Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

Tap That

Tap Project

The Tap Project is the type of project that can really help the less fortunate, and the kind of charity that I think should be a year round fundraiser for EVERY restaurant. Not just a handful of days in March and not just at a select group of eateries.

But that said, the Tap Project is a brilliant idea, and every restaurant taking part in project deserves a shout out.

What is the Tap Project you ask? According to their site, it’s “a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible drinking water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water for children around the world. Beginning Sunday, March 16 and culminating on March 22, the United Nations World Water Day, restaurants will invite their customers to pay $1 for the tap water they normally get for free.”

For every dollar raised, a child will have clean drinking water for 40 days.

$1. That’s it. That’s all it takes. If you go out to eat between March 16 – 22, ask if the restaurant you’re dining at is taking part in the Tap Project, or ask why they’re not.

If you’d like to specifically visit a restaurant taking part in this, visit the restaurant section of to search for a participating restaurant near you.

If you would just like to donate or want any other information,’s got you covered.

See this post on


Giving Spirits

Humanitas Wines
‘Tis the season to buy people presents and to give to charity. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Humanitas Wines gives 20% of your wine’s purchase price to a charity you choose from the company’s approved list, which includes Habitat for Humanity.

Humanitas is a unique winery with a very compelling story. Simply we make wine, sell it, and give the profits to charity!

Specifically, the profits go to find solutions to three very primary issues — hunger, affordable housing and illiteracy — and we’ve chosen America’s Second Harvest, Habitat for Humanity and Reading is Fundamental as our primary charities. However, we try to support whatever charity best addresses these issues community by community.

You see, at Humanitas, we don’t give the funds to the national headquarters of these charities. Rather, we give to the regional chapters in the communities where the wine was sold. In this way, by enjoying Humanitas, you are giving back to your own community!

Wines start at $18 per bottle. You can also join one of their wine clubs and give even more back! Check out the complete charity list here.

So wine with a charity is cool and all, but how does it taste you ask? According to LENNDEVOURS

Humanitas 2006 ‘Oak Free’ Monterey Chardonnay ($16) – is a fine example of why I love unoaked chardonnay so much. The nose offers lemon, apple, and a faint hint of pineapple. On the palate, it is medium bodied and shows loads of apple flavor with just the most subtle tropical notes. There is just enough acidity to bring balance. All in all, this is a nice wine, and this definitely isn’t your typical flabby, over-oaked Cali chardonnay. 490 cases were produced.

Humanitas 2006 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc ($14) – is fresh and delicious. It’s fairly simple, but the clean, pure grapefruit and mandarin orange flavors are well balanced by acidity in a medium-bodied package. At $14 — and with screw cap closures — this is a terrific house white. Fewer than 300 cases were produced.

Ready to buy a bottle for your friends and family or your Secret Santa? Head over to Humanitas Wines and order up some bottles. You’ll be getting people drunk and giving to a charity at the same time. What more could you want?

Free Rice

Free Rice

Wanna improve your vocabulary and help world hunger at the same time?

Head over to It’s technically a game but it’s much more than that…

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

Still confused? All you do is pick which word from a list of 4 is the same as the word presented to you, and the advertisers who’s names appear at the bottom will donate rice.

Why doesn’t FreeRice just donate all this rice they have? Well technically, they don’t have it.

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

The site launched on Oct. 7, where that day they gave away 830 grains of rice. Yesterday (Nov. 7) they gave away 188,987,290 grains. To date, the site has donated 1,519,627,180 grains of rice.

If you’re still not sure what’s going on, just go visit FreeRice. Play the word game and help feed those in need. I’ve even added a banner towards the bottom right of this site that you can click on in case you forget where to go.

Great find from NOTCOT.

Tofu’s Perfect Match

Tofu Fest

This is probably one of those “only in LA” festivals but it’s a yearly thing here on the west coast.

I’ve seen posters all over town and it’s finally embedded in my head. Their posters and the whole Tofu Fest campaign is pretty clever. Head over to to help find tofu’s perfect match.

As for the festival itself, here’s what you need to know.

The 12th Annual Los Angeles Tofu Festival will take place on August 18, 12pm – 8 pm and August 19, 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $5, kids and seniors are free, and there’s a $2 off coupon here. Proceeds go to charity.

