Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What I feed Bessie, my Jack Russell

It's not easy being my dog. The tempting smells she is exposed to daily would be too much for a person, let alone a dog's highly developed nose. I'm often asked what I do feed Bessie, and the answer is Dr. Harvey's Canine Health. Dr. Harvey's is holistic dog food with organic grains, vegetables, herbs, vitamins and minerals. It comes dry, in 5 pound or 10 pound bags. Cook it in water for 8 minutes and then add whatever protein you choose, raw or cooked. After I started Bessie on Dr. Harvey's, her body changed in a matter of a month. She lost the slight bloated quality she had, and her energy was much better.
Yes, it's obsessive cooking for your dog, but throwing dry food in a bowl is just not a concept I can live with. On the other hand, a friend I was traveling with saw my Zip-loc bag of Dr. Harvey's on the kitchen counter and thought it was muesli. He was about to pour milk over it before I intervened.

Dr. Harvey's Canine Health is available through a number of websites, or by mail order from Whiskers Holistic Petcare, 235 East 9th Street, New York, NY. 212.979.2532

You Names-dropper You, Dinner at Ye Waverly Inn

Well, everything I heard about the hype of Ye Waverly Inn is true. No phone number, impossible to get a reservation unless you email your name to some address and tell them who you are and what you do. They'll get back to you…

Though I have heard rumors that there is a phone number to call at this point, I got lucky: a photographer friend who shoots for Vanity Fair magazine (Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, is a partner at Ye Waverly) made the reservations.

As we arrived, the vibe was Celebrity Central. In New York that doesn't mean just recognizable celebrities—though they were there—but all the fashionable movers and shakers of New York that make you feel like its really cool to live in New York and even cooler to have gotten to eat there. I have not felt that in a restaurant for a while in New York, though Keith McNally’s new Italian restaurant Morandi comes close. Ye Waverly Inn is divided into small cozy rooms with fireplaces going in the back, and, I must say, a perfectly lit bar in the front.

Everyone I know who has eaten there did not rave about the food but said it was fine, so I was not expecting much but I have to say the food is fantastic. Maybe because it’s my favorite style of cooking: simple, creative and putting twists on classic recipes. They got the food right and I loved my meal.

We started with a basket of homemade warm biscuits served with whipped butter that melted in your mouth. We then ordered a plate of mac and cheese with fresh shaved black truffles at $55, which was so major! It was more of a creamy bowl of pasta made with perfectly cooked spirals of pasta and then black truffles shaved over them. So good …
I then ordered my favorite salad frisee, Berkshire lardons and an organic poached egg, which was perfect. The lardons were crispy, the salad perfectly dressed, and the egg was warm, which is critical.

I then had the organic salmon filet with beluga lentils and Tuscan kale. I was asked what temperature I wanted my fish, medium rare and that is how it arrived. The kale and lentils went perfectly with the fish.

Everyone at our table was drinking mixed drinks so I just ordered a single glass of red wine (which not memorable), but I did glance over the wine list, from which I could have found a nice bottle to drink, like a 2004 Priorat, Les Terrasses from Alvaro Palacios. In general, though, the wine list read like the clientel: unknown small producers all the way to the big gun famous producers and priced accordingly. There was also mixed in at least one majorly overpriced and several overrated vintage wines. Whatever.

Dessert was the New Orleans classic Bananas Foster (caramelized bananas served with vanilla gelato). Though it was not prepared tableside and ignited, with voodoo dust (cinnamon) sprinkled into the flame, the bananas perfectly caramelized and I loved it.

During our meal there was a constant parade of people back and forth saying hello to each other. I'm sorry to say I did not take any photographs, though even pictures wouldn't have done justice to the scene. Go for yourself to get the full experience.

Ye Waverly Inn & Garden
16 Bank Street

Monday, January 22, 2007


The other day while in LA, I was invited to a birthday party. I asked what they were doing for a birthday cake and my friends told me they ordered cupcakes from Sprinkles. Snob that I am, I immediately replied that Magnolia Bakery in New York has the best cupcakes. Well, I was blown away by how gorgeous and delicious the Sprinkles cupcakes were but also by a three-tiered cardboard stand that accompanied the cupcakes. Magnolia offers only chocolate and vanilla flavors with various icings, but Sprinkles offers a very creative lineup of combinations. I loved all of them but especially the Red Velvet. They have special flavors each day of the week and I was so bummed to miss the coconut cupcake but I did get the banana with chocolate icing, which was also fab.

Lets get back to the Sprinkles Cupcake tower. What a cool design. I still can’t get over it. You can order the cupcake tower and easily assemble at home. They even supply ribbon to decorate the sides of each layer, though I actually love the tower on it’s own. In an instant you have a wonderful festive centerpiece.

Here’s another great detail: this is a dog friendly shop and they have cupcakes for dogs. Of course I bought one for my dog Bessie, which she ate right up. I’m still really happy to have Magnolia near my apartment in New York, but I know I will be making a pilgrimage to Sprinkles every time I visit LA.

9635 Little Santa Monica blvd
Beverly hills, ca 90210
Order: 888.220.2210

Thursday, January 11, 2007


While most people were probably starting their New Year by dieting, I was staring at a platter of American Wagyu and Japanese Wagyu beef from Kagoshima Prefecture brought to our table at CUT, Wolfang Puck’s new steakhouse in Los Angeles.

Cut is an ingenious creation, and when Wolfgang Puck gets it right, he really gets it right. The kitchen run by Ari Rosenson, chef de cuisine, and Lee Hefter, executive chef, brings the steakhouse to new heights.

I eventually decided to pass on the wagyu beef because I was trying to lighten up a little in the food department. I’m happy I did because the kitchen started sending us out some tastes: mini-wagyu hamburgers, maple glazed pork belly with a sesame-orange dressing, and Foie Gras pave to name a few. They were all delicious. I ordered a petit cut New York steak described as Nebraska Corn Fed, dry aged for 35 days and it was served perfectly medium rare. All the meats are cooked over hard wood and charcoal and finished under a 1200 degree broiler which is part of what makes this steak house great.

The meats come with sauces which I don’t think they need, but the sides dishes are great reinventions of some classics: tempura onion rings, celery root gratin, and my favorite, spinach topped with a poached egg.

The service was impeccable and one of my favorite things was our comfortable banquet. Too many restaurants have miserable seating which can ruin even the best the dining experience, but not here. The acoustics were great too.

I brought along a bottle of 1994 Rinaldi Barolo which went perfectly with the food, and we ordered some very interesting white wines which, unfortunately, I forgot to write down. The wine list was really well put together.

In short I thought everything was perfect and that the only thing missing was a least one selection of grass fed beef….

Can’t wait to go back.

At The Regent Beverly Wilshire
9500 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills