Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali Launch 2016 EAT (RED) Culinary Tour

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Mario Batali, Courtesy EAT (RED)

 

If you could eat well and save lives at once, you could hardly say no, could you?

To that end, this year’s edition of the highly anticipated EAT (RED) kicks off June 2 in New York, with the (RED) Supper at Battery Park City’s Brookfield Place, hosted by those ubiquitous, globe-trotting celeb chefs Mario Batali and Anthony Bourdain. Other participating a-list culinary talent for the night will include Dominique Ansel, Frank Falcinelli, Nancy Silverton, Tom Douglas, Vinny Dotolo, Angela Dimayuga, Kristen Kish and Kevin Gillespie.

The overall goal? To raise money for the ongoing (RED) #86AIDS effort, by means of 27 days of edible nirvana. Indeed, the “tour” continues through the 28th, with special dinner, lunch, brunch, happy hour or cocktail events and offerings by many of the world’s hottest epicurean gods and goddesses at their exalted, signature restaurants.

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Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy CNN)

To name but a few: Enrique Olivera at Mexico City’s Eno, Stephanie Izard at Chicago’s Little Goat Diner, Jason Wass at London’s Polpetto, April Bloomfield at NYC’s Spotted Pig, Thomas Keller at the Las Vegas and Beverly Hills Bouchon Bakery locations, Alice Waters at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Jose Andres at DC’s Jaleo, as well as Batali and Lidia Bastianich’s own B&BHG Vegas restaurants at the Venetian/Palazzo, including B&B, OTTO Enoteca & Pizzeria and Carnevino Italian Steakhouse—with scores of delectable options to choose from in two dozen cities across four continents.

“Anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows that the sum of our efforts always far exceeds what we can do individually,” says Batali. “EAT (RED) is an opportunity for all of our restaurants to collectively contribute to a tremendously worthy cause while doing what we do best: making delicious food.”

LeftBank_GnocciGnocchi at Left Bank NYC, Courtesy EAT (RED)

The (RED) charity, of course, was founded by Bono in 2006, with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its primary recipient. EAT (RED) debuted in 2014, and has become one of its most high-profile annual events. N.B. Plan to reserve in advance. It’s a hot ticket.


Brilliant New Hotel Amenity: Adult Coloring Books

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Admit it: when you go to a restaurant with a kid in the party, aren’t you just the littlest bit jealous when the little one gets Crayolas and a coloring mat, and you just get the boring old grownup menu? And when it comes to hotel amenities, seriously, wouldn’t you really rather have a bag of peanut M&Ms for midnight snacking than a, um, “bath butler?”

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To that end Morgans Hotel Group, responsible for such mediarati magnets as New York’s Royalton, Vegas’ Delano, the London and WeHo Mondrians and the 10 Karaköy in Istanbul, have launched a program that will feed your inner adolescent, whilst elevating your weary, tattered soul. Their new #MorgansStateofMind coloring book series, in partnership with Buddhify, is based on the notion that coloring contributes to your overall wellness, quietness and mindfulness, much the same as meditation. Indeed, the mind-body set have been all over this one.

Morgan's Hotels Coloring Book

For the aesthete in you, the illustrations by Peter Arkle show beautiful scenes from various Morgans properties. Having an urban-stress-out day in New York? Make a breezy escape by coloring in the swimming pool at the Delano South Beach. Feeling a bit blah? Add a little instant glamour to your day by putting your creative touch on the lavish staircase at the Sanderson London.

Mind you, we’re still partial to a minibar stocked with premium bourbon. But as genuine hotel aficionados, we do like where they’re going with this.

Photographer Credit : Ed Reeve

Mondrian London Image by Ed Reeve

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Royalton Image Courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group

Rome’s Legendary Via Margutta in Pictures

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It’s singularly profound that in William Wyler’s 1953 classic Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck’s conniving journalist Joe Bradley in the end chooses honor over remuneration – ultimately refusing to profit from a deceptively procured story about Audrey Hepburn’s starkly naïve Princess Ann. Bradley, by the way, lived at Via Margutta 51.

