Known for fiscally supporting queer nonprofits, Kokak celebrates its first birthday this month

My immediate — and totally involuntary — reaction to when I first laid eyes on Kokak’s box of heirloom confections was this is the pretties box of chocolates I’ve ever seen.

Kokak Chocolates, a new truffle store in the Castro which launched in June 2020 at the height of pandemic lockdowns, and celebrates its one-year anniversary today, is unlike any other shop its kind. Kokak is the brainchild of Carol Gancia, an Irish-Filipino immigrant, member of the LGBTQI+ community, and one of America’s top emerging female chocolatiers, according to the likes of Forbes and the Michelin Guide.

Kokak’s truffles are…


Do it properly, and you can grow fruit indoors for 1+ years

Throughout the pandemic, I grew delicious, fresh tomatoes in my garage using an Aerogarden Harvest garden. When going out to the supermarket was nearly impossible — and so many things were out of stock — it was wonderful to pick tomatoes at home, even in the middle of winter.

Aerogardens make growing food at home (in limited quantities, at least) very easy. But if you’re planning to grow tomatoes in your Aerogarden, it’s essential to prune them properly. The right steps aren’t always obvious from the documentation which comes with the tomato seed pods or the Aerogarden itself.

Here’s what…


On-demand brisket is a convenient indulgence

Planning an impromptu Summer barbeque, and looking for something a little fancier than the ground beef you can order online from Target or Safeway? Have an immediate need for a pound of Applewood smoked bacon, or a foursome of Alsatian sausages? (Honestly, who hasn’t?). Roam Artisan Burgers — a.k.a “Roam” — has you covered.

The fancy burger joint — which has locations in Cow Hollow, Pac Heights, and the Fillmore, as well as several outposts in the East Bay — is known for its upscale burgers, sides, and shakes. You can come to Roam and get a grass-fed beef burger…


Why your home needs some RGB LED magic

One of the more charming features of my new house in the San Francisco Bay Area is a series of three recessed lighting nooks that adorn the main staircase. Each is about a foot wide and four feet tall, with a lit-up glass bottom. It feels like they should be in a museum or some ancient temple, each holding a precious artifact that Indiana Jones can swoop in and steal.

When my family moved in, I resolved to do something cool with the nooks. Using home automation gadgets, I ended up turning them into an app-controlled, seasonally-themed RGB LED light…


The Tacklife T8 (and its imitators) can start you car and charge your phone

Last year, a golf ball smashed the back window of my minivan while it was parked in front of my old home. I got a rental car, which was a big hassle and required me to drive 20 minutes up the 680 freeway with pieces of the glass from my shattered rear window literally falling into the back of my car. When I finally got the rental car, drove it home and parked it in my garage, its battery promptly died. It refused to start or move again. …


The old model is dying

Young woman recording video for social media
Young woman recording video for social media

Earlier this year, Apple announced sweeping changes to their privacy policies, which sent shockwaves through the online advertising world. Beginning with iOS 14.5, which was released in April, Apple implemented Ad Tracking Transparency (ATT), a feature that requires apps that wish to track users for advertising purposes to ask for their permission first. Google has taken baby steps in the same direction with their Android OS and took a big step by moving to phase out tracking cookies. Privacy laws like California’s CCPA are discouraging the gathering of tracking data, too.

It’s hard to overstate how big a deal these…


Edible opulence for the ultimate treat-yo’-self outing

The Dorian in San Francisco’s Marina District has found an ingenious way to woo pandemic-wary diners back to in-person eating: coat everything in gold.

In early June the restaurant launched a new happy hour, deemed the “Golden Hour”, which it holds from 4:00–6:00 p.m, Tuesday through Friday. During Golden Hour, the Dorian serves a special menu of discounted drinks and specials, as well as two dishes that incorporate real, edible gold.

The Golden Hour Oyster is a $9 Hog Island oyster topped with creme fraiche (think fancy sour cream), Caviar Company sturgeon caviar, chives, and flakes of actual 24k gold…


A super fast fan means a compact, cheap H13 purifier

HEPA air purifiers do a great job against small particles, dust, and even potentially Covid-19 coronavirus particles. But they’re often expensive--especially if they’re powerful enough to clean the air in a large room, and if they use a higher-grade HEPA 13 filter.

If you need to filter the air in a large room and you’re on a budget, check out the Airmax 10L Pro from Okaysou. After I wrote several articles about air purifiers, Okaysou reached out and sent me an Airmax to test out. I’ve been using it in my living room for about a month now.

The Airmax…


This $400 gadget is worth it if you want to processes food waste without stinking up your kitchen

When I first read about the Vitamix Foodcycler while researching a piece on achieving zero-waste, it kind of blew my mind.

The Foodcycler FC-50 is a breadmaker-sized appliance that you place on your kitchen countertop and fill with organic waste: eggshells, potato peels, paper towels, and the like. You then press a button, and in a few hours, the Foodcycler transforms your waste into nutrient-rich, garden-ready fertilizer for your plants. It’s like a high-tech compost pile for the impatient.

The fact that such an appliance exists in the first place delighted me. But the fact that the Foodcycler came not…


Not all pizzas or bagels or custards are created equal

Many San Franciscans (myself included) are transplants from somewhere else. I grew up on the East Coast — just outside of Philadelphia, to be specific — and there are tons of others hailing from other coastlines living here in the Bay Area.

That said: I’m continually blown away by the quality and variety of the Bay Area’s farm-to-table food, as well as the incredible diversity of cuisines from all over the world. There are some foods, though, that I miss from back East, and which are extremely hard to find in the Bay Area.

Sign up for The Bold Italic…

Thomas Smith

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography. tom@gadoimages.com

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