Barneys, Inside and Out

Madison Avenue on a wet winter afternoon.

Chanel bag, above and below

in the windows

black and white

skirt with a center pleat

full-length Barbour coat

ankle boots

electric blue

fur coat and combat boots

military coat with brass buttons

thinking pink

Prada bags in "Celine Dion green"

Celine Dion photo from Just Jared

spring's little white dress by Sea New York

slate and navy blues on the co-op floor

metallics at Prada


The Doodle's Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese-on-an-English

Everyone should know how to cook an egg. I mean, really: what else are you going to offer your date the next morning? Cereal?

Yet so many cooks, from those in your local diner to high-end brunch places, are capable of messing it up. The key is giving the egg lots of love and attention, something that the Yankee Doodle in New Haven has done since 1950.

This recipe is very quick, but you must operate at lightning speed to execute it well. Pretend you're a line cook. "Bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-an-English" is an order shouted from counter to cook, and it's done here in the style of Lew Beckwith, Jr., the Doodle's great master chef in the 90's.

Bacon Egg and Cheese on an English

1 Thomas' English muffin
2 strips Oscar Mayer bacon
2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1 large egg at room temperature
1 slice pale yellow American cheese


Get out all the equipment you'll need: a large, 2 burner griddle, or an omelette pan and a skillet. A spatula, a breadknife, a regular table knife for the butter, a long fork for the bacon, and a small domed saucepan lid. You'll also need a toaster, which should be placed right next to the stove.

Lay out all the ingredients in order of appearance. Slice the English muffin in half with the bread knife and put the slices in the toaster (do not toast them yet). Put the bacon slices on waxed paper. Soften a stick of unsalted butter by nuking it on defrost for 20 seconds, if necessary. Bring the egg to room temperature by running it under warm water, if necessary. Unwrap the cheese from any cellophane covering. Place all these ingredients next to each other, as shown.

1. Heat a skillet (or cooler half of the griddle) to medium-high. It's ready when a few droplets of water splashed on the pan skittle and evaporate.

2. Lay the bacon slices on the pan. They should be sizzling loudly but not alarmingly so.

3. Watch the raw pork fat off your hands.

4. Start toasting the English muffin.

5. Turn the heat on the omelette pan to high.

6. At about the 2 minute mark, the bacon should be beginning to brown. Carefully flip it.

7. Put a tablespoon of butter in the omelette pan and swirl it around as it foams. Break the egg against the flat surface of the counter and open it onto the omelette pan, leaving the yolk whole. The English muffin will pop up about now - just leave it in the toaster to stay warm.

8. When the egg white is set about halfway through and the bottom isn't brown yet, about a minute into cooking, carefully flip the egg without breaking the yolk. (Or, if you prefer a hard-cooked yolk, break it with the edge of the spatula before flipping it.) Don't let the egg fold over onto itself.

9. Working very quickly, put the cheese on top of the egg, take the bacon out of the skillet and put it on top of the cheese, and cover the whole thing with the small domed lid.

10. Remove the English muffin from the toaster and smear both halves with the remaining tablespoon of butter. In the time it takes to do this, your egg will be cooked.

11. Remove the lid and scoop the bacon, egg and cheese with a spatula, slide it onto the English muffin, and voilà: you have a Doodle special.

The yolk will burst when you bite into the sandwich. Never fear, that's what it's supposed to do. It's deliciously messy.

Total cooking time: 4 minutes, 40 seconds.
Serves 1.

To make 2, lay out twice as many ingredients in the beginning, then repeat the entire process. (The first egg sandwich should stay warm. Cover it with foil if you want.) Or, after you have a lot of experience, you can try making more than one bacon egg and cheese at a time. But I've only seen the Doodle cooks master that.


Death & Co.

Addendum: Eater reported on Thursday, March 1, that Death & Co. may be closed for good. We don't know yet. I am embarrassed for my delusional East Village neighbors. Death is harmless - honest!

Addendum 2, March 19, 2007: Excellent news! Death has been resurrected...for now.

You need only turn to the recent news about Death & Co. to confirm that East Villagers are really as crazy as they seem. Seems the neighbors are against renewing the place's liquor license next year not just because of people lingering outside smoking and talking, but because the exterior of Death & Co. reminds them of a Nazi train car.

Thrilled by this macabre piece of news, I rushed over to Death & Co. The exterior is indeed forbidding. There are evil iron bird wings and wooden plank slats, which I suppose, if you were Sylvia Plath, or if you were hallucinating on back pain meds and continually staring at the place from an apartment across the street, could look like a a Nazi train car, a really fancy, first-class one, say.

The velvet curtains at the door part to reveal a place that looks a lot like East Side Company Bar, Employees Only, Little Branch, or any one of a number of retro speakeasies that have opened up in the past couple years. Where was the death? I expected dinge and cobwebs, maybe the damp smell of the grave or of an East Village squat. But this place was clean and almost bright. On the bar stools, where there might have been brooding, anemic, stringy-haired rockers, there were happy clean people ordering expensive (but darn good) cocktails. My heart sank.