Seven years later, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita would decisively contend that Bradley’s war was a lost one, and that celebrity journalism would careen unstoppably towards the ends of crassness and avarice. Fellini himself lived with his famous actress wife Giulietta Masina at Via Margutta 110.

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Ironically, 1953 also saw the launch of one of the earliest contemporary art fairs, the still annually presented 100 Painters on Via Margutta, which is currently on from this weekend through May 6. And as we are now all too keenly aware, art gatherings have irreversibly coalesced with celebrity culture – cementing Fellini as a modern prophet, of sorts…and inevitably closing the circle.

But the Via Margutta, surely one of the most ethereally beautiful places in the known world for a contemplative stroll, has still somehow managed to exist beyond it all. Here, stylish design hotels share a street address with old-fashioned, ivy-draped inns, and chic but independent boutiques are still decisively outnumbered by classically cultivated artisan workshops.

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Yet celebrity and fashion still mark its existence. As night falls here, the elegant Osteria Margutta draws sophisticated locals and Hollywood stars looking for something beyond the same old cacio e pepe: and at the far end of the street, hip vegetarian eatery Il Margutta morphs into a late night stylish dance party. (Unlike NYC, it’s legal to dance in restaurants in Rome.)

One of our fave places to stay in Italy’s capital also calls this street home, the aptly named Hotel Art, which flaunts a sort of futuristic, 23rd Century modernism. To wit, stark white egg pods act as reception and concierge desks, and Pantone hallways make getting to one’s room a bit of a hyper-sensory, sci-fi adventure. But its lobby and bar are fascinatingly fitted into a spectacular, deconsecrated 17th Century chapel – an extravagant reminder of the Via Margutta’s varied and unparalleled history.

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Cash Warren Won’t Travel Without These 10 Things

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Let the summer travel season begin! Cash Warren is heading to China (more on that later), but before he flies off, there are a few must-have items he’s throwing in his bag.

1. Sprayground Backpack

“Their black nylon backpack made of seatbelt material is durable, looks cool and can fit a ton of shit.”
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2. Rimowa Luggage

“Their four-wheel bases make the heaviest bags feel light.”
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3. Pair of Thieves Socks

“When you have to take off your shoes to go through security, you don’t want to be spotted wearing broke down socks. Got to be ready for everything.”
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4. Eagle Creek Travel Packs

“I’m a neat freak and these help me stay organized on the road.”
5. Beats by Dre UrBeats

“These sure beat the free ones they give out on airplanes.”
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6. Canon EOS 5D Camera

“We take a lot of pictures… and video.”
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7. Eyefi SD Card

“Makes sharing quality photos super easy when I’m on the go.”

8. Jacobsen Salt Slide Tins

“Normal table salt just doesn’t cut it.”
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9. Daniel Wellington Dapper St. Mawes Watch

“Going abroad, especially for work, I need a watch that’s durable but sleek and that keeps me on time.”
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10. “Wallet sized pics of my kids — because I miss them so much.”

Aww.

 

Your Travel Guide to the Real Life Westeros

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Always looking for the next new playground, I’ve arrived at the fabulous Dalmatian Coast. Attracting everyone from the glitterati and jet setters to the elite intelligentsia, the gorgeous natural light, sun-drenched beaches, and glistening sea are astounding. Basking in the sheer beauty of the Dalmatian Coast, one can be found yachting about the blue Adriatic and lolling in luxurious seaside hotels and villas. 

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Adding to its cachet, this is also the ideal destination for Game of Thrones lovers. Picturesque Dubrovnik and nearby locales provide many of the evocative settings for the hit HBO series. Its producers and cinematographers found the famed seaside medieval city and dreamy landscapes of lush pine and palm trees pitch perfect for a mythical kingdom in the fantasy TV epic.

What’s more, iconic filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola jets in on his private plane for some R&R in Dubrovnik, you can find him holed up at the luxurious Villa Agave, seeking inspiration for his next film project.

