Firehook Bakery & Coffee House abdicated design control for access to thousands of art aficionados

Two years ago, executives at Firehook Bakery & Coffee House, a Chantilly, Va.-based chain of 10 bakery-cafes, made a tradeoff. They gave up the right to decorate their newest restaurant and put their name on the door in exchange for a location that received 170,000 visitors last year.

The restaurant, a 40-seat cafe at The Phillips Collection, a private art museum in Washington, D.C., does indeed have an artistic look. Soft gray walls in the dining area offset deep-red walls in the ordering area. Black-and-white photos of Duncan Phillips, the collector who founded the museum in 1921, and his family adorn the walls, as do prints by Degas and Cezanne. The cherrywood furniture and cabinetry have simple, elegant lines.

An oversize opaque glass lighting fixture illuminates the seating area, which overlooks a sunny sculpture garden featuring works by Ellsworth Kelly and Barbara Hepworth.

Firehook executives weren’t afraid to give up control over the restaurant’s look. “We were comfortable they’d be making good choices,” says Pierre Abushacra, Firehook co-founder and CEO.

A Fresh Start

The plan to open a Firehook cafe at The Phillips Collection began two years ago, when the museum embarked on a three-year, $27 million renovation, which included a new wing. Phillips board members were familiar with Firehook’s reputation: Washingtonian magazine selected Firehook’s bread as the best bread in D.C. So board members originally asked Abushacra to manage an existing cafe, located in the basement of the main building. “I said we’d do it after the new building opened,” he says.

The museum hired architects Cox Graae + Spack of Washington for the renovation and the new wing, both of which house components of the cafe. The serving area, storage and kitchen are in the renovated section, an 1897 Georgian Revival mansion that was Duncan Phillips’ home. The seating area, which overlooks the sculpture garden, is situated in the new space.

Working with Phillips board members, the architects chose colors and furnishings for Firehook that complement the rest of the museum. Phillips uses brick red and dove gray in its marketing materials; coincidentally, so does Firehook. Arts and Crafts-style chairs, tables and cherry-wood cabinetry don’t exactly match the main building’s Victorian look, “but they’re sympathetic to it,” says Don Gregory, associate principal at Cox Graae + Spack. He planned on using furniture by the well-known maker Thos. Moser; however, cost and durability both proved problematic, so he chose another manufacturer.

Gregory’s sole challenge in designing the cafe was figuring out where to put the entrance. All involved favored a street-accessible entrance, but “that was a nonstarter with the community,” he says. “They didn’t want the cafe to be a destination location.” The cafe entrance is located just off the museum entryway and directly across from the museum-shop entrance.

Alas, customers looking for Firehook might face a challenge: While signage inside the cafe boasts the Firehook name and logo, modest lettering in the museum foyer refers to it as “Vradenburg Cafe,” the previous concept in the space. Because the museum won’t allow Firehook to have signage outside the cafe proper, the Vradenburg Cafe sign is there to stay for now.

More for the Money

Because the cafe was part of the renovation, the museum paid for the buildout and the furniture. Firehook supplied the equipment such as coffee urns, display cases, a panini grill, bread oven, and refrigerated and dry storage. Most of the baked goods, salads and sandwiches are made at a central facility in Chantilly and then delivered to the restaurant.

Firehook spent $50,000 on the location; a typical buildout costs between $250,000 and $300,000, according to Abushacra. He expects the cafe to gross $800,000 a year, slightly higher than the average Firehook’s $750,000 annual sales. Because the cafe is run as an independent operation, Firehook had to apply for a business license and is responsible for staffing. Phillips gets an undisclosed percentage of gross sales.

The museum location presents a few challenges for Firehook. First, Abushacra is hiring employees more carefully. After interviews, Firehook brings potential employees to the Phillips to observe their reaction. “We are looking to determine if they have an appreciation for the environment and the art in the building,” he says. Background checks are more stringent, and employees at the Phillips location are issued special badges for access in and out of the building.

Another difference: Phillips Collection has the dubious honor of charging admission in a city where most art museums are free. As a result, it doesn’t get as much traffic as the National Gallery and other free museums in the city. “It’s not your typical museum,” Abushacra says of the Phillips, which specializes in 20th-century and contemporary art.

That may change. With the renovation and with the return of Phillips’ Renoir collection, which just returned from a four-year tour around the world, Firehook expects more visitors to the museum and, therefore, more customers. The first weekend the Renoirs were on display, the museum saw 800 to 1,000 visitors a day.

With any luck, the steady foot traffic will give Firehook another challenge–feeding hoards of hungry art lovers. At least one fan was looking forward to the bakery’s opening: “We know their reputation in terms of food and service,” says Gregory, “and we can’t wait til it’s finally open.”


CONCEPT Firehook Bakery & Coffee House

LOCATION Washington, D.C.

DESIGNER Cox Graae + Spack, Washington, D.C.

OPENING DAY May 5, 2006

AREA 1,800 square feet



UNIT VOLUME $800,000 (company estimate)

EXPANSION PLANS 1 or 2 a year



Morning Glory Muffin: carrot muffin with apples, walnuts, raisins, coconut and spices, $1.35

Turnovers: puff pastry filled with apples or cherries, $1.50


Croque Monsieur: ham, baby Swiss cheese, tomato and mustard on Firehook’s bread, served with a side of mesclun, olives and cornichons, $6.95

Roasted Veggie: eggplant, zucchini, caramelized onions, red peppers and smoked mozzarella, $6.95


Greek Salad: romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomato, kalamata olives, red onions, green peppers, feta and lemon-oregano dressing, served with bread, $6.25


Chocolate Fudge Brownie, $2.25

Bertagnoli, Lisa

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Removing and inserting a rear wheel

Cycling is fun no matter how bad you are. Unlike, say, the life-altering public humiliation of sucking at soft ball, on a bike ride you can fall over 10 times and still finish with a bigger grin than the rest of your friends. Even so, the better you get on a bicycle, the more fun you have–and vice versa. Alison Dunlap, reigning XC World champion, and member of the LUNA Chix Mountain Bike Team, says that having more fun while riding is a simple thing. “There are hundreds of riding techniques and subtleties,” she notes, “but everything you do oalnn a bike can be boiled down to two elements: balance and momentum.”


“When I won the ’99 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, there were all these really tight switchbacks,” Dunlap says. “Riders without good balance were falling down the hill, but I rode them without ever coming off the bike. That was the key to my win.”

First you need to read more about user manual and reviews of the bike. Here are two simple ways to help you how to balance the bike.

1. Learn to track stand.

After 4 or 5 practice sessions of 5 to 10 minutes each, you should be able to trackstand for 20 to 30 seconds. Here’s how: Ride onto a slight incline and slow to a stop.

  1. Level your cranks so they’re horizontal.
  2. Turn the front wheel slightly toward the foot that’s in the 9 o’clock position (the rear foot).
  3. Apply enough pedal pressure to keep from rolling backward, but not so much that you roll forward. (If you do creep up, straighten the handlebar until you roll back.)
  4. Practice maintaining equilibrium between forward and backward momentum.
  5. Use the front brake for more control.
  6. Move to flat terrain when you get good.

2. Ride the narrow.

To pedal steadily atop curbs, parking blocks and painted lines, you need to do all your “steering” with your body instead of the handlebar. This teaches you to balance your bike by shifting your weight from side to side and pointing your hips in the direction you want your bike to go.


The 2000 Olympic mountain biking course in Sydney, Australia, included a section dubbed “the Cauldron,” an immense rock staircase that left little room for mistakes. “If you messed up and fell off the side, you’d drop 12 feet straight down,” says Dunlap. “The stakes were enormous. I hesitated–and walked that section–the first three days of practice.” Dunlap knew she’d have to clear the section in the race, so during the next practice, she followed competitors who were better at descending. “I cleaned it perfectly–on race day, too–because I stopped hesitating.”

Following someone faster–shifting when they shift, changing lines when they do, mimicking their body position–is one of the best ways to put more momentum in your ride. Here are two others:

  1. Start linking moves. When rock climbers perform two simultaneous movements–like springing upward as they grab a new handhold–it’s called a dynamic technique. Good cyclists do the same thing. The most basic example: lifting the front wheel and shifting it to one side while it’s still in the air. Dynamic moves preserve momentum; there’s no break between your actions. Practice linking whatever skills you already possess into new combinations.
  2. Ditch the brakes. Find a trail with at least two consecutive rollers–short, steep rises that don’t put you above 15 mph on the way down. Practice riding up and over without braking. This helps you feel that magic sensation of being pulled along by the trail like a fish in a current–and helps you find that, current.

Making sonotube beautiful transforming a plain cardboard tube into something colorful is easy

PAINT DOESN’T LIKE ME. I think it might even be afraid of me–all I have to do is look at it and it runs. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. But it’s true that, for me at least, one of the most difficult tasks in completing a telescope is giving it an attractive finish. And usually, the most troublesome part is the tube. Luckily, there is a paint-free solution that works great. Last April I mentioned using a model airplane covering called MonoKote, which prompted several readers to ask for more details.

