Because a bare cupboard and an empty fridge are sad sights to behold, the Urban Forager hunts through food & wine shops bringing home tasty morsels that make your kitchen table the best place to eat in town.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Goats Take Over the World

For years the lowly goat got no respect. Not as cute and fluffy as a sheep, not as big and strong as a cow. As far as most people were concerned it was a scrappy looking, tin-can eating, sad excuse for a farm animal. But look who’s having the last laugh now . . .
Slowly but surely the goat has been taking over the dairy section with new brands of goat milk, butter, yogurt and ice cream popping up all the time. If you stroll into the beauty section, you’ll notice the same thing happening. See any sheep and cow’s milk soap and lotion on the shelves? I didn’t think so. It’s not because it doesn’t exist, but goat’s milk has firmly cornered the skin care market in retail stores and farmer’s markets. Just as goat’s milk is considered easier to digest, it is also absorbed into the skin more easily than other skincare products. The pH level of goat’s milk is about the same as the pH level of human skin which helps maintain the skin’s natural moisture content. I received Canus Goat’s Milk lotion as a gift recently and love it. Working in the food industry, I’m washing my hands constantly and this lotion has been keeping them silky smooth. Unlike other body lotions that seem overly heavy, Canus Goat’s Milk lotion is light enough that I use it on my hands and then rub any excess lotion onto my face. How do you think all those beautiful French milk maids kept their skin smooth and lovely? Goat's milk, of course.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Escaping Reality

Who among us hasn't dreamt of escaping the daily grind to make a living in an idyllic setting where our destiny is in our own hands? Meetings and constant text-messaging would no longer exist, the loud roar of traffic would be replaced by the soft chirping of birds, and the morning commute would consist of walking from your kitchen to your garden. Maybe you'd open a bed & breakfast, or a vineyard, or why not both?
In reality, this sort of daydream isn't easy to pull off and after too much time in the country I'm sure there's a few of you out there who would actually miss constantly text-messaging. Maybe what you need is not a radical change of career or location, but just a weekend away to somewhere like Shinn Estate Farmhouse. Barbara Shinn and David Page have owned Home restaurant in Manhattan since 1993. They also produce wine from their own vineyard, Shinn Estate, on the North Fork of Long Island. The final piece of the dream was put into place when they opened a farmhouse bed and breakfast with four elegant guest rooms, vineyard views, and Chef Page's morning breakfasts of "slow cooked eggs, savory biscuits, maple smoked bacon, and scones." Whatever it is you're doing this Monday morning I can guarantee that sitting on a front porch eating that breakfast and looking at a vineyard would be much, much better.
Wine country on the West Coast has no shortage of escapes either. The Black Walnut Inn is a wine country retreat in the Willamette Valley, a region known for producing Oregon's stunning Pinot Noirs. In Washington state,
The Inn at Abeja is surrounded by twenty-two acres of gardens and the rolling vineyards of the Walla Walla Valley. If you want to get really ridiculous, you can get in on "the dawn of the Solage experience," at the grand opening of the Solage Calistoga Resort in the Napa Valley this month. You can drink wine during the day then head to the Mud Bar and Bathhouse for spa treatments like a full-body "mud cocktail" with "nutrient rich volcanic" (and I'm guessing very expensive) mud.
If a wine country escape is not in the cards for you right now, then at the very least pop open a bottle in your backyard tonight, set out some cheese, relax, and dream of the day you'll open your own idyllic retreat and finally have that elusive kitchen-to-garden commute.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


I am always suspicious of anything that comes out of Beverly Hills, especially if the word "miracle" is attached to it. How can it be, then, that my drink of choice this summer is both?
I can't vouch for any claims the product makes of miracle cures, but I can vouch that Synergy Organic and Raw Kombucha is the most refreshing beverage I've had in a long time.
Like many things Hollywood claims as theirs (anyone see the movie The Departed?) Kombucha originated somewhere else, as far back as 250 BC in China. Kombucha is a Western word used to describe a fermented tea. Among other numerous health claims, it contains probiotic cultures, the same type of good bacteria and yeast found in yogurt that can do wonders for the digestive system. When you drink Synergy's Kombucha, there will be a few soft chunks of yeast still floating around.
If you've been avoiding soda because it tastes like the equivalent of sucking on a dozen sugar cubes, then this drink might be for you. The flavor is much more acidic than sweet, almost vinegar-like, but in a good way. It's very fizzy, to the point where drinking it too fast can give you that brain-freeze feeling (again, in a good way). Some people claim they feel "mild euphoria, relaxation, and an overall sense of physical and mental well-being" after a few sips, which is probably attributed to the fact that Kombucha has trace amounts of alcohol (from .5%-1.7%). "Mild euphoria" is pushing it a little, but while drinking Synergy Kombucha I have experienced that same calming feeling you get after you've had a long day and then come home and have a few sips of wine. Mainly I like it because it tastes better than any bottled juice, sports drink, or soda I've tasted. Almost every store I walk into these days seems to have the slim, glass bottles of Synergy Kombucha next to the chilled water and soda. Get out there and buy a bottle before all the kids are doing it and you'll be too embarrassed to be seen drinking the stuff. I have this weird feeling that when Lindsay Lohan makes it out of rehab she won't be carrying her trademark water bottle anymore, she'll be holding a bottle of Synergy Kombucha.