Shop & Dine
Trade shows can be fun, but they can zap your energy with endless hours on your feet or days bogged down at a booth. One way to pamper yourself is by eating out at a chic new restaurant or hitting the shopping trail. Here are a few suggestions on new restaurants and boutiques that might make life a little easier when traveling to those trade shows.
FAITH & FLOWER
705 W. Ninth St.
On the fringes of the Los Angeles Fashion District is a new restaurant that is receiving a lot of ink from national magazines and local critics.
Faith & Flower opened this spring but has already been hailed by Esquire as one of America’s top new eateries for its all-encompassing menu, which flirts with Latin, Asian and American flavors.
The new hot spot should also get an award for its interior design by New York–based AvroKo, which blends a touch of Manhattan sophistication with California cool. Think of darkly lit New York bars offset with hedge-lined breezy patios that soak up the California sun.
The main forces behind the eatery are David Bernahl and Robert Weakley of Coastal Luxury Management. They are the same people who organize the food and wine festivals in Pebble Beach and Los Angeles.
The man in charge of the kitchen is Michael Hung, whose last cooking gig was in San Francisco at the French restaurant La Folie, which earned a one-star rating from the Michelin guide. He has the unusual distinction of being able to say he was a chef consultant on the animated film “Ratatouille,” the tale of a little Parisian rat who just wants to be a master chef.
The menu at Faith & Flower has something for everyone. In the raw bar there are oysters, kanpache ceviche and littleneck clams. Two stand-out main dishes are the oxtail agnolotti and the thick-cut wheat noodles served with cumin-braised lamb, chili and garlic cilantro. Because this is California, there are two kinds of pizzas to select from. And what lunch menu wouldn’t be complete without a grilled-cheese sandwich or a hamburger?
The swank bar has a host of exotic drinks that will make you forget your worries for the day. The Negroni is a blend of gin, vermouth and Campari aged for 12 weeks in a bourbon barrel.
761 S. Main St.
For years, Jennifer Althouse was a buyer for the small chain of trendy stores under the American Rag flag. So it only seemed natural that she would eventually open her own store.
She did just that in October when Althouse moved into a historical space in the heart of hipster downtown Los Angeles, where the retail buyer is taking her love for design and matching it with her ability to pluck trendy pieces that will appeal to her average consumer, who is 25 years old and up.
She has 35 directional brands, including Suno, Alasdair, Kimem, Rachel Comey, Grey Ant, J Brand and Rodebjer. She is also debuting her own label, called Alt. The Alt brand offers a high-waisted skinny jean and mid-rise jean, which retail for $235, and a clean leather jacket, which retails for $750.
Althouse noted that her pursuit of fashion was drawn from great designers of the 1960s and 1970s. Her store is a reflection of that era, with an eye toward the future.
Althouse’s 1,650-square-foot space is only a few blocks away from the California Market Center and the other showroom buildings in the Los Angeles Fashion District. It is also in an area dotted with up-and-coming retail stores with an indie vibe, such as next-door neighbor Skingraft.
The outpost has 20-foot-high ceilings, flooring with restored tiles installed in the 1920s, vintage furniture and black-and-white portrait photographs of country-music stars.
242 Columbus Ave.
The historic Tosca Café got a major makeover when renowned New York–centric chef April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman last year acquired the 1919 dive bar, which is the epicenter of anything hip in the North Beach area of San Francisco.
Not only does the café now serve up some spectacular dishes, but it has made the tunes on its iconic jukebox free so you can listen to all things Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, plus more.
The booths have been reupholstered in red leather and the murals restored to give the space a fresh but historic look. It goes well with the modern Italian menu, which serves up items such as house-made pasta.
Bloomfield and Friedman are the restaurant forces behind The John Dory Oyster Bar and The Breslin at the Ace Hotel in New York as well as The Spotted Pig in Greenwich Village. But Bloomfield spent a stint working at Chez Panisse in nearby Berkeley and still has a penchant for Northern California.