MonoKote ( comes in a veritable rainbow of colors and several styles. The great thing about using it as a tube covering is that you can use it on the ATM’s old standby, concrete-form tubing, even if the tube’s exterior is waxed. But because the material behaves like shrink wrap, any dents or imperfections in the tube will show through, just like with paint. Also, if you choose a light color, you may want to give your tube a quick coat of white paint beforehand to prevent printing on the tube from showing through. Because I’ve used darker, solid colors, I haven’t had to do this.

Applying the material is straightforward, but there are a few tricks that’ll make the process go easier. First, you’ll need to round up a straightedge, hobby knife, and heat gun. The latter is often sold as a paint stripper and it’s essentially an insanely hot hair dryer (a regular hair dryer won’t work). A heat gun will set you back $15 to $30. But chances are a neighbor or friend has one you can borrow.

MonoKote comes in rolled sheets that are 25% inches wide and about 73 inches long (65 by 185 cm). If your high-school math is a bit rusty, the formula for the surface area of your tube is simply the length multiplied by the outside diameter multiplied by pi (L x D x n). You should also add 1/4- to 1/2-inch of material for overlaping seams. A single roll is usually enough for 8-inch and smaller scopes.

Use the straightedge and hobby knife to cut the MonoKote and trim off any clear edges–there’s usually an 1/8 inch or so clear edge at the top and bottom of the roll. Next, peel off the transparent plastic backing to expose the heat-sensitive adhesive. This is the surface that goes against the tube. Take your first piece and lay it on the tube in such away that the ends meet on the opposite side of the tube from the focuser. Although a finished seam is difficult to see, there’s no point it having to look at it every time you use the scope! Temporarily tack the piece in position with short pieces of tape.

Use the heat gun to gently apply heat to the seam. The idea here is to heat the MonoKote enough to activate the adhesive so that the overlapping area sticks together. Once you accomplish this task, remove the tape and apply heat to the entire tube, starting at the seam. Use a slow, sweeping, back-and-forth motion, moving up and down the length of the tube and advancing along its circumference an inch or two after each completed pass. Hold the heat gun two or three inches away from the surface of the tube, and keep moving at a rate of about one inch per second. If you hold the heat gun stationary too long, or hold it too close to the tube, you risk melting a hole in the material.

As you heat the MonoKote, you’ll see it expand and then shrink down to contact the tube as it cools. I have to go over the entire tube three or four times before the material has settled and fully contracted. Don’t worry about wrinkles initially–they usually smooth out when everything cools. You can attack those that remain with the heat gun. If that fails, try reheating the area and smoothing it with your hand, protected with an oven mitt.

Occasionally, you’ll find pockets of air trapped under the plastic surface. You can eliminate these pockets by pricking the bubble with a needle, then reheating the area. And if you should melt a hole in the covering, simply patch it with a small piece of scrap material.

After you’ve completed the job you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful tube that has a durable, high-gloss finish. And unlike paint, MonoKote never runs!


When it comes to the coffee, there are more than a half of people agreeing that this is the best way to encourage their spirit for everyday. It could be claimed that the morning habit of drinking coffee has became the longer and longer trend for people at any ages. Moreover, you could see this drinking in any dietary of people in the time of losing weight. In many research of how to lost weight, along with delicate fitness machine, they add the low-cab dietary into daily meals. Then, according to many weight loss experts, coffee could boost your process faster but less effort. With them, having a cup of coffee every morning fresh their spirit and improve creation ability. Coffee includes a short range of beneficial component for your healthy, especially main functions to shape your body if it is used in the right way. Here are some benefits regarding the coffee for process of weight loss.

1. How coffee is useful for weight loss

Coffee-Weight-LossCoffee is considered as an ideal tool for suppression of appetite and improvement of burning calories. To be specific, caffeine in coffee helps you reduce your desire to eat for a certain moment and not so long. Many people believe that drinking much coffee give them an edge because they do not want to eat anymore after drink it. However, it does not mean you should use it continuously to limit the appetite because over-limitation of caffeine will damage your health. This could be a contemporary method.

In addition, caffeine is used to simulate the process of thermogenesis. It is the way for your body to generate heats and energy from metabolizing food; as the result, the calorie burning is faster. In other ways, caffeine acts as a diuretic that causes us to have water-loss thus there will have a temporary decrease in our body weight.

2. Coffee boost your metabolism

A lot of researches have shown that during the metabolism, caffeine boosts this process smoothly and allows you to burn fat. The reason is that when ingesting caffeine, it will boost the process of lipolysis, which allows your body break down fat stores to convert it into energy. After all, the fatty acids will be reduced and improve the metabolic process quickly.

More importantly, to succeed in the process of weight-loss, the healthy website suggest drinking coffee black when you are in empty stomach with in moderation amount. As their research, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and hence increases the metabolism. However, they also remind that cautions against drinking coffee while consuming carbohydrates. To be concluded, if you drink coffee while eating carbohydrates, the fat burning will be overridden by the insulin that is produced right in your body. It must be the effects of caffeine.

3. Coffee is helpful to your fitness

fitness-coffeeUpon the diet research, coffee or caffeine is seen as the great tool to lose weight in efficient way. It is powerful anti-oxidant that plays crucial role of your recovery from overall immune health and doing exercises. Coffee encourages you with a mental edge and helps you greater concentration.

Coffee is highly considered for many reasons in which generates energy for your body. Caffeine as a stimulant, allows you to perform various tasks for a longer time.  Researchers have explained that with small amount caffeine, you could get energy at % 100 percentages during your fitness. It means giving your 100% in the gyms and making the result more quickly.

4. Other Benefits

Coffee will suppress your appetite hence it is more important for coffee drinkers to maintain a healthy diet and add more water a day. However, there are many people drinking so much coffee that they skip meals. Thus, to fill up their stomach and supply body with enough energy, they overeat later or even cut back on their water and eat more snacks or unhealthy foots. Fastfood could be an example and this kind of food have you fat so fast. Thus, while drinking coffee, it is necessary to keep the main meals like breakfast and consume more water to have your body full energy.

The opponents said that different people have reactions to caffeine in different ways thus, for somebody drinking a cup of coffee to get all hopped up for many hours. Others many cups of coffee all day long with little effect. Therefore, according to needs and balance of each person, you could modify the amount of coffee added into meals every day. If you do not regularly ingest so much caffeine, a couple hundred milligrams are likely to help you get awesome effects. You could start at amount of 100 milligrams and then up your intake to 200 milligrams. It is possible to increase gradually the amount of caffeine intake to adjust your body balance.

Warnings: Coffee is awesome but be careful


  • To have successful result of weight-loss, you should avoid have caffeine with sugary or high-calorie drinks like milk or sweeten milk. It is better if you just stick black coffee.
  • Remember not to take so much caffeine: it is because so much caffeine is harmful to your health. This will cause your heart race, making you feel jittery and so on. Moreover, taking so much caffeine a day could distract mind and lose your focus. Thus, you do not overdose if you start with small amount of coffee intake to see how your body reacts before taking more.
  • It is better to have doctor guide if you are pregnant or have heart problems, even high heart-pressure.
  • Caffeine somehow is a stimulant. Consequently, taking it allows you to beat up on some certain systems of your body. Thus, if you suddenly stop using after having consistently, you will see non–efficient result like digesting system or headaches… For all reason, make sure of that do not get addicted to this drinking if you do not have ability to monitor changes of it.

In conclusion, as in your usage way, coffee will be useful or harmful for your health. However, please remember that a cup of coffee with moderation amount in the morning is always helpful for your mind and spirit. To have careful guide line and how to add caffeine intake to your body could make you succeed in weight loss process.



starbucks-coffeeThe appearance and development of coffee market tightly stick to the development of our humankind. From a long time ago, people have known how to enjoy drinking coffee for their inspiration through light milk coffee, star buck and different kinds of this delicate spice. That is the reason why the density of coffee house is seen popular everywhere over the world. The Take away coffee is the latest trend for the younger nowadays for its convenience and unique delicacy. It is very easy to see a cup of cappuccino on street pub when you are on the walk. This sense also generates a sensitive sight for street that you overpass.

As the successful story, starbuck story is an example of turning a passion for coffee into a successful business. Just starting from a small coffee shop in Seattle, the business venture becomes a global marketing phenomenon. The discovery of this successful story is derived from the importance of passion for an excellent product and the way to extend new experience for drinkers. That great idea generates the story of Starbuck Company found by Howard Schultz.


From the decades of 90s Howard Schultz who is the Starbucks Coffee Co. leader now travelled around Seattle and found a lot of differences. Starbuck established from a small store comfortably serviced a large amount of people in the area in spite of economic difficulties. What makes Starbuck different from any stores is the passion and sharing of knowledge about coffee of founders. Consequently, in this area, Starbuck became the most popular with the Seattle coffee crowd. One difference we had from Starbuck is the way it educated its customers on the various blends of coffees. Above all, Starbucks was stressed by its America tasting and bland coffee.

