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ROW 14: Where Booze Meets Beauty

People who are passionate about their work are usually very knowledgeable and very good at their jobs. This is a life lesson I’ve learned over the years working in the nonprofit and education fields. It was reinforced tonight as I sat with master mixologist and official “Bar Dude,” Travis Plakke, at Row 14. I signed up for a drink menu preview and lucked out in getting history and chemistry lessons as well. Much like dining, it completely changes the cocktail experience to understand where the ingredients come from and how different flavors work together.

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TONIGHT: Holiday Textile Stocking Workshop @ Art in the Age

Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, a local org/boutique that encourages originality in a society of continually rehashed ideas, challenges Philadelphians to tap into their inner artist with their Holiday Textile Stocking Workshop being held later tonight.

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The twelve days of design: 2011 holiday gift guide

It's that time of the year again, and we're back with twelve must-have design gifts for the holidays.

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DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Ginger Liqueur?

Ginger liqueur offers an exciting blend of sweet and spicy flavors. It can turn a basic drink into an intricately layered cocktail experience. Sure, you can use ginger liqueur all year (it's great with sparkling wine, especially when muddled with peaches in the summer) but this potion especially calls to us in winter, when it's just the thing to spice up our drinks.

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Grid Gift Guide 2011: Foodie


Stuff that stocking with delectables and equip your favorite foodie with the finest kitchenware Philly has to offer. Or, if you’re looking to keep those gastrophiles busy this winter, set them up with a canning system… or even better, a homebrewing kit. Festive!

#1: Preserving Set The Ball Utensil Set helps you safely and easily handle hot jars and lids, measure headspace and remove air bubbles (jars sold separately). $17.50 at Greensgrow Farms, Rittenhouse Hardware, 10th St. Hardware and Fantes.

#2: Stargazers Traditional Brut Stargazers Vineyard in Coatesville, Pa. uses sustainable practices to grow their grapes, and solar power provides electricity for the winery and their home. The Traditional Brut is a blend of Pinot and Chardonnay. $21 at Stargazers Vineyard

#3: Reanimator Coffee Fishtown’s ReAnimator Coffee provides freshly roasted, sustainable, single-origin coffee delivered by bike. $15 at Green Aisle Grocery, Quince Fine Foods, Sue’s Produce Market, One Shot Coffee, Grindcore House and Whipped Bakeshop

#4: Jin-Ja This all-natural, herbal tonic is a blend of ginger, cayenne, lemon, mint, green tea and sugar. The creation of Philadelphia lawyer Reuben Canada, Jin-Ja claims to increase metabolism, improve digestion and reduce arthritic inflammation. $15 at Green Aisle Grocery and Pumpkin Market

#5: Celebrate Vegan Dynise Balcavage makes vegan cooking for traditional celebrations more enjoyable with this collection of recipes from holidays across the globe. $17.95 at Joseph Fox Bookshop

#6: Almost Meatless Not interested in going vegetarian? Here’s some recipe inspiration for a more modest intake of meat. By Philadelphia’s Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. $22.50 at Cook

#7: Rhuby In 1771, Ben Franklin sent John Bartram America’s first rhubarb seeds. Bartram brewed a garden tea from the seeds. This year, Art in the Age took Bartram’s recipe and created a unique certified-organic spirit. $30+ in most liquor stores.

#8: Whiskey Stones Made from natural soapstone by Vermont craftsmen, these stones put a slight chill in your whiskey without diluting it or adding unwanted flavors. $19.95 at Art In The Age

#9: Towel Flour sack kitchen towels by the Philadelphia-based designer Girls Can Tell feature ingenious diagrams of everyday technologies, foods and places. $14 at VIX Emporium, Nice Things Handmade, Girls Can Tell Shop

#10: Homebrew Beginner’s Equipment Kit Pick up a new hobby and create a fresh brew with this beginner’s setup. The kit and ingredient package provide almost everything you need to start brewing (bottles not included). $69.95 at Home Sweet Homebrew

#11: Wood Burned Spoons Fun and quirky designs burned into wooden spoons by Philadelphia’s Lorraine Daliessio. $18 at VIX Emporium

#12: Cutting Board Made from the beams of demolished local factories, these Philly-crafted cutting boards by Bolle Designs have amazing character. $30-$200 at Art In The Age

#13: Ginger Pear Preserves Preserves from La Copine made with Bosc pears from Three Springs Fruit Farm in Wenksville, Pa. $10 at Green Aisle Grocery

#14: Strawberry Vanilla Syrup Local fruit syrup made by the La Copine brunch truck. A great addition to holiday morning pancakes. $10 at Green Aisle Grocery

#15: Lamb Ragu Green Aisle Grocery partners with area restaurants to carry some of their specialty products, like LeVirtu’s Lamb Ragu, made from Lancaster County lamb shoulder. $13 at Green Aisle Grocery

#16: Core Bamboo Bowl Crafted from 100% organically-grown bamboo this bucket bowl is chic, practical and great for salads and snacks. Small $28, Large $45 at Center For Art In Wood

#17: Philadelphia Chocolate Collection Philadelphia has seen hundreds of confectioners, and this box of chocolates represents some of the best still in operation today. $25.99 at Pennsylvania General Store

#18: John & Kiras Chocolate Bees Salted caramel chocolate bees made with fragrant basswood honey from Draper Family Apiaries in Millerton, Pa. $25 at Cook, Weaver’s Way, Di Bruno Brothers and the Fair Food Farmstand

#19: Marcie Blane Chocolates Philly inspired chocolates, including the Skyline, Liberty Bells, Love Park and Pretzel designs. Made with Lancaster County organic cream and butter. 9 Box $17.95 at Verde

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