A passion for food + fashion

Archive for August, 2009|Monthly archive page

Getting Personal with Mr. Pink

In Drink on August 31, 2009 at 8:32 am

Mr Pink

My sister, Claire, was recently visiting from St. Helena and brought with her several bottles of Napa Valley rosé from winemaking friends. Our favorite was a bottle of “Mr. Pink” from Schweiger Vineyards. It’s a small-production rosé made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with red cherry flavors—excellent with a grilled pork chop. Though I don’t usually go in for clever packaging when it comes to wine (it makes me suspicious), here’s one I can make an exception for. Check out the “personal ad” on the back of the bottle to Mr Pink from Cab Lover—so much fun, just like this wine.

Mr Pink Cab Lover

In Heaven, There’s Paella on Sunday Nights

In Drink, Food on August 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm


Last Sunday night, we went over to our friends Anne and Dudley’s for dinner. The main event was paella, and I had run into Anne and Dudley at Santa Monica Seafood as they were loading up on mussels, crab legs, scallops, and spot prawns for the affair so we knew it would be nothing short of spectacular! Since I didn’t break out the camera until later, imagine sitting in a garden eating heirloom tomato and buffala crostini and bacon-wrapped figs while looking at Anne’s formal rose garden (which she restored to the original 1928 landscaping plan) and sipping Spanish rosé and Albariño—bottles of which are chilling in a silver ice bucket nearby.


I actually hadn’t planned on whipping out the camera at all because it’s, well, rude at someone else’s dinner party. But when their cook, Lety, was adding the seafood, baby purple artichokes, and green beans to a giant paella pot atop a Weber kettle grill, well, I lost all my manners and…click…


You cannot imagine how delicious the paella was! We sat down at tables in the garden to enjoy as the sun was setting and the fire was roaring in the outdoor fireplace. Just magical. Dudley brought out this CRAZY bottle of 1998 R Lopez de Heredia rosé from the Rioja. I’ve never had anything like it, so fresh for being over a decade old and just gorgeous. Coppery in color with sort of apricot, cherry and nutty flavors—and super complex for a rosé. I hesitate to share this, but there are a few bottles left at The Wine House.


For dessert, Dudley had made a balsamic sauce to go over fresh peaches and basil, while Anne had whipped up the largest, most seductive bowl of mascarpone and cream (with a splash of cognac) you’ve ever dreamed of. This bowl of mascarpone cream wouldn’t have made it through the night if it had been left in my custody. Here is what, if you’re lucky, the afterlife looks like with a spoon:


Gracias, Anne y Dudley!

Just Another Friday Commute in LA…

In Fashion, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on August 29, 2009 at 11:37 am


Last night as I was driving home on Third Street, I was reminded why I love living in Los Angeles so much. I mean, where else does one encounter 17 statues of the David dressed in Michael Jackson Thriller jackets in someone’s front yard? The house in question, Youngwood Court, is a favorite in our otherwise buttoned-up neighborhood, particularly during the holidays—and its owner, Norwood Young, is known as the King of Hancock Park. Last night he was celebrating his birthday—which is a day before Michael Jackson’s (which would have been today)—and to honor the King of Pop had installed a JumboTron in the front yard playing music videos from both Jackson and Young himself, along with two enormous figures of the respective Kings of Hancock Park and Pop, as well as a throne, sparkling glove and gigantic crown on the roof.


I talked to one of the dudes setting up, who informed me it had taken three days to assemble this larger-than-life tableau. My friend Ted remembers Norwood coming into Richard Tyler back in the day, and Tyler himself would custom-make Norwood’s suits, while my friend Jill remembers producing a fashion shoot at Youngwood Court complete with the Davids, with yet another David shooting, David LaChapelle. Norwood—happy birthday! They say the sky’s the limit…

Michael Jackson "Bad" video plays on Jumbo Tron during party setup for Norwood Young's birthday.

Michael Jackson "Bad" video plays on JumboTron during party setup for Norwood Young's birthday.

NOTE: My friend Rose was leaving a Riser Goodwin trunk show at Patricia Arquette’s house down the street earlier yesterday afternoon and snapped some awesome shots earlier in the setup (before the figurines of the Kings went up). Check hers out at roseapodaca.com!

Summer in a Salad

In Food on August 28, 2009 at 8:04 am


Earlier this week I made mention of a pretty rocking dinner party with our friends Lizzie, Matt M., Katie, Matt A., and my sister, Claire. In addition to madcap high jinx involving blanc de blancs, spectacular single malts and a bet in which Katie & Matt’s season Dodger tix were on the line (you’ll have to ask Katie about the outcome of that tennis match that next morning), we also ate food. Lizzie put together a totally fantastic salad—a riff on The Hungry Cat‘s Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Feta, Basil and Arugula. I mean, look at those tomatoes! She coarsely chopped up heirlooms, watermelon, fresh basil and crumbled feta and tossed in a bowl with fleur de sel and pepper:


At the dinner table, we passed a bowl of peppery arugula, and then piled the tomato salad on top. Oh my god – this salad has it all, sweet, tart, salty, savory—yum. It was also the ideal companion to a grilled heritage pork chop with French feta salsa verde (heavy on basil, Italian parsley and marjoram) and grilled fennel.


