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Welcome to Connoisseur Corner - Luxe Consulting and Executive Services

Marty Feldmann, The Connoisseur, is the highly sought after consultant who assists businesses and individual clients with the acquisition of the finer things life has to offer. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to wine country, selecting audio equipment to outfit your home, planning your dream vacation or purchasing your ultimate transportation, Marty is your personal connection to the good life…

Marty can be contacted at: 916.952.9529 Marty@ConnoisseurCorner.com

3/30/09

Turks and Caicos Welcomes Hotel Gansevoort


The New York based Hotel Gansevoort brand is opening their third location (the second is in Miami) and this time they’ve gone to the Caribbean.

Turks and Caicos, to be exact…

The Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is located on the island of Providenciales (“Provo”, as it is commonly called) toward the western end of the island chain. 91 guest rooms await you, 32 of which are suites, all with views of the turquoise waters and white sand beach. The website proclaims an air of “luxury without formality, combining classic Caribbean style with a contemporary flair”. We tend to agree with that assessment.

The centerpiece of the resort is the 7,000 square foot swimming pool with separate lounging islands. Sunbathing at its finest..! Just be sure to arrive early in the morning to stake your claim.

Other amenities include the Exhale Spa, Bagatelle Bistrot and Beach Lounge and a fitness center. Golf and tennis, scuba and fishing and nearby casinos are also ready to keep you on the go.

An hour flight from Miami or two and a half from New York, this newest Gansevoort resort is at the ready. Give it a try and prepare to relax in style…

3/20/09

World’s Largest Yacht Debuts


Well, the folks in Dubai have done it again. They can now lay claim to the world’s largest yacht.

More specifically, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai, would be the owner of this floating extravagance.

So, what does the world’s largest yacht get you?

A swimming pool, multiple Jacuzzis, several saloons and dining areas are all present and accounted for. There is even the requisite helipad to land your helicopter. All this with accommodations for 115 passengers in various guest and VIP suites on 8 lavishly furnished decks. Unfortunately pictures of the interior reveal something akin to a 50s era Vegas casino. Maybe they pass out sunglasses to all the passengers..!

A crew of 88 keep this 531 foot behemoth operating smoothly. The yacht has a range of 8,500 nautical miles and a top speed of 26 knots.

And now for the number you’ve all been waiting for…the pricetag!

How does a cool 350 million sound?

And by the way, the name of the yacht is..? “Dubai”, of course…

3/17/09

New iPod Shuffle




What is smaller than an AA battery, can hold 1,000 songs, costs less than $80 and talks to you..?

Yes, Apple’s 3rd generation iPod Shuffle, introduced last week, would qualify as the answer to the question above.

I have to admit, while we aren’t the biggest Apple proponents in these parts, this new gadget is pretty slick. 4 GB of storage should get you through the day…week…er, month. You can even set up multiple playlists to suit your mood.

And about this talking thing…

Apple calls it “VoiceOver”. With the touch of a button the iPod Shuffle will dip the music volume and a voice inform you of the artist and title. VoiceOver can even speak your playlists, so you can switch between them without looking. And for the cherry on top, the talking iPod even converses in 14 different languages.

Did I mention the diminutive size here? 1.8” tall by 0.3 inches thin – you might call it a micro-mini music mite..!

At a retail price of $79, the new iPod shuffle is a no-brainer for those of you looking to make the iPod leap. The unit comes in silver or black.

3/16/09

Quick Dip for Pot Stickers

On a recent evening my wife was scheduled to return home rather late from a day of work. Too late for a large dinner, but I felt a nice small plate would be a relaxing end to the day. In a fit of laziness I purchased a handful of pork pot stickers from a local gourmet grocery and stored them in the safe confines of the refrigerator. We had tried these in the past and were very pleased with the quality.

Later that evening as I was selecting a wine accompaniment, I realized in horror that I had no dipping sauce for the pot stickers. It was time to raid the pantry and ice box and see what I could find. What follows was the kitchen quick fix…

Pot Sticker Dipping Sauce

· ¼ cup soy sauce
· ⅛ cup champagne vinegar
· 1 clove garlic – finely chopped
· 1 green onion – chopped
· Pinch of sugar
· Dash of red pepper flakes

Whisk together and serve.

A couple of thoughts on this: You can certainly use white wine vinegar in place of the champagne. Also, an obvious addition would be some fresh ginger, but alas, none was present in my refrigerator at the time. Chives in place of green onion? Certainly.

As for the wine pairing, I pulled a bottle of Eroica Riesling Dr. Loosen from Chateau St. Michelle. One of the better American examples of the varietal and what turned out to be a phenomenal match with the dim sum.

Enjoy!

3/9/09

Capella Hotels Open Ixtapa




Capella Hotels, an up and coming player in the field of boutique resorts and hotels, recently opened the first of four Mexican locations…

Ixtapa (“ish-TA-pa”) was actually a government planned tourist resort location begun in the early 70s along with its sister project, Cancun, located on the opposite (east) coast of Mexico.

Built into a lush Sierra Madre mountain side above the ocean, Capella Ixtapa is made up of 59 ocean facing suites with spectacular views of the Pacific. Ranging in size from 550 to 1,150 square-feet, the suites have the requisite luxuries including king-size beds, LCD televisions, and private plunge pools on the outdoor terraces.

Resort amenities include 3 restaurants to satisfy any fits of hunger, and a private beach or hotel pool can handle the swimming urges. A 6,000 square foot spa will ensure your total relaxation. Off site activities such as scuba, snorkeling, golf and kayaking are available as well.