One more reason why Howard Schultz chose coffee as his main product to develop is through his trip in Italian. He realized that coffee drinking should be part of a Community’s social life. The most important is supply customers the places where coffee is always available and tasteful; the places where one can sit, sip coffee and interact with others, their friends or even strangers. It could be claimed that, the coffee community makes people get closer. However, in that time, the experience of drinking coffee is not plentiful and that explained why he wanted to find out the new experience of coffee like espresso and so on for everyone to enjoy.


Starbucks-driveAfter a long travel to discover coffee and a new experience of this ideal drinking, Howard decided to put up his own company at the first start of developing espressos across Seattle. Espresso is one kind of coffees, being perfectly mixed by coffee and milk at the moderate amount. This has been a popular drinking from the years of 90s until now. He sold espresso coffee and built up Coffee bars in the United States. He turned this into a novel phenomenon, bringing the great success to him. During the time of running his business, his passion for coffee drove him to the success what brought him over the hump.

According to his sharing of coffee success, the key to it all was the crucial belief in that the business must be sound and successful. This is also where your passion comes. It could be concluded that the belief and love for the coffee business is the most preferred for everyone to making the business success.

The successful business was also obtained for the entrepreneurship of Shultz and his partners who have the same passion and target to produce wonderful results. It is also from the ability of Howard to foresee the future and believe in destiny that makes him decide good things.


To develop and run the company for a long time is not a simple task. During the time to extending the market and developing his company, Howard stood at many difficulties like troubles of employees. However, with open eyes, he still acted his dream to drive more and more people having same the love to coffee espresso.

In hope of opening stores all over the United States for certain years, Howard had great attempt in both soul and time to creating jumping steps of coffee in this time. It means that they have to change from the old idea to a fresh concept of drinking coffee for Starbuck. With new experience from Starbuck, it offers drinkers resonance and benefits as seductive as: a comfortable emotion, an affordable luxury, a taste of romance and certainly casual social interaction.

For the last experience of social interaction: Starbucks support valuable results in both the communities where it sets up stores and in countries where its espresso is grown. By September 1995, Starbucks came up with the commitment “Do Our Part” which displays their beliefs and aspirations as well as a set of specific short-term commitments for improving the life quality in coffee countries. The more social the company is, the more active and passionate customers grab from coffee’s source.



Pure your heart into COFFEE: Schultz has achieved his success that is well-known over the world with his heart, passion, commitment. It is also considered that Starbuck comes from the enthusiasm of many dedicated people who have great contribute to its fame. Starbucks could be said that there is not only money but also inspiration pursuing the dreams of coffee. Thanks for those they have been encouraged to lead business with new and fresh discovery of drinking coffee. This new experience allows audiences to enjoy their coffee in a completely different way with many colors. They are people who send their desire and passion for coffee to drinkers, making cups of coffee greater.

On the other hands, coming from the effort of not only a person, victory is the achievement of effort and contribution of many people. Howard Schultz has succeeded in not his business of coffee chain but sharing his passion and knowledge of coffee to everyone including his customers. As he said that “your success must come from many factors. Above all, your passion to it is the most important. With me, the same result”, coffee is always the great inspiration through his life.


Coffee is your love, your passion? It does not means that coffee brings you certain benefits and you see them as your love. It is right. With me, drinking coffee becomes daily habit and makes fresher to create something new. I have read in a story, they said that Life is a cup of coffee. So, today I will discuss about the coffee and benefits we have from it.


Why life is a cup of coffee?

The answer for this question “what is life?” could be different because of various aspects. Moreover, the answer depends on each person and their life experience. With someone, this identification of LIFE sounds so complicated because to go on in this life, there will have many and many difficulties to face. And with the rest, the simple answer is “Life is just a cup of coffee”. This becomes from a story. In a university class, there is an exchange between students and the professor. When discussing about the life and work to direct their future career, they had different ideas of stress in work and in life. To start his own story and discussion, the professor went to the kitchen and took a large pot of coffee an assortment of cups from glass, plastic, crystal and so one. In them, there are some cups looking luxurious, expensive or exquisite. Afterwards, he asked all students have their own cup of coffee in their hands.

He directed their eyes to the cup of coffee and said “just have a notice, you could realize that expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While you figure out that the reason of problems and stress is from awareness what the best is for yourselves. Life finally is like the coffee. And jobs, money or career position in you socials is as cups. It does mean that you take an expensive cup you could enjoy the best coffee. Sometimes, by focusing just on the cup, you will have the right cup of coffee. So, do not let the cups drive you but enjoy it instead”.

It is simple to understand that like a cup of coffee, our life is sometime very easy to understand how it works and what you need to focus before taking anything.

Benefits of coffee for a successful person should not passed


  • Coffee is helpful for your physical activity: as in health aspect, coffee is added to your blood stream and acts as fuel allowing the part smoothly to move through the body. It also increases the level adrenaline in your body and improves your physical ability. Thus, it enhances your physical performance. With a moderate amount like a cup of coffee an hour before you have the gym; it will encourage you to have full workout in the better way.
  • As the first reason, coffee improves your physical and mental workout, preventing you from health risks. Diabetes is one of stark examples. Many studies have concluded that thanks for coffee, diabetics are likely to die from the disease. Especially, coffee works against cardiovascular disease, helping you have strong heart and work as normal.
  • Coffee is used to work against brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. it is explained that the caffeine in coffee does not allow adenosine to act in your brain, being an inhibitory of blooding transmit through body and brain. Therefore, the brains have full function at significant level. Also, moderate amount of coffee helps you improve reaction time, keep memory in a long time and general thinking function of brain.
  • One of awesome benefits from coffee is reducing depression. As in some recent studies, drinking several cups of coffee will save you more. It keeps your spirit high and less depressed. Of course, the result is to enjoy fresh feelings, which prolongs your life in the future. The happier you are more comfortable and pleasant you get from the life. Coffee brings you happier and relaxing moments. It could be the key of your success. More importantly, this could be seen as the method for you to keep weight loss. Drinking coffee helps you with more fat-burning supplements, thus the metabolic system is faster, burning more calories for your body. As the result, your weight loss process will be shorten and more effective.
  • Fresh and happy spirit as well as healthy body supplies you with a body of full energy. For that, you will certainly get high achievement when taking task in the company. Hence, you could earn more money.

In the end, improve your life means that improve your cup of coffee. I’m addicted to the coffee so much and the passion for it is endless. Life is just a cup of coffee, thus see everything simpler than ever. Besides, drinking coffee bring you a healthy life with a moderate amount to make sure not of harm.

Pressure washers are a must for the professional operator

For a detailer today a pressure washer is essential. It is no longer a luxury item. Most savvy detailers have learned that pressure washers will save time and increase profits.

Without question, I believe that every detail shop must have a pressure washer to perform professional detailing work.

According to an informal survey that I have conducted with freestanding and mobile detailers, more than 60 percent of them have pressure washers or are planning on purchasing them. This would make pressure washers one of the most used pieces of equipment behind buffers and vacuums.

If you have one, you know that it is a relatively simple piece of equipment. It includes a motor, a pump to move the water through the hose and a nozzle that increases the speed of the water as it escapes, providing much of the force with which the water hits the surface of the car or engine.


The operational concept of a pressure washer is simple: Water is forced through a small space (nozzle tip), and under the pressure, the stream of water strikes a surface with a cleaning chemical applied previously.

Pressure washers are available in either direct-drive or belt-driven models. They can utilize cold or hot water with pressures ranging from about 1,000 psi to more than 40,000 psi. In the detail business, we would never use more than a 2,500 psi pressure washer. In fact, the most common systems operate at about 1,000 to 1,500 psi maximum.

The pressure washer can be operated by gasoline, diesel, propane or electric power and can be either single or three phase.

There are many different choices as indicated above, and what determines the type of pressure washer a detailer will use depends on several factors:

  • Operating from a mobile or fixed location
  • Availability of electric power (some fixed locations do not have three-phase power)
  • Detailer’s preference for hot or cold water, and
  • Detailer’s preference for electric or fuel power.

Prices for best electric pressure washer are as varied as the choice of models. While there are home-type units you can purchase for less than $200, I would not even consider this type for even a small detail operation. These units are not designed or built for constant, everyday, commercial use. They are for homeowners who occasionally want to wash the house or driveway. I can tell you from experience this type of system will burn out in less than a month if used in a detail operation.

The cost for a good commercial-grade pressure washer will run from $1,000 for a portable, gasoline-powered, cold water unit to more than $4,000 for a portable, heated electric unit.

There are also remote-mounted electrical units that you can mount in an equipment room; then you can simply run the pressure hose out to your wash bay area. These units are usually three-phase but are available in single-phase.

If you want heated water, the most efficient way to get it is to use a natural gas, wall-mounted “instant-heat” unit. These are similar in concept to the instant hot water systems available on household sinks.

The price for remote-mounted pressure washers, including hose boom, 25-foot hose, gun and gun holder, will run $3,000 and up. The natural gas heater will run about another $1,500.

Making the selection

When looking for a pressure washer you need to do your homework in so far as your use patterns are concerned. First, determine how many hours a day you will be operating the pressure washer. Next, decide on how many gallons per minute (gpm) you will want and the pressure. As mentioned, in a detail shop the norm may be 3 gpm at about a maximum of 1,500 psi.

