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The Fat Radish

Situated in a location that’s a little off the beaten track in the Lower East Side, the restaurant is surrounded by shops that flip their sign to “closed” early in the day.  The hidden location doesn’t seem to deter any of the food aficionados and long-haired men in clever button downs and Sergeant Pepper blazers.

The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

“What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.” – Samuel Beckett

Part of the “No Farm, No Food” – locavore movement, the Fat Radish describes itself as, “… a simple, elegant and airy room that still retains the industrial feel of London’s original Covent Garden marketplace. The cuisine does not fall into one particular category but rather returns to a way of eating before food was constantly classified. The menu is bound by one philosophy , simple, healthy, delicious dishes created with well-sourced, seasonal ingredients.” The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Nothing says ‘classy’ quite like a branded trucker hat. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Fat Radish Silkstone

Silkstone, a creative agency in New York City, designed the restaurants slightly dilapidated but clever decor. When the owners began creating the restaurant in 2010 they were faced with a challenge – how do you a turn an old Lower East Side building (that was formally a sausage factory) into a light and airy dining space? Sourcing the right materials was of utmost importance. With 1970s Covent Garden as an inspiration, the team used old barn wood, unique light fixtures, and renovated the original brick floors, achieving the goal of making the space feel open and light. Along with the challenge of the dining space, there was also the challenge of the kitchen; with no kitchen space existing, a full build out of one was necessary. The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

The eponymous radish table plate, rather than the usual crusty bread offering.The Fat Radish The Fat Radish

Scotch Egg, cornichons, seeded mustard. The Fat Radish

Celery root pot pie, black garlic, gruyere cheese.

   The Fat Radish - Grilled Cheese

The Fat Radish

Kale Caesar Salad, Anchovy, Croutons, Bacon and Egg by candlelight.

The Fat Radish

The dessert menu…

The Fat Radish

Petite pot du creme.

The Fat Radish

My favorite aspect of the restaurant, as is with my entire life, a toss up between the food or the decor. Woody, rustic and comfortable with some Chinese graffiti (to pay tribute to its location) has me feeling as if I’m about to eat at an in-law’s quaint yet modern country home. The ambiance  is really lovely, and something I would like to replicate.

Sam Sifton from the New York Times puts it best, “The Fat Radish is a pleasant and pleasing restaurant for all this, however: a handsome young golden Labrador, camera-ready, hard not to like. To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will.”

FatRadish Inspired Industrial Decor

1. Industrial Pendants – A run of larger 1940/50’s British industrial pendant lights by Maxlume, salvaged from a factory in the north of England. Cast aluminium with thick domed glass diffusers. We’ve left these lights in the original green paintwork, simply beeswaxing them to bring out the patina. Large runs of British industrial lighting like this a an increasing rarity.

2. Ayers Skull & Bones Decanter by Ralph Lauren Home. Feeling sinister? How about I mix you up some arsenic and old lace…

3. Candela Cube by Sonia Lartigue, 2010 from the Museum of Modern Art Design Store. This table lamp is made using traditional Mexican craft techniques. When lit, the mirrors create beautiful, geometric optical effects. Handmade. Requires one incandescent 25W bulb (bulb not included).

4. Sturdy and tough industrial table by Woodland Imports.

5.  Pewter Stoneware Large Covered Casserole Dish by Juliska.

6. Greengage Wall Clock – Quirky as the British industrial example that inspired it, this weathered wall clock will add good-natured gravitas to your kitchen or family room. Gracious green laminated face with metal hands. Quartz movement.

7. Bring home the elegance of French-inspired cutlery with this LeBrun Laguiole Ivory style set.

8. The silver, metallic stool is built of beautiful elm wood reclaimed from buildings and furniture pieces that graced the eclectic Qing dynasty. The piece is meticulously hand built and finished by time-honored craftsman utilizing over 120 different processes, by Madera Home Furniture.

What restaurant would you choose to live in?


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A Moveable Feast

What do you get when you cross Williamsburg, Brooklyn with a veritable cornucopia and smörgåsbord of food options? A Smorgaburg! Let’s break this down for a second, a smorgasbord is a type of meal served buffet-style with multiple dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. In English and also in Scandinavian languages, the word smörgåsbord refers loosely to any buffet with a variety of dishes.

