Food Posts

Chocolatiers of New York

It seems that the bean-to-bar chocolate movement is going strong in the United States. Every week, new chocolate makers arrive on the scene, and there are even organizations devoted to the pursuit of bean-to-bear chocolate making. Everything about the enterprise sounds delightful, no?

The movement has grown at a rate of 63% a year since 2004, and there’s plenty to learn about it. Many small batch manufacturers, like the Mast Brothers in Brooklyn are making delightful, high quality chocolates that you’re sure to appreciate.

Let’s talk a bit more about what bean-to-bar chocolate is all about. It means, basically, that a company makes chocolate directly from the beans, rather than buying chocolate and making its bars from that. This leads to a few things. As you might guess, this builds a relationship between the farmer and the chocolate maker, and it also creates sustainable and ethical relations of production.

This means that the producer pays more than fair trade rates, and this ensures a commitment to the communities on the other side of the production chain. It also says something about the quality of the chocolate, if the producer is able to choose the beans first-hand. This way, the producer controls everything. And it tastes better.

The flavors from the beans are preserved this way, and the taste is distinctive. This is the same type of quality that you might think about in terms of wine or coffee, and as you may not know, scientists have discovered more than 600 different flavors in chocolate. And the bean-to-bar chocolate is the best way to get a sense of this.

There are numerous bean-to-bar chocolate makers around the country, and you’re sure to love the variety of products that are produced this way. So, if you try it, you may be hooked pretty soon. And we recommend getting hooked on something this delicious, for sure.

The best chocolate shops in New York include LI-LAC, which has been around for 100 years and is located in the West Village, and Jacques Torres, which opened its doors in DUMBO before the Shake Shack …

Food and Snacks Found at Festivals

When you head out to outdoor festivals this year, you want to make sure that you are eating all the favorite snacks and treats at these festivals. There is something wonderful about going to these festivals, but you need to make sure you are going on a hunt for food that is going to bring you some delicious flavors.…

You Say You Want a Food Revolution

There’s always something groundbreaking in every new generation.  Could it be that this generation’s breakthrough is food?  It seems more and more that young people are cooking for themselves and indulging in gourmet fare, and not just in in the name of health. Some are still skimping on that aspect, but when it comes to flavor.

It could be a flash in the pan (no pun intended) or me needing more friends, but I feel like college students and young professionals are starting to become more adept at preparing their own meals.

The stereotype was once mac-and-cheese, out of a box.  Now it’s macaroni, with a mozzarella-provolone mix, asparagus, bacon, roasted tomatoes, accompanied by Gruyere crust.

Even the hamburger is no longer junk food, or even fast-food for that matter.  It’s become something that requires skill and a variety of gourmet toppings.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the increasing popularity of places like Bobby’s Burger Palace, and Bareburger.

The pizza place as well, has become more than just about grabbing a slice and a fountain soda.  Pizzerias featuring unique toppings and expansive beer lists are popping up everywhere, such as the successful Pizzeria Paradiso in Washington DC.  Those beers are coming from microbreweries that are putting out small batches of good refreshing brew.  Budweiser is now the cheap stuff you put out at a frat party with the Natty.

So to go back to the original point, why is this happening?  It cannot just be about the big TV personalities like Andrew Zimmern, Guy Fieri, and Paula Deen  Is it Pinterest, or Instagram, or any other social media website that has pictures of someone’s dinner constantly appearing on it?  Is it Buzzfeed, the new Internet Mecca that frequently posts lists such as, 27 Truly Divine Incarnations of Fried Chicken.

Likely, it’s a combination of all of these, but they do have one thing in common-the Internet.  As a platform for spreading new ideas the Internet has been nothing short of revolutionary.  From civil uprisings, to cake risings, it’s amazing what has happened since the Internet’s inception.

As a …

Today’s Hot Restaurant Trends

In the restaurant business, there are always new culinary trends developing that are embraced by the dining public at large. Some trends are short-lived while others become so popular, they become mainstays on restaurant menus around the world.

One of the hottest trends happening today is the bacon craze. Bacon is showing up as an unlikely ingredient in all sorts of restaurant dishes. Bacon-wrapped scallops and tater tots, bacon mashed potatoes, corn with bacon, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and an assortment of bacon-infused desserts are just some of the ways this tasty meat is now being served.

The unusual pairing of bacon with chocolate is proving to be a favorite taste-combination for many restaurant customers. Chocolate pudding with bacon, chocolate and bacon covered pretzels, chocolate-bacon cake and ice cream sundaes with bacon can now be found on restaurant menus.

Sliders, those miniature sandwiches are hotter than ever in restaurants everywhere. In addition to the now-standard hamburger and cheeseburger sliders, chicken, turkey, pulled pork and even crab cake sliders are making appearances on all sorts of restaurant menus. Usually served with french fries, potato salad or cole slaw, these diminutive sandwiches are frequently arranged creatively on skewers and in stacks.

Chicken and waffles have been served together for many years but the flavorful combination has become a very popular restaurant dish. Often described as soul food, chicken and waffles usually features breakfast-style waffles topped with fried chicken. The waffles and chicken are generally served with syrup and butter or margarine.

One restaurant trend that shows no signs of going stale is the use of online coupons that offer discounts on meals and beverages. Sometimes these coupons are offered on social media sites and sometimes they are offered on individual restaurant’s websites.

Another hot trend in restaurants these days is the “farm to table’ dinner concept. These special dinners, that are usually held periodically, feature menus containing the freshest meats, seafood, produce and fruits from local farms. Wines from local vineyards are also frequently spotlighted at these dinners.

Farm to Table dinners often feature guest speakers including chefs, restaurant owners and the farmers …

Healthy Eating Trends this Year

Healthy eating and weight loss always top the New Year’s resolutions charts, so it’s not surprising that some healthy eating trends are already beginning for 2014. If you’re looking to get healthy this year consider adding these into your diet:

1. Quinoa
Quinoa hit the health scene big last year and has carried that momentum into this year. The reason health nuts love quinoa is because, despite it’s rice-like texture and taste, it’s actually grain-free! In fact, Quinoa is mostly protein!

Quinoa is the new versatile health food that people are finding surprising ways of incorporating into their favorite meals. Quinoa an be used for everything from a substitute for rice in dishes like stir fry to a flour/dough substitute in things like pizza balls. Quinoa even bridges the gap from savory to sweet when it’s used in things like quinoa pudding and chocolate chip quinoa cookies.

2. Kale
Kale is the new “must-have” green vegetable. Kale chips are more popular than ever before, and people are even adding kale into their green smoothies. It can be kind of an acquired taste but if you can get into it kale can pay off big in terms of weight loss and whole body health! Kale salads are also very popular right now and make an excellent option for a healthy pot luck.

3. Brown Rice
Okay, so brown rice isn’t a new trend, but it’s picking up a lot of steam since last year. More and more restaurants are substituting out white rice for brown rice or offering a brown rice option for health conscious diners. (You may have noticed this in your local stir-fry or burrito joints.) In addition to being healthier, brown rice can also add a bit of flavor complexity to routine meals.

4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been a staple of Indian and Asian cooking for a long time, but it’s just now starting to get really big in North America. It was originally popularized by the spread of the “Paleo” diet, and is now becoming more mainstream. The best part about coconut oil is that …