New Orleans: Clicking Snapshots of a Unique Culture

New Orleans’ culture is rich and multi-layered like a complex and very refined cake. While on tour with the wonderful BlogtourNOLA gang, I snapped a few images of some of what makes this city’s heart beat faster.

The food:

Chez ElzaAll photos and layout by Chez Elza The food is to die for and -literally- has visitors commenting out loud with their mouths full: “I’ll diet as soon as I get back home!”

 The music:

Photos and layout by Chez ElzaAnd the good times:

Photos and layout by Chez ElzaAnd what a fabulous night life, with artists in markets at 11 PM!

Photo by Barbara Elza Elza HirschAt the Frenchmen Art Market. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Chez ElzaNOLA 1962Artist photographer Andy Levin holding up some of his work. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Chez ElzaArtist jeweler Krista De Joseph and her wonderful smile in front of her handmade jewelery.

Chez ElzaCheck out her work by clicking on the link above! Photos by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

We had a blast, thank you, Veronika of Modenus! Organizer extraordinaire:

V and daughterA lovely mother-daughter duo… Veronika at right. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 

Bare Toes to Gourmet Cooking | A Brizo Adventure

I almost missed going to the Brizo Event. I received an email on a Sunday, which I cast aside for later and did not open. Thankfully, I was called early in the week by the Brizo team, and had to have them repeat what I was hearing:

Me: “Um, excuse me, did you just say I was invited to learn about your products and to see the Jason Wu Fashion Show, all fees included? Hotel and trip?”

The rest is history. I breathlessly figured out logistics to escape my clients and family life, and then shopped desperately for New York worthy outfits.

D Day started with bare toes in the sunshine, driving back home with sticky nails, and imploring my husband to drive me to the airport:

Brizo FW-2013 129He said yes, Whew! And, no, for the record, I’ve never bared my toes in 35 degree temperature before. This was an “EMERGENCY”! Photo Elza B. Design.

I landed to New York and was pleasantly picked up by a chauffeur and zoomed to the Eventi Hotel (read more about the hotel here)

This is what my room looked like when I first came in:

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A glamorous little nest for sure. Photo Elza B. Design.

Drinks followed with the Brizo team that evening and we all got to mingle:

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Brian Nobbe, Brizo Marketing Director with fellow bloggers Todd Vendituoli and Marilyn Russell. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 158.editedFrom left to right: Fellow designers and bloggers Marilyn Russell, Yvonne Blacker, Adele Young and the one and only, Judd Lord, director of Industrial Design for Brizo. Photo Elza B. Design.

Bright and early the next day we attended a presentation of the Brizo lines:

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The lovely Laura Brooks, Senior Brand Manager for Brizo. Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

 

Designers and bloggers hard at work. Obviously good students, seeing from the level of participation! Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

Later that day we went on a tour of the Hearst Tower and attended a presentation by  ELLE DECOR‘s editor Amy Preiser:

Brizo FW-2013 226Sorry for the fuzzy photo, Amy. You were extremely charming and bubbly. Note to self: take photos with a regular camera once in a while. I-Phone not always optimum.

Beautiful Hearst Tower view:

Brizo FW-2013 218Photo Elza B. Design.

Did you know the Hearst tower is not not only the heart of numerous famous magazines, it also hosts the Good Housekeeping Institute Office!

Brizo FW-2013 239Famous Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is delivered here, in the heart of New York city! Photo Elza B. Design.

The tower offers an ideally sound proofed auditorium, its own Cafe, an art gallery space, a sculpted water fountain, and a 70 feet high fresco hand painted by artist Richard Long with mud and water.

Brizo FW-2013 229Fabulous architecture inside the building. Photo Elza B. Design.

But what I found most fascinating about the tower’s recent addition is its exemplary environmentally conscious and breathtaking diagonal grid construction. Designed by British architect Norman Foster, it features among many things: the fastest elevators of New York, high efficient glass construction, rain water collection and recycling, and it is made of 90% recycled steel. Click here to view a video and learn more.

