*notcot - 03.29.15 , 10:22 - 0 Notes

Flor de Lis Restaurante - Guatemala City

flor0.jpg The ultimate meal isn’t just about the food. It’s about the flavors, the plating, the ambiance, the decor, the company, the conversation… and it all came together perfectly at Flor de Lis. Though, you know what’s impossible? Taking photos that do it all justice while armed with just an iPhone and bouncing between great conversation and delicious bites you need to taste as soon as they reach the table. So consider this post a teaser of the reality of a meal at Flor de Lis… but honestly, you need to get to Guatemala City to properly experience it for yourself (or if you’re lucky, we can get them to come do a pop up in LA! or NY? or Miami?)

Backing up a moment - i’ve shown you our amazing Guatemala adventures as well as the story of Flor de Lis’ Pingüi and our Puma Penguins… so you’ve seen peeks of Flor de Lis, but a proper post is definitely overdue! The plating is so stunning! And it all tastes… SO GOOD. To be honest, when Harold reached out about the penguins, with our few hours in Guatemala City, I had to find my way to Flor de Lis, so of course we happily accepted when Harold invited us to dinner with his fiancè and Chef Diego Ruben Telles. Chef Diego is originally from Guatemala and after cooking in Spain and training in Denmark at NOMA, he’s returned to experiment with modernized Guatemalan cuisine.

I’m not kidding when I say the meal was one of the best i’ve had in some time. Situated in Guatemala City’s modern Paseo Cayala (think mini city with-in the city complete with private security - it reminds me of a huge Santana Row with luxury shopping, homes, offices and more which will continue expanding the next few years) - Flor de Lis is a delicious modern twist on traditional Guatemalan flavors and ingredients. While Chef Diego often described the plates as ‘simple’ with regards to the minimal ingredients used, the way he transforms a single ingredient (like a carrot!) into multiple textures (think charred, powdered, saucey) on the same plate is a masterful transformation that i’d consider molecular gastronomy. In addition to using local ingredients (as local as the plants growing right next to our table!) their stunning plating includes traditional Guatemalan pottery, wood, ceramics and more in a whole new context. They want you to truly experience and enjoy the food - so while the plates may look too pretty to disrupt at first, the smell will pull you in, and once you grab a piece with your fingers and taste the sauces, the ultimate compliment is for the chef to see you licking up every last drop! Flor de Lis serves up a delicious, relaxed, beautifully modern experience all around that can’t be missed if you’re in Guatemala City. See the iPhone pics of our experience on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.27.15 , 19:55 - 0 Notes

Ice Screw Apple Corer + Apple Ribbon Galette

galette00.jpg On random inspiration from our Ice Climbing Adventure in Johnston Canyon last week - i feel ridiculous saying this - but when i was playing with the ice screws that we were hanging from, all i could think was… APPLE CORER! The one i’d been using previously was hard to aim accurately (honestly, most apples don’t have perfectly vertical cores!), sprayed a mess of juice all over, and were hard to get the cores out of. The ice climbing screws are precision engineered to make a perfect hole and displace the ice out of the center. The Black Diamond Express Ice Screw even has a little crank knob that flips out to make it even easier once you get it going. Inspiration comes from everywhere, right?

I’ve also been experimenting with different things i can do with my Benriner Spiralizer - mostly because it’s so fun, and its fascinating to see how a recipe changes when you alter the form of the ingredients! So coring the apples, then using the spiralizer to slice the apples into ribbons (basically take out the blade with teeth), creates a delicious pie filling! Much more tender than the usual chunky apple slices, yet they still hold their form nicely. I love the way it tastes and feels! (You’ll understand once you try it!)

