I highly recommend Sushi Ran in Sausalito which gets the highest ratings for sushi in the Bay area (along with Morimoto in Napa, where we had reservations but decided to leave due to crazy noise and a Vegas-y vibe). Along with a beautiful sushi menu, there is a “from the kitchen” menu of “Pacific” offerings, all truly fantastic. They passed my personal sushi litmus test with a quite excellent chopped yellowtail and scallion hand roll – perfectly seasoned warm rice, still-crisped Nori and rich, creamy, very fresh fish.
(Sushi Ran, 107 Caledonia Street, Sausalito, CA; tel. 415.332.3620, www.sushiran.com)
THE FREMONT DINER
Step out of your car at this quaint roadside diner in Sonoma and some serious barbecue smoke hits you hard. Not only are they smoking their own meats, they’re growing ingredients at the farm out back. We arrived in time for Snacks rather than Mains, but the heaping, yummy plates of BBQ Brisket Nachos and homemade Gumbo sustained us quite well.
(The Fremont Diner, 2698 Fremont Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476; Tel. 707.938.7370,www.thefremontdiner.com)
It seems there’s a burger at every turn in California, and Gotts Roadside in gorgeous St. Helena may be one of the most picturesque places to wolf one down. Hardly a mecca of haute-cuisine, Gotts is a cool roadside stand and backyard picnic-table seating. I chose to go somewhat healthful with an order of Ahi Poke Tacos, but the truth is, I was really jonesing for one of those Niman Ranch burgers and some fries.
(Gotts Roadside, 933 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574; Tel. 707.963.3486, www.gotts.com)
GREEN STRING FARM
Green String is a 140-acre farm in Petaluma, just a few minutes away from my lovely hosts’ home. Bob Cannard, one of the partners along with Fred Cline, has been farming for 30 years and was one of the early providers of local produce to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Although the farm is not certified organic, they maintain sustainability standards that exceed organic standards. The stand is a treasure of freshness and bounty.
(Green String Farm, 3571 Old Adobe Road, Petaluma, CA 94954; www.greenstringfarm.com)
If you’re leaving town from Oakland International, have your parting meal at Camino. Housed in a down-to-earth brick walled room with soaring ceilings and long communal tables, Camino was one of the most interesting meals I’ve had in ages. Owner/chef Russell Moore is a 20-year Chez Panisse alum who enjoys cooking over a 9’ wide open-hearth, sourcing ingredients locally, changing his menu daily and packing a ton of flavor into each dish. For starters we tried the wood oven-baked local oysters with absinthe, breadcrumbs and fennel salad, which was at once both totally clean and richly flavored. The grilled pork leg with greens, radishes and anchovy was a nice balance of fatty, woody pork richness aside the crisp acidity of a little salad. It was “Little Bird Monday” so we tried the prix fixe featuring wood-grilled quail and a fabulous chicken ballotine with fresh horseradish (and spatzel, spinach and sauerkraut salad). Though I’m not usually a huge dessert person, the true showstoppers of the night were our two sweet selections. Walnut Meringue with (the most outrageous) grapefruit-chile sorbet and citrus was pretty mind blowing. Bay leaf yogurt pudding with buckwheat cookies started off as smooth and oddly delicious and just got better with each bite. A pretty fab ending to my whirlwind trip!
(Camino, 3917 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610; Tel. 510.547.5035, www.caminorestaurant.com)
Just a few random notes. My favorite California landscape is found in the hills – of Sausalito, Berkeley Hills, Hollywood Hills, Bel Air, Mill Valley, Del Mar, etc. I love the vegetation, views and distinctly Californian architecture. I didn’t take any pics this trip, but I could spend all day driving in the residential, vertigo-inspiring hilly areas of Sausalito and Berkeley.
From left: an olive tree, apartment building in Oakland, Tomales Bay, Rose Garden in Oakland, tree/sky
I did catch a few shots, though, of sunset in Sausalito. We spotted The Spinnaker Restaurant, which, I swear, was probably featured in a 1973 episode of “McMillan and Wife” or “Streets of San Francisco.” Just think: dark (greasy) patterned carpet, dudes in brown polyester suits with long sideburns, cig-smoking women in Pucci-patterned haltered jumpsuits, a sultry cocktail lounge. OK, the people weren’t really there, but the place, the logo, the carpet and the lounge were all in full view. And about that view: the place features floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking the Sausalito waterfront to the San Francisco skyline, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz and Angel Island. I wouldn’t dream of eating here as the menu, like the décor, is straight out of the ‘70’s; but the cocktails are outstanding.
From left: Sausalito waterfront with the ferry in view, The Spinnaker, park on Sausalito’s waterfront, The Spinnaker 70’s logo
(The Spinnaker Restaurant, 1000 Spinnaker Drive, Sausalito, CA; tel. 415.332.1500, www.thespinnaker.com )
Finally, if there are not a million other reasons to love this area of the country, come for the food and vegetation alone. Goodness abounds. My favorite retail trend is that seemingly every gourmet food store offers lovely little nosegays and floral arrangements to bring home for your dinner table (or to your hosts’). That alone is enough to make me love it here. Thanks Matt and Anne for a helluva trip!!!
Top row: floral arrangements ready to take home for dinner; Second row from left: vintage-y Coke bottles, Ternetta vermicelli, the most fabulous drip coffee makers at Ritual Coffee, Ritual Coffee, Ponzu Curd tarts at Morimoto in Nappa
I’m not proud to admit it, but in my life, there have been moments of retail exploration that have thrown me into a state of total adrenaline rush. This occurred the first time I stepped into Ralph Lauren’s Mecca of luxury shopping at his 72nd Street and Madison Avenue “Mansion” (remember the ’80′s?). Dean and Deluca similarly made my whole being shake the first time I saw the Prince Street store and then again the West Broadway emporium. It’s been a while, but once again my body and mind have been thrown into overdrive by the shopping experience at SHED in Healdsburg, CA. I would seriously move to Healdsburg simply to be close to this incredible business.
