Paris: Alain Ducasse Goes Wild!

this is serious, serious food porn! En garde!

Dave Lebovitz just attended an invitation only meal prepared by the great chef. For foodies, this perhaps as important as a presidential election or a world cup finals. He writes

As Alexander Lobrano astutely noted in his just-updated book, Hungry for Paris, Alain Ducasse is “the gastronomic equivalent of Chanel.” There’s room in the world for haute couture (and haute cuisine), as well as Old Navy and Uniqlo (and taquerias and burger joints). One doesn’t replace the other, they just serve different clientele, and different functions. To some, dining out is a socio-political act. To others, it’s about having a luxurious experience. But I’ve venture to say that most of us dine out for pleasure and sustenance. This restaurant falls into that middle category and for most of us, it’s not an everyday experience.

Right. So the great meal introduces a new idea at a very high level. I won’t rob Dave of his thunder here. But check out the above link if you want to get seriously envious. Enjoy!


Italy: Saving a della Francesca

Piero della Francesca’s 15th Century fresco of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is on a wall in the Tuscan town of Sansepolcro. Back in the 1920’s, it was proclaimed by Aldus Huxley as the greatest painting in the world!

So what? Well, here is the back story. during the second world war,  a young British soldier recalled reading Huxley’s words when he received orders to start a bombard the town of Sansepolcro. He delayed — effectively disobeying his orders —  until after the Germans had retreated from the town, making the bombardment unnecessary. Thank the Lord!

But … this great fresco is in danger again.

Centuries of grime and humidity have wrought their damage, and the painting is flaking, cracking and discolored.

In Italy, this would normally mean that the state undertakes a restoration. But sorry, the Italian government is out of cash. This has forced them to accept a private donation to cover the costs. Something very new in Italy. Interesting. Check out the above link for the story behind this fresco! Enjoy! And here it is


How Movie Trailers Have Changed!

Movie trailers are teasers, and as such they use pretty sophisticated marketing tricks. These tricks take you into the core theme of the story – to glimpse the dramatic tension. In doing so, you feel the reason why you need to watch. But the trailer has to be careful not to reveal how this tension will be resolved.

It appears that movie folks are getting better at this. Check out this effort, a new trailer for an old movie — from the Star Wars Series. Pretty cool!

Thinking about Vermont Castings

More on keeping warm!

The other day, a friend of mine was raving about her “Vermont Castings” oven. It is apparently very warm and efficient and saving a lot on heating bills. Here is what it looks like (from the firm’s website)

Defiant® FlexBurn Wood Burning Stove

They also do pretty cool fireplace inserts

You can be confident you'll stay warm with this insert featuring automatic air control! Plus, it's EPA certified as one of the cleanest burning inserts available.

I have a fireplace in my home, but it is pretty old fashioned and I am thinking about upgrades. Anyone have experience with this or other grands? Feel free to comment!

Trust Me, You Do Not Need the Beard Head Barbarian Hat

Hmmm … cold weather and Christmas come together. So it is no surprise that Santa freaks out over warm winter clothing. Here are a few suggestions for upgrades. After living quite a few years in a northern climate, I have a few suggestions of my own

  • EARS GET REALLY COLD! You know it is cold when you start looking for a hat. Keeping your head warm is key. And that includes the ears. Especially the ears! But no, you don’t need the Beard Head Barbarian Hat (see link for picture)
  • LEGS ARE LONGER THAN YOU THINK. So keeping them warm is a challenge. That does not have to mean tight fitting long johns, though I am into that when it gets to the minus zone. Very thin insulation trousers under your pants does amazing amazing things.
  • TOOTSIE ALERT – we are talking a combination of shoes and socks here.  Don’t let those footsies get cold or wet! Electric socks? Could be.
  • FINGERS! – you will need gloves, but not the leather dweeby kind. Ski stuff.  Insulated. And if it gets really, really cold, invest in some hand warming technology to put in your gloves.
  • NECK! – don’t try to be cool — keep that neck covered with a scarf or something else.

And when you come in?`A warm drink. That usually helps.