The favorite emerging food trend of the summer is one you should expect to see only more of. Frozen Tart Yogurt — if you haven't seen it or tried it in your town, it's on its way. You've probably heard of the L.A. based Pinkberry, or the Korean sensation Red Mango that is making waves in the USA, but an emerging favorite with the superior designed space and product is Tartini. Everything about Tartini has been done with a specific purpose and the result is an astounding modern, approachable and high quality product.
Read after the jump for more about Tartini design.
Hint Water in honeydew-hibiscus is by far the most refreshing thing I've had this summer. The flavored water has debuted a new bottle design, as well as four new tastes: honeydew-hibiscus, blackberry, hibiscus-vanilla, and watermelon. Not only is the new packaging a huge improvement over the old design of awkward rounded bottles, but it seems that Hint Water is back with a vengeance. When Hint first debuted in yummy flavors such apple and pear, it was definitely appealing, but in my opinion the taste never lived up to the expectation. The revamped formulas make for a phenomenal product. Be sure to try watermelon. It masterfully combines all of the best flavors of the fruit, for those who like the juicy melon as well as the rind area. The new flavors are on limited West Coast release (and available online), but look for their full line of flavors at retailers such as Whole Foods.
Michael Mina’s Clock Bar is the newest collaboration between Mina and the Westin St. Francis, paying homage to the San Francisco hotel’s century-old tradition in Union Square. While the namesake — the Magneta grandfather clock — proudly stands outside the bar, the interior (designed by the Rockwell Group) is a modern throwback. Hand-woven metallic screens allude to the gold from the face of the clock, and the "speakeasy" cubby bar proudly shelves an amazing selection of premium alcohol. The aesthetic is phenomenal, but it’s the drinks that really steal the show. Head bartender, Marco "Cocktail Geek" Dionysos has created a deliciously complex cocktail menu. My favorite creation is also one of the most innovative. The refreshing "Chartreuse Swizzle" showcases the mastery of the very complicated ingredient: green chartreuse. The emphasis here is on local purveyors, with in-house preparation of the drink elements that use old school ingredients like egg whites. Marco's research spans his personal library of over 300 cocktail books, bringing classic cocktails back to their roots. Order the Aviation — a gin, maraschino liquor, lemon drink with crÃ¨me de violette — and bask in its Lindberg-era glory. The Clock Bar just opened, but be certain that it’s only a matter of time until it’s the hottest spot in S.F.
Tequila 5150 is a new American tequila, or rather an “eau de vie de agave,” and the first of its kind. Frank Leal, owner of Leal Vineyards in Hollister, CA is the first American to legally import blue agave into the U.S. He decided to apply wine making techniques to the tequila-making process, such as using wine barrels instead of old bourbon barrels. Crazy? Absolutely. While Frank was telling his good friend and local county sheriff about his California tequila making plans, the immediate response was "Frank, you are so 5150!" (5150 is the California police code for a mentally disturbed or insane person).
Tequila 5150 is currently available in California (BevMo) and Florida "¦ keep an eye out for the spirit coming your way soon.
CORRECTION: Turns out that while Frank Leal is the first to bring in blue agave plants, Tequila 5150 is currently bottled down at Frankie’s Mexican distillery. As soon as his agave plants mature (which, apparently takes eight years) you’ll have 100% U.S. of A. tequila. Hence the Hecho en Mexico sticker on the bottle.
Got milk? Chocolate Flavored Straws, recently released by The San Francisco Chocolate Company, are a great example of fun, functional packaging to bring out the kid in all of us (milk drinkers). Within a sealed, wider than normal straw, chocolate beads are encased. You simply put it into a glass and sip. We tried it with organic non-fat milk and soy milk. The straw is definitely for casual as well as hardcore chocolate milk enthusiasts. It's not overwhelming, but a healthy balance. I've been waiting for an accessible version of the overseas flavored milk straw product to make it to the U.S. "“ and it finally did! What do you think of the concept? Have you tried the Australian or European versions?
The salt revolution is coming. I know, we all thought artisan salts were totally passÃ© in the gourmet world, now that everyone and their mom has had Himalayan pink sea salt. It's time to put it on something else besides bread and meat. The latest drink accessory? Salt. My salty source tells me the master cocktail craftsman (he hates being called a mixologist) at Cyrus is paving the way with Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt rimmed specialty cocktails "¦ we're not talking about your $5 happy hour Chevy's margarita. While this new concoction of Cyrus' famous Scott Beattie has been unconfirmed, ask for the Caprese Martini rimmed with Grey Sea Salt. If you are looking for a way to add salt to your non-alcoholic repertoire, try adding the buttery and rare Aguni Japanese Sea Salt to your morning espresso — it will remove any unwanted bitterness. Whether its Fleur de Sel, Grey Sea Salt or the Alaea Hawaiian — its totally in.
Microgravity Enterprises sells products such as the AntiMatter energy drink and Space2O water. The company is based on "bringing space to earth", so basically flying the product to space and bringing it back down is special. Space2Oâ„¢ claims to have "spaceflown electrolytes" — although they aren't specified as being different from the ones we can get from water bottles that haven't penetrated the Earth's atmosphere. AntiMatter, the “world's first space energy drink” has a similar angle, but yet with such typical earthlike energy drink ingredients — but what I'm really left wondering is for such a "space age" company, how can they have such horrendous packaging? It's definitely out of this world that we are in an age where we can be suckered into thinking that just because something is transported it is transformed. If it looked good, at least it would have an excuse. Admittedly, I'm not usually this mean, but seriously. Space electrolytes? What are your thoughts?
7-Eleven just announced the conversion of all "participating stores" to be temporary Kwik-E-Marts (or at least they did on the radio"¦I have yet to track down a news release). The lucky girl I am, I happen to live near one of the original 12 Kwik-E-Marts for the Simpsons Movie promotion. The San Francisco area store is actually in Mountain View, near nothing except the Google Campus, and I think it's time for a low-down on what not to miss and what to skip.
My favorite offering has to be the Blue Woo Hoo! Vanilla Squishee, a concoction that tastes like vanilla frosting"¦on ice. While I chose to have a pure Squishee, the thought of having one with the standard coke and cherry Slurpee mix is mind-boggling. While it’s awesome to see the KrustyO's, I recommend skipping them"¦unless you really want the box or would love to pay close to $4 for generic Fruit Loops. The Kwik-E-Marts are doing very well — not that surprising, really — so even if you're not looking for a sugar rush, go check them out. You can find the list of participating stores here.
What TASTE has done to the can — and the food inside it — takes tinned food to a whole new level. TASTE has dubbed itself as "the World's First Luxury Canned Food Line" and they are not playing around. TASTE means serious business with an attractive label and first-class, all-natural ingredients. With items like Premium Italian (hand) Grilled Zucchini and Premium Shelled Chilean Razor Clams (packed fresh, of course).
TASTE has definitely raised the bar for the canned food world. You'll have to try TASTE for yourself to believe it"¦but our guess is when it debuts at the Summer Fancy Foods Show in New York this July, they'll be a whole lot of TASTE to be found.
Dr. Alex Hughes is an orthopedic surgeon at UCLA in the morning and in the afternoon, he is the president of Function Drinks. You may have heard of Function Drinks (their first drink, Urban Detox, is a popular remedy for nasty hangovers), which is a fusion of clinical science and all natural, tasty beverages, and we've been fortunate enough to have the chance to try their three new functional platforms currently being launched into the market. The new drinks, entitled House Call (also dubbed as “Dr. McDrinky” on the bottle), Vacation and Light Weight are yummy to say the least. House Call is a pleasant honey green tea flavor that makes you think twice because of its complexities. Vacation, which improves your mood, is a tropical getaway in a bottle due to its pleasant pacific coconut flavor (and those magical scientific ingredients). Light Weight has a sophisticated combination of active ingredients to get your metabolism going and burn calories, including red wine extract. We can't decide which of the three Light Weight flavors is the best: Acai Pom, Dragonfruit or Pink Grapefruit, so you're going to have to try them yourself. Just 8oz of Function Drinks will make you feel like a better person, so keep an eye out for this drink, which definitely earns its name.