What to Wear: Late Winter Edition

It’s DEFINITELY still winter.  Snow is firmly on the ground.  Instead of slinking around in open toed sandals (or ‘cold shoulder’ tops – cute but they are called that for a reason you guys, ahem) I’m going to enjoy the last couple of days of sleek winter apparel while mixing in pieces that will transition in a flash to spring!

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First up: Elyse Ryan AWEARABLES wristWROCKS line.  These one of a kind stackable bracelets add a pop of color to any look, and this lovely blue and turquoise and silver stack will work equally well on a sandy beach as they do on a snowy day!

PLUS, these bracelets in particular are very near and dear to my heart, as $10 from each $50 sale goes to support all the good work of Camp Courant: bringing underprivileged kids to a full and joyous summer camp experience every summer.  The oldest of its kind of institutions in the US, Camp Courant is a truly magnificent cause, and their CEO, McKinley, is a dear friend of mine.  I was therefore both excited and honored to have the opportunity to make this collaboration happen through underwriting by my agency.  Send me an email if you’d like to purchase one (kat@alittlebirdtoldmect.com)  Giving back, being stylish – these are a few of my favorite things.

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Let’s discuss this Iris Setlakwe suede jacket from my good friends at Morneault’s Stackpole Moore Tryon Tuesday’s – and how I will be living in it – no really – for the forceable future?  Why?  Well, it’s incredibly stylish, black (YAS), and fits like a glove, but is also super comfortable and doesn’t irritate my skin the way many fitted jackets and blazers do.  Being in and out of meetings many days, all days, there is no feeling I hate worst than pinched elbows from a blazer – particularly if that blazer is layered under a winter jacket.  This jacket is so buttery soft I forget it’s there.  Here is it dressed down, but I wore it dressed up to Big Red last week.  It’s a true foundational wardrobe piece – something to buy once and keep forever, no matter what the style trends of the passing season may be.  And that’s why one of the owners and Head Stylish, Jody Morneault, says that people are such fans of this particular designer: “I love Iris for the fashion quality & fit.  It’s timeless .  Most customers think If they only wore Iris they would be happy.”

If you would like to check out the new line and also shop in a historic department store nestled on lovely Pratt St (with free parking!) then join me at the Iris Trunk Show this upcoming Thursday- Saturday.  It’s a great chance to preview the line and meet the owners, who form long lasting relationships with all their clients and are happy to talk personal style tailored to any look (or budget).  So come downtown.  Shop around.  And find yourself some pieces that won’t just transition from one season to the next, but for season after season after season.

 

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Present Company Presents: a Cellar Wine Dinner

Present Company, with Executive Chef Jeff Lizotte, offers a warm, cozy atmosphere, exquisite food, and a fun, relaxed vibe.  So naturally, it’s one of our favorite places.  Like many farm driven restaurants, PC changes their menu seasonally, so join them (and us!) on Monday night for a special preview of their new menu plus wine pairings.

Menu is below plus photos from the talented Jason Welch, to give you a feel for the vibe.  I’m eating as little as possible between now and then in preparation.  It’s going to be good.

Make your reservations via OpenTable – or by calling – 860 658 7890.  Seating at the Chef’s  Counter is most definitely recommended, so you can watch Jeff do his thing.

Monday, March 13th
New Menu Tasting Dinner at Present Company

Join us and experience Chef Jeff’s new menu paired
with boutique wines from our cellar

5 courses | 5 wines | $75

citrus salad
french breakfast radish, endive, baby greens, toasted madeleines

crispy skate wing
duck fat potato, mirepoix, red wine reduction

oven roasted savoy cabbage
truffled butternut squash, coco bean-mushroom duxelles

short rib of beef
celery root beignets, caramel apple and shallot salad

carrot cake
madras curry cream cheese, luxardo cherry, praline ice cream

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72 Hours in London + an Evening with Faust

London – my second favorite city on the planet, and the spot of many a teenage ramble during high school, growing up in the UK.  A storied and historical place that somehow maintains the strongest, staunchest sense of core British identity and history, despite the city’s embrace of its many cultural influences.  Also, it’s just damn pretty.  New York City (always to be the favorite) is brash and yellow to London’s staunch, classic charm and ‘red all over’ vibe.  Also, NYC doesn’t have historical phone boxes.  Which match the buses.  Which is really nice.  Although it IS decidedly easier to navigate than the rambling, wandering roads and boroughs of London.

While 72 hours isn’t that long to explore a city proper, it is adequate time to visit old favorite haunts, which is something that Scott and I were able to do to the fullest (he also studied abroad and feels at home in the city).  A quick trip to Harrods, a long and leisurely stroll through the Borough Market, high afternoon tea, more (very necessary) tea shopping at Fortnum and Mason, and a long, emotional journey through the Imperial War Museum were all on the list.  As well as Scott’s favorite restaurant, St John, and out of the way and spectacular Watch House Cafe nestled inside a renovated church wing.  We rounded things off with a decidedly decadent feast at Amaya (not pictured due to the fact that my camera doesn’t come to dinner both due to my disdain for pictures in the dark and Scott’s equal disdain for an inattentive dinner companion).

So please, enjoy our visual journey.  And speaking of visuals – join me if you could this weekend at A Faust Symphony (Listening in Color) – a fusion of art and symphonic artistry from my friends at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.  A dramatic musical adaptation of Wolfgang Van Goethe’s play of the same name, this performance will present Liszt’s adaptation of the material alongside a thoroughly modern treatment of narratives presented by actors through monologue.  In short, I dig it.  Thank you to the HSO, as always, for providing me with tickets to this performance.  Get your own tickets here!

