...The 20th annual Dining Out for Life.
On April 29 more than 3,500 restaurants in 50-plus cities will donate a big chunk of their profits to AIDS organizations right in their own communities. It’s a win-win-win—on a single day, with almost no overhead, DOFL raises $4 million for the fight, breathes fresh life into small businesses, and gives us all an easy way to make a meaningful contribution. As Ina Garten might say, how bad could that be? Bonus: This year it gives me the chance to meet actress Pam Grier, new Iron Chef Jose Garces, and the Village People’s Felipe Rose, who have joined me as DOFL spokesmodels. DiningOutForLife.com
...Q Tonic Water.
I love gin and tonics, but ordinary tonic water is packed with high-fructose corn syrup and is way, way too sweet. Q is a clean, crisp mixer made with handpicked quinine and lightly sweetened with agave nectar. I’ll drink to that. QTonic.com
...Starck Eyes Alux Frames. They’re sleek, light, and minimalist—and during our 10-hour days shooting Chopped, they stay put. Philippe Starck’s aluminum frames by Alain Mikli have four-way, spring-loaded temples that hug your head and never need adjusting. Only problem: They set off TSA metal detectors. Starck.com
...Michael Pollan. With his books and the film Food, Inc., he’s become the leading missionary for safe, high-quality food—and the leading whistle-blower on the evil industrial-food complex. MichaelPollan.com
...Porky Goodness. Best host gift I’ve ever received—mail-ordered heritage breed pork chops. The farm’s humanely raised rare breeds produce much higher-quality pork that’s thick-cut for rich, juicy flavor. Soo-eee! FlyingPigsFarm.com
...Saving the Bees. My partner, Barry, put a beehive on the roof of our house in Brooklyn. He’s crazy, but bees are essential for pollination—and the honey is great. More important, he’s doing his part to reverse the bee population’s mysterious decline.