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Win a Trip to Chile & Argentina

dweber posted this March 27th, 2015

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Picture this: You and a friend hiking through the Andes, kicking back in glacial lakes, dancing the night away in Buenos Aires… Well that could become a reality because we’re kicking off our new Modern Travel Collection by sending two people to Chile & Argentina for 13-days of awesome. Oh, and we’ll toss in a new Toad&Co Modern Travel wardrobe for the trip too – because let’s face it, the days of the safari costume are over! Enter our Modern Travel Trip Sweepstakes NOW and you could be wandering the streets of Santiago in no time.

So why Chile & Argentina? Misty mountain ranges, crashing seasides, romantic rolling hills, unruly wildlife, pulsing cantinas… The Argentinians call it buena onda, or “good vibes”. We call it adventure.

WHAT TO DO IN CHILE & ARGENTINA

Pisco Sours
While the Peruvians will claim this cocktail as their own, Chileans are known for knocking back their signature spirit: the Pisco Sour. A mix of Pisco (a brandy distilled from grapes in the winemaking region of Chile) and fresh lime juice with a dash of simple syrup and an egg white for fizz, the Pisco Sour will put some hair on your chest. Santiago, the buzzing capital of Chile, slings a mean Picso since pride is on the line. Wander from barrio to barrio and try the variations on the classic cocktail.

Villarrica Volcano
Adrenaline junkies and thrill seekers will delight in Chile’s adventure capital, Pucon, in central Chile. World class mountain biking, whitewater rafting, hiking, climbing, horse riding – whatever gets your blood pumping – it’s all in Pucon and it all comes with a killer view of smouldering Volcán Villarrica. Known locally as Rucapillán, it’s nickname is a Mapuche word meaning “House of the Pilán” or “House of the Spirit,” and it certainly lives up to it’s name. Villarrica is one of Chile’s most active volcanoes and the top is permanently covered by snow and giant glaciers. Pack a few layers and get spirited away.

Lanin National Park
After a few days traipsing the volcano, journey over the mighty Andes into Argentina. Drop by the country’s picturesque Lake District for some much needed R n’ R and a dip in one of its 24 glacial lakes. Flowing from lake to lake are hundreds of rivers and creeks bursting with salmon and trout. Hike amongst the grand Argentinian forests to the Mapuche reserves – home to the indigenous people who are known for their hospitality and stunning craftsmanship. And in case you’re missing the rumble of a volcano, Lanin Volcano is always there when you when you need it – all 3,776 meters of it.

Bariloche chocolates
Belgium, Switzerland, and Bariloche: The chocolate trifecta. Home to some of the world’s best chocolatiers, Bariloche is a sleepy mountain town with quaint, chalet-style wooden architecture and a serious sweet tooth. Back in the1800’s, German and Austrian immigrants came to Argentina looking for new opportunity and brought their time-honored recipes. Pop into the chocolate shops on Mitre Street, Bariloche’s main thoroughfare, for some of the most delicious chocolate you will ever try.

Empanadas 
Is there anything better than buttery, flakey pastry stuffed with goodies and eaten on the fly? Baked, fried, stuffed with meats and cheese, veggies or fruits, drizzled with honey or dipped in salsa – you really can’t go wrong with an Argentinian empanada. And though each region has it’s own take on the snack, Buenos Aires is the unquestionable heartland of empanadas strictly based on the sheer number of empanada shops in the city. Sample versions from the Tucuman Province (big and fried in oil), Salta Province (small and baked in clay ovens), Patagonia (seafood and lamb fillings), or the spicy empanadas of the Jujuy region. Whatever your preference, good luck stopping once you’ve started!

WHAT TO WEAR IN CHILE & ARGENTINA

Boarding Pass Short
Packed for any adventure, these shorts are up for anything: exploring the barrios, cruising the playas and scrambling around in the Andes. They’re styled like classic walking shorts but our performance Travel Twill fabric stretches, keeps you cool, blocks the sun (excellent UPF 40+), dries fast, and repels dirt and salsa stains.

Swifty Tank
In a word, the Swifty is smokin’. It wicks moisture and fends off UV rays with a dynamite fabric blend that feels soft as cotton (but it’s actually a rockin’ blend of polyester and green-tech Tencel®). Tiny stripes and curving seams boost the sizzle factor. And Swifty’s hidden zip pocket and generous shoulder coverage means you won’t lose your room key or show your bra straps when you’re hiking up a volcano.

