Archive - March 2012

Wine Quote


Wine Quotes of the week.

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

You have only so many bottles in your life, never drink a bad one. – Len Evans

“Wine … the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”

“A bottle of good wine, like a good act, shines ever in the retrospect” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Matsuri and Hiro Auctions


If you follow NYC restaurant news, you’ve probably heard that New York institutions Matsuri Restaurant and Hiro Ballroom at The Maritime Hotel will be closing. It has been announced that both venues will hold a live auction on Wednesday, April 4 starting at 2 p.m.

For those of you who are not familiar with Matsuri; it was the home of Chef Tadashi Ono. He combined Japanese tradition with French technique to create some amazing dishes. At Matsuri he concentrated on modern Japanese cuisine.

As sad as I am by their closing, this is will be a very cool auction. These spaces are filled with some killer pieces. Bidders will have the opportunity to purchase a piece of New York City restaurant history. Everything will be sold from massive handmade Japanese lanterns all the way down to flatware and flooring.

The live auction will be facilitated by Michael Amodeo & Co. and will be preceded by several previews as follows:

  • ·         Monday April 2nd 1 PM – 4 PM preview
  • ·         Tuesday April 3rd 1 PM  – 4pm preview
  • ·         Wednesday April 4th 12 noon – 2 PM preview
  • ·         AUCTION –  Wednesday April 4th 2 PM – until all items are sold

Short Rib Recipe


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Hand-Held Espresso Machine For Your Car


The Handpresso Auto is a new portable, hand-held espresso machine that can be used in any vehicle with a cigarette lighter. To make espresso, the user plugs in the machine — shaped like a tumbler so it can fit into your car’s cup holder — to the car’s cigarette lighter.

Add water, an espresso pod, and press a button. The espresso then drips into a cup, and within 2 minutes completes the brew cycle. When your espresso is ready, you will hear three beeps. Be sure to have your cup ready.

Water is pumped through the grounds at 16 bars of pressure and the espresso is ready in two minutes.

You can also purchase a variety of different espresso packets, or “easy serving espresso pods,” which come in various brands, such as Illy and Lucaffé. The E.S.E. pods come in boxes 18 to 200 pods.

According to Catherine Nielsen, the company spokeswoman, no laws prohibit this kind of drinking and driving, but the company encourages users to stop their cars to sip on the espresso.

Catherine Nielsen is also the wife of Handpresso inventor Henrik Nielsen, who passed away three months ago, before this product hit the market.

Bloomberg reports the Handpresso Auto began selling in France last month for €149.

The first shipments go out in April, and the company will engage in a heavy promotional campaign at the Paris Motor Show in September.

As part of the company’s marketing strategy, samples have been distributed to cab drivers, who have so far received positive feedback from passengers.

Nielsen thinks it’s premature to say when the product will be released in the U.S. She claims feedback from online networks and social media spreads slower in France, and the company has actually received more inquiries from the U.S.

“I think the French will be just as interested in the product since they love espresso and drive cars a lot,” Nielsen says. “It’s just taking a little longer for that interest to manifest itself.”

There’s also an outdoor version — Handpresso Outdoor Set — for picnics or camping trips, which is powered by a hand pump, and sold online for around $200.

That set comes with a black carrying case, four unbreakable cups, a thermo-insulated flask to hold the hot water, a domepod, and two small napkins.

The Outdoor set is made of thermo-formed EVA (Extreme Vibration Attenuation), designed to withstand 50psi. It includes everything you need.

Simply add hot water and your favorite espresso coffee to brew an espresso. An adjustable strap is included for carrying the Handpresso around to your destination.

Don’t want to cook for Passover 2012, Eat Here NYC!

William Greenberg Desserts New York

New York celebrates its Jewish community; so do New York restaurants. I always look forward to Jewish holidays since restaurants pull out all stops to craft some truly inventive and delicious menus for the holidays. This Passover, I expect great meals to be had at the following restaurants:

Joe Doe: 45 East 1st street. Joe Doe is seriously going all out. For $65 you can get the JoeDoe Seder Sampler (maror, charoset, chicken liver, fried matzo), Jewish Wedding Soup (chicken meatballs, matzo balls, pickled vegetables), Slow Roasted Brisket (horseradish potatoes, parsley sauce) and Komish Cookie Sandwiches (dark chocolate, cherry filling). For reservations and details, call 212-780-0262.

