by Amy Reiter in Events, News, May 6th, 2014
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.”
by Amy Reiter in News, April 30th, 2014
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]
by Amy Reiter in News, April 28th, 2014
What’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.
by Amy Reiter in News, April 26th, 2014
A 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]
by Amy Reiter in News, April 25th, 2014
The 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]
by Amy Reiter in News, April 24th, 2014
A 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]
I 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]