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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!

Do You Theatre Menu?

15 Dec

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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!

Hello December! We’re Ready For the Next Food Coma!

2 Dec

Outback's Gingerbread Martini.. YUM!

The turkey and stuffing is now in our rear view mirror which means it’s time to start thinking about caramel, peppermint, and gingerbread! It’s December and restaurants are already rolling out their holiday themed menu items! Some of these holiday products have become a tradition as customers have grown to expect certain drinks, meals, or desserts to grace the restaurant’s menus year after year while other restaurants are trying to top last year’s favorite holiday product with something more delicious and inventive.

So, what are some of the items we have been looking forward to since last year? Here’s two of our favorites:

Outback Steakhouse’s Gingerbread Martini: We’re usually looking for a hot drink during the holidays to sit by the fire with but this cold concoction may make you forget about hot chocolate for good. The martini is made with Absolut Vodka, gingerbread flavoring, Kahlúa, and Bailey’s Irish Cream. The rim is also ‘salted’ with graham crackers crumbs and served with whipped cream and a gingerbread cookie. No need to order dessert as well, don’t you think?

TCBY’S Frozen Yogurt: We expressed our enthusiasm for TCBY when they turned 30, but now we have a whole new reason to celebrate. Our favorite frozen yogurt chain is bringing back their eggnog and gingerbread flavored fro yo and we couldn’t be happier!

While we may be getting ready to pick up last year’s favorites, there’s a slew of new items waiting to satisfy our appetites. Here are the ones we’re going to be devouring first:

Pumpkin, and Pecan, and Eggnog oh my! Oh and don't forget the Gingerbread! The seasonally inspired hotcakes are now available at IHOP!

IHOP’s Holiday Hotcakes:  These seasonal goodies are super popular at IHOP which means moves need to be made fast. For a limited time only, you can order Pumpkin Praline, Eggnog, or White Chocolate Chip Mint pancakes. Probably not the healthiest options on the menu but definitely delicious!

McDonald’s Seasonal Drinks: Yes, you read this correctly, McDonald’s is on our list. While we usually think of Starbucks as the go-to for our seasonally flavored cups ‘o joe, my grandmother can’t stop raving about the new McDonald’s Peppermint Mocha and Peppermint Hot Chocolate. It might be the time can’t think of a better time to test it out.

Is anyone out there racing to Outback or TCBY for their seasonal items? Testing out IHOP’s Hotcakes or McDonald’s drinks? What restaurant is offering holiday fix this year?

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A Chance To Give Back

18 Nov

Not sure what to donate? Click on the photo for an article from MSN about food bank's top needs!

The holiday season is a time to give back, but what happens when there is nothing to give?

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona announced on Wednesday they will not be able to distribute food boxes for the holiday season this year due to a lack of funds and food. According to the Arizona Daily Star, last year the food bank provided 20,000 families with holiday food boxes last year that cost a total of $350,000 in addition to the number of families the food bank assists every month.

The Salvation Army in Norwalk, CT is also in desperate need of help. WTNH News 8 reported that this is the first time in over a decade that they also do not have the funds or food to feed the projected 250 families that will walk through their doors. They estimate they may only have enough food to feed 50 families this Thanksgiving. In Colorado the Springs Rescue Mission and the Marion House Soup Kitchen are both in need of 600 turkeys in order to fill gift boxes and feed families on Turkey Day and are actively seeking donations.

Food banks in every corner of the country seem to have been hit hard by the economy. And unfortunately it’s not the government that is going to bail them out. They count on the generous donations of individuals. We all know that these past few years have been economically challenging and it can feel like it’s going to take a lot to fix the problems that we have, and it may. But remember a little bit goes a long way and there are lots of ways to give back. Clothes and non-perishable food items are just as good as money as a donation to these charities. So, what are you doing to help during the holiday season?  Check out Salvation Army’s website or the list of food banks across the country on feedamerica.com to see how you can get involved. Every little bit helps! Happy Holidays!

Thankful For Restaurants

17 Nov

It looks like there will be fewer turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving as more people are making restaurant reservations this year and won't have the famous leftovers.

Thanksgiving is just a week away! It’s a favorite amongst holiday enthusiasts because it’s for everyone regardless of religion, there’s a four day weekend, it kicks off the holiday sales, and an abundance of good food is guaranteed. But having all that company over for Thanksgiving dinner and cooking for all those people can be a lot of pressure on the family chef. That’s why more and more people are making reservations at restaurants or ordering prepared food to-go from their favorite eateries.

I remember growing up most restaurants were closed on Turkey Day and sometimes even the Friday after. As if there was some unwritten rule that Thanksgiving is not only a day of thanks but also a day for mom to prove her culinary prowess and overall awesomeness by slaving over a hot stove. But now it’s socially acceptable to forgo all the hoopla and take the fam out to eat for the nearest Thanksgiving menu offering. Maybe today’s moms are secure enough in their “momhood” to not feel threatened by somebody else’s cooking?

According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association, approximately 14 million Americans will eat at restaurants this Thanksgiving and an additional 16 million Americans will order take-out.  Besides the convenience factor (no cooking means no cleaning!) what are the other pros for eating out? Could it be that Boston Market’s mac & cheese is better than yours? Is Cracker Barrel halfway between your and your aunt’s house?  Or is the pre-fix menu at Ruth’s Chris healthier than your cousin’s usual heart attack inducing dishes? Eating out definitely leaves more time to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, catch the football game or go out to see the latest Muppets movie. Whether you are going five-star, family style, or carrying out you better start making your plans fast because you are not alone!

Go Veggie & Win Cash Prize!

30 Sep
October 1st is World Vegetarian Day

Take the Vegetarian challenge: no meat for one day, one week or the entire month for Vegetarian Awareness and you may be a big winner!

Tomorrow, October 1 is World Vegetarian Day and marks the kick off of Vegetarian Awareness Month. The observance was started by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), an non-profit organization that provides a community for and is a source of information on vegetarian lifestyle. So what is a vegetarian exactly? According to NAVS a person may call themselves vegetarian if they abstain from eating all animal flesh including meat, poultry, fish and other sea animals. Then you have an ovo-vegetarian who omits eggs from their diet, a lacto-vegetarian may eat eggs, but not dairy products, and an ovo-lacto vegetarian excludes both eggs and dairy products. A total vegetarian (or vegan) consumes no animal products at all.

There are lots of reasons and benefits to becoming a vegetarian. As far as health is concerned, diets high in animal protein can result in high blood cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables (the main staples of a vegetarian diet) when organically grown especially are full of vitamins and nutrients. From an environmental standpoint the production that goes into the meat industry leaves a pretty big carbon footprint; from the meat processing plants to the deforestation that is a result of the expansion of cattle farms and fields of corn/grain that is specifically grown in order to become livestock feed. And of course there are spiritual, cultural, and religious practices that call for a diet free of meat.

NAVS has worked very hard to create awareness about Vegetarianism in the United States and since there is no rule against it, people sometimes eat vegetarian meals even if they don’t choose to adopt a full-time vegetarian lifestyle.  That being said, a change in consumer interest and demand has resulted in the expansion of vegetarian options on restaurant menus, and most ethnic restaurants offer meatless options anyway as a part of their food culture.

To celebrate and promote Vegetarian Awareness, NAVS challenges all non-vegetarians to go veggie for as long as you can (a day, a week, or even the whole month of October) and you may be win a cash prize! And I’m sure they would also like to remind you that by going vegetarian you will already be a winner because you’ll be  creating a better world by having a positive impact on your health, the environment and society as a whole. So go vegetarian! Think You Can Do It?

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