Bloomfield applied her cooking talents to developing a succinct menu that has no more than three main courses, which consist of Mt. Lassen trout, a skirt steak served with charred eggplant and grilled scallions, and a roasted chicken for two served with ricotta and pine nuts.
A bevy of salads and vegetable sides are available such as broccoli di cicco and a pumpkin smash made with brown butter, nutmeg and pomegranate. There are a number of pastas, which include lumaconi with prosciutto and lemon breadcrumbs and linguini with clams.
The dining room can seat 40, and the bar is a bit heftier with 45 seats for those waiting to get a table at this popular spot, which hadn’t served food since 1953.
437 Hayes St.
The Amour Vert collection of clothing, which embraces sustainable fashion with a certain Paris cool, set up a pop-up store last spring in Hayes Valley.
The concept went so well that the company’s owners decided to make it a permanent affair in the same neighborhood, which has become one of the trendiest places to shop in an area that thrives on an indie vibe.
Everything produced for the relatively new line is done domestically—primarily in California, where fabrics are often sourced in Los Angeles and garments are assembled in Oakland.
The full collection can now be found in one place—at the compact store whose hardwood floors, white walls and a plant-oriented living wall designed by Lily Kwong inject a modern vibe.
The essence of Amour Vert, which means “green love” in French, is that everything should be made of sustainable fabric, such as organic cotton, ponté made of wood pulp, linen, silk, Tencel or recycled polyester. The company’s carbon footprint should be as minimal as possible.
With that in mind, the clothing line’s founders, Christoph Frehsee and his wife, Linda Balti, even devised a way to capitalize on trucks delivering wine from Northern California to Los Angeles. The trucks were filled on the trip south but empty coming back up. So Amour Vert uses those wine delivery trucks to pick up its fabric made in LA mills.
Amour Vert’s fashions are sleek and not overwrought with embroidery or trim. The designs, devised by Balti, who recently was admitted to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, are fresh and easy to wear with retail price points ranging from around $70 to $200.
The world of fashion and retail is a far cry from what the founders were doing when they met at a trade show in Abu Dhabi. Frehsee’s company, MineWolf Systems, which he sold a few years ago, made mine-clearing machinery. Balti developed fighter-jet simulators for the French defense giant Thales Group.
3355 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
For four years, famed French chef Daniel Boulud was absent from Las Vegas after closing his restaurant at the Wynn hotel. But he’s back in a very French way.
This time he has partnered with The Venetian to open a French-American eatery called DB Brasserie. Boulud, who is based in New York, where he has seven restaurants, has developed a menu that has a strong accent on French cuisine with an injection of North African dishes and American-style burgers for those who like their red meat served between a bun.
Executive Chef David Middleton is in charge of the kitchen, where he and his staff are serving up such French specialties as onion soup, escargots, pâté, and a press of duck and foie gras, as well as seared scallops and salmon with cabbage. Tunisian lamb with couscous and curried lobster also find a place on the menu as do steak and swordfish.
Of course, with DB Brasserie being a French restaurant, there are some killer desserts and pastries, such as a molten chocolate cake with verbena ice cream, a chocolate hazelnut mousse tart and freshly baked madeleines.
No French restaurant would be complete without a wide selection of wines from France, which in this case means they come from the Rhône Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Loire Valley, Provence, the Languedoc and Roussillon. A host of wine offerings also come from California.
The décor is heavy on dark wood and wall mirrors, which is a must for all brasseries, French or not.
FRED SEGAL COLLECTIVE
SLS Las Vegas
2535 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
For decades, the Fred Segal brand of stores were only available to Los Angeles–area shoppers who often wandered over to the nameplate’s two locations to rifle through the racks of carefully curated designer duds.
But that all changed in August when seven stores under the umbrella of the Fred Segal Collective opened at the SLS Las Vegas, formerly the Sahara, at the northern end of the Strip.
Each store, scattered throughout the new hotel and casino, represents a different category of merchandise. The categories are She, He, Jeans, Shoes, Jewels, Play and Goods. Combined, the seven stories encompass 10,000 square feet.