Redeye Grill: 890 Seventh Avenue – Redeye is celebrating Passover with the ultimate Passover treat: complimentary macaroons. The promotion will be on from Friday, April 6th to Saturday, April 14th. On top of that, they will be featuring Chozen Matzoh crunch ice cream. What is it? It’s vanilla ice cream loaded with chocolate and caramel covered Matzoh. So make sure to leave a little of the three-hour braised short ribs so you can leave room for dessert.  For reservations and details call 212-541-9000.

Rosa Mexicano: Various Locations – Rosa Mexicano celebrates Mexican Passover annually. Their Passover menu will be available from April 6-13. It was curated by Jonathan Waxman and will be available at all Rosa Mexicano locations nationwide. The menu was inspired by Waxman’s Jewish upbringing and current culinary trends in Mexico City. It includes dishes such as: Haroset A blend of dates, coconut, tangerine, pomegranate, almonds, cinnamon and rose apples ($12), Braised Lamb Shank with dates, baby onions, garlic, tangerines and chili quinoa ($24), and of course Sangría Haroset Herradura silver tequila (Kosher) combined with apple and lemon juices, topped with Manischewitz reduction ($12).

The Russian Tea Room: 150 West 57th Street – How does a three-course Passover dinner ($90, $50 for children) at one of NYC’s most famous grand dining rooms sound? On the first two nights of Passover (April 6 & April 7), Executive Chef Mark Taxiera will showcase his versions of Gefilte fish and Matzo Ball Soup. There will also be more modern Passover dishes, such as Whole Roasted Branzino with stewed red cabbage and charoset. . For reservations and details call 212-581-7100.

William Greenberg Desserts1100 Madison Ave. – A New York landmark since 1946, William Greenberg is known for some of the best sweets in the Big Apple. This Passover, you can get all your kosher dessert needs: Greenberg’s famous macaroons (coconut, almond or chocolate dipped). These goodies are perfect for the Passover Seder. They will also have Passover cupcakes: chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and shaved coconut, nutty cake with chocolate frosting and sliced almonds, and nutty cake with raspberry and white chocolate. Sounds like a win to me. 212 861-1340

Where to Eat Easter 2012 in NYC


Easter is most associated (in the food sense) with Chocolate bunnies, peeps and colored eggs. I particularly like the culinary aspect of Easter. My family celebrated both Catholic Easter and Greek Easter (which meant twice the goodness). If you don’t feel like cooking for the holiday, these are some great NY restaurants offering lovely Easter menus:

Carmine’s  - 2450 Broadway and 200 West 44th Street: I know Carmine’s is touted as a tourist trap, but I love it. The food is good, plentiful and the atmosphere at Carmine’s screams “FAMILY!”  On Sunday, April 8th, Carmine’s will offer a roasted rack of lamb dinner ($70). I think anyone (devout or not can enjoy it). The meal includes an array of roasted vegetables, and Easter bread, as well as their signature cicola (focaccia dough rolled with prosciutto, sopressata and Romano cheese).  Call for more details and reservations 212-362-2200 (Broadway location) or 212-221-3800 (West 44th Street).

DB Bistro – 55 West 44th Street: As you know, Daniel Boulud can do no wrong in my eyes. This Easter Sunday you can head to DB Bistro for brunch from 10-3pm. Easter brunch will feature an a la carte menu and will also have a family style entrée special – slow roasted whole leg of lamb with Provencal side dishes for the table (4 to 6 guests) at $200. Dinner will be served from 5pm to 10pm a la carte. For details and reservations call 212-391-2400.

Il Tesoro - 1578 First Ave: In addition to his standard dinner menu, Chef and owner A.J. Black has put together a four-course Easter Lamb tasting menu for Easter Sunday (April 8), allowing you to savor lamb in different ways ($65 pp). Dishes include lamb Milanese and roasted baby lamb (served over wild mushroom risotto with a white truffle porcini sauce). For reservations and details call 212-861-9620.

