Posts Tagged ‘New York City’

Attending a Movie Premiere & Party

December 16th, 2010 at 8:07 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I was in New York City last week on business, and my timing was good because a contact had a couple of tickets available to the world premiere of the movie “The Tourist“, and the party afterwards.

Tickets to the The Tourist world premiere and after-party

Tickets to the The Tourist world premiere and after-party

As the rest of the family was still on Bonaire, I invited our family friend Eva to join me at the premiere.

Never having been to a world premiere (shocking, I know), I had no idea what to expect. We arrived at the Ziegfield Theatre at around 5:30pm to pick up the tickets shown above (my name was “on a list”), had a nice dinner at Molyvos, a nearby Greek restaurant I highly recommend, and just before 7pm walked down our private side of the sidewalk, through security, and into the theater. Alas, we did not get to walk the red carpet – obviously they didn’t know us well enough. As we entered the theater the street exploded with cheers, apparently as the real stars arrived.

The theater slowly filled, and around 7:20pm, Angelina Jolie (one of the two major stars of the film) and hubby Brad Pitt showed up and were seated. Johnny Depp (the other major star) stayed out in the lobby for a while since apparently he never watches his own movies. The movie started at 7:30pm, thankfully without the previews movie goers are typically subjected to.

Enjoyable film, but certainly no masterpiece. I had figured out the major plot twist less than half-way through the film, but if you’re looking for entertainment and good performances by Depp and Jolie, it’s worth a look.

After the film those of us with tickets to the after-party were ushered out to buses in the back of the theater, but as we took our time to leave, it ended up being a long wait for the next bus, so we cabbed it to Gotham Hall, the location of the party.

The party was an interesting experience – we saw some faces we recognized, but no one we personally knew. Everyone there seemed to have an agenda, and was trying to determine whether the people around them were “someone” they needed to talk to. One woman I spoke to referred to the event as a “celebrity petting zoo”. I thought that was pretty funny. We did spot Brad, Angelina, Brooke Shields (just visiting), and Danny Strong (whom I recognized from a small part on the last season of Mad Men.

In any event, the party offered a great venue for people watching, food, and an open bar, and was its own form of entertainment.

Photos from our world premiere and party experience, including a photo of Eva with Brad Pitt, can be found here on Flickr.


New York City – Cooking and Eating at Aureole

September 5th, 2008 at 5:54 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

As previously mentioned, one of the many highlights of our just-completed visit to New York City was spending time in the kitchen of restauranteur Charlie Palmer’s Aureole restaurant with Chef Tony Aiazzi.

We had wanted to arrange some sort of cooking class for The Traveling Richters while in New York, but had no idea how to find someone to spend time working with us.

That’s where Relais & Châteaux came in. Relais & Châteaux is an association representing fine hotels and restaurants all over the world, based in France, but with offices in London and New York City. Their affiliated lodging properties tend to be high quality inns and even castles, not traditional hotels. And on the dining side, their affiliate restaurants tend to represent some of the best restaurants in the world. In the last few months, the Relais & Châteaux restaurants we have dined at include The Fat Duck outside of London and Le Pre Catalan in Paris.

Linda and I are members of the Relais & Châteaux 5C Club, which provides VIP treatment at Relais & Châteaux properties, and more importantly, provides priority access for reservations at Relais & Châteaux restaurants. We even have a special concierge available to us to help arrange such reservations and other special events, which is how we got connected with Chef Tony at Aureole.

Aureole's chef, Tony Aiazzi, puts the finishing touches on the market sushi course, featuring yellowtail flown in from Japan witWe were told to show up at Aureole at 10am on Tuesday wearing comfortable clothes that we would not mind getting dirty. We did as we were told, and found Chef Tony waiting outside the restaurant for us. He guided us in through the delivery entrance (the restaurant was only open for dinner that day), along the way showing us various aspects of how a professional kitchen is set up. Aureole’s is actually on two floors, with desserts prepped in the basement, and the hot and cold kitchen on the second floor behind the upstairs dining room. That’s Chef Tony in the photo at right.

We were also introduced to Sous Chef Marcus Glendow-Ware (he’s in the photo with the pasta below), who actually ended up joining us for our cooking class as well – a pleasant surprise, as we were not expecting two chefs to be working with us.

Bas looks amused while Krystyana and Linda review their recipes for our five course lunch cooking lesson at Aureole in New YorkIn the upper kitchen we found four spots set up for us, each with an apron and a menu, and were asked to select the menu items we wanted to work on. The menu actually had five courses:

  1. Tuna Tartare with Ponzu Sauce
  2. Chilled Golden Tomato Soup with Piquillo Pepper, Melon, Fennel
  3. Market Sashimi with Fresh & Pickled Celery, Capicola, Black Lava Salt
  4. Caramelized Scallops with Fresh Linguine with Crab and Lemongrass Emulsion
  5. Sticky Toffee Banana Pudding with Figs

Jake and Bas stretch out pasta dough for the linguine course with Marcus at Aureole_Bas picked the Chilled Golden Tomato Soup, Krystyana the Tuna Tartare, Linda chose the Ponzu Sauce, and I started on the Lemongrass emulsion. The first quarter hour was spent chopping, cutting, measuring and blending, all under the careful supervision of the duo of chefs.

