Studio Cim Mahony

Studio Cim Mahony.jpg

STUDIO CIM MAHONY
Bredgade 4, 2 TV
1260 København K
T. +45.31.90.17.54


Since we started making semi-annual trips to Denmark, I've been holding off on all visits to randomly researched hair salons in the States to get my hair properly cut and colored at Studio Cim Mahony. From what I learned following Emily Weiss' Instagram, she trusts her hair with only Cim Mahony himself and will fly from New York to Copenhagen just for an appointment. Now, if that's not a true testament to the man and his salon, I don't know what is!

Because it’s located in an upscale apartment, being a client here is akin to visiting the chicest person you can imagine and then having that person give you VIP service. Everything here is tastefully selected, from the unusual floral arrangements down to the teacup from which you're sipping some exotic tea.  It's Cim's ethos come to life. 

I prefer private hair salons because there's a certain level of attention provided that you can't find at the big-name salons. (In other words, it's not listed on Yelp.) There's a sense of calm and focus in this sort of environment. No crazy commotions. Your one stylist does it all, from greeting you at the door to shampooing to putting on the finishing touches. 

While Cim's services are privy only to an exclusive set, his team of highly trained and experienced experts are available to "everyone else". And they all seem to have the same mission: to create healthy and effortless hair that's meant to suit your face and lifestyle. I've seen a couple of different stylists in the salon before but was particularly happy with my recent experience with Sarah Kjærsgaard Sørensen. She has an anti-trendy philosophy in regards to hair, which is common amongst Danish hairdressers in general, but what I really appreciated was that she took her time to get to know my hair history and understood the difficulties I encountered in the past. European women, she explained, don't style their hair with heated tools as is done the U.S. so it's crucial to get the right cut where the mane of hair lays correctly on its own.

I'd banned myself from any trims or salon visits the past seven months, so my ends were raggedy and my old highlights looked brassy. When I came in, I had about five inches of black roots showing, but my color now looks like someone flipped the light switch on from within. Sarah started by weaving in babylights (super thin highlights) throughout my hair and lifted the color two shades up from its natural base for a subtle and soft effect. Then, she gave it a blunt, one-length cut all around so that it has more of a swingy-ness to it. The whole appointment took a surprising four hours from start to finish–and, yes, it was expensive–but, considering the amount of bad haircuts I've suffered in my life, the time and financial investment is totally worth it.

Here's a little Before/After pic:

*I added the waves myself with ghd's Creative Curl Wand.

*I added the waves myself with ghd's Creative Curl Wand.

 

 

 

 

Taverna Tony

TAVERNA TONY
23410 Civic Center Way
Malibu, CA 90265
T. 310.317.9667


A couple of years ago, after silently lamenting that I lacked a sense of adventure, I decided to drive to Malibu on my own from the ranch. Driving long distances was still new to me at the time and I had no idea that the canyon roads were going to be curvy the entire way. It felt death-defying–you might as well have asked me to go bungee-jumping! My palms were sweaty, my stomach was in knots, and I cursed myself for not driving straight into L.A. like I normally did.

Taking the road less travelled, though, has its perks because that's when I stumbled across Taverna Tony, a romantic, bougainvillea-shaded veranda enclosed by a traditional white stucco wall. With its terracotta tiles and bright cerulean blue touches, it looked as though this entire restaurant had been transplanted from a vibrant coastal town in the Mediterranean. Feeling proud that I had completed my mission safely and soundly, I confidently strode into the bar and ordered myself a glass of crisp white wine.

I can't resist a Greek menu, but the best things here aren't actually on the menu at all. Tony's highly addictive "house dip" is graciously sent out with a basket of a warm loaf of bread once you sit down. Apparently, the dip's main ingredients are avocado, red caviar, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. The rest is a secret that's kept under lock and key. Every time I've returned since, I keep asking for the recipe, hoping one of the waiters will crack. But this is all in vain, which is wise because, instead of recreating it at home, I have no choice but to come back for more.

Of course, the crisp, bountiful salads and simply grilled seafood dishes are major draws, but my other favorites here include the avgolemono soup (a homemade chicken and orzo soup bolstered with egg yolks and lemon juice), the tender and smoky grilled baby octopus with spring onions, and the psarasoupa (a tomato-based fish and seafood soup). It's so hard not to fall in love with Greek food. If you make a day out of hanging out in Malibu, you must stop here!

Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Octopus, Sea Urchin and Breadcrumbs

CECCONI'S
8764 Melrose Avenue
310.432.2000


Sea urchin pasta is easily one of my top picks as a fantasy last supper but, I have to admit, it's not exactly an original idea of my own. It was an idea I picked up from lounging around at Italian art dealer's loft in West Chelsea years ago (when I still lived in New York). Most of those random nights in the city were a blur, but this one in particular stood out because of the fantasy last supper conversation. 

The whole thing began when I shared that I'd recently read an interview with Eric Ripert in which he revealed that his fantasy last supper would be something like meditating under a banyan tree and then eating a dozen oysters. What a Zen answer, Eric Ripert. Anyway, that somehow evolved into everyone taking turns sharing what their fantasy last supper would be.

While I can't remember what I said–or what anyone else said that night–I do remember what the hostess said:

"I'd be on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea with my best friends. We'd all go diving for sea urchins, swim back to the boat and open them up. I'd cook spaghetti with garlic and olive oil, and then we'd dump our catch into the pasta!" she said, while waving her cigarette around. "And, of course, there would be very good wine."

