Category Archives: Food Culture

Blue Bottle Chain Expanding Into new Markets

Coffee continues to be one of America’s favorite beverages. A hot cup of joe can be just the thing to wake up to early in the morning. Given this popularity, it’s hardly surprising that java retailers everywhere are finding happy new markets for their products. One chain in particular has been seeing vast growth in recent years. Blue Bottle is one of San Francisco’s most adored coffee shops. They offer specially prepared coffee varieties that are lovingly handmade from beans across the world. With their help, customers can discover an entire new world that is all about enjoying this beverage. Native San Franciscans have been coming here for a quick stop of iced coffee on a hot day or a delicious mug of steaming coffee when it gets cold outside.


New Potential Markets


With their devotion to quality beans, it’s no wonder that the chain has become quite popular and rapidly carved out a niche in the San Francisco area. In an effort to bring their product to other places, those at Blue Bottle have been busy. Their aim is to expand into new markets in other parts of the United States. They have opened a sixteen million dollar brewery in Brooklyn, one of the hottest culinary markets in the world right now. New Yorkers are known for their love of coffee and their appreciation of the finer things in life so it’s no surprise this is where those at Blue Bottle hope to expand even more.


Several New Locations


Coffee lovers across the country can now look forward to the opportunity to sample the Blue Bottle experience. The company plans to open shops in the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan as well as in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Another market that will see a Blue Bottle location is Boston as well as the nation’s capital and Miami. This will bring the number of Blue Bottle locations to more than three dozen across the U.S.

Celebrating Memorial Day Safely This Year

Memorial Day marks the first hurrah of summer, and many Americans celebrate with an old-fashioned picnic. There are several precautions to take when traveling with food, states an article from That is why the Huffington Post published an article this week to outline the ways we can keep our picnic foods safe for our families.


It is always recommended for picnic enthusiasts to keep their cold foods in a cooler with ice. This includes hamburgers, hotdogs, and any other meats. Foods with eggs or mayonnaise (i.e. salad dressings, potato salad) should also stay chilled. Providing an environment like a refrigerator keeps them safely below 40 degrees. The fewer people who open the cooler, the colder it will stay. It is a good idea to keep cold drinks in a separate cooler.


Picnickers should also bring a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of grilled meats is 140 degrees or more. Temperatures can drop if they are left out of the heat, so it is recommended to keep meat on the top grill rack to keep it hot until it is served.


If cold foods get above 40 degrees or hot foods drop below 140 degrees, there is a good chance that dangerous bacteria can form. Even a couple hours in this situation makes the food unsafe to eat. It should be trashed as soon as possible. As the weather warms up, food can go into the unsafe range even quicker. Just an hour in 90-degree heat can ruin the food.


The safety rules for the kitchen should also be applied to eating outdoors. An article from states that cooks should wash their hands before cooking, and after they have touched any raw meats. There is not always access to soap and water at a picnic site, so people should bring a jug of water and some hand soap so everyone can wash their hands before eating. If that is not possible, a bottle of hand sanitizer is better than nothing.


Cross-contamination is another way that harmful foodborne bacteria can be spread. All meats should be in their own separate bag, so there are no chances of them leaking on other foods in the cooler. Anything that has touched raw meat should not be used for another purpose (i.e. plates, grill utensils).


Statistics from the Center for Disease Control say that approximately 48 million Americans get food poisoning any given year. For some, it is enough to send them to the hospital. As many as 3,000 people actually die from food poisoning, says the source. Practicing good hygiene will keep everyone safe and happy this holiday.


Purse Lets You Enjoy Your Wine Whenever and Wherever!

Looking for a way to enjoy a glass of red or white while you’re out on the go? Well, now you can take delicious wine pretty much anywhere with the PortoVino wine purse by Bella Vita. It features everything you need to pour yourself a glass right from the same purse that carries your lipstick, wallet, and keys. Spout? Check. Beverage bladder? Check. Attractive? Check. This purse has it all!


The secret to Bella Vita’s PortoVino wine purse is the discreet compartment that holds a 1.5-liter bladder. Fill it with up to two bottles of wine, and you’re ready to party! Just lift the flap, and the spout is revealed. There’s nothing left to do but sip!


While it’s excellent for carrying wine, this purse boasts more than a handy way to transport your Zinfandel. The PortoVino is fashionably attractive and complements casual and dressy styles. It comes in black, red, and blue, and features gold accents for a high-end touch. Fit your compact, phone, and more in this innovative bag’s roomy interior and two side pockets.


