Friday, September 19, 2008

Viva la Terra

My friend Leslie tipped me off to VivaTerra, an online purveyor of eco-friendly home products with style. VivaTerra (living earth) is dedicated to "living in harmony with nature" and feature products dedicated to sustainability, artisan craftsmanship and elegance. Some of my favorite designs from the site include:

Vintage Ruler Chair

Sol Cerveza Glasses

Root of the Earth Bowl

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daniel Boulud's Dream Kitchen

Featured beautifully in the September issue of Elle Decor (on page 126 and beyond) is the dream kitchen of Chef Daniel Boulud, realized by Bilotta Kitchens at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in NYC this past April. Unfortunately, the gorgeous photos are not available online, so head to your local library or bookstore to peruse the magazine.

Luckily, I found a short 2-minute video of Chef Boulud in the staged kitchen explaining his inspiration. Some of the layout and storage solutions I found very to be very helpful, despite being way beyond my kitchen budget!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cook for a Cure

I took a hiatus from blogging last week to visit my good friend Margaret in Tennessee who is fighting breast cancer at 30 years old. With the cause hitting so close to home and breast cancer awareness month approaching in October, I wanted to remind readers that KitchenAid has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for The Cure to offer a "pink collection" of cookware and accessories that support breast cancer.

Each pink product that is purchased and then registered at will generate a donation of up to $50 for the Komen organization. KitchenAid's "Cook for the Cure" program has raised over $6 million to date and gives passionate cooks a way to support the breast cancer movement. Think pink with these fun kitchen gadgets!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Nest for a Good Cause

As apple season approaches, why not consider this 3-D wall hanging to spruce up your kitchen or family room? The simple apple on a wall screams Magritte, don't you think? I found this online at Nest, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women artists in developing countries by helping them create sustainable entrepreneurial businesses.

Nest has merged art, commerce and philanthropy on their shopping site. It features lovely clothing, accessories and housewares designed by micro-credit loan recipients who benefit from Nest and also by well-known designers eager to support the cause. As the organization says it best: "When you buy from Nest, you have not only have purchased a unique and beautiful item for yourself or your home, you have participated in a proven effort to better the lives of women all across the globe."

Shopping for a good cause has never been more original! Visit Nest's Home Collection today.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

FD Featured on The Kitchn!

September is "Home Cooking Month" on The Kitchn, a spinoff from Apartment Therapy and one of my favorite food web sites out there. They have graciously featured my bibim bap entry from July and plugged Foodie Design. Thanks editors at The Kitchn!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Teatime Wallpaper

Tea for two, and for your wall? Yes. WIS Design, a new young design team from Stockholm created a whimsical yet nostalgic wallpaper pattern for the venerable wallpaper house Decor Maison.

You can start your own trompe l'oeil collection of rare and exotic teapots with this tea-inspired wallpaper! It is available in three colors: khaki (seen here), gray and blue. See the blue version "in situ" with the young Swedish designers having tea here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Patisserie Ring

Petit four anyone? This adorable dessert is made of PVC and brass. It should be worn not eaten! The Chocolat De Rose Patisserie Ring by Tadaaki Wakamatsu is the latest addition to the designer's collection of dessert-inspired jewelry. Wakamatsu pays careful attention to detail and scale, creating authentic-looking desserts that inspire glances and gasps.

Check out more of Wakamatsu's sweet concoctions at the MoMA Design Store. Love this fresh blueberry bauble, too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wear Your Beer

You will never have to ask where your beer is with this clever invention sold at Urban Outfitters. The "beer belt" is perfect for the fraternity party, outdoor BBQ, or tailgating. Its simple black design allows the wearer to go from day to night, how classy! Wear it low-slung on the hips or cinched high around the waist. The fashion possibilities are endless, and so are the beer choices! If beer is not for you, fill the belt with cool adult sodas like Vignette or Fizzy Lizzy.

