Archive | December, 2011

Restaurant Holiday Sales

28 Dec

Restaurants are offering all kinds of deals and special offers to close out the year.

Has anyone else noticed that this year the restaurants are unusually generous with their discounts? The Christmas/Holiday/New Year Season is typically a busy time for restaurants as people are meeting friends for dinner, taking the family out, and holiday parties are in full swing. So with the business more or less guaranteed prices are usually at their regular, meaning no discounts and scarce coupons.

This year seems to be different, everywhere I turn there is some sort of “special offer” going on! Perhaps it’s the economy or perhaps it’s the emergence of deal websites like groupon and livingsocial, but right now you can get pretty good prices on eats at a lot of major chains.

Applebee’s not only has “Sizzling Entrees” (prices as low as $8.99), but also a “2 for $20” entree deal. Chili’s is offering this same deal but they’re calling it  “$20 dinner for 2.” This comes fresh of the heels of their promo, “30 Days of Daily Deals”, a coupon a day for things like a free kids meal or “Chips and Queso” appetizer (with the purchase of an entree.) Even IHOP is advertising “Holiday Hotcakes” for $4.99.  Word to the wise, these flapjackss may be nicely priced but they are heavy in calories and full of sugar. If you’re going to go for them as a holiday splurge, I would split with a friend!

Chili's and other major chains have lots of deals advertised on their websites or social media pages.

Even with these promotions and hungry holiday shopper syndrome, a lot of consumers are choosing to dine in this season. According to a Harris Poll survey from this past November, 61% of Americans said they plan to spend less on eating out in the next six months. So I would expect to see even more deals and offers to try and entice us out into the new year.

Lots of restuarants use social networking to alert potential customers to opportunities to save. All you have to do is like your favorite restaurants on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. It’s also worth checking out the restaurants actual website or if you’re really gung-ho subscribing to their email list for coupons and even special events.

Tis the Season to Re-Gift!

27 Dec

Ralphie isn't pulling it off, but somewhere out there is a little girl who loves pink and bunnies who would look adorable in this onesie pajama!

Now that all the presents have been unwrapped and the stockings emptied, there may be one or two gifts that didn’t quite hit the mark as far as your holiday hopes. But not to worry, as they say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Why not organize a Re-Gifting Party with your family and friends? Everyone re-wraps and brings one or two gifts that they could do without, a gift card to a restaurant that’s inconveniently located or a shirt that’s not the right size; then assign a number to each gift and hand out a matching number to each guest. And viola! It’s like Christmas has come twice!

True, there is nothing preventing your uncle from ending up with an unwanted bra and panty set or your friend’s four-year-old daughter from scoring the latest installment of Modern Warfare, but that’s part of the fun! Plus a Re-Gifting party is yet another excuse to enjoy the company of family and good friends during the holidays!

If even after all that there are still some unwanted presents, don’t forget charities don’t only accept donations and offerings beforethe holidays. Rather that having that sweater that your aunt gave you in your least favorite color or the duplicate video game that you got from your mom go to waste, give it to a clothing drive or a toys for tots. Somewhere out there is someone who wants, needs, or could use what you might otherwise just let sit on a shelf. Just don’t take it personally if it’s your gift that someone else ends up giving away!

Drop off unwanted gifts and get a discounted meal at The Melting Pot "Dip & Donate" event. See website for details.

Don’t want to bother with putting together another holiday party? The Melting Pot is offering to host it for you with their “Dip & Donate” event. From January 2nd until January 6th bring in your unwanted or extra gifts and The Melting Pot will donate them to a local charity. Plus you will get a $5 discount on your bill. See The Melting Pot’s website to find out if there is participating location near you!

 

White Castle Goers “Crave” Beer & Wine

22 Dec

"Would you like a six pack with that sack of 10?"

I have always thought of White Castle as the kind of place you go after the party. It’s open late so you can swing by on your way home from a night out and hopefully those greasy balls of goodness they call hamburgers will soak up the alcohol and make tomorrow more managable. White Castle sliders are the perfect late night snack: quick, cheap, and delicious . . . and you’re usually too tired to be bothered with things like nutritional value. In fact White Castle so excels in this nitche there’s even a movie about it.

But now a White Castle in Lafayette, IN has decided to serve beer, starting at $3 and wine, for $4.50. They are not the first fast food restaurant in America to offer alcoholic beverages. Earlier this year Burger King opened the Whopper Bar in Miami’s South Beach, offering beer and Starbucks has been testing beer and wine at a few locations on the west coast since 2010. 

Large fast food chains are always looking for opportunities for growth, especially in this more health conscious environment they need to retain and increase sales. So it’s no surprise that White Castle would consider selling alcoholic beverages. So far customers have had a positive reaction in Indiana, but White Castle, like many other fast food chains would probably face challenges trying to sell beer and wine on a wider scale.

Usually fast food places cater a lot to families and small children and a lot of the staff that works at these establishments is under the age of 21. So logistically, there would have to be some re-marketing strategies implemented to help with people’s expectations as well as training staff to serve alcohol. I don’t know how I feel about this new development, but I can see beer and wine being sold at Starbucks before I could see it on the menu next to a Whopper Jr. or a Crave Case.

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Happy Hanukkah!

21 Dec

Today we're two candles in on the minorah! What are you guys doing to celebrate the festival of lights?

Today is day two of Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights! The eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Even if you’re not Jewish, Hanukkah is an opportunity to enjoy some wonderful traditions including, family, friends and you guessed it . . . good food!