Update, when blogs collide: Over at DESIGNwatcher.com, Lizzie is talking tomato salad, too…

Beauty That is Skin Deep

In Fashion on August 27, 2009 at 8:34 am
Photo via The Selby

Photo via The Selby

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing the archives on TheSelby.com and stumbled across Julia Restoin-Roitfeld’s New York apartment. Julia is daughter of Paris Vogue editrix Carine Roitfeld. While Julia’s shoe closet was of particular interest, I couldn’t help but fixate on her beauty products. I know I have my faves (scroll to end of post), but I haven’t covered beauty in over five years so thought I’d check in with three gorgeous girls (whose business it is to know these things) and get their favorite product picks:

Robyn Brown, freelance beauty writer/editor and former Senior Beauty editor, Allure

EYES: I know I’m a pusher with the falsies, but none of those creams will wake up your face half as much as a set of eyelash extensions. Daniel Dinh for Longmi Lashes is the best on both coasts.

MOISTURIZER: Neutrogena Oil Free SPF 15

ANTIAGING: Skinceuticals C E Ferulic, an antioxidant serum. Boosts the effectiveness of sunscreen and slows aging.

BODY LOTION: Truthfully? Almond oil. Which speaks more to my inability to remember to buy body lotion than anything else…But it does give skin a nice sheen, and doesn’t have that cheap, perfumey body lotion smell that drives me so bananas.

SUNSCREEN: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer. I just reported on sunblocks for Allure this summer, and  nothing touches Neutrogena, Aveeno, or L’Oreal. Right now, they’re the only ones that have patented formulas with stabilized avobenzone, which makes them effective for several hours. Everything else breaks down much too quickly.

CLEANSER: I use a salicylic cleanser by Neutrogena because I still break out like a teenager. But for normal skin, I just interviewed a derm who said Cetaphil or cleansing oil by Shu Uemura or Laura Mercier. It’s about maintaining the skin’s lipid barrier…

TONER: Forget it. And P.S., the tooth fairy isn’t real, either.

MAKEUP REMOVER: I’m a beauty writer. We don’t wear makeup.

SECRET WEAPON: My hairstylist, the insanely cool and talented Allissa Teitgen of Neil George salon, turned me on to Rene Furterer Shampooing sec, a dry shampoo. A few spritzes under the bangs can revive a blowdry a full extra day, or fake clean hair (which embarrassingly, I need to do far too often). Actually…now that I think about it, Alissa is the real secret weapon. That girl does bangs better than anyone. Anyone.

Kim Friday, senior fashion editor, Women’s Wear Daily

EYES: Estee Lauder Time Zone Eye Crème with SPF 15 (I keep it in the refrigerator so it gives me a real kick in the a.m.). Visine – As Tom Ford once said, nothing ruins a perfectly made-up face quicker than red eyes! I agree, so I use Visine when needed + it reduces redness on the skin too.

MOISTURIZER(S): Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 – I use this every day year round. There is also a tinted version which I use in the winter in lieu of foundation. Josie Maran Argan Oil – I use this for so many things. During the winter it’s great to put under your night crème for really dry skin, I typically put it under my eye crème at night year round as an added boost as well as on laugh lines and my neck (I’m getting older now – we can’t forget about our necks!). It’s also good for dry lips, elbows, even cuticles.

EXFOLIANT: St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub – I don’t really get facials (too rough on my gentle skin), this and the mask following are my substitutes.

ANTIAGING: Shiseido Future Solution Total Revitalizing Crème. This is my night crème, it’s thick but not greasy. Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask – I use this a couple of times a week, it really perks up tired skin.

SUNSCREEN: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15

CLEANSER: Cetaphil cleanser (I have sensitive and dry-proned skin, so this is super gentle). Available at drugstores.

BLEMISH CONTROL: Tea Tree Oil – if I do get a blemish, this is what I use. Dries the blemish, not your skin, out in a jiff.

SECRET WEAPONS: The key things are to wash your face + moisturize morning and night; take an extra dose of Vitamin C; SPF, SPF, SPF; drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day (it REALLY makes a difference)

Booth Moore, fashion critic, Los Angeles Times

EYES: Aida Thibiant Moisture Eyes Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream

MOISTURIZER(S): Aida Thibiant Smart Defense Protective Moisturizer SPF 15 or La Roche-Posay Toleriane, and La Prairie Cellular Firming Hydralift Mask every week or so.

