Archive - June 2011

Best Performing Restaurants in Lincoln Center’s Neighborhood

Per Se, NYC

The Lincoln Center in New York takes pride in being the world’s leading home stage for the performing arts. Have a seat and enjoy various world class shows that the performers have specially prepared for you. But as such a classy performing center invites hundreds of guests from around the world to witness world class acts, it also boasts of a neighborhood with world class dining offers. Let us take a journey into the top restaurants that are in Lincoln Center’s neighborhood of dreams.

10. Shun Lee. This is one of the best Chinese restaurants in town, and oh yeah, did I say it was fine dining? From the very dramatic monkey and dragon sculptured creatures, to the entrée of traditional Chinese meets American dishes that the best culinary team of Shun Lee has prepared for their guests, everything seems to be world class. They have different types of menus to choose from, from ordinary day menus like Lunch and Dinner Menu, Traditional Menu, Café Menu and Dimsum Menu to the Banquet Dinner, Traditional banquet, and Restaurant Week Menu – Shun Lee certainly has lots to offer the hungry foodies. Order their customer favorite Beijing Duck, or their ginger chicken dish and beggar’s chicken (which requires at least one day notice) and have a classic fine dining experience before you head out to Lincoln Center.

9. A Voce. A Michelin-Star recipient, A Voce has certainly done its best to keep foodies and food critics coming back to their humble abode. This restaurant has been praised for their outstanding drink selection, from wines, spirits and cocktails which added some charm to their very inviting entrees. Chef Missy Robbins has been creating delicious authentic Italian cuisines, concentrating on regional flavors and use of local ingredients for a well-developed dish that has captivating flavors and aroma. Prepare your tummies for well-prepared pasta dishes with fish and meat cuisines that are very fresh and flavorful. Chef Robbins definitely mastered the art of making contemporary dishes out of authentic Italian treats. They’ve got menus for Dinner, Lunch, and Desserts along with a prix-fixe and brunch menus for your liking.

8. Marea. This Two-Michelin Star Italian Restaurant in Central Park, New York is one of the most sought-after restaurants in the neighborhood. This restaurant is famous for its remarkable fish dishes and other seafood entrees with a great wine selection and a perfect location, nearing the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. Executive chef, Michael White has drawn deep inspiration from world-class Italian cuisines with the influence of local ingredients. Marea is Chef White’s redefinition of fine Italian dining with a touch of American characteristics of being big and bold. Their dinner menu is a prix-fixe course where local favorites include the Lobster Burrata with sourdough bread, Fusilli with red wine braised octopus and bone marrow, and Ferratini (pasta with manila clams, calamari, hot chilies).

7. Grand Tier. Metropolitan Opera House’s own high-class restaurant, Grand Tier, is always among the favorite fine-dining places in the area. Whether you have dinner prior to the start of the show or during the intermission, Grand Tier will always serve scrumptious meals while maintaining a very classy and elegant ambiance to make your dining experience a great one. It has high ceilings with huge chandeliers hovering above the room and filled with rare art pieces made by various artists. They offer a fantastic pre-show prix-fixe menu with a bottle of the best Italian and Californian wines they have. Salmon and chicken dishes are among the guest’s favorites. Enjoy the food at Grand Grand Tier and enjoy the performances at the Met.

6. Masa Have a fun-filled Japanese dinner before heading out to watch performances at Lincoln Center by dining at Masa. Masa is a Three-Star Michelin Japanese restaurant that offers specialties like sushi and other native Japanese dishes. This Japanese restaurant in New York may be one of the world’s most expensive restaurants, but every dining experience at Masa is penny-worth. Chef Masa Takayama, chef and owner of this sushi temple creates sushi masterpieces himself with the use of local, seasonal, and even exotic ingredients like Kobe beef and truffles. Most sushi brand fish he uses usually comes from Japan’s own seas. This sushi temple is built with Japanese pride, influence, and honor with a great Zen ambiance and good Japanese food serving. It’s all about the essence of native Japanese dishes that Masa has prepared for the hungry guests in the area.

