Author: Jane Larkworthy

Unexpected Guests

I first noticed the smell two weeks ago. I walked into the parlor and EW!!! A seriously funky odor that could only indicate that something had died. Shit like this happens when you live in an old house in the country. I remember visiting our friends Geri and Stephen at their house in Northern Westchester County.  I walked into my guest room greeted by a standing fan, going full blast, facing the wall. This was in November, mind you, so I looked at Geri for an explanation of the fan, but before she could answer, the explanation hit me right between my cheeks. “Ugh. A mouse died in the walls,” she explained. “There’s no way to reach it, so we’re trying to get rid of the smell.” This was right around the time I first met Bertrand. As a matter of fact, our second date was in Pound Ridge. He had been hanging with the kids a half hour away in Larchmont, so he drove up and took me out to dinner. I remember the date like …

A lighter, quieter holiday season

We arrived at Bertrand’s Aunt Bella’s early for Christmas Eve dinner, as we’d said we would since we brought most of the meal, which had to be heated or stirred or grated into, and amidst various stages and temperatures. As we unpacked in her kitchen, I heard myself say, “Let’s open the wine!” This was a bit odd: it wasn’t even 5:30, but, more significantly, I’m not a big drinker.  And yet, I craved a drink. In immediate retrospect, I chalked it up to a few minor anxieties, ranging from how Astrid’s fiance Eli would enjoy his first Christmas with us, to whether my mother-in-law would balk at an all-vegetarian menu, to concern about getting back to the Berkshires in time to beat the snow since the snow tires hadn’t been put on yet. But the real reason hit me about an hour later, when everyone had arrived and I sat on the sofa catching up with Astrid. After hearing about her and Eli’s wedding plans and their Bay Area real estate search, when she …

It’s All in The Mix

Finally, the third and final installment of the Ralph Lauren Home triumvirate project where I got to interview women in the food and beverage world while combining their talents with Ralph Lauren’s breathtaking dinnerware and glassware. The latter was featured here, thanks to the creations of Brooklyn (by way of Vermont) mixologist Ivy Mix, who is as smart and quick as she is beautiful. I spent a recent afternoon gleaning some of the final points of cocktail making while also learning about Mix’s favorite ways to spend New Year’s Eve. Want recipes? Scroll down… When Ivy Mix was 19, she took a trip to Guatemala and fell in love, both with a man, and with a bar. The man eventually evolved into a friendship that continues to this day, as does the impact of that that bar. “All the ex-pats hung out at this one place, Café No Se’,” recalls Mix. “This was pre-social media, so if you wanted to find somebody, you just went to the bar. Eventually, I started bartending and I just kind …

Oh, Mandy

The first and only time we visited Chez Panisse was when Bertrand and I took Luke to check out UC Berkeley. He was only a freshman in high school, so we were a bit early, but we he agreed to venture across the Bay Bridge and tour the campus. More likely, it was the lure of Chez Panisse. (Featured image courtesy of WineFashionista.com) We were seated upstairs, in the more casual section. I must confess, I cant remember what we ate, but I remember the sunshine and the vibe that subtly implied that you were within greatness. Bucket list greatness. This was how the wise people dined. A decade later, I find myself back in Berkeley, in close proximity to the restaurant—just over the backyard fence, to be exact, inside perfumer Mandy Aftel’s Archive of Curious Scent. 24 hours earlier, I had been sitting at Gate 24 inside Delta’s JFK terminal, growing ever more frustrated by my flight’s multiple delays. The Sonoma fires had caused these delays, so, well, cry me a fucking river. But, …

The Queens of King

In my last post, I explained this exciting project I’m doing with Ralph Lauren Home and some very bold-faced women of New York’s vibrant food and drink scene. The second in this three-part series is about the lovely women behind King restaurant. We spent a rainy afternoon with them, and I honestly could not imagine a cozier place in which to spend it. Here’s my post: When New York Times food critic Pete Wells wrote his review of King restaurant last June, he began with how a friend, a regular, described the experience: “food on a plate in a room.” The review was a glowing one, but placing his friend’s succinct summation right up front was Wells’ way of reminding us what matters most about the dining experience. Personally, I’d hasten to add the words “most thoughtful” before “food,” and “understatedly chic” before “plate”. Oh, and after “room” I’d add, “that you wish your home looked like, but you know you’ll never get it right like they did.” “They” are the three women behind King: chefs Clare …

Angie Mar is a Rare Find

Why is being freelance so much fun? Because you get to do cool things like projects with Ralph Lauren Home, where you are offered the opportunity not only interview the hottest chefs, but also be photographed with them. As intimidated as I was to meet Angie Mar, owner and executive chef of the much-lauded Beatrice Inn, she was a blast to hang with. Oh, and I got to taste her indescribable 160-day whiskey-aged beef. Here’s the story: Angie Mar is standing in the kitchen of New York’s Beatrice Inn, inspecting a side of beef rib. With its marbleized mosaic, buds of faded lavender nestled into its edges, it is quite a vision of beauty. She gives her ok, and sous chef Nicole Averkiou carries it to the grill. One of the first things I notice about Mar is her style. Despite not being the tallest person in the room, she is a dominant figure. With a mane of jet black hair, piercing eyes whose lids are colored in black shadow, she is wearing a vintage …

We asked Alice

I downloaded Alice Waters’ Coming to My Senses right after I booked the flight to San Francisco. My friend Kerry had elatedly shared the news that the founder of Chez Panisse and founder of the Berkeley food explosion had agreed to be the keynote speaker at Cherry Bombe’s Jubilee, their first San Francisco conference, so I had to cram. This would be Cherry Bombe’s fourth Jubilee. It’s funny, I always start out feeling like an outsider when I first get to the Jubilee. It’s not that  the crowd isn’t the most encouraging, supportive, lively group of women ever, but I’ve only recently dipped my toe into this food world and this reasonably insular blog is really all I’ve got…that, and a dear friend who founded a women’s food magazine. Oh, yeah; there is that. But my food resume is tiny and nascent, and when you’re among superstar chefs like Alice and Gabriela Camara and Traci Des Jardins and food writers like Eater’s Amanda Kludt  and Naomi Starkman, you’re really at the grownups table. Fortunately, the magic of conferences is that …