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Marinde van Leeuwen's Designer Cheese

Cheese packaging stinks. And it’s not just because it’s wrapped around a nice aged blue. It seems that when other foodstuffs were getting a much-needed revamp, they forgot all about cheese. Everyone except Marinde van Leeuwen of DesignKAAS. Inspired by tulips, crocheted tablecloths, and Delft Blue, Van Leeuwen went to work designing artistic labels for delicious Dutch cheeses like baby Gouda. There are only a few designs available for order on her site so far,  including one that features a poem about cheese by Mirjam Brandenburg and another that showcases a traditional Dutch landscape (complete with windmill).

Stella Artois N'Box

To promote their beer in Sao Paulo, Stella Artois is leaning away from straightforward marketing and pushing a new concept called Stella Artois N’Box. Running now through Feb. 19, Stella is offering exclusive, luxury experiences inside a shipping container stationed at a horse track that links Japanese traditional culture with the new school. Limited to just 40 people per day at dinner, guests pay the equivalent of $100 for a tasting menu of Japanese food with sake caipirinhas and are treated to shows like Japanese ballet vs. samba or taiko drummers and DJ vs. street dance and electronic music. Wacky? Definitely. Will it align the brand as uber cool? Possibly — but it’s the creativity that counts.

Geek Cake

We love cake like fat kids love cake. Seriously. And since we also love video games, our slightly-improved waistline (thanks, New Year’s resolutions!) is giving us the evil eye for checking out these geeky cakes and cupcakes compiled by Larissa Meek. Now, while we may manage to not devour an entire NES system on our own (though we’d be tempted), we do appreciate the hard work that went into recreating these retro masterpieces that showcase such classic games as Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. as well as newer titles like Rayman Raving Rabbids and Guitar Hero.

Bridge Brands Chocolate Contest

Fair trade, dark, cherry, milk, mocha"”no matter your chocolate preference, winning a year’s worth would be little short of lovely. Bridge Brands Chocolate’s current contest is soliciting 600-word essays about ways that the treat (or the necessity, depending upon whom you ask) has “bridged the gap between relationships,” be they lovers or political enemies. The contest was inspired by the company’s name switch from the San Francisco Chocolate Factory and founder Mike Litton’s observation that “chocolate throughout history has been used to soothe many of life’s difficult situations.” Winners will be announced on"”when else?"”Valentine’s Day.

Municipal Winemakers

We love bringing people together. Employees and employers, husbands and wives, and graphic artists and small wineries… We recently got an e-mail from Dave Potter at Municipal Winemakers thanking us for cluing him in to Brooklyn artist Jon Stetzen, who went on to design labels for Potter’s 2007 vintage. In Santa Barbara county you can’t chuck a Pinot grape without hitting a big, industrial vineyard, so it’s nice to see a small winery dedicated to putting out a personal product. That being said, we actually haven’t tasted any of the wine yet (more details to come), but while the review is pending, we’re proud be a minuscule part of his entrepreneurial story.

Sagatiba Films

After Oprah endorsed açai — the Amazonian berry that’s making a sensation on the grocery aisles and likely in your tummies in your part of the world right now — it was only inevitable that cachaça, the Brazilian rum made from sugar cane and the main happiness ingredient in a caipirinha cocktail, would follow. Brazilian cachaça maker Sagatiba is one of the first companies making a pointed foray into the U.S. market and are bringing the contagious fever that is Brazilian culture with it: art, music, fashion and even culinary. I want to point you to their website, which gets two superb street artists on board, Flip and Bruno 9li, starring in their own short movies about their work. They’re super insightful, inspiring, and as a marketing strategy, seem like the authority on Brazilian culture within their market. Sagatiba might have hit it on the head. As great as the whole idea is, am I the only one who finds it curious that a street artist would lend his name to an alcohol company? Are these artists any different than, say, an Inc. partnering with another Co.? Is this a new proposal that Brazil is opening for other artists? Send in your comments.

The Peanut Butter Machine

Reader poll: How many of you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch? Did you make your own peanut butter? You can with the Peanut Butter Machine. It accepts all different kind of nuts, and if you haven’t had cashews butter you are totally missing out. It works just like a juicer would, nuts go in the top and out comes the combination. The design isn’t special, but the results are.

Beverage Piercing Bullets

Normally we would say that weaponry and drinks don’t mix but there are those unforeseen events in which you might feel the need to call in the heavy artillery. For refreshment aficionados looking to add an arctic blast to their mixed drink but prefer the novel or militaristic approach over cold cubes, there’s now the AK Ice Tray. Fill your glass with 12 rounds of beverage piercing bullets that will turn your cocktail into a chilly, yet dangerous delight.

Via Uncrate

P.B. Slices

You may not be a kid anymore, but that doesn’t mean you’ve traded childhood favorites for sophisticated adult tastes. After all, you still play video games, watch cartoons, and every once in a while you get a hankering for a tasty peanut butter sandwich. We know that sometimes the process of sandwich
making can be a hassle, mostly because the amount of time it consumes — or because you’re just plain lazy.  P.B. Slices follows in the tradition of Kraft Singles by pre-packaging a single serving of spread. On the downside, it doesn’t look like you get to choose between crunchy and smooth … just flat.

Via Neatorama

Uoshins Sushi Tokyo

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With a few locations around Tokyo, Uoshins is my new favorite Japanese sushi spot. It’s affordable, incredibly fresh (fish is laid out on ice when you walk in) and casual. The location I went to in Nogizaka is an old converted gas stand with outdoor/indoor seating and a great, fun, buzzing atmosphere. Make sure to try the uni, maguro-kama, and just about anything else on the menu (which is in Japanese, so good luck reading it, just smile and ask for Omakase, the chefs choice…)

Directions and map (thanks Alex) in English after the jump.

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