Clockwise from top right: lunch of Mezze Plate (white bean Hummus, roasted Kabocha Squash, marinated Beets, Feta and Olives and the most yummy strained Greek Yogurt with black sesame seeds), the Coffee Bar, outdoor gardening center, the façade, logo, “Cook” section
Who are Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton, owners of Home Farm in Dry Creek Valley and the people with such impeccable taste and talent to curate such a perfect collection of food, home goods, gardening tools and sundry items in one gorgeous steel and glass structure which they built to house it all? When I asked our café server who owned the place, I was told that the couple were “farmers” and not much more. I’m overwhelmed and I want to know them. The 10,000 square foot structure houses dry good shopping, food market, restaurant, fermentation bar (more on that below), garden center and an event space upstairs; somehow it all integrates seamlessly.
From top: The produce section, sandwiches at the Coffee Bar, fabulous charcuterie, cookies and pastries at the Coffee Bar
The official drink of California these days (other than wine, of course) seems to be the Shrub. A Shrub is actually a Colonial-era concoction combining pureed fruit, a bit of sugar and –get this – vinegar, which then gets topped off with a generous spritz of soda water. It’s quite refreshing and only about 1 in 10 sips screams of vinegar. Though I saw Shrubs around and about, SHED sells a variety of flavors at their show-stopping Fermentation Bar, along with Kefir on tap and Kombucha on tap. In the Larder, fermentation was on view in row-upon-row of house-made kimchi, sauerkraut and other preserved foods; the theme continued with an array of do-it-yourself fermentation gear in the Cook section.
Clockwise from top left: our lunch table, the Fermentation Bar, Shed Shrubs, the shining taps at the Fermentation Bar
From top: Riess white enamel cookware, enamel measures, natural cork bowl and wood spoons, nutcrackers and wooden boards, goat hair dusters, handmade brooms and slingshots
Clockwise from top left: Bellwether Farms fresh Ricotta, restroom area, Eat section, private labeled Anson Mills heirloom grains, teeny floral arrangements, La Chamba clay cookware, Jacobsen salty black Licorice
Left to right: breads, jars of fermenting vegetables in the Larder, Apple Crisp, Askinosie chocolate bars, baked muffins and scones at the Coffee Bar
The Coffee Bar – check out those white tiles!
25 North Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
It’s been a long, cold winter on the east end of Long Island, and though I love being home-based in East Hampton, these times remind me that we are water-locked at the end of a 100-mile “island.” It was time to get out of Dodge, so last weekend I took a quick jaunt to one of my favorite places on the planet, Northern California. My good friend Anne Millett (of the fabulous stationery company Mira Aster) and her husband Matt hosted me for four action-packed days of fun and exploration around Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties. The farms, the food, the 70+ degree sunny weather, expansive of beauty all around – it’s all so good. We packed so much in that I couldn’t possibly show it all, but tune in for the next few days for some of my favorite highlights.
HOG ISLAND OYSTER FARM
The perfect moment. That’s what we found at Hog Island Oyster Farm on Tomales Bay. This is simply the grooviest spot ever. We went early in order to grab space at one of the communal picnic tables, but if you’re a good planner, you can actually reserve a table for the day (call at least a month in advance). Groups come with picnics, wine, dogs and barbecue items in tow and seem to hang out endlessly. The spot is so gorgeous, it’s tough to pull yourself away. THIS is a place to have a party!
Clockwise from top left: the stand, oysters on the half shell, barbecued oysters, happy slurping people, the entrance, a happy party, all-gone bbq’d oysters, the reserved tables by the bay, center – menu sign
The best oysters I’ve ever eaten – this is the main thing we found at Hog Island. Though the menu includes a salad and some cheese and charcuterie options (Cowgirl Creamery is a neighbor in the next town of Point Reyes), we kept it simple with the farm’s oysters two ways: on the half shell and barbecued. Both were utter perfection. My fabulous florist friend Ariella Chezar swears she can eat 40 at one sitting. I’ll be spending the summer perfecting the barbecue technique, which is like nothing I’ve ever come across on the east coast (see recipe below).
Left to right: groovy gathering, the farm, table by the bay, the barbecue
Fun fact: one of the company’s founders, John Finger, hails from the North Fork of Long Island and studied Marine Biology at Southampton College.
On the way to the Farm: garage doors featuring local Abalone shells, the view from the picnic area, house numbers on driftwood
Hog Island Oyster Farm
20215 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, CA 94940
TOMALES BAY STATE PARK
Following our feast at Hog Island Oyster Farm, a quick trip to Point Reyes Station and Cowgirl Creamery, we continued a stunning drive around the horn of Tomales Bay to the state park for some staggeringly gorgeous views. About an hour up the coast sits Bodega Bay, which is where Hitchcock filmed “The Birds.” We were lucky to have a warm, sunny day, but it’s easy to see how a bit of fog and chill could transform the vibe into something quite spooky.
Hog Island Farm Style Grilled Sweetwaters with Garlic Chipotle Butter
Served at Hog Island Oyster Farm. (Recipe from their website)
Smokey and sweet and a touch of heat. Grilled Garlic Chipotle Butter oysters have become a favorite at the farm. Our friends & customers call them finger-lickin’ good. We’re pretty sure your friends will be speechless.
50 Hog Island sweet water Oysters
1/2 lb (two sticks) unsalted butter softened to room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup bourbon (plus a nip for the chef!)
3/4 cup finely chopped garlic
Half of (10 oz) can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped.
