Posts from July 2011

Young Souls, Dean Chalkley Short Film on Rebirth of Northern Soul

It all goes back to the 60's and the British Mod Scene when Northern Soul (as Wikipedia reminds us) wave brought together fashion, music and dance.

In the 80's, the style had a resurgence.

The movement never died down completely and since 2008 is attracting new fans.

Photographer and video director Dean Chalkley has been spotting the places and people who brought that new spark to Northern Soul.

In collaboration with 125 Magazine, Dean Chalkley is broadcasting Young Souls, the short film he made on Northern Soul's latest wave, to a wider audience.

The movie will also be shown at Vintage Festival (London, July 29-31)

Here's a teaser:


According to Young Souls run free (British Journal of Photography, July 28) a photo exhibit with "22 photographs showing off the young fans' clothes and move" as well as the movie are on display until August 6th at "Youthclub, a new popup gallery just off Carnaby Street at 2.1 Kingly Court, the latest in an ongoing project by youth culture specialists PYMCA"

(* Northern Soul teaser by Dean Chalkley via Vimeo)

Bikini Baking, Bikini Cutters to Bikini Muffins and Marquise Ice Cream Cake

It's Saturday afternoon, it's summer, it's warm, at least here on the U.S East Coast.

What's a summer without the sight of bikinis?

Languedoc wine evangelist Louise Hurren noted that she was baking in her bikini and I thought, here's a theme I never covered.

There is actually a Bikini Baking Channel page on Facebook (not very active).

Want to enliven your party, the Layer Cake Shop actually sells a Bikini Cutter and offers these suggestions as to its uses:

"A teeny bikini cutter for cookies, cheese, sandwiches.. even homemade crackers!

TIP: the bikini top can also be used as a peanut cutter!"


Alicia at The Confessions of a Bakeaholic had a Bikini Baking Day a year ago and made a Marquise Style Ice Cream Cake (July 29, 2010).

I don't really see how Bikini Muffins (Dabble, March 2011) by Theresa Albert nor Bikini Killer Cookies (Bakers Royale, July 13) by Naomi connect with this theme though, maybe the weight gain if you loose control.

(* Bikini Cutter image from Layer Cake Shop site)

Jars of Decadence, Goat Milk Caramel Sauce from Fat Toad Farm

I have been slacking a bit in sharing my food (not Facebook) 'likes' in past couple of days.

I stay with caramel theme.

After Nut Free Bourbon Infused Pop Corn for Grown Ups by Metropolitan Bakery, I move to Vermont.

If you look for party favors and unique flavors, here's my new pick, a Toad-Ally Cute gift box of Fat Toad Farm goat milk caramel sauce with all 4 flavors they produce, Original, Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon and Coffee Bean, in 2 ounces jars.


My favorite flavor has to be cinnamon, gently spread on a homemade crepe.

You can purchase individual flavors as well from this family endeavor.

Heath and digestion wise, goat milk is closest to mother's milk.

Fat Toad Farm also produces Goat Cheese in 5 flavors...They were not part of the taste experiment.

Chasing Pinot Meunier Rose, Still Wine

Tim Pawsey's article Rosé on the rise, now OK to 'drink pink' (Vancouver Courier, July 29) makes it sound like this is new phenomenon in Canada, at least in British Columbia.

He introduces us to a number of Rosés from B.C...

What interested me most was the mention of 8th Generation Rosé 2010 made with Pinot Meunier, one of the 3 grape varieties found in Champagne.

Pinot Meunier Rosé is not that common. I don't remember tasting any so far.


I did a quick search and found reviews for 2005 and 2007 vintages by another Canadian producer, Thirty Bench (from Ontario). A small production of around 160 cases, this Pinot Meunier Rosé was noted as only available at the winery.

Last one that popped up on my radar was Murdoch James Rhiannon Pinot Meunier Rose 2010 from Martinborough, New Zealand (also noted as sold out)...This Murdoch James does not seem to have anything to do with the Murdoch in the news recently.

They describe it as:

"Spring flowers, fresh strawberries and apricots with hazelnut truffles and spice. Best served on a hot summer's day, a cool breeze and a gently bubbling river."

The 8th Generation Rosé 2010 is sold out at the winery.

I will be happy to hear from you about other Pinot Meunier Rosé choices and hopefully manage to taste 1 or 2 before the end of the summer.

(* image is label of 8th Generation Pinot Meunier Rosé)

Pant-Wettingly Gorgeous Viognier, Wine Notes that Won't Make you Yawn at Bottle Apostle

Too bad they are a bit far for me to pay a visit.

Hackney store, Bottle Apostle brings a little sunshine to London skies with its wine notes that won't make you yawn.

I hope they play Vertige de l'Amour (Bashung) as background music when introducing Condrieu 'Vertige' (2007) by Yves Cuilleron as follows:

"Pant-wettingly gorgeous Viognier with an avalanche of apricot, mixed spices, and caramel."


At the time of this writing, Vertige is one of the Daily Samples served (for a small fee) using Enomatic® machines.

Store is located 95 Lauriston Road, Victoria Park Village, Hackney, London, E9 7HJ... closed on Mondays

salaMandala, Through the Eyes of a Salamander Exhibit by Yuki Inoue, Closes August 7

The exhibit salaMandala / INSIDE THE OUTSIDER at Wada Garou gallery takes us into the world of artist Yuki Inoue who looks at life's happenings and our emotions through the eyes of a salamander.

