In Arteasan Comfort Foods Entertaining Food and Drink Vegan

The Curated Sip: Arteasan Teas

My older age has softened me a tad.  Not physically, but preferentially.  It seems that while I still like sweets, depending on what it is, I tend to either like a small taste of really sweet things or a less sweetened taste to things I really like.  There must be truth that one can grow saltier with age.  However, when I find a good balance that doesn't bring out my non-culinary salty side, I can dig it.

So my drink pick of the week is Arteasan, a nice eclectic line of cold teas that have delicious culinary pairings.  Don't think honey and lemon, but rather great mash-ups like Watermelon/Mint with Matcha tea, Passion Fruit/Elderberry/Peppermint with Green tea, Peach/Rosemary with Yerba Mate tea and Pineapple/Starfruit/Ginger Oolong tea.  When the sweet factor is toned down, the subtle nuances of the ingredients and the wonderful observations of them being paired together with their respective teas shine through.  Each of the four flavors hint at subtle restorative mental wellness properties like glow, be well, focus and cleanse and the delicateness of each ingredient speaks to that.  These are great on their own and can even be paired with spirits for cocktails (gin, perhaps) or  with champagne for spritzers.  Arteasan is proof that when the sweet is toned down the flavor shines through.

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In Cocomels Comfort Foods Food and Drink Vegan

Sweets For All The Right Reasons: Cocomels

The Fall is physiologically the time of year when your brain makes a fool out of your body and inadvertently makes it fatten up for the upcoming colder months.  That is if you don't have mind over matter.  Now if you have matter over mind then there better be good reason for the disappearing discipline.  I generally find the reason in a bar after a heavy work day when I find a happy hour barrage of Old-fashioneds in quaint little glasses.  Lately I've been finding a great reason in questionable Netflix horror movies and a can of lightly salted Pringles.  However, just recently I found a new sweet reason to give new meaning in not wanting to explain myself.  Decadence can do that to you.  However, when that decadence transplants you to a place of nostalgia and adult culinary carnality, then you just eat and don't think about it.  

Such was the case when I discovered Cocomels, a deliciously sinful candy treat.  Think of a wonderfully rich, soft and creamy caramel candy only instead of being made from cow's milk, they're made from coconut milk.  Yes coconut milk, the vegan warrior's creamy savior and, in my opinion, an all around better-tasting (and more digestible) way to answer "Got Milk?".  What's even better about Cocomels is that they are non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan.  

However, despite the niceties that have gone into concocting these confectionaries, the best thing about them is the taste!  Remember how I said that part of the new reason for matter over mind is the culinary whisking away to a place of nostalgia?  Well, for all my West Indian readers, there's a delicacy called coconut drops that is essentially grated coconut, sugar and coconut milk with the optional drop of strawberry syrup.  My first bite of the original Cocomels took me right back to my first sampling of coconut drops with I was still small enough to play handball on the curb.  

Cocomels are so creamy, decadent & satisfying and the additional flavors certainly don't disappoint.  Want that saccharine loveliness with the sweet nuttiness of vanilla then there's Cocomels Vanilla.  Desire to have the pleasant explosion on the palette of sweet and salty then there's Cocomels Sea Salt.  If you have the grown and seasoned bittersweet tang of espresso on the brain and then there's Cocomels Espresso, which eerily tastes like a caramel macchiato.  There's a flavor for everyone and they won't disappoint.  Cocomels is available now at select retailers like Wholefoods and Dean & Deluca, but for a list of where they may be found near you, head on over to their website here.

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In I Rant You Read Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fashion

I Rant, You Read: Picking Out Your Own Clothes Is Apparently A Thing

There's something to be said about waking up one day to realize that you're seeing signs of the times.  I mean look at the late Summer 2017 hurricane season already with Harvey, Irma and the impending José and try to convince me that global warming isn't a 'thing'.  Look at the backpedalling, double-talking and hypocritically elementary speech the wafts out of 45's mouth and try to convince me that the media reports of a crumbling government and dodgy out of touch privileged politics are really fake news.  Look at mens fashion....wait a minute, look at mens fashion!  It's kind of all over the place.  Never before have men been massaged into whatever niche works for them than now with the immaculately bespoke, made-to-measure or off-the-rack tailored rubbing elbows with the DIY urban gym class heroes & detention slackers who hobnob with the modern floral-toting bedazzled rockstars that tout locs, grills and platinum Jesus-pieces.

I've spoken before about the state of modern menswear languishing in a state that womenswear has long enjoyed, but now I realize more and more how the aspect of modernity consistently aims to rewrite the dialogue of mens clothing.  Of course, you will always have your designers who write in their journal after the headlines have been heralded which is not to be downplayed since many men will only be able to afford such designers.  However, there seems to be a crop of creatives like Abloh, Gvasalia, Michele, Lorenzo, Rubchinskiy, Simons, et al who realize that not only do other designers' imitating what they propose have significance, but also the way in which the public interprets and absorbs the designs have great significance too in understanding social movements, thoughts, interests and tendencies.  

