Whether you're a yoga vet or just yoga-curious, today's Groupon is for you. For just $59, you get a one-month unlimited pass to Bikram Yoga Studios. With four locations throughout Manhattan and more than 250 classes offered each week, Bikram's convenience and variety make it easy to fit yoga into your busy schedule.
So what exactly is Bikram yoga? It's a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures and two Pranayama breathing exercises designed to challenge and rejuvenate you no matter what your fitness level. This 90-minute class is conducted in a heated room to let you detoxify through perspiration. During that hour and a half, you'll strengthen your body inside and out by working every muscle, tendon, ligament, joint, and organ. Imagine how good activating those muscles and joints will feel after years of neglect.
As always, read the fione print.
Not only is he an expert with the cleaver, he could give lessons in customer service (Ladies, in cured meat and cheeses, please take note.)
He's never too busy to explain his product and what product it is -- dark marbled lamb chops, pale skinless D'Artagnan rabbits ($5.99 a pound), plump-breasted chicken.
Beautiful glistening mounds of meat greet the carnivores at his ultra-clean counter in a gorgeous display of excess.
No order is too small (like yesterday's pound of ground beef mixed with pork when what I really wanted was a lovely rabbit). He is too kind to make any disdainful observation about your market basket and gently dashes your hopes of rabbit with the average price of $30 for a mature roaster.
I breezed in from the beach, body still tacky with sea salt and hair unkempt, to shop for a few comestibles to take home - pickled mushrooms, a sour cherry and clabbered cream parfait,
the Russian version of ravioli made with veal, latkes, Challah, blackly ripe sweet Bing cherries, smoked chicken.
I love shopping the aisles with the Russian women dressed like they just stepped from the pages of Vogue - even if I feel slightly frumpy by comparison. Yesterday I negotiated the aisles beside a stunning brunette - with that perfect skin cultivated only in Eastern Europe it seems - in a floor-length, fitted white dress and spike heels that could put an eye out.
But my butcher treats me like one of the glamorous women, giving me a courtly bow and pretending to think I'm Russian by greeting me in his mother tongue then fluently switching to English to accommodate the foreigner in Little Odessa. He is chivalrous when it is not necessary to be so, and since it is a quality I find sadly lacking in modern life, I lap it up like sweet cream.
And even when he knows (the way a good salesman knows the depth of his customer's pockets) that my choices are utilitarian rather than frivolous, he asks if there isn't something else he can get for me. He assumes there is a day when I will spend more.
Thank you, my beautiful butcher.
Ever wonder what goes on behind closed doors in Florence?
Context Florence is brushing away the shrouded mystery by teaming with Friends of Florence to give visitors a peek at several of the nonprofit's ongoing restoration projects, including the Tribuna of the Uffizi Gallery and the San’Antonio cloister at San Marco.
Context, the network of scholars who lead critically acclaimed walking tours in several major world cities, is partnering with esteemed non-profit organization Friends of Florence on this unique collaboration, "Salvaging Art."
The walk will take place on July 8th, 2009 at 9:30AM and is part of the biannual Out of Context series, which offers special lectures, site openings and events in our cities, providing unique and exclusive experiences far off the beaten track. This event marks the first collaboration between Context Florence and Friends of Florence, founded in 2002 by Simonetta Brandolini D’Adda, organizations both widely regarded for their dedication to mitigating the negative affects of mass tourism on Florence’s precious landmarks and artwork.
The walking seminar will first start at the Tribuna of the Uffizi, the octagonal display room that has held many of the masterpieces of the Medici ducal collection for over 400 years. The group will then move on the San’Antonio cloister, nestled in the placid San Marco complex, which boasts some imperiled Renaissance-era frescoes.
At both spaces, we will discuss not only the history behind the structures but the science and technique behind their current endangered states and their ongoing restoration.
Founded by National Geographic writer Paul Bennett and graphic designer Lani Bevacqua, Context is a network of English-speaking scholars and professionals – including art historians, writers, architects and gastronomes – who organize and lead didactic walking seminars in several world cities: Florence, Rome, Venice, Naples, Paris, London, New York and Istanbul.
To learn more about Context, visit its website at: www.contexttravel.com
Sixteen hour shifts and six day work weeks are the province of the young, upwardly mobile chef. There seems little time to balance work with life outside of the restaurant.
Remarkably Melt (440 Bergen Street, Brooklyn NY 718.230.5925) executive chef Patrik Landberg manages both. On a sunny spring afternoon, the kind that promises heat but delivers a breezy chill instead, Landberg met with me at the stylish neighborhood restaurant with big ambition, owned by Muguette (pronounced “Mu-Get”) Siem A Sjoe.
