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The Most Slather-Worthy Condiments

March 9, 2011
Condiments
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The simplest way to make a ho-hum sandwich fancy? Embellish it with artisanal condiments, of course. Below, our favorite new accoutrements for moving beyond the standard red and yellow fare:

• As devout French-fry drenchers, we were thrilled to discover Sir Kensington’s salty-sweet Gourmet Scooping Ketchup ($9). Sweetened with agave nectar, honey and raw, brown sugar, then boosted with Dijon mustard and chile peppers, the distinct combo turns any burger into a culinary event.

• As the name suggests, Jaime Oliver’s Jme Marvellous Mayo ($15) adds unrivaled zing, probably because it’s made in small batches with free-range eggs, extra-virgin olive oil and grape-seed oil. Use it as a regular sandwich-topper or as a base for creamy salad dressings.

• Though all of Anton Kozlik’s Canadian mustards are slather-worthy, our favorite is the savory Triple Crunch ($6), so called for its bursts of whole white, brown and black mustard seeds.

• The all-natural ingredients and extra-sweet flavor of Wayne’s Green Tomato Relish ($5) earned Wayne Cox a Blue Ribbon at the 2003 Macon County Fair. Good thing his family decided to bottle the 40-year-old recipe (which includes green tomatoes, bell peppers and turmeric) and share with the rest of us.

• Mega-chef Thomas Keller’s rustic Ad Hoc Apple Bacon BBQ Sauce ($16) is made with bacon, apple juice, caramelized Vidalia onions and maple syrup. The result? An irresistible fruity-smoky flavor.

Originally written for PureWow.

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Show Your True Colors with Shades of Grey Jewelry

March 7, 2011

shades of grey jewelry!

Life to you is black and white. Though you’ll want to consider a few Shades of Grey when it comes to choosing accessories.

Jewelry designer Attalie Dexter crafts eclectic baubles from a combination of vintage and modern elements for an anachronistic mash-up. Think mix-matched corrugated beads on delicate, oxidized vintage chains.

The true gems in Dexter’s collection are her necklaces, which range from simple (a dead stock vintage bow hanging from a thin copper chain) to complex (hexagonal brass beads, Japanese jet glass beads, and Chicago-sourced feathers strung on a brass chain) to both (a long chain with a dangling cluster of charms like etched stars, brass sequins, and a translucent blue-gray heart).

Every piece is one of a kind. So you can show your true colors.

Available at Workshop, 818 West 18th Street, at Newberry Avenue (312-226-9000); online at shop.shadesofgreyjewelry.com.

Originally written for DailyCandy Chicago.

A Self-Guided Literary Tour of Brooklyn

March 3, 2011

Truman Capote's home

I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine;
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it;

I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,

In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,

In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me.

So writes Walt Whitman in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, his poetic account of a trip across the East River. In addition to Whitman, many other scribblers call Brooklyn “home,” from comedy writer Simon Rich to fiction tour de force Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s only natural, then, that Brooklyn be teeming with literary points of interest. Here are ten of our favorites.

1. 826 NYC | Park Slope
Dave Egger’s superhero store cum non-profit tutoring center for kids offers a variety of lit programs, as well as products like Sasquatch Mucous and Invisibility Detection Goggles.

2. 175 Carlton Avenue | Fort Greene
Richard Wright lived in this brownstone while he wrote Native Son, his epic novel about an African American grappling with the harsh racial climate in Chicago during the 1930s.

3. 662 Driggs Avenue | Williamsburg
Tropic of Cancer author Henry Miller lived in this modest brick walk-up in the Fillmore Place Historic District from 1892-1901, when he was just a boy.

4. Brooklyn College | Midwood
This CUNY senior college is the alma mater of authors Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon) and Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes), and is where Allen Ginsberg taught creative writing and Beat Generation courses as a Distinguished Professor.

5. Green-Wood Cemetery | Greenwood Heights
Green-Wood Cemetery is the resting place of Horace Greeley, founder and editor of the NY Tribune, as well as poets Alice Cary and Elizabeth F. Ellet.

6. 169 Clinton Street | Brooklyn Heights
Weird Fiction pioneer H.P. Lovecraft lived in this then-decrepit Brooklyn Heights apartment after leaving Flatbush in 1924.

7. 70 Willow Street | Brooklyn Heights
Truman Capote lived in this lavish five-story Brooklyn Heights townhouse while he wrote “Breakfast At Tiffanys” and “A House on the Heights.”

8. 31 Grace Court | Brooklyn Heights
Arthur Miller lived in this Brooklyn Heights house when he completed Death of a Salesman in the late 40s. Later, he sold it to W.E.B. Du Bois, the civil rights activist and intellectual leader.

9. Brooklyn Public Library | Prospect Heights
While this may seem like an obvious choice, what’s not so apparent is the myriad of literary-inspired animals on the 40-foot bronze entry doors. See if you can spot Edgar Allan Poe’s raven, Paul Bunyan’s Babe the blue ox, and Jack London’s White Fang.

10. The Emerson | Clinton Hill
You’ve no doubt worked up a thirst by now, so stop into The Emerson bar for a poetry-themed cocktail like the Emerson or the Sir Walter Scott.

