All Posts In News

And the World’s Best Restaurant Is …

by in News, April 30th, 2014

World's 50 Best RestaurantsWhat’s the best restaurant in the world? In the estimation of the judges who bestow the prestigious S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards (aka fine dining’s Oscars), that distinction now belongs to the Danish restaurant Noma. Chef-owner René Redzepi’s Copenhagen dining establishment, which last year landed at No. 2 on the annual list, organized by the U.K.’s Restaurant magazine, has retaken the top honors for what the committee called “mould-breaking Nordic food that takes nature’s bounty to new levels.”

Accepting the award at a ceremony in London on Monday night, René called the accolade “too … crazy!” He said he and the staff had worked hard to make this year their best. “Thank you for believing in us.”

Rounding out the top 10 were, in order from top to bottom, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain (last year’s winner, moving down a spot to No. 2); Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy (holding steady at No. 3); Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York (moving up one spot to No. 4); Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in London; Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain; D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil; Arzak in San Sebastián, Spain; Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago (moving up to No. 9 from No. 15); and The Ledbury in London.

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3,300-year-old beer, DNA-coded olive oil and DIY food porn

by in News, April 28th, 2014

Olive OilA Well-Aged Brew: Psst. Want to try some 3,300-year-old beer found in the bottom of a coffin? That might not sound so appetizing, but a little context may help. The drink is inspired by an ancient fermented liquid — made of wheat grains, pollen, malt, honey, bog myrtle and cranberries — found in a bark bucket next to the remains of a well-preserved Bronze Age teen known as Egtved Girl. The National Museum of Denmark has teamed up with Skands Brewery to re-create the beverage, marketing it as Egtved Girl’s Brew (Egtvedpigens Bryg — 5.5% ABV). Guess there was no minimum drinking age back in the Bronze Age. [Past Horizons]

An Olive Oil Breakthrough: Wild. In order to ensure that expensive olive oils are genuine and not counterfeit, scientists in Zurich, Switzerland, have come up with ways to “tag” oils using teensy magnetic DNA particles that are encapsulated in silica and mixed into the oil. The tags contain information about the oil, such as its source and quality, and can be analyzed with the help of these particles if counterfeiting (apparently a big business) is suspected. “The method is equivalent to a label that cannot be removed,” Robert Grass, lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at ETH Zurich, told R&D Magazine. The tags are inexpensive, easy to make and safe to eat. [R&D Magazine via Popular Science]

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High-Tech Coffee Mug, Alcohol-Related Eating and the Best Gas Grills

by in News, April 26th, 2014

High-Tech Coffee MugsThe Humble Mug-Side Message Goes High-Tech: It may be time to retire your old “Hang in There” or “World’s Best Boss” coffee mugs. Finnish coffee company Paulig has come up with a creative way for you to mix things up a little, mugwise. Its new Muki mug features a heat-powered epaper screen connected to a special app that not only indicates when your coffee is the right temperature to drink, but also allows you to upload and display different photos, comic strips, inspirational quotes or messages sent by friends. Watch a video showing the mug in action here. Cool … or, er, hot! [YouTube via Business Insider]

“Bottoms Up!” = Bigger Bottoms? The key to losing weight may be not only eating less, but drinking less too. Drinking more than three large glasses of wine may spur people to consume about 6,300 extra calories over the next 24 hours, according to a new British report. A little more than half of the 2,042 people surveyed said they tended to binge on fast food after drinking — not just while they were feeling the effects of the alcohol, but the next day as well. Dr. Jacquie Lavin, head of nutrition and research at the U.K.-based weight-loss organization Slimming World, which commissioned the survey, blames the loosening effect of alcohol on self-control. Plus, she said, “Alcohol makes the food even more rewarding. It tastes good and feels even better than it would do normally.” [BBC News]

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America’s First Cat Cafe, a Titanic Menu and Chicken Pot Pie in a Cone

by in News, April 25th, 2014

America's First Cat CafeA Purrfect Cup: Considering the fact that it combines two of our nation’s collective obsessions — cats and coffee — under one (temporary) roof, it’s probably no surprise to read reports that a pop-up shop that’s being billed as America’s first cat cafe, which brings to the U.S. a concept that’s already a hit in other countries, has had lines out the door since opening in New York’s East Village on Thursday morning. (Watch a Livestream from inside the cafe here.) Patrons of the Purina-sponsored cafe will not only be able to drink their Cat’achinos — cappuccinos customized with kitty faces — and fraternize with a bunch of felines, they will also be able to adopt cats from a local animal shelter and get expert advice about cat health and behavior. It’s open only until Sunday, April 27, though, so if you want to check it out, don’t pussyfoot around. [Business Insider]

