All Posts By Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire and Wine Spectator, among other print publications, as well as for websites including The Daily Beast, MSN, Babble, AOL/Huffington Post and Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer.

Who’s Up for a Cocktail … on Wheels?

by in News, Restaurants, August 29th, 2015

Who's Up for a Cocktail ... on Wheels?Thanks to food trucks, we’re used to being able to enjoy everything from edamame and escargot on a stick to tacos and giant cheese-filled Tater Tots rolling right up to us as we stroll down the street. But one on-the-spot food fancy the mobile-food movement hasn’t really taken upon itself to address — thanks, primarily, to a host of thorny alcohol-specific legal issues — is the craving for a cocktail.

Until now, that is.

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First There Was Bulletproof Coffee, Now There’s FATwater

by in Drinks, News, August 27th, 2015

First There Was Bulletproof Coffee, Now There's FATwaterPerhaps when you first heard of the craze for Bulletproof Coffee, coffee blended with butter and oil and purported by its creators to provide health benefits, you thought to yourself, “Sheesh, what will they think of next?” If so, the answer you’ve been waiting for has now presented itself: FATwater.

The latest brainchild of entrepreneur and Bulletproof Coffee mastermind Dave Asprey, FATwater is precisely what it sounds like: H20 with tiny drops of fat (coconut oil) suspended in it. Asprey says the product, which contains 2 grams of saturated fat and 20 calories per serving, provides the drinker with a short-term energy boost, helps the body burn fat (for some reason) and aids in appetite suppression. Currently available in only a handful of places in Los Angeles, FATwater will soon be available nationally, Asprey says.

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Ice Cream Styling Tips from an Expert Instagrammer

by in News, August 25th, 2015

Ice Cream Styling Tips from an Expert InstagrammerI scream, you scream, we all scream for … Instagram? Here’s the thing: Snapping a photo of your favorite ice cream treat (be it in a cone or cup, squished between two cookies or floating in root beer) so you can share it with the world can be its own brand of challenging.

How do you convey all that dairy-smooth deliciousness to your followers without ending up with a milky, melty mess on your hands (and your phone and your floor)?

Blogger Nastassia Johnson, who regularly posts droolworthy ice cream images, along with snaps of other sweets, to her Instagram account, @letmeeatcake, recently shared a few styling tips with Mashable.

Here are a few of her ideas you may want to incorporate into your own social media routine:

Get Vertical: Height adds dimension and visual interest, so layer scoop atop scoop. Stack flavors in alternating colors. Feel free to add unusual elements — like doughnuts or fruit — to make your photos even more eye-catching.

Mitigate the Melt: Johnson suggests popping a sheet tray into your freezer before you scoop. Then lay out the sheet tray with your scooper, a paper towel, a bowl of water and your pint(s). For ease and beauty, dip the scooper into the water and give it a quick tap on the paper towel between scoops. Put the scoops onto the sheet tray and pop the whole shebang back into the freezer (set to zero or lower) for about 10 minutes. This will ensure the scoops are good and frozen so you can maximize the time before they melt. Read more

A Lot of People Are Eating Alone These Days

by in News, Restaurants, August 24th, 2015

A Lot of People Are Eating Alone These DaysWe love to break bread together — relish the idea of sitting down to a hot meal with family and friends — but increasingly, Americans are dining solo.

Just shy of half of all adults’ meals and snacks — about 46 percent of them — are eaten alone, according to information compiled by market researchers at the Hartman Group, released in a recent Food Marketing Institute trend report and cited by NPR’s The Salt.

Hartman Group CEO Laurie Demeritt suggests we’re in the midst of a “true cultural change” in which it is becoming “more socially acceptable to eat alone.” Not only has the percentage of single-person households been on the rise in the United States — increasing from 17 percent in 1970 to 27 percent in 2012, according to Census Bureau data cited by NPR — but we’re also a nation of people on the go, grabbing food at our desks, in the car and on the street.

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Why Trader Joe’s May Be a Whole Lot Better for Your Home’s Value Than Whole Foods

by in News, August 23rd, 2015

Why Trader Joe’s May Be a Whole Lot Better for Your Home Value Than Whole FoodsPop quiz: Living near which of these grocery meccas is better for your property value? Whole Foods, with its vast, glistening rainbow of organic produce and prettily prepared foods with price points to match, or Trader Joe’s, with its deliciously affordable array of fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet specialties and staples, not to mention its inexpensive signature wine?

