Shop & Dine
Keeping pace with a busy trade-show schedule is exciting but exhausting. At the end of a day spent running between appointments, making new connections, visiting with longtime partners and negotiating deals, enjoying a delicious meal or strolling around a unique shop is the perfect way to recharge.
Save energy by planning ahead by making reservations and thinking about how to spend limited—but precious—leisure time. The following restaurant and retail picks are some of the freshest and most buzzworthy spots in every major trade-show city right now.
Traffic Los Angeles
The Beverly Center
8500 Beverly Blvd.
One of Los Angeles’ longest-running fashion boutiques at the Beverly Center is revamping its look and starting all over.
Soon, Traffic Los Angeles is scheduled to unveil a renovation that is so extensive that it will seem like a new store, said Michael Dovan, Traffic’s owner.
“It was demolished. We started from scratch. We built it from there,” he said of the new Traffic Los Angeles site. Located on the sixth floor of the shopping center, the 5,570-square-foot boutique was designed by Design Research Studio, headed by star interior designer Tom Dixon. His dramatic and occasionally avant-garde interiors and lighting designs gained a lot of headlines in 2016 when he opened a self-named Tom Dixon store at the Platform retail center in Culver City, Calif.
The new Traffic Los Angeles will include women’s and men’s clothing under the same roof, but they’ll be divided by a barrier. Dovan said shoppers will be able to walk around the barrier to get to various points of the store. But they won’t be able to see through the barrier, which will give the opposite sexes some privacy while shopping. Until recently, Traffic Los Angeles ran separate men’s and women’s stores at the Beverly Center.
The shop’s commitment to high-end and adventurous designers will continue. The merchandise mix will include Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Commes des Garçons, Dolce & Gabbana, Off-White, Thom Browne, Isabel Marant, Haider Ackerman and Ann Demeulemeester.
Since opening its first Los Angeles boutique in Hollywood in 1977, it has gained fame and in 1984 became one of the Beverly Center’s first tenants. Traffic has been known to be a go-to place for designers. “Traffic played a major role for fashion in LA. They were the forerunners and the trailblazers in fashion,” said veteran stylist Bernard G. Jacobs. “LA is basically a denim and T-shirt town. But Traffic carried Issey Miyake and all of these Japanese brands. They had all these things that no one else had. You couldn’t be in LA without coming to Traffic.”
939 S. Figueroa St.
Following a redesign, the iconic Hotel Figueroa in downtown Los Angeles reopened in February with a slightly updated look. The former YWCA hotel for women first opened its doors in 1926. While the renovation provided a fresh look, some of the original Spanish Colonial–style elements remain.
The new restaurant’s interior was designed by Adam Goldstein, Leslie Kale and Christian Schulz of the Santa Monica, Calif.–based Studio Collective. Inside the long space with high ceilings, green leather–upholstered tufted booths are set against one wall paneled in light wood. The other side features banquette-style seating while marble-top tables line the center of the space. Natural light illuminates the space from windows that look out onto a lobby waiting area while lamps affixed to the walls and chandeliers hang from above, providing comfortable lighting at night.
With this redesign, four-time James Beard award nominee Chef Casey Lane signed on to create dining experiences, teaming up with bartending expert Dushan Zaric for the hotel’s restaurants and bars, including Breva, which is named for a Spanish fig and serves Basque-inspired fare.
A bar menu features light servings, including gazpacho, ham-and-cheese croquettes, oysters and hummus with crudités and flatbread. Small plates include fried potatoes with romesco aioli, yams with serrano-chili yogurt and chives, a bone marrow–and–chimichurri celery salad, mushrooms roasted with Pedro Ximenez sherry and za’atar chicken wings complemented by a sherry glaze.
In addition to its beef offerings—which include a dry-aged burger, 40-day dry-aged top round, 40-day dry-aged short rib and 35-day dry-aged T-bone—Breva serves easy main dishes, including a roasted cauliflower chop with walnut-and-caper salsa and shellfish and chorizo served in sherry. Finish the meal with the mille feuille, a buttery pastry that features honey mascarpone cream and rose-petal jam.
301 Valencia St.
San Francisco gained an unfair reputation as being a town filled with hoodie-wearing tech nerds, said Pauline Montupet, the owner/buyer for Le Point, located in the city’s Mission District.
