Friday, June 27, 2008

Goodness For the Cause

Imagine eating a brownie, or two, and feeling really good about it. (And okay, just for the record...maybe these aren't exactly the kind of "feel good" brownies you might remember from the 60s, 70s and 80s.)

In any case, the good people at Greyston Bakery have just introduced the Do-Goodie Brownie, a 100% all natural treat made with real Belgian chocolate and free range eggs.
All profits go to the Greyston Foundation, an integrated network of organizations that assist in providing jobs, childcare, health services and employment opportunities for those on the road to self-sufficiency.

By the way, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield the co-creators of Ben & Jerry's ice cream swear that these are the only brownies they ever eat. And with names like Chocolate Fudge, Walnut Fudge, and Brown Sugar Blondie, I think I can understand why.

They're priced at $2.49 per brownie and can be purchased in New York City Markets such as Balducci's, Food Emporium, and Gristedes. Or, you can find them

I ate my first Chocolate Fudge Do-Goodie last night, and as promised, I'm feeling "guilt free" and good all over.

Really, I am.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Forbidden Fruit

Never since that low-grade, 1970s horror flick, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes has this pulpy, red recipe staple gotten so much bad press. Still, it seems that Salmonella-flavored tomatoes have now sickened seven more people here in New York. Even though, the Health Department claims it still doesn't know where these "Killer Tomatoes" are actually coming from.

"These people might have bought tomatoes at many different places, or they might not remember where they ate tomatoes. We cannot say that any of these places are the source until we have confirmed that they are, and we have not yet done that," a NYC Health Department spokeswoman recently told the New York Post. And of course, the NYC Health Department is totally wise to be cautious. No doubt, one false allegation of bad produce -- could lead to a nice, hefty lawsuit.

Lest we forget the fate of Chi-Chi's, a Mexican chain of restaurants that closed its U.S. locations after being tied to a Hepatitis A outbreak. (Just for the record though, Chi-Chi's is still in operation in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Indonesia)

Anyway, this time last year we had Salmonella spinach, this year it appears to be tainted tomatoes. So let's all just be careful out there at your local salad bars, taco stands, etc.

Or at least -- until somebody knows a little more about all these random outbreaks.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cheap Hang Ups


According to several recent reports, the abysmal economy, increases in the cost of doing business, and rising food prices are starting to make their impact felt on the restaurant industry and consumer spending on food. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, chefs at premier dining establishments are finding it difficult to strike a balance between quality and cost. Signaling the fluidity of food costs, Chef David Chang has just raised the price of a prix fixe dinner at his coveted Momofuku Ko from $85 to $100. And, the New York Times brings news of a boom in vegetable gardening by Americans trying to save money on groceries.

Into this changing food environment comes news of the latest in food marketing ploys to targeting current economic conditions: enter the "hanging brochette." According to a recent press release, the restaurant Brasserie Julien is promoting this new menu item as a dining option designed specifically for the budget-minded customer.

"I decided to change the presentation of a classic dish. Our guests enjoy the different presentation, and they also get to enjoy meat that they might shy away from these days because of their budget. We are using smaller, more cost-effective pieces, but the same total weight, so it's a win-win. Normally a server pulls your meat off of the skewers or even presents them on the skewer flat on the plate. This way, you take one morsel off at a time without spearing yourself," Philippe Feret, Chef/Owner of Brasserie Julien recently said.

In any event, it looks like this all means if you can't afford an entire entree of lamb, filet mignon, fish, or game -- then order these "smaller, more cost-effective pieces" dangling on a skewer at your table like a wee little mini-meat hook.

One might ask if this PR stunt represents the first in a new wave of "recession specials"?

Guess we'll all have to stayed tuned.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Big Apple Barbecue Festival

For all those in or around the NYC area, the sixth annual Snapple Big Apple Barbecue Block Party will take place in Manhattan on Saturday, June 7th and Sunday, June 8th from 12 noon to 6pm. Barbecue pit masters from around the country will be showing off their talents -- and smoking up the atmosphere. So take a brief peek here at last year's event, and let's hope there will be no rain in sight for this annual grillin' and chillin' event.