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)...
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!
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?
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!
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...
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!
and while i don't normally love absinthe, this was rather delicious...
On unique experiences, i was invited to a lovely intimate dinner at the LeBasse Projects gallery in Culver City prior to the opening of their Edwin Ushiro "Softly Encompassing the Womb" and Ryuichi Ogino "Idealistically Hypocritical 3" shows this weekend ~ where they essentially set up a dining table in the midst of all the artwork, and invited a few of us to dine with the artists and gallery owners and discuss everything from the art, to the mythologies and stories behind the paintings, to twitter/facebook/luddites, to hypocrisy, to ghosts, and so much more. I also couldn't help but get constantly distracted at the stunning pieces on all sides to stare at... gorgeous body of work from Edwin Ushiro as always. And having a chance to really spend time with the pieces up close was great, the larger pieces are just breath taking, and so beautifully layered with such evocative palettes. Take a peek at the scene, and some of the pieces up close on the next page!
While the sdcc preview night doors open in just a few minutes ~ i couldn't resist taking in the view and doing a little photoshoot on the hotel coffee table to show you Andrew Bell's amazing O-No Food Company Sushi toys that just launched with limited edition Blue 150 colorway (only 150 pieces) for sdcc... Luckily the Dumbrella crew snuck me in early, and gave me a chance to see what pre-comicon is really like (constant forklift dodging!)... BUT back to the matter at hand, while i got excited about these Sushi guys when they were NOTCOT.org #22670 ~ they are even better in person! And their stumpy little arms rotate... their eyes swap... and he's strategically placed his name on them too. Anyhow, see the pics of them on the next page... i even tried to put SOME of their tentacles back on...
So i'm in San Diego ~ wandering the gaslamp district, and for the first time i'm actually STAYING in the gaslamp (i've lived in sd for years in so many different places, but never really stayed downtown much)... and as soon as i was cruising towards the convention center white picket fences caught my eye ~ then i saw the big Cafe Diem sign! (Yes! the fictitious Eureka cafe) And cardboard cutouts of the Eureka cast! And huge Syfy logos.... and had to swing back over. (Unfortunately the Cafe Diem main sign had JUST fallen over when i got back with a camera, so perhaps an update with that later!)
So as far as marketing/sponsorship opportunities go ~ i'm impressed! Last year there was a Eureka ice cream truck ~ and this year they really stepped up the food serving idea and took over a cafe across from the convention center. The branding is impeccable as expected... from the picket fence, to the signage, to the purple gumballs, to the backs of all the counter seats, coasters, and more... and brilliant idea as far as fun places to have Syfy meetings? Or meet for drinks? or have parties? And talk about a captive audience, it's still a fully functioning cafe... Love the versatility of branding a full service space. Take a peek at more pics on the next page!
What's next? Will we get to explore a life sized S.A.R.A.H?
As promised in the last post about the Arta Barware goodies ~ while making lemonade we cut open one of the largest (nearly softball sized?) lemons from the top of my tree ~ and we were surprised to find that the seeds had started sprouting! Not knowing this was possible, i immediately started rethinking those old wives' tales about how swallowing a seed would make a tree grow out of your head.... and while talking to someone else, i started thinking of the plant based villains from Darkwing Duck too (embedded videos on the next page if you need to catch up on Dr. Bushroot and Spike)... Anyhow, the seeds have now been planted, will see what happens to them, but not before taking some pics to share with you!
On really fun packages to receive ~ Ben & Jerry's sent over some of their new Flipped Out ice creams. Basically they are like ice cream upside down "cakes" ~ you peel the top, flip it over, and stick your thumb in to push them out onto your plate, and within moments they get a little gooey and fudgey... honestly its more fun/yummy than it is pretty. There is brownie, peanut butter cup, and cookie dough ~ peanut butter and cookie dough were def the best! Strangely of our panel of 3 ~ brownie was not living up to expectations!