San Franciscans are becoming more interested in fashion, and they’re ready for the independent and emerging fashion labels at Le Point, she said. “San Francisco is a really casual town,” she said. “You could wear a crazy statement skirt, but you would have sneakers on. … Our point of view is to make conceptual fashion accessible and fun.” A typical look for Montupet would be black trousers, a white T-shirt, sneakers and mesh socks.
She started her fashion career as a stylist who worked on editorial shoots for some of the Bay Area’s big brands, including Levi’s and The Gap. Part of the fun of running a shop is developing an editorial vision, like a shoot, and building it into the shop. She described the shop’s look as having airy ceilings with a minimalistic aesthetic.
Montupet does the buying for the shop. When she tells brands that her boutique is in California, they often assume that she is interested in selling tank tops and shorts. “I say, ‘You have never been to San Francisco,’” she joked.
It’s rarely warm, but it’s rarely as cold as the Northeast. Light jackets and sweaters always sell well at Le Point, she said. The shop’s customers include international tourists and locals.
Brands sold at the 850-square-foot shop, which caters to men and women, include Creatures of Comfort, Opening Ceremony, Mr. Larkin and Veda. A lot of Le Point’s merchandise has a casual style mixed with an artsy style. Looks range from swimwear to raincoats with a focus on dresses and tees.
1085 Mission St.
Formerly of Saison and Atelier Crenn, Chris Bleidorn elevates farm-fresh cuisine at Birdsong, located in that South of Market district known as SoMA. Concentrating on sourcing ingredients from along the Pacific Northwest, Bleidorn’s focus is on food preparation—such as in-house butchering, smoking and dry-aging meat in addition to cheese making—which lays the foundation for exquisite meals.
While the restaurant has been presenting its cuisine through a tasting menu since its May 1 opening, Birdsong will eventually offer items a la carte. The current preview menu includes Pacific scallops with salted liver in an apricot vinegar and ice plant; fish and chips served as halibut and pommes halibut with pommes soufflé; and a wild boar that is accompanied by grilled brassicas, grains and dried fruit. One dish on the menu that exemplifies Bleidorn’s dedication to his craft is the creek-sourced, cedar-warmed trout that has been cured and smoked and served with skin and roe, horseradish mayonnaise custard made with dried bones and scraped belly meat.
Sommelier Freddy Foot created a wine list comprising European selections and others from the Pacific Northwest, which complements the flavors of Bleidorn’s food.
Working with the design firm Saint, Bleidorn and his business and life partner, Aarti Shetty, created a space that takes its cue from the coastal regions and uses materials including locally sourced wood, Douglas-fir flooring and custom features including an oven suite and walk-in glass meat locker. Creating an inviting, homelike atmosphere, the team used custom Korean ceramic dishware in pastel colors from pottery specialists KwangJuYo to support the comfortable, light atmosphere.
1302 S. Third St.
Every April, people from across the globe travel to the annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend for car shows, dancing and concerts. The event is inspired by the 1950s sound and style of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page.
Las Vegas’ Rockin Bettie boutique has been at the center of this rockabilly Woodstock for seven years. It hosts parties for Viva Las Vegas. It sells clothes at the car-show grounds, and the store’s owner, Amy Ortiz, can always be found on the dance floor at Viva Las Vegas events.
In March, Rockin Bettie relocated to a 1,800-square-foot shop on a spot that offers a backyard. It’s perfect for hosting intimate shows for rockabilly bands coming through Las Vegas, Ortiz said. One space in her shop is reserved for photo shoots, where rockabilly devotees can be photographed in vintage-style sets such as a 1950s kitchen. Another space is devoted to brands specializing in reproductions of rockabilly styles. Brands include American labels such as Bettie Page Clothing and Voodoo Vixen as well as Canadian brand Rebel Love Clothing and German label Atixo. The space offers clothes for men, women and children. Retail price points range from $30 to $140. Sizes go up to 5X for women.
Rockin Bettie has the reputation of being the real deal for people who live the rockabilly lifestyle, said Karen Mamont, a Viva Las Vegas promoter and a former marketing director for the California Market Center in Los Angeles. “We like to wear circle skirts, pencil skirts, clam diggers, straight-leg pants, peasant tops and Mexican-inspired outfits,” Mamont said of the scene’s styles. “Rockin Bettie covers all of the silhouettes.”