The day was topped off with a fast speed and mouth watering cooking class at Sur La Table with the Brizo team and guests. We cooked three main courses and then sat down to eat

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My fabulous teammates, Brian Nobbe and Judd Lord of Brizo and designer and cooking buddy Susan Jamieson. Photo credit Jayme Thornton for Brizo.

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The art of folding pasta…Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

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My teammates and I made this pasta!!! I love this photo. It makes me happy! Photo Elza B. Design.

The whole Brizo group before dinner:

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Above and directly below, photos courtesy Jayme Thornton for Brizo._H1U7233.JPGBrizo FW-2013 288.copyOne of our delicious creations, fresh tomato pappardelle with ground beef and scallions. Photo Elza B. Design.

I will share the Jason Wu Fashion Show later this week. In the meantime, I leave you with this telling photo of how everything came to an end:

Brizo FW-2013 125Landing at Boston Logan Airport with Yvonne Blacker, we had to come back to reality! Hello, Nemo! Goodbye fairytale!

ABC Home and its Little Culinary Jewel

While visiting with my sisters in New York, I had the wonderful opportunity of having lunch at ABC Kitchen, situated in the ABC Home building. A charming and vast room, with a gloriously high ceiling held by visible (thank you!) wood beams, white brick walls, the restaurant is simply a feast for the eyes and mouth. Created by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and dining mogul Phil Suarez, the restaurant offers a locally grown and organic cuisine of the finest quality. The construction of the restaurant is made of recycled and sustainable materials and decorated with an array of tastefully designed items such as: a medley of softly lit chandeliers, comfy white steelwood chairs, handmade porcelain dinnerware by local artisan Jan Burtz, recycled and pleasantly shabby-chic European porcelain plates.

ABC Kitchen softly lit seating area.

Some of my favorites dishes included the Roasted beets with house-made yogurt, the Spinach, goat cheese and herbs pizza, and the Gazpacho with watermelon and tomatoes:

ABC Kitchen Gazpacho soup served in a Jan Burtz bowl.

The service was impeccable. Young and friendly servers popped in and out of the kitchen at lightning speed, yet managing to seem unrushed,  gracefully depositing plate after plate on tables. My sister is friendly with one of the sous-chefs there, the talented Ross Mendoza, and we thrilled to have a quick chat with him after our meal.

One word: Dessert. Please, please indulge. The toasted almond Panna Cotta is SUBLIME.

Now, on to the store itself. Meandering in the ABC Home aisles I found myself having to take deep, calming breaths. Thoughts going through my head : How can I check out all these beautiful offerings in just under two hours?? Remind me why don’t I live in New York again?! This place truly feels like a museum exhibit!

A few eye-catching sightings:

Handmade Italian dinnerware at ABC Home.
More Italian handmade tableware at ABC Home.
Stunning arrangement of containers and stones on a back lit surface. ABC Home.
ABC Home has a love affair with lights. And it shows…

 

Lovely geometric pendant at ABC Home.

 

Paper bubble pendant at ABC Home.
Stunning Murano Glass chandelier with a painted iron chandelier in the background.
Blu Dot Floor Lamp with red cord at ABC Home.

Textiles and pillows abound. I particularly enjoyed these indigo items:

Indigo Blue Pillows.

 

Indigo Blue blankets and textiles.
Intricate patterned blue pillow by Eskayel.

I loved how the pillows and blankets were organized by color hues:

Superb pillow and blankets arranged on a shelf at ABC Home.

There were many other fascinating floors are items but I just cannot cover all. Make sure to check the Raw section (a space dedicated to industrial vintage finds), the Cobble Hill furniture line:

Cobble Hill furniture upstairs at ABC Home.

And take the time to check out spaces with quietly gorgeous pieces such as above the restaurant, if you go up that staircase, you can find cream and wood and metal sculptural beauties such as:

Jaw dropping imposing French fountain at ABC Home (I would estimate it measured about 4 feet in diameter).

Dashing across the street to the ABC Home Rug building, 10 minutes before closing, I was able to take a glimpse at one of my favorite rug designer, the great Madeline Weinrib:

Madeline Weinrib cotton flatweave rugs.

Voilà, my friends! Hope you enjoyed my tour. Clearly, I shall have to visit ABC Home again very soon.