Posts from December 2008

Lunch with Ruffino, Wednesdays at the Museum and Nice Matin

The 2008 Vintage is coming to a close.

Let me admit that a number of things I meant to write about have not seen the light of the day (yet).

Amongst them count Lunch with Ruffino (their CEO that is) at Bar Boulud, Wednesdays at the Museum (in New York and New Jersey), Dinner at Nice Matin in New York (the past Summer) and my tasting notes and impressions on Italian Chocolates (from the Chocolate Show)...

The list does not end there.

These are a few that I have to make up for...

I will try at least.

Before the year is over, be kind, visit the Donation Page for Menu for Hope 5.

Check Pineau, Nut Butters and Chocolate: My 3 Prizes for Menu for Hope 5

To those of you in the Asia- Pacific Region and Europe who already crossed the line into 2009, Bonne Annee, Happy New Year...

At 12:05 PM on December 31st: $53,331.00 Raised for Menu for Hope 5

Just made a quick check on the tally of what we have raised so far for Menu for Hope 5.

The number at 12:05 PM on December 31st is $53,331.00.

With 12 Hours left to go, help us move this number up.

Visit the Donation Page.

You can contribute as little as $10.

Need some advice on best chances, mistakes not to make and so on, read Of Last Chances and Best Odds. Also, How to Fix Your Screw-ups (Chez Pim, December 31st) by our friend Pim without whom this would not happen.

In case you don't know, Menu for Hope is a fundraising effort involving bloggers the world over.

It benefits the UN World Food Programme and more precisely this year will help provide lunch to school children in Lesotho, Africa.

Ti's the time to be giving

More details on my prizes and more in my Menu for Hope 5 pages

Pineau, Nut Butters and Chocolate: My 3 Prizes for Menu for Hope 5

With only 2 days to go until Menu for Hope 5 closes its doors to your donations, I thought it was time for me after looking at offerings around the globe to refresh your mind about my 3 modest prizes.

In reverse order let me start with My 3rd Prize for Menu for Hope 5 is a set of 2 bottles of Pineau des Charentes (one white, one red), both are young, aged 3 years.


Value is $40, this set is available for US only, Prize Code UE30

More details in Be a Hipster with Pineau des Charentes, Prize No 3, Menu for Hope V

Let's move on to the Nut Butters for Grown-Ups courtesy of Marilyn's Nut Butters which I discovered at Cook, Eat, Drink in New York. They got started a few months ago and are based in Seattle, Washington.

Nut butters  

Marilyn says:

"The sweet and/or savory blends of roasted, high-quality organic nuts and seasonings combine to make perfect  spreads, dips, and marinades for any occasion. Choose from combinations like Cinnamon Walnut Pecan, Spicy-hot Pecan, Hazelnut Walnut Chai, Walnut Cashew, and Hazelnut Almond."

Retail Value $40, Prize Code: UE22

Read more in Nut Butters for Grown Ups, Nothing Kinky, My 2nd Prize for Menu for Hope 5

First is Last with Oliver Kita or rather A Box of his Studio Collection.


Call it 16 Creative Sweets in an array of colors and flavors from spicy to sweet and salty and back. 

Don't believe everything David Lebovitz says. I am not "going to come by and feed them to you, one-by-done." As David notes "there's enough chocolates in there so that you shouldn't have trouble finding someone to come over, French or otherwise, and share them with."

It retails for $40, Prize Code is UE17

For details on Menu for Hope and how to bid on my prizes read In Pole Position for Menu for Hope 5: 16 Creative Sweets, My 1st Prize, then head for the Donation Page...

Before doing that make sure you check the Master List of Raffle Prizes by Pim.

As I am writing we just passed the $50,000 bar of funds raised to provide school lunches for kids in Lesotho.

Related: What the Heck is '500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO 09', Menu for Hope Canada

Sound and Vision in Brussels: Holidays 2008

I have to give kudos to Electrabel for putting a little magic in their marketing with their holidays 2008 'Sound and Vision' show in Brussels (below)...