Murals on 54 - 63 West 54th Street: Murals is offering a special Easter Brunch menu for the day and includes a complimentary glass of Champagne, Bloody Mary or Mimosa (that’s my kind of celebration). The brunch will cost $49 for adults, $18 for children ages 5-10, and is free for children under 5. You must make reservations by calling 212-314-7700  or going to

New York CentralPark Avenue at Grand Central:  Chef Christian Ragano is offering an affordable ($35 from 11am to 2pm) yet luscious brunch with spring-themed dishes like the Lavender French Toast as well as a three-course “not-so-traditional” dinner ($68 from 3pm to 10pm), which includes entrees such as Long Island duckling and pan roasted Brittany turbot. For resos and details call 646-213-6865


Patsy’s - 236 W. 56th Street: Celebrate Easter at a NY classic. Patsy’s will be offering some very special Easter dishes on Sunday, April 8. Dishes include agnello di Pasqua (a succulent rack of baby lamb), pizza rustica (a baked pie topped with provolone, parmesan, ricotta, salami, soppresaata and dry sausage), and for those with a sweet tooth. Pastiera (cheesecake with grana). The dinner will cost $59.95 pp. For details and reservations call 212-247-3491.

Tocqueville - 1 East 15th Street: Chef Jason Lawless is offering a three-course lunch ($64) and three-course dinner ($75) on Sunday, April 8th featuring ingredients sourced from the Union Square Green Market. I am mostly tempted by the confít of rabbit terrine with ramps, haricot vert and red wine carmel. Call for reservations and more menu details 212-647-1515.

Study: Getting Tipsy Enhances Creativity


In a study published on ScienceDirect, a scientific database with more than 10 million journal articles, the effects of alcohol intoxication on creative problem solving were examined.

On average, not only did those in the intoxicated study group solve more creative problems than the sober control group, they reached solutions at a faster pace. And intoxicated participants were more likely to rate their solutions as insightful.

Andrew Jarosz and his research team explained the assumption by popular culture is that alcohol provides a benefit to creative processes, but to date that conclusion has never been tested.

Jarosz’s experiment tested the effects of moderate alcohol intoxication on a common creative problem solving task, the Remote Associates Test (RAT).

Individuals were brought to a blood alcohol content of approximately .075 by drinking vodka and cranberry juice; after reaching peak intoxication, they completed a battery of RAT items.

Each item in the RAT test consisted of three words, and the task was to find a fourth word that could logically be associated with all three. So for example, one word that has a logical relationship with the words “Peach”, “Arm”, and “Tar” — is “Pit”.

Intoxicated individuals solved more RAT items (they solved 58 per cent of 15 items on average vs. 42 per cent average success achieved by controls) in less time (11.54 seconds per item vs. 15.24 seconds), and were more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight.

Jarosz and his colleagues concluded: “Though only a first step, the current research represents the first empirical demonstration of alcohol’s effects on creative problem solving, while also providing suggestions of the critical underlying mechanisms that allow for this benefit in problem solving performance.”

This study suggests that all the standard features associated with sobriety — acute alertness, enhanced memory retention, and heightened focus of attention — may actually work against “imagination” compared to those in an uninhibited, relaxed state where receptiveness to random associations ignites spontaneous creativity.

One of the study’s co-authors, Jenny Wiley, stressed the research was part of a broader inquiry demonstrating how different mind-sets can affect creative problem solving.

“Other research by her lab and elsewhere has shown that being in a positive mood is also beneficial; as is telling people to go with their gut feelings; so too having early bilingual experience, probably because it allows people to flip between different ways of looking at a problem.”

“So the bottom line,” Wiley said, “is that we think being too focused can blind you to novel possibilities, and a broader, more diffuse or more flexible attentional state may be needed for creative solutions to emerge. Some folks may choose a pint of ale as their muse, others can choose one of these other contexts”.

Campo Viejo Color Me Uncorked

Color me uncorked

I get lots and lots of emails from PR companies. This one was worth sharing. Campo Viejo, Rioja’s largest wine producer, is holding a killer recipe contest with a great prize.

Your mission, shall you choose to accept it is to create a colorful, original, Campo Viejo-inspired dish. The winning recipe will get a 4 course Spanish dinner by Chef Anthony Sasso (of Michelin Starred Casa Mono in New York City).

What do I do? Visit Campo Viejo on Facebook. Submit an original recipe with a photograph and short description by April 9, 2012 (11:59:59 PM EST).

JD Bacon Coffin

JD Bacon Lube

People say they love bacon to death. This has led to some insane products being developed:

Bacon Milkshakes
Bacon “Lotion”
Bacon Cologne (because every girl wants a man that smells like bacon)
Bacon Everything!

