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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do You Know M0851?

Fashionistas who appreciate quality construction and design that stands the test of time know M0851, and you should, too.

Their fabulous leather bags, clothing, and small accessories will take you from morning through evening and around the globe in timeless style.

Constructed of the fashion house's signature soft, supple analine leathers from Italy, these items are simply gorgeous. Every one of the minimalistic, functional designs is handcrafted at M0851's workshops in Montreal.

(Did you know that some very well known brands of leather goods are manufactured in China? Not so with M0851.)

We've been big fans of M0851 since we shopped at their Toronto store in the early 1990s. In those days, the company was known as Rugby North and had shops only in Montreal and Toronto.

Since that time, they've opened attractive boutiques in New York, Paris, and trendy Antwerp, home to avant-garde designers Dries van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester.

You'll find a small selection of their leather goods at chic shops, such as Fred Segal in Hollywood.

Sure you can buy a bag that is more famous and costs a lot more. But do you want to be known for your $2,000 bag of the moment, or do you want to be recognized for your sense of effortless, sophisticated style?

You'll feel very pleased with yourself if you choose the latter.

Here are two of our favorite M0851 designs.

For women,
the Round Bag

This large bag (shown here and on the model, above) has a slouchy, half moon shape and ample room for many items. Equipped with an interior zippered compartment and three patch pockets, it closes with a zipper and has a wide, adjustable strap.

Made from buttery soft leather, it has a luxurious silky, padded interior.

Available in black, brown, gray. $350

For both men and women, the Large Weekend Bag

Rectangular in shape, this handsome bag opens to reveal a roomy interior that will hold a weekend's worth of clothes and gear.

Centered handles and a comfortable, large adjustable strap.

Available in black or brown soft leather. $595

Accessories perfect for business gifting

M0851 also makes wonderful computer cases, passport covers, travel wallets, document carriers, jotters, and many other small items – all from their signature soft leather.

Your valued clients and business associates will love you if you give them one.

We can have them made to order for you in a variety of colors – not just black and brown, but also navy, off-white, turquoise, gray, and more.

We can also have them embossed with your logo, if desired. Quantities start at 10-15, depending on the item selected.

For holiday gifting, please call us now at (310) 581-6710 to discuss your custom order.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Enlightened Traveler: Where The Locals Dine In New Orleans

Here’s a secret we’ve learned from our many visits to the Crescent City over the past 25 years: the shabbier the restaurant looks on the outside, the greater the likelihood that the food is fantastic – and cheap.

Thus, we were pleased to read that Indiana Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning recommended two of our favorite New Orleans eateries in the September issue of Esquire.

In New Orleans, the worse it looks, the better the food.
As for Domilise's shrimp po' boy, brace yourself!
They are in the Uptown neighborhood and mostly patronized by locals, the folks who rarely venture into the French Quarter.

Neither Domilise’s or Camellia Grill is what you’d call a restaurant. “Joint” is more like it, especially in the case of Domilise’s, which from the outside looks as if it might be closed. The interior isn’t going to win any design awards either. But, the service is friendly and the po’ boys are outstanding. The true taste of New Orleans in every bite.

Camellia Grill's burger: all "dressed up" plus bacon and cheese
Compared to Domilise’s, Camellia Grill is posh. Still, it’s just a counter, a few booths, and often long lines outside, unless you go late at night. (If you go after a Saints game, be prepared to wait!)

No po’ boys here, but they do offer great beans and rice for Sunday supper. Their hamburger is what most people want. Ask for it “dressed,” the New Orleans equivalent of lettuce, tomato, pickle and ketchup.

Another favorite of ours is the better known Mother’s in the Central Business District. We prefer their Jambalaya to the version at The Gumbo Shop (take out only at their Uptown kitchen; eat in at their French Quarter cafe).

Mother’s will “cold pack” a gallon of Jambalaya so you can take it back on the airplane as your carry-on. This won’t seem as crazy as it sounds once you’re home and tucking in to a brimming bowlful a few nights later. (Freeze the rest in serving portions and enjoy sparingly until you return to New Orleans.)

We especially like Mother’s debris sandwich. It’s a French Dip affair made with the small leftover end pieces of the roast beef, the debris, that have been sitting in the juice for a while. Do not leave Louisiana without having sampled one.

More on where to dine in New Orleans, Uptown and elsewhere, in future postings.

Domilise’s, 5240 Annunciation St., (504) 899-9126 (take a taxi)
Camellia Grill,
626 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 861-9311 (on the streetcar line)
401 Poydras St., (443) 408-6004 (walking distance from the Quarter)

Photos: Domilise’s – Eating in Translation, shrimp po’ boy – hollyeats.com, Camellia Grill hamburger – David Adams, Camellia Grill – Nola-Shiva

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Enlightened Traveler: New York's Best Bakeries

We're crazy about good bread and cookies – not necessarily in that order.

