We flew back from Milwaukee last eve. The time in the air is when I often edit photos I have shot for the shops and the blog. This round was collecting images that are true Watson Kennedy ‘classics’ which was fun to pick & chose from over the last few years. Goods that have stood the test of time. Something we try to never be without, but that sometimes happens as the item is so popular. From a simple clear glass to an oversized tealight to French wooden spoons to an every day salt–WK Classics.
A classic to me is something that stands the test of time. When I walk around the shops there are certain goods that we have stocked since we first opened in 1998. Many of those things had been around for quite a few years at that point. Close to 20 years added to that and ‘classic’ status is achieved. Agraria, once a little shop in San Francisco creating exquisite bath & home products, was the initial maker of their bitter orange. The product line was later sold and then moved to Los Angeles where they continue to make the beloved Agraria bitter orange. Candles, room spray, bath salts, bar soap, lotion, bath gel and liquid hand soap–we stock it all. The scent unmistakable. A classic.
Wine & Dine Wednesday is about a place I most certainly would deem a classic in every sense, Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I have written in the past of my love for this place where the memorable meals are indelibly marked in my memory. The taxi dropping me off last week and the moment I stepped out of the car, the unmistakable scent of firewood burning in their wood oven wafted over me like a warm embrace from an old friend. The service always impeccable and always incredibly friendly, which seems rarer & rarer these days. You feel like you are sitting in someone’s comfortable home. Comfort both in environment as well as food is where Zuni excels. Quite possibly one of the finest roast chickens on the planet, cooked to perfection to order, that has been imitated the globe over by other restaurants. A burger so perfectly done you could shed a tear. What is in season reigns supreme, so you are assured the vegetables are going to be sublime. A hearty bowl of polenta, which seems so basic and simple, is quite possibly the most perfect comfort food. Until the heaping, overflowing bowl of shoestring potatoes is delivered to your table. Fish so fresh and cooked with fresh herbs you will dream about it later, I promise. All housed in a setting on Market Street where the large glass windows allows a bit of San Francisco to pass you by. If you find yourself in the Bay Area, a Zuni lunch or dinner on the agenda will be a highlight of your trip.
A plate of out of this world pasta is a reason to celebrate in my book. When those plates just keep coming and each dish is better than the next, my head starts spinning with delight. No, make that my stomach, not my head. This is the beauty of Spinasse.
I dined there last week with my friend we have known forever, Lissa, who loves her pasta as much as I do. You might be sitting in the Pike/Pine neighborhood, but you feel transported to Italy. To a little magical spot that just feels good–you see folks cooking, the space is divided into two which makes it cozy, and the staff is warm & welcoming. My favorite dining experiences tend to be when you feel like you are in someone’s home. They always hit the mark. Spinasse has quickly become a classic. Yum.
Last week I had a divine dinner at Canlis in Seattle with my friend Marianne Simon, interior designer extraordinaire. Canlis is a Seattle institution and a true classic. I always like sharing a stellar meal with all of you, and this truly was. This was a treat from Marianne. We take turns taking each other to dinner. She chose Canlis–I said, you bet! Out came a jacket & tie and we were off. TPS & I ate there many, many years ago. Lots has happened at Canlis since then. The reins of the establishment have been taken over by the third generation, and I had heard a little refresh had taken place. The space is just refreshing and beautifully appointed. Surrounded by glass, you feel like you are sitting amongst Seattle and all the beauty it offers. I had also been hearing about a new chef and was excited to eat/see what all the buzz was about. The buzz is truly warranted. Amid the constant chatter of stories among friends and the flow of rosé, we were presented with course after course of sublime culinary creations. One of the best salmon dishes I have ever had. We both started with the classic Canlis salad, which is a must. I want to recreate it and will write a post about it in the future. The Canlis family have been customers of Watson Kennedy since we first opened. It was a real treat to reciprocate and to be in their fine establishment which continues to delight as this next generation puts their spin on things.
