Blog Archive

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fun Fabric Fact

Yesterday while on a site visit, I watched our upholsters build a custom platform bed with an upholstered box spring and headboard. The headboard was built off site but the bed, because of it's size and weight, was built entirely in the bedroom. Not only now do I understand the construction of the bed, I also understand why some fabrics are easier to work with than others. I believe we were working with one of the hardest fabrics possible.  

This hair pulling out non stretching fabric is completely woven from a natural fiber called Abaca. The fabric is a custom woven fabric from the village of (input word soon). While in progress of weaving this beautiful fabric, the village in which the fabric is made had an unfortunate natural disaster. Obviously this was a huge upset not only for the village, the company in which we purchased the fabric through and our company but we had some explaining to do to our client. However in the end the fabric is now upholstered on a custom headboard and boxspring base that looks absolutely amazing. 

The fabric comes in rolls which are only 21" wide. Obviously this makes it a very hard to upholster certain pieces. It is also a natural fiber which is not the softest of quality. Therefore, you would not want to upholster a sofa, which would only be possible with may seams. 

Another issue which makes the fabric difficult to upholster is the striation throughout the fabric. Because it is a hand woven fabric, every piece and every stitch is different. Therefore, when you're trying to match it up it becomes completely impossible. Well, this is what we were trying to do. Especially when the fabric doesn't stretch, which this doesn't at all. If you pull too hard you could rip it. Seaming the fabric was even a challenge at first.  Each seam is specially reinforced to make sure it will last. 

But miraculously they managed and it looks terrific. You can see in the above image where the fabric is seamed on the headboard. Typically the fact that each line doesn't match up with bother me but, I think with the fact that this is a natural handwoven fabric, it doesn't bother me at all. In fact I think it looks wonderful. 

Well during this process, one of the upholsters asked me "What is abaca?" Well, being the trusty computer nerd that I am turned to my trusty iPhone and did what any other twenty some year old would do. I googled abaca. I found the wiki site and read aloud what it said...

Abacá (English pronunciation: /ɑːbəˈkɑː/ ah-bə-KAH, from Spanish "abacá" for Musa textilis) is a species of banana native to the Philippines, grown widely as well in Borneo and Sumatra. It is sometimes referred to as "BacBac". The plant is of great economic importance, being harvested for its fibre, once generally called Manila hemp, extracted from the leaf sheath around the trunk. On average, the plant grows about 20 feet (6 metres) tall. The fibre was originally used for making twines and ropes as well as the Manila envelope; now most abacá is pulped and used in a variety of paper-like products including filter paper and banknotes. It is classified as a hard fibre, along with coirhenequin and sisal. The plant's name is sometimes spelled Abaká.

Abacá was first cultivated on a large scale in Sumatra in 1925 under the Dutch, who had observed its cultivation in the Philippines for cordagesince the 1800s, followed up by plantings in Central America sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture[1]. Commercial planting began in 1930 in British North Borneo; with the commencement of WWII, the supply from the Philippines was eliminated by the Japanese[1].
Other common names for abacá or Manila hemp include "Cebu hemp" and "Davao hemp".

So basically, abaca, being harvested for its fibre, was once generall called Manila hemp in which they made envelopes out of. Hints the name Manila Envelope. 

I just thought I would share that fun little fact I learned while watching a bed being upholstered in abaca. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Meatball Shop

After happy hour with the girls on Friday everyone was hungry. I suggested the newly opened Meatball Shop since we were in the Lower East Side and The Meatball Shop is on Stanton and Allen. When I say after happy hour I technically mean after happy hour and after a few pit stops at some local bars. 

When we arrived the place was packed. There was a crowd of people standing outside on the sidewalk and camera men surrounding the entire restaurant. All we wanted to do was grab some meatballs to go. At this point we didn't even know if this simple task was possible. A few people were leaving with what looked like to go boxes so we asked how long the to go wait was. All I heard was "WHAT! An hour?" Well, I thought that couldn't be possible, headed inside and found someone who looked like they knew what they were talking about. The response I got was exactly what I needed to hear, "about 10 minutes." 

I quickly navigated the crowed, popped my head outside and said 10 minutes! Everyone came rushing in. We lined up behind to to go counter directly in the back and passed the menu's back and forth. We thought the hardest part was over. We were wrong. The big problem was still ahead of us. The to go counter double as the service station in which the food came out. We wanted everything. The poor girl kept narrating each dish that came out for us. Eventually we asked one of the chef's which dish they would recommend. The recommendation was the meatball special of the day. Unfortunately, you can not get sliders to go so, we each ended up sharing a "Smash" with one other person.

Emma and I shared the "Special Smash" with the Parmesan cream sauce. Kristen and Sara had the same thing while Mike went with a Hero and Jerra stuck with the simple order of four "Special Meatballs." 

I have wanted to try this tasty joint for quite some time. I even posted a blog about it before it opened. I am in this area a lot for the convenience that it is only a ten minute walk from my apartment. Plus lot of my favorite singer songwriters play at Rockwood Music Hall which just so happens to be located around the corner. 

