Hotel Thrillist Conquers Los Angeles

Last weekend, the good folks—and insatiable party animals—over at Thrillist, set out to prove that the West Coast truly is the best coast by inviting hordes of social influencers, media types, and sweepstakes winners to be wined and dined (emphasis on the wined) in L.A., home to the website’s second-longest-running city edition. The home base for what was dubbed “Hotel Thrillist” was the JW Marriot, part of the massive entertainment complex L.A. Live, the centerpiece of downtown L.A.’s revitalization.

Night one featured a party on the hotel’s roof where we sampled bites from some of the area’s best restos, including Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Katsuya L.A. Live, LA Market Restaurant by Kerry Simon, Rosa Mexicano, Trader Vic’s, WP24 Restaurant & Lounge by Wolfgang Puck, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. After that, it was off to the Club Nokia VIP Lounge, for a private affair that featured suds courtesy of Corona and specially mixed cocktails courtesy of Bacardi.

But the highlight of the weekend was by far the Entourage-style pool party, at a private mansion in the Hollywood Hills, where in between those same Barcadi-based cocktails and those ice cold Coronas, guests got coifs in the NIVEA for Men Spa and caught shade in smartwater’s Relaxation and Hydration Station. Top Chef Alums Marcel Vigneron and CJ Jacobsen made sure guests didn’t go hungry, with, among other snacks, an entire roasted pig. Midway through, the Aquailillies Flash Mob provided a dazzling spectacle of synchronized swimming that earned raucous applause from guests.

The weekend came to a close with one last bash at LA Production Studios, where partygoers seemed unfazed by the boozy weekend, going hard to the very end, aided in part by the addictive beats of Deejay Reprise. When all was said and done, despite the many opportunities, we managed to keep our shirts on, which for many, only made the weekend that much better. Check out pics below.

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Photos courtesy of Colin Wolff-Young.

Bryant Park vs. Lincoln Center: Out with the Old, in with the New

Last night the “fashion set” bid the tents at Bryant Park adieu and turned the runways into 1Oak– a look that came complete with dancing models, Moet and Ronnie Madra. I put “fashion set” in those very convenient quotations because partiers were more of the “drinking set,” as apparently none of the people who had spent the most time under the big top- the fashion editors, designers and front row stars- could muster the nostalgia necessary to say goodbye. That and Calvin Klein was having his party somewhere else.

(‘DiggThis’)In any case, a big stink has been made about what will happen to NYFW when it moves to Lincoln Center in the fall, farther away from the Garment District and all of those downtown fashionistas. Will more designers choose to show off site? Will downtown-dwelling stars and fashion mags decline to travel all the way to the Dakotas? Will New York as a fashion capital lose its international cred from the lack of a centralized location if said designers continue to show independently? Will the Lincoln Center give fashion credibility as an art form? Deep stuff, right?

These are all really important questions that I’ll leave to be answered by the Sunday Styles (or teen bloggers writing from Arkansas who seem to have just as much validity). I’m more interested in figuring out how the “fashion set” will defile transform the UWS nabe into fashion land, what tequila hole Michael Kors will turn to for a pre-show blackout, what hotel the cast of Jersey Shore will take over, what unassuming quaint pub Kate Moss will put on the map, if they do so choose to journey north.

Hot spot for over-worked fashion editors to cry it out after getting snubbed by the Wintour. Old: Ruby Tuesday. Distance: Just over a block from Bryant Park, on 7th Avenue. Why: The food chain provides many carb options, something the editor has been abstaining from for half their life, and an atmosphere one can be sure is totally free from fashion peers. Let the floodgates open- Fashion Week is tough, but easier with cheese, breaded and fried. New: Central Park. Distance: One block east of the Lincoln Center. Why: What better place to run to in a fit of rage and “why me?” than freaking Central Park? The editor will feel as if they’re starring in a weepy Woody Allen film; scorned woman turning away from all she knows to find answers in the woods of Manhattan! The drama! Bonus as an ego boost when they find smirking at tourists in flip-flops easy from their perch on Prada pumps.

imageHot spot for models to gorge between shows. Old: Crumbs 42nd Street. Distance: In Bryant Park. Why: If you’re making up for a week’s worth of calories, you should at least be eating something pretty and within walking distance from your next call time. New: Magnolia Columbus. Distance: 4 blocks north of Lincoln Center. Why: The fact that they are Carrie cupcakes (for models still infatuated with SATC) makes the walk to gorge worth it. Besides, models never make call times.

imageSpot for designers to have a pre-show stiff one. Old: Cellar Bar @ the Bryant Park Hotel. Distance: Pretty much on top of Bryant Park. Why: Cellar Bar is a sophisticated rager, perfect for sophisticates in need of numbing nerves and their publicist’s front row choices. New: Candle Bar. Distance: Roughly 8 blocks north, or one subway stop from the Lincoln Center. Why: Gay dive that’s a nice counterbalance to the frat-tastic bullshit of the Upper West Side. And we all know how progressive the fashion world is.

imageCheesy fashion-themed bar big with tourists. Old: Stitch Bar and Lounge Distance: 3 blocks south, 2 block west of the Bryant Park tents. Why: They have cocktails named Anna Wintour, Silk Scarf and Stiletto. This place screams “Girl’s Weekend!” New: None, yet. Maybe Rosa Mexicano will change her name to Rosa Cha of the occasion? Why: While there are quite a few Jazz or Opera themed bars, the UWS is prime for fashion to make its mark. Right locals? Anna Win-tini could be on the menu at any given bar hungry for tourists.