The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
3355 Las Vegas Blvd.
After launching Peruvian-influenced restaurants, including Mo-chica in Los Angeles and Marina del Rey, Calif.’s Paiche, chef Ricardo Zarate recently brought the flavors of his home country to The Palazzo. With the March launch of Once, which is the Spanish word for the number 11 and a nod to his birth order among 13 siblings, Zarate hoped to bring the flavors of his childhood in Peru to the Las Vegas strip while providing a moment to relax in a rustic, natural setting.
Accommodating 200 patrons, Once’s décor was inspired by Peru and features live plants, which create floor-to-ceiling walls of greenery. The space is softly illuminated. For larger groups, there is patio seating featuring five communal tables.
In addition to creating dishes that showcase Peruvian flavors, Zarote’s cuisine also pulls from Japanese culinary culture. This Peruvian-Nikkei blend can be found in specialties such as big-eye tuna sashimi ceviche with black truffle and kizami tiger’s milk; arroz chaufa—or Peruvian fried rice—with snow crab, yuzu aioli and crispy calamari, and an ox-tail bibimbap with black mint stew, tacu tacu rice, fried egg and plantains.
For dessert, guests can indulge in a Pisco flan, passion fruit–and–guava sorbet or churros that are filled with white or dark chocolate or caramel.
While Once offers beer and wine, its cocktails are the star libations, with specialties including the Inca Trailblazer, a silver rum, Inca soda slushy with chicha morada or Yuzu Me, which is made with gin, wasabi simple syrup, lime and yuzu.
4214 Oak Lawn Ave.
For those who know a little history about the Dallas Market, the name Robert Creel should ring a bell. He ran five fashion showrooms in Dallas under the aegis of Robert Creel & Associates.
He also worked as a sportswear buyer for Neiman Marcus. In January, he and his wife, Elizabeth Ward Creel, opened a boutique called Elizabeth W. It’s located in the well-heeled Dallas enclave of Highland Park, where the 1980s TV soap opera “Dallas” was shot on location.
The Elizabeth W boutique is located in The Shops at Highland Park, a high-end retail center. The store’s neighbors include complementary businesses such as a Drybar hair salon as well as tanning and nail salons.
With so many businesses vying for attention from Highland Park’s fashionistas, it’s crucial to create a point of difference. “It’s all about customer service,” said Ward Creel, who worked as a retail executive for more than a decade. “People are busier than ever and we want to create an experience for them. We provide personal styling, both in the store and in the comfort of their own homes. We do special ordering if they are looking for something that is not in the store.”
Wardrobe consultation is another one of the boutique’s services. Ward Creel said the store helps Highland Park shoppers create looks for the area’s busy social calendars, which include luncheons and charity events.
The store’s selection of clothing includes contemporary designer labels with retail price points that range from $40 to $1,200. “We’ve focused on bringing on emerging designers. It adds an additional layer to what people can already find,” Ward Creel said.
Emerging labels include Canadian brand Beaufille, Delfi Collective, A Peace Treaty and Dorothee Shumacher. Up next for Elizabeth W is starting an e-commerce site in order to become an omni-channel retailer. “This is the way you stay relevant in this market,” the store owner said.
1617 Hi Line Drive, Suite 395
Opened one year ago, Sassetta offers Italian specialties and is famous for its handmade pasta and wood-fired pizza. Offering fine Italian dining, Sassetta is located in the city’s Decorative Center, a 10,000-square-foot-space. Under the direction of former CBD Provisions Executive Chef Michael Sidoni, Sassetta’s team includes Chris Klimenko as executive chef and Richard Blankenship, who is the food and beverage director.
Diners who are interested in small plates for sharing should choose from dishes such as whipped ricotta with sourdough bread and extra virgin olive oil, fritto misto, yellowfin tuna crudo, steak tartare and dry-aged beef meatballs. While the pasta is well known around town, there is also pizza available to suit any palate. Recipes range from a simple—but satisfying—classic margherita to a gourmet taleggio, parmesan, black pepper and burnt honey pizza.
Those patrons who want to indulge in a hearty pasta dinner will find an array of different types including a gemelli arrabbiata, orecchiette with fennel sausage and potato gnocchi with a green-kale pesto.
