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.
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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.
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.
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.