Fotos: Banhez Mezcal Artesanal

23/03/2020 § Leave a comment

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Photos from my recent trip to Oaxaca with Banhez Mezcal Artesanal.

Field Notes: Joshua Tree, California

12/11/2015 § Leave a comment

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Currently, New York is turning to fall, complete with fiery foliage, dipping temperatures and rain showers.  If I’m completely honest, it’s my third favorite season here — firmly ranked only slightly above winter (and spring only gets the slightest of advantages because it means summer is next).  You can definitely blame my formative years, spent in the terminal sunshine of Los Angeles.  So while I am coping with this seasonal shift, my mind has been traveling back in time to a trip I recently took to the High Desert of California, and Joshua Tree in particular.

Less than a three hour drive from LA, Joshua Tree and its Low Desert sibling, Palm Springs, have become something of a destination with the popularity of concerts like Coachella and interest in what I’m going to loosely call as “desert vibes.”  While Palm Springs has always been the more built up of the two destinations, and is now home to some really great resorts, I’d recommend passing on all that for a quieter experience a bit to the north.

I wanted heat, quiet, stars and colors.  I got all that AND dinosaurs.  AND a ghost town.  Who could ask for more?

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You’re going to need sustenance.

Fun fact: I’ve never actually had an In-N-Out burger.  What you see above is my grilled cheese on the right.  I suppose I’m some sort of bad Californian, but I’ll definitely still defend it against all challengers to the “best burger in the universe” crown.

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

This is the “cracked iPhone screen” filter.
Kinda like those glamour shots at the mall, no?

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Recognize these two?  No?  Are you sure?
(Skip to 4:50…or watch the whole thing like I just did. Again. TEQUILA!)

The Cabazon Dinosaurs are a famous roadside attraction on your way into the desert on Interstate 10, and worth a brief stop.  Dinny, the Brontosaurus, was built over a period of eleven years, beginning in 1964; and Mr. Rex followed in 1981.  Funnily enough, since the passing of the original owner and sculptor Claude K. Bell, the property has fallen into the hands of a bunch of creationist supporters, so inside Dinny — a larger-than-life dinosaur containing original Bell frescoes of the Cro-Magnon Man  — you can find a museum and gift shop dedicated to the idea that dinosaurs appeared the same day Adam and Eve did.  Hilars.

Sidenote: I was going to link you to the dinosaurs’ site until I noticed the current feature article is on Ben Carson, the “The Pediatric Neurosurgeon with Gifted Hands.”  So, yeah.  No.  I’d still recommend checking them out for kitsch value, though!  Just avoid the nonsense museum and take pictures sitting on the huge dino feet.

Cabazon Dinosaurs
50800 Seminole Drive
(immediately north of Interstate 10)
Cabazon, CA 92230

Quite Continental: Joshua Tree

Your best bet for lodgings in Joshua Tree is Airbnb.  I found this darling cabin for a song.  With cozy spaces to relax and a remarkable outdoor soaking tub, it’s heaven on deserty-earth.

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Soaking. Tub.

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Ok, so you’re all settled in to your cozy desert home.  What next?

Go to the Joshua Tree Saloon for beers, burgers and live music.

Take a sound bath at the Integratron in nearby Landers.

Go to Pioneertown in Yucca Valley, an Old West set that was created in the 1940s as a place for actors and crew to live while filming television shows like The Cisco Kid.  It’s still somewhat lived in and super weird – a ghost town with living ghosts.  While you’re there, hit up Pappy + Harriet’s for…okay, also for beers, burgers and live music, but the live music here is a ticketed sort of thing.

Hike, camp or drive through Joshua Tree National Park, a unique ecosystem where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts meet.  It looks a little like space to me…like if Dr. Seuss designed space.

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On the way home, bask in the chill desert vibes and listen to a lot of Fleetwood Mac.

At least, that’s what I did.

Tell me, did I miss anything??

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Denim, the Latest Fad

15/09/2015 § Leave a comment

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“Wellesley freshmen students gathered outside the Hathaway House Bookshop (note girls wearing denim, the latest fad).”

Photo by Lisa Larsen, for Life Magazine, 1953.

Dude, serious girlcrush on the girl in front.
I want those mom jeans and her hat, like right. now.

The Art of the Home Bar (or, Low Grade Hoarding of the Spirited Kind)

01/07/2015 § Leave a comment

Quite Continental: The Art of the Home Bar

While I have yet to use the oven in the apartment I’ve lived in for over two years, one area of my kitchen that gets a fair amount of attention is my home bar.  What started out as a few bottles of my favorite spirits — no obscure liqueurs, no tools, no doo-dads — has gradually evolved into one of my favorite places in my apartment.  Its remarkable growth can be explained partially by the fact that I currently work in the spirits industry, but it’s also true that few things bring me more pleasure than collecting.