We ultimately each ended up doing a variety of tasks, learning along the way about a great way to make fresh pasta (use a cryo-vac machine to firm up the dough first), how to make a foam (use soy lecithin granulate, but make sure it’s not flavored), how to make fresh tortellini, and a variety of other tips and tricks we are certainly going to be putting to use in the coming months when we are home for a spell.

Marcus and Tony also explained how a commercial kitchen actually operates, including staffing, order processing and delegation to make sure orders are accurate and complete, how and when supplies are procured, and much much more. Anyone contemplating starting a restaurant without real hands-on experience should think twice – it’s not easy work. But Tony and Marcus have it all well in hand, which was even more obvious the following evening.

A special treat - Kobe beef carpaccio made by Tony at AureoleA cooking class in a top restaurant can be very rewarding, as we discovered when we got to sample the fruits of our various labors, and were also treated to two bonus courses: self-made ravioli and tortellini with a wonderful fresh ricotta filling and a Kobe beef carpaccio which Tony made for us using as a drizzle the Ponzu sauce Linda had helped prepare for our tuna tartare.

Chef Tony helps Krystyana make the dessert during our cooking lesson at AureoleHere are the sticky toffee banana puddings Krystyana made cooling out of the oven at AureoleAnd as a sort of kudo to Krystyana’s culinary efforts, the extra sticky toffee banana pudding that Krystyana help prepare was put aside to serve to the kitchen staff later as a special treat.

Linda enjoys the excellent tuna tartare with ponzu sauce we helped prepare in the kitchen at AureoleWe spent just over two and a half hours in the kitchen prepping, cooking, learning, and eating, and could have not been happier with the way it all worked out. Tony and Marcus were both enthusiastic, helpful, knowledgeable and charming. We learned that they had actually never had a small (four person) cooking class in the kitchen before – only cooking presentations where they did the work with an audience looking on, so this was as much of a first for them as it was for us. And it was executed splendidly. Close-up of the caramelized scallops with fresh linguini with crab and a lemongrass emulsion I helped make at Aureole

Before leaving Aureole after our cooking session, we ended up making reservations for a chef’s tasting dinner the following night.

And when we showed up Wednesday evening we got the full red carpet treatment, including some special courses – sashimi four ways, three cheese ravioli, butter roasted Maine lobster, country ham crusted pork tenderloin, and a phenomenal grilled lamb with charred eggplant (and is an appraisal from a person who does not generally enjoy lamb). Great wine pairings made the meal even more special.
The night after our cooking class at Aureole we went back for a chef's tasting menu and Tony and Marcus treated us to a Grand Dessert
We also had personal visits to our table by both Tony and Marcus, and were provided a grand dessert tasting featuring six different plates of sweet delectables (including the best trio of creme brulee we have ever had – see photo at right, center of table). Capping off the evening was a present to Linda of a bottle of verjus (which was an ingredient used in making the ponzu sauce) and then to top that, we received a personal tour by Marcus of the fully operational kitchen at night.

While the cost of the cooking class or the subsequent dinner were not insubstantial, we felt it to be a very worthwhile investment as this truly was a remarkable and educational experience we would have otherwise not had, nor likely have ever been able to experience if it hadn’t been for Relais & Châteaux.

So, in summary, if you’re looking for an excellent fine dining experience in New York City, definitely visit Aureole – they are presently on the lower upper East Side (61st Street near Madison Avenue) but moving to Times Square later this year. And tell them The Traveling Richters sent you. I can’t promise that you can get cooking classes though. But if you can, jump at the opportunity. You won’t regret it.

Click on the above photos to see larger versions in our photo gallery. You can also see all of our photos from our experience at Aureole on Flickr.


Doing Uncommon Exploring In New York City

September 4th, 2008 at 5:39 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

When we first decided back in July that we wanted to spend a couple of weeks in New York City last month, we knew we wanted to do things we had not done before during prior visits. That meant we didn’t need to go to the top of the Empire State Building, see the permanent exhibits at the Natural History Museum or Metropolitan Museum of Art, or gawking in Times Square.

However, finding out-of-the-ordinary things to do in New York City was a bit of a challenge. Our American Express Concierge service could only come up with a helicopter tour of New York City. And posts on various travel sites also didn’t elicit anything particularly stellar, except for one thing – a suggestion to get in touch with Context Travel.

