Review: Taiwan Excellence Product Showcase at Grand Central Station Sat. Sept. 27, 2015

 

Event: Free expo on Taiwanese culture, food, fashion and products at Grand Central.

Sponsors included: TAITRA – Taiwanese External Trade Development Council and Sheraton Laguardia East

Taiwan Excellence!

Taiwan Excellence!

Taiwan Represent!

Taiwan Represent!

A girlfriend of mine texted me to come check out this event, which showcased Taiwanese cuisine, music, fashion and technology. With the Chinese Premier’s State visit this week and with the UN circus in town for the annual summit, I can only guess why the Taiwanese decided to showcase their goods to the public in this impressive event. Any why not indeed? I have long been interested in this tiny island but sadly only hear about stinky tofu.

Fashion show

Fashion show

The expo at Grand Central was divided in two: the stage area had music and was surrounded by a food stand, bubble tea company and the Taiwanese tourist office and China and Eva airlines. The second half at the far end displayed products from Formosa: such as laptops, phones, bicycles, exericise machines and more.

Taiwan beauty

Taiwan beauty

Free bubble tea

Free bubble tea

Hanging out at the food stall

Hanging out at the food stall

The stage area featured traditional Taiwanese music, a dance troupe peformed, and a fashion show. Although I’m not a big fan of bubble tea – something about its gelatinous texture doesn’t suit me, I decided to enjoy a complimentary cup and ignore my fear of choking on a tapioca ball.

Spooky coffin bread

Spooky coffin bread

The Coffin Bread, from Mr. Chou’s Shrimp Rolls,  filled with a creamy chicken soup tasted like buttered toast and chicken pot pie. According to the presenters, this bizarrely named delicacy first appeared in the forties,  It seems that so many Asian cultures do their take on Western cuisine. Like India has its pao bajis and frankies, Japan is famous for omrice and beef curry, coffin bread is a Taiwanese interpretation of Western comfort food. Pretty damn delicous for a morbid dish!

Food on display

Food on display

My only wish is that they served more kinds of Taiwanese food. Even if we had to pay, it would have been worth it.  My only other gripe is that the product side of the event seemed isolated from  where most of the audience was. I think they should have done more to promote the gadgets. The most unsual I saw of Taiwanese producrsbwas the folding bicycles from Foldie Foodie, which were practical but with very small wheels.

Taiwanese Dance Troupe

Taiwanese Dance Troupe

 

Foldie Foodie

Foldie Foodie

Theturnout

The turnout for bubble tea

Taiwan fashion

Taiwan fashion

Taiwan excellence!

Taiwan excellence!

Reviews: Asia Society and the French Consulate Thurs. Sept. 24, 2015

 Events: Film screening and discussion: “A Single Step: Journeys of Women Leaders” at Asia Society & 934 Conference: “Climate Challenge: To what extent will Climate disruptions impact human health?” at the Consulate General of France in New York. 

934 Conference at the French Consulate

934 Conference at the French Consulate

Against all logic, I decided to check two events on global affairs in one evening because both sounded too good to miss. It’s not something I’d recommend, but I couldn’t resist enjoying a glass or two of champagne and exquiste canapés at the consulate. So I divided this review in two:

Asia Society:  Having received a complimentary ticket, I headed over to catch the film screening. I haven’t been to Asia Society in ages so this was a special treat. Interestingly, the event did not cover female heads of state or politicians come to that, but rather the film screen was a documentary featuring the stories of five women from different parts of the world, working on various missions tackling climate change, human rights, health and civil society.  For me, the most moving of all stories was the story of a young American who went to Liberia and founded an all-girl school but who later joined the fight against the outbreak of ebola that took the lives of so many.  I have to admit that I was fighting unsuccessfully to stop the tears after hearing her story.

Free DVD

Regarding the event, I think it could’ve been better planned, and sadly former PM Kevin Rudd couldn’t make it because of some secret reason. Shit. I wanted a picture to put on the blog.

Aamina Awan addresses the sisterhood

Aamina Awan addresses the sisterhood

Although  the documentary was well made, the event started pretty late, and one of the speakers, a special advisory to U.N. Secretary-General  Ban Ki Moon, Aamina Awan, further delayed the screening by speaking for over 15 minutes about why we must invest in women’s rights and children. Yes, I get the need to empower women and protect children, but did she really have to say that she was addressing the ladies of the audience. I don’t know if she noticed, but there were quite a few men present too! Okay so I’m picking at straws, but they gave each of us in the audience a DVD copy. As soon as the screening finished, I hopped in cab to my next destination.

