I’ve never grown mushrooms before, but having been hearing about mushroom kits for some time now ~ though often they look like they are growing out of a less than appealing pile of goo in a bag! The Back To The Roots Mushroom Kit just arrived, and i love their box design! So simple and pretty and ready to sit on your kitchen window sill! Back To The Roots is the brainchild of two UC Berkeley students, Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora back in 2009 during their final semester ~ they went from investment banking to full time urban mushroom farmers! Most unique about their kits: their oyster mushrooms grow in 100% recycled coffee grounds! So, while i have no mushrooms yet, having just popped the box open today ~ consider this an unboxing look at the details on how it all starts!
This post is part of a NOTCOT series on inspiring, independent design thinking, brought to you by Saab. At Saab, we believe in independent thinking. It’s in everything we do. Learn more here.
On amazing combinations, there’s something awesomely multisensory about the realm of Food Design ~ particularly when it involves not only the food and experience but specially design products to help present them as well! Enter Pinch Food Design from New York - “a bold new brand of catering powered by a state-of-the-art kitchen and design workshop devoted solely to the creation of one-of-a-kind “food furniture.” Led by the groundbreaking chef/designer duo of Bob Spiegel and TJ Girard, the Pinch team is driven by an uncompromising commitment to incite surprise, anticipation and delight with every bite while wowing our clients - and their guests - with imaginative presentation combinations that redefine the art of celebration.” Fun, right? I love the idea of seeing everything from plates and serving ware as “food furniture”! Above is the Apple Cider Donut selection on Spoke tray ~ with each one perfectly presented! Take a peek at more of their creations on the next page…
We’ve been busy here at NOTCOT tweaking and building and designing secret things we’re rolling out as they become ready ~ live testing and debugging ~ silly things like that… one of them you may have noticed over at Tasteologie - special featured* posts (which used to only link here to NOTCOT.com) may sometimes lead you to special posts within the various grid sites (Tasteologie is the first i’m experimenting with this on!)… so far you can see things like the heart shaped eggfruit, Top Chef Tiffany Derry’s dinner in St Croix, and even a video of drinking coconut water with a papaya straw! More to come, constant work in progress as always!
The latest? Justine went and checked out the adorable, hidden, Victorian Worship St Whistling Shop - tasting all kinds of delights, playing with the jasmine mist poured on oysters, exploded vodka martinis, jenga like stacks of hand cut chips, and more! The decor and settings are gorgeous as well! Love the lamp post INSIDE even!
Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! This time Leo researched SO many devices that could make coffee we didn’t even know where to start narrowing them down. Well, we’ve decided to roundup some of the prettiest, cordless, coffee/espresso makers ~ from stove top to vacuum to portable… these are all intriguingly beautiful enough to leave out with pride. Ready to take a look at what we found? Check it out on the next page!
Smitten Ice Cream. Made on the spot with liquid nitrogen! That used to be made on a Radio Flyer. Now out of a double shipping container. In bio-degradable cups… with spade like spoons. And the cash register is an iPad. And the interiors are wood paneled… Only in SF? Certainly a different take on the Nitro-Ice Cream trend than Chin Chin Labs that Justine checked out for us in London ~ that was a bit more mad scientist with lab coats and kitchen-aid mixers…
Father/Daughter team Chas Edwards and Roma Edwards, indulged my curiosity and took a bunch of awesome cell phone pics when trying out Smitten Ice Cream in Hayes Valley. My fascination began when i saw @Poisson’s tweet about it, which lead to my Tasteologie post… Food’s just more fun with a bit of dramatic looking crazy science, right? Especially in a shipping container? Though apparently the made-to-order process does take some time… and it melts a bit quickly, but it does look fun! Ready to see it all up close? Check out Chas and Roma’s pics on the next page!
It seems i left london just a few days too early… luckily Justine was able to experience the wonka-esque waterfall of chocolate for us! Check out her adventures below…
Our friends Bompas & Parr are at it again, just in time for Easter. When I heard they were creating a five tonne chocolate waterfall in the middle of Whiteleys Shopping Centre in London, I had to check it out.
As I made my way to waterfall, I could smell the chocolate. It seemed surreal that what looked like a simple storefront could house a five tonne waterfall of chocolate, but the heady, overpowering scent of cocoa suggested we were in for a real treat… you won’t believe your eyes when you see the madness they set up (and the souvenir you get to bring home too!) ~ pictures and video on the next page!
