Posts from January 2007

The Meaning of Life...Besides Monty Python's

Things happen that remind you of what is really important.
My day started with the news that someone I knew died too young and that someone close to me was going to be a father.
These 2 events are kind of like the Bookends of Life. It makes you think of The Meaning of Life and I don't mean by that the Monty Python's movie.
Who wants to be remembered as the hardest working person on earth?
Who wants the last memory of them to be an argument with someone?

These words by Soren Kierkegaard: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards" are a good illustration.

Have a great day

Related Post: What do you want to be caught dead doing

Short... for Apple Wood Smoked Apple Ale

In our corner of New Jersey, I know of a very good Apple Wood Smoked Bacon.

I never tasted a Smoked Apple Ale. The Short's Brewing Company of  Bellaire, Michigan has one.
They say it is 'pushing the envelope of fermented innovation'. Smoked_apple_1

Since I have not tasted the beer, I will quote their tasting notes 'Light amber ale infused with seven bushels of apple wood smoked apples.  An initial light toasted maltiness finishing strong of apples and smoke.'

The brewery also hosts concerts and their musical taste shows in other beers such as The Soft Parade which they classify as a Fruit Rye Ale and is sure to appeal to fans of The Doors.

I will give them an 8 (out of 10) for  creativity  and inspiration.

I just need to find one of their brews and taste it if they are available in New Jersey.

Related Post: Ernesto's Long Tail

This 'Moscow Mule' do not Ride It, Drink It

A while back we wrote about Barritts Ginger Beer, a soda from Bermuda. Well it seems that the brand is now retired and instead its US distributors offer Regatta Ginger Beer.
The kids love that somehow spicy Ginger Beer.
Parents might want to try two recipes Regatta offers.
One is named Moscow Mule and was created in the late 1940's and you would have guessed uses vodka. The other Dark'n Stormy uses Black Seal Rum.
Regatta claims it is Bermuda's National Drink.

Need a Roadmap to Travel with Kids...Here comes 'Parentography'

In the past couple of years a number of 'parenting' related sites have emerged. Amongst them Maya's Mom, Parental Wisdom and first mover Parent Hacks.
Newcomer Parentography wants to help with a different aspect of parenting, travel planning whether for a day, a week-end or a vacation.
They want to build a community where parents can share notes and reviews on kids friendly parks, activities, hotels, restaurants and more.

The company was founded by Noelle and Tim Ludwig.
Good Luck!

Related Stories: Expecting...Hire a Baby Planner!

Cyrus vs French Laundry: Jackie and Ben Excellent Napa/Sonoma Vacation...And their New Book

Over the years I have established connections with quite a few good men and women from the windy city, Chicago.
Amongst them are  the talented team of Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. They bring enlightenment to marketing.
I wanted to congratulate them on their new book 'Citizen Marketers, When People are the Message'.
Has 'Power to the People' (John Lennon) already being used for a commercial or how long before it does?

To illustrate their point, Ben suggested Competing against the Best, a story Jackie wrote about two restaurants in California Wine Country. One is the rock star, The French Laundry (Napa). The other is the challenger, Cyrus located in Healdsburg (Sonoma).

Cyrus stands the comparison by using great ingredients and offering great service. They menu is more flexible than Thomas Keller is.
They dazzle you by rolling a caviar and champagne cart to your table. It definitely adds some sparks to your evening.
Using a portable phone to let the Chef (and the customers) know that a VIP table has arrived from the dining room floor ads a theatrical touch to the experience. Cyrus recently was awarded two stars by the Michelin guide (Dinner: up to $300 per person).

In The Epicure in Winter, Carolyne Zinko of the San Francisco Chronicle tells us how a winter package called the Epicurean Indulgence offered at the Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza puts puts dinner at Cyrus within your reach.   

Related Posts: Run Jazz Run, Half Marathon from Napa to Sonoma and Saint Benoit, French Yogurts from Sonoma County

Couch Surfing...Not the Super Bowl kind...

I do not consider myself a couch potato and even less a sports fan married to a remote control which is what the mention of 'couch surfing' brought to mind at first as the Super Bowl is closing on us.

Well it has taken a different meaning thanks to the Couch Surfing Project which sheds new light on the term 'Social Networking'. Their motto is 'Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch At A Time'. In my backpacking days, I might have been open to the idea but now I don't think so .

This project is the brainchild  of Casey Fenton. After 2 years of existence the site claims 125.000 participants (not members) in 17.000 cities around the world.

You never know though, an emergency might have you stuck somewhere without lodging and a free couch could sound good then.

Peter Alsop tells us more about the Couch Surfing Project in Sleeping with Strangers published by Good Magazine.

A! The spirit of adventure.

Related stories: A short guide to Sleeping in Airports

Menu of Hope...And the Winner is...Rodney Wong of Sacramento

The winner of 'Champagne et Repas Chaud', my prize for Menu for Hope, is alive and well in Sacramento. His name is Rodney Wong. He is a boomer rock fan but not a fisherman and told me : "I never had the patience nor the inkling to get up at the crack of dawn".

I invited Rodney to contribute a piece on Sacramento for a new blog that I will be launching shortly.

Congratulations Rodney, your prize is on the way!

Amongst the celebrities recently seen in Sacramento was Robert Scoble visiting the train museum and documenting it with a number of snapshots.

No Wheat Today (or tomorrow)...Gluten Free Cooking Blogs

In my restaurant years I met a number of customers with celiac disease.
I also recently started buying gluten free and whole grain (not whole wheat) pasta on a doctor's recommendation.
As they say it is not how much you eat, it is how well.

With my renewed interest in the gluten free food topic, I have to mention Food Blog Spotlight: Gluten Free by Elise of Simply Recipes.

My favorite amongst her picks is Something in Season by Brendan of Davis, California whose wife is affected by celiac. Being a sensitive guy, he got to work and whips up a number of 'mean' recipes sans gluten.

He just contributed a Cupcake Entry to the January 2007 edition of The Cupcake Challenge anchored this month by Vanilla Garlic.

To your health!

Related posts: Thanksgiving Help, Gluten and Dairy Free and All Cupcakes, All the Time

Don't Worry! Be Messy? Got 'A Perfect Mess'?

I will get my finances, my office, my life, my papers (add your own...) organized must be part of the Top 5 in people's New Year's Resolutions.
Is it driven by a desire to reassert control over things.
Getting a clear picture of where you stand can be valuable. It will only give you a snapshot though. Where you want to go from there is up to you.
For some people, controlling things can become compulsive.
Many years ago, I knew someone who could not resist clipping loose carpet threads with scissors.
It was a public space so she drew stares.
That person got branded as 'anal retentive'.

Going against the grain, David H. Freedman and Eric Abrahamson wrote A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder (Little, Brown). Perfectmess They do not advocate a complete mess but rather that being a compulsive neat freak does not allow one to be creative and entrepreneurial as so much time and energy is spent on being organized.

To get a better sense of what the book is about, Read Chapter One which starts with the following quote: "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk? - Albert Einstein"

I have not read the book yet. I am still waiting for Little, Brown to send me a copy.

David H. Freedman contributed Go Ahead, Make a Mess in INC Magazine (December 2006).

Related posts:

Hello my name is Bert and I am a recovering compulsive talker

Ian Urbina writes about Life's Little Annoyances