Food

National Margarita Day: Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian explains what makes the perfect margarita

Margaritas. You know ’em, and you probably love ’em. But what makes some versions of this popular happy hour cocktail — and Cinco de Mayo staple — better than others? Well, according to Food Network star Geoffrey Zakarian, the answer is pretty basic: the ingredients. “Like everything else, ingredients and product. Only the best limes squeezed to order. Pure cane sugar. Great tequila,” the celebrity chef told Fox News. However, the ingredients aren’t the only elements that push a margarita from just any drink to your favorite drink. It’s also how you use them. “You must not over-sweeten the drink. It can’t taste sweet the first sip. If it does, by the time you finish the 8-ounce glass, it will leave a sugary residue, and you won’t want another one,” Zakarian said. “It’s a classic mistake making them too sweet,” Zakarian said. To avoid this amateur folly, Zakarian shared a recipe that delivers those authentic tequila flavors, but with a fruity — and spicy — twist. Click here for the recipe.

Happy National Margarita Day!!   Cheers!!    🙂

Everyone is making coffee wrong, study suggests

Wake up! You’ve been making coffee wrong this entire time! According to a study published last week in the academic journal Matter, we as a society have been making espresso incorrectly for a while now. At least that’s what scientists and mathematicians across the world think. In the study, “Systematically Improving Espresso: Insights from Mathematical Modeling and Experiment,” the authors claim coffee makers — both at home and in cafés — are using too many beans and too finely a ground, which is resulting in “wasted raw material” and inconsistent flavor. “With instruction from our model, we outline a procedure to eliminate these shortcomings,” the study says. An espresso shot that uses fewer beans and a more coarse grind is how scientists claim consumers can eliminate waste and have more uniformity of flavor among shots while maintaining the strength of the coffee from a finer grind. “Most people in the coffee industry are using fine-grind settings and lots of coffee beans to get a mix of bitterness and sour acidity that is unpredictable and irreproducible,” said study co-author Christopher Hendon, a computational chemist at the University of Oregon, Today reported. “It sounds counterintuitive, but experiments and modeling suggest that efficient, reproducible shots can be accessed by simply using less coffee and grinding it more coarsely.” Hendon and the study authors claim their “novel brewing protocols,” which call for 15 grams instead of 20 grams of coffee per shot, would “decrease the mass of coffee used per espresso by up to 20 percent” and have a “significant economic impact and create a more sustainable coffee-consuming future.” Though, not everyone is ready to convert to the new practice. “The best extraction practices are extremely dependent on the origin of the coffee bean,” Adam Budnick, a barista at Kettner Coffee Supply, told Today. “This includes the presence of lactic acid based on elevation, fermentation of the coffee bean husk or cherry and how the washing process affects the available sugars.”

Indeed…  And that’s before the art of the process is even brought into the mix; something these mathematicians and scientists aren’t addressing in their “study.”

Chick-fil-A meets goal of antibiotic-free chicken at all restaurants

Chick-fil-A announced this week that it has made good on a goal it set in 2014 – to no longer serve meat that has been raised with antibiotics. The No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) initiative was started in 2014 with the fast-food chain aiming to offer only antibiotic-free chickens in all of its roughly 2,400 restaurants by the end of 2019. Though the restaurant stated in its blog, The Chicken Wire, the brand has been serving only NAE chicken at Chick-fil-A restaurants since May, the packaging will not reflect the change until the beginning of October. According to the restaurant, serving NAE chicken means the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) ensures no antibiotics are administered to the chicken beginning with the egg. “We know consumers care about how their food is made and where it comes from, including the use of antibiotics. Because it was important to our customers, it was important to us,” said Matt Abercrombie, director of menu and packaging. “Chick-fil-A has always been committed to serving customers delicious food made with high-quality ingredients and offering No Antibiotics Ever chicken was the next step. Our goal was to pursue the highest standard and partner with the USDA to verify it.” Chick-fil-A claims it is the largest fast-food restaurant franchise to achieve such a feat. Most recently, Chick-fil-A found itself embroiled in a viral “chicken war” with Popeyes after the Louisiana-style fried chicken chain launched its new chicken sandwich to stellar reviews. However, despite the mass success of Popeyes’ sandwich, Chick-fil-A has still been rated America’s favorite fast-food chain for at least three years in a row. The brand is also on track to become the third-largest fast-food chain in the country.

