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Happy Valentine’s Day!

10 Feb

Say "I do" over Pizza?

With V-day falling on a Tuesday this year I’m going to err on the side of caution on post early for all of those who will be getting started on the festivities this weekend. Naturally restaurants everywhere are going crazy with promos for Valentine’s Day. Some high-end chains like The Melting Pot are featuring special menus at some locations as well as Valentine’s Day chocolates.  While other’s like Morton’s The Steakhouse already know that they are a Valentine’s Day go-to spot and thrive on special occasions like Valentine’s Day. 

However, this year I was surprised to see some fast food chains are making Valentine’s Day special offerings as well. For example Pizza Hut is offering a “Tie the knot with the $10 Dinner Box” promotion! Yup, that’s right Pizza Hut fancies themselves a perfectly romantic method for proposing one of the most important questions you will ever ask in your life! I couldn’t believe it myself so I had to take a closer look and actually what they’re offering isn’t half bad.

The Promo is called the $10 Dinner Box but it actually costs $10,010 and includes a red ruby engagement ring, a limo, flowers, fireworks, a photographer and a videographer and of course the ever so romantic $10 pizza box! Not too shabby for the low-key couple who is looking to catch their partner off guard with pizza in a box! Pizza Hut must be testing the waters with this one because there are only 10 packages available. I wonder if anyone has actually bought this?!!

Kurt Kane, Pizza Hut CMO, explains how Pizza Hut came up with the idea, “If we’re able to fit pizza, bread sticks and dessert into one box for only $10, why stop there? Our customers want the best of everything, from their food to memorable life experiences.” Explains Kane, “So we decided to make one of those experiences – the marriage proposal – second-to-none and offer it at PizzaHut.com right alongside the new $10 Dinner Box.”

Hmmmmm, it certainly is a unique idea, but I don’t know . . . Ladies would you say “yes” over Pizza Hut? But I guess in the end it really doesn’t matter that much how you propose as long as you’re in love and willing to make the commitment. And hey it’ll make one hell of a story! Maybe Pizza Hut is on to something . . . maybe . . . What do you think?

Restaurant Resolutions

3 Jan

Adam Richman visited food trucks across the country on one of the episodes. Here he is talking to Wafels and Dinges owner, Thomas Degeest

Happy 2012! Now that we’re in a new year, everyone is setting new goals for themselves and restaurants are no different! The restaurant resolutions for 2012 are looking to move towards healthy and sustainable food choices but also the mobile or even pop up restaurant fads are still going strong.  With the help of sources like, Restaurant News here are some trends that we should be looking out for this year:

American Regionalism –  Shows like “Man vs. Food” and its host, Adam Richman have put us on to the variations of cuisine you could find across the United States. With buying local also trending at the moment, it has been even more interesting to see what people around the country are doing with food from “their own back yards.” 

Double Sided Menus – We’re all looking to indulge every once in a while but lately there has been a push for restaurants to provide healthier options. After the NRA implemented the Kids Live Well campaign and First Lady Michele Obama and Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, restaurants have felt the heat and have started to change up their menus. Consequently we get double sided menus. So this year, according to Mintel Menu Insights restaurantss will continue to feature indulgent items, but will be balanced by healthier options.

MyPlate replaced the Food Pyramid on June 2, 2011

Slow Things Down A Bit – Yes we want to eat, but what happened to the dining experience? All too often I have felt rushed out of a restaurant because they wanted to turn over tables. In 2012 restaurants are anticipated return to ‘more time-intensive preparation methods’ where they might have taken some short cuts in the past. To start you’ll notice words like “handmade” or “home style” popping up more on menus; lowering the risk of the dreaded sauce from a can on your spaghetti when you’re dining at an Italian restaurant, a big no no!

Have you seen any restaurants starting to change their ways yet? What other changes or trends do you expect to become popular for 2012?

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!

 

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

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!

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?

Related Articles:

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!

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