Posts from November 2010

Ruinart in 10 Works, Champagne as Benefactor, Art Basel/ Miami, Opens Dec.2

Artists need benefactors.

10 American Artists were commissioned to interpret Ruinart Champagne for an event during Art Basel/ Miami.


The show will Pop Up at The Betsy Hotel in South Beach. Opening party is on December 2 but it seems that opening day is December 1st, 2010.

All proceeds from the sale of these 'sponsored' works of art will go to charity.

Melissa Ayr created Be Ruinart (below) and notes that the Pop Up Event will be on until February 28, 2011.


I wonder if any of the 10 artists created something provocative or playful on this 'Ruinart' theme.

The Betsy hosts a number of other events during Art Basel/ Miami including photos taken by Richard Bluestein for his book Distressed Beauty on Havana, Cuba...

Milan Sees the Light 60 Ways with LED Festival 2010, December 4 to January 10

Fashion, design, creativity comes in many forms in Milan.

This Christmas season and until January 10, it will express itself through the LED Festival, let there be light 60 ways.

From trams and trolleys to buildings, light will be the star for the holidays.


We learn from Milan is Tourism that at the end of the 19th Century, Milan changed from gas to electricity for its street lights and also launched an electric powered tramway network.

This 2nd edition of the LED Festival celebrates this past history, the present and the future.

The LED Project aims:

"Milan, already Capital of the design, becomes with Led an international display window, a place of innovation able to offer a stimulating ‘cultural experience’ for the exchange and the comparison of knowledge. An appointment that involves the entire creative and productive system of the metropolis, increasing from the first edition the expositive circuit from the public places to the  art galleries, the ateliers and the shows-room, in a logic of a widespread event that can involve the city to 360 degrees."

Amongst the 60 installations on display, along with the young talent there will be works by 10 world known designers including Karim Rashid, Gilbert Moity, Matteo Thun...

Milan sees the light 60 ways, from moons to fountains and butterflies.

Will I be there to  take it all in?

Cracked Windshields Turned into Pilsner Glasses, Green Gift Ideas

I don't think that every object made with recycled materials qualifies as a must buy.

Especially when it is purchased as a gift. A little whimsy is great. It still has to look good.

If you are looking for interesting gift ideas with a green slant, Uncommon Goods offers these well-traveled Pilsner Glasses.

Here's the product sheet:

"Handmade in Colombia of recycled glass from old car windshields, sturdy and strong, these heavy glasses have a slight green hue from the tint originally added to lessen the sun's glare.

Each is one of a kind and will vary. Sold as a pair for $20.

Remake-Remodel-Recycle Holiday Shopping for Green Day # 155

Previously: Smells Like Terroir, Shoes Prove It, Buvons Nature, 15 Wine Makers, Paris, December 10-12


Squirrel Stew Inside Out from BBC Food Blog to Loftin Baptist Church

French like eating snails and rabbits and quite a few other things yet I don't remember hearing anyone mentioning Squirrel Stew as a favorite dish until I saw Wm. Hovey Smith, a Georgia native, do it for the BBC Food Blog. He thinks that's a good way to deal with squirrel overpopulation where it exists.

Echoing that piece, Katie Connolly (BBC News, Washington) asks Is squirrel the perfect austerity dish? I wonder how my fellow New Jerseyans feel about that one?

Ben Wingate in Squirrel stew supper an annual event for Loflin Baptist Church (Alabama Baptist Online, 2002) writes that 'members of Loflin Baptist Church, Banks, have their annual squirrel stew supper as soon as winter rolls in and enough squirrels can be collected for a feast — a tradition that has been held for more than 30 years.'


The Squirrel Nut Stew play by play (October 2007) offered by Adventures in Food including illustration above kinda grosses me out actually, not sure why.

Squirrel and Prejudice?

Real French Snails, Escargots from Cornouaille, Organic to Boot

To the chagrin of many French foodies, in most cases escargots (snails), bought in shops or served in restaurants come from Eastern Europe not Burgundy.


You can still find some local French escargots producers.

They are showcased by ASPERSA, a French association which also lists markets and other events where their delicacies can be purchased.

One of them, L'Escargot du Pays de Cornouaille run by Sylvie Lamouric and Richard Bonnefondis is organic to boot (product display, photo above).

One thing visitors to Brittany frequently complain is that there is too much rain. It turns out to be an asset for 'escargots' farms.

(* Please note that Escargot du pays de Cornouaille and ASPERSA websites are in French only)

27th Pig's Ear Beer and Cider Festival, London, November 30-December 3

Fans of craft beers and small batch ciders will be spoiled this week in London with the 27th Annual Pig's Ear Festival presented by The Campaign for Real Ale aka Camra.

What will be poured?

"The Pig's Ear is celebrating London by featuring a London Bar with 17 new beers from 7 new London breweries: Brew Wharf, Brodie’s, Camden, Ha’penny, Kernel, Redemption and Sambrook’s.

There’ll be 200+ British Beers and 80+ foreign Beers, both draught and bottled. The Cider Bar is offering products from selected artisan makers."

Not all beers or ciders will be available at all times and selection is subject to change.


You are invited to 'The Chapel of The Blessed Barley and The Holy Hop' for the 27th Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider -Festival at The Round Chapel in Hackney from November 30 to December 3.

True or false trivia: Why Pigs Ear? Because it’s Cockney rhyming slang for beer.

General Admission is 3 British Pounds.

Opening hours: Tue-Thu 11-11pm; Fri 11-Midnight

Found out about it thanks to Georgie of Slow Food London...

How Easy Is That Easy Cranberry and Apple Cake Recipe by Ina Garten

We can all benefit from Ina Garten 'Good Equipment' advice shared by Ina Garten on page 87 of How Easy is That (Clarkson Potter).

