Sunday 13 November 2022 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Sunday. 13/11/2022

Monocle Weekend
Edition: Sunday

Cut loose

This weekend we whip up a spicy take on a classic prawn cocktail, flick through a clever new title from the Big Apple and hear about how top Peruvian chef Pía León spends her Sundays. Plus: a seat at the bar in Campari’s HQ, a techy timepiece from France and an artsy escape in Aegina. First up, Monocle’s editorial director Tyler Brûlé.

The Faster Lane / Tyler Brûlé

Southern comfort

By now you’ll know that a large Monocle contingent was in Dallas earlier in the week for the second edition of our leadership conference, The Chiefs. A report by our editor in chief, Andrew Tuck, can be found here but allow me to fill you in on what happened before and after.

Seat 1A on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Phoenix: the crew is in a good mood, the woman to my right is absorbed in her book and I sleep for the first three hours of the flight. I wake up somewhere over western Texas and order a gin and tonic, and my seatmate decides to follow my lead. I nod “cheers” in her direction and she reciprocates; before long we’re chatting about her journey from Lima, the rise of Peruvian cuisine, her daughter’s retail business and the worrying state of education in California. She says that she has been living in the US for most of her adult life and is concerned that no one has a handle on her “Latin American brothers and sisters crossing the border”. She loves her life on the ocean and all that Southern California offers but feels that it’s unravelling. “We’ll end up in Texas or Arizona if things don’t improve,” she says. The flight attendant collects our glasses. We’re landing in Phoenix 38 minutes ahead of schedule.

Saturday evening, Paradise Valley, Arizona: I’m en route to my hotel in Scottsdale and I’m wondering whether the local government has started an energy-saving programme and demanded that all streetlights should be turned off to conserve electricity. It seems odd that a city touted as one of North America’s fastest-growing is so dark. Could it be that the holiday-home owners are still up in Calgary and Minneapolis and haven’t arrived for the winter season?

After a while we hit some patches of light and the city starts to come to life… somewhat. I ask the driver when the power-conservation measures started and he’s a bit confused by my line of questioning. “No, no, it’s not about saving electricity,” he says. “It’s so that residents and visitors can look up and enjoy the night sky and stars. It has always been like this.”

When I step out of the enormous Chevy Suburban I note that the hotel has no overhead lighting and what illumination I see is at ground or knee level. As I walk to my bungalow in the chilly desert air, the sky is a dazzling array of stars. More cities might opt for this low-watt approach to better urbanism.

Sunday morning, Scottsdale, Arizona: I’m back in the Suburban with my friend Hanna and we’re doing a high-speed spin around Phoenix to get a fix on its retail-property scene. The streets and boulevards are busy with lean cyclists enjoying the morning air and coffee joints have queues of people pulling up in their Cayennes for takeaway breakfasts and the Sunday edition of The New York Times. It only takes a few minutes of touring neighbourhoods around Scottsdale to recognise that the city has some of America’s best modernist residential architecture and by the time we stop for coffee I’m already researching how much a little gem by the likes of Ralph Haver or TS Montgomery might set you back. To my surprise, not much. Phoenix needs to work on long-haul connections to make it work for modernism lovers in Europe and Asia, however. For the moment its best connection is a British Airways flight to London’s Heathrow.

Sunday evening, Los Angeles, California: the sun is setting and there’s a gentle buzz on the streets as people head back into the city and prep for the week ahead. But the city feels quieter than expected. I pop into The Monocle Shop to say hello to my colleagues, grab drinks and dinner with our correspondent Chris Lord and take a little spin around Beverly Hills and West Hollywood to survey what has opened, what has closed and how the city is faring. It’s hard to ignore the amount of homelessness: people are camping out in doorways and have set up tent villages in public parks. Back in my hotel room, I turn on the TV and see election campaign ads that are full of promises to tackle the problem. Providing extra beds seems to be the dominant pitch to voters but is that really the solution for the tens of thousands of people now without work, shelter or basic services?

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas: if you miss the convenience of Berlin Tegel Airport and its drive-up-and-depart architectural plan, maybe you can join the hundreds of other businesses relocating to Texas – and Dallas in particular. While DFW is lacking on the innovative retail and F&B front, it works well if you want to arrive in your Cadillac Escalade and be steps away from your gate. If the airport is to cope with the region’s growth, it needs proper high-speed rail links and a landscape scheme for connecting passengers who want to stretch out in the sun and get a bit of fresh air between flights.