Each store carefully selects its luxury-oriented merchandise, carrying up-and-coming labels as well as well-known designers that serve up a taste of Los Angeles fashion. The Jeans store carries denim for men and women, the Play store sells lingerie, and the Goods store is a gift and lifestyle center.
In 2012, New York–headquartered Sandowacquired the worldwide rights to the Fred Segal brand, with intentions of expanding its stores globally. A Tokyo Fred Segal is scheduled to open in 2015.
221 W. Broadway
If this place is good enough for President Obama, well, it should be good enough for the rest of us.
White Street had barely opened its doors in September when one month later Obama and his entourage were hosting a fundraising reception there.
The décor is perfect for influencing friends, family and campaign contributors. There are marble floors in the lounge, massive chandeliers, exposed red-brick walls, tufted black booths, hardwood floors and tall ceilings. It all conjures up the feeling of New York in the early 20th century.
The man behind the menu is Executive Chef Fred Cardoz, who partnered with restaurateurs Dan AbramsandDave Zinczenkoas well asBondSt General ManagerChristine Cole to open this spot with an American and Continental-influenced menu.
The list of appetizers is abundant, with offerings such as crab-meat cocktail, New Jersey burrata with walnut bread, Long Island fluke ceviche and stuffed quail.
Fish, fowl and beef are well represented as main dishes. There is North Atlantic sea bream served with broccoli and tamarind glaze, bouillabaisse with cockles, shrimp, swordfish and linguica sausage, and lamb with local beans and mint.
The restaurant has been well received and totally different from its predecessor, the Churrascaria Tribeca, a Brazilian steakhouse that closed earlier this year.
DOVER STREET MARKET
160 Lexington Ave.
The Japanese woman behind the famous French-named label Comme des Garçons has been putting her personal touch on the retail scene with a burgeoning chain of multi-level concept stores that have a well-edited edition of contemporary high-end labels.
Rei Kawakubo launched Comme des Garçons 45 years ago out of her native Tokyo, but the woman with the artistic eye never rests. She started her first Dover Street Market in Tokyo 10 years ago, then London, and late last year she put down roots for her New York outpost. It is in a seven-story building where the wide mix of clothes and accessories creatively displayed has been described as shopping insanity.
On the first floor is a café to get you revved up with caffeine to take on the shopping adventure on the upper floors. The store stocks labels such as Prada and Supreme. There is a number of rotating pop-up stores of notable brands and a look at new designers.
Kawakubo has said she wants to create a market where various creators from different fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos.
That can be seen in the store’s displays, which borders on concept art. Large dark-gray upholstered shapes frame hanging racks that jut out from the exposed red-brick walls. Towering black loops of metal perched on wooden crates serve as another venue for racks of jackets.
Some of the labels carried at the retail mecca include Comme des Garçons, of course, as well as Victoria Beckham, Jil Sander, Aganovich, Thom Browne, Mark Cross, Moynat and Yang Li.
2100 Ross Ave.
The interior design of the new San Salvaje restaurant in the Dallas Arts District gives you an idea where this eatery is going. With bright, festive colors, such as vivid-orange upholstered chairs and banquettes, multi-colored wooden face masks and white Mexican crosses attached to the walls, the overall theme embraces everything that is Latin American. San Salvaje is Spanish for “Wild Saint.”
This new restaurant by Stephen Pyles replaces his more Asian spice-route eatery, Samar, which received high praise from food writers. But when the building underwent a renovation, the restaurant owner also decided to do a little renovation.
The result is Latin cuisine at its best, borrowed from countries such as Peru, Mexico and Cuba. The 70-seat space with purple wooden tables is slightly different from the other Latin American– and Mexican-influenced eateries in the city.
Pyles, who has been traveling to South America since the 1980s, is partial to the Inca-influenced cuisine of Peru, seen in his interpretation of causa Limeña, an exotic concoction. In the San Salvaje version, a tower of mashed potatoes is spiced with a delicate aji amarillo sauce of Peruvian chile and then topped with a quail egg and shrimp.
