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For Episode One of THE SNEAKER PROJECT: SNEAKERS IN YOUR CITY, we asked Seattle hip-hop legends Thig Nat and Prometheus Brown (aka Geo Quibuyen) to show us the best that their hometown (which happens to be Nordstrom’s hometown, too) has to offer.

Get a ground-level glimpse of the Emerald City in the short video above, and keep reading for a Q&A with Thig and Geo, behind-the-scenes photos, and a closer look at their favorite spots around town (as well as those sneakers they’re sporting).

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The surly outlook of menswear designer Mark McNairy is well-documented—in photos (see above) as well as in T-shirt form. (Note McNairy’s own Instagram for a self-deprecating summation of the designer’s detractors, and a G-rated spoof on a rant-y rap song by Kanye West and co.)

That said, we like to believe that there are two sides to every story. Case in point, even “McNasty,” as friends and fans call him, has a soft spot for food, design, and music that, as he puts it, represent “SIMPLE PERFECTION.” Keep reading for Mark McNairy’s top five likes and dislikes—which he emailed to us IN ALL CAPS, of course.

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Still slightly dazed by the holiday flurry, we raided Instagram to see what our colleagues have been up to. From braving elements to popping bottles to crafting merry #menswear Christmas cookies, it’s safe to say our friends rang in the season with style. Keep reading to see our favorite holiday Insta’s from the Nordstrom Men’s Team.

[Above: We're suckers for ladies decked out in dapper menswear—and Site Merchandiser Kelsey Tyler dressed the part like a pro on New Year's Eve. Way to stay hydrated, too, KT.]

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We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Family. Friends. Rag & Bone models. Most importantly, though: pumpkin pie. Continue reading for a euphoria-inducing dessert recipe, perfect sweaters to wear to Thanksgiving—and a vision of just how happy the holidays can be.

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Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, cool-under-pressure chef Shaun McCrain.

Every man should know his way around the kitchen: how to take over the tongs at a friend’s barbecue, pull off your grandma’s family-secret marinara, whip up a chivalrous morning-after omelette…you know—the basics.

Professional chefs like Shaun McCrain, on the other hand, can turn the simple act of eating food into a mind-altering experience. Visit McCrain’s Seattle restaurant, Book Bindery, and although the humble maestro insists his MO is simplicity, the five-way flavor combinations in his modern twists on comfort food are enough to induce a quadruple take—and general feelings of astonished well-being.

We spoke to chef McCrain about paying dues in Paris and New York, design principles as applied to plating, and real-life kitchen tips that every man can use.


[Chef Shaun McCrain at his Seattle restaurant, Book Bindery.
Scotch & Soda sweater, coming soon | Wallin & Bros. shirt
J Brand Jeans | Onitsuka Tiger sneakers]

FARM TO TABLE. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We lived on a small farm, raised our own meat, had a lot of vegetables. I was always around food without realizing it. My dad doesn’t cook. He was like, ‘I’ll just let Shaun do it, and if he messes up, we have more we can go pick.’”

TRIAL & ERROR. “Book smarts help you understand what you’re doing. Street smarts get your hands and body moving in the right direction. It’s hard to be able to physically do what you’ve read. You’ve gotta burn some things before you figure out how to cook them right.”

 

AMERICAN IN PARIS. “I sent my résumé to what I thought were the top 20 restaurants in Paris and got four responses. Three of them being, ‘Sorry, we don’t have room,’ and one being, ‘Sure, show up, work for free.’ That was my foot in the door.”

LIVE AND LEARN. “I left Seattle thinking I knew everything. I was 19 or 20 years old. I went to a bigger city, a nicer restaurant, and realized how much I didn’t know. It was very humbling…but I decided that if I really want to progress and learn, that I need to constantly be humbled—so I can learn from the best.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS. “Plating and presentation are important, because they’re the first thing a person sees. I like to do bright colors, clean lines, something that’s very appealing to the eye. And then, when you do take that first bite—it should taste even better than it looks.”

