Archive for the ‘International’ Category

Tap That

Tap Project

The Tap Project is the type of project that can really help the less fortunate, and the kind of charity that I think should be a year round fundraiser for EVERY restaurant. Not just a handful of days in March and not just at a select group of eateries.

But that said, the Tap Project is a brilliant idea, and every restaurant taking part in project deserves a shout out.

What is the Tap Project you ask? According to their site, it’s “a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible drinking water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water for children around the world. Beginning Sunday, March 16 and culminating on March 22, the United Nations World Water Day, restaurants will invite their customers to pay $1 for the tap water they normally get for free.”

For every dollar raised, a child will have clean drinking water for 40 days.

$1. That’s it. That’s all it takes. If you go out to eat between March 16 – 22, ask if the restaurant you’re dining at is taking part in the Tap Project, or ask why they’re not.

If you’d like to specifically visit a restaurant taking part in this, visit the restaurant section of tapproject.org to search for a participating restaurant near you.

If you would just like to donate or want any other information, tapproject.org’s got you covered.

See this post on Changethethought.com.

A Raw Deal

Pepsi Raw Ad

Seems like everyone is on some kind of health kick these days. Every day grocery store products are going organic and re-branding themselves to appeal to the health-conscious. And now big brand names are getting in on the action, too.

Take Coke for example. Last year they launched Diet Coke Plus, a soda packed with vitamins and minerals. According to Wikipedia, “each 12-ounce serving of Diet Coke Plus provides 25% of the daily value for niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, and 15% for zinc and magnesium.” Although the Plus logo is a little more colorful than the regular Diet Coke logo, it ultimately stays true to the brand.

Not to be outdone by Coke, Pepsi just launched Pepsi Raw in the UK. Pepsi Raw is just that, as raw as a soda can be. Raw ingredients include apple extract, plain caramel coloring, coffee leaf, tartaric acid from grapes, gum arabic from acacia trees, cane sugar and sparkling water. That’s it. But I think the best part has to be the design of the Raw bottle. Moving away from their more colorful work, Pepsi Raw introduces a bottle almost as raw as the product itself. Minimal branding (a small Pepsi logo up top), big RAW type, stacked down the neck of the bottle, and waves showing off the natural curves of the bottle. And being a clear bottle, the product shines right through. A great example of less is more.

Hopefully Pepsi Raw will hit stateside sometime this year (no word yet) but if you’re wondering how it tastes compared to regular Diet Pepsi, the results are in, and apparently it’s pretty damn similar.

Image from Cherryflava.

See this post on Changethethought.com.

Free Rice

Free Rice

Wanna improve your vocabulary and help world hunger at the same time?

Head over to FreeRice.com. It’s technically a game but it’s much more than that…

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

Still confused? All you do is pick which word from a list of 4 is the same as the word presented to you, and the advertisers who’s names appear at the bottom will donate rice.

Why doesn’t FreeRice just donate all this rice they have? Well technically, they don’t have it.

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

The site launched on Oct. 7, where that day they gave away 830 grains of rice. Yesterday (Nov. 7) they gave away 188,987,290 grains. To date, the site has donated 1,519,627,180 grains of rice.

If you’re still not sure what’s going on, just go visit FreeRice. Play the word game and help feed those in need. I’ve even added a banner towards the bottom right of this site that you can click on in case you forget where to go.

Great find from NOTCOT.

REWARD: Beer For Life

Croucher Hef

The owners of a New Zealand brewery Croucher Brewery Co. just had their laptop stolen. They want their laptop back so bad that the reward for finding it and safely returning it is free beer. For life.

That’s about $18,000 in beerilicious fun. We asked Nigel, one of the owners, how many bottles was that as well as many other things about the laptop and their divine nectar.

Our production is a touch over 100,000 bottles per year. We are pretty small, but growing quickly. Our beer market has many similarities to the american beer market: near/virtual prohibition followed by dominance by a couple of massive brewers, followed by the growth and interest in the flavours of craft brewers. The american market is probably 15 years ahead of us, but our craft market is just starting to gain a toe hold.

We make fine handcrafted beer, and our signature is beer full of flavor, which puts us apart from the mainstream in this country. We produce a pale ale based on a new-world best bitter, a czech-styled pilsner, and ‘the hef’ a hefeweizen, a cloudy german wheatbeer. The hef has gained a bit of cult following helped by its catchy name [gotta love the bunnies], and the growing awareness and interest in wheatbeers here. (from Gizmodo)

If you happen to stumble upon a stolen laptop in New Zealand and want to take them up on their offer, contact them through their site.

