Archive for October, 2008

Eat: New Schnitzel on the Block

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If you can’t remember your last run-in with a tantalizing bratwurst, treat yourself to a meal at Café Select, the new, Swiss German neighborhood spot in Little Italy/Soho. Don’t let the trendy location and its triumvirate of über-groover owners (Oliver Stumm and Dominique Clausen, aka A Touch of Class, the Euro-dance-DJ duo, and Serge Becker of La Esquina fame) be a turn off. Although there is an undeniable element of hipness, Cafe Select has a primarily relaxed, low-key feel and it’s one of the only places in the neighborhood to linger over a coffee, a snack, or a meal and not feel rushed (in fact you might have to get up to ask the waiter for the check). Many customers are refreshingly well over the age of 25, unlike most restaurant goers in the area.

Café Select is decorated with Swiss graphic art posters, a huge, glowing Rolex clock juts from the wall and the menu is sprinkled with bratwurst, schnitzel, Büunderfleisch and Rösti, yet it steers clear of being a Zürich theme park eatery. The menu lists Continental and Swiss German options of moderately priced salads, sandwiches, meat dishes, sides and desserts, including a Toblerone parfait and Quark cake. There is an all-Alpen wine list to choose from and and homesick Zürchers can even order a Rivella or Shorley.

Café Select
212 Lafayette Street (south of Spring Street)
212-925-9322
www.cafeselectnyc.com

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Beauty: Shizuka Japanese Day Spa Offers Unique, Nightingale Dropping Facial

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“Last year I remembered a story my mother told me when I was a child,” explained Shizuka Bernstein, about her new Geisha Facial. From her serene, midtown Shizuka Day Spa, Bernstein continued that in 18th century Japan, Kabuki actors and Geishas used heavy, lead-laden white face paint. “They would get sick and sometimes even die. So they tried anything to counteract the effects of the lead.” One of which was Nightingale fecal matter which contains exceptional enzyme properties.

After months of Nightingale stool research and experimentation, Bernstein came up with a creamy concoction using 100% organic Japanese Nightingale poop, sterilized and pulverized. The 1 hour facial includes a massage and numerous unusual Japanese unguents and cleansers, leaving faces glowing and radiant.

7 West 51st Street, 6th Floor
New York City, NY 10019
212 644 7400
$180

For more information: www.shizukany.com

Music: Mo’Glo Radio, Midnights on 91.5 FM

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Yes, some people still listen to the radio. Tune into 91.5 every midnight and you’ll be treated to Mo’Glo, the music show that features Modern Global Music. You’ll hear Baile funk from Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, Afro-Peruvian electronica of Novalima or the Sri Lankan–British rapper M.I.A.’s off-kilter dancehall.

What exactly is Modern Global Music? “It’s kids making music outside the studios, on their laptops, mixing their parents’ music with what they hear on the streets,” says DJ Darek Mazzone, the curator of Mo’Glo. “New York is actually one of its epicenters, from all the different populations coming in and out of the city.”

Expect a different DJ every night on Mo’Glo, live or prerecorded, local or transmitted from a roving set of DJs spread around the globe.

For more information: Mo’Glo

Eat: Let the Beef Knuckles Roll!

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Pierre Thiam of Le Grand Dakar in Fort Green, Brooklyn has just written the first Senegalese cookbook in English. “Yolele!” translates to, “let the good times roll,” in Wolof, one of the languages spoken in Senegal. This gorgeous cookbook–designed by Luke Hayman of Pentagram and shot by Adam Bartos–is available in most bookstores and Amazon. There are plenty of recipes for those who are not ready for Tripe Stew with Beef and Calf’s Feet, such as Five-Spice Duck, Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters, or Steamed Black Eyed Pea Puree with Eggplant.

Contrary to a recent New York Times article that quoted a restaurant critic claiming that “Africans vastly prefer tough, tough meat,” Thiam’s meat dishes are tender and succulent. The story continues, “They [Africans] will eat tree snails that are so tough you would have difficulty distinguishing it from a section of rubber tire. For them, eating something for dinner is not an appreciation of tenderness. It is an appreciation of toughness, and they want to really chew on the meat and enjoy it because meat is so rare.”

Not only does Yolele! educate readers about Senegalese cuisine, a mix of West African, French, Portuguese and Vietnamese, it’s a glimpse into Senegal itself, a country that has not shared such a bloody past as many of its neighbors. “We were blessed with no natural resources,” the affable Thiam joked recently, “no oil, no diamonds.”

When he’s not writing letters to the editors at The New York Times, he’s cooking outstanding meals at his intimate restaurant that should not be missed. Don’t forget to try the Roasted Mango and Coconut Pudding.

Le Grand Dakar
Pierre Thiam Catering

Buy the book: Amazon