If there is room for dessert, finish the meal with a roasted banana budino, chocolate hazelnut torta with olive oil and cocoa crumble, lemon layered cake, or an assortment of gelato or buttermilk panna cotta with a pistachio crumble and hibiscus syrup. The full bar offers wine by the glass or bottle, beer and cocktails, such as the Sassetta Spritz made with aperol, prosecco and rosa vermouth or the Bicycle Thief, which includes rye, bonal, cynar and sweet vermouth.
21 Dey St.
One of New York City’s most celebrated fashion retail stories of the past year had its start in a bargain basement.
Since the early 1960s, Century 21 has been a purveyor of off-price clothes and runs about 13 department stores, mostly in the New York City area.
At its location in Lower Manhattan, Century 21 unveiled Next Century. It’s a high-end concept boutique inside one of New York’s prominent discount stores. The 3,100-square-foot Next Century has a coffee and tea bar as well as a lounge stocked with vintage magazines waiting to be read.
The star attractions are the clothes, of course. It offers back stock from designer brands, such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Dior. Also offered are emerging labels such as Maison Mayle and other limited-edition items.
Century 21’s location in Lower Manhattan draws a tourist crowd, but Next Century has a fashion-insider sensibility. The people who started the concept store were Century 21 co-owners Isaac Gindi and Chrissie Miller. Miller founded a fashion line called Sophomore, which had been sold in hip e-emporium Revolve and got ink from glossy magazines such as Vogue. She also produced a YouTube show called “Club Chrissie With Pharrell Williams.”
517 W 38th St.
In the building that once housed the Legacy Recording Studio, Legacy Records restaurant opened in March as part of the new Ken Fulk–designed Henry Hall residential space. The green coffered ceiling inset with cane affords a retro atmosphere and is complemented by banquettes in a softly worn, caramel-color leather.
The Hudson Yards–area restaurant celebrates the bodies of water surrounding New York City through coastal American cuisine with Mediterranean touches. An alumnus of San Francisco’s Rubicon and a Rising Star James Beard nominee, Ryan Hardy serves as the executive chef while Henry Zamora, formerly of The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., came on board as the chef de cuisine and Jeff Bell joined the team as Legacy Records’ director of bars.
The crudo menu features dishes such as Montauk tuna belly and Japanese sea urchin with Dungeness crab and lime. Small plates include sprouted-seed bread with cultured butter and rosemary lardo; hand-pulled mozzarella with celery, apple and almonds; and wood-roasted octopus with mint salsa verde.
Pasta dishes include a ravioli served with spring peas and charred baby leek and spaghetti prepared with cuttlefish and a sauce made from its ink. Meant for sharing between two guests, the risotto is prepared with sweet peas, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese. Patrons who prefer roasted dishes will enjoy selections such as the Block Island black bass served with artichoke and squid, branzino with a salsa verde and Amalfi lemon, or dry-aged beef rib eye with spigarello, chantarelles and garlic.
In addition to a gelato selection, the dessert menu offers strawberries with cherry blossoms and goat-milk fior di latte, rhubarb poached in elderflower accompanied by Greek yogurt and honey crunch, and a dark-chocolate meringata with Venezuelan rum cake and Indonesian long pepper.
2613 NW 26th St.
The world needs more sustainable fashion, Sophie Zembra said. So she opened her sustainable fashion shop in Miami, which had few eco-fashion boutiques.
The sustainable clothing category is going through a change and beyond its roots of basics made with eco fabrics, Zembra said. It’s clothing with a contemporary and design edge.
She believes that people will come to Antidote to shop for fashion they love first. “It was a challenge to give people a product they want and make it sustainable. Sustainability was the cherry on the cake,” she said in her French-inflected English. If sustainable clothing is made with a stylish edge, sustainable fashion will become the norm, Zembra said.
The boutique’s retail price points range from $20 to $2,000. Brands sold at the store include leading sustainable fashion brands including Stella McCartney and Edun. Also sold are emerging brands including Where Mountains Meet; brands focusing on recycled and repurposed clothes, including Re/Done; and labels that vow to use no animal products, including Wylde. Many of Antidote’s vendors manufacture their products domestically.
