Our weekly serving of off-the-menu items—a few popular favorites from the week as well as a few morsels that may have slipped your notice.

A Biomass Power Plant for the EDM Generation
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has revealed a concept for a new kind of power plant—a geodesic dome that could generate energy by converting biomass waste heat into heat, electricity and biofuels while serving as a sort of community space. The multi-colored glass is color coded to “reflect the amount of sun exposure on each facet—ranging from red to blue—hot to cold. Thermal expression becomes architectural expression.

MIT’s Pic2Recipe Reverse Engineers Food Photos into Ingredients and a Recipe
After uploading 800,000 food photos, MIT’s researchers are using AI to break down an image of food into ingredients and a recipe. But it’s not just for Instagram, Wired reports. “It could allow people to analyse their meals and determine their nutritional value, or even to manipulate an existing recipe to be healthier or to conform to certain dietary restrictions,” Nick Hynes, the project’s creator explains. The project is not unlike Pinterest’s recent entry into the app market or the joy of SeeFood, a fake app from the characters on HBO’s Silicon Valley, touted the “Shazam for food.”

The Reason Why People Aren’t Using Meal Kits
A new report by Morning Consult, shares the truth about meal kit delivery subscriptions, a notoriously difficult space to conquer with very little brand loyalty. Food52 breaks it down.

A Brandless Brand Selling $3 Essentials
You can now buy organic honey, blueberry flax granola, fair trade coffee, or spicy jalapeno & cheddar quinoa puffs all for $3 a pop. A new direct to consumer site promises a flat pricing structure for their brand-less products. Passing on costs saved from refraining from expensive packaging and marketing, Brandless is offering high quality products and ingredients at a straightforward price.

Meet the Thermomix
This $1,500 German kitchen appliance is about to storm the US market. The multi-tool, which blends, chopes, mix, sous-vide, steams and slow-cooks has sold 3 million units around the world since 2014 without traditional ad or sales channels. Quartz draws on the history of the all-in-one kitchen appliances and takes the Thermomix for a test run.

Michelin-Starred Instant Ramen-in-a-Cup
Now you can eat Nakiyru’s Michelin-starred ramen in the comfort of your own home–just add water. The Tokyo-based shop has created a dry, instant version of their famous noodles for shoppers across Japan for around 200 Yen.

WEEKEND WATCH: Massimo Bottura’s Theater of Life
Massimo Bottura is the riveting subject of a new documentary film charting the launch of the Michelin-starred chef’s non-profit, Food for Soul, is now available on Netflix. Director Peter Svatek’s portrayal shows the challenges of launching an anti-food waste project helmed by one of the world’s best chefs.