BODY LOTION: Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion and B. Kamins Bio Maple lotion

SUNSCREEN: Skinceuticals

CLEANSER: Refinity Purifying Cleanser

ANTI-AGING: Aida Thibiant Vita Source Multivitamin Repairing Serum

MAKEUP REMOVER: Lancome Bi-Facil

SECRET WEAPON: Clarisonic scrub brush

And The Foodinista’s picks…

Right now I’m using a serum from Elemis that my sister-in-law gave me and I just dab a little on in the morning to smooth lines. My favorite is La Prairie Anti-Aging Eye Cream with SPF, however I’m feeling too poor to splurge right now.

MOISTURIZER: Dr. Hauschka’s Quince Day Cream, available at Whole Foods. I mix a little with my SPF for face in the morning and apply before leaving the house.

EXFOLIANT: Remede Sweep. It’s made out of super-fine marble powder, and is gentle. I use it once a week in the shower.

Caudalie First Wrinkle Serum. I’ve just started using this, but so far I like it a lot. Very light.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Nourishing Oil, which is essentially almond oil. I put it on just before getting out of the shower. It absorbs easily and smoothes skin.

Aveeno Continuous Protection SPF 30 for Face. I use this religiously on my face, neck and hands—every day, rain or shine. (Tiny G uses Aveeno Baby SPF 55 every single day—it’s fragrance free and gentle.)

CLEANSER: Shu Uemura Skin Purifier Cleansing Beauty Oil. I’ve just started using this to cleanse at the end of the day and so far so love!

Klorane Cornflower Soothing Eye Makeup Remover. I started using this when I lived in Paris a decade ago—it was (and still is) available at every corner drugstore and now you can get it here. It’s super gentle, but also effective at removing that stubborn Shu Uemura Ultimate Expression Mascara I’m addicted to.

SECRET WEAPONS: Use SPF, every single day, and drink tons of water!

Where to Drink Beer in Los Angeles

In Drink, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on August 26, 2009 at 8:39 am
photo via fathersoffice.com

photo via fathersoffice.com

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a scorching hot list of the best beer spots in Los Angeles, courtesy of friend, graphic designer and killer drummer, Ted Byrnes. Ted and I were emailing yesterday about favorite spots for beer in LA, and his recs were so freaking great, I first had to crack open a beer, and then share his encyclopedic knowledge of LA’s best beer-centric watering holes with you…

The Verdugo in Glassell Park – not only do they have a great selection of American and Euro beers, but they also get nice very limited kegs and casks from Stone, Ballast Point and many other fine San Diegan brewers.

Father’s Office – pretty self explanatory – nice beers from CA AND that damn burger!

Pure Luck – I’m sure as you know – it’s a vegan restaurant frequented by the biker punk set (as in fixed gear track bikes, not motorcycles) that has a beer-obsessed owner. This means they stock special bottles like the Stone Collab beers and rare stuff from Jolly Pumpkin and have limited kegs from the likes of my personal favorite newish brewery The Bruery (from Orange County – they also happen to brew Belgian-style beer better than the Belgians, in my opinion). They might get the award for a great edited beer selection.

Lucky Baldwins – this is the most old school of the great beer bars – it’s in Pasadena and has pretty much everything. Brits, Americans, Belgians, French, German… you name it, they probably have it. It’s usually super crowded, and the food is brit style pub food (so not super awesome) but you will be guaranteed some great beers. It should be noted that this is the preferred beer bar of the beer buyer for the Whole Foods in Pasadena, which happens to have one of the best beer selections around in my opinion – nicely edited and gets cellar-worthy stuff.

Blue Palms – this Hollywood spot is much like the Verdugo in terms of the types of beers they offer – nice rare stuff as well as rock solid stuff (like Stone’s Smoked Porter). They also do the cask / limited keg thing – their casks are usually listed on their site in terms of what they will be getting – I think now they have Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean (which I have not yet had).

photo via elpradobar.com

photo via elpradobar.com

El Prado – nowehere near as good or as interesting as the spots listed above (they have less than 10 taps) but it’s in Echo Park (where I live) and they do rotate and usually will have at least one thing that’s really great. Last time I was there (last week) they had a keg of Allagash’s (from Portland, Maine) Curieux which is a very alcoholic beer that is barrel aged – I believe this one is aged in bourbon barrels. It is very good, and rare-ish to see on tap. It is a tripel-style ale (Belgian style).