It seems that in the era of the public (and government) being suitably liberated to say and behave how they really feel, as unique or sheeplike as it may be, they've gained some power in dismantling the status quo.  Now more out of the hands of buyers, merchandisers and editors, the masses are using platforms like social media and social gatherings involving fashion, music and art to assert how loud they want to yell as opposed to being told how loud they should yell.  What we're winding up with is an extremely quick-paced system that is getting increasingly harder and harder to predict and that rides waves based on hype, collective synergism and individual creativity.  Hype needs influence & hysterical following and is not necessarily rooted in groundbreaking talent, collective synergism needs groups of creatives supporting a movement and individual creativity, as always, can just get lucky in marching to the beat of its own drum.  

We're seeing effects of this in how designers are proposing collections and the individual pieces in  those collections.  There's a push to just dismantle the old system of creating a highly merchandisable collection to just creating inspired unique pieces, no matter how questionable that inspiration is to some since they may only have the public's attention for a minute anyway.  Deliveries are becoming decided over at closer spaced-out dates due to the rapidly changing and restructuring social media environ and the often finicky, very persuadable and very visual public.  You get magazine spreads and decide what to wear and what not to wear everyday on your social media timelines.  Individual styling has become key in runway collections as designers realize that suggesting effective public re-interpretations of their clothing can clear the shelves while big-ticket red carpet arrivals share the stage with even a celeb shopping incognito and can become the next style-note to watch.  

Timing and being in the right place at the right time and surrounded by the right impressionable eyes has grown essential as its become not just what is donned but at what locale, at what event and by whom which then coincides with said person's current level of mass influence or cult-following.  To be everywhere at once and to know a little bit of everything about, well, everything is a daunting task and quite impossible, but I suppose that is why some of us tune-out in annoyance yet stay-tuned for the challenge.   

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In Comfort Foods Food and Drink Good Eats Vegan

Good Eats In The Land Of Yardage & Pleats: Bombay Sandwich Company Opens In the Garment District

What can account for quite an ordeal is traipsing through the land of textiles, trims and tailors.  Look to your left and there's silk specialists and look to your right and there lies the sultans of spandex.  Go up two blocks and cross the yellow brick road of Seventh Avenue and stumble upon alcoves of Swarovski, bugle, jet beads & buttons while venturing across the raging waters of Eight Avenue brings you to the valley of machine parts, dress forms and three-way mirrors displays.  Then in the midst of it all seamlessly binding together the warp and weft of it all stands the dozens of merchants, floors up and at at eye level, with fancy woven, knits & remnants offering the fulfillment of design dreams, production desires and costume wishes.  This is the magical Garment District, New York City's infamous land of fantasy and opportunity wrapped up in muslin and dotted pattern paper.  

A day in this land can work up an appetite and also work a nerve.  However, nestled at the start of this land on West 35th Street now lies a vegan/vegetarian beacon to rejuvenate, restore and revive called Bombay Sandwich Company.  Started by the banker-rocker-turned-chef Shiv Puri and his cover model-Bollywood-actress-turned-entrepreneur wife Shikha Jain, this is the company's second location in the city and a perfect one being in the busy garment district where many of the fashion-driven will seek sustenance to stay energized and sample sized.  What sets Bombay Sandwich company apart is the focus on Ayurvedic healing spices that the company's recipes entail.  Ayurvedic essentially means that you're getting great-seasoned taste and platform nourishment in the form of locally-sourced, organic and 100% GMO-free ingredients with a clean Indian and American sensibilities that appeal to all who wish to take comfort in knowing where their food comes from and what's in their dishes.

And just what is in the dishes at Bombay Sandwich Company?  Think simple and fresh like fennel, tofu, kale, sweet potato, apple, chick peas, nuts, sprouts, cabbage, quinoa, avocado, chilis, lentils, beets, ginger, carrots among other all-natural and clean ingredients.  What binds them together into a cacophony of culinary wonderment are the ayurvedic spices of turmeric, cardamom, cumin, fennel and asafoetida which all have various nurturing properties like being anti-oxidizing, anti-inflammatory, energizing, detoxifying, digestive-friendly and fiber, potassium and iron-rich.  They offer great flavorful items for vegans and vegetarians that are also kosher and some items offer gluten-free options.  

So now you have a culinary respite in the midst of deciding whether to spend $10 a yard on the chintzy poly or the shiny rayon.  The midtown Garment District location of Bombay Sandwich Company is at 224 West 35th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues 212.564.8418 and is now open for business.

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