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The Power of Your Purchase

dweber posted this November 24th, 2015


Every purchase of Toad&Co is powerful. Every item of clothing sold contributes to creating opportunity for adults with disabilities through our partners at Search, Inc. When you shop, we give. And this Tuesday you can double your impact.

B_PAC_520x520-1Save Your Pennies on Black Friday, Donate Them on Giving Tuesday, December 1st


For 24 hours only, the Coleman Foundation is matching your donations to Search, dollar for dollar. So help us give back to an organization that gives us so much to be thankful for.

Search, Inc. is a non-profit organization that empowers adults with disabilities to achieve their full potential. Since 1997 we’ve proudly partnered with Search to offer clients job training and work opportunities in our warehouse, the Planet Access Company. Every Toad&Co item is picked, packed and shipped with unmatched enthusiasm and reliability by our warehouse crew. So it’s our turn to give back and say thanks.

Join us on Giving Tuesday, December 1st and see how powerful your purchase can be.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

dweber posted this November 23rd, 2015

Andrew Scrivani for the New York Times

How does that old saying go, “Give Thanks, Bring Bourbon”? Maybe we’re getting our proverbs mixed up, but if it’s any excuse to make an Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake then we’ll take it. Here’s a Toad favorite, plucked from the New York Times and perfected around various Toad dinner tables. Happy Holidays, from our table to yours.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bourbon (we like Bulleit)
1/2 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 lemon squeezed for juice

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp bourbon and the candied ginger. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. In a mixer, beat together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
4. In another bowl (yes, 1 more bowl), whisk sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the bourbon & ginger mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in zest.
5. With the mixer on medium speed, add the dry mixture and sour cream mixture in three additions, alternating between the two. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes (test by sticking a skewer into the cake, when it comes out dry it’s all done). Cool in the pan 20 minutes, then run a paring knife around the sides of the pan to release the cake; cool, flat side down, on a wire rack.
7. While the cake cools, combine the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the rest of the bourbon in a small saucepan. Over low heat, gently stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice and take off the heat.
8. Douse bundt cake with bourbon glaze and serve. Pairs well with whipped cream or ice cream, and a big helping of good company!

A Brief History of Flannel

dweber posted this November 16th, 2015

Photo by Dorothea Lange

We’d say “It’s flannel season”, but let’s face it – it’s always flannel season. Under your ski jacket, over your hiking gear, at the farmers market or in between the sheets (even the sheets themselves!), there’s always a place for flannel. So how did a cozy, brushed wool workshirt end up in nearly every American’s closet? A few good sheep and some very catchy lumber marketing.

b9b96dae800d4a99470dbcd6ecba9b7717th Century –  The first flannel fabric emerges in Welsh farmhouses where wool is hand spun and woven into fabric to supplement meager means. Flannel differs from regular wool because it’s brushed on both sides. Sturdy enough to stand up to harsh Welsh winters but soft enough to kiss the skin.

1789 – The first carding mill is set up at Dolorbran, Wales as part of the Industrial Revolution. The carding machine separates wool and turns it into yarn, allowing for quick, mass production of flannel.

1861 – US Civil War breaks out and thousands of Union soldiers are clothed in flannel undershirts. It’s a cheap, tough, lightweight material that gets a good reputation during harsh winters.

1889 – Hamilton Carhartt sets up a factory in Detroit, MI to reinvent the working man’s uniform. He produces flannel long johns and work overalls for the blue collar workers as railroads and factories expand west.

1916 – Paul Bunyan is created as the mascot for the Red River Lumber Company. In his red plaid flannel shirt and blue jeans, Paul Bunyan becomes a symbol of rugged manliness and an icon for loggers and lumberjacks everywhere.

1930s – The Great Depression leaves international economies in the dust and forces millions onto the streets. The US government hands out old military flannel to men, women and children in dire need.

1941 – The famous Parsons M1941 field jacket is sported by American GIs in WWII. The heavy wool service coat from WWI is replaced with a cotton windbreaker with wool flannel lining. The new jacket is sportier, water and wind resistant, and has women across the country swooning.