Monday, August 25, 2008

479 Degrees, Please

Popped corn is quite tasty lately. San Francisco-based 479 Popcorn has mastered the perfect puff (at 479 degress of course) and offers some of the most interesting flavors out there. I fell in love with 479's great packaging and luckily the organic popcorn is amazing, too. The Globetrotter Collection featured here really does take you on a trip around the pop world (L to R):

Chipotle Caramel & Almond
Ginger Sesame Caramel
Pimenton de la Vera
Black Truffle & White Cheddar
Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews

I cannot wait to sample the Madras Curry Coconut & Cashew flavor! My friend Leslie introduced me to 479 with a gift box of Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar. It was just brilliant! Thanks, Les!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Small Smart Bar

This "modern bistro" bar by CB2 sits almost 24 inches wide and 43 inches high -- making it large enough to hold 15 bottles of wine and other select bottles yet small enough to be a welcome addition to any shoebox-sized apartment.

White and gray marble shelves add a touch of nostalgic luxury while the chrome-plated iron frame keeps the design cool and modern. The price tag is suprisingly low considering the use of high-quality materials and sleek design. See the bar in detail and room settings here.

Crate and Barrel's cheaper and younger urban brand is faring quite well in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco. For those of you living elsewhere, most of their offerings are available online.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lather up a Fortune

These cute soaps in the shape of fortune cookies caught my eye while online window shopping at Uncommon Goods, a site for unique gifts and housewares. My friends Jenny and Dana introduced it to me years ago, and it has really grown to offer a great variety of useful novelties.

These soaps are handmade by Shannon and Justin Prokop, a cool couple who started making these soaps for fun in their California apartment and moved Oklahoma to expand their cleanly dreams of making all-natural soaps that are fun for everyone. Read more about them and order their soaps at Fortune Cookie Soap. I may have to try the "Chill Pill" and "Zen Garden" flavors.

For just $3.33 you can get six fortune soaps - just 50 cents each! These would be a fun decorative feature at an Asian-themed dinner party, not to mention a a great conversation starter or parting gift. Washing your hands just got fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Amazing X-Panding Table

One of my favorite pastimes is checking out dining tables for my future dream home. While window shopping in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco a few weeks ago, I ran into this cool table at Propeller, a modern furniture and home accessories boutique.

Instead of using a traditional leaf to lengthen a dining table, the X-Pand Dining Table features a delicately cut, wooden design feature that can be pushed in and out like an accordian to create 18 more inches of space. The more you expand the table, the cooler the center design. When you don't need the space, you can close the accordian design shut. Check out Propeller's web site to see the X-Pand table in action! The table comes in a variety of sizes and finishes, so it would look great in any home.

P.S. I tested the table's strength with the accordian wood slats pulled out all the way and it's quite sturdy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sharp Edges

This lovely oak knife block by Pascal Chamolou and Jon Eliason blends utility and design. My friend Cindy at Azaleas in New York City picked this up at Scandinavian Details while visiting San Francisco this weekend. A clear acrylic base clicks into the wood to showcase your sharp knives and protect you from the blades. Seven slots of varying sizes allow for a traditional knife collection and there is even a slot for your knife sharpener. It's on sale now for $48. Global knives would look great in this block!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tea Towel Fun for Kids

I love the modern yet rustic representation of kitchen tools on this tea towel by Danish design house Ferm Living. They are made from 100% linen which will soak up a hot mess, but wouldn't you rather hang it in your kitchen as an affordable piece of art? The tea towel comes in a yellow version too, creating a colorful pair.

This towel could serve as a fun teaching tool for your nephew who would rather play chef than doctor. Couple it with Ikea's Duktig Series of kitchen toys and you've got hours of fun ahead!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tiffin Trend

Remember in elementary school when you and your friends compared lunchboxes at the lunch table? Did you covet little Johnny's Transformers lunchbox or adore Emily's Strawberry Shortcake set? No matter which lunchbox you carried, you were creating less waste and reusing your lunchbox everyday. Why not return to the trend of BYOL and invest in a tiffin? It will inspire you to make lunch a social event again and bring good karma.

