January 2008 Blog Posts (196)

Oh how i love a true coffee perfectionist...but at what price

Oh how i love a true coffee perfectionist...but at what price?

Back in 2001 I spent 12 days in the Dominican Republic on a coffee excursion. I traveled to the plantations in Bonao, processing facilities and packing plant at Montana Verde (In my opinion, the best coffee in the world), experienced a "Cupping" (Coffee tasting, not unlike a wine tasting but a lot louder), spent days with an entire culture breathing coffee as away of life. I basically immersed myself in the world to… Continue

Added by Dan Ziegler on January 23, 2008 at 5:09am — 1 Comment

Evolution or Aging?

Family Friends and The Theory of Evolution

The Theory of Evolution has been debated for years, and that’s fine. I am not sure though if all of the facts are being considered though. Let’s assume that Evolution is the umbrella phrase used to describe the process of a species changing over the years. Consider this. If you could isolate a particular animal and keep it completely confined without changing its environment,…


Added by Howard Appell on January 23, 2008 at 5:05am — 2 Comments

Corn Prices and their Impact on the Protein Markets

I would guess that you know a lot more about grain corn then you did a

few years ago. I sure do. For about 30 years the grain corn market

traded from roughly $1.80 to $3.20 a bushel. And when it neared the

high end of the range it spurred an increase in plantings and thus

output driving corn prices lower the next year. So every once in a

while we had to talk about it, but for the most part the corn market

was relatively consistent. Boy, things have certainly… Continue

Added by David Maloni on January 22, 2008 at 6:33pm — 1 Comment

5 Fattening Winter Comfort Foods

I don't know about the rest of you, but it's cold outside these days and I'm having a hard time staying away from some of my favorite fattening comfort foods. Every single one of these items from the Quality Health Website I've consumed in the last week. Does anyone have the phone number for Valerie Bertinelli?

1. Macaroni and cheese. This classic comfort dish is loaded with fat and calories. What's more, some restaurants are adding insult to injury by offering…


Added by Matt Urdan on January 22, 2008 at 5:54pm — 1 Comment

Is it all doom and gloom?

I keep reading industry publications that report the news and the opinions of industry workers, advisers, analysts and leaders. Lately it's all doom. It's all gloom and it may in fact manifest the destiny publishers report will happen.

The macro economic issues that affect the restaurant industry also affect most other consumer businesses as well. If we keep reading and believing about how bad things are then, well, maybe we will all stop spending money, stop dining and then we will… Continue

Added by Michael L. Atkinson on January 22, 2008 at 1:12pm — 1 Comment

BRAVO! Whole Foods Starts a Trend we can all get behind. The end of plastic bags

Press Release Source: Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods Market(R) to Sack Disposable Plastic Grocery Bags by Earth Day

Tuesday January 22, 12:01 am ET

Grocer Encourages Use of… Continue

Added by Dan Ziegler on January 22, 2008 at 11:36am — 5 Comments

An Open Letter to Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks

Dear Howard,

Glad to know you’re returning to the CEO spot at Starbucks. You’ve got your work cut out for you, but I know you can do it! I’m sure as you settle in and take stock of the situation you’ll be besieged from all sides with advice.

As you know, something’s not right at Starbucks. Is it consumer fatigue? Competition? Is it those crappy pre-made sandwiches?

You see Howard, as a former employee of yours and a long time customer I feel like I’m uniquely… Continue

Added by Garrick Arnold on January 22, 2008 at 8:49am — 5 Comments

Times & Trends

A just-released IRI survey of over 22,000 U.S. consumers found that roughly half consider at least one sustainability factor when selecting brands to buy or stores to shop. These factors include organic development, eco-friendly ingredients, eco-friendly packaging and fair treatment of suppliers and employees.

As highlighted in these findings, sustainability issues are impacting shopping and purchase decisions to some extent among a high proportion of consumers; however, roughly…


Added by The Tortilla Guy on January 22, 2008 at 5:30am — 2 Comments

Compulsory cooking class for pupils

Following on from my previous post "Why can't our children cook" it appears the UK government have been thinking the same thing and launched a new initiative today!

From the Press Association, UK

Teenagers will be given compulsory cooking lessons at school for the first time, under…


Added by Mark McKellier on January 22, 2008 at 2:59am — 2 Comments

Monday Musings: Menu Fonts

Okay, so I apologize for the alliteration. We're in the process of redesigning our menus and the topic of an appropriate font size came up. Of course readability should be a major concern, but what is an appropriate font size for our changing demographics?

