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Archive for the 'GO LOCAL' Category

Churned by Seattle: Ben & Jerry’s Gets Flavorful with Local Favorites

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Ben & Jerry's Seattle City Churned Flavor

What is Seattle’s Signature Flavor?

Ben & Jerry’s is mixing up a custom flavor just for Seattlites! Just imagine: a pint of fresh-rain-on-concrete ice cream with grungy guitar string and salmon chunks. No? Just us?

But really, the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck is in Seattle as a part of their nationwide tour and is celebrating our great city with a totally customized Seattle flavor (as voted on by real Seattlites)! The special flavor includes contributions from local favorites Theo Chocolate and Caffe Vita, as well as several other delectable ingredients listed below. The name of this flavor mashup is a secret for now, but that will all change very soon!

Ben & Jerry's Seattle Flavor

DRY Soda will be joining Ben & Jerry’s as they share the first Seattle scoops with the world at the Theo Chocolate factory on Friday, September 13th.  We will be on-site pouring tastes of our cans and new flavors alongside Caffe Vita to form the ultimate ice cream + beverage pairing combo. Come by and celebrate the flavor of our wonderful city.

RSVP for the party here and, between now and Friday, tweet with the Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck and it might come pay you a delicious visit! Share this invite with everyone you know and let’s make this an end-of-summer event to remember.

What: Ben & Jerry’s Seattle City Churned flavor unveiling and free scoops; DRY Soda and Caffe Vita tastings; live entertainment

Where: Theo Chocolate - 3400 Phinney Ave N  Seattle, WA 98103

When: 5-7 pm

DETAILS AND RSVP

 

RETAILER TALES: Coolhaus

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Natasha Case

Tinkering with DRY’s Store Locator for any length of time, you’ll find DRY Soda carried in some pretty amazing independent cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Each of these places has a story, so we’ve set out to bring you the best of these entrepreneurial endeavors to you in Retailer Tales.

Today’s Tale: Coolhaus

Chatting with: Natasha Case, co-founder

Location: Culver City, CA / trucks all over the country

Specialty: Architecturally-inspired ice cream sandwiches

With her Masters of Architecture complete, one might assume that Natasha Case would have gone straight into the industry. However, even with all her smarts and passion combined, there was something keeping her from that typical path.

“In school there were all these fancy words and terminology, things that are just so esoteric and intimidating for non-architecture people. These spaces are built for the public, but it’s all about how people perceive what the architect is trying to convey and it doesn’t always connect. It was lacking a human connection and I wanted a way to make that happen,” Case says.

With this in mind, Natasha found connection in the most universal of languages: ice cream.

Natasha started Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches in 2009 along with Freya Estreller to combine her passions for architecture and food as well as a way to bridge the gap between the general public and architecture. Armed with her idea of “Farchitecture” – food + architecture – Natasha set out to explore and expand the world of architecture through the medium of food. But first, the two needed a place to set up shop. ”The only thing we could afford was a truck, so we got this little beat up postal van on Craigslist to start,” Natasha says. “We couldn’t even drive it! We towed it to Coachella, set up shop, and that was the beginning of it all.” Coolhaus now has trucks roaming the streets of Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Austin and Dallas in addition to two brick-and-mortar shops in southern California.

The business began with interesting timing and circumstance. Though the nation was in the thick of the recession, the growing popularity of food trucks and widespread adoption of geography-based social media created the perfect stage for a viral launch of the brand, as is evidenced by their collective 100,000+ Twitter followers and 17,000 Facebook fans.coolhaus dry soda float

In explaining what sets Coolhaus apart from any other spot, Natasha pinpoints that  ”it’s really the architecture connection that sets us apart. It’s weird, and it’s so weird that no one else is weird enough to do it besides us.” This connection is embodied each of Coolhaus’ uniquely flavored sandwiches – constructed with cookies as the floor and roof, composing a place which ice cream can comfortably its call home, and then being named after famous architects and historical design movements. One of her favorite sandwiches – which is also available pre-packaged in select grocery stores – is the I. M. Pei-nut Butter, consisting of double chocolate cookies and mousse-like peanut butter ice cream.

