Hooray!!! Kindle for Window 7 Phone Released!!! - ZDNet Review

I literally said to my husband yesterday how I couldn't wait for Amazon  to drop the app for Windows 7 Phone. It dropped TODAY!  I love it when a plan comes together. My love affair with Kindle and my Window 7 Phone just increased two-fold. 

ZDNet gives a great overview here.



Books I've Just Finished:

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy - One of my favorite authors, this book is a beautiful journey through Mr. Conroy's love of literature and the people in his life who inspired him.  Fantastic!!  And eye-candy for anyone who loves words.  For more on Pat Conroy, his official site.

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss - I'm a Tim Ferriss Believer.  His book the 4HWW is a wonderful and the 4HB is really interesting and we'll see in a few months.  I love that Tim is in my age bracket, has similar wants that I do out of life and has such a passionate and let's see how this goes attitude in his books.   Tim's blog is great - if you don't you should.


Head Maven


About Heather Newman

AHungryArtist - Great Miami Blog on Food & Culture

We read a ton of blogs here at Creative Maven and this one has a great outlook on food and sits close to my heart as they are "ahungryartist".  I smiled reading their post on 2010 Food Year in Review as I agreed with many of their positives  (Power of Pork) and negatives (oversaturation (Crisco-style) of Food Zines, Blogs, TV) for 2010.  If you missed the South Park episode of Creme Fraiche oh you should, you really should.

Let me know if you liked ahungryartists' post, always curious...

Enjoy and Happy New Year to all!

Friday Maven Foodie Alert - Executive Dinners - AGR

Happy Foodie Friday! One of the hats we Mavens wear as corporate event producers is to choose venues for executive dinners.  On Fridays, I thought it might be fun to share some of our favorite venues and restaurants from around the world with you. 

A corporate dinner, whether it is a bunch of CEOs talking shop or a company hosting its top customers and partners has a few key components that we always check off our list.

Geographic Ease:  Meaning, how easy is the space to get to and if you are planning in conjunction with a larger event like a tradeshow or conference, is it walking distance or a quick cab ride away.

Maven ABC List:   "Ambiance", "Beverage", "Cuisine".  Sometimes one will outshine the other but if we nail all three we are golden.

The Fine Print:  Sign and seal the deal up front, contracts signed, per person pricing agreed upon, wine chosen, etc...  no surprises are what we look for with a venue event management team.  The word for the "bill" translates to "a reckoning" in German, and we don't ever want that at the end of a great event.

Everyone wants ultimately wants to be "cool", "cutting edge", and "hip" while of course being professional - so we look for restaurants and venues for our clients that reflect high marks on the ABC list above.  We research trends and keep in the know about chefs, public opinions and food in general. Zagat, Yelp and Open Table are all great resources for this information.  I also personally watch Top Chef, the Food Network and subscribe to Food and Wine Magazine (which if you happen to be of an iPad persuasion, it is a free app download as is Travel +Leisure) and its gorgeous. 

Ultimately a killer venue provides elegant without being stuffy ambiance, tablesmacking food, a carefully chosen wine list, and an unobtrusive noise level.   The icing on the cake is to look for places that have that extra special something (an amazing amuse bouche, a signature dessert, flaming drinks,   etc...) that makes the evening utterly memorable.

To that end - here is the first of our Friday Foodie Favorites.


Friday Foodie Alert #1 - American Grocery Restaurant

 AGR is run by a husband and wife team, natives of South Carolina who lived and worked in Los Angeles in the film and theater industries for over a decade and came back home to fulfill their dream of opening a locavore, farm to table establishment.

Lovely Dining Room at AGR

I've had the pleasure of dining at AGR in its wonderfully elegant and cozy dining room and also in New York City for a James Beard Foundation Multi-Course, Wine-Paired Dinner where the AGR team created an amazing nose to tail pork extravaganza.   

The BEST pork belly & scallop I have ever eaten


American Grocery Restaurant strives to serve the finest in refined American Seasonal Cuisine, featuring products sourced from local and regional farms and from artisan producers from within the United States.  Their menu changes frequently based on the freshest products they can procure from our local purveyors and the bounty of the seasons. Chef Joe Clarke believes it is a restaurants responsibility to understand where their products come from, how they came to be, and the love with which those products were raised; to AGR there is no other way.

Custom wine room designed by Certified Sommelier, Darlene Mann-Clarke holds over 100 hand-picked artisan boutique wines from all over the globe, unique quality-crafted wines that exhibit the same level of distinction as their daily menu.