This is NYC.

 NYC Food

New York City is being branded.

Starting with a new logo, then a commercial and full fledged website with downloadable wallpaper and limited edition prints, NYC wants to get in your head.

The commercial is actually very cool, making NYC look like an oversized amusement park.

BBH New York has created a new campaign for NYC & Company, the official tourism organisation for New York, in a bid to attract yet more tourists to the city (the aim is to entice 50 million visitors annually by 2015). The campaign, based around the tag This Is New York City, encompasses television, print, online and outdoor advertising, as well as a new logo by Wolff Olins, which will be used in advertising, promotional materials, as well as on New York taxis.

With the campaign airing in such diverse markets as the UK, Ireland, Italy and Spain, as well as domestically in the US in cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and San Antonio, the ads focus on creating a family-friendly feel, pitching New York as a exciting, frentic fairground of a city. While this is a gripe that many New Yorkers may have about the city’s image post Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg’s considerable clear-up of its grittier edges, as so often is the way with these campaigns, those actually living in the city may recognize little reality in the tourism-friendly campaign. (from Creative Review)

Download the above NYC food-themed wallpaper here.

Check out NYCvisit.com for more info and to see how the campaign and commercial turned out.

What’s In Your Fridge?

Fridge

If you’ve ever seen Cribs on MTV, the highlight of each celebrity house is the part where they open their fridge. It’s always dramatic, and always pretty interesting to see what they have. Turns out they’re regular people who eat food just like we do!

Anyway, apparently fridgewatching is like the new celebrity stalking.

Rachael Ray has a portion of her magazine dedicated to what’s in celebrity fridges. If you’re curious, here’s what David Ortiz keeps in his and here’s what Jimmy Kimmel has in his. Here are a bunch more in case you’re a celeb stalker.

Not into what the celebs keep in their fridge? Want to see what REAL people keep in theirs?

Head over to Fridgewatcher.com and take a peek. You can even submit a picture of your own fridge.

Fridgewatcher.com is a project where people open their fridges to others. Cause every fridge tells a story. We want to know yours. Send us a picture of your refridgerator.

Some are jam packed and some are pretty bare, but all are interesting. Especially the ones from the Netherlands. Check them all out and submit yours. Looks like the site is just starting out so there’s a good chance your fridge will end up being on there.

Three Sheets

 Three Sheets

If you don’t happen to have an HDTV and Cable (sorry DirecTV fans), I highly suggest picking up this show on DVD.

Three Sheets has a loyal audience and is growing in popularity. It’s one of the most popular shows on MOJO HD, the all HD channel, and stars comedian Zane Lamprey as he tours the globe partaking in drinking traditions all over the world. Not only is it educational, but the show itself is a drinking game and by the end of the episode, Zane is quite drunk. When he wakes up in the morning he provides viewers with a local hang over cure.

In case you’re brand spanking new to the show, here’s some helpful info (thanks to IMDB) to make you feel at home.

  • Three Sheets is the first television show to be produced as a drinking game. When Zane drinks, you drink. First person to see the monkey makes someone else finish their drink. And when Zane talks about his friend, Steve McKenna, it’s a social (everyone drinks).
  • The drinking game was introduced in the Costa Rica episode.
  • Zane mentions his college buddy, Steve McKenna, in every episode.
  • The monkey, Pleepleus (plee-plee-us), seen in every episode, was a gift from Zane’s wife. She packed it in his suitcase on his first episode (Galway, Ireland). He puts it in every show to tell her he loves her.
  • Curtiss Marlowe, the Three Sheets cameraman, was a child actor, who appeared in Heathers, Silver Spoons and the TV movie The Shadow Box, directed by Paul Newman.
  • In the Czech Republic, Zane left Pleepleus (the monkey) in the beer bath. The Chodovar brewery FedExed it to Zane in Venice, where he opens the box during the show. That is why, in Croatia, the monkey only appears as a photo.
  • In Jamaica, the hangover cure was a ‘special tea’. The main ingredient of the tea was marijuana. After the segment, Zane was unable to shoot for the rest of the day. But he was reportedly very happy.