Though Natasha had tried DRY Soda while in grad school, their paths crossed again at a No Kid Hungry dinner in Beverly Hills when Natasha was introduced to DRY’s CEO Sharelle through mutual friend Billy Harris. Coolhaus now carries several flavors of DRY Soda in its trucks and shop and even features many in floats.

Though a self-described “weird” concept, Natasha stands behind the connecting fact that “the best brands have a heritage that’s real. Anybody can create packaging and a logo, but it only truly works when the story is compelling and people want to get behind it.” By relating the design community and public together through food, Coolhaus has made a lot of happy, connected customers speaking the same tasty language.

RETAILER TALES: Cole’s Palette

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

waffle

Tinkering with DRY’s Store Locator for any length of time, you’ll find DRY Soda carried in some pretty amazing independent cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Each of these places has a story, so we’ve set out to bring you the best of these entrepreneurial endeavors to you in Retailer Tales.

Today’s Tale: Cole’s Palette

Chatting with: Cole Whaley, founder and owner

Location: Silver Spring, Maryland

Specialty: Sweet and savory waffles; doing the basic things differently

It’s been said that the simplest things in life bring us the most joy, and for chef Cole Whaley’s first dive into the restaurant world, you can’t get much simpler a joy being slung from a food truck:

Waffles. Pure, simple, delicious.

Cole’s Palette – also the name of Whaley’s catering business – is a food truck that patrols several areas of south Maryland serving up gourmet sweet and savory waffles. On the sweet side, you’ll see such items as red velvet waffles with cream cheese frosting. On the savory side, you have a choice between jumbo lump crab or classic fried chicken with your waffle. You can make your savory waffle a combo by adding DRY Soda and popchips.

“Most people start a restaurant by thinking of what they want to do, then finding a space,” Whaley explains, “but I wanted to find a great space and then figure out what would work well in the area.” This was the guiding hand behind the decision to open Cole’s Palette and his new restaurant Cafe Rue. Do the basics, but do them differently. In an area with Subway sandwiches and plenty of places to get fries, Cafe Rue offers traditional European paninis and truffle fries.

photo

The operation may seem simple enough, but that’s right where it gets technical. “The number one thing I learned in school was technique,” says Whaley, “so I do everything I can to bring a culinary flair to even the most basic, traditional food items. It’s really all about doing things that other restaurants could do, but choose not to because of time or money. It’s all in the small culinary techniques.”

This means putting eggs and butter into the waffle batter instead of water, taking three hours to cook Cafe Rue’s french fries twice instead of dumping a bag of frozen ones into a deep fryer, and the list goes on. It was for this same reason that Whaley brought DRY Soda on board. “It’d definitely be easier and cheaper to bring in Coke, but it just made so much more sense to bring in something new and different like DRY Soda.”

Whaley says his detail, technique-focused cooking was also influenced by his mother. “My mom was a scratch-cooking type. Watching her cook and helping her out all the time, I always wanted to emulate the things I saw her doing.”

With the way Whaley chooses to treat the people he serves and the meals he creates, any mother would be proud.

Whether at Cole’s Palette or Cafe Rue,  it’s all about doing the basics, but doing them differently.

You can track down Cole’s Palette by following along on Twitter, or sit down at Cafe Rue at 11120 Baltimore Avenue Beltsville, MD (Facebook)

RETAILER TALES: New Jersey’s &grain Baked to Perfection

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

andgrain2

Tinkering with DRY’s Store Locator for any length of time, you’ll find DRY Soda carried in some pretty amazing independent cafes, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Each of these places has a story, so we’ve set out to bring you the best of these entrepreneurial endeavors to you in Retailer Tales.

Today’s Tale: &grain

Chatting with: John Ropelski, founder and owner

Location: Garwood, New Jersey

Specialty: An obsessive commitment to bread and the ingredients that go between each slice

John Ropselski never set out to start a bakery.

