14 September, 2011

The Duchess Dines . . .

Despite increasing pressure to fit into a sample size wedding gown, with that very significant date fast approaching, it's true that the Duchess still dines.  And not always with great success.  To wit, Rose, a fatally trendy and borderline pathetic mid-century-meets-attempted-st.-tropez on La Cienega.  Poor baby.


The Senator and Duchess went to Rose, oh, about a month ago, a couple of days after its "soft opening."  Though it was a warm and tactile summer night, no dining on the patio!  Oops, haven't gotten our license for that yet it seems.  Never mind, we were in a generous mood and wiggled our way into a corner banquette, nestled intimately between a hostess stand and some other diners.  Not that the conversation about their marriage wasn't interesting, mind you. 

Rose bills itself as a South France-ian-type bistro, but it doesn't do bistro food well.  The steak frites were a mess.  Soggy frites, tiny steak.  The garcon brought the Duchess some gazpacho, which he described as "chunky" ("I want it like salsa.  Is it like salsa?" "Yes, Duchess."), that was two drops of water away from being tepid tea.  Yuck. 

The worst part is that Rose only carries its own bottles of rose that start at appx. $47 per bottle.  Say what?  The Duchess knows she is the only diner not rolling up in a white Merc with tinted windows, but come on--that's still a little spendy, even for this nabe.

For those of you concerned that the Duchess airs her nasty grievances only to you, dear readers, never fear--the maitre'd got an earful on the Duchess's way out.  (Too bad he got a pocketful too.)

Readers, please, if you must:

861 N. La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90069

12 September, 2011

It's been quite the literary summer for the Duchess, whose plane flights and late nights have lent themselves perfectly to lots of great reading.  Most recently completed is Stone Arabia, a novel by the National Book Award-nominated author Dana Spiotta.  Stone Arabia explores the relationship between an adult brother and sister, who grew up in Los Angeles in the late seventies and early eighties.  The brother, Nik, is an artist and musician recluse living in Topanga Canyon who subsists on a bartender's salary; his sister Denise lives alone in Simi Valley, works a day job on Fairfax as a personal assistant, and tends to their aging, demented mother in her spare time.  The tension between their closeness and their alienation (Topanga to Simi??  That would end any relationship) keeps the book interesting until its fateful denouement.  The Duchess doesn't rate her books a la The Baroness, but on a scale of one to ten (ten being Gatsby or something along those lines), Stone Arabia garners a very respectable 7.5. 

The Duchess enjoyed way more than Stone Arabia the memoir Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, who helms the restaurant Prune in the East Village.  This really was a magnificent retelling of the unsuspecting culinary education of a top chef, and about her struggles as a woman in this still male-dominated field.  It's very well written until the last quarter or so, which slows down and meanders considerably, but the first half of the book is so delicious that the Duchess didn't mind.   

And finally, no summer would be complete without the necessary bit of pulp.  Thank you, Kitty Kelley, for The Royals, a juicy little compendium of all of the prurient details of the House of Windsor.  It was published just before the death of Princess Diana, and thus omits that tragic event.  But had Diana passed away before The Royals was completed, perhaps many of its more lascivious and scandalous tidbits would be missing.  Can't have that.

11 September, 2011

10 September, 2011

The Duchess Recommends . . .

It's a big gallery night out.  The Duchess recommends . . .

KAWS, "Hold The Line," at Honor Fraser

Joel Kyack, "Escape To Shit Mountain," Francois Ghebaly Gallery

Martin Kersels, "Passionista," ACME Gallery

08 September, 2011

The Duchess Returns . . .

She knows it has been a while, but what can she say?  August was a terribly busy month, readers, almost as cruel as April (but much hotter).  The Duchess et al. engaged in very merry times (merci beaucoup to Messrs. H & B and our doctor friends back East), but now of course it is back to work and busy-ness as usual. 

Quite fortunately September has something more to offer us than blazing temperatures.  Today kicks off Fashion's Night Out 2011, the official start of Fashion Week in New York, which the Duchess will celebrate by creating her own wearable art at the Marimekko store at Crate & Barrel (Grove).

The Duchess is also extremely excited (a/k/a, losing sleep over) the upcoming Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) auction of the Richard Dorso collection.  In partnership with the ingenius art blog You Have Been Here Sometime, LAMA is producing a special interior showcase for Pacific Standard Time:  Art in L.A., 1945-1980Pacific Standard Time is a collaboration of more than 60 cultural institutions across Southern California coming together for the first time to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene.

                        The Home of Richard Dorso

The three week exhibit explores the collecting practices of Richard Dorso, a native Californian who died at the age of 101, leaving behind a vibrant modern art collection.  The exhibit closes with an auction of the Dorso collection on October 9, 2011--no reserve

Auction Preview and Exhibit opens September 19, 2011, daily from 10 am to 6 pm, at 16145 Hart Street, Van Nuys, California, 91406. 

See you there bunnies. 


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