Still not convinced? Here’s some info direct from the MOJO site.

Can you say “I’m buying” in 12 languages? Embark on an international drinking tour with comedian Zane Lamprey, who takes you around the world to master local drinking customs. Zane drinks Brussels sprout-flavored beer in Belgium, a “Pint of Special” in Ireland and learns the hangover cures of Jamaica and Belize. It’s the ultimate pub crawl so get ready to lift your glasses and toast… Cheers! Slainte Mhath! Salud! Navdrovya!

  • According to French wine laws, it is forbidden to include the word “Champagne” in the title of sparkling wines, unless it is made in Champagne, France.
  • “Guaro” is a liquor or brandy made from sugar cane in Costa Rica. It is a shortened name for “aguardiente de cana”.
  • Three toasts are common in Belgium: Cheers, Sante (French) and Gezondheid (Dutch).
  • In Wales, the term “Pub” came from the Public Houses, where town folk would socialize and resolve disputes.
  • There are no restrictions on carrying alcohol in public in Jamaica.
  • As tequila ages it takes its color from the oak barrels in which it sits. The longer it ages, the darker the color.
  • The legal drinking age in Ireland is eighteen (18).
  • The national beer of Belize is Belikin. However, although there are 500,000 bottles manufactured every year, it is difficult to find outside of Belize. Only 24,000 bottles are exported a month and they are all exported to Los Angeles, CA.

Head over to the Three Sheets site to learn more and watch some clips of the show. You can also add Zane or Pleepleus as your friend on myspace.

I’m not sure if the DVD is available in stores, but you can order the show directly from their site at the MOJO HD shop. It’s a double disc set so you should be entertained for hours. It’ll cost ya $29.98.

Kai-pee-reen-yah

Caipirinha

Don’t call it a mojito. Cause it’s not. It may look a bit similar, but if you use the authentic ingredients you’ll see (and taste) why this drink stands on its own.

It’s a caipirinha and it’s the perfect summer drink AND it might be the easiest drink you’ll ever make.

You can use vodka (known as a caipiruska) or rum, but it’s not authentic if you don’t have a bottle of Cachaça (ka-SHA-sa). I just picked up my first bottle…it’s a totally different taste than rum or vodka, hard-hitting, but lite and delicious. It’s strong enough for a man, but sweet enough for a woman.

I went to my local liquor store and picked up a bottle of Leblon. It’s a clear, nice looking bottle, with lime green mountain silhouettes (symbolic of the Leblon, Brazil mountains). Mine came with a muddle, which I was in need of, so I was sold.

Here’s some background info on the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail.

The national drink of Brazil, the Caipirinha gained its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s on the beaches of Rio and Sao Paulo State during the days of Jobim and Bossa Nova. To the non-Brazilian, the Caipirinha has similarities to its muddled cousin the Mojito and the lime-based Margarita. To us, the Caipirinhas have become a whole new cocktail platform for muddling fruits and other ingredients into exciting creations. (from Leblon)

The city of Paraty gave its name to the drink: parati is a synonym for cachaça. Other words for it include: pinga, caninha, branquinha, malvada. There are tours of distillers in the state of Minas Gerais, much in the same way as you’d tour vineyards in Sonoma Valley or in France, with the added bonus of their famous regional cuisine. Cachaça is also notorious for brands with pornographic labels…they’re hilarious!

You can also make a pitcher of caipirinha. Figure out how many people and multiply amounts. If you can’t find cachaça where you live, use a good vodka. The drink will then be called caipiroshka. No vodka? Use white rum and you will have a caipiríssima. Caipirinhas made with sake are all the rage in Rio now!

You can use cachaça to flambé bananas and other food; add it to hot chocolate and even to coffee; marinate pork loin and pork chops, etc. (from Maria’s Cookbook)

It might be tough for you to find a bottle of Cachaça, but if your liquor store carries it, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of the Leblon brand. If your store doesn’t carry it, try bevmo.com. I didn’t know much about it before buying the bottle, but after tasting it and taking a look at their site, turns out the stuff is pretty legit.

Leblon Cachaça was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the 7th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It was one of only two spirits in its category to receive the Double Gold Medal, and Leblon was also named “Top Cachaca” by a judging panel of the most influential spirits industry professionals in the U.S. The category with the largest growth was Cachaca – which went from three entries in 2006 (when it was introduced as a new category) to 16 entries in 2007 – making it equal to the Gin category for number of entries.

