Category Archives: News and Updates

Info on what’s happening or going to happen with the site or the world.

Meatball Mayhem

As posted last time, I’ll be competing in tomorrow’s Lamb Takedown.

To emphasize the versatility of lamb, I’m making a straightforward meatball with a wide array of homemade sauce choices.

So far, I’ve confirmed the following:

  • Red – Marinara
  • Orange – Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Yellow– Roasted Pepper Coulis
  • Green – Yogurt Cucumber Mint Sauce
  • Blue – Blueberry Chili Sauce
  • Beige – Cream Gravy

Possible additions include

  • White – Cheddar Cheese Sauce
  • Purple – Cabbage Slaw
  • Black – something berbere- or harissa-based

San Fran Lamb Takedown

I’ve been toying with the idea of leaving the desk job to sell meatballs from a cart.  I’ve never made a meatball in my life, but it seems totally reasonable.  I have also never cooked lamb before, so of course, rather than making a couple of dinners at home from tried and tested recipes that only I will taste, I decided to enter a contest instead.

The Lamb Takedown will be happening Sunday August 8th at Thirsty Bear in San Francisco.  Tickets are only $15 and get you samples from the 20 different contestants, including my lamb meatballs with a rainbow array of sauce options.  Hope I see you there!  I’ve also started a new Twitter account @MobileMeatball

Delegating: A Down and Dirty, Deceitful Device

“I’d be happy to; just send me an email to remind me.”

That sentence has probably saved me 100 hours over the past 2 years.  It is my standard response every time anyone (other than my boss or my mother) asks me to do something for them.

Roughly half the time, they never follow up, and I am off the hook without lifting a finger and I still garner the goodwill and social capital from being the guy who is always willing to lend a hand.

The rest of the time, I have a bright, shiny reminder in my inbox, where it stays until I have followed up, so I never have to worry about forgetting to do whatever was asked of me.

For some reason, when I suggest this strategy to students and clients, they seem shocked and astounded by the possibilities, but it seems pretty straight-forward to me.

Slimmer Kitchen

junkdrawer1I buy kitchen tools I don’t need, and being a gadget-obsessed guy and culinary daredevil, my urban kitchen is getting crowded. I can’t seem to put myself on a diet, but I’m going to slim down my kitchen.

The plan: I’m emptying all of my cooking tools into a bucket.  Once a tool has been used, it goes into a designated drawer. When a tool from the drawer gets used, it goes into the canister on my counter.

1. When cooking, draw first from the canister, then the drawer, and finally the bucket, if no suitable tools are in the drawer.

2. After a month, I can pick ten things in the bucket to stay and the rest go to Salvation Army. Tools in the drawer go back into the bucket, canister tools stay put and the cycle starts again.

3. If the drawer becomes full before the month ends, it triggers the purge that would happen at the end of the month.

4. Knives and appliances are exempt. No way in hell am I getting rid of of my Shuns, Cuisinart, slow cooker or immersion blender.

Mobile Docent

Along with CreateShareWear, my other 5 jobs and an active social life, another recent venture has been taking up a lot of my time, hence the lack of posting on this blog.

I created MobileDocent as a digital tour guide for gallery visitors to access to rich multimedia content (text, links, images, audio, video and more), enhancing their experience of the art and objects being exhibited in museums and cultural institutions through their web-enabled mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.).

I’ve been working with the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to test my project and we have decided to begin piloting MobileDocent with the January Icons of Attention exhibition of work by Kamau Amu Patton, so stay tuned for updates on the progress of the program, and mark your calendars for opening night party, January 22nd, 2010.

For more info on MobileDocent, visit


I’ve been neglecting this blog because I am deeply involved in a couple other projects, and this pesky day job keeps getting in the way, but I am very excited to announce that today is the official launch of the Picpoket, from CreateShareWear, a clothing/art/social media venture that I founded with a friend.  I’ve been coding like a madman all week trying to make the site perfect, and I am awfully proud of what I have built.

The premise is simple, but the overarching plan is exciting.  We are selling custom hoodies (and eventually other clothing and accessories) that hold your video iPod, facing out, so you can show your images and video to the world.  In conjunction, we will soon be launching a social networking site for our users to share their work with the Picpoket community to wear all over the world, and collaborate on collective arts and activism projects.

Check out the site, let me know what you think, visit our blog, and if you want to pre-order a hoodie now, we’re offering a special price, a bonus grab bag of art, and premier status on the social network!

Libation Lab


Lately, I’ve been writing more about drinks, and decided the topic deserves its own site with richer content than just a blog, not to mention a slicker design and its own Twitter account.

The angle will be the same, explaining and demystifying the things you experience in bars and restaurants, documenting my bar experiments, reviewing products and sharing recipes for amazing cocktails.

All of the drinking articles from this site and new writing will be available at along with printable guides, recipe cards, and cheat sheet for the home bartender.  I’m looking for other content to include, and am thinking of adding a social network for SF Bay Area cocktail enthusiasts and a database of local happy hour specials.  If you have any thoughts on what else a drinking site needs, please share your ideas.

Tell your friends: is live

Follow Libation Lab on twitter at

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On my way to Tales of the Cocktail…

Because I couldn’t just spend the weekend celebrating the 4th and packing for Tales, I:


  1. made a batch of hot sauce from farm-fresh chiliespeppery
  2. created a tincture of shiso
  3. made a gallon of traditional umeshu
  4. improvised almost a gallon of apricot/pluot “umeshu”
  5. infused a bottle of Hendrick’s gin with cucumber and persimmon
  6. devised the Tomcat Collins with the aforementioned gin (recipe posted soon)
  7. hosted the “Squash Blossom” dinner party with the lovely TSB (we may not be together any more, but we still throw one hell of a dinner party), where I served the aforementioned cocktail the following hors d’oeuvres
  8. deep-fried two kinds of cheese-stuffed squash blossoms (chevre and mascarpone) with 4 dipping sauces (southwestern salsa, spicy tomoato, lemony aioli and a green onion sour cream).

Tinctures, Bitters and Infusions

Tinctures, bitters and infused spirits are all created by steeping culinary components in alcohol to extract flavor.  It really is just that simple and it is easy to do at home, so I will keep an eye out for how they’re being used at Tales of the Cocktail next week and update you on any trends or exciting uses I discover.

At a gin tasting workshop last night (many thanks to Right Gin and Nirvino) I asked a favorite local bartender, Josh Harris of 15 Romolo, what exactly a tincture is, having only recently encountered the term as a cocktail ingredient.

tinctureHe defined it as being like aromatic bitters: herbs, spices or other ingredients with intense flavor steeped in over-proof, neutral spirits (strong grain alcohol like Everclear) to extract the flavor, which is added to cocktails in dashes or drops. He said that while bitters are a combination of flavors, tinctures are made with a single flavor.  I’ve since seen tinctures online that were composed of more than one flavor, but none so complex as bitters, so a stronger distinction may be that tinctures need not be bitter in flavor.

Note: the definitions of these terms in bar-speak differ from their traditional usage.  Technically, all three are tinctures, defined as an alcoholic extract of plant material with an ethanol percentage of at least 40% (assuming the spirit you are “infusing” is at least 80 proof).  Infusion is the result of steeping plants in water or oil, not alcohol, so infused vodka, rum or gin is a contradiction in terms. Vinegar is also an acceptable medium, so shrubs are really tinctures too.

I would offer recipes, but frankly, all you do is soak stuff in stiff spirits.  Just go try it.