National Ice Cream Day: Why we celebrate, and where to get the day’s best deals

I scream, you scream, we’re all screaming for National Ice Cream Day. Whether you prefer to jump for joy or silently savor the dessert, bringing people together is what ice cream is all about, according to Carla Noboa, the owner and founder of BIVE Ice Cream Shop in New York City. “I feel that ice cream is a way to make people happy and a to-go product that consumers are wanting as a dessert and treat to share with others,” said Noboa, who shared her passion for the delectable dessert with Fox News — and helped to deliver the scoop (pun intended) on the day dedicated to ice cream. National Ice Cream Day was first recognized by President Ronald Reagan, but it was never meant to be celebrated annually. “National Ice Cream Day was only supposed to be one day — in fact, Ronald Reagan actually signed a resolution to make National Ice Cream Day on July 15, 1984,” explained Noboa. “Despite the resolution only mentioning that specific day in 1984, Americans love ice cream and continued to celebrate it every year on the third Sunday in July.” But while President Reagan put a day dedicated to ice cream in the history books, he was not the first president to enjoy the sweet dessert. “George Washington apparently loved ice cream, and in one summer, he literally spent $200 on ice cream,” Noboa said. Unfortunately, however, America’s first president did not get to enjoy his ice cream in a cone, largely because the ice cream cone wasn’t invented until 1904. “Ernest Hamwi, who participated in the St. Louis World’s Fair, had a waffle booth next to an ice cream seller,” explained Noboa. “The ice-cream seller ran out of dishes, so Hamwi actually rolled a waffle to hold his neighbor’s ice-cream and then the cone was born.”

For more, and to see some ice cream deals today, click on the text above.  Happy National Ice Cream Day!!     🙂

America still loves Chick-fil-A more than any other fast-food chain

Once again, Chick-fil-A has been named America’s favorite restaurant based on customer satisfaction. For the fourth year in a row, the fast-food chain topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index for limited-service restaurant chains. The index is based on results from nearly 23,000 consumers. Chick-fil-A scored an 86 on the ASCI’s 100-point scale, which is down one point from last year, Forbes reports. For comparison, McDonald’s scored a 69, Burger King a 76 and KFC a 78. Taco Bell scored a 75. Meanwhile, in regard to pizza places, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s both scored 80 points, with Domino’s at 79 and Little Caesars at just 77. Chick-fil-A said, “We are honored by the ranking and grateful to our customers for choosing Chick-fil-A, it’s truly our pleasure to serve them. Our commitment to serving great food with gracious hospitality started more than 50 years ago with our founder’s first restaurant. Today, the more than 145,000 individuals who represent the brand in 2,400 restaurants make honors like this possible by continuing his commitment to service.” Chick-fil-A’s high ranking can be attributed to several factors, including the company’s famous customer service training. Business Insider reports that the restaurant was named America’s most polite chain in QSR Magazine’s annual report. This isn’t the only piece of good news for Chick-fil-A. The chain is expected to become the third bestseller fast-food chain in America, Fox 5 reports. It’s expected to jump past Taco Bell, Burger King and Wendy’s, based on a study conducted by Kalinowski Equity Research. Making this an even more impressive feat is the fact that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, while almost all of its competition is open seven days a week.

