July 14, 2019 // Archive

Date based archive
14 Jul

12th July, 2019
Ben Young

Castle Li, general manager of China’s largest wine importer and distributor, COFCO Wine&Wine, has stepped down from his position in a surprising departure.

According to reports in the Chinese media, Li is to be succeeded by Jiao Guoqiang, who has served as general manager of COFCO W&W’s Shaoxing wine brand – a Chinese wine known as huangjiu which is made from rice and which is often used in cooking.

The government-owned COFCO W&W, is China’s largest wine importer in terms of volume with approximately 400 shops across China, is yet to release an official statement on the matter.

Li appeared to have a successful tenure leading COFCO’s imported wine sector since taking over in December 2017, with sales revenue increasing by 50% to 1 Billion RMB in 2018. However, it is possible the company is not is satisfied with this growth rate, which was 140% in 2017 but which has slowed since.

Jiao certainly has a tough task in front of him as China’s wine imports are expected to take a hit with a slowing economy, weakened RMB, and ongoing trade wars with the US.

It is possible too that Li’s efforts were simply spread too thin having three major roles in the company – being general manager of GreatWall and also deputy general manager of the COFCO Alcoholic Drinks Department, which revolves around the company’s own domestic wine, baiju and spirit brands. According to reports, Li will retain these roles.

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14 Jul
Colour Pop Just a Tint Lippie Tint  
Colour Pop Just a Tint Lippie Tint  
Colour Pop Just a Tint Lippie Tint  

ColourPop Just a Tint Lippie Tint ($7.00 for 0.07 oz.) is the newest release from ColourPop. It’s a twist-up, jumbo-sized lip crayon that delivers a “sheer wash of colour” in a “lightweight, super moisturizing formula.” There are 12 shades available, which can be purchased individually, as well as in pre-made duos for $12 (save $2). Here are swatches…

ColourPpo Just a Tint

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!

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14 Jul

His climb prompted a tremendous police response. Police crisis teams from Bethlehem and Allentown, urban search and rescues and other emergency crews climbed the furnaces, talking to Wallace from a platform about 25 feet below him and trying to persuade him to follow them to safety. A drone buzzed around the structure, giving authorities a view of Wallace’s actions and behavior from his roughly 300-foot high perch, where he spent hours under the scorching sun, without food or water, in temperatures that eached the high 80s.

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14 Jul

Breaking in the Grill with Grilled Skirt Steak

Ah, that time of year in which you dust off the grill, vacuum out the cobwebs, scare away any critters who have taken up residence over the winter (including one black widow, yikes!), clean the grates, turn on the gas, and realize your starter doesn’t work.

So you use a match, and for some reason that grill. Will. Just. Not. Get. Hot. Enough.

So you start over with the Weber and some charcoal, and grill a batch of beautiful skirt steak skewers that were marinating the whole time you were futzing with the equipment.

And they are so perfect and delicious that you don’t care about the broken starter that needs to get fixed or your close call with a black widow. Like a Homer Simpson thought bubble, all you can think about is skirt steak so goooooood.

Skirt Steak—Perfect for Skewers

Why is skirt steak in particular so good, and so perfect for grilling threaded on skewers? Let me show you:

Grilled Skirt Steak SkewersGrilled Skirt Steak Skewers

It’s the fat, of course!

What’s the difference between skirt steak and flank steak?

Skirt steak is much fattier than flank steak. The way that the fat is marbleized throughout the meat results in a cut that is much more flavorful, and more forgiving when you cook it.

Unlike flank steak, which because it’s so lean needs to be cooked rare or it gets too dry, skirt steak can be cooked all the way through without suffering.

You still need to cut the steak across the grain when you cut your strips, but the skirt steak will be tender and flavorful because of the fat.

Grilled Skirt Steak recipesGrilled Skirt Steak recipes

Grilled Skirt Steak recipesGrilled Skirt Steak recipes

How to Marinate Skirt Steak

To marinate the skirt steak for this recipe, first cut the steak across the grain into strips. Then marinate the steak strips in a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, red wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes, from anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours before grilling.

How to Cook Skirt Steak

When it’s time to grill, thread each skirt steak strip onto a pre-soaked skewer. Lay the skewers on the grill perpendicular to the grill grates, over high direct heat, the hottest part of the grill. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the meat is cooked through.

