Beautiful spaces: Traditional Jewelers; Cucina Enoteca

I don’t love lots of things as much as I love fashion but two that come close are food and interior design. To be clear, I love to eat food (a LOT) and when I am not reading fashion blogs or fashion magazines or fashion catalogs I’m pretty often staring at interior design blogs and HGTV home remodel shows.

Basically I love beautiful things whether it’s the curvy profile of a pointed-toe pump, the sensory delight of a lovely dish or a well appointed room — all are beautiful to me.

This week I got to indulge my senses at back to back events celebrating the openings of Cucina Enoteca and Traditional Jewelers.

CUCINA ENOTECA

 

 

Communal tables and bar area of Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach.
Communal tables and bar area of Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach.

Part of a San Diego-based chain of cozy Italian restaurants, the Fashion Island location opened about a month ago near Nordstrom.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a media dinner that included hand-crafted cocktails, bites of lobster mousse cornetto and duck crochetta before the three-course Italian wine-paired dinner: Mare Misti as the antipasti; pea + mint (pasta) pyramids as the primo (first) course and whole fish + roasted porchetta as the second course and a raspberry florentine cannoli for dessert.

Handcrafted Lillet cocktail at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach
Handcrafted Lillet cocktail at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach

 

 

 

Pea and mint pyramids with speck
Pea and mint pyramids with speck

 

Roasted whole fish with gremolata beurre blanc
Roasted whole fish with gremolata beurre blanc

 

Raspberry Florentine cannoli at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach
Raspberry Florentine cannoli at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach
Vin Santo to finish the meal
Vin Santo to finish the meal

 

This isn’t a food blog and I’m no food critic but I loved the entire meal up-to and especially the ending with a glass of Vin Santo — a dessert wine that reminds me of being in Florence every time I drink it.

What added to the sensory experience was the overall loveliness of the space — to me a restaurant has to have two things: great food and ambience. I have to want to linger at my table talking to friends and enjoying a view for a restaurant to become a favorite.

Cucina Enoteca has just the right amount of style and comfort to make me feel like I could be dining in Italy. The restaurant has a lovely patio with hanging plants and cozy banquette, the main floor has a great farmhouse-industrial feel, while the bar includes Enoteca’s signature community tables meant for seating walk-in guests side-by-side with other guests.

The community tables — although a tad more sophisticated and elegant — remind me of my favorite place in Florence: a tiny neighborhood lunch place that fills up every day with locals and tourists. We’d go and sit at any available seat next to whoever was already there; by the time we were done (often after a two- or three-hour lunch) we had made new friends (who we toasted with a finishing glass of Vin Santo).

The furniture has a decidedly Italian meets California vibe with white (faux) leather and floral club chairs mixed with wood and iron dining tables and bright orange stools. And, bonus! All of the furniture is available for sale on line at ubrankitchengroup.com

But one of my favorite things in the new Cucina Enoteca at Fashion Island is the installation that graces the restaurant’s reception area: a giant piece featuring dozens of painted and decorated shoe lasts.

Shoe last installation at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach.
Shoe last installation at Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach.

 

TRADITIONAL JEWELERS

Traditional Jewelers is not new to Fashion Island but they recently christened a new, larger space by moving near Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus from their original space in the Macy’s wing.

The store was pretty then — I mean how could it not be with its amazing selection of fine jewelry and watches — but it is eyegasm inducing gorgeous now.

More space allows for a lot more sparkle and bling
More space allows for a lot more sparkle and bling

More spacious with every glass surface sparkling like mirrors, the larger space makes it easy to display collections from designers such as Efva Attling, Marco Bicego and Pesavento as well add collections from Fred Leighton, Ivanka Trump and Stephen Webster whose romantic and baroque collection — especially his  double butterfly ring — makes me swoon …

IMG_3424
Stephen Webster Double Butterfly ring at Traditional Jewelers
Stephen Webster earrings and ring.
Stephen Webster earrings and ring.

 

Drop in and check out this beautiful store … and maybe start making your holiday wish list.

 

Ciao for now ….

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