Hot meal ticket that is completely booked come fashion week. Old: Aureole Distance: Nestled between Conde Nast and Bryant Park. Why: Charlie Palmer’s house of indulgence is right next to Vogue. This is a quick dinner on-the-go for a busy Voguette. imageNew: Bar Boulud. Distance: Just past Broadway, right in the Lincoln Center’s wheelhouse. Why: “Location begs Lincoln Center spillover, i.e. middle-aged Philharmonic fans and ballet families.” Replace this i.e. with middle-aged fashion editors and PR families.

Photo: Gothamist

New York: Top 10 Frozen Cocktails

Macondo (Lower East Side) – Hero to gourmand alkies everywhere, Junior Merino has gone and done it again. His Aguacate and Mescal at Rayuela’s younger, cheaper, funner sis is probably the greatest thing to ever muck up a blender. Creamy fresh avocado, sweet agave nectar, and Scorpion mescal by the frosty, puke-green pitcher. ● Momofuku Noodle Bar (East Village) – The porky ramen bar takes 7-Eleven to school, son, with its watermelon lemonade Soju Slushie. Big gulp a couple and marvel at how all the blond wood is like getting smashed inside somebody’s cool balsa architecture project. Brain freeze! ● Rusty Knot (West Village) – Named after the most disgusting sex act ever, the eponymous frozen mojito is also a kitschy tiki classic. Spotted Pig via Key West is the perfect camped-out cruise — supplement your plastic cup of rum-n-sugar with a pig in a blanket and sunset over the West Side Highway. Only thing missing is Gavin MacLeod.

El Quinto Pino (Chelsea) – Who needs tables when you’ve got frozen basil gin lemonade? The tall, sallow, and icy Pomada manages to complement both the crack-esque sea urchin panini and the cracked-out crazy of the sardined crowd. Throwing drug dealer etiquette to the wind, the first one, unfortunately, is not on the house. ● Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg) – Bowling just screams margaritas, doesn’t it, hipsters? New Billyburg pin spot’s Prophet’s Margarita is un-disgusting machine slush with optional fresh strawberry topping. Sixteen lanes for rolling, flatscreens above the alleys, food from Blue Ribbon, swank settees, all distract from frozen ‘rita gutterballs. ● Matsuri at the Maritime Hotel (Chelsea) – Gorgeous, modelicious mega-room throws some bling in the blender. Asti and Riesling class up oxymoronic frozen bubbly known as the Golden Pavilion, served in a flute and floating with gold leaf. Akin to $500 jeans and grilling grass-fed bison. You fancy. ● Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) – Satisfy your equally contradictory posh-Mexican cravings with a Frozen Pomegranate Margarita. Vague Chili’s undercurrent, but like the Big Pepper, doesn’t skimp on el diablo (tequila). Get sloppy enough to be totally, totally okay with $19 chicken tacos. ● Habana Outpost (Fort Greene) – Enviro chic spin-off New Faces Soho café, save a buck on your frozen margarita by bicycling the blender yourself. Flaunt your street cred — shun plain Jane mango and strawberry for vaguely exotic guava. Best recycled-wood picnic table, solar-powered, parking lot drunk ever. ● Daddy’s (Williamsburg) – Who’s yours now? asks the ingenious Margerveza—beer frothed with margarita slush. Goes down dreamy on the small outdoor patio of this little pocket of cool near the borough-slicing BQE. Just don’t get so biquored you lay in the dirt-filled bathtub, nastypants. ● Dos Caminos Soho (Soho) – Join the pretties in the caged patio slurping Prickly Pear Margaritas. Practice looking bored, and later, sober. Try not to dribble on your best after-dark costume. Will require your strongest Pedialite/crushed aspirin hangover cure come manana.

New York: Top 10 Ways to Get Drunk on the Cheap

imageAre you tired of hokey recession specials that never end up scratching your gnawing, thirsty itch? We are rapidly becoming a city of broke drunks, thus it is vital we learn how to be the best broke drunks we can be. If you have no job, no prospects, and only a few bucks, but still maintain flawless taste, then check out the top ways to get your drink on without further damaging the already broken bank.

