The Parisian Mode

Looking for inspiration wherever we can find it in Paris. I have not read about or found many “new” stores or restaurants as the euro is weak, the dollar is strong, and everyone feels like they are treading water. It is hard to describe, or perhaps I am just waiting for the mid-term elections to create more chaos and anger in America.

Two inspiring stores; one only sells salmon and foie gras.

The other is sake and whisky with a whisky bar downstairs. The selection is off the charts.

We went to the Pompidou, one of my favorite museums, where they consistently put on well-curated shows. One is Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith. An audio and visual exhibit connects physical beings and sound. It is incredibly cool, not shocking, and drives home that humans are just visiting this planet for the time they are on it.

There is also an Alice Neel show. This one is much smaller than the one at the Met, but seeing her work is inspiring. Neel is funny, engaging, and quite a woman before her time. She gets it. Later that evening, after dinner, we went home and watched her on the Johnny Carson show she was on in 1984.

Our meals over the past few days have not been that exciting, although we did pop into a local Morrocan spot and had a tagine lamb and vegetable couscous that felt like we were sitting in my kitchen. Quite delicious and straightforward.

This morning we went to the LVMH museum to see a show on Joan Mitchell and a show juxtaposing the work between Mitchell and Monet.

Mitchell did not get the accolades she deserved when she began to create because she was a woman artist. The first time I saw her work in person was at the Jewish Museum over a decade ago. I was blown away.

The pairing of two artists is not a new thing. There was a time when every museum was doing shows like this. Monet died when Mitchell was born. She was drawn to the same places where Monet painted. They both had close friends who were poets and writers. What is interesting is they painted some of the same types of landscapes, and their color palettes are the same; their brush strokes are a bit of the same. They both painted from memory.

Regardless just seeing these two artists in any show is worth the trip. The first time I saw one of these enormous water lilies paintings in person, this one took ten years, my jaw dropped, and I caught my breath. It is truly magnificent.

It is pouring in Paris, so we headed to Marche Les Enfant Rouges, the original food market, and had lunch at our favorite Japanese spot. Always good.

Then walked over to Broken Arm, one of my favorite concept shops. Never fail to get here when in Paris.

The rest of the day is phone calls and trying to stay dry!

Au Passage

At this point, I am not sure I can count how many times I have been to Au Passage. These types of cafes do not exist anywhere else except Paris.

The owners help pick out the wine and wait on tables; the food is ever-changing and always delicious. The lighting isn’t too dark, and it isn’t too bright either. There is a buzz in the room that feels right.

While we are here, we are not pounding the pavement too hard. The beauty of returning to a city you know so well is that you don’t have to.

There are raw scallops underneath the light potato sauce and small pieces of mandarin orange. I have never had anything quite like that; of course, it melts in your mouth.

Underneath the thin layer of lardo are crispy pieces of cauliflower sitting on top of a celeriac root mash, a light green sauce, and a few chopped macadamia nuts. Another wow, and who came up with this brilliant dish?

These are just a few of the highlights. They have done a lamb butt with mint sauce on the side that has mysteriously dipped from the menu. After Covid, they re-opened with smaller tables, so they pulled the lamb. Honestly, I could devour it with another person. The good news is they are probably going to bring it back. I promise to return next time we are in Paris to ensure they are good to their word!

Back in Paris

Paris never fails to inspire and relax me at the same time. We have been hanging our hat in the 6th, and after years of discussing, we finally leaped to the 11th. For us, this is a game changer.  

We did a bit of the stroll and cafe sit on the first day. No other city gets the cafe hang better than Paris.  

Our first-night dinner was a Le Collier de la Reine.  A little eggs benedict with caviar.

Afterward, to stay up as late as possible, we strolled into Mary Celeste for a nightcap before walking home. We returned the following night to eat every dish on the daily changing menu.

On Sunday, we went to the flea market, one of our favorite activities. Never fails to excite. Here are some of the highlights.

This couch.

This table.

This audio machine. Insane!

The best new find is Le Bon Adventure. Our friend had been here and went the week before, so he had already sussed out the situation.  The two spots we used to frequent were never that good and one closed during covid. The vibe and food at Le Bon Adventure are perfect.  I could eat at a spot like this every single night. It is a wine bar. Take a look at the wall if you do not want wine by the glass, and make your bottle choice. Then they put it in the “chill” if you choose white. We should all have a “chill.”

We shared everything. It is a toss-up on which plate was better. Foie gras with an apricot jam that almost tasted like a marmalade.  Foie grois is so decadent and delicious.  It was perfect with a hunk of warm brown bread with an intense crispy crust. The tuna tasted like a toro that had been lightly marinated in something melted in your mouth—surrounded with dollops of caviar and creme fraiche. Need I say more? The beet, tomato, burrata, and light pesto sauce were slam dunks.

The mains were a poached runny egg with caramelized chanterelles and cabbage. It was as if we were eating a rich mushroom stew. Simple grilled fish over winter berries with thinly sliced fennel.  