1956 – The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit starring Gregory Peck tells the story of a vet-turned-businessman navigating post-war life. Wool suits for businessmen become the norm and flannel becomes a staple in middle and upper class households.

1963 – “Surfer Girl”, by the Beach Boys hits the top of the charts. The boys are featured on the album cover holding a surfboard in matching Pendleton plaid shirts, ushering flannel into surf culture.

1980’s – “The Dukes of Hazzard” airs on CBS and follows the misadventures of Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke. The sales of red flannel shirts and cut-off jeans shorts skyrocket.

1991 – Nirvana releases their second album, “Nevermind” and solidifies the Grunge Movement in the Pacific Northwest. Plaid flannel shirts become a national symbol of the anti-establishment, raging against the idea of the man in the gray flannel suit.

2000’s – Sport coats to mini-skirts, handbags to holiday PJs, high fashion to hand-me-downs, flannel has found its way into every market. The future looks cozy and bright for flannel.

7 Steps to Becoming a Wine Expert

dweber posted this November 12th, 2015


November is the perfect month to brush up on your wine know-how and impress friends and family at holiday dinner tables. You don’t have to be a wine expert to swirl your glass and talk about wine, but it helps to have a few phrases in your arsenal. Reds, whites, rosés, champagnes – you’re bound to encounter your fair share this season so you might as well get to know them. Go ahead, embrace your inner sommelier. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started:

  • Start With Your Favorites: Stick to what you like to develop your palate. If you don’t like super-sweet white wines, don’t try them just yet. You’ll be inclined to notice the difference in wines if you stick to the types you like. Like red wines? Try a whole flight of reds then narrow in and try different bottles of one type.
  • Swirl, Sniff, Swish: You may feel silly at first, but this is the best way to get all the “notes” of wine just by using your senses. Is it a viscous wine? What does it smell like? Is it tangy, sweet, spicy when it hits your lips? Slow down the tasting process and you’ll notice the differences.
  • Use your own words: Think it tastes like pomegranates? Picking up hints of nutmeg? Perhaps a bottom note of tennis ball? Believe it or not, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to describing what wine tastes like. Without looking at the descriptions, see what you come up with. Try identifying 2 fruit flavors and 3 other flavors. Trust us, your descriptions will become more creative the more wine you drink!
  • Go to a winery: Field trip! Fall is a great time to visit a winery because it’s generally less crowded and the grounds offer a stunning display of fall. For most wineries and tasting rooms, November falls between busy seasons so winemakers and sommeliers are generally happy to spend a bit more time answering all your questions. And you’ll have a lot of them…
  • There are no dumb questions:
    • What’s the difference between varietal and regional wines?
    • What sorts of grapes grow in what sorts of weather?
    • What kinds of barrels are used for fermentation? How long does it ferment in the barrel vs. in the bottle?
    • Is this an early or late harvest wine?
    • How do you get bubbles into sparkling wine?
    • Why do you use different bottles?
  • Eat, Eat, Eat: Maybe you’re of the old adage that you’ll drink what you like no matter what’s on the table. But with such packed tables (food wise and guest-wise), use your newfound knowledge to suggest exceptional pairings. Sweet potato sides go great with a bright pinot noir, while a buttery chardonnay will bring out the best in turkey. Test your own combinations or use the guide below. And remember, champagne pairs well with just about everything!
  • Exude Confidence: You don’t have to spend crazy money to know what you like. And that’s the beauty of wine – there’s no wrong opinion! So bring your latest favorite to the next holiday gathering and explain why it’s your go-to wine. No matter the type or the price, all wine pairs well with good company.

Need more info? Check out winefolly.com



Easy As Pie: How To Lattice Pie Crust

dweber posted this November 10th, 2015

how to do- lattice pie 7

There’s something about a homemade pie that just makes you feel good. It smells divine, it’s always festive and even the “mistakes” are delicious. When it comes to spreading joy, it’s easy as pie. Everyone’s got a family pie recipe stashed in a book somewhere, but add your own twist with a lattice pie crust. Our friend at Luci’s Morsels breaks it down in just five simple steps.