Let me mention the “power factor” of a pressure washer. This is a simple calculation, but sometimes a misleading measure of a pressure washer’s performance. It often leads a prospective buyer to think that both pressure (psi) and flow rate (gpm) contribute equally to performance. In actuality, pressure is less significant than flow rate when it comes down to the performance of a pressure washer. You can better measure performance by using what is called “impact force.”

Impact force is calculated by the volume of water thrown at the surface varied by the pressure at which it is being moved. You can calculate this by multiplying the flow rate by the pressure to give an overall power rating.

It is easy to determine how much power a pressure washer has. Every machine will provide a flow rate and pressure capacity. The higher these numbers are, the higher the impact force and the higher the energy available.

The numbers are important but you should not choose a pressure washer based only on the flow rate and pressure capacity, however, because the psi can be overrated. You should also consider if the drive motor’s horsepower is high enough to provide the flow rate.

The engine manufacturers use the following formula to determine what’s necessary to drive a pressure washer: psi x gpm divided by 1,460 x 1.5.

Using this formula, a 3,000 psi pressure washer at 3.5 gpm would require a 10.7-hp engine to operate efficiently. Unfortunately, some pressure washer manufacturers build and sell machines with engines that are too small to perform over the long haul.

Misuse by the detailer

Keep in mind that the impact force of a pressure washer will be affected by where the detailer stands in relation to the surface of the vehicle he or she is cleaning. If the detailer shoots a stream directly perpendicular to the side of a vehicle, peak cleaning energy will be expended, but little will be accomplished. However, aiming the stream at a 25-degree angle to the surface will substantially increase effectiveness.

Detailers should also be aware of the benefits of chemical injectors and heated water.

On vehicles that have buildups of grease, oil, or oil mixed with dirt, hot water pressure washers are a necessity to speed up the job.

Water temperatures in hot water units can reach as high as 210 F. How hot is that? Water boils at 212 F. Or better yet, when 140 F water contacts human skin, serious burns can result.

Belt or direct-drive units

As mentioned earlier, you must know and understand the difference between belt and direct drive.

On direct-drive machines the pumps are bolted to the engines, making them lighter in weight with a longer life expectancy than the belt-driven units.

It is estimated that a direct-drive machine can increase efficiency from 10 percent to 15 percent. For example, what you can do with a 5-hp, direct-drive pressure washer would require a 7-hp to 8-hp belt-driven unit. Cutting the connections between the drive source and the water pump will translate into a shorter distance and greater engine efficiency.

Direct-drive pressure washers are also lighter and a better choice for mobile detail operations. For example, many expensive belt-driven pressure washers weigh in at more than 150 pounds, while a 3 gpm/1,500 psi direct-drive model might weigh less than 100 pounds.

This is not a one-sided story. There are benefits to using belt-driven units. One of them is durability.

Belt-driven pressure washers connect the engine to the pump shaft by a belt and generally outlive direct drives. They are much more robust machines and will last longer because the drive has less wear on the pump.

One of the biggest users of pressure washers are rental yards. Which units are used there? You got it, belt-driven pressure washers. They are the choice because they are less susceptible to engine vibration and will last longer.

Looking at accessories

In the past there wasn’t much more available than the hose, gun and hose boom, if used in a fixed location. Today, there are numerous accessories available, but many are not applicable to the detailing business. Here are some of the accessories:

  • Brush attachments
  • Foaming brush attachments
  • Rotating models with an array of tips and nozzles
  • Telescoping extensions, and
  • Floor-cleaning units.

As mentioned, detailers have little use for many of these attachments. However, the most important accessory to emerge recently has been the rotary nozzle, also called the “turbo nozzle.” This device improves the efficiency of the pressure washer by concentrating the effort in one area.

This also increases the cleaning power by spinning a 0 degree jet of water in a conical pattern. It cleans with the force of a direct stream of water (0 degree nozzle), but gives the coverage of a wider degree fan nozzle.

As mentioned earlier, impact force is affected by the type of tip used. Tips will range from 0 degrees to 40 degrees, the latter being designed to spread a broad swipe of water across the surface. As the spray angle increases, the cleaning energy on the surface decreases.

To clean an engine might take 10 or 15 minutes with a standard nozzle tip. With a rotary nozzle, the same job can be completed in five minutes in some cases.

Removing caked-on brake dust from a wheel is always a challenging task. But the rotary nozzle can help in terms of reducing the time and hand labor required.


While I have attempted to give you as much information as possible about pressure washers and how they work and what to look for, I am certain that more could be said on the subject.

When choosing a pressure washer don’t forget to do your homework. Spend some time doing the math.

If I can be of any help, please give me a call at 800-284-0123.

Joe Sipowicz is product and production engineer for Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. Sipowicz’s background includes 20 years in the retail business, including several years as operator and general manager of two auto detail centers. Today Sipowicz is in charge of all technical services for Detail Plus, which includes the development and setup of detail centers, training and customer service problems.

Let’s growing up with your children

If you have truly had a desire to teach your child to ride a two-wheeler so that they can experience the “wind in their hair” and the independence of riding alone, then you know what I mean. I have done everything I knew – the traditional method, the training wheels method, the towel method – but it was only the Balance Bike that finally solved the problem. It is significant for little children who are finding the joy of riding a bike, how to use balance bikes. A balance bike is referred to as a run bike. This is actually a training bike which assists children learn and balance and steer. This bike has not pedals, no training wheels and no crank set and chain. It can just be the usual bicycle with pedals and other parts. It can be built for the purpose of young children. It can be usual bike or it can have two hand activated brakes. Balance are famous.

The little kids, girls and boys require training first before they can get on little ladies bicycle and the little boys bicycle. The have to learn first prior to joining the BMX games.

The variant of this type of bike is the velocipede. It was invented by Karl and it is the earliest form of the two wheeler minus the pedals. Drais was a German inventor. He invented the running machine that is known as Velocipede. It had the two wheeler principle that is fundamental to the bike and motorcycle. It started the advent of mechanized personal transport. There has been a sea change with the wooden balance bikes and metal balances with the introduction of the Like a Bike that is a German product.

The type of bike has several purposes. Everyone who is aware of riding a bike knows that the most cumbersome aspect of learning is how to ride the bicycle is how to balance it. For a little kid, to have mastery over the art of pedalling and balancing at the same time can be a bit frustrating. This is how the idea of balance bike comes in.

  • Kids can have control over their actions and it makes the children safe
  • Enables children to hone skills at their own time and pace
  • Teaches children importance of balancing, steering skills and active co-ordination
  • Motivates children to know the important bike riding skills once they are totally confident.

Several parents believe that moving from a balance bike to a regular bike can be fast and easy for their children. A kid who is able to get the balance, coordination and steering skills can see the genuine bike as total fun and a natural step in the process. Balance bikes can be an alternative that is worth taking into consideration for several families.

There are several benefits that this type of bike can provide. You can start the children young. Several bikes are there for children who are two years younger or more. Some are there for children who are young as 18 months. Ensure that the seat is quite low for a kid to be able to reach the ground with their feet.

It gives confidence. The children will not be afraid of falling due to the fact that they can touch their feet with the ground. Another nice benefit of the balance bike is that it makes the children independent. Children become totally free and independent because they can drive around without any need of stabilizers that are troublesome. They would not feel unsteady and bad. You will see that the children learn fast to your surprise. Your kids will be able to move with you for an instant move to the store.

One more advantage of the balance bikes is that it ensures safety. Stopping a balance bike is quite easy. Children can drag their feet in order to slow themselves down and arrive at a fast and easy stop. Every child has his or hers own control. The saddle is made low so that the rider can reach the floor with ease in a crouching position.

The balance bike gives you great exercise. The children will be given a good workout with the balance bike. They can burn some calories and additional energy. The children can develop natural balance. It is quite natural for children to get things that their friends possess.

Do not worry if your kid needs a strider balance bike just like his or her friend. He has seen several benefits from it. Moving to a standard bike will be much easy. You will notice that there is no requirement for training wheels because their balance will be gradually developed.

Balance bike is perfect for walking children. The balance bikes are often called run-bikes. They are not that stable as other foot on floor on automobiles and so are best for toddler who walk nicely and also older children.

Children can enjoy balance bikes till they are riding a pedal version of their own. The balance and body position is needed to ride a balance bike and same is needed for a pedal bike. The feet of your child are planted on the ground in balance bike. Several of the kids have begun riding balance bikes and have easy transition to pedal bikes than those never having played with a balance bike.

The balance bikes are available with a steel or wooden frame and a choice of foam, rubber or pneumatic tyres. Most of them have adjustable seats so that they will fit the kids over a broad age and size range. Some models have extra bells and brakes.

The things you have to consider when choosing a balance bike for your kid is the age and size of your child.


A New Leaf for A Good Life

Forget lettuce. Salad should be an improvisation, a riot of greens, herbs, peas, shoots, and edible flowersless an opening act than a main event.

