Eat Anywhere


The Table-less Meal Kit by Simplicitas includes nifty multi-utensils (combining a knife, fork, and spoon), mugs, and dishes that fits together to form a compact set of tableware for two. Perfect for for an an impromptu picnic just about anywhere (and probably also quite useful for for feeding a toddler on-the-go). $38 at Flight 001.

Image: Simplicitas.


Inside Out


These Inside Out Liqueur Glasses, designed by Alissia Melka Teichroew, are shaped like tumblers on the outside, with glass silhouettes within. Made of mouth-blown borosilicate glass, the glasses are also available as champagne flutes. $55 for a pair of the liqueur glasses and $65 for two champagne flutes at the MoMA Store.


Agenda: Beer, Wine, and Cheese


Beer, Cheese, and Confections
Jimmy's No 43 will host the Degustation Advisory Team's holiday pairing party, featuring craft beer, confectionary desserts, and artisanal cheeses. Two seatings at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 4, at Jimmy's No 43, 43 East 7th Street ([email protected]).


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MUJI Mania


MUJI, the Japanese housewares and clothing shopping destination, has arrived in New York City with its first store in the United States. The company has created an anti-brand that fetishizes brand-free minimalism, a philosophy of "simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design" according to PR materials. And, people fetishize MUJI, which has until now only maintained a mini-shop at the MoMA Design Store before opening a full-fledged store in SoHo last week (for wall-to-wall coverage of the opening day, be sure to check out New York shopping blog Racked).

I attended a press preview on Friday morning to find out what the MUJI phenomenon was all about and to see what it offered to  the culinary-minded shopper. While not as large as many of the other "flagship" chain stores that now dominate SoHo, the MUJI experience can be overwhelming, with a floor to ceiling selection of household goods -- from bedding and storage containers -- and clothing. Indecisive shoppers beware -- if you are one, like myself, you might lose upwards of 30 minutes poring over the stationary display, which includes accessories to build your own custom pen. Sheesh.

Glass Turning to kitchen supplies, there's a fine selection of minimalist bone china and porcelain dishware and teapots. MUJI sells its own line of pots. pans, woks, and standard kitchen tools. Of these, I took home an inexpensive hand-held slicer and grater. There were woven cotton placemats and coasters in mostly muted colors (as is almost everything in the store). Among the glassware selection I found insulated glasses similar to these, only cheaper and holding the shape of a beer vessel inside a tall glass. But, most intriguing of all might have been the short, skinny rolls of plastic and aluminum wrap and semi-opaque plastic cases designed to hold them. This was what the MUJI sensibility was all about (and perfect for a space-starved New York apartment). You could probably fit four of these small, simple, color-less containers in the space occupied by a big yellow box of stretch-tite. This is how MUJI could suck you in and make you become a believer. First, it's the plastic wrap and the next thing you know you'll be there spending hours building your own pens.

More photos after the jump.

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Agenda: Shochu, Beaujolais, and Discounted Dinners


Shochu Tasting
Shochu2Cravings will present a tasting of the Japanese distilled liquor shochu at dessert bar Kyotofu. Cocktails featuring combinations like raspberry and mint along with green lychee and apple are on the menu, which includes dishes such as sake marinated pork belly and edamame and shitake mushroom risotto. The event will take place on Monday, November 19, 8:00 p.m., at Kyotofu, 705 9th Avenue. $100/person (RSVP required at

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Cereal Killer


I have just discovered my new favorite breakfast cereal, Dorset Cereals. The cereals, made in Prince Charles' model village Poundbury, are low in sugar and packed with dried fruit, seeds, and nuts (50 percent). Somewhere on the spectrum between between granola and flakes, my favorite version so far is "Super Cranberry, Cherry, and Almond," which blends cranberries, cherries and almonds with giant Chilean flame raisins, sultanas, sunflower seeds, and toasted wheat and barley. The company also makes muesli, porridge, and "Chunky Slices" (breakfast bars, as far as I can tell). While I found the cereals at my local Whole Foods, information on where to find them elsewhere in the U.S. is, unfortunately, scant.


Ancient Brew


A collaboration between molecular archeologist Patrick McGovern and Dogfish Head Brewery has led to the recreation of a 9,000 year-old beer hailing from from Northern China. Analyzing ancient artifacts, McGovern determined they once held a beer made with rice, honey, and fruit. He recruited Dogfish to reinvent the beer, dubbed Chateau Jiahu, which combines rice, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, Chrysanthemum flowers, and sake yeast. In a taste test, the editors at Archaeology called it "strong, meady, and heavy as a brick," with a "complex bouquet."


Agenda: Goats, Truffles, and Barbecue


Goat Goatstravaganza!
Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz will discuss their new book, The Year of the Goat, at this goatalicious discussion and book signing featuring American farmstead goat cheeses from Saxelby Cheesemongers and a goat meat tasting menu. Live pygora goats are also promised to be in attendance. The event will take place on Thursday, November 8, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Aronson's Floor Covering Showroom 135 W. 17th Street (rsvp to [email protected]).

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Summer's Last Hurrah


I was a little skeptical that Mark Bittman's tomato paella recipe would be as astounding as it turned out to be, but after later reading Luisa's post about her success making the dish, I was sold (reading The Wednesday Chef is like having a test kitchen for recipes from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times).

I made the paella on Halloween using the very last heirloom tomato of the season from the last day of our farmer's market (which, unfortunately, won't reopen until next spring). The recipe was extremely easy to make: quickly cook minced onions and garlic in olive oil and add smoked paprika and saffron, toasting the spices gently. In goes some tomato paste, rice, water or stock (I used stock), and the sliced tomatoes, and after 15 minutes in the oven, the paella is done. I hate to get all food writerly here, but the tomatoes were downright voluptuous, their thin skins stretching over flesh literally bursting with juice and flavor.

Anya -- who you can usually count on to eat rice with abandon -- wouldn't deign to have a bite. She may have been distracted by all the trick-or-treaters who kept interrupting dinner (next time, I'll deceptively deliciously puree the paella into a brownie . . . I kid, I kid). And, speaking of those trick-or-treaters, I couldn't believe that several exclaimed "it smells good in here" as we opened our doors to drop candy into their bags. Who could ask for better praise of my simple paella on an evening when these kids were jonesing for chocolate?

» A Grand Paella Gives Way to a Simple One


A Leg Up


There comes a time when strapping a toddler into a high chair can turn into a nightly struggle of the wills. The alternative -- sitting the child in an adult chair -- is a messy proposition leading to dripped yogurt and dropped noodles. The KABOOST chair booster offers a solution that lifts a child to table-height without the stigma of the high chair. A sort of reverse booster seat, KABOOST jacks up an adult chair from its legs. The device adjusts to fit any chair and is portable. $39.99 at Buy Buy Baby.