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Part of the Adriatic Luxury Hotels group, this posh oasis offers the utmost creature comforts, including butler service and a terrace overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the island of Lokrum. On his first visit to Dubrovnik the director stayed at its sister property – the elegant Excelsior Hotel, just steps away, where he wrote the scenario for Rain Man, while romancing galpal Eleanor who later became his wife. No wonder he returns to this enchanting locale for creative rejuvenation. We hear Sofia is on her way. 

Who doesn’t love Consummate Concierge? Coppola’s favorite, Marija Zecevic, did not disappoint when I arrived. No sooner did I appear, than I was whisked away to my glamorous villa abode while the concierge arranged for me a host of activities.

A PRIVATE YACHT EXCURSION

Yachting about is the favorite pasttme here, and is really the only way to truly experience the Dalmatian coast in all its glory. Sail the shimmering Adriatic, exploring the Elephati Archipelago, hidden coves and secluded beaches. Join the yachties and stylish set at Villa Ruza on picturesque Kolocep Island for a lunch of Prosecco and truffle pasta. Then it’s back to your cruise through paradise.

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A PERSONAL TOUR OF DUBROVNIK GUIDED BY GOT MAKEUP ARTIST 

Since the second season, Dubrovnik has stood in for King’s Landing, home to the Iron Throne, with iconic landmarks like Pile Gate and Rector’s Palace featured in the show. While you meander the gleaming limestone pathways of this ancient walled city, the show’s make up artist will point out the very spots where the kinky action that keeps you coming back was filmed – while she spills some juicy dish. I asked, “Who is the meanest actor off set?” She told me all the characters are cast true to their personalities (wink wink), except for heartthrob Jamie, who unlike his character, is sweet as sugar and even better looking in person…Is that even possible?

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AFTER-HOURS ACCESS, STROLLING ATOP CITY WALLS.

I had exclusive access to walk atop the medieval walls after 8pm when the crowds have left, taking in stunning views of the red-roofed city and the sea below. At Minceta Tower, the highest point, you’ll be in the footsteps of Daenerys Targaryan as she tried to enter the House of the Undying to rescue her dragons in Game of Thrones

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BEST PLACE TO SPOT A STAR: EXCELSIOR HOTEL 

The stars of GOT and other celebs take up residence at the 5-Star Excelsior while on location in the city that George Bernard Shaw called Heaven on Earth. Luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor, Queen Elizabeth and John Paul Sartre frequented this legendary hotel. With stylish suites whose spacious balconies overlook the blue Adriatic, a lovely pool and pampering spa, it’s the perfect refuge to luxuriate in even if you’re not on a shoot. I happened upon Ann Heche lunching at the hotel’s waterfront restaurant while here to film the new mini-series Dig.

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DON’T MISS

Fashionistas will be agog at voguish Maria Store Luxury Boutique where collections of the world’s top designers are housed in a space dating back to the early 16th century. Stop by the immensely popular War Gallery where hauntingly beautiful works by Croatian celebrity photog Zoran Marinovic and others adorn the walls. Tucked away in the ramparts and rocks facing the sea, cliffside bar Café Buza offers spectacular sundowners. While buzzy nightspots 360 and Culture Club Revelin are all the rage, the most fabulous party may well be aboard a super-yacht. Ask the Consummate Concierge.

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Visual Xanax: Travel to the Height of French Alpine Chic

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Purposeless winter in the city starts to lose its charm right around the time it’s appropriate to bring the Christmas lights down. Discarded pine trees litter street corners and gutters, and the salt meant to keep us from cracking our heads open on ice has begun to do a real number on our boots. Now is the time to escape, even if that means never leaving our desks. It’s why we’re traveling, visually anyway, to Meribel, France.

We’re checking out so we can check in to Chalet Les Brames, from wherever we happen to be — like you, that may mean a cluttered desk in a chair that could eventually kill us. But forget all that, and travel with us to the height of French Alpine chic. We’re going skiing!

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Easy access to the slopes makes a rising early for a full day of skiing a dream, deep soaking tubs make aprés-ski even more enjoyable, and if the luxurious lodgings aren’t entertainment enough, the town center of Meribel is a chauffeured car ride away.

If this dose of Visual Xanax wasn’t enough, click here to book your actual stay at Chalet Les Brames.