The Butter (can be made up to one week in advance, keep refrigerated)
In a medium bowl, dissolve the brown sugar with the bourbon. In a food processor or blender, combine the softened butter with the bourbon/brown sugar mixture and add the garlic and chipotles. Mix on medium/high speed until well blended (OK if some chunks remain). Lay down a sheet of parchment paper (12″ or so), scoop the butter compound onto the sheet working to form a long row. Roll the butter in the parchment, like a burrito, folding the ends as you go. Refrigerate for about two hours or until firm. The finished roll should be the dimension of a cube of butter, only longer (about a foot). When you are ready to grill, slice 1/8″ pats of butter from the butter log and place on top of your shucked, raw oysters. Allowing the butter to melt as the oysters cook. *You can also skip the log-roll and leave the butter in a airtight covered bowl (refrigerate after making). Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture onto each oyster as they grill.
Open a cold one and fire up your grill to medium hot. Pre- shuck a few dozen oysters and remove the butter from the fridge. Place a pat of butter onto each shucked oyster and get those ‘sters on the grill. Open another cold one while you watch the butter and oysters begin to bubble. After about 2-4 minutes of bubbling and sizzling remove the oysters from the heat. The oysters will be ready when the edges of their meat begins to curl and the butter sauce is bubbling hot. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Enjoy with a frosty beverage.
Then make some for your friends.
Bling Bling. Candy-colored Fun. Rockin’ Rocks. However you think of gemstones whipped into ring-finger adornment, you’ve got to admit: A girl’s gotta dream. My favorites are diamonds and emeralds (and absolutely anything by JAR), but there’s not a ring on this page that I turn would down. The wedding is amazing, though it lasts just one fabulous day. That engagement ring hangs around a whole lot longer. Here’s to some Summer Dreaming…
1. Viren Bhagat Columbian Emerald and Diamond Ring 2. Antique Georgian Diamond Cluster Ring 3. Huguette M. Clark’s D color Emerald Cut Diamond Ring 4. Topaz and Diamond Cluster Ring c. 1950 by Berganza 5. 12.22-Carat Fine Sugarloaf Emerald and Diamond Ring 6. Sapphire and Diamond Estate Ring 7. 15.75-Carat Yellow Oval Diamond Ring 8. Colored Diamond Bonnet Ring by JAR 9. Vintage 5-Carat Emerald Cut Diamond and Emerald Halo 10. Victorian Diamond Cluster Ring 11. Laroche Freres Art Deco Diamond Panel Ring 12. Tiffany & Co. 13. Diamonds, Sapphires and Emeralds 14. Tiffany & Co. Platinum, Diamond and Onyx Ring 15. Graff Yellow Cushion Cut Diamond 16. Art Deco Ruby, Diamond and Platinum Ring 17. Erica Courtney Zoey Diamond and Gold Engagement Ring 18. Bulgari Emerald and Diamond 19. Ceylon Sapphire and Diamond 20. Lily Safra’s JAR Diamond Drop Charm Ring 21. French Sapphire and Diamond Ring c. 1912-1920 22. Berganza Ornate Diamond Cluster Ring c. 1920 23.Edwardian Ruby and Diamond Rosette Cluster Ring 24. From the collection of Lily Safra 25. Antique Old Mine Cut Diamond and Emerald Ring 26. Diamond “String” Ring by JAR 27. Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Ring c. 1925 28. Fancy Yello 6.74-Carat Ring 29. Bentley & Skinner Deco Ruby and Diamond Cluster Ring 30. Belle Epoque Aquamarine Target Ring with Diamonds and Sapphires 31. Orange Sapphire and Diamond 32. Emerald Cut Diamond 33. 4.55-Carat Diamond with Sapphires 34. Chopard Deroule la Red Carpet 35. Paolo Costaglie Paraiba Tourmaline and Diamond Ring 36. Van Cleef & Arpels Columbian Emerald 37. Target Ring 38. 50′s Ascher-cut Diamond Ring 39. Russian 5-Carat Demantoid Garnet and Fancy Colored Diamonds 40. Hemmerle Rose-cut Ruby Ring
For my money, New York Weddings (New York Magazine’s bi-annual wedding book) is the single best guide for anyone getting married in the New York area. We’ve been proud to be included in their featured vendors section for several years and are excited this month to have a favorite wedding featured in their pages.
Linda and James had been together for 11 years and wanted to create a sacred ceremony
celebrating their relationship and including their grown children. When Linda first called me, she had booked Gurneys as a location for their weekend celebration and was looking for help creating an environment and menu that reflected her vision. The goal was to create a beach wedding and outdoor reception that felt festive and elegant, yet casual. She loved an organic look but also wanted to incorporate punches of color, specifically orange, pinks, yellow and greens.
The ceremony was an important moment to welcome their guests, 120 close family and friends. Because the day was hot and guests were invited to a mid-day beach ceremony, we welcomed them with chilled water bottles (via Hamptons Water Company) and flip flops as well as bags for their street shoes. When guests arrived at the ceremony benches, they found hand fans and parasols in beachy earth tones, greens and lavenders to match the tulle fabric ribbons strung from the driftwood altar structure.
Hand sewn ceremony programs featuring the couple’s insignia Sneha symbol were anchored by a river stone at each seat. As part of their ceremony, the couple and their children performed a sand ceremony, each helping fill a keepsake bottle with sand they had collected from the Montauk beach. The bride looked stunning her blush-colored Vera Wang “Farrah” dress.
For cocktails, Gurneys passed hors d’oeuvre and created abundant food stations featuring raw bar items, sushi, antipasto, cheese, crudite and fruit as well as a colorful punch station to augment the bar. We designed the decks with seating vignettes of outdoor furniture and airport tables utilizing big punches of bright orange and celery-green. Lots of market umbrellas were placed around the decks to keep guests cool and comfortable.
As guests entered the dinner tent, they were seated at long tables covered in ivory cotton with a taupe runner. The centerpieces were custom-made wood boxes running the entire length of the table filled with wheat grass and local summer zinnias in punchy bright colors. Square rattan chargers and square white plates were found at each place setting along with either a lime faille or lavender linen napkin and menu card featuring each guest’s name.
