Jezebel’s Henry Stimler Reveals His Casino Royale-Themed Gala & Favorite Bond Girl

The previews of The Great Gatsby have me totally psyched up. Leo as Gatsby is a big ZOWIE! for me. Baz will understand. I’ve read Gatsby a zillion times. I relish the eternal optimism of the lead, his romance, his insane quest. The parties in Fitzgerald’s great tome – which attract all types, and devolve into the impure-ist bedlam – are the model for my events. The rich hobnobbing with the dressed-up peasants, the debaucherous under-classes worked well for me. Nowadays, nightlife is more segregated. Slumming isn’t the norm for the well-heeled, as most opt for mingling within the same class. The top spots thrive on big bucks and exclusivity as opposed to inclusivity. There are exceptions to this rule: usually the fun night at the usually boring joint. The hoi polloi have been banished to Brooklyn and they thank you very much. 

At Capitale’s Casino Royale-themed gala January 26th with Henry Stimler (Jezebel) and Seth Greenberg (Capitale) at the helm, the price of admission is $125, separating the men from the moochers. Capitale,130 Bowery at Grand, is the perfect setting for such an affair. The building was designed by Stanford White who was murdered by a millionaire who learned of an affair between the architect and his model wife which predated the marriage. Stanford White designed the house where Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald attended those lavish parties that inspired him. Stanford also designed the Arch in Washington Square Park, The Players Club Mansion on Gramercy Park. The old post office on 31st and 8th and tons of other places. He was the epitome of the American renaissance of architecture. His murder at the hand of Harry Kendall Thaw was the "trial of the century.” Capitale is there to behold. Its beauty, timeless. Its ability to host great events, legendary. I think this is an event of Gatsby-esque proportions. J. Bond and J. Gatsby are great icons. 

This Saturday, the Casino Royale Gala will attract the best. There will be gaming tables and a live symphony orchestra and sexy singers who will perform every Bond song. There will be a late DJ set by Antonio de Angelis of Pacha Ibiza. Aston Martins will be parked outside. Shaken not stirred martinis will be  served by gold painted ladies. It’s a costume party and attendees are encouraged to come as their favorite Bond character. They have provided this link for all info and costume concepts. A full 20 percent of ticket sales will go to the Tunnel to the Towers Foundation in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. A VIP table for five people goes for $2,000, for 10 people $4,000. There is a $50 ticket after 12:30p.m. as well. Their last event, “Midnight in Paris,” was all the rage and this looks like tons of fun.

I asked Henry Stimler a few questions.

What will guests see when they attend?
We are going to create a world of all things Bond, from being greeted by Miss Moneypenny, to tarot card readers, gold-painted ladies, Bond ice sculptures, full band, different singers performing all 22 Bond-themed songs, and of course a casino with amazing prizes.

What will they hear?
Well, the band will play during the gambling etc., then for the after party we are flying in Italian DJ Antonio De Angelis with DJ V to spin from 1am to 4am.

The reason for the Bond theme: is it just because it’s plain sexy?
It’s more than sexy, it’s iconic. I love Bond, and think everyone has that fantasy, the opening scene of Dr. No sitting at the table, lighting a smoke, and saying that immortal line, “Well, here you can embrace it, grab your best tux, strap on a Walter PPK (fake on please), and pull off your best ‘Bond, James Bond’ to a beautiful women, and the place will be full of beautiful Bond girls.

Why January 26th?
It’s my birthday on the 28th, so I kinda rolled with that weekend.

What have you learned from your previous event, Midnight in Paris?
Midnight in Paris was a smashing success. Everywhere people went that night, they ran into flapper girls. I ended up at 6am in a top hat and tails and the door guy asking me "what the hell’s with all the 1920s outfits tonight?” New Yorkers embrace themed parties it seems. We put on a big production –  but this one is bigger.

It’s you, Seth Greenberg, and who else?
We always have a team of people, such as Yana Tara, Michael Heller, Gary Quirk, Vito, Matt Esstes, and Vanessa Gil, but it’s just me and Seth for promotion.