The 1,110-square-foot boutique put its credo in its physical design. It was constructed with eco cement, nontoxic paints and natural woods. Colors used in the boutique include pinks, greens, blues and yellows.
1664 Lenox Ave.
The London-based Chotto Matte opened its first location in the United States earlier this year by choosing a Miami Beach location with a soaring ceiling that opens with a retractable roof. The brand fits nicely into its new home near Lincoln Road.
Known for its sushi and robata-grill dishes, Chotto Matte serves small plates intended for sharing. Led by chefs Jordan Sclare and Jimmy Gallagher, Chotto Matte brings the Nikkei-Peruvian dining experience to South Beach.
Starters include Nikkei gyoza, beef-fillet tataki served with aji panca and passion fruit salsa, and Chotto ceviche. Sushi and sashimi offerings include traditionally prepared dishes and Nikkei-dressed sushi such as tuna yuzu soy, branzino ceviche and eggplant miso.
On the tasting menu, four different sharing experiences are available, including Nikkei styles, a vegetarian selection and a chef’s menu. For its anticuchería barbecue, the restaurant applies the traditional Peruvian flavors to different seafood and meats including gambas tigre a la parrilla, a tiger shrimp in aji lemon garlic and nashi pear salsa. There is also an oji de Costilla, or 28-day aged Angus rib-eye steak.
There is also a Nikkei robata menu with dishes including spicy teriyaki beef fillet with a pomegranate salsa, miso chicken served with a yellow chili salsa of carrot and daikon, and a maize huancaina, which is corn served with yellow chili and queso fresco. Chotto Matte’s anticuchería barbecue features dishes that are chargrilled over hot coals after soaking in a marinade that uses aji panca and amarillo chili.
If there is room for dessert, Chotto Matte has a dessert platter customized for each table.
Ponce Denim Company
Ponce City Market
675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE
High-end denim is an obsession in Los Angeles, but the denim game also is a big deal in Atlanta. The Georgia state capital is one of the leading cities for production of hip-hop music with recording artists and producers looking to outfit themselves in the best denim. Ponce Denim Company hopes to give Atlanta’s stylish people a wide selection of fashionable jeans.
The shop offers brands that might be new to Americans, such as the Japanese label Edwin. Also offered are premium-denim brands from G-Star and Nudie to Levi’s. Entrepreneurs Farshad Arshid, his wife, Sandy Arshid, and Ruel Chambers decided to open their jeans shop at the happening Ponce City Market. It’s a mix of unique stores and restaurants, some located in a food hall that occupy a renovated building that was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Ponce City Market formerly served as a store and distribution center for Sears, Roebuck and Co. The Italian-renaissance revival building was once one of the largest structures in Atlanta.
While the jeans come with a high pedigree, Farshad Arshid said his store would serve as a place where people can hang out and listen to music. The store’s interior includes a wood floor, marble shelving and a Louis XIV desk.
60 11th St. NE
With its September opening, Bulla Gastrobar brought Spanish cuisine to the Midtown area of Atlanta under the management of the Centurion Restaurant Group, which is led by Carlos Centurion, founder and president. Pronounced “boo-ya,” Bulla is a slang word in Spanish for “chatter.”
Featuring communal seating that encourages guests to engage in socializing and chatter, the Bulla space was designed by Celano Design Studio. The outdoor patio offers an inviting, convivial atmosphere with long, cushioned wooden benches and tables in light wood accented by dark frames. A more intimate second-floor dining area features dim lighting from chandeliers with large tear drop–shaped glass accents and natural light that shines through expansive windows.
At Bulla, chef Gino Buchelli—whose experience includes China Grill and Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar—treats guests to an array of cured meats, cheeses or tapas including shoshito peppers stuffed with mahón cheese, grilled octopus with corn puree and mojo verde, ceviche that is prepared with jalapeño and orange, chicken croquettes complemented by a creamy kimchi, and a tuna tartar with a Sriracha aioli. Entrées include Valencia-style rice paella with red sofrito, braised short ribs prepared with tetilla cheese potato foam and cipollini onions in a red-wine sauce, and salmon served with baby spinach, chickpeas and lemon cream.
In addition to a beer menu that includes Spain’s Estrella Damm and Georgia’s Sweetwater, Bulla features a tempting wine menu.