Viewing entries in
Food and Beverage

Espresso Tonic

Espresso Tonic

Over the years, we've seen a lot of different ingredients getting mixed into coffee. More often than not, these additions tend to be creamy and a little heavy, turning the regular cup of joe into a milky confection. But that trend looks to be reversing, with the discovery that adding a little tonic water to your espresso (or cold-brew!) yields a drink that's crisp and light, with a complexity that puts it on par with some of our favorite summer cocktails. The espresso tonic has started popping up on menus at trendy coffee shops around New York, and we've even heard that Stumptown has their own variation in the works. Here at CE HQ, we're officially hooked - and we're more than a little happy that this is a mixed drink we can enjoy any time of the day.

An Apple Before You Shop...

An Apple Before You Shop...

Our friend Brian Wansink, star of several of our Expert Eyes videos, has just released some new findings from his work at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. Did you know that eating an apple before shopping has been shown to make you buy 25% more fruits and vegetables? It's all about getting yourself in a healthy mindset before you start making all those little in-store decisions. For more from the Food and Brand Lab, click here.

Heat Hits it Big

Heat Hits it Big

For those of us who watch food culture obsessively, it's easy to forget that beneath the constantly churning waves of blog-worthy trends and counter-trends there lies a mainstream that changes at a far slower pace. While hotter, spicier foods of all kinds are hardly news in the foodie sphere, we're seeing some signs that the broader American palette has started taking to the heat in a big way.

In what appears to be the final stage of sriracha assimilation, Heinz has announced a soon-to-launch sriracha ketchup blend. While we imagine the spiciness will be toned down quite a bit, the launch is nevertheless a sign that sriracha has transcended the novelty stage (think sriracha lollipops, beer, chips, etc.) and found a place on kitchen tables across America.

And in the drink world, Bud Light has announced MixxTails, a line of bottled pre-mixed cocktails (an idea that's older than you might think) that includes a "Firewalker" cinnamon flavor. As Grubstreet points out, this is a move that might not have happened without the recent, massive success of Fireball, a cinnamon whiskey from Sazerac that has become something of a cultural phenomenon.

So, what's next? Szechuan peppercorns? Bhut Jolokia? Probably not any time soon. But if you're thinking about adding a little heat to your next offering, or including a spicy SKU in a new line, it's likely that even the most traditional palettes will be interested in giving it a try.

Pressure Builds on Sodastream

Pressure Builds on Sodastream

In the world of countertop drinks appliances, there are two clear leaders: in one corner, we have Sodastream, the undisputed champ of home soda making. In the other, Keurig, which has beaten back all other challengers to its proprietary-coffee-pod-system crown. So far, the two have grown their share in their respective markets without clashing. 

But this could soon change, with word that Keurig is developing its own pod-based soda machine, codenamed Geyser. Coca Cola, a part-owner of Keurig, will be licensing pods for the device, and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group is reportedly on board as well, giving Keurig a wide range of well-known brands to pull from. 

Will Sodastream make deals with the Keurig team's rivals? Will consumers find enough reason to make soda in a machine, instead of opening a can from the fridge? Which machine will provide better carbonation? This is one showdown we'll be watching closely.

Rebecca Dengrove - Brewla Bars

Rebecca Dengrove is co-founder of Brewla Bars, a line of all-natural ice pops made using brewed ingredients. Each pop also features a distinctive functional ingredient, from added calcium to zinc and B-vitamins. Brewla was started through a Kickstarter campaign in 2011.

Letha Hadady

Interested in learning more about the world of traditional asian medicine? Earlier in the winter we were fortunate to get a tour of Chinatown's grocery stores and herb shops with Letha Hadady, a renowned expert on Chinese herbs and healing.

Toby Maloney - Mixologist

Maloney's practices an eclectic brand of mixology, inspired by everything from camping trips to van Gogh paintings, aimed at discovering new taste experiences. Still, his work remains grounded in classic ingredients and techniques.