Luxurious seclusion is the name of the game here and the facilities and service are all top notch. If this sounds like your style, we highly recommend a visit to Capella Ixtapa.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming resorts in Cabo San Lucas, as well as the Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit.

3/7/09

3rd Row Seat for the SUV

You can refer to it as providing a product to fill a niche.

In an example of ingenuity at its finest, Little Passenger Seats of Modesto, California supplies 3rd row auxiliary seating for SUVs that come without.

In 1992, after building a 3rd row seat for their own Ford Explorer, Russell and Dona Edmundson co-founded the company, apparently at the urging of a local Ford dealer. By 1999 annual sales reached 1,350 units and sales have grown ever since.

All seats meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and are designed specifically for each vehicle. The current vehicle lineup includes SUVs from Ford, Chevy, Buick, Jeep, Mercedes, Toyota, Honda and more. The seats are said to be user installable and have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

An excellent product, good customer service and a fair price… What more can you ask for? Highly recommended!

3/6/09

Berlin’s Digital Concert Hall

A virtual symphony…the world’s first, in fact.

The Berliner Philharmoniker has gone digital. Using high-definition cameras with remote control, the orchestra is streaming their performances live on the Internet.

The symphony from the comfort of your couch.

You can literally watch the performances live, or view them “on demand” from the archive on your own schedule. Subscriptions can be purchased for a single concert or for the entire season of 30 performances.

From a press conference at the hall, chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle explained “When the idea of the Digital Concert Hall occurred to us, I was immediately certain that this is the way of the future. I believe it is a marvelous thing for both the orchestra and the public. And it is a wonderful feeling to be able to welcome far more people to the Philharmonie than before.”

This Internet thing is pretty cool. One of the world’s greatest orchestras at your beck and call. A must for the computer-age classical music fan..!

iBreviary – The Vatican goes iPod


Breviary – according to Merriam-Webster, “a book of the prayers, hymns, psalms, and readings for the canonical hours”

The book of prayers…

A rather forward thinking Italian priest, father Paolo Padrini, along with a consulting web designer has come up with iBreviary. This prayer book application for the iPod and iPhone can be downloaded from iTunes for a dollar – all profits go to charity, of course.

With handsome graphics, this digital resource offers prayer on the go, with readings of the Mass of the Day (Missal) as well as the principal Catholic prayers. It is currently available in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Latin, with German and Portuguese soon to follow.

The Vatican itself has officially approved this software and encourages its use.

Talk about help from above..!

Infiniti Essence a Hit in Geneva


At the 79th Geneva Motor Show, automaker Infiniti has made a splash with the debut of a concept sports car…or is it a concept hybrid?

Let’s say both...

The Infiniti Essence, with its long hood and short rear deck, radiates a sporting attitude. But take a look under that hood and you’ll see Infiniti’s first-ever hybrid powertrain. A rather substantial 592-horsepower is generated by a twin turbo 3.7 liter V6 engine good for 434 ponies, combined with an electric motor supplying 158. Definitely sports car territory.

The aggressive looks come courtesy of what Infiniti calls its “Dynamic Adekaka” design language, taking cues from Japanese traditions. For the most part we like the look – you might say the Essence has presence.

To top it all off, a custom set of Louis Vuitton luggage was included for this one-of-a-kind concept.

Nice…

Now we will wait and see what comes of Infiniti’s ambitious foray into sporting hybrid technology…

3/5/09

Las Vegas’ Newest – The M Resort


The newest Las Vegas Resort is now open for business. Brainchild of Anthony Marnell III, a native of the area, the M Resort is located on South Las Vegas blvd and St. Rose Pkwy, approximately 10 miles south of the central strip.

Smallish by comparison to the mega-resorts that dominate the landscape, the M exudes a somewhat boutique feel and aims to provide a more personal experience.

The $1 billion resort sits on 90 acres and has 390 rooms and suites available, ranging in size from 550 to 2,400 square feet. Rooms include separate bathtubs and showers, pillow-top beds, 42-inch flat screen TVs and a Bose sound system with iPod connection.

Property amenities include 60,000 square feet of conference space and the 100,000 square foot Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza. Of course there are the all-important bars, five of which inhabit the premises along with nine restaurants to satisfy your appetite. And to relax you after a rough day of gambling, try the 23,000 square foot Spa Mio.

Rates start at $75 /night.

3/3/09

BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo PAS


No, it doesn’t say “POS”..!

Progressive Activity Sedan

BMW has clearly decided that success in the car wars means being a niche builder (see the X6). With the unveiling of the 5-GT, BMW is trying to offer space, comfort, sportiness and utility without the stigma of a station wagon or minivan. At the same time could this be a shot at the rival Porsche Panamera?

We think so…

Now the question of public acceptance remains. The front half of the car gets high marks, with style cues taken from the CS concept (which has unfortunately been killed by BMW due to the world economy). Consider the look a foreshadow of the upcoming new 5-Series sedan. The rear of the 5-GT will surely be the most controversial aspect of the design, all in the name of “progressive activity”. Despite the large quantity of vitriol flying around the web from some bimmer-philes, we think the car will be accepted into the BMW fold and eventually sell in the quantities expected.

Engines and technology should mirror the new 5 as well, with a choice of an inline twin-turbo 6 cylinder or a twin-turbo V8 and a probable diesel alternative. The interior will be configurable for either 4 or 5 passengers, with a fold down second row for cargo capacity...that “utility” word again.

Price is expected to be set between the 5 and 7 series sedans.