At this point there are gourmet versions of every food, and now we can add to that list, lollipops. Leccare Lollipops are an artisanal take on the kids candy, being made in flavors like Lavender and Marshmallow, Rose and Honey, Salted Caramel, and Watermelon Sea Salt, to only name a few. What really sells me on these are the fantastic colors and textures.
Pantone brings it’s patented color system to the world of food with it’s Pantone Cafe. You can nibble on a 13-0221 Pistachio Green eclair or savor a 17-1227 latte. The pop-up closes Sep 9 so you’d better book your tickets to Monaco soon.
The bees begin migrating from the nearby countryside as early as late January. Their honey appears along with the tight white clusters of blossoms that frost the tips of the khalsi trees. For the subsequent three months, the bees build their nests, dangling from the branches like inverted cockscombs and cloaked in thousands of defensive bees, each just under an inch long. On our first afternoon together, Nurul Islam told me that he had once inadvertently upset a hive with the smoke rising from his cooking fire. The swarm descended and stung him sixty times. “The whole of my body was swollen,” he said, “I had a high fever for three days.”
If you think your job is tough, you don’t have anything on this group of Muslim men who collect honey. If the excerpt above doesn’t scare you, the men must also watch out for tigers.
When I think of Wolfgang Puck, I think of… well nothing really comes to mind. To be honest, I imagine that horrible chef who yells at people and somehow has a TV show where he yells even more. Perhaps that’s the problem, I can’t off the top of my head think of who Mr. Puck is? I’m pretty sure I’ve had one of his sandwiches before but the memory is fuzzy.
Thanks to Pearlfisher, this might be changing. The London/NY based design agency has cooked up an elegant new identity for Wolfgang and his fleet of brands, which range from catering to the aforementioned sandwiches. This includes a new mark as well as a hairline logo which in my opinion looks quite sophisticated. The comments on Brand New disagree with my opinion though I think less is more with the overall identity which will help it stand out against their competitors. My only question: Where did the bar go in the A?
If I had to recommned one bar to haunt in Paris, and this is a serious decision for me, I would choose Andy Wahloo. A kitschy, hole-in-the-wall kind of place, it’s lit with neon, adorned with a leopard print carpet and boasts an impressive selection of Japanese whisky. The bar was recommended to me by my source of truth, Hamish Robertson, who’s tastes align with my own so very perfectly.
Kyle and I visited AW on a Friday night and it was relatively chill, we assumed the locals had already left on holiday, so we bellied up to the bar and chatted up the bartenders. Kyle started out with a French 75 and I a Manhattan. As we drank we asked the younger bartender what the specialty of the house was, to which the immediate response was, “the Old Fashioned, but I’m not allowed to make it, only Kaled,” pointing to the other, more seasoned bartender. Obviously I needed to experience this for myself. The seasoned bartender was named Kaled and he spent the next 15 minutes (time escaped me) making the most exquisite Old Fashioned for me, and me alone.
He set out a glass, filled it with ice, then covered it with a napkin. Gently, he placed three sugar cubes onto the napkin and then dashed bitters and some other concoction over the top, letting it slowly filter into the glass. Repeatedly he filled the glass with ice, then a bit of Bulleit Bourbon, then removed the ice just as it started to melt, then add more cubes and more bourbon. I marvelled in a drunken stupor at his process, the artistry and the experience that was being poured into the glass bit by bit. His eyes never left his work, and he barely spoke a word as he worked. I felt like this process couldn’t be more magical until he needed proper ice for the drink. Out the bar manager came with infant sized chunks of ice, clear as glass, which he carved by hand. From a cabinet behind him came an old Japanese knife with which he sliced and sheared till it was a perfect sphere that sat cozily in it’s bath of bourbon. As if that wasn’t enough he topped it with a peel of orange rind (of course) but also a custom made chocolate spoon which was spray painted with gold. It’s purpose was to hold the cherry, that way the customer wouldn’t stick their hands in their drink to eat it.
Kaled handed this holy grail over to me and I was nervous to drink it. I asked, “How do you recommend drinking this?” to which he responded, “Well, it’s your drink, whatever you want.” Humility at it’s finest. I placed it to my lips and felt as if I was supping a work of art. In my mind I compared what he had done to the artisans I met in Waterford, Ireland, the master glass blowers who transformed molten hunks of glass into fragile wonders. Clearly he was a master of this drink and it was a sight to behold. I think my honest (and probably over-enthusiastic) admiration was evident though. As we paid our l’addition Kaled asked the junior bartender to set up a line of shots, and myself, Kyle, and Kaled drank together.
There’s a lot fuss in the realm of food and drinks, particularly around the idea of the “proper way” of doing thins. The “proper way” to make a Manhattan. The “proper way” to make sushi. I think we’re living in a fantastic time where we can throw the “proper way” out the window and embrace new ideas. A perfect example of this is Underwood, a canned wine produced by Union Wine Co. out of Oregon. Should wine be served in a can? Is canned wine better? I believe those questions are irrelevant. After having a can of the rosé over the weekend I can tell you the following: drinking wine from a can is awesome.