  1. For a 9-inche pie, you need two pie crusts (store-bought or make your own). Roll out one crust and lay in the bottom of your pie dish. Fill with desired pie filling.
  2. Roll out second pie crust between two pieces of parchment or wax paper into a circle. Using a butter knife, slowly cut the dough into strips. The strips can be any size you want, but they MUST be the same size. Wider strips mean less weaving but smaller strips will really hit the lattice design home.
  3. Now the tricky part: Carefully lift the first strip with the back of your knife and lay across the side of your pie. Gently press one end into the bottom piecrust. Pick up strip two and lay at a ninety-degree angle to strip one. Gently press edge into bottom crust.
  4. Place the next strip parallel to strip one, about a half inch away. It should lay over the top of strip two. That’s the lattice! With each strip, alternate weaving it over and under the other strips, always at a 90-degree angle. It’s ok if the strips hang over the sides or begin to fall apart- it’s easy to patch.
  5. When you have all the strips woven over the pie, cut off extra dough and use remaining pieces to fill in. Pinch lattice strips into bottom pie crust. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the pie and bake according to the family recipe!

how to do- lattice pie 3     how to do- lattice pie 8

how to do- lattice pie 12

Not All Pumpkins Get Carved: Best Pumpkin Ales Under $10

dweber posted this October 26th, 2015


We like beer – all kinds of beer: lagers, porters, stouts, IPAs, hefeweizens… and even pumpkin ale. Or should we say especially pumpkin ale! Maybe it’s the cinnamon or maybe it’s the sugar rush, but nothing gets us in the spirit like a frothy pumpkin ale and a handful of chocolate covered pretzels. With a sophisticated palate and very complex criteria (Is it under $10 for a six-pack? Does it have a cool label?) we snagged a selection of pumpkin ales from the local grocery store and set up a tasting in the office. Some ales squashed the competition while others left us a little woozy in the gourd. But don’t take our word for it, celebrate Halloween (and the end of daylight savings!) with a six-pack of pumpkins. If you need a few suggestions, here’s what we sampled: 

Pumpkin Ale, Saranac Brewery ($5, 32oz growler)
Fun fact about pumpkin ale: It was the first beer brewed in the US, brewed by a patriot named George Washington. So it’s only fitting that one of America’s oldest breweries is keeping the tradition alive and well. Saranac’s Pumpkin Ale is a classic blend of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and ginger. And 3,000 lbs of mashed pumpkin. It’s bubbly and festive and comes in a growler – so you know you’re in for some fun even before you crack it open.

Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Brewing ($9.50)
Sometimes you CAN judge a book by it’s cover. We picked up Pumpkinhead because of its killer headless horseman logo (and it has roots in Maine, just like us), and were pleasantly surprised by the equally killer beer inside. A light beer that tastes like a pumpkin pie, this crisp beer will sneak up on you (9% ABV). Strong cinnamon flavors with a sweet finish mean you’ll want to revisit this one after the tasting. Just keep your head on.

Fall Hornin, Anderson Valley Brewing Company ($8)
With a sweet Halloween-y logo and the convenience of a can, Fall Hornin had bonus points right off the bat. Malty, nutty and just a hint of hops, this pumpkin ale was more ale-y than pumpkiny. No major dissenters, but not a huge standout either. Easy to drink and great with corn nuts. And did we mention that it comes in a can?

Pumpkin Harvest Ale, Half Moon Bay Brewing Co ($5, 22oz bottle)
A crowd favorite, this craft beer is bottled pumpkin pie. It smells like a Thanksgiving kitchen and tastes like a pecan pumpkin pie. In fact, if we didn’t know any better we’d think this was brewed and barreled in an actual pumpkin… nope, just made with more than 600 pounds of locally grown and roasted Sugar Pie pumpkins in Northern California. It’s a little on the pricey side, but there’s a lot of bang for your buck in this amber ale. Trust us, it’s a little slice of heaven.

KBC Pumpkin Ale, Kennebunkport Brewing Company ($6)
Ok, KBC Pumpkin Ale isn’t winning any awards for “Best Pumpkin Flavor” any time soon, but that’s a good thing in some people’s books. Crisp and spritely, this light beer isn’t overly flavored but still has a little seasonal zip to it. And at $1 per beer, you can’t beat the price.

