Bits and Pieces: Vint coffee, the Kentucky doughnut trail and other Louisville food news from the web, 11.5.12

Closings

  • Vint, a coffee/wine shop that merged with Heine Brothers’ Coffee earlier this year, will close its Northfield location Wednesday, Nov. 7. Staff members will work at the new Heine Brothers’ location at 4305 Shelbyville Road that is set to open before the end of the year. (Business First of Louisville)

News

  • The New York Times featured Louisville doughnut shop Nord’s Bakery in an article about the Kentucky doughnut trail. I frequented two other stops on the trail when I lived in Lexington — Spalding’s Bakery and Magee’s Bakery. (New York Times)

Openings

  • BoomBozz pizza founder Tony Palombino plans to open a restaurant called Manny and Merle on Whiskey Row in downtown Louisville. The restaurant will feature Mexican street food, live music and cocktails. (Insider Louisville)

Etc.

Bits and pieces: Michelle Obama, Quiznos death watch and other food news from the web, 7.25.11

  • “Our standard supermarket banana, a variety called Cavendish, may be at the brink of disaster.” That is definitely going to mess up my breakfast. (The Scientist)
  • First Lady Michelle Obama is trying to bring more fruits and vegetables to “food deserts” and is working with some big retailers to do so. (NPR)
  • And speaking of healthful living, should the government put a tax on junk food and subsidize produce to get Americans healthy? Food writer Mark Bittman argues that this idea is worth exploring. (New York Times)
  • Looks like business isn’t booming at Quiznos, a sandwich chain with a whole lot of debt. (Gawker)
  • Brooklyn restaurant Do or Dine serves foie gras doughnuts, and people are pissed about it. It just sounds kind of gross to me. (Gawker)

Bits and pieces: Starbucks thefts, celebrity cookbooks and other food news from the web, 5.3.11

Whoa, guys. This has been a busy few days, and it’s just going to get worse.

A prince got married. Obama delivered some good zingers at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. A bad guy got killed.

And this week, the Kentucky Derby will cap off three weeks of celebrations in just two minutes. Mother’s Day is creeping up, and I don’t have a present. And between all this, I’m in a hurricane of wedding crafts from which I will not emerge until October.

So here’s some fun food news to keep us all entertained and maybe a little distracted.

Ahhh, Starbucks. Hold onto your wallets, folks. Photo courtesy of re_ality via Flickr.
  • Starbucks coffee shops across New York City (and no doubt the rest of the world) are hot spots for thieves. People let their guards down, leave their stuff at a table while they buy a latte, and boom — no more laptop. (New York Times)
  • The hot new celebrity trend? Cookbooks. Here’s a rundown of five actors, reality stars and singers who have ventured into cookbooks. (Washington Post)
  • Want to toast to the death of aforementioned bad guy? Here’s a list of places across the country with Osama bin Laden related drink specials. (Eater)

Louisville gets a favorable mention in the New York Times. Does this mean we’re legit?

The Louisville internets are all abuzz with news that our dear city got a write up in the New York Times.

The newspaper profiled the city in its 36 Hours inTravel section feature.

Some highlights:

  • Hillbilly Tea is delish (but we already knew that, right?).
  • Holy Grale is the latest must-visit location.
  • Fourth Street Live is “frat-tastic.”

Check out the entire feature here. It made me feel pretty good to call Louisville home.

McDonald’s has made oatmeal a hot topic. Here’s how to make your own.

Photo courtesy of nate steiner via Flickr.

It took two minutes and three ingredients for my fiancé to change the way I look at breakfast.

It was a cool February morning. We were hungry and chilly and needed some food that would stick to our bones.

Rob removed a carton of Aldi-brand oatmeal from my cabinet. Then he showed me how real grown ups eat a proper breakfast.

Oatmeal has had its place on my kitchen shelves in every apartment in which I’ve lived. But oatmeal was just an item I needed on hand to whip up a batch of oatmeal-raisin cookies when the mood struck me. Occasionally I would by bags of the pre-flavored oatmeal that’s quick and easy to prepare when you’re in a hurry. But I never looked at those rolled oats in the cardboard carton as food with which I could satisfy my urges to get creative in the kitchen.

Rob got to pouring and measuring and stirring. Less than five minutes later, I was eating a bowl of hot oatmeal with raisins, cinnamon and brown sugar. This humble bowl of oatmeal was the beginning of my adoration of this bastion of fiber.

