Dine, Design, Delight

DINE:  I love trying new restaurants.  A hole in the wall?  Even better.  A hole in the wall courtesy of one of my favorite chefs?  Perfection.  Last week my husband and I made the short drive up to Westport to check out Bill Taibe’s new Japanese concept, Kawa Ni.  Be sure to set the GPS for this one: the restaurant is a small, dimly lit single room with an unmarked entrance in an unassuming strip mall.  It’s also just a block away from The Whelk, one of Taibe’s signature restaurants (and another one of my faves!).


Kawa Ni features Japanese cuisine, inspired by Taibe’s recent travels to Kyoto.  The atmosphere is fun and lively and the food is a creative, farm to table take on traditional Japanese dishes.


We loved it all: the rolls, the ramen, the rice bowls and the festive vibe — punctuated by the frequent ringing of the gong when the bartender serves up a saki bomb.  Kawa Ni takes reservations for parties of 5 or more and for smaller parties with some caveats.  It’s the perfect spot for a casual date night.


DESIGN:  October is quickly flying by and the Jeff Koons retrospective (June 27th – October 19th) at the Whitney Museum is in its last week.  If you have not been to see it, it is absolutely worth a visit.  The Whitney will be open for 36 hours straight October 18th-19th to celebrate the finale of the exhibit and the museum will then reopen in its new home in the Meatpacking District in spring 2015.  The Koons exhibit is truly impressive, both in terms of the scale of the pieces (it’s hard to top the sheer delight evoked by an enormous, shiny “balloon dog” or a massive, rainbow colored mound of play dough) and the collection’s size — filling almost the entire museum!


I was personally impressed by the scope of Koons’ works — from the sculptural, to the scientific to the more traditional medium of oil on canvas.  I loved this painting in particular:


Several astute, art loving friends inquired whether this Koons piece possibly influenced the kitschy birthday brownies that I topped with retro plastic flowers for my daughter.


Alas, it was a mere coincidence but I will admit that the resemblance is striking!  If you plan a visit to the Whitney this week, be sure to buy your ticket in advance to avoid the lines and save some time for a little après art lunch just up the street at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges.  A treat for the palate and the eyes.  Oui oui!





DELIGHT:  I relish new little goodies and bits of inspiration that put a spring in my step and a smile on my face.  Here, I’m sharing a few bits of fun and fancy that I’ve recently earmarked:

I would love to throw a Mexican fiesta on a chilly fall night that looks like this:


And a gypsy inspired “ultimate playdate” for my daughter that maybe looks like this:


For a casual ladies night chez moi we might sip out of simple, sweet paper cups like these:


My bar cart would be decked out with fringe like this:


and I might send everyone home with a little trinket tucked in one of these:


When I’m feeling blue, I just think about this lovely new mirror at Bungalow 5:


And these drip vases and snappy ginger jars from Williams-Sonoma Home.


Although I try to avoid talking trash, it’s difficult to resist with this glam little number.



I need these for my bookshelves, and they would make a lovely holiday gift.


Speaking of the holidays, wouldn’t I be the hostess with the mostess if I served up an old standard in one of these chic new Bunny Williams for Ballard casserole dishes — complete with rattan sleeve?


Finally, the holiday season means it’s time for those year end tips.  Money would really talk if I doled it out in these cute little pouches.


And maybe I’d save just one for myself…



Photos: CT, Bill Taibe, The Mark, Jean-Georges, Bungalow 5, Ballard and Pinterest.