Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Crystal Ball: Food Edition

December 22, 2014

Crystal ball

This week, we are gazing into our crystal ball to predict what food trends we will see in 2015.

katydid and shadow on leaf

Don’t bug me:

Insects are creating a buzz as a new source of sustainable protein. While many countries have been eating insects for centuries, Americans are yet to embrace the concept.  Not only are insects protein rich, they pack 15% more iron than spinach, double that of beef and have as much vitamin B12 as salmon. They are also low in fat and cholesterol. Even more importantly, insects thrive on very little water and consume agricultural byproducts, such as corn husks and broccoli stalks, thereby creating a much smaller negative impact on the environment. Chupal is already selling protein bars made from crickets, that are available in dark chocolate, coffee and cayenne, peanut butter and chocolate and a coconut, lime ginger flavor. Watch for insects to become more accepted in the food world in the coming year.

Savory yogurt:

Last year, Blue Hill released it’s savory yogurts in flavors such as beet, carrot and tomato, made locally from grass fed cows. Greenwich Village staple Murrays Cheese has set up an in store yogurt bar, featuring tomato and kimchee flavored varieties. A new shop in New York’s famed Chelsea Market called Sohha Savory Yogurt, is also getting in on the action, with flavors such as Zaatar’ and Everything Bagel. India, Greece and many Arab countries frequently use yogurt in their cuisines, so mixing it with herbs, spices and vegetables seems almost intuitive. Haagen Daz has already introduced it’s line of savory frozen yogurts in Japan, so they should be making their way stateside soon.

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Ugly root vegetables:

Farmer’s markets and CSA boxes are always filled with random, ugly root vegetables that perplex consumers over how to prepare them. Chefs are not deterred, and kohlrabi, parsnips and celery roots are among the vegetables showing up on high end restaurant menus. Whether fried, gratineed, or pureed, these humble vegetables are replacing the potato for a flavorful and trendy new twist on classic fare that everyone will be talking about next year.

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Cauliflower is the new kale:

Move over kale, there is a new kid in town. Cauliflower, the latest wonder-veg, is a master of disguise. While we love it just roasted with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese, it’s also the perfect stand in for its less health conscious counterparts. Puree it into mock mashed potatoes, or use it to create a stand in for a pizza crust. Coat it,bake it and slather it in hot sauce for a vegetarian take on buffalo wings. Puree it into a rich, creamy soup without the cream.  High end restaurants are beginning to offer cauliflower steak as a main dish alternative to meat. Roasting the entire head whole has also taken off, with chefs putting their own twists on seasonings and sauces.

New takes on hummus:

Hummus has already gained popularity with the masses, out trending salsa on Google search. The Middle Eastern chickpea spread is so popular, that every grocery store features a variety, and Subway is experimenting with using it on their fast food sandwiches. Foodies are taking their favorite spread to the next level, infusing it with other international flavors, such as Thai chili, and cilantro and chimichurri. Others have used the same concept with alternative ingredients, substituting Japanese edamame or lentils in place of the traditional chickpeas. Watch for a flavor explosion of new riffs on hummus to develop this year.

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Punch:

Dust off your grandmother’s punchbowl, because the old mainstay of social gatherings is coming back and this time it’s spiked! Mixologists in upscale venues are pulling out the punches, creating communal cocktails with unique ingredients.

Rickhouse in San Fransisco serves a bowl of aged rum, lemon juice, Peychaud’s bitters, ginger beer and an herbal liqueur called Amaro CioCaro for $50. New York’s NoMad Hotel Bar offers a $110 concoction of cognac, Royal Combier liqueur, lemon juice, demerara syrup, lemons, mint and lots of ice. It’s only a matter of time before everyone else gets in on the act. We are already seeing lots of upscale food and beverage websites touting alcohol laced punch recipes for holiday entertaining at home.

Tickets to high end restaurants: Frustrated by “no-shows,” restaurants are exploring selling tickets for dinner, enabling chefs and restauranteurs to ensure a full house and preplan their food orders with more exactness. A prefixed menu with a set price including tip can be booked online, just as one might book theatre tickets or air travel.Discounts are often offered to those who book early. Highly acclaimed restaurant Alinea is among the pioneers of this new system. For hot spots, plan to set the alarm to jump on line as soon as reservations open, just as we do to book bikes at fitness studios.