The events marks 10 year mark since artist started using this vehicle.

In current show which closes on August 7, 2011, "these salamander self-portraits (sculptures) represent the artist's outpouring of emotion and sympathy in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of March 11."


Opening hours are 13:00 pm to 19:00 pm...Gallery is closed on Mondays.

I spotted these works thanks to Tokyo Art Beat

Life through the eyes of a salamander for Tokyo Thursdays # 201

Previously: Manga and Chocolate, A Taste of Heartbroken Chocolatier for Tokyo Thursdays 200

(* Photo from exhibit by Takuya Wada from his Facebook page)

Good Grammar is Sexy, Studio Nico Moleskine Notebooks Make a Statement

What is worse, an advice column full of cliches or full of typos and poor on grammar?

I will let you pick the worse scenario.

My English is still a work in progress and I slip now and then as I did today when I realized a minute too late that I forgot 'you' in title of my FedEx man piece. I added the missing piece as soon as I caught it.

Barely a day passes by when I do not read a piece peppered with cliches or typos or both.

It might be a sympton of our lack of polish and trying to squeeze our thoughts in 140 characters or less.


I could not resist borrowing this snapshot by Lisa Tauber from Studio Nico 'Good Grammar is Sexy' Moleskine notebooks or should I say 'Studio Nico' custom covers.

Read the rest of her visit and her picks at Mission Indie Mart (San Francisco) in A Frolic at the Fair (Chronicle Books blog, July 28)...

FedEx Man, Why Do You Drop Perishables on My Porch without Ringing the Bell?

If you have read 'Serge the Concierge' for a while, you know that i don't like to be a nag and complain.

With the high temperatures we have been experiencing these past 2 weeks, I make sure someone is home when deliveries of 'perishables' and food items are scheduled so they can be put away in fridge of freezer right away.

I have to vent a bit.

FedEx Man (or Woman) why do you drop 'perishables' on my porch without ringing the bell?


It was the case today with 2 parcels (cheese and exotic ice cream).

I heard a truck leaving and checked and there they were.

Gipsy Flavored Vacations, Roulottes de Saint Cerice, Vogue, Ardeche

Vacations come in many flavors, they don't have to be touristy and staid.

I illustrated that yesterday with Troglodyte Homes in France and Spain.

If you dream of the wild west or gipsy way of life, Les Roulottes de Saint Cerice near Vogüé (Ardeche) have many hospitality options including a 'roulotte' (wood caravan) stay.

You will not have to drive them as these roulottes are sedentary.


With their proximity to Ardeches Gorges, there are plenty of opportunies for water sports and hiking trails to take in the scenery. Vogüé is a medieval village and history buffs will find many sights to check in the area, a good example of green tourism.

More adventurous and horse friendly, Drome Roulottes Vacances lets you hit the road in a horse drawn carriage.

Bonnes vacances!

Tikin-Xic, Mayan Style Grilled Fish Recipe from Culinary Mexico

After my Interview with Richard Hetzler of Mitsitam Cafe, I thought I ought to take a closer look at foods from south of the border.

A look at Culinary Mexico (Gibbs Smith, 2005) by Daniel Hoyer convinced me it would be a good place to start.

The book introduces us to cuisines from 6 Mexican regions from Northern Frontier to Yucatan Peninsula.

Here's a dish with Native American roots.

Tikin-Xic, a Mayan Style Fish recipe

THIS FLAVORFUL AND COLORFUL FISH RECIPE is prepared along the coasts of the Yucatán and Quintana Roo. The usual method is to season a whole skin-on fillet of fish and wrap it in banana leaves with tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, and chiles, and then chargrill the entire package. Individual serving packets can also be made, or you may just season individual portions and cook them directly over the coals without the wrapper.

2/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (pineapple or apple cider)
6 ounces Recado Colorado (see page 197) or commercial achiote condiment
1 whole fish fillet, 3 to 5 pounds, skin on or 8 to 10 individually portioned fillets
Salt and pepper
Several large banana leaves or heavy-duty aluminum foil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano or cilantro leaves
3 to 4 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 to 2 sweet red or yellow bell peppers, cleaned and cut in 1-inch strips
1 large red onion, peeled and cut in thin slices, or 1/2 cup Cebollas
Moradas en Escabeche (see page 201)
2 or 3 yellow, hot, jalapeño, or fresno chiles split lengthwise, or 1 to 2 whole habanero chiles
3 to 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil



1. Combine the fruit juices and vinegar with the recado or achiote seasoning to make a soft paste.
2. Season the fish with salt and pepper and rub the paste all over the fish.
3. Toast the banana leaves to make them pliable and place them shiny side up on the counter.
4. Place the fish in the center of the banana leaves or foil; scatter the oregano or cilantro evenly over the fish; and cover with the tomatoes, peppers, onion, and chiles. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive or vegetable oil.
5. Wrap the banana leaves completely around the fish and tie with small strips of the leaf or use foil to make a sealed package.
6. Place over hot coals or in a 400-degree-F oven and cook for about 15 minutes, turn over the package, and cook 15 minutes more. Only cook about 7 to 10 minutes for individual portions.
7. Turn back to the original position and cook 10 to 15 minutes more until the fish is done.
8. Open the package carefully and spoon some of the juices that formed from cooking over the fish.

(* Recipe from Culinary Mexico by Daniel Hoyer reproduced courtesy of Gibbs Smith, Photography by Marty Snortum)