So freshly home, and catching up - I had to make an Apple Ribbon Galette inspired by our Alberta Winter Adventures! So the apples are cored with the ice screw from ice climbing in Johnston Canyon, Banff, they were sliced up on the cutting board i made with Oliver Apt, Edmonton, and spiced with apple pie spice from Silk Road Spices, Calgary! Check out my Apple Ribbon Galette recipe and more on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.19.15 , 21:20 - 0 Notes

Duchess Bake Shop & Provisions

duchess0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

If there’s one place that keeps coming up on Edmonton lists that you HAVE to try, it is Duchess Bake Shop, as well as their specialty baking store Provisions by Duchess, next door. The bakery has clearly become a destination for foodies and macaron lovers everywhere, and as soon as you step in, it’s easy to see why. Tucked away in a strip of shops, you enter an ornate, yet modern, parisian feeling spot filled with world class pastries made daily from scratch. And if you’re inspired to make your own, Provisions is filled with the who’s who of pastry cookbooks, specialty ingredients, baking tools, and even their new self published Duchess Bake Shop Cookbook - complete with 80 recipes for their most loved pastries from the bakery.

While our culinary adventures in Edmonton surprised us - so many delicious new restaurants filled with modern interiors I loved, and incredibly nice folks. Heading to Duchess near lunch hour was a bit more like Disneyland! But worth the chaos. One thing to note if you make the pilgrimage to Duchess is that they are not open Mondays, and if Monday happens to be a public holiday (in this case Family Day), they are also closed Tuesday. Luckily, we were driving to Jasper on Weds, so managed to squeeze in a quick stop to check it out, have a quiche and croque monsieur, and pick up a box of treats to enjoy on our road trip! Of course, once i got there and peek at the cookbook, it warranted a longer read… so check it all out on the next page!

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*notcot - 02.01.15 , 16:50 - 0 Notes

Slingshot Yogurt Drink

slingshot0.jpg On packaging based impulse buys at the supermarket… was intrigued by this Slingshot “Yogurt protein drink with a crunchy shot”. The strange ring around the neck of the bottle is filled with toasted oats, chia seeds, and almond bits . It’s like a Yo Crunch in drink form (before YoCrunch apparently turned into candy/cereal/super sugary branded mix ins?). I tried the peach flavor which was pretty bleh - but the packaging is most intriguing! See details on the next page.

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*notcot - 12.20.14 , 17:34 - 0 Notes

On amex points + meat/veggies + a challenge…

cooking0b.jpg In early November, Shawn and i decided to try a challenge: for 30 days could we go carb free (yup, no rice, pasta, tortillas, etc!), no processed, minimal sugar (minimal! not none - we were trying to be realistic and set ourselves up for success), and no alcohol? We were curious how it would make us feel, how our bodies would react… of course a week into it, i’m already going stir crazy (i get bored easily!) and need to figure out how to mix things up a bit. Thank goodness for his self control (enough for both of us!) or i clearly never would have made it.

To keep it intellectually interesting i also needed different missions weekly to learn some new skills, acquire some new tools… which kind of turned into a cookbook reading mania and kitchen upgrade. I wanted to find ways to essentially short cut to having an understanding and intuition about what i’m cooking and how things work - not simply follow directions. So with this approach to learning while experimenting for our nutritional lifestyle change - i began exploring a different side of cooking reference books. Amazingly, after the 30 days, we’ve been feeling energized, lighter, and healthier - so we’re going to try to keep it going! Surprising side effect - i’ve dropped about a dozen pounds, and he’s dropped 20 something. Crazy, right? Anyhow, rounding up some of what NOTlabs instagram followers have been seeing peeks of - see the deliciousness, tools, and cookbooks that have i wish i had long ago!

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*notcot - 11.25.14 , 14:15 - 0 Notes

Break Bar: Dandelion x Snarkitechture

snarkchoc0.jpg WANT! Cool Hunting’s latest CH Edition goes Willy Wonka with their Break Bar: a Chocolate bar done only the way Dandelion Chocolate x Snarkitecture can. In a limited edition of 500 pieces, 5 of them will include a magical “White Ticket” that can be redeemed for the non-edible gypsum sculpture in the exact same form as the Break Bar. As for the chocolate itself - it is made from 70% chocolate made from Maya Mountain, Belize beans, this six ounce bar is the equivalent of three standard Dandelion Chocolate bars. And if that doesn’t make it the perfect gift (even for yourself) - All proceeds benefit Southern Exposure, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization committed to supporting visual artists since 1974.

Ready to see the fun packaging and chocolately goodness up close? To the next page!