Landberg is amazingly fresh for a new father who works the long hard hours required of the executive chef of a small promising neighborhood restaurant. He is easy-going, open and pleasant. The word authentic seems an apt adjective to describe Landberg.
A native of Sweden, he went to culinary school at age 15, studied his craft for two years, learning French technique. The cuisine at Melt is best described as eclectic modern America, infused with hints of his own Swedish heritage.
Originally, Melt was a bar and the kitchen later was added to reinvent the space. The small restaurant, about 60 seats, has an even smaller kitchen. Landberg and the two chefs on his team work in a row and in synchronized, economical movements, a must in a kitchen where an open dishwasher blocks passage. It boggles the mind to see the amount and quality of food that is turned out of this tiny space.
The focus at Melt is seasonal, inventive and fresh daily. Landberg is often at the local produce markets in the morning before coming to work in his kitchen.
"It's very important to follow the seasons. The vegetable is going to taste so much better in season," he said, noting the challenges of balancing a menu that supports sustainability and yet also offers customers the items they desire. "You have to do what you have to do for business. Brunch requires berries."
Melt's menu contains mainstays like Aged Boucheron Goat Cheese Salad, Yellowfin Tuna Tartar, and Kobe Beef Burger, but Landberg likes to rotate items off the menu as the seasons change. Weather affects the palate and is one of the things the executive chef follows when thinking about what to create for his menu.
"Weather can change everything. In the spring, it's tricky," he said.
Melt is gaining a bit of a reputation for its tasting menu as well. The five-course tasting menu is $25 (and additional $20 for paired wine tastings) and is served the first Tuesday of each month. Landberg and his team of chefs create a menu based on the best of the market for that day.
A recent tasting menu featured a lobster theme with a Lobster Broth and Buckwheat Noodle consomme reminiscent of Thai lemongrass fragrant Tom Yum Goong, but not as pungent; Boston Bib Lettuce Wrap, a lobster tail, pickled carrot and cilantro wrapped in Bibb lettuce leaves; Surf and Turf Kobe Beef Slider served with Chipotle sauce and crispy fries; and Lobster Ravioli with a Sweet Onion Fondue and Buerre Blanc.
Executive chef at Melt since 2007, he arrived in the US in 2000 with the intention of staying only a summer and has been here since. Landberg has cooked at the now closed Meet in the Meatpacking District, Ulrika's (also shuttered) and The Roger Smith Hotel, where he followed Ulrika Bengtsson, who took over as Food & Beverage Manager after closing her eponymous Scandanavian restaurant.
Landberg understands the balance between satisfying his own creative impulses and imagination and satisfying the customer. He is not a slave to his ego. He wants to make the customer happy.
"We're in the service industry," said Landsberg, noting reasonable requests are always honored. "This is what I created. I'm here to please you. Why shouldn't I make you happy?
Usually when I grill, I get this overwhelming desire to throw every meat imaginable on the fire.
Lately, however, I've taken a more single-minded approach. I'm thinking about simplicity, about the beauty of a classic: the burger.
For the Fourth of July, when the skies cloud with blue and aromatic smoke all across these United States, I wanted to share a few burger recipes that I'll be sampling in my quest for the perfect juicy all-meat patty.
I love the rich flavor of lamb and what could be cooler and fresher than a chutney of English cucumber, yogurt and mint. (Epicurious)
Leave it to Emeril to kick it up a notch. Here's Lagasse's Tuna Burger for the seafood lovers in your crowd.
Of course, the doyenne of domesticity, Martha Stewart, weighs in with this big Best Beef Burger packing little more than the ground chuck. This all-beef biggie is the one for the purists.
Finally, for the artist lurking in the dark heart of my little kitchen, the Scratch Burger. Labor intensive, this recipe takes on every tiny detail from grinding the beef fresh to making the perfect bun. (The Washington Post).
If the turnout at the Fancy Food Show that ended June 30th is any indication, retailers are responding to consumers' desire to eat well - even if it means they're doing more cooking and entertaining at home.
Last year, according to the show organizers, specialty food accounted for 15.9 percent of all retail food sales, up to $48 billion, an 8.4 percent increase in annual sales.
While new product production declined last year, there was a significant increase in products made to satisfy cravings. Chocolate and confectionary products, desserts, ice cream and alcoholic beverage rollouts all grew significantly, show organizers reported.
With 250,000 products representing 81 countries, there was far too much to sample and see in three short days.
The emphasis seemed to be on artisanal products - small batch, hand crafted products running the gamut from pastas, olive oils, cheeses, and dry cured meats to honey, chocolates and confections to dry rubs and spices.
