A Guide to the Good Life: Part 2
Curious how those extravagant luxury cars perform? “, “We asked to be taken for a ride by the one guy lucky enough to tool around all day in Porsches, BMWs, Hummers, and other high-powered wheels: A valet at Louis Boston.
Most luxurious car in parking lot?
>> Cadillac Escalade. These trucks ride like you would expect a Cadillac to ride: smooth, plush, quiet. Plus, they've got a complete home entertainment center in the back — DVD player, Bose speakers, the works. I see a lot of athletes in them.
Speaking of sports, what model of sports car scores big here?
>> Ferrari 360 Modena. It's pretty much a racecar, so there's only room for the driver and one passenger, maybe a very small dog. Instead of a regular shifter, there are paddles on the steering wheel that you click to change gears. Generally it's the head-honcho guy who owns this car.
Nothing like working for the man. But what about the ma'am? What does the suburban set drive?
>> BMW 760i. This is a family car. There's a lot of room for kids in the back, and there is a knob built into the dashboard, which controls pretty much everything in the car. It's definitely a car for the
Well, cars are just big toys, really. Do you poke fun at any in particular?
>> Hummer H2. It's only worth owning if you're a contractor on the Big Dig. The H2s are really just too damn wide. The gas mileage is atrocious, around 10 miles per gallon, so basically if you go up Newbury and back down Boylston, you burn roughly half a gallon of gas. They're just a novelty item.
Speaking of which, what do the rich kids hand you the keys to?
>> BMW X5. I see a lot of college students driving these cars. It feels like a cross between a racecar and a truck — it's a little more rugged than the Caddy, like it was built for harsher conditions.
Yeah, like scheduling shopping time between class time. What do their parents pull up in?
>> Porsche Cayenne Turbos. By far, this is the sickest pick-up of any SUV. It could possibly be one of the fastest cars I've ever driven. The engine goes from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds. The Bose stereo sounds incredible, too. These tend to be owned by someone who has other Porsches.
Why limit yourself, right? So which is your favorite?
>> Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. The convertible has a hardtop that turns open-air within 16 seconds at the press of a button.
OK, last question: Are there any cars that really make your jaw drop?
>> McLaren F1. These cars are as exotic as they come. They cost close to $1 million. There are only a few of these in the U.S., and I've seen only one in Boston. The McLaren's doors open upward, like a pair of wings, but the most bizarre thing about this car is that the driver's seat and steering wheel are in the middle, with one passenger seat on each side. So cool.
No man is an island. But who wouldn't want to own one? By James Gaddy
There is something innately fabulous about the idea of owning an entire island, surrounded by nothing more than water, adrift in a sea of reclusiveness. It's cool, in a sort of J.D. Salinger way. But that's owning an island. Buying one is a much more slippery process.
Real estate broker Jim Trimble has some advice. Having sold some 15 islands in his 20-year career, Trimble now has the keys — or rather, the oars — to Fog Island, a 60-acre spit of land about seven miles off the coast of Maine. When scoping out an island, Trimble says to make sure it's roomy. That's because, by law, you can't build within 75 feet of the ocean. What else to lock in: A protected mooring so you can dock a boat (even Salinger got stir-crazy) and have easy access to the mainland.
So has Trimble gotten any nibbles on Fog Island? He last showed it to a man who has a house near the coast and wanted a quiet place to picnic. At $1.695 million, that's an expensive playground. Then again, compared to what 60 acres costs onshore these days, it's a steal.
“One cannot think well, live well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” declared Virginia Woolf. If that's not reason to indulge in the finest food on earth, we don't what is. Herewith, Boston's most rare, refined, and ragingly expensive food and drink.
$29.95 per pound
Doughy with a deep tang at the back of the mouth.
Made by an old Swiss woman who has cows and (we think) lives in a shoe.
$25.95 per pound
Velvety and sweet. Best enjoyed wrapped around melon or over fresh arugula.
Good ham is good ham, but this porker is aged 24 months instead of the
Alba white truffles over tagliatelle
$75-$95 for small plate
Earthy, moldy, and oniony, with hints of garlic. Shaved tableside, it gives off an intoxicating aroma.
Found only in Piedmont, Italy, and available for three short months.
Elevages Perigord, Palme
$31.95 for 4.5 ounces
Sweet and smooth, it melts
Fattened duck liver. Inhumane, but even animal-rights protesters have
Persicus Gold Iranian Astara
Has a nutty saltiness. Served with oysters and Champagne,
Because the beluga shipment is
1876, Sauternes France
$15,000 per bottle
Notes of apricot peel, honey,
If you can find the Fed's wine
Macallan Select Reserve 1946
A complex sherry bouquet with a long, long, long-lasting burn.
