Posts from September 2007

Here comes the 'Great British Cheese Festival'...Some call it 'Glastonbury for the Food World'

The British give the world a number of excellent cheese, even a Frenchman like me can recognize that.

This week-end (September 29 and 30), the best producers get their moment of fame at the Great British Cheese Festival. Some call the Festival 'Glastonbury for the Food World'.

The 2007 Edition takes place at Millets Farm Centre in Frilford, Oxfordshire.

Amongst the Events offered, I noticed a Cheese Making Demo (45 Minutes) courtesy of Delamere Dairy who specializes in Goat Cheese.
If all the Cheese Tasting makes you thirsty, whisky buffs might want to check The Dram Busters and have 'a rare opportunity to sample 6 malt whiskies from the Milroy’s of Soho selection'.

I believe that 'bit of a Blur' Alex James will be there, taking the wraps off his first cheese creation.

If you are in attendance, send us your impressions, a couple pictures would be nice.


Related Stories: Don't be Sheepish...Say Cheese and Try the 'Cacio de Roma' and Alex James, big cheese from Blur becomes Foodie Boy plus When in Rome visit 'Obika' Mozzarella Bar

Getting in the Habit of Doing Things...You know Filing, Bills and other Boring Stuff

Reading Leo Babauta's thoughts and suggestions on creating The Habit of Now versus procrastination, clutter and disorder brought to mind the fact that there is an issue of discipline and consistency there.

Should we put dealing with bills, paperwork and that type of boring but necessary stuff in the category of 'healthy habits' in the same way that we get healthier by changing what we eat and exercising.

Streamlining the amount of paperwork we have to deal with can help.
In can be done by reducing the number of accounts we have and managing these online (less paper statements, e-mail reminders for due dates).
Paying with one card for some expenses makes tracking them easier.
Doing a once a year 'clean sweep' of records that can be discarded is another way to reduce the volume of our 'archives'.
Check Ramona Creel's Records Retention Guidelines for that part.

Setting a time and day of the week to deal with these money and paperwork issues and bundling them together might make it easier on you.

Will you start this week-end?

Do you have a better way to handle it? Let us know!

Related: Budget and Personal Finance Online: Mveloppes

With 'The Bobs' (2007)...It's Not All About Me...Well Most of the Time It Is!

Most of the time it is all about me.
I just entered 'Serge the Concierge' in the Run for The Bobs (2007) Awards brought to us by Deutsche Welle.
It is not just one of these Awards Competitions.
It is also a chance to discover what people think and  the way they live across the universe, in many tongues.
This year they added Google Maps which told me that the 2 sites already entered in New Jersey besides yours truly are one in Arabic and the other in Spanish.
You can also browse through the Blogopedia if you have time on your hands.
You will find us There as Serge The Concierge.

Enjoy the exploration.

Related topics: Take 5...For Blog Day 2007

On 'Japanese Microbrews'...and Tokyo Brewpubs...In Words and Video (IHT) via Jeff Boda

No Pingmag connection for Tokyo Thursdays #6.
I thought some of you might enjoy a break from my chatty self with this Video on Japanese Microbrews by Jeff Boda (International Herald Tribune).

As for the Tokyo connection check Popeye who serves '40 beers on tap and three handpumps' (they must be for the 3 real ales I guess) and Ushi Tora the 2 brew pubs he mentions.

I actually found links to both via The Tokyo Food Page going by the tag 'always fresh, never fishy'...interesting!!!

Last Week's Tokyo Thursdays: Remember 'My Neighbor Totoro'

Pho Restaurants in Hong Kong...A Few Pointers...Thanks to Joyce Hor-Chung Lau

After pointing to Joyce Hor-Chung Lau's Review of Le Bambou, a Parisian Pho Restaurant on Globespotters (International Herald Tribune), I let her know.

She was kind enough in turn to suggest a few Pho outposts in Hong Kong.

Here they are in her own words:
      "If you are ever in town and in the Central district, you can find Vietnamese at Indochine (upscale, located in Lan Kwai Fong) and Nga Trang (downscale, located on Wellington St)."

Earlier this month, Joyce tried Pho Lemon (also in Hong Kong), here is her take on it:
      "I did finally try out Pho Lemon on Elgin Street in Soho. It was a fun night, but the restaurant itself was a bit of a letdown. Actually, it was typical Soho — small, a bit stylish, and overpriced. Three of us ate, with moderate wine plus dessert, for Hong Kong $942, or U.S. $120, which is awfully pricey for this cuisine. Yes, the beef came raw as requested, and was sufficiently thinly sliced, but was still rubbery and full of unchewable fat and gristle. For HK $68 for a bowl of pho, they could choose a better cut of meat. The grilled pomfret, which was actually deep-fried whole, was tasty, but only good if you’ve mastered the Asian art of “eating bones.” I’m allergic to shrimp, but my friends said the jumbo prawns were the best dish. One plus was the fact that Pho Lemon absolutely refuse to serve decaf, and only make Vietnamese coffee, percolated at your table into a cup with condensed milk. So the best came at the end."

Thank you Joyce for keeping the Pho conversation cooking.

Related stories: Tuesday Morning Pho Fever and  Spotted...Le Bambou, Parisian Pho Restaurant

Add 'Sound and Vision' to your Ideas or Presentation with 'SketchCast'

Sometimes it is necessary to Think Visual.

You might want to communicate ideas, a story, personal or business projects and the fact is that those you need to reach and be clear on what the whole enchilada is about are nowhere near.
Rather than write a long e-mail or professorial expose take a look at tools like Sketchcast.

