5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown

 

Over the course of human history, food has taken on different meanings for different people. For some, food is simply the fuel that drives the body. For others, food is an art, creatively crafted to please all of the senses. And for an even smaller group, food is the centerpiece of a competition that knows no cosmic limits. A competition so vast that it’s been said that contestants prepare for weeks, fine tuning their creations, testing daring new recipes and sometimes even the limits of science itself… Born out of bread, cheese and boldness, the Toad&Co Grilled Cheese Smackdown is a culmination of visionary chefs, experimental ingredients and the desire to create one grilled cheese to rule them all.

The Competitors Table: A place of battle waged with bread and cheese.

Now in it’s 5th year, the Toad&Co Grilled Cheese Smackdown started in 2011 as a modest competition between Toads and friends. The goal? To create the greatest grilled cheese sandwich in the known universe. Over the years the competition has grown, just like our bellies on the night of competition. In its second year, the Smackdown escalated with the addition of the Golden Spatula, the highly coveted trophy awarded by an elite team of judges. The Smackdown grew considerably through its third and fourth years, but nothing could have prepared us for the epic clash of carbs and dairy that was the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown held at Toad HQ in the early days of April 2017. 

The real winners in this competition? Whoever got to eat this.

Undoubtedly, the best part of the Smackdown (besides the heaps of cheese consumed) is the support from our Santa Barbara Community. This year teams representing Alpha Resource Center, Santa Barbara Fire Department, Salty Girl Seafood, UCSB’s Bren School, Ontraport, and Visit Santa Barbara joined the competition. Toad&Co represented with three teams including past winners Nina and Ian. The judges had their mouths full this year with two 30-minute heats and 9 grilled cheeses comin’ in hot! And as much as taste will win over a judge, presentation turned out to be just as important this year. Contestants plating their sandwiches on everything from fine china to polished wood platters, and many sandwiches were accompanied by a specialty cocktail. In the case of SB Fire Department, a straight shot of tequila was the perfect garnish. Because getting the judges a little liquored up is surely a good way to win them over. 

Team Santa Barbara Fire Deptartment bringing the heat with their spicy grilled cheese dubbed En Fuego.

As contestants crafted their delicacies, onlookers drank in a delicious pale ale from local Telegraph Brewing and fought off the evening chill with Tuscan Tomato Soup from non-profit Organic Soup Kitchen. As sandwiches began to take shape, hungry masses gathered round to snap up samples and compare notes. Even though the esteemed judges award the Golden Spatula, the crowd was tasked with picking the People’s Choice Grilled Cheese by the end of the night.

As attendees mingled around sampling the various specialty grilled cheese sandwiches, one sandwich began to emerge as the crowd favorite. Pure Cheese,  a delicious combination of pepper jack and cheddar cheese, spinach and mushrooms, created by Alpha Resource Center, quickly racked up votes for this year’s People’s Choice Award.  More than just a killer grilled cheese team, Alpha Resource Center is a shining star in our community – they’re a multi-faceted service center providing support and information for families of persons with developmental disabilities . Part if our mission is to empower adults with disabilities, so we couldn’t be more appreciative of all the great work Alpha Resource Center is doing to empower and integrate adults with disabilities in our community. Grilled cheese smackdowns, local park maintenance, rock bands, community volunteering – there’s nothing the Alpha folks CAN’T do! 

Organic Soup Kitchen kept everyone full with their delicious Tomato Soup.
For those of us with a more traditional palette, the make-your-own grilled cheese station was a hit!

As an evening breeze began to whisper through the trees, the judges huddled around more for warmth than secrecy. Choosing between all of the cheesy goodness must have been a challenge, but a winner had to be crowned. In third place, Phil and Billy from Santa Barbara Fire Department  Got the “Overall Hottest Award” for their spicy En Fuego sandwich. In second place, Toad’s  Nina and Ian got accolades for their tres chic, artisanal sandwich, The French Onion. With second and third place announced,  a hushed silence fell over the crowd (minus our Ops Manager Neil who was far more interested in finishing off the keg). Weeks of experimenting with recipes and cooking methods had led up to this moment: The Golden Spatula went to Natalie and Danielle from Visit Santa Barbara for their exquisite and entirely local-sourced Fromage de la Riviera! 

