Los Angeles Opening: Rattlesnake at Apollonia’s Pizzeria

You’ve been able to get your fill of rattlesnake sausage for years now in LA, thanks to Wurstkuche and a few others, but Apollonia’s Pizzeria may be the first on the left coast putting it on pizza. The pie is called the ‘Dirty Agent,’ and even though we pretty much hate that name, we dig its slices.

The other sausages — alligator and basil, duck and bacon, chicken tequila, and Mexican chorizo — are also top notch, and rest assured that all the ingredients are locally grown from the community’s farmer’s markets, neighborhood bakers, and resident meat distributors. For those on the other side of wild, traditional pies are on the menu, plus gluten-free crust.

Industry Insiders: John Murcko, Park City’s Reigning Chef

Chef John Murcko was named “Best Chef in Utah of 2011” by Salt Lake Magazine. Let me say that again: He’s not just the best chef in Park City, the pristine ski town known for its upper-class residents and proximity to one of the biggest indie film festivals in the world, but in the whole irregular hexagon that is the state of Utah. He oversees two dozen or so spots in Park City, and his award-winning philosophy is to simply care about the environment and insist upon knowing not only where all of his organic, mountain-grown ingredients come from, but knowing the people who bring him that food. A life dedicated to the industry affords him those types of relationships.

Story goes you were interested in becoming a chef very early in life. When most parents were watching their boys disappear over the hills on bikes and skateboards, your dad was signing a waiver so you could wash dishes in a restaurant at the age of 14. On your request. Can you tell us more about being born in Michigan, and how you were able to find your passion so early in life?
I grew up in a town called Holly, Michigan. My father was in advertising and PR, and he had to travel to places like New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. He started taking us kids separately on trips. Dad was what I call a passionate diner, and he sought out great restaurants. When I was about 10, he took me to Manhattan and we ate at Tavern on the Green – in the garden room. I vividly remember him introducing me to artichokes there, and how to peel off the leaf to get at the meat. On another trip, we went to The Russian Tea Room. The maitre d’ had to loan me a coat to wear. I consider that a turning point in my interest in restaurants – I thought that maitre d’ was the ultimate guy I wanted to grow up to be like.
 
We also spent a lot of time at a house we had on Mackinac Island (in northern Michigan); this was our sanctuary as a family. We also became members of the Grand Hotel, which has operated since 1887. I loved eating at this historic hotel, watching the synchronized service in a dining room of 300 people. I was enchanted. Both my Dad, and a passionate Grandma, thought I should start in the bottom of the business. So my first job was washing dishes at a place called Little Bob’s – a family restaurant that was in business for nearly 50 years. It was just a little family restaurant with a buffet, but he obviously knew how to run a restaurant.  (Little Bob’s closed in 1994.)
 
After the dish-washing gig, and waaaay before you were named Best Chef in Utah by Salt Lake Magazine in 2011, there must have been other paths you considered. What greener grass almost pulled you in a different direction, or what kept you moving forward in a straighter line than most? To prepare you for where you are today, what has your professional background been like?
My brother always said, “If you want to be great at what you do, play with people better than you.” So early in my career, I moved a lot. I moved every six months to a year to a different restaurant, looking for the next mentor to learn from. Then, in my 20s, I came to Park City and I met someone I stayed with for 16 years. That was (legendary Park City restaurateur) Bill White.
 
Other paths? There are two I almost considered; when I came to Park City, I thought I wanted to get out of hot kitchens and be a pastry chef instead. I thought it offered better balance; I would no longer have to depend on a team and could be individually responsible for myself. I did that for a little while, but there’s nothing quite like cooking. Second, through the fault of budget and timeline, prior to the opening of a Park City restaurant (Grappa), I was also the lead carpenter. I really liked it, and found that I had some natural abilities. I liked the similarity of outcome that you get with cooking – you could go back and see the results of your labor. I also liked that you could have your nights free and not be cooking until 2am.
 
In the end, however, the things that frustrated me most when I was younger have become the greatest joys of cooking for me. At first, like many chefs, I wanted to do everything myself and control everything. (No one can touch my sauce!) But now, I love being a great mentor and watching young people progress (from sous chef to executive chef, etc.). It makes everything better, you get more done, the quality goes up when you become a great leader, teacher, and mentor – not just a chef.
 
Partnered with the Toronto-based Talisker Corporation, you oversee two dozen different dining venues in Park City. How exactly did that come about, and how is that even possible to manage?
Talisker had a vision for food and beverage and flew in chefs from all over, but they couldn’t find someone who they felt understood the company culture. Dana Keele, human resources director for Canyons, said she knew someone right here in Park City and reached out to me through my wife, Kelli. After 16 years at Bill White, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. Over the course of several interviews, they determined I was the person who understood their company culture of integrity and quality.  
 