The anise hyssop plant that my wife and I were given one weekend at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, lasted less than six months. During our return trip to New York, we cared for it as if it were a petwatering it, keeping it upright in the car, bringing it inside with us for lunch if the parking lot looked too hot. As soon as we reached our weekend cottage in the Catskills, we planted it in one of the four raised beds I’d built. It didn’t survive the winter. Instead, it jumped.


I give credit to the bees and the breeze: A seed made its way to the corner of another bed, where it found exactly the sun and water it wanted. It flourished, which presented us with a problem. What do you do with so much anise hyssop? We steeped the leaves to make tea (the plant is native to North America and is known as a gentle cure-all), tore it into a garnish for grilled lamb, and made it into a cocktail with simple syrup, club soda, lemon juice, and a splash of gin. Anise hyssop tastes like dusty mint, a flavor less powerful than it is distinctive; it’s so unusual, you need only a little bit to make an impact. One afternoon, I added a few leaves to a salad. I thought it might be interesting.

It was stunning.

The heart-shaped hyssop leaves transformed a bowl of greens from a pretty side course into a dish with so much personality that it became a topic of household conversation. Part of me thought, Really? We’re talking about salad? But another part of me wondered what other overlooked plants might find a place in that bowl. That summer I harvested pea shoots, baby sorrel, the yellow blossoms of wild arugula that went to flower, fennel fronds when they were still pale and soft and tasted sweet. The radishes were sad that year, but their greens were tender and peppery. Every salad became an improvisation. Sometimes the flavors were explosive, sometimes teasingly subtle. By the height of the season, I wasn’t even bothering with lettuce. I thought I was just messing around, getting to know my garden; it turns out I was making a field salad.

“A mesclun salad was really a field salad,” Alice Waters told me recently, remembering the first time she came across one in Nice in the sixties. “They snipped whatever was growing in the fields that day and brought it to the market in a kerchief. You just picked up a handful and put it on the scale.” She explained that you never knew what was going to be in the mix that week, what flavors you were going to find. Every time it was a surprise.

There are no surprises in today’s boxed or bagged mesclun, a supermarket composition that has become so uniform, and so universal, it’s more like a franchise than a salad. It’s always the same combination of bland, hardy lettuces (one red to justify the price) because a jumble of ten or 20 different kinds, each with its own life cycle, wouldn’t last long on the shelf.

I never set out to rethink supermarket mesclun or re-create what Waters found in Nice. I wasn’t trying to follow anybody else’s path. Instead, I was figuring out what strange flavors I could foster in our short Catskills growing season. The following year, I planted chervil, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, italiko rosso, and Russian kale. A neighbor just back from Japan gave us packets of seeds, one of which was shiso (I recognized the drawing), the rest botanical mysteries. I planted them too. I tasted one of the clovers behind the cottage and identified it as wood sorrel. That year, purslane was the It plant at New York City green markets, and I realized that Manhattanites were paying good money for what I had been weeding from my garden beds.

Soon every salad I made was a riot of flavors and textures. Even though I knew what went into the bowl, I didn’t know what was going to be in each bite. I wasn’t in controlnobody is in control of a field salad. Every weekend I harvested what we had and wondered what I was going to find next.

There are two ways to dress a field salad: Go light or go heavy.

Christopher Kostow, the chef of Meadowood in Napa Valley and one of two California chefs (Thomas Keller is the other) to be awarded three Michelin stars, is delicate with his purslane. (He favors the French word pourpier and uses two kinds, Golden Goldberg and Red Gruner.) “Some of it we just grab from wherever, as it grows everywhere,” Kostow told me. “Some we cultivate in the greenhouse to be able to control the size a bit more. For me, the thickness really determines how much acid it needs. The small, wispy stuff doesn’t need much, as it wilts pretty quick and has a great minerality to it.” Kostow dresses his purslane with a vinaigrette made with pickled limes from the Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley and serves it with lamb baked in Calistoga clay.

Purslane’s crunchy leaves have a pleasantly lemony taste, but the more mature plants have spindly stems that call for a little denaturing. Usually I’ll dress the plant separately and drizzle it with vincotto (sweet, syrupy, and made with grape must), then add the leafy greens on top. Since purslane stands up to strong flavors, I’ll sometimes add slices of nectarines or plums, a pinch of sea salt, some toasted hazelnuts, a little blue cheese if there’s any around.

It’s a good salad to have in the arsenal. Because almost any kind of fruit, nut, and strong cheese will do, it adapts to what you have on hand. One summer, my wife and I were spending the weekend with friends in Brookhaven, New York, and I noticed some purslane growing between the flagstones by their pool. “Want me to make a salad?” I asked.

Kostow uses richer flavors with red and green orache, which have arrow-shaped leaves that taste like seasoned spinach. At Meadowood, he serves them with lardo and caviar warmed over a fire as a part of the 20-course tasting menu. Carlo Mirarchi, the chef at Roberta’s (the ascendant Brooklyn restaurant that was one of the pioneers of urban gardening) and Blanca (which earned its first Michelin star shortly after its opening, in 2012), also plays with stronger dressings. “A lot of people consider leafy vegetables to be a light flavor, but you can get some deep flavors that make them as satisfying as anything else out there,” Mirarchi told me. “There are a lot of ways to think about vinaigrettes. Like, I love nut milk. Nut milks can take on a good amount of acid. Use whatever you want Banyuls vinegar, lemon juiceand some olive oil. It thickens almost like a buttermilk.” Mirarchi makes his own nut milks for his dressing, but then he would; you can use a shortcut and buy them fresh. (Try Organic Avenue in New York City.)

Sometimes Mirarchi will dress a salad, then dot it with a quick salsa verde made out of shiso, garlic, white balsamic, and olive oil, so that the tiny, explosive touches of flavor play off the strong flavors of dogtooth violet or chrysanthemum or celery-like lovage. Or he’ll sneak in fruit: green strawberries, ripe strawberries, huckleberries, blueberries, ground cherries, persimmon. Roberta’s has a fig tree that Mirarchi drags indoors during the winter, and in the late summer he will freeze ripe figs for an hour, then shave them over the salad with a microplane rasp. “It gets fig flavor everywhere,” he said.

These are strange combinations, bright and herbaceous flavors you find on the other side of the spectrum from pork belly, 21-day aged burgers, and the other meaty, chest-thumping dishes that are understandably popular right now. Anise hyssop, purslane, orache, lovage? Not macho. But they’re originalat least they are at this moment in foodand they will dazzle even the most seasoned palate: They remind you that there are still flavors out there you have yet to experience.

“When you have a salad like that, it’s like you’re some woodland creature jumping around eating all this weird stuff,” Mirarchi told me. “It’s really fun, and it gets you excited to have your next course.”

If the ideal shelter-magazine kitchen garden is as crisp and stylized as a new haircut, the garden outside the house that Madeleine Fitzpatrick shares with Evan Shively north of Point Reyes Station, California, is what happened to your hair after a motorcycle ride on the coastal highway in the sixties, before the helmet laws. It’s not so much overgrown as it is untamed, a sensual bounty. You want to run your hands through it.

Many of the plants look like weeds, which is exactly the idea. “I teach the plants to become wild again,” says Fitzpatrick, who worked at the Farallones Institute in Sonoma County in the eighties (it’s now called the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center), when it supplied Chez Panisse and other Bay Area restaurants. “I encourage things to become a weed, because they’re all weeds somewhere in the world. MAcentsche is a weed.” She lets some plants go feral, saves the seeds of others, and takes note of which ones play well together. “There are some plants that are happier around other plants, and you’re not sure what plants they’re happier around until they let you know. There’s always a mystery in the garden, which I love, but it’s a cultivated garden, so there’s some control.”

Fitzpatrick grows hundreds of different plants (though she’s never stopped to count), many with names so fanciful they sound made-upbuckhorn plantain, curly mallow, Iranian cress, oxalis, red-veined dock, salad burnet, smallage. (When I asked her to try an inventory, she sent me a list of more than 100 she uses in salads before signing off, “Believe it or not, there are more, but I’m pooped.”) We tried to remember what was in the salad she made for a dinner at her house last year, but we kept losing our way. Were there 35 different plants? More, probably. It was a good year for the garden.

Shively puts it more succinctly: He calls it the What the Fuck Did I Just Eat? salad. Fitzpatrick and Shively have emeritus status in the food world, as former professionals who did the heavy lifting during the Bay Area culinary revolutions of the eighties and nineties. (Shively was at Oliveto shortly after it opened, worked in the kitchen at Postrio during the go-go nineties, and then became cochef at Manka’s Inverness Lodge.) Now they cook mostly for their friendsand receiving a dinner invitation means instantly clearing your schedule. When I was at their house last year, the other guests included chefs, artists, writers, patrons: Susie Tompkins Buell, the philanthropist; Russell Chatham, the writer and painter; David Kinch, the chef of Manresa; Pim Techamuanvivit, the jam-maker and food writer; Michael Tusk, the chef of Quince. The house, which is two metal barracks joined by a two-story tropical greenhouse with a restaurant-grade kitchen, is in the empty hills that rise behind Tomales Bay. It’s a stunning drive, and lonely.