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Appetizing with Russ and Daughters Cafe

A Sunday well spent brings a week’s of content, as the saying goes.  What could be better than a sunny 60 degree day in February on the Upper East Side with someone you love?  Throw in a bagel and cream cheese you say, with some of the best cured fish in the city?  Well, ok.

Russ and Daughters is a New York institution, with a gritty and wonderful flagship location on the Lower East Side.  Want a fine, comprehensive, and dazzling array of cured fish?  Caviar?  Babka?  Well, head down, grab a ticket, and wait in line (and DO NOT lose that ticket, my friend).  Looking for a slightly more polished and artsy experience?  Well, do what we did yesterday and head all the way uptown to the Russ and Daughters Cafe, nestled in the basement of the Jewish Museum.  Sit down, have an egg cream, and an appetizing platter that will knock your socks off.  Nosh away, friends.  Nosh away.

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Greek Wine Dinner at the Fez

The Fez is a charming, cozy, Moroccan restaurant on restaurant row in Stamford, which owner Nancy Laist describes as a “bit of Soho in CT.”  Although they are known for their live music, we came for the food (and the wine) and were not in the least bit sorry that we did.

Greek wine is a category neither Scott nor I have explored at any length, so we were delighted that Nancy invited us to attend (and gave us tickets for the event, thank you!)  The wine itself was good enough and interesting enough that several bottles found a home in our cellar (a Domaine Katsaros Valos and a Rhous White – all bottles pictured below and available for purchase at Horseneck Wines & Liquors).  The Rhous White in particular we loved: a Muscat blend lacking the sweetness of many of the lighter whites of Italy and Spain.  The wine, overall, was punctuated by a somewhat intense but very pleasing mineral quality, which the distributor  assured us was indicative of the region.

And the food?  Oh my, the food.  Baba ganoush was a creamy and airy delight: whipped eggplant served with a cinnamon toasted Pita chip.  Scott proclaimed the grilled octopus with harissa mango sauce (not pictured) to be his favorite – a great textural char on this dish offset the subtle sweetness in the sauce nicely.  As for me?  The vine leaves, stuffed with meat alone and no rice, were fresh and appealing.  Vegetable kebobs punctuated with freshly made falafel and a light dessert of African style baklava, known as Briwat, ensured that the balance of food was also not too heavy or overwhelming – a common issue at multiple course wine dinners.  Of everything we sampled, my heart belonged to the lamb: slow braised with a thick wine reduction to ‘fall off the bone’ perfection.

And speaking of hearts – The Fez is hosting a Valentine’s Day dinner (reservations highly recommended).  Four courses and a prosecco toast are offered for $60 – excluding tax and gratuity – with live music from Kathy Muir.  Treat your sweetie to a cozy, intimate dining experience, and enjoy the visual tour of our dinner below.

The Fez | 227 Summer Street, Stamford | 203 324 3391

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OOTD – questing for the perfect winter jacket

Finding the right items of clothing can turn into a quest.  Thankfully, I already had my Indiana Jones hat on (perfect for finding the Holy Grail or the perfect item of clothing).

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Got the theme song in your head now?  You’re welcome.

I had, the previous week, dragged Scott (not entirely unwillingly) in half of the thrift stores in LA in the quest for the ‘perfect’ bomber jacket, with no luck.  Many contenders were found, but none quite measured up to standard.  So imagine my delight upon walking into Max Zeller Furs and discovering – well – exactly what I was looking for, along with completing another quest – for the perfect fur coat.  Two for one??  Reasonably priced?  That’s what I’m talking about.

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Details: multi colored (farm raised) rabbit fur line this military style bomber jacket.  Not your mother’s fur coat – it has street edge, but a soft, colorful secret on the inside, waiting to envelope you in luxurious layers of (detachable) fur.  Put the hood up and enjoy a pop of color – keep it down and the same bright detail will be visible from the back.  

Hotel Cocktails: Beluga Caviar Martini

Welcome, friends, to a new special section of my blog where I review cocktails at the various hotel venues Scott and I venture into during the course of our travels.

Why?

Well, because hotels are a perfect little microcosm of the macrocosm of the city around them.  The best are thought out in meticulous detail, creating a world unto itself, much like a properly created cocktail is a world unto itself.  A chance to pause from life, and enjoy one simple, thing, executed well, if you will.

So let’s explore together, starting with the Beluga Caviar Martini at the Beverly Wilshire

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Beluga Noble Russian Vodka | Cinzano Dry Vermouth | Petrossian Caviar Cube

A word about the Beverly Wilshire – classic Beverly Hills.  How classic?  Well, “Pretty Woman” was filmed here, and yes, there is a “Pretty Woman” cocktail on the menu (but of course), although  visual inspection of one several tables over was definitely not encouraging.  Something has to cater to the tourists, after all.

No, order the Beluga Caviar Cocktail instead.  At first, it will impress you as, perhaps, pretentious, a little “too too” – much like Rodeo Drive itself.  But then you taste it, and soon you are a convert.  The oil from the caviar will slowly but surely seep into the vodka, so I would recommend drinking this at a semi brisk pace before it crosses the line from ‘dirty’ to ‘fishy:’ and if you’re brave enough to order two – that’s on you.  One was perfect for me.  Sometimes, simplicity and brevity are best.