Tiffins are the latest craze in lunch containers and a favorite topic of many food blogs right now. Bento boxes are a close second, but not as practical as a tiffin which can lock, hold hot/cold food and is easier to carry. Below is a comparison of the high and low of the tiffin world so you can choose what is best for you. Stop eating at your desk and enjoy a proper lunch with friends for once! You may have the coolest lunch box again...

Tiffins at World Market
$7.99 - $9.99 each

- Cheap!
- Dishwasher safe
- Plastic comfort handle
- Cute, but not sophisticated
- 5" diameter is a squeeze
- In-store purchase only

Tiffin Set at DWR
$85 for set of three

- So so lovely with its curved edges
- Larger 5.5" to 6.5" diameter
- Available for purchase online
- Must buy the whole set
- Priced for the yuppie, not the starving artist

Visit World Wide Words for an amusing history lesson on the tiffin. Let me know if you get one!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vegetable Fanfare

After such enthusiastic response to the Tornado Potato post, I wanted to feature another fun food design. Yesterday I made bibim bap, a Korean dish featuring a hodge-podge of cooked vegetables mixed with rice and topped with a fried egg. While bibim bap is categorized under the "tasty comfort food" file for me, it has the benefit of being very healthy too. You have to organize the vegetables in the bowl like this, so that the bright colors are distributed for a pretty presentation:

Here's a quick description of what's in the bowl starting from the top and working clock-wise:
1. Zucchini sauteed with garlic and sesame seeds
2. Sauteed crimini mushrooms with minced onion
3. Toraji namul (bellflower root) that I soaked overnight, then marinated in a home-made red pepper vinaigrette
4. Sauteed baby spinach with garlic
5. Julienned broccoli stems steamed and marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and sriricha
6. Lean ground beef marinated in the style of typical Korean BBQ
7. Steamed shredded carrots marinated with soy sauce, lemon juice and red pepper flakes

In the center of the bowl is gochu jang, a spicy and slightly sweet red pepper paste. I added flax seed to it for an extra health kick. This condiment makes the dish nice and spicy when you mix it up with the vegetables, hot steamed rice, sunny-side up frid egg (runny yolk is good) and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Making bibim bap is a great way to use up all your vegetables before they go bad. It's also a great way to get your vegetables when you're tired of making salads. Try it today!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jet Set Dinner

Deciding between Paris, London, Tokyo, or New York City for dinner? You can visit all four with Seletti's placemats. This set of 50 paper placemats features maps of each city so you and your guests can transport yourselves to a cosmopolitan destination during dinner.

Place your knife over the Eiffel Tower or your wine glass on top of Union Square! These placemats will spark fond memories and great conversation. Don't forget to recycle them after eating! These would be a welcome addition to any craft project or compost pile. Visit Lekker Home to pick up these placemats and other clever Seletti designs for the tabletop.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Play with Legos

Doesn't this popsicle mold in the shape of Lego Men just make you smile? Pair them with Lego ice cube blocks and relive your childhood this summer. You can order these online at the Lego Shop and continue walking down memory lane. I have been checking out popsicle recipes lately and this watermelon recipe on Epicurious caught my eye. It's easy and the ingredients are in season!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Picnic in Stilettos

Attention fashionistas! The Heath Ceramics Picnic Set is the perfect accessory for a romantic summer picnic. Forget your Goyard tote or Louis Vuitton speedy bag, this set is utilitarian and chic! The canvas and suede bag comes with a hand-crafted set of ceramic bowls, plates and cups. And a padded canvas bag and dish protectors accompany the wares to protect them en route to your picnic. Also, there are special pockets to fit a bottle of wine and other culinary accoutrements.

Heath also offers the picnic set in olive green with yellow accents. I really like this persimmon set, though. You can buy them online here, but you better hurry! This is a seasonal item and will not be offered past October 1st.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tornado Potato

Belgian frites out, tornado potatoes in! This cleverly-named, spiral-cut potato is a popular street vendor offering in Seoul that drew national, or rather international attention on Sunday by being featured in The New York Times. Why didn't I think of this? Just run a potato through an apple-corer or commercial spiral cutter, skewer it, then deep-fry! Roll in ketchup or aioli, then you're in heaven. To be fair, the tornado potato has taken off in South Africa as well, where they've taken it one step further by making a chip dog, a hot dog and spiraled potato on a stick!

