New Finds rss

Our favorite products, gadgets, restaurants, bars, wine, beer, and food websites and blogs.

Kahlua Gets Fancified

The new Firelit Spirits Coffee Liqueur is booze made in food-geek heaven, a mix of cult-distiller St. George Spirits' brandy and cult-coffee roaster Blue Bottle's cold-brewed coffee, with some vanilla and sugar thrown in the mix. Be on the lookout for the White Russian gone all artisanal at a fancy cocktail bar near you soon. I think the Dude would abide.

Firelit Spirits Coffee Liqueur, $45

Liberty of London’s Gorgeous, Cheap, Dunclare Dinner Plates

I wasn't the only design whore who had March 14 circled on her calendar for months: on that date, items from the collaboration between Target and British design powerhouse Liberty of London became available in stores. Liberty of London is best known for its brilliantly colored floral patterns, which it imprints on housewares, clothing, and high-quality fabric. It's also known for its major prices. It would be very hard to justify a $100 teapot or a $176-per-plate dinnerware on a writer/editor's salary.

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Beautiful Wooden Objects

What's not to love about wood? It's warm, sturdy, and looks great on the table if you're into the rustic look. Here are a few neato wooden items for your kitchen, made from sustainably-harvested, reclaimed, and/or scrap bits of trees. READ MORE

The Best New Dessert Cookbooks

Hot Fruit
In time for spring and summer harvests, Deborah Madison brings us Seasonal Fruit Desserts with recipes for things like Huckleberry Cream Tart, Apricot Fold-Over Pie, and fruit and cheese pairings. Madison has a way of packing lots of info into her cookbooks without making them dry, and finding classy flavor combos that inspire.

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The Magic of a Menu

If you're getting married—or, hell, just having a really good dinner party—you might want to give a bit of thought to your menu. And by "menu," we mean an actual paper or card stock list of what's for supper.

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Better Salad Through Chemicals

The blog Cooking Issues by Dave Arnold and Nils Norén of the French Culinary Institute in New York, is one of my favorites for being randomly awesome. On the face of it, it's a vehicle for Arnold, who apparently has the coolest job in the world, to detail his daily science-lab-style hijinks, such as how to replicate Turkish stretchy ice cream using synthetic orchid powder, or how to vacuum-infuse a martini inside a cucumber. Typical sentences begin, "I had a hydrocolloid class coming up..." There are also some seemingly non-related asides, like an ongoing series of portraits they're taking of notable people including Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Merle Haggard drinking a slug of Aquavit. (?!) READ MORE

This Ain’t No Moonshine

It might sound like a cop out to sell un-aged whiskey for an aged whiskey price, but micro distilleries like Death's Door Spirits in Wisconsin and Tuthilltown Spirits in New York aren't just bottling their whiskey before they age it to make a quick buck. They're making it taste good and stand on its own. And it's paying off, with white whiskey cocktails showing up at places like Nopa in San Francisco, where it's used in a variation on the Manhattan and Rye House in New York City, where it's infused with apples.

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Candy Machines Dispense “Seed Bombs”

Project Greenaid looks like it's going to bring new competition to the vending machine market cornered by bouncy balls, cheap plastic jewelry, and sparkly Pokémon stickers with these nifty vintage-looking candy machines that dispense "seed bombs," a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds. The seed bombs can then be "thrown anonymously into derelict urban sites to temporarily reclaim and transform them into places worth looking at and caring for." Sounds at least as fun as getting a sticky hand.

Update 4/5/10: We received word from Daniel Phillips, co-founder of Commonstudio, the company behind Project Greenaid. He tells us that there is currently an active machine in Los Angeles at the 6th Floor Gallery in Chinatown, and there are ten more in the works that should be up and running around greater Los Angeles by May. Expect to pay about $0.50 for three or four seed bombs and an envelope with instructions that include a map of "strategic sites" to toss 'em. If you are dying to get your very own machine, they are about $400, and Commonstudio will work with you to develop a custom seed mix for your bombs that is optimized for the native environment where the machine will live.

Felt Bread Basket in Spring Colors

These classy wool felt bread baskets seem like they'd be perfect for bringing along a small loaf of bread on a spring hike or picnic, and fold flat when not in use. They hold about "four bagels" worth of bread and will stay assembled even when you open a flap to pull out your bread.

Avva Breadbasket, available in 2-3 weeks, $62

Lazy Man’s Whole Grains

I know, I know, making quinoa is about the easiest thing in the world. It's done in about 15 minutes. But what if you come home late and all you want to do is start stuffing your face? A new product from rice importer Village Harvest makes it almost shamefully easy to do.

Village Harvest's line of pre-cooked, cryogenically frozen whole grains are ready to eat instantly. Simply shake out the amount you want (no measuring), and warm it up in the microwave or on the stove. The amount of time it takes for the grains to defrost is the time it will take for them to get in your mouth. They're not mushy, but rather perfectly firm. I like to keep a bag at work in the freezer, and add them to salads, soups, or anything that needs a little more bulk. They come in brown rice, rice pilaf, wild rice, quinoa, and a few other varieties and are available at Whole Foods and other grocery stores.