AGR has all the ABCs we look for in a venue and Chef Joe and Sommelier Darlene always bring something special to a meal and their food makes me smack the table.  We highly recommend you give them a shout.

Cuisine: Contemporary American

Neighborhood: Greenville

Website: http://www.americangr.com

Email: info@americangr.com

Phone: (864) 232-7665

Hours of Operation: Dinner : Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm

Payment Options: AMEX, MasterCard, Visa

Dress Code: Business Casual

Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes

Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Parking: Public Lot

Parking Details: Free parking is available on the north side of the building in a public city parking lot and on the street.

Private Party Facilities: American Grocery Restaurant offers private dinners in our intimate private dining room designed specifically for smaller business or personal affairs. Our private dining room will accommodate up to twelve comfortably with a variety of menu options we will tailor to your preferences. Additionally, our entire facility is available for buyout to accommodate larger events.  Joe Clarke (864) 363-2862.

If you are in the Greenville SC area - this restaurant is a gem and worth the drive from Charlotte if you so choose.

NYC - Maven Culture Alert

Howdy New Yorkers - I highly recommend you check this new play out... dear friend Mary Jane Gibson stars...  seems like the perfect way to spend an evening post holiday shopping...


Neighborhood Productions proudly presents the World Premiere of THE WIFE by Tommy Smith Directed by May Adrales

THE WIFE follows a young hasidic woman who befriends her gentrifying neighbors - and what starts as an innocent relationship quickly spirals into a series of events that unravel an entire urban community. THE WIFE is a darkly comic take on the tragedy of culture.

December 2 - 19, Wednesday – Sunday, at 8pm

Opening Night is Dec 5th

The Gallery at Access Theater 380 Broadway at White Street 2 blocks South of Canal - A/C/E, N/R/Q, W, 6, J/M/Z trains at Canal Tickets are $18 / $7 Sunday Shows

Available now through www.TheaterMania.com

Pictures, Videos and More:  http://thewifebytommysmith.wordpress.com/

Duskie Estes for Next Iron Chef - Zazu Rules!!

My husband and I love Zazu Restaurant & Farm.  We have been coming to Zazu since moving to Sebastopol four years ago.  It’s the place we go for special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations, and Maven Team Holiday Dinners) as well as those "I don't want to cook nights" where we know we'll have something amazing.  It has become a bit of a thing with our family and friends (well, you haven't taken US to Zazu yet)…

Zazu specializes in farm to table cooking (Americana and Northern Italian influence) - their farm/gardens are  vast and lovely. Husband and wife team, Duskie Estes and John Stewart are sweet people who are passionate and innovative in the kitchen.   Duskie creates fun, savory, tablesmacking fare on a regular basis.  Her husband, John is a superb cook and salumist making his own cured meats and Black Pig bacon.  John studied with Armandino Batali (yes, Mario's Dad) - if you haven't been to Armandino's place Salumi downtown Seattle in Pioneer Square, you are missing out.  Its small and quirky but good lord the sammies are yummy.

Those of us locals and some out of towners who are part of the Zazu fan club came out in droves on October 3 to support and celebrate Duskie's first appearance on The Next Iron Chef

Duskie and team served 3 courses for dinner with paired wines (dishes she cooked on the episode) and hosted an viewing party both inside and in their gorgeous garden outside the restaurant.

-Suckling Pig Surf and Turf - Tomales Bay Clams, Coconut Milk, Lime, Ginger - delicious, savory sweet local dish.

-Sonoma Lamb Meatball Sandwich - Bellweather farms yogurt + mint chutney - AWESOME, no wonder she won!!!

-That's That - Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Cookie + Flying Goat Cheese Espresso Gelato "Sandwich" - crunchy, sweet and full of flavor.

100% of the proceeds for the viewing went to the Ceres Project, an organization that delivers meals to people with cancer and other serious illnesses in Sonoma County, prepared by high school students - check out what they are doing - www.ceresproject.org

Everyone pitched in to make this night lovely:

The zazu team (staff & cooks) donated their time

Hafner Winery donated their wines

My Guy Hitech (Tommy) donating all the viewing gear and time!

Thank you to Duskie, John, Hafner Winery, My Guy HiTech and the lovely team at Zazu for another great night at our favorite neighborhood restaurant.  We feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place with friends that are passionate, inspiring and going after their dreams.

We hope you are the Next Iron Chef AND win fan favorite.  You have our votes!!

Maven fans - tune in and vote vote vote - Duskie kicks ass!!




Check out the pics from the night….