Restaurants creating “Instagramable” moments:

We are doing it anyways. It has been the bane of many restauranteur’s existence. People are photographing their meals and often asking the waiter to get into the act, which delays service to others. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, chefs are whipping up Instagram and Pinterest worthy tidbits that are delivered ready for their photo op. Watch for unique plating and latte art to go mainstream, and novel adaptations of classics appearing. We have to admit we are already in on this one, with our handmade,whimsical treats on indigo jones eats, which we think are pretty pin-able , if we say so ourselves.

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Broth is the new juice:

Detoxing, juice cleansing, and green juices are the holy grail of the health conscious trendsetter. This year, juice bars and juice brands started popping up everywhere, and even Starbucks got into the action. Next year, souping could replace juicing, with soup cleanses emerging on the diet scene, and bone broth becoming the latest healthy fad.

Bone broth has already been having a moment in the wellness community, with nutritionists and fitness professionals touting its benefits. The broth, made from organic, grass fed animal bones boiled over a long period of time, is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium and collagen. New York City chef Marco Canora has recently opened his outpost Brodo in a takeout window at his restaurant Hearth, selling, (you guessed it) broth. In California, newcomers Soupure is banking on their soup cleanses replacing cold, filtered juices. Developed in conjunction with a team of nutritionists and chefs, Soupure founders believe that soup is a more nourishing and satisfying way to cleanse than cold pressed juices, saying “Throwing away the vital fiber matrix reduces most fruits to simple sugars that could leave your liver overworked and kidneys imbalanced, and without the benefits of macro-nutrients like protein and good fats, many of the vitamins and minerals featured in some juice combinations are simply rendered unusable.”

Look for bone broth and soup cleanses to expand their visibility,with healthy soups and broths popping up on restaurant menus, and freestanding shops.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Don’t Pass the (Star)Buck

June 19, 2013

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Often, some of the controversial health bills passed in New York City become more widespread in time.  Such is the case with Starbucks, who today announced it would post calorie counts on all of their menu boards, nationwide.

The Food and Drug Administration is looking at having all restaurants with more than 20 locations post the nutritional information publically, allowing customers to make more informed decisions. Starbucks is one of the first to voluntarily post calories in their stores across the country.

In an effort to serve up healthier options the chain began offering sugar free syrups and switched to 2% milk, as it’s standard several years ago. Skim milk is also an option for customized drinks.

Would you pass on that double chocolate chip Frappuccino at 500 calories, and choose a 260 calorie iced Café Mocha, or a Skinny Flavored Latte at only 110 calories, if you were well informed? How about a 240-calorie croissant, instead of the healthier sounding banana walnut bread at a whopping 490 calories?

Informed decisions are generally better decisions, and Starbucks is taking a step in the right direction to make sure that their customers know what they are indulging in.

New York has successfully led the country in kicking the trans fat habit, banned smoking in public places and built awareness of the calories in their food.  Now how about those giant sodas Mayor Bloomberg is fighting to limit? Do you think that will eventually catch on as well?

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Hurricane Update: It’s Almost Over

November 2, 2012

Rumor has it that we will be in the dark for several more days. The Mayor has officially cancelled Halloween and the New York City Marathon.

The isolation and boredom are kicking in. Someone called while we were out and invited us over, but we could not ring their buzzer to get in, or get cell service to let them know we arrived. Defeated, we navigated back to our quiet, dark home.

Equinox has become the chicest homeless shelter in New York. For those not familiar, it is an upscale health club with all the amenities. Its members are flocking to clubs with power, using Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, hot showers with fluffy towels and Kiehl’s products. Some are even working out. The staff has been amazing trying to accommodate the unprecedented surge in users. I did hear one member who clearly is more fortunate than we are, mutter something about “all the refugees” but for the most part, people have been kind.

It is a tale of two cities here. North of the area effected by the power outage, the city is thriving.  Stores and restaurants are experiencing a huge boon in business as those without power explore other neighborhoods, and those in the area are looking for something to do while schools and offices are closed. There is a wait at even the most mundane of restaurants at 3 or 4 in the afternoon. The stores are packed.

