Powered by Jasper Roberts - Blog

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Just In: Bang and Olufsen's Massive 85" 3D HDTV

If you've done all of the research, agonized over your decision, and went ahead and spent $3,000 or $4,000 for a new, state-of-the art 55" 3D LED HDTV, prepare to be disappointed.

Those pesky folks at ultra high-end electronics manufacturer Bang & Olufsen have just introduced their super luxurious 85" 3D set, larger than anything else available for the home market.

The BeoVision 4:85 lists for $85,000. That's a $1,000 per diagonal inch. If you are waiting for a Groupon coupon, you cannot afford this baby.

What you get for the price of a well-equipped BMW is a mammoth TV that, according to the company's press release "incorporates state-of-the-art performance within audio, video, magical moving mechanics and intelligent home integration."


Actually, there's a lot of advanced technology packed into this TV and its accompanying sound system. You will have to decide for yourself if it amounts to $85,000 worth.

To get one, you'll have to schedule a visit from a B&O custom install team who'll carry out an assessment of the structural strength of your floor and walls, as the plasma TV weighs nearly half a ton. It sits on a motorized stand that will raise, lower, turn and tilt the screen.

Following the visit you'll go over a multi-page checklist detailing the installation options. The set comes in your choice of colors — silver, black, red, blue, dark grey, or gold (with matching remote, of course) — since, as the editors of Sound & Vision magazine note, "if you're forking over this kind of cash, you want it to match your couch and curtains."

What you do not get for $85,000 are B&O's proprietary active shutter 3D glasses, which you must have in order to enjoy the full multi-dimensional experience. Those cost $149 each, and it's good to know that you can buy as many pairs as you want at any Bang & Olufsen store worldwide.

Sound & Vision's review is here. Bang & Olufsen's website is here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Living to Eat: The World's 50 Best Restaurants

So you think you know restaurants?

You've dined your way through the finest that New York and Napa have to offer. You know what soft openings are because you get invited to them. When a hot new place comes to town, you get a table at 8:00 pm. (This sentence, "We only have 6pm or 10pm," doesn't exist in your world.)

Maven that you are, you'll recognize many of your favorites on The San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants of 2011 list.

Or will you?

The annual awards have just been published in Britain's Restaurant magazine, a co-sponsor along with San Pellegrino.

Noma's squid legs with potatoes, mayonnaise, brown butter

Topping the list this year is Denmark's Noma for a second year in a row and succeeding El Bulli, the 2006-09 winner. Even if you haven't been there yet, you might have heard of it. It's been getting a lot of media attention lately, especially from the British press.

Chef Rene Redzepi uses only seasonal, locally foraged ingredients – nothing imported, including olive oil. Some of his creations: beef tartare with a tarragon emulsion and wood sorrel; fresh cheese with axel berry shoots and watercress; and radishes in edible soil.

Restaurant magazine says that dining at Noma is an "emotive, intense, liberating way of eating." (Affective writing like that just makes you want to drop everything and jump on the next flight to Copenhagen, doesn't it?)

You also might know The Fat Duck and The Ledbury in Britain, Pierre Gagnaire and Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee in France, and Le Bernardin, Per Se, Daniel, and Momofuku Ssam Bar in New York. (Although we cannot recall Momofuku, while popular, making anyone else's best restaurant pantheon).

From here, the road moves into unfamiliar territory, at least for a lot of Americans.

Not many will have heard of the modernists Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca, two of the five Spanish restaurants on the list. Or Le Quartier Francais in South Africa, Chez Dominique in Finland, or Amber in Hong Kong?

And then there's Biko in Mexico, Iggy's in Singapore, Astrid y Gaston in Peru, De Librije in Holland, or Steirereck in Austria.

Chocolate nougat at Vienna's Steirereck
They were chosen by an international academy of some 800 chefs, restaurateurs, food and restaurant journalists and gourmands representing 27 geographic regions around the globe. Sounds impressive, but, apart from Mark Bittman, Wolfgang Puck, and Charlie Palmer, it's unlikely you'll recognize many of the members. Doubtless you will be familiar with the group's sponsor, Electrolux, famous in Europe for making high-end, high-design stoves, refrigerators and appliances – and in the U.S. mainly for producing vacuum cleaners.

Some journalists have called into question the group's choices and methodology. The list is not universally accepted as definitive.

Still, it's not necessary to approve of every establishment on the World's 50 Best Restaurants to enjoy the thought of dining at every one of them.

If you decide to try it, just make sure you have an understanding spouse, an ample supply of Pepto Bismol and a few million frequent flyer miles.