First, there’s the advantages in form, like how the can helps the wine stay cold longer, something I hadn’t thought of. It’s also really easy to drink in public as most people think you’re drinking a Diet Coke. It’s also worth remembering that an aluminum can holds 375ml so you’re drinking half a bottle of wine per can. That’s no joke.
Second, but most importantly, is the flavor of the wine. Union Wine Co. started in 2005 as an effort to make wine accessible, that it didn’t always need to be extremely expensive. I’m certain if I poured you a glass of the rosé and tell you it came from a can you would have no idea whatsoever. It was crisp, it was dry, and it was perfect for an 85º summer day.
Here’s what I recommend: Keep an open mind, buy a four pack for you and a friend, and enjoy a taste of the future.
There’s something I love about redesign concepts when they relate to foods and drinks. We see so many of these products day in, day out that to see them in a new light fascinates me. Kara Haupt has created something that perhaps defies “redesign” and approaching the “reinvention” space, creating a new concept from something familiar. In my mind this looks like it would be an aged, super premium version of Jäger that you take shots of on your yacht. Plus, “old man Jäger” has a really nice ring to it.
You can see her full concept by clicking here.
At the end of last year, I was delighted to hear that Jameson had invited me to Ireland to interact with some of their local craftsman, tour their incredible distillery, and—of course—enjoy some delicious Irish whiskey.
Never having been to Ireland before, I knew I was in for a treat. Telling friends and co-workers about my journey I was told stories about cozy, old pubs that buzz until late into the night, lusciosus green hills that seem to last forever, and encountering folks who were some of the nicest they’d ever met. This was one of the elements that still stands out so vividly to me: how kind the people are.
The first craftsman we visited was a burly man named Garvan de Bruir, a leather crafter working in the quaint town of Killdare. We drove almost directly from the Dublin airport to his studio and was greeted with a spread of sandwiches, salads, and good beer, which was much needed after a 14+ hour flight. Garvan’s kindness matched his creativity as we snacked in an impressive studio he designed himself, not content only creating objects with leather.
The De Bruir line of leather goods are fantastic, too. He makes a little bit of everything such as luggage, bags, wallets, keep-all trays, and, most surprising of all, bow ties. I believe hearing the words “leather bow tie” might induce a cringe amongst most but his design is flawless and, when you see Garvin himself wearing one, you suddenly see how well it works.
We were given the opportunity to make leather aprons for ourselves using De Bruir designs. Watching Garvan and his apprentice work looked simple but in actuality is a lot like watching cooking shows on television: “I can do that, no big deal,” you say in your head. As I learned, leather crafting is not simple. Thankfully we had expert teachers who led us through process with ease as we chatted about other small leather good brands from around the world. It was two days of hard work that led to a beautiful product that should last me forever.
After this, we took off for the town of Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city and home to a number of glass blowers. Waterford might sound familiar and that’s because it was the home of Waterford Crystal. Well, that was until 2009 when they declared bankruptcy and laid off most of their artisans. Still! That didn’t stop companies like The Irish Handmade Glass Company from filling the void with their very in-demand skills.
If you’ve never seen glass blowing in person, it’s hard to fully understand the beauty of the process. We were treated to Richard Rowe showing us how a master glass blower goes about his craft, tranforming globs of molten glass into precious pieces of art in minutes. It’s an intimdating craft that has an element of danger—or at least you think this from the view of a spectator, which is a part of it’s allure.
The last leg of our trip was a tour through the Jameson Distillery in Cork, a facility that’s been around since 1795. The distillery is indicative of what I saw a lot of in Ireland: a rich history and heritage now being augmented with contemporary design and architecture. As you walk around you’re overwhelmed by the age of the place, that has been the brand home for hundreds of years.
They’ve been plying their craft, slowly but surely moving toward the present and future of whiskey. The grounds are mostly lined with old building made of stone and wood, like a Dickensian setting of some sort. This setting continues in the past until the near end, where you’re guided to the new wing of the facility a state-of-the-art complex that resembles a Bond villains lair (but in actuality, distills golden, whiskey goodness).
They even have (what I would call) a whiskey labratory officially titled the Irish Whiskey Academy. It offers a number of courses on the history of whiskey, how it’s produced, and—yes—extensive tastings. The tastings were particularly interesting because of the variety of flavors and nuance a whiskey can take on. Some had fruit notes, some where quite smokey; others were younger and thus quite potent, a specific taste for specific people. Getting to soak up the details of a whiskey like that is not something that happens very often—especially in such a storied place like the Jameson Distillery.
In all, Ireland was a fantastic place to visit. The weather was warm, the people were warmer, and the whiskey never stops flowing. You can’t ask for much more than that.