Your restaurant Jezebel is providing "bites." Tell me about bites and, while you’re here, Jezebel. Who goes there? Has the kosher cuisine crossed over, and been embraced by non-Jewish patrons?
Jezebel has been a trip. We are seven months in and it’s going great. I think it’s really been embraced by people. You get such a huge mix of people, it really is the melting pot that is NYC. On any given night, you can have your table of 5 Chabad dudes sitting next to two football players with their girlfriends, next to a table of models, then a rabbi and his wife on a date, next to some huge financiers next to Russell Simmons. We have a great new chef, Chris Mitchell, formerly of The Breslin. He is just great.

For Bond, we are going to do a mix of Goldfinger food and Bond-inspired snacks. It’s gonna be very cool and super delicious.

Ok, ok, ok, who’s your favorite Bond? Who’s your favorite Bond villain and your favorite Bond girl?
Sean Connery, hands down, for favorite Bond, the girl in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Goldfinger as my fav Bond villain: "I don’t expect you to talk, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die." Classic stuff.

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New York Opening: Charlemagne

Charlemagne, a porn-shop-turned-French-brasserie in the West Village, does a suckling pig dish that reminds me of an old tale. My cousin Robert, who went “vegetarian” a few years ago at his girlfriend’s behest, treated himself the other week to a suckling pig at the Breslin when his lady left town. Out it came in all its porcine glory, with the bowls of sauces and the apple in its mouth. A few bites in, who showed up but his girlfriend’s roommate, who’d eat her tote bag to avoid meat. “Robert!” she gasped, “what in the world?” Robert dropped his silverware. “Can you believe this?” he replied. “I order an apple and look how they serve it!”

At Charlemagne, the pig (Chourcroute) comes diced and laid on a bed of bacon sauerkraut, so if you find yourself in Robert’s situation, you can say you don’t read French. Otherwise, enjoy yourself—the menu’s a grand tour of proteins. A bi-coastal oyster list (with special regard for the Montauk Pearl) sits on a bed of ice adjacent to the wine bar. The steak tartare, with a quail egg and Catalan garlic aioli, is safe to eat and then some. Muscovy duck breast and leg match juicy flesh with a crispy skin. If meat’s off the agenda, the wild mushroom fettuccini tastes much, much better than a tote bag.

I can’t attest to the décor of the old sex shop, but Charlemagne sure looks classy. Honeycomb tiles, which sat beneath the former tenant’s flooring, have been lovingly rebuffed. A massive iron chandelier hangs from a shiny tin ceiling, and 19th-century spherical bulbs dangle above each table. Whatever you order, it will be lit up in all its glory. How do you like them apples?

[BlackBook New York Guide; Listings for Charlemagne, the Breslin; More by James Ramsay]

Beastie Boy Mike D Helps Out Sandy Victims With Free Food Truck

And here, you, you thought that food trucks were just for the festival set. But leave it to restaurateur Rob McKinley and Mike D of the Beastie Boys to find a more noble purpose for mobile meals. Although Hurricane Sandy is a memory for many, for residents of many parts of the New York area, including the Rockaways, the storm’s impact is still affecting daily lives. So Mike D and McKinley, with the help of teams from popular local restaurants like the Breslin and Fat Radish, created the Rockaway Plate Lunch food truck to bring residents warm meals.  

As Mike D explains in the interview below, the post-Sandy landscape in Rockaway has been changing every day, so a food truck was the best way to access lots of people. He and McKinley have served more than 19,000 meals to the people of the Rockaways, primarily of chicken, vegetables, beans and rice.

Mike D told the folks at GOODthat Rockaway Plate Lunch is continuing to work in the area, but on fewer hours, but want to use it now as a means of sparking the local economy. As he explains:

“There’s still the need for warm food out there, but our real goal for this summer is to help revitalize the local economy. So we’re trying to switch the truck over from giving away food, to charging for food but having it become staffed, run and operated on every level by citizens of the Rockaways. We’ll keep the same restaurants that have been involved, but in a mentoring capacity.”

He says they’ve been working with involving young people, local clergy and elected officials to find resources to see how the truck can best benefit the people of the Rockaways. You can hear from the duo about their efforts to continue helping after Sandy in the video below. 