Okay, so why am I featuring the tornado potato, a favorite food blog topic this year (just see how many hits "tornado potato" gets on Google) on my blog? Because it's a sculptural masterpiece in design in addition to being a new member of the cholesterol on a stick team. It's an ode to pasta rotini and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City at once. The simple spiral design appeals to the visual senses, and in turn increases one's appetite and enthusiasm for the potato. Food stylists and industrial designers, feel free to marvel...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fancy Fire

Imagine hosting a little barbeque on the beach with the Eva Solo Table Grill. It's small, so leave the porterhouse at home. The bowl is made of porcelain, lending some warmth to the steel handle and grill. This is a charcoal grill, but Eva Solo makes a large standing grill in both gas and charcoal. Check out the different versions here. In general, this cool Danish design company creates some amazing pieces for the home. My favorites include the garlic press and the apple corer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jewel Box Kitchen

Check out this clever kitchen in London, customized for a couple who love to entertain but live in a small space. See more photos and learn about this kitchen design on the Kitchn blog.

The pull-out wall with spice rack provides extra counter space for preparing food and closes shut to provide more space in the living room when not being used. What I really like are the doors that can completely hide the kitchen. This is great when you've got a pile of dirty dishes and have unexpected guests pop by!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Anchor & Hope Sails Off

Following the "haute seafood shack" trend that took off in New York City between 2002-2006 with joints like Mary's Fish Camp, BLT Fish, and Ditch Plains to name a few; Anchor & Hope is San Francisco's belated attempt to offer the lobster roll and its usual accompaniments. The restaurant has found an underserved niche in the the Bay Area and is welcomed heartily by east coast natives craving a touch of New England in the ever-present California cuisine.

The high ceilings with exposed beams and dangling ropes recall a messy mast of a sailing ship. They inspire a new career as trapeze artist or tightrope walker. The simple hanging light fixtures look as if they could have been repurposed from lightposts of a marina, but were undoubtedly new. If my eyes served me right, Anchor & Hope chose Emeco's 1006 Navy Side Chair for their guest seating. This indestructible chair is made from recycled aluminum and will hold up after years and years of wear. Read more about this mid-century modern chair at Design Within Reach.

Anchor & Hope took over a space that used to be an auto repair shop. Its exterior pays homage to its past by keeping the garage door and gritty shell that hosts the restaurant's name in preppy sailor letters. When the restaurant is open, the garage door opens to a wall of windows and a glass door that reveal the airy, nautical theme inside. I recommend popping by for happy hour when it's still light outside and you can sample the delicious array of first courses and local beers.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ecochic Sipping

Introducing the perfect pair for a sustainable summer picnic!

These govino "go anywhere" wine glasses are made from shatterproof plastic (not containing bisphenol-A) and are reusable and recyclable. I'm typically not a fan of stemless wine glasses, but govino added a thumb grip to the side of the cup for easy handling. Having a firm grip on your wine glass is a must, especially as the wine continues to flow. However, if for some reason you accidently drop the cup, no worries. It will not break. How cool! The benefits of govino cups are two-fold, the low $2.49 price for each glass and the eco-friendliness of the products once you're done with them.

Pour some French Rabbit wine into your glasses and you're ready for action! The Boisset family vineyard in the Languedoc Roussillon region of southern France produces delicious biodynamic wine at competitive prices. To add to their organic practices, the Boisset family uses Tetra-Prisma packaging. These wine containers are 100% recyclable, use 90% less packaging compared to traditional glass wine bottles, and fit an extra two glasses of wine! I think this is much cooler than the wine-in-a-box trend of late. Here's to the wine industry caring about the environment and good design. Salud!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Color for Le Creuset

Last week, Williams-Sonoma introduced an exclusive new color to its Le Creuset offerings - slate. This new addition is perfect for the modernist who wants to keep their kitchen in a neutral palette (or palate). It also references the ubiquity of stainless steel in the kitchen, the de facto appliance grade of the past few years. If you're hoping for a whole set of slate enameled cast-iron pots, you will have to wait or petition Williams-Sonoma. They offer it in the larger dutch oven and french oven styles only. While I would typically embrace a new sleek color like this, I prefer the colorful options that enhance the vintage style of Le Creuset cookware. Happy braising!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Cool Deal for Summer