The Meatball Shop has a very rustic Italian feel with the long natural wood communal table, the white subway tiles, chalkboards , exposed brick and rustic dark stained wood floors. I also love the rustic wood bar display with the glass shelves for the wine bottles and glasses.  The black wood farm chairs also give a hint of cozy family vibe. 

The lighting is also very dim which gives a relaxed ambiance. Both the pendants over the bar and pendants over the single tables, which are different, are the new popular trendy thing.  So many new restaurants are doing this style. This bare bulb pendant has started quite the trend and I love it! I also love the sconces on the bar. Very industrial yet rustic. 

I am really bad about taking photographs off of the web and then forgetting where I found them so, I tried extra had to remember where these were from. Most of them are from New York Serious Eats and the rest are from The Meatball Shop's own website. 

I love the concept of their menu as well. Each table gets their own menu to fill out. How exciting is that. I love hands on things. 

As I mentioned earlier, Jerra had the order of meatballs which are shown below. Their sides also looked amazing. I believe I saw macaroni and cheese too. 

Don't those Meatball Sliders look divine? 

And then there's the Meatball Smash. Mmm Mmm Mmm was that thing good! 

Of course you know I can't go anywhere without sampling dessert. Especially when it is one of my all time favorite desserts since I was a little Californian. Chipwiches have been one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures since the day I was introduced to them at Balboa Park. I was under the age of seven and I still remember the tasty goodness of those chewy chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream sandwiched in between.  

So when I saw Ice Cream Sandwiches with cookie and ice cream options my excitement was almost too much to handle for my friends. Without too much pressure Emma agreed to share a brownie cookie with real homemade mint ice cream.  The ice cream was so fresh and you could taste the real unprocessed mint. 

Of course now I'm craving one...

And here is the famous blogged about brownie and mint ice cream sandwich. How spectacularly delicious does that cookie look? 

Something I didn't know until today, all of The Meatball Shop's ingredients are locally sourced and of the highest quality. How awesome. I love restaurants that used locally sourced products. 

Daniel, who is now Mike's new bench best friend, the one who informed us that the to go wait was only 10 minutes and oh yeah, one of the owners of The Meatball Shop, was wonderful! He was so thankful that we came in, did everything he could to make our visit perfect and also helped us chose what to order.  He also informed us the men with the cameras floating around were there filming footage for a new show called Meat and Potatoes (?)for the Food Network (?).  I could totally have lied right there but, what I didn't lie about is that it will be on TV sometime! 

Daniel Holzman, Executive Chef/Co-owner. Daniel’s cooking career started at age 15 at LeBernardin in NYC. Daniel remained there for 4 years until, at the suggestion of Chef Eric Ripert, he attended the Culinary Institute of America with a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation. Prior to graduation, Daniel accepted a position at the Paladin in New York City for Chef Jean Louis Paladin, working alongside such culinary notables as Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason. Six months later Jean Louis asked Daniel if he would be willing fill a vacancy at his flagship restaurant Napa in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Accepting the offer, Daniel began a 10-year culinary journey through some of Los Angeles and San Francisco’s finest restaurants including The Campton PlaceThe Fifth FloorAqua and Jardinière. In 2004 Daniel began his first management job as chef of the California organic bistro, Axe, in Venice, Los Angeles. After one year at Axe, Daniel became Executive Chef at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, a 250 seat restaurant in the Topanga hills known for its romantic outdoor setting and lavish weddings. Daniel remained at the Inn until 2007 when he moved to San Francisco to open SPQR, a rustic Roman Osteria, as Co-owner and Executive chef. Within 3 months of the opening SPQR received 3½ out of 4 stars from Michael Bauer in The San Francisco Chronicle, a rating usually reserved for far fancier restaurants. “I've saved the best for last. It's actually one of the best dishes I've had all year - fresh shelling beans with pork soffrito. It's pure poetry: Huge creamy white beans that taste as if someone individually pureed the contents and stuffed them back into the tender membrane, crowned with an intense, sweet, salty and meaty mixture of pork with a dab of tomato and white wine. The play of textures and flavors would make Catherine de' Medici, credited with introducing Italian food to the French, weep for joy.” Daniel sold his interest in SPQR in 2008 and he and three partners founded KB treats LLC, an ice cream novelty company. KB’s first product, QB’s* (crispy rice and marshmallow treats filled with ice cream), were an immediate success and can be found in markets nation-wide, including Whole FoodsGiant and Stop and Shop. *

Michael Chernow, General manager/Co-owner. Michael Chernow began his professionalrestaurant career in 1996 behind the bar of the popular nightclub, Life, on Bleecker Street in NewYork City. Learning from the ground up, Michael quickly worked his way through the ranks becoming the youngest bartender on staff. After 2 years workingin both Life in New York and in its East Hampton sister club, The Tavern, Michael signed on to open Woo Lae Oak on Mercer St. in New York City. In 2001 Michael made the move to Los Angeles where he worked at Woo Lae Oak’s original location on La Cienega Blvd.Returning to New York, he opened Punch and Judy, a wine bar on Clinton Street. In 2002 Frank Prizanzano offered Michael a position behind the bar of his eponymous flagship restaurant Frank on Second Avenue. For the past 7 years Michael has been managing the bar at Frank where he has a large, loyal following. In 2007 Michael enrolled in French Culinary Institute FCI, graduated with honors, and was awarded an Associates Degree in bothculinary arts and restaurant management in 2008.

