Story Kanara Ty
Illustration Inki Cho
Issue Spring 2013
From a cultural sanctuary for just-released internees, to a local college stomping ground, one street in Los Angeles, Sawtelle Boulevard, has transformed into one of the chicest and hippest Asian culinary neighborhoods.
DEPT The Good Life
ISSUE Fall 2012
AUTHOR Kanara Ty
PHOTOS Interior photo by Mohammad Gorjestani, all other photos by Jennifer Yin.
In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area’s culinary scene has grown beyond the local-produce-loving-community it has become recognized for. In fact, it is steadfastly becoming the playground for renowned chefs to create some of the region’s most creative and innovative dishes. Of course, this all comes at a hefty price — many folks will find themselves breaking the bank to eat at some of the Bay Area’s most coveted restaurants. While this may be an exciting time for food enthusiasts, the accessibility to such experiences is another matter.
Dept: The Good Life
Author: Elyse Glickman
Photos: Adrienne Gunde
Wildflower Linen’s Youngsong Martin strives to make the world more beautiful, one gala at a time.
￼Though Youngsong Martin made a name for herself in fashion design in her career’s “first phase,” it was only a matter of time before her passion for designing unforgettable environments was reignited. This unique talent originated during her childhood in Seoul, where she constantly sought new ways to brighten the sur- roundings of her family’s small home. It resurfaced in 2001 when, while helping her niece make a bold wedding day statement, she found the fabrics available to her “industrial and bland.”
The attention to detail and refinement doesn’t end there. Guestrooms are sprawling enough to feel like a private Tuscan villa. The washroom is more spacious than most studio apart- ments I’ve lived in as a college student, and its gold fittings and crystal lamps made me feel like I was in Pretty Woman. And what does every Pretty Woman do? Take a bubble bath, of course! I have never felt so fancy taking a bath; the separate soaking tub is big enough to fit two comfortably (or in my case, me and my sizeable food-baby from the night’s eating (mis) adventures). By nightfall, I was nestled in exquisite European linens atop a bed that embraced the body just so. Oh, their bed ruined me for life; theirs is the beautiful carriage to my pump- kin back at home.
￼￼It led Martin to found Wildflower Linens, a company that revolutionized the field of special event décor and linens. Her stun- ning tabletop concepts and couture-hewn chair covers have since wowed attendees of the Vanity Fair and Oscars Governor’s Ball after-parties, a DreamWorks premiere at the Venice Film Festi- val, as well as numerous charity galas, weddings and Presidential Library events. “While much of the interior design field focuses on permanent installation, there is a certain artistic freedom that comes with designing interiors for a specific event,” she says. “It is the story of Cinderella, where you have the potential to make any- thing happen. Another advantage is that when I design something statement-making for an event, the chair I am creating the design for will not talk back to me.”
After all that rest and relaxation, I could have opted for an array of activities: a golf outing on the 380-acre, Tom Fazio-designed golf course; dinner at Addison, its AAA 5-Diamond restaurant, or even a complimentary limousine ride within 14 miles of the estate. (I contem- plated utilizing this service to dine at a nearby taco stop. Hey, whether inhaling cabeza tacos or nibbling on caviar, a true lady always travels in style.) Instead, I opted for a beautification day at The Spa, its award-winning, 21,000-square-foot, full-service day spa.
￼￼Youngsong Martin in her studio.
“When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”
In the coming months, however, Martin plans to expand to a “third phase” of home décor, bringing the glamour of special events to the everyday home. “When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”
Color is one way Martin likes to make a statement. “We are moving away from the natural ‘eco’ look, like burlap and natural fibers, and are moving back to bright colors like orange and fuchsia, but in a completely different way from a few years earlier when Indian designs were big,” she says. “Today’s patterns integrate black or white ‘non-colors’ with brights.”
From galas to the home to the community, Martin is all about beautifying her environment. Recently honored for her multi-faceted charity work on National Philanthropy Day in Orange County, Calif., Martin believes “that any solid business model should include social responsi- bility. We need to pay attention to other people regardless of how much our business makes. We need to be a part of the community as well as exist within it.”
What I love about L.A. Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants list is that it’s a good mix of places that has something for everyone – especially in a city with some of the world’s most eccentric characters. I’ll admit there were some surprises, but I was pleasantly pleased with the numerous Asian entries on the list.
This year’s list is a little different – not just because of the new entries on the list – but because this is the first time other contributors have also worked on this list besides famous food writer Jonathan Gold (Tien Nguyen and Christine Chiao were enlisted). With a place as big and diverse as L.A., it’s important to have a mix of different voices to offer their opinions (and you know, share with us their hidden gems).
Did some of your favorites make the list? Click on to see!
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What are some of our favorite Asian spots for DineLA? Click on to see our picks!
Summer may bring to mind barbecues and pool parties, but why sacrifice style for a warm weather fête when all it takes is a few details to lighten up any look? Here, some experts show us how we can bring summer to two very different décor styles.