In fact, his mind was not even close to being in bread. Upon finishing his degree in finance, Ropelski stepped directly into the mortgage business and saw immediate success. However, when the market went belly up in 2008, he decided it was time to rethink his path. “I knew I always wanted to be my own boss, so I thought ‘What could I open?’”

His inspiration was  quite the duality. First, in his earlier days of working in high end retail, John was inspired by the craftsmanship and attention to detail that made such fashion outlast seemingly anything the economy could throw at it – boiled down by John as “do things better and people will appreciate them.” Secondly, though finance was his trade, baking was undeniably in his blood – literally. The son of Polish immigrants, John comes from a bloodline of Ropelski bakers and thus had a rich family history upon which to draw knowledge and experience. Rolling this all into one resulted in an enrollment in the French Culinary Institute and five years spent perfecting his newfound craft – something in which he takes the utmost pride.

and-grain-1“There are always higher end places to go to dinner, but I’d never seen that done for lunch,” Ropelski says. With this in mind, &grain was born. John is admittedly obsessed with the process and details of what goes into high higher-end-yet-reasonably-priced sandwiches, but he points out that every aspect of his business is just as intentional. “I wanted to bring a little bit of New York into New Jersey,” he says. “The space is a mix of antique farmhouse and industrial warehouse,” with parts of the space (including the DRY Soda display to the left) constructed from recovered farmhouse wood. In all these decisions – whether ingredients or construction – John says it is pride that drives him. “I’m a proud owner,” he says. “People tell me that I could save some money dumbing something down here or cutting a corner there, but that wouldn’t be something I could stand behind.”

Ropelski recommends &grain’s grilled cheese sandwich – made on fresh baked Pain de Mie, toasted with garlic butter with melted brie and goat cheese on top of grilled prosciutto - paired with a Lavender DRY Soda (all pictured above). “I want to help people eat better, and people want soda with their lunch. So when I found DRY I thought, ‘This is exactly what I want’, because it seems like DRY shares that same philosophy,” John says.

With all the hard work and attention to detail, the days are certainly long. John’s days start at 1 am when the first loaves go in the oven and end around 8 pm when he sends the team home.

“I get very little sleep, and I eat very little, but at the end of the day seeing all the empty plates and thinking of everyone in and out throughout the day, that’s what I get fed on.”

He says the occasional Cucumber DRY / Hendrick’s Gin helps too.

You can find &grain at 700 North Ave Garwood, NJ and online on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp

Delicious State-ments | Washington + Oysters

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Washington Oysters

During these cherished summer months in our home state of Washington, decks are filled with sun-deprived Washingtonians soaking up every ray of beautiful Northwest sunshine they can, often times around platters of local seafood caught right along the west coast. Here, seafood and summertime are nearly synonymous, and it’s because of this that oysters are a great food fit to represent Washington.

Raw on the half shell, shooters, cooked in the shell: there are a lot of ways to prepare and eat oysters. Try these three preparations for a new take on this ugly beauty, all concocted by some of Washington’s best foodies.

Local Washington’s Oyster Recipes

Oyster Bánh Mì | via Fat of the Land (@LangdonCook – SEATTLE, WA)

Smoked Oyster Crostini | via Hama Hama Oysters (@HamaHamaOysters – LILLIWAUP, WA)

Oyster Pudding | via Hogwash, prepared by Jess Thomson (@OnFoodAndLife - SEATTLE, WA)

For more local food connections such as this, follow DRY Soda on Twitter and Facebook

The 3 Ways That Juniper Embodies Everything Awesome About Oregon

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Juniper Berry and Oregon: the Undeniable Connection

How about a little analogy question to start things off:

Cacti are to Arizona as _______ are to Oregon.

Well, this little exercise was flawed to begin with being as you’ve most likely read the title of this piece, but you get the idea: the connection between Oregon and juniper is a strong one. Though it may just seem like a piney northwest tree and berry, juniper embodies most of what makes Oregon as amazing as it is.

How so? Read on, friends.

1. Pacific Northwest Nature

Juniper trees cover an expansive 6.5 million acres of Oregon’s landscape and are a large part of what make up the beautiful natural views we’ve come to love about the state. The trees and berries compose an integral part of the state’s scenic makeup, especially in the rugged soils and slopes of central and eastern Oregon that make for phenomenal views and even better hikes. All of this pairs perfectly with the adventurous nature of the region.

2. Foodie Culture

The state of Oregon, Portland in particular, has become a key player in the game of serious food culture. With such a focus on using high-quality, local and sustainable ingredients, some of the West’s best chefs and eats come straight from the state. With this, juniper berries are used frequently in dishes as a meat rub or extra seasoning to add a crisp, sharp, earthy flavor. Tasting juniper berry in a freshly prepared cut of local Oregon pork really solidifies the connection as Oregon and foodies go hand in hand.

3. Local Mixology

Paired as deliciously as the perfect cocktail with a delicious meal, mixology and local distilleries are also mainstays in the state and help make Oregon a unique place in the cocktail world. An even closer pairing, juniper berries are an integral part of the distillation process for gin and are responsible for its distinct flavor. Without the vast coverage of juniper trees in Oregon, we might not have such greats as Desert Juniper or HOUSE Spirits Distillery’s Aviation Gin. That’s a world we would not want to live in, that’s for sure.

So thank you, good juniper: you and Oregon help bring out the very best in one another, which is something we all get to benefit from.

10 Things We Love About Colorado | #7 – New Belgium Brewing

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

New Belgium Brewing

DRY Soda got its start in a kitchen and has grown into a full-fledged all natural, better for you soda company with the help of amazing fans and partner accounts. That being said, we’re very inspired when other local businesses do things the right way; with New Belgium Brewing, this is absolutely the case. Based in Fort Collins, CO, New Belgium has worked its way to earning status as the third-largest craft brewery and seventh-largest overall brewery in the US. The brewery’s Fat Tire Amber Ale is a well-known and beloved brew celebrated by beer lovers all over the US.

The importance, however, comes in the details.

New Belgium Brewing is employee-owned and therefore places a heavy emphasis on worker wellness; it’s no wonder that it was named Outside Magazine’s Best Place to Work in America 2008. Whether it’s a cruiser bike on your one year anniversary or a free trip to Belgium, this brewery knows how it’s done. Additionally, New Belgium uses many different eco-friendly, energy-saving practices to run its facilities, including sourcing the cleanest energy possible from Fort Collins Utilities or powering part of their production off of the methane byproduct of their water treatment plant.

In all, New Belgium truly embraces the Colorado spirit of doing things well and doing things right. Our bottles are raised to you, New Belgium, and you’re absolutely one of the 10 Things We Love About Colorado.

Thinking Outside the Gearbox: 5 Amazing Alternative Uses for Bicycles

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Smoothie Peddler - 5 Amazing Alternative Uses For Bicycles

Photo credit: Juice Peddlers 

With National Bike Month upon us, we’ve noticed an awesome, healthy uptick in the amount of bikes we see on the road around DRY HQ. With this inspiration in mind, we found five of the most amazing, innovative uses of bicycles that you may not have thought of.

Instead of your normal bike ride, why don’t you use your pedal power to…

1) Make a Fresh Fruit Smoothie

Mainstays at farmers markets in and around Seattle, the thinkers behind Juice Peddlers truly make their customers a part of the business and experience. Juice Peddlers outsource their smoothie-making work… to the people who order them. Patrons pick their fruit combo, pony up to the mounted bicycle at the custom smoothie bar, and pedal away to power the blender in front of them until the concoction is just right.

2) Bring Pie to Your Doorstep

One of Seattle’s best secrets, Max Kraushaar, AKA Seattle Pie Man, has been in the business of peddling and pedaling his baked-from-scratch pies around the University District in Seattle since 2010. His business, known as The Piecycle, is as novel as it is delicious. Kraushaar bakes a variety of pies in advance, hungry customers call or text in orders for delivery, and he rides them over in a blaze of delicious glory.