Just bounced through Berlin, Milan, and London before landing home and being up and jetlagging in LA this morning ~ and it has been grilling weather EVERYWHERE! In parks, on balconies, in yards, it’s been fabulously sunny around the globe! Remember the customizable multifunctional Molenkitchen we discovered recently? Or all the research on
the Ultimate Grill we did a few years back? Well today, Marcia and Leo have found some of the awesomest grilling accessories you (or your favorite griller in need of some gifting love) just might need! So fun, designy, and creating some unusual grilled treats… check it all out on the next page!
London silliness - When browsing the produce section, spotted a strange item among the berries. Pineberries! They look like inverted strawberries and are known as pineberries (a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis and Fragaria virginiana). The original pineberry was a South American species which went extinct in the wild, but which has since been hybridized and cultivated in the Netherlands.
Although they debuted at Waitrose last year, the berries still seem hard to get a hold of and have just come back into season and we had to try them. Though they are meant to taste a bit like pineapple, ours were a bit more watery, with a texture similar to a strawberry. But our bunch may not have been fully ripe (some of their seeds were still green rather than red). Not sure they’ll make it into our basket again, but they definitely have the novelty factor and look like no other fruit! For more about how they taste, see the Guardian’s review and for more pics (including inside them! and the fun packaging!), check out the next page!
Gorgeous April Bottle Green bottles available soon in the UK. These stunning bottles for Bottle Green are the limited edition, Fashion Targets Breast Cancer series. The beautiful designs are by illustrator Monsieur Qui through the agency Colagene. See label close ups on the next page, the subtle splashes of color are so fun!
More fun Milan discoveries! Hard to ignore this fascinating multipurpose MolenKitchen, part barbecue, firebasket with spit, and smoker, all in one. The wheeled unit means you can cook on the go. The unit was created as a project for Zaandam, Holland by Studio Molen. The unit moves like a wheelbarrow and works both vertically and horizontally. The barrow handles turn into 2m long chimney when upright, or spits horizontally. It comes with beautiful grilling accessories too, allowing you to brand your creations. This could make for some fun customizations since you can come up with your own designs for both the grilling brands and the grilling surface! Also noteworthy? Their awesome graphic design and photoshoot with corrugated cardboard food and more! See more pics of the MolenKitchen in action on the next page!
Moneral makes some of the most stunning wooden plates i’ve seen/felt. They really are like eating off of slices of wood… and curved just perfectly as a plate… you won’t be able to stop touching them in wonder. “They are made of coated aspen, which makes them durable even in frequent use and for dishwasher use. The Elicia range includes a dinner plate, a cocktail plate, a serving dish, a serving plate and plates’ stand.” and as for the raw materials, “Moneral buy the raw material in the close surroundings of the factory. To ensure a perfect raw material for the plates, each tree is chosen carefully and cut by hand to avoid any damage to the bark. The trees come from sustainably managed and certified Finnish forest, controlled by the Finnish Forest Management Associations.” Amazing, right? Also tempting, you can even customize them… The story is adorable too ~ “It all began with Eero Remes, a farm and the need to buy a specialist saw. As it turned out, making wooden disks with this saw provided hours of entertainment. It was Eero’s son, Panu, who experienced a “Eureka!” moment on seeing the disks lying about in the snow: it would be splendid to eat your dinner off plates like that!” Check out the details on the next page!
I couldn’t resist. I was totally that girl in the tiny supermarket in the huge line buying 4 jars of Nutella tonight. I mean, these limited edition Nutella Esperienza Italia 150 glasses were cute when they came up on NOTCOT.org, but renders are one thing. These are even more awesome in person! Fun glasses for just about anything… filled with nutella… celebrating Italian unity - specifically DESIGN, Arts, Landscapes & Architecture, and History! On fun design week souveniers, the design themed â‚¬1.79 glass of nutella is pretty sweet (even AFTER you eat the nutella)… The story? “Nutella wanted to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of italian Unity together with millions of Italian families and asked ARC’s. to interpretate the project in four themes: Arts, Design, Landscapes & Architecture, Historical topics. Through the “Esperienza Italia 150” limited edition collection, Nutella ideally embraces all italians, from the South to the North, as a sole big family.” Above is a render of the 4 glasses in the set from ARC’s… but on the next page, take a peek at close ups of them all!
p.s. Don’t mind the bizarre hotel/motel feel of the photos… it’s how it feels in here!
On fun design spotted in real life ~ just noticed the new Alfredo Haberli Carafe for Georg Jensen at La Rinascente in the design supermarket… and it seems to be half the price of what i’m seeing online (though i can’t find it for the life of me on the Georg Jensen site)! While we saw the preview on NOTCOT.org of the new collection from Alfredo Haberli, in person, it drew me in with the wooden spinning top of a stopper of course (remember these and these?) ~ AND, you can even buy just the top over at Unica. Take a peek at it up close on the next page!