Posts from April 2009

Pinki, Love Hotel Search Site in Tokyo

Search sites come in many colors and flavors as I keep finding.

Niche rather than broad is Pinki, a Love Hotel search site in Tokyo.


The curtain was just lifted on the service.

Not much information is there to be found as they are still building.

When I typed one of the search words suggested 'Karaoke', 11 Results came up.

For each Love Hotel, you get the address, a map, a list of amenities, kettle, steam sauna, drum dryer to name a few.

Prices are not indicated yet.

There will be pictures of each location as well as user reviews.

I discovered Pinki and its founder Jawaad Mahmood while reading Tokyo 2.0 a buzzing hub for online communities, entrepreneurs (Japan Times, April 28).

Love in the afternoon for Tokyo Thursdays #86

Last week on Tokyo Thursdays: Sweet Taste of Amaou Strawberries from Fukuoka Province

Pig Panic: Egypt Slaughters Pig Population, UK Government Buys 60 Million Masks

In the aftermath of the 'Swine Flu' outbreak or should we call it the 'Mexican Flu' the world seems to be suffering from pig panic.

Even though scientific evidence found no ground for people getting sick by eating pork, BBC reports (April 29) that Egypt has begun a mass slaughter of thousands of pigs. They are raised mainly by the Christian Coptic population.

Guardian notes that Russia has decided To retain pork bans until June 1(April 29).

The same Guardian tells us that UK buys 60m face masks as new cases of swine flu emerge (April 29)

How will all this affect Cinco de Mayo celebrations?

Jane Sigal breaks with the dim news by showcasing a juicy pork top loin in It May Be Cheap, but It’s Also Tasty (NY Times, April 29)

Are you changing your eating habits?

Michael O’Leary (Ryanair): Swine Flu outbreak Risk only to Asians and Mexicans “living in slums”

When I read in FT (April 29) the statement made in a press conference by Michael O'Leary of budget airline Ryanair that (I quote) the swine flu outbreak was a risk only to Asians and Mexicans “living in slums”, I was left wondering if I should blame his words on ignorance, insensitivity or prejudice.

Later in the FT piece he is quoted as saying that “It is a tragedy only for people living ... in slums in Asia or Mexico,” said Mr O’Leary, according to a report by the AFP news agencies. “But will the honeymoon couple from Edinburgh die? No. A couple of Strepsils [for sore throat] will do the job.”

It is a clear illustration of how people in positions of influence should think before they speak.

Wine in Plain English, Only from Small Vineyards, Only from Italy

As I mentioned time and again as was the case with record labels back in the days, when it comes to wine there are some people you trust to pick the right stuff.
I will not name too many names here say Eric Solomon, Michael Skurnik, Neal Rosenthal for example.
I have to add a new marquee to this list, Small Vineyards (based in Seattle).

They offer only small vineyards, only from Italy, either 'Discovery' or 'Grande Estate'.

I picked their La Quercia, Montepulciano 'Abruzo (2007) and it was a pleasant surprise.
Their back labels are written in plain English, no fussy stuff, a little background info lets you know that La Quercia is a beautiful oak tree (hence the label) that weathers storms, where the winery is located, the grape varietal used and who the winemaker is as well as some food pairing suggestions.

And they are priced right ($12 for this one).

Back to the roots of wine

Meatless Monday: Cut your Carbon Footprint, Improve your Health?

Would it kill you if you decided to take meat out of the menu equation once a week?

OK, now you decided to take the plunge and give a break to the carnivore in you?

You might procrastinate because you cannot make up your mind as to which day of the week you will kick the habit.

Stop sweating, in one clean swoop cut your carbon footprint by joining Meatless Monday, a national health campaign to help prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.


You don't even have to turn into a Vegan as their Seafood Salad Wrap recipe (for Lunch) proves.

Each recipe and they offer many is followed by Nutritional Facts.

For the wrap: Calories 280, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 55mg, Sodium 840mg, Carbohydrates 29g, Fiber 14g, Protein 28g

They cut all the information in bite sizes to make it easy to digest.

Regarding the carbon footprint side of things, Nathan Fiala offers some details on How Meat Contributes to Global Warming (Scientific American, February 2009).

For starters he notes that "Pound for pound, beef production generates greenhouse gases that contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57."

Happy Meatless Monday for Green Day # 74

Rise Up and Stand for Something...Like Authentic Wines from Jura?

Coming from France, some people might assume that I know anything that comes from this country.

Until today I had to pledge ignorance on at least one topic, the Wines of Jura.