Going Once, Going Twice: An artifact both sad and rare — a second-class menu from the Titanic — will be offered for auction on Saturday by British auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son. Written on a 3-by-5-inch postcard dated April 11, 1812, and featuring a prophetic note (“Good voyage up to now”) written by one of the oldest crew members to have survived when the ship went down, Jacob Gibbons, the menu reveals that passengers traveling aboard the ill-fated ship dined on foods including potato hash, ham, eggs and oatmeal. Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge told ABC News that he’s sold several first-class Titanic menus during his 20 years in the business, but second-class menus are far more rare. It is expected to fetch $150,000 on the block. [ABC News]

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Veggie Ice Cream, Dining-Room Rug Rules and a Problem-Solving 3D-Printed Ketchup Cap

by in News, April 24th, 2014

Dining-Room Rug RulesI Scream, You Scream: Vegetable-flavored ice cream? Could be terrible or terrific. Ice cream eaters in Japan will get to decide for themselves on May 12 when Haagen-Dazs Japan plans to release two new flavors — Tomato Cherry and Carrot Orange — as part of a new “Spoon Vege” series. The new varieties will contain 8.5 percent milk-fat, a little over half the usual content in Haagen-Dazs ice creams — so if you ever get the chance to try them, you can convince yourself they’re a healthy dessert choice. Just so long as they don’t try, like, broccoli-lime or spinach-kiwi next. Or, well, actually … [Rocket News 24 via UPI]

Banish Dining-Room Floor Bareness: To rug or not to rug? That is the question we all face when we decorate our dining rooms. On the one hand, rugs are warm and homey and inviting, all things you want when you gather friends and family around a table; on the other, crumbs and spills. Apartment Therapy has entered the debate and come down solidly on the side of rugs, which, the site says, “don’t have to be an impractical choice” if you follow a few rules when making your selection. For instance? Choose something that has a low pile (it will soften dish clinks so you can better hear conversation) and a pattern (the better to hide stains), as well as something that is big enough for all the chairs to fit on and is cheap. Sounds like solid advice. [Apartment Therapy]

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Backfiring Food Rules, a $2,000 Tasting Menu and the Question McDonald’s No Longer Asks

by in News, April 23rd, 2014

Backfiring Food RulesThe Pitfalls of Family Food Rules: Most of the time, a graham cracker is just a graham cracker, but when children are asked to click a computer mouse like mad to get one, as in a recent series of experiments, or decide how many of them to eat when they are given restricted access to them, it becomes the marker of a “reactive eater” and a clue that, while genetics and biology may play a role in children who are strongly motivated by food, food rules imposed at home may also factor in. “The message is that restriction is counterproductive — it just doesn’t work very well,” Brandi Rollins, the Penn State postdoctoral researcher who led the studies, told the New York Times. “Restriction just increases a child’s focus and intake of the food that the parent is trying to restrict.” Bottom line: It’s better not to put junk food out of reach on a high shelf, but rather not have it in the house at all. [The New York Times]

The Planet’s Priciest Eatery? Considering all the things you could do with $2,078, even hard-core foodies might pause before paying that much per person for a meal. Even for a 20-course tasting menu that promises to combine food, art and technology to create a “complete and unprecedented emotional experience.” Regardless, that’s apparently what Sublimotion, a restaurant opening on May 18 at the new five-star Hard Rock Hotel in Playa d’en Bossa, on Ibiza, under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero, is charging, making it what the Daily Mail is calling “the most expensive restaurant on the planet.” Enjoyed by only 12 guests each night, the meal “will cause a stir among the most-neglected senses,” a spokesman told the tabloid. “From moments of humor, pleasure, fear, reflection and nostalgia, diners will be wandering through a world of sensations from the North Pole where they will enjoy a cold snack that they carve on their own iceberg or to the baroque Versailles where the elegance of a rose is sure to melt in their palate.” At those prices, you’d think they’d get someone to carve your cold snack for you. [Daily Mail]

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Earth Day Dinners, Powdered Alcohol and a Couple of Costly Tacos

by in News, April 22nd, 2014

Earth Day DinnersHappy Earth Day: Today, in case you were unaware, is Earth Day. And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate it, you might consider hosting an Earth Dinner. Plan a meal that focuses on local, seasonal and organic ingredients, then learn as much as you can about your food — where it comes from, who farmed it, the history of the ingredients and the dishes you’re making from those ingredients. Then try to engage your guests — or your family — in a conversation about food and sustainability. You can download a booklet containing great discussion questions — “What’s your earliest food memory?” or “Describe your spiciest food experience,” for instance — an “Earth Dinner Toolkit” and other information here. [EarthDinner.org via Living Green Magazine]

