by Amy Reiter in News, May 13th, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, May 9th, 2014
The Carrot, Not the Stick: Plenty of parents have been known to offer their kids rewards for behaving well while eating out. Far less frequently are the parents spontaneously rewarded for their kids’ good restaurant behavior. But Redditor looseONtheGoose writes that, after “Mother’s Day brunch … with our one year old daughter” at Carino Japanese Bistro, in Calgary, Canada, the family received a surprise on its check: The restaurant had deducted $5 as a discount for “Well Behaved Kids.” “This should be a thing at every restaurant worldwide,” one commenter opined. Hear, hear! [Reddit]
Sriracha State Swap? Texas is continuing its effort to get Huy Fong Foods to relocate its sriracha factory from Irwindale, Calif., where residents have complained that its chili-pepper aroma is making their eyes water and itch, to the Lone Star State. A bipartisan “sriracha delegation” of Texas lawmakers has traveled to the hot-sauce maker’s California factory this week to meet with the company’s officials. “It’s obviously early and preliminary to suggest that they’re going to take that next step, but at least they’re open to considering it,” State Rep. Jason Villalba told the Texas Tribune. “This is a serious endeavor.” The company’s owner, David Tran, recently told NPR he doesn’t intend to close the California factory, but might open another site in another locale. [Texas Tribune, NPR]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 9th, 2014
Does your state have an “official state snack?” Utah has Jell-O. (The state’s residents consume more of it per capita than any other state in the U.S., The Wire notes.) In South Carolina, it’s boiled peanuts, a “truly Southern delicacy.” In Texas, tortilla chips and salsa have been so honored for their popularity and proud tradition. Illinois adopted popcorn as its official snack in 2003.
Now New York is taking steps toward designating its own official state snack: yogurt. On Tuesday, members of the New York State Senate engaged in a spirited, comically protracted debate over the spoon-able fermented dairy product’s worthiness to wear the “state stack” mantle.
Given that yogurt production is big business in upstate New York and that the state is now, as the bill notes, “the number one processor of yogurt in the country,” you might expect it have slid smoothly through the Senate. In fact, after the bill, initiated by a class of fourth-graders (awww), was introduced for a vote by its sponsor, State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, things got a little messy.
by Amy Reiter in News, May 8th, 2014
What’s in Your “Cantry”? When you think of health food, you probably don’t think of reaching for your can opener. The Canned Food Alliance, a consortium of steel producers and can makers, is trying to change that. The alliance is in the midst of a full-on push to reposition canned foods as a convenient, healthy option; to lobby to ensure canned foods are included in federal programs; and to commission nutritional studies to underscore the wonders of canned food, sales of which have waned over the last decade. The industry wants consumers to embrace a new word, “cantry,” which it would like to see replace “pantry” in Americans’ vocabulary. “Cantry”? Well, I guess they can … try. [Reuters]
Everything Old Bay Is New Again: Old Bay Seasoning, now celebrating its 75th anniversary, is poised to break free of its Mid-Atlantic regional confines and claw its way, crablike, into the national spotlight. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog crunched the numbers on the spicy Maryland pantry (er, cantry?) staple and found that interest in it seems to be spiking. In fact, in recent years, Google-search interest in Old Bay Seasoning “has caught up to and appears to be surpassing interest in Tabasco for the first time,” Wonkblog reports. Impressive. Here’s hoisting a Flying Dog Dead Rise Old Bay Summer Ale in your honor, Old Bay. Yes, now you can get a beer that tastes like summer in Baltimore. No crab mallets needed. [Washington Post]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 7th, 2014
Now that spring is really and truly finally here (oh, please, let that be so), greenery is everywhere: on the trees, on our lawns and even in our blenders. Interest in green smoothies — healthy, hydrating blended drinks made with fresh leafy green vegetables, like spinach, kale, chard or collard greens, or green herbs, like mint, parsley, cilantro or basil — seems to be peaking, piqued, perhaps, by New York Times Recipes for Health columnist Martha Rose Shulman’s recent paean to verdant beverages.
Martha overcame her longtime reluctance to green drinks not long ago and dedicated herself to concocting some she could really relish, experimenting with fruits like bananas, pears, blueberries and pineapples, and ingredients like fresh ginger, which she said “made these drinks sing.”
“The drinks are loaded with phytonutrients and they’re filling,” she concluded. “They are definitely meals in a glass. When I was testing the recipes I enjoyed every sip and felt very energetic for hours afterward. So no more rolling my eyes: I’m a green smoothie convert.”
Martha’s zeal for green smoothies may be new, but plenty of bloggers have been singing their praises — and sharing tips and recipes — for some time.
by Amy Reiter in Events, News, May 6th, 2014
A recent poll conducted by Marketplace found that most people don’t tip and that those who do tip tend to give $1, though some just drop the change they’re handed right into the tip jar.
But should you tip your barista? And if so, how much? Those deeper questions seem to be open to ongoing debate. A recently released Starbucks app that allows customers to tip with their orders — .50 cents, $1 or $2 — would seem to imply that some tip is expected.