With that, she conjured up a timeless image of la dolce vita; a life of leisure, nature, and friends. 

Since then, from time to time, I'll have an insatiable craving for sea urchin pasta and nothing else will do. Cecconi's rendition uses spaghetti alla chitarra tossed in a silky sea urchin sauce with slices of grilled octopus. It's an oceanic splendor that whisks me away to the turquoise waters of the Italian coast by the forkful... In other words, give me sea urchin pasta and then give me death!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream

JENI'S ICE CREAM SPLENDID ICE CREAMS
1954 Hillhurst Avenue
323.928.2668
 


Last night, after a casual dinner in Silver Lake, my friend Bill and I drove over to Jeni's for ice cream. (Getting ice cream after dinner is such a nice thing to do with friends.) Bill is the one who introduced me to Jeni's and it's the best I've had.

I admire the integrity of their ingredients. They don't use emulsifiers or stabilizers in their products, so it never tastes too sweet or artificial. To boot, they have the most creative array of flavors: Juniper & Lemon Curd, Genmaicha & Marshmallows, Cocoa Curry Coco... And they debut a new collection of flavors every season. A small order at Jeni's ($5) gives you two scoops of any flavor. You also have your choice of a cup, a sugar cone, a cake cone or–for an extra dollar–a waffle cone.

I almost always stick to my favorite one: Brown Butter Almond Brittle, a buttercream base laden with crunchy chunks of almond brittle. The honeyed, buttery, nutty notes of the brittle go so well with the creamy tang of buttercream. It's for us "plain vanilla" fans who want to take a walk on the wild side. My usual order is the small–with both scoops being the same flavor–in a cake cone, which I then eat with a spoon. (The only other flavor I've considered is the Goat Cheese with Red Cherries but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.)

"I'm surprised they even offer cake cones," I noted, as we happily ate our ice cream on the drive back to his place. "They're a dying breed of ice cream vessels."

"Children like them," Bill replied, as he crunched down on his sugar cone.

"I love them," I said, scraping my spoon around the scoop of ice cream, "They're my favorite. I like their plainness. And the compartments around the top... Such a good design feature! Every bite of cone has ice cream encased inside."

"I've never seen someone order an ice cream cone and eat it with a spoon before," he pointed out, glancing over at me as he switched lanes, "But, of course, you'd do that. That doesn't surprise me."

"My teeth are sensitive," I explained, "And I use the back of the spoon to pack the ice cream into the cone compartments as I go."

Ice cream. It's serious business. I bet Jeni's would tell you that.

 

 

Somewhere Beyond the Sea

If you take Highway 1 for about an hour north of San Francisco, you'll find yourself at my favorite place in the whole world: Point Reyes National Seashore, a nature preserve with expansive beaches, jagged cliffs and rolling green hills. This majestic landscape is in distinctive class of its own. Its beaches are neither sunny and hippie like Venice Beach nor is it exotic and tropical like those in, say, Hawaii. There's nary a palm tree in sight. Instead, the Bay Area's signature fog holds court over the skies, rough winds will lap at you, and it's likely you might not see another soul on the sand for miles around.

I would've never known about this place had it not been for a wrong turn made many years ago by an ex who had intended on taking me to Napa Valley. Even upon realizing his mistake, he kept on driving in the wrong direction anyhow, which, to be honest, unnerved me–at least initially. As we drove further and further from the Golden Gate Bridge, however, the more lush and breathtaking the scenery became. I no longer cared where we landed. The ride itself was mesmerizing and the long stretches of road felt liberating, especially after years of being accustomed to the suffocating confines of Manhattan. 

We finally came upon a small town and stopped into a store to pick up provisions–a bottle of wine, a loaf of sourdough bread and a wedge of blue cheese. "Where are we?" we asked the shop owner. "Point Reyes," she replied. "If you take a turn and go down that road there, you'll find a wild beach." So we followed her advice and took an endless road that wove its way through miles and miles of pastures dotted with grazing dairy cows before finally arriving to what felt like the ends of the Earth.

As we sat on a sand dune with our goods, watching a gorgeous sunset sink into the abyss of the Pacific Ocean, with rabbits and deer darting around in the tall grasses behind us... I remembered thinking: Point Reyes. I must return here one day. I suppose I was afraid that I might never find myself there again because it was a relatively obscure place and required a bit of driving to get to. (I'm terrified of driving.)

While my travels thereafter took me to Spain, Japan, France, Italy, Switzerland, the Caribbean and beyond, I'd never forgotten about the magic of Point Reyes. 

Two years ago, my boyfriend convinced me to go on a motorcycle trip up the coast of California. We stayed in Paso Robles for a night, then rode up through Big Sur and stayed for a few days in Carmel. Our last stop was supposed to be San Francisco. Truth be told, I don't care much for San Francisco at all. It was then that I proposed we extended the boundaries of our trip just a little more and visit this very special place that I happened upon over a decade ago...  

When I was in Point Reyes last weekend, it occurred to me that, sometimes, the memory of how you discovered a place loses its meaning over time, especially when you're there creating new moments with the person you're with. What was past faded into a misty backdrop; what was real was before me... Until that fades away too.

The lyrics to that Beatles song "In My Life" encapsulates this sentiment perfectly:

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I love you more
In my life, I love you more