Over the years, we've sampled our way through loaves and tempting treats of all kinds from San Francisco to San Juan.* No place in North America has more fine bakeries than New York City.

Mitchel London cupcake
Mitchel London cupcake: not fancy, just fabulous!
We're fond of the deservedly famous cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery, whose Upper Westside location opened earlier this year with, sadly, the same long lines as the original downtown bakery.

Don't feel like waiting? Mitchel London's chocolate fudge cupcakes are equally sublime.

Pick them up at his cafe on East 65th or at Fairway Market on Broadway and 74th, open until 10:00pm.

The hands-down-best-we-ever-tasted almond croissant at the recently closed Payard Patisserie on Lexington Ave. is another passion. Happily this flaky, crunchy marzipan-filled wonder is still available at the Payard Bistro at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. It's hard to imagine a better use of $4.

So many NY bakeries, so little time!

Here are our top Manhattan baked goods. These are the ones we bring Zip-Loc bags for.

Citarella Pecan-Cranberry Bread

Citarella Bakery
Citarella has a bakery. Who Knew?
Long Famous for its fish and meat selections, Citarella, at Broadway and 75th, also has a swell bakery on the premises. We always bring a couple of loaves of the dome-shaped pecan-cranberry loaf (sliced thin) back home with us. Toast it lightly. Enjoy with a smear of sweet whipped butter and a cup of tea or coffee.

Citarella also has locations on the Upper Eastside, in the Village, and in the Hamptons.

Amy's Semolina With Golden Raisins and Fennel Bread

This is the loaf that started it all for Amy's, one of the first artisanal bakeries in New York when it opened way back in 1992. We've never been able to get enough of it. Consume the same as with the pecan-cranberry bread. It's also good with a little strawberry or raspberry jam and complements blue cheese nicely. Both this and the Citarella loaf freeze very well.

You'll find Amy's on Ninth Ave. (between 46th and 47th), in the Chelsea Market, and in the Village on Bleecker St. The semolina loaf is also sold at Fairway Market on Broadway and 74th, a block from Citarella. (Why schlep?)

Levain Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie

A legion of New Yorkers swear that Levain Bakery's chocolate chip walnut cookie is the best around. We agree, although we think that their chocolate chocolate chip cookie is just as delicious.
Levain chocolate chocolate chip cookie
Levain cookie: not to size, it's bigger!
The first thing that sets Levain's cookies apart from all others is their size. They're huge, about the size of a squashed softball or an engorged hockey puck. They're chewey and rich.

The chocolate chocolate chip is prepared with an extra dark French cocoa and semisweet chocolate chips. They come out of the oven with molten layers of chocolate swirling together. Trust us when we tell you that one of these babies will feed two ravenous adults. (Allow one per person if you skip dinner altogether.)

At $4 each, you could get a whole box of store-bought cookies for the same money. But, honestly, why would you want to?

Levain is on West 74th St. between Amsterdam and Columbus.

*In San Juan, Puerto Rico, we recommend the mallorca con mantequilla (a round, flat pastry dusted with confectioner’s sugar and served with butter) and a strong cup of coffee at La Bombonera.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This Just In! Enjoy Music Anywhere In Your Home – Even Outside – Wirelessly

We've got more than 120GBs of music in our computer at home. Listening to it when we're not at our desk or don't want to walk around with an iPod and earphones is another matter.

Trust the good folks at Bose to solve that problem.

Their new SoundLink™ wireless digital music system lets us enjoy all of our digital music – iTunes, Podcasts, Internet radio – all around the house wirelessly.

It's easy: no wires, no software, no setup. We just plug the little USB key into any of our computers, whether PC or Mac. Voila! Music streams in high fidelity to the lightweight, portable speaker unit indoors or out, up to 60 feet away.

And the sound quality is robust, full, rich – as you would expect from any device produced by the famed engineers at Bose. In fact, the SoundLink will breathe new life into your music.

It has lots of handy features to make your listening super enjoyable.

Rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers more power and longer playing time than other rechargeable batteries.

Rechargeable lithium-ion battery delivers more power and longer playing time than other rechargeable batteries (3 hours at full blast, much more at normal listening levels). Charges whenever the system is plugged into a wall outlet with included power cord.

Built-in carry handle allows quick and easy transport from place to place.

Built-in carry handle allows quick, easy transport from place to place, even outdoors.

Auxiliary input for an MP3 player, DVD/CD player or other portable device.

Auxiliary input for playing an iPod or other MP3 player or DVD/CD player through the system.

Infrared remote control operates system and some music play functions.

Remote control operates power and volume, and can also play/pause and skip tracks within a playlist from almost anywhere in the room.

The SoundLink will be available in mid-September. If you order now, we'll send it to you as soon as it's in stock. Promise!


Buy it now at www.shopjasperandjames.com

For more gift ideas, click right here.