All Posts In News

A Veggie Rap, the Greatest Grills and Cookbooks on the Map

by in News, April 10th, 2014

Margherita PizzaVeg Out: Do you like vegetables? So does the guy who wrote this rap. Singer-songwriter Parry Gripp and animator Yusuf Iqbal have teamed up to bring the world “I Like Vegetables.” Sample lyrics: “Call Dr. Phil and warn Oprah. I’m gonna eat up all of the okra! I’m notorious. I’m nefarious. I don’t spare one spear of asparagus.” Listen, laugh and then go out there and get crazy on a Brussels sprout. [Parry Gripp via Mashable]

Everything but the Grill? Finally, the long winter is over and it’s getting on toward grill season. If you’re shopping for a new grill on which to cook your meat, fish or veggies (perhaps some nefarious asparagus?) and looking for guidance, AmazingRibs.com, a website dedicated to “the science of BBQ and grilling,” has doled out its Best Value Awards to the 10 charcoal grills, 10 gas grills and 10 backyard smokers it considers the “best of breed in their price category.” Helpful. And once you get your grill, you’ll for sure want to check out Food Network’s Grilling Central and FN Dish Grilling and BBQ posts for recipes and ideas to get you fired up. [AmazingRibs.com via Huffington Post]

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Kosher-for-Passover Quinoa, Scent-Emitting Forks and Lemon-Eating Babies

by in News, April 9th, 2014

LemonsQuinoa Gets a Seat at the Seder Table: Those who adhere to the traditional dietary laws of Passover by avoiding the grains wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt, and swapping leavened bread for matzo, may be interested to know that they have a new option this year: quinoa. For the first time, the Orthodox Union, the authority on all things kosher, has given its “kosher for Passover” seal of approval to certain brands of the ubiquitous superfood. “It’s healthy and tasty, and there’s nothing wrong with eating it on Passover,” rabbi, food historian and cookbook author Gil Marks told NPR’s The Salt. He recommends making stuffed cabbage with quinoa — or using it in matzo ball soup for “protein and body.” It goes well with your grandma’s brisket too. [NPR's The Salt]

What the Fork? Montreal-based MOLECULE-R Flavors Inc. is now marketing a “revolutionary new fork” that emits a scent to make users think they’re eating flavors like ginger, coffee, chocolate or bananas — or, for that matter, lychee, passion fruit, jalapeno, wasabi or truffle. It’s perfect, its maker maintains, for cooks who accidentally forget to add a key ingredient while cooking. “It works by having a capsule of ‘liquid aroma’ underneath the fork’s handle, which is then soaked through a small circle of blotting paper and released gradually as the owner eats their meal,” the company explains in a video introducing the Aromafork. “The user has to apply the ‘taste’ each time using a dropper and put a piece of blotting paper in place.” And you thought the spork pushed the boundaries of good taste. [Molecule-R via Huffington Post]

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Thwarted Cronut® Cravings, Smiley-Face Tip Trick and the Dirt on Dirt

by in News, April 7th, 2014

TippingDelayed Gratification for Cronut® Cravers: After being shuttered by the New York Department of Health on Friday for a “severe mouse infestation” — apparently one little critter was recently videotaped darting across the bakery floor as workers went about their business — Dominique Ansel Bakery, home of the Cronut®, did not open its doors on Monday, disappointing hungry hybrid pastry fans. But after the staff “worked tirelessly” to reconstruct, re-cement and re-fortify, the bakery passed its DOE inspection late Monday and was given the go-ahead to reopen on Tuesday morning. As a nod to its triumph in the face of adversity, the bakery is serving a special Rocky Cronut®, which Eater describes as “a black passion fruit caramelia chocolate Cronut® with a gold star on top.” In a Facebook post, the bakery team said it had listened to the movie theme song all weekend as it did its work. [Gothamist/Eater]

