Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gifts for those who love food (and wine!)

It's not too late yet. You didn't have time for Christmas but there is still New Year's so you have no excuses. A fun and quirky list, not excluding the bubbly, is the following:

1. The Upside Down Apron with cooking guide
Kitchen aid at your fingertips! Fed up of frantically thumbing through cookbooks while your goulash explodes? Or coating your keyboard in baked mac and cheese while looking up cooking times and measurements on Google? Fear not! We’ve put all of that useful info right at your fingertips. An apron is no longer just something to keep you clear or a place to wipe your dirty hands!

Printed Upside down on the apron for easy reading and is made of cotton.

One size -  fits most.

2. Condiment Gun - The sure-fire sauce dispencer

Simply fill with your favorite sauces, then pull the trigger carefully and slowly for precision sauce dispensing, or hard and fast to take out food across the room!

The ultimate sauce lover's gadget! (it includes two reusable cartridges and a squirt bottle, to make refilling easy).

3. Egg cosy with eggcup

Keep boiled eggs snug and warm with a cute ceramic eggcup and hand-knitted cosy made from 100 per cent organic merino wool.
It will make your egg even tastier!

4. Pralus Chocolate -  100% Dark
The ultimate in cocoa content and for the strict, extreme bitter chocolate lovers. This single origin chocolate bar uses only fine flavor, Criollo cocoa from Madagascar. Very creamy texture but only for the brave ones!
If you wish to wake up your inner sommelier the Wine Game is the perfect gift. Questions are divided into six categories; Grapes, Regions, Estate/Producer, Spirits, Fortified Wines and Vocabulary. As you proceed in the game, anything could happen. You may visit a wine auction in New York or be asked to settle a longshoreman's strike in Europe or be asked to identify a wine by the shape of a bottle. Six Categories, 900 questions and a few surprises along the road is what will be expecting you.

The Bouquet game is suitable for 2-6 players, individually or in teams.

6. Whirley Pop Vintage Popcorn Maker

Anxious popcorn lovers can enjoy up to 6 quarts of scrumptious popcorn, puffed up to 42 times original kernel size, in less than 3 minutes!

In less time than it takes to microwave a bag, you can enjoy fluffy, fresh popcorn with this classic hand-cranked popper. Just pour oil and kernels into the aluminum pan, place on a burner and start turning the stay-cool wooden handle. The stainless-steel stirring mechanism keeps popcorn moving to prevent burning and promotes even coating so you need less oil. Steam vents keep popcorn from getting soggy, and lid is hinged for easy pouring.

7. Microplane Artisan Series Medium Ribbon Grater

 Excels at grating hard and soft cheeses as well as onions and potatoes. Can also tackle hard foods, such as chocolate and Parmesan cheese for baking or garnishes. A cute, elegant gift, also one of Thomas Keller favorites!
8. Foodies, the book

More of an academic writing  than the traditional recipe cookbook, this book is subtitled "Democracy and Distinction in the Gourmet Foodscape". For food, politics and many more. Food for thought, not food for the table.

9. The Classic: Veuve Cliquot

For the record, this is my favorite...

Veuve Cliquot, with a glimpse of the summer

Friday, December 24, 2010

How to brew coffee at home

Most of us enjoy your daily joe fix at our local coffee shop,  the questionable quality of the plastic cup in the office or the just-across-the-street Starbucks. But what does it take to make good coffee at home?

Here are the tips that the Blue Bottle Coffee gave us during their one hour presentation a couple of weeks ago during the Amsterdam market seminar series.

General rules:

 There are various ways to brew coffee at home. You could pick the Ceramic Dripper, the Chemex or the French press. Each way of brewing coffee (of the above) will require different techniques, coffee beans, grinder etc

The Chemex

a. Invest in a hand/manual or blade grinder. The first gives an evenly grounded bean although the second, due to the blades and the heat, doesn't offer an evenly grounded outcome.

b. Buy good, freshly roasted coffee. In general, do not keep coffee more than two weeks in your kitchen. The darker the roast, the more perishable the coffee is; on the other hand, the lighter roasted, the more coffee quantity it contains and the less perishable it is.