An average day must always be above average; can you walk us through your upcoming week? What are some of the more interesting responsibilities?
(laughing) Right now we’re preparing for some really exciting events for the Sundance Film Festival, while making menu and system adjustments on our flagship restaurant, The Farm. During Sundance, our restaurants are packed, we’re catering private parties and events, and we have a ton of VIP functions. For example, we’ll create comprehensive dining “experiences” in our yurts, which are beautifully appointed, private circular tents. On top of all that, this year, Talisker is catering Artist at the Table, the $1,500/plate Sundance Festival Kickoff dinner that accompanies the Opening Night Premiere film. Worth magazine named it one of the 10 hottest tickets for all events last year. It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase what we do for hundreds of interesting people including Mr. (Robert) Redford himself. So, January is always an exciting time – we’re incorporating enhancements based on the holiday season and making sure everything is fine-tuned for Sundance, President’s Day weekend, and the rest of the ski season. Plus, right now I’m hosting “Chef Tryouts” – I’m bringing in chefs to cook for me as I’m always looking for chefs who can complement and add to what we do.
 
Standing in the open kitchen of The Farm, one of Talisker’s flagship restaurants that focuses on ingredients sourced within 200 miles away of Park City, you have the perfect view of skiers and boarders descending the slopes. In fact, Ski Beach is just a snowball’s throw away. How do you not turn off your burners and grab your skis? If that’s not the biggest challenge of your job, then what is?
Any successful chef finds as much joy from cooking as anything else. It’s not a job – it’s a passion that I truly love. There are times when I work 100-hour weeks, but I also make time for my family. I moved to the mountains to spend time with my family, and spring and fall, in particular, there are literally countless springs and falls to hike and bike to in the Park City area. I still ski as much as I can, but we have an expression among chefs, “Speed of the chiefs, speed of the tribe.” Right now, the chief and the tribe are both speeding!
 
Can you tell us about the recently-opened Bistro at Canyons? It’s the first restaurant of its kind in the U.S. serving modern American kosher cuisine, including Friday Sabbath dinner throughout the winter season.
To produce food under any sort of guidelines, does not mean quality has to suffer. I think kosher dining has suffered from a lack of attention and passion. Now, with people exploring dairy-free diets more often, we’re proving we can deliver world-class dining experiences under that guideline. And the quality of all the ingredients, from chicken to meat to produce, is second-to-none. We’re making exceptional, very healthy food. Dishes like the Beef Cheek Gnocchi or the Mustard Crusted Wild Salmon are exquisite! Additionally, the clientele is so appreciative and supportive that we are going the extra mile to serve them. The dining room is spectacular. With 85 seats, we’re able to provide the attention to detail that guests have come to expect of our brand.
 
Do you have any funny or interesting mountain anecdotes that occurred in the line of duty that you can share? Guests-gone-wild incidents, that kind of thing?
Most are unprintable (laughing). I will say I’ve gotten very creative in using several-carat diamonds as garnishes to entrees in order to help with wedding proposals.
 
What is the secret to your success? What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing what you do?
One of our secrets is that while this is a town built for tourism, we can’t forget that we’re a community. Every guest is our most important one – but we go out of our way to make sure our locals feel that way all year long.  
 
Since you’re overseeing these two dozen restaurants, your immediate future must be booked solid. Is that the case, or is there something exciting on the horizon for winter/spring and beyond?
Whats on the horizon? Refinement. We’re constantly looking at how we can be better. Summer is more and more of a time for Talisker and Canyons to shine, with more guests hiking, biking, and fishing every year. We’re looking at some exciting ways for our guests to enjoy our beautiful weather – and our great food – long after the snow has melted. Plus, I want to enter and win a National BBQ Cook Off!

Los Angeles by Night: DJ Lindsay Luv’s Itinerary

The ever-affable Lindsay Luv has one of the sunniest personalities in nightlife. It’s only fitting, then, that after eight years of living and DJing in New York, the east coast girl picked up and moved to Los Angeles. “I was offered a big summer residency at Mondrian Skybar to DJ their pool parties, and I decided it was time to try to expand my career,” says Luv. The west coast is a great place to do that—it’s the best move I could have made, both professionally and personally.” In less than six months, Luv found she was overbooked, suddenly becoming a DJ favorite among celebrities and booking LA hotspots like H. Wood and XIV. She landed in the pages of People magazine, thanks to a report that Britney Spears headed to Mondrian Skybar by herself, just to check out Luv on the decks. ABC’s former Bachelorette, Deanna Pappas, had Lindsay spin her engagement party, and Neve Campbell had Luv spin her private birthday bash at the London Hotel. Needless to say, she’s gotten to know her way around the LA party scene pretty quickly. Here’s her take on LA nightlife.