Pichet Ong - Owner, P.Ong and Batch

At his side-by-side P*ong restaurant and Batch bakery, Pichet Ong creates dishes and treats that that juxtapose sweet and savory, and boldly update classic forms. Whether whipping foie gras or freezing ceviche marinate, Ong's goal is to surprise his patrons with something new while satisfying them with something truly delicious. Watch as he discusses the importance of texture and how he approaches the relationship between sugar and salt.

David Graves - Beekeeper

David Graves's family-owned Berkshire Berries produces 25 kinds of jam and jelly, made from hand-picked fruits from their Becket, Mass hub. But it's honey that has made them a legend in New York City. With 7 rooftop beehives in Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, Graves harvests and sells "extremely local" honey at the city's largest greenmarket in Union Square.

Fran Costigan - Culinary Guru

Fran Costigan is a nationally recognized culinary instructor, author, consultant, recipe developer and innovative pastry chef who marries healthy eating with sumptuous tastes. Fran's new book, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally, offers a complete course in exceptional desserts that are vegan by design, not by taste!

Eskender Aseged - Radio Africa & Kitchen

Inspired by home kitchens from Ethiopia to Italy, Aseged hopes to bring the spirit and flavors of home-cooked meals from around the world to a North American audience. His nomadic restaurant, Radio Africa & Kitchen, uses sustainable ingredients (some grown in his own backyard) and sustainable practices to create fresh and balanced meals for its ever-changing menu.

Rob Kaufelt - Owner, Murray's Cheese

As the owner of Murray's Cheese, an NYC institution for 65-years, Kaufelt supplies the city's top restaurants, and its most avid foodies, with an expertly curated selection of the world's best cheeses. In this interview, Kaufelt discusses the shop's place at New York's culinary heart and the growing support for artisanal foods.

Walter Willett

Dr. Willet's groundbreaking research explores the links between health and nutrition -- from cardiovascular to cognitive function --  in a way that confronts convention and gives way to new ideas on the role of food in overall wellness. His research on the possible link between dairy and  prostate and ovarian cancers could potentially change the way cow's milk is collected and dairy products consumed. In this interview, Willet discusses America's two different eating trajectories and his ideal food pyramid.

Elizabeth Falkner - Executive Pastry Chef, Citizen Cake

Pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner's Citizen Cake challenges convention and delights loyal patrons with dishes that combine savory and sweet, and that play with texture and expectation. Likening her kitchen in action to a jazz jam session, Falkner reveals her take on the dance between nostalgia and surprise in a meal, new (and resurfacing) ingredients and the effect of Pop Rocks on the contemporary American palette.

Nina Planck - Author of Real Food

Raised on a vegetable farm in Virginia, Nina Planck advocates local, simple, traditional foods -- eating the way one's grandparents ate before the wave of industrialized foods. believing that the best-tasting and most nutritious foods are non-industrial whole foods she is a champion eggs with the yolk, full fat milk, grass fed beef etc.

Brian Wansink - Director of Cornell Food & Brand Lab

Unlocking the mysteries of consumer choice is the impetus of Wansink's work and with mock living rooms and two-way mirrors the Food and Brand Lab does it daily. His research focuses not only on helping consumers better understand their eating and nutritional habits but also helping food and packaging companies better communicate taste, value and relevance to an audience overwhelmed by variety. Here Wansink discusses our misconceptions about comfort foods (they're not as bad as you think), tricks to battle mindless eating and how to really move appetizers at your next party.

Eben Freeman - Mixologist

An expert on developing trends in the drinks/cocktail industry, Eben Freeman's unconventional approach to cocktail creation blurs the lines between beverage and food, sweet and savory. With fellow WD-50 alum, pastry chef Sam Mason, he has developed a cocktail program at SoHo's Tailor that includes pumpernickel-infused scotch with toasted caraway seed, Kahlua-tossed Rice Krispies and a Cuba Libre gel served on a lime chip.

Marion Nestle

Marion Nestle is one of the world's leading experts on nutrition and public health. She is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology and a M.P.H. in public health nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley.