Tag Archives: lauren ezersky. warren schultz

Half-way Around the World in 14 Days

An Epic Trip to New Zealand

Two weeks of hiking, dining, drinking, exploring below the equator

Auckland, New Zealand

Downtown Auckland from the Bay

It was a dream trip 25 years in the making. It has been that long since my sister, Marianne, moved to Auckland, New Zealand  And for 25 years i kept promising i would visit. But you know how it is. But in February i finally bit the bullet and hopped a looooong flight to Kiwi land on Hawaiian Air. I got a very good price with an overnight stop over in Honolulu. Perfect! that meant i could spend a night with my oldest friend, Joe Ferraro and his wife Nadine. Joe picked me up at the airport around 5:00 and brought me back to their bungalow-style home in Manoa. After a shower and a change into the appropriate shorts and flowered shirt we had a beer on the patio and headed out for dinner on the beach. i have to say, the minute my feet touched ground in Hawaii i could feel the tension seeping out of my body. And it continued into New Zealand. Even the prospect of a nine  hour flight hard on the heels ao a 11 1/2 hour flight and an hour and half delay in taking off from Honolulu due to an equipment problem, couldn’t raise my temperature.

Touchdown in Kiwiland

I arrived in New Zealand late Tuesday night. Marianne was there to meet with at the airport.And i really didn’t feel that bad after the 20 hour trip. Here’s the key: I laid out an extra 75 bucks each leg for exit row/bulkhead seating. well worth it? no knees jammed into the seat back in front of me. no getting pissed off at the person in front of me. There was no person in front of me!

Day 1: Exploring downtown Auckland

Wednesday i got my first look at Auckland. I threw on a t-shirt and a pair a shorts and set out. Yes, it is hilly! My sister’s house is in the Eden Terrace neighborhood of Auckland, just a 20 minutes walk from downtown. I just kind of nosed around downtown. You know how when you go to Boston and you’re walking around and suddenly you wonder, Hey where are all the people? well, it’s not like that in Auckland. not in downtown Auckland anyway. Lots of people walking around. I stopped at the Crown on Custom St. for a pint. It’s a brewpub where i enjoyed a pilsner. Though i thought the $12 price for a pint was a bit steep. But stop to figure it out. The exchange makes that $12 $10.20 American. Also, note that there is no tipping in New Zealand, so knock another 2 bucks off of that and you have an $8 pint. that seems about right. Later Marianne and i went out for dinner at, YUZU,  a Japanese place in Mt. Eden. the miso orange roughy was fantastic.

Day 2: Discovering the Auckland Domain

I took a commuter train to Grafton and walked a few steps to the Domain. Wow! What a place. i entered it from behind a small grandstand that sat at the edge of a depression or bowl. it wasn’t until later that i learned it was one of the many volcano craters dotting the city. Athletes were running, stretching, playing cricket. (Well, maybe calling the cricketeers athletes is a bit of a stretch.) i was there to visit the winter garden but had to hunt a bit to find it in the vastness of the Domain.

The Wintergarden in the Auckland Domain

The Wintergarden

The winter garden is a smallish conservatory with a beautiful annual house, and a tropical room with a lovely courtyard. I found the lovely Wintergarden Cafe outside the courtyard and enjoyed a delicious lunch of a warm salad and a Steingarden beer.

More to come…

24 Hours in Beantown

A Short Post-Christmas Trip to Boston

Last year, my wife and i spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s in Boston, visiting family, sampling restaurants, getting some culture at the Gardener Museum, getting some History at Paul Revere’s House.  We stayed at the Boston Park Plaza in one of the biggest hotel rooms i ever saw. This year, i went solo and booked a “petite” room at the same Park Plaza—with some trepidation. I like this hotel though. great location, just a few blocks from the Boston Common, Boylston st, Newbury street. what i don’t like is the $12 surcharge PER DAY for WiFi.photo(1)

But the petite room turned out to be fine and after i dumped my stuff off, Emme and i drove off to pick up Zea at South Station. She was coming in from Maine, where she spent Christmas with her in-laws. Where to eat? that was the question on everyone’s lips. The answer? The Gallows. I had been there once, for brunch and didn’t require any arm-twisting. At the Gallows, we started with their pulled pork stuffed corn muffin to share. Well, i use the term share loosely. Zea pretty much claimed it. Fabulous! then it was on to the main course.

Earlier, we had decided we would “eat light” after the excesses of Christmas. But by now we had worked up an appetite and when confronted with the menu, i knew it was burger time. I opted for the Carpetbagger with fired oysters atop. Zea chose the Maleson Melt with chanterelle, and porcini-morel butter. Emme, though, zeroed in on the poutine. specifically the daily Out of Control poutine, tonight made with bone marrow gravy. Wow!

Friday night, we hit another, small, beer-centric pub of the type that seems to characterize Boston. This time it was The Five Horses Tavern in the South End. Our mantra again was
“Eat Light!,” but that didn’t happen. not after i got a look at the menu.As son as i spotted it i knew i would have the k.f.c.g.h. With Kentucky fired Cornish game hen, jalapeno mashed potatoes and pork belly mac and cheese, it was comfort food times three. And it did not disappoint.

Fried Cornish Game Hen, Jalapeno Mashed Potatoes and Mac & Cheese

Dinner at Five Horses in Boston

Both of these fine establishments had amazing beer menus–bottled and on tap. And Five Horses happily seated our party when only  four of  six were present. When’s the last time something like that happened in New York?

 

 

Holiday Magic at the NYBG Train Show

An Amazing Display of Miniatures

Must-sees in New York for the Holidays include the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, and the Rockettes Christmas Show, the store windows on 5th Avenue—all enduring New York Christmas traditions. But none of them outshine the annual Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden.

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The George Washington Bridge reaches toward the Conservatory ceiling at the NYBG Holiday Train Show

 

For those who don’t know, the Holiday Train Show takes over the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory during the holiday season. Throughout the exhibit, model trains zip around New York landmark replicas made of plant parts such as nuts, bark, and leaves, There’s the George Washing Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and of course, the Brooklyn Bridge. Want buildings? Rockefeller Center, the Flatiron Building, City Hall, Macy’s, even Yankee Stadium (!) —all painstakingly constructed of nuts, seeds, twigs, leaves, roots. Each structure is more marvelous than the next. Even the most hardened Scrooge is bound to be swept into the holiday spirit by the experience of viewing this remarkable buildings as model trains wind past them. The New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show runs through January 12.

Macy's at NYBG
Lauren shopping at Macy’s. There is even a Christmas Display in the tiny windows!
Warren Schultz at New York Botanical Garden Train Show.
Batter up at Yankee Stadium!
JFK airport
Yes, it is the TWA Building at JFK, complete with “plant-based” airplanes on the runway.
This incredible display is the work of Paul Busse. And Paul is not one to rest on his laurels. Every year, he creates new buildings for the show. And this year, “The Artist’s Studio” exhibit reveals his step-by-step process for creating the exhibit.
You can purchase tickets here.

Chefs & Champagne

A Great Night for Food and Fun in the Hamptons

lauren is feelin’ the love at wofflers

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is Weird.

Andrew Zimmern does not think Lauren is bizarre. All photos by Gemma Kahng.

 

Today I was so feelin’ the love on Long Island. I’m talking about the passion displayed at the James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagne New York event at Wolffer estate in da Hamptons. The chefs so tenderly presented their creations. They were lovingly displayed and prepared with care. Many “hot” chefs were represented their from the tri state area including Masaharu Morimoto with his tuna trio, Eric Miller from Madison & Main with his grilled Montauk pearl oysters, and Stefan Karlsson from Sweden with his salmon tartare.  I had a hard time working because it was difficult not to spend all my time stuffing my face with all the goodies available. I also got to take a photo with the JBF award winner Andrew Zimmern star of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods

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Masaharu Morimoto lovingly created and served a Tuna Trio to appreciative guests at Chefs & Champagne.

Besides feeding me—and hundreds of others— the Foundation does stellar work giving students scholarships that honor and nurture America’s diverse culinary heritage.  They educate and inspire the young to be creative and learn their craft whether it’s food, wine, champagne, or whatever. They also had very cool items and travel opportunities to bid on both online and in person. All and all it was a fun time had by me —and all. I think everybody gained at least five pounds!  The only problem is I have to wait a whole year for such fine food grazing. In the meantime, I’ve just have to visit some of the restaurants that were represented there.

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Wofflers in Sagaponnick was the scene for Chefs like Stefan Karlsson

Chef Stefan Karlsson from Fond restaurant in Sweden served Tuna Tartare.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

B. Smith and her man enjoy the evening.

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Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

Rosa Ross from Scrimshaw in Greenport.

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For the Love of Ivy

Yum yum gimme some…..more Ivy restaurant! What a feast I just had. Lobster tacos layered shrimp and avocado sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon and onion covered in cheese. Generous appetizer portions with fair prices. It’s mostly bar food but a bit more upscale than most. My friend had a pomegranate drink and was feeling no pain. I highly recommend this restaurant on 56 and 8th if you are ever in the hood!

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Hats Off to Jack!

Friends Salute Jack Lenore Larson on his 85th Birthday

When you get to be an octogenarian, I imagine you like to think you’ve made a contribution to the world. Well, there’s no question Jack Lenore Larson has. In more than one field. Jack has made a name for himself as a one of the world’s preeminent textile designers. His books are masterworks on the art and craft of textile design. But that’s not enough for him.

Jack has made it his mission to share his good fortune with the world in general, and the East End of Long Island in particular, though his spectacular public garden: Longhouse Reserve.

Jack used the occasion of this 85th birthday party to unveil two new art installations:three new pyramids in the Ginko Allee and Chinese Contemporary Warriors, 2005 by Yu Minjun. this is a fascinating display of 25 bronze lifesize sculptures.

an installation by Yue Minjun

25 bronze lifesize sculptures at Longhouse Gardens

Jack Lenore Larsen's 85th birthday celebration

Lauren Ezersky congratulates Jack Lenore Larsen at his 85th birthday celebration

Sotto Sopra Scores

 Worth a Visit in Amagansett

Sotto Sopra

Sotto Sopra offers fine dining in Amagansett.

The owners of Sotto Sopra (who also own Bobby Van’s) are bold and courageous. Brave and true. They have opened a classy restaurant in a spot where nothing ever lasts that long, even though it’s right on Montauk Highway in the heart of Amagansett. This new incarnation, Sotto Sopra, should change the fortunes of that location. There are a lot of reasons why it should succeed… from the welcoming light and airy space to the thoughtful menu, to the food itself.

We stopped in  for a late Saturday lunch recently and snagged a table in the pleasant and quiet back terrace. Of course, it’s the staff that presents the first, and lasting, impression of a restaurant, and here we were greeted by a cheery and attractive hostess who turned us over to our solicitous waiter. He didn’t miss a beat in delivering a basket of fresh bread and bowl of olive oil. We each ordered a glass of wine for the nifty wine list, Pinot Noir for Lauren and Riesling for me. We were given the choice of ordering from the brunch or lunch menu. We weren’t feeling very brunchy so we opted for lunch.

Portrait of Lauren with Pinor Noir

Lauren enjoys a glass of pinor noir at Sotto Sopra

The first (and only) disappointment of the afternoon occurred not long after we were seated. Lauren was bummed  to learn that the lobster roll was sold out.

No matter, we started with a crostini for Lauren and a arugula salad for me. I swear, I had never seen a bigger heap of arugula. With match sticks of fresh apple and a few delicious cherry tomatoes, with truffle dressing on the side, it was a great start.  Lauren enjoyed her steak sandwich with aoli. While I fell in love with my Linguine Mollusco: tender little neck clams in the shell or pasta with a lovely garlic sauce dotted with chiles. I emptied the breadbasket, sopping up the sauce after the clams were gone.

insalata fresca  with arugula, tomatoes, and apples.

The insalata fresca at Sotto Sopra is a magnificent heap of aruglua.

On to desert. We had a crazy layered crepe kinda thing and some knock-your-socks off chocolate mint gelato.

It turned out to be a wonderful, relaxing meal. We’ll be back.

Sotto Sopra

231 Main St.

Amagansett, NY 11930

(631) 267-3695

 

 

 

“True Wolf” is a Great Tale

A Wolf as You’ve Never Seen One

The new movie “True Wolf” by Rob Whitehair and Bruce Wade is a revelation. It’s the true story of a couple, Pat and Bruce, raising a baby wolf from cub ‘til death in Montana. The wolf, Koani, was hand raised—but never domesticated—and became an ambassador for the breed.

The couple was completely dedicated to raising the wolf and changed their lives to suit her needs. Wolves have been hunted almost to extinction in the U.S. and when the Wild Sentry organization tried to reintroduce them there was much opposition as, you will see. The film makers combine old footage with new to tell the story of the past and present attitude toward these awesome creatures.

Koani had a great life,  enjoying long, two-hour walks every day with Indie, her canine companion. In the end, the movie raises the question as to whether this dedicated couple did the right thing by raising her in captivity. Even though they loved her, they questioned their actions themselves.  See the movie and decide for yourself.

It opens in New York City on August 17 at Cinema Village.

“This Time”: A Poignant Music Documentary

This Time chronicles the struggles of singers

This Time chronicles the career of singers, including the Sweet Inspirations

This Time” follows singers’ struggles

This Time“, the new documentary from Victor Mignatti shows the bleak and sometimes tragic side of the music industry. The movie profiles five musical artists—four who were once on or near the top, and one who has been trying to make it for over a decade.

The group Sweet Inspirations (originally with Cissy Houston) sang backup with Elvis Presley for several years, as well as Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklyn, Dusty Springfield and even Jimi Hendrix. Unfortunately, very little recognition has come their way. One of the more poignant scenes shows them singing back up for Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas.

Then there’s Pat Hodges. She’s an awesome singer who wound up homeless in L.A.  Despite her travails and her life on the street, she keeps the faith, as do all of the singers in the film. Even though they have faced failure, they pick themselves up and keep on going. They have learned the hard way that talent doesn’t guarantee success.

The movie follows music producer Peitor Angell who tries to revive the careers of the Sweet Inspirations and Pat Hodges—with minimal success. In the meantime, cabaret singer Bobby Belfry tries to makes it in New York. and manages to land a gig at the fabulous Feinsteins at Loews Regency.

I would have liked to see more background info and interviews with some of the celebs they worked with or who knew them. The film was  a bit long and edited erratically, but it is an interesting story and a cautionary tale about how fickle fame can be.

 

Martinis for Mutts in Water Mill

No, It Wasn’t the Mutts Drinking the Martinis

 

At Martinis for Mutts in Southampton

Lauren arrives in Southampton for a pet rescue benefit

It was a sultry Water Mill  Saturday night as pet lovers from all over the East End and beyond descended upon the lovely estate of Marcy and Michael Warren for Martinis for Mutts.

The event was a benefit for Last Chance Animal Rescue. “This non -profit organization rescues dogs and cats from high kill shelters down south. These puppies and dogs are still being killed with a heart sticks and being gassed, in such inhumane ways,” Marcy explained. “There are pure breeds and mixes, all waiting for their forever homes.” And in fact, a number of the pets present found homes that evening.

Water Mill Benefit

Marcy Warren and guests at Martinis for Mutts

Wendy Diamond and Dina Manzo were among the guests at the event. Everyone enjoyed the tasty hors d’oeuvres from Insatiable Eats and cocktails, compliments of Ketel One and St. Germain.

One of the stars of the evening was Roscoe the Mutt who was their with his sponsor. Rosco clearly enjoyed the attention as he frolicked with other dogs.

 

Last Chance Animal Rescue Benefit

Wendy has taken Roscoe into her home until he can find a permanent family.

 

 

Last Chance Animal Rescue is a 100% volunteer run non-profit organization. To date, they have rescued more than 5,000 animals. To adopt a pet, volunteer, or donate, contact Last Chance at PO Box 1661, Southampton, NY 11969 or call 631-478-6844.