Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bits & Morsels

Miss Lily's Plantain Chips and Ackee Dip.

by Erin Frankel

When Foodies & Fashionistas unite: What do food enthusiasts do when fashion week hits? We go to the Milly Have To Have Mobile App Launch Party. After all, what better way to kick off fashion week than with tea sandwiches and petit fours catered by Tracy Stern.

Have To Have, a new platform that acts as a single destination to effortlessly and efficiently track and store everything you "have to have" in life when you shop online, is quickly gaining traction, especially during fashion week. My good friend and co-founder, Carla Holtze, explains: "the app provides an unprecedented platform from which fashion show attendees can capture, store, and share their runway inspirations with a simple touch of a screen. Product shots can be instantly categorized by brand and filed under the user's profile. All before the lights go back on."

Pretty neat. Looking forward to the next event.
Tracy Stern. Michelle Smith, Carla Holtze, and Kimberly Skelton.
Tony Alexandre, Tatiana Perkin, and Teymour Golsorkhi. Ainsley Earhardt and Gigi Stone.
Here are some other trend-setting restaurants where foodies and fashionistas coexist:

Miss Lily's. Serge Becker's latest installation is very fashionable. But a Jamaican Jerk Hut in the West Village? You would never expect the swank from the unassuming storefront on Houston Street. Nor upon entering the diner-esque appearance of the front room, where there's a bar and some cafeteria-style formica booths on black and white checkered floors.

Miss Lily's cocktail
But, in the back room you'll find an authentically-styled Jamaican dance hall. Here, the lights are dimmer and crews of models at black round booths, set against Jamaican pop art and stacks of old reggae records, are sipping on tropical cocktails and eating (well, snacking on) Jamaican favorites, all to the beat of "sick" reggae tunes.

The menu is straightforward, but enticing. It's soulful, rich, and exotic. At its essence, Jamaican food mixes and matches textures and flavors from other locales in producing its own distinct cuisine. Starter range with a mixture of flavors like the sweet Ackee dip with fried plantain chips or the spicy and light ceviche with fluke, scotch bonnet, and avocado.

The entrees are all interesting and Caribbean at heart. Go for a variety and get the Hellshire style fried whole snapper, which is prepared with a nice flavorful kick; and the restaurant's mainstay dish, a must, the slow-cooked and grilled Jamaican Jerk Chicken.

Definitely end your dinner with the Banana Cream Pudding. Sweet and sensational. Wash this down with a traditional and tangy cocktail, like the sweet Sorrel and Pink Ting.

The vibe is relaxed, ardently casual and leisurely stylish – with an edge you can only find in New York.

Miss Lily's
132 West Houston Street

The front bar at Miss Lily's.
The sultry back room at Miss Lily's.
Miss Lily's Oxtail Stew natural gravy, broad beans.
Miss Lily's Jerk Chicken, marinated cucumber salad
Miss Lily's Hellshire Style Fried Whole Snapper.
Miss Lily's Ceviche. Miss Lily's Banana Pudding.
Malaparte is as beloved a neighborhood restaurant as can be. A quaint and cozy corner Italian restaurant on Washington Street and Bethune, Malaparte artfully synthesizes a serene, romantic pace with modern-day Italian panache. The service is excellent and the young, beautiful Italian staff makes the experience all the more exhilarating.

What you'll find on the menu is a roster of starters, pastas, and meats: simple but artful, nothing too elaborate, but nothing dull.

Favorite starters include the shaved artichoke salad with a light olive oil dressing or one of the house specialties, the refreshing grilled octopus over a bed of arugula. Pastas range from the hearty vegetable or bolognese-based lasagna to the creamy spaghetti carbonara with a generous portion of parmesan cheese and black pepper to the special fettucini with salmon and a creamy pink sauce. And then, there's the deliciously sweet apple strudel to finish your meal.

753 Washington Street
Malaparte artichoke heart salad.
Malaparte grilled octopus.
Malaparte fettucine with pink sauce.
Malaparte spaghetti carbonara.
Malaparte apple strudel.
Georgetown Cupcakes. Georgetown's favorite cupcake shop is now in New York City. And it's got one swanky address on Mercer Street in the heart of SoHo where everyone and everything that fills the shop is bright and dazzling, including its two buoyant owners, sisters Sophie and Katherine. Everything in the big, bright shop is pink; the walls, the cupcake boxes, and even the owner's clothing.

As Sophie and Katherine told me personally, cupcakes are supposed to make people happy so they want a happy, fun vibe upon entering their store. And, indeed, everyone in the shop is smiling while they bite into these exquisite little cupcakes. The cupcakes themselves are not only pretty, but they are really really good.
Buoyant owners Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne.
Opening party for Georgetown Cupcakes in New York.
My favorites being the peanut butter fudge, which is a valrhona chocolate cupcake with a fudge core topped with a peanut butter frosting and fudge star drizzle or the toffee crunch, a toffee cupcake with a toffee-infused vanilla frosting topped with crushed heath bar. Or even the chocolate ganache, a valrhona chocolate cupcake with a thin layer of callebaut chocolate ganache icing topping with a fondant flower. The delicious cookies & creme reminded me of a fancy version of Oreos.

Naturally, it was way more sophisticated with its Madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake baked with Oreo crumbles and topped with an Oreo crumble-infused buttercream frosting. However, no matter how many varieties you try here, you must get the red velvet, Georgetown Cupcake's signature – a classic red velvet cupcake with a vanilla cream cheese frosting topping and a red fondant heart.
111 Mercer Street (between Spring and Prince), 212-431-4504.