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).
So i'm sure by now you've seen some of the many Rachel's Yogurt ads we've had running on the sites... this is going to sound bizarre, but initially i thought it was crazy that a yogurt company wanted to work with NOTCOT... i actually told them that maybe after seeing/tasting it i'd consider it... and then three boxes of yogurt showed up... yes, 36 little tubs of yogurt... that's like a fridge full! Long story short, the packaging was gorgeous (handwriting on black? love the style)... i am actually still buying the Calm "Lavender Plum Honey" flavor... and as you can see the ads look so pretty and so NOTCOT!
On a really random sidetrack, when joking around with one of our FM sales guys about Rachel's we were so amused that a yogurt company would have Cocktail recipes on their site (their Yogatini cracked me up!), and somehow it turned into a silly dare about how Liqurious should have yogurt inspired recipes... i passed the dare on to the amazing Anita Crotty (of Married with Dinner fame) ~ and low an behold, she came up with three delicious and beautiful drink recipes! Turns our Rachel's legal team wasn't ready to add our drinks to their site, and after all the fun we had, i've decided to share them with you anyhow! Anita takes the prettiest pictures of drinks, and the ingredients that go into them! So for today, i wanted to kick off Monday with Bee Cool. See more pics and the drink recipe on the next page!
So, in the last post you had a chance to see the incredible boat and views and the Riva/Veuve Clicquot collaboration, but what did they serve us? Here is a walk through with pics of the menu to explain all of the deliciousness served... from the Crab tasting in gazpacho juice, to the Morels in asparagus cream and beef consomme with a lobster medalion, to Veal filet mignon with truffles, potatos mousseline with truffles and baby onions, served with a spicy juice, to the two desserts - wild strawberries in a small cookie with a red berry ice cream macaroon, and a hazelnut in a caramel and dacquoise ice cream....... to the cigars and cognac that finished off quite a spectacular culinary feast and quite the introduction to the playful leisure loving Veuve Clicquot lifestyle... So feast with your eyes on the next page!
Wow. I just landed in the absolutely breathtaking Chateau Les Creyeres in Reims... after a helicopter ride (my first!) over the champagne region... which was preceded by visiting the presses and the vineyards... and an incredible lunch at madame cliquot's country house where the food was created (and inspired) by the champagnes with which they were paired... and learned about the "confusing sex" alternative to pesticides... getting a sneak peek at the latest porsche design collaboration on an "ice cube" to launch next year... tasted champagne vintages including one from my birth year... ok basically, TONS to share with you, and minimal internet connection... so everything is going to be a day or so off...
...but for now, i got some pictures up before i left the hotel this morning so here's a peek at last nights adventure! Incredible boat ride up and down the seine for dinner last night - on the next page are images of the experience - including the absolutely gorgeous Riva boat collaborations with Veuve Clicquot in person, seeing the eiffel tower lit up blue with the stars of the EU while sparkling to mark france's term as EU president, meeting Lia Riva and hearing stories of life in Monaco and her childhood of gorgeous boats, and ultimately this was the start of our getting to know the Veuve Clicquot family, and truly understand how rich the history of this brand is, and experience how passionate the individuals involved are in quality products, experiences, and DESIGN! Ultimately it's becoming very clear that more than just a brand, Veuve Clicquot is a lifestyle, and the lifestyle they have created, is certainly one i'm sure we could all get used to!
SETCAST is a new gorgeous bone china collection from London architects, voonwong&bensonsaw. "The SETCAST collection is the result of a close collaboration between voonwong&bensonsaw and one of China's most distinguished manufacturers of bone china, Asianera, based in Tangshan, the porcelain capital of northern China. Together, the companies have developed a collection that makes the best use of bone china's excellent light-reflective properties and also moves away from traditional decorative tableware to focus on striking new typologies that make a bold statement."
I was just floored when I saw WASARA over on Swissmiss' blog. WASARA is a line of the prettiest disposable paper tableware that you've ever seen - I would throw a party just so I could use these. It's not just paper plates either, it's bowls, mugs, sushi plates, serving platters...With the desire to be as sustainable as possible, WASARA is made from reed pulp and bagasse (sugarcane waste).
