*notcot - 12.10.09 , 11:32 - 6 Notes

MicroSmores and Israeli Marshmallows

smores0.jpg Let me level with you. It was my birthday and i totally tried to take the day off a little. Got some extra sleep. Went for a walk and caught up with a friend on the beach ~ a beach walk complete with ice cream and taco truck tacos (in that order of course!) ~ did super chill dinner and… met up with Linhchi for the most ridiculous microwave experimenting we’ve done in a while… People claim i’m hard to shop for, but really you just have to keep in mind that i’m pretty easy to amuse? Besides, this little as seen on TV number even has CORE FUSION TECHNOLOGY!!! (Ok, so to me, it feels more like magical gravity weighing down on my poor explosive marshmallow) AND she brought adorable marshmallows that are products of israel covered with adorably anthropomorphized illustrated mallows that would make the sanrio crowd squeal. The cuteness does make it easier or harder to consume them (depending on how you react to the cuteness!) Impressive? Their mallow jumping and squishing the barcode. LOVE IT. But i digress… we microwaved up a few of these babies, watched them mushroom up, and then the MICROSMORES machine (read: plastic container with weighted platform on a stick that you don’t even get to PUSH) did its thing, making magical smores. Now if only there was some liquid smoke or fire involved in the process, you’d truly recreate the campfire smore experience…. ok even then, a bit is still missing, but that didn’t hold us back from sticking whatever else we could find in there!

I know i have SO many things i want to post and show you that i’m behind on this week (that life balance thing kicked in ~ you understand, right? this week life won a bit more than usual ~ but don’t work, workaholic me will be back, and might need some assistance, but more to come on that soon perhaps)… but figured we should start with the fun crazy stuff first… anyhow! Check out these awesome marshmallows and the MICROSMORES magic on the next page… good times!

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*notcot - 11.23.09 , 18:10 - 3 Notes

Click for Art - Cups & Saucers

cups0.jpg Click for Art has branched into Cups & Saucers ~ and i’m totally smitten by the Nanami Cowdroy Suspended Animation black and white goldfish one as well as the Si Scott Lovebirds. Can you imagine cuter cups to serve espresso in? Staring at these just makes me dream up the most adorable little cafe ~ with an outdoor patio of course. And we haven’t even started to look at the packaging! Such a lovely gift idea ~ and they are each a limited edition of 250 - shipped with a sequentially numbered mini art print signed by the artist and a Certificate of Authenticity! See more pics of my favorite two on the next page…

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*notcot - 11.10.09 , 14:45 - 5 Notes

The Grilled Cheese Truck LA

grilledcheese0.jpg NOTCOT Field Trip? Posted The Grilled Cheese Truck earlier this week on NOTCOT.org, and when we noticed it was going to be on this side of town for lunch, simply had to pop out to see what all the commotion was about. (Also, i have a soft spot for grilled cheese… and their logo reminds me of The Magic School Bus… i half expected to see Ms. Frizzle pop out to take us on a cheesy adventure)… With website, twitter, and facebook page (like many of these social media savvy specialty lunch trucks) the updates were constant as their precise location kept changing down to the minute, and we finally found them at the Los Angeles Fine Arts & Wine Storage Company parking lot, only half an hour into it and quite the line had already formed, inescapable scent of delicious greasy cheesiness omnipresent. Even CBS news was there tasting and shooting away… With a mix of your classic grilled cheeses, to your gourmet grilled cheese (add in mac+cheese, bacon, avocado, bbq pork and more) ~ and even dessert options (marshmallows, nutella, bananas) ~ as well as tomato soup shots and more ~ it was hard to choose! As with all of these specialty twitter happy lunch trucks, the lines are long, ordering seems to be the bottleneck, and it seems best to meet up with a bunch of friends to hang out with in line… also, go early! Because depending on zoning/landlord regulations, they can usually only stay put for a limited amount of time, so not everyone will get fed! So take a peek at more pics of both the truck and the food ~ this is the first time i’ve peeked INSIDE the truck! And since it took quite a while to get the food, and i promised to get Linhchi back to her house by 1:40, we shot the food pics in the car (sometimes at red lights)…

p.s.
was reading up last night on this Lunch Truck Phenomenon that seems to be sweeping the nation lately ~ some fun resources to note: Find LA Food Trucks and California Taco Trucks (run by dan’s old boyscout friend, Cyrus Farivar!)

p.p.s.
While fun and amusing ~ i think overall, if i’m going to spend an hour+ at lunch with friends, i’d rather do the sit down thing ~ but good times, and a fun chance to catch up with some old friends!

p.p.p.s.
From an im conversation right now, we’ve decided that when the process of getting the food and hanging out with friends is a lot of the fun… where is our champagne and oysters truck?