Oatmeal has become my go-to breakfast. It’s a blank canvas that waits for your personal touches. It’s easy, quick and cheap. It keeps you full until lunch. In a word, oatmeal is wonderful.

Recently, McDonald’s and a couple of oat-loving food writers have brought oatmeal to the front of internet food conversation.

Food columnist Mark Bittman just wrote a widely read article for the New York Times condemning McDonald’s oatmeal, which he said has been altered so much by the fast-food giant that the dish has more sugar than a Snickers candy bar. Bittman’s piece prompted a response from Tom Chiarella at Esquire Magazine based on his own experiences at the restaurant that defends the chain’s oatmeal.

While you decide if McDonald’s has bastardized oatmeal or brought a healthier option to the masses, why not make your own? It takes only two steps:

  1. Follow the directions on the carton of oatmeal. If you use milk instead of water (which is what I do), watch your oatmeal closely and stir often because it can easily bubble over the pot or bowl.
  2. Add your favorite ingredients.

Here’s a breakdown of some possible additions to oatmeal. Choose something from each category and make your own combinations.

  • Something sweet: Sugar, brown sugar, sugar substitute, honey, syrup
  • Something crunchy: Nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc.)
  • Something fruity: Dried fruit (raisins, golden raisins, Craisins, etc.), mashed banana, chopped apple, applesauce
  • Something flavorful: Cinnamon, nutmeg

Do you have your own oatmeal combination? Share the knowledge in the comments.

Bits and pieces: Trader Joe’s, Wal-Mart and other food news from the web, 1.24.11

Oh, snap. Is a Trader Joe's coming to Louisville? Photo courtesy of A Girl with Tea via Flickr.
  • Seems like there’s a lot of drama going around about a Trader Joe’s coming to Louisville. Business First of Louisville cites anonymous sources who say the specialty grocery store chain will make a home in the Shelbyville Road Plaza in St. Matthews. The Courier-Journal says Trader Joe’s is indeed “eyeing” Louisville for a new location. But wait, now the Courier-Journal blog Derby City Cents says it’s not going to happen – at least for two years. Yikes. Chris Otts from the C-J says that the latest on Trader Joe’s is that the store is interested in Louisville; the Derby City Cents post was an older entry. Sorry for the mix up.
  • 

  • Kraft has invented a vending machine that scans and analyzes your face to determine what you want to eat, according to Gawker. I can’t decide if this is awesome or creepy.
  • Wal-Mart will lower the amount of unhealthy salts, fats and sugars in its Great Value-brand packaged foods, according to an article in the New York Times. From the article:

The initiative came out of discussions the company has been having with Michelle Obama, the first lady … Aides say it is the first time Mrs. Obama has thrown her support behind the work of a single company.

  • Hillbilly Tea, a previous $10 Challenge site, hosts a knitting group on Sunday nights. Check out Consuming Louisville for more information. The restaurant has wonderful food, and the addition of knitting makes the place even better.

Bits and pieces: Printable food, blizzard recipes and other food news from the web, 12.27.10

I had every intention to be productive during my break from work last week.

Then this happened:

Rob, aka Mr. Ashlee Eats, aka my favorite eating partner, asked me to marry him on Christmas Eve.

I said yes.

The engagement and Christmas the next day allowed me to take a break from the internet and celebrate with family and friends.

Now I’m back, so on with the news.

  • A group of scientists at Cornell University’s Computational Synthesis Lab are building a 3D, syringe-based food printer to create meals, according to the BBC. This sounds like a Willy Wonka experiment gone awry.

 

  • Gain some extra holiday pounds? Try exercising before you eat your breakfast. A study published in the Journal of Physiology showed that “working out before breakfast directly combated the two most detrimental effects of eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet,” according to a blog post from the New York Times.

 

  • Speaking of exercising, the L.A. Times ran an article reviewing workout equipment that folks can use at their desks. If I had a spare $500, I might take a second look at the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. Or I would just haul my butt out of bed and jog.

 

  • For readers stuck in the blizzard that has overtaken New England this week, here’s a snow recipe from All Recipes to add some excitement to being stuck in the house. Just watch out for the yellow snow.