On the one hand, a nice 12-point or 14-point, serif font is easy to read, but when utilizing a larger font size, the necessity for more whitespace increases and you incur greater printing costs if you're not able to get your entire…


Added by Matt Urdan on January 21, 2008 at 9:26am — 4 Comments

Starbucks Switches To Hormone-Free Milk

by Justin Thomas, TreeHugger.com

Starbucks has announced that it is moving forward with its long-promised plans to serve only milk produced by cows free of the artificial hormone known as rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).

According to the company, all of its core dairy products (fluid milk,

half and half, whipping cream and eggnog) are now…


Added by Mark McKellier on January 21, 2008 at 2:40am — 5 Comments

Killing the madman

My closest friends and numerous co-workers have heard me tell this story hundreds of times. I wish I could take credit for creating it, but the truth is, I am just not that clever. However, it is one of my absolute favorites and I thought you might get a little fun out of it and maybe even use it yourself in your restaurant. I told it often, maybe too often. I used it almost…


Added by Ralph Kinder on January 20, 2008 at 5:24pm — 4 Comments

CMN - CHIC108: New Instructors

CMN - CHIC108: New Instructors

CHIC Podcast #108: Welcome to our new…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:41pm — No Comments

CMN - ReMARKable Palate Video 28: Swiss Wines

CMN - RPV28: Swiss Wines

ReMARKable Palate Video #28: Swiss Wines

We speak with representatives from…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:40pm — No Comments

CMN - ReMARKable Palate 126: Koshi Rice

CMN - RP126: Koshi Rice

ReMARKable Palate #126: Koshi Rice


Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:38pm — No Comments

CMN - Food Philosophy #70: New Year, New Menu

CMN - FP70: New Year, New Menu

Food Philosophy 70: New Year, New Menu

My year got off to a chaotic…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:36pm — No Comments

CMN - CHIC107: What's the Deal with Puff Pastry?

CMN - CHIC107: What's the Deal with Puff Pastry?

CHIC Podcast #107: What's the Deal with…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:34pm — No Comments

CMN - RP125: Brandt Beef

CMN - RP125: Brandt Beef

ReMARKable Palate #125: Brandt…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:32pm — No Comments

CMN - CHIC106: Trends in Food

CMN - CHIC106: Trends in Food

CHIC Podcast #106: Trends in…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:30pm — No Comments

ReMARKable Palate #124: Highlights of 2007

CMN - RP124: Highlights of 2007

ReMARKable Palate #124:…

Added by Chef Mark Tafoya on January 20, 2008 at 12:26pm — No Comments

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The Sip

The Sip: Stay up-to-date on the beer, wine and spirits category with original content from SmartBrief -More

New food offerings helped Starbucks boost sales

Baked goods, breakfast sandwiches and the first price increases in nearly four years helped lead Starbucks to a 7% same-store -More


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National News

Ward Whitworth Named President for On The Border Mexican Grill

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina, which was recently acquired by Border Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Argonne Capital Group, today announced the appointment of Ward Whitworth as President of On The Border.

The Melting Pot Targets Houston and El Paso, Texas for Franchise Expansion

Restaurants, Inc. announced today that it is actively seeking franchisees to expand its presence throughout the Lone Star State, naming El Paso and Houston as target markets for future franchise development.

Encore Restaurants Purchases 8 Existing Five Guys Restaurants, Plans to Develop 45 More

Encore Restaurants, LLC, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Encore Enterprises, Inc., has announced the purchase of eight existing Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants across central California including Elk Grove, Fresno, Lodi, Natomas, Roseville, Stockton, Tracy, and West Sacramento.

Takeout Orders to Hotels Jumped 125% in Popularity in Last Three Years

For many Americans, hotel room service is considered a travel luxury; however, data from PFK Hospitality Research1 suggests that room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, with some hotels shuttering unprofitable operations altogether.

National Restaurant Association Praises House and Senate Commerce Committee Passage of Travel Promotion Act

Yesterday the National Restaurant Association (NRA) praised the House passage and Senate Commerce Committee markup of the Travel Promotion, Enhancement and Modernization Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation reauthorizes Brand USA, the nation’s first global marketing campaign, to promote the United States as a destination for international travelers.


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TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

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