The answer? Ye Olde House of Two-Buck Chuck.

Homes near Trader Joe’s tend to appreciate considerably more, on average, than those near Whole Foods, according to an analysis conducted by real estate data site RealtyTrac. People who own homes near Trader Joe’s have seen their home values increase an average of 40 percent since they purchased them. Those with homes that share a ZIP code with Whole Foods, meanwhile, have enjoyed only a 34 percent appreciation, which is the average appreciation for homes in all U.S. ZIP codes.

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Your Bacon Obsession Is Boosting Prices

by in News, August 21st, 2015

Your Bacon Obsession Is Boosting PricesThe rage for bacon in or on everything — from doughnuts and funnel cakes to peanut brittle, ice cream bars and marmalade to Tater Tots and shrimp tempura — is not without consequences.

Because demand is up and supply is down, wholesale prices for pork bellies, the cut of meat from which bacon slices are made, are surging: They’re up 174 percent over the five-year low they hit in April, reaching a one-year high of almost $1.70 per pound last week, Bloomberg reports, citing information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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The Wine Bottle’s Days May Be Numbered

by in News, August 20th, 2015

The Wine Bottle's Days May Be NumberedWill wine bottles, as we know them, soon be a thing of the past? If a Boston-based startup named Kuvée has its way, the answer to that question will be yes. The firm, founded by a successful software entrepreneur, a robotics engineer and a recent MIT grad, is gearing up to launch a high-tech wine bottle that, as Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner sees it, aims to be “the last [one] you’ll ever need,” promising to do for wine pouring and storing what Keurig and Sodastream have done for coffee making and carbonation.

In fall 2015, Kuvée plans to launch a WiFi-connected wine bottle into which the user will place a canister of the wine of his or her choice and pour a glass here or there, as needed. The canister (a funding blurb calls it a “proprietary Kuvée wine bottle”) is designed to protect the remainder of the wine from exposure to the air in order to prevent it from oxidizing and going bad. The outside of the bottle will feature a touchscreen “smart label,” with information about the wine you’re drinking and “social recommendations for Kuvée wines from drinkers with like taste profiles,” according to the blurb. You can reorder canisters with the tap of a button.

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Technology Is Working to Save You from Overcrowded Coffee Shops

by in News, August 19th, 2015

Technology Is Working to Save You from Overcrowded Coffee ShopsAh, the trials and tribulations of the modern remote worker. Among them? Gathering together all your gear (smartphone, laptop and whatever other stuff you need to turn in that project on deadline) and heading to your friendly local Wi-Fi-equipped coffee shop only to find out that — ugh, really? — the place is packed and there’s no place for you to perch.

The good news, Wired reports, is that a Portland, Ore.-based company is working to combat this very problem. Workfrom, a startup dedicated to helping “nomadic” workers “discover reliable places to get work done outside of the home or office,” in cities all over the world, has now promised to help you find out — before you leave your home or office — just how likely you are to score a seat in a coffee shop, using sensors to suss out the scene and relay the intel back to you in real time.

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A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Pumpkin

by in News, August 18th, 2015

A New Ingredient in Pumpkin Spice Lattes: PumpkinIf the school year is starting, as it has for some and soon will for others, can Pumpkin Spice Lattes be far behind? The answer, of course, is no. The season for Starbucks’ autumnal drink is close at hand, and for those who had felt compelled to say “no” to the fall favorite after discovering, last year, that it contained no actual pumpkin but did contain the potentially unsafe additive Class IV Caramel Color, the last gasp of summer has brought good news: Starbucks has changed its PSL recipe.

“After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Peter Dukes, Starbucks’ director of espresso and brewed coffee, and a PSL co-creator, wrote this week in a blog post on the company’s website, announcing that, when the PSL returns to stores this fall, “it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.”

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Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?

by in News, August 15th, 2015

Is Cold Brew Heating Up the Bean Scene?Cold brew coffee is hot, hot, hot. Local coffee shops and big chains like Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Starbucks are increasingly switching to it from traditional iced coffee. It may also be heating up demand for coffee beans.

Cold brew, said to be smoother and less bitter than regular iced coffee (brewed hot, then cooled), calls for fresh ground coffee beans to steep in cold water for anywhere from 12 to a full 24 hours. But because the cooler temps and relative stillness in the process prevent as much flavor from being extracted from the coffee as regular hot brew, roasters use more (sometimes double) beans per cup.

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