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I Can’t Get Enough of This Weird Cast-Iron Pot from Japan

In “Kind of Obsessed,” we dish on the products we can’t get enough of. Ken Tomita, CEO of Portland-based design company Grovemade, is obsessed with Vermicular’s Musui Cast-Iron Pot. Here’s why.


I saw it on Gear Patrol, I believe. What originally attracted me to it was the manufacturing process, since I am a manufacturing nerd. Cast-iron cookware is all cast. You get that rough, pebbled-surface look that we are all accustomed to, but it warps and it is not a precise process by any means. Vermicular, on the other hand, casts the pot then machines the inside lip as well as the lip of its lid to fit perfectly together.

Despite prohibitive pricing (especially with the Kamado hub), I remained interested and looked deeper into the brand. Beautiful photography, slick animations and storytelling give its website a “thoughtful living” type feel. Out of curiosity, I found the Japanese version of their website; the brand was presented differently, with more content and more of a focus on community. They even have a “Vermicular Village,” where they have a restaurant, bakery and test kitchen where they offer classes (I need to go there someday!).

I showed my mom the pot — we are originally from Japan — and she suggested that she could buy it for us as our wedding gift (without the Kamado, to keep the budget reasonable). I was elated. I thought it was a great idea to have her gift be a tool that we can use forever that makes our lives better and was otherwise out of reach for us.

About the Author

Ken Tomita is the CEO and co-founder of Grovemade, a Portland, Oregon-based company that designs modern products for your workspace and home. He’s also an avid Trailblazers fan and designs furniture on the side. grovemade.com

When I got my hands on it, I was impressed immediately. It arrived accompanied by a gorgeous, full-size hardcover cookbook that explained how to use and maintain the device, as well as a number of recipes tailormade for it. It also came with a little stand where you could prop up the lid vertically as if it were artwork — which really makes sense, considering how beautifully made it is.

In actual use, I couldn’t be happier with it. The idea is that it works like typical cast-iron cookware, plus you can do “musui,” or waterless, cooking. For example, there is a dish I make frequently where I just put in onions, mushrooms, carrots, some bacon, potatoes, a bay leaf and some salt and pepper. I put it on low for 45 minutes or so, and after about half an hour the moisture from the vegetables starts to steam out of the specially designed lid. Basically the ingredients cook inside the steam and moisture from themselves. The result is tremendously rich flavor that is hard to explain. As for differences from Le Creuset and other cast-iron heavyweights, I think the aesthetic is part of it. Rather than the heritage look, the Vermicular is a more contemporary design, representing Japan, in a way, rather than Old World Europe.

After cooking many of the recipes in the included book, I got curious about finding more, and there was virtually nothing out there because it is still a new product (in America, at least). Fortunately for me, I can read Japanese. I found the Vermicular app — sadly, only available in Japanese — which aggregates hundreds of recipes from actual users. Very cool! In addition, I went to Japan this past fall and found many cookbooks specific to it. Now I just need it to catch on Stateside so I have people to bounce ideas off.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Prized by Pro Chefs, This $26 Japanese Kitchen Tool Is Underrated as Hell

Chef Anthony Alaimo may have gotten his start cooking in New York City, but his skill led him to work in kitchens from Macau — where he earned a Michelin star as chef de cuisine at Ristorante Il Teatro — to Las Vegas. Currently, Alaimo is situated in Los Angeles where he heads the kitchen at 101 North, a New American eatery in Westlake Village. The well-traveled chef’s experiences around the world are reflected in his kitchen essentials, which includes staples such as a Japanese mandoline and an Italian pasta maker.

Benriner Mandoline Slicer

“Benriner’s Japanese mandoline is at the top of my must-have list. This green mandolin that has been torturing the fingertips of chefs for years is a must-have for efficient production. Once you get comfortable with it, this mandolin stays sharp and lasts.”

Imperia Pasta Maker Machine

“Imperia’s pasta machine is a reliable workhorse. The attachments are versatile and are easy to switch out.”

Aritsugu Utility Knife

“This Japanese utility knife from Aritsugu is a must-have! I found this knife 10 years ago at a market in Kyoto, and it has been my go-to knife ever since. Whether it’s cleaning fish, working with meat or slicing vegetables, it’s the most useful knife I have.”

Edlund Kitchen Tongs

“Kitchen tongs by Edlund are the only tongs we use. They last forever and have the best grip.”

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tyler Chin

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Editorial Associate for Editorial Operations. He’s from Queens, where tempers are short and commutes are long. Too bad the MTA doesn’t have a team like Ed-Ops.

More by Tyler Chin | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

What’s the Best Sous Vide Circulator You Can Buy?

So you’ve overcooked a fancy grass-fed steak. You’ve heard that by cooking food sous vide — that is, inside a plastic bag submerged in a precisely regulated water bath — your beef, fish, pork, or what have you comes out at the ideal temperature each and every time, without fail.

But which circulator to choose? Currently, the two kings of sous vide cookery are Anova’s Precision Cooker and Breville’s Joule. Read on to explore how these devices stack up across four key categories: design, apps, performance, and setup.

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Overall Design

The principal design difference between these two machines is that the Anova features a built-in display and controls, while the Joule — which users operate entirely through a companion app — sports just a single button. Without onboard controls and the innards that come with them, the Joule is considerably lighter, smaller, and sleeker than the competition.

Another major difference lies in the way these two circulators attach to pots and other cooking vessels. The Anova utilizes a height-adjustable clamp, while the Joule offers three options for securing the device — a standard clip that fits most thin-walled pots, a larger clamp for coolers and the like and a strong magnetic base that makes setup ridiculously straightforward, provided you’re using a pot made of metal.

Apps

Both devices offer apps that allow users to control water temperature and other settings wirelessly. The Joule app — visually impressive, exceptionally intuitive, and ultra-helpful in the kitchen — is hands-down the superior of the two. It features over 100 step-by-step guided recipes complete with meat doneness recommendations that show users how their food will turn out when cooked to different temperatures. Another handy feature — the app asks users to input their meat’s thickness and whether it’s fresh or frozen, and adjusts cook time accordingly.

While the Anova app also offers up recipes and some guidance regarding doneness, it’s not nearly as robust or helpful as the Joule app. More than once, I found myself consulting the Joule app even when cooking with the Anova.

Performance

In short, both of these devices are capable of heating water — lots of it, at that — to high temperatures relatively quickly. But since we’re comparing the two, it’s only fair we get a bit granular.

The Joule packs 1,100 watts of heating power, so it brings water to temperature slightly faster than the 1,000-watt Anova. It also reaches a peak water temperature of 208 degrees, a bit hotter than the Anova’s 197-degree max. Considering that sous vide recipes typically involve cooking food low and slow, neither of those facts should impact your decision much.

Setup

Setting up the Anova is as simple as placing it in a pot filled with water, plugging it in, and tapping its onboard buttons to set your desired water temperature and cook time. As mentioned, you can also toggle settings by downloading Anova’s app and connecting to your circulator via WiFi.

On the other hand, since the Joule can only be controlled through its app, you need to pair a Bluetooth-enabled device to start cooking. I’ll admit that, at first, the prospect of relying solely on an app and a wireless connection was disconcerting. To my surprise, it only took a minute to connect my iPhone to the Joule, and every time I’ve used the device since, it has paired automatically without a hitch. Once everything’s synced up, you can use the Joule app to manually set the temperature or select a recipe from its extensive database.