Love Skewered Food? Check Out These 5 Other Recipes




Updated July 14, 2019 : We spiffed up this post with some more info to help make the recipe foolproof. Enjoy!

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14 Jul

Restaurant same-store sales fell slightly in June, according to the latest Black Box Intelligence index, as the industry appears to have lost some momentum in the spring.

Same-store sales declined 0.01% in June, according to Black Box. They rose 0.2% in the second quarter, a 0.7 percentage-point slowdown from the first quarter growth rate, according to the index, which is published by data and consulting firm TDn2K.

It’s also a steep slowdown from the 1.3% same-store sales growth the industry averaged in the last two quarters of 2018.

The biggest problem continues to be traffic, which has been on the decline for years and shows almost no sign of easing. Same-store traffic declined 3.1% in June, a 1 percentage-point drop from May. For the second quarter, traffic declined 2.9%, which also was a slowdown of nearly 1 percentage point from the first three quarters of the year.

“As long as the industry is not able to at least hold onto current guest counts, achieving sustained same-store sales growth will not be possible, and we will likely continue to see anemic growth rates, with 1% as a best-case scenario for sales,” said Victor Fernandez, vice president of insights and knowledge for TDn2K.

He cited an oversupply of restaurants for draining traffic. “Although growing at a slower pace than in recent years, chain restaurants continue adding to their net number of units,” Fernandez said. “Falling guest counts on a same-store basis will likely remain the norm in the near-term.”

The Black Box index is based on weekly sales from more than 170 brands that operate more than 31,000 locations and generate nearly $72 billion in annual sales.

Some of the slowdown in same-store sales growth more recently could be traced to difficult comparisons. On a two-year basis, same-store sales have increased 0.8% in the first half of 2019, compared with a 0.1% increase in the second half of 2018, according to Black Box.

Still, the industry has persisted with its same pattern of generating total sales growth as consumers pay higher prices or order more expensive items, but restaurants are seeing overall traffic decline. Customers are coming in less and ordering more.

“The reality for the last 10 years continues to be the same,” Fernandez said. “Restaurants have suffered from declining guest counts, but the relatively stronger economy of the last two years has enabled rapidly accelerating guest checks to lift the industry into positive same-store sales growth.”

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14 Jul
Nordstrom Anniversary Exclusives Swatches: Charlotte Tilbury, Laura Mercier, Hourglass
Charlotte Tilbury The Easy Smokey Eye Palette | Shop Now
Nordstrom Anniversary Exclusives Swatches: Charlotte Tilbury, Laura Mercier, Hourglass
Laura Mercier Tres Chic Cheek Palette | Shop Now
Nordstrom Anniversary Exclusives Swatches: Charlotte Tilbury, Laura Mercier, Hourglass
Hourglass Scattered Glitter Eyeshadows | Shop Now (Nordstrom Exclusive Shades)

It’s that time of year… the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale went live to cardholders a few days ago, and so I’m here with swatches of some of the beauty exclusives I purchased. The products will be available to all customers beginning July 19th.

Technically, the new Hourglass Scattered Light Glitter Eyeshadows are not part of the Anniversary Sale, but they are exclusive to Nordstrom and just arrived… so I included those, too!

Products Featured

Charlotte Tilbury x Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive

Laura Mercier x Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive

Hourglass x Nordstrom Beauty Exclusives

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!

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14 Jul

It was on April 11, 1989 that the Alappuzha Additional Sessions Court acquitted Sumesh (name changed) and allowed him to go home with relatives.

By then, Sumesh had been shifted from the jail to the Mental Health Centre, Peroorkada. He was 26 then.

Thirty years went by. No one came to take him back. He has remained in the mental health centre all this time.

Now, the Social Justice Department is attempting to give Sumesh his lost life back.

Delayed trial

The department’s probation wing has drawn up a project with the support of the Thiruvananthapuram District Legal Services Authority; the Mental Health Centre, Peroorkada; and voluntary organisations to help Sumesh and others like him.

There are many people in the State who landed in jail but their trial dragged on.

Owing to mental illness they have been living within the four walls of mental health centres for the past five decades.

The mental health centres at Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, and Kozhikode have nearly 100 undertrials.

They also have around 20 persons who have been acquitted but have been languishing in the mental health centres.

Some remain there as they are declared unfit for trial.


Now, in a bid to provide such people justice, the State Social Justice Department’s probation wing has drawn up a project with the support of recognised psycho-social organisations for the rehabilitation.

