Gone Baby Gone

23 Oct

Maybe you’ve noticed but it’s been since March that I’ve posted on this blog and that is for several reasons/excuses. I got a full-time job, I was learning about marketing at my job and become completely immersed in that while channeling my writing juices into my company’s blog, and then I got on a serious budget which stopped my cash flow into adventurous cooking and cocktail/beer explorations. That said, in the interim I discovered how much I loved Twitter, then dumped it for Google+.

My refocused energies mean I’ve decided to start a rotating small plates club (way better than book club), try running a 5K/8K this year, retire this blog and move it to Google+, rev up my Italian and get my groove back. Any and all interested in joining me on my little adventure, heave ho!

Get recipes, tips, stories and great pics from fellow foodies here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/

Drinking Made Easy

28 Mar

Talk about an early adopter: last weekend in a Binny’s I saw two different beverage promoters, Absolut and St. Germaine toting their products to thirsty customers.  The schism between the two and their target audiences was night and day: Absolut had an easily recognizable brand with a young crowd whereas St. Germaine was forgettable with an older crowd.

Absolut clearly had a cohesive and branded message: two young, attractive women dressed alike in black Absolut threads with modern give-aways.  The freebies were suited to a young or at least a mobile audience.  The physical give-away was a cell phone screen cleaner in the shape of the new Absolut Wild Tea Vodka with an adhesive so it could stick to the back of your phone.

To further the experience, one of the ladies whipped out an iPad to show us their digital give-away; a free app called “Drinkspiration”.  Everybody loves free stuff.  It used to be that a free t-shirt was enough to ply one’s customer base but the app is the new reusable, mobile, multi-function freebie.

Crain’s 2011 IDEA Conference Detroit

22 Mar

Detroit’s in the news again! Did my iPhone really just auto-correct that to Detritus? Wow, Steve Jobs.

This is a city I well and truly love and where for 16 years every other weekend I would stay with my dad on Jefferson Ave. – the famous central road/highway that cuts through the heart of the city.

Detroit is gaining traction in visibility through more positive channels than ever before. The new Chrysler ads are incorporating Eminem’s music from 8 Mile which welcome a return to the city’s original and unique brand as The Motorcity – “this is what WE do”.

Detroit will host Crain’s 2011 IDEA Conference which fosters opportunity for broader discussions between “leading thinkers, innovators and doers from technology, business, energy, product innovation, social entrepreneurship, design, music, media, automotive, restaurants and more […]” (Crain’s IDEA Conf.).

I love being at work when the new issues of Advertising Age get delivered because not only do I devour the articles but the past few have had front page stories on Detroit … and they’re NOT about arson or failing industries, it’s all gravy, and I LOVE gravy.

Detroit Lives

27 Feb

Earlier this summer I was scrolling through Jezebel and saw an ad tucked up in the right hand corner for a video sponsored by Palladium Boots.  It caught my eye because it was titled “Detroit Lives“.  I spent every other weekend and every summer for 16 years in Detroit and I’m not talking about Grosse Pointe.  My dad lived right on Jefferson across from the United Auto Workers Union Headquarters because he was a Senior Consultant (read negotiator) for the UAW and believed in solidarity.  I have a big soft spot for underdog cities especially hardened blue-collar ones like Cleveland and Detroit.

On to the point of this video.  “Detroit Lives” shows the side of Detroit not getting any media coverage: there’s an incredible influx of young entrepreneurs transforming the city’s abandoned buildings into artistic venues/studios and  cultivating burnt out homes and communities into urban farming plots.

Detroit has suffered but it is also a resilient city and for developers, quite the blank canvas.  Detroit is many things, but at its heart is its true identity — the Motor City, Motown.  I recently returned this Christmas to Detroit with my brother to memorialize our father who passed away from Lou Gehrig’s Disease six years ago and revisit the city after a 3 year absence.  We found the city a lot emptier than we remembered and homes right off Jefferson had gaping black holes blown through their roofs.  It was incredibly upsetting but then we visited Tom’s Oyster Bar where nothing has changed, not even my favorite Seafood Chowder and the Detroit Institute of Art.  Even in a recession in a depressed city, the DIA (an institution we spent a lot of time at) underwent a $157 million renovation and addition.

Our last stop before returning home to Ohio, was a tour of the River Rouge Plant.  Ford had completely redone their visitor center and it was clear that its leaders had been paying attention to the world around them.  The roof of the plant had been carpeted with a certain type of plant that could withstand incredible amounts of water that was then filtered to be used for all the water needs in the plant.  It was and is an impressive sight to behold such vertically integrated industry laid out beyond you.  Every male on my  father’s side of the family, including my brother, has worked in auto plants and so I felt incredibly connected to the site and American history.

The Detroit Auto Industry has really been making the news lately and Ford has been reporting substantial earnings as opposed to the fiasco of the bailout a couple years ago.  And if anyone’s been paying attention to every American automakers’ ads on TV, the industry has been dedicating itself to smart marketing strategies.  The ones that come to mind are the 2011 Dodge Charger, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and of course, the Chrysler “Imported from Detroit” commercials.  As a nation, I really feel we ought to be rooting for our own cities no matter what the state boundary lines may be instead of condemning them.  Seems downright anti-patriotic to me.  Just some food for thought.

Social Media Savvy

22 Feb

If you don’t believe marketing has gone through the roof with the advent of social media/networking then you’re probably an ostrich sticking its head in some desert. Ever had sand in your ear holes? It’s not a cute look.