Calle Ocho (Upper West Side) – Go to this spacious, attractive UWS Nuevo Latino on Sundays and order an appetizer. The policy is you must eat some sort of food in order to partake in the monster “sangria station,” which is totally and completely F-R-E-E! That is correct, kiddies. A bevy of fruits, wines, rums, and all sorts of tasty drinkable treats line the dining room buffet-style, where you can ladle yourself to inebriation for hours. ● Welcome to the Johnsons (Lower East Side) – I like my bars how I like my men: grungy and cheap. This place is suitable for getting sloshed before going to the neighboring, pricier hotspots such as the Hotel on Rivington, 205, or Stanton Social.

Bar 13 (Greenwich Village) – If you don’t mind a little poetry slam, Monday features two-for-one cocktails. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration, grab the mic, and produce your very own poem for the crowd. Here is mine: There once lived a broke girl from New York. She could barely afford fried rice with pork. She spent her dollars on drinks. It is not foolish she thinks. For calories taste better via straw vs. fork. ● Village Pourhouse (Upper West Side) – The Columbia-area outpost has a deal so creative and alluring you will consider grabbing a cab to 108th Street from wherever you are right now (I know I am). If you take a taxi anytime and save your receipt, the bar will reimburse you in alcohol for whatever amount you spent to get there. Afterward, take the subway home, and you just had yourself an almost free night, other than tipping the bartender and one swipe of the MetroCard. ● Delancey (Lower East Side) – The roof is wonderfully enchanting for a spot on the less-attractive edge of the LES. If you are unemployed, they give you free shots of tequila on Tuesdays, which is magical in its own regard. Do not ask me how to prove you are jobless. Perhaps bring a record showing your pathetically low bank statement or letter of dismissal from your most recent employer? ● Antik (Greenwich Village) – This lounge on the Bowery employs bartenders that are fantastic about buybacks, and the occasional surprise open bar is a bonus too. Promoter Ruben Araneta told me the real secret: Go on a Monday, say his name at the door, then find him inside to cop a free vodka cran from his bottle — especially if you are female (duh!) and attractive (double duh!). ● The Orchard (Lower East Side) – BYOB Sundays. Go to the liquor store and buy a cheap bottle of wine (or stop by a bodega and grab some brew) which you can bring to this delightful restaurant. From there, order the cheapest dish on the menu and enjoy a night out while your money stays in — your wallet, that is. ● Hill Country (Chelsea) – Tuesday is the day to venture here and let your nostrils take in the BBQ aromatics while putting back two-for-one specialty drinks from open till close. They also have their usual 3-6pm Happy Hour all day on Tuesday, which includes two-for-one PBRs, $5 well drinks, $20 buckets of Lone Star, and $2 well shots. Spend $10 on five shots. Before you know it, you will have forgotten your money woes, mindlessly square dancing to the live country/rockabilly bands. ● Alligator Lounge (Williamsburg) – Because let’s face it: When one gets boozy, hunger is sure to follow. With the purchase of any alcoholic drink at this Willyburg dive, you receive a free personal pizza hot out of the wood-burning oven. The pies are surprisingly tasty for the fabulous cost of free, and they become even yummier after two beers. ● Rosa Mexicano (Union Square) – Warning! This place is not inherently cheap. But there is one drink that you will only need two of to do the trick. Avoid all expensive food and cocktails — except for the pomegranate margaritas. These lethal, frozen concoctions look harmless enough. They are pink after all. But the drink must be laced with sodium pentothal or something because they get you stripping-in-the-streets-singing-show-tunes-dialing-your-ex smashed. Do not consume more than three.

Openings: JetBlue’s Terminal 5 @ JFK

It hardly need be pointed out that we pine longingly for the days when airline travel was all sexy and glamorous, and political correctness hadn’t outlawed the use of the “stewardess” (though, mind, we’d never dream of referring to her as “toots”). But those groovers over at JetBlue, apparently understanding our considerable pain over the matter, have decided to open the terminal of our dreams this fall at the interminably construction-riddled JFK International Airport. Built adjacent to the venerated but tragically moribund Earo Saarinen 1962 TWA Terminal — perhaps trying to absorb some of the hope for the future that it once inspired — the new Terminal 5 will be spacious, light-drenched, and a shining symbol of the once great modern ideal.

But, oh, most glorious and wonderful of all, especially for those of us who’ve never really felt quite right sidling up the bar at the airport Bennigan’s — JB T5 will be a flying-foodie’s paradise. To wit, Mark Ladner of Del Posto will head up Italian trattoria AeroNuova, Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr of Pastis and Balthazar helm the menu at La Vie brasserie, Buddakan and Izakaya’s Michael Schulson will oversee the pan-Asian Deep Blue; but our restaurant of choice for T5 epicurean adventures will undoubtedly Roberto (Rosa Mexicano) Santibanez’ Revolucion, because, of course, nothing will help you sleep through another bad airplane flick like a couple of magnifico margaritas and a chips-and-guacamole doggie bag.