Verdict

Throughout testing, the Joule stood out as the more intuitive and user-friendly circulator of the two, largely due to its immensely useful, recipe-loaded app. That’s why I’d recommend the Joule over the Anova, especially for cooks new to the world of sous vide. But if you don’t mind researching recipes on your own — or if you prefer manual controls to app-based interfaces — you absolutely can’t go wrong with the Anova either.

Both gadgets retail for $200 (and go on sale regularly), a small price to pay for perfectly cooked food nearly every time. To truly get your money’s worth, remember that sous vide cooking is great for a boatload of dishes aside from a classic steak. Believe it or not, one of the tastiest meals I made during testing was this carrot recipe, courtesy of sous vide master J. Kenji López-Alt.

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The Best Leather Sofas and Couches for Every Budget

If you’re going to invest in one piece of furniture, it should be the sofa. They come in a variety of fabrics, but none achieve the sophistication, longevity or comfort that leather provides. As a rule, leather sofas are almost always pricier than their fabric counterparts. From an $800 Ikea find to a bigger version of the Eames Lounge Chair, these are the best leather sofas at every price point.

Ikea Landskrona Sofa

Ikea is the go-to brand for affordable furniture, and its leather sofas are no exception. Finding a sub-$1,000 leather sofa feels like a near-impossible task, but Ikea, in unsurprising fashion, pulled it off. Opt for metal or wood legs to go with the tufted leather couch and rest easy knowing the sofa comes with a 10-year warranty.

Urban Outfitters Sydney Recycled Leather Sofa

Buried under pages of graphic tees, dad hats and trendy pants lie Urban Outfitters’ secret weapon — affordable and stylish furniture options. The Sydney sofa is crafted from recycled leather and gives a midcentury look for those shopping on a budget.

Article Alcott Sofa

Article is the online direct-to-consumer furniture brand for those who want good quality, affordable prices in a variety of styles. Article modeled its Alcott sofa after the type of couch a dad in the 80s would have. The Alcott, which features premium materials like kiln-dried wood, duck feathers and semi-aniline leather, can be assembled in five minutes and will last exponentially longer. It’s a sofa you can spend hours lounging on, napping on or reading the Sunday paper on.

Capsule Freeman Sofa

Design- and budget-conscientious shoppers should check out Capsule, an LA-based brand that focuses on keeping design functional and affordable. Utilizing its in-house designers and collaborators, Capsule creates elevated furniture for reasonable prices. The Freeman leather sofa takes design cues from mid-century modern American design. The Freeman comes with a single tufted seat and two reversible back cushions for added longevity.

West Elm Denmark Loveseat

Loveseats are the unsung heroes of tiny spaces. The Denmark from West Elm features aniline-dyed Italian leather that patinas over time, resulting in a couch unique to you. Taking style inspiration from modern Danish design, the Denmark makes a statement without being overstated.

Burrow Nomad Sofa

It all started with their original Nomad sofa, which they’ve recently updated to include a leather-upholstered variation. The leather Nomad comes with everything the OG Nomad had, and then some — built-in charging cable, fast shipping and faster assembly and maximum customizability. It’s no surprise the Nomad topped our original best sofas and couches list.

West Elm Urban Sofa

The Urban sofa from West Elm is the kind of couch you would buy if you’re looking for something you could sink into for days on end. The couch is plush, and deep seats mean you won’t roll off if you decide to take a quick nap.

Rove Concepts Hector Sofa

The first thing you might notice looking at the Hector sofa from Rove Concepts is the couch’s frame and use of strong lines. The three-seater features a Euro-style backrest, and its cushions are filled with premium down for a comfortable sitting experience.

Schoolhouse Equestrian Sofa

If you don’t want to take the time to actually break in a sofa, Schoolhouse’s Equestrian sofa features supple leather that’s already developed a patina. The tufted back and nailhead trim give the Equestrian royal look.

L.L. Bean Leather Lodge Sofa

The Lodge sofa is in-line with the rest of L.L. Bean’s outdoorsy aesthetic. The couch, which looks like something you might actually find in a lodge, is ready to be lounged in after a day in the woods (or your apartment). The chestnut brown leather is pre-distressed for a slightly vintage look without the vintage price or smell. Like L.L. Bean’s apparel, the Lodge sofa is a nice combination of heritage, durability and comfort.

Blu Dot Bonnie Sofa

Blu Dot is the American answer to expensive European brands that can’t be found in the US. While still not a frugal option, Blu Dot hopes to bridge the gap between high design and accessibility — this is the goal of the Bonnie sofa. The Bonnie is a minimalist couch with high armrests and a single thin seat cushion. It’s a piece of furniture that blends into the background with its simple design, but will have you and your guests fighting for a seat.

Room & Board Cade Sofa

Room & Board’s modern furniture is designed to last a lifetime. The Cade sofa encapsulates the brand’s mission statement by being both functional and reliable. The deep seats are meant to invite relaxation, while padded arm rests ensure you’ll never want to get up. The Urbino leather is resistant to scratches and stains, and has been tumbled to provide maximum comfort from your very first seat.

Restoration Hardware Modena Sofa

If you’re looking for a sofa to sink in to, look no further than the Modena sofa. Restoration Hardware is known for its luxury furniture, and the Modena sofa delivers just that with its blend of Italian and American design inspired by the look of the 1970s.

Herman Miller Tuxedo Sofa

It’s immediately obvious that the Tuxedo sofa is slimmer than the other leather sofas on this list. But leave it to Herman Miller to make a low-profile sofa with the same level of comfort as those bigger, bulkier couches. The overall look is refined, but funky.

Knoll Barcelona Couch

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If it’s good enough for Spanish royalty, it’s good enough for you. At least that’s what designer Mies van der Rohe had in mind when he was brainstorming the Barcelona couch. Designed in 1930, the couch maintains everything that made it special back then: Spinneybeck Volo cowhide, African mahogany sapele hardwood and a craftsperson’s touch.

Eames Sofa

If the Eameses can make the perfect lounge chair, you should trust them to make the perfect sofa. This streamlined piece is made from wood, leather and polished aluminum. If you’ve got the money, make space for this sofa.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Editorial Associate for Editorial Operations. He’s from Queens, where tempers are short and commutes are long. Too bad the MTA doesn’t have a team like Ed-Ops.

More by Tyler Chin | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

Are $1 Weed Tablets the Future of Productivity?

In our connected age, it’s hard to live a healthy, balanced home life. In Homebody we test one product that claims to help make your home life better, to see if its “lifestyle” claims stack up to actual life.


I have to admit I was high when I had the idea. A weed gummy deep, I stopped in the kitchen for a snack and found myself at the sink, scrubbing through the greasy dishes sober me had avoided all week. I enjoy a bit of weed just like I do the occasional cigar or glass of whiskey. But maybe I could harness it to knock out housework, giggling all the while?