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*notcot - 11.06.09 , 09:45 - 6 Notes

Veuve Clicquot Yellowboam

veuveboam0.jpg Some packages just leave you speechless. You sit. You stare. You open it. You poke at it. You close it. You stare a bit more. This was one of those packages. Veuve Clicquot sent over one of their 1200 limited edition stingray skin Yellowboams (there are 3600 in the edition, 1200 each of ostrich, alligator, and stingray) ~ yes, a 3L (4 bottle equiv) bottle of Yellow Label Champagne… in a stunning handcrafted metallic lacquered wood box (with adorable little round hinges and magnetic closure) ~ with a stand for the monstrously large bottle… and the bottle itself has a yellow label made from ostrich, alligator, or galuchat, sealed with 22.4 ct gold and a 24 ct plated muzzle engraved with Mme. Clicquot’s signature. A little over the top, in a completely surreal, “how is this enormous bottle sitting on my counter right now, and how amazing is this paint job?” sort of way. Next question of course was, “How will we ever pour this? Or chill it? And who will have to come help drink it?”

So take a peek at more pictures on the next page ~ once you get past the extravagance, it’s really one of the sweetest most unexpected gifts to arrive, so, thank you, Veuve Clicquot. And don’t worry i will certainly document it when i open it… i’m terribly curious what is under that golden muzzle… and the adorable notebook that was included mentions that you can send in the leather label to have it turned into a card holder… intriguing…

p.s.
This launched me into that hunt for the names of various bottle sizes, so for those curious: Magnum = 2 bottles, Jeroboam = 4 bottles, Rehoboam = 6 bottles, Methuselah = 8 bottles, Salmanazar = 12 bottles, Balthazar= 16 bottles, Nubchadnezzar = 20 bottles. And most are named after BC kings… and “A useful mnemonic for these big bottle sizes is: My Judy Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises” says Champagne Magic.

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*notcot - 11.04.09 , 09:42 - 8 Notes

Party People Vacu Vin Glass Markers

partypeople1.jpg These Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers were first as NOTCOT.org #20816 ~ and when i ran into them in Stockholm, they were even cuter in person! So i had to buy some to play with! They are so adorably tiny with their little suction cups and fun packaging! So next time, instead of sharpie markers to a solo cup, or wine tags, or stickers, here’s a new option! Let your guests pick which adorable little gummy looking character they want to channel… they all even have names! (see pics on the next page!)

p.s.
Apparently there are also Creepy Creatures and a Christmas Crowd available! (just noticed they are available on amazon)

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*notcot - 11.02.09 , 04:14 - 7 Notes

Absolut Icebar Stockholm: Factory

icebar0.jpg Absolut Icebar!!! I’ve always been curious, i’m still dying to visit the Ice Hotel some day ~ and ironically, this little excursion wasn’t even part of the official Absolut event/weekend. Apparently the Icebar changes its design twice a year, and it happened to be closed Oct 26 to Nov 1, so today was the first day it reopened, but, just barely! (Opening party is tomorrow night!) Luckily, i was able to stay an extra day, and they managed to get us in today. So here is a first look at the latest ~ “Factory” designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen and Nille Nilsson. Along with the completely new space, there is also a brand new menu! It’s quite amazing, you enter through the little store passageway where you see racks of ponchos with gloves clipped on… then into the airlock… and into the ice bar! Within the ice bar (which is literally wall to wall ice) there are ice sculptures, an ice display (looking like an upright arcade game), the bar and more… the giant red “Don’t Push” button - is totally ok to push. As long as you’re cool with the light flashing! (So fun!) Also playful are some of the Icebar goods ~ you can buy a replica glass (that won’t melt!), a puffy jacket of a laptop sleeve, matches, and other silliness… This is one of three Absolut Icebars ~ the first was in the Ice Hotel, this one is in the Nordic Sea Hotel and is open year round, as is the one in Below Zero London. See all the fun on the next page, as cold as my fingers got, i couldn’t help taking a bunch of pics, and they even let me take pics from behind the bar!

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*notcot - , 01:41 - 0 Notes

Absolut Black Cube Party

absolutbox0.jpg While i seldom do party pics, i’m fascinated by Absolut and the way they brand experiences so nicely… This was their big 30th Anniversary Party for the Art Collection… and the lighting in the giant black cube they constructed for the party next to the Lydmar Hotel was this ominous mysterious structure that popped up while we were staying there, and they wouldn’t let us peek in until the event itself… so once in there with such cool lighting and visualizations and bands/djs playing… the pictures of the bar, the bottles and glasses, the scene, and the straws even! I just had to share! The colors came out so beautifully!

