An online wine community, Bottlenotes connects vino enthusiasts in the pursuit of discussing wines, getting recommendations, and connecting with experts. Staff members organize public interactive tastings in 10 major cities, gathering people of varying experience to sample vintages and blends from around the world or from a particular region. Each interactive event expands into creative spaces, such as art galleries and museums, emulating the ancient practice of how artists celebrate their paintings' birthdays. Bottlenotes' online wine collection—supplied through retailer Sherry-Lehmann—gives enophiles a communal browsing space for popular tipples. To help guide purchases, the website's interactive forum lets commenters share their tasting notes and wine ratings for each bottle. A daily e-newsletter also fills subscribers' inboxes with articles discussing interesting winemakers, wine-related products, and winemaking regions, keeping them up-to-date on current wine trends and the migration patterns of grapes.
The Cheese Course pampers dairy devotees with more than 150 artisanal cheeses, plus a thoughtfully constructed menu of delectable comestibles. Regional trios of cheeses ($12.95) allow connoisseurs to expand their palates without undergoing primordial tongue stretching. Nibble your way through a patriotic mélange of American cheeses that includes Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog goat cheese (CA), Old Chatham camembert (NY), and Pleasant Ridge Reserve (WI), or snack on a Franco-centric sampling of Sainte-Maure, camembert, and comté. Each trio comes with accoutrements such as sliced baguettes and sundried tomato pesto, but more substantial hungers can also be halted with the help of an array of sandwiches, such as an albacore white tuna melt with gruyere ($8.45), or with the greeneried goodness of a salad, such as English field greens with blue cheese, caramelized walnuts, and mustard-shallot vinaigrette ($7.95). Breakfast items, such as herb omelette baguettes ($8.45) and homemade quiche ($8.45), are served morning, noon, and night, creating a dangerous paradox of logic in which every meal is the most important of the day.
After a trip to Mexico, brothers Jonathan and Yair Marcoshaner were inspired to create a company that makes fashionable furnishings and accessories from recycled candy wrappers, food packages, soda labels, subway maps, newspapers and movie posters. The store Ecoist is the result of their hard, eclectic work. Located in Wynwood, the city’s art district, the brothers have been successful in collecting waste and turning it into eye-catching and stylish handbags, jewelry, belts, wallets and housewares. Since the development of their idea, the brothers believe that they have saved over 40 million wrappers from ending up in landfills, thanks to their supremely eco-chic designs.
Panther Coffee is a Miami-based specialty coffee roaster, known for its small-batch roasting techniques and sublime cups of joe. In the corner of the storefront café is a bean roaster – the perfect piece of functional art – while a few high tables allow for seating across from the coffee bar. Most folks come here to grab unground beans to go, but that doesn’t mean the hip space can’t make for a great afternoon lounge spot. That’s especially true when the brews are this good, with the staff having won national awards for their Ethiopia Cherba and Coffee Kailash blends. And don’t’ be surprised when you order a latte that your steamed milk foam is decorated with some lovely latte art, and simple syrup is offered instead of sugar.
Like singing, dancing, or cooking, applying makeup is an art form that many practice each day without a foundation of proper techniques. At Blush Lounge, an expert team of beauty professionals helps clients of all ages, including teens, learn the fine skills involved in accentuating facial structure with brushes, shadows, and a variety of products. Their classes focus on professional techniques to help enhance clients' abilities in applying makeup and styling hair. During classes, they use products from the Motives line by Loren Ridinger, and they also organize makeup kits to accommodate the needs and finicky appetites of specific skin types and colors.
These days, it's hard to know what exactly you're eating when your eating beef—even if you cooked it yourself. The modern meat industry pumps their cattle full of antibiotics and hormones that make the meat seem more appealing while being worse for your health. Besides that, they don't feed the cows their natural diet of grass and clover, opting for cheaper corn and grain instead without even letting them use ketchup. Gaucho Ranch aims to change all that. Drawing on the old gaucho tradition of South America, they import their beef from a family farm in Uruguay, where it is guaranteed to be raised entirely naturally and fed exactly what it wants to eat. The result are beautiful cuts of beef that are lower in cholesterol and fat, higher in Omega 3s and Vitamin E, and delicious on top of everything else.