BUT, for the SUPER fun part, it came packed in a big styrofoam container with DRY ICE! So as we unboxed, ended up playing with the dry ice for a bit until it was all gone! So some silly videos of that were inevitable... check out a look at the unboxing, dry ice playing, packaging, and more on the next page!
Perhaps the coolest random goodies yet... Ford & Ching (Previously FordBrady, but Brady has moved on and Ching has joined Ford) ~ while at Dwell on Design this morning, i got a branded marshmallow in a box ~ a very cool little wooden box cut to perfectly fit a single marshmallow. A marshmallow i couldn't bear to eat until i had thoroughly photographed it to share with you! (As it was publishing, i devoured it. it was delicious.) While i hate to admit it, i was far too excited by the adorably cool boxes and chatting with both Ford & Ching that i don't have the name of the awesome wood loving designer behind the boxed mallows, but i'll be back there tonight and quite a bit this weekend, so i'll come add that later... but first things first ~ check out the awesome branded mallow in a box on the next page!
UPDATE!!! The awesome woodiness is by Andrew Riiska ~ and his blog has some fun behind the scenes look at his gorgeous tables as well!
I swear i won't buy a full box of produce just to get one of these amazing Yeti's Best boxes. BUT, i may not be below begging them to let me have one next time! Wandering whole foods i got terribly distracted and started taking quick pics with my point and shoot of the Yeti Produce!!! Only to realize that as i turned around it was a Whole Foods brand box... and there were other retro/designer boxes as well! Yeti is definitely the best, and Cosmic second best ~ but you must check out the rest on the next page!
I'm learning to love twitter... at first it drove me insane, but now it connects me with incredible new people... and its been intriguing to see what people and brands are doing with it... latest fascinating (and seemingly awesomely successful) experiment comes from Macallan. Granted i'm biased, Macallan 18yr has been my favorite go to for a few years now (while cocktails are fun, its my default if available)... but what they set up is really pretty fun! Here's the setup: Macallan's brand ambassador @livingthedram (Graeme Russell) teamed up with the Michelin-starred chef Ed Brown of Eighty One in NY for the ultimate Macallan Tasting ~ all live tweeted and projected on the wall!!! And while i nearly moved my flight to make the dinner ~ but being twitter and all, they were kind enough to send samples over for me to taste along with them! Unfortunately my timing still sucked a little, but first thing i did when i got home was grab some food, and start catching up on the #macallan tweets - and taste along with them!
On the next page, check out some pictures of the event, the samples (so fun to see the color differences alongside one another!), and a selection of my favorite tweets (yes, i totally read my way backwards through the whole event to catch up!).
I've been obsessing about vertical gardens lately ~ and while most get complex drip systems, bricks of earth magically suspended, and pretty thick installations... i lit up when i stepped into the Valcucine showroom for the Surface Magazine and saw this brilliant idea of a metal grid with little pots hanging from them filled with everything from herbs to strawberries!!! And it looks pretty awesome? Also between all the luxurious sustainable kitchen and furniture ~ they debuted and let us sample the delights of Valcucine's Riciclanta sustainable slow food kitchen... really delicious asparagus soup shots and soup spoons of salad bites... the chefs on hand were incredibly sweet and friendly too! Also really cool to see the little wet pots in person! I think i'm finding it much cuter than the eva solo one i just bought as far as use of space, and the same concept pretty much. See pics of it all on the next page!
Ok, don't laugh. This heat wave is unbearable. I just finished up the remains of the Talenti Roman Raspberry Sorbetto that was in my freezer... and now all i have is the awesome Talenti plastic container sitting in front of me wishing i had more. And wondering why i didn't photograph it for a post earlier, since i obviously bought it because it was so pretty... so none the less, here's a post about the deliciousness, which may have been partially influenced by the fact that i just wandered through their flavors and gallery and wondering which one i wish would magically appear in my fridge next. Why is it so hot?!?!?!?!?!
