Friday, March 29, 2013

Food Fridays - Brizo Gets Cooking

My relationship with Brizo has been going on for over two years now and what continues to impress me about them is their willingness to explore new collaborations to help make their product better.  This was obvious in their collaboration with fashion designer Jason Wu and continues with Chef Jamie Bissonnette of Boston restaurants Coppa and Toro.

The following video (soon to be featured on Bon Appetite Magazine's web site) features a conversation between Chef Bissonette and Brizo lead industrial designer Seth Fritz. The discussion covers how different creative pursuits (e.g. cooking or design) are able to incorporate inovations and inspiration into their work. While you watch the video, also pay attention to the way Chef Bissonette works in his kitchen, especially the way he effortlessly uses the SmartTouch of the Solna faucet.  As a cook and a designer the way a professional chef uses a space is very inspirational.

As an added bonus, here's the recipe for the Chicken & Mushroom Ragout.  For those of you who do not have an immersion circulator in your kitchen, a soft-poached egg will work fine, or you can monitor the temperature of a pot of water for two hours.  The extra time and effort will be worth it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Schnitzel Und Soccer - Together At Last

In my perfect world, my favourite things find ways to co-exist and even enhance each other.  For example: the upcoming BlogTour I will be attending in New Orleans is going to combine my love of design with my love of travel (and food, and good cocktails ...).  This weekend I was given the opportunity to combine my love for soccer with my love of pork.

My good friend and fellow soccer fanatic Zach decided to host his own birthday party this year at the Alpen Club, the German social club in Vancouver, and to combine it with a viewing of the Vancouver Whitecaps away match against the Houston Dynamo.  He gathered several like minded friends and family together for an evening of the beautiful game, and delicious German food and beer.

Now I'm no expert on German food, but I do know they have a healthy reverence for all things porcine and that cannot be bad.  Sure we saw many plates of schnitzel and several pretzels coming from the kitchen, but there was seriously only one thing on my mind when we ordered dinner.  The German Feast

A pickled pork hock, bratwurst, meat loaf, smokey, schnitzel, served with sauerkraut, red cabbage, fried onion rings, bread an potato dumplings, two sauces and our traditional mustards (preparation time 30 mins).
This is the kind of meal that wins you friends and admirers.  We did indeed split this amongst four of us ... and one very hungry university student from France who hadn't had choucroute (sauerkraut) since coming to Vancouver.  It was the perfect amount of food for four hungry soccer fans.  Everything was cooked perfectly, especially the pork hock that practically fell apart when asked. Washed down with a few glasses of Krombacher Pils and the fact the Whitecaps lost the game really didn't matter.

I know this is hardly a thorough review of the restaurant.  But based on this platter of food alone I'd come back.  This isn't light fare.  It's robust and honest and designed to be shared with friends.  We'll be back with the same group ... and hopefully a win.

Vancouver Alpen Club
4875 Victoria Drive
Vancouver, BC
V5N 4P3

Phone: 604-874-3811 (For Resevations Press Extention 22)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Brewer Comes to North America

About a year ago I introduced you to the Top Brewer, a sleek automated coffee system that unfortunately was only available in Europe.

Well Happy Days coffee lovers!  Scanomat has just announced it will be distributing it's Top Brewer system  in North America.

If you happen to be at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York (March 21-24) you'll have a chance to try it out in person.  With a little luck they'll have it at KBIS when I'm there with BlogTour  New Orleans next month.  I promise to try and report back here if they do!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Secret Garage Door - The Elevator Version

Recently I was discussing the use of dumbwaiters with another kitchen designer friend of mine.  A few years back they had been featured in a couple show homes and I was wondering why they hadn't really caught on in larger homes.  My friend commented that they had in fact caught on, but for cars not for kitchens.

A little internet search and I uncovered the website for American Custom Lifts and their wide range of residential and commercial lifts ... including lifts for cars.


And just so you don't think this has nothing to do with kitchen design, I present to you the kitchen island elevator, controlled by an iPhone no less!!

So what other are there to use elevators in the home?  I'm thinking wine cellar but would love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

Friday, March 8, 2013

BlogTour New Orleans 2013

 2011 was a very busy year for Useful Spaces.  In February I was in New York for Fashion week courtesy of Brizo, April was KBIS is Las Vegas, and finally in June I was the guest of GE Monogram for a few days of cooking and learning in Louisville.  Truth be told it took a lot out of me (I was laid out with pneumonia for weeks after New York) but the connections I made with other designers and the inspiration I gained still influence me today.  In return, the other bloggers and I the sponsors extensive exposure to the people who read out blogs and follow our activities on social media.

Modenus also recognizes this relationship between design bloggers and manufacturers as being a very powerful marketing & learning tool, and created BlogTour to take advantage of it.  BlogTour has taken design bloggers to New York, London, and Cologne, creating thousands of online impressions along the way.  In April 2013 BlogTour will visit New Orleans for KBIS, and I am pleased to announce that Useful Spaces has been invited to participate.

In addition to visiting KBIS, BlogTour New Orleans will also be introducing the bloggers (and our readers) to the history, design, and joie de vivre of one of the oldest and most culturally diverse cities in North America.  During the trip, I will be sharing our finds on Twitter, posting to Facebook and blogging my experiences on Useful Spaces ... in between beignets, étouffée and Sazeracs of course.

A couple related events of note:

  • We'll be hosting a TweetChat on April 8, 2013 from 4-5pm EST, which will be all about New Orleans' Design Scene, travel, prep and tips & tricks
  • Another TweetChat on April 29, 2013 from 4-5pm EST is our trends chat from NOLA
There will be other Tweetups and events during KBIS that I will post about as they are scheduled.  To participate, simply follow me on Twitter (@ArneSalvesen) and search the hashtag #BlogTourNOLA.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Textured Glass Tiles from Interstyle

I began my career in kitchen design almost 20 years ago with a company called EnviroSafe Cabinets.  That company no longer exists but the company we shared office space with, Interstyle Tile, most certainly does.  Even before I became involved with specifying tiles for my clients, the glass tile made by Interstyle always struck me as some of the most beautiful tile I had ever seen.  Today, Interstyle is world renowned for their glass tiles and yet they continue to be made right here in my home town of Burnaby, BC.  And when they continue to introduce lines like Tatami it's no wonder their reputation remains so strong.

"Sculpted glass tiles with a linear flow, enhanced by the texture and the refraction of light through the tile. Inspired by the tradition of Japanese mats & woven patterns, the result is a stunning expression of texture and movement that transforms any residential or commercial surrounding into an event."
Tatami is available as 1/2" x 4" "batons" assembled in (approx.) 1 square foot sheets.  12 colours are available, in two textures and one of 3 layouts:

For more information on Tatami, and Interstyle's amazing selection, check out their website.
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