Goods and gadgets: made for TV

What’s the next best thing to sampling new goodies at the various pre-Emmy parties around Hollywood? Getting inspired by some of the fun little gadgets, goodies and recipes being demoed. Yes, the “suites” this season were somewhat like a trade show with celebrities in attendance. However, it is at least nice to see some things demoed that deliver on what they promise—or at least make party prep a little more fun
by Elyse Glickman

GBK, W Hollywood

While sweet rules the world of flavoured vodkas, the new Yazi Vodka from Hood River Distilleries in Oregon brings balance to familiar and exotic cocktail with a spicy hit of ginger that harmonizes with a variety of fruits and spices. We look forward to trying out the specialty recipes as well as zipped up versions of the classic mojito and lemon drop

2 oz Yazi Ginger Vodka
1 oz triple sec
Splash of lemon juice
Dash of simple syrup

Shake with ice and serve up in martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Shanghai Lemon Drop (Sungari’s Restaurant, Portland, Oregon)
1 oz Yazi Ginger Vodka
2 oz limoncello
3 splashes of peach bitters

Shake with ice and serve up in martini glass. Garnish with a thin peach slice or lemon curl.

Yazi Mojito
1½ oz Yazi Ginger Vodka
1 oz triple sec
1 sugar cube
½ oz lime juice
2 oz club soda
Fresh mint, muddled

Muddle mint leaves, sugar and lime juice together, add club soda, and serve in a tall glass.

Snap Dragon (Amber Restaurant, Seattle, Wash.)
1¾ oz Yazi Ginger Vodka
¼ oz green tea liqueur
Lemon slices
Tonic water

Muddle lemon slices in a pint glass. Add ice, vodka, liqueur and top with tonic water. Shake and serve on the rocks or strain into sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.

   Tampa, Florida’s Bavaro’s Italian Specialties brought their special sauce to Hollywood and, now, practically everywhere else thanks to their website. If you wanted to prepare a restaurant-style “family” dinner, this is the way to do it.
   The Bread Basket, the Santa Barbara area’s “richest” bakery, hit the GBK red carpet greeting celebs and guests with their sinful mouthfuls. This year, the big “flavour” of the moment is caramel and sea salt, and these cake truffles (below) do not disappoint.

WOW Creations, Luxe Hotel, Beverly Hills

While there were no shortage of cake bon-bons, cupcakes and monster-sized cookies fuelling the revellers, we give Cutie Pie That! credit for doing something truly original: fruit pies on a stick, in whimsical gingerbread man shapes. Great for guests who want more than a bite but less than a piece.
   While coconut water has fuelled fitness fanatics and creative mixologists alike, there are times when this precious and healthy substance can either be hard to find or difficult to carry around. Los Angeles-based Oh Coco! resolves this issue with handy packets that bring the benefits, flavour and hydration anywhere. Great for long flights!

The Secret Room by Amy Wright, SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills

We loved GlitzyBella’s hats, hair accessories and fashion statements, but honestly thought their treatment of Disaronno and Grey Goose bottles as well as plastic cups with Swarovski crystals was a very creative way to doll up a bar. Though we may not necessarily doll up plastic cups, this could be a novel way to add extra dash to bridal showers and other occasions.

   Chocolate. How we love thee—let us count the ways. We found several at the Secret Room this go round. Memphis, Tenn. entrepreneur P. Ashley Rix manages to mix some very unusual savoury ingredients with dark and milk chocolate for his creations for Chocistry Handcrafted Designer Chocolates, such as barbecue sauce, and it works surprisingly well.
   San Diego’s Chuao Chocolatier has its own spin on mixing sweet, spicy and savory into unforgettable bon-bons. We loved their wafer of bread crumbs and chocolate.

   Clean-up is an inevitable and somewhat expensive part of home entertaining, but Bambooee makes it environmentally friendly and possibly more affordable with reusable, durable towels that outrun traditional paper products.
   Even with the glitz, glamour and bling, we occasionally stumble on things that look rather plain but perform some interesting miracles. The Cheese Knife’s supple blade helps keep cheese on the plate, not on the knife. Originally designed as a soft-cheese knife, it also works with butter, boiled eggs, cake, or any substance that typically sticks to ordinary blades.

   If pampered pooches are part of the guest list, and some of those dogs belong to bosses or others you need to impress, you may want to keep some fancy Frenchie’s Kitchen dog food on standby. Some dishes looked so appealing, humans almost dipped right in.
   VuQo, a coconut based vodka from the Philippines, was back with some new additions to their cocktail repertoire.

Doris Bergman’s 2012 Emmy Suite, La Bohème, West Hollywood

NitroCream’s advanced ice cream and sorbet makers not only cooled things down (unseasonably hot weather), but also sparked some creative alcoholic concoctions. Mango sorbet and tequila are wonderful partners, as are classic vanilla ice cream with Chocolate Shop’s new liqueur drizzled on top (above right). Chocolate Shop Wine has a couple new things to sweeten up the bar, including a chocolate strawberry wine.

   When your ice melts, and drinks dilute, your party can run out of steam very quickly. The Spirit Ice Vice, however, cools things down by allowing you to create long-lasting, beautiful ice balls (that have been spotted at many upscale artisanal cocktail bars) that will bring out the best in spirits’ natural flavors without rapid dilution. It even blends into your bar, as it resembles a wine bottle.

Connected: a Hollywood sound stage in a top-secret location

Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles pair nicely with Pink’s Hot Dogs and work as a Martini ingredient for those who prefer their drinks strong and expressive. The pickles originate from a 100-year-old family recipe rooted in Washington state.
   Something for the guys: show off your team spirit while literally having a clever tool on hand (your finger) to open up those refreshing craft beers. TopOff Rings were a hit with the American football and baseball fans.
   Say it with mustard. It was good enough to have a truck from the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs on hand serving up the storied sausages to order. The way they used condiments to communicate was also a cute idea, especially with sausage-happy Oktoberfest coming up.

Beth Beasley’s Showroom at the W Hollywood

If you are a serious cook, keep your Ipad in a safe place and bring Key Ingredient’s tablet into your kitchen. This dedicated recipe library in the form of a dedicated Recipe Reader transforms the tradition of recipe swapping into a global experience with appetizers, mains, desserts and condiments from all over the world at the touch of a button. It may seem overwhelming at first, but imagine having tonight’s dinner accessible at the touch of a button without having to turn pages with smudgy fingers.

   The word is out: you can make lower-calorie potato chips, veggie snacks and fruit crisps without oil, cholesterol and other weighty ingredients. For many of us who are all thumbs, however, it’s easier said than done. Mastrad’s Top Chips makes the process easier with its clever device that puts a snack factory right into your hands. If you are doing skinny cocktails at home, why not have skinnier snacks to serve with them?
   American craft beer is not the only thing benefting from German influence. Fuchen Herbal Liqueur, the first U.S.-made inspired premium herbal liqueur, merges together cinnamon, vanilla and various aromatics in the tradition of classic German spirits.

Fuchen ’til Dawn
2 oz Fuchen Liqueur
3 oz pineapple juice
1 oz grenadine

German Café
2 oz Fuchen
4 oz hot or ice coffee
1 oz Baileys or Starbucks cream liqueurs

Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate powder and cinnamon sugar.

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