Escape to New York

06834ee460bd11e29dbc22000a1f9e59_7

Room service breakfast, The Mark Hotel, NYC.

~

Oh, OKAAY, here’s the entire picture…

IMG_2671

So, I sneaked away for a quick trip to NY this week.

Didn’t even bring a camera, just my iPhone and walking shoes.

It was, after all, Serious Sale Season.

I kept my packing to bare minimum carry-on by fed-exing my coats and boots to the hotel beforehand. So much easier then schlepping heavy bags and worrying about them getting lost or stolen, which has happened to us on more than one occasion. I brought a pre-printed return slip for homeward shipping. Done & done.

We took in a play the first night, which I didn’t entirely love so I’m not going to mention the name. I think people in the theatre work way too hard to have amateur critics critique them, don’t you?

IMG_2694We had a couple of splendid dining experiences, including one night at “Eleven Madison Park”, mentioned in a previous post and listed in my slow-to-update “Travel” tab

IMG_2687Palate cleansers of heavily marinated diced apples, Apple Jack bourbon, and some molecular  hijinks being prepared in the kitchen at “Eleven Madison Park”

IMG_2666and then there was the wild mushroom and poached egg pizza at “ABC Kitchen

This was my second visit to this really fun & buzzy Jeans George affiliated restaurant and I would highly recommend it.

1f3e2004604411e2913d22000a9e2892_7I also enjoyed cocktails one night with Habitually Chic“‘s Heather Clawson at “Bar Pleiades” in the Surrey Hotel. The rich, delicious concoction sporting a dense head of foamy condensed coconut milk above was called a”Thai-somethingorother”. The perfect libation to evoke the warmth of the tropics on a frigid NY night. We were sitting beside Goop Senior, Blythe Danner, who looked quite fabulous, although I’m sure Gwyneth will be letting herself go all to hell any day now. I can just feel it.

890A5219If you haven’t already checked out Heather’s new book “Creativity at Work” you really should. A thoughtful compilation of creative souls in their work environments, with beautiful photos and very down-to-earth introductions by Heather, as well as inspiring interviews with each subject. A perfect gift or addition to your own library; here my copy (bought the day before Hurricane Sandy hit on my last trip to NY) sits on the living room table this Christmas.

ea28de90618d11e2a2e222000a9e48a3_7As always, walking and window gazing through the streets of Manhattan never disappoints.

I scoped these massive antique crystal urns lit from within on Madison Ave. I’d love to know their origin. Even better, I’d love to see them used now in an entirely modern space. Martyn Bullard would probably know just how to do them justice.

IMG_2633I dreamt and drooled through the recently opened  Christian Liaigre flagship store on the upper east side.

Just give me one of everything, thank you.

IMG_2679and snapped this cute window at Jo Malone, really as a reference for a friend who is opening a tea salon in India! Swoon.

IMG_2646With my good friend Patty, whose hand I’m employing here for scale, I found a wine glass in Bergdorf Goodman that had my name written all over it. (back off Andrew!)

We had lunch in Bergdorf’s Kelly Wearstler designed restaurant which is usually delicious and ripe for people watching.

Somehow I always end up standing in front of the lady’s room mirror, ever so slightly lifting the sides of my face up.

IMG_2705I stayed at The Mark Hotel where, as long time readers are aware, my love of black & white stripes has been applied with reckless abandon.

The best part of The Mark experience? The Jeans Georges restaurant room service!

Rushing into the lobby one day, I humiliatingly tossed a warm hello to a lady I was so sure I knew (who then asked my name and we both drew a blank :() only to realise 1/2 way up the elevator she was a NYC realtor from a reality show my husband watches. Upon returning from dinner the same night,  Sonja fill-in-the-name, from “Housewives of NY” was standing at the entrance and let’s just say Sonja had been enjoying more than a few cocktails. Ouch. But then I guess you don’t end up on reality TV by being a wallflower.

faf06bac60e911e28ce622000a9f13a7_7The Mark hotel (photos from my Instagram)

64c9aed65f5e11e28e3c22000a1f9d44_7So, a little food & drink, a spot of shopping & people watching, a drop of culture and the company of loved ones- a perfect week in NY.

and least we forget (azziff) ‘Downton Abbey’ tomorrow!