Gurneys chef was ultra-accommodating and created the exact custom menu we requested: Chilled Montauk Lobsters with Lemon Tarragon Aioli; Sliced Grilled Sirloin Steak with Chimichurri Sauce; Farro Salad with Fresh Corn. Tomato, Cucumber, Feta and Parsley; Grilled Asparagus dressed with Olive Oil and Lemon. The bride supplied a recipe for a Pink Champagne wedding cake filled with Raspberry Mousse and Fresh Raspberries, which was delicious!
Age-old friends toasted the couple with beautiful, heartfelt memories and wishes for their future. As the heat of the day dissolved into thunderous rain, guests danced and partied until the bitter end, most leaving with heaping boxes of gummy candies, M&M’s and assorted goodies from the candy display.
James and Linda, you’re a gorgeous, loving couple with amazing family and friends. We were so honored to be part of your day.
Thanks to KDHamptons.com writer Christine Morrison and founder/editor-in-chief Kelli Delaney Kot for featuring jill gordon celebrate as the “Haute Hamptons Wedding Planner!” With her probing interviewing style and wonderful writing talent, Christine generously took time to chat with me about the Hamptons, the wedding industry, tips for wedding planning out East and my personal history in the business. Kelli has created a phenomenal blogspot focused on the Hamptons luxury lifestyle – who’s here and doing it best. If you haven’t already, definitely take a visit to the site!
To see the post, click here.
Memorial Day Weekend
The beach at Old House Landing Road, East Hampton. Memorial Day 2012.
Style Me Pretty has been very kind to us in the last few months! Thanks to this fabulous wedding blog for featuring yet another jill gordon celebrate event on in their posts. This time, the talented and lovely photographer Jennifer Davis captured Kerry-Lynne and Ramin’s May wedding at East Hampton Point. Hard to believe that was almost a full year ago (and happy to report that Kerry and Ramin have enjoyed a great first year of marriage!). Here are some shots from that beautiful Spring day; for another view, check out the Style Me Pretty post.
From top, left to right: menu cards by The Village Invites; ceremony at Most Holy Trinity, East Hampton; alliums on the bar – all flowers by Amagansett Flowers by Beth; peony bouquets for all; gorgeous spring table flowers; the bride and groom enjoy a toast in their vintage Rolls Royce; alliums on the escort table; the entrance at East Hampton Point; garlands on the bride and groom’s chairs; Kerry and Ramin enjoy a romantic moment on the dock at East Hampton Point; dessert trays; wedding cake by EH Point
Same tale, different narrative.
ease into it…
Photos: via atelier joya; via this is not new; via crush cul de sac; via rusty break; via vogue & coffee; via sailacross-thesun.tumblr; Victor Moscoso 1967; via loveliberally.tumblr; via they all hate us; via white–tiger.tumblr; Gloria Petyarre; Tina Chow, Warhol.
or feel the pop…
You’re hot and thirsty. Maybe you’ve just completed a 6-mile run on East Hampton’s back roads. Or perhaps you’ve spent 4 hours fighting traffic on the LIE to get here. If you’re lucky, it’s Sunday morning and you’re feeling slightly hungover from the wild Saturday night you’ve had dancing and partying at a jill gordon celebrate event. Whichever the case, you are THIRSTY. It’s time to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Hamptons Water Company is going to quench your needs. We are excited to welcome this new (soon to be huge, we predict) company to our shores. Because jill gordon celebrate believes in keeping it local, Hamptons Water will be found at our parties this season and in the gift bags bestowed on wedding guests upon their arrival in the Hamptons.
This natural spring water is vapor distilled and then – brilliantly - bolstered with electrolytes to bring your body back into the balance it deserves. It’s clean and fresh, and we’re drinking it by the gallon.
Hamptons Water Company is donating a portion of each sale to local charities. Proceeds from the first sales will be going to the Max Cure Foundation which is helping fight pediatric cancer.
If all that weren’t enough reason to buy this product, each bottle features a bar code on its label which - once scanned with your phone or other device - takes you to their “What’s Happening in the Hamptons” website. We predict lots of folks will be sitting on the Hampton Jitney perusing this fun-filled site (the Jitney will be serving Hamptons Water from Memorial Day thru Labor Day on all of their rides!).
To sample some of this refreshing goodness, come to one of our events or pick up a bottle at one of these locations already found on this blog: Mary’s Marvelous, Round Swamp Farm or Hampton Seafood Co., Also found at these great places: Montauk Bake Shoppe, Botwick’s Chowder House, Indian Wells Tavern, D’Canela, Stuarts Seafood, Main Beach Surf & Sport and White’s Pharmacy. Soon to be seen everywhere!
Amy Atlas is a baker, a crafter, a designer and an inspiration. In Event Land, she’s the originator of the highly-stylized themed dessert table. We congratulate Amy today on the release of her new book: Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It.
At jill gordon celebrate we think a presentation of treats - a dessert table, pie buffet, candy bar, popcorn station – is a brilliant end to any party or wedding. Who isn’t a kid in a candy store when it comes time to celebrate? Over the years, we’ve assembled a collection of candy and apothecary jars, cake stands and glass containers to make any display complete. When planning a dessert display draw inspiration from color stories, your party theme, the desserts themselves – or from Amy Atlas.
Shopping for her own wedding dress in the late ’80′s, Vera Wang reportedly found a “sameness to everything.” She’s been breaking the mold ever since with her luxury bridal collection. In a corner of the fashion industry once quite uninspired, Wang has brought sumptuous fabric, detail and even color. She has played with “illusion netting,” gowns in pastel shades and last year’s taupe and black collection. Taking things one giant leap further, the newly revealed Spring 2013 line features dresses in shades ranging from tomato red to deep crimson. We’re eager to see how many of these beauties show up at Hamptons weddings next season!