Festival Grounds are located at 237 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 on San Pedro and 2nd.

Attractions include:

Beer, Wine & Sake Garden: A selection of sake and beer is served in a sectioned off portion of Tofu Fest, supplementing Little Tokyo’s own beer gardens and Nisei Week’s attractions. The sale of alcohol was under debate by the festival’s committee in 1994 in regards to making the festival more family friendly.

Celebrity Chefs: Famous chefs exhibit their craft on a cooking platform, with fair goers getting the chance to taste dishes from the demonstrations. Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef is a recurring guest, appearing in last year’s 2006 festival.

Children’s Pavilion: Children were previously given an additional area to enjoy the festival, as parts of the festival, like the alcohol garden, were unsuitable. However, as of 2006, Children’s Pavilion is no longer a featured event.

Entertainment Stage: Bands and artists appear live at the festival, ranging from instrumental groups, such as taiko and orchestra, to hip hop groups like Blackalicious.

Tofu Eating Contest: The tofu eating contest is a race to eat a 14-ounce block of tofu in the shortest amount of time. Several elimination rounds are held before the final battle and winner’s ceremony, where a prize is given to the winner on the entertainment stage.

And if you’re interested in the Tofu Eating Contest it will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 4pm. Here are the rules:

  • Contestants will be required to eat a 14 ounce block of House Foods Medium Firm Tofu.
  • Festival Judges will be judging the Tofu Eating contest. Contestants agree to abide by the Festival Judges’ decision. Festival Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Contestants will not be able to use their hands during the contest to eat the tofu.
  • There will be 10 contestants competing in each round with a total of 5 preliminary rounds. The first 2 contestants to eat the entire block of tofu will advance to the Final Round.
  • The first contestant to eat the entire block of tofu in the Final Round will win the Grand Prize
  • The second and third place winners of the Final Round will receive also receive prizes
  • In order for a contestant to completely finish the block of tofu, he/she must have swallowed the last mouth full of tofu as decided by the Festival Judges.
  • Contestants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Contest Rules are subject to change without notice.

Info seen here was collect from the Tofu Festival site as well as Wikipedia.



An artistic couple in NY has a clever idea…to paint various things that they want, and to sell those paintings to acquire said item.

The catch? All of their paintings of wants sells for the exact price of their wanted item.

For example, one of them wants an iPhone. So you can purchase that painting of an iPhone for the actual iPhone cost of $649.17.

Not all of their wants are that extravagant though. Most of their cheaper items (such as the above Buffalo Wings) were much less than the cost of an iPhone. The wings sold for $12.70, a steak for $18.39 and a beer for $7.00 (including tip). Their painting of Zzzzz’s (sleep) didn’t cost a thing.

However, if you really want to make them happy, buy their painting of Financial Security (a stack of bills) for $1,000,000.

Great idea…and a great find from Josh Spear.

Bringing Street Vendors Home


New York City wouldn’t be NYC without street vendors. But apparently the city has been cracking down on vendors in recent.

There are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City – hot dog vendors, flower vendors, book vendors, shoe shiners, street artists, and many others. They are small businesspeople struggling to make ends meet. Most are recent immigrants and people of color. They work long hours under harsh conditions, asking for nothing more than a chance to sell their goods and services on the public sidewalk.

Yet, in recent years, vendors have been victims of New York’s aggressive “quality of life” crackdown. They have been denied access to vending licenses. They have been swept from the streets by powerful business groups. They have been unjustly harassed, and their property has been illegally seized.

The Street Vendor Project works to correct the social and economic injustice faced by these hardworking entrepreneurs. Reaching out to vendors on the street, we hold clinics to educate vendors about their legal rights. Working to support a local vendors’ rights movement, we organize vendors to participate in the political process that determines their fate. Finally, we engage in systemic advocacy to help policy makers and the public understand the important role street vendors play in the life of our city.

For more information about the Street Vendor Project, go to

That said, I’d happily go out and support the vendors of NYC, if I didn’t live 3,000 miles away. But I do. So instead you’ll find 3 recipes below for street vendor food, including pretzels from NYC, elote from LA, and arepas from Miami so you can honor street vendors everywhere at home.


