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Saturday, November 02, 2002


can you tell me about the mystery blend?

among the many wonderful things i received this halloween from richard donnelly was a bag of unknown coffee. no label, no id. the mystery blend.

i think it's espresso -- i hope so! looking at it, seemed to me it was a 3 or 4 bean blend, roasted to what i would call "basic rome." not overly dark, like starbucks or peets, more of a medium-type espresso roast. it's a little darker than what i'd usually drink, actually.

so i popped some in my mazzer mini, ground it at 3 notches left of the arrow decal, and made lattes for mr. right and myself in lovely silvia. then i wasn't sure it was espresso. . . it seemed to have a little "hole" in the middle of the flavor profile. on the other hand, some espressos are not made for milk; this could be one.

i'll try it in another latte tomorrow, and maybe as a straight espresso. then it'll be up for a nice vac pot on monday. i hope to really be able to take a good guess at the beans after vac-ing it up. right now i think there's an african and an indonesian and one other bean. . .but i'm not ready to go further than that at this time. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 9:16 AM | top | link to this |


Friday, November 01, 2002


cold water, hot yoga

woke up this morning, dear readers, only to discover my fine building had no hot water. bummer. without my very hot shower, a latte, and a bowl of fresh ricotta with raspberries in the morning, i transform into adachigahara, a japanese ogress -- 10 ft. high, blue warty skin, freezing death-ray gaze, sharp pointy teeth, wild mountain hair, brandishing a large iron spear. oh, and did i mention cranky?

i was desperate. so desperate i considered following the lead of the poor shivering finches in the hedge below my window. they take dust baths, fluttering their wings through the fluffy soil.

really, i thought to myself, i could shake out all of richard donnelly's cocoa-dusted double-chocolate dipped macadamia nuts on the kitchen floor and just roll around in the loose valrhona. . .

instead i washed my face in icy water, dragged a mason-pearson junior through my tresses, and doused myself in mitsouko. hindsight being 20/20, the valrhona would have been a better idea, moodwise at least.

in other news, yoga people has opened its second location in fort greene, brooklyn. one block from bam, it's on fulton between ashland and rockwell, second floor. take the c train to lafayette or the n & r to dekalb. they're offering vinyasa, pre-natal, and hot bikram-style classes. no website yet; you'll have to call 718-237-2300 for info.

posted by fortune elkins | 7:19 PM | top | link to this |


Thursday, October 31, 2002


ladies, improve your memory now!

a fascinating new study from the university of california suggests that drinking coffee on a long-term basis improves womens' memory in later life. the women in the research averaged a healthy 73. that's right ladies, drink your coffee now to prevent senility later.

"it is biologically plausible that caffeine lessens age-related cognitive decline," dr. marilyn johnson-kozlow reports in the november issue of the american journal of epidemiology. "lifetime and current exposure to caffeine may be associated with better cognitive performance among women, especially among those aged 80 or more years."

while men participated in the study, they did not appear to gain any memory benefits from our favorite beverage. "gender differences may be due to pharmacodynamic differences in sensitivity to caffeine effects between men and women," kozlow says.

poor men -- biology dooms them to mental senescence, apparently. these razor-sharp old ladies drank anywhere from a cup a month to up to 5 cups a day over time, with the heavy coffee drinkers receiving the most memory benefit.

however, dear readers, please note that i personally don't recommend women of child-bearing age drink more than 3 cups a day -- more than that level of caffeine may lessen your fertility, according to a 1995 study i have cited here previously.

what chocolate will you be enjoying this all hallow's eve? it's unseasonably cold here in new york today, which makes me think that after trick-or-treating, some may want to curl up with a nice cup of real hot chocolate. myself, i will be enjoying the holiday with a few choice bites from richard donnelly. his marbled brownies are light, airy, almost mousse-y. . .yum.

posted by fortune elkins | 4:57 PM | top | link to this |


Wednesday, October 30, 2002


cookies for the soul

poor mr. right kinda had a day from hell, plus he started feeling a tad under our drizzly gray weather. so naturally, i rushed home from work to cheer him up -- with 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies.

i always make the same recipe, even tho' i've recently been turned onto one by a woman making chocolate cookies here in new york under the moniker ruby et violette. if the recipe printed in the new york times, and attributed to r & v, is any indication, it's not radically different from mine -- except mine makes more and larger cookies. . .i can skip the gold leaf that she uses, frankly. pretentious! the dried fig and chocolate chunk cookie could be ok, however; although i'll take a pass on the kiwi. . .

the truth is that you can always make better cookies at home with premium ingredients than any you can buy. this is because it isn't really possible to use the very highest quality ingredients and still sell the cookies profitably -- to recoup the cost on a large scale would make the cookies more expensive than most people would be willing to pay.

so dump those industrial pre-cut pillsbury doughboy widgets, forget about the shipping on the gourmet wonders from afar, and just whip up a batch of your own!

posted by fortune elkins | 7:48 PM | top | link to this |


Tuesday, October 29, 2002


slander, libel, bad yoga things. . .