Also ~ i ran out tonight (day after the party) but was a bit too late to get black cube pics, however did get some very cool mid-deconstruction pics! If you see the pics on the next page, just imagine that covered in black…

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*notcot - , 00:19 - 1 Notes

Grodan, Stockholm

grodan.jpg Sometimes you desperately run around the city all evening, desperately hunting for an open restaurant after having two drinks at the ice bar for “breakfast”, almost genuinely considering buying 7-11 food, tweet for help, call for suggestions, and almost everything that comes up is closed… then you stumble upon the adorable red cozy outdoor section of Grodan, and peek into a stunningly ornate dining room that smells delicious… and there it is. Froggies! Everywhere! On the menu… embroidered on the napkins, on the door - a simple red silhouette of a frog! (Yes, i now know Groda means Frog in swedish)… but the most intriguing instance of this little red frog i encountered was as i sipped my water… there it was on the bottom of my glass! And it looked so fun with its reflection and prismatic colors projected on the table… I had to share… and i’m so tempted to make mini vinyl stickers to apply to the bottom of my glasses to surprise people when i get home… see more of the pics on the next page!

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*notcot - 10.26.09 , 21:20 - 3 Notes

Yelp Elite Lunchbox

yelpLunchbox0.jpg On awesome design that they clearly had far too much (or just enough?) fun with… how cool is this Yelp Elite Metal Lunchbox and Thermos?!?!?! In fact, Michael Ernst, an ex-Yelp-team-er who worked on the design project and sent this awesome gift over even took that main picture up top ~ emailing, “I actually went to a gravel pit in my tiny hometown of Minocqua and asked if I could shoot this there. The guy who ran it was utterly confused at my request. I wanted it to look like another planet.” ~ how coudl i not use the pic after a story like that??? So take a peek at more close ups on the next page ~ its the details that will really get you chuckling at your screen…

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*notcot - 10.24.09 , 01:15 - 19 Notes

The Kraken Rum: The Bottle

krakenbottle0.jpg The Kraken Rum: How can you NOT drink from a bottle that says “As seen through the eyes of imagination”… such a lovely description, also any bottle that has Bizarre & Fierce Sea Creatures on it is just hard to deny. You’ve seen the unboxing of the incredible packaging, design, and other goodies (like Kraken teeth in vials, ink in bottles, etc)… and now for close ups on the actual Kraken Rum bottle design from Kevin Shaw of Stranger and Stranger… The amazing thing i love to watch is putting it in unsuspecting hands, the bottle has presence! It’s hard not to pick it up, slip two fingers through the holes, and then suddenly while rotating and reading the label ~ the bottle jokingly raises up to your lips as if you are going to chug it… and many make sounds channeling their inner rum drinking Johnny Depp a la Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s happened more than once. I love how an object such as a mere bottle of rum through design and packaging can evoke such a delightful user experience! So take a peek at the packaging design and graphic details on the next page ~ The Kraken Rum is definitely a perfect gift if you need a sippable conversation starter to bring to a party (and loosen people up in more ways than one ~ it’s 94 proof!)…

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*notcot - , 00:30 - 13 Notes

Kraken Rum Unboxing at Boqueria

krakenbox0.jpg Ok, Kraken. The rum. It’s amazing, beautiful branding and design all around, also delicious, but first things first, we aren’t going to even talk about the bottle yet… first i have to show you the most mind-blowingly cool package i received and actually shot over lunch on my whirlwind 36 hours in NY (now curled up in Oxford in a tiny B&B writing to you!)… So, just before hopping in a cab to hit the airport, popped over to Boqueria in flatiron for a lunch “meeting” ~ and am presented with a stunningly printed cardboard box sealed with the coolest kraken of a sea creature seal in a silver plastic and black satin ribbon. As i slowly pull it all apart… there’s a note addressed in calligraphy to “My Esteemed Colleague”, silhouettes of the objects of proof held within this magical box of goodies printed within the box, custom printed wrapping paper (that i want for gift wrapping! everything?), a brilliant little book, a limited edition (of 50!) poster, a black feather and a pot of Kraken Ink, a disc of films, a Kraken tooth in a corked glass vial, and a disc of films… OH, and a bottle of The Kraken black spiced rum, of course.

Leave it to Dead As We Know It and Proximo Spirits to take things so above and beyond that i’m embarrassingly sipping rum over lunch, picking at delectable tapas, shooting pictures, and having a complete giddy sensory overload at how cool every aspect of The Kraken branding is… while trying to hold a proper conversation with two of the most fascinating guys you’ll meet. This meal has pretty much set the bar rather high for future “meetings” and “photoshoots”… So, before i get even more distracted, go take a peek at the unboxing of the Kraken and some of the delicious Boqueria food!