Images courtesy of Chalet Les Brames

The Travel Bag to See You Through Thanksgiving and Beyond

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Going somewhere soon? Chances are there’s a Thanksgiving trip in your future, or some other holiday weekender that’s tragically overdue. There’s enough stress to contend with leading up to a trip and en route… and the fact that you took a late night Jacuzzi dip while away shouldn’t add to the stress when packing for home.

We don’t always think about these things ahead of time, but The Sabah Dealer did.

Inside this gorgeously tanned, minimally processed steer hide leather Traveler bag, you’ll find an interior pocket in red to help keep you organized — and also a gray, completely waterproof bag to help keep late night swimming decisions (or workout clothes, or whatever) separate from the clean stuff.

To order your own, email The Sabah Dealer directly at thedealer@sabah.am

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Add These 20 New York City Must-Dos to Your Bucket List Now

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We’ve all got ’em, the things we want to do, the places we want to go… but what about actually doing and going? Sometimes we need a little push, and that’s why we’re excited about travel agency Black Tomato’s Bucket List services –put your travel wish list together and one of Black Tomato’s agents will help you put together a realistic itinerary. To get us inspired, the agency’s co founder and travel expert Tom Marchant put a list together that we’re using as local inspiration.

  1. Stay in a dive bar, preferably Johnny’s Bar on Greenwich Avenue, until dawn.
  2. Visit the New York library on Bryant Park for some peace and quiet.
  3. Walk the high-line at dawn
  4. Watch the sunset over the Hudson whilst sat outside the Ear Inn on Spring Street.
  5. Late night drinks at Kitty’s on Stanton Street.
  6. Spend an afternoon getting lost in and marveling at the incredible array of first editions and rare books in Argosy Book Store on East 59th Street.
  7. Do a Sunday walk round the galleries in Chelsea.
  8. Go to gigs on the LES at the Mercury Lounge and Arlene’s Grocery.
  9. Go to Montauk and spend the weekend at the Surf Lodge.
  10. Go surfing in Ditch Plains.
  11. Do yoga at dawn in the highest studio you can find — Equinox on Prince street is a great place to catch the sunrise.
  12. Sunrise run around JKO reservoir in Central Park.
  13. Hair cut at Frank’s Chop Shop on Essex Street.
  14. Lox bagel from Zuckers in Tribeca.
  15. See the people vs Larsen in the Manderlay Bar at the McKittrick Hotel.
  16. Karaoke in Korea town.
  17. Watch jazz at Zinc bar in Greenwich Village.
  18. Drop into Alife Rivington Club to dig out a pair of great sneakers.
  19. The blacklabel burger at the Minetta Tavern
  20. Pizza at Roberta’s in Bushwick

Make your own travel bucket list here.

The Great Undiscovered Wine Region: Moravia, Czech Republic

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From New York to Oregon, South Africa to Argentina, there are unceasing claims to possessing the “of the moment” wine region. Austrian wines, in particular, are finally having their day with international oenophiles.

But just to the north of Österreich lies a yet little known land of Bacchanalian and visual pleasures. Indeed, our pick for the great undiscovered wine region is the Czech Republic’s ethereal Moravia, something of a Mitteleuropa Tuscany (and just two hours from Prague by rail). Noah Ullman, Founder of Czech Wine Imports, and his wife and partner Cheryl, have made it a mission to bring these surprising wines to American tables—and they can already be indulged at such esteemed eateries as Craft, Print and Park Avenue Autumn in NYC, Park Grill in Chicago, Union League Cafe in New Haven and L’Escale in Greenwich, as well as your local fine wine shop, naturally.

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For our part, BlackBook has had the pleasure of sampling many of the Moravian wines the Ullmans’ venture has made available in the US, are we are exuberantly, rhapsodically hooked.

We chatted recently with Noah, whose enthusiasm for the region has us already booking our flight.

What drew you to Moravian wine culture?

Discovery! I had no idea there was such a rich wine heritage in Moravia. When I tried the wines I was blown away and needed to learn more.

What wines has Moravia been most known for?