Or so we thought. Now people can really prove they love bacon to death. JD’s, the makers of baconnaise and bacon salt have just released the Bacon Coffin. The coffins are decorated with bacon and pork images and accented with gold stationary handles. The interior has an adjustable bed and mattress, a bacon memorial tube and is completed in ivory crepe coffin linens.  From their press release “Classy.  Bacon.  Coffin.”

If you want to secure your own, it will cost you $2,999.99 plus shipping and handling.


Pink Slime Maker Forced to Close All But One Plant

Ground Beef Pink Slime

The social media uproar and an online petition that drew hundreds of thousands of supporters has forced Beef Products Inc., the maker of “Pink Slime”, to suspended operations at all but one plant.

Beef Products will suspend operations at plants in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kansas; and Waterloo, Iowa. The company’s plant at its Dakota Dunes, S.D., headquarters will continue operations.

School cafeterias, major grocers including Wal-Mart, and fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King, have pledged to discontinue purchasing this disgusting beef byproduct that is literally the equivalent of dog food.

In a pathetic attempt to resurrect their dying business, Beef Products took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal defending its product, and launched a new website to mitigate public pressure to finally end production of what Carl Custer, a retired microbiologist and 35-year veteran of the Food Safety Inspection Service, calls SOYLENT PINK.

Pink slime consist of waste trimmings simmered at low heat so the fat separates from the muscle. The trimmings are spun using a centrifuge to complete the separation. Next, the mixture is oozed through pipes where it is doused with ammonia hydroxide, an ingredient used in fertilizers and household cleaners.

The process is completed by packaging the meat into bricks. Then, it is frozen and shipped to grocery stores and meat packers, where it is added to 70% of U.S. ground beef sold in supermarkets, fast food restaurants and public school cafeterias.

Now please note the unwavering adherence to pathological deception, the vile contempt for heightened public awareness, and the strident arrogance of Barry Carpenter, chief executive officer of the National Meat Association.

In his insolent statement, Carpenter says:

“At a time when so many Americans struggle to put a healthy, nutritious meal on their family’s dinner table, the unfounded mischaracterization of Lean Finely Textured Beef as pink slime is unconscionable.”

What! The mischaracterization is for Carpenter to refer to this absolutely wretched excuse for meat — salvaged beef scraps sprayed with ammonia hydroxide — as “Lean Finely Textured Beef”. The irony clearly escapes a beguiled and deluded Carpenter.

“If this is acceptable to people, it essentially means it’s OK to eat the kind of stuff we put into pet food,” said Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health.

“Culturally we don’t eat byproducts of human food production. It’s not in our culture. Other cultures do. We don’t.”

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who campaigned against pink slime, praised “people power” for getting it removed from so many products.

“I hope the U.S. government is also listening because it’s partly responsible for lying to the public for allowing this cheap, low-quality meat filler to be used for so long without having to legally state its presence on packaging,” Oliver said.

Order Pizza Via One Push On A Refrigerator Magnet

Red Tomato Pizza Delivery Magnet

A restaurant, Red Tomato Pizza, in Dubai, the port city in the United Arab Emirates on the Persian Gulf, has designed a refrigerator magnet that when pressed, automatically orders pizza for delivery.

Reporting for Digital Trends, Mike Flacy explains that to activate the one-touch process on the “VIP Fridge Magnet”, the user must sync the magnet — a small pizza box with a lid that opens — via Bluetooth with a smartphone.

The user first selects their favorite type of pizza, and then this specific selection is linked to the user’s account.

“Once the user presses the button marked ‘Push for hunger’ an order is placed with Red Tomato Pizza. In addition, a SMS confirmation is sent to the smartphone synced to the button.

“If the pizza was ordered on accident, the order can be canceled by sending a quick text in response.”

Two promotional videos have been launched on YouTube. The first video is a mock movie trailer rated P for “Pizza Lovers Only.” The second video explains the technical process that’s involved in placing an order with the magnet.

Flacy notes pizza chains such as Domino’s Pizza, Papa Johns and Pizza Hut offer smartphone apps on the iOS and Android platforms, but nothing as simple as a one-click method.

Inclusive in the Domino’s Pizza app is the ability to track the progress of the order from when it starts baking to when the pizza is headed out to for delivery.