For spirits, my first look is Astor Wines.  They’re humongous.  But it’s definitely worth exploring your neighborhood to find a local shop you like.  They’ll be able to order you pretty much anything — as long as you ask them nicely.

For tools and glassware, check out Cocktail Kingdom.

For how to bring it all together, refer to the Death & Company Book.  Written by the folks behind one of New York’s preeminent cocktail bars, this tome is no joke.  Be prepared for indulgent discussions about the bar itself and the folks who work and drink there, and on how to make over 500 cocktails.  Mind you, “indulgent” in the best possible sort of way.

And if history is more your thing, David Wondrich just re-released his classic IMBIBE!, which traces the beginnings of the great American invention: the cocktail as we know it today.

Where to keep it all?  If you’re like me and have no space (hello teensy Soho apartment life), make due with the best surface available.  In my case, as shown above on Instagram, the bar is perched atop my midcentury modern dresser…which is technically in the kitchen.  I told you my apartment was small!  If you’ve got a little room to work with, I love bar carts like this one, this one and ESPECIALLY this one.

Lastly, I’m personally a big fan of straws and vintage swizzle sticks.  Add something personal or original to the mix to truly make it your bar.

Did I miss anything??

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Start ’em Young

22/06/2015 § 2 Comments

Quite Continental: Start 'em Young Quite Continental: Start 'em Young c0b065d3b665bf4f_large Quite Continental: Start 'em Young Quite Continental: Start 'em Young Quite Continental: Start 'em YoungI hope everyone had a lovely Father’s Day!  I spent it a bit far from my dear old Dad, since he lives out west and I’m in New York, but at least we had the chance to talk on the phone.  I’ve been sitting on these photos, of Arizona rancher James A. Shugart and his children, for some time — but perhaps I was actually waiting for Father’s Day.  Taken in 1954 by Allan Grant for Life Magazine, my favorite image is probably the one of James Jr., pouring his morning coffee.

These photos are similar to an older post of mine, The Youngest Cowgirl, also featuring Allan Grant’s work for Life.

Rabbit Hole || Dinner de Luxe at The World Famous Cotton Club, 1938

04/04/2015 § 5 Comments

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I’ve recently been spending quite a bit of time in the NewYork Public Library’s digital collection of menus.  An incredible collection of documents from around the world, dating from the 1850s through the 2000s, it is fascinating to observe trends in cuisine and cocktails – and prices!

I am always the most excited to find menus from storied New York establishments, those still standing like the New York Athletic Club and Tavern on the Green, and others that have since shuttered, like this one, from The Cotton Club in 1938, when it occupied its theatre district location at 48th Street and Broadway.  The Cotton Club was a nightclub that featured and launched the careers of some of the most notable black musicians and entertainers of the era, but served an all-white clientele.  At the time of the menu, Cab Calloway and his band headlined a twice nightly musical review that frequently included overtly racist themes similar to the images on the menu cover — as you can readily observe from the show program. **Be sure to click to enlarge the images.

Also interesting is the expansive cocktail menu.  Most other menus in the archive from this era mention only a few classic drinks and possibly a wine list, but because its primary function was as a nightclub and not merely a restaurant, The Cotton Club’s menu features all sorts of cocktails — separated from “Fancy Mixed Drinks,” mind you.  Nestled among the classics I already recognize, I was happy to find more obscure cocktails like the “Horse’s Neck,” the “Bronx,” the “Pink Lady,” and the “Jack Rose.”  All of which prompted a quick search and mental note to try out in the near future.  You’ll also notice a drink called the “Tall, Tan, & Terrific.”  A signature cocktail if ever there was one, the phrase is a nod to the Club’s chorus girls, all of whom were required to be taller than 5’6,” light-skinned and under twenty-one years of age.

To get a sense of the sort of performance patrons viewed on the nights this menu was in use, I’ve found a great short film made by Paramount in 1934 of Cab Calloway, featuring some of his most famous hits.  Nicknamed the “Hi-De-Ho Man” after his success with his song “Minnie the Moocher,” you get to view a bit of Calloway’s distinctive singing style, his call and response technique with the orchestra, his inspired dance moves.  Love it.  I mean, his hair alone!

As an added bonus, a very famous clip from Stormy Weather (1943), featuring Cab Calloway and his orchestra as well as an amazing routine by the Nicholas Brothers, another act that called the Cotton Club home.

Images via NYPL.

