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.
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.
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.”
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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[Food photos courtesy of bookbinderyrestaurant.com.]
Yin and yang. Light and shade. Concrete and jungle. Life is a study in contrasts—and your Fall wardrobe should be, too.
To fully meditate on Fall’s dense tweeds, intricate knits, revved-up leather, and sturdy workwear, we took our favorite Designer Collections to Seattle’s historical, 20-acre wooded oasis, Kubota Garden—as well as the surrounding urban sprawl. The conclusion is clear: Fall’s best clothes feel calm, cool and collected, whether you’re in nature’s domain or the wilds of the city.
Has your wife or girlfriend ever borrowed your coat or wandered the house in your favorite hoodie? If not, you might need better clothes. ‘Let Her Borrow’ is a new series in which Kristina Zias, a menswear expert at our Grove store in LA, shows off her favorite new items from the Nordstrom Men’s Shop.
“With spring around the corner but indecisive weather now, I’m eyeing a few of the new sweaters in our Men’s Designer department. Beware though, guys: They’re made for you, but if your girlfriend gives you one as a gift, she might have ulterior motives. [maniacal laugh.] Here are my three key sweaters for the season: The hoodie, crewneck and quarter-zip.”
—Kristina Zias, Nordstrom at The Grove, Los Angeles
1. The Hoodie: U Clothing. “One of our newest Men’s Designer labels, this London-based brand took a basic zip-front hoodie and did it right, leaving no detail unnoticed. The cotton/terry blend has a really impressive, luxurious feel to it, and the metal hardware detailing adds some edge. It’s lightweight and perfect to throw on without thinking twice.”
[Shop: U Clothing Hoodie | All Men's Hoodies]
2. The Crewneck: Jack Spade. “This sweater’s bold, red-and-pink stripes are perfect for spring—but you can wear it all year. Pair with shorts and Chucks for day-time weekend wear, then switch it up with a collared shirt, jeans and loafers for a dinner date. I’d even like to see it grunged-up with some camo pants and chukka boots.”
[Shop: Jack Spade Crewneck | All Men's Crewneck Sweaters]
3. The Quarter-Zip: Gant by Michael Bastian. “This cotton pullover sweater is extremely cozy, with intricate stitching that has a serious preppy vibe that I love. It’s a classic sweater to throw on over any outfit when the sea breeze kicks up this summer.”
[Shop: Gant by Michael Bastian Quarter-Zip | All Men's Zip-Up Sweaters]
[CLICK ABOVE to visit our one-stop gift destination.]
The countdown to Christmas is in its final stages, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and our hard-working shipping center), you have UNTIL FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21 AT 3PM EST to order gifts online, get FREE SHIPPING, and have them to your doorstep by Christmas Eve. (Just make sure your wrapping paper and scotch tape is at the ready when the time comes.)
Here’s a further breakdown of the key dates. As you can see, there’s still hope even after this Friday. Click here for more details.
And, since we’re on the subject, here are some selections from our ‘Favorite Gifts For Him’ categories that caught our eye. Happy hunting:
Here at Nordstrom, we may prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time—but when it is time to celebrate, we go all out. So, with Thanksgiving officially behind us, we popped over to our flagship store in Downtown Seattle to see how they decked the halls (or aisles, as it were). A couple indications that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
Walls full of festive sketches by our perennial favorite illustrator, Ruben Toledo.
Trees all aglow.
Ornaments the size of a small child (or large elf).
Mannequins prepping for a black-tie holiday soirée.
An interactive snowflake-catching experience.
Santa posted up in the corner window display, awaiting your kid’s wish list. (Or yours.)
Despite the festive decorations, we couldn’t help getting distracted by all the sumptuous winter wares festooning the mannequins in the Men’s Shop. Here’s the best of what we saw at the store—and links to help you get these looks online.
OR, SHOP ALL GIFTS
We mentioned it the other day: Our Seattle offices are rife with well-dressed gents. The photos here capture our Men’s Tailored Clothing buying team, looking even sharper than usual, thanks to the most dapper accessory known to man: a moustache.
In support of Movember, an annual, month-long movement to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, these hirsute heroes (along with millions more, worldwide) have embraced the challenge of leaving their upper lips unshorn ’til December. Support their brave efforts by making a donation at their team page, learn more at the official Movember website, stay tuned to Men’s Shop Daily for a status update on their ‘staches later this month…And dress like a Nordstrom Men’s Buyer using the links below.
Official Movember trailer:
Manly ‘Mo’ tips with Nick Offerman of Parks and Recreation:
One more way to support men’s health: limited-edition Movember TOMS, with an embroidered moustache to remind you that part of the proceeds go to help men’s health initiatives.
Seattle gets a bad rap, style-wise. Maybe certain Seattleites re-purpose their outdoor gear too liberally—but it’s a different story within the several-block radius that contains our corporate headquarters and flagship store here in Downtown Seattle.
To prove our point, we’re going to start snapping well-dressed guys we spot around the office. First up is Danny, an online merchandising specialist who’s responsible, among about a million other things, for coordinating GQ Selects each month.
We had to bug Danny for a few photos yesterday due to his keen ability to nail multiple trends at a time and make it look like no big deal. Check him out: shawl-collar sweater, rugged boots, cargo pants, touch of camo. Take a closer look at the details, and shop similar items using the links below:
Tie-Tuck. Gives your office gear a subtle military touch—and keeps your tie out of your lunch.
Streamlined Cargo. Chinos with utilitarian pockets are officially back—
but they’re far from the crazy-baggy ones you remember from ’98.
Serious Socks. Rugged boots require them. Pulling them over your pant cuff
(a favorite fall trick among stylists lately) is entirely optional.
Is it Fall yet? After some unusual late-summer heat, crisp, foggy mornings are rolling into our hometown of Seattle this week, signaling the start of our favorite season. Right on cue, one of our Sportswear Buyers, John Stephen, offered some tips for upping your layer game with 3 key sweaters for Fall: