Category Archives: Food & Drink

Culinary: Why Wagyu And Nobu Sushi Costs So Much

Would you pay hundreds of dollars for the best cut of steak? What about a cup of coffee or a bottle of wine? From steak to caviar, CNBC Make It breaks down whether luxury foods are worth their high prices.

00:00​ — Intro

01:01​ — Wagyu Steak – This is the best Kobe steak ever imported to the United States. It costs $450 for 13 ounces and if it was sold in a restaurant it would cost $900. That’s about $90 a bite. That’s because It’s an A5 Kobe steak with a BMS of 12. In the Japanese beef rating system BMS stands for Beef Marble Score. The BMS scale ranges from 3 to 12, with 3 being a normal amount marbling, think what in the butcher shop at your high-end grocery store. The highest rating is 12. Steaks that reach that level are almost white with fat. Very, very few cuts of meat reach a BMS of 12. Over the last 10 years, just five BMS 12 beef loin sets have been imported into the U.S.

05:27​ — Nobu Sushi – The omakase menu option at chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake sushi restaurants runs nearly $200 per head. With locations in Beverly Hills, Aspen, and NYC, his restaurants count celebs like Justin Bieber and the Kardashian-Jenner clan. That’s expensive, but it’s by no means the most expensive sushi in the world, let alone New York. We set out to answer whether Nobu is worth the price and how does the quality of Chef Nobu’s menu compare to an average New York City sushi restaurant?

11:59​ — Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – It seems like pricy artisanal ice cream is everywhere these days. Once limited to brands like Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen-Dazs, the premium ice cream freezer at the grocery store is crowded with ice cream that’s handmade and includes top dollar ingredients. While brands like Halo Top, Ample Hills, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are for sale in a larger number of stores, the price can result in sticker shock. A pint of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream retails for $12 a pint. Here’s why pints have sky-rocked in price.

17:48​ — Coffee – Personal finance experts like Ramit Sethi and Suze Orman are split on whether buying coffee is a waste of money, but what about paying $100 for a cup? Elida Geisha Natural 1029 is currently the most expensive coffee in the world at $1,029 per pound. Is it worth the money?

26:12​ — White Truffles – There is something undeniably intoxicating about the smell of truffles. In fact, that potent smell is a major part of why truffles are so expensive. In 2019, someone paid over $130,000 for just over two pounds of white truffles. Interestingly enough, there’s a scientific explanation behind the intense reactions to the scent.

Business Customs: ‘Why Do Americans Tip?’ (Video)

Tipping is a quintessential American custom. In the U.S. consumers tip for services ranging from baggage handlers at the airport to housekeepers at hotels. But according to some analysts, tipping has created an environment where restaurant servers are subjected to sexual harassment and low pay.

About 70% of tipped workers in the restaurant industry are women and about 45% are people of color. In a recent study by One Fair Wage and UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center over 78% of restaurant workers reported witnessing hostile behavior from customers who were asked to follow Covid-19 safety protocols, more than 40% noticed a change in the frequency of unwanted sexual comments from customers and 83% said their tips had declined during the pandemic.

With Covid-19 leaving millions to do essential work for low pay there have been renewed calls for a $15 minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped minimum wage — the base salary for many restaurant workers. Forty three states, including Georgia, North Carolina and Texas, have a tipped minimum wage for workers who in some cases are paid as little as $2.13 an hour by their employer.

But many in the full-service restaurant industry oppose the proposed changes, saying they would lead to higher menu prices and fewer hours for workers. According to the National Restaurant Association, the pandemic has already enacted a devastating toll on the industry, wiping out 2.5 million restaurant jobs and more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in 2020 alone. Watch the above video to find out what the $15 minimum wage and the elimination of the tipped minimum wage would mean for restaurants and their employees.

Analysis: Can Cheesecake Factory Recover From Covid? (CNBC Video)

Americans love The Cheesecake Factory. The restaurant known for its massive 21-page menu, dozens of dessert options and ancient Egypt-inspired decor was ranked as one of the top casual dining restaurants in the U.S. in 2019. But the eatery popular with everyone from NBA stars to cheesecake aficionados has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In October, The Cheesecake Factory reported third-quarter sales fell by 12% and same-stores sales were down 23% from a year earlier. So after 40 years in business will The Cheesecake Factory be able to regain its momentum and will the chain’s takeout and delivery service be enough to offset the decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?

Tourism & Covid: 300-Year Old ‘Caffè Florian’ In Venice Faces Closure

As the oldest café in Italy—and the world, in fact—Caffè Florian recently celebrated its 300th anniversary on December 29 with no fanfare. It was a far cry from the 290th celebration in 2010, with cakes, an enormous party, and a live concert. The café famed for its celebrity clientele—from Charles Dickens to Andy Warhol—now faces closure since the pandemic has taken a toll on tourism.