Congrats to Chick-fil-A!  Excellent!!    🙂

Red or white? Wine preference reveals a lot about your personality, survey determines

Red or white? New research revealed your choice of wine can say a lot about your personality. If you like “Game of Thrones,” consider yourself an introvert, and enjoy traveling, results found you’re probably into red wine. Conducted in advance of National Wine Day on May 25, the survey of 2,000 Americans (aged 21-plus) looked at the differences in personality traits between those who drink red wine to those who prefer white. The findings revealed that white wine drinkers are more likely to be night owls and extroverts, as well as more likely to listen to punk music. Commissioned by Coravin and conducted by OnePoll, results found white wine drinkers were also more likely to identify as curious, sarcastic and perfectionists. On the other hand, red wine drinkers were more likely to identify as adventurous, humble and organized. Red wine drinkers were also more likely to identify as early birds, listen to jazz, and consider themselves to be “wine aficionados” (45 percent vs. 31 percent). In addition to looking at the differences in personality, the survey also examined each groups’ knowledge when it came to drinking wine, as well as hosting and attending events. It found that red wine drinkers had the knowledge to back up their claim of “wine aficionado” — they were more likely to know how to correctly hold a wine glass (73 percent vs. 65 percent), know what “tannins” are (53 percent vs. 45 percent) and know how long it takes for wine to oxidize (64 percent vs. 54 percent). They were also more likely to consider it a turn-off if a date wasn’t knowledgeable about wine (46 percent vs. 40 percent), and were willing to spend slightly more on wine — averaging $40 a bottle. The average respondent, in any group, drinks four glasses of wine per week, and the favorite place to drink — regardless of wine preference — was found to be at home (72 percent). But 62 percent will forego drinking a glass of wine after work or with dinner, because they don’t want to open a new bottle. In addition to drinking in the comfort of their own home, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents enjoy drinking wine at events or gatherings, preferred over drinking at a bar (43 percent). And, while at an event, three-quarters will drink what everyone else is drinking, even if they’d prefer something else. (After hosting an event, people admit to throwing out an average of three partially-full bottles of wine.) Americans do try to stop the waste, though: The average respondent finishes three bottles of wine a month to stop them from going to waste, but throws out two partially-full bottles that have gone bad. “Enjoying a glass of whatever wine someone is in the mood for, doesn’t need to be wasteful. There are more amazing wines available now than ever before. Wine lovers should be able to enjoy the wine they love, in the amount they want, without thinking about when they are going to return to that bottle,” said Greg Lambrecht, founder and inventor of Coravin, a wine-preservation system. Click here for more.

Happy National Wine Day!   🙂

Budweiser-branded meats are coming to stores this summer

Beer is a classic beverage for barbecues. But this summer, one of America’s best-known beers, Budweiser, is cozying up with Coleman Natural Meats to offer pulled pork, smoked ribs and bratwurst accented with the familiar taste of Bud. “Introducing classic Coleman Natural Budweiser products to a new younger audience will bring generations of consumers from the beer aisle to the prepared meat case,” Mel Coleman Jr., founding family rancher of Coleman Natural Meats, said in a statement. “Our great tasting product and recipes will continue to bring them back time and time again.” The five new products include St. Louis-style pork spareribs in full and half racks, pulled pork, jalapeno cheddar bratwurst and beer brats. The spareribs and pulled pork are coated in Budweiser sauce, and both varieties of bratwurst are made with Budweiser American lager. All the new products are made with slow-roasted, all-natural Coleman pork, with no antibiotics or added hormones. And if you’re a millennial – meaning you were born between approximately 1981 and 1999 – Budweiser and Coleman think you’ll want to put down your avocado toast and pay attention. “Budweiser is an iconic brand that is recognized throughout the U.S. with impressive advertising and marketing,” Bart Vittori, general manager of Coleman Natural Meats, said in a statement. “The Coleman and Budweiser partnership will help create awareness for the millennial consumers to stop and shop in the processed meat case.” Is that true, millennials? You can decide for yourself this summer, as that’s when the new product line will appear in stores nationwide. Or preview the line and learn more about it at BudweiserMeats.com.While awaiting the new Budweiser-Coleman product line, toast to the upcoming summer with one of the 101 best beers in America.