Other dishes include a variety of ceviche, one with octopus and shrimp, and arepas, or a corn griddle cake so popular in Colombia and Venezuela. Then there are the fried squid tacos smothered in ancho chile–cayenne mayo. In a nod to Brazil, one of the main dishes is the Brazilian stew called feijoada, filled with beans and slivers of pork cheeks.
MELISSA BENGE COLLECTION
2823 N. Henderson Ave.
Walking into the Melissa Benge Collection is a little like visiting the Paris flea market. There are shabby-chic couches and side tables, reclaimed and repurposed goods, and uniquely designed jewelry guaranteed to make buyers look twice.
Melissa Benge is an artist and conceptual designer who loves putting her personal imprint on her stores. (She has two other retail spots in the Texas Hill Country.)
But for this eponymous boutique, which covers 4,000 square feet, there is a bit of everything. Home goods such as furniture, candles and soap sit side by side with Boho and Western cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry, casualwear, gypsy scarves and a wide selection of hats with a Western influence.
Benge works with a select group of designers to create looks that can only be found in her store. She stocks a wide array of men’s and women’s clothing that gravitates to informal looks that work well in the big wide-open spaces of Texas.
Prices range from moderate to expensive. A Marrika Nakk flamenco camo skirt will cost you $525, but then a red-and-cream print dress will carry a $48 price tag.
OOLITE BAR & RESTAURANT
1661 Pennsylvania Ave.
The menu at the recently opened Oolite Bar & Restaurant takes a food trend coursing through the United States and runs with it. The entire menu is gluten-free, which sounds oh so Californian.
Chef Kris Wessel decided he would embrace the concept and fashion his menu around the fact that many people can’t eat wheat, the main ingredient in most breads and pastas. Wessel went gluten free because his youngest daughter is allergic to gluten. After devising different recipes for her, using corn flour for pasta and wheat alternatives for bread, he is now using them in his new restaurant not far from the pedestrian mall of Lincoln Avenue.
Oolite seems like an odd name for an eatery, but Wessel felt the name, which refers to the porous limestone rock that forms much of the foundation of Miami, was appropriate for his healthy regional menu, which also focuses on Florida and tropical cuisines.
The large space, which seats 200 people, also has a sizable bar and nightclub and is decorated with bits of oolite and other native rocks.
Wessel, who was a James Beard Foundation nominee for best chef in the South in 2010, has a few vegan dishes to complement the gluten selections. There are such things as fried tomato arepas and Brussels sprouts with goat cheese.
Main courses have a wide array of beef, seafood and chicken. Wessel is known for his signature BBQ shrimp, which he has kept on the menu. Other seafood offerings include grilled Atlantic swordfish and a coconut conch chowder that is like a tropical seafood stew.
All the desserts are gluten-free, such as the avocado pie made with a crust of pumpkin seeds and oats. Other pie choices include a mango pie and a key lime pie, a must in Florida.
1931 Collins Ave.
The Atrium in Miami Beach is always garnering tons of praise for its incredible selection of designer labels and wide array of swimwear.
After all, head buyer Janet Wong is one of the founders of the relatively new Cabana trade show, held during Miami Swim Week.
The spacious store on busy Collins Avenue has a clean look, subtle lighting, and racks and racks of men’s and women’s clothing with brands such as Blk Dnm, Helmut Lang, Nudie Jeans, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Rag + Bone and Public School as well as J Brand and Comme des Garçons.
The store garnered the “Best Coed Store in Miami” award this year by Racked.com, which should know.
The original Atrium was launched by Sam Ben-Avraham in New York City in 1993. The small chain’s flagship store is still there in Manhattan with another location in hip and happening Brooklyn. But for Ben-Avraham, the founder of the Project trade show, Liberty Fairs and co-founder of Cabana, Miami was a natural next stopping-off spot for retail.