The Finch, Clinton Hill

We had dinner last weekend with some friends at The Finch in Clinton Hill.  Built in a 120-year old Brownstone, on the bottom floor, the Finch, a one-star Michelin restaurant unassumingly presides.  I loved the restaurant the second I walked in….and liked it even more when I read the menu.  The place feels warm, new and old at the same time.  The kitchen and bar are wide open. Bulbs of light with brass holders make the rooms glow.  First thing that went through my head was, this is the type of restaurants you used to find in Manhattan…and I miss them terribly.

The menu isn’t big but big enough with 6 small plates and 6 large plates and 3 items for the table.  Each dish is creative yet balanced.  The chef, Gabe McMackin, who has been in the kitchen at Stone Barns, Roberta’s and Gramercy Tavern, and experience says it all.

We shared only two things for the group.  Light crispy Lemon Pecorino Arancini’s that were piping hot.

And Japanese Yams with lemon mayonnaise, a hint of licorice and pickled fresno peppers.  I am really into the white Japanese sweet potatoes these days particularly with bit of spice.

I had the Maitake Mushrooms with Smoked Ricotta & Arugula on Toast.  Lightly sauteed mushrooms over a dense crispy toast that had been spread with a smoked ricotta and then topped with arugula.  Could be shared.  Delicious.

I just got a bite of the Baby Lacinato Kale with Smoked Ricotta, Pistachios & Balsamic.  I love how this salad was presented.  Each leaf had a splash of the ricotta, pistachio and balsamic over it.  This is a huge winner.

Had a taste of this too, Beets and Burrata with Roasted Treviso & Pine Nut Brittle.  Adding pine nut brittle giving the beets and burrata a shot of sweet and crunch that was delicious.

There were three kinds of pasta on the menu and all of them looked amazing.  I opted for scallops but a few at the table for the pasta; the one with buckwheat Cavatelli and Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts & Pumpkin Seeds sounds amazing.  Bay Scallops with a mixture of mushrooms and a puree of greens.  A warm crunchy salad with warm little scallops inside.

I would go back and order this one.  Short Rib Steak with Pommes Anna & Tardivo.  The steak was so flavorful.

Desserts were also a bonus.  Buttermilk Panna Cotta Tart with Kabocha Squash…I wish I didn’t have to share.

Chocolate Cake with Pine Nuts & Rosemary.  This dessert kind of defines the restaurant.  This mixture of rosemary with something sweet is a combination that is so simple yet works for perfectly.

We had one of the cheeses available that come with a sliced apple and a brittle.

My photos weren’t the best so I will have to reshoot next time because I am definitely going back.  I wish there were more places like the Finch down the street from you.

 

Last day at the art shows, Miami

Untitled is definitely one of our favorite shows at Basel.  Sitting in a large tent on the beach so the light is amazing.  Here are some pieces we really liked.  The sneakers by Alan Belcher at MKG127.  All hand painted small pieces.  Kind of love these.

What is incredible about this piece is how it is made.  Small pieces of wood create the face and they are all hung together by being sewn with thin plastic string.  Aime Mpane at Haines Gallery.

Not sure who this was by but was drawn to the colors.

Have always been a fan of this work by Hans Op de Beeck.

Didn’t catch this artist.

Got a good chuckle out of this.

We really liked these concrete suits all representing suits of architects.  Aljandro Almanza Pereda.

Saw a lot more pieces that used materials.  It is hard to see the labor of work with these strings.  Natasza Niedziolka at Sean Horton.

Derrick Adams.  We have been looking for one of his pool pieces forever.  Now we have one!

Not sure what the deal with these shoes was.

Deborah Roberts at Fort Gansevoort.  Missed out on this but really like her work.

Then we went over to the Perez Museum which wasn’t that inspiring.  This piece was cool by Yoan Capote.  This was all made of wire and plastic.

Video installation by Dara Friedman.

We went back to 1-800-Lucky and it was open.  The front room is a record store that also plays tunes, the big room is four different restaurants like a food hall and then outside is a big bar and a place to hang and enjoy.   Super smart space.  We had some dumplings that were pretty good.

