Drinking the best bubbly

The New York Times steps up to the plate and reviews 23 vintage Champagnes for which they paid between $70 – $195 a bottle in the article, The Price Is to Gulp, but the Champagne's to Sip. The verdict? Not surprisingly, expensive Champagne is delicious! Well, they use better adjectives than that…

[T]here was no arguing with these wines. They were graceful yet intense, fresh, complex and lively but with the thrilling tactile delicacy you might find running your hand over the finest fabrics or inhaling the scent of great leather. The bubbles sparkle on the tongue, gently stimulating the appetite for more.

It is a splurge to be sure, and one that seems difficult to justify except for a few times in one's life (baby, marriage, etc.) but if you insist on celebrating this new year's eve in high bubbly style, the article will point you in the right direction. And I promise to withhold judgment, as I've been known to possess a weakness for fine Champagne myself.

Masa grabs four stars

Masa, the very expensive Japanese restaurant at the Time Warner Center gets four stars from New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni: Sushi at Masa Is a Zen Thing.

Simply put, Masa engineers discrete moments of pure elation that few if any other restaurants can match.

It also becomes the first Japanese restaurant in New York to garner four stars from the Times since Hatsuhana in 1983. Bruni's experiences sound incredible, and yet as much as I love sushi, I can't fathom spending $350 per person (not including tip, tax, or drinks) to experience it. Not even if I saved up a dollar every day for year. It sure sounds yummy though. Maybe someday someone will treat me to a dinner there. That would be ideal!

Supporting the US troops abroad

Over the Christmas holiday I discovered anysoldier.com and was surprised I hadn't stumbled across it sooner.

Sergeant Brian Horn from LaPlata, Maryland, an Army Infantry Soldier with the 173rd Airborne Brigade was in the Kirkuk area of Iraq when he started the idea of AnySoldier to help care for his soldiers. He agreed to distribute packages that came to him with "Attn: Any Soldier" in his address to the soldiers who were not getting mail. Brian is no longer in Iraq but Any Soldier Inc. continues with your support.

Any Soldier Inc. started in August 2003 as a simple family effort to help the soldiers in one Army unit, thus our name. However, due to overwhelming requests, on 1 January 2004 our effort was expanded to include any member, of any of the Armed Services, in harms way.

We now have 981 Contacts (872 Army, 8 Navy, 42 Air Force, and 59 Marine) helping approx 43,570 soldiers!

There's a list of contacts, including recent emails, and a list of suggested items to send. You can even purchase care packages that have already been assembled with soldiers' needs in mind. I spent a long time just reading the emails from soldiers, it gives you a better sense of what it's like over there than reading most news articles. So if you received some money for Christmas and you're not sure how to spend it, consider getting something for Any Soldier and making a soldier's day.

I’m a People of the Year 2004

This is a little bit of old news, as it came out last week while I was on vacation, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. PC Magazine named me, Ev, Paul, Ben, and Mena as People of the Year 2004 for our work in creating Blogger and Movable Type, respectively. My mom posted the "pictures" from the print version of the article: me, Ev, and pb and Ben and Mena. It's still difficult to believe that blogging as come so far, and of course, it wouldn't have if it weren't for the work of many, many others in addition to the "people of the year". So congratulations are in order to everyone — the writers, the readers, and the tool creators. Indeed it appears as if blogs have finally arrived, which means 2005 will be the year of the blog backlash. 😉

NYC Marathon 2005

I finished the NYRR Holiday Four Mile Run (38:31) this morning and with it completed nine qualifying NYRR races, which means: I've got guaranteed entry into the 2005 NYC Marathon. Yay! As I said to my friend Adriana this morning after the race, "Obviously something's wrong with us if we're waking up to run in 32° weather every weekend for the purpose of gaining entry into a marathon!" Of course, I mean "wrong" in the good sense! I've already got two marathons and one half-marathon scheduled for 2005. Now let's hope my hip injury heals in time.

The glory of frying

I can't say I've really tried much frying at home, but according to the New York Times Minimalist, Mark Bittman, "[f]rying lends itself to home cooking..It does everything you want cooking to do. It makes food crisp, tender, gorgeous and golden." He says so in his article, Hot, Sizzling Temptations, Freshly Fried at Your Stove.

Sadly, we've been trained to deny our love, even become ashamed of it, because frying is supposed to be unhealthy. And, the naysayers contend, it's a pain, it's expensive, and it's messy.

Hogwash. Try it once, and you'll be hooked. And on your second try you will come pretty close to mastering the art of frying.

Be sure to check along the sidebar for four frying recipes. I want to make the onion rings, yum!

On the glory of Brussels sprouts

Brussels sproutsI have been on a Brussels sprouts tear lately (see You do learn something new every day from earlier this month), eating them as much as possible. As is my way when I find something I love, I eat it non-stop until I almost grow sick of it. Luckily the season for the item usually passes before the damage is complete, and then I have nearly a year to recover. Case in point: bread salad. But I digress! Back to the sprouts…

I've been preparing them at home in my skillet with brown butter, and I've thought them quite delicious. Imagine my surprise when I was out dining earlier this week at one of Manhattan's nicest restaurants and I was served Brussels sprouts with a dish — and they were prepared just as I do them at home! That's given me the confidence to share my recipe with all you Brussels sprouts fans out there. Presenting Megnut's Brown Buttered Brussels Sprouts.

For those that aren't fans, here is the sheet music to We Hate Brussels Sprouts. Perhaps you can write a lyrical accompaniment?

For all you hip-pained athletes

From the American Academy of Family Physicians comes this detailed publication on Hip Pain in Athletes. While it's obviously written for medical professionals (ones who recognize words like 'acetabulum' and 'femoral head'), I found it useful in preparing for my trip to the orthopedic specialist. I've had a nagging pain since before the marathon, nothing too severe so I just ran through it. Now that I've been back in NYC and sitting much more than before, the pain's gotten worse. So I finally broke down and went to the doctor. I've been laying off the running, except for my races, and hopefully today will get to the bottom of the issue. I think (hope) it's just inflammation that will pass with ice, rest, and NSAIDs.