Hello, friends…I hope you have all had a great week! Here’s this Sunday’s seven in wine, food, lifestyle, design and travel:
Delivery has changed our relationship with…well, just about everything, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you but take advantage of delivery for my clothing, household items, groceries, toothbrushes, razors, vitamins, some nights, dinner. Dinner delivery is traditionally from restaurants, but now a new company is asking why. A “virtual restaurant concept” known as Kitchen United announced it had landed $10 million in funding with the help of Google Ventures. Simply put, Kitchen United gives restaurants a way to grow their delivery business without building more restaurants. Featuring a leadership team from big names like McDonald’s and Wolfgang Puck, Kitchen United wants to operate “state-of-the-art commercial kitchens” that restaurants of any size — be it national chains or local upstarts — can rent out to expand their delivery market. So… your next food delivery may not be from an actual restaurant at all.
This was all over last week’s news so some of you may have already seen this but it was too good not to post! The British street artist Banksy pulled off one of his most spectacular pranks last Friday, when one of his paintings appeared to self-destruct at Sotheby’s in London after selling for $1.4 million at auction. “Girl With Balloon,” a 2006 spray paint on canvas, was the last lot of a Sotheby’s contemporary art sale. It went for 1 million pounds, more than three times the estimate, and a new auction high.
Then, an alarm went off. Everyone turned around, and the picture had slipped through its frame. The painting, mounted on a wall close to a row of Sotheby’s staff members, had been partially shredded by a remote-control mechanism on the back of the frame. In an update, the winning bidder says she’ll keep it despite the prank. I would too — it’s probably worth even more now!
The Master Sommelier examination is the ultimate wine achievement, but it is beyond grueling to pass — if you’ve seen the movie Somm, you know what it entails. Since its inception in 1969, just 274 people have passed the MS exam. The preparation for this test takes years, and sometimes even decades. This year, 24 people passed the test. BUT now, the exam’s administering body, the Court of Master Sommeliers, has announced that it will invalidate the results of one portion of this year’s exam, the blind tasting component. They found reason to believe that a member of the Court disclosed confidential information pertinent to the tasting portion prior to the exam.
As a result, they have now snatched away the MS title from 23 of the newly anointed sommeliers — which is pretty mind-blowing. Morgan Harris, (from the movie), is the sole member of the class of 2018 whose title remains valid. As Harris had passed the tasting portion of the exam in 2017, he only had to pass the service portion this time around.
A list of nine US getaways with a fresh, cozy vibe that’s especially appealing in the fall. As the air turns cooler, these retreats heat up, offering fire pits, fall fare, and fiery-hued foliage. Topping my list are a cozy canvas tent in Mount Rushmore, Hotel Vermont in Burlington, The Logan in Philly, The Washington Schoolhouse Hotel in Park City, North Branch Inn in the Catskills. and the Harmon Guest House in Sonoma Wine Country. Dying to book one of these right now!
One of the biggest ongoing debates in the wine world is the cork vs. the screwcap. In a new twist, the “Helix,” which was developed by the Portuguese cork giant Amorim, is a kind of “screwcork” — or resealable cork. These corks are somewhat similar to the corks you might find in the top of a whisky bottle as they can be taken out and put back in repeatedly without much effort. But what makes the Helix unique is that the cork requires a special bottle with a threaded neck. Matching ridges in the cork allow it to be twisted back into the bottle for an airtight seal after opening. We shall see what happens with this, but I bet it’s not going into premium bottles anytime soon.
Millenials are pissed at West Elm. All across the internet, comments, blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts can be found protesting their customer service, quality, and delivery. Despite the brand’s on-trend designs and accessible price point, young customers are growing frustrated with the company — and they’re heading online in disgruntlement, clogging nearly every one of West Elm’s social media posts with pleas for their late orders or to express rage about a recent phone call with customer service or the quality of their purchases. This rising tide of customer complaints comes despite the company’s exploding revenue in recent years. If West Elm’s performance gets better by the year, why is its consumer experience so bad? The importance of a brand that engages with community is particularly important to the younger demographic that West Elm targets, as millenials are all about the customer experience. On the quality front, however people need to keep in mind that West Elm is mid-range furniture — given the price-point, it’s not meant to last forever, and they are banking on you thinking it’s throwaway in time.
This read is all about following your passion and, most importantly, how to carve out time to do that. Whether you’re looking to cultivate a hobby as a professional side hustle, or just to feel more fulfilled, extracurricular activities carry measurable benefits. A study published in The Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that pursuing your passion both lowers stress and contributes to greater happiness over all. Researchers found that participants who engaged in hobbies were 34% less stressed and 18% less sad. As someone with a lot of side-interests, I agree that life just feels better when you make that time for things that you want to do.
On that note, I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing rest of your weekend!