Bits and pieces: KFC expands, nutritious school lunches and other food news from the web, 12.13.10

  • KFC officials have their eyes on Africa, according to the Wall Street Journal. Yum! Brands, the Louisville-based parent company of KFC, expects to double its number of KFC outlets on the continent to 1,200 by 2014, according to the WSJ article.
  • Here’s another news item from the Wall Street Journal: Carnegie Mellon University researchers say that taking several minutes to repeatedly think about eating a certain food could make you less likely to want to actually eat that food. I’m going to have to disagree. There are days when I think about Raisin Bran Crunch for at least an hour, and I still eat a big bowl when I get home from work.
  • O’Charley’s Inc., one of my favorite casual-dining-with-good-rolls restaurants, is closing 16 of its locations, according to an article from Business First of Louisville. CEO David Head said:
These closings permit us to focus our energy and efforts on improving the performance of our remaining 339 company-operated restaurants in 25 states.
  • President Barack Obama signed a bill into law Monday that allows for thousands more children to eat lunches and dinners at school and makes all school food more nutritious, according to an article from the New York Times. From the article:

The $4.5 billion measure increases the federal reimbursement for free school lunches by 6 cents a meal at a time when many school officials say they can’t afford to provide the meals. The bill will also expand access to free lunch programs and allow 20 million additional after-school meals to be served annually in all 50 states. Most states now only provide money for after-school snacks.

Bits and pieces: McDonald’s weddings, hangover cures and other food news from the web, 10.26.10

  • Can honey help a hangover? How about rubbing lemon on your armpit? The Chicago Tribune provides a handy-dandy slideshow that debunks and confirms alleged remedies to hangovers. After a weekend of hanging with photographers at Mountain Workshops in Elizabethtown, I learned the best cure for a hangover is just not to drink at all. I’m still reeling.

 

  • As a kid, I enjoyed spaghetti sandwiches – a pile of Mama Eats’ spaghetti smashed between two slices of white bread. Now spaghetti tacos are a hit among the kid crowd, according to an article in the New York Times. The dish was featured on the show iCarly and sent tweens into a tizzy to recreate it.

 

  • Love McDonald’s as much as your significant other? If you live in Hong Kong, you can get married in the fast-food restaurant. According to an article in The Independent of London, Hong Kong McDonald’s locations will begin offering on-site wedding packages next year that include your choice of a wedding cake, made of apple pie or burgers. “People said they’d dated here, or met here, and wanted to get married here … We see this as a business chance,” said Helen Cheung Yuen-ling, McDonald’s Hong Kong director of corporate communications and relations.

 

  • Halloween has become good business for American farmers, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal. From the article:

Looking to diversify their sources of income, small farmers are expanding their “agritourism” or “agri-tainment” operations beyond the traditional pumpkin-picking, hayride and petting zoo. They’re erecting haunted mansions, dizzying corn mazes and other elaborate attractions on their properties. In some cases, they convert them into holiday spectacles and other themed exhibits to keep visitors coming for a longer season.

Bits and pieces: Frankenfish, fried beer and other food news from the web, 9.7.10

  • Genetically modified salmon is safe to eat and poses little risk to the environment, the Food and Drug Administration said in an analysis the group released last week. According to an article in the New York Times, the FDA’s favorable assessment will make it more likely that this fish will be the first genetically modified animal to enter the American food supply. But “a coalition of 31 consumer, animal welfare, environmental and fisheries groups announced opposition to the approval last week, citing, in particular, concerns that the salmon could escape and possibly outcompete wild salmon for food or mates,” the article stated. I’ll hold off on buying Frankenfish, thankyouverymuch.
  • The Association of Food Journalists announced its list of the best food writers and writing at the group’s annual conference last week, according to the Poynter Institute. I’m searching for the article that won first place for best magazine food feature: “Why America is Addicted to Olive Garden.”
  • This is change I can believe in. White Castle is stepping up their game by testing new concepts in selected restaurants, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In Lafayette, Ind., WC has introduced Blaze Modern BBQ in one of the company’s existing restaurants. The menu includes seven types of meat, baked beans, corn on the cob and jalapeno cornbread. Down in Lebanon, Tenn., WC is trying a pressed-club-sandwich concept called Deckers that offers 10 sandwiches ranging from PB&J to chicken Cordon Bleu. And there are rumors of a noodle menu at a White Castle in Ohio.
  • Only in Texas can you find beer, club salads and butter that have been battered and submerged in grease. These items are just some of the fried treats at this year’s Texas State Fair, according to the Dallas Morning News. I would eat the Texas Fried Frito Pie – “Chili, accented with a hint of sharp cheddar, encased in Fritos. Battered and fried.”