Going to a picnic? This purse will match your springtime outfits and provide a Chianti for all to enjoy, all at the same time! Dashing from a meeting straight to an office party? You’ll be pleasantly prepared with this wine purse, and your friends will love it too!


You can get your very own PortoVino wine purse by Bella Vita, but you’ll have to wait because it’s currently sold out. But you can preorder yours on their website!



McDonalds Has A New Meatless Burger In Italy

A new burger has hit the order menu at McDonalds, a meatless burger aimed at the chocolate-loving crowds in Italy. It’s called the Nutella burger, though by traditional standards it might hardly be considered a burger. It does come packaged in a burger box just like the other main meal sandwiches do at McDonalds, and even has the regular buns surrounding it. But take one bite out of it and instead of being greeted by the expected rich beef flavor, you’d find a rich dark chocolate taste instead. This new sandwich is ordered as part or the McCafe menu, and is the second major chocolate experiment put out by McDonalds this year after they introduced chocolate-covered fries in Japan.


So how has this new dessert sandwich performed? Quite well considering McDonalds’ social media page blew up with over 60,000 Facebook shares, and certainly has trended over in Europe. What will the success of this burger mean for McDonalds and the chocolate market in the future? Could we possibly be seeing the start of a side McChocolate franchise? Who knows, but this novelty has certainly gained traction on a pretty large scale. It’s currently only available to order in Italy, but with all the likes and shares its gotten on social media, many are calling for it to make its way to the US.


Willy Wonka would probably have been proud to see the day that chocolate started becoming popular in the fast food markets. Nutella has long been a widely-craved product in Italy, with McDonalds even offering nutella jars for purchase. But one thing is for sure, dessert is just as important a menu as the main course, and soon enough we might see other fast food hubs like Wendy’s, Hardees, and Burger King explore the chocolate markets. But for those who might be planning to travel to Italy some time soon, stopping at McDonalds while there will not be quite the same as home.


Cooking Ideas for Those Last Dog Days of Summer

When it’s hotter than the dickens and you have to cook, it can feel like you’re an army cook in the trenches. What are you supposed to make for everyone now? No one wants you to turn the oven on, and even standing over the stove sounds horrible. But do you really want yet another cold cut sandwich? Takeout is getting expensive, and your waste line is not thanking you for all those last minute runs to the pizza place.

So what will it be tonight? Why not try these recipes for you and the family. They’re simple, delicious, nutritious and perfect for those last dog days of summer.

Delicious Avocado and Cucumber Salad

First, let’s talk about salad. This is always a good idea when it’s hot out. There’s only chopping involved, and there’s no need to turn on the oven or the stove. You can also use some of your delicious summer vegetables and fruits if you have a garden.

The salad we suggest to you combines two favorites of summer. First, we have avocado. Next, there’s cucumber. These are fresh and easy to find ingredients in the summer.
You’ll be chopping these two ingredients and adding them to cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes, halved cherry or grape tomatoes and a few cups of freshly grilled and chilled corn kernels. Put all of this together with some chopped red onion, lime juice from a fresh lime, a few drizzles of olive oil, cumin seeds and salt and pepper to taste. It’s a delicious combination that the whole family will love. Don’t forget to add a pinch of freshly ground red pepper as well!

A Delicious Summer Soup

Who says soup is only for fall and winter? Gazpacho is a classic summer dish in Spain and a traditional Iberian dish. Cold soups like gazpacho can be made at any time, and they’re even perfect when you’re in a rush. Again, there’s no need to use your stove or oven. All the ingredients are cold.

Start with a half pound of fresh tomatoes and one pound of cubed watermelon in a blender. Throw some mint leaves and a diced English cucumber in. Add a few drizzles of olive oil and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. Blend this mixture and top with fresh cheese crumbles.

Fun Lunch Ideas For School

When school starts back after a long summer, you want your children to have a nutritious lunch that they can enjoy in the time that they have allotted. There are a few fun recipes that are easy to make the night before that are packed full of the vitamins and nutrients that will help children focus during the day. Most recipes include something from each food group.

Create a taco bar for your children with a plastic container that has small dividers. If there aren’t dividers, then use small containers in a large plastic container so that all of the ingredients stay separate. Put a simple taco in the center of the container. It could be one with browned beef, or you could use a lunch meat, such as turkey or ham. Add items that the child can put on the taco that might include shredded lettuce, salsa and cheese. The taco can be made so that it’s something the child will enjoy. Add a few tortilla chips for a side dish.

