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Convivial Dining at Ollie’s Pizza in Upstate New York
One hazy evening last month — as I was sitting on a wooden picnic bench at the new pizza place Ollie’s in High Falls, N.Y. — I felt a sudden wave of nostalgia for sleep-away camp, where I (now somewhat implausibly) spent weeks in proximity to hundreds of other children each summer as a kid. Ollie’s, which is a family-run operation, offers a similar kind of uncomplicated joy and camaraderie, with a focus on simple pleasures — in this case, sheets of Roman-style pizza and gooey-crusted Neapolitan pies you can order from the window of a 19th-century blackened wood barn and then eat on a lawn bordered by overgrown banks of wildflowers such as orange cosmos, zinnias and milkweed. Two of the restaurant’s three founders, Ilan Bachrach and Innis Lawrence, met as kids at a summer camp just nearby (Lawrence grew up and now lives in High Falls with the restaurant’s third co-founder, Sophie Peltzer-Rollo, and their 3-year-old daughter, Ollie, after whom the restaurant is named). Additionally, one of the trio’s close friends, Frank Pinello, of Best Pizza in Brooklyn, is a partner in the venture and helped develop the recipe for its proprietary dough, which is made using locally grown and milled flour. The crust, at once chewy and gently charred, is so good I drove back one afternoon through a thunderstorm for more. 4 Bruceville Road, High Falls, N.Y., ollies.pizza.
Affordable Needlepoint to Hang at Home
With their new needlepoint company, Loop Canvas, the sisters Amy and Sarah Blessing are inviting everyone into their lifelong love affair with crafting. During a trip to London about 10 years ago, the pair marveled at the fine needlepoints at Liberty London. “They had the most elaborate and traditional canvases — beautiful hand-painted scenes of things like a cat in a basket,” says Sarah Blessing. “But you could be working on it for 12 years and not want it in your home when it’s finished.” Agreeing that the requisite price and time commitment stopped many people from starting to needlepoint, they plotted a new course for the craft. While co-quarantining with their families in Traverse City, Mich., they brought their business idea to life. Loop updates the centuries-old art with simple, two-color silhouettes that the novice can master and the enthusiast will still enjoy. Digitally printing their designs on canvas (instead of hand-painting them) has also allowed them to keep the price point under $100. “This is our form of meditation,” says Amy Blessing. The company’s initial offering of flora, fauna and insect designs are available on its website, with a children’s collection and collaborations with the fashion designer Clare Vivier and the home-goods designer Heather Taylor coming soon. $88 per set, loopcanvas.com.
A Reimagined Colonial Manor in Mexico City
Located in Mexico City’s historic downtown — where one of the oldest Spanish cathedrals in the Americas rests atop the ceremonial center of the Aztec world — the Círculo Mexicano is housed in a 19th-century townhome that’s been transformed into a Shaker-inspired boutique hotel by the hotel developer Grupo Habita and the architecture firm Ambrosi Etchegaray. As an ode to Manuel Álvarez Bravo, the building’s former resident and one of Mexico’s most celebrated 20th-century photographers, Círculo Mexicano features the artist’s works in its lobby, which is also home to several shops, including Atlawa, which carries resin kitchenware, and Templo, where you’ll find a collection of artisanal Oaxacan pottery. In the cobblestone courtyard, the chef Gabriela Cámara, of Contramar, helms a seafood restaurant and a cantina-style bar called Itacate del Mar, while the rooftop terrace is the setting for a contemporary French-inspired restaurant — as well as a swimming pool, sauna and soaking tub — where guests can enjoy views of the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Palace and the Templo Mayor. The private patios attached to each of the 25 guest rooms and suites, which are furnished with custom oak pieces by the local design studio La Metropolitana, also make for good lookout spots. Starting at $150 a night, circulomexicano.com.
Black Joy Represented in William Scott’s Art
I had the occasion of meeting the San Leandro, Calif.-based artist William Scott last year when I visited Creative Growth, the Oakland nonprofit that provides a professional studio environment, gallery exhibitions and representation for artists with developmental disabilities. Scott is self-taught, and he frequently references figures in pop culture — from Frankenstein’s monster to Janet Jackson to Darth Vader — in a wholesome and sci-fi-inflected textual and visual vernacular that is distinctly his own. His new show, “It’s a Beautiful Day Outside,” featuring drawing, painting, sculpture and original video, will be on view this month at the TriBeCa gallery Ortuzar Projects; it’s the first exhibition of his work in New York City since he showed at White Columns 11 years ago. If 2020 is a year of reckoning, then Scott’s pieces — which convey unbridled optimism and Black beauty — are powerful reminders of what we need more of in this world. They also make me think of the smile that crossed the face of David Byrne — who is one of Creative Growth’s most devoted supporters and a fan of Scott’s work — after he greeted the artist at the nonprofit’s fund-raiser last year. ortuzarprojects.com.
Estée Lauder Makeup Inspired by Fernand Léger
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has finally (and cautiously) reopened, just in time to celebrate its 150th anniversary. To honor it, the Met Store has launched a multi-designer capsule collection of housewares, tech accessories, fashion and beauty items inspired by iconic works of art that belong to the museum. The beauty brand Estée Lauder looked to Fernand Léger’s “The Village” (1914). The abstract painting — believed to be one of the last Léger made before the outbreak of World War I — depicts in bright, primary colors a small village, playfully rendered in cylindrical shapes and spheres. Green trees run along the village’s perimeter, encircling a church and bell tower. Childlike but modern, the painting catches Europe on the brink of change. Its tones, along with the Met’s signature red hue, are reflected in the packaging and pigments of a limited-edition eye-shadow palette, lipstick set and powder compact. Considering that Léger was among the last century’s greatest painters, one whose experimentation with Cubism presaged the more playful Pop Art movement, it seems only fitting to have his work on a palette to enjoy ourselves. Estée Lauder is donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Metropolitan Museum of Art through March 2021, or until sold out. From $52, store.metmuseum.org.