How did it land on my radar? Thanks to Pedro Custodio in Portugal  (via Twitter) who mentioned their Happy New Year commercial.

How often does a utility company finishes the year in style?

'You Tube' Related: Peace Sign from Pennsylvania: Magibon, Japan's YouTube darling

Buy Less Stuff: Shortest Road to Going Green and Saving Some

People often talk about the third rail of politics or business, in Taboo Talk in Green Business: Buy Less Stuff (, December 22nd), Joel Makower offers one of his Strategies for the Green Economy (also the title of his book).

He notes that "reducing or limiting consumption is antithetical to marketing, or at least it has been so far" yet offers that "talking to consumers about buying less stuff just might be the third rail of green marketing".

On the practical side reducing your shopping Buy Less Stuff is also A simple way to save money and get ahead as BloggingStocks reminded us as far back as December 2006. Did anyone listen back then?

Presh Talwakar in One Reason to Buy Less Stuff (Mind your decisions, January 2008) reminds us of a basic fact in the following sentence "when a new product is introduced, I often see that I’ve lived all these years just fine with what I have. I think I can continue to survive just fine".

Ready for a radical change How to Buy Nothing (WikiHow) offers a 21 Steps Guide to go cold turkey.
Number 21 is: "Ask Yourself the 3 Questions - WANT, NEED and AFFORD Can I afford it? Do I Need it? and Do I Want it? If you can answer ANY 2 out of the 3 questions then you can buy it."

Paul Graham opened his take on Stuff (July 2007) with these words:

"I have too much stuff. Most people in America do. In fact, the poorer people are, the more stuff they seem to have. Hardly anyone is so poor that they can't afford a front yard full of old cars. It wasn't always this way. Stuff used to be rare and valuable. You can still see evidence of that if you look for it. For example, in my house in Cambridge, which was built in 1876, the bedrooms don't have closets. In those days people's stuff fit in a chest of drawers".

It puts new light on the fact that big boxes do not fit in my kitchen cabinets (the house is fairly old).

To conclude are we gonna go from the "cheap enough to replace that I can just throw it away" to "durable enough to pay a bit more for it" or "keep it since it still works fine".

A Consumed to Thrifty take for Green Day # 59

Related: Nanny or Botox Treatment...Botox Wins? Cutting Back 

Could I have Madeoff by Faking Authenticity?

In a year where banks showed that what once looked like solid profits was in many cases a mirage, could I have madeoff by faking authenticity.

OK these two words side by side sound like strange bedfellows.

I got started on the topic after reading the Outside Edge column If you can fake it, you will make it by Jonathan Guthrie (FT, December 28).

He notes:

 "At one executive leadership seminar I attended recently, the trainer explained that authenticity was the main attribute delegates needed to radiate, including “different types of authenticity for different audiences”. This means being a technocrat in the boardroom, a pragmatist among middle managers and an Average Joe on the shop floor."

This led me in turn to Fake Authenticity: An Introduction by Joshua Glenn for Real? Fake 'Hermenaut' magazine.

You have to give him kudos for managing to quote Jean-Paul Sartre and an SUV ad in the same paragraph.

He who might not be Joshua Glenn also wonders:

"Will there never be an end to the spectacle of (white, middle-class) people draping themselves in exotic fabrics, bribing sherpas to haul them up mountains, spending $15 for turkey-burgers in urban hunting lodges, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over macaroni paintings by schizophrenics, throwing out perfectly good old kitchen tables for new tables into which fist-sized holes have been carefully drilled."

Can the next big career coach-reinvention guru become successful by promising that nothing she/he says is true?

Irony, existentialism and city slickers on the menu for Monday Work Etiquette # 70

Previously: Forced to Take a Holiday Break (as in Silicon Valley) How do you take it?

A Quick Correction on Rhapsody to Go and MP3 Players

As a fellow Pho Lister pointed to me, I was wrong to suggest that only Sansa MP3 Players work with the Rhapsody to Go service.