Whirlwind Dress
After two days in Buenos Aires, your hips break loose and you start to walk like the locals do. Blame it on the music, the sunshine and this dress. Super-simple and free flowing, the Whirlwind Dress is made of two layers of cool, quick-dry fabric that handles heat, travel and water with ease. With an excellent 40+ UPF rating to block the burn and a super-secret stash pocket in between layers, the Whirlwind will have you walking to a new beat from sun up to sun down.

OnRush Polo 
Good looking, refined and ready for action. No, we’re not talking about the Argentine gauchos – we’re describing the Onrush polo. Our Onrush is designed for those who are ready to wrangle the day. Perfect for travel, a day on the trails, city cruising or a sea salt happy hour, the polyester drirelease® and organic cotton knit wicks moisture and keeps you dry and looking muy bien all day long.

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ENTER NOW! Sweepstakes ends 4/14/2015 

Botanic Gardens

dweber posted this March 19th, 2015

On a recent February day Team Toad spent a sunny morning pulling non-native plants at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden as part of our Do The Right Thing initiative. The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is just a skip up the hill from our headquarters, nestled amongst the Santa Ynez mountains and home to 10 unique gardens, a Native American creek dam, and one very impressive wildflower meadow.

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As many as 6,550 species and varieties of plants (collectively referred to as taxa), are believed to be native to the state of California. Of that, 2,270 taxa are found no where else in the world and 1,120 species are considered endangered. Invasive plant species, or weeds, pose a major threat to these endangered native species.

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Invasive species are characterized by their adaptability to new environments and aggressive growth within those environments. Without nature’s checks and balance system (like seasonal weather or hungry insects), one small weed can turn into a big problem. Especially in California where water is a hot (or cool) commodity, weeds are taking over prime soil real estate and pushing native species to the brink.

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Although they can look like lovely wildflowers or clovers to the untrained eye, weeds can do some serious damage. Without a thriving native plant population, other wildlife that depends on native plants may migrate or die out, leaving a big imbalance in a fragile ecosystem. So when invasive plants become too unruly for mother nature, that’s when a little bit of man power goes a long way.

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After a hours of weeding and a few trips to the compost bin, there was only one thing left to do: Enjoy the gardens. Ok, there were lots of things left to do – it’s a ravenous invasive species, after all… To learn more about the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens and California’s native plant species, visit www.sbbg.org. If you’re not in California contact your regional botanic garden or arboretum about volunteer opportunities. Trust us, you’ll benefit just as much from a morning pulling weeds as the garden will!

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Happy (Extra) Hour

dweber posted this March 9th, 2015

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An extra hour of sunlight means getting outside after work, more sunset walks, a hearty garden and an extra hour of happy hour! Ok, maybe not an extra hour, but isn’t Daylight Savings a great excuse to whip up a pitcher of margaritas and unwind with good company?

The Mint Tangerita

3 tangerines, peeled
1 cucumber, diced
1 handful of fresh mint
1 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups sparking water
2 cups Cazadores tequila

In a pitcher, muddle together tangerines, cucumber and mint. Add lime juice, sparkling water and tequila. Mix well, pour over ice, salud!

Travel Inspiration: Just Go For It

dweber posted this March 5th, 2015

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The travel bug always strikes me in the middle of the work week. Somewhere between my morning emails and the 3rd cup of coffee, my mind starts to wander to days spent meandering cobblestone streets, washing clothes in bathroom sinks, sipping dreamy cappuccinos at cafes with names I can’t pronounce… Traveling is exciting and, although not always relaxing, it’s always memorable. It’s those memories – of the places we’ve been and the people we get to know along the way – that give us something to daydream about and work toward.

Our friends over at the travel blog Wonderlust and Lipstick summed up this feeling perfectly in a recent post, Traveling Inspiration: Why You Should Just Go For It. No matter how simple your next trip, shaking up your daily routine is good for the body and mind. Grab a bag, toss in a few layers, set an away message and off you go.

Modern Travel: Montreal

dweber posted this February 26th, 2015

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Living up to its nickname as la metropole du Quebec, Montreal is Canada’s cool older sister – artistic, outdoorsy, modern and eccentric. Established in 1611 as a French trading post on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, Montreal is situated on an island, surrounded by more islands, with a mountain smack dab in the middle of it all. The unique geography of Montreal makes it an urban hiker’s paradise – full of winding alleyways, gorgeous river walks and an endless selection of patisseries. Do what the locals do and grab a snack on the go (Montreal bagels have long rivaled the infamous New York bagel), stroll the old industrial Lachine Canal and get your groove on at a random street festival (Montreal has hundreds of festivals every year, so you’re bound to stumble upon one). Explore the old Victorian epicenter in Vieux-Port, find oddities in Little Burgundy, traverse the paths of Mont-Royal, settle into a warm café au lait in Plateau Mont-Royal, then grab a cold one and practice your French in the taverns of Mile End. Wherever you end up in Montreal, you’ll surely feel a joie de vivre!