From WASARA's website: "Underlying the concept of WASARA is the legacy of Japanese aesthetic and value sense. Japan has a tradition of good manufacturing backed by excellent skills and techniques, one of the most refined food cultures in the world, and a spirit of hospitality and courtesy. These are essential for days of spiritual fulfillment. While a WASARA is a paper dish good for one-time use, we would like it to represent those quintessences of our tradition."
WASARA will be available for purchase at the end of August 2008.
For their latest Design Issue, Canadian magazine The Block commissioned chocolatier Thomas Haas to replicate the now-iconic 1949 Eames House in CHOCOLATE! Funniest thing is that this house is right down the street, and i've probably driven by multiple times a day for years...
"This sweet miniature design mimics the original structure Charles and Ray Eames created as part of Arts & Architecture magazine's Case Study Houses program. The program asked prominent architects of the day to design affordable and cost-efficient homes as possible solutions to the post-WWII housing boom. The modernist Pacific Palisades home is a semi-prefab wonder; the airy steel-and-glass structure with its brightly coloured panels was built in just three days. The Block's modernist chocolate dollhouse took 30 hours to complete."
Check out the photos, The Block issue cover, and article (including Thomas Haas' Chocolate Shortbread Recipe)... perhaps it's inspiration for gingerbread house building this year?
Molecular Gastronomy is one of those things that mixes design, science, and food/drinks so nicely, i've been fascinated with the concept for ages... and as i learned more, Molecular Mixology has become even more of a fascination! So when i got a press release about Xavier Herit's new take on the Cointreau Pearls, it launched me off on a research mission across the web, finding out more about the creation of Cointreau Pearls across the world, the special kit they produced just for bartenders, videos of it in action, and lots more images on the next page to catch you up on my finds! Above you are seeing a close up of Xavier's Cointreau Pearls in which he infused strawberry, and he serves them alongside Margaritas, and also floating in glasses of champagne.
P.S. Now, if only i could get Cointreau to teach me how to do it! It's so tempting to start up a crazy lab/bar and start experimenting with all of these new techniques... perhaps a future project for the newly named NOTLabs?
Two of my favorite vices - dark chocolate and scotch... combined?!?!?! K Chocolatier by Diane Krön's K HIBALLS filled with Blue Label Scotch and Ketel One Vodka - a more sophisticated variation of the recipes of chocolate once exclusive to Emperor Franz Josef of Austro-Hungary, that i'm sure the Emperor would adore were he alive today - will absolutely raise the bar for any chocolate/liquor experience. But first, let me fill you in on the background of the most delectable chocolates you may ever feast on. Food Network calls K Chocolatier by Diane Krön "the Rolls Royce of Chocolates".
These chocolates have blown my mind since childhood, and i can't believe i forgot about them the last few years! Thank goodness i rediscovered them today while wandering in Malibu... as far as things exclusively found in LA, this is one you absolutely must try. For a quick background on K Chocolatier by Diane Krön...
"In 1973, Diane and Tom Krön established Krön Chocolatier in New York City based on recipes from Tom's great grandfather, chocolate-maker to Emperor Franz Josef of Austro-Hungary. They soon became very famous for the quality and novelty of their chocolates (Tom invented the chocolate-covered strawberry) and opened many Krön stores across the U.S. Diane and Tom Krön sold Krön Chocolatier in 1983 and retired from the chocolate business to travel and raise their family. New management took over and the company went in other directions. Now Diane Krön is back ! Lured by the excitement of Beverly Hills, Diane decided to develop a new company, and in 2000, created a new brand of luxury chocolates with new combinations and more sophisticated recipes. K CHOCOLATIER is based on those secret Krön family formulations of cocoa powder ratio and viscosity, but with a difference: using as little sugar as possible."
Still family run (we met one of the sons at the Malibu store) ~ they produce these chocolates locally in their Gardena factory, and create daily batches in limited quantities. They are available exclusively in their Beverly Hills and Malibu boutiques, and if you are anywhere near the area, stop in - even if just to try the samples - and luckily you can now also shop online with them, since they ship nearly everywhere See more images of the beautiful packaging, some other variations... and i couldn't help it, so a little rant about my childhood memories of K Chocolatier by Diane Krön as well.