Andy Warhol, Halston, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Calvin Klein, Bianca Jagger … If the palm-leaf-covered walls at Indochine could talk, they’d likely still be whispering about these guests that Jean-Marc Houmard encountered on his very first shift as a waiter at New York’s unofficial fashion canteen. Now, as proprietor, the Swiss-born restaurateur has ensured that Indochine continues to be one of the hangouts of choice for a new generation of creatives. From orchestrating the seating charts to casting the catwalk-worthy waitstaff, Houmard reveals an attention to detail that has served him well. This year, Indochine celebrates its 35th anniversary by opening a new outpost, in Dubai. And when Houmard isn’t worrying himself with the presentation of his Vietnamese bouillabaisse, one might find him procuring furnishings for Tribal, his new hotel and residences in the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua, or cruising around New York in his 1989 tobacco Mercedes-Benz 560 SL. Naturally, he has some well-formed opinions on the key components to the good life. —Brian Wolk & Claude Morais
Airline: Swiss. It’s probably not the best anymore, but it’s a little taste of home.
App: Shazam. It always amazes me when it’s able to pick up an obscure Arabic song from the open window of a passing cab.
Breakfast, weekday: A starched tablecloth and napkin, a pot of coffee, and a croissant in a garden overlooking Lake Lugano
Breakfast, weekend: Dim sum at the Myst, in Saigon
Car: A 1969 Jaguar E-Type
Dinner, weekday: Sea bass at the corner stool of the bar at Indochine
Dinner, weekend: Quail-and-lobster paella cooked with friends at my house on Fire Island
Drive: The crest of Mulholland Drive on a Sunday afternoon
Hideaway: A bungalow on one of the tiny islands on Lake Nicaragua, near the colonial town of Granada
Hotel: Waldhaus Sils-Maria. Old-world at its best, with a string quartet playing during afternoon tea
Last Meal: Bouillabaisse in a small Corsican village
Movie: La Dolce Vita for Anouk Aimée, Mademoiselle for Jeanne Moreau, and La Piscine for Romy Schneider
Nonfiction book: God Is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
Novel: Mémoires d’Hadrien, by Marguerite Yourcenar
Pet: Milo, my funny, cuddly Cavoodle
President: Oh, God. Barack, do we miss you!
Saying: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”—Oscar Wilde
Television series: Dix pour Cent (Call My Agent!), for the French actors who make an appearance, and The Sopranos, for exploring the humanity of a Jersey mafioso
Theme song to your life: Brigitte Bardot and Guy Marchand’s “Plaisir d’Amour”
Vacation: I’d like to see the red desert of Mauritania. I’d like to go back to Phnom Penh. I’d like to live in Tangiers for a few months …
View: From Vivien Leigh’s terrace in The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, overlooking the city’s roofs and cupolas, in the late afternoon