Some people argue you should always tip. Many etiquette experts insist that tipping baristas, who in many states make at least minimum wage, unlike, say, bartenders, who are paid a “server’s wage” on the understanding that they will make up for it in tips, is not required. But they also point out that it’s a nice thing to do, especially when someone carefully traces a picture in your cappuccino foam and hands it to you with a smile, gracefully fulfills your complicated order, or adds a little extra whipped or other frothy accessory to make your day a little brighter.
by Amy Reiter in News, May 4th, 2014
The James Beard Awards may often be referred to as “The Oscars of Food,” but like a meal worth lingering over and savoring, they may be even more sprawling and protracted.
On Friday, May 2, the James Beard Foundation’s 2014 Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards — sort of like the technical Oscars, only with higher dinner menu stakes — were handed out at a ceremony at Gotham Hall in New York City.
Among the winners was Food Network host Ina Garten, who won in the category of Outstanding Personality/Host for Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. Heartland Table host Amy Thielen was also honored; she collected a book award in the category of American Cooking, for her cookbook, The New Midwestern Table: 200 Heartland Recipes.
Then on Monday, May 5, the James Beard Foundation bestowed its 2014 Chef and Restaurant Awards at a gala event at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York. The master of ceremonies for the awards was Food Network’s own Ted Allen.
by Amy Reiter in Events, News, May 1st, 2014
You’ve been hearing for weeks about the Great Lime Shortage of 2014. Thanks to a crop disease affecting a lime-growing region of Mexico, the fruit’s supply has been limited here in the United States, and prices have tripled (yes) in three months. In early April, retail prices for limes climbed to 56 cents apiece — and if that doesn’t sound like much, here’s something to put it in perspective:
George Ortiz, who manages Chicago’s Adobo Grill, tells Bloomberg the fresh-squeezed lime juice in the Mexican restaurant’s margaritas is now more expensive than the tequila. While George says the restaurant spends about $23 on a bottle of tequila, the same amount of lime juice will set it back about $40, he estimates.
by Amy Reiter in News, May 1st, 2014
This year’s Daytime Emmy Award nominations are out, and the cooking-show sector was well represented among the nominees. Food Network was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with five nominations. Cooking Channel got four. PBS and syndicated culinary shows were also among the nominees in various categories.
Food Network’s Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction and Giada At Home, and Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli were nominated for Outstanding Culinary Program, as were PBS’s A Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, The Mind of a Chef and the syndicated Beer Geeks.
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis were both also nominated in the category of Outstanding Culinary Host for Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction and Giada At Home, respectively, as was Rachael Ray for her Food Network show Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day. The Mind of a Chef hosts April Bloomfield and Sean Brock shared a nomination, rounding out that category.
by Amy Reiter in News, May 1st, 2014
If you have not yet had a chance to check out this crazy and ultra-viral YouTube video (it has earned nearly three million page views in two days, with no sign of stopping) in which a tiny hamster hungrily devours two tiny, painstakingly prepared burritos, you should probably just drop everything and check it out right now. I’ll wait.
I’ll make it easy for you: Click here.
Cute stuff, right? The video’s genius lies, in part, in blending some of our favorite things: lovingly prepared, artfully presented food (crayon boxes count as art, right?) and adorable animals (unless you’re afraid of scurrying creatures, in which case, don’t watch it). That it has hit a collective sweet spot is no accident; the video was produced by Hello Denizen, the comedic content arm of Los Angeles-based social media agency Denizen, who are all about using the “social Web … to its full effect.”
The Singles Scene: Solo diners need not bother to ask for a table for one at Eenmaal, a new pop-up restaurant in Amsterdam. That’s because the sparsely decorated eatery features only tables for one — the better to relieve the social stigma of the solitary eater. The restaurant has no Wi-Fi, so diners can focus on their meals (four courses, organic and locally sourced, $48, including drink), though magazine and book reading is encouraged. “I wanted to show that a moment of disconnection, by eating out alone, sitting alone, can be attractive, especially in our hyperconnected society,” owner Marina van Goor told Bloomberg Businessweek. Plans are underway to expand later this year to cities including London, Berlin and the United States. [Bloomberg Businessweek]
Hybrid Watch: Two examples may be one shy of an official trend, but sweeping that aside, the next generation of hybrid foods appears to be all about the waffle. Dominique Ansel has just unveiled his new Waffogato, a dessert he describes on Instagram as a “vanilla ice cream waffle with Belgium waffle bits, slightly salted, and topped with maple-syrup espresso poured on top.” (Watch Wendy Williams scarf it down here.) And now a Chicago spot called Waffles Cafe is offering the Wonut: a half-waffle, half-doughnut creation available in flavors such as red velvet, vanilla and chocolate, as well as more outré offerings such as green tea and Mexican chocolate. Try experimenting with your waffle iron at home with Food Network’s 12 recipes for sweet and savory waffle mash-ups. [Wendy Williams and Foodbeast]