Madonna: Masterpiece


Returning to the limelight with a decisively unprocessed, but sweet serving of sound is Madonna’s “Masterpiece.”

The track, which the Queen of Pop had penned for her film W.E., won Best Original Song at the Golden Globes recently. The tune is a hark back to the nineties, notably the evocative “You’ll See” and magnifies Madonna’s vocal aptitude, a rather refreshing turn in her discography, considering the polluted turn 2008’s Hard Candy had acquired. William Orbit’s genius co-production is more than apparent on the track, albeit what’s available is a low-quality leak.


Go Ask Alice!

Go Ask Alice! is an online Q&A health resource provided by Columbia University for students and the general public. Beginning in the fall of 1993, Go Ask Alice! today receives an average of 2,000 questions per week.

Approaching its 20-year anniversary, the venerable resource was in dire need of rejuvenation. The update included a new logo and a more robust website.

The old mark

Go Ask Alice! Old Logo

The new mark

Go Ask Alice! Faris Habayeb


© 2012 Faris Habayeb, Columbia University

Balthazar Boulangerie: Madelines

Balthazar Boulangerie Treatment

When attempts at gobbling up Torrisi’s divine turkey sandwich go pear shaped, head over to Balthazar to cheer up. Not necessarily the restaurant, as the crowds are just as crazy, but the bakery.

The madelines here are endearingly unique. Concave and recessed, they don’t bulge in the scalloped fashion one is accustomed to. Offered in pistachio or chocolate, the latter is a concave petit four with a delicate chocolate profile that is not too brash, all the while retaining the splendid buttery quality of a madeline. With a freshly pulled espresso that’s marked with foam, your unresolved frustrations with Torrisi will melt away, like the freshly-made madeline in your mouth.

80 Spring Street (between Crosby & Broadway)
New York, NY 10012



It was only on a recent trip to visit family in the Middle East did I make the connection between Becco and Lidia Bastianich. The prized Hell’s Kitchen Italian eatery had been on my radar for sometime now, but for some reason the association between Lidia and Becco never resonated till I watched her cook on the Arab world’s answer to The Food Network, Fatafeat.

On a cold but eventful December evening, I stumbled into the restaurant and the Italian experience was one of the most promising in the area.

Becco is not the best Italian restaurant in the city, nonetheless, it fares on a delicious and competent level. The all-you-can-eat three-pasta prix fixe is a foodie’s concept of a buffet. Waiters gracefully offer to replenish your plate with variable pastas of the day. Wines are extensive and much of them are distinguished without breaking the bank. Most notable is the restaurant’s service. Many of the waitstaff seem native to Italy and serve in a manner that is elegant but warm, all the while retaining an effortless presence that does not interrupt your dining experience. The mashed white bean appetizer, more or less an Italian hummus, is roused with a hauntingly nutty olive oil. The Antipasto Misto offering is a smorgasbord with delicious little bites of prepared vegetables, cheese and seafood. It’s a great way to unlock the restaurant’s caliber.

355 W 46th St

(between 8th Ave & 9th Ave) 
New York, NY 10036

Soundtracking Moments: January Jamz

January Jamz

1. Fade To Grey – Visage
2. Honey Mine – Korallreven
3. I Took A Little Something – Florrie
4. Life In Mono – Mono
5. Midnight City – M83
6. Paradisco  Charlotte Gainsbourg
7. The Ghost Who Walks – Karen Elson
8. There’s An End – Holly Golightly
9. Velvet Elvis – Alex Winston
10. Born To Die – Lana Del Rey

© 2012 Art by Faris Habayeb