You’d be forgiven if you thought that the fast food industry was quickly on its way to going the way of robots.
After all, go to the drive-thru and you’re often greeted with a recorded voice asking if you want to try the latest new product. Go inside any McDonald’s in the country and you’re likely to find a wall of kiosks to take your order instead of a cashier. Some places will even serve your food in glass compartments!
Yes, automation is making an impact on the U.S. foodservice industry. It just might not be taking over as fast as you expect. (more…)
Fall is by far my favorite time of year. The crisp air with a tinge of wood smoke, blue skies, stunningly colorful leaves, harvesting of apples and pumpkins, and of course, the crushing of wine grapes.
There is no better place to experience the colors and tastes of fall than the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River, Oregon, is just one hour east of Portland and is the full fall experience — wineries, fruit stands, pumpkin patches, and more.
The Willamette Valley often overshadows this picturesque region. But with rolling hills, access to Oregon’s famed Mt. Hood, and stellar wind surfing along the Columbia River, it’s the perfect place for wine! (more…)
One of the more contentious Chinese food topics is the question of whether dim sum lunch is better served on carts, as opposed to ordered off a menu or check-off sheet. Traditionalists claim that dim sum carts are the heart of the dim sum experience, with the anticipation of seeing what lies under the lids of the metal containers in the cart a primary attraction. Meanwhile, cook-to-order partisans point out your dim sum is absolutely fresh if you order off a menu, while dim sum on a cart may have been sitting out. New varieties can be concocted without worrying if they’ll last on a cart. Plus, with menu-driven dim sum, you don’t have to worry about strategically choosing your table to get the freshest possible food as the carts emerge from the kitchen, or your item no longer being available by the time the cart rolls to you, or having to chase after a cart if it bypasses you.
Even though carts are widely believed to be the traditional method of dim sum delivery, they are of fairly recent origin. I remember when dim sum wasn’t something you ate while seated in a restaurant. My first recollection dates back to the 1950s at the legendary Man Fook Low restaurant in the hidden City Market Chinatown on San Pedro Street in Los Angeles. According to legend, Man Fook Low introduced dim sum to LA in the 1930s and didn’t even list dim sum on its restaurant menu. Like the neighboring New Moon Café, Man Fook Low sold its dim sum via take-out window. The restaurant made only a handful of dim sum varieties; there was steamed barbecue pork bun, much larger than those we see today, and then referred to as hom bao. There was ha gow, pork siu mai (which my mom called “stacks” because of its haystack shape), and the sweet and glutinous bak tong go. Our dim sum orders were placed in large pink boxes that we would take home to enjoy. Any leftovers were re-steamed the next day. (more…)
McDonald’s took the offensive last year in the fast-food breakfast wars when it introduced the concept of all-day breakfast items to its menu. And now it’s testing Breakfast Happy Meals that could lead to the fast food chain going in for the kill.
At 73 locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, McDonald’s will be offering morning kids’ meals, the first major new food entrée to the Happy Meal line in more than three decades. If the test proves successful, the meals could be rolled out across the U.S. next year. (more…)
Recently, one of the leading Chinese food authorities in the San Francisco Bay area made an astounding discovery. In the small town of Willits, California, he found a Chinese restaurant called Mom’s Buffet, which in addition to the Americanized Chinese buffet, had a Chinese language menu that offered such items as Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles, rou jia mo (Chinese pulled pork sandwich), salt and pepper baked squab, Toishanese congee, and numerous goat dishes. So what was a restaurant like this doing there? (more…)