by Amy Reiter in News, August 20th, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, August 15th, 2014
We may not always be proud of it, but many of us spend our lives glued to our smartphones: texting friends, keeping up with news, making sure our bosses don’t need us right this very second. We’ve become so attached to those alluring little screens, in fact, that we often forget to stop and smell the coffee — or interact with our server — when we dine in restaurants.
Think no one notices when you surreptitiously reach for your phone in those quiet moments after you first sit down, when you’re probably supposed to be looking at your menu, or while you’re waiting for your food to arrive or your friend to come back from the bathroom — or even when you’re in the middle of your meal? Guess what? Someone notices. That person is your server.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 14th, 2014
Are you particular about your beer? Loyal to a specific lager? Convinced your fave brand of beer is better than the other bottles or cans crowding the cooler? Many of us are. But do you think you could pick your preferred beer out of a lineup?
No problem, right? Don’t be so sure. A recent study showed that, in blind taste tests, consumers actually have a hard time telling apart different brands of European pale lager, the most-commonly consumed style of beer around the world.
by Lawrence Bonk, August 14th, 2014
There are all sorts of ways to show your love. One customer at Toronto’s Le Dolci bakery showed it with a $900 cupcake, presenting it to his wife in honor of her 40th birthday. Talk about sweet!
The extravagant confection was made to order, featuring some of the wife’s favorite foods and flavors. The bakery worked closely with the customer in order to get the finished product just right. The result? A gilded masterpiece featuring Kona Blue Mountain Coffee in the chocolate buttercream, sea salt from Camargue, France, organic cane sugar, Valrhona cocoa powder and Tahitian vanilla beans. The pastry cream was made with Krug Collection Brut champagne ($500-$1,500 a bottle, depending on the vintage), Rosewood Estates honey and an essence of Tahitian vanilla beans.
The butter in the frosting wasn’t just a stick from the supermarket, of course, but rather Normandy butter “made by a historic French butter cooperative,” Le Dolci owner Lisa Sanguedolce tells FN Dish. It was combined with 70 percent Amedei Italian-made chocolate, which, she says, “delivers undertones of honey, caramel, lavender, vanilla, banana and orange blossom.”
by Amy Reiter in News, August 13th, 2014
It has become increasingly clear in the last several years that when techies refer to an app or gadget as “changing the world,” what they really mean is that it “saves you a few seconds.” Par for the course with this new feature just unveiled for popular reservation booking app OpenTable.
The feature allows you to actually pay your bill using the app, so you can dine and dash without actually, you know, dining and dashing. The service is currently only available at 25 eateries around New York City and a handful in San Francisco, but the company promises 20 more cities will be added by the end of the year.
So now you can stop waiting around for the check after eating, and get into the night away from friends and family as quickly as humanly possible. Yes!
by Amy Reiter in News, August 12th, 2014
Your alarm clock gets the credit (or perhaps the disdain) for waking you up, but for many of us, it’s really that first cup of coffee that does the heavy eyelid lifting. A new product from British designer Josh Renouf, a recent graduate from Nottingham Trent University, aims to combine clock and coffee in one handy, attractively designed device that wakes you up to the soothing rumble of ball bearings working to boil water using induction heating and the rich smell of coffee — one cup, just for you, freshly brewed right on your bedside table.
The Barisieur — a name Renouf hopes will evoke both “your own personal barista” and coffee that will please the most-particular coffee connoisseur — won’t be available for purchase until early next year (with an estimated retail price of about $420), but it is already making a splash in the press. Sounding somewhat overwhelmed by the surge of interest, Renouf found time to answer a few of our burning coffee/alarm clock questions via email.*
by Amy Reiter in News, August 11th, 2014
Bacon, bacon — who’s got the bacon?
Only those willing to shell out the big bucks, nowadays. Due to the spread of a deadly virus affecting pigs across 30 states, the retail price of bacon has surged 10 percent this year, rising to $6.11 a pound in June — the highest it’s been since 1980, according to Bloomberg.com. In fact, consumer bacon prices may be at an all-time high — they’ve nearly doubled in the last decade alone, and may still climb higher!
But pork-loving consumers haven’t stopped pigging out, even if it does mean shaking a few extra quarters out of their piggy banks. U.S. bacon sales have risen 11 percent — to $4.2 billion — in the last 12 months.
by Lawrence Bonk, August 11th, 2014
Not only is ice cream about the best thing ever — and that’s not just summer talkin’ — it actually keeps getting better and better. Every year brings new ice cream innovations.
This summer, for instance, Cronut® creator Dominique Ansel teamed up with fashion designer Lisa Perry to bring the world an ice cream sundae in a can: a sealed, frozen chocolate-lined soup can filled with root-beer and stracciatella ice creams, mascarpone semifreddo, macerated cherries, honey marshmallows and mini cherry meringues. “Pop It!” reads the label of the limited-edition frozen treat, which was available at only one location and for only one day, earlier this month.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 8th, 2014
The not-so-humble Cronut may have bought its creator, Dominique Ansel, a new hot tub or two, but that doesn’t mean this Prince of perfect pastry is standing still. His newest creation? A lobster tail that is heavy on the pretzel and peanut butter and not so heavy on the lobster.
The appropriately named Pretzel Lobster Tail is currently available at Ansel’s bakery in Manhattan, NYC. This lobster tail-shaped pretzel is filled to the brim with peanut butter and brittle candy. It comes served with a cup of whipped honey brown butter for dipping purposes and the whole thing is topped with sea salt. What it lacks in sea-based protein it more than makes up for in carby, peanut buttery goodness.
by Amy Reiter in News, August 7th, 2014
Restaurants can be risky business ventures — just look at how frequently they come and go. So to make sure their eatery isn’t just another flash in the pan, some restaurateurs employ a few subtle tricks to get diners, once seated, to more readily part with their cash.
There’s the “free” salty snack (chips and salsa, anyone?) placed on your table before the meal to increase your thirst and compel you to order more pricey drinks. And then there’s the way your server painstakingly describes every ingredient in the evening’s specials, but declines to mention the price, knowing you may be too embarrassed to ask. And there’s the way your wine glass keeps getting topped off, so that you get to the bottom of the bottle halfway through your meal and may feel inclined to order another one.
But the stealthiest strategy of all may be the sly tweaks made to restaurant menus to get you to fork over more moolah than you may have intended. Recently The Guardian noted a few such tricks.
When you’ve cooked steak using lightning (verdict: “tasted good though a little metallic”), built walk-in gin and tonic clouds (one blogger called them a “drunkard’s dream“), turned the roof of a high-end London department store into a boating lake with a waterfall and a “float-up bar,” and pushed jelly way, way past its previous limits, what do you do for an encore?
If you’re Sam Bompas and Harry Parr, you make a meaty meal over 2,100 degree F molten rock. In June, London-based Bompas & Parr, who describe themselves as “Jellymongers and Architectural Foodsmiths,” traveled to upstate New York to team up with Syracuse University art professor and lava expert Robert Wysocki to “see what happens when super-heated liquid rock meets an icy crevasse and a 10-oz rib eye” — and recorded and consumed the results.