It's been said that haute cuisine is true art, but I'd argue that composing a menu takes some serious skill, too. First off, the food has to read like it's appetizing. Then there's the issue of how many items should be offered. Everyone's got a different number: when I dine out at a restaurant that offers less than 10 menu items, my guy complains that there's not enough selection on the menu. Yet if I open a menu to find 100 offerings, I'll almost certainly be overwhelmed. As someone who has a tough time making decisions both big and small, I'd rather be faced with a terse menu than a paralyzingly long one. Getting the length just right, it seems, is quite a tough line to toe. Which do you consider the greater of two evils? And what's the magic number when it comes to menus?
If you know someone who got married recently, you've probably heard of Honeyfund, a website that allows bride and grooms to register for experiences (like a deep sea fishing expedition or a private tour of an art gallery). More and more couples are participating, so it's no surprise that a new site, FoodieRegistry, is making waves in the restaurant world.
The website follows the same format as Honeyfund, but instead of honeymoon experiences, the happy couple can register for meals at various restaurants. Buyers are essentially purchasing a gift certificate for the registered restaurants and can decide how much or how little they want to spend.
Currently, restaurants in Chicago and San Francisco are available for registry, while Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Miami, and Las Vegas are coming soon. Since I enjoy dining out, I think the concept is an interesting one. How about you? Brides to be: would you consider registering for a restaurant meal?
During the old dinner shuffle, who has time to count calories? Figure-conscious moms who want to eat better, but have little time to prep their own nightly meals can take these tips from Mary Hartley RD to the takeout line. By following four easy tips parents can enjoy conversation and a quick meal with their kiddos without feeling guilty.
One of my restaurant pet peeves is when the food comes too quickly, in particular before the drinks have arrived. However, some people prefer it if the food comes too quickly rather than take forever. As long as I have a drink and the atmosphere and company are good, I'm OK with waiting for food. How about you? What do you think is worse?
Could cooking at home be costing you? According to market research firm NPD Group, grocery aisle price hikes are predicted to surpass restaurant menu price increases for all of 2011. Although supermarket food prices dropped in 2009, they ended up in 2010 and are currently rising faster than restaurant costs — a factor that's driving more Americans out of the kitchen and back into dining establishments. Why the sudden price jump? Fierce supermarket competition during the economic recession kept grocery prices prohibitively low — but meanwhile, costs for commodities like sugar, corn, and pork continued to build. As a result, many analysts expect a grocery bill bubble to burst and food inflation rates to reach notable highs.That's some scary news for the American pocketbook. Have you noticed a jump in grocery costs — and is it driving you to eat out more?
As a rule, I try to stay away from fast food restaurants. Menu choices tend to be processed and high in fat, sugar, and sodium. As much as I'd love for fast food to go away, it's easy, convenient, and inexpensive — it's also addictive. As obesity rates continue to grow, and movies like Super Size Me expose the dark side of America's diet choices, fast food restaurants are giving themselves a makeover by offering healthy menu options like like salads, grilled chicken, and yogurt. While it's a nice first move, the food is often laden with sugar and salt and overly processed. And as a friend of mine can attest to, even when she goes to McDonald's with the intention to eat healthy, she always walks out with a large fry.
Keeping in line with the healthy makeover, McDonald's has a new Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. The dish is made with whole-grain oats, light cream, brown sugar, red and green apples, dried cranberries, and two types of raisins. Each bowl is made to order, which means you have some control in its nutritional content. But YumSugar points out that it's made with things like modified corn starch, doesn't contain real maple syrup, and the apples are tasteless. And while the oatmeal is a much better breakfast option than the McGriddle, I'd rather make my own healthy oatmeal at home — how about you?
- ABC is developing Family Owned, a food truck sitcom.
- ABC is developing Family Owned, a food truck sitcom. — Eater
- San Francisco's "best year for restaurant openings" may overshadow old standbys. — Grub Street SF
- Shipping cookies: how to do it right this holiday. — Chow
- Is it kosher to ditch a restaurant before ordering? — Inside Scoop SF
- Marketing sham? Wendy's revamped fries are virtually the same. — Serious Eats
- Simple truths about salt, straight from a Portland selmilier. — The Kitchn
- Chef Susur Lee rethinks the sequence of the Western meal. — Huffington Post Food
- The ultimate Top Chef Power Index.— The Stew
Even if you know how to maintain your healthy lifestyle no matter what day of the week it is, busy weekends can get the best of any of us. In the midst of taking care of the kids, going out with friends, or just running errands, your health may take a backseat. So here are three great tips to keep in mind this weekend.
- Get in a long social workout. Weekends are the perfect time for a longer workout like a hike or bike ride. Or, go with friends and take a class you've been eyeing. Mixing exercise with socializing means you can spend quality time with friends and family without having to give up your fitness routine.
- Make your drink last. If you're headed for a night on the town, keep in mind these tips on limiting your drinks, like ordering a wine spritzer instead of wine to make the drink last longer or ordering a drink meant to be sipped. This way you can still enjoy your night out with the girls without all the empty calories.
- Eat a healthy snack before a big restaurant meal. Eating a small but filling snack before going out will help with your hunger and also keep you on the right track at the restaurant so you won't order too much.
There's rarely a weekend when I don't seize the chance to eat out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. for my favorite feast of the day: brunch. After all, is there anything better than a filler-upper that offers the benefits of both breakfast and lunch?
In San Francisco, brunch isn't just an offering — it's a way of life in the City by the Bay, a time for friends to catch up on one another's lives while recharging on eggs, baked goods, and hangover remedies. It'd be hard to choose the best brunch in a city that's full of winning midday meals, but here are a few spots that I like to frequent.
Dining out is a great way to try new foods, hang out with friends, and take a break from cooking. It can also be an easy way to put a glitch in a healthy diet. Many restaurant dishes are laden with hidden calories from butter and oil, which isn't always clear when you order the fish or salad. If you're worried about hidden fats in your dishes, but don't want to look like a high-maintenance diner, stick to grilled menu items.
Chef friends of mine say that grilled dishes tend to be the healthiest in restaurants because less fat is used to cook these dishes. And even though butter or oil is used to keep foods from sticking to the grill, the amount of added fat is much less than compared to dishes that are sauteed or fried. And rather than cook in its own fat, the fat from grilled food tends to drip away. Another bonus: I find that healthier food options like leaner proteins and fresh veggies are usually the only grilled menu items in restaurants.
But just sticking to grilled menu items is not enough to keep the calories from building when dining out. I try to make my experience healthier by sharing an entree or enjoying an appetizer as a main course. I also keep myself from going overboard on the bread basket and will often skip dessert. How do you keep dining out a healthy experience?