The Street Bar, Boston, Massachusetts: the last time I was in Boston was circa 1988, when I was on the university debating trail and winning ribbons and trophies with my skilled team of polished public speakers. I stopped over for a few hours on Thursday on my way back to Zürich and was pleasantly charmed. The scale of the residential buildings in the Back Bay district are welcoming, there was an absence of “For rent” signs at street level, and everything and everyone looked perfect under a cloudless autumn sky. The high point was a very good club sandwich and round of drinks at the Newbury Boston hotel’s Street Bar. With so many hoteliers trying to deliver tricked-out mixology rather than focusing on the basics, it’s hard to find a new hotel bar that’s cosy and makes you want to linger. I was so happy on the sofa by the fireplace that I half-considered checking in and missing my flight. I’m looking forward to a swift return to Boston.

New opening / Margarita, Calella de Palafrugell

Shore thing

The seaside town of Calella de Palafrugell has long been a weekend escape for Barcelonans. But until recently, dining options were limited to traditional seafood joints. All that has changed with Margarita, a new restaurant from Antonella Tignanelli and David Caro. It’s the duo’s second venture: Baldomero took Barcelona by storm. Margarita makes the most of the fresh catch but also offers Italian home-cooking classics, including torta pasqualina and vitello tonnato. “For me, it’s like a hint of home,” says Buenos Aires-born Tignanelli. “In Argentina we cook a lot of Italian food but we make it our own.”

Image: Lucila Godoy
Image: Lucila Godoy

The Stack / ‘Day + Night’ magazine

In the mix

Inspired by the pastime of gifting mixtapes, Day + Night magazine, which fits neatly into a cassette case, invites readers to spool through stories from New York locals. This second edition includes 14 mini essays reflecting on their year and the songs that got them through the pandemic.

Image: Tony Hay

“I was very moved by how it got across the anguish of disconnectedness that families felt during the past year,” says founder and editor Josef Reyes. “As well as the plight of frontline workers.” He’s referencing particularly the issue’s final recommendation, Bertie by Kate Bush, which Brooklyn paramedic Julianne Gerrish chose for her son. Like New York itself, Day + Night has A and B sides; and, like the stories of those within its pages, it can be read many ways.

Sunday Roast / Pía Léon

Breaking the mould

Having begun her career at Lima’s Central restaurant at the age of 23, Pía Léon set up her own joint, Kjolle, in 2018 and last year was named the world’s best female chef. Like the bright orange flower from which the restaurant gets its name, Kjolle’s dishes are known for being colourful. Here, Léon tells us about cacao in Peru, produce from her local farmers’ market and the unpredictability of her Sunday soundtrack.

Image: Ken Motohasi

Where do we find you this weekend?
Weekend mornings are for spending time with my son, Cristóbal. On Sundays we are usually at the Feria Ecológica de Barranco, our neighbourhood farmers’ market, where we buy produce for the rest of the week. Cristóbal loves getting passion fruit there.

Do you have a favourite stand there?
I love the berries stand, which has seasonal fruit from different regions in Peru. Afterwards, we walk to the coffee stand and Cris gets some chocolate. As you may know, Peruvian cacao has many different origins so the market is a party for chocolate lovers because there are so many different varieties.

Ideal start to a Sunday? Gentle start or a jolt?
Gentle. After a very busy week with early mornings and late nights, I like to take it easy on Sundays.

What’s for breakfast?
Scrambled eggs, avocado and some colourful tomatoes. Breakfast on Sunday is when I start using the produce I bought at the farmers’ market.

Lunch in or out?
Either. It depends on our mood.

A Sunday soundtrack?
My Sunday soundtrack is varied: it can be as happy as cumbia [a Colombian musical genre popular throughout Latin America] or as chilled as reggae.

What’s on the menu?
Vegetables and some meat – normally beef – and rice.

Sunday evening routine?
I spend it at home with my son and husband. Sunday evening is our family movie night.

Do you lay out an outfit for Monday?
Never. I already know that I’ll be wearing my cooking clothes.

Recipe / Aya Nishimura

Prawn cocktail

Guess who’s coming to dinner? This fiery riff on a dinner-party classic features a glug of saké, spicy tabasco, zingy lemon and hot horseradish.

Illustration: Anje Jager

Serves 4 as a starter or snack

20 large prawns
Splash of saké or white wine

For the sauce:
100g of diced tomatoes (tinned is fine)
¼ tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
2½ tsps horseradish sauce
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp sriracha sauce
4 drops of tabasco
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh horseradish, finely grated (optional)

For the garnish:
4 sticks of celery, cut into sticks
4 lemon wedges


If you have prawns with shells, remove the shell (leave tails on) and devein. Sprinkle with a little salt and add a splash of saké or white wine, and mix lightly. Leave for 5 minutes.

Set aside a bowl of ice-cold water.

Bring some water to the boil, rinse the prawns under a tap, then put them into the boiling water for a minute or two until they turn pink. As soon as they are cooked, drain and drop them into the ice-cold water. After a minute, pat them dry, then keep refrigerated until needed.