And a Szechuan salad with a plum dressing.

We are big fans of Derrick Adams work.  He has an installation at Primary Projects called Black White and Brown.

This is part of his TV series.

Particularly loved this photo.  He did this piece when Obama was in the White House.  The meaning is quite different now.

We quickly went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Stubborn Seed.  Beautiful presentations of food.  Particularly loved the open kitchen.  Not a fan of the sharing thing with small plates that could easily be your own.

This was the best thing we had.  This is a thin cracker slathered with chicken liver pate.

We barely made it back to the hotel we were so tired.

 

What Drives Me? Olivia Young, Box + Flow, Podcast #46

Olivia Young is the Founder of Box + Flow, a fitness location and lifestyle brand based on the principles of personal balance and enjoying life. For the podcast this week, Olivia and I sat down and got straight to business — from what it took for her take the plunge into her first entrepreneurial venture, to how she brings a unique perspective to the exploding wellness industry, and everything in between.

Another day in Miami

We started the day off with the Rubell Family Collection.  They are in the midst of building a large new building to display more of their collection.  It is seriously impressive what they have done.  Most of the work I have seen there over the years is really out there but it is important to be collected.  This Jon Rafman video was in the main room.  The first quote on this film is “If you can’t sleep at night, it means you are awake in someone else’s dreams”.  He immerses himself in the digital world through augmented reality.  We happen to own his earlier works that are of images pulled off the internet layered with other images on top of it.

The installation this year was all about the digital world.  This particular piece if by Jennifer Rubell of a gag nutcracker, fully functioning of Hillary Clinton.

This is a human statue by Frank Benson

Our next move was going over to the new ICA museum.  That area of town appears to have been built yesterday.  They did an amazing job.  Great rooms, beautiful flow, light and airy.  Most of the work was large forms.  This is from Anna Opperman who is known for her ensembles.

The second floor was the most interesting.  Rochelle Feinstein exploring artistic creation.

Avery Singer who uses 3D modeling and Sketch-up tools.

Nicole Eisenman, one of my favorite painters right now.

Next door is the De La Cruz Collection.  Another new building although did not love the most of the work.  Sigmar Polke.

Although did love this from Jim Hodges.

We stopped by the new food space that only has stalls with Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese vendors called 1-800-Lucky.  They weren’t open until 3pm so unfortunately, we did not get to try anything.

Off to NADA.  I always want to love NADA more than I do.  Felt pieces by William O’Brien.

Donuts by David Adamo

Sally Saul.

Snoopy.

We went back to the other side of Miami for lunch at Taquiza.  Seriously line.  The tacos were good but the chips were amazing.  Blue chips that were crunchy yet chewy.

We walked down to the Bass Museum which was the hit of the day.  Sculptures outside.

This is right before walking in.

Each installation was better than the next.  The second floor’s first room was of these colored windows by Ugo Rondinone.

The rooms of clowns off of that was amazing.  You honestly can’t capture it on film.

Downstairs was an install of Pascale Marthine, a Cameroon artist who mixes historical objects from the past and present.  Incredible.

Then another installation of Mika Rottenberg.

It was time to put our feet up and take it easy before heading out for drinks and dinner later on in the evening.

 

Miami Basel, 2017

We got down here on Wednesday evening.  I am not my typical self of answering emails at rapid-fire speed but taking a few days off to slide, take in the art, the design and the warmth.  Saw this piece plastered to the sidewalk.  Certainly sets the tone for what is going on in the daily news.

It is pretty amazing how Miami has grown over the past decade.  I’ve always thought of this place as a portal to South America.  There are so many new restaurants, hotels, activities, art installations (museums) and more.  First day we hit up the fair at the convention hall, that is the foundation of the entire event.  Everything else hangs off of it.  Design Miami is right next door to the convention so we saw that too.  The thing about the hall is that every day is different as the galleries change their booths daily.  Some people go back and back and back.  I actually prefer some of the satellite shows that we will see later in the week.