Smorgasburg happens every Saturday, rain or shine.  Part of the Brooklyn Flea Market,  Smorgasburg brings together food entrepreneurs and established purveyors from New York City and across the region selling both packaged and prepared foods, fresh produce, and other food-related stands (kitchen utensils, housewares, etc.), for a total of approximately 100 vendors. I have gone to this market several times and it is still my favorite NYC STAY-CATION. In my (very) humble opinion, the best foods hail from:

1. Asia Dog:   Asiadogs are hot dogs with Asian-inspired toppings incorporating flavors found in China, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and more. Try the WangDing: Chinese BBQ Porkbelly + onions or the Vinh: Vietnamese banh-mi style: aioli + pate + cucumbers + pickled carrot and daikon + cilantro + jalapeno.

2. Bon Chovie: This is what happens when a chick with a metal head and a green thumb moves fromSeattle to Williamsburg andmarries a charter boat captain and all-around seafood maniac from Florida’s gulf Coast. If you know what’s good for you, have the fried anchovies “jersey style” (head’s on) and relish in the smoked paprika mayo and pickled sweet peppers on the side. Finally, if your thirst need quenching, they have a non-alcoholic sangria that has more fruit than a Chiquita banana headdress.

3. Brooklyn Soda Works: An artist and a chemist making soda and carbonated juices from scratch, using fresh and seasonal ingredients. If Willy Wonky had a soda factory and a seltzer bottle, he would be making these drinks. Using foraged ingredients like sassafras, knotweed, shiso, fennel and peppercorn, soda works makes the freshest (never from syrups or concentrates) and most refreshing fizzy lifting drinks. I want to use EVERY one of them in cocktails as mixers. Your best best will be the ‘grapefruit, jalapeno & honey’ pop.


4. Schnitz: Schnitz is the Shit(z). It is a quick-serve food business dedicated to serving your favorite comfort food: Schnitzel! For those who didn’t get the memo, schnitzel is thin, breaded and lightly fried pieces chicken, pork or veal. All sandwiches are served on a pretzel bun, your options include Sweet Onion: panko crusted crumbs + jicama radish pickle + beet tzatziki or Bamberg: panko parsley crumbs + cuco-daikon pickle + caramelized opinion mustard. My grandmother made schnitzel like it was her job, mostly because she was a stay at home mother and this was her “job”, to cook schnitzel. She was from the Polish shtetl and knew good schnitzel, this stuff comes close.



5. The Good Batch: This purveyor of ice cream sandwhiches began with a simple mission:  bake pure, not overly sweet, delicious food. Anna Gordon, the founder and pastry chef of The Good Batch, has a lot of Dutch people in her life, and after years of receiving eager requests for making fresh stroopwafels, she finally did it. I must admit, the classic Goodwich style ice cream sandwich featuring vanilla ice cream and an irresistible oat cookie loaded with Belgian milk and dark chocolate chunks, and topped with sea salt was the PERFECT combination of salty and sweet.



Honorable Mentions: We Rub You, Mighty Quinn’s 

And then we took the East River Ferry home back to the isle of Manhattan and lived happily ever after…


Meet & Greet – Eliza

Eliza Lamb and I met during my time at Columbia University’s graduate program in Arts Administration. She and I share the same birthday, January 28th, and are both crazy Aquarians. No, seriously, we are the weirdest of all the zodiac signs. Aside from being intelligent and beautiful (and naturally skinny), Eliza is also an extremely talented photographer. I would be jealous and envy the girl if I weren’t so proud of her. She has the innate ability to make any gathering familiar, special, and intimate. She always brings positivity, clarity and humor to a situation and finally – the reason why I am featuring her in my blog – she has KILLER style (fashion, artistic, interior, et. al.).

Eliza is a native of Richmond, Virginia. Before Eliza began her doctoral studies at Columbia University she received her BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design. She is a photographer that believes in the art of finding the images that surround her. She uses a manual medium format film camera and shoots exclusively with found light. Her photographs have been exhibited on the local and national levels through several media outlets and galleries. She has also worked as a curator for the Children’s Museum of the Arts.


Did I mention she has a wondrous daughter named Maddie? Maddie and I recently bonded in McCarren Park, Brooklyn over a game of “Baby in the Air” and hula-hooping.


