Few things in life are as American as the hot dog. but when it comes to mustard, we aren’t even in the running. Sure, we have our own version of French’s, but the only thing French about it is the name. Consider an authentic alternative-actually, six alternatives-all named Hediard. Hediard is a Paris-based exotic-foods store that’s been famous there since the mid-1800s. (It was the store’s founder, Ferdinand Hediard, who first introduced pineapples to France ) Today, the shop includes among its international specialties a uniquely American treat: Heinz ketchup. At Williams-Sonoma (the only store in the country that carries Hed-iard), you can choose between traditional old-fashioned mustard, mustard with fine vinegar, tarragon mustard, mustard with green peppers, mustard with Provence herbs and mustard with shallots and chives (they’re priced between $2.75 and $3.50). Other Hediard products available at Williams-Sonoma are six types of wine vinegar, fresh herbs and teas, sardines in olive oil and dozens of exotic jams and jellies such as passion fruit and coconut. Williams-Sonoma, 8405 Pickwick. Mon-Sat 10-5:30. 696-0348. Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkwy. Mon-Fri 10-9. Sat 10-6. 960-7575.
My first straw was paper, and it disintegrated before 1 was even halfway through my milkshake. To make matters worse, my mom had the nerve to forbid me to do what is essential when drinking through one: slurp-loud and long and slow. Next, I discovered candy-striped plastic straws, and drinking became even more fun. Things began to get a little complicated once someone started putting those funny-looking accordion-pleated elbows on them (supposedly, “for easier sipping”). The thing is, those dumb pleats just slowed down the flow. Next came transparent plastic “Crazy Straws,” which consisted of all sorts of loops and turns. They were entertaining for a while but ultimately infantile (a popular updated version recently has been introduced that loops around the outside of the glass). At last we have a logical straw for grownups. It’s made of anodized metal and is chic enough for even the snootiest socialite. Attached to the straw is a different colored convex metal diamond that can slide up and down the straw. Color combinations include a pink straw with blue diamond, a black straw with red diamond and a silver straw with pink diamond. It’s $3.50 at Dean, 3226 Knox. Mon-Sat 11-9, Sun 1-5. 522-8371.
It’s called a Slow Boat and it comes from China, but it really isn’t a boat at all. It’s a hat-a huge hat, in fact (18 inches in diameter), that folds up into a tiny (6 inches in diameter), flat disk. How does it work? It may seem like magic, but it’s simply clever design work. First, draw an imaginary line through the center of the hat. Then, grasp the outside center edge of the hat on opposite sides and twist your hands in opposite directions, forming a figure 8. The hat will then fold up into itself, forming three small disks. Finally, wrap the tie around the disk several times, and you’re ready to go. To open the hat, pretend you’re Houdini-untie the ends, flip your wrist and poof! the hat pops into place. Made of 100 percent cotton by Olivia Enterprises, the hat is available at Write Angles ($12) and Over the Rainbow ($12.95). It comes in 16 different colors including white, red, turquoise, fuchsia, yellow, peach, purple and cobalt blue. At Over the Rainbow, you can also have the hat custom-painted by a staff artist in either an abstract, a confetti or a splatter design ($20). Write Angles, Sakowitz Village, 5100 Belt Line, #424. Mon-Fri 10-7, Sat 10-6. 960-0802. Over the Rainbow, 5930 Royal Lane. Mon-Sat 9:30-5. 692-8250.
Remember those funny little paper cutouts you used to string together when you were little? Well, they’re all grown up now. Tim O’Reilly, creator of these impressive one-of-a-kind paper sculptures, has added a third dimension (literally) to the art of the cutout. O’Reilly, who is a 20-year-old student at UTD, begin; a piece with several traced copies of an image and goes from there, working mostly with origami paper and pastels. The result? Delicate, vaguely Oriental 3-D sculptures that are extremely intriguing. The colors range from deep fuchsia and turquoise to soft yellow, green and gray-sometimes all in the same piece. O’Reilly first approached Arresta’s owner, Ken Knight, with a mammoth movie-set piece ($250) that sold almost immediately. Other paper sculptures completed so far include the juggler shown here ($50), an Oriental mask ($35) and a 1940s radio (ISO). O’Reilly also designed several mini-sculptures for Arresta, which sold out in a hurry. His latest project: designing geometric paper earrings, which, he says, are a lot sturdier than they look (“They’ve been road-tested,” he says). Tim O’Reilly Sculptures at Arresta, 3900 Cedar Springs. Mon-Sat 1010, Sun noon-6. 528-3380.