Getting Our Connect on: ProjectConnect

Did you win our contest for the Project Connect event on Tuesday at the Coloft in Santa Monica? Because if you didn’t, you really missed out on a great evening. It was a ton of networking and meeting new people. This was an unusual event because it highlighted a few things that you don’t normally see at a networking event. Rather than focusing on who you had to meet the focus was on who you can introduce other people to. The event was organized by Stephanie, owner of Social Bling, and the main themes of the night were: listening, complimenting, and gratitude.

It was hosted at the coloft building in Santa Monica. The coloft is a space that allows entrepreneurs to come together and rent out workspace for the month – kind of like a much better Starbucks. I am rereading The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki and the energy from that book is surely true at the Coloft, which enables a free flowing work environment and collaboration between entrepreneurs. The main thesis of the book being that any given crowd is collectively smarter than any individual expert.

We all mingled for a little bit in the beginning and drank some Mary Jane relaxing soda, which contains kava – a plant which has marijuana-like effects on the mind and body. We should’ve known better because the label clearly says “Do not consume more than two a day.” We failed to read the label and were giggling all night. Although Carina and I are often referred to as “Giggle Corner” even without this magical soda.

The evening was full of laughs and getting to know other entrepreneurs that do the same thing we UGs do. Being an entrepreneur is probably the scariest but most exhilarating thing one could ever do. It’s truly an incredible roller-coaster. It’s nice to be surrounded with people that have the same sentiment about our passion. Particularly because so many people really don’t understand entrepreneurship. My mother, for example, really doesn’t get it. The same was true of the mother of the Coloft’s owner, Cameron. Cameron said that when he told his Persian mother that he was going to be an entrepreneur, she said, “Oh, what kind of doctor is that?” We chuckled because we know how hard it is to have a good support system as an entrepreneur. We were all looking at each other that night with the same hope and willingness to help each other in some way or another. We’re a good, but quirky, race of people. Among some new friends in attendance were: Lizzy Shaw, Blair Goldberg, Alaia Williams, and Jenda.

Some of the other sponsors were: Social Couture (who’s the woman who brings you parties in a box), the Writer’s Boot Camp, and Bodega Wine Bar. There was a challenge at one point in the night to see what we could make happen using social media. Thankfully, a woman from Kind Plus bars was there and ran out to share some bars with us. It’s a gluten-free bar and a company that takes social responsibility very seriously. In fact, Kind was named one of BusinessWeek’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurial Companies. Their new campaign is their ‘Not so random acts’ of kindness cards. Via the web you can track these acts with a uniquely branded card. Visit here for more details.

We are ladies with food always on the mind, we can’t blame the Mary Jane soda for our munchies, but we felt the need to bring a snack for everyone in attendance. Where did we turn? Our favorite truck  The Border Grill truck came to the rescue.

Since this was a social networking event, we pulled our social network together (i.e., Twitter) and asked for some help to feed these tired kava-drunken souls. Border Grill came through for us like a good friend and, since they were across the street, brought everyone little dulce de leche churro bites and whipped cream. They were life-giving to our pseudo stoned brains. Special thanks to the Border Grill truck, Nick, and Christina, the kindest Border Grill employees in the whole wide world. Who says you can’t transcend the boundaries of Twitter and real life? It’s been our experience that Twitter friends are often more reliable than real life friends. What made this instance special was that this time it was a company pulling through and not an individual person. Border Grill, like so few other businesses, do social networking right and realize that human connection is just as important!

The night ended with song and all was well-documented by an E! camera crew. The video should be out soon and will include an interview by all the sponsors and, of course, yours truly, the UGs. It will be hypertexted and will be streaming soon to a UG channel near you. Many thanks again to everyone who came and the two lucky ladies who won our contest, Veronica in LADoubleDEntendre, and Amanda – You ladies have become very near and dear to our hearts. Thank you for your support on this here blog and your unfailing friendship to the UGs, who may very well be crazy and passionate enough to turn the world upside down with their antics and love for all things food, fun, and friends. Remember folks: listen, compliment help each other out, and be grateful in real life and on the interwebs…If you don’t we WILL come after you!

Advertisements

Uncovering the Secrets to the UG Mating Rituals: Part 1

By: Nadia Noir aka DoubleDEntendre

Biologically and chemically, most men are attracted to luscious curves, voracious fertile appetites, and a keen intellect that ensures the survival of their progeny i.e. the future sperm donors of their lineage. Biologically and chemically, most women are attracted to…chocolate. Horrible cruel and unusual studies that require women to choose between their love of sex and their love of chocolate demonstrate that more than 50% of women actually prefer chocolate over sex. This may mean that somehow scientists need to genetically mutate the male genes to create the perfect man who can both perform reliably in bed AND have detachable limbs made out of fine Amedei Tuscan chocolate. While this option might eventually be necessary for the survival of all mankind, there is currently an alternative to the invention of the “Edible Man”: the Uncouth Gourmand girls. Both Carina and Josie have all the attributes that biologically dispose them to being awesome lovers; they also enjoy sex as much as they love drizzling scorching hot chocolate sauce all over each other and licking it off –or so previous scholars studying Uncouth Mating have reported back to me. Be aware that this theory is scandalously unscientific and there is no actual evidence of this except the warped products of my overactive imagination.

