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Hit City USA's Perfect White T-Shirt

A foray into classic apparel from the Los Angeles independent record label

by David Graver in Style on 22 July 2014

Hit City, Made in USA, Record Labels, Southern California, T-shirts, Apparel

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There's no staple piece of clothing quite like the plain white T-shirt. Its role in pop culture moved it from an undergarment, worn beneath dress shirts, and placed it front and center. Now, LA's independent record label Hit City USA found the white T to be the most appropriate way to enter the world of apparel (after testing the waters with a bandana). Their California-made offering boasts a thick cotton and a fit that they've perfected.

"We are a record label, but along with some other things that we've done lately—zines, art prints and collaborating with friends—we've been working on how to establish ourselves as a lifestyle brand," Hit City USA co-founder Colin Stutz shares with CH. "We started a year and a half ago and did it all from scratch, based on the fits that we liked. We worked on the pattern meticulously. Many of the T-shirts we were wearing every day, they were hanging long." Stutz didn't want to have to tuck in, so he cropped the design. As he sees it, the white T is the perfect daily outfit no matter what's ahead, whether "out for the night or out at the beach or the mountains." Co-founder Cameron Parkins cites inspiration from Paul Newman, Marlon Brando and James Dean—and the classic, iconic nature those men represent is reflected in the product.

Hit City USA's Perfect White T-Shirts are available online for $32.

Image courtesy of Hit City USA

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Bay Meats Butcher Shop Beef Jerky

A gluten-free, hand-sliced and 100% Canadian snack

by Karen Day in Food + Drink on 22 July 2014

Beef Jerky, Canada, Gluten-Free, Handmade, Meats, Ontario, Snacks

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Globalization may have reduced the number of surprising discoveries one makes in foreign lands, but the art of travel can still lead to exciting finds. The latest example of this is Bay Meats Butcher Shop's gluten-free beef jerky, a delicious snack we came across at a local outpost within the Toronto Pearson airport. Based in a historic Finnish District in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Bay Meats smokes their own meat and uses only the freshest high quality Canadian beef for their jerky. Founder Cindy Salo began producing the healthy snack in 2011 after a decade of conscious eating due to her battle with Crohn’s disease.

The jerky comes in three classic flavors—mild, hot and teriyaki—and one particularly Canadian flavor, maple, which is made with syrup produced nearby on St Joseph's Island. We naturally gravitated toward the local favorite and found the sweetness of the maple to perfectly underline the saltiness of the beef. Each piece is visibly hand-sliced and cut into whole squares instead of dried up bits (you won't find a bunch of over-flavored crumbles at the end of this bag), and the texture is the perfect chewiness because it's fresh and not laden with additives.

Clearly a labor of love, Bay Meats' preservative-free, 100% beef jerky sells in shops around Ontario in 60-gram and 120-gram packets for $6 and $10 respectively.

Images by Cool Hunting

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A Film About Coffee

Telling the story of the specialty trade, from farmers to baristas

by CH Contributor in Food + Drink on 22 July 2014

Coffee, Independent Films, Coffee Beans, Fair Trade, Farmers, Food + Drink

by Chérmelle D. Edwards

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By profession he’s a commercial photographer, but by passion he's a filmmaker. Brandon Loper's "A Film About Coffee" is a visual love letter about the journey of specialty coffee—from the farmers who produce it to the people who consume it. Currently, Loper is screening the film independently, city-by-city (as far as New Zealand) through the boutique San Francisco-based production company, Avocados and Coconuts. The title is direct, however with so many chapters in coffee’s journey, Loper’s documentation of farmers in countries such as Honduras and Rwanda details just how beautifully convoluted the specialty coffee trade is.

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The title, "A Film About Coffee" is extremely direct. How did you settle on it?

I was a coffee consumer and somewhat educated about it, but I didn’t realize the nuances of the industry. I put a lot of pressure on myself to name this film, because I knew that I landed on something incredible. We needed to put up the trailer and the title was there, it was a film about coffee. It makes people ask a second question, it's a conversation starter.

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What did you know about coffee before the film? And, what was it that made you take this journey?

I’m from Alabama. My relationship with coffee started in college with my girlfriend. She used to drink coffee with hazelnut creamer. I started because of her, with Folgers and I had OJ and donuts with it to get it down—that was my entryway. Then, one of my friends and I were at a truck stop one night and he said, "Just drink it black." And, I haven’t had it any other way since. Eventually, I moved to San Francisco and I discovered the Blue Bottle Kiosk. I went there and became hooked and later learned that I was drinking a natural coffee—that started the process of learning about coffee which eventually led to this film.

What did that natural coffee taste like?

Blueberry cobbler. That was the description and that's what I experienced and it was really good to experience a coffee that tasted like fruit.

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So, how did you go from blueberry cobbler coffee to making a film about farmers who were producing beans with this kind of cherry quality?

First, I started a blog called Beans and Grapes; I was into coffee and wine. When I set out to make this film, I didn’t have a script—there was buckets of information that I wanted to gather and scenes I wanted to build. And, the relationship with the farmer and how to think about coffee rose to the top and it became the intention of the film.

I have a young daughter; I’m up at five in the morning. And while I’m doing so, coffee is doing its job and I’m so appreciative of the farmer because of that. It changes every cup of coffee that I drink—I want to think about that person and their story and understand it.

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Each screening is a collaboration with local coffee shops in the area. Can you share your decision to involve them in the screening?

The film is a conversation starter. And, I was adamant about coffee being poured before the screening; pour-over, slow drip, espresso but not batch coffee. The movie talks about the craft of coffee and that’s what you get to experience at the screening and then see in the screening of the film. Partnering with local cafes allows people to use their presence as a tool to educate their consumers and gives the people something to rally around locally in addition to the film itself which is self-funded by Avocados and Coconuts.

"A Film About Coffee" screens next in LA, with Allegro Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee on bar and then in Rochester, New York, with Pour Coffee Parlor and Brooklyn, New York with coffee from Allegro Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee. For a full list of national and international screenings, visit the website.

Images courtesy of Brandon Loper, Avocados & Coconuts

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