Bottom line? DELICIOUS. And i think i want to try the Hill Country Peach Champagne Sorbetto next... why isn't Whole Foods 24 hour? See more of the deliciousness in reusable screw cap plastic packaging on the next page! Yummmm...
Not convinced how hot it is? Check out my video of a squirrel that ran up right next to me and was pancaking in the water on the next page too...
Mmmmm chocolate. Beautifully packaged chocolate. Dare i say the packaging is even nicer than the contents? SO, pictures of some of the Singapore Chocolat Factory stores have been circulating the web quite a bit ~ and when i ran into the one at Changi Airport, how could i not grab some for the 18 hour flight? Ok, well the chocolate rain (cocoa powder with the watering can spout) isn't easy for immediate consumption, its packaging was too fun not to show you... and of course they got all uppity and wouldn't let me take any pics in the store, so i guess it worked, i had to BUY the stuff instead!
Tiny bit of background? Read up more about this Spanish Chocalatier, Chocolat Factory on their site. But for the REALLY fun stuff? Check out the poster, packaging close ups, looks at the chocolate and more on the next page!
Perhaps a NOTCOT first ~ scanning my junk mail? But flipping through this Trader Joe's mailer was hilarious, you could just imagine how much fun the lucky designers were having as they put this together! The octopus on the cover is just priceless, and hilarity continues within as well! Take a peek at some of my favorite pages... on the next page!
Latest from Form Us With Love: Boat Life, Seafood collection for Sagaform inspired by the Swedish archipelago summer life. Isn't it just so adorable and happy? I can just imagine building up a scene on the dining table with the set... big blue table runner or placemats for water, salad in the paper boat dishes... salt and pepper shakers bobbing along.... lighthouse carafe on the shore? Too cute ~ see the larger pics on the next page!
Oooooooh.... so while i do love my xacto knives ~ i'm extremely intrigued by the new Slice by Karim Rashid products... first found them over at Unica Home, and found more info at the Slice website. Slice is all about ceramic blades ~ "Compared to any metal (even high-carbon steel), ceramic is sharper, harder, and stays that way longer." ~ and the Precision Cutter is great for an xacto replacement apparently... and only 7$? So it looks like Slice originally had its letter opener and safety cutter ~ and in collab with Karim, they now have the Precision Cutter, Veggie Peeler, Y-peeler, and Grater ~ all so tempting! See some more pics i found at Unica on the next page!
From their description: "The Abandoned Comb Amulet consists of a hexagonal sugar-glass pyramid filled with Brooklyn rooftop honey. Free floating in the candied bubble is a solid 18k gold honeycomb necklace sculpted by bees. It is protected by a glass dome with a rubber stopper. The usefulness of the Abandoned Comb Amulet is defined by the resulting choice of a Solomonic dilemma. One must either forcefully exhume the honey drenched gold by violently shattering and eating the casing, or find value in the object's current form and care for it as it deteriorates on its own.
Regarding the process: "First, abandoned honeycomb from Brooklyn rooftop hives is gathered. Next, in the ancient 'lost wax' tradition, the honeycomb is burned away and replaced by molten gold. Resulting is a perfect hold replica of the wax comb."
It's a fascinating story/process/concept for what may finally result as simply an 18k honeycomb necklace, but the delicious "unboxing" process really adds a new dimension even more delectable and beautiful to display than most. See more images on the next page!
This has been a strange strange trip ~ in a nutshell, its been the least CES-y ces trip ever ~ and to be honest, we never made it to the main show floor (just ran around the sands part for an hour or two) ~ but with the extensive coverage just about EVERYWHERE online right now (yes, we too are lusting after the Palm Pre), i feel like we've been seeing the best of's all over! Instead we ended up indulging in some exploring of vegas, meetings/dinners/etc... so to everyone i never got a chance to meet back up with at the main show floor ~ apologies! Next time, perhaps?