[via GOOD]

Strolling Around New York With Its Most Likable Brummie Chef, April Bloomfield

On a stormy Friday afternoon, a girl sat staring at her pig. More specifically, April Bloomfield, the Birmingham-born chef who first brought gastropubs to New York with The Spotted Pig, and later The Breslin and The John Dory Oyster Bar, eyed a pile of homemade malfatti pasta tangled up with tree frog-green arugula and glistening bits of rosy suckling pig at Maialino, one of the chef’s neighborhood haunts. It is an apt choice considering the chef there, Nick Anderer, handles Italian food much in the same way Bloomfield expresses English cuisine: balancing high and low, delicate and rustic, with lots of hog thrown in. Bloomfield is just settling back into her cooking routines after a grueling book tour for her first cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories. So she was extra happy to visit her favorite New York hangouts.

april bloomfield maialino

Maialino
2 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 777-2410
I live around the corner and come here at all times of the day. There’s this wonderful thing on the menu called a caramellato. It’s basically a brioche bun dipped in butterscotch vanilla sauce. They’re addictive. You can buy six to-go, but they’ll only do six. I’ve tried to convince them to give me more, but chef Nick wouldn’t do it.
 

april bloomfield kalustyan's

Kalustyan’s
123 Lexington Ave, New York, NY

(212) 685-3451
Being from England, I love curry. It’s our national dish, and this is the most amazing spice shop you’ll ever come across to find it. You know how you can spend hours in hardware stores, whether you love home improvement or not? This is the equivalent for chefs. It’s not just a spice shop though. They have vinegars, oils, sugars, salts, nuts, and grains.

april bloomfield bonnie slotnick

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
163 W. 10th St., New York, NY

(212) 989-8962

When I first moved to New York, I found this tiny store. Bonnie has old books and modern books and everything in between. We’re picking up a book today that my friend Matt Dillon [of Sitka & Spruce] in Seattle recommended. It’s called Auberge of the Flowering Hearth. I’m excited to just go read it and touch the pages. Sometimes it’s nice to pick up an book that has that old smell. You don’t get that smell with iPads. They all just smell like Apple.
 

april bloomfield the smile

The Smile
26 Bond St., New York, NY

(646) 329-5836
When you’re at The Smile, you feel like you’ve stepped out of New York. I really like places that transport you. The Smile is rustic and perfect for a rainy day like this when you can curl up with a cup of tea—though the coffee here is great, too—and their delicious avocado salad.
 

april bloomfield korin

Korin
57 Warren St., New York, NY


(212) 587-7021

I heard about Korin from one of my chefs at The Breslin. The first time I ever went down, I was a little overwhelmed, but everyone is so helpful and friendly. They do a range of Japanese and Western-style knives. I got one that was sort of both—slightly firmer metal so they’re easy to clean and they don’t oxidize so much—instead of a totally traditional Japanese–style knife that is harder to maintain. They’re not a chain. It’s just a one–off. It’s not like Sur La Table. I like to support the smaller guy.

Photos by Eric Medsker.

Virgin’s New Clubhouse Makes It (Almost) OK to Get to JFK Three Hours Early

Whoever said that hell is other people had clearly never been in an airport. It’s airports that are the real hell, whether they’re filled with other people or not (and they always are, too, crammed with a teeming crush of unwashed masses). Adding insult to injury, we have to spend seemingly ever-expanding amounts of time in these places, required to arrive an hour, then two, and now three before our international flights. And that’s before the invariable delay. No quantity of duty free Champagne and cigarettes will ever make that okay.

We can, however, take both some solace and reasonable refuge in airlines’ top-class lounges, which these days seem to be constantly increasing in quality and quantity.

One of the latest landings in this field is Virgin’s new Upper Class Clubhouse at New York’s JFK, where a fleet of one-of-a-kind amenities make up for the myriad indignities perpetrated against us by rubber-gloved TSA personnel and other huddled airport masses yearning to breathe free. Here, the top five reasons the Clubhouse makes an early airport arrival advisable.