I was not particularly wowed this year although there are always some pieces that we are drawn to.  I do like neon.  I See What You See, Joseph Kosuth.

More ceramics over the years.  Miquel Barcelo.

Joel Shapiro at Pace.

New Alex Katz at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac.  Really different change from his past work.

Tony Cragg also at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac with another Alex Katz in the background.

Have always liked Do Ho Suh’s work.

Really different work from Vik Muniz at Sikkema Jenkins.

Ariene Shechet at Los Angeles Projects

Some Charles Gaines work at two different galleries.

Zanele Muholi who we discovered last year at the fair.

Spencer Finch

Walton Ford…big fan.

Julio de Parc

Ramiro Gomez.  I really liked how he incorporated cardboard into the paintings to create these 3D effects.

Andrea Bowers who has been doing feminist works for years.  Timing is perfect right now.

Ricci Albenda, Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Simone Leigh.  Loved these!

Olafar Elliason.  More than a few pieces of his work at the fair.

Meschac Gaba

Henry Taylor

Rodney Graham

Thought this shirt was funny.

Elmgreen and Dragnet

Oscanio Mmm

Brian Bess at Cherry + Martin

Tschabala Self at Pillar Corrias

In Design Miami, there is always the latest and greatest in design.  Fendi’s new line.

Kim Simonsson.

Dividers at Yu Wang

Loved these chairs at Mercado Modern

Both so comfortable by Brazilian designers.

Obsessed with this table and the butterfly piece over it.

John Procario

Perfect ending of two chairs, one for the Queen and the other for the heir.

Back to the hotel to chill….not big on the late night scene but had some dinner with friends down here and recharged for the next day

All the Ladies are in the house….and they are here to stay

What a year it has been.  The fork in the road is quite clear, there is no going back and it is about time.

There have been challenges for women in every single industry as long as there has been an industry.  Technology, as much as I believed back in the day that this particular industry would change all that, has been one of the worst.  The good news is that things are changing.  Yesterday, one of the top female VC’s told me that when they are investing in a really solid female founder and are looking for others to fill out the round, they only show the deal to other female VC’s to give it a first look.  That is powerful.  It means that female VC’s are holding the cards on the women founders.  There is a lot of proof in the pudding in pure data that female founders have higher ROI’s so we are going to see females rising to the top on the top of the charts.  That is a bonus for everyone particularly the next generation of women coming up the ranks as you can’t be it if you can’t see it.

As someone who has been touting this for over a decade, it is about time.  The band of female investors are organizing together vs the past (my generation) where sharp elbows were everywhere.  The first initiative is Female Founders Hours. It is happening on both coasts and hopefully will extend to other cities.  It is about women helping women.  The concept is that female investors will have 30-minute slots for a few hours, hopefully, every month, where female founders can get a 1-1 with a female investor to talk about their business.  There will be great advice, communities built and perhaps some game-changing businesses will get funded.

I am not a VC but an angel and I am honored to be part of the incredible group of female VC’s who are leading this charge.  I must admit, it makes me feel that my mission is being accomplished.

Investors should all care about diversity

Only 3% of venture capitalists surveyed by LinkedIn rate diversity as a “top concern” and only 14% of venture capitalists rate diversity as one of their top 2 concerns, when compared to macroeconomic conditions, raising capital, hitting revenue targets, or hiring the right people.

59% of venture capitalists say that their firms do not support any diversity initiatives for founders, while an even greater 69% of founders report that their startups do not support any diversity initiatives for employees

If you are a smart investor, and you are good at seeing the future, then take a good hard look at what people are expecting in the years to come. These are two statistics to think about that came out of a recent survey done by LinkedIn.  I find these stats insane considering the overwhelming data that has shown that companies with gender diversity have better returns on investment (ROI).  That most companies and investors don’t seem to care about diversity issues is plain stupid.

