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Entries tagged guides

Holiday Consumption Guides

Posted December 5, 2013

I am wary of purchasing unnecessary objects for myself or others, but there are several really good gift guides making the rounds that have objects I desire. Also, they are really well made! If you’re going to buy things for people this year, I suggest you refer to these:

The Gifts We Want to Give in 2013 by the Wirecutter

While they typically focus on tech, this has a lot of other great stuff for walls, your person, and your brain. My favorite items were the Kaufman keychain set and a lovely National Parks Print.

NPR’s Book Concierge

NPR has collected 200 books and filed them under 20+ categories that you can cross-reference. For instance, here are short books for art lovers.

The NY Times Gift Guide 2013

There are hundreds of options here and a great source of inspiration for holiday gifts. It’s also by far my favorite browsing experience. I want these Pop-out and Play Safari for the nursery we’re putting together (yep, baby on the way in March).

The 25 Best Films of 2013: A Video Countdown by film.com

This is really pretty and a great way to browse some of the better films to come out this year. If you don’t have 11 minutes to kill right now, there is a list of the films on Letterboxd. (via kottke)

Recommending Restaurants in NYC

Posted June 12, 2011

Visiting Madison, Wisconsin is easy. There are 20-30 really good restaurants and if you know someone there, you’re guaranteed a good meal. In New York, that doesn’t work. You need at least some parameters. There are, approximately, 300 million restaurants in the city and 75% of them are good.

If you want to make it easy on your host/friend/butler, give him something to go on. Here are some suggestions:

  • Location: “I’m going to the Mets game on Saturday. What should I eat before the game?”
  • Atmosphere: “My brother is hard of hearing, any quiet restaurants near Penn Station?”
  • Cuisine: “I’m trying to eat a burger in every state. What’s your favorite spot?”
  • Anti-cuisine: “I’d love to go out, so long as it’s anything but Indian; I had that last night.”
  • Trendiness: “I cannot stand waiting in line or fighting for reservations. I just want a simple Italian restaurant.”
  • Cost: “I just got my tax return. Take me to the best sushi in the city.”
  • Time: “Let’s meet for brunch, but it’s got to be quick. I’ve got a shift at the Park Slope Co-op at noon.”
  • Situation: “This is my first trip to NYC and I want to try your favorite spots.”

The more of these you have, the better. That being said, a good friend sent me an email asking for recommendations for tasty restaurants that don’t need reservations and aren’t too trendy. This was for a couple that never been to NYC. Because I love being a gastronomic ambassador, I occasionally ignored the instructions and provided the following list.

Read the rest of this entry »

How to Win at SXSWi

Posted March 29, 2010

20100329sxswi.pngFor years, I’ve seen a large chunk of my friends going to SXSW Interactive every year. I’ve also seen a handful of others claim it hasn’t been good for years (“It’s too big!”, etc.). A week (or so) removed from my first trip to SXSWi, I’m still reeling a bit. My enjoyment seems to indicate that SXSW has worked through its growing pains, primarily aided by technology.

With that, here are my tips for having a good time at SXSW.

  • Before leaving, make note of all of the talks that sound interesting. I recommend the utterly fantastic app by Weightshift, sitby.us. Not only does it let you create a schedule, but you can see what your Twitter friends have noted. Then (yes, it gets better), you can see where they are in the room after they sit down. This let me find my friends throughout the day.

  • Avoid panels and go for talks with one or two presenters. While I saw some good panels, I found they were typically less inspiring. My theory is that people feel less of a need to prepare for panels.

  • Go to talks that sound fun and interesting. Don’t worry about going to CMS talks if you work for a blog software company. Many of the talks are topical and you’re better off following the “Liberal Arts” approach of selecting sessions. My two favorite talks were given by Dan Ariely and Andy Baio. Neither seemed geared towards my job, until I got there and realized they were far more influential than the other talks I attended.

  • Get used to finding people via Foursquare (or your location-based service of choice) and Twitter. At night, I had no problem finding something fun to do with people I like.

  • Avoid the big parties. As many as 14,000 people went to SXSWi and I’d guess half of them tried to get into the Foursquare party. Smaller parties are great (I really enjoyed the Typekit party) and hanging with friends is even better. If you don’t know many people there, get a drink at the Ginger Man. You’ll likely meet someone cool and you’ll definitely have delicious beer.

  • Get away from the convention center. I stayed at a friend’s place, which meant finding a place to unwind during the day was tough, but it also meant I found a delicious breakfast tacos at Julio’s in Hyde Park. I also skipped the 2pm session most days and walked a bit to find lunch. This was a great way to clear my head and try Chicken Fried Avocado.

  • Don’t plan too much. It will save you time before and stress when you arrive.

That’s it! See you there next year.

Serious Eats City Guide: New York

I'm always looking for a definitive lists of places to eat when visiting a city. I'm happy to see a trustworthy source start a new series. It'd be especially useful if it were updated quarterly.

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