3rd Place – Phil and Billy representing Santa Barbara Fire Department. Living up to their “Overall Hottest” Award, indeed.
Previous winners Ian and Nina ended up in second place this year. From the looks of it, they will be back with vengeance!
1st place – Natalie and Danielle representing Visit Santa Barbara. You go girls!

For anyone who’s ever been to the Toad&Co Grilled Cheese Smackdown, you know grilled cheese sandwiches are more than just food. They are shining effigies of the two greatest things on earth: bread and cheese. And when those most perfect things meet in the holy confines of a griddle, it’s pure magic. The 6th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown will be here before you know it, so everyone better start practicing now. Practice makes perfect, and that means lots of test-runs eating sample grilled cheeses. You know, in the name of science. 

Friends, grilled cheese, and beer – good times guaranteed.

Canoemobile Update: Santa Barbara

 

On a misty Tuesday morning, Team Toad made our way down to the Santa Barbara Harbor to hit the high seas with the Canoemobile! As part of our longtime social mission to provide opportunities for adults with disabilities, we gave a grant to the National Park Foundation earlier this spring to get 1,000 adults with disabilities into national parks in 2016. The Canoemobile, operated by the skillful team from Wilderness Inquiry, has been touring the country to get folks into 24ft Voyageur canoes to paddle through our national waterways. We were lucky enough to have the Canoemobile come through our hometown and take us and our friends from Alpha Resource Center out onto the water for two unforgettable days. Alpha is a local organization committed to empowering individuals, supporting families and building a community that values the contribution of all people, regardless of ability.

Morning and afternoon fleets of Voyageur canoes lit out for the open ocean over the course of two days as Toads, W.I. crew and about 50 Alpha clients mingled with harbor seals, paddled with sea lions and waved at tourists along the Pacific coast. For many Alpha clients (and even a few Toads), it was their first time in a canoe. Nerves gave way to giggles as our canoes left the dock and sea salt from wayward paddles hit our faces.

lindsey

Paddling across the ocean together, we pointed at birds and laughed at the waves, smiled as the sun peeked through the clouds, and sat mesmerized while pelicans dove head first into the water. Strangers just a few hours earlier, here we were, people from different backgrounds, upbringings and abilities, who had all come together for the exact same thing: joy.

It was an afternoon that will stick with us forever. Some Alpha clients found a new love of paddling (a few even came back for multiple paddle outs!) while others were simply proud of themselves for conquering their fears. In addition to making some quality new friends, we Toads were reminded that the work we do every day is so much more than making clothes, and that feels pretty darn good.

paddles

Thank you SO much to the folks at Wilderness Inquiry and the Canoemobile crew who are changing lives everyday, and thanks to the folks at Alpha Resource Center who came out to paddle with us (check out their video of the event below!). If you’d like to volunteer with the Canoemobile (and trust us, you definitely want to!), check when the Canoemobile will be in your area and click on the link to get involved. Bon voyage!

harbor

Grilled Cheese, Please!

DSC_7748

The results are in, and the 4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown was one for the books! Thanks to all the folks who participated and brought their A-Game (“A” being for “appetite”, of course). Pair any of the following with beer and tomato soup (because thats what we did) and we’ll see you next year for the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown!

Das Bier Belly Grilled Cheese, Team Toad&C0
Winner of the 2016 Golden Spatula Award

Sandwich Ingredients: Pretzel bun, Honey stone ground mustard (mix honey with your favorite stone ground mustard), Kerrygold butter (or other European style butter), beer cheese (make your own, because why not?)

Make it: Cut off edges of pretzel bun so it is a square shape. Slice bun in half, spread ample butter on outside top and bottom, spread mustard on one side inside and add sliced cheese. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook one side until nicely browned, flip and cook other side until cheese is melted. Enjoy with a side of Popcorn and bread & butter pickles (and again, make your own because why not?)