ISSUE: Summer 2012
DEPT: Audrey Living
PHOTO: Callaway Gable
STYLISTS: Carpe Diem Special Events and Designs; Rrivre Works, Inc.
FLOWERS: Mille Flori Floral Design
VENUE: Rrivre Works, Inc.
“When you’re thinking of a summer dinner with friends, it is always nice to give your guests the unexpected,” says Slomique Hawrylo, who runs Carpe Diem, an event planning company, with partner Alice Chung. Always consider your surroundings when planning your tablescape, says Hawrylo. If you’ve got access to a great outdoor setting with a breathtaking view, you’re practically done. But if you’re working with an indoor venue, Hawrylo suggests an eye-catching print accenting the wall behind your table setting, like a bold damask design. Setting up a striking backdrop is easy to achieve, she adds. “Just purchase a large amount of fabric from your local fabric store and hang it flush to the wall accenting your tablescape.”
Against a sophisticated black and white backdrop, Hawrylo finds it important to make sure accent pieces are “wow pieces.” She suggests “sprinkling in a little summer brightness with a crisp apple green,” like vintage-inspired stemware and napkins. Don’t be afraid to mix and match modern and vintage styles of stemware in varying shades of your accent color. “Your guests will be impressed by the wonderful play on colors,” she says.
Florist Gina Kim-Park of Mille Fiori Floral Design continued the apple green theme by accenting each table setting with green cymbidium orchid blooms. She also used “modern baroque-style” mirrored trays for the charger. “You can purchase any cool picture frame to use as chargers for any dinner setting,” she adds.
To play off the bold damask backdrop, Kim-Park created an oversized garland with white and black paper flowers. She created one centerpiece with a white paper flower bloom accented with green moss balls, and another utilizing white akito roses meandering down a tall ceramic vase. As for setting up the layout of your dinner party, never feel that you are confined to the conventional table, says Hawrylo. “If you have a unique bar at your home, and you want your guests to experience a modern way of having a dinner party, have the entire evening themed around the bar. Your place settings, conversation and, of course, drinks will all take place at this unconventional table.”
If you’re working with a more traditional dining setting, bring summer inside — in an enchanted-forest- midsummer-night’s-dream type of way. This dreamy tablescape was created around the Montage Table, which features a magnolia tree at the center, by Rrivre Works, an event design and rental company. “Bring the outdoors in with living foliage, and accent with florals in the colors of the season,” says Rrivre Davies, owner of Rrivre Works. If your dinner is outdoors, he suggests building a table around your favorite tree.
If you don’t happen to have a tree in your dining room, “consider a potted tree for your next centerpiece,” says Hawrylo. “Big or small, it can provide an unexpected wow factor.” Kim-Park used oversized glass balls with candles for a whimsical yet modern touch — a crystal garland would work just as well against the hand-distressed texture of the table. She added large succulents with accents of fern greenery “for a more organic feel.”
“We like to take our themes to the max,” says Davies. “Sweet bird dishware and natural linen napkins take the stuffiness out of a formal event without compromising elegance. Layering multiple textures gives the setting a unique, eclectic look.” Pair vintage-inspired “found” dishware from flea markets and estate sales with your existing china to add personality to your table. And never underestimate the power of a napkin, says Hawrylo. “The right color or detail on a napkin can make a table pop. An easy way to add a little flavor to your napkin is by taking two napkins with two different colors and folding it to accomplish a two-tone napkin. This adds character and a little charm.”
Finish off the tablescape with fresh seasonal blooms. For this particular look, Kim-Park used ranunculus, peonies, tulips, fruitilaria and green viburnum in a gold alabaster glass urn, but she says natural florals in miniature vases spread throughout the table work, too.
It was a classy and crowded evening of mingling, networking, and tasty cocktails by the pool at Chambers in San Francisco on August 1st, and for a great cause: Project by Project hosted a special preview event—a Happy Hour—for the San Francisco chapter’s 3rd Annual Plate by Plate Tasting Benefit on September 22nd at The Bently Reserve.
If you never got a chance to experience Japan and its culture of simplicity, don’t worry because now you can. The CHAYA family of restaurants has finally marked its territory on the busy streets of Downtown, Los Angeles. To usher in the summer season of outdoor events and live music all in the pleasantly warm weather, CHAYA DTLA is hosting its annual Japanese Summer Beer Garden event. Happening every Monday-Friday, from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM, Audrey went in to see what the rave was about.
With America still stuck in one of the biggest recession since The Great Depression, days and nights of eating out have been hard to come by. We get it, so we pulled out some of the hottest restaurants and bars out of our little black book that has some of the happiest of happy hours around. Whether the hotspot is a chill bar to hang out with your friends or it’s an upscale restaurant to lure in a love interest, we got your back.
It’s pretty much my idea of heaven.
So when I heard that the hip hip hooray bar that is Delphine at the W Hotel in Hollywood, CA had a fresh Raw Bar Monday, which consisted of plenty of seafood going at only a mere buck and two for each, my ears perked and my mouth started salivating. Heaven, here I come! Continue Reading »