Just in time for alfresco entertaining, this bright serving set offers a fun way to serve refreshing bites of sorbet, granita or gelato. Love the coordinating spoons that go with the porcelain cups and the clean white cup interior that highlights the color of cool treats. The miniature size of this set offers the perfect presentation for an intermezzo course. And to top it off, it's on sale now at Crate & Barrel for $14.95! Break out your ice cream maker.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Farmhouse Sink...Chic and Cheap?

This farmhouse sink caught my eye on a recent trip to Ikea. I spotted the Domsjo double-bowl sink in a staged kitchen and was drawn to its vintage yet modern feel. I think Domsjo has been offered at Ikea for several years now and it also comes in a single-bowl version for a bathroom or smaller kitchen.

This sink is heavy, durable, and best of all a design steal at around $310. Yes, the definition of "steal" is relative. But when you compare it to the $1,000 - $2,000 pricetags for similar farmhouse or "apron-front" sinks by other manufacturers, the Domsjo gets better looking and more affordable by the minute.

Check out the Domsjo double-bowl sink in situ here. This is a real kitchen renovation that mainly used Ikea elements. Not bad at all, eh? You can find anything on Flickr these days! Don't be surprised if you see this in my future kitchen some day.

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Toy for the Techoenophile

For all the tech-nostalgic oenophiles out there, here is an adorable corkscrew for you! If you love the functionality and sleek design of a wireless mouse for your desktop computer, why not pick up this mouse too? While I have not tested the functionality of this new design by French accessory company Pylones, I can guarantee it will spark some conversation around the wetbar if you place it near the cheese plate. Pylones has four U.S. stores and they are all in New York City, of course. So you can check out their wares online if you live outside the center of the universe.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Down South in SoMA

I recently ate at South Food + Wine Bar, an Aussie-Kiwi restaurant in the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood of San Francisco. I think I fell more in love with the space than the food. Our lunch was pretty tasty (especially the fried barramundi fish with chunky chips), but I found the design even tastier.

The restaurant design is a clever "mod nod" to life down under with faux ostrich leather banquettes in a rich navy blue and gorgeous cork floors that recall the dry wilderness of the Outback.

I liked the long communal table that welcomes conviviality among strangers and functions as an intermediary zone between the lively bar area and seated diners. South F+W Bar has a great wine list that is categorized by characteristic rather than grape blend or region, an approachable way of offering wines to guests at this casual establishment. Local interior design group Redmond Aldrich created this space, but it looks like they primarily do fun home interiors in a "chic kitsch" style.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Squeeze This

This is one of my favorite designs for the kitchen, the Alessi Juicy Salif. One of the cooler citrus juicers around, this design by Philippe Starck in the late 1980s is "an excellent example of Alessi's role as artistic mediator in the most turbulent areas of creative potential," according to the designer.

Apparently, this juicer has sparked semiotic debate among philosophers and sociologists: "To fully understand the true meaning of its existence, it is possibly necessary to refer to the theories of Leroy-Gourham, who considers the notion of functional approximation to be fundamental. This notion suggests that there is always a certain degree of freedom in interpreting relationships between Form and Function..." Read more here.

Yikes! All that symptomatology is hurting my brain. Can't I just appreciate the throwback design to the "speed whiskers" of the post-war atomic age? Or an homage to the three-legged insect? This is one product I regret not adding to my wedding registry.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Welcome to Foodie Design!

Welcome to my forum about food and design - a place where the culinary inspires. I hope to share interesting designs in a variety of media that is informed by food and drink. Perhaps a kitchen renovation will deserve significant mention or a new product from the Gourmet Housewares Show will inspire a post. Whatever the topic, this forum will cover the intersection of food and design. Please feel free to add your own comments or share any interesting finds. I'll be sure to add them! Thanks for visiting.