Archive for January, 2008
Chris Austin is an up-and-coming artist whose handmade glass designs have distinct style. Hand-cut and fired, they are evocative of the clean lines of 1950s architecture. The pieces also have superb brilliance. All platters in the collection are food safe and lead free (they should be washed by hand, natch). While Austin’s ready-made designs are quite darling, you have the option of customizing your own.
Charles and Marie have friends with terrible nut allergies (oh the horror stories!), and quite frankly, we don’t know how anyone can manage without being able to indulge in a crunchy handful every now and then. Poor dears. These bite size old-fashioned candy squares, full of peanuts, are a testament to our own weakness. We crush them up and put them on top of ice cream sundaes. So sublime!
The $91 million Ivy Hotel in San Diego exemplifies modern living and epicurean delights at their best. To ensure that each guest steps out in high style, the hotel appoints drivers to escort you through the city in an enormous black Escalade styled with a strut grill and custom exhaust. Of course, odds are slim that you’ll actually want to leave the premises. Celebrity Chef Damon Gordon plates caviar tacos and lobster pot pie from The Quarter Kitchen, and imbibing reaches heightened levels on the Eden Rooftop, part of a four-level nightclub called Envy. On par with The Standard in Los Angeles or The Gansevoort in New York, this playground for well-heeled hedonists offers rooftop yoga classes by day and excruciatingly expensive bottle service at night.
Naturally, the new Hardrock San Diego manages to pump up the volume on the ordinary. Following the format of existing locations in Malibu, New York, London, Las Vegas, and Miami, the hotel’s Nobu restaurant attracts a see-and-be-seen crowd. Post supper, this same set seeks out Moonstone Lounge and Sweetwater Saloon, brought to life by Cindy Crawford’s entrepreneur hubby Rande Gerber. The former boasts a stylish rooftop pool bar, private poolside cabanas, flat screen televisions, fire pits, and opium-colored beds; the latter sets the scene for watching a game in high style. Bar stools are adorned with white crocodile skin and private beer taps allow you to serve yourself without getting up.
Some say that if crooner Johnny Cash had tasted this Orange Blossom cookie, he might have dedicated his Folsom Prison performance of “Orange Blossom Special” to its makers, the Crummy Brothers. Also noteworthy: sassy lemon ginger cookies. They’re light and mighty citrusy, mixed with dark Ecuadorian chocolate chips. But don’t get hooked just yet. Four new delicious flavors are getting ready to debut very soon. We’ll have all of the details, so stay tuned.
The Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa is shrouded in serenity, which makes the bar at Bistro At The Park a great place to unwind after work, or to gather with friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Regionally renowned for mouthwatering libations, bartenders serve up traditional martinis in regular or jumbo size glasses, with olives, tomolives, onions, twists or the works. Other must-trys include the Chocolate, Banana Bread, Espresso and Raspberry martinis. Insiders typically arrive before 6 p.m. to get dibs on the one and only fireside table for two (people generally like to linger here for hours once they sit down). Many of the other marble top tables are seated with canoodling couples on their way to catch a movie at the old-fashioned Park Theatre, or large groups of well-heeled women who make the bistro their after-dinner stomping grounds—a testament to the tantalizing tiramisu, crème brulee, seasonal fruit cobblers. As for dessert drinks? You can’t go wrong with Drambuie, Bailey’s Irish Cream Caramel or Courvoisier V.S.O.P.
There is a special love potion, named for the witches (or “stregas”) who concocted in, that hails from Central Italy. It is said to be a saffron-tinted spicy liqueur that’s made from more than 70 different barks and herbs. Inspired by this amour elixir, these Cocoa Vino bon bons will get your heart racing. Buttery caramel, fresh pumpkin, dark chocolate, and a splash of Liquore Strega prove to be more powerful than Cupid’s meager bow and arrow.
Levende East, a spin-off of Levende Lounge in San Francisco, thrives inside a Victorian-style building in the heart of up-and-coming Old Oakland Historic District. The kitchen plates precocious Cal-fusion cuisine (think coconut-miso soup and mini tuna burgers) that complements creative cocktails. The Remedy makes our most-wanted list. It’s made with muddled kumquats, orange bitters and Herbsaint liqueur, and so does The Dark and Stormy, made from Gosling’s black seal Bermuda black rum and Barritt’s Bermuda’s ginger beer. If plentiful and unfamiliar drink options make your head spin, play it safe with small-batch bourbons, specialty margaritas and an agave nectar-infused pisco sour with a float of peach bitters. Communal tables are fitting for large, lively groups and DJ-spun music—both house and hip hop—bounces off the restaurant’s brick walls on Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 10 p.m.
Dancing Deer combines our love of tea and cookies with its Milk Chocolate Chai Chew. This smooth, chewy interpretation of Chai is packed with chocolate chips and cocoa. And though the black tea extract, ground ginger, ground cardamom, and black pepper are already baked in, we still like to devour them alongside a steaming pot of Chai tea. Also try the maple oatmeal raisin and chocolate peppermint cookies.
Sigh. Until we find a way to tack on an extra hour to each day, we’re sipping on Mix1, a protein and antioxidant drink that helps us to tackle our never-ending to-do lists. The liquid balances complete nutrition, great flavor, and convenience. Chug it when you’re short on sleep, before or after your workout, when you’re feeling jet-lagged, or anytime you need a burst of energy.