Name: Lindsay Luv Professional Resume: DJ, Producer, Fashionista, Blogger, ‘Girl About Town’ One Word to Describe Nightlife in Los Angeles: Glitzy

City Loves Favorite lunch spot: Local in Silver Lake for homemade farmer’s market inspired comfort food, Cactus Taqueria for the best tacos on the go! • Favorite dinner spot: Pace for hard-to-find-in-LA wood burning oven pizza and pastas and an incredible wine list; XIV on Sunset for this amazing homemade naan and yogurt dip, in place of bread, to start off a fantastic meal; Malo in Los Feliz for dope Mexican food and a hip scene.

Favorite Nightlife Trend: Poolside Parties, day or night—year round! You never know who might float by or jump in! • Drink of Choice: Kettle, Soda, Lime • Meal of Choice: Spicy Tuna on Grilled Rice Cakes and the Yuzu Octopus Spicy Tako Roll paired with a Pear and Parmesan Martini at Katana on the outdoor roof deck. • Favorite group of people to bump into: The staff at Mondrian Skybar! Everyone from the bus boys to the GMs to the door guy and in between have become like family to me! An eclectic and fun staff all around, and we all have been known to hit up a diner late-night after a crazy party.

City Gripes: Nightlife trend you loath: Sparklers. Omgggg Sparklers!!! • Drink: Mojitos! All that mint stuck in your straw or, even worse, your teeth! Yuck! • Meal: Drive-through greasy fast food. Hit up a more personal taco truck instead! • Group of people to bump into: People with bad requests that won’t leave me alone. “Will you play ‘I’ve Got a Feeling’ again?” Ugh! Or obnoxious drunks.

Her Hotspots: Most night’s I’m working, DJing either special events, or clubs, so I go where the dex are. But here are my favorite spots.Monday: TeaRoom: I spin many Mondays and events there and love this place! They have great events for a variety of fashion, industry and celebrity clients! Also, late night at Teddy’s at The Roosevelt Hotel. •Tuesday: XIV SBE Group Industry Dinner that I spin from 8-11PM followed by the backroom at Trousdale. Great night all around! •Wednesday: Las Palmas. Dance on couches, see and be seen, and pick up great tacos at their stand on your way out! •Thursday: Mondrian Skybar where I spin all night—from 10PM to 2AM. Hotspot! You never know who will make a cameo. •Friday: The Edison (downtown) is an underground vault/factory -like haunt with amazing absinthe cocktails and a refined dress code; Little Bar, a local dive that was made over on my favorite HGTV show, “The Antonio Treatment.” •Saturday: Bronson Bar for rock music and whiskey. I love spinning all rock guest sets there, they actually mean rock when they say it! Wurstküche, downtown for sausages and beer, and indie/electro. •Sunday: I need a break! Costco? Home Depot? Target? OMG, I love Target!

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Every night: Bronson Bar. It’s like the dive bar version of Cheers that plays great rock music, and is unpretentious. Or Mondrian Skybar for a poolside table all seasons all hours. I love the SPIN room too, because Ping Pong is ALWAYS a good time! •Wouldn’t be caught dead here: Friday or Saturday nights anywhere in Hollywood, unless I am DJing. It is MAYHEM! But when I’m spinning in Hollywood: bring on the masses!!! •For special occasions: Katana or Pace for romantic ambience, and incredible food. Disneyland for straight fun, California style. Disneyland is a great date at night when the kids are heading home! Plus you can ride Thunder Mountain until you throwup! •Brunch is usually: Kings Road Café, ask for everyone’s favorite waiter: John! Griddle Café for pancakes as big as you are!

Sugar Inc. To Compete With Gilt & Groupon

Sugar Inc.—the blog network that’s home to numerous fashion sites like Coutorture and FabSugar—is branching out into localized sales à la Gilt Groupe & Groupon. “On Tuesday, Sugar will announce that it has acquired FreshGuide, a start-up that offers daily local shopping deals aimed at women,” says the New York Times. Localized group shopping was popularized by the likes of Groupon, LivingSocial, and, most recently, Gilt Groupe, which launched Gilt City for NYC and surely plans to expand into other cosmopolitan hubs imminently.