There are more players available to use with the service.

Some of them might not be available any more or are few and far between.

Despite my correction and my apology for jumping to conclusions, my main point that devices that allow you to download music should be agnostic as to what services you can use to make legal, paid for digital downloads and vice versa.

Imagine how you would feel if you could fill up the tank on your Toyota only at BP stations and your Ford at Mobil for example...

Would it not feel absurd to you?

Related: Why Can't I Download Music from Rhapsody to Zune MP3 Player?

What the Heck is '500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO 09', Menu for Hope Canada

I was left scratching my head what the heck 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO 2009 meant.
OK, it is a book by a fellow named by Rod Phillips, a New Zealander at that who offers the best value that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has in stock.


The wine book combined with A Taste of Canada by Rose Murray (cover pictured above) are Prize CA06 'Flavors of Canada' for Menu for Hope 5 courtesy of Seven Spoons and Whitecap Books.

Without this trip north of the border I would not have learned of the existence of Rockin' Ronnie  Shewchuk, Canada's (self styled) "leading proponent of traditional, southern-style barbecue. As chief cook of Rockin' Ronnie's Butt Shredders, he's led his team to more competition victories than any Canadian team in the history of championship barbecues" (also published by Whitecap).


You can peruse the Whole Canadian List thanks to Hooked on Heat.

In case you forgot, the deadline for Menu for Hope 5 has been extended to December 31st.

Want to give a shot at some Northern Exposure, head for the Donation Page and start bidding.

Previously on Menu for Hope: Smell it! Nice and Florence Walking Food Tours, Menu for Hope 5

Daniel Boulud's Favorite Eateries in New York (besides his)

There is not much to add to Andy Lynes list of Daniel Boulud's Favorite Eateries in New York (besides his).

He showcases them in After dark in New York: Chef Daniel Boulud reveals his favourite places to dine (The Independent, December 28).

Here they are:

Daniel Boulud's Address Book

Restaurant Daniel, 60 East 65th Street (001 212 288 0033;

Una Pizza Napoletana, 349 East 12th Street (001 212 477 9950;

El Quinto Pino, 401 West 24th Street (001 212 206 6900;

Sandy's Lechoneria, 2261 2nd Avenue (001 212 348 8654)

Nicky's Sandwiches, 150 East 2nd Street (001 212 388 1088;

Sushi Seki, 1143 1st Avenue (001 212 371 0238)

Momofuku Ssam Bar, 207 2nd Avenue (001 212 254 3500;

Daisy May BBQ, 623 11th Avenue (001 212 977 1500;

WD-50, 50 Clinton Street (001 212 477 2900;

Café Boulud, 20 East 76th Street (001 212 772 2600;

Eighty One, 45 West 81st Street (001 212 873 8181;

Eleven Madison Park, 11 Madison Avenue (001 212 889 0905;

Per Se, 4th Floor Time Warner Centre, 10 Columbus Circle (001 212 823 9335;

The Four Seasons, 99 East 52nd Street (001 212 754 9494;

Is it a coincidence that Momofuku (Noodle Bar) also made it on Nicholas Lander list of his Most Memorable Meals of 2008 (FT, December 27, registration required)...

Recent Restaurant Bit: Epicurean Delights worth Trip to Australia, Menu for Hope 5 Down Under


So Sensual I Missed Her, Mayra Andrade 'Navega'

From Cuba to Cape Verde to Europe, Mayra Andrade is a well traveled lady.

Her voice is as good if not greater than her looks.

Had I not read the liner notes for her album Navega, I could have placed her squarely as a Brazilian.

I might be behind the curve as her album was released in Europe in 2006 yet reached the US shores only in the Fall of 2008.

She got the BBC World Music Newcomer Award for 2008.

Get a taste of her sultry voice with the Live version of 'Lua' above...


Related: Put Flamenco, Jazz and A Great Voice in the Blender: You get Buika