Photo of Eliza Lamb by Colleen Katana.

Name: Eliza Lamb

Job: Photographer & Doctoral Student

Age: 29

Eat: I live in Astoria so we really don’t mess around when it comes to Greek food, and Taverna Kyclades is the top of the top here. Their feta cheese will change your life.  The usual: 1/2 carafe of house white, large Greek salad, grilled calamari with lemon potatoes and broiled scallops with beets. And if they didn’t have you up to that point – they’ll get you when you realize dessert is included. The wait is a downer though – expect 1-2 hours on nights and weekends. Insider secret: Avoid the rush and go for lunch M-Sa, special lunch prices too!

You know those friends who can slap on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and TOMS and somehow LOOK like the hippest person in the room? Yea, that’s Eliza. I mean even her NAME IS COOL. She also somehow finds days to travel the world in her spare time – Australia, Guatemala, Nova Scotia, London, Egypt, Switzerland, Austria – where hasn’t she been? 

The devil (or the buddha) is in the details.  

This Virgin Mary Statue reminds me of a photo series Eliza did called Astoria Series: Streetside Religion, which can be seen HERE.

See (favorite building, person, place, or neighborhood to SEE): 

  • MoMA. No words necessary. Insert iconic, goose bump inspiring image below.  Despite the high price tag – it is always worth it.
  • Coney Island. One of my favorite places in NYC. It hurts so good. Leave plenty of room for a chili cheese dogs and cotton candy and never, NEVER take your shoes off in the sand. Here’s an observation and photo of the fantastical and historic Coney Island ala Eliza Lamb:
  • Mets Games. Our neighborhood team. We believe in rooting for the underdog. Maddie is in fact an official Mets Fan Club Member and I just love that helmet full of ice cream.

I spy Eliza’s photography. A glossy red well can actually be a neutral when paired with glossy black, and basic materials such as woods, ceramics, metals, and leather. 

“An unwatched pot boils immediately.”

 Tea for two and two for tea. 

I extol the benefits of decorating with Mason Jars on an almost daily basis. Something about me also loved the exposed and crooked electrical socket. 

Recipe: two parts water, one part soil, a teaspoon of seed, and a sprinkling of sunlight.

The intermingling of the primary colors is so sunny! 

The colors of a sunny English garden with the personality of a quirky diner – look at that retro clock.

Shop (this can be one’s favorite place to shop for clothing, home goods, or food):

  • Food: Astoria produce stands. Growing up in rural Virginia, with a 30 min to drive to the nearest grocery store, I used to dream about living in a city where I could walk to get my groceries. I relish carrying home the bag full of ingredients to be used for dinner that night, and if I can throw in a paper wrapped bouquet of flowers and a baguette in the crux of my arm too, well, I am in 12-year-old-Eliza heaven.
  • Clothes and things for the house: Daffy’s, HomeGoods and Marshalls. I like to feel like a winner while I shop.
  • Other favorites Clothes: Anthropologie, JCrew (student discount!), Gap and Target.

Please do not disturb, we are now entering the inner sanctum, the bedroom. 

Yes this is IS where the magic happens, mostly because it is a studio too! 

Pattern play requires a skilled eye and a working knowledge of color theory – or sometimes it just takes throwing fabrics together and choosing a reoccurring hue. Either way, it rocks. 

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but brushing doesn’t hurt either. 

Do (what activity do you absolutely love? rowing a boat? knitting? walking the Brooklyn Bridge? Visiting the Franklin Institute? Reading a magazine?):

  • Broadway shows on the cheap. I started life as an actress and it will always own a big part of my heart. Student rush, standing room, lottery… oh, there are ways.
  • Traveling! Learning what places look, smell and feel like all on my own. I love to take pictures and decorate with little things I collect on my journeys. I try to use my passport at least once a year!
  • Making things. I am an artist through and through. I used to get butterflies in my tummy during arts and crafts as a kid… and I still do.
  • Gardening while Maddie plays in the sprinkler. One of the greatest things about living outside of Manhattan is having all those things that feel like real life to me – a yard, a vegetable garden, birds chirping outside my window and a hammock.
And that, in a blogging nutshell is Mary had a little one, I have an Eliza Lamb. What sorts of friends do YOU have? How does their home inspire you?