City Pulse

By Razi Schwartz

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Hello, my lovelies. I recently stumbled upon a new store on Bleecker Street, and – shhhh, not many people know about it yet, so…it’s still an untapped original, baby! It’s called Ruehl no. 925. No, it’s not at no. 925 – it’s actually at no. 370, and it happens to be caddy-corner to the Marc Jacobs store. Well, not exactly caddy-corner, it’s more like caddy corner and down the block a little bit. But, I can tell you the bags are so tres fab, that when I went in and bought one, I was so completely enamored by it that I wasn’t even tempted to go in and visit my long lost love, MJ, across the street and up the block.

First and foremost, the store itself is stunning. You are automatically engulfed by the warmth of the lighting, the dark wood structure, and the deep, rich smell of the leather goods. All of the bags are named after fabulous ladies like yourselves – I bought the Frida bag. Oh, she is so pretty. The bags are all hand-made with that deep, rich, seriously killer leather (Frida is made from buffalo leather and bridal leather), and start around $190. They go up into to the thousands – but let me tell you that whatever you pay is worth it like that pair of Jimmy Choo’s was worth it. And no two bags in the store look-alike – trust me, I looked at each one. The best part about the line – the bags are completely utile and functional, which makes it a given that whichever gal you buy will become your favorite everyday tote.

Of course, the store sells more than bags, although I don’t know why anyone needs anything more than bags. There are belts, wallets, key chains, as well as a few other “home” wares. There is even an entire line of man-bags.

Go on – I know rules are meant to be broken, but I’d keep this Ruehl in tact for just a little while…

Ruehl no. 925: 370 Bleecker Street. 212-924-8506

Wine-o 101
By Razi Schwartz

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“This vintage is very approachable – not very acetic – it has a lovely apple-y flavor and an angular taste.”

Yes, I give you permission to slap me? Why? Because it’s obvious that I spewed that out of the depths of my vaults of BS…and I only made it through the “a” terms in my wine glossary. Know people like this? Yeah, we all do these days. Everyone – man, woman, frat boy – thinks he/she is a wine connoisseur. YOU ARE NOT CONNOISSEURS. You are connoi-non-sseurs, thank you very much.

Truth is, of course there are some fakers in the wine-loving world – those who are out to impress, those who think it adds to their social rank, those who think it’ll lead to free booze. But, for just as many frauds there are legit oenophiles looking to learn a little more about something that went from a nice beverage with dinner to a fun and exciting hobby … or even dare I say it…passion.

That’s where Tasting World comes in. Tasting World was founded by Dilek Caner, who has an astounding oenerific resume including working with the Chef Sommelier at Alain Ducasse, and serves to educate people about wines and make wines accessible to every audience.

Tasting World currently offers classes, mini series, and tastings, all of which are updated regularly on their website. Two new classes are being offered in February – a four week wine basics course that runs from February 15-March 8 and an eight week “all around the world” course that runs from February 13-April 3, and both classes run from 7pm-9pm. What class is right for you? Ah, the great mysterious questions of life…

Well, the four week class is great if you’re looking to just get your feet wet in the world of wine. Learn a little here. Taste a little there. You’ll start being able to explain why it is you like one wine over another – more than “I don’t know, I just like it.” The eight week course is like the grandfather to the four week course – learn a complete history of the major wine regions in the world, about wine tasting techniques, and the components of what makes one wine this versus what makes one wine that. Oh, and of course, a little tasting here and a little tasting there. No matter what class you take, there’s a little tasting everywhere.

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These classes are by no means intended to be a part-ay scene, but they are meant to be entertaining. And, the big “yay!” of today is, if you sign up for these classes before January 16th, you’ll get a big ole whoppin’ discount. It’s very difficult for me to say what I love more – wine or a discount. Qu’est-ce que c’est ce discount? The four week class is normally $345, but is $295 if you register before the 16th; and the eight week class is normally $695, but is $595 if you register early.

I guess this is what they mean when they say “the early bird gets the worm.” I really had no idea I would like worms so much…

Originally published January 2006
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