Consumer food demands are all over the map these days. A curious mixture of health-driven, convenience-driven, and taste-driven, diners want it all at a restaurant. They want to veer from something comforting, to something healthy, to something decadent—and back again.
No one can cater to everyone, but restaurateurs can check out these possibilities if they want to satisfy those wacky needs.
Continue reading "Staying Up-to-Date with Consumers’ Conflicting Needs" »
Will we see you eating bugs in 2015?
This is the time of year when everyone looks into their crystal bowl for restaurant trends in 2015. Some of them are obvious—the increased use of technology-at-the-table for instance, so that customers can order, entertain themselves and pay their bills on a restaurant-supplied tablet—all without ever making eye contact.
Then there are those calorie counts that must be included on menus in restaurants with 20 or more outlets, movie popcorn, vending machine foods and alcoholic beverages. This one is interesting because it may—or may not—lead to consumers making more informed choices. Or it might scare them away altogether, like drinking that morning coffee without that morning pastry (sigh!). Restaurateurs are already offering smaller portion sizes (mini scones, two-bite desserts) and reconfigured menu items to make dishes lower in fat and calories.
Continue reading "What's On The Menu: 2015" »
Last week Blanche in Charlotte, N.C., wrote to us asking for a spinach crab dip recipe. We asked our team of chefs and received two right away! Since this is a popular party dish, we thought we'd share them both with our readers.
The first is from Chef Lonnie Varisco in Houma, La.. He says, "In New Orleans seafood is king. This is a great twist on the classic spinach and artichoke dip. Using crab boil in the recipe provides that classic boiled seafood taste everyone loves down here."
Continue reading "Ask the Chef: Crab Dip" »
2014 was full of fresh trends and flavors. As we all know, restaurant trends start high-end and slowly make their way mainstream. Since gift season is in full swing, we’ve picked up a few trends that are still riding high on the style wave. They make great additions in restaurants, and, hint: they also make great gifts for restaurant professionals. If you’ve been stressing over what to get your favorite chef, barman or server, look no further.
Continue reading "Industry Trends That Make Great Gifts" »
To be au courant these days, look no further than those restaurants that specialize in “small plates,” or “shared plates.” If you want your own food, forget about it. At a recent visit to a hot new restaurant, we nearly took off someone’s arm wrestling for that last mouthful of a thumb-size crab cake.
The dishes at shared plates restaurants are meticulously prepared. Instead of spooning a sauce over the dish, it might be dolloped on the plate in a decorative swirl. The chef gets to exercise his or her creativity and the diner gets a one-bite beignet with slivers of mushroom artfully placed, or as a friend likes to call it, “tweezer food.”
But the idea of the small precious food perfectly plated is hardly a new one.
Continue reading "Everything Old is Nouvelle Cuisine" »
If you’ve ever been a poor struggling student, you already know about living on a cup of ramen noodles to make that dollar stretch. Heck, even a pack of gum costs more than those crispy, curly bricks. But these days, ramen is a whole ‘nother cup of noodles.
Ramen restaurants focused on full-flavored broths and fresh ingredients—including the noodles—are new showplaces for a chef’s talent. It’s thought that ramen began in China and spread to Japan in the nineteenth century. Noodle shops are ubiquitous in Japan but most folks credit David Chang, the famous New York chef and restaurateur, for introducing the concept of a high-end noodle shop to America. Chang opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York in 2004—and within 10 years, the noodle bar concept, built around ramen, has spread across the country.
Continue reading "The Ramen Trend: What You Need To Know " »
Whether you’re using the word “honey” to describe a golden syrup or Winnie the Pooh’s favorite food, the word just sounds good, doesn’t it? Last time we looked no one was calling anyone “agave” as a term of endearment.
September is National Honey Month. We know from our history lessons on the internet that honey has been a crowd pleaser since ancient days, long before Honey Boo Boo twirled onto the stage. (The name “honey” for a girl has jumped in popularity in the last two years, according to some sources. Coincidence? We think not.)
Continue reading "Nature's Liquid Gold: Honey" »
It’s a given that those of us who have charm and personality (ahem), should have no trouble making fabulous tips as waiters or waitresses. Unless, of course, that four-top who sat for three hours was not amused by your charm and personality and left you a $2 tip. Or that four-top was amused by your charm and personality – and still left you a $2 tip.
Continue reading "To Tip Or Not To Tip? That Is The Question." »
The hottest food trends for 2014 are in from the National Restaurant Association(link to: http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/News/What-s-Hot-in-2014-culinary-forecast- confirms-sour) and everybody’s buzzing about them.
According to the survey, the hot new food trends for 2014 are:
-nutrition, especially children's nutrition
Continue reading "New Food Trends and How to Add Them To Your Menu" »
When we walked into one of our favorite chain restaurants for a family dinner recently, we were stunned into silence (and we can tell you, that is not an everyday occurrence). The restaurant, in compliance with an upcoming federal law, has added the requisite calorie count on every dish – ahead of the regulations.
We were completely blindsided- but not for the reasons you might expect. We were looking forward to a nice meal – instead we ended up feeling guilty about calories, when we could have been solving global warming or at the very least, fighting over who was going to pick up the check.
Continue reading "Fork and Spoon: Meet the 1200 Calorie Pasta Dish and the New Labeling Law" »