Engine 45 Pumpkin Ale, Mendocino Brewing Company ($7.50)
Carmel in color and in taste, the Engine 45 Pumpkin Ale is another beer that gets points for a subtle pumpkin flavor. In fact, it’s more on the chocolatey side. But after a few pumpkin spice samples, the coco is a welcome flavor. A nice hoppy finish tickles our fancy and reminds us that the “ale” component in pumpkin ale is still going strong.

Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider, ACE Cider ($3, 22oz bottle) 
If you can’t wait for the holidays to eat a pumpkin pie, then let the Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider tide you over. But be forewarned, this baby is sweet. Tasting like a liquified apple cider donut, we don’t know how pumpkiny this pumpkin cider is, but we aren’t complaining. Strong notes of cinnamon and champagne-like bubbles complement the apple cider base, and if you drink enough you’ll probably taste a few pumpkins too.

Not a bad Monday at the office, but we’re sure we missed some good ones. Tell us your favorite pumpkin beer – ’tis the season! 


Biergartens Abound!

ian jordan posted this October 19th, 2015

Oktoberfest is something we can get behind: It’s a celebration of camaraderie, home-cooked food, and lots and lots of good beer. The annual German tradition technically takes place during the month of September, but with biergartens making merry well into the month of October, why limit ourselves? From river-side picnic tables to historic urban drinking halls, here are some of our favorite Oktoberfests and Biergartens around the country (USA, that is). Prost!


Frankford Hall, photo courtesy of Stephen Starr Group

Frankford Hall – Philedelphia, PA

You’ll know you’re in the right place when you see the fraus and fraulines queued up to enter Frankford Hall. Yes it’s worth it, and yes it moves quickly. Bundle up or grab a spot by the fire pits, but plan on spending a few hours at one of Philly’s go-to spots. Classic German beer and schnitzel abound, or go for a new-age beer cocktail (Respect Your Elder has a nice zip to it). The cheese spatzle with carmelized onions will definitely provoke getting seconds (they say spatzle, we say mac n’ cheese), or hail one of the “pretzel girls” who’s slinging hot soft pretzels right on the spot. Can’t get enough of this biergarten? Neither can the locals – Frankford Hall is open 7 days a week, all year round. We’ll drink to that.

Estabrook Beer Garden – Milwaukee, WI

If you can’t make your way to Munich, make your way to the next best place: Milwaukee. Located along the Milwaukee River in Estabrook Park, Estabrook Beer Garden is the real deal: German Hofbrau beer is served in heavy glass steins (1 Liter = 3 beers, so pace yourself), giant pretzels and bratwurst are always hot off the grill and live polka bands set the mood on weekends. The ‘Brook is in full swing now through Sunday, November 8.

Der Biergarten – Atlanta, GA

With a name like Der Biergarten, you know you’re in for something slightly kitschy, very delicious and distinctly Bavarian. Pull up a bench outside in traditional family style seating and cheers new friends and old with pints of Weihenstephan – the world’s oldest commercial brewery. And share (or don’t…) classic dishes like schweinshaxe, sauerbraten and strudel. If you’re a local with a love of beer, join the Stein Club – a personalized stein and any beer for $8, any time.

VBGB – Charlotte, NC

Though the Southern vibes are distinctly stronger than the German ones, Charlotte’s VBGB has still mastered the art of Getmütlichkeit (good times). Perhaps it’s the union of two great cultures: NC beer is served up in traditional German steins, long picnic tables are great for board games, and sauerkraut and jalapeño slaw makes a surprisingly excellent burger topping. A tasty melting pot, indeed!

Basque Country

ian jordan posted this October 12th, 2015

We’ve partnered with AFAR magazine and the Adventure Travel Trade Association to sponsor the Adventure in Motion film contest that debuted at the recent ATTA Summit in Chile. We were honored to present the Modern Travel Award to the film that we thought best embodies our criteria of modern travel: A sense of adventure, an appreciation for culture and tradition and a deep love for all things culinary and community.

And now, we present to you the Modern Travel Award winning film, The Basque Country by Kabi Travel! Pour some vino and pass the pintxos!

