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Hot weather’s officially upon us, and with it, the perennial question arises of how to look your best without breaking a sweat.

Keep reading to find out what to wear—and drink, and listen to, and marinate with—on the auspicious (and happily, pretty much inevitable) occasion of a backyard barbecue. We’ve taken the liberty of prepping you for two potential circumstances: cocktails on the patio and burgers on the lawn.

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Wives, kids, domestic partners: Curious what gifts and activities your Man of the Moment might enjoy this Father’s Day? (It’s June 15, by the way.) In order to discern the complex goings-on that occur behind a dad’s stoic visage, we went straight to the source, asking several real-life family men here at Nordstrom HQ to offer notes on their personal style and parenting style.

Keep reading to learn about Justin Marx—a user-experience designer, talented chef and dedicated dad—from his favorite kids’ show to the whiskey he’d like to unwrap this Father’s Day.

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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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With Christmas right around the corner, we asked three male colleagues here at Nordstrom HQ to share what’s on their gift radar this year. Today we have David Coyle from our Men’s Buying Team—a man who knows how to take a hit, and has a killer sock game (which includes knowing when to wear none, as seen above). If this sounds like someone on your own holiday shopping list, continue reading to find the perfect gift.

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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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Broncos versus Colts. Bengals versus Lions. Patriots versus Jets. You versus your girlfriend for control of the nacho plate.

Are you ready for a weekend filled with intense match-ups? Get your snack strategy locked down with Bon Appetit magazine’s Five Keys to Nacho Nirvana, and launch a dual-pronged attack of team spirit and coziness with one of the Mitchell & Ness NFL hoodies pictured above.

SHOP ALL: NFL GEAR | SPORTS FAN GEAR


[An excerpt from Bon Appetit's article on nacho architecture.
Photo by Christina Holmes.]

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And now for a moment of hometown pride: Aka bragging. Our local-hero Seattle Seahawks beat Arizona last night through feats of sheer strength and zen-like focus. Although it aired on a non-basic station, those of us cutting back on cable bills were still able to enjoy the game via animated GIFs, posted in real time on killer sports site the Bleacher Report.

Click below to see the best ones—and watch an impressive trick throw by Seattle QB Russell Wilson in the short video above.

Seahawks animated GIFs >

Having knocked the collective socks off the menswear industry last week (no small feat when most of whom are still clutching at summer sockless-ness) with his impeccable vision of Spring ’14 (look toward the bottom of this post), what do you think Iowa-born designer Todd Snyder immediately did? A) Sleep for 50 consecutive hours; B) Go to Disney World; C) Cross the pond for a little R&R—and of course, more work.

If you guessed C, treat yourself to an extra Guinness on this glorious Wednesday. While the self-professed workaholic’s shot of Europe’s finest shearling, above, first caught our eye (and got us jazzed for Fall) this morning, the pics below kept us scrolling. Check out the view from Snyder’s Paris hotel, the designer’s favorite London hat shop, an epic victory in the form of actor Justin Theroux rocking Todd Snyder + Champion on the cover of GQ, and much more—all on Todd Snyder’s official Instagram feed.


…And while those Autumn tones match our current mood to a T, a pop of color is always welcome:

 

FOR MORE TODD SNYDER:
- Shop Todd’s fall collection
- Read our exclusive Q&A
- Get Todd’s tips on office decorum

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.”

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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.)

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

 
 

[Food photos courtesy of bookbinderyrestaurant.com.]