COCKTAILS & COUTURE: Part Deux Saturday September 28th 1-7pm at The Varick Room 54 Varick Street               RSVP at

AB: COCKTAILS & COUTURE is back for a return engagement. A shopping, beauty, and taste making extravaganza that brings together a group of some of New York’s freshest, talented, and unique designers, stylists, and yes even beauty experts and nail artists. Come join us Saturday September 28th from 1-7pm at The Varick Room at TriBeCa Cinemas where you’ll be apt to find designer and vintage virtuosity, clothing, shoes, and accessories that’ll get people stopping you in the streets, unique and stunning handcrafted jewelry and showpieces, and a team of nail artists and beauty experts ready to give you pop of color and a fresh fall look. With DJ Delaceiba spinning jams that’ll make you wanna dance to in your designer duds or maybe even swoon, but not before you try on a few things. And did I mention the cocktails? Dress; Drink; and get your brows or nails done! Its a #cocktailsandcouture day party!

COCKTAILS & COUTURE: A Designer and Vintage Style Event

Participating tastemakers include:

BUISandWHISTLES Designer & Vintage Clothing (instagram @buisandwhistles,

HechoenHarlem Jewelry (instagram @hechoenharlem)

SydandPiaNYC Jewelry (

Love And Wore Vintage Clothing & Accessories (instagram @kikiloveandwore,

Again Threads & Things Vintage(instagram @nisaaniaiye)

Aesthetician & Make Up Artist Moshoodat (instagram @Moshoodat)

Nail Artists Mimi, Shelley & Ashley (instagram @stilettobot, @shellbeezy, @nakedashnails)

Unisa Eurani original design by Anasa Greaves (

April Howard designs by April Howard (Twitter @ahowarddesigns

and more!

For more information and previews on participating designers go to or follow on instragram and twitter @buisandwhistles.



Punjabi VC

Lamb Aloo at Tayyabs 83-89 Fieldgate Street, East London.

AB: I was in London town and searching for a vibrant meal. There was no way I was gonna spend these many pounds and not pack any to show for it. I was directed to Tayyabs, a punjabi outpost in the East Section of London, where the ques are allegedly long and the businessmen who lunch there are especially post colonial. And it was with some mild trepidation that I went to Tayyabs, wondering if this merging of cultures, of past and of present, of taste palettes would fit. I mean, up to this point, I had witnessed and experienced for myself how starved Londoners are for decent food stuff. Upon entering Tayyabs, I was greeted by a cavalry of coiffed and uniformed waiters. I at first expected them to break out into some Bollywood choreography but that thought quickly went away as I was brusquely directed to a table and made to order. To start with I ordered samosas, vegetarian and meat that were as light, crispy, and little as can be. This was not your large potato stuffed fried dumpling that you might get in the States. The samosa was an almost elegant snack that livened the palette with subtle spicing and high notes of ginger. The chutney condiments, tamarind and mint, and mango, I could lap up like McDonalds barbeque sauce.

Light and airy samosas with a trio of dipping sauces or Chutneys

Masala Fish roasted in a Tandoor Oven was just amazing.

Next came the Masala Fish, a tandoor roasted white fish. Having had this preparation performed on other meat, mainly chicken, I came to know what to expect; a red coated crispy on the outside, moist on the inside meat. When the fish came sizzling to the table, it looked like any block of tandoori chicken I had ever had. When I broke into though, it was like eating something that was so excitingly delicious, a sweet fleshy inside with subtle hints of the sea and the crisped up crunchy skin created by the tandoor oven made for an exhilarating combination that I wolfed down as quickly as I could. Eating Masala fish is something you might want to do quickly though as the fish begins to cool down, the exterior crispness turns to something like a toothsome cardboard, which if you are old school, only adds to the other worldliness of the dish. I wound of swping the fish through the chutneys to soften it up, which only enhanced how good it tasted.  Last came a Lamb Aloo with Pilau rice. The Aloo, a meat and potato curry stew, was lemony and nutty, and  hit you with just enough heat to keep you palette awake. Halfway through the aloo, I found myself overwhelmed. Had I ordered too much? This is like gorging on your first meal after having not eaten in so long; that or staying in London for five days. Indeed I had everything that was unfinished at Tayyabs, packed to take away as the English say, as I was indeed overwhelmed with the whole experience. I would also be later overwhelmed but in a completely different way, when I got home…

You can enjoy a little bowl of udon noodle soup at Koya, 49 Frith Street, Soho London

Big Sizes Available

You can enjoy a little bowl of udon noodle soup at Koya, 49 Frith Street, Soho London