Trip or Treat?

ian jordan posted this October 12th, 2015
Detail of decorated gateway. Amber fort. Jaipur, India

Detail of decorated gateway. Amber fort. Jaipur, India

Always wanted to sink your teeth into Transylvania? Or wander the forgotten streets of Havana? Maybe you’ve been itching to explore India’s never-ending bazaars… well now could be the time! We partnered with our friends at World Nomads to send you and a friend on an all-expenses-paid 10-day trip to either Transylvania, Cuba or India. So enter if you dare

If you don’t think you’ve got a ghost of a chance at winning this trip, don’t worry: Every entrant will get a sweet haul of travel treats from partner companies like us, Ex-Officio, Lonely Planet, Bootsn’All and more.

Enter here and see what mysteries unfold…

Modern Travel: Burlington, VT

dweber posted this September 28th, 2015


It looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting – white steeples peak from yellow leaves, covered bridges dot the highway, brick buildings house generations-old restaurants… Yep, Burlington, VT is about as picture perfect as it sounds, and one of our favorite places to experience the change in seasons. One of America’s colonial gems, Burlington has a lot to offer the modern traveler.

Sheer beauty is always in abundance in Burlington, but we happen to love the way the fall colors pop against old brick buildings. Throw on your walking shoes and spend a day wandering the streets of Burlington in all it’s Fall glory. Grab coffee amongst the co-eds at the University of Vermont, peruse the local shops on Church Street Marketplace, and watch the sun go down over Lake Champlain. On day two, get outta dodge and take the scenic route. Take Interstate 89 out of Burlington and head towards Stowe (where you can hit up the Cabot Creamery, Ben and Jerry’s AND an apple cider donut shop all in within a mile) to drive up to Mt. Mansfield. The 89 is a gorgeous (albeit slightly windy) road with rock outcroppings on either side, perfect for hiking or rock climbing if you’re feeling adventurous.  Pop into the roadside towns to stretch your legs and take the 10 minute detour to Stowe for a cup of killer Chai from Black Cap Coffee. If you’re feeling up to a 5 mile round trip hike to the peak of Mount Mansfield you’ll be treated to stunning views of Canada from Vermont’s highest point (4,393ft). For an alternate route back to Burlington, take the Vermont 108 to Cambridge then the Interstate 15 through Jericho. Nothing says fall like a scenic drive.

Like the great Vermont woods, the culinary scene in Burlington is definitely something to write home about. With a focus on fair trade, organic and locally sustained products, Vermonters pride themselves on serving up the freshest seasonal ingredients. And in a state with more breweries per capita than any other state in the country, you really can’t go wrong. On the outskirts of town is Switchback Brewing Co. – stop off for a great free tour of the brewing facilities and a $4 tasting flight (and maybe take a growler to go for later adventures). If you’re downtown, stop into one of New England’s best cider houses, Citizen Cider. 100% locally sourced apples and 100% cider on tap. We like the classic Citizen Dry, but with a name like Brosé, it’s hard to pass up the blueberry cider. Need something to soak it all up? American Flatbread Burlington Hearth dishes out “pizza with integrity.” Go for the classic Punctuated Equilibrium (hello handmade Vermont goat cheese), or try one of the seasonal specialties like the Pork Belly or Squash and Apple Hash flatbreads. And, of course, grab a pint of their homemade Zero Gravity beer. This is Vermont, after all.

With so much to do in a weekend, don’t spend time worrying about your wardrobe. For a quick getaway in Burlington, the gals are packing the Nightwatch Cape – our recycled wool blend keeps you warm (and itch-free!) all day long. If you’re looking for a versatile skirt, look no further than the Diamond Sweater Skirt. Great over leggings and boots or dressed up for a night on the town, this skirt is our go-to until it’s sundress season again. For the guys, we think the Emmett Crewneck Sweater will be the perfect layer for any inclement fall weather. Made of 100% organic cotton, the Emmett is cozy as an outer layer but lightweight enough to toss on under a jacket. And if you need some extra pockets, layer it up with the Sidecar Vest – our recycled Italian wool wonder vest that looks smart and keeps all the essentials (keys, camera, bottle opener) close at hand. Enjoy the changing leaves and don’t forget to send a postcard!