The café was opened in San Marco Square in 1720 by Italian entrepreneur Floriano Francesconi (locals knew it as Floriano’s). It has been a gathering place for locals, a place to woo tourists, and a hot spot for A-listers for hundreds of years.

In 1895, the idea of the Venice Biennale was born here, to pay homage to King Umberto and Queen Margherita, and scenes from Hollywood films have been shot here, such as The Talented Mr. Ripley (starring Matt Damon) nd Summertime (starring Katharine Hepburn). Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens were frequent visitors, as well as Friedrich Nietzsche, Casanova, and Charlie Chaplin. Ernest Hemingway would sit out on the patio drinking coffee in the sun, while Claude Monet charmed the pigeons into standing on his head in the same spot.

Read more at Architectural Digest

Food & Dining: How ‘Olive Garden’ Restaurants Are Surviving Covid (Video)

When you think of free breadsticks, unlimited salad, and pounds of pasta one name comes to mind — Olive Garden. But the Italian eatery, known for its $5 take home meal, has fallen on hard times as the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the restaurant industry. In response, the casual dining chain trimmed its menu, pivoted to take out, and cut costs. But are those changes enough for Olive Garden to survive the pandemic and offset the overall decline of the dine-in restaurant experience?

Fermentation: What To Know About ‘Yeast’ (Video)

Whether you’re making a recipe for cinnamon rolls or French bread, yeast factors into the equation. Yeast is a required ingredient for almost all bread recipes. While we typically just buy yeast at the grocery store and toss it in our mixing bowl, yeast has quite an interesting backstory.

Yeast are fungi, living organisms found all around us, floating in the air. According to producer Red Star Yeast, yeast is made up of egg-shaped cells, only visible through a microscope. They’re fungi just like the molds found on blue cheese, mushrooms, or even in antibiotics such as penicillin. However, yeast grows in a different form than other fungi, which are typically composed of tubular chains of cells called hyphae. Yeast is found in small clusters of cells, or as an individual cell. And since it’s alive, yeast can also die.

According to Red Star Yeast, their yeast is stamped with a best by date of two years from when the yeast is packaged. Keeping it in a cool, dry place such as your pantry or refrigerator will ensure it’ll live up to that date. If you’re not sure if your yeast is alive, pour it over warm water with a teaspoon of sugar. If it bubbles, it’s still kicking, The Spruce Eats advises.

Also? Yeast has been around for longer than pretty much any of us. In researching the ancient tomb of the Egyptian ruler Scorpion from around 3100 B.C., archaeologists found 700 jars of resinated wine. According to Scientific American, the resin was used to slow the wine’s natural progression into vinegar. Researchers found evidence of the same species as modern-day brewer’s yeast in the jars. While that isn’t solid evidence the ancient Egyptians knew that the addition of yeast could turn their juice into alcohol, it certainly does show that yeast has been prevalent for a very, very long time.

Timeline: It’s alive, and ancient | 0:00 Hundreds of varieties | 1:52 Commercial production | 2:38 Adult beverages | 3:24 Ooh, that smell | 4:36 The amount makes a difference | 5:30 Yeast-free bread | 6:17 Sourdough starter is DIY yeast | 7:01 2020’s yeast shortage | 7:45

Wine & Spirits: Making Handmade ‘Fire-Charred Whiskey Barrels’ (Video)

Adirondack Barrel Cooperage uses traditional coopering methods to build spirit barrels out of American oak. Their one-of-a-kind barrel charring and toasting process imparts complex flavors in spirits, like smoke, coconut, vanilla, caramel, and more.

Website: https://www.adirondackbarrelcooperage…

Credits: Producers: Carla Francescutti, Pelin Keskin Director: Carla Francescutti Camera: Murilo Ferreira, Carla Francescutti Editor: Carla Francescutti

Dining: ‘New Orleans Magazine’ (Dec 2020 Issue)

New Orleans Magazine – December 2020

Food Lovers Guide

New Orleans is a food town, with a dedicated population that holds on tightly to old favorite haunts, while embracing and celebrating new traditions and new faces. For our annual December list of restaurant, food and drink “bests,” our team…

From the Editor

In New Orleans, we have a special relationship with food and dining (and, of course, imbibing). This year, due to COVID-19, our love affair with food took on especially new meaning, as many of us turned to comfort food, take-out…

Christmas Unwrapped

You can always tell who, in a Zoom meeting, is not wearing a bra. They are the ones you see just from the eyeballs up. My sister-in-law Gloriosa goes to a lot of them meetings, being socially active and all.…