5. Picholine. Given a three-star rating by The New York Times, Picholine boasts of its classic French and Mediterranean cuisines that are absolutely “fantastique!” Chef/Owner Terrance Brennan knows best when it comes to serving only the best to his guests. His creative mind has turned classic French, Italian and Spanish flavors into amazing original dishes that have captured the palates of many foodies, in and out of New York. Highly recommended dishes include the Sea Urchin Panna Cotta with caviar, Sea Scallops, other seafood and chicken dishes. It doesn’t end here. They also have a great selection of fine wines and didn’t I tell you they have a secret cave of cheese? This lies behind their Wine Room with over 2,500 bottles of Wine. A cheese haven and a fantastique French-Mediterranean restaurant, only here at Picholine.

4. Bar Boulud. Another French restaurant introduces a casual dining and bar experience in the Upper West Side in New York. This is one of Chef Daniel Boulud’s humble abode, making up treats for the hungry foodies of Lincoln Center. Bar Boulud is a casual bistro with interiors and design that are not overpowering, keeping it simple and dim for a very romantic and rather relaxing ambiance while enjoying your French-inspired cuisines and fine wines that feature vintages from Burgundy and Rhone Valley. If you’re in for a more private dining, they have intimate wine rooms that are perfect for your liking. From simple ham and sausage plates to Pâtés and terrines, Croque Monsieur to their dark chocolate tart and red wine-rhubarb sorbet Bar Boulud as certainly leveled up their standards for a classic bistro experience before or after a night of great performances at Lincoln Center.

3. The Lincoln Ristorante. This marvelously structured restaurant is definitely not owned by the cartoon family, Jetsons, but everyone’s up for contemporary Italian treats in a high-class setting. Chef Jonathan Benno made his own interpretation of classic Italian dishes under the roof of a very modernized abode. He has gained culinary expertise from learning in the kitchens of famous French restaurants, Per Se and the French Laundry, and now he has set his goals of making Lincoln Ristorante a premier dining place in the City. Guests would enjoy their entrée of Antipasti, Primi, Chef’s menu, and meat and a whole lot more, carefully thought of and prepared by Chef Benno and his culinary team. Have a pre-dinner meal or even slide through their tables during the intermission, and get a fantastic panoramic view and great Italian dining at Lincoln Ristorante.

2. Nougatine. Only the best are served to the guests – this is what Nougatine is all about. World-renowned chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten has prepared carefully crafted French menu for all the hungry foodies in the area who are looking for a casual yet classic French dining experience. Despite the spurt of many restaurants in the area, Nougatine has maintained a name for being consistently good at serving the best entrée of French cuisines a very casual setting. People tend to overlook this place, but once the flavors have set in your palate, you’d regret the day you passed by this amazing restaurant. They serve breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner all week long. The guests love their soups, seafood entrees such as the Sauteed Red Snapper, Salmon with sautéed potatoes and meat dishes like Grilled Sirloin and Roasted Organic Chicken. Have a warm experience with a pre- or post- dinner here at Nougatine.

1. Per Se. This is one of the finest restaurants, bringing people in from around the world to experience high-class French dining experience in New York. Owned and run by “The” Chef Thomas Keller, Per Se has definitely something to offer the locals and international guests of New York City. Chef Keller’s Per Se is an urbanized version of his other abode, The French Laundry. Here, he tries to reinvent and re-introduce the dishes so that there would always be something new to satisfy the foodie’s palates. They have prix-fixe meals for the vegans and the non-vegans. The restaurant is designed with the combination of marble, granite, and wood. The dishes are made to give the guests a very emotional experience, and this is what Per Se is all about. It brings all the best products the earth could ever provide, putting creative minds together to serve the best possible meals and satisfy the people. Every menu speaks of a story that is close to Per Se. They serve the best Pearl and Oyster dishes in town and a great selection of fine wines to accompany the meals. A truly remarkable dining experience when you’re at Per Se.

Soul Food in the House

Soul Dog

If we got soul, our music got soul, so does our food. It is a definition of a culture. Now, it’s a definition of a decade.

Soul foods are basically traditional cuisines or dishes that are native to African-Americans. Soul was used to define their culture and traditions. This is a popular kind of cuisine especially in the Southern part of America. The Europeans were actually the ones who brought in the Africans to America with their slave trade. They introduced their native products to the African slaves where the people have added the use of these products to their cooking. It was through the African slaves who were traded in America that the soul food reached the Southern region. They brought with them their style of cooking and native ingredients to the South. Soul food was the main dish prepared and eaten by African slaves. The Southern Americans then also learned how to adapt to the African style of cooking. This paved the way for the fame of soul food in the United States.

