food news

I’ve noticed you, the readers, like free things (me too!).  So I wanted to alert you to the free Fruit & Tea blended beverages that Caribou is giving away between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

They’re offering three Fruit & Tea flavors: White Tea & Peach, Green Tea & Mango, or Red Tea & Raspberry.

Why?  To celebrate the first day of summer.

To find a Caribou near you, click here.

What do you do when you have a very popular TV show?  You create a spin-off!  And that’s exactly what Bravo’s Top Chef is doing.  Although this time, it’s Top Chef for Kids (tentatively scheduled to be called Top Chef Junior).

Lil’ Top Chef is looking for kids 13-16.  Can you imagine their restaurant wars?  Interesting… 

Did you know that Friday, June 6th is National Doughnut Day?  Yeah, me neither.  But Krispy Kreme is going to celebrate the day by offering everyone 1 free doughnut.  To find your local KK, visit here.

According to the release:

National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise funds during the Great Depression and to honor the work of World War I Salvation Army volunteers who prepared doughnuts for thousands of soldiers. National Doughnut Day is celebrated annually on the first Friday in June.

Wow, I just caught this story from a TV station in Detroit that tested a bunch of restaurants and their “low fat menu” options.  They compared what the restaurant puts on their menu as the dish’s fat and calories and what it is in reality.

Sometimes, it’s only a couple grams of fat.  But most of the time, there’s a 5-10 g of fat difference!  They tested Applebee’s, Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border, and Taco Bell.

Geez! To see the results, click here.

While I’ve never had Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, you can get a free 16 oz cup (nice, no sample sizes here!) on May 15th from 10 AM-10 PM at any participating DD store.  I think I may have to try it out…althought I bet the lines will be crazy!

They’re offering their Dunkin’ Donuts premium regular or new Berry Berry-flavored iced coffee, which I was told in the pitch is “a luscious combination of blueberry and raspberry.”  

They also made a $5,000 donation to the Washington DC Police Athletic League in support of their Boys & Girls Club Youth Leadership Program.  But they’re giving away a total of $80K to the PAL/B&G Club (read more below).  So kudos to them for this. 

The company anticipates giving away nearly 4 million cups of its iced coffee on May 15.  I am told that this means:

  • Dunkin’ Donuts will use more than 88 million ice cubes on Free Iced Coffee Day, and will pour approximately 31,250 gallons of cream.
  • You could fill 7 Olympic-size swimming pools with the amount of coffee that will be used on Free Iced Coffee Day.
  • If you lined up each cup of iced If you lined up each cup of iced coffee served on Free Iced Coffee Day lid-to-lid, the line would stretch for more than 236 miles.
  • If you stack up each cup of iced coffee served on Free Iced Coffee Day, it would reach nearly 300 miles into the sky, the vantage point of a typical space shuttle orbit.

On Free Iced Coffee Day, Dunkin’ Donuts is honoring those who serve by donating $80,000 to the National Police Athletic League (NPAL) to support its Youth Leadership Program.  NPAL supports more than 2 million underprivileged youth through education, sports and leadership opportunities, and stresses the importance of community service and peer leadership in more than 350 chapters across the country. Sixteen select NPAL chapters will receive $5,000 from the Dunkin’ Donuts donation through a grant.  The NPAL chapters receiving grants to fund their local Youth Leadership Program include:  Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Maine, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Rhode Island, Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg and Washington, DC.

For more information please visit

Absolutely no where with waitstaff, bartenders, or really anyone else.  As a former waitress and bartender, finger snapping was the quickest way to be ignored.  It is the lowest form of human interaction. 

I was in a nice restaurant in DC and happened to see someone do this to a waitstaff.  What makes you think that this is a good way to get their attention?

Trust me, “excuse me” or a “pardon me” works much better.  And you’re much less likely to have anything “added” to your meal when it arrives.  

Quite possibly one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen in a long time is this one called, I Like Killing Flies

For an hour and a half, you can listen to Kenny Shopsin (owner) of Shopsin’s Restaurant, wax poetically about food, life, and everything in between.  He is a bit like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld with his quick temper and seemingly abrasive front.  From the movie though, I think you can tell he has a good heart and a quick wit.  And of course, I bet he is a great cook. 

