A La Carte

My Parisian play date with Jess Brown

October 9, 2011

Crayon in hand, I was the first to sign it. Within minutes of M29 Lifetsyle swinging open their doors last spring, kids and dogs have found the playhouse irresistible.  Look at it now.

Elena 'wearing' the playhouse (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Elena 'wearing' the playhouse

From day one, my favorite items were the Jess Brown dolls. Saturday I had a chance to meet the designer. California tanned and petite, Brown was definitely not the model for her latest project, commissioned by Italian fashion icon, Bottega Veneta. As she explained, “Bottega contacted me a year ago about an idea for Fall 2011 Fashion Week. One small detail had to be changed from the sample,” Brown smiled. “We had to add shoulder pads so the dolls could ‘carry’ Bottega bags.” Fourteen larger than Brown-size dolls, created for the windows of their flagships stores in Beverly Hills, New York, Paris, Milan, and London, are now on a European tour.

It all started eleven years ago when Brown began making rag dolls for her daughter Stella out of old cashmere sweaters and antique remnants. Each doll is hand-dyed in Persian black teas to create variations in skin tones, made of cotton muslin and linen, recycled and antique fabrics, and stuffed with sustainable corn fiber. Brown also collaborates with several designers, using scrap remnants left over from current season cuttings for her limited edition collections.

Beverly Hills Bottega Veneta window with Jess Brown dolls (Photo by: Jess Brown) Beverly Hills Bottega Veneta window with Jess Brown dolls

Jess Brown dolls relaxing during the party (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Jess Brown dolls relaxing during the party

Stella-designed Rae Dunn picnic set (Photo by: Jess Brown) Stella-designed Rae Dunn picnic set

From a small line of hand-made dolls, Jess Brown Design now includes doll accessories (Stella designed the drawings for the Rae Dunn porcelain picnic set), quilts, and women’s fashions. Hand-made, one of a kind, special edition describes everything Jess Brown does, so no surprise that even her frame-worthy 2012 lookbook is in a very limited edition.

When Stephanie Rausser’s daughter Kiki brought Coco, her Jess Brown doll along to Paris a few years ago, her mother took 6,000 photos. Kiki & Coco in Paris is the très charmant result.

A month before the book's national debut, friends of M29 Lifestyle were treated to an exclusive preview. Add balloons, a small theater, mini pastries from PAUL French Bakery (coming soon to Georgetown) and more Jess Brown dolls than you’ve ever seen in your life and, voila, it’s party time!

Elena looking for the right crayon as Kiki & Coco in Paris plays on screen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Elena looking for the right crayon as Kiki & Coco in Paris plays on screen

PAUL Bakery marketing head, Laetitia Steinier with Klara (Photo by: Judith Beermann) PAUL Bakery marketing head, Laetitia Steinier with Klara

Liliana, Paul, Pierpaolo and Alesandro (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Liliana, Paul, Pierpaolo and Alesandro

Nancy Charlene brings her Jess Brown dolls to the party (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Nancy Charlene brings her Jess Brown dolls to the party

Klara making her mark on the playhouse (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Klara making her mark on the playhouse

Strategic's director of retail, Deborah Bush at M29 Lifestyle's window display (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Strategic's director of retail, Deborah Bush at M29 Lifestyle's window display

Antonio and Francesco taking a break (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio and Francesco taking a break

Abby Jones of Chan Luu with her Breast Cancer bracelets (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Abby Jones of Chan Luu with her Breast Cancer bracelets

Antonio and Elena welcome party guests (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Antonio and Elena welcome party guests

M29 Lifestyle is at the corner of 29th and M Streets.


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Stachowski Charcuterie opening in former Griffin Market

September 30, 2011

The first free-standing family owned butcher shop is coming to Georgetown. Stachowski Brand Charcuterie will be opening at 1425 28th Street where Griffin Market operated until February of this year.

As owner, Jamie Stachowski told The Georgetown Dish,"My son Joseph will be managing it. It's a full-service butcher shop where we'll offer high-end raw cuts, cured, and prepared meats and a small sandwich menu."

