Posts from April 2007

Not the 'School of Rock'...Peter Gabriel's WOMAD Summer School in Bath

With May around the corner, you might be making plans...for Nigel or Jane or Bea or Pierre's summer know the siblings...
Here is an idea...You might want to broaden their horizon beyond the School of Rock.
One of the offspring of Peter Gabriel, WOMAD this year offers the Womad Summer School 2007 at the Bath Spa University in the UK from July 30 to August 4.
The Summer School offers a global outlook on percussion and guitar as well as singer/ songwriters.
For more details download their Mini Guide. Information on their Children Art Camp is also included.

By the way, a new and improved Peter Gabriel site with Summer concert dates, video and more just launched and might help you to make plans for the parents too!

Other Summer plans for the Kids: Learn French in the Mediterranean city of Montpellier

Carry your Good Luck with these Japanese bags

In our fast moving times, Takatora, a Tokyo store and artisan workshop builds on the tradition of the Edo era to offer contemporary bags that combine symbols and wordplay.

A good example is this one (photo from PingMag) featuring a dragonfly. Dragonfly

It is said that " It is good luck if a dragon fly lands on you - so this bag should bring you luck!"

It reminded me of the 'good luck charm' story the guide at the Museum of Natural History told me last week when a butterfly landed on my head .

Thanks to PingMag for teaching us something with their Takatora: Edo Wordplay On Japanese Textiles story which inspired me to write these few words.

Also read A Day at the Museum

My sneak preview of FR.OG...a Restaurant opening today in New York

My curiosity awakened by what I could glean on Chef Didier Virot and his new offspring FR.OG, I arrived at the pre-opening cocktail party yesterday evening brimming with anticipation.
The restaurant is located at 71, Spring Street, a block away from Broadway and a stone throw from Balthazar.
As far as the decor goes, it is minimal but elegant with white walls, black top tables and pink and grey banquettes and stools.
Some of the lamps were custom made for FR.OG in Morocco.
Each level has its own bar. The lower level feels more cozy.
Chablis, Champagne and cocktails were passed around along with tasting portions of some of the items on the menu.
I especially liked the Tomato Vegetable soup topped with a dollop of curry cream and chive and the Boneless duck leg in Pastilla.

Neither the decor nor the food are the bistro or brasserie type. It is not classic French.

On first impression, I see it more as somewhere to go for a certain ambiance (atmosphere anyone?) and a different mix of flavors.'Taste the difference' would be a way to put it.

I guess I will have a better feel for the place when I go back and sit down for a real dinner.

Previous French flavored restaurant features: Cyrus versus French Laundry

Milan promotes Student Friendly image with 'Bed Sharing'

During this year Design Publico, today is last day, Milan decided to offer design students a budget housing alternative with Bed Sharing. I do not care for the name. House Sharing would be a better fit.

It reminds me of facilities such as Hostals in Spain where families offer young travelers rooms for rent and also an opportunity to interact with local people.

Bed Sharing offers a catalogue of available accommodations. You pick your 3 preferred choices and wait to find out which is available. Then you confirm your choice, pay a small fee to the organization and then get the owner's contact info.

First read about it on Springwise

Also on travel and housing solutions: Tired of Hotels, Book an Apartment

Saucisson and the Happy Pig...An acquired taste for the French

In France, going for a picnic without some saucisson in your basket of goodies is unforgivable.

This poster for 'Les Bons Saucissons du Cochon Prodigue' from Auvergne will make you smile or cringe.

Saucisson The image lacks subtlety but drives the point of good food coming from well treated (up to a point) animals. These days we call it Free Range.

I found this vintage take on the very culturally incorrect site Suicide Food.

The image also reminded me of a day when a generous man from the Pyrenees offered me a couple of slices of his homemade saucisson washed down with some of the local wine.
It was during a short train trip on my way to Toulouse and a posh lady frowned on the whole thing. It was not proper.

Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini offered her take on Saucisson de Canard (Duck Saucisson) from Haute-Savoie in the French Alps.

Sam of Becks and Posh in Look at this Beauty shared Fred's passion for Saucisson Sec.

I could go on with Pig Tales but I will stop right here.
Maybe some other time.