Beer Cheese:
7 oz. (1 package) Kerrygold reserve cheddar
3.5 oz. fontina cheese
4 Tbs Kerrygold butter
6 Tbs flour
1/4 cup half and half
2 dashes hot sauce
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1/4 cup brown ale

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium high heat until melted. Add flour in portions whisking vigorously. Continue to whisk and cook for 1 minute. Add milk until well blended and reaches a consistency that coats the back of a spoon without running off. Slowly add beer until incorporated, then add Worcester and hot sauce. Add cheese and keep whisking until melted with no cheese lumps. Remove from heat. Decant into a parchment paper lined storage container and refrigerate until cool.

Bread & Butter Pickles:
1 cub apple cider vinegar
2 cup water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 Tbs rainbow peppercorns
1 shallot sliced
2 sprigs dill
2 cucumbers sliced in 1/8” thick rounds on a mandolin
1/2 cup of brown sugar

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except cucumbers and shallots. Bring to boil, remove from heat. Put cucumbers and shallots in large mason jar, pour liquid over, let cool and refrigerate 24 hrs. Eat within 2 weeks (which won’t be a problem).

DSC_7597

Bren Bahn Mi, Team UCSB Bren School Sustainable Fisheries Group 
The 2016 “People’s Choice” Award

Sandwich Ingredients: Bread, butter, shredded gouda cheese, caramel pork (make it yourself, it’s better), pickled carrots and daikon radish (squeezed of excess liquid), thinly sliced cucumber, thinly sliced jalapeno, cilantro

Make it: Liberally butter the outside of two slices of bread. Sprinkle half of the cheese on the inside of one slice and top with a scoop of caramelized pork, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, jalapeno, cilantro, then top with remaining cheese. Sandwich with the other slice of bread, buttered side up. Grill on medium heat until golden brown and cheesy.

DIY Carmel Pork:
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs water
1 Tbs oil
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 Tbs lime juice
2 Tbs sriracha

Heat sugar and water in a pan over medium-high heat until it caramelizes, carefully adding the water until the sugar dissolves, then set aside. Heat oil over medium-high heat, add shallots and garlic, cook until the shallot is tender. Add pork, caramel sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sriracha. Cook about 3-5 minutes.

Screen-Shot-2016-03-25-at-6.39.55-PM

Bristol Bay-ngin Sockeye Sliders,Team Salty Girl Seafood
Winner of the 2016 “Fish Outta Water” Award

Ingredients: Avocados, whipped cream cheese, chives (green onions), peppadew peppers, french bread, salt, butter, Smoked Sockeye Salmon (from Bristol Bay, of course)

Make it: Mash avocados, add salt to taste. Chop chives, add to whipped cream cheese. Cut peppers into strips. Butter outsides of bread (for grilling). Add avocado to one side, cream cheese and chives to the other. Place salmon on one side, add peppers, close it up, and throw it on the press!

Goudalicious, Team Santa Barbara City Firefighters
Winner of the “Make America Grate Again” Award

Ingredients: Ethnic Breads Sourdough, fig jam, applewood smoked bacon, bacon smoked gouda cheese, butter, caramelized onions (with a splash of fig jam in the saucepan)

Make it: Grate at least two blocks of bacon smoked gouda. Liberally spread room temp butter on the outside of fresh sourdough bread. Spread a large dollop of fig jam on the inside of the bread. Layer a large handful of cheese, 2 strips of bacon, caramelized onions, more cheese. Twice. Grill until crunchy and cheesy.

DSC_7745

Eat, Cheese, Love, Team Santa Barbara Symphony

Ingredients: Kalamata olive bread, butter, fresh sliced mozzarella, grated parmesan, olive tapenade, capers, caramelized shallots, balsamic reduction.