Hard Facts About Food Texture: Texture may play a bigger role in how we consume food — and mess up our diets — than many of us realize. The authors of a new study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, examined “the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming.” Participants in five studies were given foods to taste that were hard, soft, rough or smooth. Then the participants were asked to estimate the calorie content. One study found that people who were not asked about calorie count who were given soft brownies ate more of them than those given hard brownies, but people who were asked about calorie content ate more hard brownies than soft ones. “Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices,” the authors conclude. [EurekAlert via Tech Times]

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History of the Belgian Waffle and Inside the Candy Egg Factory

by in News, April 19th, 2014

WafflesAll’s Fair in Love of Waffles: This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, New York. Did you know we can thank the fair for popularizing the Belgian waffle, in all its whipped cream- and strawberry-covered wonder? The treat was first sold — for $1 — at the fair’s Belgian Village, where it was called the Bel-Gem Waffle, and later by vendors throughout the fair. “For historical purists, the Belgian waffle was actually introduced at a 1958 Paris expo, and migrated to America for the Seattle Fair of 1962,” the New York Daily News reports. “When it got to New York it was still called the Brussels Waffle, which was changed when some reasoned that Americans associated ‘Brussels’ not with the capital of Belgium, but ‘Brussels sprouts.’ The name was tweaked and the rest is World’s Fair history.” Now you know. [New York Daily News]

Baskets at the Ready: Everyone knows Peeps have their die-hard fans, but there are those who vastly prefer the foil-wrapped, chocolate-covered, goo-filled springtime confection known as the Cadbury Creme Egg. Not that Easter candy is a zero-sum (zero-yum?) game. Cadbury parent company Mondelēz International, Inc. produces 350 million such eggs a year — and, no, there isn’t a giant coop full of chocolate-covered, goo-filled chickens doing the work. Wired has ventured behind the scenes at a Cadbury factory in Birmingham, England, to reveal how it does its eggcellent work. The eggs’ cream filling is made of “sugar, water, glucose, and a proprietary goo called ‘blended syrup’ — and free-range-egg powder,” the mag reports. “The ‘white’ and the ‘yolk’ have nearly identical ingredients, but the yellow contains food coloring.” Made year-round, the eggs are sold only from January to Easter, so fans may want to hop to it. [Wired]

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Could a Snack Save Your Marriage?

by in News, April 18th, 2014

Peanut Butter CookiesHere’s some satisfying news for those who get super crabby when they’re hungry and take it out on their spouses (if not for those poor, long-suffering spouses themselves). Scientific research has now determined that being “hangry” — hungry plus angry — is actually a real phenomenon, which means you have a total excuse to storm around and fume about random trivial things until someone — Anyone? Hello! — hands you a cracker or a piece of fruit. Or, well, if not an excuse, at least an explanation for that altogether charming behavior.

“People are often the most aggressive against the people to whom they are closest — intimate partners. Intimate partner violence might be partly a result of poor self-control. Self-control of aggressive impulses requires energy, and much of this energy is provided by glucose derived from the food we eat,” researchers explain in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) under the headline “Low glucose relates to greater aggression in married couples.”

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Doughnuts Near You and New Uses for Chip Cans

by in News, April 17th, 2014

Italian DoughnutsThe Great Gefilte Fish Shortage of 2014: The Passover Seders have come and gone, and many families, it seems, had to do without a holiday staple: gefilte fish. The oval fish patties — often made from whitefish, as well as carp and perhaps pike, mullet or even salmon — are in short supply this year, The New York Times reports, because of icy conditions on the Great Lakes and in western Canada. “In all my years making gefilte fish, it has never been this bad,” said Benzion Raskin, owner of Brooklyn’s BenZ’s Gourmet, which has been turning away customers. “I can’t remember a time with so little fish.” There are those who love gefilte fish and those who love to hate it — and then there are those who eat it for unusual reasons. “It may taste like cat food,” locavore fish store owner Peter Shelsky told the Times, “but that’s why I love it.” [The New York Times]

Craving Doughnuts? There’s an App for That: You may never have another doughnut emergency. A new app called Doughbot promises to keep you just a tap away from finding “every doughnut shop in your area” — whether you’re looking for “old-school shops or hipster-hyped cronut purveyors” — with directions, reviews and Instagram-powered galleries. “I was amazed at how many donut places are in walking distance from my office,” enthused one user. Fun, though perhaps not the best app for dieters. [iTunes via Huffington Post]

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