The basic thought on a soul food is the use of native and locally available ingredients and the traditional way of cooking – their soul is their culture, their native brand, and this soul should also be evident in their culinary practices. Now, more and more chefs and restaurateurs are venturing into soul foods and soul food restaurants. They are trying to introduce the culinary culture that has been steadily around for decades but seemed to be unnoticeable. This generation is like the rebirth of soul foods, not only in Southern America, but in all regions of the continent as well. With the growing understanding and love for native soul foods, no wonder it’s gaining  international fame in the food world.

One of the so-called “Queen” of souls (food) and Creole cooking is master and celebrity chef, Leah Chase. Her restaurant, Dooky Chase (owned by his husband Dooky Chase’s II family) is one of the soul restaurants that is gaining an overwhelming response from foodies. Dooky Chase in New Orleans is like a home for the history books filled with great ambiance, fantastic dishes, and of course its rather 90’s upscale interiors. This Southern Soul Restaurant is something that Chef Leah is proud of. The food joint sensibly defines the family’s history and culture. Nothing but praises for this soulful restaurant in New Orleans.

There’s another rising soul food joint in town, and it got our summer staples. Soul Dog in Los Angeles serves our favorite hot-dogs with a healthier twist by adding more greens into our sandwiches and offering vegetarian sausages for the vegans. They also serve the soul staple, fried chicken with a wide range of homey treats that are made from natural ingredients possible. They are also up for keeping their dishes light and simple. Experience a slow soulful meal at Soul Dog.

There are lots of other soul food joints that are on the rise today. Some may find it hard to maintain the kind of soul that people are looking for, but most have been consistently providing the soulful treats to the hungry foodies. In betweenthe crowd of growing international cooking styles, soul food is still knocking on our hungry tummies, slowly but surely.

Multi-State Outbreak of Salmonella Linked to Alfalfa Sprouts

Salmonella Enteritidis

Both the Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control and Prevention are warning consumers not to eat alfalfa sprouts in plastic bags labeled Evergreen Produce brand alfalfa sprouts and spicy sprouts.

The sprouts are possibly linked to 21 reported cases, including three hospitalizations, of Salmonella Enteritidis in 5 states: three in Idaho, seven in Montana, one in North Dakota, one in New Jersey and nine in Washington State.

CDC is collaborating with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate this multistate outbreak. Investigators are using DNA analysis of Salmonella bacteria obtained through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that may be part of this outbreak.

Salmonella Enteritidis is a pathogen the FDA claims is different from the deadliest E. coli outbreak in history — also linked to bean sprouts — that eventually spread to 12 EU countries. Thus far 47 people have died and 4,000 sickened from the outbreak of E. coli in Europe.

Business Week reports Evergreen Produce, Inc. has stopped producing the alfalfa and spicy sprouts but has refused to recall the sprouts from stores. The company claims there is not enough evidence to link the illnesses to their products.

Even though the new food safety law enacted earlier this year empowers the FDA to force a recall, the agency has done nothing to coerce Evergreen to recall their beansprouts. Salmonella is an enterobacteria that can cause serious and even fatal infections and weakens immune systems.

The FDA’s inaction explains why the Department of Health and Human Services has warned that the FDA has placed the safety our nation’s food supply in grave jeopardy.

In its report, the Department of Health and Human Services charged the FDA with not only failing to conduct comprehensive reviews of companies’ food recalls, but also of not supervising how companies disposed of their recalled products.

According to the CDC, “most persons infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

“Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection”.

Last week, the first reported case of human-to-human spread of E. coli was announced in Europe. Health officials in Germany claim a woman in the state of Hesse, working in the kitchen of a catering company near Frankfurt, became infected with the bacterium after eating sprouts, and passed it on to 20 people she prepared food for.

A week before that, eight children were admitted to a hospital in northern France after eating beef burgers infected with a strain of E coli bacteria. One of the hospitalized children, a 2-year-old, required breathing assistance and is in an artificial coma.