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*notcot - 10.07.09 , 11:45 - 9 Notes

1800 Tequila Essential Artists Winners!

1800new1.jpg Remember those 1800 Tequila Essential Artist bottles? (I also showed you the close ups of the real things - even more stunning than in pics!) Well, at the time of the first collection launching, there was also a contest where you could submit your designs to be a part of the second collection… well the winners have been announced! And the bottles are just starting to make their way out into the real world! They are AWESOME (not that i would expect any less from 1800 Tequila after their great pick of designs the first time around)… 12 Limited Edition Bottle Designs Including one from Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One… so if you’re ready, take a peek at the winners and a little background info on them on the next page… Also, beautiful video embedded on the next page animating and showing off all of the new designs, which is a definite must see! Can’t wait to see these in person!

p.s.
HUGE congrats to all of the winners ~ and to creative agency, Dead As We Know It for another stunning job.

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*notcot - 09.30.09 , 07:35 - 1 Notes

G&J Greenall’s Bloom Gin

bloomgin.jpg On stunning bottles, i couldn’t resist this G&J Greenall’s Bloom Gin ~ beautiful color, gorgeous silhouette, particularly from the side! Found it at Liberty in London when we were late night wandering, while waiting for a table in Soho for dinner… The other random note ~ who knew! The bathroom in the St. James Hotel and Club would be so incredible for taking backlit snapshots of the bottle?!?! And slightly disappointing note on packaging, that nice black extruded part on the neck? Just a sticker… As for the taste, its quite refreshingly delicious - the Bloom Gin website describes it as “… a new romantic twist to the world of gin. With its ornate jewel-cut bottle, Bloom’s fresh flavour offers a strikingly smooth, soft taste. This triple distilled gin uses demineralised fresh spring water and natural botanicals for its flavour. Created from juniper, chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle it offers a light, refreshing experience rounded with subtle notes of honey and orange. Bloom — a new gin to be enjoyed by lovers of nature.” Definitely yummy ~ and will look stunning on any shelf. Take a look at the details on the next page!

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*notcot - 09.27.09 , 10:20 - 2 Notes

Icecreamists Sex Pistol Cocktail

icesexpistols1.jpg Far more exciting than design week, everywhere i went i heard “You HAVE to go get ice cream at Selfridges!”… which seemed bizarre until i found out about the Icecreamists, and now i must tell you, “You HAVE to go get ice cream at Selfridges!” Before i get into the space and concept itself though, their The Infamous Sex Pistol Ice Cream deserved a post all on its own… “Natural stimulants & Absinthe Ice Cream. A classic Fior di Latte or Milk Ice Cream blended with Ginkgo Biloba, Arginine and Guarana for blood flow and energy. Scented with a gentle infusion of citrus zest. Topped with a shot of La Fee Absinthe. Strictly only one per person. Served with a complimentary Icecreamist badge.” The London Paper deemed this the “Viagra Ice Cream”… but realizing that the absinthe was served out of an iv drip, i simply HAD to order it. Also, this ended up being breakfast with a friend, so a little pick me up didn’t help before a full day of shopping in the saturday high street crowds. To take a look at the process and the cocktail itself, check out the pics on the next page! More to come on The Icecreamists soon!

p.s.
and while i don’t normally love absinthe, this was rather delicious…

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*notcot - 09.23.09 , 04:14 - 1 Notes

Gatinois + Champagne Corks

gatinoismain.jpg Ok on aspects of this trip that i shamelessy geeked out on… did you know that’s how champagne corks start? Before they get mushroomed? And the machine that mushroomifies them and puts the cage on is really cool? (Cool enough i had to make a video to share with you of course!) Also, there was definitely a warm fuzzy feeling that overcame me as Veuve Clicquot brought us to visit a tiny (relatively speaking!) grand cru champagne maker ~ Gatinois, a family-run business located in Aÿ since 1696, at the foot of the Montagne de Reims. While they have been selling half their crop to neighbor, Bollinger, they are producing more and more of their own label. It was infectious how passionate Pierre Cheval-Gatinois was as he shared his company’s story and history and process with us (his son is starting to step in as the 12th generation!)… perhaps the biggest contrast was visiting his cellars compared to les creyeres of Veuve Clicquot… the shift in scale was amazing, and you must check out the exposed wires running the lighting (to fry yourself, just reach up and grab one in each hand)… Oh, and also, the amber blush tone of the champagne is gorgeous and it is extremely delicious… but unfortunately it they don’t have a distributor in LA! Anyhow, on the next page you can see lots of pics, and the video of how the corks transform to magically to the mushrooms we associate with champagne!

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