Part of the inspiration came from Dosist, a lifestyle-meets-cannabis company based in Santa Monica and available all around California, Florida, Nevada and Canada. I heard of their products, which dispensed small “doses” of THC via vape pen or minty edible tablets (in Florida, only the vape pens are available), with slick marketing that promised they were “formulated for your well-being,” that they could help “unlock the benefits of cannabis to help you take control of your health and happiness naturally.” They sell their doses in six different “formulas”—bliss, sleep, calm, relief, arouse, and passion — that combine THC and CBD and leave the specifics of those claims up to users.

In Theory…

This, again, was not an entirely original idea. All sorts of folks (indigenous people worldwide, Cheech & Chong) have been using cannabis for health and wellness benefits of many kinds for many years. And in 2018, the excellent author Michael Pollan brought the idea of microdosing with psilocybin (shrooms) to the masses with his book How to Change Your Mind.

I decided to split the difference between Pollan’s mind-bending exercise and bathing in CBD oil, which I tried a few months ago and found anecdotally ineffective in a broad range of tinctures, coffee infusions and bath bombs. (Though I did feel pampered.) I started taking small doses of cannabis every time my honey-do list included housework. (I live in the beautiful state of California, where weed is as legal and easily obtained as a Slurpee.)

The Dose Dial is an interesting contraption. It’s how Apple would design a weed mint tablet dispenser; it also honestly looks like birth control. It’s kid-proof: to get your little tablet, you have to slide open a little door, press down on a button, and turn a wheel on its side with your thumb. Out pops your tablet, which at 3.7mg is less than, say, a 10mg gummy, but not that much less (dials are $30 and there are 30 tablets per dial). In a perfect world, it’d be just the right amount of weed for me to be focused enough to take on a list of chores but also zoned out enough to make said chores a breeze. I could creatively multitask—say, puzzle my way through a problem with a story while doing the dishes.

In Practice…

Reality was a much more mixed bag. I used the “bliss” and “calm” formulas through several days of trials.

On one day, a single blissful tablet (9:1 ratio of THC to CBD, “feel just the right amount of good”) seemingly turned me into a machine: I felt focused, stopped trolling Reddit and knocked out a story I’d been putting off, then did the dishes, tidied up the living room and did a mountain of laundry, all before my fiancee could get home.

But on another day, “bliss” seemed more like trucker speed: I couldn’t stay on-task, and finished a frustrating stretch of hours with a list of five half-done chores. On another day, I succumbed to my normal weed compulsions: cleaning up my albums,playing the guitar, then switching on a video game. The “calm” mint tablets (1:10 THC to CBD, “promote balance and help relax your mind and body naturally”), meanwhile, didn’t seem to do much to me at all, bolstering my belief that CBD doesn’t do much for me.

In Conclusion…

Clearly, the final word on how efficient my housework can be comes not some lifestyle tablet: it comes from me. When I was in the right mood, pressing the button my Dosist dispenser energized my efforts. And there’s definitely credence to using the turn of a dial as a mental marker: when I do these, it’s time to change my mindset to get shit done. For plenty of people, Dosist could work well to that end. For me, it’s telling that I didn’t continue using my tablets as carrots or sticks for getting work done. I found myself reverting to my old ways with weed: using them to de-stress after a long day with family, or giving them out at wedding afterparties to the late-night crew.

The reason we don’t know more about the effects of cannabis on our health is that the federal government continues to list it as a schedule-1 drug, right alongside peyote and meth. Medical researchers can’t get their hands on it for actual tests to see how effective it can be for treating sleep problems, anxiety or not wanting to do the dishes. When that changes, I’ll be the first to volunteer as a subject. Till then, I may stick to gummies and keep my weed strictly for fun.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Eyeing a Japanese Chef’s Knife? These Are the Three Brands to Know

Unlike the Western-style chef’s knives, which count household names Victorinox, Wüsthoff, Zwilling and others in their ranks, the Japanese chef knife establishment is less obvious to Western shoppers. This issue is amplified thanks to a number of major European and American manufacturers offering “Japanese” or “Japanese-style” knives that, without the stamped-on kanji script, share little with traditional Japanese design. And while there are thousands of craftspeople creating gorgeous knives in limited quantities throughout the country (their wares can be shopped at these stores), Japan has its staples, too. These are the three brands every shopper should start with.

Global

What Is It?
Global’s knives are one of the few Japanese knives to have successfully penetrated the American market. The blade line is flat, unlike the curving shape of Western knife, which means it’s tailored for push-pull cuts instead of the rocking motion most American and European chefs use.

Why Buy It?
Global’s offerings are many, but they’re all made of the same Cromova 18 stainless steel, a proprietary blend of chromium, molybdenum and vanadium that’s similar to VG10 stainless steel, a popular steel for many kitchen knives. But thanks to higher chromium levels, Global’s secret steel is significantly hardier than VG-10, and most stainless knife steel in general. Also like many Japanese knives, these are very light.

Price: The G-2, the brand’s flagship knife, hovers around $100 on Amazon and most other retailers, and provides a nice barometer for the brand on the whole — premium, but not too pricey.

Mac

What Is It?
Mac blades are designed and manufactured in Seki, one of Japan’s famous blademaking cities, but they aren’t Japanese design hardliners. The handles sport ergonomic curves not found on uber-traditionalist wa handle and the blades are ever so slightly curved, allowing for both the push-pull and rocking cutting styles. Plus, some have dimples in the sides of the blade to help separate foods, which are never found on a classic Japanese knife.

Why Buy It?
These knives are made with stainless steel that harbors more carbon content than most in the category. This means the knife can be ground thinner and made sharper, but is slightly more susceptible to losing an edge (and developing small stains) than a standard stainless steel knife. That problem is remedied with every-so-often honing, and because the blade shape allows for most cutting styles while not abandoning all semblance of Japanese design.

Price: Unlike Global and others, Mac makes knives out of a number of different steels and at a few different quality levels. Its most recommended knife, the MTH-80 Professional (make sure it’s the Professional, the other MTH-80 is very different), is just under $150, but Mac does make knives well under $100. The difference is quality of steel and whether the blade is forged or stamped (forged creates hardier steel).

Tojiro

What Is It?
Because of price and a commitment to classic Japanese knife design principles, Tojiro has earned a rep as the gateway into the world of Japanese kitchen knives. Expect flat blade lines, a 90-degree heel drop and an ultra-thin knife.

Why Buy It?
You buy Tojiro is you want a truly Japanese knife but aren’t sure you want to be a Japanese knife guy. Other than the inclusion of a more ergonomic handle, its blades sport every feature a Japanese knife should don.

Price: Most Tojiro knives fall into one of two categories, one of which is available widely on Amazon while the other only on specialty sites. Tojiro DP is the more available and more affordable series, with the price for the standard gyuto chef’s knife parked around $85. It’s likely the most recommended “budget” Japanese knife you can buy. The Tojiro R-2 line is about twice as expensive, and is made with higher quality stainless steel and keeps its edge longer

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens, and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

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4 Pantry Essentials Pro Chefs Can’t Live Without

If a plate were a canvas, a cook’s pantry would be the paint. So when searching for the best everyday go-to condiments, spices and sauces, we sought out professional advice. These are the pantry staples four chefs couldn’t cook without.

