It’s safe to say coffee culture is a habit rivaling the crack epidemic of the 90’s. A harsh but not accidental comparison. We dubbed it “New Joe City”. Playing the finest supply and demand game, The Barisieur Brewing Alarm Clock wakes you up with a beep and an olfactory, pavlovian trigger known as warm caffeine. Disguised in a gorgeous and meticulously crafted wood exoskeleton, a series of modern electronics and intricate micro-plumbing converge to deliver a morning kickstart like none other. Originally a crowdfunding idea by designer Joshua Renouf, this alarm clock concept launched his design company Barisieur. In his words, the studio is a brand driven by design, experience and exceptional quality. Currently the coffee clock is the companies only product but we’d guess they have other lines in the works. A toothbrush that makes you a breakfast burrito OR a wind-proof umbrella that calls you an uber would be a nice next move. Just sayin’.
All Gear Stuff
For years hydroponics has carried a stigma associated with your sophomore roommate’s
cannabis closet experiment. On the contrary, hydroponics have been in play with far more practical benefits for some time. Ever have a juicy, red tomato in January? Yeah, that’s most likely the hydroponics. The Monsanto issues aside, Futurefarms Spacepot Hydroponic Grow System brings the benefits of nutrient rich water growing science to your kitchen countertop. The beautiful, sleek system boasts the ability for a simple three step path to delicious, hearty plants in just 5 weeks. The crew is a collaboration of scientists, creators and makers in California who are on a mission to bring hydroponics into our homes to improve our well-being and lifestyle. In our case that’s perpetuating the Italian-American stereotype with fresh basil all winter long. And hey, your college roommate might actually get another swing at the bat this time as a culinary herb dealer.
So you’re hungry and want tacos for dinner, huh? In the great, ancient tradition of hungry-people-eating-food-they-want-to-eat-in-order-to-become-less-hungry, you’ve got a few go-to options: go out, order in, or even cook to get what you so desire. The only problem? Those options require effort. Be honest with yourself: do you really feel like putting in that kind of work? Especially when eating tacos is supposed to be one of the most effortless culinary experiences of all time. But what’s a hungry taco lover to do? What about ‘no pain, no gain,’ you wonder? The answer is in this revolutionary, (practically) effortless alternative to your average, everyday taco-procurement strategies. We’re talking about the “You Better Have Tacos” doormat, and we urge you to lay that bad boy outside your door and wait for the cha-ching, cha-ching — I mean crinkle, crinkle — of an endless supply our fave member of the no-utensil food group, brought to you by your friends, neighbors, and anyone else who should pass through your threshold. It’s so simple, you may weep. So convenient, you may never leave your place again. So foolproof…well we think that it maybe, probably, most likely will work. But if for whatever reason it doesn’t, well then at at least you’ve got a good place to wipe off your shoes — you know, in case you gotta go out for tacos in the rain.
You may think that here at FTHQ, we’re partial to utensils of the four-pronged variety, but we generally appreciate any and all cutlery that helps us deliver food into our perpetually hungry mouths. And although we’ve been known to nearly jump up-and-down in excitement about all kinds of eating instruments — knives, salad tongs, corn-on-the-cob holders, you name it — it’s been a while since tableware has gotten us as excited as these 100% edible and biodegradable utensils from Bakeys. With funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign and an aim to provide a viable alternative to the billions of plastic utensils thrown into landfills every year, Bakeys Edible Cutlery has it covered when it comes to usability and sustainability. Turns out sorghum, an environmentally-friendly crop you may have never heard of, seems to be the magic ingredient. Not only does sorghum allow Bakeys to produce 100 edible spoons with the same energy required to make a single plastic one, it also prevents the utensils from degrading in liquids — a particularly important fact for the environmentally-conscious ice cream enthusiasts among us.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream made with the Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball, a product from YayLabs!. It combines two of our favorite summer pastimes, ice cream and ball games. Pleasing to both artisanal ice cream aficionados and more casual ice cream enthusiasts alike, the Soft Shell Ice Cream Ball embodies the highbrow/lowbrow dichotomy in a way that only a homemade ice cream maker that looks like your average, everyday kickball could. Fight the been-there-done-that end-of-summer slump by bringing it on all of your adventures and shaking, tossing, rolling it until you get the smooth and creamy ice cream you had previously been too intimidated to make on your own (and it only takes 20 to 30 minutes!). We urge you to proceed with caution, however — you don’t want anyone mistaking your next batch of strawberry-blueberry ice cream for their next dodgeball weapon.
When it comes to “the best thing since sliced bread” conversation, we feel that grilled cheese is, if not the top contender, then at least one of the leading contestants for that most honorable of culinary titles. After all, what’s more ubiquitous, versatile, and universally enjoyable than a piece of melted cheese sandwiched between two pieces of perfectly toasted (and perhaps pre-sliced) bread? We’ll leave it for you to decide, but one thing’s for sure, grilled cheese just got a whole lot better thanks to Boska, a Dutch company that has been specializing in the cheese tool industry for more than a century (or, in other words, for way longer than you’ve been dunking cheesy triangle wedges into bowls of tomato soup). As if creating a delicious grilled cheese sandwich wasn’t already simple enough, Boska has made it even easier with reusable “toastabags” that provide a no-mess way for you to make grilled cheese using only a toaster. All you have to do is choose your ingredients, put them in a toastabag, pop the whole thing into your toaster, and wait for cheesy toasted perfection to arrive. Who knows, one bite, and you may decide that the toastabag has edged its way in as your pick for the best thing since sliced bread.