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*rugenius - 09.17.14 , 13:46 - 0 Notes

Johnnie Walker’s Symphony in Blue

jblue.jpg Here’s the latest from NOTCOT’s London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

This afternoon, London’s Merchant Taylors’ Hall was taken over by Johnnie Walker in celebration of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Symphony in Blue. The afternoon was a delectable experience filled with a playful celebration of whisky including glacial ice, burning barrels, a fog of whisky, flavor organ and a banquet that was literally all singing and all dancing. An enormous production from Done and Dusted and Bompas & Parr.

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*notcot - 07.02.14 , 10:41 - 0 Notes

Good To-Go Gourmet Dehydrated Meals

gtgmain.jpg What happens when a professional chef (Jennifer Scism of Annisa and more) has to spend a lot of time in the backcountry? Good To-Go gourmet dehydrated meals! I’ll admit i was first drawn in by the bright, bold, playful packaging - especially that background pattern! But when it comes to dehydrated meals it’s all about the taste - and the ease of rehydration. Think of it as fancy cup o’noodles? They say “Each recipe was developed with one goal: to elevate your expectations of what trail food can taste like.” Currently there is Thai Curry (Spicy yellow coconut curry with vegetables and jasmine rice), Smoke Three Bean Chili (Traditional chili with corn and caramelized onions), and Herbed Mushroom Risotto (Classic risotto with sautéed mushrooms and basil pesto). We received one of each to try and had a little faux-backpacking dinner out in the yard last night to try it out. Basically just tear it open, add boiling water, zip it back up, let it sit for 20 minutes - then bon appetit! See all the close ups on the next page!

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*notcot - 06.23.14 , 22:35 - 2 Notes

Kellogg’s Cereal: Good. Night. Snack.

nightcereal2.jpg I don’t know why this is so amusing today. Apparently Kellogg’s has created “Limited Edition Packaging” for some of their cereals - having them go dark. They actually have the night sky filled with stars instead of their brighter usual boxes… I thought my mom was joking - so she scanned over a coupon as proof. My first thought was - are there glow in the dark marshmallow stars inside? Second thought - are there really people out there who didn’t know they can eat cereal at ANY hour? Third thought - what’s going on with the cereal industry to need to change ONLY the packaging to tell people they can eat cereal at night?!?!?!

But maybe it worked - when we noticed the box of twilight Mini Wheats - we bought it. And i had to take pics of how absurd the packaging is to share with you. And now i’m totally having some at night… See it all on the next page!

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*rugenius - 06.05.14 , 23:12 - 0 Notes

Tooth-tingling Icecream with Bompas & Parr

bompas-parr-colgate-5074.jpg

Here’s the latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

When we heard Bompas & Parr were teaming up with Colgate we didn’t know what to expect. But when we heard it’d be a chance to check out their new studio space (and kitchen!), we knew it’d be a treat and glimpse inside their delicious and fantastic world.

The event turned out to be an interesting tooth-testing evening of making our own bizarre icecreams using liquid nitrogen and a host of unusual ingredients. Find out more on the next page.

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*notcot - 04.18.14 , 17:32 - 0 Notes

Highland Park Flask Bangle

hpbangle5.jpg An amazing surprise arrived today from Highland Park Whisky. Remember this Cynthia Rowley Flask Bangle that i posted on NOTCOT.org a while back? Well the awesome folks at Highland Park made a special version and sent one over! I can’t even begin to describe how curious i was when i started to open the box and saw the silver flask bangle with a subtle little H logo on it… and it’s a perfect fit. It even holds around 3 fluid ounces! Perhaps we WILL need to do a ladies’ Hero’s Chest Dinner yet… see all the details on the next page!

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*notcot - 04.05.14 , 11:05 - 0 Notes

Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner

hpdinner0.jpg The Highland Park Hero’s Chest Dinner was on Thursday night, and it has possibly moved up to one of the most inspiring evenings… of my life… so far! At precisely 7pm, 10 designers/creatives were invited into the gate of Magnus Walker’s Urban Outlaw Garage in Downtown LA. As we mingled over cocktails, the group quickly found familiar faces, and those they didn’t know personally, they definitely knew of… and more often than not the admiration was mutual. From the men behind Baxter of California and Icon 4x4, to Oakley and BasecampX… from Triple Aught Design (and new secret project, Prometheus Design Werx) to Acquire and KILLSPENCER and Johnnyswim… and more! As giddy as I was to see each of these folks, it was inspiring to see how thrilled they were to see one another! It was beyond an honor to be able to sneak in as one of the few women amongst these inspiring men. Over Highland Park Mint Juleps, the mingling filled with anticipation and you could hear the awe and cameras clicking as soon as the garage door opened to unveil Magnus’ collection of vintage racing Porsche 911s… and then up to dinner… which includes tastes of a Highland Park Whiskey from 1968! Also Show & Tell was mandatory ~ “Please bring an item of yours that says a little about you - something that you can’t live without.” See it all on the next page…