Doctors Want Junk Food Ads Banned to Kids

Fat kids

The watchdog group Corporate Accountability International (CAI) recently placed ads in U.S. newspapers asking Ronald McDonald to retire as McDonald’s mascot.

CAI wants Ronald McDonald to stop marketing junk food to children, and blamed the clown for contributing to the health epidemic of obesity and diet-related disease plaguing America’s children.

McDonald’s CEO, Jim Skinner, essentially told the activists to stuff it where the sun don’t shine. “Ronald McDonald isn’t going anywhere,” said Skinner, who defended the company’s right to advertise to children. “This is about choice and parents are responsible for deciding what to feed their kids.”

Skinner said he’s received support from customers and even non-customers who believe true liberty is having the right to choose. “Ronald McDonald is an ambassador to McDonald’s, and he is an ambassador for good,” Skinner said.

Apparently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wasn’t moved by Skinner’s libertarian speech and free market capitalist ideology, because AAP has now chimed in and spoken out in favor of a ban on advertising junk food to children.

According to a statement that will appear in the July 2011 issue of Pediatrics (published online June 27), AAP says ads for junk food and fast food increase kids’ desire for these foods, claiming studies have shown that snacking increases while watching TV or movies. And late-night screen time can interfere with sleep, which puts kids at higher risk for obesity.

“We’ve created a perfect storm for childhood obesity — media, advertising, and inactivity,” said the statement’s lead author, Dr. Victor Strasburger, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media. “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

The July issue of Pediatrics also included a study on the effect of food advertising on children.

The study concludes:

“Exposure to television food commercials enhanced high television viewers’ preferences for branded foods and increased reported preferences for all food items (branded and nonbranded) relative to the low television viewers. This is the first study to demonstrate that children with greater previous exposure to commercials (high television viewers) seemed to be more responsive to food promotion messages than children with lower previous advertising exposure”.

As the LATimes notes, restaurant industry lobbyists are already fighting on another front to prevent more communities from banning Happy Meals like they did in two California counties, where they enacted “Happy Meal bans”, barring restaurants from handing out toys with children’s meals that have high levels of calories, fat and sodium.

“Thirty years ago, the federal government ruled that young children are psychologically defenseless against advertising. Now, kids see 5,000 to 10,000 food ads per year, most of them for junk food and fast food,” said Dr. Strasburger.

When The Cow Is Away, The Goat Will Play

Goat Cheese

With all the high prices for meat and other dairy products nowadays, there’s seems to be an underrated animal in the farm that is seeking popularity in the food world. Goat is just one of many farm animals that, for some reason, has been gaining fame in the past few years.

It is hard to speak of cows that are naturally bred and treated as humane as possible. With the demand for cow products such as beef meat and dairy has been huge throughout these years, so is the pressure of massive production and highly industrialized meat products. This somehow causes an imbalance in the cow industry, having sustenance over sustainability virtues.

Goat’s dairy products such as milk and cheese are also proven to be more efficient and healthy compared to the cow’s dairy. Goat’s milk structure is the key to this nutritional advantage. The milk is made up of rather small protein particles and fat molecules that are only half the size of a cow’s milk. This brings less curd tension or formation in our digestive tract, keeping it light on the stomach. Because of this, goat milk is a great substitute for those people who are lactose intolerant. This kind of milk is easily digested, leaving the intestines free of milk contents that usually ferment in this phase when not properly digested. A goat’s milk contains more nutrients such as vitamin A, phosphorous, calcium, thiamine, and lesser cholesterol levels. It also does not contain protein complex allergic reactions stimulants that are found in cow’s dairy products.

Goat cheeses are also very popular in the present times. In the earlier years, goat cheeses that were made of goat’s raw milk were naturally left to curdle. Once it has curdled up, the cheese makers now drain excess liquids and start pressing the curds. Others would use acids for milk curdling. This allows the goat cheese to be creamy and gives a tarty flavor to it. This is what goat cheeses are famous for. The cheese from goat’s milk also does not melt like a cow’s cheese. It softens when subjected to heat but still retains its thick and creamy texture. This kind of cheese is often used as spreads or in salad mixes.

