Posts from May 2008

Pepper...Good with Fruit and Ice Cream Too?!

Some countries have experienced food riots recently due to price hikes and shortages.
In The Daily Grind (The Guardian, May 31st), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall reminds us that cooking ingredients such as pepper that we now take for granted in the past "fortunes were made from it, battles fought for it, ransoms and dowries paid with it. What Keralans call "the king of spices", pepper, was once very precious indeed".

We mostly restrict its use to main dishes when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall suggests "it's good with fruit, too. A few grinds of black pepper over strawberries, stirred into fruity ice-creams or sorbets, sprinkled over a salad of sliced oranges, over pineapple or juicy nectarines may sound wreckless, or pretentious, or both. But try them and you'll see these combinations work and are not to be sniffed at"...

I did have a chance to sample black pepper ice cream and it was a treat.

Recently, I tasted a a plum crumb tart accompanied by basil ice cream, an unusual combination masterminded by pastry chef Glenn Schwabik.

What spices get you going?

Somehow related: Smoke, Spice and Catalan, Vilosell 2005, a Tomas Cusine Wine

Please Mr. Postman! Where is the 5PM Pickup Mailbox?

Please Mr. Postman!
Why make it so hard on me to find a 5PM Pickup Mailbox while running errands around town?
Why did I find 4 or 5 mail drop boxes with a 9:30 am deadline (and that's it for the day) and none with a 'smiley face' I'm a 5Pm Pick Up 'I love you' sign?
It would stand out from the crowd and would please the authors of Subject to Change and many of us lay people as well.
So get busy and make changes to your broken model.

Will downturn bring an Appetite for Virtual/ Fictional Restaurants?

They say that reality can be stranger than fiction.
I have been wondering if in the current economic downturn, we will see virtual or even fictional restaurants sprout online.

Another way for the Consumed to Thrifty to share experiences without going broke.

Fictional restaurants would have the best economic promise since you would need no staff, no liquor license, no space or any of the other costly ingredients it takes to run a physical location.
You could list any price and the most exotic fare on your menu without worrying about inflation, fuel delivery charges, carbon footprint and all these annoying details that can turn a profit into a loss.

It could also be more innovative than the re-creation festival currently in full swing on the blogosphere as highlighted by Lee Gomes in Latest Web Bloggers Give CookingThe Books a Whole New Meaning (Wall Street Journal, May 28).

Amongst those cited in the piece are French Laundry at Home by Carole Blymire (let me give her credit for tackling the subject of Pig Head) and The Gourmet Project by Teena Gerhardt.

Personally, I find the strict re-creation of a cookbook recipe kinda boring, I always like to add a little improvisation here and there, does not always work out but is more fun.

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

A momentary lapse of reason "LUXE City Travel Guides'

Sorry for straying from my accent recently on value rather than pricey items.

Not quite extravagant yet elegant Luxe City Guides put their money where their mouth is!

I could not agree more with their introduction (I quote):

  • Bored of out of date recommendations for second-rate   dumps?
  • Tired of trying to select the best option from a huge list of   mediocrity?
  • Fed up with guides written by people who don't live in the city they are writing about,   and edited by others who have never even been to the country let alone the city you’re   visiting?

All in all 28 Cities and Countries from Ho Chi Minh City to Dubai to a Cambodia/ Laos combo not to forget Sydney, Istanbul and Madrid to name a few, each covered by a local editor.

And they are beautiful objects.


Bespoke editions are available if you wish

Found out about Luxe thanks to Eat (Independent Blog)

Is your Meat 'Green'? from Chow and Andrew Sullivan to Slate

In my first visit to Chow in a while, I browsed the list of Tips for responsible carnivores offered in Your Meat Is Green by Roxanne Webber.
Learn to cook (number 1) is a no-brainer, I do not have to worry about that or using leftovers (number 4) as I do not like to waste food.
At number 3, Purchase Meat with Less Packaging is something that many of us might not focus on.
She reminds us that "meat packaging contributes Styrofoam trays, plastic wrap, and paper products. Choose to purchase from places—like a farmers’ market or a butcher—that wrap meat just in paper".

In Green Meat: Medium Rare, Andrew Sullivan offers his take on lab-grown meat following up on Will Lab-Grown Meat Save the Planet? Or is it only good for cows and pigs? by Brendan Koerner (for Slate).

Will we get meat without having to raise real animals, an abstraction of sort?

In the U.S at least many people do not want to associate food (meat or fish) with a living creature, find it scary maybe.

In Check, Please, the Brian Lehrer Show (May 27) explored with Makalé Faber-Cullen of Slow Food USA the question whether "eating more endangered foods help them survive?"

Related: Eating Kangaroo reduces your Carbon Footprint...Skippy Anyone?

Japan meets New York, 'Japan Day'...Central Park, June 1st

I had not made any plans for the week-end yet so I might join the crowd for a Japan meets New York event in Central Park, Japan Day NYC.
Want to start the day bright and early, the Japan Run kicks off at 8:00 am.
It is only the second edition and you can sample food (after 11:00 am).
Learn about calligraphy, board games.
On the music side, I noticed the Leonard Eto and Manolo Badrena (Weather Report, etc...) percussive duo.

Nobumasa Takahashi a Japanese Graffiti Artist did all the wonderful illustrations.
For more on his work, check Nobumasa Takahashi draws (PingMag).

A free event it seems, great for the Consumed to Thrifty crowd.

A quick snap Tokyo Thursdays #41

Related: In 'Japanamerica', Roland Kelts rides the New York-Tokyo Express

On the 'Asparagus Cycling Trail' in Burgdorf (Germany)

It did not occur to me until I went sniffing around on the path of the German white asparagus that there could be a tourist theme around it.
Carter Dougherty (Globespotters) wet my appetite on the topic with Asparagus, Asparagus Everywhere (live and on the scene from Frankfurt).

Saxony seems to be the place to be for while asparagus lovers (according to Destination Germany).

I learned that spears are harvested from late April to the end of June.
Want to take a close look at the region, the "Lower Saxony Asparagus Route, along with the Asparagus Cycling Trail that runs in parallel and starts and finishes in Burgdorf, is a "must" for any visitor to the region" they say. The circuit runs for 750km and seems to go by the name of Niedersächsische Spargelstrasse (my illustration below, from their site).


More trivia: "The town of Nienburg elects its own Asparagus Queen at the asparagus market to honour this finest of vegetables".

So are you ready to hop on the bike after a plate of white asparagus with hollandaise sauce washed down by a glass of German white wine?

Has anyone taken that road trip?

Related: Green Mountain Eco Route, Blending Wine and Nature, In South Africa, Near Cape Town

Business of Needs versus Business of Wants...Staying Power

Waiting for my turn at the post office this morning, I run into a longtime acquaintance and we started discussing how our respective businesses where doing.
While noticing the ebb and flow that goes with any activity, she made a point that resonated.
She told me she was in the business of needs where people will always be spending money as they are willing or just plain need to spend...
In times like now where we are reconsidering our priorities (going from Consumed to Thrifty), it is a thought worth exploring.

In my concierge business for example, it could be new parents who need help running errands while they get adjusted to their life plus one.
Someone recovering from an illness or an injury would pass the test.
A person with an older relative would be a third example.

What would you qualify as a need versus want service?

Can you give examples of businesses that fit the spot in your area?

Related: Expecting...Hire a Baby Planner!

Secondhand Chic in London, in 15 Pictures (The Guardian)

In Secondhand Chic, The Guardian offers their pick of the best Charity Stores and Vintage Clothing spots in London in 15 Pictures.
It is a perfect fit for the Consumed to Thrifty crowd.
They call it Ethical Fashion.

Amongst the stores mentioned are Lost n Found (The Stables Market, NW1) which Time Out London rated as Best for 1950s Americana in its London's Top 20 Thrift Stores .

Traid (61 Westbourne Grove, W2) is described as "Undoubtedly London’s hippest charity shop. This is where Elvis cranks out bass, and a scarlet-lipped sales assistant throws on crimson polka dots and leopard prints. Unlike many urban trendy vintage warehouses, Traid keeps the prices low, includes a sprinkle of designer and lacks the try-hard pretentiousness" it made the cut on Very-eco London Notting Hill List.

You will not get lost in Burt and Mary (115 Cheshire Street, E2), a tiny shop that offers Vintage Clothing for both Men and Women.

Online magazine The Dish lists Burt and Mary in Vintage London! The heart of the creative scene (by Carly Temple).

I hope this helps if you plan spending some time in London...

Related: Free Opera and Ballet at the Drive In? Almost with 'Summer Big Screens' (in the UK)

'First Love' or 'Revolution'...Sounds like Wine to You?

In the never ending struggle to stand out from the crowd, winemakers or should I say wine marketers are always seeking a new (fresh?) angle.
Animals were big for a while, now Australian brands are going for the counterculture symbols with  Revolution Shiraz (any John Lennon or Che/Benicio Del Toro link?) and the Love is in the Air groove with First Love country frolicking theme.
Just wondering, not whining!

Related: Wine goes to the Dogs