Mexican Corn on the Cob – Elote


  • fresh corn
  • butter
  • mayonnaise
  • cotija cheese (grated)
  • cayenne pepper
  • lime juice


  1. Husk, butter and grill the corn til it starts to brown.
  2. Slap on a coat of mayo (low-fat is fine) and roll in cotija cheese (parmesan works fine as a substitute.)
  3. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and as a squirt of lime juice.

NOTE: This can be done off the cob as well in a bowl. Just mix ingredients and serve.


New York Style Pretzels


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pretzel salt (large coarse salt)
  • parchment paper


  1. Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).
  3. Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)
  4. Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.
  6. Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.


Street Vendor Arepas


  • One cup areparina (Most people will have to buy this. It is made by Goya, among others. Look for it near the Mexican foods, or near flour.)
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 cups of warm water (not boiling) Also good to have around for topping when you are done:
  • Cheese (Feta, swiss)
  • Butter (or margarine)
  • Salt


  1. Mix the water and the areparina in a big enough bowl. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  2. Knead the dough. Take small balls and knead individually. It is helpful to have a little bowl of water nearby to dunk your hands in occasionally. Flatten using hands taking the ball and starting to press from the center out while you turn the arepa around your fingers so it takes the shape of a little pancake. They should be like 3-5 CDROMs stacked together, only with a little less radius. Your hands will work hard, and get messy, but the arepas should turn out ok. Each pancake will take around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to make.
  3. Use a hot frying pan which has been coated with oil (use a paper towel with oil) and bake the arepas. Turn only once when it is brown. Some of the flours make arepas that split slightly when you cook them; that’s ok. Others you have to just get used to the consistency of cooked arepas and you know when they are done. Do not overheat the pan. Arepas take a while to cook, possibly ten minutes or so. Five minutes per side.
  4. Serve with sliced cheese, or butter and salt.

Photo from Flickr.

“The Catch”

The Catch

The best part of sports in general are those moments that last forever; the last second 3-pointer, a overtime field goal, a hockey shootout…

So why not let these moments age in your mind while you let a bottle of wine age on the counter?

Former San Francisco 49er Dwight Clark teamed up with Steve Ledson of Ledson winery to create 2005 Dwight Clark’s “The Catch” Russian River Pinot Noir. The wine is made of 100% Pinot Noir. The wine is a blend of four different clones from the Russian River vineyards and is aged in French Oak barrels for eight months. The proceeds from the sale of the wine benefit the Harmony Foundation for Children, which provides support and resources to underprivileged children. The wine sells for $95. (from Luxist)



You may already be doing this and if you’re not you should be.

What does replate mean?

It’s to place unwanted leftovers, typically in a doggie bag, on top of the nearest trash can so that they don’t go to waste. That way someone who’s hungry enough to pick up your leftovers will get something tasty, rather than having to shuffle through the can to find some scraps.

It’s simple enough that everyone can do this, and common enough that everyone should.

Visit for more info. Good post by NOTCOT.

4 Star All Stars


Top Chef 3 in Miami officially starts next week (June 13th) but tonight at 10pm on Bravo is the 4 Star All Star Challenge brings back some of the more popular contestants from the past 2 seasons to compete for charities.

You can see 5 minutes from tonight’s episode over on Yahoo. It looks pretty good. They only show the quickfire challenge, but the contestants have to prepare a dish using 2 eggs, with one hand behind their back.

Looks like it could be a classic episode.

Almost Free Ice Cream

Baskin Robbins

Doing anything tomorrow night? In the mood for ice cream for less than a buck? I’m sure you’d rather hear the word “FREE” but it’s not. It’ll cost ya $.31 but it’s for a good cause.

According to Yumsugar...

Well this one’s not free, but it sure is cheap. Baskin-Robbins has announced that next Wednesday (May 2) is 31¢ Scoop Night. Before you go thinking, what?! Ben & Jerry gave theirs away for free, I should let you know, 31¢ Scoop Night is in honor of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and that Baskin-Robbins will be donating $100,000 to the organization. And hey, 31¢ is practically free, cheapy-mc-cheapster.

So next Wednesday, May 2, from 5pm-10pm, head to your local participating Baskin-Robbins and treat yourself! Oh and if you head over to the 31¢ Scoop Night website, you can even register to have a reminder email sent to you.

Photo from Flickr.