Made in 1946, but appreciated by drinkers born on or before that date.
El Jimador Reserva Añejo
Smooth amber flavor with vibrant notes of vanilla and agave. Skip the lime and salt.
Note to spring-breakers worldwide: This refined, fiery potion graduates
Hardy's “Perfection” Cognac
A symphony of chocolate, coffee,
Harvested before greedy insects
Yes, you can hire your own manservant. And yes, it is hard to find a good one. By Kris Frieswick
>> Who doesn't want a butler ? Someone to pick up the milk, keep the linen clean, polish the silver. More and more of the rich, and not so rich, are looking to hire good help. “As baby boomers age, many want more time at home with the services provided by a butler,” says Werner Leutert, cochairman of the International Guild of Professional Butlers. Working parents with children are also butler-besotted.
>> Salaries for most hired help start in the $40,000 range and rise far past $100,000, with benefits, 401(k) plans, and housing often also required. People who want to put a butler on the payroll for the long term should consult a placement agency, Leutert says. This ensures that the candidates have undergone a background check. The only downsides are the agency fees — usually 15 to 35 percent of the first year's salary (like you care!) — and the time (a match can take up to 12 weeks).
>> For butler service on the double, word of mouth is the best route. Your interior designer knows people in the domestic-service business, says Matthew Tatro, a household manager with 10 years of experience. But be warned — the butlers aren't the only ones being screened. Your background will be scrutinized by would-be butlers, too. Word travels fast if you have a reputation for not treating service personnel well, butlers say. Makes you wish you were a little nicer to the landscaper, doesn't it?
Want to live like royalty? Take some pointers from the woman who wrote the book on it. Despite her Yankee ties (family in Rockport and a degree from Simmons), Francesca Castagnoli is the queen of luxuri ous living and the author of Princess: You Know Who You Are , a witty how-to manual. The guide is addictive enough to turn even a stalwart New Englander into a pleasure-seeking Sybarite — Cham pagne for breakfast, anyone? Here, she bestows a Princess primer upon us.
>> Every Occasion is a Special Occasion. ” Princesses know that pampering is not a once-in-a-while, dial-up connection to indulgence, but a T1 line to self-fulfillment. I'm hooked on Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland on Newbury — their packaging makes even the smallest box a big present. Also, I never miss a trip to Louis Boston to grab a chocolateTalk candy bag. I nibble on their candy before bed so I always have sweet dreams!”
>> Save Yourself First. “The airline safety card that says, 'Place the oxygen mask on yourself and then on children' must have been written by a princess. We know that in order to help others, we must help ourselves first. For example, whenever I have an event in Boston for which I need to feel fabulous, I refresh with a scalp treatment with my favorite stylist at Umi salon. It's an instant lift, and these folks are the best. And a makeup session with Debra Macki at home or in her Salem studio makes you feel a tad prettier, too.”
>> Surprise Yourself. “The 'wow' can be as simple as calling in sick to spend the day shopping or as clever as going to see Dr. Ranella Hirsch in Cambridge for a skin check-up, then leaving with a smooth, serene Botoxed brow instead.”
>> Leave Town. “Princesses relax out of town, and often. Rent a cottage on Nantucket and get in touch with your inner Lilly (as in Pulitzer). I wore my pink-and-green tankini with a gorilla, giraffe, and elephant print. It was a true princess moment.”
>> Teach by Example. “Send yourself peonies, lilies of the valley, and sweet peas from Winston Flowers. Treat yourself to indulgent gifts from Sparkle in Andover, the ultimate princess store complete with pink walls and hard-to-find goodies like Creed's Spring Flower perfume (love the scent, love the gorgeous bottle), as well as Diptyque's candles (Tuberose is my favorite). While you're at it, buy monogrammed stationery at Eye of the Needle on Newbury Street; their Preppy Personals line is a must-have. It's also the ideal hostess gift!”
>> Say yes as often as possible. “Princesses accept invitations: Which is why I always agree to the profiteroles at Brasserie Jo, accept the topcoat at G-Spa, and take friends up on after-dinner drinks at the Living Room.”
>> Say no as often as possible. “Which is why I limit myself to two watermelon martinis at Saint.”
>> Listen to your inner princess. “We imagine exactly what we want — everything from lunch (crystal-rainbow maki from Osushi), to what we'd name our beach house in Rockport on Marmion Way ('Sandcastle').”