They were a blank page for me so until I attended a tasting (April 27, 2009 in New York) showcasing 10 local producers.

I asked some of them to offer a few things that make the region stand out from the crowd.

Their simple and clear answer: authenticity.


These wines reflect their origin.

They are not manufactured.

This fits perfectly with the motto 'Rise up and stand for something' which greats you upon visiting Think Big Manifesto book site by Michael Port.

Offering a tired more of the same everything for everybody anything might sink your boat faster than you can spell recession.

Shouting from the mountain tops of Jura on Monday Work Etiquette # 87

What gets you up in the morning? What keeps you up at night? Alan Webber's Rules of Thumb

Tastes like Edible Napalm, Dorset Naga, a Red Hot Chili Pepper

In 'Some Like it Hot' (FT, How to Spend It, April 24, not available on line yet), Adam Edwards illuminates us with his survey of the spicy, spicier and spiciest peppers.

The UK is the place to be according to his piece if you want mouth scorching sauces and dishes.
The Dorset Naga, a red hot chili pepper wins the scorched palate contest according to Adam's test.

Joy Michaud who with her husband Michael came up with this little culinary bomb sells it with a warning label.


Here is how they describe the Dorset Naga (picture above, from their site):

"This rare chilli was developed by making selections from the Bangladeshi landrace chilli known as Naga Morich. Other names for this landrace include Naga Jolokia and Bhut Jolokia. In common with its relatives, Dorset Naga has a scorching heat of around a 1,000,000 Scoville Heat Units, making these chillies significantly hotter than any other chilli ever measured. Along with its heat, Dorset Naga is backed up by a powerful aroma that imbibes any dish with a wonderful, distinctively fruity flavour. The fruit are roughly cone shaped, and about 2 cm wide at the shoulders and up to 4 cm long, though they can be smaller. Naga are traditionally used green, but we sell Dorset Naga at both green and red stages. Warning: this chilli is extremely hot; please use with the greatest caution.
Under no circumstances should one of these chillies be left where an unwitting person, especially a child, might handle them. Six fruit per pack (or more if they are small)."

It has been available via their company Peppers by Post since 2007.

April 25, Saw World Taichi Day in Action while Picking Up the Mail

Is one day passing by without an event being celebrated or a cause broadcast to the world I asked myself upon witnessing World Taichi Day in Action on a public lawn while picking up the mail.

I did not know until then that Saturday, April 25 was World Taichi Day.

5 or 6 people were performing their slow moves unperturbed by the surrounding traffic and noise.

Made you feel like slowing down.

Sweet Taste of Amaou Strawberries from Fukuoka Province

If you are ready to splurge, Amaou Strawberries might make your day.
At $1 a piece they can be considered as a treat and for many Japanese a luxury.

The Amaou are part of Japan's agricultural export efforts as Agricultural exporters pick quality option by Mure Dickie (FT, April 23, 2009) explains.

Since most Japanese farms are small, their best chance to prosper is by growing high quality crops that can fetch high prices, quality versus quantity.

In Ichigo-Strawberries (Jetro USA, Cool Japan Food) I learned that Japanese strawberries can weigh up to 40g a piece and that the most common varieties are Toyo-no-ka, Sachi-no-ka and Tochi-otome.


They describe the Amaou Strawberries (in bruscetta form, pictured above, pronounced "ah-mah-oh") as a variety produced in Fukuoka, red and large on the outside and perfectly sweet and tart inside.

According to the same piece 5 to 8 Amaou strawberries provide enough Vitamin C to satisfy the body's daily requirements.

To your health and gournet taste for Tokyo Thursdays #85

Previously: Hey Mr.DJ, Spin Your Wheels, Play that Suzuki Album

Grenache as the Hot New Grape in Town (in the US)

There is a buzz going on in the past few days.
Grenache might be on its way of becoming the Hot New Grape in town.
I mean by that in the US since Grenache is already a well known quantity in southern France and Spain as Garnacha and some say Cannonau in the island of Sardinia.
Let's not forget Australia where it is often blended with Mourvedre and Syrah as in the South of France.
Dorothy J.Gaiter and John Brecher teels us why in Grenache Enters the Spotlight (Wall Street Journal, April 18).


The Las Rocas Garnacha is a regular favorite of mind.

This week I gave a try to a new acquaintance, Grenache Domaine Andre Brunel (2005), a Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, a great taste of Provence under $10, dark fruit, good balance, from vineyards located just outside Vaison La Romaine.


Let's see if the Rhone Rangers make Grenache the new prince.