Category Archive for Food + Theme Restaurants
Sailor Moon ring from Sapphire Studios & tattoo stickers! Santiago hipster district Lastarria, De Patio restaurant.
“Moon Crystal Power, Make Up!” As a Sailor Moon fan since the 1990s, I’m delighted with my new Sapphire Studios Prism ring — from their Sailor Moon jewelry collection!
Read on for three summer outfits featuring my current favorite designers. We’ll also explore the coolest restaurant and neighborhood in Santiago, Chile, where I recently spent a few days.
Altogether now, let’s sing: “Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Never running from a real fight. She is the one named Sailor Moon!”
I’m sure many of you adore the 90s Japanese manga and anime series, which follows the intergalactic adventures of a schoolgirl and her friends. They transform into the fierce Sailor Soldiers (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter), who fight to “right wrongs and triumph over evil.”
Inspired by this universe, Sapphire Studios released a luxurious Sailor Moon jewelry collection. The designs include a crescent-shaped floral necklace, and this Prism ring based on the “moon crisis” heart compact in the series.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, Sapphire Studios Design produces fine jewelry for those who love alternative, vintage, Goth and Japanese influences (much like myself). Everything is individually crafted with exquisite crystals and gemstones — these are accessories to treasure, and the quality shines through.
I loved unboxing my Prism ring, which came in this elegant case and velvet ring holder. As you can see, this isn’t “cosplay” or “costume” jewelry. Sapphire Studios makes high-end works of art, which extends to the package presentation.
The Sailor Moon ring is a fabulous statement, yet comfortable and subtle enough to wear daily, with all types of outfits. In tribute to Usagi / Serena, I put my hair in “odango” buns, and wore a crescent moon temporary tattoo from Capumon (more about them below). My dress is Liz Lisa x My Melody; it’s currently for sale on my Depop shop.
My cut-out lace black capelet is by Pheren Couture, creator of dark and decadent luxury accessories. Pheren makes earrings, chokers and other hand-sewn fashion with inspirations from fantasy, history, and Gothic aesthetics. In love with how the material drapes and shimmers, featuring a high collar and wings over the shoulders.
In addition to the Sailor Moon collection, Sapphire Studios has jewelry for men and women based on Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdon Hearts, Death Note and other Jpop favorites. They are especially known for their alternative engagement rings, and skull series (I own the black and crystals “Aphrodite” ring, as you can see in the back.)
Sapphire Studios even lets you design your own ring, or customize one according to your preferences and budget. Each is made to order, in the size and specifications that you choose. My Sailor Moon ring, for example, can be made with a rose gold, silver or yellow gold band, and with various diamonds or accent stones (opal, blue topaz, pink sapphire).
The level of detail is wonderful, as you can see from the crescent moon and ribbon design on the sides. “In the name of the moon,” I encourage you to see more from Sapphire Studios.
I’m sure you are curious about my Sailor Moon forehead decal… These are temporary tattoos by Capumon! Take “a trip to Nemesis” and wear the Black Moon Clan’s symbol (the upside-down one). Or choose Crystal Tokyo, and join the squad with a golden shimmering crescent.
These Sailor Moon tattoo stickers are a must-have for any fan. Each package contains 56 moons — perfect to share with friends. It’s easy to put on the tattoos: just cut out the 1 x 1 moon, remove the plastic back, and press it to your skin for 15-30 seconds with a warm, damp towel. I’ll be wearing these all the time, thanks to Capumon — be sure to check them out, and they ship orders worldwide.
And now, another summertime outfit. Popular in the 1990s, slip dresses are perfect for warm weather days. This red silk slip dress is by Print All Over Me, designed by gentlethrills — how about that roaring jaguar and animal print pattern!
My black boater straw hat is by Lack of Color; shop more from them below:
I’m all about holographic space-age materials, and can’t get enough of these Irregular Choice boots. Love the reflective silver leather, with black ribbon laces and a zipper up the sides. I think these ankle boots are made for walking on the moon.
I have been fond of Irregular Choice’s fanciful footwear for over a decade now. They have quirky collaborations with Disney, Toy Story, Star Wars and more, as you can see below (click the images for details)…
Photos of Outfit #2 by my first mate Naomi Rubin, who is currently releasing a weekly comic, Moonsprout Station. It’s “a queer fantasy comic about growing community and relationships while exploring and studying a world full of islands floating in the sky,” rendered in compelling watercolors and linework.
I reunited with her at the VanCAF (Vancouver Comic Arts Festival). We have more Pirate adventures coming soon in Asia… stay tuned to see what we’re up to next.
