• We don't know what you did to celebrate World Food Day, but Unfiltered observed the Oct. 16 holiday with Napa's Beaulieu Vineyards at the BV Give & Give Back Chef Challenge, in partnership with food rescue organizations City Harvest and AmpleHarvest.org, supporting their work in eliminating food waste and ending hunger. Among a crowd of onlookers enjoying glasses of Georges de Latour Cabernet Sauvignon at New York's Institute of Culinary Education, four New York chefs—Luke Venner of BLT Fish, Orlando Sanchez of Butcher Bar, Jose Luis Flores of Richard Sandoval Restaurants and Pecko Zantilaveevan of the Four Seasons Restaurant—competed in a 30-minute cook-off using ingredients that would be found in a food pantry at this time of year, supplemented by seasonal fresh produce. Known wine lover and former Sex and the City star Chris Noth served as head judge, evaluating the chefs' creations based on nutrition, affordability, scalability (ease by which it could be mass produced) and creativity—and the chefs got creative indeed, equipped with food pantry staples like Corn Flakes, ranch dressing and Aunt Jemima pancake mix. The heated competition culminated in victory for BLT Fish's Venner, whose warm potato and kale salad with green goddess dressing and poached eggs won him $10,000 to donate to his chosen charity, Grow NYC. "The goal here is to have an America that's fed," said Noth. From now until the end of the year, BV will donate $1 to AmpleHarvest.org for every person that texts the word "Give" to 79008, donating up to $50,000.
• One of the newest additions to the luxury water market, Beverly Hills 90H2O, brainchild of Patina Restaurant Group water sommelier Martin Riese, has found itself afoul of a powerful wine group. (You may remember Riese from his recent appearance on Conan O'Brien, which ended rather predictably with O'Brien exclaiming: “All I taste is water!”) Beverly Hills 90H20 was billing itself as “the Champagne of water.” What better way to market a high-end, allocated, low-production, individually numbered, hand-crafted water, right? Wrong. The CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne, the governing body of all things Champagne) heard about it and predictably sent over a cease-and-desist letter, in what has to be a form letter by now, to Beverly Hills Drink Co. (the parent company and producer of 90H2O) CEO Jon Gluck citing that the use of the term “Champagne” to describe their water was misleading to consumers and a dilution of the brand Champagne. Yes, they said that water would dilute Champagne. Who said attorneys don’t have a sense of humor? But Beverly Hills 90H2O should have known better: Apple (and their attorneys) couldn't get away with it either, having received a similar letter in connection with their rumored prerelease choice of “Champagne” to describe their optional new iPhone color.
• As a passionate wine and pet lover, have you ever opened a bottle of your favorite wine only to find the moment utterly ruined by the fact that you cannot share this experience with your cat? B&H Lifes, a Japanese pet lifestyle company, has proffered a solution, launching a wine exclusively for your furry feline friend. Nyan Nyan Nouveau, priced at about $4 a bottle, went on sale Oct. 15, inspired by customers “wanting to celebrate birthdays or Christmas with their beloved cats,” a press release informed us. The words nyan nyan in Japanese are the translation for "meow," and "Nouveau" evokes Beaujolais Nouveau, of which Japan is the second-largest consumer in the world, after Germany. The beverage is actually made with juice from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, topped off with some vitamin C and catnip. Nyan Nyan Nouveau is alcohol-free, although the catnip is sure to get any kitty sufficiently buzzed.
• If you find yourself bored with all the current choices in coffee tables, have an extra $195,000 to blow, and plan on having a serious party in, oh, 25 years, then look no further: Le Clos, the high-end wine retailer based in Dubai, has been given the exclusive opportunity (task?) to sell balthazars of 2009 Margaux. What’s a balthazar, you ask? That’s 12 liters of wine, or the equivalent of 16 bottles. Like we said, a party. A party that comes from a bottle that comes in a case that can easily double as a coffee table. Six have been produced, three will be sold, and Le Clos, specifically their flagship store at Dubai International airport, is the only place to get them. But if you're put off by the idea of renting a truck to go to Ikea for that coffee table, you probably won’t want to think about the shipping and/or flight to Dubai to bring this beauty back home. The bottle is of course etched and gold engraved, but the case is a thing of beauty all by itself—an impressive oak cask with raised steel bars that act as legs and recall the image (albeit a cubist one) of the wine barrels themselves. The downside of this coffee table? You’ll have to keep the living room thermostat set at 55° F.
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