Challah bread is one of my favorites. My favorite bakery, The Pastry Corner makes it really, really well and usually sells out this time of year. Also, it’s cold out there and what better way to warm up than a nice bowl of Matzah Ball Soup?  If you’re in town doing the tourist thing this holiday season, perhaps you could stop by Katz Deli in NYC for a nice hot cup! 

Did you know that you can find restaurants featuring Jewish and Kosher food near you using RestaurantRow.com? All you have to do is click search and select those options under cuisine. Also gift cards to restaurants make great Hanukkah gifts, I’m just saying!

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

16 Dec

Celebrate National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!

Hi, my name is ________ and I’m a Chocolaholic! Today is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, so whatever you’re eating today make sure to dip it in chocolate! Saying that I have a sweet tooth is an understatement. Yes I love food but if I have my way I will usually go sweet over savory everytime. And my favorite type of sweet is, you guessed it, chocolate! Vanilla is just too . . . . well,vanilla. But dip vanilla in chocolate and now we’re cooking with grease!

To me there is just something magical about chocolate and chocolate master, Max Brenner certainly agrees. For those of you know don’t know, Max Brenner is a chocolate genius! He has restaurants in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Las Vegas as well as Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Israel. At Max Brenner’s you can order food, food (and it’s really good too) but you must save room for the chocolate!

Max Brenner serves chocolate in every way imaginable. They have a variety of hot chocolates (my fave is the Mexican hot chocolate) perfect for warming you up this winter. There’s also chocolate fondue in an assortment of flavors with all kinds of delicious things to dip into. And of course chocolate cakes and bars, bon-bons and shakes. And this chocolate is GOOD!! I mean real good, not your typical, run of the mill, measly chocolate snack (yeah I’m talking about you M&M’s and Reese’s Pieces) this is the type of chocolate that will turn you into a chocolate snob and you’ll never reach for another Hershey’s product ever again!

Ok I may be exaggerating slightly but you catch my drift. I’m being indulgent, which after all is what being a fan of chocolate is all about! So even if you’re not near a Max Brenner I hope that you will indulge yourself and celebrate #chocolatecoveredanythingday. Be traditional and go with strawberries and bananas or get creative and go with pretzels and potato chips. If you’re feeling daring, go with grasshoppers . . . . . and please report back and let us know how it is!

Happy National Chocolate Covered Anything Day!!!!

Do You Theatre Menu?

15 Dec

Image

Tis the season for theatre going! Every holiday season theatre ticket sales spike because people love to see plays and other shows during the holidays. There are many different “Theatre Districts” all over the country and the world, not just Broadway in New York City. And the restaurants nearby (within walking distance) are not there by accident. They know that people like to go out to eat before or after a show and usually to some place nice. These restaurants are said to be located on “Restaurant Row” which is of course how we got the name for our website!

Theatre tickets are expensive enough, save money on dinner by asking to see the "Theatre menu", a specially priced menu for those grabbing a bite before or after a show.

Lots of the restaurants on Restaurant Row offer special pre-fixe menus for show ticket holders called “theatre menus” which are valid either before the curtain goes up or after it comes down. As going to take in a Broadway-style show is a special occasion, these menus usually feature an appetizer, entrée, and a dessert for a special fixed price. The thing is not all restaurants advertise that they offer such a menu. It is not uncommon for the wait staff to leave it out of their spiel as they go over specials, etc. So before you make your reservation, check the restaurant’s website or give them a call to see if they have a theatre menu and tell your server that you want to see that menu when you sit down. Oh and if you tell them what time your show starts they will make sure to get your food out to you asap!

Also these special menus are offered year round, not just during the holidays. So if you get tickets in your stocking for sometime next year don’t forget to ask your server about the theatre menu!

Dinner With Barack

12 Dec

What do restaurants and the President have in common? They both use food to get you to like them on Facebook!

As an informed and concerned American citizen I liked President Obama’s Facebook page. This way I can keep up with any speeches I might have missed and keep track of any major decisions that he makes. But now that the Presidential race is once again upon us, he has started soliciting me for donations in my news feed. And he is making it pretty tempting because of all those who donate to the campaign will be entered into a contest where the prize is dinner with him and Michelle at the White House. And yes they will fly you to D.C.

Social media marketing has officially taken over. Ok I’ll admit it’s been getting out of control for a while now but if you think about it, it’s so sneaky! Ever since Facebook began letting businesses and public figures create “pages” for themselves and enabling you to “like” them, they essentially enabled you to tailor your news feed with ads that you’ve preselected! It’s the same with Twitter, people are given incentives to follow their favorite restaurants because if they do they will be notified about specials and coupons.

There is this great place by my job, Smootie King and by liking their Facebook page I get coupons that literally have me going in there at least twice a week. Without the coupons as a carrot, their smooties while delicious, would be a little too pricey for that kind of patronage. Obama is attempting to do the same thing, using a once in a lifetime experience as extra motivation to donate to his campaign. And you know that dinner is going to be fantastic too! Delicious food prepared by the White House chef, most likely with all organic food that was purchased locally if not from the White House garden itself.

Even if you are not in favor of Obama as President, how cool would it be to have a private dinner with him at the White House? Even if you don’t agree with his politics, it’s hard to deny that he is fascinating. And Mrs. Obama is just fabulous! So when the ‘Dinner With Barack’ contest popped up in my news feed, I had to consider whether contributing to the Obama 2012 campaign for a free trip to the White House to have dinner with the leader of the free world was something I could see myself doing? As it turns out, Yes I Can!

 

 

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