0 comments on “August Vendor of the Month: Vien”

August Vendor of the Month: Vien

August is here and we’re really committed to soaking up the remaining summer months! Which is why we’re keeping our clean eating kick going with our August Vendor of the Month: Vien!

Famous for it’s BYO bowl that includes a variety of healthy bases, clean proteins, unique garnishes and delicious sauces, Vien has recently launched their new plate menu, which mixes their well known entrees with some new sides and salads, designed with love by their team! With this new plate menu package you get a choice of one protein, one grain or salad and one side to create the meal that’s perfect for you. Mix and match until you’ve tried them all! Vien’s ability to create healthy items that are delicious, refreshing and fun makes it a new meal every time!

Choice of One Protein:

Roasted Lemongrass Chicken

Pan Roasted Ginger Hanger Steak

Turmeric Roasted Tofu

Slow Cooked Heritage Pork

Choice of One Grain or Salad:

Brown Rice

Jasmine Rice

Seasonal Green Salad

Shredded Cucumber and Carrot Noodle Salad

Choice of One Side:

Green Papaya Salad

Kale Salad

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Broccoli

Honey Roasted Heirloom Carrots

**Please note: 15 person minimum required for catering orders**

Vien Store Photo

Vien was founded in 2013 as a casual Southeast Asian eatery with healthy and delicious hawker-inspired street fare. A focus on fresh ingredients and authentic tastes, Vien strives to bring the vibrant colors and exotic flavors of the countries in Southeast Asia (such as Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, etc.), to New York City.

Every part of the food creation process at Vien is focused around four key principles. 

  1. Food should be healthy and delicious.
  2. Every dish should be balanced and only use the highest quality ingredients.
  3. Love our customers and respect our neighbors.
  4. Cultivate sustainable relationships with the local food community and our purveyors.

From the person cooking the food in the restaurant to the person delivering the food to your office, these principles are the groundwork for everything that Vien does: the food, the service and the relationship with it’s community. Guided by these key principles, Vien stands out from its competitors by creating purposeful, mission-driven food that has made its mark on the West Village.

Now, Vien is preparing for the beginning of a new journey with the launch of their second location in Manhattan, opening in Midtown this month! We’re so excited to see this local business thrive in a new market and feed the inhabitants of Midtown Manhattan!

 

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Healthy Meal Prep at the Office

It’s hard to keep yourself on a healthy routine, especially during the summer months when the warm weather is constantly calling you outside to all of NYC’s amazing restaurants. With all of the delicious foods that we love to indulge in being available to us 24/7, it gets difficult to maintain a balanced lifestyle when it comes to food. However, it’s important to feed your body the nutritious foods that it needs and that keep you energized during the workday. The best way to make sure that you’re getting the sustenance that you need and to avoid unhealthy foods is to meal prep! The task may seem daunting at first but once you make it a part of your regime and get into the habit of meal prepping, it will make creating meals and eating healthy quicker, easier, more enjoyable and your body will thank you for it!

Make a Schedule: It’s important to be realistic about your schedule and figure out how many days a week you’ll hold yourself accountable to prep the meals that you’ll be eating at the office. If you know that you’re usually on the go on Fridays, focus on meal prepping Monday-Thursday and bringing options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks that you can eat at your desk. Pick one a day a week that you’ll go grocery shopping (we suggest Saturday or Sunday) and plan out your meals for the entire week so that you know exactly what you need when you go. Dedicating a specific time each week to get all your shopping done will keep you from getting overwhelmed and is much easier than trying to plan something out for the next day.

Our Suggestions for Healthy Meals: Every person has different tastes in what they like to eat and how they like to eat. Some people love a big breakfast in the morning and a small lunch and others skip breakfast altogether and go straight to a heavier lunch. We’ve found that skipping meals only makes us hangry, so we suggest prepping breakfast, lunch and 1-2 snacks throughout the day to keep you feeling full. However, it’s important to find what’s right for you and customize your meal prep based on your preferences! Below are some ideas of healthy foods we’ve found that are really easy to transport to the office and store in a fridge or at your desk until you’re ready to eat!

Breakfast: Oatmeal; Yogurt Parfaits; Green Smoothies; Overnight Oats; