Back in NYC

The produce is so damn good this time of year that everything tastes so good.

We got back around 730 on Monday evening, dropped our bags and heading over to Pastis. So happy to have Pastis back in the hood.

Our first stop the next night is Via Carota. Get there super early, put your name on the list, and come back when they tell you to. It is worth the wait. Rita Sodi and Jodi Williams are hitting it out of the park in everyone of their kitchens including I Sodi, Buvette and the newest addition Bar Pisellino. Their next spot will be at 50 Commerce Street, a restaurant space with a long history. The menu will be a nod to past American dishes.

Sushi Nakazawa is always a winner. I much prefer stopping in and having dinner in the bar vs making a resy. Night number 3. Much less formal.

A stop at Van Leeuwan on the way home.

Had dinner at ABCV where only vegetables are on the menu. It is either the product or someone in that kitchen is just killing it. No pics unfortunately

Discovered Jun-Men Ramen bar in Chelsea for lunch but could do dinner. Why didn’t I know about this place? So good!

Red Hook Tavern opened this past July hyping the burger. Feels like being in an old time pub which is a good vibe every season. The menu also nods to the past and the burger….well it is pretty damn good.

The nod to the past is something I am hearing a lot about in the restaurant world these days. Is there something about the comfort in the past and the fear of the future?

Regardless, we hit our faves and a few new spots this week. Feels good to be home.

Pierre Cardin, Brooklyn Museum

My grandmother loved fashion. Perhaps a woman of her generation but she always dressed up.  I think of her whenever I am not sure what the dress code is.  She would say “better overdressed than underdressed”.  Not a bad mantra to live by.


In 8th grade, I convinced her to buy me a turtleneck with a small gold Pierre Cardin logo on the right bottom corner that folded under my neck.  I felt so chic.  


There is a retrospective of his work at the Brooklyn Museum that opened this summer and it was on the top of my list to see the first weekend back in the city. 

He is 97 years old. Started out as a tailor at 15, ending up in the accounting department when he was drafted into the war. It served him quite well. His brilliant modern thoughts changed everything in his industry. He was the first to license his name which gave him the opportunity to buy Maxims, dabble in furniture and explore many other avenues. He was also the first design label to do ready to wear. Why not make money by knocking off your own products?

He was a first for so many things including the first designer to go to India, Japan and Russia. Even designing gender neutral clothing that inspired Star Trek and the Jetsons clothing

The show is definitely worth seeing but I agree with the woman I overheard on the way out. I wanted more. In Paris, the shows around designers are tremendous. The Christian Dior show at Museum Decoratifs in Paris took hours to go through and so did the YSL show at Petit Palais. Pierre Cardin deserved more and so do the patrons.

The Dads

Remember Ozzie and Harriet? Ozzie would come home from work in his suit and say “honey I’m home” and Harriet, who looked picture perfect with a clean house and something cooking in the oven would obediently lean over for a kiss. Don’t forget she had her kitchen apron on. Thank god those days are over.

Now we know, because Dad’s have gotten involved, how damn hard it is. I saw a great photo of a young father with his baby strapped to his back vacuuming the house as part of his duties. We should not be applauding this but rather be saying “it is about time”.

We have many friends with young children. Everyone plays a role in raising the family. Sometimes both parents work, other times one ends up staying home but the roles are not like Ozzie and Harriet. They have become blended. Trust me we still have a way to go but movement is happening.

A recent study came out on the positive impact of equal paternity leave in Scandinavia. The country offers up to 480 days of paid leave after having a child for both parents. Currently the law in the states is that you can supposedly take 12 weeks off of unpaid leave. Our childcare system is far from supportive of families we could actually say there is zero support.

Here is the most powerful stat out of Scandinavia. 88% of the work force is women between 25-54 with children. After 480 days, women actually return to work. Also, masculinity changes because now men can be caregivers, that they can be dipping into a bag of treats, diapers and napkins at the playground, they can be more vulnerable. Family is first. Men have a better connection with their kids. It is a win.

It is really hard for a start-up to do this but it is not that hard for a large company. It appears from this study that the long tail of paternity leave is that it is great for business.

Money, money, money

Money is complicated. You need it to survive, to pay the rent or the mortgage, buy food, have healthcare, pay for college, clothes, books…basically life.

My bank account has been overdrawn where a credit card was handy although that creates an entire other issue of problems. My bank account has also found itself in a place where I could have never dreamed to be. That opens a whole other can of worms. I wanted to make sure our kids understood the value and respect of a dollar, hard work and how lucky we are. Money is complex.

Then there is the world of needing money to build your business or needing money to fund education programs, keep museums open and make sure that non-profits can continue to fulfill their missions. This is how America works. America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but people find themselves begging, borrowing and sometimes turning a blind eye to blood money to move forward. It is set in our foundation.

Joi Ito resigned from MIT this past week over the hubbub of his financial ties to Jeffrey Epstein. Joi did incredible work building the MIT Media Lab. His impact is so much larger than any of us realize. Perhaps he turned a blind eye to the big check even though it was tied to evil. So have museums, admission departments of Universities, start-ups, VC’s and Government officials. I am not saying taking a tainted check is a good thing but when you need the cash and nobody else is ponying it up it is probably an easy rationalization.

As this can of worms gets larger and larger, will we begin to see change? Is this why we have a youth movement behind Bernie Sanders? Is this next generation seeing something that we have chosen not to see? Is that why many recent graduates are gravitating towards what really makes them happy vs going after the cash?

The divide is too large and that includes putting a moral compass in front of the money. From #MeToo to blood money to the ugly racism that is pervading our streets and media, the curtain is coming down and I hope it forces all of us to take a good look at the simple distinction between right and wrong.

Desperation Breeds Inspiration, Ariane Goldman, Hatch, Podcast #113

Ariane Goldman is the Founder and CEO of HATCH Collection a maternity clothing brand designed to give women access to cool and easy styles during pregnancy and beyond. I have known Ariane for awhile and it has been incredible to watch her personally evolve and grow her business. We sat down to talk about her journey toward entrepreneurism and the way she built her companies from the ground up without raising capital until now.

You can listen to this on iTunes here.

Zucchini Bread

The amount baking, cooking, roasting, grilling and feeding mouths in July and August has been one of the joys of the summer. Having the kids and guests chip in is part of the fun including the local farming, tie-dying, ping-pong, body-surfing in the waves and other activities.

Farmer Scott picked a huge zucchini that sat taking over the majority of the fruit basket for weeks. It would have made a fabulous Thanksgiving decoration for the table. I finally busted out and make zucchini bread. This is a winner.

This makes two loaves.

  • 4 cups of grated zucchini
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 cups flour
  • extra dark brown sugar for the bottom of the pan
  • 2 9×5 loaf pans (I use the tin foil pans)

Heat oven to 350. Spray the loaf pans with a non-stick oil.

In a large bowl place the grated zucchini, oil, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and salt and mix together thoroughly with a fork. Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg baking powder and baking soda over this mixture. Mix again until combined. Add the flour mixture, mix to combine.

At the bottom of the loaf pan sprinkle dark brown sugar over the bottom. Pour half of the mixture into each separate pan. Bake about an hour or until done. This particularly recipe says to leave these in the pan unwrapped for 24 hours. I made it in the morning and busted it out the following morning. Delish.

Two Family Homes

My first job out of college was working for Macy’s. I was placed in Kings Plaza Brooklyn to run the cosmetic department. I had never set foot in that area of the world until then. We explored all parts of Brooklyn including a few weekends at Rockaway Beach in the summer months. A magical fascinating place for someone who grew up in suburbia.

About 150 women worked for me when I was 21. I learned a lot about their lives. The one thing that I had never heard of before then is the two family home. Many of them owned a house that was designed with a part of it as a secondary home that they would rent out to someone. Essentially that portion of their house gave them the income to live in their homes and other costs of life.

I went to a few of those homes and thought the concept was pretty genius. AirBnb took this one step further. Ideas are rarely new but become something different. When 40% of Americans can’t cover a surprise $400 emergency expense, we have to look immediately to housing on how that must change in the years to come. The cost of housing has become so high and having a room over your head is number one.

Will we begin to see more of this concept in the rebuilding of cities and new developments? The one thing that read to me loud and clear when I first saw the “two-home” model is the community created. I like the model of two for one for many reasons from multi-generational including a younger couple living in that second home or your grandparents.

It has worked in Brooklyn and Queens for decades. It can work other places too.

The Privilege Walk

I read about the Privilege Walk in a book. From doing a little research it seems that this is done mostly on college campuses during orientation. It was designed to provide college students an opportunity to understand and explore the ways that privilege (or lack of) can help people recognize the obstacles and benefits of privilege.

White males have had privilege for centuries. Things are finally changing but making these conversations more top of the world’s mind is a relief but many still don’t realize how privileged they are. It is not easy to shake a foundation.

The questions are asked to a group of students. Your personal answer either gives you a step forward or a step backward. At the end of the questions, everyone sees where they are standing, at the front of the pack or behind. The people at the front are the most privileged.

The Privilege Walk Exercise questions are below.

  • If English is your first language take one step forward
  • If either of your parents graduated from college take one step forward
  • If you have been divorced or have been impacted by divorce take one step backward
  • If there have been times in your life when you skipped a meal because there was no food in the house take one step backward.
  • If you have visible or invisible disabilities take one step backward.
  • If you were encouraged by your parents or family members to attend college take one step forward
  • If you grew up in an urban center take one step backward
  • If your family had health insurance take on step forward
  • If your work and school holidays coincide with religious holidays that you celebrate take one step forward
  • If you studied the culture or history of your ancestors in elementary school take one step forward
  • If you have been bullied or made fun of for something you can not change (gender, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation) take one step backward
  • If you have ever been passed over for an employment promotion because of gender, ethnicity, age or sexual orientation take one step backward
  • If you have ever been offered a job because of family or friend take one step forward
  • If you have ever been stopped or questioned by the police because they felt you looked suspicious take one step backward
  • If your family inherited money or property take one step forward
  • If you came from a supportive family environment take one step forward
  • If your parents were ever laid off or unemployed not by choice take one step backward
  • If you are a citizen of the United States take one step forward
  • If you were ever uncomfortable about a joke or statement you overheard related to race, ethnicity, gender, appearance or sexual orientation take one step backward
  • If your ancestors forced to come to the United States without choice take one step backward
  • If you took out loans for your education take one step backward
  • If there were over 50 books in your household growing up take one step forward
  • If you ever felt unsafe walking home alone at night take one step backward
  • If you are a white male take on step forward

Doesn’t take much to read this and realize where you stand among the people around you.

Anger

People across the globe are so angry. There was a stabbing in Lyon, France. Another shooting in Texas. Knife crimes in Britain. There is something every day. Shouldn’t we be trying to figure out why?

We all have our theories of why. It is layered, complicated and does not have one answer but starting to see the other side of the table might be a start. Flaming anger from the top officials across the globe is probably not a good idea either.

I just finished reading Rising Out of Hatred, The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. It is the story of Derek Black, the son of Don Black, an American white supremacist and god-son of David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan. Derek grew up in an isolated world of hatred and anger.

During his years in college, he begins to question the tenets he grew up with. He is incredibly smart and curious. Through Jewish, Latino, Gay and Mexican friends and a lot of reading he denounces everything he stood for and the path he was supposed to take. His girlfriend is his hero.

The book, like Educated, shows one again that given the tools to think for yourself, you can become something different even though you grew up in an echo chamber of something else.

We can all agree to disagree on political subjects but to have that kind of anger is something we all need to do a better job of understanding. Read Rising Out of Hatred. There is a reason that certain young white men are attracted to this anger. We need to understand that along side a new set of gun laws. The problem is multi-dimensional.

Labor Day

Today we should all be thinking about what labor day means particularly when our country has been built on the back of immigrants from far and wide. It is the laborers who have helped our country achieve economic success.

We are going to wrap up the summer and take our show back to city life but plan on thinking about what is happening at our borders and the need for some strong political will to create smart laws around immigration that make sense.