"We're delighted to be coming to Georgetown," Jamie explained. "It's where all the action is. We've got a sophisticated product, and Georgetown is the best audience for it." Joseph agrees, "If we're in the middle of Georgetown, we're accessible to everyone."

While there's lots of demolition and reconstruction yet to do, including putting in a new floor, Stachowski said, "We plan to open before the holidays."

Stachowski has been selling sausages in Georgetown at the Rose Park Farmers Market and the Georgetown Farmer's Market.

Recently, Jamie Stachowski was featured in "Meat America," a two-hour documentary on the The History Channel.


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Great Scott, Elizabeth's recipe for success

September 27, 2011

She blew into D.C as a Katrina hurricane evacuee while attending graduate classes at Loyola University in New Orleans and has been stirring things up ever since.

Elizabeth Scott (Photo by: Len Depas) Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott has managed one of the city’s best-loved restaurant groups, created her own media company, co-founded a culinary academy for young adults, written a book, and turned baking into a therapeutic art.  And oh yes, recently nominated by Washington Business Journal for The 40 Under 40 Awards honors, which recognizes the area’s top business leaders and owners under 40.

All, while handling a life-changing experience of her own.  Exactly a year ago, a fall that broke her ankle so severely she was on bed-rest for five months (and home-bound for ten) made Elizabeth face the possibility of never walking again. As she explained, “I've been an athlete my entire life, having won state championships and even pursuing a goal of being in the Olympics, so the reality of not being able to walk, having to reclaim my life and redefine who I was and my purpose in life, was the greatest challenge I've faced in a long time.” It was during her long recovery that Two Bitches Bake was born, a blogging journey filled with “a little bit of bitch’n and a whole lot of bake’n.”

With the help of top-notch surgeons and continuing therapy, she’s walking again, “slowly, and it won't ever be the same. But if I have to live the rest of my life with a limp, or wearing cowboy boots (my signature), just so that I would be able to create Cohn's Kids, then it was all worth it, and I'd do it all over again."

The Mayor with Cohn's Kids (Photo by: Cohn's Kids) The Mayor with Cohn's Kids

(Photo by: Eats Good Media)

It was a match made in culinary heaven. She was born and raised in her family’s Birmingham, Alabama bakery, managing it at 15. Local restaurateur, Paul Cohn launched a host of Washington restaurants, bars, and clubs including many Georgetown landmarks:  J.Paul’s, Old Glory, Paolo’s Ristorante, and The River Club.  She managed his company, Capital Restaurant Concepts before blending a passion for food with keen business acumen to launch Eats Good Media, a for-profit hospitality consulting firm.

Cohn's Kids at work (Photo by: Cohn's Kids) Cohn's Kids at work

It came together while Elizabeth was still on crutches and in a cast, but “the kids I got to work with every day had far greater challenges than I did, and ever would, and they were my inspiration.”

Summer 2011 marked the launch of Cohn’s Kids, a dream and vision of Elizabeth Scott and Paul Cohn two years in the making.  Working with local chefs, restaurateurs and local business leaders, Cohn's Kids helps young adults learn the whole spectrum of skills necessary to run a restaurant; from cooking preparation, recipe and menu development, to kitchen management.

A non-profit with a mission to educate, empower, and develop future culinary and hospitality leaders, The Cohn's Culinary & Hospitality Management Academy works closely with the city’s disadvantaged youth and the District of Columbia's Department of Employment Services and the Summer Youth Employment Program.

Paul Cohn and Elizabeth Scott with culinary academy winners (Photo by: Cohn's Kids) Paul Cohn and Elizabeth Scott with culinary academy winners

Of the 100 students that applied, 20 were accepted and 10 completed the program and graduated, making them eligible for year-round training and development. Several students have also gained full time employment upon graduating from the academy.

The WBJ 40 Under 40 Award winner will be announced October 27, 2011. You can vote here.

And her book? Well, that’s another story.


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