Make it: Butter both sides of kalamata olive bread. Place two thick slices of fresh mozzarella and lots of grated parmesan on one slice of bread. Spread tapenade on the other slice of bread and drop a few capers onto the tapenade. Combine and grill with lots of butter. When grilled cheese is hot off the press, top with caramelized shallots, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

DSC_7733

The Filthy Leprechaun, Team UGG

Ingredients: Rustic white bread, corn beef, caramelized onions soaked in Makers Mark Whiskey, garlic aioli mustard, Irish cheddar, swiss cheese, smoked sharp cheddar, garlic mayonnaise

Make it: Spread a healthy spoonful of garlic mayo on the outside of rustic bread (this is the side you grill). On the inside of the bread, spread garlic aioli mustard then layer with a handful each of shredded Irish cheddar, swiss cheese, shredded corn beef, caramelized onions, smoked sharp cheddar. Grill until crunchy on the outside.

DSC_7593

Grilled Cheesy Beer Pub, Team Ontraport 

Ingredients Brown Beer Sourdough French Toast(eggs, salt, lots of pepper, brown beer instead of cream), smoked gouda,  classic sharp cheddar, sautéed mushrooms (brown butter, shallots, more brown beer, deli mustard and a touch of cream)
Make it: Make fresh french toast and sautéed mushrooms separately. Shred all the cheese. Layer cheese, mushrooms, cheese, mushrooms, cheese between two french toasts. Lightly grill in a panini press until the cheese is perfectly melted!

4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown

DSC_7733

Veni. Vidi. Cheesy.
They Came. They Saw. They Grilled Cheese.

Centuries from now, when anthropologists look back on the great battles of history, the Toad&Co Grilled Cheese Smackdown will rank among the mightiest battles of humankind. A modern day Battle of the Bulge, the 4th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown recently rocked Toad Headquarters on an unseasonably warm spring evening….

This whole thing started a few years back when we heard that April was National Grilled Cheese Month. A holiday we can all get behind, we asked our friends to throw down their best sando’s in a bid for the coveted Golden Spatula Award. Thus, the first battle of the Grilled Cheese Smackdown was waged. Scorned and ready for redemption, the 2nd Grilled Cheese Smackdown pitted veterans vs. newbies, duking it out for Biggest Cheese. The 3rd in a series of intense battles, the 2015 Smackdown saw the rise of an empire as a two-time winner was awarded the Golden Spatula for a second time. So this year, armed with bread knives and sticks of butter, seasoned masters and a handful of new recruits went head to head in the cheesiest, gooiest, most savory Smackdown this side of Waterloo.

DSC_7496

The competition pitted 10 teams against each other – teams from partner non-profits, like-minded local companies and two teams from Toad. At 5:30pm, with griddles on high and spatulas ready at the whim, five teams in Heat #1 brought their finest:

  • Salty Girl Seafood: Newbies to the Grilled Cheese Smackdown, the Salty Girl Seafood team came in swinging with their Bristol Bay-ngin Sockeye Sliders – a sustainable take on a tuna melt, sub sockeye salmon for tuna and avocado cream cheese for swiss. Sounds whacky, tastes amazing. Salty Girl Seafood is a 1% for the planet company that sources and distributes sustainable, traceable seafood to ensure the continued health of oceans, fisheries, and fishing communities.
  • UCSB Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: One of the great Smackdown masters, the Bren Team took on Asian fusion with their Vietnamese Bhan Mi Grilled Cheese. The Bren School is a graduate program focused on research, teaching, and community service related to solving environmental problems.
  • Santa Barbara Fire Department: Never one to shy from the heat, local firemen Phil and Billy were serving up heaping samples of their Goudalicious Grilled Cheese (the key: LOTS of cheese). The SBFD has operated continuously since 1881 and keeps 123,000 Santa Barbarians safe. Thanks guys!
  • Ontraport: We were a little intimidated when we heard the Ontraport Team had a Ringer – Lee Abbott who’s currently competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy! Lee and Brendan certainly lived up to the hype with their smoky Grilled Cheesy Beer Pub – they were infusing mushrooms with beer on site! Ontraport supports entrepreneurs in delivering their value to the world by removing the burden of technology and automating their business.
  • Sonos: New kids on the block Sonos came prepared with a slow-cooker full of comfort food. 1 part cheese, three parts sloppy joe, smashed between two thick slices of Texas Toast, lathered in butter, grilled to perfection. Sounds like our new favorite slow jam. Based in Santa Barbara, Sonos is a leading brand in premier audio technology (trust us – we’ve got Sonos speakers bumpin’ every day).