First we had pizzas outside from Shively’s wood-burning oven, maybe eight different kinds. After it was too dark to see, we went into the kitchen and snacked on steamed spot prawns, striped bass tartare with salted lemon, chilled mussels with absinthe mayonnaise, steelhead roe with chervil and crA[umlaut]me fraA[R]che. Then we sat down for dinner.

The salad course arrived in tall, unruly piles. The house rule: You eat it with your fingers. “It allows you to eat the salad a leaf at a time, or to combine specific flavors, in a way that a fork does not,” Fitzpatrick told me. If you need a utensil, she said, try chopsticks.

What were we eating with our fingers? Some flowers (variegated nasturtium; calendula; cherry and pear blossoms), herbs (five kinds of basil; two kinds of chives; golden marjoram; tarragon; mint tips; silver thyme), small, sweet cooking greens (beet leaves; four kinds of chard; five kinds of kale), and many, many other leaves, stems, and pods.

Cataloging them is useless; it’s like trying to identify what individual instruments are playing when the orchestra warms up. At some point, a field salad stops being a saladit’s a brain-twister, it’s a foreign country, it’s memory. The flavors are so vivid you almost see them as you taste them. Soon we were as silent as woodland creatures at Evan and Madeleine’s table, eating all this weird stuff with our fingers. It was just part of the meal, a course between courses, but none of us wanted it to end.

Food facts: home truths about healthy eating


Study after study shows that you’re running on empty when you wake up in the morning. As Donna Hennyey says, “you wouldn’t jump in your car and go on a big trip without a full gas tank.” So why would you even consider starting your day without a good breakfast?

Break away from the expected, and eat leftovers from last night’s dinner. Pizza, a tuna melt or leftover roast chicken are just as nutritious in the morning as they were the night before. Or throw a banana, yoghurt and orange juice in the blender, accompanied by cream cheese on toast. Grain products like muffins, whole-wheat toast or enriched cereals are not only convenient, but also rich in iron and fibre.

The key is to “include at least three out of the four food groups,” recommends dietician Sheryl Conrad, communications manager for the National Institute of Nutrition.


If you’re sodium-sensitive, too much salt or other sodium in your diet could put you at risk of developing high blood pressure. Because all the sodium you need is available in ordinary foods, Health and Welfare Canada recommends we reduce our use of this mineral. It’s a component of most cheeses as well as most processed, cured, pickled and canned foods. Avoid using salt on food, and, if you know you’ve got to watch your sodium intake, read labels on all packaged foods. Some mineral waters, for instance, contain sodium even though they don’t taste salty,


Strictly speaking, caffeine is not a food. It’s a chemical found in coffee, tea, chocolate and milk as well as many drugs. It acts as a stimulant, increasing alertness and raising blood pressure. In excess amounts, caffeine can cause heartburn or indigestion, increase the rate of calcium loss from bone (a serious side effect if you’re suffering from osteoporosis) and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease. Health and Welfare Canada therefore recommends no more than four cups of regular coffee daily.


alcohol-and-disease1Alcohol in moderation is not harmful, but it has no nutritive value either. Health and Welfare Canada therefore recommends that your diet include no more than five per cent of your daily calories as alcohol, or two drinks daily, whichever is less. Avoid it entirely if you’re pregnant, because researchers don’t know the safe level during pregnancy. And because it actually dehydrates your body, don’t use it as a thirst quencher during hot weather. Replenish your body fluid with water, fruit or vegetable juice or milk.



Organic fruits and vegetables, which are considerably more expensive than non-organic produce, have been grown from soil that has not been treated with pesticides or chemicals for at least three years. But there’s nothing to stop the farmer in the field next door to an organic farm from using pesticides on his or her crops. In fact, there’s no official regulatory process to protect consumers of organic products and no standard definition of “organic.”

There are no additives, preservatives or coloring in fresh Canadian meat. Although low levels of antibiotics are sometimes given to livestock to control or prevent disease, the antibiotics are stopped for a period before slaughter so the meat is clear of it, says the Canadian Dietetic Association. Since animals naturally produce hormones, there’s no such thing as hormone-free meat. However, hormones are given to some livestock to add to the animal’s natural hormone production, to promote growth and to reduce the fat content of the meat.

Additives, preservatives and coloring found in packaged or canned foods have been stringently tested for safety by Health and Welfare Canada. Though you should try to use fresh food as much as possible, don’t hesitate to use packaged foods to add convenience to your nutritional intake. After all, if the only way you’re going to eat a salad is with salad dressing and you don’t have time to make it, “it’s time to consider using bottled dressing,” advises dietician/nutritionist Rosie Schwartz. It’ll make the salad taste better and you’ll get the nutritional benefits of the fresh vegetables.”


It depends. “Light” soy sauce can be low in sodium; “light” olive oil is light in color; other products could be light in alcohol, texture, taste, fat or calories. Furthermore, one “light” product isn’t necessarily the same as another. One company’s “light” cheese slices have a seven per cent milk fat content, for instance, while another company’s “light” cheese has 16 per cent. Says the National Institute of Nutrition’s Conrad: “Whenever you see ‘light’ on a label, read further to find out why they’re making this claim.”


This label means that the food has no more than three mg of dietary cholesterol per 100-gram serving, and that it’s low in saturated fats. However, the product could still contain unsaturated or some saturated fats. All vegetable oils, for instance, are cholesterol-free.


Find activities that you enjoy,” says Elaine Burke, coordinator of the Vitality Program for Fitness Canada. “That’s the only way you’re going make them part of your life over the long term, and you’ll derive mental, spiritual and emotional benefits from them in addition to the physical ones.”

Do the gardening or build the deck at the back of the house instead of hiring someone else to do the work.

  • Bicycle to work instead of driving.
  • Play hockey with your kids instead of sending them to little league games.
  • Use a regular broom instead of an electric broom to sweep floors.
  • Walk your children to school in the morning.
  • Go skating, play ball, take a stroll or go to the park with your family.
  • Find a “buddy” who will join you on a morning walk or run.
  • Take a five-minute “fitness break” every day.
  • Walk or run up the stairs to your office, deliberately get off the bus a stop early and walk to work, walk to the grocery store instead of taking the car.


You can do the following exercises sitting at your desk, waiting in line at the bank or in your car at a stoplight. They come from Toronto yoga instructors Wendy Cole, Esther Myers and Lisa Schwartz, authors of Lesstress, a practical guide to stress relief.

  1. Walk away or at least turn away from your desk for a few minutes. Then either go for a short walk or take a quiet look out the window at scenery other than your computer monitor. Think about something calming — your child’s last birthday party or the most beautiful day of summer, for instance.
  2. Shut your eyes and take a few slow quiet breaths. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Press your lower back into the back of the chair and sit straighter with every breath.
  3. Rotate your shoulders around and around. Lift them up to your ears, squeeze them higher, then release them down, feeling the difference in the tension.
  4. Roll your head around a few times, stretching the neck muscles as much as possible. Take the time to feel where you’re tense, and try to relax those areas.
  5. Gently close your eyes, then relax and soften all your eye muscles. If your eyes are especially fatigued, rub your hands together to warm them, then gently place your warm palms over your eyes and let the heat of your hands relax your eyes. Keep your breathing soft and regular.
  6. Let your lower jaw drop down, wiggle it and relax your chin.
  7. If you’re in a meeting, relax your hands. Consciously still them, letting your palms go soft and the fingers curl.

RELATED ARTICLE: Staying Fit When You’ve Got no Time for Exercise

We all know that regular exercise can reduce stress, cut your risk of heart disease and diabetes, improve your digestion, keep your muscles working efficiently and just plain make you feel better. But if you’re like most working people, you can’t carve an extra 20 minutes out of your day three times a week for any kind of formal exercise regime.

Fortunately, researchers are now discovering that even relatively low levels of activity can be beneficial. “Variety and consistency are the keys,” explains Elaine Burke, coordinator of the Vitality Program for Fitness Canada. “If you do something every day or at least every other day, it’s going to be good for your health.”

In fact, according to the Campbell Survey, a study conducted by the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute in 1985, the average 71-kg person will derive health benefits by expending a mere 500 extra kilocalories every week. (If you’re heavier, you need less time at these activities.) When you consider that the following activities expend 500 kilocalories, how hard would it be to incorporate one of them into your weekly routine?

* One and a half hours of walking at a normal pace.

* One and a half hours of gardening–hedging.

* Forty-five minutes of swimming–fast crawl.

* One hour and 50 minutes of leisure bicycling, at 5.5 miles per hour.

Hot mix: coffee, tea & the Internet

FOR THE PAST THREE decades, Marshall Smith, 63, has had his fingers on the pulse of how to retail and market technological and learning products. During this time, he has founded several chains: Paperback Booksmith, which sold paperback books; Videosmith, which sold videotapes; and Learningsmith, which sells a range of educational products from books to rays. Because of his connections with the book world (he Still owns Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass.) and his prescience in picking up new trends, anytime Smith tinkers, people listen. Now he’s set up yet another type of store, which he may expand. It’s called Cybersmith, one of only a handful of stores that feature opportunities for customers to try out CD-ROMs and software games as well as surf the Internet. Customers can also eat and, true to Smith form, buy a few books.