Cardinal strapless ballgown with hand-rolled floral detail skirt and horsehair trim | Photography: Dan Lecca
Scarlett strapless ballgown with tulle panel skirt and embellished flange appliqué and hand-rolled floral, Chantilly lace detail | Photography: Dan Lecca
Crimson strapless ballgown with hand-draped tulle bodice and honeycomb tulle skirt with embellished floating Chantilly lace and bias-cut organza ruffle detail | Photography: Dan Lecca
Dahlia strapless open back, V-neck ballgown with lifted tulle skirt and tiered flange, hand-cut petal embroidered detail | Photography: Dan Lecca
The collection is being previewed at the New York flagship store (78th and Madison) today April 19th through the 22nd. Make an appointment to see and touch these dresses in person: 212-628-3400.
We love photo booths! It’s just a fact: photo booths make any party better. Guests love to dress up, pose and play. Remember running into the five-and-ten with your best friend and squishing into the booth only to fight over that strip of photos? It’s no different as adults. We still love photo booths!
We have no prejudice when it comes to photo booths. We’ve used many kinds at weddings and parties, and they’re all good. We like the classic ones that make us a feel a bit nostalgic. We like modern ones with swank velvet curtains in our choice of color. And we are crazy about the digital un-booth ones, out in the open with a simple (or not-so-simple) backdrop.
Today we’re featuring a vendor we adore: Jerome Jakubiec of Photomatonchic. Part of what we dig about Photomatonchic is Jerome himself: he’s French, handsome, charming, professional and utterly kind. Because he loves his work, Jerome brings a sense of ease to the setup, and guests have a swell time.
The other thing we love – a lot – are the stop motion films which clients receive after the event. They are like electronic flip books (with music) and really bring the photos to life. You’ve got to check them out – you won’t stop laughing, I promise!
We will be writing about our favorite vendors on this blog. A note on that subject: just because we feature one doesn’t mean we don’t cherish the others dearly. We hope to invite them all.
Jill Gordon: Tell us a little about yourself – where you grew up, what you’ve done until now, etc.
Jerome Jakubiec: I grew up in the south of France, in Provence, not far from Avignon. I originally went to law school in France but I quickly realized that I wasn’t particularly talented for that. I’m passionate about photography. This is how I live my life, I take pictures every day – with my iPhone, my cameras… I’m a bit obsessive that way, I suppose.
JG: You always seem to be really enjoying your work. What makes this business fun for you?
JJ: I love the high pace, interacting with people who are there to party, the instant gratification of seeing guests walk away with some awesome pictures… My clients are (almost) always in the best mood!
JG: What do your clients “take home” at the end of the day?
JJ: They take home some beautiful 4 by 6 prints (or their guests take them home), plenty of fun memories and the assurance that their guests had an amazing experience. 24 hours after the party ends, they can log in to my website and browse their photos. And last but not least, about a week later, I upload a little stop motion film made with the frames from the party and a soundtrack of their choice.
JG: That’s my favorite part of what you offer. How did you start doing these little films, which are so fricking FUN?
JJ: This is something I’m very proud of and that I started offering about two years ago. Those little films are very artsy and look amazing. They are perfect for Facebook and blogs, and the feedback I’m getting from my clients is amazing. It’s become a very important aspect of the service I offer and I don’t think anybody else is offering anything quite like it.
JG: As you know, I’m not wild about being photographed. You see a lot of people being photographed. Do you have any tips for posing, getting a great shot?
JJ: Ha! Good question. You know, it’s all about momentum and energy I think. It’s a give and take moment. Once the first guests set the tone, it all becomes instinctive and I make sure to give a few ideas or some directions when that’s needed. I’m mostly blown away but people’s spontaneity. A couple of cocktails never hurt either.
JG: That’s for sure. What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the job?
JJ: Someone from the cast of Saturday Night Live was a guest at a wedding I shot. I can’t name him. He had one too many drinks and started art directing the photos. That was very fun.
JG: I bet that was hilarious. You know that I’m a big fan of having props on-hand for photo shoots. I think it really helps people relax. What do you think works well?
JJ: I think confetti looks beautiful. Picture frames are nice. Boards to write messages to the couple are neat. Massive wigs are my personal favorite (and you know what I’m talking about!).
JG: Where do you prefer to be set up at an event? We’ve done some many different setups – sometimes at the cocktail hour, other times in the dinner or dancing tent. Do you have a preference?
JJ: The best spot is in the heart of it all – next to the dance floor, not too far from the bar can be nice. I see it as a visual treat for everybody, you can’t go wrong with a treat.
There are a few glorious markers of spring in my world: cherry blossoms bloom, fresh green buds appear on trees, a daffodil or 100 pop up here and there and - happy day – Round Swamp Farm re-opens for business. The earth revolves smoothly once again.
Until recently, I was lucky to live within walking distance to this mecca of tasty treats. When I bought my new house, an early task was to determine the quickest route to this farm stand on Three Mile Harbor Road. I’ve got it down – should take me no more than two minutes to get there barring any slow landscape trucks in my path.
We are blessed with field-upon-field of beautifully grown vegetables and fruit in the Hamptons as well as a bevy of wonderful farm stands selling said freshness. So what makes this country market so notable? Round Swamp is truly a family affair, started by Carolyn Lester 40+ years ago on her father’s farm land, whose logo is “Farmers of Land and Sea” – and they truly are a family filled with farmers and fishermen (and great cooks). I’ve never seen a harder working group who, despite the hoards of pesky New Yorkers lining up on holiday weekends, always offer a smile and “how ya doing, Hon?” as they hoist your 50 lb. shopping basket onto the check-out counter.
Why, you ask, is my shopping basket quite so heavy? There is so much goodness! The family grows pretty gorgeous produce – particularly (for me, at least) their peppery arugula, spring asparagus, radishes, snap peas, lettuces, a variety of potatoes, some of the best local corn and outrageous heirloom tomatoes – and catches some dang fresh fish and seafood. Autumn brings fat stalks of brussel sprouts, beautiful winter squash, fluffy white cauliflower, beets and other root vegetables.
