Gluten-Free at the Dutchess County Fair: Could You Put it on a Stick?

Gluten-Free at the Dutchess County Fair: Could You Put it on a Stick?

 

One last county fair under my belt this past weekend. Very interesting to compare a State Fair vs. a County Fair especially when visiting them within one month of each other.

  • Biggest surprise at the Food Mall at the Dutchess County Fair were the gluten-free offerings.
  • Since neither of those booths attracted many customers, they may have been too trend-forward for fair feasters.
  • Gluten-Free doesn’t scream “Fun” or “Fair” (vs. Iowa’s Pork Almighty!!).
  • But might have a fighting chance if you put it on a stick!

Other food options that caught my eye (pics below):

  • Frozen bananas – one of the most popular items, offered by numerous vendors!!
  • 4-H Milkshakes from the Hudson Valley Fresh Milk Barn – had the longest line, video above
  • Fresh corn on a stick
  • French fries – all kinds of toppings, again a fair favorite
  • PA Dutch Funnel Cakes
  • Pitas/Gyros etc often with a vegetarian option – very popular (as they were in Iowa)
  • Hofbrau Joe’s Clam Box for Fried Seafood (love the juxtaposition of cultures and tastes) – although the booth was never particularly busy

Big thrill for me – aside from the food – was being selected as a judge for the 4-H costume contest for kids and their livestock. I really wanted my 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf to win but my fellow judges weren’t feeling it. If you’re wondering how I was selected for judging, it was that snazzy hat of mine. The top judge just honed right in on it.

And then on Sunday morning, I got to visit the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market which is fabulous, if a tad spendy $$$. But I was surprised to see how many foods seem to take their inspiration from the Fair e.g. pickle on a stick, sausage on a stick, authentic Mexican tacos and corn tortillas with fresh horchata.

See pics below of this and more.

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Time to Embrace Restaurant Tech: Even if You’re Not a Millennial

Time to Embrace Restaurant Tech: Even if You’re Not a Millennial

 

The 2017 Dining Survey from American Express is a few months old but super interesting. Especially fascinating to see the disparities between the generations when it comes to social media, digital ordering, and tipping. And although I tend to skew millennial on the tech front, I am not with them when it comes to ordering a meal made out of restaurant leftovers (39% of millennials are supposedly OK with that….).

NOTE: The restaurants surveyed were all independents – not chains. This really surprised me given some of the responses.

Take-Out Tech to Grow

  • Millennials are twice as likely (62%) as Boomers (28%) to use a restaurant’s mobile app or website to order take-out
  • Millennials are also more likely (58%) to use Grubhub or Seamless than Gen-Xers (35%) or Boomers (21%)
  • 24% of restaurateurs currently use an online platform like Grubhub and 31% are planning to soon
  • 24% of restaurateurs let you order ahead through their own website or mobile app and 42% plan to soon

To Tip or Not To Tip

  • 15% of restaurants have adopted – or plan to adopt – a no-tipping policy
  • The majority of consumers (63%) say they prefer to tip their server
  • Most (59%) add the tip to their charge card
  • Millennials, on the other hand:
  • Prefer not to tip (46%)
  • Want a service charge added to their bills in lieu of a tip (18%)
  • Leave a cash tip when paying with a credit card (46%)

Social media is a key component of the dining experience esp. for millennials

  • 72% of millennials post about their restaurant experience on social media
  • 83% of restaurateurs view social media as having a very positive impact on their business
  • Social media sites most popular with restaurateurs: Facebook (85%) and Instagram (46%)

Tech at the Table: Keeping the Human Touch in a Digital World

  • 7% of restaurant owners use automated customer service technology such as digital kiosks or table-side ordering
  • 26% say they plan to adopt this technology
  • 75% of diners meanwhile favor a restaurant with traditional wait staff
  • 39% of Millennials prefer restaurants to have digital customer service platforms

Read on below for more on what restaurant operators are doing to combat food waste and overall financial outlook.