The French Consulate is always a safe bet for me because you will meet some very distinguished people, hear intelligent conversation from experts and enjoy the trappings of champagne and hors d’œuvres in elegant surroundings. It was a miracle; however, that I reached in time given that his holiness, Pope Francis was doing his thing at Central Park across the street. Everything was barricaded and 5th Av was completely closed off. Anyway, I got there in time to hear the lecture.

Glass of champagne & elegant surroundings

Glass of champagne & elegant surroundings

The experts on the panel included: Prof. Guéladio Cissé, a health expert from Switzerland, Prof. Patrick Kinney from Columbia University and Dr. Thierry Lebel from the French Institute of Research and development. 

Ambassadeur Spirikal avec son entourage

Ambassadeur Spirikal & charming company

What I really about the French is their belief high-quality hospitality. There were an impressive array of finger sandwiches with sinful pâtés, smoked salmon, jellied terrines, foie gras and cheeses. I forgot all about my cholesterol as the men in tuxes served indulgent desserts as the reception neared to an end. I tried in vain to resist gluttony but the best were the sinful dark chocolate cakes and perfectly-cripsy-on-the-outside coffee maracoons. I could have had a tray all to myself.

If you want to get a heads up for upcoming 934 Conferences, visit: the French Consulate.

 

 

Review: Morgan Magazine Anniversary Party at John Doe NYC by the Nomad Hotel

Spirikal’s Bottomline:  Be it good or bad, make the most of any situation

Beauties and the beast

Beauties and the beast

Although I said I’d try to avoid negativity in my reviews, the Morgan Mag party on Sat. Sept. 19  was disappointing because they had advertised it as a meet-and-greet with minor celebrities and people in the fashion / lifestyle industry. The venue was ill-chosen because it was an ordinary sports / neighborhood bar – far from the promoter’s redcarpet promises on the invite.  In fact, I almost mistook it for an after-work drink up or a going away party for a despised co-worker.

PR girls promoting Maven Cocktails

PR girls promoting Maven Cocktails

In spite of the poor planning and my doomed expectations of swankiness, I decided to forget all that and get out meet some people. As a girlfriend of mine always tells me to make the most of any situation, I actually enjoyed myself with a glass of sauvignon blanc and chatted with some beautiful gals from Maven Cocktails and Charmed Feathers jewerly design who turned up. And how could I forget chatting with the stunning Remi Odunsi and Zo from Jhilburn Menswear. It just goes to show that you can turn any disaster into a fun evening of conversation and connections.  From now on, however, I’m going to give unknown fashion mag promotion parties a wide birth and seek out some new event territory.

Calendar Update: October and November are looking good!

Check out my calendar because I’ve added some really cool stuff happening in the city from Sept onwards. As more things come my way, I will put them up here for you. For those on smartphones, you can access my calendar by clicking on ‘Events’.

October is hopping!.  For those interesting in education, French Morning presents the Bilingual Education Fair at Hunter College on Sat. Oct 3.

Missing out on your South Asian roots? Check out the annual Diwali Celebration at South Street Seaport on Sun. Oct. 4.

If you’re by Chelsea Food Market, Privé’s Bonobo sale is happening on the same day and will continue into the following week.

Don’t miss Japanese Art and Photography from 1968-79 special member preview and reception at the Japan Society on Thurs. Oct. 8

Soiffer Haskin is back with luxury jewerly from John Hardy from Thurs. Oct. 8-11.  The following week, there’s the 934 Conference on Pakistan at the French Consulate on Wed. Oct. 14.

Don’t forget the Lopate and Locavore food talk series at the WNYC Greene Space. Award-winning chefs Marcus Samuelsson (Wed. Oct. 7) and Madhur Jaffrey (Wed Oct. 21) will join Leonard Lopate for a discussion, followed by delicious refreshments and a glass or two of wine.

The fun keeps coming in November. Japan Society present Okinawan food and textiles on Tuesday Nov. 3 and the unbelievable awesome Edible Escape Food festival comes back Thursday November 5.

Keep checking the WhereNYC calendar for more updates.

Why the French don’t suck. Review: Open house at the Alliance française

Event: Open house at the Alliance française. Tues. Sept 15, 2015

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Jacket pressed and wine glass in hand.