It’s the prepared food, though, that makes this place a standout. A summer dinner party doesn’t pass at my house without Round Swamp’s blueberry crumb pie for dessert (or peach or tri-berry for that matter). It’s, quite simply, the best pie ever. Weekend house guests can anticipate chock-full-of-blueberry muffins, pecan sticky rolls, health muffins or farm-fresh organic eggs for breakfast. The fabulous guacamole, seven-layer Mexican dip and assorted pot-stickers are cocktail hour staples. Spicy jalapeno cheddar corn muffins can’t hit the shelves fast enough for my liking in October.
Because my life is crazy-busy in the summer (or maybe because I’m a tad lazy), my kitchen is stocked with an ever-rotating inventory of Round Swamp items: curried chicken salad, Dijon potato salad, “picnic” chicken, barbequed spareribs, grain and lentil pilafs, seared sea scallops, awesome crab cakes, skewers of grilled shrimp, Caprese salad, sesame snap peas, fresh lemonade and sun tea. Lunch is perfect when it’s a thickly sliced beefsteak tomato topping a sandwich of their best-ever chicken salad. The jams, fruit butters, farm-fresh jarred tomatoes, bread-and-butter pickles and other pantry items are worth keeping around. As the season turns a bit chillier, I look forward to their Boeuf Bourguignon and truly sinful whipped potatoes.
Round Swamp Farm will be opening for weekends this Friday, April 20th.
Round Swamp Farm, 184 Three Mile Harbor Road, East Hampton. Tel. 631-324-4438
Entertaining is all about being gracious and keeping guests engaged from the beginning to end of an event. What lovelier start to a hot summer soiree than a cool and refreshing beverage? We like to offer guests a “welcome drink” upon arrival, alcoholic or non. Sometimes these drinks are butler-passed on trays by waiters standing at the party entrance; other times we set up a drinks stand or station. Either way, the presentation should look lovely and taste like a delightful reminder of the season. Here are some fun recipes we’ll be trying out at jill gordon celebrate parties this Spring and Summer.
Elderflower Champagne Cocktail
St-Germain is a delightful French liqueur of elderflower blossoms. It tastes of pear and lychee and lemon, and the sweetness of the liqueur is cut here by the Champagne bubbles and cool cucumber. Added bonus: the St-Germain bottle looks gorgeous on a bar.
Recipe: Fill a tumbler with ice. Fill three-quarters of the glass with dry champagne or prosecco. Add thinly sliced cucumber and fresh mint. Top off with a good splash of St-Germain.
Photo & Recipe via Zested
Barefoot Contessa’s Pink Grapefuit Margarita
Everyone loves a margarita, and what better way to kick of a Hamptons event than with a gorgeous pink drink concocted by East Hampton’s very own Ina Garten. Who can resist that color?
Recipe: Combine 1 cup of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, 1 cup Triple Sec Liqueur and 3 cups of ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and add 1 cup silver tequila. Pour into glasses that have been rimmed with a cut lime and then dipped in Kosher salt (alternatively, skip this step and sprinkle a touch of salt into each drink). Garnish with a lime slice. Yields 4 drinks.
Photo and recipe via There Goes the Cupcake
Homemade Ginger Ale
Ginger Ale is a fan favorite, and this recipe from Aran Goyoaga (blogger of Canelle et Vanille) is super easy. Happily served on its own, this ginger ale can be revved up a bit with Aran’s Strawberry Consomme and a hit of vodka.
Recipe: In a small pot, add 2 Tbs grated fresh ginger, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and allow sugar to dissolve. Remove pan from heat and let the syrup steep and cool for about 30 minutes. Strain the syrup through a fine sieve. Mix with juice of one lemon, 1/8th tsp active dry yeast and 2 qts water. Whisk together and, using a funnel, pour into a plastic bottle (not glass, as fermentation can crack the glass). Screw top on bottle and allow to ferment at room temperature for about two days until carbonation forms. Be sure to refrigerate once it carbonates. Strawberry Consomme: Toss 1 lb fresh sliced strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar together in a bowl. Cover and allow to macerate for 24 hours; the strawberries will release their juices. Strain through a fine sieve without pressing excessively. Mixology: In an iced rocks glass, mix 1/2 cup ginger ale, 1 Tbs strawberry consomme and 1 Tbs Vodka (to taste – or not at all). Garnish with fresh lemon slices and sliced strawberries.
Recipe and photo via Design Sponge
Sip and enjoy the season!
Congratulations to our friend Pete Ambrose who just grandly opened his new food emporium, Hampton Seafood Co. on Race Lane, East Hampton. The space, formerly Claws on Wheels, has gotten a brilliant facelift and looks fantastic. In addition to the freshest fish and seafood, the shop offers an array of packaged foods (including the “Pete’s Endless Summer” line of sauces and marinades), sweets and treats from the likes of our friends at Mali B and Sag Harbor Bake Shop, lovely fresh produce, baguettes from Blue Duck Bakery and an array of high-end pantry items. The display cases are filled with Pete’s stellar prepared food (which you’ve sampled at any of our past parties catered by Food for Forks or the Wainscott Seafood Company). We’re so excited to welcome Pete to the neighborhood; lunches just got a lot more fun!
photo Joshua Zuckerman Photography
Once upon a time, “Saturday Night Wedding” meant one thing: seated dinner, choice of beef or fish. Times have changed, and weddings are taking on a variety of different formats. A wave that we’ve been riding over the past few years is a preference for a more casual, unstructured party – what we call a Lounge Party. Rather than tables of ten, rooms are designed around clusters of informal seating, often lounge furniture mixed with smaller cocktail tables and airport tables (tall cocktail tables). Dinner – instead of the typical progression of plated appetizer, salad, entree, dessert – is served either in the style of a heavy cocktail party, a “station” event comprised of several small buffet set ups, or a combination of both.
I’m a huge fan of these types of events, but there are some real pitfalls to avoid. Weddings are long – typically five hours or more – and the goal is to keep guests both comfortable and interested. Here are some tips entertaining some happy lounge lizards.