Koshihikari Short Grain Rice


“They grow a lot of this rice in California. When we opened RedFarm I brought a bunch of it to [the chef] Joe and I said, ‘Joe, fuck that Chinese stuff. Here’s some Koshihikari rice here.’ Now we mix short- and long-grain rice.” — Chef Ed Schoenfeld, RedFarm and Decoy

Maldon Sea Salt


“This sea salt is perfect to sprinkle on something to finish it off with just a bit of that salty contrast. It’s not meant to be dissolved or used to season a hot stew. Just place a pinch on top [of food].” — Chef Dominique Ansel, Dominique Ansel Bakery

Tabasco Hot Sauce


“I just can’t say enough about this. It’s my go-to when finishing a dish like a late night pasta, or even adding it on a sandwich to spice it up. I love the spice and acidic note to it.” — Chef David Myers, Sola Tokyo, David Myers Cafe

La Bella San Marzano Tomatoes


“These tomatoes are a great way to get that fresh taste of
summer any time of the year. Quickly throw together a dish whether it’s pasta or a casserole.” — Sean Brock, Husk, McCrady’s, Audrey (2020 opening) and Redbird (2020 opening)

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Jack Seemer is the deputy editor at Gear Patrol. Since joining the publication in 2014, he has reported on a wide range of subjects, including menswear, smart home technology, cookware and craft beer.

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Can $1 Weed Tablets Help Me Get Chores Done?

In our connected age, it’s hard to live a healthy, balanced home life. In Homebody we test one product that claims to help make your home life better, to see if its “lifestyle” claims stack up to actual life.


I have to admit I was high when I had the idea. A weed gummy deep, I stopped in the kitchen for a snack and found myself at the sink, scrubbing through the greasy dishes sober me had avoided all week. I enjoy a bit of weed just like I do the occasional cigar or glass of whiskey. But maybe I could harness it to knock out housework, giggling all the while?

Part of the inspiration came from Dosist, a lifestyle-meets-cannabis company based in Santa Monica and available all around California and Florida. I heard of their products, which dispensed small “doses” of THC via vape pen or minty edible tablets (in Florida, only the vape pens are available), with slick marketing that promised they were “formulated for your well-being,” that they could help “unlock the benefits of cannabis to help you take control of your health and happiness naturally.” They sell their doses in six different “formulas”—bliss, sleep, calm, relief, arouse, and passion — that combine THC and CBD and leave the specifics of those claims up to users.

In Theory…

This, again, was not an entirely original idea. All sorts of folks (indigenous people worldwide, Cheech & Chong) have been using marijuana for health and wellness benefits of many kinds for many years. And in 2018, the excellent author Michael Pollan brought the idea of microdosing with psilocybin (shrooms) to the masses with his book How to Change Your Mind.

I decided to split the difference between Pollan’s mind-bending exercise and bathing in CBD oil, which I tried a few months ago and found anecdotally ineffective in a broad range of tinctures, coffee infusions and bath bombs. (Though I did feel pampered.) I started taking small doses of marijuana every time my honey-do list included housework. (I live in the beautiful state of California, where weed is as legal and easily obtained as a Slurpee.)

The Dosist Dial is an interesting contraption. It’s how Apple would design a weed mint tablet dispenser; it also honestly looks like birth control. It’s kid-proof: to get your little mint, you have to slide open a little door, press down on a button, and turn a wheel on its side with your thumb. Out pops your mint, which at 3.7mg is less than, say, a 10mg gummy, but not that much less (dials are $30 and there are 30 tablets per dial). In a perfect world, it’d be just the right amount of weed for me to be focused enough to take on a list of chores but also zoned out enough to make said chores a breeze. I could creatively multitask—say, puzzle my way through a problem with a story while doing the dishes.

In Practice…

Reality was a much more mixed bag. I used the “bliss” and “calm” formulas through several days of trials.

On one day, a single blissful mint (9:1 ratio of THC to CBD, “feel just the right amount of good”) seemingly turned me into a machine: I felt focused, stopped trolling Reddit and knocked out a story I’d been putting off, then did the dishes, tidied up the living room and did a mountain of laundry, all before my fiancee could get home.

But on another day, “bliss” seemed more like trucker speed: I couldn’t stay on-task, and finished a frustrating stretch of hours with a list of five half-done chores. On another day, I succumbed to my normal weed compulsions: cleaning up my albums,playing the guitar, then switching on a video game. The “calm” mints (1:10 THC to CBD, “promote balance and help relax your mind and body naturally”), meanwhile, didn’t seem to do much to me at all, bolstering my belief that CBD doesn’t do much for me.

In Conclusion…

Clearly, the final word on how efficient my housework can be comes not some lifestyle mint: it comes from me. When I was in the right mood, pressing the button my Dosist dispenser energized my efforts. And there’s definitely credence to using a weed mint as a mental marker: when I do these, it’s time to change my mindset to get shit done. For plenty of people, Dosist could work well to that end. For me, it’s telling that I didn’t continue using my mints as carrots or sticks for getting work done. I found myself reverting to my old ways with weed: using the mints to de-stress after a long day with family, or giving them out at wedding afterparties to the late-night crew.

The reason we don’t know more about the effects of cannabis on our health is that the federal government continues to list it as a schedule-1 drug, right alongside peyote and meth. Medical researchers can’t get their hands on it for actual tests to see how effective it can be for treating sleep problems, anxiety or not wanting to do the dishes. When that changes, I’ll be the first to volunteer as a subject. Till then, I may stick to gummies and keep my weed strictly for fun.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

This Kitchen Knife Is a Favorite with Japanese Chefs

Gene Kato, the executive chef of the critically acclaimed Japanese restaurant Momotaro in Chicago, really likes Japanese cooking tools. The James Beard award-nominated chef’s essentials are Japanese in nature and are apt additions to any kitchen of varying cooking styles. From a sashimi knife to a digital cooking scale, here are the essentials Chef Kato can’t live without.

Yanagi Sashimi Knife

“One of the most important things for a Japanese chef is a great sashimi knife. It’s super sharp and a critical tool for cutting and breaking down fish. I use Yanagi.”

Tanita Digital Kitchen Scale

“Last but not least, a scale. Consistency is key to the success of a kitchen. Measuring along the way and balancing the scale before you start to make sure that you’re not including the bowl or vessel is very important. I can’t cook every single dish each night, so the scale helps to make sure that my staff is cooking the dishes exactly as intended, each and every time.”

King Medium Grain Sharpening Stone

“A sharpening stone is a must to get that sharper edge on knives, especially Japanese knives which have flexible, very thin blades, needed for slicing delicate fish. I sharpen my knives once a week and I change the whetstone every two weeks.”

Moribashi Wooden Handle Plating Chopsticks

“I use chopsticks every day at Momotaro — refined chefs in kitchens around the world use tweezers, but chopsticks are the original tweezer. I use them for plating, garnishing and turning items on the robata (it’s a much more delicate tool than cooking tongs).”

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Tyler Chin is Gear Patrol’s Editorial Associate for Editorial Operations. He’s from Queens, where tempers are short and commutes are long. Too bad the MTA doesn’t have a team like Ed-Ops.