I was incredibly excited when this shipment arrived. I have loved these cookies since I was a little kid. Plus I was always so enamored with the cool paper they were wrapped in and even more taken with the red metal tin that housed them all. I have searched high and low for a distributor of them from Italy so we could have them at Watson Kennedy. Well I am happy to report, my SF buying trip helped that all come together. A big shipment arrived the other day, and our Italy section is bulging with red tins and boxes of these lovelies. The crisp, airy cookies with the big chunks of sugar strewn about are just the simplest, easiest, most perfect dessert in a pinch. Put said wrapped cookies in a nice bowl or scatter on a beautiful plate alongside clementines and dessert is served. They pair swimmingly with coffee, wine or liqueurs. I also like to crumble them up and put on top of ice cream or sorbet. The signature red tin becomes such a great keepsake after all is said and done. We have a collection at WestWard that houses a host of kitchen things. These make great gift options for a host/hostess gift in place of a bottle of wine.
When the UPS driver brought in the box marked Rizzoli, I knew good things were in store. Our much awaited copies of the Diana Vreeland Memos book were finally here! I have been looking so forward to sitting down and spending time with this book, and boy oh boy, it has not disappointed. First off, I adore her. Simply adore her. Actually, those last 2 sentences sound/read very much like what DV would say or write. I have always found her fascinating. You might remember a post I wrote last year about the documentary, The Eye Has to Travel, and how much I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommended it. Same for this book. She was a character. A one of a kind. I think the world needs more characters. Her memos speak to her wit, attention to amazing detail and ultimately her humor. The gal had fun. The book is composed of copies of memos that were sent out while she was the Editor in Chief at Vogue. I love, love, love typewriters, and this is filled with page after page of typewritten memos. Most with her famous red signature as well as notes she added to the page in her handwriting. Memos to Cecil Beaton, Richard Avedon, her staff–all written with great style and flair. It is a look back to a time before texts and e-mails, a time when she ruled the roost in the fashion world. What a delight.
It was a full non-stop day in NYC yesterday, with a full day planned for today too, before we head to the airport this evening. I will write a much more detailed post in the coming days. We started our evening last night at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle. What a ‘classic’ New York experience. Really from another time. The portrait of Bobby Short a lovely reminder of that time and his importance in the history of The Carlyle.
Named in honor of Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books. His murals painted on the walls create a warm, inviting, sophisticated space. Bemelmans was a successful artist for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town & Country and had achieved enormous success with the Madeline children’s books series. Using his distinct style of art, he transformed the bar with whimsical scenes of Central Park that included picnicking rabbits and ice skating elephants. Rather than be paid for his art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family.
Where form meets function. The Sperry Top-Sider shoe was created in 1935 as a boat shoe by Paul Sperry. Sperry was an avid boater who, like most boaters, risked injury while walking on the slippery deck of his boat. His successful design was inspired by his cocker spaniel, Prince. While watching Prince run across the ice on a winter’s day in Connecticut, he noticed his dog’s amazing ability to maintain traction on the slippery surface. The pattern of grooves or cracks on his dog’s feet gave him the idea for a leather upper-shoe with a herringbone pattern of grooves on the sole. How fitting that these shoes would be what I keep by my bedside for walking Bailey each morning. Easy to slip on and off, plus they are great when we get a bit of our Seattle rain. A preppy go-to, Sperry Top-Sider shoes are truly a classic.
I always find it entertaining when I read a certain thing has ‘come back’ and I think to myself, “Did it really ever go away?” Such is the case with the champagne coupe. I was flicking through a stack of our monthly magazines and saw it mentioned that they are now back in style. These have been a Watson Kennedy staple. Always. A classic really. A classic never goes out of style in my book.
We just added a charming variety of 36 vintage coupes to the shop collection. Some etched, some hollow stemmed, others clean & simple. I love a big silver platter with a variety of them. These work so well mixed and matched. Guests gets to choose what glass they like best. Cheers to a classic!