Tomato Tart

Last week, I had dinner at Misi, where we shared several small plates. This weekend, I was inspired to follow suit with a cantaloupe cucumber mint dish, mozzarella with chopped basil oil, beet goat cheese, dried cherry and arugula salad, corn, and a tomato tart.

Making dough can be time-consuming and complex, depending on the weather and the altitude. This past week, there was a cherry tomato tart in the NY Times, and although I did not follow the ingredients, I made the crust. It is so easy and could be used for other dishes.

When I made this tart, our daughter’s voice was in my head. I followed the rules, weighing the ingredients in grams instead of cups.

  • 350 grams all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams warm water
  • 100 grams olive oil
  • 12 grams dry instant yeast
  • 10 grams salt

Lightly brush a 12-inch round metal tart pan with olive oil.

Mix the warm with the olive oil and yeast until completely incorporated. Combine the salt and flour in a different bowl. Add the liquid to the flour mixture, mix with a fork and then a wooden spoon, and then knead until smooth.

Put the dough in the pan and spread it evenly up the edges. Cover with a towel and let it stand for an hour.

Then fill with what you want, bake at 425 for 30 minutes, and voila. I covered the bottom with parmesan cheese and the top with sliced sungold tomatoes, drizzled some olive oil and salt over the top before baking, and tossed basil over it before serving.

What Happened to Our System?

Education is the foundation of life. Reagan and Nixon believed their power would diminish if top education became accessible to all. That was the beginning of more private schools and less money going towards public education. These policies are why we are where we are today. This has created a divide.

Do I believe that all sides of Government are corrupt at some level?  Yes. But I know what I care about. When I look at today’s landscape, which began decades ago, I fear we are dumbing down society.  That scares the shit out of me. Ignorance is not bliss.

Walter Cronkite, who is probably rolling over in his grave, said, “Whatever the cost of libraries is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” Little did he realize that people would still burn books in this country.

Thanks to the Roberts court, even the wealthiest people in our country can put millions into PACS that can sway an election. That is eroding what America supposedly stands for one person, one vote, and a cap on what you can give to politicians. The cap is worthless through PACS, which fuels a more significant divide.

Change takes time, and the right has played the long game. They might not be the majority in this country, but the laws that have been passed are making an ugly impact.

When I was involved with my children’s school, the ideas and concepts that took root when I was there are finally being achieved. Our children did not benefit from any of those changes, yet everyone around the table knew about them and thought long-term.

Years ago, we went to a small political event at which Senators and private citizens (and Fred and I were two of them) were almost equally represented. Fred brought up immigration, and I brought up education. The Senators were incapable of creating policy that had a long-term impact because they needed to get re-elected. That is a problem right there. The Democrats think short, and the Republicans think long.

I am thrilled that Biden took himself out of this election, as it was evident that he is putting himself first. I would love to see an open Democratic convention where the people choose the Democrat candidate we should get behind in the coming months. If the Democrats win the election, it will change how politics and media run elections. We won’t need to start two years into a Presidency but a few months out, like the Parliament system. Then, instead of politicians spending 80% of their time raising capital to stay in power, perhaps they could think about long-term decisions that would truly make America great again.

Getting Old

Hopefully, age is inevitable. I embrace my age, as with age comes experience and knowledge. However, it also comes with aches, pains, and memory lapses. I get so excited when I remember things that seem lost in the brain abyss. Perhaps my hard drive is too full.

There are so many changes every day in the Presidential race of two older men, but the reality is that they are each older today than they were yesterday, and that will not change. We might be living longer lives, but internally, 40 is still 40, and 80 is still 80. As more people live to be 100, we should be thinking about the cost and the opportunities for those who continue to use their minds to impact society. I do not believe that should be running the country. How do we change that?

My Mom used to look in the mirror and say, “Getting old is so weird.” Of course, as a teenager, I thought she was ridiculous. At 62, I get it. Your skin changes, your agility slows down, your thought processes aren’t as quick, you don’t eat as much, your sleep changes, and there are countless other things, but we soldier on.

In my head, I am still the same person, although certainly more self-aware. However, I am not the same physically as I was at 30. There are 54 senators over 65, making the average age of the 100-person Senate 58, and nearly 25% of Congress is over 70. Remember the days when 70 was so old?

This is not the only industry where age is hanging on to their power. On the other hand, people are retiring at 60 and are trying to figure out how to spend the next 40 years getting up every morning with purpose. This is only becoming a more significant issue in society.

The Weldon Project

The Weldon Project is an organization dedicated to social change and financial aid for those serving time for cannabis offenses. They have been impactful at the Federal level, and we should all hope that they continue to be.

This documentary, “Unlikely Allies,” is coming soon. Even if you see the trailer above, it doesn’t take much to realize that the laws have been so egregious, destroying countless lives for a plant that has finally been recognized for its benefits vs. being used to keep people in jail.

Another dark chapter in America.

