Happy Foodie Friday! This past week, I had the privilege of presenting at this year’s IDDBA Show and Sell Workshop on a favorite topic of mine: Experiences that Engage. Today, I’ll be sharing part 1 of a 3-part series based on my message about the importance and power of creating memorable experiences that will keep customers coming back to your store again and again. Enjoy!
Quick question: In an age where people are increasingly more choosy about what they eat, how much they eat, and the even story behind their food, how do you revitalize the image of tried-and-true American fast food?
These days, the answer seems to be written on the golden arches: Make it less American. We’ve highlighted the popularity of ethnic foods in previous blogs, but today’s Foodie Friday focuses more closely on the realm of fast-casual dining—and 3 smart ways savvy retailers have chosen to follow the ethnic food trend to spice up their menus, inspire their customers, and reinvent our notion of fast food beyond burgers and fries. (more…)
“I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilled milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.” —Chef Gordon Ramsay
If there’s one thing true about foodies, it’s that we’re always looking ahead to the future of food. Today, we explore three top trends you should expect to see emerging on the restaurant scene in 2015! (more…)
What’s on the menu for your Holiday table? This week, we’re menu-planning for an unforgettable Holiday meal with recipes from some of our favorite chefs.
If you’re eager to celebrate the season with a gourmet feast, we’ve found eight world-class dishes sure to please the foodies at your Christmas Dinner—and, of course, satisfy your own adventurous palate with delicious Holiday cheer!
We recently had the pleasure of sampling some extraordinary cuisine in the Latin-culture epicenter of Miami, Florida. A meal in South Beach is enough to prove that NBA Basketball (The Miami Heat) hasn’t been the only thing generating heat in this beach-front paradise aptly nicknamed “The Magic City.”
Magic might as well be the secret ingredient in lick-your-plate-delicious chimichurri sauce. And these south-of-the-border dishes are gaining popularity across the globe. A glance at current, worldwide culinary trends shows that Latin foods are on the rise even outside of their usual markets. From Cuban and Mexican dishes to Chilean and Argentinian fare, South- and Central-American flavors are spicing up the global palate through the talents of inventive chefs.
Pig Tail at Lockeland Table
Pig Face at Girl & The Goat
First of all, I have a confession to make…I’ve been a pork lover for most of my life. I’m a huge fan of hams, hot dogs, bologna, bacon (of course!), and have even developed a fondness for moldy, stinky, dry-cured salumi of all shapes and sizes.
Recenty, my palate was tested by some “less familiar” cuts taken from the tip to the tail of this tasty beast. My first experience was with friends at Nashville’s Lockeland Table—nominated for James Beard Best New Restaurant. At Lockeland Table, Chef/Owner Hal Holden-Bache has created a number of outstanding appetizers, entrees, and sides. The one that piqued my interest, however, was the Buffalo Pig Tail, a clever take on Buffalo Wings. The tail was deep fried and basted in a tangy Buffalo sauce—and served with a side of tangy celery & blue cheese cole slaw. Brilliant!
My latest “pig out” experience came from the other end of the pig, and took place last week at GIRL & THE GOAT, Chef Stephanie Izard’s great restaurant. In addition to several dishes which featured Goat, Snail and Chicken, we had to try The Pig Face, a featured favorite, served with a fried egg perched atop the offering. Amazing!
Steve’s Conclusion: EVERY PART of the pig can be delicious…at least so far… Stay tuned for more of my future Culinary Experiences!
Jacque-Imos Lamb chops
During our “real Nawlins’ feast”, we chowed down on a wonderfully diverse selection of local recipes that surprised and delighted our eyes, noses and stomachs. We started off our meal with some light, sweet, buttery corn muffins. Then, in no particular order, our meal began to arrive! We feasted on a “best of” menu, including Jacques – Imo’s famous deep fried po’ boy (on authentic New Orleans French Bread, of course), Lamb Chops, Crispy Rabbit Tenderloin, Shrimp and Alligator Sausage Cheesecake, Fried Chicken, Blackened Tuna with Oyster Champagne Brie Sauce, Roasted Acorn Squash with mixed Seafood in a Curry Coconut Cream Sauce, Grilled Duck Breast with Orange Soy Glaze, Shiitake Mushrooms and Pecans, Stuffed Pork Chop (Ground Beef and Shrimp), Stuffed Shrimp with Magnolia Sauce, Fried Green Tomatoes with Shrimp Remoulade, Fried Oysters in a Spicy Garlic Sauce, Chicken Livers on Toast, with Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Red Beans, Butter Beans and Rice, Corn Maquechoux, Beets, Mixed Greens (can’t forget the salad), Cole Slaw, and Smothered Cabbage. We staggered to the finish line of this feast with lagniappe (just a little something extra) in mind. So we had thick, dark coffees all around, followed by an assortment of chocolate cake, coconut bread pudding and crème brulee.
What an incredible day of discovery in the grand old city! We all somehow crammed ourselves back into our vehicles and headed back to our hotel. Great memories—and plans for another trip to NOLA in the near future!
Mandina’s Turtle Soup
Laissez les bons temps rouler! The food, atmosphere and people of New Orleans defy description—you’ve got to experience it for yourself. Taking my own advice…my wife and I recently did just that. During our stay, we visited some famous, not-so-famous, and some infamous places in and around the Crescent City, as we took in hearty helpings of the sights, sounds and succulent tastes offered up by the hospitable town.
One afternoon, we decided to strike out on a “progressive dinner” of sorts. Our culinary experience started out at Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the French Quarter. Felix’s promotes the fact that they have been family owned and operated for more than 70 years. A longtime favorite of locals and visitors alike, it has gained National notoriety thanks to rave reviews of guests to the area. They are right across the street from Acme—which typically has long lines of tourists, and though Felix’s doesn’t have the lines or the tourist following the chargrilled oysters we enjoyed for an appetizer there beat Acme’s “hands-down” in our opinion. A close second to Felix’s were the chargrilled oysters from Drago’s, another family owned area restaurant (and possible distant relative).
Our next stop was Mandina’s on Canal Street for a bowl of their famous Turtle Soup and New Orleans French Bread. In business since 1932, this food gem was nearly full at 4:30 in the afternoon. After a bowl topped with a dash of Black Pepper and Sherry—we headed out to our next destination—one I’ll tell you more about in my next blogpost.