Archives for November 2013 | A Continuous Lean.

Celebrate What You Already Own.

Nov 29th, 2013 | Categories: Retail | by Michael Williams

To be completely honest, Black Friday is a very bewildering time for me. I don’t know how to properly evaluate such a wildly excessive day in this consumer-obsessed country. This is especially conflicting for me because of this blog, a thing many view as a cheerleader of consumption. Over the past few years I have been more and more skeptical of Black Friday and have been exasperated by what has transpired on both sides of the register. Could you imagine being literally trampled to death in a big box retailer at 4am trying to buy a cheap flat screen t.v.? I’m having a hard time finding a more tragic way to go.

This year the lines have been drawn slightly more clearly and the madness seems to be escalating and dissipating at the same time. The way things are going Black Friday and the national retailers seem poised to triumph over Thanksgiving. Some stores opened earlier than ever on Thursday and a few retailers shockingly stood up for the family holiday, advocating people actually spend time with their families. For better or worse, Black Friday has become a retail arms race. While I understand that the retailers want to try to capture as much of the holiday shopping dollars as possible (it seems it is a zero sum game; they do have stockholders to answer to after all) and many Americans want to stretch their own dollar as far as it can go to give their families a good life; it is still amazing to me that apparently nothing is scared in the quest for retail success, including one of America’s most significant family holidays. Is it really all worth it?





Happy Thanksgiving | Convenience is the Enemy.

Nov 28th, 2013 | Categories: Housekeeping | by Michael Williams

This video and these posts have become a tradition around here. Here’s to a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there. It’s been an amazing five years of doing ACL and it is still exciting to tell stories, discover interesting things and generally share things with you. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the support from you readers, and for all of the people who work with me on ACL. Let’s all toast with a glass of wine or a High Life or three. I hope all of you have a relaxing day full of football, family and food. And remember, convenience is the enemy.

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Eisenhower with Turkey

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The ACL Guide to Thanksgiving Wines.

Nov 27th, 2013 | Categories: Al James, Americana, Wine | by Al James

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Arriving to Thanksgiving dinner with a well-chosen bottle of wine is simply the right thing to do. It’s doesn’t have to be pricey or geeky, just take a little extra time to pick out a bottle that will work well with the food. No matter who’s cooking, the staples that make up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, etc – all land on the salty end of the flavor spectrum. Even when piled high on a plate, they don’t have the wherewithal to stand up to a big red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Barolo, Chianti, Shiraz) which all contain significant tannins and high alcohol levels. In this case, bigger is not always better. What the savory flavors need, particularly in the case of turkey, is acidity and crispness to balance out the saltiness and brininess. Luckily there are lots of ways to achieve this balance with both New World and Old World wines that are widely available. I like the way food and wine blogger BrooklynGuy  approaches his wine picks for the holiday, “Keep it refreshing and lively, try to keep the alcohol to a minimum.” His logic being that family gatherings can already be teetering on the edge, no reason to pour gasoline on the fire.

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Putting It All On The Table: A Wood&Faulk DIY.

Nov 27th, 2013 | Categories: Portland Oregon, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams

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To celebrate design, craft, style and the entrepreneurial spirit, Timberland in partnership with ACL set out to highlight the guys that take matters into their own hands, to not only make great things, but to inspire and teach others the skills to do it yourself.

Wood&Faulk started as a hobby, it continued to grow as a blog and eventually it emerged as a full-fledged label. Founded by Matt Pierce in Portland, OR in 2011, Wood&Faulk now offers a full collection of interesting leather goods and operates out of an amazing shared workshop called Beam & Anchor that overlooks a massive Union Pacific switching yard next to the Williamette river.

What really propelled the line forward has been both the whimsical nature of the stuff Wood&Faulk makes and Matt’s openness about how everything is made. To this end, it began publishing the DIY process for making a lot of the stuff the brand sells on its blog and that has been an almost visceral and overwhelming response from people all over. In fact, that is how I discovered the Wood&Faulk, through its blog and I was drawn to the fact that it wasn’t trying to hide anything and it just put everything out on the table (quite literally).

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The Butcher.

Nov 26th, 2013 | Categories: Food, Italy, Wine | by Michael Williams

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Dario Cecchini is not a butcher, he’s the butcher. He’s unlike anyone I have ever encountered. As part of our whirlwind one-day adventure in Tuscany, Fontodi owner Giovanni Manetti took us for lunch in Panzano at Dario’s place, a lunch on a warm Italian afternoon which ended up being a life changing event. The butcher shop is forever changed after an afternoon with Dario Cecchini.

Dario’s shop is actually three places in one: a butcher shop on the ground floor, a steakhouse upstairs and a casual terrace restaurant out back. The whole place has to be Panzano’s most significant tourist attraction. It’s a destination for hospitality, a dose of Dario’s legendary energy, and of course, a temple for red meat. If ever you find yourself in Chianti, your presence is required at Dario’s table. Trust me, you’ve never seen anything like this before.

Upon arrival Dario —who is probably the world’s most famous butcher thanks in part to his appearance in Bill Buford’s Heat— proceeded to instantaneously grab (read: pick up into his arms) Giovanni like he was a long-lost friend. It looked like they hadn’t seen each other in years, but it had only actually been a few days since they celebrated Giovanni’s 50th birthday together. I know this because they were talking about the massive steaks that Dario butchered and cooked for the party. A second later an iPad mini appeared with Dario holding two of the most massive chunks of beef that I have ever seen.

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A Look at Japan’s Incomparable Sock Industry.

Nov 25th, 2013 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Japan | by Jake Gallagher

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If there’s one arena that Japanese designers dominate it’s not obscure outerwear, or vintage inspired sweats, or ironic yet unironic footwear. It’s socks. No one has mastered the art of a great knit sock quite like our counterparts from the Land of the Rising Sun. The attention to detail, fit, quality and construction coming out of Japan is rivaled by few in the U.S., Italy or elsewhere. Fortunately for those of us in the States, there’s been a recent influx of these superior socks into the American market, and so we decided to round up the best Japanese socks available right now. As the temperatures turn and things get cold, your feet will thank us for this one.





SIGNALS

Nov 25th, 2013 | Categories: SIGNALS | by Michael Williams

  • Brooklyn gets a ‘Made in the USA’ pop up called Kai D. [Selectism]
  • Inside Sing Air’s 18 hour all-business class flight (longest in the world) from Newark to Singapore. [Engadget]
  • A morning with Taylor Stitch founder Mike Maher. [Five O'Clock]
  • Amazing knives made in Oregon by 17th generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith [Vimeo] [Pictured]
  • Best Made Co. circa 1965. [10Engines]

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