What Turns Us Into Big Tippers: In response to an apparent increase in restaurants with no-tipping policies, the New Republic looked at the ways in which, according to various studies, patrons’ generosity when tipping has little to do with the service they receive. For instance, people tend to tip more when the server touches them or crouches next to their table, when the server is blond, and when a female server wears a hair ornament, wears red or draws a smiley face on their checks. Interestingly, while waitresses who drew smiley faces got bigger tips — :) — male servers who did the same got smaller ones. :( [New Republic]

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Texas-Size Final Four Food, Scientifically Accurate Planet Cakes and Is Coffee Flour the Next Big Thing?

by in News, April 4th, 2014

Jupiter Cake by CakecrumbsFinal Four Food, Texas-Size: NCAA basketball fans heading to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to watch the Final Four games probably expect to have their eyes glued to the court, but Legends Culinary Team, which provides the stadium’s food, is doing its best to distract them. Among the foods on offer: the Texas Triple Double Sandwich, which includes a burger and a fried chicken breast and bacon, as well as garden veggies, caramelized onions and aged cheddar. The Champion Chicken and Waffles Sandwich comes piled with onion rings, pepper jack cheese, bacon and pecan-maple mayo and is nestled between two waffles shaped like Texas. Way to hog the ball, guys. [ThePostGame]

Out of This World: Want to see what just might be the coolest cakes in the universe? Australian self-taught baker and cake decorator (and zoology grad) Rhiannon, who blogs at Cakecrumbs, has devised a set of spherical concentric layer cakes that fit together to accurately depict the planets Jupiter (pictured above) and Earth in their entirety, from the outside in. You can cut through the frosted outer atmosphere to reveal the crust, mantle and core. Try making yourself with these step-by-step instructions and a video tutorial. 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … [Cakecrumbs via Wait, Wow!]

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President’s “Killer” Sandwich, Hipster Coffee and a Flying Brisket Pinata

by in News, April 4th, 2014

Reuben SandwichHello, Deli: Zingerman’s Deli has ardent fans in high places — for example, the White House. Before giving a speech Wednesday at the University of Michigan about raising the minimum wage, President Obama took in a little local flavor, stopping by the Ann Arbor eatery to highlight the fact that owner Paul Saginaw pays workers there more than the minimum wage. While there, the POTUS also enjoyed the deli’s “classic #2″ Reuben sandwich (get the recipe here), which he later declared to have been “killer.” [@Zingermans via Huffington Post]

“Half-Caff”? Big Laugh: In the hands of hipsters, a humble cup o’ joe can seem like the most-pretentious thing in the world. But while hearing someone order a “double upside-down mocha macchiato with soy, low-fat, no fat, no lid” that also tastes “like Christmas” may be profoundly irritating if you’re standing behind him or her in line and late for work, over-the-top coffee orders are pretty funny (a latte fun?) when you watch them being sent up by the sketch comedians at Nacho Punch. Watch “Hipsters Love Coffee” here. [Nacho Punch]

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Prince Harry Serves Chicken, Ozzy Issues Warning and Peeps Doughnuts

by in News, April 3rd, 2014

Peeps DoughnutsChicken a la Prince: What does a handsome prince serve when he gets together with his mates? If you are expecting Champagne and lobster, caviar and gold-flecked chocolates, you’ll be royally disappointed. At a “private little get-together” at his members-only London club on Monday night, Prince Harry served his rugby pals a humble, peasant-worthy meal of chicken and fries, albeit washed down with a nice white wine. Maybe the fries were flecked with gold? [Entertertainmentwise]

And Speaking of Princes: Prince of Darkness Ozzy Osbourne has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Baltimore-based brewers of Ozzy beer, a Belgian-style pale ale. Ozzy beer comes in cans featuring a fist with O, Z, Z and Y tattooed below the knuckles — much like Ozzy’s own hand tattoo. Also pictured: a bat, an animal the Black Sabbath singer once famously bit the head off during a concert. According to the The Baltimore Sun, despite the letter, the beer was still for sale as of last week — and orders had increased. [The Baltimore Sun]

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Nifty Google Food Trick, Free Coffee and Communal Tables — Yea or Nay?

