Directionally Challenged

I have a terrible sense of direction (also known as directionally challenged). I am not sure if I don't pay attention to where I have been, have a broken internal compass, or some other unknown ailment, but something is wrong. The introduction of GPS technologies (Waze and Google Maps) have disproportionately benefited me, as I can now arrive from point A to point B. Ask my wife about the famous 5-mile Pebble Beach/Monterey Penninsula drive (supposed to be the 17-mile drive if I hadn't accidentally turned off the clearly marked road), or always being lost in the West Village. The reality of living on a sphere (Earth) is that any and every direction is relative to where you are --- the key is context. If you and I are in Central Park in NYC and want to go East, we head to the UES; however, if you and I are on Long Island and speak about heading East, we are most likely referring to somewhere in the Hamptons (perhaps East Hampton or Montauk). Stay with me ... now Imagine having the same conversation with the same person at JFK International Airport ... Asia of course! You get the point. In this week's Loupe, I introduce you to some surprising Finds in surprising directions!

The Far East

the far east.jpg

On the Upper East Side, there is a new, hot area that I will refer to as the Far East. This area is East of 2nd Avenue. The completion of the Q train has ushered in a new era for commercial enterprises that were literally choking on the dust and debris from the construction; who wants to eat amidst that! In fact, coincidentally, the Far East has one of the highest concentrations (1 square block) of great sushi in the city.

401 E 73rd St, New York, NY 10021

I must first tip my hat to Sasabune and master sushi chef Kenji Takahashi, the original pioneer from LA. The "No California Roll. No Spicy Tuna Roll" policy (Omakase only) came to the Far East over a decade ago back in 2006. They clearly had great foresight and have been serving quality fish in the exact same order since they arrived! "Today's Special—Trust Me" is the menu, so your only job is to open wide! 

Tanoshi Sushi Sake Bar
1372 York Ave, New York, NY 10021

This Omakase  only, BYO restaurant has been here for almost 5 years. They had the audacity to open their doors on York Avenue...unheard of, but scores of locals are thrilled they did (me)! Chef Toshio Oguma focuses on classic Edo-style sushi preparation, which means elegant simplicity of taste and presentation. Since there are crowds of sushi aficionados who book well in advance, you need to make your reservation. Honestly, each time I leave, I'm planning my return --- it's sushi nirvana! 
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Sushi Ishikawa
419 E 74th St, New York, NY 10021

The latest addition to the Far East is another Omakase that will please your palette. Chef Don Pham (a Vietnamese New Yorker and former Executive Chef at O-Ya) just opened this spot and is serving excellent, unusual fish with unusual concoctions. Book your reservation on Resy immediately, while you can still score a seat (only 23 exist)! 
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Way Down South


The folks down South can teach us Northerners a thing or two about enjoying the outdoors. The emphasis is on durability and functionality, rather than looks and labels. These Southern brands will be making their way up North by sheer innovation!

TACS Performance Wear
New Orleans, LA

Wrongfork Approved (thanks Louper Brad K.), this shirt is made from a combination of cotton, polyester, lycra, and bamboo viscose (the secret sauce)! Everyone has Lululemon, but not everyone has this New Orleans original! Don this on the golf course and others will soon follow. 
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Yeti Hopper
Austin TX

It's Summertime AGAIN (woohoo) which means it time to start pursuing outdoor activities! This new Hopper from Austin-based Yeti will keep your frothy beverages cold when you are on the go (the beach, camping, the ball game ... you get my drift), and it is a bit easier to move around than the original Tundra! 
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I hope you venture to the Far East and enjoy products from the Deep South! Consider SasabuneTanoshi, and Ishikawa, as well as TACS and Yeti Found (thanks to GPS)!