Seeing as the Uncouth Girl is socially the “perfect mate”, I decided to observe them in their natural habitat in order to determine the processes of their mating rituals. My hope is that my research may encourage the Uncouth Man to gallop forth from the depths of the wild city of Los Angeles, pluck these willing and nubile young mistresses up, and teach them that some parts of a man can be edible—even if they aren’t dipped in chocolate.

My first question in the series was, “Where does the Uncouth Girl find her Uncouth Man?”

While at first the girls were hesitant to divulge their juicy secrets, once given the opportunity to put something in their mouths while talking (note: while not expressed explicitly, research has pointed to a possible oral fixation in the society of the Uncouth Girl. Do not worry. I am doing more research into this area soon), they opened up easily and with little to no lubrication.

Below is a video of my findings.

In order to aid my future studies, if you have any questions that you would like to ask the Uncouth Gourmand girls, please put them in the comments below.

Oh My Fudge God: John Kelly Chocolates

Truffle Fudge?!?! That is the best word combination since Uncouth Gourmands. It is the mixing of high brow and low brow and the combination is something magical. I am a strong believer that contradictions are the best complements. Take sweet and salty for example, these two things are very different but married together they are a match made in heaven. A few weeks ago we were approached by Lizzy Shaw of Lizzy Shaw PR saying that there was a chocolate place that we had to try. I had just written about my favorite cookie, the caramel sea salt french macaroon from Europane, and she said she knew of  a salted dark chocolate that had to be on the UG radar. Her enthusiasm in this chocolate was infectious and we set up a time to try these complex chocolates. The day was set for Earth Day and we knew how to get to the chocolate factory and store because she said it was near Cheebo.

I have eaten Cheebo numerous times but had sadly never been in the establishment. The orange sign and exterior was never missed as it was my favorite color and I got delivery many nights when I worked down the street. I wasn’t sure why we were having coffee first, but I wasn’t complaining. Lizzy explained that this was a great date place because the lighting inside was perfect. Josie and I took careful notes and leisurely walked to the very next building, John Kelly Chocolates. As soon as we arrived, I knew exactly why we didn’t start here.

Of course, upon entering we ran straight towards the display case and went to the samples of chocolate above. All of our senses were turned off and we simply put the fudge in our mouth and enjoyed. I started on the right side of the tray and went to the treat that I was most looking forward to, the Dark Chocolate with Grey Sea Salt. This was not the best place to start as this was the apex. It was perfect. How could it get better from that bite? This was chocolate in it’s richest and creamiest form and topped with salt that enhanced the sweetness. I still tried many other chocolates but I knew at first bite that this was my true love. Unlike my love life, this love did not waver with the more that I tasted.

After sampling a lot of chocolate, Josie and I were both not looking up or talking and were only concentrating on the chocolate in our mouths. We were in another world and when we finally snapped out of it I got out of my tunnel vision and looked beyond the sample tray. I then spotted a  toothpick tray and said, “Oh, is this how couth people eat samples?” We laughed and then we were back to reality and ready for a tour and to start listening.

We walked to the right into the mini Willy Wonka-esque chocolate factory with the owners John & Kelly. That’s right, it is two people that have combined their names. They made us laugh by explaining that they can always tell telemarketers when the ask for John Kelly on the phone. The fudge pictured above with the grey salt was my favorite and watching it being made was so cool. We saw the fudge before it was chocolate dipped, watched it get dipped and hand monogrammed with a letter P to represent that peanuts were inside. It was a whip of the chocolatier’s finger that made the “P”, Josie and I made our oohs and ahhs and we were absolutely two girls in a chocolate factory.

It was a hands on process that we were so excited to witness. The dipping stations were our favorite and as we moved on to the wrapping and packaging it was just as interesting. The dipped and cooled truffle fudge was transported and wrapped in gold foil. These wrapped pieces could then either be put in small displays for retail shops (including Neimans) or sold in their own shop only a room away.

As we circled back around to the front of the store I noticed the statues that to me were more important than Oscars. It was the coveted Gold Sofi from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, Inc. (NASFT), in the highly competitive category of “Outstanding Chocolate” for my favorite truffle fudge. Once again, unlike dating, I was able to pick a winner.

This trip to the chocolate factory was so much fun and oh so delicious. As I am sure you know, normally truffles are a gourmand dish with ganache centers. These truffle bars have the uncouth fudge center. This isn’t the waxy fudge you’ve eaten at the fair, this is homey and creamy goodness.