3) Fence Off Your House

We love us some upcycling, and this double embodiment of the word is just too fantastic. The folks at Fence Workshop have an incredible collection of custom bike-made fences that truly tickle our design fancy. The sturdiness of bike frames help make dependable, strong fences, while the colors and concept exude a creative, DIY spirit.

4) Take a Picnic Mobile

What’s better than a picnic with friends? One that you can take anywhere, even down the street at 20+ mph. In one of the crazier ideas we’ve seen, a few friends converted an abandoned wooden picnic table into a tandem bicycle, mobile picnic machine, complete with drink cooler and grill for their “rider food.”

5) Power the Grid

Riding a stationary bike at the gym may is a good thing, but generating free energy for the grid while doing so makes it a labor of love. With a grid-tied inverter and some handiwork, you could turn your workout into a green machine. You won’t be able to power your house on the energy produced, but every little bit helps!

Hope that everyone is having a fun, fast and safe National Bike Month!

Sips of the Truly Unique – Unique LA Spring Show

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

What do you get when you combine independent design, local philanthropy, an inspirational internet sensation and bubbly DRY goodness? Why, Unique LA of course.

DRY Soda had the pleasure of hanging with 15,000 of our shopping friends at Unique LA - the largest independent design show in Los Angeles - over Mothers Day weekend. Shoppers were treated to a wide array of amazing wares by local designers, sips of DRY Soda and other US-made beverages, all while supporting philanthropic efforts as 10% of ticket sales were directly donated a local nonprofit.

One of the most exciting part of the event, however, was visiting Caine’s Arcade. Not familiar with Caine’s Arcade? Check it out for yourself: it’s one of the internet’s most inspiring stories from one of the coolest kids imaginable.

Unique LA’s “goals are to help designers and small businesses grow and become sustainable, to support the local economy, and to teach shoppers the value of conscious consumerism,” and this is exactly why DRY is so perpetually excited to support this and other Unique events.

Watch the video below to get a quick recap of DRY’s Unique LA experience.

A Peek into School Lunchtime

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

It’s no secret that I love eating delicious food – at restaurants, at friends’ houses, or at home with my family. A few weeks ago, I had lunch at a place I hadn’t been to in years … actually decades. An elementary school cafeteria. I had lunch with my youngest son and got an eye-full as to what the school lunchtime experience is for many kids. My son and his classmates had 10-12 minutes to eat their lunches before getting outside to run around the playground. Most of the kids at the table followed the adage “life is uncertain, eat dessert first” and gobbled their cookies before eating anything else in their lunches. Few kids had much protein or fruit or veg in their lunches or if they did, they didn’t eat it; and many lunches had an abundance of sugar and empty calories. And then, lickity-split, the kids were out the door to squeeze in some playtime before the bell.rethinking-school-lunch.jpg

Our country has been abuzz recently about school lunch nutrition. In December, school lunch nutrition standards were raised for the first time in 15 years, requiring more fruits, veggies, and whole grains in school lunches and reducing sodium, trans-fat, and starchy vegetables. I thought this before/after infographic from the White House was handy in understanding how the proposed changes would impact school lunches. I also read that some healthy food advocates, like Marion Nestle, think the new standards aren’t perfect but could be a step in the right direction.After my school lunch experience, I was really excited to read about the change in the air at Seattle Public Schools. Seattle’s new-ish Nutrition Director Eric Boutin worked in the nearby school district of Auburn where he led a movement to bring local wholesome food into school lunches. He’s now in Seattle and working to revamp both the composition of lunches (locally sourced, whole foods) and figure out how schools can effectively source and prepare local foods for lunch. Recently Seattle Public Schools became a recipient of a grant, which will pair chefs and operations managers from Tom Douglas’s restaurants with school cooks in order to help retrain school lunch program staff to source and prepare fresh foods. I love it!

So the only downside to this lunchtime story is that my poor son no longer gets dessert in his lunches — he has not invited me back.  But maybe I can wrangle an invite once the schools finish their lunch program revamp.