Close-up on my Gothic enamel pins, from Life Club. These accessories are the perfect way to decorate a leather jacket (or any item of clothing), and the mottos speak to my inner emo kid. Damage and Joy, Sad Lifestyle, Never Smile… you got that right.
Chaos is Me (in the shape of a coffin). Misery is All the Rage. It’s safe to say that UK-based Life Club rocks! These enamel pins come in gold or silver edging, and they have tons of designs with rock, metal and Goth themes / words / shapes.
Outfit #3 brings us to Santiago, Chile. My black-white-red color scheme matched well with my chic Wimdu apartment rental. I enjoyed staying in a local’s area of Santiago, right across from Ecuador subway station and surrounded by grocery stores (I picked up sardines and avocados, of course). It was easy to book this flat using Wimdu’s site, and communicate with the kind host Beatriz. Plus, the WiFi and all amenities were included for a far lower rate than if we had gotten a hotel.
I didn’t have too much time to spend in the Chilean capital, so I headed straight to Barrio Lastarria. As you can see, it’s known as the youth / hipster / art district of Santiago. This is a great neighborhood for strolling and people-watching, and there’s plenty to do here (street food, bars, theaters, art installations).
(All Chile photos by Joey Wong.)
Attack of the lobster-aliens! La Starria is a colorful area with unexpected murals, and small markets where locals sell organic and handmade products.
– My Japanese top is by Underground England (if you can read katakana, you’ll know that it says Post Punk).
– My Girardi Meredith hold-up knee socks are from UK Tights.
Just like Anthony Bourdain (RIP), I’m all about finding cheap and local eats wherever I go. LaStarria is full of tasty and creative food, for a handful of Chilean pesos.
Locals adore the gelato from Emporio La Rosa (I got scoops of berry and dark chocolate). I also tried the new Buffalo Waffles, a genius waffle wrap with cheddar and vegetables inside.
Especially on weekends, you’ll hear music wherever you walk in Barrio LaStarria. We came across flamboyant dancers in the streets, a slightly annoying clown-mime, and these electronic DJs at an outdoor public lounge.
What else is there to do in LaStarria? Browse the alternative boutiques, which sell kawaii cute and rock / Goth fashion. And enjoy the urban art all around. In addition to these giant wall paintings, I encountered a moving lights installation that anyone could enter for free.
I was pleasantly surprised by the hip artwork I found in Santiago. You may recall that I also went to the vibrant street art city of Valparaiso. The takeaway: Chile is one cool country.
We wrapped up our Santiago trip with the most creative meal I’ve had in a long time. I heard rave reviews about a young restaurant, De Patio, and was keen to experience it for myself. It took a while to locate the hidden entrance (barely-marked large wooden doors), which opened up to a spacious, modern interior with a courtyard. We sat the bar counter in front of the open kitchen, and watched Chef Benjamin Nast work his magic.
(DePatio restaurant address: Av Vitacura 3520, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana, Chile)
Chef Benjamin Nast has an impressive resume — he worked in top restaurants in Chile, Paris, and Barcelona (at the Michelin-starred Dos Palillos owned by Albert Raurich, the former executive chef El Bulli). In 2017, he opened up De Patio in Vitacura, to highlight Chilean products along with Asian flavors and techniques.
Sit at the counter, and let him surprise you with an 8 or 12 course menu. Everything he creates is daring and artistic; delicious without being pretentious. Our first taste was an eye-opener: snails from the garden with soy shitake mushrooms, tapioca, and flowers.
We enjoyed chatting with the tattooed Chef Benjamin. He explained that De Patio Restaurante’s circular logo is inspired by Woody Woodpecker, “the crazy bird” — and spoke passionately about how the team experiments to make surprising dishes from seasonal ingredients.
It was a treat to watch Chef Benjamin prepare each plate in front of us, while The Doors and Janis Joplin howled from the speakers. Between plates, I sipped on the perfect healing drink made just for me: a pisco sour with eucalyptus, honey, ginger and lemon.
Above: zucchini noodles, clam, picked cucumber, almonds and grated avocado — wow.
He showcased his finesse for Japanese cooking with a shabu shabu: fresh fish, scallops and still-moving prawns in a delicious dashi broth.
Dessert was once again a feast for the eyes and tastebuds. Above is a refreshing cucumber granita and strawberry coulis with freeze-dried vodka jelly. He also served up crispy potato ice cream sandwiches with thyme, whiskey, toffee, egg — we ate them so fast that there aren’t any photos!
Cheers to Chef Benjamin Nast for the outstanding omakase that breaks the conventions of gourmet cuisine. As he writes in De Patio’s manifesto: “What matters most is making delicious food that is both simple and provocative. We believe in tradition as well as contradiction. We love food and are constantly searching for freedom.”
