With childhood obesity so widespread—one third of America’s children are overweight—restaurants are beginning to take on some of the responsibility by offering healthier kids’ menus. The National Restaurant Association recently initiated Kids LiveWell, a program that helps parents identify restaurants with healthier options. Other initiatives are motivating kids to be more active, most notably First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.
Not all the excitement in hotel cocktail programs is behind the bar. A number of hotel properties around the country are entertaining and educating customers with myriad mixology classes. The popular cocktail classes mix history, liquor basics, hands-on technique and plenty of tasting.
At Jose Andres’ The Bazaar at SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, mixologist Rob Floyd launched a monthly educational series called Cocktail Fundamentals. Priced $75 per person, past themes have included From Russia with Love, focusing on vodka, and Pirate Juice and You, featuring rum.
Chefs in other parts of the country are often envious of their peers cooking in the Napa Valley. After all, local foods and wines are superlative and bountiful and the climate, balmy. But even in this idyllic setting, spring can be a tease.
Every couple of months, the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based Saladworks introduces a limited time “named” salad. The SpringFit ($6.99)—a mix of lettuces fresh-tossed with chicken, egg whites, snow peas, carrots, almonds and grapes—is currently running until the end of May at all 106 locations. Here’s how it came to be.
If you’re balking at the wholesale price of 12-ounce center-cut steaks and extra-thick loin chops—and your customers are too—it’s time to rethink the protein portion of your menu. Meat is going to remain high through 2013, according to top economic indicators. “Wholesale prices are the same or up to 5 percent higher for beef and pork than last year,” says Bill Hahn, economist with the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From Turkish kabobs and Greek gyros to Mexican tacos and Indian flatbreads, street vendors the world over have forever been selling hearty snacks-to-go. Now Americans have more options to sit down and enjoy these global foods—sometimes with knife and fork in hand.
Susan Feniger’s Street
San Diego-based Burger Lounge has gained a devoted following for its handcrafted grass-fed-beef burgers. But for the better burger chain’s limited time seasonal specials, culinary director Jim Little decided to get a little wilder.
Tea is the most consumed beverage, after water, in the world. Here in the U.S., however, coffee rules. That may change. On any given day, about half of the American population drinks a cup of tea, according to the Tea Association of the USA, with the greatest concentration of tea drinkers in the South and Northeast. They like it cool, too; 85 percent of tea consumed is iced and much of that is RTD (ready to drink). Of the hot stuff, 65 percent is brewed from bags, but loose tea is gaining popularity.
The popularity of the sandwich shows no signs of stopping, as operators move beyond old standbys and present consumers with ethnic flavorings, gourmet ingredients and toppings, and new carrier options—everything from flavored wraps to waffles.
Au Bon Pain
Richard Sandoval’s Zengo launched a Test Kitchen series last fall to explore different cuisines. The most recent promotion focused on Argentina and the Philippines. Four plates are featured, including a starter of Filipino Lumpia Spring Rolls with a Latin twist. The items appear with a “TK” symbol on the menu.
This past October, during the height of the season, chef Barton Seaver, a National Geographic fellow and leading advocate for sustainable fishing practices, purchased what he thought was Maryland blue crab from one of his favorite seafood suppliers.
Turns out, what Seaver thought was “beautiful giant lumps of crab meat” from Maryland was in fact from a crab of Asian descent, discovered after he had already prepared crab cakes, which Seaver notes, had a “lingering chemical acidity and muted flavor.”