Although goat meats weren’t really popular in some places, regions like in South America, Middle East, and especially Africa were relying more on goat meats and dairy products. This is where the world’s goat influence started and made an impact. The goat industry promises farm fresh meats and dairy products. The meat is so tender and chemical free. This has something to do with the way of raising goats that the farm owners have taken advantage of. There are no hormone treatments or harmful chemicals injected on the goat; everything is made natural. Goats were feeding on the greens that are available in the farm land.

The future for goat products is promising, yet always there’s a fear of the unknown. By the time it reaches the peak of success, how will small farms be able to sustain the demand for more goat meat and dairy? Will the goat become the future cow? The possibilities are endless. We’ll just continue hope for a better natural success in the industry this time.

Off Limits To Depression Triggering Foods

Fatty Food

Depression is just a simple mix of sad emotions that are often results of some stressful situations that are taking place in our lives. This is common to people who undergo a phase in their life where stress overtakes the body. It is then called clinical depression when your moods or emotions are generally giving you a low self-esteem or interfering with your day to day activities and are affecting your health greatly. It can be due to extreme sadness from a loss, anger or frustration on someone or even yourself, illness or some traumatic and stressful events that have happened. Depression can lead to more serious actions, even life-threatening.

While most people go for psychological therapies such as the highly recommended talk therapy with a psychologist, others result to “emotional comfort foods.” When times get rough, we have the tendency to overeat to shoo away our stress or depression. There’s something in food that is so comforting, but most people do not realize that there’s a hidden danger to this. Foods can actually contribute to your depression or even worsen your situation. It can be an addictive move and may lead to further damages to your health if not properly treated. Here are some foods that we take comfort from that are quite unhealthy in overcoming depression.

Sugar and Sweets. This is something we all love to have, especially for the broken hearted. But what we do not know is that high sugar intake can ultimately add to our depression. Excessive eating sweet foods like chocolates will give sudden rise to our supposedly normal glucose levels. Our brains depend on a balanced glucose supply, so if we over eat sugary or sweet foods, it can affect our brain functions, often targeting our moods and functions. Yes, you’ll feel a little energetic after having a bar of chocolates, but what happens to you after? You may experience fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, and depression. You can still have a bite of your favorite sweets but on a manageable and healthy amount.

Alcohol. Are you in for a celebration or for depression? Alcohol is one of the major comfort drinks that people often have when they’re depressed. Numbing their bodies and their minds by consuming bottles or glasses of alcoholic beverages lets them release their anger or frustration. What most people do not know is that alcohol does not only affect our general health, but also our behavior. While extreme alcohol drinking may lead to kidney and liver problems, it can also make you do things that are way beyond your limits. You can be too aggressive, harm yourself or other people. A full night of pure alcohol party can also cause minor problems a day or a few hours after like extreme headache, dizziness, and vomiting. You can avoid major depression if you know how to manage and limit your alcohol intake. A little too much of something is always bad.

Caffeine. There are debates about the benefits and disadvantages of caffeine to depression. There are some people who’d feel a little relieved from depression after a cup of coffee, while there are others who feel they need more than a small cup of caffeine to ease their feelings. This can be the one that’s damaging to health and adding to your depression. Caffeine is known to induce insomnia that is why some people drink coffee for them not to fall asleep. If a person is depressed and needs sleep, he/she must avoid having a cup of coffee. There are also some people who consume caffeine slightly higher than the average amount. Abrupt disconnection from caffeinated products can result to depression. This theory depends on the person’s health state.

Food additives, substitutes, and preservatives. We often result to foods that are easy to prepare or eat when we feel depressed as we may lack energy to do some things like cooking or preparing a healthy meal. Foods with food additives or preservatives could hinder the absorption of our body’s needed nutrients. We should also be careful in choosing the foods, even the fruits and vegetables we buy from the market. These kinds of commercial additives are proliferating in the market nowadays. These additives include MSG, food coloring, artificial sweeteners, among others. Unfortunately, a range of food additives can contribute to depression and such, like insomnia or difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and anxiety.

Fatty foods. Foods that are high in hydrogenated or trans fat can also contribute to a person’s depression. These are commonly found in junk foods such as chips, crackers, fast food, cookies, etc. Even without depression, these kinds of food should not be tolerated as it can lead to serious health problems if not properly managed.

Test-Tube Sausage in 6 Months, Says Researcher

test tube meat

In Jeffrey Bartholet’s intriguing article for Scientific American, Bartholet, a veteran foreign correspondent and former Washington bureau chief for Newsweek magazine, explains how in vitro meat is the brainchild of Willem van Eelen, 87, who fought the Japanese in World War II and spent several years in prisoner-of-war camps working as a laborer.

The Japanese starved the prisoners, and the experience caused van Eelen to develop a lifelong obsession with food and survival.

Willem van Eelen when on to study medicine at the University of Amsterdam, where a professor showed students how to get a piece of muscle tissue to grow in the laboratory.

According to Bartholet, van Eelen, together with two partners, won a Dutch patent in 1999, and eventually two U.S. patents. In 2005 he convinced the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to pledge €2 million to support in vitro meat research in the Netherlands.

In theory, explains Bartholet, an in vitro meat factory would work something like this:

“First, technicians would isolate embryonic or adult stem cells from a pig, cow, chicken or other animal. Then they would grow those cells in bioreactors, using a culture derived from plants.

“The stem cells would divide and redivide for months on end. Technicians would next instruct the cells to differentiate into muscle (rather than, say, bone or brain cells).

“Finally, the muscle cells would need to be ‘bulked up’ in a fashion similar to the way in which animals build their strength by exercising.”

But there are challenges at every stage of this process, and funding is an issue. The Dutch government recently pledged roughly €800,000 toward a new four-year project that would continue the stem cell research at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

Mark Post, professor of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, spent six years at Harvard University and Dartmouth College before returning to the Netherlands in 2002.

To attract new funding, Post plans to create an in vitro sausage just to demonstrate that it is possible. He estimates that it will cost €300,000 and take six months of work by two doctoral students using three incubators.

Post says it’s basically a stunt to generate more funds.

“We’ll take two or three biopsies of a pig — say, 10,000 stem cells,” says Post.

“After 20 population doublings, we’ll have 10 billion cells. The students will use 3,000 petri dishes to produce many tiny bits of porcine muscle tissue, which then will be packed into a casing with some spices and other nonmeat ingredients to give it taste and texture. In the end, scientists will be able to display the sausage next to the living pig from which it was grown.”

Bernard Roelen, a molecular biologist, has faith that Post’s creation will actually taste like a sausage. “Most of the taste in a chicken nugget or a sausage is artificially made. Salt and all kinds of other things are added to give it taste.”

Beery Beer Gardens in New York City (Part 1)

La Birreria

Summer is just around the bend and aside from ice cream and cold desserts, there’s one way to soothe the summer heat – Beer. This beverage has been almost everyone’s favorite and company to socialize and unwind. Beer gardens are popping out in every corner of New York. This German-style of an outdoor drinking place is attracting many beer lovers, young and old alike, which gives a new idea for local bars and pubs in NYC. Here are some of NYC’s best beer gardens.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. The oldest and most famous beer garden in all of NYC, just turned a century old. All these years, even with the spurts of bars and drinking establishments in the area, Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden’s outdoor atmosphere continued to provide a relaxing joint for people to have drinks and eat delicious Czech food. Don’t fret if you’re not a certified Czech because this  place is not only limited to Czech and Slovak people but Americans and international guests are also enjoying everything that this beer garden is offering. Even if summer days are over, people still enjoy drinking a mug of classic beer while chatting with their friends. Enjoy Czech and Slovak festivities here on Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden.

La Birreria. Chef Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have recently ventured to a beer garden business in the form of La Birreria. This Italian style outdoor drinking haven at the top of their food bazaar named Eataly was highly anticipated due to its fantastic rooftop location. It’s got a perfect skyscraper and panoramic view from the top. And look at this, a retractable dome. Isn’t that cool huh? That’s not even enough! From the best beer accompaniments, courtesy of course of Batali’s fantastic kitchen team. Savor authentic Italian beers seasoned with the freshest herbs directly from Rome. From its intricate structure to the best Italian food and beverages, La Birreria is a certified beer garden mecca at the top of the food mountain.