With it you can turn your computer screen into a white board, add voice to it and people might even start to understand what your idea is about as this Tres Dibujos shows.

My wife might even be able to bring my multiple 'creative' thoughts to life into a rough draft that could become a neat graphic.

Where Think Visual reminds me of The Kinks, Sound + Vision is more Bowie (not Lester, David).

First heard about Sketchcast on Coudal.

Sketchcast is a creation of Richard Ziade.

Rulers of the Bean World...Coffee Supreme...New Zealand

I always liked a good cup of Java, mostly in the morning, it is kinda part of my 'getting into the day' ritual.
These past few days I could have used quite a bit of caffeine to fight a tired feel that dawned on me but instead opted for a nap.

Not today though, while enjoying a second espresso intake, I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about master roasters Coffee Supreme spilling all the right beans in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland (New Zealand) with an Australian outpost in Melbourne.

They do not operate any Coffee Shops as far as I know but rather supply them with the beans that make your morning sing.
The site offers a dizzying array of features besides the purely commercial ones including How to Make the Perfect Cup at Home, a Cafe Locator and more, more, more.

I took a quick tour of these and not that I am big on pink (the singer or the color), I fell for the bright energetic yet retro look of Hydro Magestic in Hamilton (pictured here).

Scrolling down the same page, I then had the weird experience of seeing a guy who could be my bearded twin leaving 'Mascavada'.

Funny enough the Coffee Supreme website was designed by the RESN team which I met at South by Southwest this year.

The world is small, isn't it.

Other Bean Stories:  Do Americans Drink 'Dishwater Filter Coffee'?

With a Kiwi flavor: A Pacific island named 'Kermadec' and Groove Mill, a carbon neutral winery

Uncovered Coffee Supreme via Vitamin

Tea Time, Biscuits (and boiled meat?), 'Eating for England' by Nigel Stater

There are things distinctively British, words as my daily intake of the Financial Times reminds me but also British food, the topic of Eating for England, a book by Nigel Slater to be published (in the UK) on October 1st.


Who but the British use the term 'cookery' books after all?

I do remember my frequent visits to London in the late 70's and early 80's and most often getting my meals in either Indian or Italian restaurants.

There was also a favorite Pub of mine where I stuck to the salad bar.

I did treat myself to a white table cloth eaterie and on a slow night the entertainment was provided by a flambee dish setting the table cloth on fire.

At the time, the French view of British Food was of boiled meat topped  with jelly like sauces.

To get back to Nigel Slater's book, The Observer Food Monthly offers a Sneak Preview...

A good portion revolves around Tea Time, its ceremonials, cookies (or should I call them biscuits) such as Jammie Dodgers from Burton's Foods or Jaffa Cakes, unknown to me, I have to confess.

From the excerpt, 'Eating for England' sounds quite nostalgic. Sometimes our memories of things make things taste better.

It seems that as far away as Melbourne, some people like the girl behind OOOH!cake dream of Jammie Dodgers.

What about you?  Does the book sounds mostly alien to you?  Do you relate?

Also on Nigel Slater: The salad gospel according to...

Adventures in CoWorking #2, Friday Morning in Williamsburg

I did not get much work done in Williamsburg (Brooklyn, New York...Not Virginia) last Friday morning for my second shot at CoWorking.

Our Internet access went from slow to inexistent.

A positive side effect of the lack of Connectivity was that instead of being hunched over our laptops typing away we had a chance to talk to each other.

Mina Kim introduced me to her project, Loose Record. Call it Candy for the Music Fan with its coverage of US concerts, Reviews, News and Interviews (Beastie Boys recently).

I did have a chance to take a first hand look at the Nokia N 800 thanks to Jeremy Mims of Frogmetrics
which offers companies a chance to get Customer Feedback via this nifty tool's touch screen.
The survey then gets beamed thanks to the Nokia's wireless capabilities. I just wish their site showed a quick demo of their cool solution.

The space for this CoWorking session is actually where 'The Whisk and Ladle' raises the Curtain when the cooking show is on.

When I arrived they were drafting Saturday Night's Menu and the Shopping List to go with it.

I have to say that on my first visit to this area, Williamsburg (Bedford and 5th Street), it looked vibrant and friendly.

Small stores and restaurants, craftsmen, people riding their bike and overall a laid back feel.

Many of the CoWorkers would be at home in Marci Alboher's world of Slash Careers.

It was only a 30 minutes Subway Ride from New York Penn Station to the Bedford Avenue Stop (A Train to L Train) so not a bad commute.

All in all I discovered a neighborhood that lives and learned that anyone willing to stage a CoWorking session must first test their Web Access if they want a repeat performance.

Related stories: Small is the New Big for Restaurants and Stop Obsessing on Perfect Job

Couch Surfing Revisited...Freedom to Sleep Around and Couches in Motion

Sometimes I pick up the paper or a magazine and I go, Hey! I wrote about this already.
Such a thing happened with Surfing the World Wide Couch by Penelope Green (New York Times, September 20).

The piece covers The Couch Surfing Project but actually brought back not one but 2 stories I did.

The first one Couch Surfing...Not the Super Bowl kind is on the same topic but The World's Fastest Couch the second one that came to mind is about a motorized couch...that could...

Any couch stories of your own feel free to add to the conversation.

Related: Discover the Freedom to Sleep Around with Escape Camper Vans (New Zealand) and Pitch a Tent...Camping Outside the Big Cities