Originally written for offManhattan.

Ten Weeks of Meat from City Provisions in Chicago

March 1, 2011

city provisions delicatessen meat chicago!

Forget the greenbacks, socialists, and tea baggers: We’re card-toting members of the sausage party.

So when we learned about City Provisions’s new Meat Share program, naturally we were in full support. Starting March 18, Chicago’s inimitable eco-deli and catering company will offer biweekly pickups of sustainable proteins, selected by chef Cleetus Friedman and available solely through the meat club.

Options rotate over a ten-week period and might include humanely raised duck breasts from Indiana’s Gunthorp Farms, all-natural bison rib eyes from Pinn-Oak Ridge Farm in Wisconsin, and house-cured bacon. But there’s always a chance you’ll score farm-fresh cold cuts, organic charcuterie, and locally sourced pâté. Think of it as your very own meat grab bag.

Yeah, we totally flipped our Whigs, too.

City Provisions Delicatessen, 1818 West Wilson Avenue, at Ravenswood Avenue (773-293-2489 or cityprovisions.com).

Originally written for DailyCandy Chicago.

Google Art Project: Visit the World’s Top Museums without Leaving Your Desk

February 25, 2011
Google Art Project

Art transcends boundaries, including time and distance. To wit: The newly launched Google Art Project is an interactive gallery that lets you visit the world’s best museums, from the comfort of your own computer.

Using Google Street View, enter any of the 17 participating museums (including the Tate Britain, the Uffizi and MoMA, to name a few) and take a literal 360-degree “stroll” from piece to piece. Stop and stare, or keep it moving. Meanwhile, annotated notes detail the artist’s life and work–for instance, how to spot hidden messages like the one in Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry.

Plus, you can experience permanent collections and rotating exhibitions. Our current pick: Andrey Rublev’s arresting medieval paintings at Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery.

A handy search-tool helps you locate specific works, artists, exhibitions or aesthetics, while the high-resolution zoom-feature gets you mega-close to minuscule details of your favorites (just when we thought we couldn’t get any closer, we noticed tiny fiber-particles on the canvas).

But the most awesome part about the Google Art Project: There’s not a single line or red-velvet rope to hold you back.

Originally written for PureWow.

Piece x Piece Clothing Makes Discarded Fabric Beautiful

February 23, 2011

piece x piece repurposed clothing san francisco!

One woman’s garbage is another woman’s garment. So says Piece x Piece upcycled clothing.

The earth-friendly line is the brainchild of SF’s own Elizabeth Brunner, who found potential in the most unexpected materials. Recognizing the overwhelming amount of waste produced by the fashion industry, she decided to make beautifully structured garments from discarded fabric swatches.

Meticulously patched together, these are one-of-a-kind dresses and separates. We’re smitten with the collection’s sultry Starline V-neck and its hint of raw-edge linen and crinkled silk; the Urban Yield dress, a mosaic of patterned textiles; and the minimalist Cubic Crop tank.

It’s a real rags to riches story.

Available at 440 Brannan Boutique, 440 Brannan Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets (415-348-0000 or 44obrannan.com). To see styles, go to pxp-sf.com.

Originally written for DailyCandy.

Dog Friendly Bars in New York City: A New Leash on Life

February 16, 2011

Dog-friendly bars

You’d never leave a good buddy chained to a pole outside in the freezing cold while you sat inside a cozy bar enjoying a pint (we hope). So why would you do the same to your dog? We’ve located five bars—even more awesome than Manhattan hound haunts The Horse Box, Tom and Jerry, Hogs and Heifers—where man’s best friend is encouraged to tag along.

1. Brooklyn Brewery Happy Hour | Williamsburg
Every Friday, the eco-friendly Brooklyn Brewery hosts Tasting Room happy hours where you can sample eight of their beer varieties ($4 each or $20 for six). They’ll provide the bar snacks (salty nibbles from Ovenly) if you provide the pooch.

2. LIC Bar | Long Island City
Water bowls abound in this Queens watering hole revered for its come-as-you-are vibe. Check the pretension at the door and guzzle some suds while you listen to live music (every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) or participate in Laugh and Learn trivia nights (every Thursday).

3. Barcade | Brooklyn
Stop by this bark-friendly bar by 8pm to avoid a wait for the many retro arcade games like Pacman, Donkey Kong, Frogger and Tetris. Let your pooch pick a song on the jukebox and enjoy the expansive selection of local and craft beers. Come back in the springtime and unwind outdoors with your woogie.

4. Mission Dolores | Park Slope
This airy, no-nonsense beer garden caters to hooch hounds and furry hounds alike. The extensive beer list may seem overwhelming, so here’s a tip–order the cask ale. Not only is it delish, it’s awesome to watch the bartender serve it à la the old-school lever.

5. Moonshine | Red Hook
Wag with friends, leash in hand, at this homey bar. We’re not joking about the homey part–during the summer you can bring your own meat and grill it on the back patio, just like you would at your own place.

Photo: Courtesy of saikiishiki

Originally written for offManhattan.