Mix all the sauce ingredients except the pepper and fresh horseradish in a serving bowl.

Arrange prawns and celery sticks on a plate. You can do this on top of some crushed ice but this is optional.

Add freshly grated horseradish, generous amounts of crushed pepper and mix lightly. Serve with cold appetisers.

Weekend plans? / Nikolaou Residence, Aegina

Home is where the art is

The Greek island of Aegina, in the Saronic Gulf just southwest of Athens, has long been a draw for creatives. Driving north along the coastal road from the port, it’s easy to understand why. The pine tree-lined road winds past stone towers, well-preserved historic buildings and a lighthouse. Artists Yannis Moralis and Nikos Nikolaou, sculptor Christos Kapralos and writer Nikos Kazantzakis all built their homes and ateliers on Aegina. “Nikolaou taught at the Athens School of Fine Arts but lived here all year, commuting to and from Piraeus every day,” says Athens-based architect Theodore Zoumboulakis of his late uncle.

Zoumboulakis is showing Monocle around the Nikolaou Residence, the artist’s former home, which has been turned into five guesthouses in a pistachio grove. He renovated the first three stone-built guesthouses in 2019 and finished the other two this summer. Three more are on the cards. “We tried to keep everything as close as possible to the buildings’ original aesthetics, while adding in the comforts of a small boutique hotel,” he says.

The idea was also to root the residence in its artistic heritage: this year Nikolaou’s former studio opened to the public by appointment. “The idea is to help people feel inspired, to think, write and produce,” says Zoumboulakis. He aims to keep the guesthouses open all year and there are plans to host events, workshops and talks.

“We’re hoping to start a café. You’ll be able to work or enjoy the sunset and eat a sweet treat prepared using ingredients from local producers,” he says. The hotel enjoys a steady stream of foreign guests. “We love to see repeat visitors,” adds Zoumboulakis, who manages daily operations, having learnt his trade on the job. “At first I considered handing over management to another hotel chain or a third party but now I find it fascinating.” His sister, Daphne, agrees. “We feel lucky to have the opportunity to revive such a beautiful part of our past,” she says. “And to be able to share that with the world.”

Tech corner / Withings Scanwatch Horizon

Watch and learn

If you like the features of a smartwatch but aren’t keen on the touchscreen, Withings has the answer (writes David Phelan). The French brand has created Scanwatch Horizon, which looks like a high-end timepiece but has an OLED screen that shows notifications, a timer and heart rate for working out or showing ECG metrics. The watch also measures how near you are to your activity goal and is water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres.

For the best new technology finds and reviews every month, pick up a copy of Monocle magazine, or subscribe today.

Work perks / Campari

Happy hour

What’s next for business and the way we work? ‘The Entrepreneurs’ is our annual magazine dedicated to answering the big questions surrounding your professional life. Expect game-changing ideas, fresh inspiration and savvy suggestions. For a taste of what to expect, here’s how one of the world’s leading drinks companies navigates the idea of a bar in the office.

Nothing says that the working day is done quite like a well-stocked bar – ideally one staffed by smart bartenders trained to make classic cocktails. Campari, Italy’s biggest spirits group, has grown from humble beginnings in 1860 as a company making a distinctive red herbal aperitif to now owning more than 50 brands, including Aperol, Skyy Vodka and Grand Marnier. Therefore a bar – or two, as there are in the drinks firm’s HQ on the outskirts of Milan – is a fundamental part of the workplace.

The office was designed by architects Mario Botta and Giancarlo Marzorati, who were inspired by the advertising campaigns created for Campari by futurist Fortunato Depero in the early 20th century. The office bars are not just for the good times, either: they are places of learning where the Campari Academy bar teaches the “proper” way to mix an Aperol spritz or negroni. All employees receive a special kind of bar-side onboarding – “cocktail introductions” – that the head of commercial capabilities, Patrick Piana, says is where “Camparistas start their journey”.

Though it might make for a wobbly walk home, the experience of enjoying a few drinks at work “means really being able to understand the celebratory spirit of the company and what it does,” says Piana. The other office bar functions as a party space, hosting birthdays and events. It’s a sort of fully stocked meeting room with professional bartenders and unlimited booze – but only on special occasions, as Campari’s management is quick to point out. Technically, these are chances to “get to know the business and our brands but also strengthen a feeling of belonging and drive creativity,” says Piana. Networking, then, only slightly soused. The convivial notion of workplace bars carries on in Campari’s international outposts in Singapore, Munich and New York, where the office conceals a speakeasy, a getaway for employees but also for in-the-know New Yorkers. Cheers to that.

For more from the world of start-ups, success and succession, buy a copy of our business-minded magazine ‘The Entrepreneurs’ now.


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