890A5785My butler’s bells are vibrating in anticipation

maggie-smith-article

Wishing a Splendid Whheeekend to All!

~

Fall Shui

Slim Paley Fall Mood BoardA post or two back I mentioned I would be returning to the subject of  autumn leaves (don’t worry if you don’t remember, we work as a team here :))

The turning of the leaves, those rusty khakis & golds, spicy pumpkin & fiery blood-red hues are one of the few things I miss about living in colder climes. Here in Santa Barbara we have just a couple of varieties of vines and trees that put on any sort of spectacle-both of which I have planted in my garden. Meanwhile…2 days away from December, I’m still waiting…

Fortunately, we were in Chicago for a week earlier this month and thanks to the  “Chef Who Knows No Bounds” Grant Achatz, we experienced a turning of leaves so inventive even Mother Nature would raise her lichened brow.

Our first stop was a highly anticipated return to “next” to celebrate my husband’s birthday. If you aren’t already familiar with next (opened in 2011), with its fabulous concept of changing “themes” every few months, you simply must put it on your list of things to experience in Chicago. The current theme is “Autumn in Kyoto” with the tradition of “Kaiseki” as its guiding inspiration.

“Autumn in Kyoto: the moon viewing, the changing hue of the maple leaves, the last crickets of summer, wind blowing through the river grass…”

I won’t spoil it by revealing the menu, which is truly half the fun-and yes, this restaurant is about having FUN in and with every sense,  but I’ll share two hastily taken, slightly fuzzy pics (was getting a touch of stink-eye from the Hubs & Older Son)

Next restaurant, ChicagoA glimpse into the level of creativity involved in this dining adventure; Live crickets (for song, not consumption) in a vintage cage perched on leaves in the centre of our table.

The collecting of crickets during the transition of Summer to Autumn is a centuries old Japanese tradition.

Apparently the male crickets do most of the “singing”

Are we surprised??

Next restaurant, Chicago. Slim PaleyA delicate and exquisitely presented dessert called “First Snowfall”

~

Previous themes at “next” ;

We also heartily imbibed at Chef Achatz’s ultra cool bar “The Aviary” one night and spent our last evening in Chicago dining at his original restaurant, the amazing “Alinea”.

Yes, it’s true

We are complete Achatz-olytes. If Chef Achatz tells us he’s building a space ship that’s going to a better place, we’re on board. We probably get to eat the ship upon arrival.

Next, Chicago, Slim PaleyWoodcock, lingonberry, shallot, oak leaves at Alinea.

The leaves are set alight as they’re brought to the table so the room is infused with the visceral scent of a campfire.

“Alinea”, currently one of the Top Ten restaurants in the world and “The Aviary” are much too special to squeeze in here, so I’ll save them for another post.

a Fall Table

Earlier in the season, Grant Achatz and Chef Daniel Humm of “Eleven Madison Park” in NY, partook in some unprecedented culinary hijinks by trading restaurants for one week. How cool is that?! Reservations for “Alinea at Eleven Madison Park”  and vice versa, were made via the internet just as they are normally for NEXT and Alinea.

As you’d imagine, a furious Foodie throw-down commenced with tables totally booked in minutes. Luckily our Older Son, whose hummingbird-fast digits have been flitting across a keyboard since he was 4,  managed to secure The Dinner Date of a Lifetime for he and his girlfriend the first night. (That’s my boy :) ) Their iphone photo shows “a bed of leaves on the table which you brushed off onto the ground after a few courses” so by the end of the night the floor of the restaurant was covered in leaves.

