Feb 13 2015
Congratulations, Everyone. You’ve made it to mid-February and you’re probably still going to the gym and eating incredibly healthy (I said you – not me). With that New Year glow about you, you must be attending the local farmer’s market perusing organic-only cheese and vegetables, right?
If you live anywhere between the Midwest and the East Coast, it’s another story. Plummeting temperatures today in New York are giving us a “Real Feel” of -7. And at this point, we expect meteorologists are having a field day coming up with another snowy term for ice cold weather. Snowmageddon. Polar Vortex. What’s next?
And what do these freezing temperatures have anything to do with your organic sunscreen or makeup? Here are three pieces of evidence:
1. Monopolizing the Media Conversation
You have a winter storm on the way, so what do your TV and newspapers become? Scare tactic-filled devices that force you to run to the supermarket and gas station to fill up on Wonder Bread, in the case that you might be house-bound for days on end.
Sound familiar? Today’s consumer health and food and beverage media have created an anxious consumer who now believes…
Feb 6 2015
Spain has been mastering small plates since the days of old. Take a walk down Logroño’s Calle Laurel to witness the true spirit of Spain’s tapas tradition. Some call it a tapas pilgrimage, others call it a crawl (likely depends on how much wine is consumed). Tourists and locals alike take this journey for a truly authentic Spanish experience hopping from one bar to the next enjoying a different tapas at each stop.
Today, we’re seeing this Spanish-inspired trend move across borders. Many American chefs & restaurants are saying goodbye to big portions and hello to small plates.
For the diners who want it all, small plates are ideal. Offering them the opportunity to broaden their menu selection releases their adventurous side. Can’t decide between the short rib and crab cakes? Why put your diners in a difficult situation when small plates allow your diners to have the best of both worlds!
Chef tasting menus are another way restaurants are showcasing small plates. These pre-set menus are designed to be a journey through the chef’s top dishes or personal favorites. Chicago’s Alinea serves up an impressive 24-course tasting menu as the “grand tour”…
Jan 23 2015
The specialty food industry is more robust and innovative than ever before. It is a great time to be in the gourmet foods business, and there is no better place to see the latest and greatest than the Fancy Food Show. Walking the floor with a keen eye, you will uncover the hottest categories, boldest flavors and latest trends shaping the industry’s growth.
Fresh Jerky: It sounds oxymoronic, but this is not your father’s jerky if you’re thinking of the tough leathery jerky he’d grab while fueling up the car on that road trip. I first discovered this new age of jerky while dining at Country Cat in Portland Ore. The Hand Cut House Beef Jerky was an eye opener that quickly disappeared when passed around the table. Brands are bringing it to retail combining better meats with a more natural process delivering delicious results. Krave has had great success in the category, but it is facing increased competition. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky had a selection of beef, chicken and turkey jerky. Chef Blair even let me have a taste of a pork tenderloin jerky he…
Jan 14 2015
It’s January and that can only mean two things. One, I’m trying to figure out whether to eat a sensible dinner or spend my points on a few glasses of wine instead, and, two, the annual ritual of booze trend forecasts are flooding the interwebs.
This is nothing new, but it got me thinking. How many of these predictions actually come true? Foreseeing next year’s trends is a challenge, but what about those from a decade from now? Woo-wee! Who would be bold enough to put themselves on the line like that? Robert Parker, that’s who.
So, let’s see how the “Million-Dollar Nose” fared. Just over a decade ago, Parker put forward a prediction in Food & Wine magazine:
Robert M. Parker, Jr., the world’s foremost wine guru, makes 12 bold predictions about seismic changes that will influence how we’ll shop, what we’ll buy and how much we’ll pay.
TWELVE!? That is so crazy, Bob, it’s Italian television crazy. More importantly, it’s way too long for me to prove or disprove in a single blog post and…
Dec 12 2014
As 2014 draws to a close, pundits in every industry category are assembling lists recounting memorable happenings from the past year and predictions for the coming year. (A full commentary on past and future food & beverage trends from me and my colleagues at PadillaCRT is slated for January – stay tuned.) I’ll avoid a listicle here but focus instead on one aspect of the food landscape that has been slowly changing for a while and continues to do so in notable ways as we approach the quinceañera of the new millennium:
Casual food is becoming more sophisticated and fine dining is loosening its tie.
Where I live in Los Angeles, we’ve been both lauded and blamed for these related happenings. I always feel compelled to dress a notch nicer when I go out for dinner when visiting Manhattan, but here on the Left Coast it’s perfectly acceptable and expected to show up at trendy restaurants in jeans. Traditionalists might scoff at the dearth (or death?) of decorum. On the flip side, it wasn’t that long ago that Chef Roy Choi left behind the trappings of the Beverly Hilton, started a gourmet food…
Dec 3 2014
The year is coming to a close, bringing on that wild urge to come up with another ‘Best Of’ wine blog list. I just can’t help myself.
Below are some recommendations from my favorite, go-to wine blogger buddies (read: nerds) of their favorite blog posts of the year, and a few of my own. Hopefully, you have a little downtime around the holidays to catch up on these goodies from the past year.
Thea Dwelle, Luscious Lushes
Long-time wine blogger (7 ½ years) and funny gal pal, Thea had this to say when asked which blog she loved from 2014:
Bill Eyer’s recent post on “Are Wine Blogs Dead?” really resonated with me as one of the few people that have been blogging for 6+ years. He hit the nail on the head with reasons that we step away, or take a break, and had fresh ideas to re-inspire – all because of his own struggles.
Paul Mabray, VinTank
Clearly Paul of VinTank, Napa’s wine think tank, follows a solid lineup of blogs, as his favorite list was LONG. A few of note:
Nov 26 2014
It’s not even December, yet the web is already buzzing with predictions on what’s hot in the wine and spirits industry in 2015. Maybe someone took their cue from Walmart, which started selling Holiday decorations the day after Halloween.
Like it or not, trend reports, much like holiday decorations, no longer wait for sweater weather. Jumping on the band wagon, here are three emerging beverage trends for 2015.
The Boilermaker Celebrates a Comeback
In 2015, craft cocktails will share the spotlight with simpler, more straight-forward drinks, such as a shot and a beer, known as a “boilermaker.” Case in point, The New York Times recently published a full-page feature on the classic pairing. Some of these pairings are the usual cheap-whiskey-and-cheaper-beer marriages one expects, but more sophisticated duos are making their way into bars across the country.
Wine Pairings Go East
Asian food will continue to be a huge trend next year, so think about how to educate your audience on clever pairings for your alcohol beverage brands. For the best pairings with Ramen noodles, Vietnamese Pho and Korean street food-inspired grub, Wine…
Nov 7 2014
Have a Halloween candy overload in your house? It’s been one week since the big day, so it’s time to think about what to do with all of that leftover sugar tempting your kids (and you!) to indulge until it’s all gone. Here are five suggestions to help wean you off the candy, before the holiday eating begins.
1. Freeze and ration – Chocolate candy freezes well and those bite-sized snacks make for nice, portion-controlled treats. . One serving of miniature Snickers (4 pieces) is 170 calories and 18 g of sugar. So, half that with two pieces and you have a reasonable 85-calorie treat to enjoy. Note: this takes will power.
2. Donate for a cause - To give thanks to our troops, Operation Gratitude (#saythanks) allows families to donate their unopened candy and the organization will send it to those serving overseas. The Halloween Candy Buy Back program, which benefits Operation Gratitude, sets up sites, through participating dentists, that will accept candy donations in return for toothbrushes and other prizes.
3. Donate to the office – Ask your kids to pick out their favorite pieces and bring the rest…