Monday, November 28, 2011
From my NYC: Food & Drink column in the current fall edition of h Magazine from Los Angeles
William Greenberg Jr. Desserts
1100 Madison Avenue (82nd &83rd St.)
Having called Manhattan home for the better part of twenty years, I’ve reconciled that this city is a living breathing organism that morphs and changes right before my very eyes. For instance, one minute the meat packing district is filled with after-hours haunts, hookers and the legendary 24hr diner Florent filled with the oddest mix of drag queens and club-goers; the next, the only high heels in the nabe are teetering bridge and tunnel folk on their way to find the nearest bottle service.
My own backyard, the Upper East Side, is one area of the city that is not want to change easily; their zoning and high-priced zip codes simply don’t allow for the ebb and flow that downtown is known for. There are icons amongst the tree-lined streets here, some you know, and other’s only available to a lucky cognoscenti. The best spots simply quietly evolve from decade to decade and quality is appreciated. The great ones are passed down, and the smart ones are sold to purveyors for whom tradition is revered. William Greenberg Jr. Desserts, which first opened its doors in 1946, is a New York City icon that’s survived and thrived in the 21st Century using all its original recipes.
As legend has it, the bakery was founded on a bit of luck. At the end of World War II, soldiers crossing liberated France on a transport train spent their final days in Europe playing cards to pass the time. The games continued aboard a troop ship heading across the Atlantic. One sergeant, whose tags read William Greenberg Jr., had a little more luck with the cards than his Army buddies and earned enough winnings to start the business he'd always dreamed of: a family bakery.
Today, hidden like a confectionary gem high up on Madison Avenue, the bakery is a destination that welcomes patrons from far and wide seeking fresh baked breads, cakes and their signature claim to fame, the iconic New York Black & White cookie. Stepping into this colorful oasis your senses are heightened with the wafting smell of sweet baked goods. You’ve arrived at a petite enclave that will sate the sweetest of sweet tooth.
The buttery cookies, moistly rich brownies, and exquisite custom cakes here are decorated with what would become the Greenberg trademark artistry that lives on vividly today. Almond cookies are slivers of baked delight topped with fresh nutty shavings. Fresh fruit tarts alight with color and flavorful layers of cake and cream. While faddish deserts thrive downtown, and cupcake trucks line the streets of lesser zip codes, this bakery has willfully marched online and now ships to displaced New Yorkers who’ve spread the gospel from far and wide, from LA to Miami and every point in between.
You can see why they’ve built such a loyal following the minute to bite into one of the Black and White’s here. Is it a cookie or a fluffy little cake? Whether vanilla or chocolate floats your fancy, this cookie has it all. The sublime sweetness is lickably good, yet remarkably filling. They come in all sizes and colors too which change with the seasons, for instance Halloween saw Orange and Black, or Orange and White…you see each side has a following and the choice is provided here for whichever side you fall on; choose both if you ask me, they’ll leave you only wanting more.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Fashion Group International (FGI) took the time this week to host a their bi-annual Ready To Wear trend over-view at the Time Life building. Always an enjoyable journey down the runways of New York, London, Paris and Milan, this Spring/Summer 2012 season was a delight, all presented with the velvety voice of the esteemed Mary Lou Luther. The post-presentation panel brought up several topics we also covered in the panel I moderated recently for The Round Table Creative Media Group, this one had the effervescent Isaac Mizrahi wrangling the kittens of conversation.
From FGI: “If fashion really is a barometer of the times, we’re in a colorful, spirited, happy-go-lucky S/S 2012…or, we’re in denial. By ignoring the economic downturn, the European monetary crisis, Arab revolutions, hurricanes…etc, designers are either telling us to eat-drink-and-be-merry or to escape to the safety of the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or 70’s."
At the Round Table Salon’s discussion on Fashion & Culture, designer Joseph Altuzzura, who’s name came up in several images from FGI, commented on the fact that his collections are evolutionary each season, that women dress differently today and are looking to evolve their wardrobes.
Jenne Lombardo, from The Terminal Presents, had an interesting take on the fact that, “Technology has changed the way designers buy and sell and show. The cycle of ready to wear is antiquated. We have to look at it and change it…buyers are becoming editors, editors are becoming buyers and designers are becoming retailers.” The advent of editorial from stores like Barney’s and Bergdorf’s, the rise of ready-to-buy apps from magazines like Lucky, and the ability for brands to sell the clothing directly from the runway show has changed the way we look at fashion. This evolution will only continue as new apps are introduced and the consumer's hunger for information and access will continue to pervade the industry.
From FGI, Best Bets for S/S include, Bright Colors including Tangerine, Whites and Chalky Pastels; prints in Geo, Fusion, Florals and Photo. Laser like pleats in all shapes returned, couture touches were highlighted, sport, ease and full skirts returned. In accessories, the wedge was back, the loafer returned, a smaller day bag was highlighted and the bag that matches the clothes were trends to buy. Jewelry saw vintage, pearls and crosses.
In Beauty, “Bold, Brooke Shields-like brows, frame the face for spring; more refined were also present; scarlet lips included Jason Wu, with outlined lips from MAC Redd pencil then applying Scarlet lbis lipstick with a dash of MAC pigment in Neo Orange on top.
Lots to look forward to as we all brace for a chilly winter...
Images: Yeohlee, Joseph Altuzarra (Imaxtree), Gucci (TeamPeterStigter.com)