More by Tyler Chin | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

Why You Need to Ditch Your Wood Cutting Board for a Rubber One

Late in 2019, Chef Jordan Terry of Dirty French showed me the way. “This isn’t some thin, plastic malarkey. It’s a solid, beautiful and terribly functional cutting board,” he said of the three-quarter-inch-thick rubber cutting boards on sale at JB Prince (now out of stock, sadly). “They are just a joy to cut on,” Chef Terry said. He goes on to say the rubber board has the upper-hand on the wood and plastic board in almost every way. How could that be? Here’s what you need to know.

Longer Lasting Edges

The base function of a cutting board is to provide a surface to piece apart food that won’t damage your knife, not to protect surfaces from your knife. Chopping onions on a granite countertop is odd and dangerous to a blade’s integrity. Plastic boards are too hard, still, and some wood boards are too tough (bamboo in particular). Rubber boards absorb knife strokes instead of fighting back against them. This means the edge on your knife will last longer and won’t require as much honing and sharpening in the long run.

Heavy Duty

Rubber cutting boards are meant to stay put. Where a 12″ x 24″ plastic board may weigh in around half-a-pound, a rubber board of the same dimensions will be close to five pounds. This added weight — and thickness, depending on what you buy — mean warping is less likely (high heat situations are the only real risk) and the board won’t be going anywhere.

Easier Cleanup

Plastic boards win the clean-up round by way of machine-wash safe materials, but lose every other round. But rubber boards have an advantage over wood boards in one key area — they don’t need to be oiled. If you don’t oil a wood board, it will become brittle and crack. Rubber boards require a quick soap-and-water hand wash and they’re good to go.

Time-Tested

Knife-friendliness and longevity are where rubber and wood boards separate themselves from plastic. After months of abuse, boards will have gashes, stains and divets all over them. Rubber and wood boards can sand those away with ease. Rubber can even be sanded by sans-machine.

Ones to Buy

Notrax Sani-Tuff

Because they’re favored more in Japan than Stateside, rubber boards are typically pricier and harder to find than their wood or plastic counterparts. Sani-Tuff boards are the exception. Made in the US and almost always under $100, its antimicrobial cutting boards are National Sanitation Foundation-certified (NSF) and come in various sizes and thicknesses. These are solid blocks of rubber and require handwashing (machine-washing can warp 100 percent rubber boards).

Yoshihiro Hi-Soft

The most available Japanese-made rubber boards are made by a company famous for its high-carbon steel knives. Yoshihiro’s Hi-Soft boards are made of a polyvinyl acetate that’s softer than any wood or plastic and most rubber boards, meaning the board takes the beating instead of the knife. Like most rubber boards, you can sand (or thoroughly rub) off unsightly cut marks or stains.

Hasegawa

Hasegawa boards are the gold standard in rubber cutting boards. They’re made of a synthetic rubber that covers a wood core. The combo makes the board lighter — 1.5-inch blocks of rubber are not easy to handle — and prevents serious warping issues. The downside is the price and availability; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a suitable Hasegawa board for under $200, and they’re only available at specialty shops and restaurant supply stores.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

More by Will Price | Follow on Contact via Email

This $5 Tool Makes It Easier to Keep Your Cast-Iron Skillet in Good Shape

#TheMug

This Coffee Mug Sells Out Every Time It Goes on Sale

Instead of following in his family’s artistic footsteps, Alex Matisse started a small pottery business in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Now, he can’t keep the internet’s favorite mug in stock — and it has nothing to do with his last name.

Take a Look inside the New Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen

In case you haven’t binge-watched every chef show and food documentary on Netflix, René Redzepi is one of the world’s greatest living chefs. His renowned restaurant Noma was voted Best Restaurant in The World four…

This $12 Piece of Nylon Is Prized by Chefs

After runs cooking in and managing Italian and French restaurants in Chicago, Chef Mike DeCamp returned to his native Minnesota to cook beef and wild game. As kitchen head at Minneapolis’s P.S. Steak, DeCamp aims to modernize the steakhouse without losing classic steakhouse charm (house-aged meats, long wine list and cavernous booths all included). But back in the kitchen, DeCamp is pragmatic. From a $12 Amazon buy to a surprisingly useful Japanese grill, these are the things Chef Mike DeCamp couldn’t live without.

Matfer Bourgeat Nylon Dough Scraper

“This little baby helps me keep my cutting board free of debris. It also helps me transfer anything that I’ve minced up, especially smaller garnishes. Another use is to cut pasta and bread dough into smaller, easier to manager portions. Overall, it’s just very handy.”

Frost River Utensil Roll

“I tend to do a lot of cooking outside of my restaurants. That means that I need to bring the tools that I need to cook with me. This is what I use to transport a few of the things that are the most precious to me. It’s practical but also really durable and I like that it’s Minnesota-made.”

ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4

“This piece of equipment is indispensable for me. I use it so much that I actually keep one in my car at all times as I hop between restaurants. When cooking I prefer to be as accurate as possible and this helps me achieve the consistency that I am looking for in everything that I cook.”

Korin Konro Charcoal Grill

“I use this grill more than I ever thought I would when I bought it. It seemed like a splurge but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. It holds heat extremely well, it’s small and most importantly it gets hot. I use Japanese white oak charcoal in it so it lasts forever. I will very rarely reload this during the night of cooking.”

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

More by Will Price | Follow on Contact via Email

18 Home and Design Releases We Loved in 2019

This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.

Burrow Nomad Leather Collection

Price: $995+
From: burrow.com

Burrow’s updated Nomad Collection features redesigned cushions, improved arm height, more customization options, more fabric options, bolstered hardware and a brand-new leather look.

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Burrow Rugs

Price: $395+
From: burrow.com

Burrow’s rugs are made of either recycled polyester, which is stain resistant and suited for those with kids or pets, or all-natural wool. Each one is ethically handcrafted by artisans in India, combining high-quality fabrics with traditional weaving techniques.

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Dyson Pure Cool Cryptomic

Price: $650
From: dyson.com

Formaldehyde is a common household VOC that can, at higher densities, irritate the eyes, nose, throat or skin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Dyson Pure Cryptomic air multiplier comes with a new filter that not only captures but destroys formaldehyde.

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Eames Eucalyptus LTR Table

Price: $795
From: store.hermanmiller.com

Cutting down Eucalyptus trees in most California backyards isn’t a story; cutting down Eucalyptus trees in Charles and Ray Eames’s backyard definitely is. Made from the wood from two felled Eucalyptus trees, Eames Eucalyptus LTR Tables are the result of a collaboration between the Eames House (it’s a museum outside of Los Angeles), Herman Miller and Vitra.

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Floyd Home The Shelving System

Price: $425+
From: floydhome.com

This supremely modular shelving system built out of birch plywood and powder-coated steel was designed for the constant mover.

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Grovemade Desk Pen

Price: $60+
From: grovemade.com

After four years of starting, iterating, giving up and starting over, Grovemade CEO and co-founder Ken Tomita and his team made their own replacement to the cheap, disposable pen: the Grovemade Desk Pen.

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Herman Miller: A Way of Living

Price: $90
From: amazon.com

If there were ever a coffee table book you might actually read, Herman Miller’s new 600-page tome is it. Herman Miller: A Way of Living covers the company’s 114-year history in 10 chapters, a couple thousand illustrations and plenty of grainy archival photos.