Smith himself said there’s a certain logic that led him from paperbacks to the Internet. In 1961, he was intrigued by the advent of the paperback book and opened the first Paperback Booksmith. With 75 outlets at its height, the chain contributed to the paperbacking of America and helped change the way books are shelved: by category instead of by publisher.

After Paperback Booksmith went out of business m 1978, Smith opened Videosmith, a video rental chain. to capitalize on an invention many thought would revolutionize the book business. (He sold the chain in 1989.) While video never became a bookstore staple, from there it was just a small leap to the Learningsmith stores, with their mix of educational books, videos, software and toys. Founded by Smith in 1992 in conjunction with Boston’s public TV station WGBH, Learningsmith is already among the most successful specialty store chains in the country with sales per square foot comparable to those of the Gap and Brookstones, according to Forbes magazine.

So when Smith, who acknowledges that his strength is “getting a crazy idea and putting it together,” gave up the hands-on running of Learningsmith in April 1994, it didn’t take him long to create his newest venture, Cybersmith. Opened early this year, Cybersmith allows customers to rent time on its machines to explore today’s emerging technologies.

“I had no idea of starting a store,” I said Smith, who spoke with PW at a leather-lined Cybersmith booth as far as possible from the noise of workers who were installing additional computer stations m the store’s downstairs entryway. ( There are already more than 40 computers upstairs on the second floor.) “When I stepped back from operations at Learningsmith, the Internet was on the front page,” Smith said. “I asked led [Smith’s younger son, who is completing his masters degree at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and is Cybersmith’s vice-president of technology] to explain what the Internet is, and I didn’t understand. So I asked my older son, and I still didn’t understand. And they said, ‘Why don’t you just do it?'” Realizing that “here’s your classic case of supply and demand,” as Smith put it, he set about creating a place where curious minds can explore CD-ROMs, games and on-line services. Smith, who is chairman and CEO of Cybersmith, brought in Carl Rosendorf, former executive vice-president at Barnes & Noble and a 22-year veteran of the book business, as president and COO.

Old and New

Located just a few blocks from the Harvard Square Learningsmith, Cybersmith, a two-story store, is carved out of what once was a portion of the Harvard Square Coup and the Book Case, a used bookstore. In this space, where the new, in effect, has pushed out the old, Cybersmith brings together books, CDRUMs, virtual reality and gourmet coffee via Smitty’s On-Line Cafe to create a new type of literary coffeehouse. The place sports lots of windows, high ceilings, dark stained wood, comfortable booths and chairs and fiber-optic cabling that shimmers like neon as computers transmit data. The ambience, as in all Smith’s ventures, is an integral part of the store. “I wanted it to be comfortable—with the technology in the background,” he emphasized.

Smith said his core market consists of people who have already embraced the technological revolution. Referring to those who don’t have a computer as “the last vestige,” he rapidly separates himself from them by stating that “whatever the new technology is that’s going down the road, we’ll get it.” And he’s not afraid of new technology destroying the old– i.e., the book. To illustrate his point, Smith tells one of his favorite stories. “When Bennett Cerf took Random House public, someone in the audience said, ‘Aren’t you afraid TV will destroy reading?’ ‘Oh, no,’ Cerf answered, ‘when kids see Africa on television, they’re going to wonder about Africa and read about it. It will open up a new world.'” For Smith, that’s the point: to explore new worlds via technology.

Casting a Net Before the store opened, friends told him, “you’ll get a lot of kids, you’ll get a lot of college students.” But in fact what he’s found is that a techno-cafe is very “middle America. If you watch the families come in with the little kiddies, it’s like Learningsmith.” At the height of Saturday afternoon, it does indeed look very much like Learningsmith, with many families playing computer games, experimenting with virtual reality and exploring morphing.

The pricing structure is simple. Customers buy a six-month membership for a dollar, and then pay 17.5 cents for each minute on line. Virtual reality is more expensive: five dollars for a five-minute session. If, after trying out a CD-ROM, a customer wants to buy it, the first 20 minutes of use go toward the purchase price. Thus, for less than the cost of an afternoon at the movies, a family can explore the latest computer technologies. And, if people get hungry, they don’t have to get up for food. They can order a meal on-line. “Technosmiths” both serve food and answer computer questions.

Display tables feature such computer book staples as The Internet Starter Kit and Nicholas Negroponte’s Being Digital, a Cybersmith bestseller. The latest CD-ROMs, paraphernalia with morphed images (hats, T-shirts, and mugs) and glossy computer magazines are also part of the store’s stock.

But the heart of Cybersmith is the Internet connection, as witnessed in the tagline “Building Community with Technology.” Cybersmith tries to humanize the links between old and new through atmosphere and through signage, such as the Lao Tsu poem dating back some 2000 years that is inscribed on the steps from the entry way to the second floor: “I do and I understand / I see and I remember / I hear and I forget.”

But Smith’s “community” is more farflung than the usual bookstore community, and technology, particularly e-mail, is key. “E-mail has brought back the art of letter-writing,” he remarked, referring to aradio interview in which Wired magazine columnist Nicholas Negroponte was questioned about publishing his E-mail address. “Don’t you get cranky letters?” queried the interviewer. Negroponte replied, “No, i get interesting letters.” Smith finds this to be the case in his own family. His daughter in California sends long, thoughtful letters back East–via the Net.

When asked whether the creation of more Cybersmiths would facilitate the exchange of e-mail, Smith acknowledged that adding more stores makes sense. However, he will not commit to whether new stores are in the offing, despite rumors that 12 more Cybersmiths are in the works. Instead, he commented, “We’ll see what the revenue is like. It’s a very complicated store. I come in here six days a week.” He worries that if Cybersmith were to open another store in the next logical spot, San Francisco, it would be too hard to do the kind of tinkering necessary to fix the store’s rough spots. As the hammering gets louder from below, it’s clear that Cybersmith still has a few kinks, both technological and otherwise, to work out.

The store is still finding the balance between people and technology. Attempting to attract a lunchtime crowd (the place is relatively empty before 3 p.m.), Smith is moving some computer stations for people who don’t want to eat with a screen in front of their face. He’s also added a cafe by the downstairs entryway.

In the meantime, many people are happy with Cybersmith just the way it is. A technosmith estimates that the store has a 35% repeat customer rate. And for those eager to explore cyberspace but still a little scared, Cybersmith provides just the right degree of hand-holding to venture forth into that brave new world.


A ROCK CONCERT is hardly what you’d call interpretive art–except in the narrow sense that it imitates rage or sexual rush or some such dilated emotional mode. Rock gigs are pure dance: sort of an aerobic workout for your cheapest sensibility. This isn’t Frank Sinatra telling me about his way. Verbal life in rock has been reduced by amplification to the mere emphatic. Robert Hass, writing about poetic meter, said that “rhythm is always revolutionary ground . . . the place where the organic rises to abolish the mechanical and where energy announces the abolition of tradition. New rhythms are new perceptions.” But by 1980 or so the rock beat was about as radical and new as a union checkoff privilege. Its range of statement had contracted. And then came MTV.

In fact, rock needed a visual backup. Historically, the force and peculiar enchantment of music came from openness, from deep, abstract suggestion. But rock had turned repetitious and indeterminate: one gross mouth or other sucking a microphone head. It no longer suggested very much at all. Worse yet, the marketing was imprecise. Video adds image and plot–and a close-up, missing from row Z, of personality. With video, tension and resonance are drawn from visual narrative, as sudden bass chords in the horror film, no matter their intrinsic musical value, will be charged with suspense. Rock has become, well, program music. Since, however, a video is made, in most cases, after the song, that program content will tend to be both meretricious and barely germane. Like playing Swan Lake over Frankenstein.

Celebrated singers, evidently, can get by on performance footage alone. The rock concert, after all, has an in-built if hokey dramatic structure: it is shaped to approximate some pagan religious sacrifice–and videos express that form better even than live participation can. Stage and altar. Ecstatic victim on the hem of physical disintegration. And a rock audience concelebrates: it is not passive. Arms stretch toward the juking Eucharist up there. Clearly a rock performer is meant to be in danger. His voice has shredded. He is approaching a nervous catastrophe. The rubber-neck camera gossips about perspiration, glazed sight: it can isolate on that worshipful, ominous crowd. A rock star, at least symbolically, is singing to hold back death.

But, in the more typical video, concert film clips are intercut with some trumped-up fictional story line: romance or adventure or cartoon surrealism. Not a tone poem: tone prose instead, and most of it fifth-rate at that. Videos have caused a major adjustment, one that might roughly parallel the silent/talkie filmtransition. With all this melodrama around, your rock honcho has had to become a competent actor as well or die. We’re encouraging the new generation of singer-pantomimes (since MTV dialogue is just lip-synced lyric). Several–Sting, Madonna, Prince–have gone from their video apprenticeship to stage and film success. Today, when producers are more interested in box office and TV Q than in talent, rock people, because they dominate the largest ticket-buying age group, have crept and will continue to creep into every area of pop performance art. As if they weren’t pervasive enough as it is. A dismal prospect that ranks with casting Norman Mailer as King Lear.