For the single dripper (pour over), you will need ideally, a ceramic dripper, paper filter, kettle, coffee beans, hand grinder and water. 1. Put double the amount of good quality water than you intend to drink in a kettle (for each 8 oz of water use three to four level tablespoons of ground coffee). 2. While the water is heating, grind the coffee. The grind should be soft but also gritty. 3. Warm the ceramic dripper and cup with 10ml warm water. 4. Let the hot water combine with the coffee, it will expand outwards. 5. After 30-45 seconds of blooming, pour again. 6. Continue the same slow pour in the middle of the filter.

                                                The Ceramic Dripper

A Press pot coffee (or French press), requires an even grind so having a hand grinder is recommended.  1. For each 8 oz of water use three to four level tablespoons of ground coffee or otherwise the analogy should be 1 to 10. 2. Bring hot water not quite to the boil. 3. Place the kettle on the counter for 30 seconds. 4. Pour water into the empty press pot to warm it. 5. Add ground coffee to the empty press pot and pour water into the thin stream over the grounds. 6. Stir the coffee with a small wooden spoon and place the stem on the pot with the filter about half inch from the grounds. 7. Wait three minutes for the coffee to steep. 8. Remove the stem briefly and stir gently in a wooden spoon. 9. Push the grounds down to the bottom of the pot. If the stem thunks to the bottom with almost no resistance, then your grind is too coarse. If you have to strain to get the stem to the bottom of the pot, then your grin is too fine. It should take 12-20 seconds to push the stem to the bottom depending on the size of your press pot. 10. When you have pushed the plunger as far down as it will go, serve entire contents immediately. 11. Do not let it sit. 12. Do no reheat please, drink your coffee now.

French Press

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Got Snow?

If you stay in New York during the holidays, don't miss the "Got Snow" charity event on 12.22. Bring a new, unwrapped gift for the benefit. It's for a good cause! Cocktails and Hors d' Oeuvres will be served.

RSVP at events@a-apothecary.com by noon on 12.22

Where: at Bowery Wine, Co, 13 East 1st street, New York, 10003 from 8pm to 11pm.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Runway at Ricky's NYC with Rsession Tools on 12.18

Who: Ricky’s NYC and Rsession Tools’ renowned stylists Frank Rizzieri & Kevin Ryan
What: Ricky’s NYC Teams Up with Rsession Tools’ co-founders and celebrated runway hairstylists Frank Rizzieri and Kevin Ryan for demonstrations of the latest looks from the runway and red carpet using innovative tools from their own line, including the Naluwaver, Root Control, Tapered Curling Iron, Pin Point
Straightening Iron, Bamboo Brush Collection, Pin Up Girl Kit and Teasing Comb.
◊ Free Rsession Tools Heat Mat with any Rsession Tools purchase
Where: Ricky’s NYC Soho Location, 590 Broadway (Between Houston St and Prince St)

When: Saturday, December 18, 2010, 2:00–5:00 pm

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Lancôme Holiday Soiree at Lord & Taylor December 9th

On Thursday, December 9th
11 am to 7 pm @ Lord and Taylor, 5th Avenue at 39 st.

Pop Burgers for 88 cents December 8th

8coupons has reunited with Pop Burger to offer Pop Burgers for just 88 cents!

                      When: Wednesday December 8th 2010, 2:00 to 6:00 pm.

                      Where: 9th Avenue between 14th & 15th OR 14 East 58 street

Text yourself the special OCHO LOCO! coupon from 8coupons.com and show your phone to redeem.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

InStyle and Levi's shopping event

Join Levi's and artists from "The Original Butt Sketch"

When: Wednesday, December 8th, 7-9pm

Where: Levi's Meatpacking, 414 West 14th street, New York, NY

To confirm attendance, please email: rsvpnyc@timeinc.com by December 6th.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Shop this Saturday at DKNY

This Saturday 12.4 from 1 to 4pm, visit Bloomingdale's 59th street and shop with DKNY!

Click on the invitation to read more.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


My book  GET INVITED, DON'T CRASH IT is FINALLY available. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/fkw30Q.

Here is what the Editorial Reviews of Amazon say:

When was the last time you were invited to a party? A cocktail reception? A store opening? Do you remember or it has been such a long time since then that you have already forgotten? Have you ever wondered why some people get always invited and some others don't? Do you wish to get invited more often? With witty and engaging chapters, tips and plenty of resources, GET INVITED discusses the reasons of parties, invitations and guest lists and proves that you don't need a posh lifestyle or being "sociable" to be on the guest list. GET INVITED, DON'T CRASH it is an entertaining guide for those who want to be on the guest list more often.