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Heymat Strå Door Mats

Price: $185
From: amazon.com

Made in tandem with Oslo-based desiger Kristine Five Melvær, these foor mats come in blue, green or sand, They’re made with 100 percent recycled plastic and feature an anti-slip nitrile rubber backing.

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Ikea Ivar Shelving Unit with Foldable Table

Price: $164
From: ikea.com

Small apartments don’t have to be an eyesore. Or at least that is what Ikea wants to prove with its Ivar shelving unit.

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Lalo The Daily Stroller

Price: $515
From: meetlalo.com

The Daily is the first product from new baby-gear startup Lalo, launched by a team of startup veterans from Warby Parker and the like.

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Merken Custom Window Curtains and Shades

Price: $65+
From: meskenhome.com

Merken offers roller, blackout, solar and zebra shades (you can make the motorized by request) starting at $80 and a host of solid and sheer curtains starting at $65. The company is based in New York, but sources fabric and cuts its wares out of Istanbul, Turkey.

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Montana Pantonova Seating System

From: montanafurniture.com

In 1971, Danish designer and mid-century master Verner Panton designed a wireframed modular seating system for a restaurant in Aarhus, Denmark. Six years later, Panton’s curvy seats appeared in Karl Stromberg’s lair in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. The iconic seating system has been reissued by Danish design company Montana, and is available in natural chrome or lacquered coating, with leather, velvet or Kvadrat fabric cushions.

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Muji Smooth Gel Ink Pen

Price: $1.49
From: muji.us

Muji’s uber-cheap, translucent gel ink pens have long been prized by designers, engineers and other vocations that still require hand drawing. Released this year, the tweaked Smooth Writing Gel Ink Pen comes with a .50mm tip and greater color variety.

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Sunday

Price: $24+
From: getsunday.com

Using weather data, satellites, geology and a soil sample, Sunday makes bespoke, non-toxic nutrient spray for your yard. But if you’re just in for the weed killers, you can skip that and pick them up separately for $24 a pair.

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The Sill Faux Plants

Price: $75+
From: thesill.com

The Sill’s collection of faux plants look identical to their living, breathing counterparts and make it easy for people who can’t (or won’t) regularly tend to their plants, have limited access to natural light or simply don’t have a green thumb to create their own indoor jungle.

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Veil OG

Price: $20
From: amazon.com

For $20 a bottle, Veil OG promises to wipe rooms of cannabis odor in a few minutes. Each bottle holds about 2,500 sprays and the brand recommends five to ten sprays to eliminate smells from a single session; that works out to at least 250 smoke sessions per bottle. (There’s also a two-ounce bottle for $10.)

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Walmart Modrn Collection

Price: $6+
From: walmart.com

Walmart’s Modrn collection is the retailer’s first full-scale private label home line. And, perhaps to the surprise of many, it doesn’t look half bad.

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Yeti Trailhead Dog Bed

Price: $300
From: yeti.com

Yeti’s take on a dog bed comes in two parts: a Home Base and a removable Travel Pad, giving it much more versatility than other dog beds. The Home Base features a comfy pillow bolster and the Travel Pad features a high-density foam core.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

A daily magazine of immersive stories, deals, buying advice, product-forward editorial, and reports from far-flung places.

More by Gear Patrol | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

Kind of Obsessed: This Well-Designed Keychain Will Save Your Smartphone Screen from Scratches

The culprit of many a leg stabbing, cuticle slashing, phone screen scratching, janitor-esque jingling (no disrespect to janitorial staff, it’s part of the job) and splintering of quaint little glass-topped coffee tables; the ubiquitous keychain and its accompanying keys are menaces to all.

Thankfully, Rex Kuo, co-founder and managing director of Orbitkey, has a solution.

The Australian-run company is the maker of the eponymous Orbitkey — a nifty, understated key organizer that is essentially a band (it comes in leather, rubber, or canvas) with holes punched in either side, held together by an adjustable metal bar. Adding keys to the Orbitkey is as simple as spinning the metal fastener until loose and sliding the bar through the hole on the top of your key (or keys, up to seven), and fastening it back. The keys are then snugly compressed between the bands, as convenient to you as nudging the desired key through the loop, and certain not to gash your leg or probing fingers at a moments notice.

It solves all of my presupposed issues with keys, actually. The combative relationship of the key and the phone screen? The keys are sheathed and unable to scratch when sharing a pocket. The jingle-jangling of a pocket or carabiner full of keys? No more, the keys are locked in place. Finger cuts? Nay, the Orbitkey doesn’t permit the key’s sharp edges from reaching your digits. Oh, there will be no more key-scrapings on your counter, and it doesn’t look out of place in the slightest.

Omar O., a reviewer on Orbitkey’s site, wrote a review whose title I believe neatly sums up my feelings on the Orbitkey: “A Surprising Convenience.” Sometimes it takes someone fixing something for me to realize it was ever broken.

The Orbitkey is available online or in stores from $25, with bottle opener, multi-tool and USB drive add-ons available from $6.

This Desk Organizer is an Impulse Buy You Won’t Regret

Poppin’s new desktop organizer is place to put pens, forgotten mail and other stray stuff when a junk drawer just isn’t an option. Read the Story

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

More by Will Price | Follow on Contact via Email

15 of the Best New Coffee Products of the Year

This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.

Aeropress Go Brewer

Price: $32
From: aeropress.com

Unveiled at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Boston, the Go retains the same brewing mechanics as the classic Aeropress but compartmentalizes it into a collapsible travel mug. Given the fact that the classic Aeropress was already the specialty coffee world’s favored travel brewer, it’s a safe bet the Go will follow in its footsteps.

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Alessi Moka

Price: $35
From: alessi.com

These include a flat top that lets users preheat cups before serving and an ergonomic lid design that can be opened with one hand. It comes in varying sizes — one-, three- and six-cup capacities — and starts at a cool $35.

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Avensi Tasting Glasses

Price: $45+
From: kickstarter.com

Traditional coffee mugs don’t retain heat well and don’t enhance aromatics or taste in any way, the brand says. Its solution, devised with the help of more than 90 coffee professionals, is a set of differently shaped glasses aimed at accentuating flavors of specific coffees.

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Breville Bambino Plus

Price: $500
From: breville.com

Breville’s Bambino espresso machine is the most compact and affordable in its lineup. The Bambino Plus pulls useful tech from Breville’s larger, pricier options — a three-second heat-up time, shot pre-infusion and its fairly incredible milk wand — while maintaining a consistent, reliable flavor profile.

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Breville Barista Express Pro

Price: $900
From: williams-sonoma.com

Sporting a digital interface like the popular (and much pricier) Oracle and a built-in grinder, dosing mechanism and milk wand like the stellar value Barista Express line, the Barista Pro is a more user and budget-friendly version of the brand’s entry and enthusiast-level espresso machines.

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Coffunity (app)

Price: Free
From: coffunity.com

Coffunity is essentially the coffee drinker’s version of Untappd — a worldwide community of reviewers buying, drinking and sharing their opinions on different bags from every roaster under the sun.

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Elemental Beverage Co. Canned Coffee

Price: $30 (six-pack)
From: elementalbeverage.com

Beyond freshness, it’s rare to find a canned coffee product that can claim single origin status. Most err on the side of blends from many different origins in order to keep costs down. Elemental doesn’t.

