January 29, 2009

In high spirits

A few weeks ago Grace and I went to a cocktail making class at JW Marriot's Loong Bar, which turned out to be a blast. The class was put on by Bob Louison, former China Doll 3.3 Manager, and Ariel, who now run Spirit 'It' bar consulting and events company. Beverages were supplied by Grand Marinier and Identity Fruit, a Beijing based juice and smoothie company.

The class learned to make a Cosmpolitan, Sidecar, Margarita, B52, and a creation called Blueberry Night's which featured Identity Fruit's blueberry and apple juice. The class was hands on, and best of all, we got to drink all of our creations.

Bob and Ariel plan on holding regular classes and I'll post about them here in advance for those who are interested; the class is highly recommended for anyone in Beijing who wants to learn how to make cocktails, have a fun date, or just try something new.

Loong Bar has a classy, yet comfortable atmopshere

Each participant had their own set of professional gear

Beijing Gourmand demonstrates proper shaking technique

Grace making a B52 (Kahlua base, then Bailey's, then Grand Marinier -- all poured carefully so they don't mix)

Bob Louison wants to see you behind bars

January 5, 2009

One down, six to go

January 4, 2009

An inconvenient truth about the Japanese diet & The decline of traditional farming

Besides providing insight into the effects of modernization and globalization on the Japanese diet and agricultural system, the above video is remarkable in that it is a rare example of an effective and interesting communication from a government body, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (h/t to The Global Small Business Blog). While Japan has its own unique dietary and agricultural practices, the general trends outlined in this video can be seen from Bordeaux to Baoding.

For more on the decline of traditional agriculture in Japan, see this National Geographic piece: "My neighbor Totoro" ecosystem declining in Japan. The sad thing is that this holistic and balanced approach to agriculture is disappearing at a time when it has never been more relevant.