WHAT TO DO IN MONTREAL

Mont-Royal Park
Every great city has a great park: London has Hyde Park, New York has Central Park, and Montreal has Mont-Royal (un-coincidently designed by the same man who did Central Park!). But unlike those other flat parks, Mont-Royal features eleven miles of pathways and staircases that twist up to a stunning observatory at the top. Pack your sneakers and walk your way from the heart of downtown to the summit or rent snowshoes, tobogons and ice skates at Lac Au Castor Pavillion along Beaver Lake. Regardless of weather, there is no shortage of activity or enthusiastic Montrealers in Mont-Royal Park, so plan to spend a few hours in the true heart of the city – it’s where you’re sure to experience Montreal the local way.

La Banquise
No trip to Montreal is complete without getting a plate of piping hot poutine – the potatoey, cheesy, gravy-drenched unofficial (but sort of official) dish of Canada. Whether you’re new to poutine or straight up addicted, La Banquise is the place to start. Get La Classique (fries/gravy/cheese curds) or branch out and try one of the more adventurous variations. Go for the La T-Rex – a smorgasbord of meats – or opt for La Elvis, the unquestionable King of Poutine. Dense. Smoky. Delicious. Yum.

Marché Jean-Talon
If you like farmer’s markets, then Marche Jean-Talon is your Mecca. Although it’s one of the biggest public markets in North America, it’s approachable, local and still has a country market feel: Rows upon rows of vibrant produce beg to be photographed, friendly vendors offer samples or sightseeing tips, and the cheese displays are definitely something to write home about. Grab a smoked meat sandwich (4” thick – it’s a Montreal specialty), try a scoop of fresh hazelnut ice cream, hit the crepe stalls, shuck Atlantic oysters, or even try the taco stall in the center of the market (yes there are tacos, and yes they are delicious). And like any authentic farmers market, this one is cash only and one of the best deals in town.

Dieu Du Ciel
Dieu du Ciel represents everything that is awesome about Montreal: Quality (both the beer and the people), relaxed, down-to-earth and cheap! And just like it’s name implies, the beer is positively divine. One sip of their Peche Mortel and you’ll know why they named the joint “God of Heaven.” For the size of the microbrewery, they manage to produce a huge selection of international award winning beers: The hibiscus beer and, ironically, the American IPA are big crowd pleasers, though you really can’t go wrong with any of their seasonal ales. It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that DDC makes awesome beer, so space is limited and prepare to get cozy with your neighbors. But what Dieu Du Ciel doesn’t offer in floor space they make up for with a certain je ne sais quoi… or maybe it’s just good ol’ fashioned beer.

Parc-nature du-Bois-de-l’ile Bizard 
It might be a mouthful to say, but Bois-de- I’ile Bizard Park is simply gorgeous. Located on an island just northwest of downtown Montreal, this large nature preserve is reminiscent of the great Canadian woods that grace old postcards and cookie tins. Snowshoe or cross country ski amongst the sugar maples, cedar groves and marshes. Stop on the footbridge over lac des Deux-Montagnes for some casual beaver and bird watching. Walk the miles of pathways and take in the tranquility– tres magnifique!

WHAT TO WEAR IN MONTREAL

Wisper Double Tank
Worn on its own or peeking out from under a sweater, the quiet elegance of the Wisper Double Tank lives up to its soft-spoken name. Two layers of silky, eco-friendly Tencel®, with a hint of forgiving spandex and bra-friendly straps, make this tank a travel must. With Wisper’s pretty draped neckline, you’ll be dressed-up enough for a dinner date even after hours traversing Mont-Royal.

Boarding Pass Pant
It’s a full plane and you’ve got the middle seat between two lumberjacks – but somehow you’re still smiling. You can thank your pants for the breezy attitude. Our Boarding Pass Pant is made of Travel Twill: a soft, light and stretchy blend of cotton/poly/spandex that maintains its shape and character over the long haul. There’s a stealth zip pocket to stash your travel essentials and the fabric is water, oil and stain resistant to avert evidence of dining disasters (Poutine isn’t exactly the daintiest of foods…).

Allisa Dress
With gas prices so low, why not take a spur-of-the-moment trip? Of course you’ll say yes when you’ve got the Allisa Dress. Tossing on this simple, functional dress is as easy as slipping into your favorite T-shirt, but gives you travel-worthy panache. Made from an uber-soft blend of organic cotton and poly, you’ll get plenty of coverage with the double-layer skirt and the stretchy waist can be worn high or low for maximum versatility (and minimalist packing). Toss on a pair of fun printed leggings, stash your passport in Allisa’s hidden pocket and get on your way.

