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.
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You needed this yesterday morning. Maybe the most complicated breakfast gadget ever, the PancakeBot is a robot mashed up with an electric griddle holding a squeeze bottle of batter controlled by your computer. I’ll give you a Monday morning minute to let that seep in. Miguel Valenzuela, who’s Norwegian (go figure), dreamt of a “Pancake Machine” and with the curiosity of his daughter and eventual help from StoreBound it’s now his reality and our breakfast bounty. Getting started is easier than you might think with downloadable designs that range from Snoop Dogg to the Poo Emoji to Jesus. All seemingly appropriate for a Sunday morning.
12 years ago I bought a Vietnamese pour over on the streets of Saigon for 12 cents. Since then a lot has changed in the quality and consumption of coffee in our over caffeinated, craft-focused country. Dustin Sell has spent years perfecting the perfect coffee maker in order to preserve that quality and enhance the consumption experience. He’s so dedicated that he scrapped his first crowdfunding effort because it just wasn’t “right”. Now he’s back with a perfected version that makes the perfect cup of coffee and looks great on your counter top while it pours it’s deep, rich, sweet, bitter, chocolatey, earthy, mellow, nutty, spicy, sweet, bright, sharp, magic.
It’s not news to anyone that the hospitality industry has been devastated by the COVID-19 threat. The shutdown mandate for the industry has been in effect for three weeks now and writing about food seems a bit insensitive and frankly less meaningful, although, a mindless escape from the morbid 24 hour news cycle we’re captured in is a welcome reprieve.
What’s incredible to us is how the hospitality industry is reacting. Down and out (for the time being) many have funds to help their employees while others are still cooking to help frontline workers stay nourished and healthy. It’s these selfless pivots that have us most impressed (humbled and optimistic). Hedley & Bennett, the apron makers, launched the Wake Up & Fight mask effort this week and besides impressing us gave us an amazing way to help our frontline workers be more protected. They have innovated by turning their apron factory into a protective mask operation to aid in the worldwide shortage in personal protection equipment (PPE).
Pulling from the get one give one model, each purchase allows a mask to be made for frontline essential workers. It’s a triple collab between HEPA filter maker Think Crucial, Dr. Robert Cho, Chief of Staff of Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, CA and them. Their apron material is used to sew a mask with an inside pocket for a replaceable HEPA filter. It’s important to note that this doesn’t replace an N95 respirator in effectiveness but the CDC says the point of a mask is not to protect you from inhaling the virus but to stop the spread of it, especially if you are asymptomatic. Frontline workers need PPE because they are face-to-face with live, confirmed, symptomatic patients all day long. Heros in other words. In such a critical moment in history this selfless, in it together humanity will be rewarded not just those who spearhead these efforts but all of us worldwide. You can purchase masks from their website or send a bulk order inquiry if you are so inclined to help at scale.
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.