Scheduling: Because a Lounge Party is by nature less structured than a more formal wedding, it’s important to create a progressive flow to your day. There’s nothing more boring that a five-hour cocktail party! Keep the structure of a cocktail hour, dinner hour and dessert hour so your guests are constantly getting to experience new food and drink. Don’t assume that you’ll just “fit in” moments for toasts, first dances, dance sets and cake cutting; create a timeline and schedule them at varied intervals throughout the wedding.
Seating: The goal of a Lounge Wedding is to keep mingling, fun and dancing to a maximum. While you want to make sure that guests have places to plop down, rest, eat and chat you don’t want to encourage anyone to permanently plant themselves for the duration. Keeping the balance of seating is the key. I suggest seats for no more than a third to half of your guests at any given time. Be sure to mix upholstered furniture and tables, which will encourage guests to move around. Utilizing smaller tables will deter large groups from setting up camp for the night. Ottomans are a great option, as there’s always room to squeeze one more friend. It’s fine to set up a couple of reserved tables for grandparents or other adult VIP’s who might need the security of a permanent seat.
photo Parris Whittingham
Food: While it’s tempting to think of a Lounge Wedding as a long cocktail party, it’s not. People will need to be fed in a substantive way if the party is longer than two to three hours. It’s nice to start with a cocktail hour offering lighter fare in the form of passed hors d’oeuvre. Once you move into dinner, think small plates – either actual passed small plates of mini meals (for instance, one grilled lamb chop with tabouleh and cucumber raita) and/or a variety of food stations. Stations differ from a buffet in that they are small, offer smaller plates of food and feature a specific fare (for instance, a taco station or fish grill). Again, the key is to keep guests moving around and tasting little bits of many things. Work with your caterer to create a fun but cohesive variety of food flowing throughout the night.
Music: Lounge Parties are often a simulation of a club environment, so a DJ is the perfect choice to get this kind of party going. However, just because the dance floor is open all night doesn’t mean that guests want to shout over the beat as they’re enjoying their dinner or chatting with friends. Like all the other elements we’ve discussed, the key with music at a Lounge Wedding is to allow a progression of energy to build throughout the event.
Decor: Designing a Lounge Wedding is an exercise in Macro Design. Rather than selecting center pieces for tables of ten, the focus here is on the overall room – vignettes of furniture, textiles and pillows for punches of color and texture, trees and props to bring intimacy and comfort to the space. Lighting plays a huge role in creating ambience and a fun dance atmosphere. Candlelight and reflective elements (mirrors, metal, water) can create a sense of style and personal touch. One note: creating a to-scale floor plan of the room or tent is essential to ensure that there’s enough room for stations, bars, furniture, tables, dancing and guests to mill around. Don’t try to wing it on the day!
A Lounge Wedding is the perfect approach to a relaxed summer wedding, particularly in a setting like the Hamptons. Enjoy the day, but make sure to do your homework before!
photos Joshua Zuckerman Photography, Parris Whittingham, Mallory Samson, Mallory Samson
Aren’t we all ready for a bit of sun, fun and frolic? As we delve into warming weather and budding trees, I can’t help anticipate my favorite months in the Hamptons. We all have different sensory memories signifying summer. I think of water, the warm Hamptons light, fruit and vegetables emerging from the earth and landing at local farm stands, top-down drives to Montauk and bike rides on East Hampton’s back roads. Summer feasts loom large too: lobster, steamers, steak on the grill, fresh corn barely cooked, heirloom tomatoes from the garden with heaps of basil and fruity olive oil, local peaches running with sweet juices, Round Swamp’s peppery arugula – and lots of summer garden candlelight. Let’s not forget the progression of favorite summer flowers: lush peonies, fragrant arms-full of lilac, July’s rose gardens, bountiful hydrangea, road-side zinnia and sunflowers, late summer dahlias. As we all wait with baited breath, here are some photos I captured of last Summer’s bounty. Long live Summer!
Another fabulous posting on Style Me Pretty’s blog today featuring Megan and Stephen’s wedding in Amagansett and Montauk this past October. The day was gorgeous, as were the bride and groom. Thanks again to The Popes for their beautiful photos.
When Megan and Stephen first came to me, they had a couple of looming concerns regarding their wedding reception. First, the groom had a longstanding relationship with the band Super T and the Tyrone Smith Revue who were traveling all the way from Nashville, and he wanted to make sure that the focus of the event was on the high-energy music and dancing. Their venue, The Farmhouse Ballroom at Montauk Yacht Club was going to feel extremely tight with 150+ guests and the huge bandstand that the band required, and it wasn’t going to allow for a large enough dance floor. Also, the couple felt strongly about starting their reception no earlier than 6pm, and though the cocktail hour was slated to be on the outdoor patio, there was no interior location available as a weather contingency after 5pm.
Solution: rather than the formal seated dinner the couple had been considering, I suggested doing a Lounge setup instead. The couple loved the idea. This solved all of the issues. First, there would be plenty of room without fifteen 60″ round tables in the space, plus we could incorporate the outdoor patio into the flow of the room. Second, should it rain, we could comfortably do a cocktail hour in the same room. Also, the new scenario offered an environment that was built completely around the band and the dance floor and allowed for guests to be up and partying the whole night. And party they did!!! The band was outrageous, and everyone had a non-stop fun fest on the dance floor.
For the full story – including a beautiful history of their relationship by Megan – please visit Style Me Pretty at http://www.stylemepretty.com/new-york-weddings/2012/03/30/montauk-yacht-club-wedding-by-the-popes/.
For tips on how to make a Lounge event flow perfectly, please visit our next blog posting!
