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Ball Pit Parties For Adults?!
The average American adult might forget where they put their car keys, but they just as reliably remember playing in a ball pit when they were young. Be it at Chuck E. Cheese's or some rich kid's birthday, ball pits were seriously the pinnacle of the party - and no one seems to remember that more than Forward Motion founder Ryan Lum. Forward Motion, a non-profit that specializes in making 'bucket list'-level experiences come true, wanted to give San Francisco-based adults an opportunity to relive their childhood - with very grown-up twist - by throwing a ball pit party at a bar. (Kind of like your standard ball pit - but WITH BOOZE!) Apparently, the event was a year in the making - as it took a little time to fundraise enough money for the 40,000 ball pit balls used. However, once the ball pit party finally happened this month, it was a HUGE success - with swarms of people coming in and out to dive into the ball pit, cocktail in hand. "I talked to many of the attendees as they left the ball pit with a huge smile on their faces. I overheard people saying things like, 'my inner child is so happy right now'. People loved the idea [and] wanted to know if there will be more." For those of you who are in the San Francisco area and want to get in on this action, another ball pit party is planned to be held at the Monarch nightclub next month. However, never fear, everyone else. Forward Motion hopes to bring more ball pit parties to other adults-with-inner-children in the US. In the meantime, at least we have this sweet video of the action, right? Who would be down for a ball pit party? What other childhood things do you wish you could do all over again? Personally, I'd be down for making goodie bags with candy and cute erasers and stickers for all of my birthday parties. I mean, why do goodie bags even stop at a certain age?
SFMOMA's Colorful Mondrian Cake: A Recipe
One thing I've been a little obsessed with lately is the special dessert collaboration between Blue Bottle Coffee and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). The coffee company has created special desserts especially to be sold at the museum, all of which are inspired by famous modern artists. My personal favorite is a cake inspired by Piet Mondrian's "Composition in Red, Yellow & Blue". Mondrian worked with virtual simplification of forms until all that was left was thick lines and blocks that varied in color meant to create a sense of movement in the piece. Now replace all those lines and blocks with chocolate and fluffy pieces of cake, and you've got yourself something as fun to eat as it is to simply look at. The SFMOMA is currently under construction until early 2016, so you can only order full cakes off the Blue Bottle website. However, since their collaboration, head pastry chef Caitlin Freeman has also published a book full of all the different art-inspired recipes called "Modern Art Desserts". Here is the recipe for adventurous Vinglers who want to create a little edible art in their kitchen! (Attached is a bonus video of Blue Bottle Coffee making their on Mondrian cakes, plus my second place favorite SFMOMA dessert, the "Ocean Park #122"-inspired Richard Diebenkorn Trifle!) Mondrian Cake You will need 1 x 20cm square tin 3 x 450g loaf tin (measuring approx 16cm x 11cm x 7cm) or 1 battenberg tin For the cakes 500g unsalted butter 500g caster sugar 5 eggs 500g sour cream or Greek yogurt 750g self-raising flour 1 tsp of salt Red, blue and yellow food coloring gels or paste For the ganache 400g dark 50% chocolate, chopped 300ml double cream Preparation 1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease and line the base and sides of your tins with baking paper. 2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using a food processor, electric hand whisk, or a wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Add the eggs, one at a time, plus sour cream, self-raising flour and salt, and whisk together until smooth. 3. Spoon 900g of the mix into the 20cm square tin and put to one side. 4. Divide the remaining mixture into three bowls, with approximately 450g of cake mix in each. Color one bowl’s mixture with the blue dye, another with the red and finally, yellow. You want the colors to be vivid, so really go for it. 5. Spoon the different colored mixtures into the three separate loaf tins and place in the oven, along with the square tin, for 45-50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean. (You might want to rotate the tins so that they’re evenly cooked.) Leave to cool, then transfer to wire racks. 6. Meanwhile, make the ganache, which you will use to stick the cake together and coat the outside. Put the chocolate into a bowl and heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Just before it boils, pour it over the chocolate. Leave to sit for five minutes, then stir until smooth. Leave to cool. 7. Place the cooled cakes on a chopping board. Using a bread knife, slice all the edges off the cakes so that you’re left with long, brightly colored rectangles, approximately 18cm in length. 8. Using a picture of your chosen Mondrian for inspiration, very carefully measure and slice the cakes to make straight-edged long rectangles. Put the cake slices together as you build your picture. 9. Line two trays with baking parchment. Piece by piece, spread the cake lengths with the chocolate ganache, using it like glue to stick your strips back together to recreate your Mondrian on one tray. Put in the fridge to firm up for about one hour – this hardens the ganache and makes the cake easier to work with. 10. Remove the cake from the fridge. Spread the ganache over the cake, using a pallet knife to smooth it over the sides and top. Transfer to the fridge for one hour to firm up. Remove from the fridge, place the second lined baking tray on top and invert the cake. Use the rest of ganache to coat the remaining edge – you may have to heat it up slightly to loosen it. Make sure the ganache is evenly spread. Place in the fridge for a final hour, then remove and allow it to reach room temperature. Finally, slice the cake, feel smug and serve.
World’s most beautiful clock towers
A welcoming view in San Francisco San Francisco’s Ferry Building, a Beaux-Arts building with a 245ft-tall tower, was the city’s primary point for arrivals and departures between 1898 and the late 1930s, when the Golden Gate and Bay bridges were built. Inside, a 660ft-long skylit atrium that once provided access to ferries now houses shops and restaurants, including Blue Bottle Coffee and the Asian restaurant Slanted Door. It is especially crowded on Saturday mornings when a farmers’ market takes over the space in front and in the rear of the building, overlooking the bay. (Julie Clarke-Bush) Colombia's grand gateway From a mosque-like tower in Malaysia to one of London’s most iconic structures, these five landmarks were designed to stand the test of time. In Colombia, the four-sided Torre del Reloj gate grants access to the most charming part of Cartagena – a walled section of 18th-century mansions, leafy squares and street cafes. The tower and clock were added in 1888; in the foreground, a statue of city founder Pedro de Heredia keeps watch. (Guillermo Vasquez/Flickr) Prague’s macabre mainstay Clockmaker Hanuš, who perfected Prague’s Old Town Hall Tower in 1490, was supposedly blinded so that he wouldn’t make a more beautiful version elsewhere. As the perfect revenge, Hanuš stopped the clock from functioning, and it was 100 years before someone would figure out how to repair it. The clock is known for its 12 marching apostles; a skeleton on the right, depicting Death, starts the show by pulling on a string and looking at his other hand, in which he holds an hourglass. Then, two windows open, allowing the apostles to make their moves. A magnificent late-Gothic door in the adjacent house serves as the main entrance to the Old Town Hall. (Reed Kaestner/Corbis) Moorish notes in Malaysia Completed in 1897 by the British colonial administration, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building anchors Kuala Lumpur’s Merdeka Square. Its Moorish style can be attributed to the mosques that architect AC Norman observed while in India. The Union Jack flag was replaced by the Malaysian flag on 31 August 1957, and many national events have taken place here since. (Boris Henriot) A storied sight in London “Big Ben” was originally a nickname used for the gargantuan bell inside the London clock tower. These days, the moniker refers to the bell, the clock face and the 315ft tower too – though the beloved icon was officially renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012, as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration. Built from the inside out, the stone and granite tower got its finishing touch with the clock tower’s installation in 1859. The cast-iron minute hands proved too heavy, so they were replaced with today’s lighted copper hands. (Paul Hardy/Corbis)