Orders had been issued for the release of eight persons from the Mental Health Centre, Peroorkada, and their rehabilitation in the first phase, Minister for Social Justice K.K. Shylaja said.

The eight persons being rehabilitated belong to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, and Kottayam.

They will be rehabilitated to Archbishop Mar Gregorios Snehaveedu, Nalanchira, and Divyashanthi Ashramam, Vettucaud, here.

Their expenses during the duration of stay will be met by the department.

In all, 33 organisations have expressed interest in rehabilitation of such people, and taking care of them with the government’s financial support, and the eight are being rehabilitated in the first phase.

An amount of ₹39,660 has been sanctioned annually for each person’s food, clothes, medicines, and personal hygiene. More funds will be allowed if certified by a government doctor.

The Minister said the rehabilitation of those acquitted but languishing at the mental health centres in Thrissur and Kozhikode would be taken up next.


In the case of others, a committee comprising the district legal services authority secretary, mental health centre superintendent and another doctor from there would determine if their mental illness was under control and on the basis of the court proceedings, their rehabilitation would be taken up.

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14 Jul

From the Archives: Hip Drive

by Mark Rippetoe | July 14, 2019

Mark Rippetoe discusses hip drive using the Starting Strength teaching method during a squat training camp held at Wichita Falls Athletic Club.

Watch video

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14 Jul

“Welcome to the land time forgot,” uttered Sarah Troxell-Rhodes upon my arriving at the pleasantly windy, 360° view that’s Galen Glen Winery. With life & work partner Galen Troxell, recently joined by their daughter Erin, it’s become internationally recognized for varieties well suited to the continental climate and slate soils of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley–Riesling and Grüner Veltliner–notable as 15-20% of Pennsylvania’s production is from grapes grown in this American Viticultural Area though “it struggles for an identity having not long ago being a destination for simple sweet wines”. Galen Glen mitigates the relative humidity of its growing season and subsequent mold pressures by allowing for wind flows and early leaf removal so botrytised wines are rare. With their farm’s 83 acres in Troxell’s family since 1830, the development of what’s now 20 planted to vine was painstakingly slow. While he worked as a mechanical engineer in Germany, Sarah explored Baden’s wine villages, stimulating a shared interest in wine, with her receiving mentoring from Geisenheim’s Volker Schneider. Once in the US they experimented a decade growing hybrids then vinifera, and in 2003 established the US’s second planting of GV. “It took us until 2012 for it to succeed, the protein unstable animal that it is,” exclaimed Galen. In addition to numerous delicious, minerally bottlings of still/dry Riesling and GV, Galen Glen also makes good Gewürztraminer, semi-dry Riesling and sparkling Brut Natural GV.

Gino Razzi, his daughter Carley, Penns Woods Winery.Gino Razzi, his daughter Carley, Penns Woods Winery.

Pennsylvania wine’s most prominent figure in its growth to an international standard is Gino Razzi whose influence may be found not only at his Penns Woods Winery but in the output of a handful of his fellow vintners. “Balance is my primary objective, I like my pH a little low in order to be crisp and quenching, a complete beverage,” a vibrancy which runs through the entirety of Penns Woods’s wines. The successful importer of his native Italy’s wines 2002 entry into production was from a vineyard of Bordeaux red varieties. “The wines were pretty good,” deciding to blend them into what he labelled Ameritage, later restructuring a 370ft. elevation loamy vineyard in the Brandywine Valley with Chardonnay planted in the stonier section along with Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Viognier, and Bordeaux reds. While contracting with Italian and Argentine consultants, in 2010 his daughter Carley left wine sales to run winery operations. Soon they purchased an additional 22 acres at 1000ft. upon which they planted Pinot Noir and more Bordeaux reds. “I haven’t found any variety difficult to plant nor to make into good wine, but viticulture practice has to improve before the state finds its best direction. There’s not enough of a tradition yet, and nobody has taken enough notes; we’re now walking blindfolded through minefields,” he mused. “We’re always changing, looking to improve.” While Razzi’s Viognier, Chardonnay, reserves of Merlot and Cabernet Franc are all made with clear varietal expression even when placed alongside those from more famous US wine regions, his first basic vintage of notoriously finicky Pinot Noir, 2016, I thought amongst the best I’d tasted anywhere on the US east coast drawing compliments from a famous California winemaker with whom I shared a bottle–a remarkable first effort!