cruising about msnbc today and stopped dead in my tracks at a shocking allegation: that well-known ashtanga yoga teacher eddie stern, of the patanjali yoga shala downtown, was a cult leader and that supermodel, philanthropist, and yoga student christy turlington was promoting his cult among others in her new book on yoga.

i did a real double-take here, i have to say! because i happen to know a few people who practice with eddie stern and have spoken to reliable people who know those close to him. by this i mean extremely trustworthy yoga teachers, who have either practiced with eddie, or who are very close friends with those who are near to eddie.

all these reputable sources agree that this charge is a base canard. so unless eddie's fooling everyone, the allegation is untrue, as best as i can ascertain. while i don't know eddie personally (i don't do ashtanga and have never been to the shala), once i understand how this this story comes to be, i have to say it is in fact disgusting once you ferret out the whole situation.

so-called columnist jeanette walls alleges this unlikely scenario in today's scoop, entitled "supermodel yoga: too hot to handle?" where she says in part:

but one critic of cults and alternative religions says that turlington touts some pretty controversial yoga teachers. “christy turlington’s personal odyssey in yoga apparently has included a few groups called ‘cults,’ ” rick ross writes on cultnews.com, who adds that some groups praised by turlington, “have a history of abuse claims made by former members, which has included sexual exploitation.

ok, who are these purported "cult groups" christy hangs with in her twice-weekly practice? naturally, we click the link on over to cultnews.com. there, at the end of a piece dated yesterday, oct. 28, after rehashing some decades-old scandals, we see this:

christy turlington's latest teacher is eddie stern who runs a yoga studio in lower manhattan. he isn't a "cult leader," but has generated some complaints and concern.

so already walls' so-called source is backtracking on the cult label in eddie's case. but if you look at the cultnews.com piece, you'll see eddie's name is linked. click on that link and you'll go to another site run by the same guy, rickross.com, and come to an article dated feb. 20 of this year and entitled "a yoga class of true devotion:"

is gwyneth paltrow's yoga instructor doling out more than exercise? paltrow and other bold face names such as christy turlington are devotees of eddie stern, who runs the patanjali yoga shala studio in lower manhattan. but one expert in cults and alternative religions says he's concerned about complaints he's received regarding stern's studio.

rick ross, a professional deprogrammer who runs culteducation.com, says that a number of stern's students are encouraged to become intensely devoted to the yoga instructor. students say that some of them were warned they will go insane if they take yoga courses outside of stern's classes and are told that they will be met with a horrible fate if they ever say anything negative about stern.

"a lot of the people who go to his classes just get a really good workout," a former student told the scoop. "but some devotees are brought into an inner circle that requires absolute and utter devotion to his every word. i saw people lose all ability to decide things for themselves. it was a situation that was encouraged. there was no doubt in my mind that it was a cult-like situation."

who wrote this piece? yup, jeanette walls herself. neither she nor this supposed cult "expert" offer any sources, just anonymous complaints. to back up her claim, walls quotes the "expert" ross, and to back up his claim, the "expert" links to walls quoting him!

i find this a pretty low standard of journalism for msnbc.com, frankly. to make these allegations once is bad, to repeat them with this circle game is worse. i don't think even the amateur reporters in the blog-o-sphere would behave in this manner. walls is supposedly a pro, and edited by pros.

in short, as best as i can personally tell from sources i definitely trust -- sources who actually practice with eddie or who know well those who do -- walls and ross owe eddie stern a written apology and a retraction.

look, to be honest, eddie stern has does have a reputation, one that has been expressed to me with terms like "humorless" and a stubborn insistence that "ashtanga is the superior form of yoga." again, i can't say -- i've never met the guy myself.

but taking oneself too seriously and a belief that your team is the best is common in many activities. if this behavior made you a cult, then yankees fans are a public danger as well. . .(get your bobble heads now!)

posted by fortune elkins | 7:35 PM | top | link to this |


Monday, October 28, 2002


public nudity in service of enlightenment?

trendy yoga clothier, lululemon, in vancouver, british columbia, recently offered free togs to those willing to openly shuck their rags on the sidewalk, enter the store nude, and choose a new outfit.

apparently, quite a few did; 36 women and 4 men flaunted it all briefly in front of the shop before racing in to score yoga clothes worth up to C$200, some even donning festive wigs and carnival masks to participate in the gag.

but in more serious yoga news, i have finally heard reports from people taking their first classes at amrita yoga. i've spoken to 2 students and 1 teacher so far; all reports extremely positive. . . .great yoga, no crowding, even tho' the room is a little narrow. and the schedule is now up on the web! remember, amrita is on 4th avenue below union square, between 12th and 13th st., on the second floor.

i hope to drop in with the next week or two myself.

posted by fortune elkins | 4:29 PM | top | link to this |


Sunday, October 27, 2002


halloween for grownups!

check out the great danse macabre line of specialty halloween truffles offered by artisan chocolate maker larry burdick. he's creating a holiday special -- cute little ghosts in white chocolate filled with hazelnut praline.

burdick is especially known for his animal shapes. i've long been a fan of his lavender-scented dark chocolate mice and lemon-flavored penguins in dark and white chocolate. . .

posted by fortune elkins | 7:06 PM | top | link to this |

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