Friday, October 17, 2014

Vervoordt, Costanza, and Tater

As promised long, long, too long ago, today I post about Axel Vervoordt, one of my most favorite designers.  I started following him years ago, have all his books, and have read every article bearing his name.  The only trouble is I am not alone.  So many follow his work - good for him, bad for today's posting.  I will share some of my favorite Vervoordt images, and if you have seen them all before, skim.

His castle and orangerie where his antiques are displayed and may be purchased.

Another view of castle.

View of entrance to grounds.

Sorry to be so repetitious, but the buildings and grounds are so beautiful.  And we have very few moats in the US.

This image below has been everywhere on Pinterest, blogs, magazines, but is so simple and lovely that I had to include it.  (Speaking of simple, Nancy Braithwaite's new book, Simplicity, is out now and is a stunner.  Look for it and buy it if you like simplicity.)  I fell in love with this room.

Every time I see it another object must be removed from one of my rooms.


Orangerie perfection.

Perfection inside the orangerie.

Inside to the castle's kitchen.

And to a Molteni stove and beautiful copper cookware.

Dining room.

El fresco dining at the castle.

Now, leaving the castle and onto Antwerp and Vervoordt's Kanaal, a former distillery bought and redesigned for living and viewing.

He gives the old distillery a museum quality.

With spaces for living.

Axel with his son, Boris who is now taking over some of the design work.


As the Vervoordt style becomes more and more Wabi Sabi...

I love its purity...

Pure and simple and my colors or non-colors.

More about this Belgian master next time.

Now to the George Costanza episode of today's post.  At the end of September and into October, I visited Maine, one of my favorite places on earth.  I was on a Wyeth quest - to see as much as was possible of the family's art and their Maine inspiration.  We stayed at East Wind Inn in Tenant's Harbor, 
Inn's view with lobster boats

visited the Farnsworth museum in Rockland, 

and toured Rockport, Camden and Wiscasset.  
Camden Harbor
One of the days, we took the ferry to Monhegan Island where Jamie Wyeth once lived and painted.
The trip over was smooth as my anticipation grew.  Below is what we found.

A painting everywhere.  But have you noticed the dark clouds rolling in to say nothing of the high swells.  Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when George Costanza pretends to be a marine biologist.  In the restaurant he is explaining how he saved a whale but prefaces his tale with, "the sea was angry that day, my friends!"  Well, our sea was angry that day, my friends, with 9 foot swells.  I live on a Finger Lake in New York state, which never gets 9 foot swells!   For an hour, I was terrified.  Black waves rolled over the ferry and as it pitched from side to side, I tried to remember if any ferries had ever been lost off the coast of Maine.  People were getting seasick and were all clinging with death grips to the seats ahead.  I was doing deep breathing just as in child birthing. When the ferry blessedly arrived at shore, I wanted to kiss the ground, but instead hugged the captain.  I really thought I might die that afternoon.

When returning to my quiet little lakeside town, I vowed not to leave home for awhile.  The leaves and laundry needed my attention, but then my daughter-in-law took a spill down her staircase and needed some help.  Off I flew to Bedford.  The pilot said the trip might be a little rocky till we got above the clouds, but it was absolutely nothing compared to the ferry.  That's one positive result of that terrifying trip - everything else pales by comparison.  Ted, Tater, was in rare form on my errand of mercy.  He loves balls and is talking a blue streak.
Sorry this has been such a wordy post.  Just be happy you did not see me in person after our trip.  Even the bartender "got an earful" as we sipped our Cosmos.  Next time more images, less chatter.

Stay on dry land-

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Jean-Georges and Tater

It's been almost a month since my last post, and I feel like a very non-prolific blogger.  How could this happen?  Laziness mostly... and travel... and then catching up with household chores after travel...but mostly laziness.  (This was supposed to be a post on Axel Vervoordt, but he will have to wait till next time, besides everyone knows how wonderful he is.  However, to complete my design cycle, his design and my love of it will appear next post.)