The Bruery – they are a brewer in Placentia (Orange County) that has a tap room open on the weekends. They brew the best belgian style beers in my opinion. They do bottle a smallish selection of their beers (the Tradewinds Tripel being the seasonal right now – it’s brewed with Thai basil – yummy) but they have AMAZING shit in their taproom. I no longer really drink Belgian beers as these guys do it great. It should also be noted that I am really not pro-America about anything but beer. I think American craft brewers have pretty much surpassed everyone else in the world, and I think the Bruery is a great example of that, particularly because they do more European style beers. That being said, they also know what they are doing with hops – I just had their Humulus Lager on tap at Pure Luck last night and it was up there on the IBU’s – a great beer!—Ted Byrnes

THE FOODINISTA’S NOTE: Check out The Bruery’s Saison Rue—spicy, fruity and a nice hit of citrusy hops.

Update 8/27/09: Be sure to read the comments for more great recs on LA beer joints!!!

Hog Wash

In Food, Recipes on August 25, 2009 at 8:14 am


Saturday morning following a long run on the beach, I headed over to Santa Monica Seafood to pick up two dozen oysters for dinner. There, I ran into friends Anne and Dudley, who were picking up an insane amount of seafood for a paella dinner party we went to on Sunday night (more on that later this week). Back to the oysters, on offer there were Kumamotos from Hog Island in Northern California. Kumamotos are rich and buttery and just a little bit sweet (if you ever see their sweetwaters available, they’re even better—briny smokey sweet). The Kumamotos are small and a little more manageable when it comes to shucking, though I think a gloveless Mr. Foodinista might beg to differ:


A couple years ago I got him the Rösle shucker as a stocking stuffer, but have never quite had it in me to pull the trigger on this FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR chain mail oyster glove from Moss in NY:

oystergloveYet gloveless, triumph he did over two dozen of these little guys. We cracked open a bottle of Charles Heidsieck blanc de blancs (crisp, dry with mineral notes—perfect with the oysters!) and served with my favorite mignonette, which has just a little heat from jalapeños—again, a match made in heaven with a crisp, dry Champagne. Here’s the recipe. Also, I used Vietnamese cilantro from our herb garden instead of traditional cilantro—but either way, totally addictive.

Hog Wash
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup natural rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled and finely diced
1 large Jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1 lime


Princeton: Feel Smarter for Knowing About this Band

In Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on August 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

PRINCETON, photo by Laura Heffington

What are you doing this coming Saturday night? Want to hear some seriously great live indie rock? Head to Pehrspace to check out Los Angeles-based Princeton as they begin a 30-some city tour (they’ll be in San Francisco the previous night, 8/28, at The Rickshaw Stop). The band releases their debut record, Cocoon of Love, September 29th on Kanine Records and it rocks. Named for the street in Santa Monica on which they grew up, Princeton is twin brothers Jesse & Matt Kivel, Ben Usen and David Kitz. The boys list their influences as ranging from stacks of herbal tea, the Wall Street Journal, a departing Mercedes, The Metamorphosis, to Bloomsbury, video arcades, graffiti, and a cyclist on the Autobahn. I’ve been listening to nothing else in my car all week and love the album’s wistful opening track (we still call these things albums, right?), “Sadie & Andy,” not to mention some excellent lyrics involving socks in a monologue at the start of a tune called Sylvie. Here’s a taste from the album, a track called “Calypso Gold” that New York Magazine named one of the top songs of summer. This just in: word on the street is that their song “Shout It Out” will be a KCRW Top Tune on Wednesday.

Calypso Gold by Princeton

Whisky River…

In Drink, Food on August 23, 2009 at 9:10 am


Last night was boozy and brilliant. My sister, Claire, is town, and we were joined by our friends Lizzie, Katie, two Matts, and a trio of Scotch. Katie brought over three different single malts from Scotland—Ardbeg, Oban and Glenrothes—for us to try for dessert. In anticipation I made a Reine de Saba from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, subbing in Makers Mark bourbon for rum as I thought it would be more user-friendly paired with the Scotch. Seriously—Julia would be proud. I think I might have a serious crush on Oban, by the way. Here’s Lizzie topping me up.


Thank you, Katie, for sharing your best bottles! Frankly I think she was trying to get Mr. Foodinista drunk so she could beat the madras shorts off him at tennis this morning. They’re in Griffith Park, volleying as we speak… Who will win? Cast your votes…

Gather Ye Strawberries…

In Food on August 21, 2009 at 11:03 am


Strawberry season is coming to a close, so before they’re gone, I urge you to grab some this weekend. You will thank me—but mostly my friend Vincent—that you did. The other night Vincent came over for burgers (grilled to perfection by Mr. Foodinista), bringing with him an incredible brown butter shortcake with strawberries and whipped cream. The recipe hails from the New York Times, and tastes like pure summer. The brown butter shortcake—oh my god, so rich, so buttery, so delicious. I’m told the dessert made its heralded debut in The Pines on Fire Island last month, and its maiden West Coast appearance Wednesday night was equally lauded. In fact, it was so freaking good that I ungraciously demanded that he leave the lion’s share of the brown butter shortcake and all the berries behind. With friends like me, who needs shortcake?