Style Icon—Paul Newman

 

Paul Newman

I am writing this post for my good friend Cassandra because I promised her I would and because the screen shot on her phone (last time I checked) was Paul, not her boyfriend Jack (although she adores Jack). While Paul was certainly a style icon, with him it was never about the clothes, which is why in most of the photos I chose he is half naked, (you’re welcome Cassandra).

Paul was born on January 26th, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio and had what appears to have been a pretty ordinary childhood. He got kicked out of Ohio University for unruly behavior (is anyone surprised?) and served three years in the Navy. He did eventually graduate and went on to attend Yale’s School of Drama which is where he was spotted by agents who invited him to come to New York to try his hand at acting and the rest was history.

When he got his big break in 1953—an understudy role in the Broadway play Picnic, Paul was married with two children and a third on the way. What he hadn’t anticipated was meeting the love of his life. He and Joanne Woodward, who was also an understudy, felt an instant connection, but it wasn’t until 1958 when he was cast opposite her in The Long, Hot Summer that Paul finally realized they were meant to be together. He asked his wife for a divorce and married Joanne that same year. They lived happily ever after until his death in 2008.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward

Paul Newman played many anti-hero and rebel roles for which you couldn’t help but love him and was an actor that never looked like he was acting on screen. Perhaps this ease and seeming detachment is what makes me think that he didn’t think too much about fashion (which is its own kind of style). Unlike James Dean who looked good in anything, especially if it looked worn, rumpled or carelessly thrown on, Paul looked best in, well nothing, because one was naturally inclined to just look past what he was wearing and be drawn directly into those famously sparkling blue eyes.

Paris Street Style 2012

I know fashion week ended a while ago, but reading A Moveable Feast made me long for Paris, so here, thanks to Harper’s Bazaar are some of this year’s Paris street style looks.

Fur, leather and over the top animal feather and print details made an appearance, but classic, understated Parisian chic were also not to be missed.

Happy Friday!

Prune, NYC

And we’re back….

Among the many things I did while on this long hiatus was visiting my beloved NYC.  And one of my favorite meals (although all were pretty spectacular) was Prune in East Village.  I had been to Prune several years ago, but that was before Chef/Owner Gabrielle Hamilton’s book, Blood, Bones & Butter had come out. I loved the book and it made going to Prune this time feel like a mix between visiting a beloved friend’s house and going to a museum. Knowing a person’s life history, their internal struggles and successes, makes eating their food an interesting expereince and while we sampled dish by delicious, simple dish, bits of Gabrielle’s stories flashed before my eyes.

We started the meal with a Bloody Mary. Prune is purported to have a dozen varieties to choose from, but that’s only for brunch. Our liquid libations were followed by beautiful beets, translucent trout roe and probably most memorable: perfectly cooked homemade pasta kerchiefs filled with ham, topped with egg and swimmming in brown butter sauce.

The space is small and cozy, decorated with rustic shabby chic accents and little luxe touches like marble countertops. It inspires warm, clandestine meetings, confidences and the sharing of copius amounts of good food.

A perfectly delicious, simple salad

Pasta with ham, egg and brown butter

Trout roe and radish salad

 

A little cup of heaven

Heaven in a cup

The meal was shared with absolutely wonderful company, which made it even more delicious, but if I lived closer, this place would be on my regular rotation because it feels good to be here and because it reminds me with a painful pang that New York is like a lover that invades your thoughts, leaves a trace of perfume on your pillow and always skirts the edge of your imagination even after they’re long gone.

I narrowly missed Hurricane Sandy, catching the last flight  out of JFK before they shut down the airport , but the added frisson of danger made this whole weekend that much more unforgettable, with my late lunch at Prune being a most delicious exclamation point.

 

The Real Real

Dear Readers,

I am torn. I just found a website so fabulous that I spent two hours looking over the entire thing, knowing that I was in Real Real trouble. It’s called the Real Real and it’s a luxury consignment site. I am torn because part of me just wants to keep this to myself because, after all it’s consignment, which means there is only one of most items. But in the end my loyalty to my fellow lovers of luxe won out and I am posting this.

Here are a few items I desperately covet already:

Prada snakeskin clutch

Jill Sander wool coat

Dries Van Noten wrap skirt

Derek Lam dress

The site is fairly bare bones, but easy to navigate. And although seeing the clothes on a lifeless plastic form isn’t as sexy as seeing them on a gorgeous human, we all know how to use our imaginations. So this is a very naughty find and I know I will soon be sending a lot of my cash over their way…

But at least this way, I know I won’t be alone.

Happy shopping!

Comal in Berkeley

Two things were disappointing about dinner at Comal: we got there too late to try any of the meat tacos (they were sold out), and there were only two of us so we had to leave a large portion of the menu untasted. Other than that, this new addition to the Berkeley food scene is yet another reason I feel lucky to live in the Bay Area. Not only is Comal a large, open, fun and inviting wooden space great for large parties and couples, it is open fairly late for Berkeley standards, (11pm Fridays and Saturdays). Best of all, there is an outdoor patio with its own bar. What’s not to love? Comal is owned by John Paluska, (former manager of the band Phish), and is headed by Chef Matt Gandin (formerly of Delfina). Chef Gandin’s main focus will be on cuisine from the Oaxacan region, but he’ll allow his love of regional Mexican cooking free reign. Spicing things up are smoky, complex and well-balanced cocktails and flights of Mezcal.

Mezcal with genius chicharrones salt!

Of course we had to try a Mezcal flight! It arrived accompanied by skewered tropical fruits, which you dip in chicharrones salt and use as a chaser. The overall taste is like liquid smoky bacon with a hint of sweetness and a kick of alcohol.Yum! I also tried the Jack Satan cocktail, made with Partida Reposado, hibiscus syrup, infierno tincture, lime and salt. And let me tell you—if this cocktail were a man (and I wasn’t happily married) I’d definitely invite it to take me home…

Get ready to swoom for Mr. Jack Satan

The food was solid and good. There were many more items on the menu that beckoned, which we simply couldn’t try being only two, but my favorites of the night were the meatballs and the artichokes.

Not very pretty to look at, but absolutely delicious meatballs

Artichokes

Maybe this will change as the restaurant matures, but for now the presentation is practically non existent. As you can judge from the photos, the food does not look very pretty, rather, it looks like something a very good, plump and good-natured home cook would make for you (if you were lucky). It also tastes absolutely home made, which I loved.

We also tried the salmon ceviche, which was good, but I’ve had better and the fish tacos, which although also good, didn’t merit the $12 price for two.

$12 fish tacos

Salmon ceviche

Overall, dinner was a delight and we came away knowing that we would be back soon. Next time we will come with backup so that we can try more and will arrive earlier before everything sells out. Just a word of warning—if you want to come to Comal, plan ahead. This is the hot new spot of the moment and reservations are hard to come by!

 

Chicherrones a.k.a. what my husband would sell his soul for...

Strawberries with chilli powder, mint and whipped cream

 

Sushi at Home

I love sushi, but I don’t always love to pay the premium price that we often see in Japanese restaurants. Luckily they sell sashimi-grade fish at grocery stores such as Berkeley Bowl, and for $14, you can get a whole freaking pound of ahi tuna! And even less for a pound of salmon! I don’t think you understand how much fish you get for a pound…I certainly didn’t. We had way too much fish and leftover sashimi is not the best.

I made tuna poke with the ahi tuna, but I used a tuna poke mix, which ended up being way too salty. Next time, I will try this recipe for tuna poke.

Give it a try! Sushi at home!

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