Editor’s Note: Welcome to In My Cart, a regular series in which we ask some of the coolest guys we know what they’ve recently acquired, are thinking about buying, or need to buy more of — but for whatever reason don’t have in hand just yet. This week, Kris Yenbamroong, the Los Angeles chef behind the wildly popular Night + Market restaurants.
In less than a decade, Kris Yenbamroong has created an unmistakable voice in the culinary world. The Los Angeles chef opened the lively trio of Night + Market restaurants which are scattered across his hometown. A favorite of the late food critic Jonathan Gold, Yenbamroong has also received multiple James Beard Foundation nominations including Rising Star Chef and Best Chef West. Yenbamroong’s restaurants reflect his Thai roots and offer distinct menus with notable natural wine lists — also James Beard nominated — which have garnered loyal fans in the Golden State and beyond.
Before pursuing a career in the restaurant industry, Yenbamroong worked for the iconoclastic photographer and filmmaker Richard Kern. At the age of 25, he moved back to L.A to helm his family’s popular Thai restaurant, Talesai. In 2010, he opened the first Night + Market location, which, thanks in part to Gold’s reviews, found a fanbase in the city and eventually garnered interest from publications like the New York Times, GQ and Bon Appétit.
Along with his restaurant responsibilities, Yenbamroong hosted the Munchies “Guide to Hollywood,” released the Night + Market cookbook and helped design a pair of sunglasses — a few years ago, he teamed up with Garrett Leight California Optical to produce a ’70s inspired aviator dubbed the Larb King. We recently caught up with Yenbamroong after the James Beard Foundation Gala to find out what he’s currently eyeing. The products — from a pair of sunglasses to a vintage watch to the perfect Cadillac — are bold yet classic. But he explains it best.
Rolex Datejust Reference 1603, Stainless Steel
“There’s a softness to the silver dials of ’60s Rolexes where it almost looks like satin. This is the perfect everyday watch to me. It’s casual and understated but classy enough to dress up. The vintage ones are lighter, thinner and have acrylic crystal which gives them a distinctive look. There are better watches, but I don’t care about that. I want iconic. And it doesn’t get any more iconic than a vintage Rolex.”
Supreme Gold Pendant
“I love gold jewelry and Supreme makes some of the best, most classic looking pieces. Typically, to get a timeless aesthetic, you have to scour gold shops at swap meets, not high end spots. Supreme hits that mark with their jewelry.”
Coleman Vintage Cooler
“Pink is sort of the official color of Night + Market, something you might realize if you’ve been to any of our restaurants. Generally, I’m a black and gray kind of guy — for clothes, cars, tattoos — so any chance to inject a little color into my life is certainly welcome.”
Cartier “Santos de Cartier” Sunglasses
“The shape on these is really nice — I particularly like how the brow line is sloped and not straight. It makes a difference. They’re definitely spendy but I could see these lasting a lifetime.”
1986 Cadillac Coupe De Ville Fleetwood Edition
“There’s something great about mid-’80s Caddies — you can have Cadillac flair in a compact size. The full size Caddies of the previous decade are great, but in terms of actual drivability on busy modern-day streets, they’re too much car. ”
Tom Ford Burgundy Suede Bomber
“This jacket combines two of the most luxe, flossy elements for outerwear in my opinion: burgundy and suede. Wearing Burgundy — jacket, shirt, shoes, anything — lets people know you’re not afraid to pop a fancy bottle of wine on a Tuesday night to drink with your Postmates order of steak and baked potato. Suede, especially fine suede, is a sophisticated alternative to your daily leather jacket.”
Dries Van Noten Leather Messenger Bag
“Last time I used a messenger bag was when I lived in NYC in the mid-2000s. It seemed that everyone who was hip to the skip had adopted it over the more standard backpack. After a while it got cheesy and I went back to the backpack. This Dries bag is making me reconsider.”
Gengetsu 210mm Wa-Gyuto
“I didn’t start using Japanese knives until a few years ago — I was loyal to Thai Kiwi knives and heftier Western-style knives like Wusthof. When I finally stopped into Japanese Knife Imports, an amazing knife store on the edge of Beverly Hills, I was blown away by what I saw. It was the first time I actually geeked out on knives. This knife is cool because it’s semi-stainless, so it’s easier to maintain than a carbon steel knife, but it’s still easy to sharpen. It’s heftier than a super thin knife, which is good for me since I put my knives through heavy use.”
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