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.

Japan Can Now Dine at a Super Mario Bros. Cafe

by in News, June 25th, 2015

Japan Can Now Dine at a Super Mario Bros. CafeBelieve it or not, it has been 30 years since Nintendo released the seminal video game Super Mario Bros. in Japan, in 1985. The game came to North America the next year, but Japan is getting a jump on celebrating Mario’s big three-O — and Tower Records Japan (a throwback concept in itself) is taking full advantage of its head start.

To mark the occasion, the retail music chain’s three Tokyo locations — in the city’s Shibuya, Omotesando and Ebisu districts — are launching a limited-time-only Super Mario Bros. pop-up cafe, featuring a panoply of character-themed dishes. You got your Blooper’s Squid Ink Pasta, Banana Block Tira Misu, Mario Latte and Underwater Stage Drink. Or you can dig into a Super Star Rice Omelet, Ground Stage Waffle, Mario Latte and Piranha Plant Soda.

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Let the Taco Texting Begin: The Taco Emoji Is Now a Reality

by in News, June 24th, 2015

Let the Taco Texting Begin: The Taco Emoji Is Now a RealityLadies and gentlemen, now, when you text your friends, you can spice things up with a little taco flavah.

Yes, after months of serious petitioning (not to mention abject begging and pleading and full-on demanding) from nimble-fingered Mexican-food fans, Unicode Consortium, which oversees the release of “picture characters” known as “emoji” and plans to add only about 60 new images per year, has elected to include a taco emoji in its new lineup, approved as part of Unicode 8.

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6 Cool Facts About Iced Tea You May Not Have Known

by in News, June 23rd, 2015

6 Cool Facts About Iced Tea You May Not Have KnownIt’s iced tea season. Whether you like it straight up or sugar sweet, with a twist of lemon or a dollop of honey, you may enjoy drinking in a few facts about what might be summer’s coolest beverage from this article about its history, written by Tove Danovich for NPR’s Tea Tuesdays series. (Yes, NPR’s The Salt blog has a series of articles that explore tea’s science, history, culture and economics. Take that, coffee!)

1. While tea has been sipped hot here in America since Colonial days, nonalcoholic tea wasn’t widely consumed on ice until the turn of the 19th century, when entrepreneurs in the northern United States started shipping ice down South and to the Caribbean. As Americans began to take a leading role in the 19th-century global ice trade, the greater availability of ice made iced tea more common.

2. Tea was, however, used as an ingredient in alcoholic punches as far back as the early 1700s, and appears in historic punch recipes like Regent’s Punch, which dates to 1815 and includes green tea and the South Asian liquor arrack as well as citrus juice, sugar, champagne, brandy and rum.

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Would You Take Driving Directions from Colonel Sanders?

by in News, June 22nd, 2015

Would You Take Driving Directions from Colonel Sanders?Does your GPS sound like chicken? Now it can sound like KFC mascot Colonel Sanders.

In yet another move aimed at resurrecting its corporate mascot and late founder, Col. Harland Sanders, who kicked the bucket (sorry) in 1980 at age 90, KFC has teamed up with social navigation and traffic app Waze to lend Sanders’ voice to users’ navigation systems.

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New Barbecue Wisdom: Rest Is Best

by in News, June 21st, 2015

New Barbecue Wisdom: Rest Is BestShh … don’t wake the barbecue. It’s resting.

While the conventional wisdom used to be that the ideal time to enjoy the smoky goodness of barbecued meat was right when it came off the pit — avoiding the mushiness or drying that could result from various methods of “holding” it — there’s a new theory gaining traction among pitmasters. NPR reports that allowing barbecued meat to “rest,” if done correctly, actually improves its flavor.

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Google Is Coming to Count the Calories in Your Instagram Food Pics

by in News, June 20th, 2015

Google Is Coming to Count the Calories in Your Instagram Food PicsYour days of sharing and gaping at food photos on social media while remaining blissfully unaware of how many calories are lurking in those beautiful meals may be numbered. Google is working on an artificial intelligence tool that will analyze your food pictures and estimate how many calories are being served up on your plate.

The tool, Im2Calories, which was unveiled at a “deep learning” summit in Boston last month, will cast an eyeball (or whatever the high-tech AI equivalent of an eyeball is) over that grainy Instagram photo (high-res not required) of your burger, breakfast or baked good — along with accompanying sides — and use algorithms to calculate the number of calories you’re about to enthusiastically consume, Popular Science reports.

Terrifying, perhaps, but that may be part of the point. Im2Calories’ creator, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy, says his aim is not to shame people, but rather to inform them so they can make decisions about the foods they eat (and feel compelled to share on social media) with complete caloric information.

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Designer Creates Unusual Art from Everyday Foods

by in News, June 19th, 2015

Designer Creates Unusual Art from Everyday FoodsBroccoli can be beautiful and sweet. An orange can be lovely and reassuring. In the hands of Danling Xiao, foods like these are all that and more: Two small florets become a couple of hedgehogs hanging out. A simple citrus yields a doorway that opens onto a floating peel staircase and becomes a lesson in unrushed romance.

For the past three years, Xiao, a Sydney-based designer and digital strategist, has been transforming food into art and posting photos of her charming creations on Instagram. She calls her project Mundane Matters, but the images of, just for instance, a bench crafted from a zucchini, a cauliflower sheep and a toaster made of bread (how meta) are really anything but mundane.

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Mindy Kaling Puts Her Fast-Food Fandom Where Her Mouth Is

by in News, June 17th, 2015

Mindy Kaling Puts Her Fast Food Fandom Where Her Mouth IsMindy Kaling has a new project: She’s collaborating with Los Angeles-based Umami Burger — on a new burger, natch

“In the greatest collaboration since Jared and Subway,” she recently quipped/announced on Instagram, “I am curating a burger for @UmamiBurger that will debut in September” — perfectly timed, she notes, for the launch of her TV show “The Mindy Project” on Hulu and the release of her second book, “Why Not Me?” due out September 15.

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I Scream, You Scream … for a Ding Dong Ice Cream Sandwich

by in News, June 16th, 2015

I Scream, You Scream … for a Ding Dong Ice Cream SandwichEveryone loves an ice cream sandwich. Vanilla ice cream nestled between two soft-crisp chocolate cookies dotted with a grid of small holes (why do those wafers have holes in them, anyway?) are surely among summer’s greatest pleasures.

Now the menu mavens at Carl’s Jr. have added a new dimension to your regular everyday ice cream-sandwich deliciousness by introducing a new version in which “hand-scooped” vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between two halves of a Hostess Ding Dong.

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Dominique Ansel’s New Innovation: Burrata Ice Cream

by in News, Restaurants, June 15th, 2015

Dominique Ansel's New Innovation: Burrata Ice CreamReady to salivate? Three words: burrata ice cream. The Italian-cheese-inspired soft serve is one of two flavors just introduced by mash-up master Dominique Ansel at the walk-up ice cream window of Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York’s West Village.

The creamy Burrata Soft Serve — which Ansel calls “a new alternative to vanilla” — comes in a homemade “honey tuile cone” with a whole-strawberry confit inside and is topped with balsamic caramel and fresh micro basil. “The flavors are simple and subtle, but so, so good,” DAK’s Instagram page boasts.

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