The Star Spangled Spatula immediately reminds you of why we flip grilled meat over flare licking heat in early July. The walnut handle and stainless prong makes you feel like a patriotic colonist armed with a state of the art weapon ready to battle, and win, the fiery grill revolution. No joke, the thing is build tough. Jacob Riley-Wasserman, the designer, was a top honored RISD student and knew his way around function and fashion. This ingenious tool unfortunately reminds us of something else far less celebratory. Jacob passed from cancer this year after what seemed to be a long fight with the disease. Always looking for the upside, as was Jacob from what I can gather, he started Flip4Cancer which donates some of the spatula proceeds to fight cancer. Talk about a legacy. Own one of these and remember the designer every time you flip a burger, fight cancer with every grill day this summer and humbly honor our country, land of the American dream, while it hangs holstered off the side of your barbecue.
My dad was an auto mechanic for 20 years. After that he became a self taught electrical engineer. It’s safe to assume tools and their boxes were a big part of my childhood. To date I have at least 10 different toolboxes. One for electrical, one for plumbing, one for cars, one for the house. The list goes on. The appeal of the BBQ Toolbox is therefore obvious but instead of this container synonymous with work, it’s a beacon for play. Flipping out like an old school True Value gem, the trademark red box reveals two grilling surfaces and a place for your prized sauces and critical grill tools. Summer music festivals are about to get “worked”.
Considering the run up to this weekend, we continue with the grill gadget prep and the Relic Portable Brick Oven. Clocking in at $1100 and 3000 degrees fahrenheit, this one might have to get through the wife before it makes it to your deck. If it flies, you just turned your $60 standard grill into a Napoleotano’s birth right. Aside from the pizzas you could make in this cast iron turtle shell think about the meats. Cherry wood infused poultry. Walnut wood ribeyes. We’re drooling just typing those combos. Don’t forget about the vegetable ramifications. Wood fired asparagus, corn and even tomatoes might just have appeal to your better half enough to elicit a “yes”.
Sometimes it rains on Memorial Day weekend. Sometimes it rains most of the summer. This is mother natures way of blessing the earth and replenishing life but it does deprive you from your weekly summer grilling rituals. If this summer turns soggy the Otto O.F.B. Steak Griller is your backup QB (Quick Burner). Fashioned after the commercial kitchen mainstay, the salamander, this broiler uses radiant heat to crisp up any protein to that perfect grill kissed aesthetic and texture. Pair this with a sous vide machine and you might ditch the grill all together.
There’s nothing more satisfying than that first time you fire up the grill each year. In prelude to the Memorial Day ritual most of us restock our grill gadget arsenal with mostly unnecessary but highly pleasurable new toys. The SteakChamp might not actually fall into that category because of it’s incredibly functional tech. A simple set of colored LED’s flash green for rare, yellow for medium and red for well to indicate that illusive inner doneness. No, it does not talk to your phone but part of the grill experience is hanging out and tending to it. We’ve field tested this one and the thermometer is dead on. As soon as we get a flashing green we know we have a perfectly done medium rare cut. Now you just have to convince your butcher to cut you that 3 inch porterhouse.
When I first saw these I was mesmerized. The curves, the way they stack, the pure color, all of it transfixing my eyes even without food on the plates. Compostable, bamboo pulp and inexpensive are not the next words I expected to hear out of Michiyo Tanabe’s mouth when we chatted in her booth at the NY Gift Show. Aside from the unique aesthetics Wasara’s process is extremely refined and…well, good. Bamboo grows extremely fast, meaning it needs to be cut back often. That’s recycle #1. They also use bagasse, a by-product of making sugarcane juice. Most of the 100 million tons is discarded as waste. Michiyo and team uses some of this to soften the bamboo. That’s recycle #2. Finally, because it’s softer than wood pulp it uses less energy to produce the final product. So, use them to make you feel great about helping the planet or reduce waste or recycle materials. We use them because they are gorgeous.
I’m less excited about the Koffie Straw for the purpose it was invented, to protect teeth from stains and enamel erosion. Although a great solution to a problem it simultaneously solves one of our biggest pet peeves. Splashy cups. Invevitably our morning cup of coffee jets jostled around on a our commute to a point of spillage from that little oval hole in the lid. The Koffie Straw has an oval design to fit snugly in the lid. Gravity will help sedate the splash as it attempts to travel up and out the spout but it’s denied every time. Small compact and reusable, we’ll have one of these in every jacket we own.
Grow some kale from fish waste. Some intrigue in that opener right? It never ceases to amaze us when we see something like this. Our first thought is, “Wait, why does this not exist yet?” It’s a process called aquaponics. The gist The Microfarm is this. Fish waste is extracted from giant aquariums and used to enrich seeded soil to grow plants. This Eco system feeds the plants while cleaning the fish habitat. Can you say win win? Damn, Mother Nature is awesome. The Springworks Team has been working with these systems for the last 7 years. In that time they have grown over 250,000 heads of lettuce each year. The genius is that they are bringing this technology to the home aquarium. The system fits on top of your home aquarium and the soil pulls the fish waste out of the water. The results are two fold. Grow herbs in your house and never have to change the water in your aquarium again.
We normally wouldn’t feature something so ubiquitous but the copper version is just so dope that we had to share it with you. The same great workhorse you’ve had (or been seeing) for years just in a shiny penny version that even we’d think twice about letting it clutter up our counter.
We love the dentist. Ok…I love the dentist. I also love weird mashups particularly if they consider the dinnertable. For most, drinking from a Porcelain Dentist Cup while enjoying a delicious meal would be like a 4X UBER surge after front row seats to Hamilton. I’d go so far as to serve some neon blue cocktail in these to further conjure the inspector gadget dental chair. Fish’s Eddy embraces this contrast with the newest in their quirky line up. Although, their dentist cup was probably intended for the bathroom not the dining room. Does that make me weird?