In Comfort Foods Cooking Entertaining Food and Drink Kumana Avocado Sauce Mens lifestyle Vegan Vegan Foods

Rethink Your Avocado!: Kumana Avocado Sauces

Call me lazy if you will, but sometimes I don't even feel like opening a packet of ketchup for my fries.  Some days when the schedule is more manic than blasé I skip food places where I have to tip someone in lieu of the quick and fresh that I can eat while walking to the subway.  Then there are days that the oven heat-up takes too long and the microwave becomes my bestie just as there are days I wish Seamless delivered to bedside and not just curbside.  What can I say, the life of a busy New York cosmopolitan can get so frenetic to where you just need to cat-nap & go and eat & go.  So when life comes along and presents a way to make it easier, not only do my ears perk, but I may even just get a couple more minutes to relish in my day.  

So often I find myself frustrated with my hectic schedules that leave me not buying avocados since they'll probably go bad before I have the chance to quietly sit and savor them on some oat nut toast with Roma tomatoes, truffle salt and chili flakes.  Then just when I think that my palette has to be content with my crazed lot in life enters Kumana Avocado Sauces, a line of rich sauces made with real avocado and spices.  Born in Venezuela and raised in Los Angeles, Kumana Avocado Sauces are a skillful blend of creamy avocados, onion, bell peppers, vinegar and spices that take the beloved avocado to new heights by positioning it as a qualified contender as a condiment worthy of shelf, table and pantry space.  Kumana is blended perfectly and really allows the avocado to shine with the natural flavors of the peppers, spices and vinegar to create a very special alternative to an actual cut avocado that is flavorful and exciting.

I found myself putting this on everything.  Quick and easy avocado toast became so plausible, a verdant dipping sauce for my tostones emerged as nirvana and a zesty topper to my vegan deli sandwiches brought excitement back to my quick on-the-go menu.  This should seriously be stocked on tables alongside ketchup and mustard as they are so flavorful, tasty and neutral enough to become a viable option on pretty much any kind of savory food.  There are three varieties, Kumana Original, fresh and lively, Kumana Be Mango, sweet and salty satisfaction and Kumana Be Hot, peppery sharp loveliness.  How many foods can you find to awaken with this wonderful new way to enjoy the taste of avocado especially when you can't get to the grocer to snag some?  For more information head on over to Kumana's website here and broaden your perspective on the amazing avocado.

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In Fashion Mens Clothing Mens Fall/Winter 2019 Review Mens Fashion Mens lifestyle Menswear New York Fashion Week Studio One Eighty Nine Sustainable Sustainable Fashion West African Fashion

When The Artists Come Into The Studio: Studio One Eighty Nine Fall/Winter 2019 Menswear

Sure minimal is great, but what about broadening your perspective?  When white shoes before labor day went out the window so did many of the mores of menswear that have long keep men in the protected realms of navy and grey.  Now, you can wear stretch fabrics in the board meeting, it just depends on what you're meeting about.  You can rock a slim shrunken and abbreviated suit at the party and look right at home next to the kat donning the oversized hoodie with kicks that look as though they were ready to set sail.  As global fashion gains more of a voice and efforts to diversify and include come center stage, there will be greater undertakings so that brands come to where someone is within own their aesthetic rather than indoctrinating them to forgo their own aesthetic.  When respect is upheld, balance is met and new perspectives are birthed.

What a refreshing show from the relatively new New York Fashion Week wünderbrand Studio One Eighty Nine.  The brand has been offering up artisanal clothing that utilizes the techniques of hand-dyeing, hand-batik and kente-weaving from West Africa to create lively collections that are not only exciting but also sustainable and socially-aware.  Co-founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Studio One Eighty Nine achieves this by employing the skills of West African craftsmen to create original pieces with silhouettes, techniques and themes that take non-Western perspectives and make them inclusive into a Western market.   

The pieces Studio One Eighty Nine offers are always striking and approachable with outcomes that provocatively go against the grains of New England plaids and nautical stripes.  They happily offer and infuse a plausible and attractive way to look at the idea of Western sportswear through a West African lens.  For Fall 2019, Studio One Eighty Nine showcased a collection that was eclectic and, as per their aesthetic, really gave the consumer a sense of the vision of the brand.  Their energetic, electric and charismatic batik-dyes and prints, textures and traditional techniques all placed onto staple silhouettes like  charismatic trench coats, trim button-downs, laid back trousers, suave jumpsuits and eclectic blazers on sustainable denims, mud cloths and cottons.  Styled with a sense of confidence and ease, the collection had a clear message of familiarizing West African narratives thereby making further strides to solidify the artistry and greatness that is often overlooked from this region on the great continent of Africa.

There's something to be said of a fashion brand that makes strides to adhere to many things honorable.  Creating a livelihood for West African artisans, doing so with fabrics and materials that reduce carbon footprints, waste & honor sustainability and expanding the conversation about the magnificently melanated beauty that lies in tradition and craft takes a lot of work.  It's not effortless, but thankfully Studio One Eighty Nine makes the effort so that you can look and feel at ease. 