Be warned — this movie is not for those who are easily offended or people who are easily nauseous.  For example, you’ll see Kenny, throughout the movie, killing flies (natch). 

If you’re interested in visiting Shopsins, they’re located at the Essex Street Market in stall #16.  And for Pete’s sake, do not bring more than 5 people with you!

This might be the first post EVER that I’m really excited to write.  I’ve got a really fun announcement to make.

I know I’ve made comments/postings about how if we can, we should donate money to non-profits.  Since my blog is about food, I’ve focused on food banks, etc.   Perhaps you’ve wondered, “WhereInDC, what are you doing?  Are you donating any money?”

I’m now putting my money where my mouth is — I’ll donate $500 to a food focused non-profit

But here’s the catch — I need you to tell me where to donate.

  • From now until April 30th, I’ll take suggestions on organizations.  You can email me (whereindc @ gmail DOT com) or post comments here. 
  • Requirements are few – they must be food-related, have a Web site (or have something so I can confirm it exists), and be a federally recognized 501c3It does not have to be DC-focused.  If you want, you can even post a few words about the organization.
  • Starting May 1st, I’ll have a poll where you can vote (as often as you’d like). 
  • The winning organization will be announced on May 31st and the check will be sent on June 1st. 

According to the Wall Street Journal’s health blog, a judge ruled NYC CAN tell chain restaurants to post calories next to the menu. 

While the rule goes into affect next week, the city says they won’t impose any fines until June. 

Wow, I like it.  It’s good to know that stuff because it can surprise you. 

Oh and the 2900 calories in the fries — not a lie.  That’s the Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with Ranch Dressing.  It was listed by Men’s Health as the worst food in America!

Wow, when I read that headline…wow.  I am fortunate to have a good, stable job — and while the price of food has increased, my checkbook hasn’t suffered much. 

Here’s some interesting facts from the story:

U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent.

U.S. households still spend a smaller chunk of their expenses for foods than in any other country — 7.2 percent in 2006, according to the USDA. By contrast, the figure was 22 percent in Poland and more than 40 percent in Egypt and Vietnam.

Still, the higher U.S. prices seem eye-popping after years of low inflation. Eggs cost 25 percent more in February than they did a year ago, according to the USDA. Milk and other dairy products jumped 13 percent, chicken and other poultry nearly 7 percent.

A family of four is eligible for a maximum $542 a month in food stamps, which never lasted the whole month before, Food Bank of New Jersey’s DiChiara said.

I hope you don’t think I’m being preachy, but for those of us who may not be as affected by the food costs, let’s remember the people who are working hard yet unable to put enough food on their table.  There are a bunch of links on the side of my blog to various non-profit food organizations (send me an email if I’m missing your favorite organization!).  And if you don’t have extra cash, there’s always FreeRice — where you answer a few questions and they will donate rice for free!

Food myths — some of them are crazy and you can’t believe people actually believe them.  Others, you may even be embarrassed to admit that you thought they were true. 

But in this story, they bust these 12 myths:

  • Eating sugar causes diabetes
  • Eating carbohydrates causes weight gain
  • Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than frozen or canned
  •  Most sodium in people’s diets is from salt added while cooking or at the table
  • Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs
  • Brown sugar is healthier than white sugar
  • A label that says 95 percent fat-free means only 5 percent of the calories come from fat
  • Honey is better than white sugar because it is natural
  • Certain foods like grapefruit, celery or cabbage soup can burn fat and make you lose weight
  • Consuming extra protein is necessary to build muscle mass
  • Diet sodas cause weight gain

Is it just me or do you find when you’re standing in the grocery store, you’re trying to remember what foods you should buy organic?  I can rarely remember them all. 

Well, I think this guide on the 12 foods you must buy organic will help.   I did know the usual suspects – strawberries, lettuce, milk, and meat.  But potatoes?  I was surprised! 

I’m one of those — I try to eat healthy (sometimes, I mean, you see my blog).  But I really, really try to buy organic (and local).

That’s why I thought this story in Good magazine was interesting.  According to the chart, 11 of the top 30 food processors own the major organic brands.

