|Snickerdoodles from Sheila+Sharon|
Identical twins Sheila and Sharon Waples of Sheila+Sharon's Cookies are taking their sweet stock underground on Sat., March 27 for their first-ever Secret Bake Sale.
The sale will feature goodies made by three bakers, all members of the arts and crafts collective Handmade Philly, and will take place in a Frankford Avenue gallery from 11 a.m. until supplies run out.
Since it's not a Secret Bake Sale without a little cloak-and-dagger number, interested cookie hounds can become a fan of the Secret Bake Sale on Facebook, or send an email to SecretBakeSale[at]gmail[dot]com to receive the exact location.
Left image: The Vapur roll-up water bottle, as seen on Philly Design Blog. Manufactured entirely in the USA, this BPA-free bottle stands upright when filled with water, when empty, it can be rolled up to fit in a pocket or bag, or even pressed flat between the pages of a book. $8.95; available at vapur.us.
Right image: The Bobble bottle by Karim Rashid, which we spied on Selectism, has a replaceable carbon filter built in that can purify 150 liters of water, is BPA-free, and only $10. It's also made in the USA of recycled PET plastic and is completely recyclable. Check it at waterbobble.com.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Named for St. Benedict, who founded monastic communities all over Europe that produced fine artisanal cheese, preserves and wine, Sonoma County's Saint BenoÃ®t Yogurt is made in small batches with a similar attention to the concept of terroir, "food of a place".
Available only in certain markets in California, the whole-milk yogurt is sold in quart glass jars and 7.5-oz. earthenware crocks (pictured), for which the purchaser pays a small deposit that is refunded upon return of the crock. Both the plain and fruit-on-the-bottom cream-top yogurt are made from organic milk from Jersey cows and cultured with a French yogurt culture.
Reusing the earthenware crock and glass jars at home, or returning them to Saint BenoÃ®t to use again, saves resources in addition to adding an additional sensory pleasure to eating the hand-made product. Lightweight #5 polypropylene plastics, the type most commonly used to make yogurt and deli containers, is almost never recycled, but rather incinerated at recycling centers. Though Saint BenoÃ®t is not available outside of California, their deposit model is an interesting approach to the standing problem of responsible consumption, and delicious in the bargain.
RELATED: Don't Panic... it's just a new (but still not recyclable) package [29July09]
Did you know that Baileys Irish Cream is the #1 selling liqueur in the world? The blend of Irish whiskey and real (shelf-stable) cream rings in at 17 percent alcohol by volume, which is pretty low but still too high to add to your breakfast cup 'o joe.
R & A Bailey & Co. is remedying that gaping market hole with their launch of Baileys Coffee Creamers. The non-dairy creamers, available in pints ($2.49) and quarts ($3.99) in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are gluten-, lactose- and caffeine-free and contain no alcohol. Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Caramel and Original Irish Cream flavors are hitting select store shelves in time for St. Patrick's Day on March 17.
For a real Irish breakfast, try adding a splash of creamer to your tea and pair with the lovely local soda bread from Theresa Wall at Tartes (212 Arch St., call 215-625-2510 to order).
BaileysCreamers.com is still under construction but will contain a product locator when completed.
|That's Drill Sergeant Cupcake to you, maggot!|
Cupcakes are pretty, cute and small. Ladies can nibble pastel sweets without fear of reprisal, but what about cake-craving manly men? Butch Bakery in NYC has heard the call and manned-up one of the most effete treats going with their cupcakes for dudes. Woodland camouflage, checkerboards and wood-grain chocolate disks top the treats, frosted in gender-neutral vanilla and sober chocolate. What's not sober are the cupcakes themselves; see the Rum & Coke, a rum-soaked Madagascar vanilla cake paired with cola Bavarian cream.
Butch Bakery treats are currently only available in NYC, but founder David Arrick, possibly fearful of raids by armed sugar-seeking commandos mad for his maple cupcakes with chocolate ganache and bacon bits, has promised nationwide delivery as soon as possible.
h/t Molly Eichel
Performance Enhancing Meat Snack Company founders Brian Levin and Matt Keiser were riding the chairlift towards a day of skiing when they discovered that their breakfast package of beef jerky had been soaked with energy drinks spilled during the previous night's revelry. Undeterred, the pair consumed the dried beef anyway, and soon realized that the caffeinated liquid had added both an undeniable boost and appealing tenderness to the bark-like strips. Perky Jerky had been born.
"A true story," Levin assured me over the phone. "That was the inspiration, anyway." Levin and Keiser, who met as undergrads at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, realized they "wanted to make a cool and special product" and spent four years perfecting the recipe for Perky Jerky. "We marinate the beef in eight ingredients, one of which is guarana, a sort of Brazilian fruit cousin of the coffee bean which is naturally caffeinated," Levin explained. "It's only available in "original" flavor now -- a sort of teriyaki -- but Turkey Perky Jerky is coming soon." Each one-ounce serving of jerky has 60 mgs. of caffeine (for comparison, a Red Bull has 80 mgs.), but since it is metabolized with protein, "the energy curve is steadier and lasts longer," says Levin. "There's no sugar crash."
The partners, who live in Colorado, have focused on markets in skiing areas so far, but are eager to break into Philadelphia. "We're looking for stores to carry it in Philly," said Levin. "I so miss the Philly food trucks, and I can't find a decent pretzel anywhere else on earth."
Perky Jerky can be purchased on the Web; local retailers who might like to carry the product can e-mail Brian[at]perkyjerky[dot]com.
Pomegranates, a fruit associated with fertility and hospitality since ancient times, only became commercially popular in the last decade as research revealed the berry contains enormous amounts of vitamin C, potassium, minerals and antioxidant polyphenols. Separating the tiny, juicy arils (the edible seeds of the fruit) from the white, bitter membrane that surrounds them is the task that makes breaking down pomegranates a messier and more time-consuming endeavor than peeling an orange.
The Arils Removal Tool (ART) won the 2010 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award for its design, which takes the spatter and stain out of the pomegranate process. A halved pomegranate is placed cut-side down on the screen of the three-part tool, over a rubber collection cup. The fruit is covered with the rubber dome cap and then smacked vigorously with a heavy spoon (not included), knocking the seeds into the collection cup.
Et voilÃ , a cupful of tasty, healthy arils for ready consumption. The ART is available locally at Fante's Kitchen Wares Shop (1006 S. Ninth St.) or on Fante's Web site for $14.99.
|Photo l James Saul|
|"Simply Honest" with chipotle sauce and "Natures" with pesto sauce from Fino's|
Vegan pizza freak-out in Mount Airy! Fino's Pizza at Germantown and Carpenter serves four kinds of vegan pie, with three different sauces to mix-and-match: choose from pomegranate, chipotle and pesto. We got so stoked on it (and so snow-laden lazy) that we ordered two:
"Simply Honest" is topped with a mountain of roasted veggies: pepper, caramelized onion with flax seed oil, garlic, baby spinach, and cherry tomatoes. If you like spicy, get it with the chipotle sauce for extra chutzpa.
"Natures" is perfect for those in need of protein power, totally loaded with vegan beef and fresh veggies galore. We had it with the pesto, which is an impressive offering in terms of veganness vs. authenticity.
Fino's owner Robert Moezi is a longtime Northwest Philadelphian and has been vegan for 26 years. When asked about the vegan options on his menu, he says "At first, I did it just for me! But then I wanted to introduce this food to other people and show them that eating healthy is not expensive."
In addition to the vegan stuff, Fino's also has an expansive menu for all pizza lovers. Exotic selections like Poblano Corn and Seafood Gumbo can satisfy a whole range of palates.
Fino's Pizza, 6784 Germantown Ave., 215-844-1188
|Photo l Josh Middleton|
|Cupcakes as you like 'em|
Some might say the cupcake market around here is as saturated with vendors as icing is with sugar. Lily Fischer and Erin Bailey sought to set themselves apart by offering infinitely customizable treats with their business, A Cupcake Wonderland. Establishing headquarters from their kitchens in Fishtown, they say their niche is their artistic, boundless approach to baking an array of treats that clients can customize any way they like. So far business is booming. Since their first official day of business in May they haven't seen one day pass without a request for cupcakes in their inbox.
Fischer and Bailey spend their afternoons chasing children at a local preschool, but at night they find an outlet for their burgeoning creativity through cupcake design. They each took art courses at Sarah Lawrence College and The Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, respectively. They pride themselves on being able to create any type of cupcake their customers can fathom. Some of their favorite concoctions have been dragons, an 18-hole golf course and black, red and white Twilight cupcakes decorated with fangs and apples. Another aspect of their business is baking cupcakes for clients who may have special dietary needs. âNo one wants to be that kid in class who can't have a cupcake because he's allergic to something,â says Lily. Just as easily as they bake regular recipes, they can turn out goodies that are vegan, gluten-free and void of other common allergens, including eggs, soy and nuts.
The ordering process begins by building your cupcake from the cookie sheet up. Choices can be made from a long list of cake options, frostings, fillings and toppings. Then you can either choose to have them plain or adorned with any type of design, which they refer to as a âFlight of Fancy.â When the order is complete they can deliver the neatly packaged goods personally, wearing a cupcake themed apron that resembles something Strawberry Shortcake would have worn in her heyday. Fischer and Bailey have hopes of expanding their self-started business in the future. They recently added kid-friendly, make-your-own cupcake parties to their services and hope to eventually open a retail space with a cupcake bar. Until then, however, they're focused on cranking out the best cupcakes possible from their own kitchens and they're having a ball doing it. âIf you're not making your cupcake with love and fun,â says Lily, âthen you're not making your cupcake.â
Check out A Cupcake Wonderland on the Web, or contact them at acupcakewonderland[at]gmail[dot]com.
|The Lovely Package|
|The box inside the Balvenie Ambassador Case|
Cynics will say everything has its price, but they probably haven't ever tried to wrest a sample case away from its rightful owner; in this instance, a Balvenie Scotch whisky ambassador. Packaging design blog The Lovely Package highlights the handmade, bespoke Balvenie Ambassador Case given to the Scotch distillery's representatives to visually explain the process of making and aging Balvenie.
Dreamed up by Here Design and handmade in the United Kingdom, the leather case "presents the Balvenie story from barley to bottle. The case contains bespoke boxes which are individually tooled to hold ears of barley, a miniature copper still, cask samples, miniature barrels and tasting bottles.â
Miniature copper still and sherry butts plus tiny bottles of deluxe booze? My inner 12-year old meticulously decorating her dollhouse finally gets the meet the lushy almost-thirty she was destined to become. Visit The Lovely Package for more gorgeous photos.
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