I actually covered the entire entry hall and dining room floor of our home with leaves for a Halloween party when the boys were  young and what a gorgeous mess it was! (until the light of day…ouch)

Speaking of gorgeous messes, get a load of this tree and how the leaves have turned such a divine rusty red.

Now guess who the tree belongs to.

Oprah.

She lives here in my town.

Er, I mean I live in her town.

Well, let’s just say we’re neighbours.

Now,

this is MY tree.

It’s the exact same type of tree. On the same side of the street.  

What’s up with that??!

 Do you think Oprah’s tree knows it’s Oprah’s tree and is just being an overachiever? Are Oprah’s people hand-tinting her leaves in the night?

Or is my tree perhaps a female and therefore not a “singer”?

~

For information on dining at “Alinea” or “NEXT” visit their Facebook or Twitter pages or click here

And to read my post about our first visit to “NEXT” please click : next:PARIS- 1906

~

First image a vignette from my Inspiration board.

Header photo of Kendra Spears via Vogue

Scorch & Soda

We turn the clocks back tonight (boo hoo!)

You know what that means my friends.

That’s right

It’s Officially Heartier Cocktail Season.

Not since a caramel fell into a bowl of salt have we seen a flavor sensation dominate like the “smoky” cocktail.  I’ve been experimenting here & there while slowly compiling this post over the summer but it wasn’t until I had my very first GIN martini the other night (I know, right? wonders never cease) accompanied by big fat smoked olives that I became a full fledged “Smoker”

OK, I know this photo would have been so much nicer if the glass wasn’t 1/2 empty and I hadn’t taken a big bite of the olive, but I just wasn’t anticipating how damn good it was going to be! (Hendricks gin btw) and you’re probably saying; can this possibly be the same Slim who loves roasted marshmallow martinis? I agree-it’s sheer madness.

Even I didn’t know I was this ambi-drinkerous.

So, at least for the month of November, I’m all about the “the fumes”

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to think of a way to capture smoke within an ice cube. I tried typing “Smoke in ice cubes ” into Google and got nothing but photos of the rapper “Ice Cube” smoking cigars, plus some rather inventive ways of smoking meth.

Do you think I’m going to get meth spam now??  I’m worried :(

Try putting a few of  these in your pipe;

A couple of tasty smokers at Rick Bayles’ “The Frontera Grill” Chicago

Los Angeles: The molecular-minded Bar Centro at the Bazaar by José Andrés.The Drink: Smoke on the Water ($18)What’s in It: Blackberries, atomized Islay Scotch, liquid nitrogen, and a flaming orange peel.

Miami: The new Yardbird Southern Table & Bar. The Drink: Smoked Pear ($8).
What’s in It: Woodford Reserve bourbon, pear liqueur, lemon juice, maple bitters, and smoked-pear purée. 1600 Lenox Ave.; 305/538-5220.

Boston: Clio, home to the city’s most extensive cocktail list. The Drink: The Hunter ($13).
What’s in It : Sage-infused white rum, Willet single-barrel rye, and apple cider, plus a cloud of burned oak and cinnamon. Smoked ice (smoked over liqueur-soaked wood chips) are used in the “Frank-)” cocktail, also at Clio

(info via Nicki Goldstein/Travel & Leisure magazine)

In Yountville, CA, Bottega serves up a smoky trifecta with smoked tequila, smoked jalapeños, rimmed with smoked salt.

“The Smoker’s Delight” at PX in Alexandria, Virginia uses strained water that has been steeped in 3 kinds of tobacco. ( Oh, sorry, but that sounds gross! )

Smoke Signals

Here I’ve found a recipe to “smoke” your own ice at home-but be careful kids!

Line heavy large pot with heavy-duty foil. Sprinkle wood chips over bottom of pot; cover. Turn exhaust fan on high. Heat pot over high heat until smoke begins to form inside pot. Fill 9 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch metal loaf pan with ice. Place in pot; cover tightly. Smoke ice until just melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Cover loaf pan tightly with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. Using ice pick, cut ice block crosswise into 4 large smoked ice chunks. Wrap tightly in plastic and keep frozen.

Bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil in medium saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pecans; reduce heat to medium and simmer until syrup tastes like pecans, about 12 minutes. Strain; discard pecans. Cover and chill pecan syrup until cold, about 2 hours.

Place 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons pecan syrup in cocktail shaker. Fill with plain ice cubes; cover and shake until cold. Divide mixture between 2 old-fashioned glasses. Repeat with remaining 5 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons Sherry, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons pecan syrup, and ice. Place 1 smoked ice chunk in each glass and serve.

(via Epicureous)

Mezcal and tobacco-infused syrup flavours the “Oaxacan Fizz” at FATHER’S OFFICE in LA (LOVE that name!)

“Smoke on The Water” at Bar Centro in The Bazaar, LA, literally smokes with a blast of liquid nitrogen and Islay Scotch.

Wouldn’t this make a good Christmas present?

Smoked salt via TheSpiceLab.com

For those smoked olives, you may

1) Marinate your olives for several hours in smoked olive oil

$24

2) make your own smoked oil by gently heating and infusing olive oil with hickory smoke powder and fresh or dried herbs of your choice, then marinate olives.

3) Thoroughly soak a cedar plank (important), wrap olives in a tinfoil package, making several slits in the top and sides,  place on wet plank, cover and grill (smoking times will vary depending on temperature) You can find several recipes for smoking olives online.

4) or just buy them already smoked.

Lastly, if you’re not already totally smoked out,

An interesting article on smoked cocktails HERE

Thank you for smoking and don’t forget those clocks tonight!!

~

(First photo Artist Liza Ryan (2012) any uncredited photos via Tumblr or Google)

Postcard from Paris

Dani Roses, Paris

Through the window of Dani Roses, Costes Hotel, Paris

.

Bonjour!

I am thrilled to be writing my 400th post from Paris

I really can’t believe that I’ve been penning “Slim Paley” for 3 years now-

Mon Dieu!

To have 400 posts under my belt

(albeit one notch looser after a week in Paris)

feels like quite an achievement.

I must admit, I’m quite chuffed with myself.

.

.

Slim Paley, Paris

In the gardens of Versailles

.

.

Angelina, Paris.

Angelina, Paris.

.

.

Angelina Paris hot chocolate

.Angelina hot chocolate to go

.

.

Paris bistro

.Cafe Life

.

.

seafood tartare, Le Bristol

A fresh and beautiful seafood tartar at Le Bristol.

 

.

le Seine

Boats on the river Seine on a blustery warm day

.

.

I have  many fun photos and tidbits to share

but I’ll leave you with just these few for now.

.

.

Walter Steiger pumps

A little window shopping at Walter Steiger

.

.

The Louvre

The Slimtorialist strikes at the Louvre

.

..

Hotel Costes Paris

Hotel Costes

.

.

L'Entrecote, Paris

closing time

.

.

.Louvre with a View

Louvre with a View

.

.

The Louvre exterior

As you can see, I’m having fun on Instagram!

(You can follow my Instagram feed by clicking on this symbol at the top of my blog

..

.

.Laduree Paris

Window of Laduree-the prettiness- it just never gets old

.

.

Paris Night shot

.

.

After walking miles and miles

and miles

I seriously need to hit the mattress

xox

.

.

gorgeous roses

~

Mansion Crawl

.he 

 “The Elms”

Summer residence of Mr. & Mrs. Julius Berwind of New York & Philadelphia.

.

.

After leaving Boston, our east coast road trip progressed on to Newport, Rhode Island where we happily remained in tourist mode by going on a good old-fashioned Mansion Crawl.

What better place, after all, than Newport-the original seat of the American Robber Barons, and home to some of the grandest and most outrageously opulent mansions in the country?