68 'kitchen tools' suggestions are listed throughout the book many of them simple and practical. Most of us will have to do without number 22 (2 dishwashers).

I received How easy is that ? a couple weeks ago amongst a host of others and it fell off my radar.

These past few days, I started asking various sources including publishers for suggestions on recipes for the holidays.

Allison at Clarkson Potter offered as one of her favorites the Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake from How Easy Is That (page 204-205). It has comfort on a cold day all over it.


Here it is:

Easy cranberry & apple cake

Serves 6 to 8

This recipe is inspired by a cranberry pie from Sarah Chase’s book Cold Weather Cooking. My friend Barbara Liberman calls it “easy cake”—I call it delicious. It’s even better served warm with vanilla ice cream.


12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced

½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

11⁄8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup sour cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Step by step:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

(* Photo by Quentin Bacon, photo and recipe used by permission of Clarkson Potter)

Asian Sloppy Joes, Win Copy of Ming Tsai 'One Pot Meals', Get Recipe

Need to fix something quick for a bunch of famished kids, Ming Tsai serves his mom's go-to-dish when he was growing up, Asian Sloppy Joes...

They are one of the 80 recipes of all stripes you can find in Simply Ming One-Pot Meals (Kyle Books, November 2010).

We launched this latest contest on Black Friday and this book can still be yours.


We have one copy to give away, first come, first served.

How can you enter the fray and hopefully win?

Simple, answer following question:

Guess what sauce gives a touch of sweetness to Ming Tsai Asian Sloppy Joes?

E-mail your answer to info [at] njconcierges [dot] com

We must receive all answers by Noon (Eastern US time) on Thursday, December 2, 2010.

This contest is for US readers only.

If you won anything from us in the past 30 days, please let others try their luck.

(Photo of Asian Sloppy Joes by Antonis Achilleos from Simply Ming One Pot Meals (Kyke Books) by Ming Tsai with Arthur Boehm, used with publisher's permission)

Never Mind the Pistols, Here's Vin de Bagnole, 60 Percent Gamay

Music and wine pairings...

Marc Isaye, (drummer) director of Classic 21 (a radio station i guess), and wineshop owner Laurent Mélotte, gave it a shot in Dégustation de vins en musique : on écoute quoi avec ça ? for Le Vif/ L' Express, a Belgian news weekly.

Laurent wrote the tasting notes, Marc the music review.

One that did not require too much Soul Searching on their part was On s’en Bat Les Couilles (Vin de Bagnole) 2008 – Domaine du Pré Noir by Pascal Simonutti - VDT (Red Table Wine).


Certified organic, a blend 60% Gamay and 40% Pineau d'Aunis (old vines 30 to 80 years old), Vin de Bagnole (Bagnole is a slang word for car) is obviously a take on the infamous Sex Pistols straight from the Loire Valley.

Alternate Version (Label) for Vin de Bagnole is 'Boire Tue' (Drinking Kills).

Thanks to Eva Robineau for spinning this wine.

A light pour on Sunday

(*Degustation de vins en musique is an all French article).

Cowgirls, Culture, Restaurant Hopping, 10 Bites of Dallas-Fort Worth by Renie Steves

I had the pleasure to meet Renie Steves back in February at Vino 2010 in New York.

When I got my mind set on starting 10 Do's and Don'ts, I knew I had to ask the well traveled Renie for her take on Dallas and Fort Worth. She lives in Fort Worth.

Here it comes, served fresh off the web.



1.  For Nature and Science: the Energy exhibit and the Planetarium at the Museum of Science and History in Fort Worth while Arboretum in Dallas is a perfect peek of beauty in the spring and fall.

2.  Do see the cattle drive in the stockyards (Fort Worth's Northside) at 11:00am and 3:00pm daily. Longhorn cattle 'stroll' down Exchange street with colorful, friendly cowboys surrounding them.
Stay for the gunfight after the cattle drive. The head good guy is a true John Wayne look alike, act alike, and talk alike.

3.  The Sixth Floor Museum in downtown Dallas is a terrific experience. Took an 11-year-old granddaughter who made it an ultimate history lesson, telling her parents in Maryland every detail by phone. The interactive exhibits make it fun. 50th anniversary of the assisnation of Kennedy will be in 2013, and the director, Nikki Longford, hopes to add some new exhibits before then. Both Dallas and Fort Worth have amazing cultural districts.

4.  Knox/Henderson area in Dallas, and West Seventh in Fort Worth including Museum Place, West Seventh district, Montgomery Plaza area, and So 7 are great areas to head for restaurants.

5.  Don't miss the Urban Dallas Wine Trail (next in early 2011).



1.  Don't drive I-30 between Fort Worth and Dallas when there is a Rangers or Cowboy game. Go south to I-20 or north to 183... Avoid 635 in way north Dallas between 7 - 9am and 4 - 6pm. As wide as it is, it can be bumper to bumper.

2.  Go early or late to Joe T. Garcia's for classic Tex-Mex in Fort Worth or you'll stand in line a long time.

3.  Make friends with Fort Worth hierarchy to get box seats at the Stock Show and Rodeo every January/February.

4.  Avoid driving west on Camp Bowie Blvd. in Fort Worth as the sun sets. You cannot see!

5.  Don't eat a full meal at any one restaurant. Try one course at three. Do make them all in the same city --- they are an hour apart!

Renie could have gone on and on but stopped at 14 pieces of information that I condensed in 10 to keep all she brought to the table while sticking to the 10 Do's and Don'ts frame.

Merci Renie

Let me apologize for getting the train into the station a day late so to speak. I will try to stick with Saturdays in the future for this new feature.

Previously: 10 Things A Woman Dreaming of Living in Paris Must Know by Cristina

(* photo of Fall in all its splendour at Dallas Arboretum)