Posts from February 2007

Jerks at Work...How not to become one and How to survive them...By Bob Sutton

I have to admit I still have not finished reading "Weird ideas that work' by Robert Sutton and here comes his new tome that pulls no punches with its 'The No Ass...Rule' title.

Well, let's start by admitting that we all have ass....moments including myself.

Some of us have enough wisdom to recognize we messed up and apologize.

Some of us even want to change.

Others seem oblivious to the fact that they are being ass...

I recently had an almost perfect day at work that was ruined by one of these ass...moments (not mine, thanks god).

It can be hard to be nice when faced with meanness.

Jerks at work definitely do not create a productive work place.

In his take on the book Guy Kawasaki suggests the following: "Develop indifference and emotional detachment. Sutton may be the only author who has the insight and courage to recommend that being indifferent and detached may be a good thing in work environments. If it permits you to survive, then it is. In other words, don’t let the jerks get to you."

Other (in)sanity pieces: Shedding Stress: Busy professionals reflect and Substance and Appetite plus  About Toxic Coworkers

Tango and Cha Cha Cha and the Perfect Cocktails with 'Extra Tasty', your Personal Bartender

Looking for the Perfect Drink to Shake while dancing the Tango or the Cha Cha Cha with your most recent conquest (or your old flame) and make a real impression, do not head for the bar instead visit Extra Tasty. Extratasty
This online Lounge offers Drink Recipes with a Drink of the Day highlight.
If you have more time on your hands, you can list your personal bar inventory in My Bar and Extra Tasty will tell you what cocktails can come out of it.

If you are a talented mixologist, get your 5 minutes of fame by submitting your own concoctions.

Cannot wait to share with your friends a drink you discovered on Extra Tasty, sign up to get them on your cellphone by text message.

Another cool idea coming our way from Chicago.

For the best Shirley Temple in Northern New Jersey, visit my friend Ryan at Napa Valley Grille (Paramus)...You could also ask him for a Mojito or in the summer his favorite Frozen Drink!!!

Other Bartender and Cocktail Stories: 10 ways to stay on a Bartender's good side

I've seen 'The Past, The Present, The Future of Food'...Webcast Tonight with Michael Pollan and John Mackey

Stopping by for a quick visit to Becks and Posh, I found out about The Past, The Present, The Future of Food.

This Live Event and Webcast takes place tonight from 7:00 to 9:00 pm (Pacific Time).
The Live Event at Zellerbach Auditorium of UC Berkeley is sold out.
It will start with a multimedia presentation on the topic by John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) who will then be joined by Michael Pollan to continue the exchange they started after the author's publication of The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Visit this page for more details on the Webcast.

The Observer Food Monthly offered its own take on The Future of Food late last year.
The introduction "Imagine a world where liquid nitrogen is a kitchen must have and your food gets cooked in a vacuum sealed bag..." sets the stage.

My guess is that tonight's presentation will be more down to earth or less futuristic if you prefer.

Other Adventures in Food Stories: Seafood Ice Cream and other Strange Brews

Your trip won't go to the dogs with the Pet Watch Club

You think your life changes when you have kids. Animals whether cats, dogs or birds for that matter can make planning a business trip or a vacation as much of a challenge.

A couple from Falls Church (Virginia) run into that kind of issues and from that came the idea of Pet Watch Club.

The idea is quite simple you register as a member and then look for fellow animal lovers in your area.
You can set a profile page for your pet.
The club also allows you to exchange tips on animal care and more and the next time you have to leave town, you can ask one of your pet buddies to take care of your best friend while you are away.

Some of the features offered are similar to Dogster but the tone on Pet Watch Club is more subdued, less zany.

Nothing wrong with diverse choices.

Other Cats and Dogs stories: Is your Dog a Doga pratitioner? and Hilton Hotel New York (Avenue of the Americas) is pet friendly

Surprise...Japanese Restaurant Week...New York City...March 4 to 10

The city that never sleeps will dazzle us with Japanese Restaurant Week from March 4 to 10.

The event will offer pre-fixe Lunch and Dinner at a combination of traditional ones such as Sugiyama and trendier ones like Megu. Japaneserestweek

The organizers tell us that amongst the Unique items being offered are:

-Premium Kobe Steak "Kagerou Yaki" at Megu Midtown ($26);
-Tora-Fugu (Tiger Puffer Fish) Sashimi at Restaurant Nippon ($80);
- A combination of Goya Champuru & brisket of pork belly at Suibi Japanese Restaurant (10% off menu price);
-Japanese Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu with Seasonal Sake at Lan Restaurant ($68);
-Hamaguri Sakura-Mushi Cherry Blossom-Steamed Cherrystone Clams at En Brasserie ($12)
-BBQ Kobe Beef at Takahachi Tribeca ($14.)

Other restaurants are offering tasting menus including an Omakase dinner menu featuring Nobu’s signature dishes at both Nobu and Nobu 57 ($100).

It makes your mouth water.

The Japanese Restaurant Week is part of the city wide Japanese Food Culture Festival.