Stony Run Winery, Larry Shrawder.Stony Run Winery, Larry Shrawder.

Fellow Keystone State wineries focused upon increasing quality include Stony Run whose Larry Shrawder has been mentored by Razzi. “Grüner absolutely loves PA,” he exclaimed. Shrawder’s vineyard plantings range from 1992-2013. “We’re looking to see what works out for varietal typicity and quality of the finished wine,” he said. Stony Run’s inaugural 2016 vintage provided an exuberant Sauvignon Blanc of nettles and pink grapefruit with medium body and good length, its Cabernet Franc a generous raspberry nose and palate with medium heft and a moderate aging potential.

Jan WaltzJan Waltz

Sixth generation Lancaster County farmer Jan Waltz veered from tobacco into winegrowing in 1997 with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, farmed now upon 34 acres which include Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscat Canelli, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. The self-taught winemaker with a chemistry degree watched what others did with his grapes before venturing on his own with the 2008 vintage. “It took a decade to learn and tweak the business, how to present ourselves beyond the standard of hybrid and American varietals.” Growing out of the consumer preference for simple sweet wines he eventually took Razzi’s advice to persevere and “not look to the masses, to stick to making quality wine.” Merlot is Waltz’s strong suit with both the 2013 and 2014 resting 20mos. in oak, smelling of ripe black cherry and molasses, possessing a balanced medium structure with firm tannins and good length.

A physician in the bio-pharma world, Brad Galer shifted careers when a well-drained silty-loam 15-acre site near his home became available. Noted US consultant Lucie Morton recommended high density plantings of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Albariño, Grüner and Vidal for a dry, clean, fresh, and light sparkler. Galen Glen’s work with Grüner inspired Galer to plant it in 2015 alongside a 3.5 acre parcel of Chardonnay. “The region should be known for Cabernet Franc which is our go-to red … my true love.” His 2015 spent 18 mos. in neutral French oak and has an herbaceous, smoky cherry nose with beautifully balanced, silky tannins, and a long and supple finish.

Galen Glen Winery, the Troxell familyGalen Glen Winery, the Troxell family

Vox Vineti, Latin for ‘voice of the vineyard’, is the home of Ed Lazzerini, a New Orleans native who in his 16th summer was taken by Francophile parents on a third trip to Burgundy when “I decided I wanted to be a vigneron. I’d tasted as early as 10 remembering the smell and taste of the wine–I’d never tasted anything like it. It’s a 30 year dream realized here at Andrews Bridge.” The smallest PA producer I met producing 300 cases annually, his day job has him working out of home as a software engineer allowing him to enter the vineyard at whatever pace is necessary. “The biggest challenge in making good red wines here is providing sufficient water stress,” positing that Cabernet sauvignon’s hydric sensitivity during veraison is why it doesn’t perform as well as Franc and Merlot in the US mid-Atlantic. Lazzerini’s 2016 Nebbiolo was picked late September (leading me to argue that had it been left longer on the vine it would’ve been far better) underwent 3 weeks maceration then 15 months in neutral French oak–tasting ripe, balanced, not aggressive; his 2015 Polyphony, a blend of Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon with a splash of Petit Verdot has a complex nose of deep black olive, smoke, cedar, and licorice; a lovely medium body, with great concentration and balance finishing a little shorter than I’d like but with dynamic acidity.

Carl Helrich, Allegro wines.Carl Helrich, Allegro wines.

Carl Helrich acquired an existing winery and vineyard of low quantity and is now making over 200,000 bottles from his vineyard along with fruit sourced from other east coast sites while making the wines for several other operations. “I’m a ‘brown juice’ winemaker but I don’t hyperoxidate; my focus is barrel work for reds and three versions of Chardonnay.” Located in low-lying clay-dominant York County with some quartz and schist allowing for good drainage when the clay isn’t too heavy. “We’ve soils loaded with potassium which can cause imbalances in wines, something which plagues many east coast wineries as it can cause color and flavor instabilities,” reflecting upon Europe having already sorted these issues out over centuries. He treated me to the 2007 and 2013 vintages of his flagship Cadenza, a Bordeaux red blend of varying proportions, the older one showing no bricking but with an intriguing nose of stone and earth, ripe dried red fruits on the palate with brisk acidity–so delicious that I swallowed!

David Furer

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