Livingstone Shirt
This shirt is a mild-mannered button-front designed for wild-mannered adventures. Transition easily from one environment to the other – coffee, hike, bike, pub, grub, repeat. Made of Tencel® Sun, cotton and polyester, the lightweight fabric wicks moisture, traps sweat, dries fast and resists wrinkles nicely. A hidden zip sleeve on the chest pocket is perfect for stashing cash or passports, and just like Montreal locals, this shirt will maintain its composure and functionality all day long. Trés bon!

Horny Toad Becomes Toad&Co

dweber posted this January 27th, 2015

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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.

Snap a Pic, Win a Shirt

dweber posted this January 15th, 2015

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From Horny Toad to Toad&Co, you’ve always been in good company. We believe that anything worth doing is worth sharing with friends, so we’re all about Keeping Good Company – and that means you. As a thank you for being part our Co for all these years, we’re giving away Keep Good Company Tees to the first 50 people to post a selfie wearing your favorite Horny Toad threads. Tag us @hornytoadactivewear with #KeepGoodCompany on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to win

Daisy rocking the Swingout Jacket in Western Ireland

Daisy rocking the Swingout Jacket in Western Ireland

Cheers to a Great Year

dweber posted this December 29th, 2014

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2014 was an awesome year for Team Toad: We got settled into our new headquarters, hired a few new faces from all over the country, hit the slopes and surf, and even found time to hang out with an elephant. We’re pretty excited about the big things coming up in 2015, and if it’s anything like 2014 then we’re in for a great year!

2014 by the Numbers…

New Hires: 8
Volunteer Hours: 1,200
Gallons of espresso made: 60
Baby Toads born: 3
# of Toads who cleaned up Mission Creek: 33 Toads, or 100% of the office!
Hours of pre-work surf-sessions: 208
Renewable Energy Certificates Purchased: 14
Smoothies made: 4,004
New office pups: 2
Pounds of organic food scraps composted at headquarters: 312
# of momos (aka: Tibetan dumplings) made by our accounting department: 2,000
# of Paintings sold at the Search for Adventure benefit auction: 36
Grilled cheese entries in the 2014 Grilled Cheese Smackdown: 7
# of panini presses in the kitchen at all times: 4
Toad weddings: 2
Lunch & Learns: 10 (highlights include Inside a Factory, The Wonderful World of Composting, Insights from a Yarn Bomber, The Environmental Defense Center, Mountainfilm in Telluride Screening)
Kegs of local beer consumed: 12
# of Bowling lanes in our office: 1 (it’s our bar!)

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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A very Toady Halloween

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Momos! An awesome homemade Himalayan lunch from our finance department


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Cheese. Bread. Butter. Win.


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Steve and his new bride, Michaela, when Team Toad met Team Elephant


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Eradicating invasive plants with the Backyard Collective

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How many Toads does it take to move a bowling lane?

The Road of the Toad: A Look Back

dweber posted this December 17th, 2014

Something big is happening at Horny Toad on January 27. But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we’re looking back on the road we’ve taken and the people who’ve joined us along the way. It’s because of the partners we’ve had and the decisions we’ve made that we’re able to move forward. So as we look to the big things coming up in 2015, we can’t help but take a stroll down memory lane, and detour down the Road of the Toad…

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1991 – Horny Toad starts in a garage in Telluride, CO where one woman is making one-of-a-kind, handmade winter toques (fleece hats for ski-bums).

1995 – The first brick and mortar Horny Toad store is established in downtown Telluride. It’s 300 square-ft. Meanwhile, headquarters is moved to Chicago and set up in Gordon’s living room. The entire company has 3 employees.

1996 – Horny Toad Activewear launches at the Summer Outdoor Retail Tradeshow with no summer line, just our signature winter toques. Orders pour in for “Mixed Dozens”: An assortment of sizes and colors pulled from bins in the office. The company grows to 4 employees.

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1997 – We join with Search, Inc. to create Planet Access Company (PAC) in Chicago. PAC is a third party logistics warehouse that provides meaningful jobs for adults with developmental disabilities.

1997 – The pilot “Pillow Program” launches at PAC. PAC repurposes the fleece scraps from Horny Toad clothing and turns those scraps into pillowcases. The cases are sold across the country in outdoor retail stores with all proceeds going back to PAC; some of these proceeds are used to send PAC crew members on much deserved vacations to the great outdoors.

