When Annie Shi, co-owner and beverage director at New York City restaurants King and Jupiter, started dating her husband in 2020, he was a burgeoning wine collector. “We started going to these long wine tastings outdoors and to friends’ restaurants after hours,” she says. In addition to a love for wine tasting, the couple also developed a love for cooking together. “In the process of dating me, my husband has become a very good cook of Chinese cuisine,” she says.
After getting engaged, Shi and her husband, Sean, decided to ask their guests to donate to their new home fund in lieu of a traditional registry. When it came time to use those funds, “we wanted to put our money towards supporting local businesses and artists and entrepreneurs that we love.” The result is a mix of items that range from cookware to locally made ceramics, including a Taiwanese cleaver made from salvaged artillery shells, marbleized mugs, and “stunningly thin” wine glasses.
I actually still have my original $20 cleaver that I bought my freshman year of college from a Chinese supermarket. But there’s so much chopping in Chinese cuisine, so we wanted to get a sharper, better-made cleaver. Yunhai is an incredible company highlighting artisanal pantry items from Taiwan and China. They recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Brooklyn, which is a great stop after brunch at Win Son. They sell beautiful cleavers from Taiwan that are made from salvaged artillery shells. It’s the knife that I now reach for most often for any slicing or dicing. The balance is amazing. And the broad, flat face of the cleaver is extra useful when scooping up cut ingredients.
I never got into the air-fryer craze, but that is because we are deeply in love with our Balmuda toaster oven. It does everything a normal toaster oven does but also reheats pizza perfectly as well as any flaky pastry or even fried food. The key is that it allows you to drop in a tiny amount of water to provide the perfect steam, so you get a really crusty, crunchy exterior and then a really soft and moist interior. We use it daily.
I love this local Brooklyn brand for their cheerful designs. Towels are something I use everyday: I want them to bring a smile to my face. These fruit-stripe towels are the perfect blend of classic and whimsical and bring a little color into my otherwise all-white bathroom. They’re really water absorbent and supersoft.
I love my donabe the way some people love their cast-iron pots. It is perfect for braises, stews, soups, and rice. It’s especially great for hot-pot nights with friends. It’s the perfect size for two to four people. This donabe uses clay from the Iga region in Japan, which allows it to retain heat and cook extremely evenly. It actually keeps the food hot throughout your meal. The best part is that it looks so beautiful that it can go straight from the stove to the dinner table.
We have Zaltos at Jupiter and at King, but I wanted to get something a little bit different to add to our collection at home. These wine glasses were designed by the legendary winemaker Roberto Conterno. Hand blown and stunningly thin, they have a lovely wide bowl that tapers up. Aesthetics aside, this glass has enhanced every wine I have ever poured into it. It allows you to get the aromatics so much more clearly. It’s a burgundy bowl, but truly, we pour every type of wine in that glass. It makes savoring a glass of wine at home with just the two of us such a treat.
We moved in together last March, and it’s been a long, slow process to get the apartment together. MoMA Design Store has some really fun small pieces of furniture, including this great pivot cabinet. I love this piece because it hides all of my bits and bobs of makeup and other messes out of sight while still bringing a cheerful pop of color. It kind of tucks into corners very nicely. I had also looked at Lichen, a wonderful design shop in Brooklyn which has a similar cabinet in more neutral colors, but I decided to go with the MoMA one instead. I particularly love the primary colors.
I started taking pottery lessons pre-COVID because I realized that, as an adult, I was low on hobbies. I was lucky to find NY Togei, an incredible studio run by the same family for two generations. While I haven’t had the time to continue those classes, I was very lucky to meet two talented ceramicists. One, my sensei, Risa Nishimori, makes some gorgeous nerikomi mugs. She creates this marbleized effect. We are a Bialetti Moka pot household, and they are the perfect size. We also commission a full set of plates and bowls from another ceramicist named Esther. We picked out the size and the shape and the glaze together, and they’re absolutely beautiful. But if you can’t invest in a full set, she also recently collaborated with Drink Halmi.
Having a wok in our repertoire of pots and pans has been a game changer. We love to cook Chinese food at home, and our carbon-steel wok has made stir-frying, steaming, and deep-frying all incredibly fast and easy. The carbon steel means that the pot is incredibly lightweight, and you can find a great one for relatively cheap. We recently tried our hand at Taiwanese fried chicken for a dinner party, and it worked like a dream. The best part of cleanup was tossing in one of these handy FryAway packets after the frying and throwing out a solid disk of oil at the end of the night.
I open many bottles of wine at King and Jupiter (and at home!), and the key to getting wine into the glass as quickly as possible is an excellent wine key. You don’t need anything fancy. In fact, the more basic, the better. I try not to leave for work without my handy Coutale corkscrew. This really is the best one. You don’t need a $200 corkscrew. It has the best serrated foil cutter and a double hinge that makes it incredibly easy to get to the good stuff quickly.
Frances Palmer is an extremely talented ceramicist. I wish my entire home could be filled with her beautiful handmade creations. I have limited myself for now to her bud vases, which are utterly charming and make even my deli flowers look spry and elegant.
When my husband and I joined households, one of the few things that neither of us had was a water pitcher. I love this joyful Dansk Kobenhaven water jug in a daffodil-like yellow. It is an absolute classic and equally practical as a vase or to hold your ice tea. Luckily, it is much easier to purchase this previously hard to scour vintage item now that Food52 has revived some of the most iconic designs from the Dansk archives.
Because we live in an apartment, we really needed to maximize our vertical wall space. It’s expensive, but the way we justified it is that you take it with you for the rest of your life. It’s truly modular. You can reconfigure it to fit whatever house you move on to. And it actually retains its value. If you ever decide that you change your mind — though I can’t imagine anyone would — you can sell it. It resells for a very similar price. It made a huge difference in our apartment: It gave us so much extra storage and made it look really clean. One piece of advice I have: Hire a professional Vitsoe installer. We tried our hand at installing because they do say you can do it yourself. You cannot do it yourself.
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