DSC_7580

With the bar set high, our second heat had to whip up something truly mouthwatering to change the judges’ minds. Hailing from the far reaches of the globe with only the most refined palates, our judges came to the Smackdown prepared for greatness. Back-to-back Smackdown winner’s Nina & Ian from Toad&Co cast the first two votes, followed by First Smackdown winners Kathryn and Michael from local cheese emporium C’est Cheese. Cooking up tomato soup for the event AND doubling down as a judge, Anthony from the Organic Soup Kitchen was born to judge the GCSD. Rounding out our judges were 3-time Smackdown participants Eric & David from LoaTree, an environmental lifestyle company that profiles changemakers, builds community and inspires action through unique storytelling and marketing. With such sophistication salivating over every sammy, the stakes were high for the second crop of contenders…

image3

  • Toad Team #1: Our materials manager Deborah and her beau Toby threw their very stylish hats into the ring for the first time with their “Sunnier Side of Grilled Cheese”. What was so sunny? Sunny side up eggs! And in case you couldn’t wait for breakfast for dinner, a pink box of bribes Danish pastries dared you to take just one more bite…
  • UGG: Shoe designers Sara & Sam rocked green Ugg slippers and “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirts while cooking The Filthy Lephrechaun. Does it get any better than whiskey and corned beef? It does when it’s in grilled cheese form.
  • Santa Barbara Symphony: A regular attendee and first time competitor to the GCSD, the brother and sister duo representing the SB Symphony took us to the rolling hills of Northern Italy with their Tuscan inspired Eat, Cheese, Love. The Santa Barbara Symphony was founded in 1953 on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra.
  • Patagonia: We managed to pull some Patagonia folks off the trail and outta the surf for a few hours to whip up a killer grilled cheese. Forgoing a griddle altogether, Team Patagonia sautéed a mish mash of cheeses on the camp stove and stuffed the concoction into a hollowed out baguette to make the “It’s Better After Midnight” Grilled Cheese.
  • Toad Team #2: The dynamic duo in the office and in the kitchen, our Toad&Co women’s designers Guin and Sarah put their home-grown know-how to the test: Proud Minnesotan Guin made her own beer cheese while Santa Cruz raised Sarah pickled bread & butter pickles from scratch. The result? The pretzel-bun beer cheese grilled cheese served with a side of popcorn and brown ale, aptly named Das Bier Belly.

DSC_7765

It was a knock-down, cheese-out fight. The judges toiled while the crowd sampled the best of the best. Local brewers Telegraph Brewing Company kept our whistles whet with their finest lager and the Organic Soup Kitchen made sure we always had piping hot soup to accompany our sammies. After two heats, the carnage finally abated and from the ashes of the Grilled Cheese smackdown rose the victor: Das Bier Belly, from Toad&Co’s Design Team! Honors were given for the “People’s Choice” and “Make America Grate Again” Awards, and the “Fish Outta Water” Award went to a fitting choice. For the winning grilled cheese recipes, click here. Thanks again to all teams who participated and keeping good company with us! We’ll see you next year for the 5th Annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown!

image4

DSC_7730

image7  DSC_7535

DSC_7745

 

The Boulevardier

2015_Great_Basin-3016

We all have that friend who’s ready for anything – he can open a beer with his shoe, navigate by the stars and always has a pack of cards handy. That’s our friend Joel. Joel came with us on our road trip to Great Basin National Park for the first time. He’s just the kind of guy you want around when the van breaks down on the highway, when you’re looking at a billion stars, when you need a nightcap to warm you from the inside out… True to form, Joel came prepared. He calls it The Boulevardier, we call it Joel’s Lighter Fluid.

The Boulevardier aka Joel’s Lighter Fluid 
2 parts bourbon
1 part Campari
1 part sweet vermouth

Combine ingredients in a shaker (or do what Joel did, put ingredients in a to-go coffee mug… just make sure it’s clean!). Take a lighter to the orange peel to warm it up, then twist peel to loosen up the oils. Serve up and garnish with the orange peel. Enjoy with good company and a raging campfire.

