Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Eatin' Out - Pho Grand

277C Grand Street at Forsyth
I never understood Pho. I thought -- Wow, a big boring bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle soup: no big whoop. Check me out, I can make some soup! Please give me bbq pork, or salt-n-pepper squid when I have Vietnamese...

I was obviously retarded, and Grand Pho is the reason I have changed my mind. The Xe Lua (#1, Combination Extra Big Bowl Beef Soup Six Differences Brisket, Navel, Frank, Omosa Tendon & Eye or Round) is amazing. Essentially, six kinds of beef (one coming as rare as can be) in a deeply rich and satisfying beef broth with noodles, bean sprouts, green onions and as much hot sauce as you can stand. Number 13, the pork Pho, is also great. Any day this winter it's been cold and rainy, I have been ordering in from these guys. Total deal: $5.25 for something hand, toe and soul-warming. I'll give Kaplan the credit for sussing this one out from the Voice.

Monday, January 23, 2006

One Vice Down

I went to the dermatologist a couple weeks back because even though I am 36, I am apparently doomed to get ugly, painful, cystic acne for the rest of my life. Well, Miss Smarty-Pants-About- Everything-Skin learned something new: coffee can cause skin problems. Since I've been drinking a strong cup or two of coffee daily for about 20 years, wouldn't it be completely genius if something so simple was causing the problem?

I decided to do something good for myself, and switched over to the much-touted miracle drink, green tea, about 2 weeks ago. Jury's still out on if it's doing anything for my skin, but at least I won't get about 6 kinds of cancer, heart disease, or gain weight. Maybe its special powers will give me that long-hoped for superpower of teleportation. Plus, it's apparently cool, and a great interest (obsession?) to have if working in Chinatown. A million different kinds of green tea in every store. Proving to be very fond of Lemon Green Tea. The caffeine withdrawal from super-charged espressos wasn't even that bad, at least if you don't count sleeping through an entire weekend.

Do you think this offsets the Jameson's and sodas I had by the gallon over the weekend?

Friday, January 13, 2006

Eatin' Out - Una Pizza Napoletana

349 E. 12th Street
Wed-Sun 5pm until the dough is gone
Sort of an artisinal pizza maker, the heavily-tattooed owner makes each pizza by hand and bakes it in a wood-fired brick oven as you order it. He calls it Vera pizza Napolentana - true Napoletana pizza - and the crust truly is something to die for. There are only 4 kinds of pizza available, all simple and made with the finest ingredients: buffalo mozzarella, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, sea salt, basil, and fresh tomatoes. No sides, but drinks are offered.

The pizza I had was a classic Margherita, and while I don't know if it was worth $18.95, it was really tasty. The grease from the cheese puddled on the middle of the pie, which caused the ingredients to slide off but again, it was all about the crust: not too thin and crispy but certainly not doughy either. Pillowy and fantastic.

No reservations accepted, and with two guys working the whole joint, it can be slow. An italian son and father combo acted like real jackasses the night I was there, complaining before they even sat down about the service. The harried waiter told them "Eat here, or don't eat here. It is your choice." He walked away leaving them seething. They fact that they stayed says something about the pizza.

Arrive early or expect to wait for a table.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Past Few Weeks

Review of Vieques, PR / Dec 25th to Jan 1st:
85 degrees, sunny every day, very chilled out, more expensive than expected, gorgeous beaches, read a lot of books and spent much quality time with the lovely Kate Gleason.
Rating: A-

Review of Montreal, Canada / Jan 4th to Jan 9th:
Freezing, stayed in the Fairmont downtown where John-n-Yoko had their "Bed-In" in the 70s. Very nice hotel, seems like a cool city but didn't get to see anything but the printer and three Bennigan's-like restaurants near the plant. Press check at the new printer was rough as it gets, no sleep for nearly two days at a stretch, almost had a nervous breakdown but magazine is done and looks pretty good. And Canadians know no sense of urgency
Rating: C.

P.S. New Yorkers are always that impatient asshole sighing with frustration, no matter where they go.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Here's an absolutely fantastic write-up of the place I work from The Sunday Times in London. V Magazine is truly like nothing else, and it also managed to ruin my life for the past 5 days by proving to be nearly impossible to print in Montreal.....

Fantasy & freedom
Following its own idiosyncratic creative path, V magazine goes where other fashion glossies fear to tread, says Colin McDowell

What magazine is twice as tall and wide as all the others, uses the photographers Mario Testino, Nick Knight, Nan Goldin, David Sims, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, once featured Kate Moss on its cover wearing a beard, and describes itself as “unisex, but swinging both ways”?

The answer is V, a publication that makes other high-fashion glossies look about as exciting as a WI newsletter, and whose first five years are chronicled in a new book. For anyone interested in fashion, graphic design and the coolest of international lifestyles, V has consistently broken new ground, making each issue an instant collector’s item. Not since Andy Warhol’s Interview in the 1970s has there been anything as visually stimulating and shocking — or anything that has celebrated its creative freedom quite so playfully.

Published from chaotic offices in New York, the magazine is the brainchild of Stephen Gan, a Filipino with Chinese roots who moved to New York when he was 18. Gan is a visionary in the same spirit as the great Alexey Brodovitch, the creative director of Harper’s Bazaar in the 1930s (a role now held by Gan), who trained photographers such as Richard Avedon and Irving Penn.

Whereas most magazines today are launched principally to generate advertising revenue, and every new arrival apes and devalues those currently on the newsstands, Gan cheerfully and courageously does his own thing. V’s trademarks — apart from its size — are its bold layouts, typography and fashion photography. The visual power is apparent from its covers. Strong and challenging, they feature iconic faces such as Iman, Linda Evangelista and Kate Moss (one of Gan’s favourites), Missy Elliott, Alex Kapranos and Gwen Stefani. Nobody ever refuses the V cover. The contributors, too, are drawn from the creative A list, and include Salman Rushdie, Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada and Bruce Weber.

So, what of its fashion? Well, V likes a bit of bling, is in love with the LA music scene and gets excited over boybands and young male designers such as Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane. It also has its big-name favourites, including Dior, Chanel and Gucci, whose advertising pays the bills.

Yet its remit is wider than who is currently putting what on the world’s runways, or who is having a red-carpet moment. A feature dedicated to heroes spotlights people who have had a long-lasting impact on the creative world, including artists such as Victor Vasarely, film directors such as Michael Powell, who made the 1940s classics Black Narcissus and The Red Shoes, couturiers Yves Saint Laurent and Charles James, and luminaries of the design world such as Ettore Sottsass and Philippe Starck.

V has had the courage to put Trent Ford in an evening dress, create portraits of designers from hundreds of tiny runway shots of their shows, and give the Venice Biennale several pages long before Frieze and Art Basel became part of the fashion world. Its first cover was a Testino shot of Jude Law, who had made himself up as a bizarre-looking native. V has continued the boldness ever since.

Thirty years ago, fashion magazines were still exciting, original and different from each other because each one was a reflection of the personality and interests of its editor and art editor. Since then, the need to outsell rivals has robbed the fashion magazines of all their character. If you don’t believe me, collect a few of them, hide their titles, then see if you can tell any difference in the covers.

V is uniquely different. It is the idiosyncratic child of a passionate editorial team working with an editor who has incredibly sensitive antennae for the significance of the moment. The result is a cultural primer of art, music, film and fashion that amazes with every page of every issue. What other fashion magazine can you say that about?

V-Best: Best of V Magazine is published by Steidl (£80). Available from The Photographer’s Gallery; 020 7831 1772