Thanks to The Preservation Society of Newport County, several of these gilded relics stand as stately as when they were first conceived, around the turn of the century, though leading a much different existence today.

First stop on our crawl was “The Elms”,  built in 1901 by coal magnate Julius Berwind and his wife Sarah.

.

Sadly, no photos allowed inside, but this gives you some sense of the scale of “The Elms”…

and my hat is really big.

The estate, modeled after an 18th century French chateau, was a mere 3 weeks away from being demolished when it was saved by the  Preservation Society.   The recorded tour guide suggests a shopping complex was intended to take The Elm’s place.

Seriously.

..

.

.

Though huge, there are only 7 bedrooms (the Berwinds had no children)

“The Elms” required a staff of 43 to run the estate in the manner to which the  Titans of The Gilded Age  aspired during Newport’s high season.

.

.

.

We now take leave of  “The Elms”

.

.

and make our way over to the entrance of “The Breakers”

.

..

.

Slim Paley photo

Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s  65,000 sq.ft. Summer Cottage in Newport.

.

.

.

Constructed between 1893-1895 the property cost over $12 million -

Thats $335 million adjusted to today’s inflated dollar, according to Wikipedia.

$335 million dollars

Let’s all just say the words “Summer cottage” one more time.

.

.

.

Fully kitted out with the all the mod. cons. of the day, including dual gas/electric chandeliers, and both fresh & salt water faucets in the bathtubs, no  attention to detail or expense was spared at “The Breakers”.

Even the dimensions of the steps on the grand staircase were slightly shortened to accomodate the heels and accentuate the graceful sweep of a lady’s gown.

Those Vanderbilt chics apparently knew how to make an entrance.

The house, completed in 1895 (incidently the same year my home was built ) was considerably larger than “The Elms”,  boasting 14 bedrooms athough the staff numbered only 40 here.

Either The Breakers staff were much more efficient, or the Vanderbilts simply ran a tighter ship than the Berwinds over at The Elms.

Though the style of the architecture and furnishings in the ‘house’ (it’s almost ludicrous to call it a ‘home’) would appeal to very few in present day, it’s fascinating to imagine what summering at The Breakers must have been like in the Gilded Age (coined by who else? Mark Twain).

Wouldn’t you love to really know what went on behind the velvet curtains and pantry doors?!

.

..

Once again, no photos were permitted inside, which is rather a silly, antiquated rule now that we have phones able to take photos with no flash. Still, I managed to behave myself, save this one time my finger slipped…

.

The true beauty is to be found in the gardens, the stunning trees, and the deep lawns rolling to the sea…

This photo was taken from the 2nd floor loggia, one of the very best spots in the entire house.

.

. bel

In an “Over the lawn to Gatsby’s place” moment, I was covetous of the little “cottage” perched closer to the water’s edge, just to the right of The Breaker’s property.

.

.and while we’re busy coveting…

.

Paging “Downton Abbey” fans-

oh, woops, I guess my camera finger slipped a couple of more times…too much sunscreen.

.

.

“No Edith, I said the blancmange is in oven #11 !”

.

I wonder how the lady guests dealt with ‘hat hair’ during their 5- 7 wardrobe changes A DAY summering at The Breakers?!

.

.

FYI-That guy in the orange t-shirt is not with me.

He’s like fricking Waldo…he kept showing up in my shots.

Blast my lack of photo-shop skills.

.

.

A few books for us Downton Abbey-ites in The Breaker’s bookshop

.

.

There are numerous stately homes and mansions to see throughout Newport but unfortunately, our time was short, and there was, of course, one more stop to be made.

.

.

.

.

What’s a trip to the Eastern Seaboard without some fish & chips

.

.

and a lobster roll??

Do NOT miss Flo’s if you’re out that way.

Make your way upstairs to avoid the crowds and line-up below.

.

.

.

.

.

Cocktails will be served on the loggia at 7:00pm.

Do dress accordingly and don’t forget your gloves and fan.

xoxo

.

.

~