Now Hiring: New Office Dogs

Position: Office Dog, or SNIF Representative (Super-Nose Inventory Faction)
Reports To: Norman, First in Command
Location: Toad&Co Headquarters, Santa Barbara, CA

As a Toad&Co Office Dog and Representative of SNIF, you are responsible for monitoring all activities at HQ and maintaining good vibes. Office Dogs are the first faces guests see when entering the office, so it is paramount that SNIF Reps look cute and refrain from growling (though sniffing encouraged). Reps must understand the technical aspects of the perfect cuddle, maintain professionalism in the presence of snacks, and thoroughly enjoy belly scratches. This position works closely with fellow SNIF representatives: Norman (Head of Security), Lucy (Lunch Lady), Lincoln (In-house Therapist), and Lana (Grounds Patrol). The right Office Dog is proficient in spotting fallen crumbs and can accurately discern proper bathroom locale. Experience in sitting, shaking, rolling-over and delivering beer is preferred but not necessary. Must be comfortable with fast paced, dog-eat-dog-treat envionment.

Responsibilities:

  • Greet all guests enthusiastically
  • Accompany employees to kitchen
  • Clean floors after meals
  • Accept UPS packages
  • Occasional modeling
  • On-demand cuddles as requested by Toad employees
  • Travel as needed

 

Qualifications:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Highly skilled self-starter
  • Potty trained
  • Proficient in sniffing (PC and Mac)
  • Excellent time management and nap scheduling
  • Can handle multiple projects in fast paced lunch environment
  • Works well with others, humans and non
  • Looks adorable while sleeping

Now accepting applications and references

Modern Travel: Be Yourself Everywhere

2015_Spring_HT-1565

The days of the travel costume are over. Goodbye zip-off pants, safari shirts, neon windbreakers and mesh side panels. Hello cool patterns, little black dresses, sophisticated button-downs and updated chinos.

We think good travel clothing should have all the characteristics of the clothes you love to wear everyday: comfortable, flattering, great colors and easy to wear. Now add some travel-friendly performance fabrics and super-sneaky stash pockets and your favorite everyday clothes just became your favorite travel gear. Wear a drirelease® polo hiking or to a music festival. Toss on a wrinkle-free sundress when you’re stuck in the middle seat or strolling cobblestone streets. Do more with less. That’s what it means to Modern Travel.

Our Modern Travel criteria is simple:

Low-maintenance 

No one wants to be bogged down when they travel. Whether it’s lugging a bag halfway across the world or carrying a daypack, less is more. Our travel styles resist wrinkles and look great after a full day of activity or straight out of the bag. We use ultra-light and quick dry fabrics mean a rogue summer storm won’t slow you down, and wash your clothes in the motel sink for perfectly clean threads by morning.

Long-haul Comfort

Performance fabrics aren’t worth it if they don’t feel great against your skin. We use Organic Cotton and Tencel® fibers for their silky-soft, moisture wicking features; light and durable polyester for its wrinkle and water resistance; and a dose of spandex or a special polyester yarn for easy stretch. Lightweight weaves have a nice pucker built in to keep you cool if the day is hot, while soft jersey knits are excellent for easy layering when the weather is unpredictable. Special denser knits allow for multi-day wearability without flagging, sagging or bagging.

Stealth Performance

Great fabrics are the key to great clothes. Our travel fabrics are treated with Ultraviolet Protection to smack down rays, drirelease® odor control to keep you fresh and DWR (durable water repellent) finish for speediest dry time and featherweight wind and rain protection. Go ahead, hike up a mountain in that little black dress.

Super Packable

Roll it up, jam it in a bag, pull it out, give it a fluff, wear all day, repeat. Lightweight clothes that don’t wrinkle are clutch for day hikes, commutes, or the trip of a lifetime. And versatile styles are key to minimal packing. Neutral colors match nearly everything and look great on the trail, at the monument, in the café and around town. Pack one shirt for a whole week of activities. One bag, endless possibilities.