So back to the random adventures around Vegas ~ i've seen the highway signs for Alien Fresh Jerky for years... so we went on the way back to LA! It is like a highway stop Alien 7-11 filled with jerky, alien paraphernalia, honey, nuts, hot sauce, you name it... there was a ufo crashing into it, and a family of aliens parked in the parking lot... and clearly they've been having a LOT of fun with their packaging/branding! So see the pics on the next page... and you can even order online for the next time you need some Alien stocking stuffers...
This gift guide is all about pleasure ~ indulgence ~ luxury ~ and fun toys to go with it all! It has kind of become the theme of the day... and there's more to come! So take a look at the collection on the next page and as usual, click the products to browse further... also see more coupons!
Happy Thanksgiving! Since i might be tied up a bit, thought i'd get this one up early for those of you looking for things to do and win between the festivities, or those of you who may be stuck at work... or black friday hunting... or... well, here! Giveaway #11 is from our good friends at Delight - They have a new deal every day, and quite the arsenal of incredible gifts, and gorgeous gift wrap! I always loved the clean look of an ivory white ribbon on a brown box... and now they've even come up with a great eco-friendly gift wrap, all the goodies tied up in a reusable RuMe bag! (So smart, its such a nice idea!) So what is this big Thanksgiving giveaway? Basically the ultimate green goody basket!!! Well, they call it the Eco-Delightful GET GREEN Gift Set - and its got about 50 things in there! If you count the pencils and lollipops separately... you can check my math on the next page... as well as see each and every product included! Some highlights ~ another chance to win the I Am Not A Paper Cup, the fun Twist sponges that have packaging that turns into bird feeders, reusable bags of multiple sorts, stainless steel water bottle, and more!
Oacoca ~ remember the recent .org post #16193? It came across my email and totally had me craving chocolate when i posted it that night ~ and a box came today, so to follow up, you have to see how cute this "indulgence worthy of the guilt" really is... and i liked the packaging, and insulated giant silver ziploc with reusable icepack inside... So check out pics of these deliciously decadent upgrades on the usual peanut butter cup...
NOTCOT Note: Lucky! Sub-Studio was invited to go see Chicago through the eyes of Volkswagen, specifically while cruising around in their new 2009 CC, while dining on molecular gastronomy goodness, and checking out the humble abode of Frank Lloyd Wright ... and all we got is a post filled with pictures of Anna's adventures! I'm so fascinated by the studio and foodie pics on the next page!
A few weeks ago, I made a trip out to Chicago to review and test drive the new Volkswagen 2009 CC. Along the way, we got to see Chicago, have a 20-course dinner at molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto, and visit Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in the Oak Park suburbs of the city. Check out my adventures through pictures on the next page!
First super pretty NOTCOT Video... in HD even! I'm sure you've heard about Banksy's Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill by now ~ we haven't been able to stop envying those who have seen it in person, and we have posted the best photosets we can find on .org... even been debating flying out just to go see it! For those catching up, Banksy (the subversive, cheeky, street artist known for stencil art, adding art to museums, pink elephants and more) branched out into animatronics with his Banksy's Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill
It has been so painful to see so many terrible youtube videos floating around, when i could only guess what the experience must be like in person. Since this is something that deserved to be well documented before it disappeared at the end of Oct, i commissioned filmmaker, Seth Brau, to capture the experience (especially the details!) for those of us too far to visit in the flesh... and when i got back from SF, seth had this incredible video (that i can't stop watching!) waiting for me! He even found music that closely matched that which is playing in the actual store! Huge thanks to our friend, Daniel Holter of the Burst Collective for helping with the music.
After this incredible piece, i think we may have to see more of Seth's work on NOTCOT soon... maybe we will have NOTCOT videos more regularly yet... and for comparison (and incase they disappear someday) on the next page you can see screenshots of the official Banksy's Village Petstore and Charcoal Grill, as well as the Banksy vids (shot in cages/rooms other than the actual petstore).