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*notcot - 03.28.14 , 17:02 - 0 Notes

Skoop: The Mad Science of Mother Nature

skoopmain.jpg Packaging isn’t everything, but gorgeous, playful, happy graphics, branding, and simple inforgaphics never hurt… and with Skoop it definitely grabbed my attention ~ enough for a post on NOTCOT.org and a few inquisitive tweets. Well one thing lead to another, and next thing i know, a box of Skoop goodies arrived on the doorstep! And as far as supplements go, compared to what you find in a look at GNC or Whole Foods, these will definitely stand out and make you look twice!

Though the graphics were the first things to grab my attention, the proposition of the Skoop A-Game “Super Simple Superfoods” are intriguing in their own right. These powdered supplements you shake up mixed with anything from water and chocolate (almond) milk or oatmeal or yogurt are being positioned as a playful path to SUPER you! It’s less about diets or meal supplements but that extra something to help boost your potential… and nothing says that like comparisons to fueling up with premium… or a cape on a human icon. For those years when it felt like i was living on airplanes and in hotel rooms, i used to always have some Macro Greens on hand to help balance things out. They were the best tasting at the time… though that wasn’t saying much. So i was skeptical and curious about how Skoop would taste! First reaction, definitely sweeter and more palatable than expected, yummy even in the chocolate milk combination. So far we’ve only tried milk, chocolate milk, and almond milk - all not bad with both variations.

Also fun, they included some of our favorite Blender Bottles in the surprise package! The design of the BlenderBall, which is a springy, spherical wire whisk has always made me smile - and they work wonderfully when shaking things up. So this week we will be taking the Skoop 5-Day-Challenge to get SUPER and it couldn’t be better timed with the endless projects and sleepless nights, i can use all the boosts i can get! Take a peek on the next page for all the unboxing and details!

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*notcot - 03.19.14 , 22:15 - 3 Notes

Espresso Smith Whiskey Barrel Coffee

whiskeybarrel9.jpg Whiskey Barrel Coffee! So many things i love in one thing i don’t even know where to start. I love beautiful packaging (and a good skull graphic! and a well designed glass bottle!) I love good whiskey… and i’ve been learning to appreciate and love good coffee. I love good dark chocolate. Artfully combine them all, and you have Espresso Smith’s Whiskey Barrel Coffee ~ and chocolate covered coffee beans ~ in wax sealed glass bottles… the idea alone makes me swoon… but the deliciousness and beautiful branding make me need to share the details with you!

Two and a half years in the making, Espresso Smith now ages green coffee beans in authentic bourbon barrels in Colorado prior to roasting to create a coffee “the goal was not to create a whiskey flavored coffee… the goal was to create an experience that starts with coffee and finishes with bourbon.” Mind you, there’s no alcohol (though you can add your own back in) in the final product but the aromas are definitely present and delicious. Take a peek at the unboxing and details on the next page!

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*notcot - 03.14.14 , 21:09 - 2 Notes

Spiralizing: Benriner Spiral Slicer

yam0.jpg Spiralizing is AMAZING. “How did we not do this as kids?” was the first thing Shawn and i wondered the first time we played with it. Inspired by Vangie Ogg’s Instagram, i impulse bought the Benriner Spiral Slicer (more info in japanese at the Benriner site.) The first time, we were having so much fun, i forgot to take pictures! Who knew it was so easy to make Zucchini Pasta?!?! And today, the NOTpuppy, Bucky, even got some yam pasta! And these “noodles” can be as long as 7-8 feet even! Ridiculously fun and delicious. Take a peek on the next page at the Spiral Slicer and some of our creations.

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