The fun team at De Patio is constantly changing up the menu, and their passion is infectious. Prices are extremely reasonable, and I’m certain that the restaurant will be racking up more awards — so be sure to go, when you’re in Santiago.
Thanks to LATAM Airlines for letting me bring these “only in South America” stories to you. We still have more from Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo to come, as well as the isle of stone-faced aliens… If you missed the previous posts, come take a look at the S. America category here.
And for more summer style inspiration, check out the images below >>
Synthwave San Francisco! Turbo Drive retrowave club, design Hotel Clift by Philippe Starck, Alexander’s Steakhouse.
Fire and brimstone… Talk about a warm welcome back to San Francisco!
I recently took a weekend trip to see some of my favorite ghouls. Since I’m currently all about retrowave music, this was also the perfect excuse to check out SF’s synthwave party scene.
San Francisco has long been a hub for subcultures: from the Beatniks to the hippies and onward. Right now, it’s the site of the longest-running and best synthwave party on the planet, Turbo Drive.
Keep reading for a firsthand report of the outrun fun, featuring a performance by French artist Danger (above!)
First, let me introduce you to my favorite new necklace — this minimal choker from Aurum by Guðbjörg. They’re an Icelandic jewelry designer, handcrafting every piece from silver from their workshop in Reykjavík.
My necklace is from the Aurum Asterias collection, which is inspired by the country’s unique, dark ocean waves. I love this design because it brings back fond memories of when I visited the black sand beaches of Iceland.
As you know, I’m all about supporting independent designers that produce exquisite pieces. Aurum melds traditional craftsmanship with modern design, and prioritizes sustainability with fair-trade materials and environmentally friendly packaging.
For a special piece, I encourage you to view their collections that include rings, bracelets, earrings and other accessories.
See more from Aurum below:
I had fun staying at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel, which was designed by Philippe Starck (one of my favorite modern furniture/interiors designers) and Ian Schrager (co-founder of the legendary NY nightclub Studio 54).
Monkeying around is encouraged, in this hip hotel. Guests can sit on Starck’s Big Arm Chair and take photos… that is, if they can manage to clamor up there! (Images by Lauren Levitt).
Clift Hotel San Francisco has a mind-bending lobby, featuring a collection of avantgarde chairs. There are seats designed by Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Roberto Matta who was inspired by René Magritte. (Remember when I went to his surrealist museum in Belgium?).
Clift San Francisco is part of Morgans Hotel Group, hence the eclectic, boutique luxury vibe of the space.
We had cocktails in Clift’s historic Redwood Room; legend says it was carved from the wood of a single redwood tree. The bar has been restored by Starck, with an enormous etched glass bar and plasma TV screens that broadcast digital art.
(I’ll show you more from the hotel further down… but now, it’s time to party.)
Many of my friends and I are currently loving the neo-80s sounds of synthwave: think Stranger Things and John Carpenter. I’ve long wanted to attend Turbo Drive, the first and only San Francisco dance club dedicated to retrowave / outrun.
As the party describes it: “This is the soundtrack for carefree drives along the beach, Day-Glo legwarmer aerobics, sunsets over laser grids, outrunning the cops in a cyberpunk dystopia, falling in love with your first robot crush, and occasionally summoning the unholy forces from the depths with a keytar.”
Turbo Drive takes place regularly in the space about DNA Lounge. I’m hanging with Meikee Magnetic in the DJ booth; he runs the party with Danny Delorean and Devon Dossett. (They also do other events around the city, including Bootie SF and Neon Black).
The club’s playlist is space-synth perfection. The DJs spin Carpenter Brut, Perturbator, Dance with the Dead, Com Truise, Gost, Robert Parker… the soundtrack of night-driving in space.
Then, Danger took the stage! The French musician electrified the crowd with his glowing eyes, behind a mask reminiscent of Daft Punk or Aural Vampire’s Raveman.
Danger had tremendous energy throughout his set, never letting up on the pounding hyperdrive. He drew in a packed room, and by the end, everyone was headbanging hard to the retro-futuristic sounds of the 80s.
Thanks to Meikee for inviting me to Turbo Drive. It was great to catch up with friends, and experience this intergalactic club scene. If you come to San Fran, hopefully you too can check one of their synthwave events.
Here’s another look at my “Kung Fury” outfit of the day. I’m constantly wearing this 90s-style red beret by Mary Wyatt London.
My Dragon midi skirt is from Print All Over Me, which lets you print custom designs on 200 high-quality templates. You can also order designs by top artists; my skirt is by gentlethrills.