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It’s All About The Pork-Almighty at the Iowa State Fair!

It’s All About The Pork-Almighty at the Iowa State Fair!

 

Forget about funnel cakes, jumbo-smoked turkey legs, corn dogs. NOTHING beats The Pork-Almighty. And I am so grateful that my friend, Shawn Anderson, was with us to order this crazy concoction that also turned out to be the winner of the 2017 People’s Choice Best New Food Contest.

Debbie Kranovich, the mastermind behind the Pork Almighty’s recipe, thinks it won because “It screams ‘fair’ and it screams ‘fun'” – and she is so right!! And let’s not forget it’s also DELICIOUS – although hot sauce e.g. tabasco or sriracha would have made it even better.

Here’s the full description of The Pork-Almighty: The tower of power!

  • The base of the Pork Almighty is a 32-ounce soft drink with a huge bowl on top filled with crunchy twisty fries, pulled pork, queso cheese sauce, Cookies barbecue sauce, more queso, diced onions, green peppers and then more shredded cheese is sprinkled on top. It weighs in at just over four pounds and has more than 1,800 calories. At $12 it’s a bit spendy but so worth it!

    A straw comes up through the middle of the bowl, so you can sip and dine at the same time while strolling around the fairgrounds.

See below for more on the food scene. Another highlight was Bauder’s Ice Cream – renowned for their peppermint bars (and for the jailing of the Bauder’s Pharmacy owner for illegal sales of pain pills?!?). The ice cream, however, was YUMMY!

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What’s the Latest Trend in Home Entertainment? Private Supper Clubs

What’s the Latest Trend in Home Entertainment? Private Supper Clubs

 

Finagled myself an invite to one of Pamela Berger’s renowned Ormewood Park Supper Club evenings (in ATL) this past weekend. Awesome time!!! Fabulous house, great group of people and delicious food and wine.

Will definitely bring this concept to NYC as a twist on my usual dinner parties – although Pamela’s super cute house and porch makes it extra amazing.

Here are 3 things that make Pamela’s Supper Club worth noting as a cultural phenomenon:

Collaboration with – and a platform for – talented friends

  • In this instance, Celeste Bauer was cheffing, Sarah Pierre, owner and partner of 3 Parks Wine Shop, was our wine purveyor, and Wes Cummings, co-owner of a photography company that highlights creative people in the Atlanta community, documented the entire evening. Pamela has been featuring his photos on her social media and they are beautiful. And note, the much more pedestrian pics on this blog are all mine. Wes’ photos take it to another level.

Connecting with interesting people from Pamela’s network

  • Pamela’s circle of friends and colleagues is enormous
  • Supper Club provides a great opportunity for guests to meet people from diverse walks of life e.g. entrepreneurs, lawyers, artists, designers, reality TV producers.
  • And, for those of you who ask why blog, Pamela is a great example of how many interesting and creative people a blog can bring into your life. Pamela had an amazing blog – Sweet Peach – for several years and just gave it up earlier this year (sad!). She just got too busy to keep it up but Pamela featured a huge number of people on her blog who have gone on to become friends and collaborators. Here’s a link to the blog post I did on it back in 2014.

Great vibe

  • And FABULOUS décor specifically planned for the evening’s theme: Spanish/tapas. See photos below.
  • Also love that midway thru the evening, she asked us to switch our seating to mix it up and give us an opportunity to meet guests we may not have had a chance to chat with earlier in the evening. And it was during the switch that I got to meet Bob Conquest, not only a fellow LEO, but one who shares my birth date (DAY, not year!!).
  • Two things that would have made it even more fabulous, for me, would have been a seating chart with name tags so that the mingling wasn’t quite as random and quickie intros of each of us by Pamela at the beginning of the sitdown. Again, would have made it easier to connect with people.

See below for more pics from the event as well as info from Pamela on how the concept started.