Review: One of the highlights of September never to miss is FIAF’s annual open house, which features sample classes, wine, spirits & cheese and a film screening. This year several thousand people got the same idea because it was frickin’ packed! I showed up twenty minutes before the event began and still had to queue up with a mob gathering outside. I’m sorry if I accidently jumped the line, but it was an accident. I swear.

Normally, I’d go to one of the sample classes, but this time I joined French Morning‘s Franco-American chat exchange at FIAF.  It resembled a speed-dating nightmare – Americans wore red mardi gras beads and the French got blue (Allez les Bleus!). The Americans sat, one per table and awaited their French date.

My lucky speed-date number. Note: the cocktail and cannelé. Yummy.

My lucky speed-date number. Note: the cocktail and canelé. Yummy.

Cocktail #2 in the library!

Cocktail #2 in the library!

What was supposed to be language exchange / hook-up turned out to be a near disaster if it weren’t for the booze – an incredibly refreshing orange prosecco cocktail  and the delicious canelé by Célinesmall bouchon-like pastry with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla. I could have had six of them! None of the native French-speakers showed up to speed date. So it became just a group of Americans, sipping drinks and chatting in French with each other. I kinda felt for French Morning because they had no idea what to do, but I wasn’t complaining with a drink in my hand and pastry in the other.

Fromage heaven at FIAF

Fromage heaven at FIAF

I made it to the library to meet some friends and enjoy another cocktail with a sightly sweeter Sauterne-like fortified wine. Finally, I stumbled downstairs with a colleague of mine. The selection of red, white and rosé wines and French cheeses made the evening worthwhile, but happily, I missed the frenzy that was there before.  Afterward, I headed to the Bar Room on 60th Street with my mates for a glass or two of Sancerre rosé before hopping on the subway home. Well worth it.

 

 

Photos from Privé Media Fashion Show @ the Highline Ballroom Mon. Sept 14. 2015

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mobile_2x-6a83c96abbe6d0b4Event: NY Fashion Show at Highline Ballroom in Manhattan presented by Privé, Sky Vodka, Eurocircle and Maserati of Manhattan

Overall: Fantastic fashion show with loads of models, new creations and a DJ show with an open vodka bar made this  worthwhile. The turnout was huge, but there was no drama at the door. Basically if you were on the list or had a ticket, you got in.  IMAG3225

My only grip is that they started the fashion show late, and the singing bit from some god-awful “Grammy-considered” karaoke singer (I know. That’s first time I ever heard of that term used before!). They should have scrapped that bit because we were there only to see the fashion parade. Sometimes it’s a case of too many cooks will spoil the broth. My only advice is just keep it simple and straightforward.

Huge turnout

The gathering crowd

After securing two press passes – thanks to Privé Group, I tottled over with a galpal of mine to check out the fashion show. Although, it took a while for the show to begin, which was around 10PM, I had a great time chatting with the models, designers and fellow metronauts who came to see the action.

 

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The open bar unfortunately was only for an hour, but it was great to enjoy a voddy cranberry or two before the designers showcased their creations.  I couldn’t believe how many people showed up, which made the event even more spectacular.  Rather than give a lengthy review, I’ve decided just to share these pics with you. Enjoy my dear metronauts!

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Meeting the models

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Looking the part

Review: Future Food Expo at Taste Talks in Greenpoint Brooklyn Fri-Sun, 9/11-9/13

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Market Space – Open to the public

Event: Future Food Expo at Taste Talks with Colossal Media in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Overall: This is was a fantastic, innovative platform, where people with new ideas can showcase their products and get the public interested. I made several new friends and learned about new kinds of food. For more info, visit:  Taste Talks Future Food

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Korean soba? Wha???

It’s rarity when you discover anything fascinating just on whim, but it’s when you don’t expect anything that you find something special.  Forget the usual “Made-in-Brooklyn”fare because this event showcased what people are doing in New York, across the country and even in Toronto.

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La Brea presents “Breaking Bread” Lol!

 

 

The expo was divided in three buildings – the largest, the warehouse looking one had sort of a covered market feel. There my friend and I got to try some delicious breads from La Brea Bakery from California on their “Breaking Bread” (Haha!) promotional tour. The spicy, red pepper gazpacho from Foragers Market from Dumbo and Chelsea was inspired. With a splash of iced vodka and some marinated squid, I think I would’ve been in heaven!

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Love Beets – Who doesn’t love a beet?