CONTRAST AND COMPLEMENT. “I think items should complement each other. It’s a lot about textures, so if you have one thing that’s soft, then I want something else that’s gonna bring some crunch…a little burst of pickled onion, or a crispy crouton.”

WHY I LOVE MY JOB. “The craziness of it. Every day is different. You don’t know if the truck carrying your lamb up from Oregon broke down, and you’re scrambling to find a replacement, or your dishwasher breaks, or you have a high-profile guest coming in who you know likes to eat certain things. So it sparks that fuel, that drive of always keeping busy, always trying to stay on top. It’s easy to fall behind in the kitchen unless you have that ‘stay on top of it’ kind of attitude.”

THE BEST THING I EVER ATE. “It was at a Japanese restaurant in New York, called Masa. Simple sushi rice, rolled in shaved Italian white truffle, with just a pinch of fresh-grated yuzu and a little salt. Just simplicity at its best, but the ingredients were prepared perfectly.”

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MY MORNING ROUTINE. “A cup of coffee…and maybe a Pop-Tart. Strawberry. Frosted. I spend all day walking around tasting things; it kind of curbs your appetite. [The staff and I] don’t sit down and eat a family meal until about 4:00. So in the morning, I just need to put something in me, whether it’s sugar or coffee or whatnot.”

WHAT TO PACK FOR LUNCH. “When I think of lunch, I always think of sandwiches. They don’t need to be boring. Go to the store, and buy some great charcuterie and good bread. Most of the time, those items are sold in portions that are more than one sandwich worth, so you’ll have enough for a couple days—or a very large sandwich.”

THE SECRET TO A GOOD SANDWICH. “The bread. The crust…whether it’s more of a rustic style with pieces of grain, or if it’s just a nice, crisp baguette that kind of snaps in your mouth when you eat it.”

 

HOW TO IMPRESS A DINNER DATE. “First, find out what they like. Nowadays, there are so many dietary restrictions, food allergies. Subtly figure out. Ask questions. Have an idea, rather than going in like, ‘Hey, I like steak, so I’m gonna cook steak’—and then finding out she’s pescatarian. That’s a date that’s not gonna end well.”

AND IF YOU BLOW IT… “Part of learning and growing with someone is making those mistakes. It could be the best meal they’ve ever had, or it could be terrible—but the whole experience of going through the process of doing something for someone is what it should be about.”

—  —  —

Next time you’re in Seattle, be sure to sample Shaun’s work at Book Bindery.
(We recommend the steak. And the duck.
And definitely the Stumptown-coffee semifreddo.)

—  —  —

Shop: Shaun McCrain’s favorite items
Read more: Style Profiles

 
 

[Food photos courtesy of bookbinderyrestaurant.com.]

Just in time for tomorrow’s Fourth of July festivities, our very own Nordstrom Restaurant team came through with some sophisticated flavor sensations—both of which can be prepped with ease on your trusty backyard grill. (For more amazing recipes by our own in-house chefs, pick up a copy of the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook.)



[click recipe to enlarge & print]

 




[click each recipe page to enlarge & print]

As far as beverages go, our friends at GQ have a backyard BBQ article of their own out currently (with some great recipes—grilled banana split? yes please), in which they recommend Jarritos and Tecate as beverages of choice. We can certainly appreciate south-of-the-border refreshments on a hot day—especially with killer salsa, see past recipe here—but we asked our resident brew expert, Rail buyer Dan Drewes, for his favorite Fourth of July thirst quenchers:

“I always appreciate Budweiser’s flag-emblazoned holiday boxes and cans—but I think that in Seattle [home of Nordstrom HQ], Rainier seems like the all-American thing to drink. (On days that start with a mimosa or two, it’s all low-gravity beers for the rest of the day. Save the strong stuff for days you’re having less than three or four.)”


And remember—unless you’re the ‘designated detonator’ (aka, sticking to tamarind Jarritos), keep the DIY explosives low-key. Case in point, the only firework that’s legal inside Seattle city limits:

Better safe than sorry, right? No? Well, there’s always Boom City.
Happy Fourth, from Men’s Shop Daily.

