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Mass Innovation night -- a foodie's delight

When Tim McCaffery’s wife asked him to re-salt her margarita, he was in a dilemma. How do you add salt to a cocktail when the glass is half full? However, this request prompted the development of the Barmaid, a rimmer for cocktails. With a push of the button, the Barmaid dispenses spice or salt directly to the edge of your cocktail glass – no waste, no mess.

McCaffery, CEO of Lime Tree Cove, was demonstrating the Barmaid at Mass Innovation Nights, and sharing samples of the spices with an enthusiastic crowd. When asked how he developed the rimmer idea into a product, McCaffery said while he was at MIT, he took a product design course and started building the prototype there. Several reiterations later, the Barmaid was born. The device is dishwasher safe and environmentally friendly, he added. Today, Lime Tree Cove also offers a selection of rimmers to add a zing to your cocktail -- Sweet Mint, Tangy Lime, Spicy Chili, Fresh Lemon, Chocolate Raspberry and Cinnamon Harvest.

Mass Innovation Nights is a free monthly networking event where innovators and entrepreneurs gather to showcase or launch their innovative products. Hosted at the IBM Innovation Center, the August event focused on the food industry, with vendors and chefs demonstrating their technology and expertise.

Like the Barmaid, Boston Chocolate’s table was crowded with food lovers, sampling the delicious s'mores. “You don’t need a campfire to have s’mores,” said Adina Barnett of Sweet Little Sin. “You can have s’mores anytime now.”

KangoGifts was touting their online marketing services that send gifts via mobile devices. So, how does it work? Let’s say it is your friend’s birthday and you want to buy her a cake. You order the gift from one of KangoGifts’ partners. Your friend receives a text message with the voucher code and a greeting. She then goes to the bakery, shows the text message and picks up the cake. No more standing in line to buy a gift certificate and then mailing it to your friend, said co-founder Thad Peterson.

Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks was serving up watermelon and feta salad, an odd but tasty concoction. Potter said it took him about a year to write the book which is also available at Amazon.com.

Other companies at the event included:
Batch – Makes ice cream in small batches.
Catnip Cards — Greeting cards your cat can nip on.
EverSave — Online group buying service so you can try new restaurants or spa treatments at a discount.
1Fastbite — An online restaurant order management system that allows customers to place their requests via mobile or wireless devices.
Mysterymeet — Provides opportunity for food lovers to explore new restaurants together.
NOMx3 — Jeff Cutler and Mike Langford visit different restaurants for lunch and promots each restaurant by capturing their views and opinions on video.
Top Sprouts — Develops rooftop greenhouses so urban consumers can enjoy fresh produce year round.

Given August is National Inventors Month, the recent Mass Innovation Nights was a fitting tribute to local inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Perhaps several of these companies will make the national scene and help Boston maintain its #1 innovation city in the world title.

Follow Parna on Twitter at @ParnaSarkar

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