The Clam Bar on the Napeague Stretch is essentially a gravel parking lot on the side of the highway (let’s face it), but it’s my favorite place in the world to sit and while away an afternoon. The food’s just ok (let’s face it), but it may be the only place in the Hamptons to order fried clams that don’t come out of the freezer (order the whole clam bellies; the strips are frozen). Back in the day the bowl of steamers was so huge that it took a couple of people to finish it; now the order is small and civilized, but the clams are fresh and delicious. Their New England Clam Chowder is first rate, and I often take a quart home for safe keeping. And the Lobster Roll is exactly what it should be: fresh, simple (no creative herb additions) and not too mayonnaisey. Grab a cold beer, put your feet up and bob to Bob Marley. Feels like Summer!
The Clam Bar opens today and will be serving on the weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from 12 to 6pm (weather permitting, of course).
PS Opt for the Sweet Potato Fries over the regular ones. You’ll thank me.
One of the best things about being a wedding planner is working with unbelievably talented, creative vendors who are passionate about their work. Usually, it’s my role to introduce clients to the vendors whom I think will best match the needs of their event and also be a good “love” match of personalities. Sometimes, though, it’s the client who makes the introduction, as was the case with Megan and Steve introducing me to Airika and Gerald Pope. The Popes are a husband and wife photography team based out of Seattle. Megan and Steven loved their work enough to fly the duo out to Montauk for their October wedding. I’m so glad that they did. The Popes have kindly featured Megan and Steven’s wedding on their blog today, and as you can see, the results were fabulous. Airika and Gerald were a dream to work with, and what’s more, they are now planning to focus their business specifically on the Hamptons. Airika and Gerald, we welcome you with open arms.
Amaganset Flowers by Beth created stunning bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids. Megan wanted beachy-feeling flowers in blues, greens and white. Beth used mixed thistles and blue viburnum berries with white seasonal blooms to evoke the beach.
A beauty without a stitch of makeup, Megan gets a little extra loving help from our favorite hair and makeup artist, Hiroko.
Cute gift bags awaited guests in their hotel rooms stuffed with local goodies.
Beyond precious – flower girls and ring bearers create an “awwwwww” moment at any ceremony.
Intimate and lovely, the altar at Amagansett Presbyterian Church
With this ring…
The Popes stole Megan and Steven away for some gorgeous post-ceremony shots at Atlantic Beach.
Can you believe this light? There’s nothing more beautiful than the Hamptons in October!
We love the Beach Hut!
The reception at Montauk Yacht Club: instead of formal table seating, we created loungey vignettes throughout the space.
Steven was committed to showcasing the band, so we placed the bandstand front and center as guests entered the room.
Megan and Steven’s first dance; Megan dances with her dad as Steven dances with his mother.
Mr. Tyrone Smith (aka Super T) and his band made the trip from Nashville, Tennassee to get this crowd partying!
And party, they did.
The couple never left the dance floor!
It’s always a treat, weeks or months after a wedding, to see the day through the eyes of the photographers. Megan and Steven wanted to create a beautiful and memorable day for their guests, evoking the casual mood of Amagansett, Montauk and the beach; and mostly they wanted everyone to have FUN. Clearly, their goals were met, and great memories were made for all. Thanks Megan and Steven for including us in your spectacular wedding, and thanks to everyone who helped create such a glorious day.
Ashley and Matt are one of those couples who, terrifically charming each on their own, fully bloom and glow in each other’s company. It’s a delight to see. They first met as friends at Williams College and started dating the summer between Junior and Senior years. Now eight years later, they both lead extremely full lives in New York and wanted to get married near Ashley’s childhood summer home in Quogue. Ashley had fallen in love with St. Luke’s Church in East Hampton, an iconic stone structure adjacent to both Town Pond and Mulford Farm. The Maidstone Club, also in East Hampton, seemed like an immediate fit for both the size of their event (200+ guests) and Ashley and Matt’s classic, elegant style. Here’s the day as featured on Style Me Pretty today (with a few extra photos thrown in for good luck).
Invitation suite is “Fields” by Elum from The Village Invites and sets the tone for the color story of blues and greys; bridal bouquet by Stonekelly; shoes by Jimmy Choo
Ashley’s gown – a puff of chiffon by Marchesa – and her Jimmy Choos.
The bridal party got ready at the bride’s Quogue family home, which was an important element of the weekend for Ashley. The bridesmaids wore silvery blue Jim Helm chiffon. Ashley is the oldest of six kids, and four of the bridesmaids are her sisters (all stunning!).
Taking off for the church in our favorite (and blue ribbon-winning) two-tone 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.
Getting lined up for the processional at St. Luke’s Church, East Hampton
A petal toss post-ceremony is always a fabulous photo opp!
Finally, time for Ashley and Matt to have a moment together to relax!
Lush centerpieces with hanging votives by Stonekelly. Silver satin undercloths and beaded lace overlays by Wildflower Linen.
Lighting sets the tone. Our friend Matt Murphy worked his magic to set the room aglow. Chargers, napkins, chairs, specialty glassware all by Party Rental Ltd.
The wedding cake by Mali B (formerly Sacred Sweets) was a white butter cake filled with dulce de leche. The sugar orchids were dusted with pale pearl luster.
These two shots might be my favorites of the entire day. They’re easy and breezey. Mostly, they tell the real story: Ashley loves Matt, Matt loves Ashley.
To read the whole story, see the post on Style Me Pretty.
All photos: Karen Hill Photography
We’re so excited to present a brand new website at jill gordon celebrate. Though we loved the old site, it was time for a refresher – new photos, new press, new logo and a non-flash format that works on all devices, including iPhones and iPads. We hope you’ll enjoy perusing the various categories and over a thousand new wedding and event photos. There’s a lot to see! We’re proud to share it with you and look forward to your feedback.
Designing and planning weddings, events, parties, spaces and fun of all varieties. Celebating life in the hamptons, sometimes yearning for my home town of nyc. Loving art, design, travel, food, fashion, architecture, photography and all things beautiful. Hoping to spend more time on the beach, in my garden, driving with the top down, traipsing in any faraway land. Posting any little thing that catches my fancy and hope you'll come along for the ride.
hamptons weddings and celebrations