Styling That Lets You Be Yourself Everywhere 

We design our travel wear so it’s easy to dress the way you want to, just like you do everyday. Detailed hems, necklines, silhouettes and beautiful fabrics make you look polished and easily adaptable to any environment while still actively accommodating your next move. And hidden zipper stash pockets are just that – hidden! Sometimes in the waistband or inside a pocket, zipper stash pockets keep your valuables close without calling attention to them – a travel must.

From your office around the corner to the trail at the edge of the world, always be prepared and be yourself wherever you go. Welcome to Modern Travel.

2015_Spring_HT-1869
Wisper Double Tank,  Transito Skirt

2015_Spring_HT-3755
Left: Lightness Dress Center: Sojourner Jacket Right: Onrush Polo, Rover Short

DSC09834
Left: Whirlwind Dress Right: Men’s Sojourner Jacket, Wonderer Shirt, Igneous Short

2015_Spring_HT-4271
Left: Allisa Dress Center: Wisper Double Tank, Transito Skirt Right: Wonderer ShirtBoarding Pass Pant

Backyard Collective 2015

It’s springtime, which means it’s Spring-cleaning-time, which means the annual Backyard Collective! The Backyard Collective is the day we close our doors and clean up the public lands in our own backyard with other like-minded companies who support the Conservation Alliance. In it’s 6th year, the BYC partnered with Ventura Hillsides Conservancy for the third time to continue work on the Ventura River Restoration Project.

It was another hard working day, joining forces with local volunteers from Patagonia, Deckers, Elemental Herbs & REI. We got our hands dirty, garnered a few scrapes, removed trash, and spent the better half of a day eradicating the invasive plant species, Arundo Donax, from the Ventura River habitat.

Just a stone’s throw away in our backyard, the Ventura River supplies Ventura County, CA with much of it’s drinking water and much of it flows directly to the ocean. It’s a pivotal habitat to the vitality of Ventura County and especially important during this severe drought. Through the Conservation Alliance and other social and environmental “imunipacts”, the Ventura Hillside Conservancy  has received over $1 million in grants to keep the river habitat clean and thriving. And when paired with a little bit of elbow grease, those efforts go a long way. Since phase 1 of this project, volunteers  have chopped 7 acres of Arundo, removed 3 tons of trash and fostered regrowth of native species.

Be sure to check out the great things the Conservation Alliance is doing nation-wide and learn more about the amazing regional work Ventura Hillside Conservancy is doing too!

 

IMG_8360

IMG_8363

IMG_8408b IMG_8370b

IMG_8383

IMG_8444

IMG_8451

IMG_8473

Horny Toad Becomes Toad&Co

Shakespeare said it best: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So on January 27, Horny Toad changed its name and became Toad&Co. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time and we’re really excited to start 2015 with a new name – one that sounds just as sweet. It’s a truer reflection of who we are, where we’re going and the great partners we’re proud to call our “Co.”

We’ll always love the name Horny Toad. We’re super proud of what we’ve accomplished with that name and it will always remind us of our Telluride roots. We’ve come a long way since that first hat was sewn 24 years ago, so we put a lot of consideration into our new name: We kept what’s best about being a Toad – our fun spirit, our commitment to great product and doing good – and added a nod to the partners we’re proud to call our &Co. That means our customers, employees, retailers and reps, the non-profits we support and like-minded companies we hang out with – you’re the company we keep. The name Toad&Co makes a lot of sense when you look at it that way.

Toad&Co says it all: More than just making clothes, we’re a company committed to making socially and environmentally smart choices; we value the important work of the individuals and organizations we support; we think living well and doing good are one and the same; and we believe that anything worth doing is better with good company. While this may seem like a big change, it’s important to know that nothing about our company is changing. We’re still the same great company, with the same great product and the same great people that make us who we are. Thanks for being part of it — you’re gonna love the new Toad.

 

Toad-Logo-B-BLK

 

 

New name, same Toad. Shop Men’s and Women’s for the trail to the tavern and everywhere in between.