John and Kelly say, “Our mission is for everyone to have the same experience we had when we first tasted it – a creamy and silky revelation, with intense and luxurious chocolate flavor. If you love chocolate, we think you’ll be amazed at just how good fudge can be. Try it and you’ll see what we mean.”

We have tried it and we totally agree. This is THE Uncouth Gourmand chocolate of choice: sweet & salty, truffle & fudge, kosher & so good they should be illegal and something that we love! Thanks so much Lizzy for introducing us to this piece of deliciousness and to John & Kelly for the special tour. Although everyone is totally welcome to come to the shop, see how chocolate is made, sample, buy, and enjoy! This purple ribbon is a special for mother’s day and we can assure you that mama will be happy with this chocolate! If you are a fan of them on FB you will receive a code for 10% off to use in the store or online.

This truffle fudge will surely make you say OMFG: Oh My Fudge God!

ProjectConnect: UG Girls are Giving Away 4 Tickets

Alright, this photo isn’t exactly the best representation of ProjectConnect, but hey it works. Plus we have a really fantastic event and opportunity to tell you about so we might as well use flirtation tactics. What is a flirtation tactic using social media to really connect? Funny you should ask, we have an event that you must attend to learn all about this and more. We have partnered with Social Bling on this experminental event that will take place tomorrow. Here is the official FB event page with all the naughty little details that I will also include here in case you aren’t ready to click yet.

Date:
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Time:
7:00pm – 10:00pm
Location:
Coloft
Street:
920 Santa Monica Blvd (free street parking)
City/Town:
Santa Monica, CA

7:00 – 7:30 – Check-in, general networking
7:30 –7:50 – Social Experiment kickoff and presentation from Sponsors.
8:00 – 8:45 – Social Challenge
9:00 – 10:00 – Results and Honorably Mentions.

SocialBling present ProjectConnect, An interactive social experiment using social media to inspire real life activities and connections.

Tools (suggested, not required): Web-enabled phones connected to your social networks, persuasion/flirtation skills and a readiness to meet new people and have great time.

Why? – Because having fun while expanding your cerebral and emotional intelligence sounds like a good way to spend a Tuesday night.

Cost: $25
For tickets – http://www.formstack.com/forms/socialbling-projectconnect
(preregistration required, no tickets sold at door)

We will, of course, be at the event and we have a special surprise planned in the Social Challenge section if you, attendees, can break our code. You won’t know about this surprise unless you come and if you want to come then you must buy a ticket. Although there is another way…you can win a ticket for you and your friend to the event. We are giving away two pairs of tickets by 5pm today, April 16th. All you have to do is:

Send us your most Uncouth Gourmand moment in a Tweet (@uncouthgourmand) or as a comment on here in 140 characters or less by 4:59pm today.

Josie’s example: @uncouthgourmand my most UG moment was when I put my hands in Carina’s drawn lobster butter with lemon slices thinking it was a water dish  (True Story: happened at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in London)

Carina’s example: @uncouthgourmand while discussing how much I like penetrating the straw in the boba cup, I dropped the entire drink with  boba down my shirt

Good luck and we hope to see you tomorrow! Even if you don’t win you can still be a winner (as opposed to a loser) by buying your ticket here by 3pm tomorrow.

UG Crew in Full Force at Sexy Singles’ Soiree 2.0

The UG Girls can be described as many things but one of our favorite classifications is single. There ain’t no man holding us down, well, if they are it isn’t in a bad way. Unfortunately, it has been a while since that has happened, or as Josie has said, “I am a born again virgin.” Anyway, we knew we had to attend the Sexy Singles Soiree hosted by our two favorite bloggers and Tweetettes: The Minty and Vixen.

Since Josie and I are not the only Single Ladies in the office (you just did the Beyonce finger move, didn’t you?) we brought in our PR and Accounting interns, Lea and Maria. We were also reunited with our first intern ever, Young Jin, who gave us all the Eating Dog post. The two hosts had specialty cocktails and, as a Jameson girl, I loved the Minty’s drink. Although the interns told me the Vixen’s gin based drink was good and strong as hell. Did I meet the man of dreams? No, not quite but one thing that made a lovely cameo was the first USDA certified organic Tequila called Casa Noble. Relax folks, we did our part for Earth Day! The interns loved this tequila and I can guarantee we will all be looking for it this Cinco de Mayo.

Did I care that I didn’t meet the man of my dreams? Nope, not one bit. We had great drinks, we were at our favorite downtown spot Drago Centro with their Happy Hour which goes all day and every day, and of course we were in fantastic company. Our friends in the blogosphere/Twitterazi made appearances including Hanhonymous, VeronicainLA, and Finer Things.

