Thursday, July 20, 2006
Vittel water encourages waste.
This ad made me furious. How stupid and unresponsible do you have to come up with this dumb idea. Not to speak of suggesting it to a client and finally for the client to approve it. There is acute shortage of water in the world. Even the Mayor of London sent us a 'personal' letter urgeing us to save for example not to water plants. Then I see Vittel encourageing people to waste even waste as a competition which will just put fuel on the fire. If you share my anger lets not buy their water. With me they just lost one customer for life!
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Live from the world cup semi-final
The second semi final started and the mood in the stadium is amazing. It will be an tremendeous battle. Seeing it live is a full sensory experience and something worth feeling. The game lends it well to gigant stadiums. We are sitting on the 15 row in the French end and we have a great view. The architects did a great job in getting a feeling of cosyness in a place hosting 66000 people. The drama is amazing France is got a free kick and scored! Great start! Allez les bleus . . . (Added later: The Goal scored by Zinedine Zidane was the only one scored and France moved on to the Finale. )
Sunday, July 02, 2006
The Fat Duck Restaurant is truly a moving experience
Snail porridge. Just as amazing as its reputation. An amazing composition of taste texture and colour.
Heston Blumenthal’s famous The Fat Duck Restaurant has been a dream of mine to visit for some time. Yesterday I finally had a chance to visit. A six week wait for a table was well worth it. The food is a moving experience for all senses. The Fat Duck has been voted best restaurant in the world in 2005 and number two in 2006 by Restaurant magazine poll by chefs, experts and food lovers, it has three stars in Guide Michelin. Together with Spanish El Bulli it is on the bleeding edge of a food trend called Molecular Gastronomy. With the stories in Wired and Fast Company this spring this trend is reaching new audiences. You can imagine my expectations were very very high. I was thinking “the Molecular Gastronomy” would be gimmicky, a kind of “beta - eatery”, eat in Heston’s lab kind of experience, but I was actually surprised, it was much more mature tech, the kind of technology inside. Sort of Mercedes, Bentley rather than Formula one, runs one day and then rebuild. The result of all science is just insanely great food, nothing more nothing less. (some recepies here)
We decided to eat the tasting menu; it contained their famous Snail Porridge and the Egg and Bacon ice cream. It cost £97 and it has about 10 dishes.
The Fat Duck is situated on the high street in Bray, a small village in the English country side, about 40 min from London’s Paddington with a fast train and taxi. Getting there is very easy. Like Guide Michelin says a 3 star restaurant is worth a journey on its own.
Heston Blumenthal had a passion for food, but did not get academically educated in the profession of cuisine, this might be the reason why he was able to think of cuisine in a novel way and make some very interesting innovations. Reaqd his candid biography on the restaurants web pages.
One of Heston Blumenthal’s signature dishes is the snail porridge. I was very much looking forward to tasting it. I like snails, and love porridge, so it should be a perfect fusion, only problem that it is typically eaten 12 hours apart. Now I had it together. The porridge was cooked in parsley like a risotto giving it a wonderful deep green color, with a bit of butter turned in this became a bit like a risotto, but with very different texture. The snails were great and perfecting it was Fennel cut in fine stripes like spaghetti. The dish had color, taste and texture. With that name I am sure some guests were very skeptical. Also this dish was not gimmicky, just pure scientifically improved taste.
What one will notice when eating at the Fat Duck is that the food is
colder than at other restaurants. In another restaurant I would have
attributed this to a quality problem, here it caught my curiosity, and
I decided to probe into it. It is actually a very conscious decision of
taste. They target is that the food should be just below 60 degrees
Celsius of the hot dishes as this brings out optimal flavors. One of
the most amazing dishes we had was the lamb chop, a dish I make myself,
but this one was very very different. It was fully cooked, but all
pink, yet the fat was nicely brown. Its taste was very very rich. When
discussing this with the chefs they told me they cook it in a vacuum
bag for 4 hours in 60 degree water. This method retains all the flavor
and matures the meat slowly. Really delicious; a great classic dish
moved to completely new heights. Their lamb chop is perfected, exactly what one could expect of a 3 star restaurant.
I always thought visiting a 3 star Guide Michelin restaurant would be some upscale snob kind of show off thing, where the staff would look down on you. The Fat Duck was none of that. The staff was amazingly approachable, very knowledgeable, professional and funny. They took lots of time with the guest explaining the food, how it was made and if they could not answer they promptly came back with facts. I felt almost that I was at someone’s home where a great party was staged. I think a reason for it is that the restaurant is not over designed, like the Sketch for example.
We started our dinner at 7.20PM and left at 00.15AM after a tour of the kitchen and great chat with the chefs. What made the Fat Duck such a fantastic experience is what is created in that small kitchen. The kitchen was no larger than 15sq.m and the chefs told me that at peaks 11 people work there. That is like cooking in the morning Tube. Getting around 380 plates during a night can be nothing short of culinary ballet. Working there must be more than work it must be religion as what comes out is heavenly. Should I have visited the kitchen first the experience would have been even more amazing.
It would be apropririate to ask can it get better than this. For me food is not about out-doing, instead I am searching for moving experiences and that can be a lamb chop cooked for 4 hours or a sandwich at the local pub. It was certainly one of the most amazing meals I have ever had. If you get a chance – make it a journey.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Nokia N73 is as great as I assumed
The past week I have been testing the Nokia N73 and I have to say it is the best Nokia NSeries they made to date. I really like the design; clean ergonomis and with cool styling details. The 3.2M Auto focus camera with Zeiss optics render amazing pictures; the light flash for lower light macro shots is great (see the pictures in the The Fat Duck post they were shot with N73). The slideshow feature with Ken Burn’s effect is very cool. The stereo speakers are great. The bigger 2.3” screen is really great, big and bright. Having the full screen as a view finder is a good improvement. With the new Mini Map browser it is arguably one of the best mobile browsing experiences to date. Generally the speed is acceptable clearly better than N90. If you are looking to buy a camera phone then this is a great choice, as I predicted when I first saw the specs. The N73 renders the digital camera into the gadget sediment. At some point I might buy an SLR, but right now I have no time to have photography as a hobby, I only life record. Having a camera always with you, having it ready fully charged each day will any day outweigh the drawbacks of having to carry two products.
What makes the N73 special is: For the first time the N Series has appealing industrial design. It is clean, functional and still has an edge to it. The edge I refer to is the ‘aluminum grille’ protecting the stereo speakers in either ends of the device and the tapering towards the back making it sit great in the hand. The screen also screams big to the user. The fact that they kept the back clean is great only a big slide to expose the great camera. A key area of improvement is speed of camera activation also I do not like that one cannot use the joystick for photography. This is a huge step back.
If you are a 6600, 7610 or 6630 user this is the product to upgrade to. If you have been waiting for a good camera phone get this one and start to record your life. It is a lot of fun to capture the small mundane moments. With time some become monumental.