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FrankOne Cold Brewer

Price: $120
From: frankdepaula.com

The original premise behind FrankOne, a Kickstarter-backed coffee maker that just became available for regular purchase, was that the frothy bubbles sitting atop cups of coffee and espresso are the source of a lot of bitterness, and to remove them would be to reveal the sweetest, brightest cup of coffee. Period. The bubbles — called crema — are no longer the primary focus. Cold brewing is.

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Gem Series Dripper

Price: N/A
From: 103coffee.com

Stefanos Domatiotis is one of the best pour-over coffee brewers in the world. He’s won a World Brewer’s Championship and more national brewing competitions in his native Greece than are worth counting. His next project is a pour-over brewer designed for people who suck at brewing pour-over.

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Jason Mraz Family Geisha Varietal

Price: $199
From: birdrockcoffee.com

Bird Rock, a San Diego-based roaster with a reputation for excellence, acquired the coffee from Mraz Family Farm, based in South Morro Hills just outside San Diego. It’s extremely rare and expensive.

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La Colombe Spiked Cold Brew

Price: Differs by market
From: RETAILER.com

La Colombe has collaborated with MillerCoors to create a 4.2 percent ABV canned cold brew drink. The drink, which packs the same ABV as standard Miller Lite, is technically a malt beverage made with a blend of coffees from Brazil and Colombia.

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NotNeutral Lino Mug (16 oz.)

Price: $19
From: notneutral.com

The inside shape of the Lino mug gradually slopes into the base, creating the ideal landing strip for a barista pouring latte art. Plus, because the handle is flush with the rim of the mug, it’s much easier to carry it around without spilling coffee all over yourself. As of today, the classic 10-ounce Lino is available in 16-ounce form.

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Orphan Espresso Flatpack Dripper

Price: $65
From: oehandgrinders.com

The Flatpack pour-over brewer is a single sheet of food-grade silicone that, when fit into place with a titanium platform disk, takes the pe of Hario’s classic V60 brewer (it also uses a similar ribbed interior and single-hose design).

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Oxo Good Grips Coffee Scale

Price: $45
From: amazon.com

The latest addition to Oxo’s line of coffee-brewing gear is a sleek, affordable scale with a built-in timer accurate to 0.1 grams. Don’t think you need a scale for coffee? Think again.

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Ratio Six Coffee Brewer

Price: $345
From: ratiocoffee.com

Ratio’s followup to the stunning Ratio Eight is a more affordable and still very pretty coffee maker.

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Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

A daily magazine of immersive stories, deals, buying advice, product-forward editorial, and reports from far-flung places.

More by Gear Patrol | Follow on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email

The Most Important Kitchen Gear Releases of 2019

This roundup is part of This Year in Gear, a look back at the year’s most notable releases. To stay on top of all the latest product news, subscribe to our daily Dispatch newsletter.

Anova Sous Vide Pro

Price: $299
From: amazon.com

Most sous vide circulators for home cooks are capable of controlling the temperature of roughly 15 to 25 liters of water. The Precision Pro can handle 100, or enough to fill pretty much any Yeti cooler you’d realistically buy with water to pre-cook steaks and pork chops before a quick sear on the grill. And because it was designed to live in commercial kitchens, the brand says it can run for 10,000 consecutive hours without issue — more than enough time to prep a pork shoulder for the flames.

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Artisan Revere Chef’s Knife

Price: $249
From: kickstarter.com

David Olkovetsky’s new Artisan Revere chef’s knife looks familiar. Its tall, uber-thin profile and ergonomic heel are borrowed from designs by lauded American knifemaker Bob Kramer, and its curvy, inch-perfect handle pays homage to Murray Carter’s “International Pro” style grip.

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Blacklock Cast-Iron Cookware

Price: $38+
From: lodgemfg.com

Lodge says the new Blacklock pans remedy three common cast iron: heaviness, poor seasoning and scalded fingers. Blacklock cookware is cast thinner than standard Lodge pans to shave off weight (the company says it reduced the weight up to 25 percent of some pieces), designed with a heat-dispelling handle and comes with three layers of seasoning. The launch includes skillets in four sizes, a grill pan, a griddle and a 5.5-quart Dutch oven.

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Borough Furnace Dutch Oven

Price: $240
From: boroughfurnace.com

Based in Owego, New York, Borough Furnace’s American-made enameled Dutch oven is a semi-gloss, blacked-out, hand-enameled pot that combines the company’s modern touch with designs from classic French brands like Le Creuset and Staub.

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Butter Pat Industries Cast-Iron Skillet

Price: $195
From: butterpatindustries.com

Starting at $145, Butter Pat’s skillets are not cheap, but they are great to cook with (Brock looks to be using the $295 Joan pan). Our choice for best all-around skillet is cast by hand, lightweight and features nicely sloping cooking walls. It’s not necessarily the cast-iron skillet to get if you’ve never owned one before, but if you’re a Southern food luminary like Sean Brock it makes a bit more sense.

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Caraway Home Cookware

Price: $395
From: carawayhome.com

Caraway Home is the latest of many cookware makers to crop up in the direct-to-consumer age, but it’s one of the first with a value proposition beyond “it cooks nice.”

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Equal Parts Cookware

Price: $249
From: equalparts.com

Cookware brand Equal Parts isn’t trying to make peak performance cooking equipment. It doesn’t want to be a direct-to-consumer All-Clad and it doesn’t make a big deal of how much money you save buying directly from them. Instead, Equal Parts, the first brand under the Pattern umbrella, makes pots, pans and kitchen gear for people who don’t know the difference between a sauté pan and a skillet.

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Ferno Firewheel Grill

Price: $4,800
From: fernogrills.com

Ferno uses a patented “FireWheel” that lifts and lowers the gas burners under the grates. This lets a griller avoid serious flareups and add a new array of cooking options. Foods that you want a heavy sear on but need more time to cook (such as chicken) can meet the grill with the burners pulled close to the cast-iron grates, then dropped deeper in the grill body to finish the meat without over-cooking the exterior.

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Field Co. No. 4 Cast-Iron Skillet

Price: $75
From: fieldcompany.com

Thanks to a smooth cooking surface, solid out-of-the-box seasoning, fairly reasonable prices and below-average weight, Field’s classic skillet sizes are already our favorite all-around cast iron out there. Now, if you so choose, you can get a Field in what is likely the smallest usable size there is — a whopping 5.75 inches of cooking surface.

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Fire & Smoke Society Grilling Accessories

Price: Price Varies
From: fireandsmokesociety.com

The brand launches with upgraded charcoal, fire starter, sauces and spice rubs. Its product seem to take a cue from PK’s grills — they’re not remaking the wheel, they’re just making products that outshine the competition.

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Five Two Stoneware Mixing Bowls

Price: $99
From: food52.com

The new FiveTwo stoneware mixing bowls are the result of a site survey that reached 34,500 people, with everything from the material its made of to the pour spouts dictated by community responses. The set of three bowls come in 1-quart, 2-quart and 4-quart sizes, and it is designed with a wider, lower-lying profile than typical metal mixing bowls. But the best part is simpler: the inside is a typical rounded mixing bowl shape, but the outside has a hard angle and flat base. This means you can mix like usual but the bowl will stay put.