This is a very special place on earth, geographically north of the Alps, on the northern slope of the Danube, and at the Western edge of the Carpathian Mountains. And like in most cooler climates, white wine grapes seem to thrive. But the red grapes deliver surprisingly complex, light to mid-weight wines. It’s not clear if this is the result of climate change or upgraded winemaking techniques, but the reds are really starting to shine.

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What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of the wines from the region?

I know it’s a buzzword in the industry, but I have to say it is minerality. The wines really have a sense of place that is different than wines from other regions. They are often described as a bridge between Austria and Alsace and I think they are much softer and rounder than their Austrian counterparts. There are exceptional undertones of spice and an earthiness in these wines.

Specifically, what are the best wines coming out of the region right now?

The Riesling is exceptional, very distinct and delicious, in the dry style. I’m in good company with that selection—a Moravian Riesling won “Best Of Show” at the 2014 SF International Wine Competition amongst over 1500 other white wines from around the world. I am also partial to the Rivaner—aka Müller-Thurgau—the Pinot Blanc, the Gruner Veltliner, and the Welschriesling…which is not related to Riesling and is a beautiful, flowery wine.

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And the reds?

We have a Burgundy style Pinot Noir blend called Rouci that is fabulous. I’ve been told by some experienced palates that it is better than Burgundies that are twice the price. I am currently enjoying St. Laurent, a relative of Pinot Noir, and Blauer Portugieser. Cabernet Moravia, which is a truly indigenous variety, is a cross of Cabernet Franc and Zweigelt first bred in the early 1970’s, and officially a new variety of grape as of 2001. This is a very rare wine grape; we import the only Cabernet Moravia in the country, delicious and a great value at $20 a bottle.

What are some of the best Moravian wines to drink for autumn? And what foods and situations would they go best with?

Because of their minerality and structure, all of these wines are great food wines. Our Rivaner is amazing with smoked gouda, our Sauvignon Blanc makes a pizza with peppers and onions a gourmet experience. Many of the reds go very well with simple grilled meats or fish. Blauer Portugieser is our Thanksgiving wine, a perfect complement to turkey and sweet potatoes.

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What is the story behind the design of your Vino z Czech label?

When we realized that Alphonse Mucha, one of the great Art Nouveau artists, was born in the winemaking region of South Moravia, and learned that his father was a winemaker, we knew we had our fit. Cheryl, who was an Art History major, is responsible for the label layout, and for matching Mucha’s beautiful works of art to the type of wine in the bottle.

What are some of the vineyards you would suggest visiting when in Moravia?

There are 18,000 registered wineries in the Czech Republic. Most of them are small family operations producing lovely village wine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit them. Moravians are a warm and friendly people and they have these fabulous wine cellars that all include tasting rooms. But you must begin your tour with Chateau Valtice (pictured below), part of a UNESCO Heritage site, where you will walk through cellars first cut in 1432 under a spectacular 15th century chateau. I also recommend traveling to Znovin Znojmo, which is in a building that was originally designed as a cloister. And Sonberk, “Winery of the Year” in the Czech Republic; it would not be out of place in Napa.

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Are there Moravian towns you would most recommend seeing? 

This part of the world has beautiful towns and villages, castles and ruins dotting the landscape. Mikulov and Znojmo are especially charming. I recommend renting bicycles and touring the entire region on the greenways of interconnected trails that can take you from vineyard to vineyard.

STAY IN MORAVIA

Brno, the capital of Moravia, is actually considered a Modernist architectural pilgrimage. The newly opened Hotel Grandezza is dazzling with restored details of Art Nouveau and Czech Modernism. The city is a lively base from which to explore the surrounding vineyards and villages.

STAY IN PRAGUE

The Mandarin Oriental (pictured below) is a sleek but ethereal presence in the historic Mala Strana, drawing film and pop stars like John Malkovich and Depeche Mode; its spa is one of the best in the city. Buddha Bar Hotel appeals more to creatures of the night, with its namesake bar and restaurant always a scene; decor throughout is over-the-top baroque Chinoiserie, if you hadn’t already guessed that.

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