*Special thanks to Glasgow Skinner for the photos

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In Comfort Foods Entertaining Food and Drink The Truffleist Truffle Salt Vegan Vegan Foods

Celestial Seasoning: The Truffleist Truffle Salt

What would you lay on your dinner table in a perfect world?  Hormone-free this, free-range that and everything grown organically without pesticides and most certainly not in a lab.  Then if you want to get more specific, would my carnivores need that perfectly marbled twenty-ounce kobe ribeye with the meatiest five pound lobster?  Would my fellow vegans need those quintessential brussel sprouts roasted in a cast iron skillet with an equally exciting slice of avocado toast?  On that ideal table, the food temps would be perfect, the herbs fresh & buoyant and the wine & spirits top-shelf.  Randoms on my ideal table would have to include something crispy & french-fried and verdant & vine-ripened.  Then, I can't sit down comfortably to enjoy a smorgasbord of culinary savories without a well-balanced hot sauce, array of lively seasonings and exemplary condiments.  

This fantasy would most certainly put Truffle Salt by The Truffleist on my table.  Let me just preface this by saying that the first time I had truffles, I actually had real shaved black truffles and it was kismet on my palette.  Aromatic, distinct, balmy and comforting is the only way I can describe black truffles and it comes full circle in the Truffleist's Truffle salt, a specialty grey sea salt tossed with bits of dried black truffles and truffle flavoring.  That unique earthiness and depth that only black truffles can have is what reside in a jar of the Truffleist's Truffle Salt with an aroma so intense and cloying that it seeps through the jar systematically beckoning you to lace anything you sprinkle salt on with that lovely familiar essence.  For a Netflix night it goes over my popcorn, it brings wonderful fullness to my avocado toast and it gives great soothing warmth to my pizzas.  

Speaking of pizzas, my readers are no stranger to my being vegan.  This Truffle Salt gives great flavor to vegan pizza and vegan dishes by replacing through salt and black truffle a level of depth what many feel is missing from vegan cooking due to a lack of animal fats.  In getting serious about your seasonings as many vegans must get, this salt is truly a necessary one for the pantry that will truly become your salt of choice.  However don't just take my word for it.  Whether you are an ardent truffle fanatic or wonderfully curious and new to truffle-dom, discover the Truffleist's Truffle Salt and all of their uniquely truffled products here.  For now, just get some ideas like this one below for a superb vegan pizza I made with the Truffleist's Truffle Salt, and get to know how the salt'll make you swoon. 

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In Alcohol Review Cocktails Drinks Entertaining Farm One Food and Drink Ketel One Vodka Mixology Wines and Spirits

The Ones Have It: Ketel One Vodka X Farm One

Are you a gulper or a taster?  There are some who just throw back their food and drink as though the anticipation has gotten the better of them.  With those folks, the tender morsels of 'grilled this' and 'roasted that' together with the 12 ounces of 'something shaken' rather than 'something stirred' seem to have to go from gullet to stomach ASAP.  Then there are some that stop and savor the efforts of the chef, the expert concoctions of the mixologist and the glorious provisions that Mother Nature doles out from her kitchen.  

Food life is such a physiological experience where the goal is to be satisfied internally.  So the physical and mental along with how, why and what we ingest play such major parts to varying degrees in whether we will let our food linger over the palette and appeal to our senses or just mildly fly down our throats towards our goal of culinary satiety.  I implore folks to let their food and drink do their intended work all-around.  Let it have a balanced conversation with all our senses and find contentment in our tummies.  

Besides those intricate dishes with key decipherable flavors, one of the best ways to pinpoint and savor the sweet subtleties is with a wonderfully fresh cocktail.  Sure, a vodka and cranberry can be a great wind-down but when you add fresh herbs it calls for your senses to pay closer attention.  This was the case at an event I attended recently for Ketel One, the top-shelf premium smooth vodka, and Farm One, a local technology-based vertical farm in New York City that delivers rare and unique hydroponic farm fresh ingredients to your door in less than an hour.  The magic that happened this evening was how the crisp and clean Ketel One became the quintessential base for the interesting delectable herbs from Farm One in the hands of discerning mixologists.  

The evening titled "Grow Your Garnish" featured a great mixology lesson with Ketel One and Farm One herbs followed by an amazing edibles bar filled with many of the unique herbs the farm offers.  I was able to get my senses involved by handling the delicate herbs, smelling their essences and tasting them in their natural pre-cocktail states.  What's interesting to note is not only how these rare herbs call to mind similar-looking herbs with possible similar flavors, but also how they awaken your herbal sensibilites in relation to how you enjoy your vodka.  The refreshing and surprising flavors from oddly verdant herbs like purple opal basil, wood sorrel, Britton shiso, nepetella, Aztec sweet herb and pineapple sage not only gave exciting twists to mints, sweet notes and garden flavors but also served as a great complement to the smoothness of a clear well-executed vodka.  

It's also interesting to note that the skilled hands of the mixologists, who crafted original cocktails based on the edibles guests picked from the Farm One garden, were rooted by the satisfying weight of the Ketel One vodka and created a perfect cocktail trifecta.   You can find Ketel One on the top shelf at any bar, restaurant and wine & spirit retailer and Farm One can deliver you unique freshness through their website here.  I challenge you to sip and not savor.

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