By Tom Ran

Published: May 22, 2013 under Dining & Food

RES, a new residency program for chefs from Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo.

Photo: RES

When placed in the right hands, food has the ability to transcend beyond nourishment. It becomes an experiential adventure and at times elevated to an art form. The two Franks, Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo and their mini empire in Brooklyn are attempting to do just that. When rumors surfaced that they would open a new restaurant in Red Hook, many wondered if it would be an expansion of Frankies Spuntino. They recently announced that it will not be. In fact it will not be anything we’ve seen before in NY. The name of their next project is called RES. The Franks are creating a residency program for chefs. Much like an artist residency, chefs from around the world will be invited to stay and work on their creations. With three kitchens to work from they will be given the opportunity to take their time in perfecting their menu or whatever they have plan while presenting it in an intimate setting. Whether it’s a collaborative dinner, one-off event, or installation, RES is a brave and bold new concept that will surely draw the attention of the global audience of diners.

Read More

Dewar’s, Thinkers, and Penicillin Drinkers

By Craig Cavallo

Published: December 10, 2012 under Dining & Food

Sam Ross at the helm preparing his signature drink, the Penicillin.

Photo: Craig Cavallo

Some people say you’re supposed to drink scotch with ice. They claim it brings the beverage closer to the temperature at which it had been stored for years before it reached the glass. Others find the mix of frozen water and scotch sacrilege. John Dewar and his brother Tommy were happy so long as the drink was making its way to someone’s gullet, and when Sam Ross invented the Penicillin at Milk and Honey in 2005, it introduced the brand to a new demographic.

Milk and Honey was ahead of its time when it opened on Eldridge Street in January 2000. The low lights, pristine cocktails, big band soundtrack, and entrance by referral and appointment only laid the foundation for many a speakeasy to come. The bar will close at the end of the month and reopen early next year under Ross’s direction as Atta Boy. Milk and Honey will move uptown, but before it does, Dewar’s wanted to host an event where the Penicillin was invented.

Read More

First We Feast

By Tom Ran

Published: October 11, 2012 under Dining & Food

Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar.

Photo: First We Feast

Complex, the magazine geared towards the urban set, launched by Marc Ecko in 2002 is broadening its coverage and sharpening its taste while still grounded in its schoolboy antics. This year saw the introduction of their #menswear site, Four Pins and more recently the launch of their food site, First We Feast. It’s as if the personality of Complex refocused its attention from the latest denim and sneakers to wine pairing and pork. They do a hilarious job at bridging the two cultures together bringing in the always entertaining Eddie Huang, a list of food memes, and a gif gallery of the “o” faces of food television. The success of the site remains to be seen, the shift from Dunks to double monks was already in place before Four Pins started, but this appears to be uncharted territories. Nonetheless their flair for comedy and urban culture has proven itself well so far. It’s only a matter of time before Complex launches a travel site.

Read More

Kings County Distillery

By Tom Ran

Published: August 27, 2012 under Dining & Food

The light shines through a bottle of Kings County Distillery bourbon.

Photo: Daniel Bernauer

Kings County Distillery is no joke. After years of operating in a small space in East Williamsburg the distiller moved into their new home inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard on April 1st. Their story has been one of incredible growth, much like many Brooklyn up starts in the food and beverage world. From their living room to a legitimately thriving business. KCD has taken advantage of the bountiful resources in the borough working with Oliver and Evan Haslegrave from hOmE for interior design, Annie Novak from Eagle Street Rooftop Farm to consult on the garden, and the Mast Brothers to produce a small run of chocolate flavored whiskey. We visited co-founder Colin Spoelman recently to tour their new facilities and to see first hand the operation behind Kings County Distillery.

Read More

Restaurant Day

By Tom Ran

Published: August 20, 2012 under Dining & Food

A cobbled table serving homemade dishes at last year's Restaurant Day.

Photo: Restaurant Day

What if you were given the opportunity to open a restaurant? What would you want it to be? How will it look? What kind of cuisine would you be serving? Well, Restaurant Day has provided a forum for wannabe chefs and food enthusiasts the ability to market their food in the most unique way. Your way. What started off as an event in Helsinki has gone global with 12 countries participating, from Brazil to Iceland. Restaurant Day is a food carnival that occurs once every three months where amateur cooks and bartenders are invited to open their own restaurant. Whether it be in your home, a warehouse, an art gallery, or even inside a semi truck, it’s all up to you. Given the loose health codes in other countries it’s easy to see how quickly this has grown. Even though there’s a NY Facebook page for Restaurant Day it’s uncertain how this will progress with the restrictive health codes. We can certainly see a discrete version, much in the way that supper clubs have grown in popularity. Nonetheless it’s exciting how food events are evolving around the world giving amateurs the opportunity to share their creations to the public. Who knows how many David Changs or Rene Redzepis this event will spawn.

Read More

Haven’s Kitchen

By Tom Ran

Published: July 24, 2012 under Dining & Food

Haven's Kitchen

Photo: Brent Herrig

Alison Schneider is on a mission to spread the gospel on food sustainability in the most inviting way. She’s not doing it on a soap box. Rather, she’s converted a carriage house and created an environment that is so enticing you welcome what she has to say. Haven’s Kitchen is the first of its kind. The first floor is a shop offering small local goods with a coffee and pastry counter. In the back is a commercial kitchen where cooking classes are taught. The second and third floors are made for events ranging from dinners and brunches to private parties. A rooftop garden is in the works and will open by next summer. We wondered what the impetus for Alison to open Haven’s Kitchen was. So we visited the space a few weeks back to discover her love of teaching and passion for sustainability. Read more about Haven’s Kitchen now.

Read More


Alya Kazakevich

By Raven Keller
Alya Kazakevich in her shop in the Lower East Side

Photo: Rose Callahan

On a damp and muggy summer morning on the Lower East Side, Alya Kazakevich slowly stitched up the edges of a leather coin purse and recalled her childhood in Eastern…

 Read More


By Tom Ran
Partners Robert Highsmith and Stefanie Brechbuehler

Photo: Samuel Bristow

Stefanie Brechbuehler and Robert Highsmith, are the partners behind Workstead. The two met at Rhode Island School of Design while studying architecture and opened their studio in 2009,…

 Read More

M.Nii John Moore

By Tom Ran
M.Nii Tailor, Waianae, Hawaii 1959

Photo: Tom McBride

The photo is one of the few relics that remain of M.Nii’s history. An image that recalls the golden age of American surf culture. Three friends in front…

 Read More