Sunday, March 25, 2018

An Abundant Life - The Perfect Crunch

I first tasted Biggie's Crack Toffee at an event at Entrepreneur Space, the Food Entrepreneur Incubator and Kitchen space in Queens that I've written about in these pages before. Toffee is one of my favorite things and has been since my father used to keep a package of Heath Bars on board his Lighting Sailboat in Rhode Island. It's one of those treats that keeps its crunch in any weather, and it was a hidden delight that would make its appearance on lazy sailing days when the wind was calm and we'd float along in the Sakonnet River. I've actually tried to make it before because it's part of a number of other recipes for crushing and adding to cakes and cookies and toppings and icings, but it takes more patience than I have because the timing and ingredients have to be perfect or it won't have the right consistency.

Stephanie Golden, the CEO of Biggie's Crack Toffee, started making toffee for delicious fun for herself and her friends. Playing around with the recipe and different toppings and discovering that the crunchiest and thinnest pieces closest to the edge of the pan were her favorites, she began making all of the toffee that edge-of-the-pan thinness that creates the perfectly delectable crackly and buttery crunchy goodness of Biggie's. After trying her toffee at the Entrepreneur Space event, I was amazed at how perfect each piece and each flavor was. The taste is divine and the crunch so perfect that anyone from old to young and every age in between can enjoy it. The day that I met her she gave me several types to try, and I have to say that although I am usually a chocolate lover first and foremost, every flavor is so delicious that I couldn't pick a favorite. The ingredients she uses are only the finest, and the combinations of rich goodness in each bite bring joy to each taste. With Biggie's Crack Toffee you simply can't go wrong. My father's Lightning was sold long ago, but it's probably a good thing we didn't have Biggie's on board - with high wind or no, we'd never get any sailing done because we'd be too busy raiding the pantry.

Stephanie Golden, CEO
And Jan Leslie Harding, Vice President
Of Biggie's Crack Toffee
In The Kitchen At Entrepreneur Space

Only The Finest Premium Chocolate

The Finest Pecans Freshly Roasted

Or If You Prefer
Slivered Almonds 

Ground Espresso Beans

Sea Salt

Or Corn Flakes

Spread To The Perfect Consistency
For The Perfect Crackly Crunch


Jannie Susan

Sunday, March 18, 2018

An Abundant Life - Extraordinary Ability

I met Jean-Antoine Norbert after seeing one of his paintings at an exhibit at 107 Bowers Gallery & ArtSpace. I have written about the gallery before, and though it is lovely and always full of great energy, it is a small space and the work of Jean-Antoine Norbert is larger than life. The extraordinary thing about seeing his work there is that though the space was small, the piece did not take over or give a feeling of being overcrowded. That is one of the many magical qualities of Jean-Antoine Norbert's work - though the topics are filled to the brim with meaning and weight and depth, and the pieces can be physically very large, the paintings and sculptures themselves seem somehow full of light and a lighter kind of energy. I met Jean-Antoine after seeing his painting when he gave an artist talk at the gallery, and I videotaped a few short portions of it to post on Instagram. I told him at the time that I'd love to meet to talk about a blog post, but he was busy and traveling and the time wasn't right. But then on another evening at the gallery for another show when we talked again the timing aligned and I made an appointment to visit him in his studio at Mana Contemporary.

That afternoon we talked for some time, and I returned again for the Open Studios a few weeks later. In between he had been showing his work in several galleries and spaces, and also applying for an Extraordinary Ability Visa that he had been sponsored for by someone who knew and greatly respected his work. It is never easy to obtain an Extraordinary Ability Visa, and in the current time we are living in, it has become even harder, but Jean-Antoine Norbert has extraordinary ability, and his work and work ethic show that in everything he does.

In December I attended his birthday celebration, and in the months leading up to the present I saw him at several other events. He is well liked by so many, because he is a great talent who also is humble and a supporter of others. I remember being impressed by the words he spoke when I videotaped him, and his education and knowledge of art runs very deep. But he has an ability to converse and express himself in ways that are accessible and not esoteric - it is a joy to see his work, share time with him and talk because he is always seeking a way to share experience and inspiration, to try new things and explore new ideas. His work is more than excellent, because it is inspired by a spirit that seeks to always find deeper  meaning, and combined with his understanding of his craft and his sensitivity in communicating on every level, his ability becomes something truly extraordinary.

Jean-Antoine Norbert
In His Studio At Mana Contemporary

The Stairs Leading Down
To The Basement Studios At Mana Contemporary
The Work Of Another Artist Are A Fun Contrast
And A Perfect Entrance To This Creative World

With Artist Shane Townley
At The Opening For Shane Townley's Solo Exhibit
At Gallery 104

And Talking With Friends
Outside Of 107 Bowers Gallery & ArtSpace
At The Opening Reception For A Group Show


Jannie Susan