The plates, the presentation, the size, the combinations, a seriously perfect meal. We are going back again next Sunday!

Field Trip!

The team took a field trip up to two cannabis farms last week. The people in this industry are so friendly, engaging, and full of an insane amount of knowledge, and regardless of how hard it is to build these businesses, everyone seems to be having a great time doing it.

The first stop was Flower House. You could smell the sweet smell of cannabis the second we turned up the long road to the farm. Here most of the products are being grown in greenhouses. It is also a new farm.

We have all seen the plant, yet seeing the plant over and over throughout the day just drives home how beautiful and natural cannabis is.

Our next stop was Hepworth Farm. Hepworth has been around since the 1800s. It is one of the largest organic vegetable farms in the state. This soil has been primed for hundreds of years. The fields are flowing with products.

Everything here is being grown outdoors, for now. Like everything in this business, that will change and evolve.

The team is psyched.

This is indoor, where they are drying the products. It almost looks like a carpet store where you flip through the racks. Keep in mind that all products with THC stay in the state. A NY dispensary selling cannabis products can only buy from NY farmers. CBD is a different animal and can be shipped crossed the state line.

I have always loved a good farm trip, from the vegetable stand to picking apples—just a different product. I do love getting to know the farmers, ninth generation farmer right here! Many more field trips to come.

Am I having fun yet? You better believe it!

Cannabis Must Become Federally Legal Now

In 2020, a man driving a van filled with legal branded products in California, making a delivery for his company, was pulled over by Federal agents about twenty miles from the Arizona border. He was arrested, and his van was confiscated, including the products and money. The COO went to get him out of jail, but the products, van, and cash were never returned. Keep in mind he was driving in California, where this is all legal.

People who sit on publicly traded companies or work in institutions such as Government organizations or hospitals do not want anyone connected to cannabis. This includes spouses or partners working in the cannabis industry, even if it is legal in their state.

A cannabis farm that has a license to grow in the state of NY is being tortured by the Federal Government that they might be in trouble with their 501c6. I guess they have a 501c6 for the CSA, providing organic vegetables to the community for a price. Does it make sense that this is what the Federal Government is spending its time doing when cannabis is soon to be legal in most states, either recreationally or medically? Remember that most Americans, Democrats, and Republicans believe cannabis should be legalized.

Although the most significant sticking point for anyone in this tough, layered, crazy industry is that the Federal Government is taxing the products at 70%, and businesses can’t deduct the regular expenses. Because of this, banks can’t help businesses, although there are a few, you can’t use a credit card to buy cannabis, and research is being held back. That is one of the many but biggest reasons the grey market will continue to survive, and it doesn’t cost as much to the consumer. People are concerned about fentanyl in products, then start taxing the industry intelligently. Hence, if the cost of products is more competitive in legal dispensaries where the state regulates the products, the price becomes less expensive than in the grey market. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure this one out.

Here are some fun facts. A new poll shows that most Americans think that federally legal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, are more dangerous than marijuana. In Detroit, drug raids have fallen by 95% since cannabis was legalized. The amount of money that has been saved is enormous. The countless destruction of lives has not been uprooted either.

Stop the political nonsense. It is time to Federal legalize cannabis. It will eventually happen, so do us all a favor and make it happen sooner than later.

I Am Over Male Patriarchal Bullshit

I do not even know where to begin. Could it be that women’s abortion rights are being taken away? Considering the majority of men do even understand that the abortion procedure is not always about having an abortion. How many women have had a DNC, aka a “dilation and curettage procedure, also called a D&C, a surgical procedure in which the cervix (the lower, narrow part of the uterus) is dilated (expanded) so that the uterine lining (endometrium) can be scraped with a curette (spoon-shaped instrument) to remove abnormal tissues.” I have had a few DNC, and it was not for an abortion, but now not so easy to get.

I read this stat on Morning Brew: Women leaders are quitting their companies at the highest rate on record, per a new report from LeanIn.org and McKinsey. 10.5% of women leaders quit their jobs last year, compared to 9% of men (a much wider spread than typical). Calling the trend the “Great Breakup,” the report found that women feel extra motivated to ditch their companies after getting passed up for promotions or being mistreated in the workplace. Not shocking; women are finally saying fuck this shit.

I am Jewish. I went to sit shiva, and the rabbi wouldn’t (couldn’t) shake my hand. It made me think long and hard about that, including the women who become rabbis. Perhaps that is why the Jewish religion has several levels of faith.

I have recently been to a few events where I asked several men about what they were doing, how life was, and all that good stuff. Not one of them asked me a question about myself. Perhaps they just assumed I was doing nothing but eating bonbons all day. Unclear.

Maybe it is the times, but the flipping of Roe v Wade, ignoring men who have behaved badly and still become Supreme Court judges, should make every woman stand up and say, “fuck the patriarchy.”

I am so over it. I love my male friends but honestly, if women ruled the world, it would be a much better place.