From small domestic producers came products as diverse as O Olive Oils citrus based organic oils - blood orange and Meyer lemon - and Edwards Virginia Hams Surryano dry cured ham, a domestic alternative to Serrano and Prosciutto to award-winning John Kelly Chocolates Truffle Fudge Bites - Dark Chocolate with French Grey Sea Salt, which was a sublime melt in your mouthmix of sweet and salty.
The Italian and Spanish purveyors offered a dizzying selection of cheeses, cured meats. olive oils and vinegars.
Leonardi, noted for its fine Modena Balsamic vinegars since 1871, introduced a novelty sour-sweet condiment Balsamo Oro, unique for its flakes of gold alimentary leaves.
Today's post introduces skin care expert Vladimir Byhovsky, who will be appearing as a guest columnist with tips on how to better preserve and care for your beautiful skin.
Even if you don't see it happening, your skin sheds 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells roughly every minute.
Daily the skin loses a layer of these dead cells and renews itself about every 28 days.
it is the body's largest organ, our skin is often taken for granted.
We forget beautiful skin is not merely an accident of genetics, but can
be cultivated through proper nutrition and nurturing.
Skin care expert Vladimir Byhovsky says any anti-aging regimen starts with sun protection. "If you want to prevent premature wrinkling or skin discolorations, you need to first stop exposing yourself to the sun," says the medical professional and spa owner.
Byhovsky, whose Studio Esthetique is a premier NY medical spa and skin rejuvenation center, recommends limiting your time in the sun and using the highest SPF sunscreens in addition to a routine skin maintenance regimen.
"If you do not protect from sun, you are jeopardizing your skin’s health," says Byhovsky.
cancer, wrinkles, freckles, age spots, dilated blood vessels, changes
in the texture of the skin, blotchiness, and the prune-like skin
texture you see in elderly sun worshippers are all results of an
overexposure to the sun, he says.
The sun produces ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that are responsible for such common skin problems as sunburns, premature aging, pigmentation and skin cancer.
UVB and UVA rays are part of the sun’s spectrum wavelengths that are shorter than visible light. UVB rays are more active in the summer months. UVA ray are more constant throughout the year.
The shorter UVB rays quickly burn the mid layers of the skin. Depending on the skin type it takes anywhere between 10 – 30 minutes. The damaged cells send signals to the bottom layer of the epidermis, which responds by forming melanin. Melanin is what makes the skin look "tan".
To be effective, Byhovsky says, sunscreen - minimally 30 SPF - should be reapplied at least every two hours.
American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeking shade when possible,
avoiding sunbathing, and wearing wide-brimmed hats as well as
sunglasses and protective clothing.
My feet felt like ground beef yesterday after a day roaming the crowded aisles of the Fancy Food Show.
Did I wear practical shoes? Of course not!
Would one walk the food equivalent of Piazza San Marco in Keds? Not with all those gloriously well-dressed Italian men on hand to demonstrate their country's fantastic cheeses, pastas, cured meats, olive oils, balasmic vinegars, mushrooms, rice, etc.
Did I mention there seems to be an inordinately large population of attractive people associated with the preparation and purveying of fancy food?
Food is a great aphrodisaics, so maybe it was something I ate.
At any rate, the Fancy Food Show really should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. From savory to sweet, there were tastes, textures and flavors for all palates. I was delighted to speak with representatives from locations as diverse as the Southern United States to South Africa. I sampled spice blends, premier chocolates, dry cured hams, gelati, wines, olives, finishing butters, olive oils - the list is endless.
The Fancy Food Show is for the trade, a place for vendors to exhibit their best products, to educate about their offerings and to sell. For attendees, it's a huge opportunity to learn about what's hot and what's new, but also to become reacquainted with familiar food products.
I'm always amazed at the range and quality of something as seemingly simple as say pasta. Crafting quality food products is never quite as uncomplicated as we novices imagine.
I had one lovely love affair after another (with food, with food - wink, wink).
Watch for upcoming posts about new tastes, flavors and textures from around the culinary world.
Yesterday I was feeling like a bit of cake, so I made this Red Velvet Cake.
I wanted savory with my sweet, so I sprinkled a little Soul of the Sea Haleakala Red salt on top for a pretty natural garnish that added terrific flavor.
While I was savoring this treat last night (and again this morning for breakfast), I started dreaming about re-inventing my Red Velvet Cake. I've always loved the spicy heat of chiles and chocolate, so I think next time I make this cake I'm going to experiment with increasing the cocoa content and adding a little heat with chiles, maybe some Datil pepper.
But for now I have a whole old-school Red Velvet Cake to consume. Cake anyone?