Context Travel specializes in scholar-led walks of a number of “great” cities, including Rome, Paris, and New York. If only we had known about them when we were in Paris a couple of months ago… We had first heard of Context Travel in a magazine from American Express just recently, and thought they only covered European cities. They were highlighted as having helped director Ron Howard get a private tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel in preparation for the forthcoming movie “Angels & Demons”. So when the folks at Indagare suggested we check out their New York City offerings, we jumped at the idea.

Ultimately, we arranged four tours with Context Travel – I will go into those in another blog entry. But I will say all were very informative and educational, and we’re very glad we partook of the tours.

Another uncommon thing we managed to arrange through our contacts at Relais & Châteaux (where we are members of something called Club 5C), was a private cooking lesson with Chef Tony Aiazzi of the famed Aureole restaurant in New York City. And we also attended a presentation on cooking with liquid nitrogen at Astor Center. More on both of those later too.

We also managed to have dinner in the La Cave cheese cave at Artisanal Bistro, found a last minute table at Per Se (well, actually about two weeks in advance of our dinner), enjoyed dim sum and Peking duck in Chinatown, afternoon tea at The Peninsula’s Gotham Lounge and at The London NYC, Korean BBQ in K-town, and a few other culinary delights.

While we were looking for the more unusual experiences, we also did partake of the more ordinary delights of New York, including visiting various museums to see special exhibits, and a personal first for me – visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That was an especially emotional and moving day for me because of my roots as a first-generation American. We also caught an off-off Broadway performance, saw a couple of movies, and walked and walked and walked.

There also was business to take care of – we spent our first couple of days in New York at the New York International Gift Fair searching for new products to off in our on-line store at And I had a client meeting for my patent-related consulting business too.

All in all we had an excellent time in New York City. The weather was perfect just about all the time, we had a child sitter service available to us at our great hotel (we had two adjacent rooms at the all-suite The London NYC), and we ate very very well. The only downside to our trip was the markedly higher number our bathroom scales showed us upon our return.


Photos From New York City Trip

September 3rd, 2008 at 10:52 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

I finally had a chance to sort through the thousand or so photos I took during our trip to New York City, which ended last Saturday.

You can view them locally on our site at this Gallery link.

Or you can go to Yahoo!’s Flickr service to see the photos.

I hope to get some stories posted tomorrow about our various adventures. For now, however, read the captions for each image.


Our Kinda Town, New York Is

August 29th, 2008 at 3:57 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

We are nearing the end of our two weeks in New York City and it’s been a lot of fun. But we have been keeping ourselves too busy touring, eating, shopping, and museum hopping to spend much time at a keyboard blogging. As always, I have grand aspirations that I might be able to fill some of the backlog, starting now.

The weather has been excellent, with temperatures just a bit cooler than those back home on Bonaire, and nice clear sunny skies.

At present we are waiting in line to enter the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island, south of Manhattan, and will thereafter visit Ellis Island in a thinly veiled effort to make being a tourist count towards the kids’ history credits in the home schooling program they are enrolled in.

While I was actually born in Queens (one of the boroughs of New York City) I have no recollection of ever visiting either the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island before. The latter probably makes sense as my parents arrived on these shores after defecting from Czechoslovakia almost a decade after Ellis Island closed, and Linda’s ancestors were a few centuries too early, back in the 1650s.

In any event, we are looking forward to our exploration today.


The Richters in The Big Apple

August 17th, 2008 at 9:49 am (AST) by Jake Richter

There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that we could not last until October before traveling again, so today we find ourselves getting to The Big Apple – New York City.

We’re planning on about two weeks of vacation, Traveling Richters style. That means lots of eating out and exploring.

On the exploration agenda, we’re taking the kids to their first trade show – the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) in order to give them an idea how gift shop retailers find things to sell, as well as how wholesalers and distributors market their wares. We have a business reason in going too as we run our own on-line gift shop at – we’re hoping to find some more interesting Bonaire and Caribbean oriented merchandise to carry in our on-line store.

We also have walking tours scheduled through Context Travel ( to learn about the Cloisters, the history of tea, ethnic cooking in New York City, and making chocolate. There’s also an off-Broadway show (Around the World in Eighty Days) booked. We’re also hoping to catch the Buckminster Fuller exhibition at the Whitney Museum, plus more regular forays to places like the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim.

And then there’s the dining! We have dinner reservations for almost every night we’re in town at restaurants including Tabla, Le Bernardin, Per Se, L’Atelier des Joel Robuchon, Asiate, WD-50 (molecular gastronomy), a table in the cheese cave at Artisanal Bistro, and a few more goodies. We’re also trying to coordinate a cooking class at another top restaurant, and perhaps a demonstration of cooking with liquid nitrogen (see the post on The Fat Duck in England from a couple of months ago about what this is all about) one evening if we get the timing to work out.

I will try and post pictures and reviews here as best I can.