by in News, April 2nd, 2014

Free CoffeeWho Needs Privacy? Whether you adore eating with strangers or abhor it, communal tables that compel you to do just that are increasingly common in restaurants. They’ve come “full circle from the utilitarian cafeteria to the gourmet dining room and back to mainstream casual fast food restaurants and cafes,” writes Adee Braun in The Atlantic. Restaurant owners like them because they allow for more diners and create a sense of shared energy. But, warns Adee, “Diners and drinkers will only tolerate being squished around a table with strangers if they can choose from this menu of situations: a) if booze is involved, b) if there is interesting food to entertain them or c) if it’s entirely acceptable to ignore their tablemates.” What do you think about sharing elbow space with strangers in restaurants? [The Atlantic]

Search Trick Helps You Compare and Contrast: Want to compare apples and oranges, or pasta and rice, or ice cream and chocolate chip cookies? Google has a search feature that lets you do side-by-side comparisons of the calories, carbs and sugars in, as well as other nutritional information about, almost any two foods you type in preceded by “compare” and separated by “and” — or in some cases, without the “compare” and simply separated by “vs.” A Redditor discovered the nifty search trick and shared the news a few weeks ago, prompting one commenter to remark that celery vs. cake yields no chart. If you have to ask. [Reddit via NPR's The Salt]

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The Problem with “Sell-By” Dates

by in News, April 1st, 2014

The Problem with When you clean out your fridge or pantry, some things obviously need to go. That old cheese that’s sprouted a greenish-black tuft of hair? That ancient container of broccoli that smells like something you’d rather not describe — or ever smell again? Those clearly belong in the garbage can — outside — several yards away.

But what about the foods that look and smell fine, but have “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” “best-before” or “enjoy-by” dates that have come and gone? You should probably pitch those, too, right?

Not so fast. While most of us probably treat the dates on our food packaging as gospel, they are, it turns out, highly unreliable indicators of freshness. “Basically made up,” Smithsonian Magazine says. “Unclear” and “useless,” the Washington Post sniffs. “Inconsistent and confusing,” Climate Progress notes.

In a report released in September 2013 by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, “The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America,” the authors point out that dates on food labels that purport to tell us whether its contents are fresh, or — uh — not so fresh, are “surprisingly under-regulated.”

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National Something on a Stick Day: It’s Not Too Late to Celebrate

by in News, March 29th, 2014

National Something on a Stick DayDiscerning eaters probably never need an excuse to eat something on a stick, but if they did, it was provided on Friday, March 28, when our proud nation celebrated National Something on a Stick Day.

If you missed this important annual holiday, you may be forgiven. There were no parades, no politicians giving speeches about the proud history and cultural importance of food on a stick, no days off from school or work — though of course there ought to have been all those things.

But even though skewered food’s official day has slipped past without the tremendous fanfare it deserved, the desire to consume the comestibles it honors has stuck. Because food is just more fun when it’s stuck to a stick.

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Cupcake ATM, Artisanal Ice Cubes, Why Beer Belongs at Your Barbecue

by in News, March 28th, 2014

CupcakesCupcake Lovers’ Dream Come True: Sprinkles bakery, which has installed 24/7 cupcake dispensers in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Beverly Hills (celebs apparently love ‘em), has now brought the sweetly convenient concept to the city that never sleeps (and consequently never stops craving baked goods). New York’s first Cupcake ATM opened for business Tuesday on the Upper East Side, dispensing frosted treats to the hungry hordes for $4.25 a pop. On Tuesday night, David Letterman used the news as grist for his Top 10 list, sharing “things overheard in line for the Cupcake ATM.” No. 7: “My PIN number is also my cholesterol level.” Ba-dum-bum. [Gothamist]

No Ordinary Ice Cube: There’s a new trend in the cocktail biz: artisanal ice cubes. The Half Step cocktail bar in Austin regards the ice in its drinks as a work of art, hand-cutting every piece of ice it serves using special equipment and storing the “harvested” ice in a dedicated shed. The bar’s founder, Chris Bostick, tells Zagat that a well-cut cube is the key to making “a three-ingredient cocktail memorable.” Watch the Half Step’s handcrafted ice take shape here. [Zagat]

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