Trauma Is Not One Size Fits All

The narrative that we must now discuss our feelings and be understanding of each other’s trauma is appearing on TV, in books, and the workplace. It is a new world, one of the many post-COVID changes. 

The thing about trauma is everyone has different reactions to the same situation based on who they are at their core and the baggage they have been carrying to this point.

Society “woke” up in the past few years, and much of it has been a positive step in the right direction, particularly “me too,” which was a watershed moment for women.

This past week was an article in the New Yorker about a woman, when growing up, her father’s best friend was kidnapped. She never understood how he was able to return to life as usual after this traumatic event, as she had a traumatic event that hung around her neck. 

What piqued my interest was that her traumatic event happened to me, too. I was pregnant with our oldest daughter, and she had no interest in coming out. I made an appointment to be induced, and after the first day in the hospital, nothing was moving forward. I slept in the maternity ward while pregnant. 

The next day, the doctor came in and examined me. I remember it being uncomfortable, and the next thing that happened was that my water came gushing out. Afterward, he told me he had broken my water in the hopes that I would begin dilating. I remember thinking tonight that I would go to sleep with a child. In today’s world the doctor would have explained everything to you before doing anything. Small changes but big changes.

The author had the same experience, and of course, I have no idea if it was as invasive or more invasive than mine, but I never considered it invasive. It had to be done, and I trusted the doctor to do the right thing.

The author sought out the father’s best friend to understand how he could move on with his life, and it appeared without a glitch. The reality is he had trauma from his experience, and he made shifts in his life that allowed him to operate at a high level in the world. You never know what goes on behind closed doors.

It’s a worthy read. Every person processes their baggage differently. As society has finally embraced personal therapy to understand oneself better is a gift.  Reading how these two people dealt with their trauma is, if anything, eye-opening. 

Gotham Newsletter

I love a good newsletter. These days, getting uplifting content is a huge bonus. Here is what is happening this week at Gotham. Coming to Hudson soon: new launch of Gotham Goods products (party Wednesday evening); Domino is coming soon, too; we are doing parties, and of course, we deliver.

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People Always Prevail

Our political landscape is pathetic. Nobody, except serious MAGAs, is excited about the choices in the Presidential election. Politics has never been pretty, but these days, it is exceptionally ugly. We can thank the Supreme Court for allowing the rise of PACs, so once again, it is people with deep pockets controlling who stays in office.

We all have to look for silver linings. We are seeing people use laws to fight against the Government. Over sixty percent of people in the US believe the Electoral College should be abolished, and I recently read about a group of people who are working their way through the system to force change. Will they get there? Who knows but the one thing about this country is that anybody can fight for change.

There are three states where people have succeeded in getting abortion rights on the ballot. Will this trend begin to separate the majority from the loud strength of the minority? Many states are putting cannabis on the ballot, overruling the leaders in the state.

In California, nine propositions are on the ballot. They are for climate, school, crime reform, measures to close an involuntary servitude loophole, marriage equality (the changing of the wording in the CA constitution), lowering the supermajority to approve lowering taxes, raising the minimum wage, and a few others.

If any of these props are confirmed by the voters, it will take time to determine what these vague props will become but once voted in they are legal changes that make their way through the system. What is great about props is that the people have the ability to make change vs. relying on their elected officials, who these days seem to be more interested in just staying in power.

Will we begin to see more states forced to put props on the ballot? It might be worth it in NY when it comes to the real estate moguls. It is time to force landlords to fill their empty spaces after a period of time vs. just keeping them empty, waiting for the market to return, and taking their tax deductions. No politician is ever going to force this because the real estate people help keep them in office. What is the answer? Taxing them. There are a few large commercial properties in the heart of the village that are standing empty and are priced way out of reach, considering how they have deteriorated.

Something needs to change, and it might take the people’s will to force the changes that most people want rather than what the politicians are not doing to keep themselves in power.

Covid Trauma

A few years ago, I watched Jaime Dimon, the CEO of Chase, discuss the cycles of bull and bear markets. He discussed how much we have grown over the past decade and how he believed that we are in a new place where those cycles are changing. That we would continue to go up, up, up. Then Covid happened.

In an instant, we were all in lockdown mode for way longer than anyone had envisioned. We had no choice but to navigate the new landscape. Humans are resilient. Parents with kids in school lost their minds. Zoom took off, businesses figured out how to function, and we all waited with bated breath to return to normal.

Before we knew it, we could see friends again, return to work, take off those masks, and life supposedly returned to normal. But did it? Did everyone want to return to the life they were living before? Many people began to rethink how they wanted to live and did not want to return to their pre-Covid lives.

The world is changing, especially businesses. Media is a hotbed of freelance journalists, and media is no longer a trusted voice. Retail just made a massive shift, with Saks buying Neiman Marcus. Politics seems to be only about staying in power. Unions don’t give a shit about the people. It’s only about money and power.  Amazon just brought on 750000 robots to fill human jobs. Capital has become more expensive. The art world has pushed prices up to compete in the consumer world of large art shows. Real estate has rebounded with prices so high that many can’t afford a roof over their heads. Insurance has sky-rocketed. Even in the dating world, people are looking for new avenues to meet people at events, in person, vs. swiping on an app. Food costs are way up. Need I go on?

