All Posts In News

Plate Artist Paints Crazy-Realistic Portraits

by in News, July 6th, 2015

Plate Artist Paints Crazy-Realistic PortraitsArtist Jacqueline Poirier has dubbed herself “the crazy plate lady,” but what’s really crazy is how realistic her porcelain plate images are, meticulously depicting everything from favorite foods like burgers (with all the fixings), doughnuts, ice cream cones, juicy steaks and pizza pies to skylines, shorelines and sunsets to cute doggies to celebrities of all manner. (She has said she takes inspiration from all sorts of places and tries “not to pigeon-hole” herself when it comes to subject matter.)

Paging through Poirier’s Instagram feed, where she showcases her work, you’ll spot Ryan Gosling, Bette Midler, Snoop Dogg, the Golden Girls and many more. Here’s Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. There’s David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust. Morgan Freeman and Al Pacino have each bought plates featuring their own image.

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The Truth About Butter Sculptures

by in News, July 5th, 2015

ButterButter sculptures — big, beautiful and carefully kept cool to beat the summer heat — are a staple and a highlight of many a state fair, churning up all kinds of nostalgic feelings in the masses who admire them.

But did you ever wonder about the history and mechanics behind those elaborate butter tableaux? NPR’s The Salt blog recently filled its readers in. Here are a few key facts to know about butter sculpture, gleaned from its report:

1. Edible sculptures of people and animals trace their origins at least as far back as medieval times, when royalty included them in elaborate feasts.

2. The person credited with bringing butter sculpture to regular folk in America was an Arkansas housewife named Caroline Brooks. Rather than simply churning milk into butter and molding or stamping it into bricks, as was the norm, she sculpted it into a butter portrait of a young woman. The result of her efforts, called Dreaming Iolanthe, was displayed at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 and was widely considered a thing of remarkable and unique beauty.

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Now There’s a Restaurant Dedicated to Ranch Dressing

by in News, Restaurants, July 4th, 2015

Ranch DressingThere are two kinds of Americans: those who like ranch dressing (like, on everything!) and those who frankly fail to understand the appeal. A new St. Louis restaurant is designed exclusively for those who fall into the first category, taking the ubiquitous creamy condiment and rendering it even more so.

Twisted Ranch restaurant will soon swing open its doors in St. Louis’ historic Soulard neighborhood, offering diners a menu that includes 18 different flavors of ranch dressing — including garlic, horseradish, smoked paprika, tzatziki, cheesy bacon, chipotle and Thai — and features ranch dressing as an ingredient in essentially every single thing on the menu (except dessert, thank goodness).

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Sonic Dresses Up the Hot Dog by Putting It in a Flaky Croissant

by in News, July 3rd, 2015

Sonic Dresses Up the Hot Dog by Putting It in a Flaky CroissantNothing says America like a hot dog nestled in a croissant. OK, that’s not even a little true, but it is an actual fact that you can enjoy that very unlikely combo — for a limited time only — at Sonic Drive-In restaurants.

In order to mark National Hot Dog Month (it’s July) and to hop on the croissant-hybrid food bandwagon, Sonic is introducing its new Croissant Dog, which the company is touting as “a reimagined and reinvented premium take on an American classic.”

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Would You Name Your Kid Quinoa for $10,000?

by in News, Restaurants, July 2nd, 2015

QuinoaWould you name your kid Quinoa? How about in exchange for $10,000 worth of bar food and booze?

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a casual-restaurant chain with 163 restaurants in 20 states, has announced that it will award $10,000 in BJ’s gift cards to the first parents in the United States to name their child after the healthy high-protein grain, which it is featuring in two new dishes on its light-fare menu: Roasted Chicken with Spinach Quinoa Bowl and Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowl.

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Stuff in Guacamole: Where Do You Stand?

by in News, Recipes, July 2nd, 2015

traditional guacamoleThe New York Times tweeted yesterday, “Add green peas to your guacamole. Trust us.” And everyone went berserk. Feelings ranged from rage and confusion to steadfast defense of the Times’ suggestion. President Obama didn’t buy it. Jeb Bush wouldn’t add peas to his guac either. Deb Perelman, Dan Pashman, Sam Sifton, Jean-Georges and Alex Stupak weighed in on the debate, mostly in support of the controversial guacamole mix-in. Where do you stand? Is it OK to put peas in guacamole? If not peas, what is OK to add to guac?

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Gelato vs. Ice Cream: What’s the Difference?

by in News, June 30th, 2015

Gelato vs. Ice Cream: What's the Difference?Gelato, that Italian dessert staple, is gaining U.S. fans, with sales hitting an estimated $214 million in 2014, an $11 million increase from 2009, and driving growth in the frozen dairy dessert market. But did you ever wonder what the difference is between ice cream and gelato — or if it’s just a matter of semantics and a higher price point?

In fact, gelato is really quite distinct from ice cream, NPR’s The Salt blog notes. Citing gelato expert and author Morgan Morano, writer Linda Poon sketches out a few key differences:

Creaminess: Gelato is creamier, smoother and silkier, as well as denser and more elastic and fluid, than American ice cream.

Ingredients: While both gelato and ice cream contain cream, milk and sugar, authentic gelato uses more milk and less cream than ice cream and generally doesn’t use egg yolks, which are a common ingredient in ice cream. Read more

10 Instagram Accounts Food Lovers Should Follow

by in Community, News, June 29th, 2015

10 Instagram Accounts Food Lovers Should FollowAs a social-media-savvy Food Network fan, you probably follow the Instagram feeds of Ina Garten, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis — not to mention Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, Ree Drummond, Trisha Yearwood and Food Network — living vicariously through engagingly captioned pictures of their delicious meals, beautiful families and peripatetic travels. But who else should food lovers be following on Instagram?

April Bloomfield
British-born Bloomfield, chef and co-owner of two Michelin-star-awarded New York restaurants, The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, shares images of proud animals (pigs, cows, roosters) and fresh produce straight from the farm, along with delicious-looking dishes both in progress and beautifully plated.

Ashley Rodriguez
The name behind the popular blog Not Without Salt, Ashley takes her bright, crisp food photos to Instagram @ashrod. Look for fresh, simple fare like roasted artichokes and green salads, as well as indulgent treats and scenes from her day-to-day finds.

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Does It Bother You When Restaurants Quickly Clear Your Plates?

by in News, Restaurants, June 28th, 2015

Does It Bother You When Restaurants Quickly Clear Your Plates?Back in 2009, The New York Times ran a two-part list, written by restaurateur Bruce Buschel, of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” Included on it were these three instructive items:

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course.

76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.

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U.S. Coffee Consumption Goes Down, While Spending Goes Up

by in News, June 27th, 2015

U.S. Coffee Consumption Goes Down, While Spending Goes UpCall it the Keurig effect. Thanks in large measure to the rise in single-cup brew pods, Americans are consuming less coffee — although they are also spending more on it than ever.

U.S. coffee consumption is projected to decline from 24 million to 23.7 million 60-kilogram bags in 2015-2016, down for the first time since 2009-2010, according to a newly released U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

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