When Did Hateful Lies Become Freedom of Speech?

The anger that has taken over our country is frightening. Shockingly, one vile angry criminal was able to change the culture of America in four years. That is pretty much what happened in Germany before the rise of Hitler.

It doesn’t take much to look at the data, particularly in the full-on Republican states, where healthcare and education are the lowest of the low that voting for more of this is just stupid.

Have people become so self-absorbed in this country that they only care about voting with their pocketbooks? That lower taxes is a panacea?

How could anyone vote for Hershel Walker, who might have been a great football star but a full-on liar, a terrible father, and a self-absorbed unintellectual human to serve the people in the Senate? I just don’t get it. There are more where he came from, and many are running for jobs in the Government. Wouldn’t we all at least want someone with a bright mind to serve the people?

Trump fans believe he is the end all be all. He is a god-loving man who cares more about them, but it is evident that he is a self-absorbed grifter who would toss his children under the bus to save himself. He is under investigation for so many things it is getting too hard to count. He tried to take over the Government when he lost; he continues to fuel hate and anger with lies and has created an environment leading us down the road of fascism. Let’s not forget the anti-abortion stance; how a woman could vote for this is beyond my understanding.

As we go into the polls in the weeks ahead, I hope that when people go into that booth by themselves, they will do the right thing, not vote for an anti-democratic world where rhetoric outweighs reality. Otherwise, I fear America is going down a very dark path. It might get worse before it gets better.

CBD with Calm, Better Days, Amy Chin, Podcast #177

Amy Chin is the founder of Calm Better Day, a cannabis and CBD consultancy company that educates and guides her clients toward their custom CBD regimens. Amy’s career has spanned different industries, from the retail world with experience in buying and merchandising to hospitality. Amy seeks to educate the consumer through her coaching work at CBD and the events she throws. As always, the dots connect, and in 2019, Amy decided to turn towards entrepreneurship and founded Calm Better Days. This podcast episode will highlight her unique entrepreneurial journey and lessons learned while navigating the emerging world of the cannabis industry.

You can visit their website here to learn more about Calm Better Day here.

You can also listen on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Our next guest on PGG will be Robin Steinberg, the founder of the Bailout Project, a nonprofit that prevents mass incarceration in the US and combats racial and economic disparities in the bail system by offering bail support and pre-trial services. Robin is returning to the show, as much has changed since the last time we spoke.

Fund Raising Events

Name someone who loves fundraising events outside of the development people. The amount of barn-raising events in NYC each month is countless. When organizations start planning for the year ahead, they go to lists to find out who else is having an event that night.

The events are all the same. Cocktail hour, (possible) table to bid on items, sit down for dinner, speeches, (sometimes)an auction to raise more money, closing remarks, wrap it up. The positives are seeing people you haven’t seen in a while and financially supporting an organization you care about. The negatives are you can’t hear anything around the table, the food is generally awful, the rooms are sterile, and they are not that fun.

I don’t mind getting dressed up to support an organization, but I want the event to be a big 2 hour cocktail hour, a few acknowledgments, and that’s it. The fear is that the corporate sponsors won’t give the capital without their table to sit down at.

The opportunity to be creative around these events is for the taking. It would be fantastic if someone could develop a new concept that every organization starts to follow where the same amount of money is raised. The number of people who have said to me, “I’d pay just not to go,” says it all.

Social Commentary

I just finished reading Celeste Ng’s book Our Missing Hearts. A book about a dystopian America captures the anger on our streets to a level that makes the story believable and insanely upsetting.

The hatred towards Asians has accelerated due to PACT(Preserving American Culture and Traditions Act), which has become the law. Books have been destroyed—no need to know about our history or novels that tell stories. People are beaten on the street while everyone looks away. It appears to be easy to blame anyone who doesn’t look like White America.

The book confirms that society quickly becomes sheep. Please think of the Holocaust or our country right now. How did a grifter being investigated for multiple criminal activities become a leader in our country?

Then we saw The Good Boss. The movie isn’t great, but it stuck with me. Javier Bardem plays a second-generation factory owner who meddles in the lives of his workers to ensure he receives an award for business excellence. Bardem’s father likely ran the factory the same way, but the times were different. That factory probably felt more like a family who were thankful for the job and support. Today even in Spain, things are not the same.

Very much a social commentary on the workplace today vs. the workplace fifty years ago. At one point (spoiler alert), one of the top workers who becomes the head of operations tells Bardem to stay out of his personal life. His life is his, and he hired him because he is excellent at his job. Truth.

I also saw Triangle of Sadness, a meta-movie about a cruise ship for wealthy people that sinks, leaving a small group of survivors on an island. There is one scene in this film that I laughed out loud for ten minutes. Yet the commentary on these uber-wealthy people is worth the watch.

Perhaps it is the times we live in, but the social commentary I am seeing and reading from authors, artists, filmmakers, and others is a worthy critique of society today. We should all pay attention to these makers and what they are telling us.