Friday, May 28, 2010
Leading this brain brigade is idea guru Anand Chhatpar, CEO, Brain Reaction. His company focuses on structured brainstorming sessions resulting in fresh ways to initiate new ideas. Part snake oil meets bottled tap water mentality, he teaches companies to create innovative ideas based on existing concepts. Genius. His cadre of 35 certified barnstormers at various times are called upon to generate between 100 to 300 ideas for companies based on new kinds of value.
I attended this event in hopes of learning more about social media and found myself a kindergartner among college students. Web 2.0 is so yesterday. Still, I learned about the synthesis of pattern recognition; that mess and creativity creates tension; and more importantly that leap frogging is the name of the game. What does this all add up to? We exist to create. Open up the dialogue and then bring those little piggies to market. It’s a whole new world out there. Allow your ideas to catch fire. I know I will.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Michelangelo, not so much because of the menu, but because of the charming invitation of the owner—tall, gallant and uber-handsome Michelangelo Marcantonio.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Flake, a Venice restaurant dedicated to the pursuit of cereal and yummy cuisine showed me pictures on her cell phone of brilliant orange poppies. "If you ever get a chance to see these poppies in bloom, do yourself a favor and go, you'll never regret it." Now I've lived long enough to know that when someone makes a recommendation of this caliber and intensity, it's wise to heed the call, if possible. The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve conveniently enough, was on my way out of the L.A. basin, north along Highway 5, 15 miles west of Lancaster, California. Divine timing.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort is still alive with grateful skiers enjoying the last days of winter. While most people are now thinking of gardening, golfing or tennis, our tribe of ten, including the Bowl's 2009 ski patrolman of the year Paul Licata were enjoying the slopes mostly to ourselves. The snow was soft and forgiving, the temperature in the mid-50's and plenty of sunshine. Better wax and edge those skis because Sugar Bowl will remain open until April 25. My favorite run: top of Lincoln down to Disney.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The 180-room Ace Hotel & Swim Club is on the grounds of a former Ho-Jo’s, part of the architectural trend that renovates mid-century modern motels and turns them into eclectic, one-of-a-kind retreats. “We wanted to create a community place where people could come together,” said front desk agent Joe Faron. Communal activities like Game night, mix cocktails and bingo—Craft night, held once a month, brings guests together by making paper plate face masks and friendship bracelets.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
He is kneeling by her side and she is draped in a form fitting gown, a crown atop her head. Etched in marble are these words, “I will assume the undertaking,” she said, “for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expenses of it, if the funds in the treasury shall be found inadequate.”
Is there a cause in your life that you believe in with all your heart, that you would pawn your jewels?
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Napa Valley Bike Tours. Nick tells me his love of wine and passion for biking is a good fit. “The people I guide on bikes are on vacation, they are already happy, and it’s fun to show my backyard to everyone.” Nick’s “backyard” includes hidden wineries that a visitor might not otherwise discover. “Biking is a good way to see the Napa Valley,” says Nick. “If you’re in a limo or car, the vineyards look like corn rows.” I ask Nick what the policy is on drinking and biking. “We cycle an average of four miles between each wine tasting. It gives people time to burn off alcohol—we’ve had zero accidents related to people being drunk.”
Cliff Lede (pronounced Cliff Lady), a 60-acre winery set in the Stags’ Leap District. This quintessential Napa Valley winery’s got it all: indoor art gallery, outdoor sculptures, state of the art gravity-flow conical tanks, and acres of hidden caves filled with single-layer barrel storage. Owner Cliff Lede, who acquired the property in 2002, put some serious coin into this bucolic slice of heaven. Repeat after me: swank-tastic. I recommend their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (15.2 percent alcohol content—yum!), which conjures exotic spices, old leather, and new money—a winning Napa Valley combination.
Alas, it is time to get back in the saddle, and continue this unique two-wheeled adventure. By the time we get back to our hotel, I discover that bike riding and wine tasting do mix after all. My suggestion is to wait until warmer weather prevails when it's enjoyable rather than just endurable. Next time I’ll tear a page out of Koleen’s Girl Scout book and be prepared—Sunscreen and Chardonnay anyone?
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I sample appetizers of escargot with garlic butter, foie gras pâté served with a port-poached pear, and Miyagi oysters—which, coming from nearby Pt. Reyes, don’t really seem like classic bistro fare until I dab a French-style mignonette potion of vinegar, chili, parsley, and onion on the freshly shucked oysters and voilá—another French star is born, California-style.