Designer Drinks on the House: Cocktails make everything better, whether you’re a nervous flier, someone who needs to give their Ambien a little extra help or just a social alcoholic. The bar at the Clubhouse does dozens of specialty drinks, many designed just for the JFK location, not least of all the Virgin Redhead—a potable of muddled raspberries, cassis, framboise, fresh lemon juice and Bombay Sapphire Gin topped with prosecco.

Haute Pub Grub: Maybe you missed The Breslin during your time in town or the wait at the Spotted Pig was too long for you to grab some gastropub fare to go. Fear not. Virgin’s spun out some novel takes on elevated Anglo classics that might even make April Bloomfield take notice. (The company’s corporate chef, Mark Murphy, hails from Michelin-starred Ockendon Manor.) The Brooklyn Steak and Ale Pie has proven most popular so far. Traditionally English with a New York twist, it’s made with Brooklyn Ale, baked in an enamel pie dish and, in a nod to the old English nursery rhyme, pierced with a ceramic blackbird that stares up at you from the flakey crust. 

Swoon-Worthy Spa Services: We appreciate that air on planes is pressurized for our breathing pleasure, of course, but does it really have to be so dry? Even Virgin’s new Upper Class cabins haven’t managed to correct this problem, but the therapies created just for the JFK Clubhouse by Virgin and beauty brand Dr. Hauschka go a long way towards protecting your epidermis before you board. The perhaps-too-tweely-named “Radiant You” facial cleans, hydrates and and moisturizes in easy-to-manage express (15 minutes) or long (half hour) increments. You can book a treatment ahead of time, or just show up looking a mess and someone’s bound to take pity on you.

Blow Outs and Trim Ups: Virgin’s brought beloved brand Bumble and bumble to JFK as the only such salon in any Stateside lounge. Treatments here—the most popular combo includes a shampoo, hair treatment application and scalp massage—keep manes looking magnificent through even the most harrowing of transatlantic flights. (Otherwise, that dry plane air sucks the moisture out of your hair just as quickly as it does your skin.) 

Conversation Nooks and Canoodling Corners: The New York-based firm Slade Architecture designed the 10,000-square-foot Clubhouse not just to be a lounge but to encourage lounging everywhere you look. There’s a sunken conversation pit-style seating in one area, more business-friendly booths in others and, perhaps best of all, a sofa in the so-called “Entertainment Zone” that looks like it’s made entirely of Virgin-red leather softballs. To sit (or lie down) here is to receive the DIY back massage of your life. But don’t get too comfortable, or you just might miss your flight. And while Upper Class passengers are entitled to free Virgin-organized ground transportation to the airport, they don’t get it back home just because they dozed off during boarding.

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

Here at BlackBook, we pay a lot of attention to where to where people go out. The latest and greatest bars, clubs, restaurants, shops, hotels, are always on our radar. 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.

THE ACCESS NETWORK COMPANY

EDITORIAL

ART

FASHION & BEAUTY

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES & MARKETING

TECHNOLOGY

  • Senior Software Engineer, Bryan Packman Tom & Jerry’s (NYC)
  • Mobile Production Manager Sunde Johnson Brooklyn Industries (NYC)
  • Lead Mobile Architect Joseph Russell Big Bar (NYC)
  • Mobile Developer Wyeth Shamp, Brooklyn Bowl (NYC)
  • Senior Systems Engineer, Dan Simon Europa (NYC)
  • Senior Product Design Manager, Gwen Heimburg Sugar Sweet Sunshine (NYC)

Publisher at Large, John F. McDonald, Saxon + Parole (NYC)

BlackBook Magazine Founder, Evanly Schindler, A Voce Columbus (NYC)

MTV Staying Alive Foundation Party at ACE Hotel: Good Fun for a Good Cause

Monday night’s MTV Staying Alive Foundation party at the Ace Hotel was packed with a trendy crowd, free-flowing cocktails, and a worthwhile cause.  Through a unique photography silent auction and a live (and very lively) auction, the Foundation helped raise awareness and funds for young people involved in the education and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Sponsors included The Breslin, Ace Hotel, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, 1947 Beer, and yours truly. With HIV/AIDS rates soaring in the midst of a funding crisis, the need for awareness couldn’t be more topical and exigent. 