A meal that includes a higher amount of protein is a chicken salad sandwich. Make it a little more elegant with a deli bun instead of just two pieces of white bread. Add a tomato and lettuce for a healthy meal that will help your child get through the rest of the day. Another option with chicken salad is to create a roll-up with a tortilla wrap.

The night before school, bread small pieces of chicken to make healthy chicken nuggets. Include a dipping sauce that the child will enjoy in the lunchbox along with slices of fruit or vegetables. Chicken strips are also a good idea as they are easy to hold and provide a little more chicken than a small nugget. This might be something that older children would enjoy with the nuggets being reserved for younger children who don’t eat as much during the school day. Panko bread crumbs sometimes work best as a coating as they give a crunch to the outside of the chicken.

French Fries With Curry Sauce Are A Tasty And Popular Snack Food

Being a longtime foodie, I just love reading about different types of foods. Earlier today, I came across an online article that was about French fries with curry sauce.

Since I am already a fan of French fries that are seasoned with curry powder, I was interested in reading the article as soon as I saw it.

In this article, the author mentions how much she enjoyed a meal that she recently ate at an Irish pub in Fairfax, Virginia.

The meal that she shared with her husband included fare such as bangers and mash, a burger with gravy, and crab bisque. The food that she enjoyed there the most, however, was an order of French fries served with curry sauce.

The article’s author goes on to say that French fries are not usually one of her favorite foods, but when they are served with curry sauce, they become an addictive snack for her.

Several years ago, I first learned about the popularity of curry-flavored French fries in England and Ireland. When cooking frozen French fries in the oven at home, I often rub some curry powder into the fries before placing them in the oven. The resulting flavors are indeed quite delicious.

Although I’ve never eaten French fries with curry sauce, after reading this short yet appetizing article, I definitely want to try eating this popular taste sensation.

Get Your Ninja Dogs at Ikea Japan

The hot dog has been around in one for or another for centuries, but there haven’t been too many innovations when it comes to it presentation. However, that’s changing at Ikea stores in Japan, which is offering customers the chance to eat the “Ninja Dog,” in celebration of the company’s 10th year in the country.

Ikea, which is more famous for selling assembled furniture and other home-oriented items, already sells a hot dog that’s virtually the equivalent of a foot-long to its hungry patrons. However, the Ninja Dog has a very visible difference from the standard order. While the meat remains the same size, the hot dog and the bun have a black hue to them, while all condiments remain the same.

The process in helping both items reached that distinctive color involves the use of edible bamboo charcoal. Despite the unappealing look that it might have with some consumers, this type of charcoal actually is supposedly beneficial to a person’s health. That’s because of its alleged ability is able to kill toxins in the body.

While there’s no real scientific evidence that such a claim is true, the unique nature of the item and the alleged health properties have caught the attention of customers.

Japan isn’t the only Asian country to attempt this new innovation, with Korea also selling hot dogs with black buns. This particular product is reminiscent of the publicity that was created in 2014 when Burger King outlets in Japan began selling Whoppers with black buns.

A Taste of the Windy City Hits the Big Apple

A signature food making its way to other cities and areas around the world is the goal of many chefs and food-conscious individuals. One of the most recent examples of this can be seen in the New York opening of a sandwich shop that focuses on a culinary creation that first became famous in Chicago, the Italian beef sandwich.

Not surprisingly, the owner of Hank’s Juicy Beef grew up in the Chicago area and his main recipe is family-based. Hank Tibensky has lived in New York for the past 10 years but only recently decided to try his luck in the food and restaurant business. The only connection he previously had with this segment of the industry was when his aunt’s family ran a restaurant that sold pizza and beef sandwiches.

The sandwich itself had previously been available in New York City, though it was part of a much more extensive menu. Tibensky’s shop in the Tribeca district focuses almost exclusively on the Italian beef variety and uses only sustainably-bred beef that’s sliced thin. That beef is then marinated, adding Italian spices for seasoning purposes before then adding giardiniera as a topping.

The dough for the bread used for the sandwiches is made in Chicago by a friend who owns a bakery. After then being shipped to New York, it’s then baked and used on such orders as the “Combo,” which merges the beef with sausage. Plans are on tap to add another Chicago-based item: a Vienna beef-based hot dog.