While Gilt Groupe, Haute Look, Rue La La, and other flash sale competitors are pouring millions into beefing up their sites to accommodate short-lived designer sales, the localized shopping game is getting equally fierce. “Other online media companies are taking a similar approach. Angie’s List, the local business review site, just introduced The Big Deal, which offers group coupons for local businesses. Thrillist, which publishes an e-mail newsletter for men, recently bought Jack Threads, a private sale site for men’s clothes. And DailyCandy, the women’s e-mail newsletter service, started a sample sale site called Swirl,” adds the NYT. The key here is a potent combo of editorialized and localized sales. It’s a flourishing trend that won’t slow anytime soon.

Gilt Groupe Takes On Groupon

In just a few years, Gilt Groupe has gone from budding e-commerce enterprise to an exponentially profitable household name. And as of this week, word has it that the sample sale auction house that in the past expanded to include a blog and sister sites like Jetsetter, is adding a whole new facet to its repertoire. Meet Gilt City, a new destination for discounts that are city-based, and, yes, a lot like those offered up at Groupon. “Gilt City offers deals from local businesses (restaurants, beauty salons, etc.) and events. Deals are available in limited quantities and for a limited time,” says TechCrunch.

But where does Gilt City differ? For one, deals are only offered once a week as opposed to daily as with other sites pawning similar sales. On the upside, Gilt City doesn’t require a base number of supporters to make a certain discount valid; if it’s offered in the first place, you’re good to go.

And the e-retailer doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping. Gilt Groupe recently hired former Nylon frontrunner Stephanie Trong as its first-ever editorial director. Meaning, expect much more original news content to come. In other words, Gilt Groupe appears to be looking to cover all bases–editorial and retail, as well as both national and local. The only downfall: Gilt City is currently only available in NYC. As soon as it expands nationally (which is inevitable), it’s sure to have competitors like Groupon shaking in their discounted Louboutins.

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.
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Los Angeles: One Day in Silver Lake

If Los Angeles were a band, Hollywood would be the showy lead singer. And Silver Lake would be the understated, contemplative bassist — the George Harrison of LA neighborhoods. Here’s how to spend a day in this artsy section of the city.

Breakfast: Start your day with one of the scrambles — Benedict or Florentine — at Millie’s, where they do everything the pain-in-the-ass, old-fashioned way: by hand and from scratch.

Walk: Think nobody walks in LA? Well, you’re probably right. But if you head down to the Silver Lake Reservoir, you’ll find plenty of locals cruising the newly opened walking path or sunning in the three-and-a-half-acre meadow, all part of a $2.1 million “all natural” project.

Sip: The coffee gurus at Intelligentsia have brought caffeination to another level — the beans are grown with the same care and commitment that artisanal farmers have for heirloom vegetables. The coffee’s also brewed by the cup rather than a whole batch, and there’s a seasonal lineup of featured brews and beans. So sip some socially and environmentally sustainable coffee, and you’ll feel superior to the Hollywood hype.

Lunch: Go Local for lunch at veteran chef Jason Michaud’s latest LA venture. Michaud’s so serious about serving local, organic ingredients, he named his restaurant for it. The organic salad bar, priced by the pound, offers plenty of greens and protein, and the menu is limited but eclectic, focusing on sandwiches and burgers for $11. There’s no beef hamburger, alas, as Michaud couldn’t find any California-raised beef he liked.

Shop: Mercado owners and longtime Silver Lakers Michelle Weaver and Chelsea Iovino traveled the world to bring rare merchandise to their modern Silver Lake shop. Los Angeles-based designers are also on the shelves, including Denise Plumb’s mysteriously soft tees and Jennifer Herwitt’s creepy-beautiful insect-inspired jewelry. The exotic doesn’t come cheap, but Mercado is worth a browse, and if you’re lucky, a splurge.

Cruise: If you want to buy (or just pine after) a vintage bike, check out Illuminati Motorcycles. Owner Barron has racer-style motorcycles for $2,500 and under, and a couple bikes are always parked on the corner of Sunset and Vendome, drawing hipsters on the way to shows at the Silverlake Lounge.

Dinner: Sure, neighborhood taquería Malo has become a much-less-secret spot since Brad Pitt showed up, but only those in the know order the off-menu “chewy chips,” a softer (and certainly more fattening) version of tortilla chips. The hipster-approved fare includes ground beef and pickle tacos and dangerously delicious fruit-infused top-shelf tequila.

Drink: Styled after a glammed-up 70s truck stop, Stinkers is kitsch and a half — mirrored walls lined with 5,000 vintage beer cans, cutouts of Burt Reynolds, and wall-mounted skunks (some with trucker hats). If you hear someone on the CB, a bartender is likely about to pull a cord causing a row of skunk butts to spray an odorless mist, giving new meaning to “drunk as a skunk.”
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