Funky and fashionable New York sophisticates, cradling cocktails and complimentary caramel corn, placed silent bids for rare photographs of The Beatles, tickets to see The Roots perform live, and a getaway in upstate wine country. For the live auction, the offerings were generous and irresistible, as several patrons excitedly scooped up a tour of Yankee stadium, VMA tickets and a walk on the red carpet, and an in-home group dinner prepared by a venerated Rao’s chef. A performance by The Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought filled the evening with hip-swaying reggae and the quintessential, feel-good accompaniment to a good cause. 
 
beatles

Bad Weather & Restaurant Week Reward the Intrepid Diner

This winter is proving not so nice for New York. We still have a ways to go, and this week has already broke bad. Who wants to go out in shattering cold or endless dumps of snow and sleet? If you do, you better choose wisely; no one wants to drift from door to door, looking for short waits or elbow room at the bar. Fortunately for the brave and persistent, twin pillars of restaurant discouragement mean the masses are temporarily distracted from New York’s best food holes. It’s not just the bad weather: the increasingly frequent crapfest known as Restaurant Week has also thinned the herd. For example, I went to the Breslin last night with reservation in hand. And yet, I was pleased to see the place crowded as usual — but only amicably so, not stuffed to the gills and mobbed to the point of madness.

It was exactly enough folks to feel busy and fun without claustrophobia setting in. I was finally able to sample the mythical lamb burger fried in duck fat while gazing companionably upon my fellow diners, rather than dodging their cutlery as we ate cheek to jowl to pork belly. Afterwards, I prepared to stand around the Ace Hotel lobby, figuring on a half-hour wait before we could vulture our way onto a couch. But we snagged a spot almost immediately. Granted it was the only available spot, but that’s just further proof that the whole joint had just the right amount of patronage. Now I’m sure all lobby bets are off during high-season power-lunch hour, weather notwithstanding. But still.

Bad weather can’t be relied upon, but it’s old news that Restaurant Week is the perfect time to avoid all venues participating in Restaurant Week. There are many reasons for this strategy, but I can hardly improve upon the bullet points outlined by Eater’s Amanda Kludt back when we both worked at Gridskipper. The good thing for haters is that fans of RW feel compelled to stick to their reservations, given all the imaginary hype and preparation that goes into the scam. So those rubes will be trundling through cheap but (shall we say) highly edited versions of marquee menus, leaving the rezzie rolls of non-RW spots that much more open to the opportunist. So if RW didn’t get them, the bad weather will. At least that’s the theory.

None of this occurred to me pre-Breslin, so I relied on the reservation. And it’s not like walk-ins didn’t have to wait a little. But judging by the capacity and lack of lurkers, I’d guess a walk-in would have had a one-drink wait at the bar, max, which is really the perfect amount of foreplay. Given the white stuff falling outside, I’d be curious to see if this holds true for any other hotspots tonight, which would at least be some consolation for the climate. For my part, I’ll be doing delivery on the couch, as I am only so brave.

Where Famous People Eat: Ryan Gosling, Howard Stern, & Kathy Griffin

● Ryan Gosling at the Blue Valentine premiere: I have a restaurant in Beverly Hills called Tagine. I’m biased, but I think it’s very good! ● Bobby Flay at Food Network’s opening of Barney’s holiday windows: We love The Breslin. I eat at Keith McNally’s places a lot. In L.A., Bazaar, Jose Andres’s place, where I order the classic tapas. ● Morimoto at Food Network’s opening of Barney’s holiday windows: I’m going to open a new restaurant in Tribeca that will close at 4 a.m. – no Japanese, no sashimi, no sushi. I don’t know when I’ll open it.

● Rob Schneider at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Candle 79. It’s a vegetarian restaurant, but you would never know it. Everything’s awesome. ● Cheech Marin at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Milos is a great Greek restaurant for the baked fish in salt. They have a restaurant in Montreal, too. ● Kristin Chenoweth at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Joe Allen’s. ● Eli Roth at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Pizzeria Mozza in L.A.. ● Howard Stern & Beth Ostrosky at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Daniel, for the black sea bass with the potato. ● Kathy Griffin at the Friars Club Roast for Quentin Tarantino: Mon Ami Gabi in Vegas.