Debbie’s Week at a Glance: Out East and back in the Big Town

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What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Food remains all that is left in New York City in summer. This week, I ate the gamut — swanky Chinese, honest Irish, and sublime French. I’m quite sure these three spots have never been uttered in the same sentence, no less experienced in a three-day span.

Dinner at Donahue’s, arguably the most authentic restaurant on the Upper East Side, is always a comforting treat. I mean, where do you find Salisbury steak any more? Found it, and loved.

The next night, a covey of girls flitted into Hakkasan, the sexy, international Chinese restaurant that feels much like more Mayfair than 43rd and 8th Avenue. Peking Duck. Shrimp Dumplings, Crab Salad, and service that makes you feel you’ve been ignored your whole life till now.

My culinary (esque) ramble ended in Valhalla. Charles Masson invited a very few lucky friends to the Chef’s Table lunch, this time celebrating Bastille Day and the debut of their uber talented new chef, wunderkind, Belge Emmanuel Niess. He is tweaking their beloved mainstays and adding some new ones (see the pictures and salivate). Sated guests included Sigourney Weaver, who just wrapped Avatar 2, with her charming husband, Jim Simpson, founder of The Flea Theater.


L. to r.: Majorelle, my Mecca; La Table du Chef, celebrating Bastille Day.
L. to r.: Charles Masson … need I say more?; Heidi and Alan Roberts.
Introducing Majorelle’s new chef, Belge Emmanuel Niess. Yes, he’s old enough to be brilliant.
Clockwise from top left: His grilled bass with sorrell and tomato. My stomach is grumbling as I write; Duck breast with figs and parsnips;Roasted peach with lemon verbena “crémeux.”

After hearing about the 34 banged up passengers on a recent, turbulent Air Canada flight, I was hugely relieved that in the brewing thunderstorm, my invitation to fly east on a tiny seaplane was cancelled. I have never enjoyed LIE traffic more.


Traffic ahead, traffic behind. Never worse.

The next morning I learned how I might heal from all that stress at the new Shou Sugi Ban House — the only comprehensive wellness center in the Hamptons — and where is it needed more? I toured the therapeutic baths and showers, mediation rooms, pools, Zen-like rooms (only 13 in total), and got to sample famed Noma chef, Mads Refslund curated cuisine. Amy Cherry Abitol co-founder and CEO, who looks like what we want to achieve here, gave me the tour. The only time I felt anxious and unwell is when I left.


Shou Sugi Ban House-the East Ends first wellness retreat.
L. to r.: Buddha beckons; Co-founder, Amy Cherry-Abitol, Co-Founder, CEO, and poster girl for wellness.
Part of the three-acre grounds.
View of neighbor, The Parrish Art Museum, from the second story deck.
The rooms come with soaking tubs for clarity, vitality, nourishment and ease. Yes, please.
Stone picnic table for communal dining.
Healing teas.
L. to r.: What’s in those teas and the pot; Who knew I’d love silken tofu?

Then I ate French fries at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton and talked a friend off a real estate cliff. Take me back, Shou Sugi Ban!


Less Zen, french fries and rosé at Pierre’s, Bridgehampton, for lunch.

I swore I’d stay in the night before The Parrish Midsummer Party which I was co-chairing, but gosh darn it, Palm Beach’s Amy Hoadley isn’t out East often. So off I went Friday night. Eames Yates and Pam Taylor, also new PB residents, and Jack Lynch of glam spots everywhere, joined. So did the King Charles Spaniels Lovie Pie and Teddy, always my favorite guests, and they, sensing that, live at my feet, waiting for food to drop.


L. to r.: Amy Hoadley, Eddy Dirnfeld, Eames Yates, Pam Taylor, and Jack Lynch at table; Pup is Lovie Pie.

My darling chum Geoffrey Bradfield came out just for my Parrish Art Museum Midsummer Party, as he has done for me for 35 years. He actually goes back to New York afterwards, and if you lived in a Geoffrey Bradfield-designed home, you would too.

Even more remarkable, his friend William Featherby flew in from London for the party. Many came too, to honor the legendary philanthropists and art collectors, Louise and Len Riggio, who were introduced lovingly by Maya Lin whose 5-acre sculpture lives on the Riggio’s property, with another piece shown in the Museum’s Gallery.


My Parrish Midsummer Party dates, William Featherby and Geoffrey Bradfield.

Maya told us: “Leonard and Louise Riggio are a dynamic duo, and they have been tireless advocates for education, literacy and social justice, as well as being passionate supporters of the arts, both in their private collecting and their generous contributions.”

Len in turn told us: “I met Maya, actually picked her up, in the parking lot of a sculpture show. I was too shy to approach her before. We went for a drink. She didn’t, I did.  I did. I think she is the most brilliant person I have ever known.”


Party space before the guests arrived.
L. to r.: My Honorary Co-Chair, Preston Phillips; Campion and Tatiana Platt, Parrish supporters for eons.
L. to r.: Honorees Louise and Len Riggio; Sonny, my appointed server and his boss, brilliant caterer, Olivier Cheng.
Matt Dillon. Huh?
L. to r.: Phil Isles and Bridget Marks; Bryan Hunt and Lucy Winton, artists we love.
L. to r.: Janna ‘Wasn’t the theme, glitter?’ Bullock and Kevin Richards; Chad Leat, last year’s honoree and Zev Eisenberg. I just love a man in a skirt.

The rousing auction followed and happy winners went home with a Seaborne Cruise, a wine dinner at Wolffer, a dinner at Sotheby’s, a spa weekend at Shou Sugi Ban House, and generous bidders left behind donations to support their education programs.


Philip MacGregor and Ron Wendt in front of their fabulous creation — the party!
Parrish Director Terrie Sultan and why we do it, artists Ross Bleckner and Dan Rizzie.

Then the  ‘After Ten’ young ’uns surged into the black box theater/cum disco and did what they do. Alas, I went to sleep.

What could be a nicer way to come back to earth, than at a farm? A few of us gathered on Sunday, among chicks and ducks and geese (no surrey) to munch home grown greens and potatoes, and chicken, happily not relatives of the chicks in residence.


Has there ever been a more guileless face than Chloe, the alpaca’s?
Chloe’s plas, the donkeys Carmela and Cowboy.
Donkeys in pen, horse in pool.
Ruler of the roost.
Chloe says ‘no’. I don’t eat lettuce without dressing, either.
Bella chooses biggest sucker and sloppiest eater, in hopes lunch falls her way.

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