I discovered the imagerie thanks to the always diverse Coudal

And do not forget:  Pinot Days is coming to New York
After all, what would peasant fare taste like without wine to go with it?

An Eco-Friendly Automobile Club? Better World Club for Earth Day

Today, I have to pledge ignorance.
I have to say I was unaware of the existence of the Better World Club, the 'Green' alternative to AAA.
Prices for the two services are pretty similar.
To prove its Green Credentials, Better World Club distinguishes itself by offering Bicycle Road Assistance, discounts on Hybrid Car Rentals. It also promotes eco-tourism and carbon offsets.
Check their comparison page for more details.

The company gives 1% of its profits to environmental causes.

My two cents for Earth Day 2007.

On Eco-Friendly services: Teaching Evolution, EV Car Rentals and Boston Taxis go green

Smile with 'An idiot's guide to French Cuisine' by Mr Bean...himself

Subtitled A guide to eating and drinking on the wrong side of the Channel, An idiot's guide to French cuisine by Mr Bean in the March edition of Observer Food Monthly pokes fun at pretentious menus.

Rowan Atkinson offers quick translations of Moules Marinieres to Seafaring Donkeys, Gratin Dauphinois becomes Grated Dolphin as for Les Poissons (the fishes) it more or less means that Les (the chef) is there and tends to poison people.
As for home cooking, his recipe suggestion is that for Coq au Vin you start by getting a Chicken drunk on wine.

It is true that my ears ring when I hear blanc turn into blanque when applied to sauvignon blanc or beurre blanc. As for cheese, Petit Basque becomes petite and a Manchego gets described as a Spanish Pecorino.

California winery 'Mer et Soleil' is pronounced God knows what!

Any ideas on what the French translation of Rowan Atkinson would be.
For Rowan, a natural would be Rouen, as for Atkinson any suggestions.

Also on Lost in Translation: Ragout or why some American chefs want to call a cat a dog

Languedoc-Roussillon goes centerstage for Wine Blogging Wednesday # 33

For whatever reasons, being busy the main one, I have dropped off the map of Wine Blogging Wednesday for a few months now.Perpignan
After finding out the theme of Edition #33, Languedoc-Roussillon wines in the $15 to $30 range (or mid price wines from the Midi as the host for this event Doktor Weingolb calls it) I knew  that I could not miss this one.

I will start digging for ideas. It also gives me a chance to make some advance planning for a visit to southern France and Spain later this year.

Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillon are dear to my heart especially Perpignan (pictured here), the Catalan capital of Roussillon.

Will Cassoulet be on the Menu?

My last Wine Blogging Wednesday entry (September 2006) : Bubbling Over, Ruinart Champagne

Famous for 15 Minutes...Buy Your Friends A Drink...Online

Is it just a spur of the moment idea or does it have legs Buy Your Friend A Drink is a new service that allows you to buy someone a drink online if you cannot be there.Buyfriend_2
So far its reach is limited to establishments in New York, Hoboken, Farmingdale and Bay Shore.
So this is one for the New York City crowd.
The Bar List by city gives a short description of each place with link to its website and a map.
The site is well designed and the service is the idea of Steven Cohn.
Good Luck!

Also in the Bars and Lounges section: A crush from down under, bottle recycling for bars and Not for the Faint, Eat drink Hong Kong plus When in Rome, visit 'Obika' mozzarella bar

'Pinot Days' lands in New York next week

Thanks to John Ogden of Olson Ogden Wines, Pinot Days got on my radar last year with tastings in San Francisco.

It just happens that this year the organizers decided to stage a second event in New York City.Pinot_days_logo

Pinot Days New York starts on April 27th with the Winemaker's Dinner at The Tasting Room ($130 per person, all inclusive).

It continues on Saturday with The Oregon Retrospective at Lunch Time followed by The Best of Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley (3:30-5:30pm) and Best of Santa Rita Hills, Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Maria Valley Horizontal (7-9pm).

If you want to take it all in one serving the Grand Festival Public Tasting on Sunday will give you a chance to taste 140 Pinot Noirs from California, Oregon, Burgundy, New Zealand and Australia for only $50 per person.

Most events take place at Javits Center.

I will share more details on Pinot Days in the coming week.

Some of my recent wine pieces: Is this nice wine you just bought a fake and On the west coast...of South Africa