San Francisco’s Hotel Clift is made for photo-shooting. Lauren and I got access to one of the mod suites, with high ceilings and a dining room with furniture designed by Philippe Starck.
Mirrors, mirrors everywhere. (As you can see, PAOM skirt is double-sided!)
The suite at Clift San Francisco is a study in sumptuous textures. Silk, leather, velvet, chrome and Venetian Murano glass.
The relaxed opulence fit with my embroidered high heel shoes by Le Babe. (More of their designs featured below:)
One of my friends rented a Clift suite for a birthday party. This would also be a fabulous spot to ring in the New Year, as it’s centrally located in downtown San Fran.
Lauren’s black latex dress and cat mask matched the playful energy of the hotel. (On each level, you’ll find a big circular mirror and these reflective chairs).
Don’t miss out on the 16th floor, featuring this lavender spiral staircase and glass lights.
At an art hotel like The Clift, adventure awaits… Shout-out to the staff for welcoming us here, and their kind comments on our various outfits!
On our first night, I enjoyed a brilliant meal at Alexander’s Steakhouse with Dr John Skutlin, who was in town to speak at a University of San Francisco conference about tattoo culture in Asia. He says, “Alexander’s elegant and sophisticated interior and warm ambient lighting set the mood for an evening of gastronomic delights guided by their expert staff.”
The restaurant is a traditional steak house, yet they innovate with fusion dishes and creative cocktails. My gin curry cocktail above is a perfect example; decorated with edible flowers, this Indian inspired drink is wonderfully refreshing.
(John and I are wearing rings by Alex Streeter, our favorite jewelry designer. The legendary silversmith created the Angel Heart Ring, which was memorialized in the movie starring Robert De Niro as Lucifer. This pentagram design comes in several variations; John’s ring has two silver devils on the side. I’m wearing Alex Streeter’s Ouroboros and Bone Claw rings.”)
John continues, “Of course, steak is the name of the game, but before our massive cuts of beef we were treated to hon Hamachi “shots” – a line of shotglasses each filled with avocado, serrano, cilantro, and of course raw yellowtail, all topped off with a splash of yuzu soy sauce for a refreshing aperitif.”
The server quipped that we could throw back a dozen of these and still want more… as you can see from my expression, he was correct! Other restaurants have copied this dish, but Alexander’s hamachi shots are the original ones.
“Might I say that I’m Old Fashioned?” Our server brought us an extensive wine and cocktail list to peruse.
John says, “The libations were almost too numerous to choose from, but the double rye Manhattan was perfectly balanced between the vermouth and the heavy dose of rye. Everyone knows about aging wine and whiskey, but cocktails can be mixed and then aged as well, allowing the ingredients to fuse together in subtle and surprising ways, as I found with the aged Rob Roy cocktail Alexander’s served up.”
Alexander’s Steakhouse has a meticulously curated beef program, highlighting small farms from the US, Australia, and Japan. They are also one of the only restaurants in the US certified to serve authentic Kobe beef.
In John’s words, “The star of the show was the steak. Wagyu Japanese beef has become a household name in the US, but here we found a menu with rare and intriguing selections, including Hokkaido privately farmed beef from cattle raised in below freezing temperatures, and extremely limited olive-fed beef from Shodoshima Island in Kagawa, Japan.”
Our server recommended the aged T-bone, which John is cutting into. The meat was tender and juicy, and at a perfect medium rare: total umami. We accompanied it with sides of wild mushrooms and mashed potatoes, all beautifully prepared and not too heavy.
At the bottom, you can see the Hidagyu from Gifu Prefecture that we sampled. John raves, “It was richly marbled, a hallmark of Wagyu beef, and practically melted in our mouths. The beef was served with what can only be described as a “flight” of twelve different salts from around the world, some smoky, some almost sweet. Each brought out a new dimension of flavor from the meat.”
The staff impressed us with their knowledge, and treated us with little extras such as a splash of red wine to pair with the steaks. They also created special cocktails for us based on our favorite tastes — mine had yuzu in it, and was spot on!
We ended with a warm, gooey souffle and lemon poppy cake. Fresh out of the oven and not overly sweet; exactly how I like my desserts.
Alexander’s Steakhouse was a five-star experience, all around. The dishes, drinks, atmosphere and especially the service deserve the highest rating. For a special night out or celebration in San Francisco, I’d book a table at Alexander’s without hesitation.
More to come from San Francisco — including shopping at occult shops, and the Death Guild Goth party!
It was such a treat to reunite with friends that I met in Tokyo, over 10 years ago! I’m sure you recognize them from this blog over the years. Have you ever had a reunion like ours?