The night was fantastic and the event thankfully wasn’t a sausage fest, so I had fun with the girls. Speaking of which, what is the female equivalent of a sausage fest? If you can answer that question, you’d be a total Uncouth Gourmand. My favorite part of the event was a game that they had where everyone drew a playing card and then you had to make the best poker hand. This required the group to socialize and talk to one another. I, Carina, am one hell of a competitive girl and I had the King of Spades. I was being rude and rejecting in honor of the game (probably not that far off real life) and told people that I wouldn’t talk to them unless they were atleast a face card. May not have been the best tactic but I was the only girl amongst the four winners, I got a King and Ace Full House. I liked to call us the only winners, but truly we were all winners for getting ourselves out there and opening ourselves up…I am talking about our hearts…get your mind out of the gutter!

Malibu—> Opera—> Yelp Party

And Malibu traps me yet again! As soon as I walked in the door, I was greeted with a shriek by a girl whom I had never met before. Apparently, it was the K from FinerthingsLA and she yelled, “You’re going to think I am such a nerd, but you’re Josie from Uncouth Gourmands! I recognize your hair!” In total disbelief that my hair was more popular than I was, I replied with a ‘yes’ and we poured ourselves a drink. We talked about blogs, boys, and friends. K is co-author to Finer Things LA, which she and her bestie have been operating for about three months now. Their motto is: A Classy Guide on Getting Drunk and Fat in Los Angeles. I dig this girl’s uncouth ways, and surely, we’re bound to collaborate soon.

The night wore on and we got, what else? Hungry. Next to the Minty, our newest and freshest UG face has been Ms. Veronica in LA. The girl knows far more about what’s hip in LA than I do, and she’s been my tour guide for the past few weeks. As you can see, I showed her my appreciation up above. Anyone that knows me, can vouche that I’m a total carnivore. In fact, I kind of hate vegetarians. I’ve been debating doing a 30-day expose into the life of a vegetarian and documenting it on the blog. However, I’m not sure if I have the discipline for that. Below you can see my last meal – A medium rare piece of pork loin of tenderness – Oops! I mean tenderloin. I think the vegetarian expose will have to wait… I’m not promising anything, either.

See above: It is perhaps the most uncouth moment of the night. Liking her fingers wet after a rare piece of meat, Miss. Veronica is now an official UG.

Speaking of UG staples, Miss Minty, invited me to the opera on Sunday and being the dilettante that I am, I jumped all over the invite on Facebook. I rushed from Malibu to downtown and headed over to see the matinee showing. It was a weird show, but we liked it anyway. From there, we headed to Eagle Rock.

Minty has over 2,000 quality reviews on Yelp, so she had a special invite to the Yelp Elite party in Eagle Rock (and a plus one). Since the show ran late, we missed the first party and met up with everyone at the Black Boar in Eagle Rock. Before we could hit up drinks, we had to tend to more important orders and since food always goes before liquor for this UG, we headed the Vietnamese place on Colorado, Lemongrass. Minty was on camera duty there, so I’ll write about that one soon.

We met up with the rest of the Yelp bunch and partied like rock stars for the rest of the night. We met up with Javier from WeirdTV and I talked him up about beer, OK Cupid, and his new favorite restaurant, Mac and Cheeza in downtown on 8th. M & C comes from the guys that brought you Larkin’s. Apparently, they mix in whatever ingredients to want into your mac and cheese. Anywhere from tomatoes to wild mushrooms. I must check this place out soon. Anyone want to join me?

I got to finally meet Carina’s gay boyfriend, Paul, and I think she may have some competition. Move over, Carina! Josie’s the new gay girlfriend in town. We stayed for a long time, actually and I got to know some of the fabulous people that make up the Yelp Elite mix. I joked at the party that I married into Yelp and when asked who my husband was — I pointed to Minty. See you at the next Yelp party… Or maybe CitySearch…

The Pasta Bible: A Mighty Unholy Book

Photo Credit to RalphAndJenny on Flickr

If you are like me, then you love Fail Blog and it brings you great joy to add new things on Twitter with the hashtag #awesometypos. When these things are food related I often say the phrase “uncouth gourmand” in my head. However, there are certain thing that are beyond a fail and beyond uncouth…they are just wrong.

In a new cookbook entitled, Pasta Bible, under the recipe for Spelt Tagliatelle with Sardines and Prosciutto one of the ingredients had a major typographical error. Was it a misprint on an unusual ingredient that is easily misspelled or confused? Nope, it was on the most common ingredient in cooking, the one that had been written correctly in more than 150 recipes in the book.

The mistake ingredient was “salt and freshly ground black people.”

Any idiot would know that this was clearly just a mistake but it is costing the publisher, Penguin Group Australia, $18,000 in reprints and a world of embarrassment.

For more on the story see:

Sydeny Morning Hearld

BBC

Yahoo

If you screw up, Food World, we will be there!