Posts tagged with " Elle grant"

Lexus Restaurant Gif by Reb Czukoski for use by 360 Magazine

INTERSECT BY LEXUS – NYC

Eccentric, experimental, exquisite – all are adjectives that best describe dinner at Intersect NYC

Intersect NYC is a co-operative project between Lexus and Union Square Hospitality Group, with additional locations in Dubai and Tokyo. Union Square Hospitality Group collaborates with a wide array of businesses: Anchovy Social (DC), Blue Smoke (NYC) and LoBall (NYC).

Intersect by Lexus is a dynamic and delicious encounter hosted in a handful of tech-forward cities where charismatic epicures, who themselves break the mold, are immersed in the automotive giant’s ecosystem without physically driving nor owning one of their vehicles. The venue can be defined as “a manifestation of omotenashi, a Lexus core value characterized by an unwavering commitment to exceptional hospitality.” Omote means public face, and “nashi” means nothing; omotenashi ultimately meaning that everything produced comes from the heart with honesty and no concealment. 

Situated in the trendy Meatpacking District of New York City amongst chic shops and nightlife, the physical unit of Intersect features an unrivaled open-air market, complete with a lounge, restaurant, and event space. The two-level, square-like locale houses an immersive environment of edible delights and whimsical handmade cocktails. The experience can be best described as living through the magic that is an episode of travelling host and star Anthony Bourdain‘s Parts Unknown. The overall atmosphere emits a decadent, intuitive and contemporary feel. Situated throughout the space are a vast assortment of cookbooks on mantelshelves, including The Thousand Dollar Dinner: America’s First Great Cookery Challenge by Becky Libourel Diamond. One particularly intriguing structure is an accent wall designed by lauded Japanese interior designer, Masamichi Katayama of Wonderwall. The installation, in close proximity to a black metal stairwell, is illuminated with recessed lighting and encased in glass, creating a moment where severe modernity meets the magical. The private dining room is an intimate space where an array of occasions can be held, wedding receptions, corporate gatherings and pop-ups in a reclusive yet bespoke setting. Intersect by Lexus is an ideal place for guests to be entertained, inspired, and educated, and serves as a conduit where ideas, people, and culinary creations unite.

The kitchen interchanges every six months – an ever-growing and evolving list of impressive artisanal cooks fabricate their own menu to challenge and delight visitors. Intersect by Lexus welcomed its seventh Restaurant-in-Residence, New Orleans’ Creole eatery, Compère Lapin. Chef Nina Compton owns and operates the New Orleans restaurant in tandem with Bywater American Bistro (BABs) where it is a well-loved hit in the Big Easy. 

Compton is the third chef chosen this year, and is a James Beard Award-Winner and Top Chef: New Orleans runner-up. Chef Compton graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 2001 and first embarked on her remarkable professional career at Daniel in NYC. Chef Compton blends her signature Gulf coast ingredients with island flavors. Compton hails from Saint Lucia and her bill of fare is an array of Caribbean and Cajun-inspired dishes, such as dover sole meuniere and hot chicken. 

Currently, Intersect NYC is led by classically trained Executive Chef Nickolas Martinez, the former executive chef of Foragers. Chef Martinez established his own culinary identity through his Midwestern roots and passion for French techniques. Chef Martinez, like Chef Compton, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. As executive chef, Chef Martinez prides himself in creating a “space dedicated to the ethos of the Lexus lifestyle, and a home to a unique dining experience.” 

This three-star Michelin restaurant remains on the minds some of the most influential critics, as well as in the memories of all those who have explored the flavors and festivity firsthand. The service, presentation and wine pairings are unprecedented in their attention to palettes and details. 360 MAGAZINE had the opportunity to enjoy the pour deux menu among other enticing choices, sampling many of the most acclaimed dishes currently in circulation.

We began with two cocktails: the Ruby Lo-Ball and the Best Bank Punch. The Ruby features a fruity concoction of port wine, apple, ginger, and soda, for something refreshing with a bit of a snap, while the Punch, a drink of vodka, lillet, thai basil, passionfruit, and Sirop JM was both stronger and herbier. While both served up a revitalizing and uncommon flavor dynamic, we preferred the Ruby Lo-Ball as our cocktail of choice. After these early drinks, 360 turned to wine for the remainder of our meal. With a divine wine-list curated alongside the main dinner menu, every choice is certain to impress, and 360 was utterly charmed by our choices. A Bourgone Aligote, a very dry white French wine, as well as a Zind Chardonnary, a white blended with fruity notes that was not very oaky but with a sense of tartness, dazzled.

The food itself surpassed all expectations, proving the multifaceted style of the space extended to the delectable food. For our appetizers, we selected the hush puppies with cilantro crema, a light and delicate take on a classic, as well as the Louisiana barbecue shrimp with chervil and baguette and the stuffed back crab served with uni butter and charred lime. All these impressed – the upscale takes on Southern classics captivated a certain sense of comfort while still being creative, decadent, and extravagant. This tradition continued into the entrees, where 360 pursued the “pour deux” – for two – menu, where one large serving plate is presented to two diners to share. This is not only a meal for romantic evening – everyone from couples, to friends, to business partners took part in this unique savory affair. 360 sampled both the hot fire chicken with red beans and rice as well as the dover sole meuniere with brussels sprouts amandine served with celery root and parsnip puree. The sole, perfectly baked in a warming butter sauce, as well as the succulent and crispy chicken with a fiery side, left our team more than satisfied with its mouth-watering excellence. An airy mango sorbet cooled things off before our main dessert, chocolate with passionfruit and a cashew croquant, an ambrosial finish to a perfectly piquant meal. 

Intersect NYC, from its style to its connoisseurs to its ambitious culinary pursuits, enamored 360 all the way through. For a sleek and satisfying adventure, Intersect NYC is the ultimate dinner venue.

Article by: Vaughn Lowery, Armon Hayes, Elle Grant, McKinley Franklin

For The Love of Comic Con 

By: Rodney Ramlochan × Elle Grant × Vaughn Lowery

New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:

To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions. 

I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online. 

The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward.  There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic?  Only time will tell. 

As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules.  At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place. 

One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years. 

One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations. 

Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events.  Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin. 

Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year. 

360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC
360 MAGAZINE covers NYCC.
Rodney Ramlochan attends NYCC on behalf of 360 MAGAZINE and meets William Shatner.