So my question to you is this — knowing who owns your favorite organic brand, will this change what you buy?

Have you tried Kobe beef?  And if you have, are you sure it was real?  According to this story in Debonair magazine, you probably had American Wagyu. 

Apparently, the next big “beef” is Matsuzaka which is “produced from virgin female Wagyu cows, in a serene area along the Miyagawa river not too far from Kobe. They are fed plenty of fodder, tofu lees and ground wheat. When they have no appetite, they are fed beer to stimulate their eating, and they also receive regular massages with straw brushes after being sprayed with shōchū and are taken for daily afternoon walks. “

For those whose memory about WWII may be a little vague, here’s a 3-4 minute video of WWII — using food to show the various sides. 

For example, sushi indicates Japan.  Matzoh crackers are Israel.  Sausage is Germany.  Burgers and fries are the US.  For the complete list of what food is from what country, click here.

Yes, it’s an all out food fight — kind of interesting. 

I just saw this story on the Today’s Show Web site stating that the lemons on your soda glass may have fecal matter and other germs and gross things.

Anna LaGrange Loving, assistant professor in biology at Passaic County College (NJ), created a method to test soda glasses for germs.  According to the story, 53 out of 76 glasses had germs — more than 25 different varieties.

My stomach turned when I read the story…and they didn’t even test the alcoholic beverage fruit/vegetables. 


That’s what Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld are now saying to Missy Chase Lapine.    And are requesting a judge to throw out this lawsuit.

For those who aren’t following the case, here’s the Cliff Notes version.

Missy Chase Lapine came out with a book of recipes on how to sneak veggies into your kid’s meals.  Jessica Seinfeld came out with a book a year later on the exact same topic with several of the same recipes.  The twist (‘cuz you know there has to be one) is that Lapine had pitched her book idea to the same publisher that published Seinfeld’s book — but had turned Lapine down.  Coincidence?  Hmm.  Then when Lapine cried foul, Jerry went on TV (this is the same time he was on the circuit for his Bee Movie) and said Lapine was a crazy lady who was accusing his wife of vegetable plaigarism. 

I have to admit the vegetable plagiarism line was clever.  He then continued to say, “If you read history, many of the three-name people do become assassins.  Mark David Chapman. And, you know, James Earl Ray. So, that’s my concern.”

His lawyer is saying that the above comment was “overstatements of opinion for comic effect.” 

Previous posts on the issue can be found here, here, herehere, and here.  Also, the lawsuit info can be found here

**Update 2/29/08 — Irvine was fired from Food Network.  Read all about it here.**

I like Food Network’s Dinner Impossible, I think Chef Robert Irvine is fun.  Plus, the premise of the show is entertaining.

But apparently, he’s not who he says he is — mainly he never really actually helped create Prince Charles and Princess Di’s wedding cake (among other things).  The St. Petersburg Times dug up this dirt on him because he’s opening up a new restaurant in their area and a lot of people are unhappy about his business actions.

Now in the age of the Internet, why would you think you could make up something like this?  What makes you think people wouldn’t find out? 

Hmm, not such a fan anymore…

This story caught my eye because I would have never guessed Tokyo!  And they have 160,000 restaurants, compared to 20,000 in Paris and 23,000 in NYC!

According to this story, “Eight restaurants in the Japanese capital, including two sushi eateries, received Michelin’s highest three-star rating, according to the new Tokyo guide announced Monday, the first outside Europe and the United States. But Paris can still claim to have the most top-rated restaurants, with 10. The 191 stars were the most awarded to any city. Paris previously had the most, with 65.”

While math was never my strong suit, it seems that if you were to go out for one meal and visit every single restaurant in Tokyo, you’d have to live 438 years.   If you ate all three meals out, it’d take you 146 years. 

Is that right?  Regardless, Tokyo just jumped to the top of my list of places to visit! 

I have to admit I never really knew what being kosher meant until college.  I know I couldn’t do it — I’d get the meat versus dairy dishes confused. 

US News & World Report had an interesting story about the popularity of kosher foods, but also whether it really was safer than your average food. 

A surprising factoid in the story was that only 20% of the people buying kosher foods are Jewish. 

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