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.

Portable Espresso Maker Delivers a Shot of Caffeine with a Few Quick Pumps

by in News, October 22nd, 2014

MinipressoYou’re sitting in your office, your car, a hotel room or the middle of nowhere, or you’re on a biking or camping trip — or heck, you’re just lounging around at home — and you crave an espresso, bigtime, but you’re too far from a fancy machine to make you one. What do you do?

A startup industrial design firm in Hong Kong, Wacaco, is now offering a new way to answer that question: a small, hand-powered portable espresso machine that allows people to “pull their own drink on the go,” the Minipresso.

According to the Minipresso website, the cleverly designed DIY machine extracts at 116 psi, which, the site says, “is exactly the pressure produced by traditional piston-driven espresso machines.” Temperature has also been carefully considered. “Minipresso produces at ambient condition (75 degrees F), an espresso at perfect temperature (152 degrees F in cup) with a nice compact and persistent crema on top,” the machine’s makers maintain.

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America’s Best Burrito? You Be the Judge

by in News, October 21st, 2014

Carne Asada BurritoOn the flour-tortilla-wrapped face of it, finding America’s best burrito sounds like an impossible quest. For starters, how, given all the burrito-serving restaurants across the United States, do you taste all possible winners? And how, given the myriad permutations of burritos — the sheer volume and variety of techniques and fillings and flavors — do you compare different prospects? And then, how exactly can you quantify which is the best?

You’d have to be full of beans and un poco loco to even try such a thing, right?

Well, we don’t want to pass any judgments, but the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight.com recently flung itself full-force at the challenge, biting into burritos and crunching numbers — as only the site founded by statistician Nate Silver can — to arrive at a quantifiable winner.

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What’s So Wrong with Brunch?

by in News, October 18th, 2014

What's So Wrong with Brunch?Who knew brunch — that seemingly innocuous meal that ambivalently straddles the line between breakfast and lunch, that daytime gathering opportunity for those who stay out late and sleep in on weekends, that blood-sugar boon for those enamored of eggs Benedict and fancy frittatas, Bloody Marys and mimosas — could spark such controversy?

“Brunch Is for Jerks,” The New York Times declared on Friday (just before the weekend’s brunch-eating commenced), in a headline atop an opinion piece in which writer David Shaftel declares that he’s “through with brunch” and gripes that the hybrid meal has “spread like a virus from Sunday to Saturday” and “jumped the midafternoon boundary.”

The simmering “brunch backlash,” Shaftel observes, broke through to the mainstream after Strokes front man Julian Casablancas blamed brunch (and those who eat it on Saturdays) for his departure from New York City for parts less urban.

Oh, ho, ho, Shaftel, a former brunch admirer who traces his conversion to hitting 40 and having a kid, has some choice words for brunch. He calls it “a twice-weekly symbol of our culture’s increasing desire to reject adulthood” by throwing three-meal-a-day convention to the wind and “reveling in the naughtiness of waking up late, having cocktails at breakfast and eggs all day.” It is, he says, “the mealtime equivalent of a Jeff Koons sculpture.”

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Wassup with Wasabi? That Green Stuff Next to Your Sushi Is Totally Faking It

by in News, October 17th, 2014

WasabiWe have no myth-busting news to impart about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but we do have one bubble to burst: That little ball of green stuff you’ve been mixing into your soy sauce and calling wasabi all your life is, in fact, not wasabi at all, reports Washington Post Wonkblogger Roberto A. Ferdman. So, um, what is it?

Ferdman quotes sushi expert Trevor Corson: “ … it’s just plain old horseradish, plus some mix of mustard extract, citric acid, yellow dye no. 5 and blue dye no. 1. It comes in big industrial bags as a powder, and the chefs mix it with water before dinner to make that caustic paste.”

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , October 17th, 2014

Olive Oil
In this week’s news: Energy drinks may not be worth the energy, or the risk; eating right and exercising during pregnancy is a big boon for your baby; and researchers find yet another reason to start eating a Mediterranean diet, pronto.

Energy...

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These Food-Inspired Halloween Costume Ideas Will Whet Your Creative Appetite

by in Holidays, News, October 13th, 2014

Food-Inspired Halloween CostumesYou love food, and you love Halloween. How can you satisfy both of your passions at once? No, not with fists full of bite-size candy bars you will sneak from that big bowl you’ve set by the door for trick-or-treaters. Or at least, that’s not the only way. You can also let your food-nerd flag fly proudly by dressing up — or dressing your kid up — in a food-themed Halloween costume (pictured above).

While you can certainly buy food-related costumes (cute ones, funny ones), any cook worth his or her salt knows that homemade is best. And if you’re hungry for ideas (no, really, stop with the chocolate bars), the Internet is filled with ideas — floating around like apples in a bowl, ripe for bobbing.

These egg and bacon costumes will let your kids show off their sunny-side-up attitudes, not to mention their love of cured meats. Food Network Magazine offers step-by-step instructions on these and other appetite-stirring creations.

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Booze It Like Beckham? Soccer Star Launches Premium Whisky

by in News, October 11th, 2014

WhiskeyHow do you like your whisky? Neat? On the rocks? Do you prefer to bend it like Beckham?

Wait … what?

Yes, soccer star and global symbol of hotness David Beckham is now trying to do for premium liquor what he has done for men’s underwear: make it sexy for a desirable demographic (or perhaps make it desirable for a sexy demographic).

Beckham (hardly the first celebrity to link his name to a liquor brand) joined forces with British liquor giant Diageo and American Idol creator Simon Fuller (the man also responsible for bringing Beckham’s wife, Victoria, to fame via the Spice Girls) last week to launch Haig Club whisky at an event in Edinburgh, Scotland. The single-grain spirit is produced by Diageo-owned Scotch distillers House of Haig, Scotland’s oldest grain distillery, which traces its roots back to the 17th century.

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This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , October 10th, 2014

Sugar
In this week’s news: Restaurant items shed calories; USDA sprinkles on sobering news about salt intake from sandwiches; and a study sleuths out sugar’s effects on memory and the brain.

Down For the Count (in a good way)
What goes up must...

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This Artist Makes Playing with Your Food an Art

by in News, October 9th, 2014

Victor Nunes Lettuce ArtWhen you look at a leaf of lettuce, perhaps slightly wilted, what do you see? Uh, a leaf of lettuce, right? Maybe the makings of a salad or something to add a bit of crunch to your sandwich?

Artist Victor Nunes sees a warrior’s robe, a woman’s elegant frock or the twirling skirt of a dancer. He sees a variety of arresting hairdos, the leaves and branches of a tree reaching gracefully up to the sky.

For his “Faces” series, which he shares on Facebook, Nunes combines everyday objects — and often foods — with his whimsical line drawings to create wonderfully amusing images that encourage viewers to take a closer look at household items they may not generally glance at a second time.

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