 

 

[Food photos by Noel Barnhurst. Beer photos via #budweiser and #rainierbeer on Instagram.]

Here’s another great recipe from our friends on the Nordstrom Restaurant team. For the long weekend ahead, we wanted a next-level flavor sensation for all you outdoor grillers out there, whose sophisticated palates are ready to transcend standard-issue frozen dogs and hockey-puck patties. Introducing Char Siu Pork Chops.

So stock up on oyster sauce, five-spice and fresh chops on the way home from work—and prepare to knock your friends’ star-spangled Vans off with your BBQ prowess this weekend. (Oh, and don’t forget ice for your Igloo and plenty of thirst-quenching beverages. We’re thinking this meal would go equally well with Bud Light, Tsingtao, or your favorite high-brow canned brew.)

 


(click recipe to enlarge and print)

 

Nordstrom cookbooks are available
upon request at Nordstrom Restaurant locations.

 
 

[Excerpted from the Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook. Photo by Noel Barnhurst.]

Husbands, sons, and devoted baby-dads: You’ve already got your Mother’s Day gifts in the bag, right? RIGHT?!? The big day is this Sunday, but don’t worry if you’re behind schedule. Get an idea of last-minute gifts you can pick up at your nearest Nordstrom store here: Gifts for Mom; and you can always have a Nordstrom e-Gift Card zapped to your inbox in a matter of hours. (Within four hours, to be exact. Keep that one in mind for birthday and anniversary emergencies, too.)

Material gestures aside, that thing they say is true: It’s the thought that counts. With that in mind, we tapped our very own Nordstrom Restaurant team for a breakfast-in-bed recipe guaranteed to impress.

Bonus tips: Sneak out of bed early (set that alarm, sir), accentuate your gourmet griddle-action with black coffee and stiff mimosas, add a sappy card hand-made by you and the kiddos—and you’re sure to be remembered as the best husband in history.

 


(click recipe to enlarge and print)

 

For more great recipes, shop: Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook

Our Nordstrom Flavors Cookbook, which includes the recipe above,
is also available upon request at Nordstrom Restaurant locations.

 
 

[Photo by Noel Barnhurst.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc_iT1bSrJM

The only idea worse than bacon-flavored mouthwash to come out of this year’s online April-Fool’s-Day antics? Borrowing your girlfriend’s jeans:

You can thank the merry pranksters—and in reality, certified pants experts—at Bonobos for that one. Luckily it was, in fact, a joke. (Letting your girlfriend borrow your clothes, on the other hand, is a whole different story.)

SHOP: BONOBOS | BACON


We dug up the vintage pub signs above on Ye Olde Internette, but whether you’re here in our hometown of Seattle or residing in the Mother Country, we’re betting your plans include a favorite Irish pub for this Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Avoid getting pinched by winsome lasses at the bar (or don’t—whatever you’re into) with our favorite green gear from the Nordstrom Men’s Shop. Click each item to shop:




One of our Men’s buyers, Dan Drewes, took a moment to suggest some recreational activities for the holiday. Here’s how to branch out from the standard-issue stout, if you’re so inclined:


1. The Other Champagne of Beers. Guinness is the natural choice, but you can always opt for elevating the classic Irish stout with some champagne as a Black Velvet.”


2. Go Halvsies. “You can also go with the classic Black and Tan: a Guinness layered over some British Bass Pale Ale—or keep it Irish by layering it over a Harp Lager.”


3. Made by Monks.Smithwick’s is a good Irish red for a nice caramel-malty beer. Their story dates back to the 13th century.”


4. Across the Pond.Boddingtons is a good English ‘pub ale’ or pale ale to sip on if you’re not looking for something as dark as a Guinness—and is popular for the holiday despite its non-Irish roots.”

 
5. Irish Americans. “Plenty of American craft-brewers have tried their hands at Irish beers, too—like Victory ‘Donnybrook Stout’ out East and Moylan’s ‘Danny’s Irish Style Red Ale’ for us West-Coasters.”