Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants: What They Are and How They Work

by in News, Restaurants, May 17th, 2015

Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants: What They Are and What You Need to KnowYou, like me, may not have paid much attention to the particulars of pay-what-you-want restaurants. Perhaps you’re vaguely aware that they exist, but you’re unsure of how, precisely, the whole sliding-scale, honor-system concept plays out when put into practice.

Helpfully, Eater has published a blog post called How Do Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants Work?, which explains how eateries like SAME Café, a “pay what you can” restaurant in Denver, pay the bills even though not all customers are paying full price for their meals.

Here are four key facts to take away (no payment necessary):

1. Most pay-what-you-want (PWYW) restaurants look like other regular eateries — with tables, menus, ways to order and places to pay. The difference is that you can pay the amount that you are capable of paying, if you cannot afford to pay full fare, or even work (helping to wash dishes or prep meals, say) in exchange for your food. You can also pay more than the value of your meal, to help defray the cost of those who may need to pay less.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Best Tomato Soup Ever — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, May 17th, 2015

Best Tomato Soup EverWhile soup is surely a warming winter comfort food, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a hearty bowl in the spring and summer months too. When it comes to #notsaddesklunches, make-and-take meals like reheatable soups are a go-to option, and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week from Ree Drummond is no exception. Laced with cream and finished with fresh, fragrant herbs, this big-batch soup will surely fill you up. Plus, since Ree opts for cans of tomatoes instead of off-the-vine beauties, you don’t have to wait until tomato season to make her simple recipe.

For more must-try meal ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

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Portable & Patriotic: Memorial Day Pasta Salads

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 16th, 2015

On a day like Memorial Day, classic American dishes deserve special attention. And since no cookout is complete without a bevy of seasonal sides, it’s only right to show your patriotism by including a national staple: pasta salad. Celebrate the holiday weekend with any of these five summer pasta salads guaranteed to feed a crowd. Planning a picnic? No problem. These recipes are mayo-free and perfect for toting to the park.

Garden Pasta with Bocconcini (above)
When it comes to pasta salad, campanelle, Italian for “little bell,” is often overlooked. This pasta has a lovely flower-evoking shape that’s incredibly festive for a summer party or picnic. Though campanelle may look delicate, it’s just as hearty as penne and fusilli — the more-common pasta salad stars. Here, it’s tossed with substantial vegetables and bocconcini for an ample summer side.

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Compound Butters Will Make Any Dish a Fancy (and Flavorful) Treat

by in Recipes, May 16th, 2015

Sweet Fruit Compound ButterOn its own butter is, of course, a most decadent ingredient, full of rich, creamy and (sometimes) salty flavors. But beyond its indulgence, butter is also endlessly versatile, which means that it can be used as a finishing condiment as well as a fat with which to cook, and it pairs well with both sweet and savory tastes. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed how simple it is to start with your everyday sticks of butter — both salted and unsalted — and turn them into compound butter, which is simply a fancy name for flavored butter.

The key to making compound butters is starting with room-temperature butter; this will ensure that when you add the extra ingredients, like nuts, fruit jams or herbs, the butter will quickly absorb them and become one unified product. Once those additions are fully incorporated, it’s best to roll up the butter into logs and refrigerate it, so you can easily spread or saute with as you would ordinary butter.

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Win Memorial Day with 12 Amazing Hot Dog Toppings

by in Holidays, Recipes, May 15th, 2015


Grilling season officially kicks off next weekend, and we’re here to make sure your Memorial Day cookout is better than ever. Start with one of the simplest things you could possibly throw on the grill: hot dogs. There are probably a million possible hot dog combinations. First you’ve got your bun options: honey wheat, potato, bolillo, baguette. Then you’ve got your options for sauce, cheese, veggies and other toppings. Finally, you’ve got your choices for the dog itself: veggie, chicken, Ball Park Frank, organic grass-fed beef … and sausages, oh, the sausages! Actually, all hot dogs are sausages, but we tend to put the spicier variety in its own category.

Summer party spreads like picnics and potlucks are an excellent opportunity to put your creative snacking skills to use and experiment with inventing new and exciting hot dog combinations, or host a summer soiree with a preloaded DIY hot dog bar to get your guests’ juices flowing.

Check out the full gallery for all 12 unexpected hot dog toppings.

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Local Flavor: Awesome Avocado Dishes in LA

by in Recipes, Restaurants, May 15th, 2015

Avocados are having a moment right now in all corners of the country, but nowhere are they more prevalent or more delicious than in Southern California. Food Network’s new original Web series Local Flavor follows a city’s local ingredient to three restaurants that prepare it three different ways. In Los Angeles, it’s all about the avocado. Start with avocado fries at 3 Square Café, check out one of the best avocado toasts in the business at Superba Food & Bread, and sip an Avocado Project cocktail at Picca Peru. Play the video above for the ultimate LA avocado tour.

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QUIZ: Which Destination Is Your Best Bet for Summer BBQ?

by in Restaurants, May 15th, 2015

Barbecue is a huge part of summer eats. It’s hard to find any outdoor gathering during the warmer months that doesn’t include sauce-slathered ribs, tender brisket or at least some smoked chops. And while you’ve probably got your favorite local joint, the options across the country are only increasing. Barbecue has become a highly respected cuisine in America, with spots serving up everything from bigger-than-your-head ribs to classic blue plate specials. Take the quiz below to find out where you should venture to get the best ‘cue this summer.

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What to Watch: Great Party Recipes and A Birthday Cake Bake-Off on Spring Baking Championship

by in Shows, May 15th, 2015

Spring Baking ChampionshipStart off your weekend with new episodes of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen and The Kitchen this Saturday morning on Food Network. Join Trisha Yearwood as she cooks up a perfect meal to help jump-start a healthy diet with dishes like Kale and Chorizo Soup and Smashed Sweet Pea Burgers. Then, the cast of The Kitchen is showing off their new deck plus great seasonal recipes and cooking tips. On Sunday, kick off the day with Giada De Laurentiis as she hosts a modern-day tea party on Giada at Home. Then, on Farmhouse Rules, Nancy Fuller has a lineup of artsy appetizers for a special cocktail party she’s catering in town.

The competition fun begins Sunday night at 8|7c with a fresh episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. Watch Spring Baking Championship at 9|8c to see which bakers come out on top in a birthday cake competition. Lastly, catch a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen and watch as chefs try to make meatballs in a ball pit and a teriyaki dinner while on a seesaw, and more.

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