Now to where I've traveled -  to my grandchildren's new home.  One grandson was visiting Mommy's relatives in Colorado, and one stayed at their new home with Daddy and me.  Ted (Tater) and I had a very good time.  We did a little light reading...

and got into cupboards Mommy never lets me get I look a little guilty?

I chose a different cupboard the next day, but hey Ama lets me, and Mommy is in Colorado.

But now to a very special treat.  My son asked if I had heard of Jean-Georges who opened a new restaurant nearby.  Of course I had and my treat was dinner at this new nearby restaurant.  Not being Ted-approved territory - he had a sitter for the evening.  Everyone said I was going to love it and everyone was positively correct.  On my return home, I did lots of research on Jean Georges - his restaurants, his family, his home near my son's home.   Doesn't he look like such a nice man?

Originally from Alsace Lorraine where he trained as a chef, he was sent to Asia furthering his skills and then moved to the US where his restaurants have become world famous.

The following images are of the Mercato, his restaurant in Shanghai.

And the following are from his Mercer Kitchen in the Mercer Hotel in NYC-  definitely one of my future destinations.  First image is the hotel; the following are the restaurant's images.

The following images are from the Inn at Pound Ridge, NY which was my treat.  As soon as I walked in, I knew I was going to love it just as my son and daughter-in-law knew I would.  We sat at the corner table to the left.  The lighting and the woodwork here seem a bit like the Mercer's, but the wood is lighter and the whole restaurant reminded me a bit of the Belgian design I love and Axel Vervoordt who started it all.

This was my view throughout dinner - loved how the shaded light fixtures were mixed with the metal ones, the metal curtain rod across the entire wall, the  neutral colors, the center fire place, the floor and ceiling - I was in love.  It was such a treat.  And do you see what I mean about its Belgian-esque feeling?

And the wait staff could not have been more efficient, informative, or just plain nicer.

One of the smaller, private dining rooms with wood and stone walls, candles, and beautifully simple table setting.

We had an after-dinner drink in the downstairs bar mostly to enjoy its decor.

Downstairs dining room.

Downstairs waiting area.  The designer for the restaurant was Thomas Juul-Hansen.  I haven't even mentioned the food yet - all field to table.  More about that in a bit.

His ABC restaurant in Union Square, NY with that same warm wood feeling as Pound Ridge, but with more concrete, less stone.

Let's talk a bit about tablescapes.  I love to observe how great restaurants set their table - Jean-Georges's were rugged and elegantly simple.

Now to the food itself - every morsel that entered my mouth that evening was delicious from the calamari, to the halibut to the apple cobbler, and my son felt the same way about his lamb chops.  And the gin and tonics were perfection.

The following images are of food prepared in his various restaurants most of which is farm to table fresh.

While browsing on the internet about Jean-Georges and his restaurants, I thought I'd try to discover what his home kitchen might look like - after all remember my blog's title.  I found the living room of his apartment in NYC but no kitchen info.

In his home near Pound Ridge, I had better luck.

The chef with his wife Marya and daughter Chloe in their country home.

Wouldn't you love to cook for family and friends in this kitchen?  Our waiter at Pound Ridge said Jean-Georges worked in the restaurant's kitchen often and many of the staff had been invited to his home.  What a nice guy!

The nice guy, himself, working in his home kitchen.  Beautiful stone fireplace.

When not cooking in his country home, he keeps bees and tends a small garden.

When I returned home, thoughts of my special treat and special grandson kept resurfacing.  I knew I had to own one of Jean-Georges's cookbooks and purchased this one.
When I should have been blogging, I've been perusing recipes trying to find my first Jean-Georges dinner.  I'll let you know how it turns out and promise to be a more frequent blogger-buddy and to focus on Axel Vervoordt next time even though number one grandson is coming toward the end of August.

Enjoy your summer days and summer nights.