1998 – PAC takes over all of Horny Toad’s logistics: 100% of our clothing is picked, packed, and shipped by PAC crewmembers (and it still is to this day!)

1999 – Horny Toad launches the first spring line, saying goodbye to unisex sizes, and hello to women’s apparel.95-96wkbk-copy

1999 – We sponsor the MountainFilm in Telluride film festival in Colorado for the first time.

 

2000 – Search for Adventure,  a sister-program to PAC, officially gets off the ground. Proceeds from PAC and grants from Horny Toad provide much deserved vacations to the PAC crew, giving many their first experience of outdoor adventure.

2001 – The Horny Toad Outlet Store in Freeport, Maine opens. It’s meant to be a temporary pop-up shop, but after a successful winter it becomes a permanent fixture in downtown Freeport.PAC

2001 – Horny Toad is invited to join the Outdoor Industry Association as the voice of the next generation in the outdoor industry.

2002 – Team Toad relocates headquarters from Chicago to sunny Santa Barbara, CA. Four families, 2 dogs, and all our belongings pack into an 18-wheeler truck and hit the road across the country – garage band style. We set up shop in a small space right off main street. Horny Toad has grown to 8 employees.

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2004 – “Cashmoore” becomes synonymous with Horny Toad. This micro-polyester fabric is buttery, indescribably soft, and full of eco-friendly fibers. Our Cashmoore pants and jackets put us on the map for the ultimate in cozy, fluffy goodness.

 

2005 – Horny Toad becomes a member of the outdoor industry environmental collective, the Conservation Alliance.We go outdoors to be inspired, so it’s paramount to our success to keep it wild and free.

 

FreeportOriginal2005 – We’ve outgrown our downtown location, so we find some new digs down by the beach. The company has swelled to 23 employees and 3 dogs.

2006 – Horny Toad becomes the proud owner of a handful of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) through 3Degrees®. We tally up the amount of energy we use every year and commit to purchasing the relative amount in RECs.  RECs allow us to channel funds to sustainable energy projects, offsetting the environmental impact of our energy use.

2007 – We open the Lizard Lounge, our second brick & mortar location, in Portland, Oregon. Horny Toad gets even hipper and now we have an excuse to visit Portland more often.SB1

2008 – With their likeminded commitment to doing business for good and designing some seriously cool threads, Nau becomes an awesome addition to the Toad family for five years.

2009 – Our reputation for making functional yet feminine women’s dresses starts here: The Rosemarie Dress makes its debut in our spring line and is offered in four basic colors. Rosemarie sells out before the spring season is over and we know we’ve found our new

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2010 – We participate in the first annual Backyard Collective, joining forces with Conservation Alliance members and local organizations for a day of environmental action. We trade spreadsheets for shovels, getting our hands dirty restoring trails and creeks in our own backyard.

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2010 – Outside Magazine names Horny Toad one of the Best Places to Work. Beach cruisers, pig-pong, and pooches – we think it’s pretty great too.

 

2013 – We host the first annual Grilled Cheese Smackdown Invitational on our back patio. The results are delicious.

2013 – The Toads move up in the world as we take our headquarters to the former 1920s hilltop home of UC Santa Barbara. We set up shop in the old library, replacing book stacks with 49 employees.

2013 – Horny Toad becomes a member of 1% For the Planet. It’s a proud statement of our commitment to PAC, SFA and creating meaningfulgrilled cheese change through socially and environmentally smart business.

2014 – For the 5th time, Horny Toad is named one of Outside’s Best Places to Work. They’re making us blush, but we couldn’t agree more.

2015 – On January 27, we changed our name to Toad&Co.

 

Our Props Are Real

dweber posted this December 3rd, 2014

 

This awesome, hot and cozy classic comes from iconic chef Jacques Pepin. Yes, we made it to use as a prop for the dinner scene on our photoshoot. And yes, we ate it before it got cold!


cauliflower_au_gratinCauliflower au Gratin

1 head of cauliflower
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cups of milk
1 cup half & half
salt
fresh ground black pepper
a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
3/4 cup grated gruyere cheese 

Preheat your oven to 400°.

Break the cauliflower into florets, cut the core into chunks. Boil for about 5 minutes until just barely soft.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook for a bit – be careful not to brown it! Add the milk and gently bring to a low boil, stirring so as not to scorch the mixture on the bottom. Add in the half & half, salt, pepper and nutmeg and bring to a boil for another minute or so. It should be thickening a bit. Remove from heat.

Butter a gratin or baking dish. Arrange the florets in the dish and sprinkle the cheese all over the top. Pour the sauce over and place dish on a cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Yum!