Radegast Hall & Biergarten. This hall and beer garden built on two old warehouses in Williamsburg, NY is the brainchild of Slovak business partners, Ivan Kohut and Andy Ivanov. Austro-Hungarian beer garden, Radegast Hall & Biergarten, serves the best imported drinks and brews in the area. Start your party inside their beer hall and enjoy the bands hitting up the stage with their European music while you enjoy your brews. You can also enjoy their beer garden which has a retractable roof in case the rain parties with the guests. Aside from their beer, Radegast Hall & Biergarten also boasts of their cocktails and of course, famous sausages that are grilled right at beer garden. Rock the night out at Radegast Hall & Biergarten where good food and good beer settle throughout the night.

Beekman. A beer garden by the beach? That would stir up the thoughts of many beach bums who are also beer lovers. This beach club can also hold small and big events for special occasions. While beach lovers take a break from the water action during the day, they can stay at this waterfront club which also serves snack, meals, and of course beer for your hungry tummies. Groove the night away on their cozy hammocks and glowing lounge chairs that are scattered all over the place. Invite your buddies to play foosball, pingpong or pool only at Beekman. A sip of great wines, cocktails and beers with German sausages, burgers, and seafood dishes while enjoying the night breeze by the shore.

Biergarten. If you’re up for another German-inspired outdoor pub, check out Biergarten at The Standard in New York. The place is well structured and even the interiors will really surprise you. It may be big for a restaurant’s beer garden but it really gets a bit crowded at night with people still making their way in for a couple of rounds of good beer cheers, classic German sausages and of course, pretzels. You can play ping pong with your buddies if you can manage to squeeze in the crowd. Booze your night away with their inexpensive beers, good food, with great company.

The bottomless beer continues to flow with the second round of Beery Beer Gardens In NYC. See you there!!!

Read Part 2

Federal Audit Warns FDA Critically Endangers Our Food Supply

Walnuts02

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warns that the safety of the nation’s food supply is endangered by the FDA, the very agency assigned to monitor food safety on behalf of the public.

When our own government openly accuses the FDA of jeopardizing the health and safety of all Americans, the risk level our food safety must indeed be critical.

Food recalls are classified as Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3. Class 1 recalls are issued for products that pose a risk of death or cause irreversible medical harm if consumed.

HHS reviewed 17 Class 1 recalls of imported food items for Salmonella, Listeria and Botulism contamination from mid 2007 through mid 2008. The department would have checked more recent food recalls but couldn’t because many of recalls and their associated investigations are ongoing.

“We focused our review only on the most serious recalls in recent years, something you could drop dead from if you ate it,” said George Nedder, with HHS’ Office of Inspector General.

In its report, HHS charged the FDA with not only failing to conduct comprehensive reviews of companies’ food recalls, but also of not supervising how companies disposed of their recalled products.

The report revealed how food companies responsible for recalls brazenly thumb their noses at the law and simply ignore making any effort to recall contaminated products. “We’re very concerned with the findings of our audit,” Nedder said.

According to CNN, the HHS report noted how one company didn’t initiate a recall of a Listeria-contaminated mussel meat from New Zealand until three months after the Food and Drug Administration learned about the the problem.

But the HHS audit of the FDA, and their subsequent revelation, only touches the surface. Both the USDA and FDA, along with powerful corporate owned agribusinesses have long been complicit in willful deception and cover-ups.

The following are but a few of the many examples.

Willful Deception And Cover-up

In recent hearings on transgenic fish, the FDA knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

In 2008, Nestle, Mead Johnson and Enfamil infant formula products were all contaminated with melamine. Instead of informing the public, the FDA held a conference call to alert the manufacturers of their findings, withholding the test results from the public.

The information was only released after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, revealing that the products from these manufactures were all contaminated with melamine.

Despite federal studies revealing that drug-resistant bacteria is regularly found in meat sold in our nation’s supermarkets, the FDA has issued unenforceable recommendations ONLY regarding antibiotic use in farm animals.

Even after a young dance instructor, Stephanie Smith, was left paralyzed, and the source of her illness from E. coli had been traced to Cargill’s Angus Beef Patties, the USDA continued to allow meat processors and slaughterhouses to conduct voluntary only tests for E. coli. The USDA even knew that Cargill had not followed its own safety program for controlling E. coli.

Salmonella Food Poisoning

After over a half-billion eggs were recalled because of salmonella contamination traced to Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms, the FDA rejected standard vaccination of hens against salmonella, claiming there is not enough evidence vaccinations would prevent people from getting sick. The real reason is because egg suppliers don’t want to shoulder the costs.