Downtown, it is a ghost town. Everything is dark, and few people are out on the streets. Stores are closed and food establishments are dark; their products spoiling in refrigerators, which have long turned warm. The financial implications on smaller businesses may be too steep for them to survive.
With no Internet or cell service, it is difficult to communicate.

Isn’t it funny how reliant we have become on electronics to function? Our cell phones are our lifelines, and our computers are the way we connect. Even just playing a board game or reading a book is unpleasant when you are holding a candle to see what you are doing. News travels through television and the Internet. Even our clocks are digitally powered.

Healthy eating is a challenge when fresh food is scarce, and refrigeration non-existent. We are lucky to have a gas stove, which can be lit by a match.

What began as a mere inconvenience is getting more taxing as the days wear on.

It is hard to complain when the devastation around us is so great. There are many who were not as fortunate as we have been.

We will try to keep you up dated on the situation in New York, as we are able to.

For those of you who are home safely with power and water, please take a minute to be grateful for all of the things we often take for granted.

Stay safe!

WE HAVE GOTTEN WORD THAT POWER IS EXPECTED TO BE RESTORED IN OUR AREA SATURDAY NIGHT AROUND 11 PM.

 

photo: Glasshouse Images

 

A Tale of Two Cities

June 4, 2012

This week, two major cities took steps to help us clean up our unhealthy lifestyles.

Los Angeles just became the largest city to jump on the sustainability bandwagon, by banning plastic grocery bags.

Not only do discarded bags clog our eco-system, but also the inks and dyes used on many of them are toxic. Over 100 billion bags are tossed in the United States each year, resulting in the environmental equivalent of dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.

L.A. residents and businesses have 16 months to phase in the new plan. Although bringing re-usable bags is ideal, customers will be able to purchase paper bags at checkout, for 10 cents a piece.

While many support this bill, which is already underway in other cities, many are unhappy with the decision.

The detractors feel that is an inconvenience that will not have a significant impact.

Although the bags account to less than 1% of all waste in the area, Los Angeles uses an estimated 2.7 million bags per year.

Across the country on the east coast, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City has proposed a ban on the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 oz. in an effort to stall the obesity epidemic.

The proposed ban would affect restaurants, sporting and entertainment venues, and fast food franchises. The measure would not affect diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy – based drinks or alcoholic beverages. It would not extend to products sold in grocery or convenience stores.

Many locals are up in arms over the ban, saying that is not the government’s business to get involved in such things.

Mayor Bloomberg has been a major advocate of health issues in the city. His ban of smoking in restaurants and other public places, ban of the use of trans fats, and the requirement that all chain restaurants post calorie counts, were also met with dissent, yet have been initiatives that have been rolled out across the country.

Bloomberg responded to his detractors by saying:

“Oh, come on. We’re not taking anything away. You don’t have to pay attention to the calorie counts. You don’t have to stop smoking. You don’t have to stop buying big bottles of soda.”

It seems that the general population is not willing to do their part in promoting good health and taking care of our environment. The local governments seem to be taking the matters into their own hands.
How much involvement is too much? Do they have bigger issues to work on, or are these initiatives more impactful than people give them credit for?

Join the conversation…

Long Live

January 4, 2012

New Yorkers are living longer than ever, and on average, their life expectancy is 2 years longer than the rest of the country. According to the Annual Summary of Vital Statistics, New Yorker’s have reached an all time high with a life expectancy rate of 80.6 years!

What contributes to our increased longevity?

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has made our health a priority, by declaring bars, restaurants and even public parks smoke free, and offers free nicotine patches to residents who want to kick the habit.

He has initiated heart disease and cancer prevention programs, as well as expanded the HIV testing and AIDS treatment programs, resulting in a mortality rate decrease of 11.3% since 2009.

He has made it mandatory for restaurants to make calorie information available to patrons, and was the first in the country to initiate a trans-fat ban.

While all of these things are helpful, our activity levels might be the major factor.

Most New York City dwellers don’t have cars, and opt for public transportation, and in many cases walk to their destinations.  Not only is this increased activity a plus, but our pace is often quicker than those living elsewhere.
Many other states have followed suit and instituted their own smoking and calorie rules, but very few cities have residents that walk as much as we do.

Why not take a cue from New York and consider walking to destinations within a mile of home? It will definitely help you get in shape, and could prolong your life in the process!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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