One recent evening, my friend and I joined the rank and file of young hipsters at the tables running along one side of the room. We compared notes on handbags with the girls at the table next to ours. We had some fancy cocktails - she the Blood & Sand, which was not on the menu, but which our waitress helpfully recommended, I the Bobby Burns, another scotch cocktail that wasn't as sweet. The ice cubes at Death & Co. are the big, satisifying kind that keep drinks colder. Though these may also remind you of Little Branch, their provenance can be traced to Flatiron and Pegu, from whence the bartenders.

The chef should get major kudos for food presentation. They really take the phrase "small bites" to a new level here: nearly everything can be consumed in one bite, without the help of a knife or fork. The fish & chips arrived as little bites of fish wrapped in tempura. My heart went out to whatever guy in back had spent hours painstakingly tying the salad bites into little nubs of lettuce. The mac & cheese arrived on large spoons, as is the fashion. The delicious jarlsburg-parmesan combination was deepened with just a trace of truffle oil. Even the filet mignon was handily served in bite-size formation, cut into rounds, padded with bacon, topped with a petite potato and skewered with a pretty bamboo stick. As an added bonus, it also tasted good.

Unfortunately, the sauces that came alongside were a problem across the board. The salad dressing was low on taste, the fish sauce too goopy and mayonnaise-y for the tempura, and several sauces just seemed to go in too many directions at once, as if the kitchen were attempting fusion in one tiny little side dish. If the focus is going to be on dipping, the dips had better be good.

But let's face it: Death & Co. isn't about the food. It's an excellent bar where drinks are prepared with TLC. To make a gin based Mig Royale, the fedora'd bartender shook up all the non-fizzy ingredients, decanted them into a martini glass, then, with much showmanship, lit a match and held it to an orange peel over the glass. He explained that it was to caramelize the orange. The result, topped with champagne, tasted like orange sour ball candy - sublime.

Though at one point beset by a large group that broadcast the vibe "I work in midtown!", the crowd here is still cool. Let's keep it that way. On another evening LeNell Smothers, the bourbon queen of Red Hook, sidled up to the bar with an entourage. (She's the one in the hat in the shadows, center, in my stealth photo above.) "They're here," the bartender said reverently. "The biggest drinkers in the city."

I was sad that this gin joint seemed disappointingly bereft of death. Alas, I found myself wondering: where are the rockers of yesteryear? In the 80's, there was a punk rock club in the East Village called "Downtown Beirut Bar," so named because it was meant to evoke a bombed-out hell hole of a place, which it truly was. Now, even death arrives in highly stylized form.

But I suppose we can all drink to that.

Death & Co.
433 East 6th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A


Yale vs. ?

Street Chic

You've already seen the fashion face off between Columbia and NYU. Now it's time for Yale versus... versus... What's that place called? You know, the school that's just chock full of wildly creative, stylish, and interesting people? Oh, darn. The name escapes me now.

Fortunately for Gastro Chic, Yale students managed to keep their clothes on this past weekend - in public, at least.


The windows at J. Press.

Wishlist sells labels like Michael Stars, Rock & Republic, 7 for All Mankind, Lacoste, Le Tigre, Vix, and the insidiously named new brand "Rich & Skinny." On display were several varieties of...stonewashed jeans. That's right, stonewashed jeans just might be the leggings nightmare of this season. If you don't remember what they look like/weren't alive/cognizant in 1990, please see the jeans Demi Moore is wearing in this cast photo from Ghost:

That doesn't mean it's OK to track down Demi's jeans on eBay. The newly acceptable stonewashed jeans are 7-esque, not mom jeans. Hey, it could be worse. It could have been Whoopi's pants that came back in style.

264 York Street at Elm Street
New Haven, CT

I didn't get to sample the pasta at Villarina's, but it sure looked amazing. A refrigerated case full of takeout treats like gorgonzola walnut ravioli, bolognese sauce, fresh gnocchi, and huge trays of lasagna kept company with all sorts of Italian knick knacks for adults and kids, like this pretty enamelware and these alphabet flashcards in Italian, below.

48 Elm Street at High Street
New Haven, CT

Though the space that housed Chapel Wines now houses Villarina's, you can still find something to drink in this blue-law town. The Wine Thief just opened new digs on Crown Street behind the Omni hotel. They may not sell kegs, but the place does have a young, laid-back atmosphere: China Cat Sunflower was playing on the stereo when I walked in. The sleekly-designed space is filled with modern-day wino favorites like Cakebread and Ridge.

The Wine Thief
181 Crown Street at Temple Street
New Haven, CT


And of course, no trip to New Haven is complete without breakfast (and lunch) at the Yankee Doodle. Below, an ode in pictures.

The Yankee Doodle
258 Elm Street between York and Park Streets
(203) 865-1074