The recipe is simple enough:

  • 2 oz Cachaça (or vodka or rum or sake…)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lime
  • crushed ice
  • muddle

And the directions are super quick:

  1. Rinse your lime, then dice it (roll it a bit to release the juices first). Once diced, toss in the sugar. Then, using a muddle, smush the sugar and lime til it turns into a sweet syrup. If you don’t have a muddle, a wooden spoon should work.
  2. Next, fill the remaining space in the glass with crushed ice.
  3. Finally, pour in the liquor. A shot or two will do.

Still confused? Here’s a step by step lesson in caipirinha-ing (I made that word up by the way…) and there’s also a video that can help.

Be sure to snoop around their site (liveloveleblon.com) for Leblon party invites, Brazilian music downloads and streaming radio, recipes and a ton of other interactive features.

Although this drink is good all year long, it’s especially refreshing in the summer, so get out those muddles and get to work. You don’t have much longer.

Photo from Flickr.

Tofu’s Perfect Match

Tofu Fest

This is probably one of those “only in LA” festivals but it’s a yearly thing here on the west coast.

I’ve seen posters all over town and it’s finally embedded in my head. Their posters and the whole Tofu Fest campaign is pretty clever. Head over to tofufest.org to help find tofu’s perfect match.

As for the festival itself, here’s what you need to know.

The 12th Annual Los Angeles Tofu Festival will take place on August 18, 12pm – 8 pm and August 19, 12 pm – 6 pm. General admission is $5, kids and seniors are free, and there’s a $2 off coupon here. Proceeds go to charity.

Festival Grounds are located at 237 S. San Pedro Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 on San Pedro and 2nd.

Attractions include:

Beer, Wine & Sake Garden: A selection of sake and beer is served in a sectioned off portion of Tofu Fest, supplementing Little Tokyo’s own beer gardens and Nisei Week’s attractions. The sale of alcohol was under debate by the festival’s committee in 1994 in regards to making the festival more family friendly.

Celebrity Chefs: Famous chefs exhibit their craft on a cooking platform, with fair goers getting the chance to taste dishes from the demonstrations. Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef is a recurring guest, appearing in last year’s 2006 festival.

Children’s Pavilion: Children were previously given an additional area to enjoy the festival, as parts of the festival, like the alcohol garden, were unsuitable. However, as of 2006, Children’s Pavilion is no longer a featured event.

Entertainment Stage: Bands and artists appear live at the festival, ranging from instrumental groups, such as taiko and orchestra, to hip hop groups like Blackalicious.

Tofu Eating Contest: The tofu eating contest is a race to eat a 14-ounce block of tofu in the shortest amount of time. Several elimination rounds are held before the final battle and winner’s ceremony, where a prize is given to the winner on the entertainment stage.

And if you’re interested in the Tofu Eating Contest it will be held on Saturday, August 18th at 4pm. Here are the rules:

  • Contestants will be required to eat a 14 ounce block of House Foods Medium Firm Tofu.
  • Festival Judges will be judging the Tofu Eating contest. Contestants agree to abide by the Festival Judges’ decision. Festival Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Contestants will not be able to use their hands during the contest to eat the tofu.
  • There will be 10 contestants competing in each round with a total of 5 preliminary rounds. The first 2 contestants to eat the entire block of tofu will advance to the Final Round.
  • The first contestant to eat the entire block of tofu in the Final Round will win the Grand Prize
  • The second and third place winners of the Final Round will receive also receive prizes
  • In order for a contestant to completely finish the block of tofu, he/she must have swallowed the last mouth full of tofu as decided by the Festival Judges.
  • Contestants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Contest Rules are subject to change without notice.

Info seen here was collect from the Tofu Festival site as well as Wikipedia.

Paint by Chocolate

Chocolate Shoes

You missed the exhibition (so did I), but this is still cool nonetheless. Good find by Swissmiss.

A design gallery in Tokyo decided to launch with a gallery of 30 designers using chocolate as their medium.

Thirty designers, artists and photographers plunge into our peculiar relationship with this sticky stimulant, using an array of differing media.

The designs are all over the place, from paintings to a pair of shoes (see above and yes, those are chocolate) to seeds sprouting, paint cans filled with chocolate, a replica beating heart and more. Click here to see photos from the exhibit.

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