Contact them and join the rest of us meatball eating fools, literally (see below)!

This is Kristen's thumbs up approval! 

Our time at The Meatball Shop was great. Everyone and everything was delicious.  The atmosphere was perfect and it was the end to a typical and awesome New York City night with your best friends.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lonny Magazine

I know I have expressed my Dad's wish for me to start reading the New York Times, and now I officially think I should too.  This is the second time this week my Dad has told me about interesting articles having to do with my profession and one of my most prized possessions, my MacBook Pro. 

It's kind of funny when your Dad informs you about a new online Interior Design magazine called Lonny. At least he found out about it in the New York Times and not from some sort of Interior Design source I should be reading. Of course I checked it out. The concept is genius. I flipped through a few pages and subscribed immediately.  I can't wait to start reading it. 

The New York Times article is called: For Interior Designers, D.I.Y. Philosophy Extends to Web Magazine. I would like to thank these two below for being the brains behind this great online magazine.  Michelle Adams is a former marketing director for Domino Magazine  (that was a sad sad day) and Patrick Cline is a photographer and photo retoucher. 

I know many people love collecting magazines. I would if I had the space. But I don't, so I can't. I don't even have a closet more or less room to store months of magazine subscriptions. 
 An online magazine is perfect for someone like me. I wish all of the magazines were online like Lonny. It would make my life so much easier. 

Also, I don't know if it was because I was born within the booming age of technology, but I would prefer to do everything on the internet rather than call or visit. Yes, it could also be called laziness but I believe it has to do with the era I was born in. I am one of those technology nerds. Now do you see why I have such a strong appeal to Lonny

The magazine that caters to the "do it yourself-ers" released their first issue in October of last year. They also keep an archive of all past issues on their website. 

On their website they also have a decorate section which shows room by room ideas.

It is really easy to subscribe to Lonny. All you have to do is visit their website, click the subscribe tab and fill out these three easy questions. 

Please check out Lonny and let's help this genius idea blossom and grow. Maybe other magazines will follow in it's footsteps. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hot Hot Dog

On Sunday we spend some of the day at the new Dumbo Park Piers. It is a beautiful new park which is going to expand down to Atlantic Avenue below the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. 

Unfortunately, since the park is so new, so are the trees and plants which leaves little shade. Everyone was huddled around the baby trees planted throughout the beautiful soft green lawn in search for any hint of shade possible. The other unfortunate thing is dogs are not allowed on this beautiful soft green lawn. So, we took some time to check out the amazing views of Manhattan while baking in the hot hot sun. 

I snapped some pictures of the great view...

...and then Oliver had had enough...

So we sat on the edge of the grass and took in the view and breeze until I decided we needed to make a trip to the local dog park to let Oliver play in the doggy pool. 

I hope everyone had an amazing Sunday! 

One Girl Cookies

Some time ago, not sure when exactly, Emma told me about these pumpkin whoopie pies she had at a coworkers birthday celebration. Actually, now that I think about it, I can tell you exactly which day it was... It was this day.

Ever since that day, we have been promising ourselves we would visit the amazing shop that makes these pumpkin whoopie pies. Sunday just happened to be that day. After a very short walk along the new Dumbo pier parks, a few sunburns, a very hot hot dog, and some afternoon margaritas we started en route to these delicious little whoopies. 

After a minor detour we found Dean Street and the Cookies sign! I was so excited I had to start snapping immediately. 

The window display was very colorful and edible. I tried to contain my excitement and remembered to snap some pictures of the interior and the infamous whoopies.   

Along with the whoopies, One Girl Cookies is known for well, their cookies, each with a beautiful name to match!

Most of the cookies were bite size but, they did have a few larger ones. You know what this means? I actually like the bite size adorableness of their cookies for more than one reason...1 You can get multiple cookies 2 You can try multiple kinds! 

Of course the Sadie cookie got to me a little. Like the description says, Sadie is truly a pretty cookie with a little zest! Describes her perfectly! 

And now I would like to introduce you to the one and only Whoopie Pies! There is no explanation for how perfect these bite size whoopies are. They are so full of flavor it is like a party in your mouth! 

Look at how happy they are! 

One Girl Cookies also has cupcakes and custom cakes! Like custom birthday cakes...hint hint...

They also do party favors for birthdays, weddings, baby showers. How adorable are these?

Don't you just love the little adorable spiky cupcakes! 

Emma and Craig both had iced coffee and the best part...the ice cubes were frozen coffee! What a genius idea is that!

They also have gelato! Gelato would probably have been the smart thing to get since it was one of the hottest days we have had this year but, we came for one thing and one thing only, our whoopie pies!

How adorable and perfect is this little shop? 

And of course this little guy came too! This is what I came outside to! How presh!