Everyday we are reading about bad behavior of a new powerful man.  Each generation has a different reaction to this because older people have witnessed this for years and perhaps have become numb where as people in their 20’s are incredulous that this behavior exists.  Let’s focus on the 20 year olds.

What is unique about start-ups is that they are generally ahead of their time.  Successful start-ups are creating companies that are filling voids for the future.  Great investors get where things are going and the hope is that by betting on that company, they will see growth and engagement in a very different place three to five years down the line.  When most people begin to realize that a particular product exists, people in the start-up world have seen it years ago.  

It is mostly the youth that make up the majority of these companies workforce and many times it is the youth that start them.  This generation is not ok with bad behavior and they not only believe in equality, diversity and gender balance they don’t see the world without it .  

That says to me that VC’s should care very deeply about hiring the right mixture of people to  work in their investments.  They should be supporting diversity by making it a top priority for all the companies that they invest in including the firm they work in.  The importance of making diversity a top priority now, just like investing in start-ups, is the payoff will be 3-5 years down the line.  

So let’s make this clear of where we need to be.  Bad behavior is unacceptable and companies where powerful men sexually harass women will be taken out of the equation immediately.  Nothing will be swept under the carpet anymore.  A myriad of faces is what people who work in companies want to see including new hires.  Diverse companies will have it easier recruiting good people. Diversity is expected in our workplaces and the C-team must be gender balanced.  Those are the companies of the future because it is not just about a good idea and a tenacious founder, it is about a culture that can execute on that vision and the culture of the future is a very diverse workforce.  

These stats tell me that too many institutional investors are not doing a very good job when it comes to thinking about the future and if I were a limited partner I would not be considering those VC firms a very good investment.  

I wrote about this on LinkedIn

You Get One Shot, One Opportunity

Big fan of the song Lose Yourself, by Eminem.  The lyrics certainly could hit right between a founder’s eyes.

Look
If you had
One shot
Or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture
Or just let it slip?

Over the past year, Path Forward has grown rapidly while learning a lot along the way.  I am the co-chair of this organization that empowers women and men (but we have found mostly women) to restart their career after taking time off from their careers to raise their children, take care of a sick parent or both.  We have helped over hundreds of women restart their careers.

I love meeting them and hearing their stories.  Like most women, when you get off that career train, there comes a point where you almost lose your sense of self and your confidence making it really hard to return to the work world.  HR people look at this person’s resume and see a gap which makes it even more difficult to get back in the game.  Path Forward runs a program that gets these women over those hurdles including the hurdles on the company side of hiring these amazing people.

We just announced that we are working with Apple and Campbells Soup in 2018 adding solid companies to the ever-expanding list of other places such as Oracle, Intuit, Cloudflare and DataStax to name a few in NYC, California, and Colorado.  We have built a foundation that we can now leverage to more companies by hearing from the people that went through the program and the companies experiences and what more they want going forward.

As a chair, one of my roles is definitely to help the company connect with people who can help us grow.  I learned a long time ago that there is a time and place to make those connections work.  This applies to anything.  I see founders get in front of investors too early and then they have a hard time getting back in the door.  I see founders to get advice from someone who could be really helpful but they get their too early and that conversation ends up providing no value and of course they can’t get back in the door here either.

We had a meeting this past week with someone who you should only go see when your idea is flushed out and the foundation is built and being used.  The timing was perfect for all of us and that makes for a great meeting.  Matt, my co-chair wrote about the importance of timing here.

I am extremely excited about what Path Forward will do in 2018 and also very happy that we took our one chance for a particular meeting at the right time.  By grabbing that opportunity at the right time, we didn’t squander the meeting.

Trust What You Chose, Abbey Warsh, Harbor Market & Kitchen, Podcast #45

After over a decade of being a full-time mom, Abbey Warsh decided to take a calculated leap into entrepreneurship — she partnered with Chef Paul Del Favero and Susan Del Favero to open the Harbor Market & Kitchen in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Abbey shares with me how trusting her gut led her to the right opportunities and collaborators, and how this mindset continues to influence her business today, as well as her plans for the future