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Ikea Klasen

Price: $208
From: ikea.com

Klasen ($198) is a 300 square-inch charcoal, rustproof grill. It sports stainless steel grates, air flow regulators on the front and hood, a nifty pull-out ash catch and a built-in temperature gauge. You can also buy it to fit in with the already-popular Applaro outdoor line.

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JB Prince x SolidTeknics Wrought-Iron Skillet

Price: $55
From: kickstarter.com

This is not a cast-iron skillet. Made in collaboration with commercial chef cookware purveyor JB Prince, SolidTeknics Professional Iron Skillet is a machine-wrought iron skillet, and it’s good at pretty much everything.

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Kalamazoo Shokunin Kamado Grill

Price: $5,995
From: kalamzoogourmet.com

Kamado grills are ancient Japanese cooking vessels fueled by charcoal or wood and made of natural materials like clay (ceramic tiling, concrete, brick and terra cotta all became popular later). The gist is fairly simple: kamado grills feature much higher levels of heat insulation and circulation than your everyday grill. Kalamazoo’s calls its take on the Kamado the Shokunin, and it’s a bit different than other kamados on the market — especially the ever-popular Big Green Egg.

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Lodge Cast-Iron Fish Pan

Price: $97
From: amazon.com

The 21 x 11-inch cast-iron pan was built to cook for a crowd. Plop it down over two stovetop burners or over a fire outdoors, the Fish Pan is good for so, so much for than frying fish — think camp breakfasts with all the sausage and bacon possible, crisping entire sacks of potatoes or browning whole sheet pans of cornbread.

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Lodge Chef’s Collection

Price: $30+
From: surlatable.com

The Chef Collection Skillet is lighter and more ergonomic. Lodge shaved 15 percent off the weight of equivalent skillets from its main line — a change that sheds about half a pound from the 10-inch pans and more than a pound from the 12-inch ones. This, combined with elongated handles that taper more naturally with the shape of a hand and new gently sloping side walls, makes for a much more maneuverable skillet.

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Made In Carbon Steel Wok

Price: $99
From: madeincookware.com

The wok is the second addition to Made In’s carbon steel line. It features a lengthy, ergonomic handle and a flat-bottom base that’s better for home-kitchen stovetops. Its carbon steel construction imbues it with heat retention similar to that of a cast-iron skillet without all the weight. Plus, because carbon steel isn’t as porous as casted iron, it’s more non-stick out of the box.

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Material Copper Core Cookware

Price: $95
From: materialkitchen.com

Bonded cookware isn’t new. The practice of layering metals to optimize a pan’s performance and durability was invented by All-Clad decades ago. Using copper in cookware isn’t new either; among metals that are safe to cook with, its thermal conductivity is unmatched. A combination of the two isn’t particularly novel either — many high-end cookware manufacturers make steel pans with copper cores. So what does Material Kitchen’s new collection of copper-imbued skillets have that others don’t? Price tags below $200 apiece.

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Pella Weber Kettle Grill Attachment

Price: $199
From: spidergrills.com

Weber’s kettle charcoal grills are the most famous grills in America. As such, they’ve inspired more aftermarket grill products than any other — meat smoking insets, upgraded lid hinges, makeshift pizza ovens and more. Add Pella to the list, the Weber kettle’s first ever wood pellet-grilling attachment.

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PicoBrew Pico C

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Price: $399
From: picobrew.com

Thanks to PicoBrew’s new UnkPak’d Kit, users can now brew beers using their own ingredients in the PicoBrew C, S and Pro machines. They’ll also have access to the online PicoBrew RecipeCrafter tool to create their own beer recipes.

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Pyrex Deep Bakeware

Price: $16+
From: pyrexhome.com

You stew the red sauce, boil sheets of pasta, splurge on some good parmesan and pull out the drawer under your oven to find your casserole dish. You are making lasagna, and you’ve just realized the baking dish is all of two inches deep — not a depth adequate for lasagna-making. You are enraged. Pyrex, makers of Amazon’s best-selling casserole dishes, has your back. The literally named Pyrex Deep collection is your savior.

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Smithey Ironware Company Chef’s Pan

Price: $140
From: smithey.com

If Isaac Morton’s early skillets were tributes to the cast-iron of yesteryear, his new skillets are decidedly more contemporary. The new 10-inch Chef’s Skillet comes with gently sloping walls for easier tossing, shaves off nearly a full pound from the brand’s standard 10-inch and, because there’s no hard angle where the wall meets the cooking surface, is significantly easier to clean.

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Vermicular Musui + Kamado

Price: $670
From: vermicular.com

Like most enameled Dutch ovens, you can do almost anything with Vermicular’s Musui pot — roast, stew, sear, sauté, braise and so on. It’s a graphite cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, an optional induction base (called Kamado) and nubs on the inside of the lid that drip evaporated water back on whatever you’re cooking. Its specialty, though, is waterless cooking — or cooking without adding water, broth or other liquids.

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The Best New Coffee Gear of the Year, According to Coffee Nerds

Every year, Sprudge, coffee news and culture site of record, nominates and gives out awards to the best things in coffee in that given year, including an 8-item competition for the Best New Product in all of coffee. Here are the Sprudgie nominations for the best new coffee gear of the year.

AeroPress Go

The even-smaller update to what was already the world’s most effective travel brewer was a shoe-in nomination. It was also one of our best products of 2019.

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug

A travel mug that holds pleasure on the same plane as heat-retention. The Everywhere Mug’s best features are a super-thin lip for easy sipping and ceramic coating that doesn’t hold onto the coffee from last week.

La Marzocco KB90

This is a commercial-grade espresso machine that you won’t buy, but will probably stumble across at your local café. Among the long feature list is a La Marzocco first: a straight-in portafilter that allows baristas to more quickly (and more easily) turn out shots of the good stuff.

FrankOne Cold Brew Maker

FrankOne uses a patent-pending vacuum technology to brew coffee instead of the standard drip setup. The result is extremely rich, full-bodied coffees that replicates cold brewed coffee in a matter of minutes.

Acaia Pearl Model S

The Model S confirmed what we already knew: Acaia’s scales are the high-end barista scale. In lieu of listing dozens of features, know this: the S is the most comprehensive coffee scale ever made.

Sanremo Brave

Yeah, so you won’t be buying this. Sanremo’s Brave is a suped-up version of the company’s Opera and classic Café Racer, with a separate mode for flow rate adjustments. It costs in the neighborhood of $30,000.

Wilfa Svart Uniform Grinder

This Euro-only grinder was co-designed by the one and only Tim Wendelboe. Its standout feature is the sheer size of its burrs, which means it grinds slowly but cleanly and with as little heat as possible.

Ember Mug 2.0

The second iteration of Ember’s always-warm to-go mug boasts longer battery life and a very satisfying touch display.

Will Price is Gear Patrol’s home and drinks editor. He’s from Atlanta and lives in Brooklyn. He’s interested in bourbon, houseplants, cheap Japanese pens and cast-iron skillets — maybe a little too much.

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This Cocktail Lounge Is Built Inside an Airplane Cabin

Years ago, we dropped the news that Eero Saarinen’s iconic TWA Terminal that was part of JFK International Airport was getting converted into a new boutique hotel that would check all the vintage luxury meets…