AB: You may feel culturally nourished in London with all its history and the culture, and all of the well made, well meaning romantic comedy films. In areas like Leicester Square, Covent Garden, and Soho, all areas right next to each other, communities come crashing together like cymbals like the Gay neighborhood, Chinatown, the Theater district, and ravaging touristic consumers from all over the world in a melting pot of loud, crowded excess that might remind you of something like an English stew. Right in the middle of all this is an indistinct looking but charming little udon restaurant called, Koya that serves up a variety of tasty, flavorful udon dishes and soups for a reasonable English price. The catch is that they’re serving a clientele who would rather fit into a Thom Browne suit than engorge properly in a bowl of thick lovely noodles and sumptuous marrow filled soup and instead  give you child size bowls and small handful portions in which to begrudgingly enjoy, knowing full well that you’re gonna need some bangers and mash from the local pub afterwards. No wonder why all the dudes wear such little clothes. The portions wouldn’t satisfy the third world.

Who knew tanning could be so civilized.

English Breakfast, Vietnamese Lunch.

London is full of visual delights but the eating options have been limited...

AB: I have found myself distracted while here in London town with all the visceral and visual delights. From the warm but temperate summer weather (you can actually feel a breeze, New Yorkers, and your sweat dries), to the quietude of a subway ride; The obscene loudness of  the poom poom shorts that the street stylers wear, to the lack of coherence in pedestrian walking norms like right of way and or can you move your sticky toffee pudding ass a little faster; To the well tailored suits and the guys who have that look and walk like ‘my little clothes are better than your little clothes’. I actually even saw a sign in the window display of a men’s store that gave me a chuckle; “Big Sizes Available”. The English have a way with…well, English.

I roll up my sleeves that I wipe my mouth with after making wraps with lettuce and herbs and pieces of Crispy Pancake. Then you dip into the fish sauce.

Wheres all the offal? Eat an aight bowl of Pho at Song Que 134 Kingsland Road and save some pounds but not dollars.

I went to the neighborhood of Shoreditch, the emerging and so called, Brooklyn of London. I will say that one thing Shoreditch doesn’t have that Brooklyn does and that’s Brownsville…Shoreditch, a sprawling neighborhood of  unemployed looking and likely wealthy and diffident youth, too many coffee shops, and even Vietnamese Restaurants; What?!!! Old habits die hard, even in new environments and when I get the opportunity to hang out with my homies, Vietnamese people that is and not hipsters, I go the extra mile to make the sojourn. A strip of Shoreditch is known as ‘Pho Mile’, for its plentitude of competing Vietnamese restaurants (coined phrases in cultural articles on demographic changes like emerging Vietnamese community are code for capitalistic sword fighting). One after another, representations of Viet ephemera in store windows bombard you on 3 to 4 block strip and have you questioning the merits of gentrification. I walked into one of the establishments, a place called Song Que, which local London publications laud as the spot for Vietnamese delights and I already started feeling nervous and speculative. The Vietnamese iced cafe they served up didnt give me any more assurances as it tasted like a chocolate-ier  drink version of Yoohoo. And then, as if a call to pledge allegiance, I heard what indicated the mark of authenticity in any Vietnamese establishment of any provenance; like cats meowing after a fight, the cacaphonous squawk of Vietnamese people discussing/arguing/talking very loudly on a variety of different subjects from the kitchen. I knew there was some hope after all. I was brought a traditional Vietnamese crispy pancake , a crisp crepe like concoction filled with bean sprouts, shrimp, and chicken with a side of lettuce to use as wraps and a finger bowl of fish sauce. The pancake, though nice & crispy on the outside had a little too much batter on the inside and was lacking in crisped pork belly, a necessary staple flavor enhancer for this particular dish. Next came their signature bowl of pho, a competent albeit thin bowl of beef noodle soup. The noodles were overcooked and flacid and the soup base was a little touch chickenie in its production. The taste was a fairly solid approximation of what pho should taste like to the relief of Londoners and visitors of London alike. This solid representation of flavors only costs 7-8 pounds, as cheap and good a meal as you might be able to get in this expensive town. You got that? A bowl of noodles costs 10-12 dollars in a gentrifying neighborhood, not a gentrified neighborhood. Sometimes you gotta make due with what you got, even with my homies abroad. Meow, mother-ucker!

Immigrants On A Plane

They better not be asleep on the job!

AB: For a variety of reasons of which I will not describe here, it is oft that I wonder, oft out loud if a dark cloud should be following me. And as I was making a culinary departure by  nibbling on a McNugget at the airport, awaiting my actual departure to England, I got word that a plane had crashed in San Francisco…As is the cultural wants of my people, call me superstitious and knock on anything I can get my hands on but I think i’ll go buy a bottle gin at Duty Free just to keep the nerves at bay on the plane. The good gin, because what better time than when you’re staring at the possible apocalypse in the face and there is no tax on the booze. And I hope to be composing and sharing on my travels to London and Paris in the coming days. Farewell!