger, Charles (NYC) ● Advertising Director – Michelle Koruda, Supper (NYC) ● Detroit Account Executives – Jeff Hannigan, The Lodge (Chicago), Kristen von Bernthal, Pukk (NYC) ● Midwest Account Executives – Susan Welter, Old Town Social (Chicago), Andrea Forrester, Tuman’s (Chicago) ● Southwest Account Executive – Molly Ballantine, The Tar Pit (LA) ● Northwest Account Executives – Catherine Hurley, Flora (Oakland), Shawn O’Meara, Nopalito (San Francisco)

MARKETING ● Marketing Manager – Julie Fabricant, Eponymy (NYC) ● Partnerships & Promotions Manager – Andrew Berman, Bozu (NYC) ● Interns – Adam Meshekow, Ronnybrook Milk Bar (NYC), Kayla Gambino, Grom (NYC), Marie Baginski, Stir (NYC)

DIGITAL ● Director of Development – Daniel Murphy, Standard (Miami) ● Developer – Bastian Kuberek, Greenhouse (NYC) ● Developer – Dan Simon, Hudson Terrace (NYC) ● Designer – Matt Strmiska, Uchi (Austin) ● Developer – Sam Withrow, Phone Booth (San Francisco) ● Quality Assurance Engineer – Sunde Johnson, Ginger’s Bar (NYC) ● Mobile Developer – Otto Toth, Alloro (NYC)

Industry Insiders: Jim Lahey, Bread Master

Jim Lahey is a bread man. After a trip to Italy while he was in art school studying to be a sculptor, Lahey realized that baking was his true calling. In 1994, he opened Sullivan Street Bakery, which now provides bread for over 250 of the city’s best restaurants including Jean Georges, Babbo and Gramercy Tavern. In 2008, Lahey opened his first restaurant, Co., where he turned his signature bread into artisanal pizzas. Famous for his no-knead method, Lahey is trying to spread the word with his recently published book, My Bread, as well a more personal approach: baking lessons at Sullivan Street Bakery. Over lunch at Co., the loquacious baker with “major A.D.D.” spoke with me about the importance of good reviews, culinary influences, and his idea of the most bitter, foul taste in food: effort.

Point of Origin: I ended up going to art school (School of Visual Arts) and developed a fascination with Europe. A really great teacher at the time said, “Dude you’re too smart to be a dumb fucking painter and your interests are too varied for you to be in this school. You also need to get laid. Go to college.” So basically that’s what I did. I went to college to interact with normal people as opposed to art students who tend to be trust fund kids and shit. I went to Stony Brook in Long Island. Probably not the best place for me to go. I dropped out, when back to SVA. Then I got kicked out of SVA.

On the difference between running a bakery versus a restaurant: One is moving parts. In a wholesale operation there are many moving parts, many more people involved in getting the thing to the customer. The other thing is it’s more glamorous to work in a restaurant than a wholesale operation. Restaurant have a fantastic cast of characters, but there’s a bit more glamor especially right now with the celebrification of chefs and renewed interest in cooking. Restaurants are very similar in a way because I find that as a chef I’m constantly battling with the ideas of what the worker has, of what the part is, even if it’s explained to them.

Favorite pizza: Right now, it’s the honshimeji and guanciale. As an eater, all we care about is the results, we don’t care about the effort because we don’t see the effort and hopefully we don’t taste the effort. There is no flavor more bitter or foul than effort. If I taste effort in food wherever I eat, I rarely ever return.

Where the meat and potatoes come from: The meats we get from Pat Lefrieda, phenomenal supplier. Very high quality, high standards. We try to buy as much of our vegetables from the Union Square farmers market or local farms if possible. Right now it’s obviously really difficult because it’s so cold and we get our nuts and bolts from very small wholesale suppliers.

On the importance of reviews: The most important review is watching the plates go back empty. Seeing that there is a local, loyal clientele that own the restaurant and embrace the culture of the restaurant.

On being called the David Chang of carbs: That’s flattering. I don’t know if I’ll be able to undo the damage that Atkins did to the world with bread and this phobia, this misguided phobia, that Americans have about carbs. Really at the end of the day, if you’re physically active, eat as you want. I’m flattered; it’s a really nice thing to say. David’s a phenomenal chef. I wish I was allowed to curse more in my book, but my editor killed my voice. I think we’d be compared more. I haven’t read the Momofuku book but I heard there’s a lot of fuck and shit in it.

On the haters: Because of the way the pizza industry is set up and also because of our culture about it and how we’ve been introduced to it, what our expectations are, there are a lot of people who have become “Company haters,” “Co. haters.” I wasn’t trying to dumb it down for them. I wasn’t trying to put tons of cheese and tons of sauce on. I want out product to have its own signature, its own pedigree.

How to get the perfect recipe: I like, for myself, to develop recipes with two approaches. One approach is to make an absolutely mistake just to eliminate that from the realm of possibilities. The other thing I like doing is relying on the sort of vast, kind of technical, acquired sense about what things weigh and what ratios you can get away with to make things work and just make things on the fly. I love cooking without recipes. But I have to say when you make something good and you don’t record it you have to go back and scramble to find that harmony. Sometimes you can nail things so perfectly it’s funny.

Favorite chefs: Obviously I mentioned David Chang. Of course I love Jean George. He’s very inspirational. I love his restraint, executing very complicating things but holding back. I don’t taste effort at that restaurant.

Go-to restaurants: I like Bar Pitti, though they don’t buy my bread anymore. I really like Grand Sichuan. I really like Five Points. Any restaurant that Michael White has cheffed in. I think he’s a leader in that pack. I love I Sodi on Christopher Street. I haven’t been in a long time but I did have a religious lasagna experience there. I haven’t been to Eleven Madison Park, but I hear it’s amazing. And Txikito.

Best slice in the city? I have a very hard time answering that question. You know, I respect what everyone does. My favorite pizza restaurant in the United States besides my own is Pizzaria Bianco in Phoenix. It’s the only one.

Daily routine, breakfast: An egg white sandwich. Or egg white over oatmeal. Or egg white sandwich on whole wheat toast. No butter, no cheese.

Secrets he left out of My Bread: Here’s the thing. There are other books that recount the no-knead process. The publishing industry saw an opportunity to make money for this not based on their interest to change culture, but their own personal profit and gain. This is the American way. This is the land of Madoff. This is our society. I don’t really think any of those books do justice to the process. I think, again, there’s this tendency to dumb things down. I had to fight for the content that the book has.