A Liquid Lunch at the 21 Club

28/03/2015 § 1 Comment

21 Club. 21 Club. 21 Club. 21 Club. In honor of the upcoming final (!) season of AMC’s Mad Men, a select group of New York restaurants — the sort of joints that Madison Avenue ad men probably would have favored — featured special lunch menus last week.  Priced at $19.69 — the year of the final season — patrons could treat themselves to the hallowed “liquid lunch” or opt for a prix fixe menu.  It wasn’t something I was prepared to miss, so I corralled a compatriot and made my way directly to the 21 Club.

The 21 Club, formerly a prohibition-era speakeasy, has been in operation since the 1920s and has occupied its current, jockey-decorated location since 1929.  Since its inception 21 has been a favored spot of presidents, celebrities, socialites, politicians, and titans of industry.  A four-story townhouse with multiple private rooms, its famed secret wine cellar has housed the private collections of folks like Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra.  Today, 21 retains a sense of old-fashioned formality that has become somewhat unique – gentlemen are required to wear jackets to gain entrance to the dining room, servers are dressed in tuxedos.  The Bar Room, where we lunched, sports a ceiling decorated with antique toys, suspended in air.

If you know me at all, you already know I went for the cocktails: Manhattans made with Canadian Club, while my dining partner opted for gin martinis.  Feeling very Roger Sterling and Don Draper, we also ordered for a dozen oysters, and a fabulous, mid-century time was had by all.

21 Club
21 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Charming Spaces || Coastal Vibes

10/08/2014 § 3 Comments

Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes Charming Spaces || Costal Vibes

Lovely bit of inspiration by way of Robert McKinley’s apartment in Chelsea, as captured by Nicole Franzen for T Magazine/NY Times.  Unfamiliar with McKinley?  He’s the interior designer and creative director behind places such as the Surf Lodge and Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk and the downtown outposts of Sant Ambroeus.  I’m feeling inspired by the relaxed, well-worn and faintly beachy style of his space, especially the palm frond curtains and that amazing rocking chair.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be stepping out shortly to track down one of those hurricane plants  Please hold my calls.

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Disappearing Acts

08/08/2014 § 1 Comment

Porto RicoEvery morning on my way to the train at the West 4th Street station, I pass the Porto Rico Importing Co. at 201 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.  More of a coffee and tea store than a true coffee bar, it’s where I buy the coffee I use at home (try it out: Monsoon Malabar is my favorite).  It’s usually full of bench sitters and the usual bunch of parked cars, but today I happened upon a rare moment of quiet and a break in the traffic so that I could take the shot above.

As I took the picture, an eccentric-looking older gentleman ambled by and gruffly offered his two cents: “You know, places like that are disappearing around here.”  He then proceeded to point out the growing vacancies around Porto Rico, both new and old. I readily agreed with him and he eventually set off on his way down Bleecker, satisfied.

Vaguely familiar that Porto Rico has been around for some time — it does mention something about 1907 on the awning, at least — I did a bit of research and discovered that the ground floor of 201 Bleecker has been operated by the Longo family since the early 1900s, initially as a bakery and then later as the coffee and tea store we know today.  The current owner-operator, Peter Longo, is the third generation to run the store, the building having been bought by his grandfather in 1905 for $5,000.  Peter was born in the building, as well as his father before him.

For someone who’s only lived in the neighborhood for just over a year, it’s always exciting to learn more about longtime residents and businesses, but also to hear how the streets have changed.  The next time you find yourself on Bleecker, I definitely recommend that you stop by for a pound of coffee or perhaps a new tea — because it’s true, places like this are rapidly disappearing these days.

For a fuller story on Porto Rico, Alex Witchel at the NY Times wrote a great article on Peter and the store that you should also read.

Have a lovely (caffeinated) weekend!
M. xx

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The Natural: Jess Gold for Marie Claire Australia, July 2014

03/07/2014 § 3 Comments

 The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire Australia The Natural || Her Story - Marie Claire AustraliaModel: Jess Gold
Photographer: Nicole Bentley
Stylist: Jana Pokorny
Hair: Koh
Makeup: Victoria Baron

Quiet, tailored and natural, photographer Nicole Bentley has captured exactly what I want my summer to feel like, look like, wear like…down to the wild hair and the amazing eyebrows.  Have we ever discussed my lackluster brows?  While my mother and sister have had to wage a lifelong battle with theirs, mine just decided to never show up.  Fact: I’ve never ever had them done, ever.  Rather, since I was old enough to care, I’ve filled them in using a variety techniques and have always harbored intense jealousy at those lucky to be born with “strong brows” like Jess here.  I suppose the grass truly is always greener…even when it comes to eyebrows.

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