A Trip Down MFA’s Memory Lane | Celebrating 75 Years in 36 Nica Hours

Susan Rubin is my favorite aunt, and she’s FABulous. MFA has always been this way. She calls me her first born. Ever since I was a kid, she caught my attention.  The globetrotter. The ringleader, bringing the family together with my uncle Mark, whether for sacred Passover seder on their Grove apartment balcony or down by the pool for a shlepy Sunday barbecue.  And those were the festivities on the home front.  Away, it was Snowmass at the ski-in, ski-out condo she’d arrange each winter, in front of the fireplace we’d gather after a day on the slopes – or in Susan’s case, shopping! – cooking dinner, being a family.  Our family.  The George Cinq?  I was welcome of course!  Crashed on the floor.  But what a floor it was. And those photos of the giraffes and lions, the printed kind, from far away lands and framed on her wall, a tribal fertility figure holding court on the floor below.  That’s my Susan. The memories flock, triangulate in layers behind her wings, spread as if guided by some invisible force fixed to the horizon. My blood like hers runs thick with wanderlust. It will always connect us. The thing is, it’s only part of why I love her so.

This past weekend a few of us gathered in Nicaragua at a magical place called Mukul Resort to celebrate her 75th birthday, and what a trip it was. We sipped Flor de Cana 25 yr in a tiny room, with wicker chairs for her and boyfriend Howard, passed out on hammocks on Manzanilla Beach while storms passed through with enterprising surfers in tow, dined by candlelight illuminating photos meticulously curated by cousin Stacie…  And laughed and laughed.  Hiking with cousin David, biking with Mom, the agony of World Cup defeat and the exhilaration of soccer pick up games, ages 9 to 33 welcome.  And did I mention hot meals on both my internet-booked flights?!  More memories, all love, and forever traveling her way.  Always my Susan.


A Dash of Bitters, Please.

An excerpt of yesterday’s The Cypress Room cocktail post on The Genuine Kitchen, particularly enjoyable to write (and further edit.)


Vesper — The Cocktails of The Ritz Paris, a new-old book with darling illustrations by Yoko Ueta, was recently acquired from the library of Ryan Goodspeed. In it, Colin Peter Field delves into the origin of classic cocktails which turns out is no simple feat (“the difficulty in finding the truth about a cocktail.”) The provenance of the Bloody Mary alone proves quite a colorful, eye-opening appetizer – er, amuse – thanks to excerpts from Hemingway’s own letters to his friendly barman, Bernie.

Yes, there is a common thread to cocktail creation myth — we find a professional behind the bar and a discerning customer in front of it, with requests. Nothing screams classic like James Bond, and this is no better exemplified than in the very real cocktail attributed to this fictional character and his creator. The story goes that our dapper secret agent in the 1953 novel Casino Royale and The Vesper’s immaculate conception.

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

—Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, Chapter 7, “Rouge et Noir”

Fleming continues with Bond telling the barman, after taking a long sip, “Excellent … but if you can get a vodka made with grain instead of potatoes, you will find it still better,” and then adds in an aside, “Mais n’enculons pas des mouches (English: But let’s not bugger flies—a vulgar French expression meaning “let’s not split hairs”). Bond in the next chapter, “Pink Lights and Champagne”, names it the Vesper, at the time of his first introduction to the beautiful Vesper Lynd. A Vesper differs from Bond’s usual cocktail of choice, the martini, in that it uses both gin and vodka, Kina Lillet instead of the usual dry vermouth, and a lemon peel instead of an olive.

“The Vesper is part of my new gin thing,” Michael explains. “They are balanced and dry and pretty powerful. I like mine shaken, which makes for a crisp, more chilled result. Mellows it a bit, but not too much! I even ask for a dash of Bergamot bitters to be added.”

Ktchntrvwr Leading the Blind? Japan 2013 Starts NOW

SO EXCITED for the next great adventure, this time navigated with co-captain Mr. Steve Berry. First order of business at team dinner numero uno will be to toast all the amazing people who generously helped plan with us — some with email chains 50 threads long, others with the best 5 text messages a tempura-lover could ever hope to receive. Gratitude hardly captures it.  Thank you Kevin, Paul, and Shin and Toshi especially for the ryokan booking help during our very local (no english!) middle leg.  And, as always, I’m looking forward to filling in the blanks : ) Excited to have my world turned upside down. Sayonara. KAMPAI! Let’s do this!



Time Difference

JST is EST +13 hours; EST is JST -13 hours

e.g. 6:00 a.m. JST is 5:00 p.m. EST; 10:00 p.m. JST is 9:00 a.m. EST

Monday, March 25 (Miami)


PM – Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 1: American Airlines 1048

Miami (MIA)

March 25, 2013 01:10 PM

Travel Time : 2 h 55 m

New York (JFK)

March 25, 2013 04:05 PM

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 2: American Airlines 135

New York (JFK)

March 25, 2013 07:05 PM

Travel Time : 14 h 10 m

Tuesday, March 26 (Miami/Tokyo)
PM – Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 2 (cont): American Airlines 135

Arrive Tokyo (HND)

March 26, 2013 10:15 PM
Hotel 1 (booked by Jackie): Hyatt Regency Tokyo

2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku

Shinjuku-Ku, Japan 160-0023

Wednesday, March 27 (Miami/Tokyo)

AM – Sky Tree
Steve Berry Flight 1: American Airlines 2025

Departure Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2013

Departure Airport: MIA

Scheduled Departure Time: 9:00AM

Arrival Airport: ORD

Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:15AM
PM – Park Hyatt. The traditional Japanese restaurant in the Park Hyatt is amazing if only for the kimonos that the servers wear. Great lunch and some cool adjacent shopping. Also, the New York grill up top of park Hyatt is where they filmed lost in translation. Have a whiskey and check the view.

Steve Berry Flight 2: AMERICAN AIRLINES 153

Departure Date: Wed, Mar 27, 2013

Departure Airport: ORD

Scheduled Departure Time: 1:25PM


Thursday, March 28 (Tokyo)

AM – http://www.gojapango.com/tokyo/shinjuku_gyoen.htm

(cherry blossoms)

PM – Steve Berry Flight 2 (cont): AMERICAN AIRLINES 153

Arrival Airport: NRT

Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:40PM

Steve arrives to Hotel 1: Hyatt Regency Tokyo

2-7-2 Nishi-Shinjuku

Shinjuku-Ku, Japan 160-0023

Tel: +81 3 3348 1234  Fax: +81 3 3344 5575

First team dinner in Japan!

Friday, March 29 (Tokyo)

AM – Raku-tei for lunch, the amazing Michelin 2 star tempura.
Address: 6-8-1 Akasaka , Minato-ku, Tokyo, 107-0052, Japan

Phone:+81 3-3585-3743

Wednesday 12:00–2:00 pm, 5:00–8:30 pm

PM – Yakatori alley next to the Shinjuku train station. On the left when you enter from station about half a block. Maybe block and a half… Yakatori late… Then wander around late late in the seedy area they call The Golden Guy. Hundreds of small whacky bars. Fun! (thanks Paul!)

Saturday, March 30 (Tokyo)

AM – Fish market. Visit train station to activate JR pass and book Sunday’s tickets.

PM – Nihonryori RyuGin* is a 3 star, truly amazing modern Japanese food.
Address: Telephone: +81 (0)3 3423-8006

Side Roppongi Bldg. 1F, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo

*Need to call for reservation b/w 11:30am-6:00pm JST  http://www.nihonryori-ryugin.com/en/reserve/

Sunday, March 31 (Kanazawa)

AM – Check out Hyatt Regency Tokyo and train to Kanazawa.

Kevin says when you get off the train, find the tourist info center towards those famous architectural pillars.  they speak a lil english and have maps and guides in english too.

Hotel 2 (booked by Steve): Hotel Nikko Kanazawa

Address: 2-15-1 Hon-machi, Kanazawa, 920-0853 Japan

PM – Kanazawa Castle (historical, hinoki) and Dinner at Tsurukou (da big cheese.) Chaya bar after dinner, on kazue machi (ie ‘street’)

Monday, April 1 (Kanazawa)

AM – Check out of Hotel Nikko Kanazawa. Omicho (Market), Eel shop, Sakuda gold leaf shop, Kotobukiya (shojin ryori)

PM – Hotel 3 (Booked by Shin) Yamanoo Ryokan

Address: 1-31-25 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture 920-0831, Japan

Tuesday, April 2 (Kanazawa)

AM – Kenrokuen (top 3 garden of japan), Katamachi (izakayas,) Morihatchi (wagashi shop)

PM – Dinner at Suginoi (kaiseki)

Wednesday, April 3 (Kaga)

AM – Check out of Yamanoo Ryokan. Train to Kaga.

Hotel 4 (booked by Shin): Araya Totoan spa hotel, Arisugawa sanso.

Address: 18-119 Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga, Ishikawa Prefecture 922-0242, Japan (Yamashiro Onsen)

PM – Eat at Kaga Ryori

Thursday, April 4 (Kaga)

AM – Kutani pottery at Museum Iroha Souan

PM – Kaga tea

Friday, April 5 (Osaka)

AM – Check out of Araya Totoan spa hotel. Train to Osaka.

PM – Hotel 5 (booked by Jackie): Cross Hotel Osaka

Address: Chuo-ku Shinsaibashisuji 2-5-15

Osaka, 5420085, Japan

Meet Shin!!!!

Saturday, April 6 (Osaka)

AM – Dotonburi

PM – TBD dinner etc

Sunday, April 7  (Kyoto)

AM – Check out of Cross Hotel Osaka. Train to Kyoto

PM – Hotel 6 (booked by Jackie):

Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto

Address: 1, Taimatsucho Shiokoji-sagaru, Higashi Horik

Kyoto, Japan, JP 600-8237

Monday, April 8  (Kyoto)

AM – Kyoto bamboo garden/Arashiyama

PM – TBD dinner etc

Tuesday, April 9  (Tokyo)

AM – Check out Rihga Royal Hotel Kyot. Train to Tokyo

PM – TBD Hotel 7 (perhaps we book Hyatt Regency on first leg…)


Wednesday, April 10 (Tokyo)

PM – Steve Berry Flight 3: AMERICAN AIRLINES 154

Departure Date: Wed, Apr 10, 2013

Departure Airport: NRT

Scheduled Departure Time: 6:15PM

Arrival Airport: ORD

Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:05PM

Steve Berry Flight 4: AMERICAN AIRLINES 1068

Departure Date: Wed, Apr 10, 2013

Departure Airport: ORD

Scheduled Departure Time: 6:00PM

Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:10PM

Arrival Airport: MIA

Thursday, April 11 (Tokyo/Miami) 

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 3: American Airlines 60

Tokyo (NRT)

April 11, 2013 06:20 PM

Travel Time : 11 h 40 m

Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW)

April 11, 2013 04:00 PM

Jacquelyn Sayet Flight 4: American Airlines 60

Dallas/ Fort Worth (DFW)

April 11, 2013 05:35 PM

Travel Time : 2 h 50 m

Miami (MIA)

April 11, 2013 09:25 PM