Amongst my Japanese outings: Japan wraps its snacks in Manga and Anime and Italian Japanese Food anyone? plus 10 best places in Tokyo for handmade pottery.

Stop Flying blind with 'Amadeus' great Travel Tools

You know how it feels to arrive in a strange place or rather one unknown to you and not have a clear idea on how to reach your hotel, your new digs or your meeting from the airport.
Amadeus came up with great tools to fight that feeling of disorientation.

What they offer runs the gamut from Local Weather to Airport Guide (Car Rental, Bus and Taxi options) and Airport Map, Driving Directions, Subway Map and Subway Planner if needed.

For international travelers, I would recommend the phrasebook with commonly used words translated from your language to the one used at your destination. The currency converter is a godsend as well as the other conversion tools for temperatures, weight and the like.

I tested Amadeus by using my upcoming trip to Austin for South by Southwest.

After logging in to Amadeus you need to pick the Travel Tools option, then indicate your Departure Country and Airport as well as the date and do the same for your Destination.

Getting a hold of these details all in one place, you will not feel antsy upon arrival whether you are jet lagged or just tired after rising too early to catch your flight.

I paid a visit to Amadeus after seeing their subway maps mentioned on Lifehacker.

Other Airborne stories: Air travel away from the crowds plus A short guide to sleeping in Airports and Headed for the Airport, Stop stressing about parking   

No Oscar for me this Year...Check my Top 5 syndicated Pieces

Despite my exotic accent, I will not get any Oscar tonight.

One thing I can share with you is my Top 5 syndicated posts for the past month or so:

  1. Love Bites and Quick Dance Steps means extra points (NBC Chicago)
  2. Bonnie and Clyde, Belinda et moi, ex Go-Go's et 'Voila' (ABC Hartford, Connecticut)
  3. Hard headed Sommeliers...Listening, Blindness (NBC, Greater Philadelphia)
  4. This is not a Love Song...Altoids opens its doors (WPXI, Pittsburgh)
  5. Japan wraps its snacks in Manga and Anime characters (NBC, Houston)

Thanks to the folks at IBS for helping 'Serge the Concierge' spread its wings.

My 'Oscar' night

Hard Headed Sommeliers...Listening, Blindness and Plain Stupidity

I just finished reading The unbearable stubbornness of sommeliers by Jancis Robinson and what she reports is a little flabbergasting.

My personal approach to suggesting wines in my restaurant times was to find out in simple terms what colour, body (how strong) and type of grape the people would like.
Also important to know was the price range they were looking at and what type of food they would have.
I would never push a wine just for the sake of moving inventory.
I always had to believe in what I was recommending, I still do.
I was careful to mention that I had my preferences but they were only mine.

I have to admit that I have strong opinions on many things, a French trait maybe.

Nevertheless, when in doubt, I believe in the wisdom of asking others for their opinions.
The feedback is not always pleasant when you receive it but can often be fruitful.
Making silly decisions just to prove that you are in charge is not a sign of strength but rather of deafness, blindness or worse stupidity.

Pam Johnson offered (back in 2004) some fine advice on Leading by Listening that is still relevant .

Add a sprinkle of self-deprecating humor.

Also on work and open ears: Stars do not work for Idiots (Mavericks at Work)

Harried and Tend to loose your Keys, A Nifty service for New Yorkers

You know the feeling of being stuck outside your office, store or apartment without keys. You lost them, forgot them or whatever.
Some enterprising New Yorkers came up with a nifty service called NewYourKey.
You register and pay your membership for the service, let them store copies of these most important keys (including car keys)and call them when locked out. They come to the rescue.
Membership starts at $30.00 (for basic service) and there is a $20 minimum fee for each rescue mission.
They use a Global Positioning System to track their Rescue Vans so they can tell you how long or short the wait will be.
A bargain compared to a visit from the locksmith, if you can get him to come.

So far I believe the service is only available in New York City.

Kudos to them for the bright idea.

Maybe I should add something like this to the list of services we provide at New Jersey Concierges.

I discovered the company on Springwise.

Recent Global Positioning story: Spring Up and Map your Motorcycle Trek

Nuts, Oils and the French Connection: La Tourangelle

It's a long road from the Loire Valley to California. Saumur based La Tourangelle decided that the best way to produce its gourmet oils in the US was to partner with California Oils.
Mind you, we are not talking olives here. Tourang
The oils are extracted from walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and also grapeseeds. Add to that sesame, pistachio and pecan.
There is a long tradition of French farmers making oil from nuts collected on their property.
The La Tourangelle US website besides offering information on its various oils, also shares a number of yummy recipes.

So if you want to add un certain je ne sais quoi to your salad, a main dish or even a cake take a peak at La Tourangelle.

If you visit the Saumur area, you can even take a tour of the company's Oil Museum. It is open year round and the visit takes about one hour.

I also suggest that you read Georgette Brennan's excellent article, Walnut oil has French Pedigree on La Tourangelle US.

Got you hungry now?

I discovered these wonderful oils thanks to Sam of Becks and Posh.

More oil pieces, on upscale olive oil brands: Haute cuisine, creating your own grand cru and A Sting operation  or rather Trudy's