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.