I've just touched down in Paris where I shall hope to eat at Frenchie or Septime again, two of the most deliciously deconstructed tasting menu experiences available in this new world of accessible gourmet food. We have eaten our way through, and rounded up the best of the best of this new ecumenical phenomenon: the under $100 tasting menu.
When I read through Art as Therapy, paintings that I had long admired suddenly became new when seen through the filter of self awareness and exploration. Really a gem of a book.
Also we were asked by Paperless Post to design a line of cards, and we are thrilled to launch them today, it was a sweet and whimsical process.
This week’s goop collaboration
Tasting Menus: $100 or less
Tasting menus, once reserved for formal occasions and expense accounts, have now been deconstructed and deformalized to become a way for young, ambitious chefs to showcase their artistry in a very accessible way. By keeping the dining room experience casual, they are able to keep their prices reasonable - white tablecloths have been swapped for bare countertops, chandeliers for exposed bulbs and French-trained chefs for self-taught innovators who’d rather forage for ramps than bargain for truffles. Below are our picks from the new tasting menu generation, all under $100.
Josef Centeno's (Bäco Mercat and Bar Amá) latest venture offers Italian/Japanese inspired tasting menus, including the much-lauded 'super-omakase'. However, if you’re looking to keep it cheap(ish), the five-course tasting menu at just $60 a person is a deal, as is the family-style four-course menu at $50. Below, Chef Centeno lends us a vegetable recipe he's made recently.
Commonwealth embodies the revolutionary spirit of the contemporary, high-end tasting menu experience. Located in a stark and understated space that looks like a former garage, the décor begins and ends with a hanging disco ball found in the attic during renovation. The food is serious, particularly the innovation with seafood and veggies and even though it’s a substantial tasting, it feels healthy and light. Six courses for $75 ($10 of which is donated to a local charity). Shout out to our rad waiter A.J. whose band, Yassou Benedict, is about to go on their first tour.
P.S. It was only after we chose our three that we realized they were all in Brooklyn...
Williamsburg | 254 South 2nd St.
Photo: Emilie Lucie B
This semi-weekly pop-up in Williamsburg's Lake Trout space makes produce the focus of its ambitious 8-10-course prix fixe (think confit carrots and dehydration). The coolest part is that they are a two-person show (boyfriend and girlfriend) and do everything themselves. At the end of the meal they pop open a bottle of wine and join their guests. The $55 price tag is very reasonable and it's BYO. Check them out on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7 - 11pm.
We're psyched to have collaborated with Paperless Post. We love their stationery and, as part of our partnership, we’re excited to be launching our very own collection with them.
We gave them our inspiration gathered far and wide...
They sketched, and sketched, and sketched... And now, we present a line of twenty holiday greetings, photo cards, invitations and personal stationery designs that are available to send online or on paper - just in time for the holidays. These designs feature some of our favorite things: chinoiserie, lavish wallpapers, line drawings, modern art and more.
Septime serves excellent French cuisine in a cool, bare bones space on the newly re-vamped rue de Charonne. The prix fixe menus offer multiple courses of innovatively-prepared dishes made with the freshest ingredients. The lunch menu is a steal at €28, but if you are willing to splurge, go for the menu 'surprise' - you won't regret it.
26-year-old chef Tom Sellars, who studied under Tom Aikens at just 16 and more recently with René Redzepi at Noma, opens Restaurant Story in an old Bermondsey square with remarkable views of the Shard. The vibe here is youthful with a playful menu (the first course of the tasting menu was a beef candle that was lit for you to catch the drippings with your bread). As the name suggests, each dish comes with a story about its provenance, ingredients and inspiration. Sellars creates a really unique dining experience with his tasting menus, which go for £55 for 6 courses and £75 for 10.
We’re very proud to have put our stamp on the UK’s Red magazine - both publication's first guest edit ever. Our special Holiday edition is on stands now. Click below for a peek behind the scenes.
Art as Therapy at Home
Author and founder of The School of Life Alain de Botton has recently published Art as Therapy with philosopher and art theorist John Armstrong, showing us how to look at and understand art in a completely novel way. Perhaps art can help us see values that make us strive for more in our family, love and work lives. Perhaps it can help us with our anxiety issues. In 2014, they will be guest curating both at the Art Gallery of Ontario and at Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum according to this new framework. And below, Alain shows us how, in an ideal world, he might curate the walls of a home. Fascinating stuff that makes us re-think how we might approach hanging art in our own surroundings.
Alain de Botton on Art in the Home
“Why does it matter what's on the walls of our homes? Our sensitivity to our surroundings can be traced back to a troubling feature of human psychology: to the way we harbor within us many different selves, not all of which feel equally like ‘us’, so much so that in certain moods, we can complain of having come adrift from what we judge to be our true selves - in part, because the walls look wrong...
Unfortunately, the self we miss at such moments, the elusively authentic, creative and spontaneous side of our character, is not ours to summon at will. Our access to it is, to a humbling extent, determined by the places we happen to be in, by the color of the bricks, the height of the ceilings and the art on the wall. In a house strangled by three motorways, or with drab wallpaper or in a wasteland of rundown tower blocks, our optimism and sense of purpose are liable to drain away, like water from a punctured container. We may start to forget that we ever had ambitions or reasons to feel spirited and hopeful.
We depend on the art in our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our art to hold us, like a kind of psychological mould, to a helpful vision of ourselves. We arrange around us material forms which communicate to us what we need – but are at constant risk of forgetting we need – within.
Art can help us in many ways; I've identified a number of ways and suggest some works that are particularly good in these areas, along with places one might hang them.”