There were other new ideas circulating around such as the app: Ingredient(1) which helps you create your food ID. I can see that this would popular with granola hippies and fad-diet chasers, but this app can also help you locate hard-to-find ingredients at different supermarkets. I think I might check this out because I’m hunting for some stabilizer for making an alcoholic sorbet (naturally) and can’t find it anywhere.

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Forager’s lovely, spicy gazpacho.

Others from the share-economy included The Munchery – which seemed like SeamlessFarmingo, which is an online farmers’ market intended to keep farmers supplying gluttons like myself with their locavore fix. According to Zoe, their rep, farmers would take 60% of the profits. “Are you mad?” I thought, but you can’t deny this is great for our nation’s farmers to have this kind of access.

Speaking of access, although this event’s covered market was free and open to the public, you need either a “food enthusiast” or a press pass to access the talks and tastings in the other buildings. Unfortunately, it made it sometimes confusing whether we had access.

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Unctuous and decadent grits with butter, cheese and shrimp by Root & Bone

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If you did have one of those foodie passes or were writing about this event, you got to check out some of the talks and demonstrations.  As for the food demos and tasting, I absolutely loved the grits with shrimp and butter from the cooking demonstration from Root & Bone in the Village. It was the first time I actually enjoyed grits, ever! I promised myself that I’d have to go back here very soon.

 

 

 

Review: Uomo Moderno Fashion Week Launch Party 9/11 @ The Cutting Room

Meet and greet at Uomo Moderno's NYFW party

Meet and greet at Uomo Moderno’s NYFW party

Event: Pre-NYFW Fashion Show and meet-and-greet with designers and models.

When: Sept.11, 2015 @7:30PM  at the The Cutting Room 

Friday night was both fun and bizarre at the Uomo Modern Mag party. Overall, I had loads of fun, in spite of the initial chaos.IMAG3091

Positive feedback: Francesco from Uomo Moderno is a fantastic guy and put on a really good show. He explained what the designers were showcasing and even gave a thoughtful tributes to victims of 9/11. We even got to meet the designers and flirt a bit with the models.15-09-13-15-26-34-536_deco

Constructive feedback:  The fashion designs were really nice, but I think the venue was a let down. It was too dark, making it hard to see the clothes. Plus, I think The Cutting Room  should have removed the tables because it made it harder for the models to walk around. It also made it harder for us to mingle while people were having dinner.  Finally, the string and piano ensemble was a nice touch, but sometimes, you need a bit of oompf and upbeat sounds rather than  chamber music.  IMAG310815-09-13-15-30-38-676_deco

I think it was a very good job, but maybe a better venue will be a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

Calendar Updated: What not to miss this fall

Don’t dread winter just yet! Check out my calendar because I’ve added some really cool stuff happening in the city from Sept onwards. As more things come my way, I will put them up here for you.

September is hopping mad! Don’t miss the fashion show and bar Uomo Moderno NY Fashion Week party and FIAF Alliance française Open House on Tues Sept 15. Take advantage also of the Paul Stuart men and women’s apparel sample sale at Soiffer Haskin. If you’re looking for a meet-and-greet, I found this one: Morgan Magazine Anniversary Party on Sept. 19th.

Thurs. Sept. 24th.  is so special for some reason that four cool events are going on that day alone! Shit, I’ll have to choose.

I’m really excited that 934 Conference at the French Consulate has reopened its doors for its first event on Thurs. If you’re looking for something more low key on that same evening, head over to the Taiwanese Cultural Office on 42nd by 5th Avenue for a free film screeing about the beauty of Taiwan. For you cheese-aholics, check Gruyère Cheese Talk and Tasting Barnyard Cheese in Alphabet City .  Finally, Asia Society is hosting a film screening and panel discussion with notable women leaders and former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Small business entrepreneurs and innovators will head over to Northside Innovation meetup at Brooklyn Brewery in Willamsburg.

Don’t forget October.  For those interesting in education, French Morning presents the Bilingual Education Fair at Hunter College on Sat. Oct 3. Don’t forget the Lopate and Locavore food talk series at the WNYC Greene Space. Award-winning chefs Marcus Samuelsson (Wed. Oct. 7) and Madhur Jaffrey (Wed Oct. 21) will join Leonard Lopate for a discussion, followed by delicious refreshments and a glass or two of wine.

The fun keeps coming in November. Japan Society present Okinawan food and textiles on Tuesday Nov. 3 and the unbelievable awesome Edible Escape Food festival comes back Thursday November 5.

Keep checking the WhereNYC calendar for more updates.