Fish Raised on Human and Animal Waste

The FDA knowingly allows fish imports from food producers in China that regularly use untreated human and animal waste for feeding farmed fish meant for human consumption. Feces is the primary nutrient for growing the tilapia in China.

More than 80 per cent of the fish and seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, with much of it coming from Asia. Legislation passed in the U.S. late last year to ensure companies establish appropriate oversight, but the FDA has done nothing to effectively implement the new law.

FDA Conducts Yearlong Sting Operation on Amish

Instead of spending time, money and resources ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, the FDA protects the interest of BIG DAIRY producers by constantly harassing raw milk suppliers like the Amish.

The FDA conducted a yearlong sting operation on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania to prevent the farm from selling raw milk to willing customers in the Washington D.C. area.

This is the same FDA that allowed a half-billion eggs contaminated with salmonella to be unleashed before being recalled, as well as millions of pounds of contaminated ground beef and chicken tainted with E. coli and salmonella, because the FDA allows irresponsible companies to police themselves.

The FDA allows unlabelled GM and cloned food to be consumed by the public; and while the FDA raids raw milk food clubs across the country, the FDA claims walnuts and cherries are drugs.

German Riesling Sees Daylight

riesling vineyard in germany

Germany has been producing a lot of wine styles that range from the sweet to semi-sweet ones, dry, red wines, rose wines, and sparkling wines. Despite producing world class wines, it has maintained its name in mass production and selling inexpensive wines internationally. Of all of the wines that are produced from Germany, Riesling is the most popular variety. If you have the palate for young and fruity flavors or the appetite for petrol-like aromas of a grape’s matured qualities, then the Riesling grape might be the one you are looking for.

Riesling seems to keep a long, deep origin and history. It is said to be native to the Rhine Region in Germany where it grows abundantly even in its neighboring areas. But one thing’s for sure – it is undeniably of German roots. Though other wine regions have been producing their own batches of Riesling, wines of this variety that are produced in Germany have carved their names in the industry, outstanding quality with rich fruity flavors and balanced acidity. German Riesling wines are also growing to be popular in the food versatility department, adding to its high quality features.

The northern part of Germany has proven to have a perfect terroir to grow the Riesling grapes. The region’s mild weather contributes to the distinctiveness of Riesling’s quality. With a complete sun exposure, wind shelter, and close contact with water resources have been effortlessly helping the grapes to grow in perfect shape, giving them time to develop and even at a young age, bring out great wine qualities. Wine connoisseurs and wine lovers all over the world have come to love this German grape variety. It has less alcohol qualities that range from as low as 7% to 11% as compared to the alcohol levels in Riesling that is grown in other countries. Riesling’s wine qualities would also range from being completely dry to having a rich and lusciously sweet flavor. Now, it has become a popular variety all over the world, of which, is paired with different kinds of food.

Most wine lovers have the dilemma of having to choose between the young and matured Riesling wines. Young Rieslings give a really fruity flavor and sweetness to wines. Matured Rieslings have a more edgy tartness to it and are often described to have a petrol-like aroma. But matured Rieslings have a good balance between fruity and acidity, giving it a refreshing twist. The long harvesting season lets the grapes develop their flavors to the highest level. Germany’s mild weather ripens the fruit and keeps the acidity’s freshness and vibrancy.

One of the distinct characteristics of German Rieslings is a certain quality of versatility when it comes to food pairing. Rieslings are light and fruity in itself, perfectly matching seafoods such as lobster and grilled fish, and have a good match with Chinese and Thai cuisines. Dry Rieslings are best served when chilled while Sweet Rieslings are often found to be best served when warm or having a room temperature.

If you’re one of the many fans of this grape variety, then don’t miss next month’s event. Spend the whole month of July knowing these rather underrated yet very outstanding Riesling wines through “Wines of Germany’s 31 days of German Riesling.” This will happen on July 17 to August 24, 2011. All participating restaurants and retailers are encouraged to endorse German Rieslings using their marketing strategies, whether selling the wine in their restaurants, serving them with food, or hosting a food and wine tasting event. Everyone’s invited for a month-long celebration in honor of the German Riesling. Prost!