When I first moved out to Chicago, my roommate and I made our apartment a place on Google Maps as a joke – because we do so much entertaining. We’re listed under categories like restaurant, beverage distributor and of course, magic. Within a few months a consultant agency representative emailed us asking if we needed her help creating greater visibility for our brand.

OK so maybe we had our own QR Code and took it a little far but it really shows that a little social networking savvy can take you from a small corner in Chicago to a business in a few clicks. And that there are a few bum consulting agencies out there – did I mention the magic?

You stay classy social media. And can I get an amen for my almighty Google+?

Williamsburg you old dog you.

1 Nov

This past weekend I traveled to Hampton, Virginia to see Disco Biscuits and String Cheese Incident for Hulaween 2010. As an added bonus I got to visit my brother a bit too which meant we had some great food. Before stopping at his house I picked up a 750 of Allagash Black, the brewery’s new Belgian style stout (they’re based in Portland, ME and I haven’t seen their bottles anywhere in Ohio yet). Some Terrapin Hopsecutioner and Hop Karma IPAs out of Athens, GA and a smoked cheese and another great creamy and nutty cheese called Pyreness. Scrumdiddlyumptious to say the least.

This was all a prelude to lunch with my brother at The Blue Talon Bistro – a French comfort food restaurant in colonial Williamsburg with Redmarker Ale on draft and a reasonably priced and decent wine list with a very nice Malbec by the glass. Paired that with a delicious brandade – think artichoke spinach dip in steroids and but no artichokes or spinach but instead … SALTED COD, ohhhh yes please. To follow a delightful green salad and a blackened fish Reuben.

Needless to say, when I ran out of crostini to scoop up the brandade, I started slathering on my sandwich. Thanks to colonial Williamsburg for yet another delicious meal.


17 Sep

About a month ago I got made fun of for wearing a sweater and jeans in 80° weather.  This is a yearly problem for me come the end of August.  I am just itching to get into sweaters, jeans, boots and maybe a jacket.  Fall is my favorite season hands down.  Our family orchard is in full swing, the trees dripping with fruit ripe for the picking.  Maybe being a part of this family means a certain genetic predisposition to love this season but it can’t be helped.  Honey crisp, Gala, Elstar, Swiss Gourment, Mollie’s Delicious and McIntosh’s are all jumping off the trees into our hands for enjoyment.  The leaves will soon start to turn, mimicking the fruit they bear; some a little green with a flash of scarlet racing across the skin.  Today I stopped by the orchard to snag my favorite apples — the more old-fashioned varietals — Elstar and Swiss Gourmet.  The first bite I popped off the Elstar created a heart shape and I couldn’t help but chuckle.  I guess they learn after 125 years on the same orchard.  How well the apple knew its consumer.

Nostalgia Beat: Tuna

15 Sep

Tuna is a crazy overfished…fish.  It’s enormous.  Way bigger than the little tin can or convenient foil pouch you scratch the flakes out of, this fish has dominated American life from cradle to grave.  As a kid, I loved eating the sandwiches on hikes with my Dad and at home for a change from PB&J (a life partner) with my mom.  High school provided the warm cat-food smelling tuna casserole that I actually adored and devoured.  At college, Middle Ground Café made a zesty refresher course of traditional mayo/celery/chicken of the sea by replacing mayo for vinaigrette and opting for ginger instead of celery.

Coming back from the whirlwind of graduation, I found myself sleeping for a week, watching Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion and listening to 90’s songs.  But I also was eating a lot of tuna.  Was it the protein I was so lacking at school for 4 years or a shameless wallowing in nostalgia for the good ol’ days?  Frankly I don’t care, and I can’t stop eating the stuff.  It’s become my on-the-go snack on my road trips to Chicago so I don’t have to kill myself with McDonald’s or the incredulity of the KFC Express/Pizza Hut.  I love it plain from the pouch with a fork, in salads, in lettuce wraps, on English Muffins, in a bowl with Miracle Whip and a hefty portion of mace or on a sandwich with my own arugula/radishes/blueberries and cheese.

Whichever way you cut it, the world and I are going to have a hard time if this great fish disappears and yellowfin isn’t going to be the answer.


14 Sep

How cute are you little egg?!?!  Thanks to Klimo’s and my mother getting up early Saturday mornings — something I just can’t get on board with yet — I get to eat these little golden eggs.  With all the hubbub surrounding factory produced, salmonela soaked eggs coming out of Iowa factories, fresh cared-for eggs are extremely relevant right now.  They happen to have been relevant to me for a long time simply because they taste better.  That’s all there is to it.


13 Sep

There is something kind of insane about being a college graduate, fresh off the campus.  I had two months of down-time while I looked for work, tried to catch up on the sleep I haven’t had for 22 years and figure out what to do with my life.  Now all of a sudden I’m juggling two internships, a night job and moving stuff out to my new apartment in Chicago when I find a free moment.  This is the long way of explaining why I haven’t been blogging so much.  But that’s not even the whole story.  In those two months of figuring out time, I wasn’t cooking and I’m still not cooking, nor do I have any interest in cooking right now.  I have not felt an ounce of inspiration for kooky jams or savory masterpieces.   Totally out of answers.

One project I’ve been working on is the visual conception or logo for A Hoppy Pipper thanks to a great friend, Kenyon alum and magician with spray paint.   His work outpaces others working in the medium: the concepts, the craftsmanship of his stencils and innovation with prints made him my number one pick.  Below are the first products of our collaboration to be updated when I get more material in.  I would love feedback from everyone!

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