The durable impression is one of spiteful grossness. Male rock faces are ugly and swollen. A cauliflower nose with rotted septa. Pocky, cheesecloth skin. Lips that belong on an uninflated swim ring. You wonder if constant exposure to loud sound will blunt the human visage. Long hair can make a rock star look like some aged (they are often old) and tasteless transvestite: or better yet, like Tony Perkins in his mother wig rushing down to stab Janet Leigh.

But then, rock has no traffic with traditional comeliness. Rock attitudes crystallize in the leer: savage and crass and self-mutilative. Rock is the one performance medium that will consistently sass its audience. And yet his pose is attractive in the extreme to young women. Underneath all lies the presumption that rock is inexorable, a creative and constitutional need, a prophet’s cry. Face will distort: voice is more shriek than sung line. These people are in pain for us and should be cherished. A rock star suffers.

Because, of course, he has more sensitivity. The prevailing theme in all rock videos is alienation. Rock star as rejected child or lover. As solitary, misunderstood innovator. As benevolent threat to a mechanical state (fascist police who look rather like Ed Meese patrol the set). Violent on stage, he is passive in video drama. This image, though masturbatory, has some aspect of truth. Never have artists been more separate: their inordinate fame, wealth, drug use have driven them into luxurious purdah. Rock people probably cannot (who coul?) square this privileged rank with real worth. There is little comedy on MTV. In part because humor requires surprise and the video requires rote repetition. In part, too, because self-irony would jeopardize seriousness–and a rock singer’s frail status as passionate and misprized naif.

But the production value is elegant: holographics, computer animation, special effect without any particular special cause. The skill and cunning drawn from a quarter-century of TV commercial-art design have been diverted into rock video. These are selling tools: the singer is a brand-name product. Indeed you can seldom tell where MTV commercial and MTV video begin or end. Both advertise. Both package and promote. And, for that reason, MTV announces the death of rock as an important social influence: whether to corrupt or shock or teach. You do not ally yourself with TV and espace leveling. What Iggy Pop, say, could do in his semi-private concert is unthinkable when this message has been brought to you by Coke or Tampax. The rocker is a TV star first now. You know his face (before MTV I presumed most of these people were black). And rock is just another mass-media staple–engrossing, well engineered, more pleasant perhaps, but essentially sterile.

History of Java coffee bars

To survive the competitive grind, shops are adopting a fuller food menu.

In 1993, when the fad first began to percolate, Annamaria Lepore saw coffee bars as esoteric haunts for the city’s young and fashionable.

But Ms. Lepore, like several veteran food operators in the city, has had a slight change of heart.

Last month, Ferrara’s, the Little Italy coffee and pastry institution that Ms. Lepore’s family has owned for more than a century, became a part of the popular trend that she once dismissed. Ferrara’s added a twist to the market, serving liquor as well as the company’s well-known desserts.

This week, the Riese Organization, Manhattan’s first family of franchising, takes the coffee game to a whole new level. The Java Shop, a 4,000-square-foot operation situated in Times Square, is a 130-seat full-service restaurant – with coffee bar-like seating in the front.

Riese and Ferrara are just two companies that see New York’s young coffee bar industry entering its second generation. Specialty brews alone generate about as much revenue excitement as day-old coffee cake.

Already, the local scene has witnessed dramatic changes. Many single-unit operators have gone out of business. Now a half-dozen coffee-bar chains, such as Starbucks and New World are dominating the market with nearly 150 coffee bars in Manhattan.

Can’t do food themselves

“Coffee bars are nothing more than a commodity business,” says Dennis Riese, the company’s chief executive. “Even if the coffee is good, they aren’t equipped to do food themselves, and can’t offer consistent quality by using various vendors.”

After 18 months of rapid-fire expansion, slowed growth has forced many operators to wake up and smell the coffee market’s new realities.

Cooper’s Coffee Bar, a local pioneer whose first store opened in 1992, is converting several of its locations into Cooper’s Bagels. The struggling chain recently sold off four of its seven locations to Manhattan-based New World Coffee Inc., a $10 million publicly held company. Food accounts for half the sales at New World, says Ramin Kamfar, the company’s chief executive. Even Starbucks Corp. of Seattle, the $465 million national leader with about 25 Manhattan sites, has begun extending its edible selection beyond brownies and cakes to include sandwiches and other hardy fare.

“More than 50% of customers buy food to go along with their coffee,” says Mr. Kamfar, who offers H&H bagels and City Bakery croissants.

Yet he is undaunted by the rise of newer, more food-oriented players. “There will always be room for a couple of Smith & Wollensky types. But for every one of them, there will be 50 McDonald’s-like coffee bars,” says Mr. Kamfar.

Mr. Riese admits that his Java Shop, while borrowing from the theme, has little in common with the average coffee bar. “We’re taking it a step further,” he says.

Riese has franchising clout

Food is something the Riese family knows well. It has been in the fast-food franchising business for two generations, holding sway over the local market with such chains as Dunkin’ Donuts, Nathan’s Famous and Pizza Hut.

The Java Shop will serve up old-fashioned breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites, including pancakes with real maple syrup and white albacore tuna fish sandwiches.

Likewise, Ferrara’s – trading on its reputation as an Old World coffee shop, a specialty food importer and a premium bakery – also will distinguish itself with food and liquor-laced drinks. Ferrara’s, already located in the theater district, has sites in Times Square and Greenwich Village that are scheduled to open this summer.

To be sure, not all of the coffee bars will be forced to completely revamp their formulas. Industry insiders say that there will always be room for those specialist chains – such as Starbucks, Timothy’s, New World and Pasqua – with the capital and marketing savvy to remain viable.

“The coffee bar cemetery is filled with people who wanted to jump in on a fast-growing fad,” says Mark Zuckerman, Pasqua’s chief executive. “That’s to be expected when an industry is evolving. But the strong, like us, will survive.”


Gallery of weirdness

Who says a bicycle needs two large wheels, a diamond frame or an upright seating position?

city bike

This week, my daily commute has been a parade of weirdness. On Monday, I rode a small-wheel folding bike that has a seat perched on a long, cantilevered beam – a sight which tends to cause sleepy-eyed motorists to sit bolt upright and spill their coffee. On Tuesday, I piloted a Vision recumbent to work, once again causing much neck strain among those desperate masses behind the wheel. Then, on Thursday, I did my weekly duty riding my eight-year-old daughter home from school on the back of a low-slung, 20-inch-wheel tandem – another crowd stopper.

At first glance, these bikes are a gallery of weirdness. But at the same time, each one is a sharp-edged tool, perfectly suited to its assigned task. Who says a bike needs big wheels, a diamond frame or an upright seating position? Not us. As far as we’re concerned, weird is good. What counts is that it’s human powered. The rest is just details.

As a staff, it seems those of us at BICYCLING are getting weirder all the time. In recent months the West Coast office has become a veritable gallery of weirdness, with a smattering of recumbents, exotic tandems, trail-behind kids balance bike and diminutive, small-wheel road bikes. In fact, 20-inch wheel bikes have become a matter of passion on our staff. At last count no fewer than six editors owned such bikes, and rode them regularly. Call us weird – but we’re happy.

If BICYCLING’s West Coast office is weird central, then technical editor Jim Langley must be the maestro of weirdness. He commutes daily on a 20-inch, fully suspended Moulton APB, with its radical “space frame” that resembles the underside of a bridge truss. Langley is also the resident recumbent expert, having designed and built his own “laid-back bike,” as he calls it, and ridden it in the Davis Double Century. (Check out his story on recumbents starting on page 78.) A sense of anticipation accompanies his arrival each morning – we never know what two-wheeled Rube Goldberg creation he will pedal up on next. (Last week he arrived on the Moulton, with another bike affixed to the rear rack, trailing one wheel on the pavement like some rolling caterpillar.)

Within the bicycle industry, Green Gear Cycling must be the champion of weird. Its line includes small-wheel folding bikes that fit in carry-on bags, tandems that collapse and tuck neatly into two Samsonite suitcases, and a “family” tandem that uses a telescoping seat tube to accommodate riders from age 8 to 80. None of these rigs bears the faintest resemblance to the traditional bicycle, but each is unarguably suited to its assigned task.

There are other delightful repositories of weirdness. People Movers in Orange, California (714/633-3663), has earned a national reputation in the field, selling a veritable circus of bizarre bikes, including Linear, Rans, Vision and numerous other brands of recumbents, as well as tricycles, folding bikes and mountain. There’s even a publication that delights in all things weird: the British annual, Encycleopedia, (and its sister publication, Bike Culture Quarterly, 213/468-4080; CA).

Of course, the nature of weirdness is that it cannot remain weird for long. As more people broaden their view of the bicycle, things such as 20-inchers, recumbents, adult tricycles and all manner of two-wheeled conveyances will be as common as lane markers. What a delightful thought! We’ll all be weird together.