Change was inevitable. The trauma of Covid has caused rifts everywhere. People want purpose in their lives. Some have turned to making physical things their career choices. We are also buying less and being more thoughtful about their purchases and how they impact the planet. The list is long.

It feels as if every business is being forced to find new paths to be impactful and become profitable. The gig economy appears to be on the upswing, as more people are figuring out how to live, connect with their friends and family, and make enough to live the life they want.

It’s as if the system has cracked wide open for all of us to see. New paths are being formed everywhere. Futuristic technologies will be intimately involved in whatever each vertical becomes. 

I predict it will be a strange decade with new roads leading to new ways of life. What they will look like is yet to be seen.

Cannabis and Platforms

The navigation of all platforms with cannabis is a labyrinth on its own. Instagram, Facebook (all under Meta), Substack payments (Stripe and others), insurance, and banking are just a few of the places where you can be shut down with a moment’s notice.

I don’t understand why social platforms can’t build backend software to navigate where particular content is being seen. I have heard of several companies that are working hard on building their businesses, from farmers to dispensaries, and find themselves being shut down after years of building loyalty and followers.

The insurance agencies willing to work with those in the cannabis industry are egregious when it comes to cost and paperwork. Insurance prices are rising across the board due to more weather catastrophes, even though their stock prices do not seem to be suffering.

Banking is beyond. The few banks willing to take on cannabis companies are a godsend, but the paperwork is not the run-of-the-mill. Let’s open a bank account today is not how this works.

The data is clear that alcohol is worse when it comes to consumption, but selling cannabis at a concert or even distributing it at an event is practically impossible. Why? More than likely, legal advice is that if something happens to somebody who has partaken in the plant that was at your event and they have an accident, then the venue will be help responsible. These venues are being told by their lawyers that the plant is Federally illegal, and because of that, they can not get insurance around the plant.

I do believe there will be some major changes in the months to come when it comes to rescheduling. Lawsuits will begin to fly for farms to ship their products across state lines, and banks and insurance companies who have been sitting back on their heels will be foisting themselves on every company to be their partners (I wish the whole thing was in cryptocurrencies). Many companies who have stayed out of the game, including software companies or platforms like Shopify, will enter the space. Social media platforms will allow cannabis content in a more meaningful way. And most important, all of those who have been early to the industry, will see a change in the taxes that will change the game for everyone.

Cannabis is legal (medical and consumer) in 38 states, and all of us in the industry are still trying to stay above water every day, having to navigate the insanity of the plant world when it comes to business as usual. Cannabis is still too far from business as usual, and it shouldn’t be.

Saks buys Neiman Marcus

There have been rumblings about this for months. It was bound to happen as the retail landscape was due for massive upheaval.

There are 75 stores between Saks and Neimans; it will be interesting to see what they look like in a year. At this point, Nordstrom, Macy, and Saks Global have prevailed in the land of department stores, as in the last stores standing, and Nordstrom is attempting to take the company private. It is unclear where Authentic Brands’ purchase of Barneys plays out in all of this, as they have a licensing agreement with Saks. Keep in mind that Saks also owns Bergdorf Goodman. Hudson Bay, a Canadian company that owns Saks, is behind all this. It’s fitting, considering Campeau changed retail in 1986 when they purchased Allied and eventually Federated. That changed the retail landscape.

Other mergers are taking place in food retail, like the merger of Krogers and Albertsons, although there have been multiple filings from the FTC to stop it. I understand the fear of the government when it comes to multi-billion dollar mergers that will block competition. Still, Saks, Neimans, Krogers, and Albertsons can’t continue operating as they have been for years. The net numbers don’t work. They need to merge.

What is most fascinating about the entire Saks transaction is that Amazon and Salesforce are taking a stake in it. These companies started in the 90s and are now part of an industry that has been riding a rocky storm for years. What does Amazon want to do here? Is Salesforce going along because they have so much cash to put to work?

Marc Metrick, who started his career at Saks, will be the CEO of this entire operation. What will these stores and the consumer experience look like? Throughout all of this, the heavy hand of private equity has been present in all these transactions.

Perhaps we will see fewer massive department stores and more local shops that are curated for consumers and the community. Maybe the government will not allow these transactions to take place. On the other side of the Atlantic, we see LVMH buy L’Ami Louis, a 100-year-old Parisian gem, and Tiffanys. They are also joining forces with Accor to operate and update the Orient Express, including building new ships, hotels, and stores throughout the globe. I am fascinated with Bernard Arnault and his vision of LVMH.

It’s unclear where all of this will end up, but one thing is for sure: Retail, hotels, travel, and all that hospitality touches are up for massive change in the years to come. They have all been bleeding for years with little innovation except mergers. The time has come.