Category Archives: high life

The Omelet à La Tampopo

Did you know how to make a perfect omelet back in 1988?

Back then, I was still a bit wet behind the ears when it came to kitchen lore. I had the desire, but not the finesse to please.

I would have done well to watch Tampopo, where the Jacques Pepin omelet making technique takes center stage. Adam Rapaport did. I wonder why I did not: Hmmm … I will have to think about that.

Meanwhile, check out the link for a very fun short video of that movie sequence. Brilliant!

Nepalese Cooking in Tartu? Yes!

I love it when you try something new and find out that it is great! And that is what I discovered each time that I visited the Mandala Restaurant on Ruutli Street in Tartu.

Image result for Mandala Restaurant Tartu

The only problem appears to be that it is TOO good. I read that during the week, there are some wait times for lunch. My suggestion – go there on Sunday. That is what I did and the place was nearly empty.

Be prepared – the decor is simple. No frills. But the food is superb. Whoever is in the kitchen, knows what he or she is doing.

Go for it!

BTW, I hear that there is a second Nepalese restaurant in the space at the rear of the SEB building on Ülokooli Street called Vaga Mama. I have not tried it yet but will. Stay tuned!

A Homily to French Wine

Just what is a homily? It is

a religious discourse which is intended primarily for spiritual edification rather than doctrinal instruction.

It nurtures the soul rather than tells you what to do.

That about sums up my attitude towards wine in general. You can, if you choose to, get into the mechanics of how wine is made. But you don’t need to do that to fall in love with the experience that certain wines can offer.

Marissa Ross writes about her path to this sort of enlightenment. This captures the flavor of the thing

That chaos (of wine making experiences) also leads to everything real and beautiful and memorable. That’s what I learned I loved about French wines. It’s not one specific thing but rather the space created for so many possibilities. It’s what brought me to my knees, scribbling about Domaine Plageoles’ Gamay on the wet cellar floor. It’s why I stayed out too late drinking Domaine Rimbert’s Cinsault and got lost in misty ivy-covered alleyways along the river in Saint-Chinian.


This Thought Could Make Your Day or Week … Or More

Here it is

We all want to be happy, right?  But happiness is elusive. We cannot just order up a happy sandwich and feel the effect. On the other hand, we can “get into” stuff. We can feel the flow, for example, of a great story or game.

That “getting into stuff” is very powerful. It stokes us into mental states that open doors. It is a path to happiness. And a lot of that door opening happens because of a release of dopamine.

That is enough background. Here is the idea

“Dopamine is not about pleasure; it’s about the anticipation of pleasure. It’s about the pursuit of happiness rather than happiness itself.”

Think about it. All you need to do is pursue. Go for it!

Thinking about Accelerating Returns

The old story about the invention of chess is well known.

As legend has it, the emperor was so impressed with the game that he invited its creator to name his reward.  The inventor’s request seemed modest, he simply told the Emperor:

‘All I desire is some rice to feed my family.’ Since the emperor’s largess was spurred by the invention of chess, the inventor suggested they use the chessboard to determine the amount of rice he would be given. ‘Place one single grain of rice on the first square of the board, two on the second, four on the third, and so on,’ the inventor proposed, ‘so that each square receives twice as many grains as the previous.’

Hmmm … yes, there is a trick here

For the first half of the chessboard, the emperor had to pay 232 grains of rice, or about the equivalent of one field, but as the doubling continued, the total amount owed far exceeded all the rice that existed in the world. That, in essence, is the concept of accelerating returns. When growth is exponential, even seemingly insignificant trends can become predominant.

It is easy to think of this in terms of things, like grains of rice. But can you think about it in terms of value added? Exponential growth of the value that you get from a single unit of time?

Wow! That gets your attention!

Ah! The Good Life in Stars Hollow

If you moved to a small town from the big city, what would be the most important place to connect with? Put another way, what place would make you feel most at home?

Hmmm … back when I was in my 20’s, it would have been a toss up between a bookstore and a care. How clever that Borders combined the two! But times have changed. When Molly Yeh moved to Stars Hollow, she made a beeline to Amazing Grains.

Here is the key idea

… the thing about the place is that you don’t go there for the widest selection of mustards or fanciest vinegars and cheeses, you go there because the few mustards that they sell are trustworthy and good and because maybe they have their famous harira soup that day and if not the #2 sandwich will do, and then you stay to find out how Heather’s Berkshire pig is doing, if Betsey spotted any obscure birds that morning, and what pop-up supper is shaping up for that weekend. Grains is so much more than the one place in town with kvass—it’s a community with the kind of customer service that’s done best in a small town.

that’s what you get when you are not just flogging commodities.