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Question Of The Day: Will My Japanese Kit Kat Bars Arrive In Time For My Bday?

Question Of The Day: Will My Japanese Kit Kat Bars Arrive In Time For My Bday?

 

“We take pride in our unique flavors which make Japan special in the Kit Kat world”

 

  • Wanted my order of new Sake-flavor, wasabi and matcha to arrive in time for my birthday but doubtful.
  • But I am excited to have been part of Japan’s Kit Kat Tourism. Everyone, including me, visit 7-Eleven’s to stock up on weird flavored Kit Kat bars
  • According to Grub Street, Nestlé Japan had to build a second factory (opening this August) just to keep up with the “booming demand.”
  • This brand new Kit Kat factory, located in Himeji, will be “dedicated to making upscale, pricier versions of the snack.”

Read on below for more on top selling flavors and info on their must-visit Chocolatory stores in Tokyo.

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Island Oyster On Governors Island Now Open: Absolutely Love It!

Island Oyster On Governors Island Now Open: Absolutely Love It!

 

Finally made it to Kerry Heffernan’s absolutely gorgeous oyster bar on Governor’s Island. Even when it’s gloomy it’s a fabulous place to hang out. And it looked so moody and cinematic with the dark clouds – but it never did rain!

  • HIGHLY RECOMMEND. And this is important: They are open 7 days a week from noon to 6pm. So if you can skip “school” and take the ferry out one weekday afternoon, that would be pretty sweet.
  • The set-up of the bar is amazing and I will be back this weekend, weather permitting.
  • A place that has rose on tap is definitely worth adding to your fave list!!
  • Note: They don’t have the full menu up and running yet, only oysters.
  • And they are very short-staffed, takes a while to get those oysters. Apparently shuckers are in high demand.

Read on below for 2 more food trends that are right up my alley: The Viking Diet and pickled cabbage/sauerkraut.

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Thank You Groupe SEB For Reminding Me That We Are Already Halfway To The Holidays.

Thank You Groupe SEB For Reminding Me That We Are Already Halfway To The Holidays.

Lagostina copper lasagna pans

 

Attended this private viewing of upcoming product launches for  home, kitchen and beverage products from All-Clad, KRUPS, Lagostina, Rowenta and T-fal.

Although it was a sweltering 90 degrees outside, the theme was Christmas and I must admit it was fun (and informative) celebrating #HalfwaytotheHolidays in July.

See below for photos of the upcoming brand launches. The highlight of the event was All-Clad’s Prep & Cook.  They’re positioning it as your very own sous chef in the kitchen. It’ll set you back about $1000 but it’s like a miracle-worker. To make asparagus soup, for example, you put all the ingredients in the machine and it knows how long to cook before it needs to start chopping and then simmering. They were also touting the Prep & Cook’s risotto-making prowess.

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Drink Up: Emojis and Location Intelligence Reveal All

Drink Up: Emojis and Location Intelligence Reveal All

 

Not sure why, but I seem to be drinking less these days – fewer cocktails, and even a tad less wine.

But before you freak out that I’m becoming a teetotaler, I do still love my wine and my brown spirits and smoky mezcals. And apparently I’m not the only one who is shaking up their drinking habits a bit.

Check out this great emoji research from VINEPAIR which indicates how usage is changing based on the kind of emojis people are using in social media, texts etc.

  • There are nine common alcohol emojis but only 2 are showing sustained growth
  • The whiskey emoji which came out in December 2016, is on track to become the most popular emoji ever, it’s already more popular than beer.
  • The wine emoji is also becoming increasingly popular and is gaining on beer as well (although beer is still the most consumed beverage in the United States). The times they are a changin’.
  • The emoji showing the biggest downturn is the tiki glass. It peaked in 2015 and has been on a downswing ever since.

Read on below for highlights from Foursquare’s excellent report on alcohol consumption trends. The You Are What (and Where) You Drink Report is based on where millions of us have checked in throughout 2016.

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