The Best Bit

Plus chili pepper candles, black pools, and paradise in Provence.

AUGUST 12TH, 2023

Nonna's Grocer Candles

I’ve never been one for fruit bowls as decor, mostly because I just want to eat the fruit and also because I don’t have the attention span or wherewithal to ensure the bowl remains plushly stocked. But the thought of creating a cute little tabletop centerpiece with a mix of tomato, fennel, lemon, orange, grape, and chili pepper-shaped candles from Nonna’s Grocer fills me with pure joy. It will also entirely deplete my bank account, which is why I’m grateful with their Perfectly Imperfect Pack, a pre-batched bundle of six or seven lightly flawed versions, which rings in at $64 (plus shipping). It also means I won’t be scared to actually light them, which is what happens with all my favorite fancy candles. I love the idea of the different colored waxes all puddling together in a bright, drippy mess. How chic. -VvP


Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black by Cookie Mueller

Scrolling past this absolutely based IG post from Marc Jacobs was a delightful reminder of just how much I love Cookie Mueller, whom I also “really wish i got to meet (and know)”. Her first collection of stories and essays, Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, is a great starting place and, in all sincerity, a lovely gift to yourself if you haven’t yet read her work. Plus, it’s easily digestible enough to add to a beach bag. -PR


If, like so many people on Instagram these days, you happen to find yourself in Provence this summer, make sure to add Gallifet to your itinerary. The art center and restaurant lovingly run by a husband and wife duo is a little paradise set behind high walls in the heart of Aix. The current Martin Parr show in their exhibition space is alone worth the trip, but do stay for lunch or return for dinner for a relaxing meal in their courtyard. Just make sure to keep any snacks you may have off the ground or the very sweet resident dog who flits about the dining area may get into them (as I learned with my son’s Cheerios). Speaking of my son, the other current exhibition is excellent for kids, as mine dragged me back to see it no less than seven times during our meal. -DW

Gary Tyler: We are the Willing

For an exhibition a little closer to home, do try to get to Gary Tyler’s show We are the Willing at Detroit’s Library Street Collective (whose amazing coloring book we covered years ago). You may be familiar with Tyler’s story, as the artist famously spent over four decades in prison for a murder he did not commit. His work is textile-based, having learned to sew through the Angola Prison Hospice Program. I unfortunately won’t make it to Detroit before the show ends on September 6th, but highly recommend others do, if they can. -DW

Good Field Trading Co.

I was so sad and surprised to read that Good Field Trading Co. on Mott Street, a staple of Manhattan’s Chinatown since 1984, will be closing at the end of August. They’ve long been one of my favorite spots to pick up fun wrapping paper, especially their handmade sheets, and other gift stationery. They also specialize in traditional Chinese decorations for the Lunar New Year and other celebrations. If you’re already a fan, or haven't yet had the chance to visit, make sure to stop by and show them some love before they close. -PR

The Best Bit

While I’m hesitant to recommend yet another newsletter to subscribe to, especially if your Substack list looks anything like mine, chef Clare de Boer’s The Best Bit absolutely makes the cut. Each edition features one delightfully unfussy recipe, the best of which so far is her Summer Lasagna, featuring plenty of zucchini, ricotta, and tomatoes, with “crisp edges and soft noodles.” It also includes the absolutely perfect direction to “revisit your noodles to accentuate the rumple” before finally baking, which should give you a sense of her approach to instruction. One last selling point: it’s sent infrequently enough—just three missives in the last 30 days—that you could simply bookmark the link and check in every so often. -VvP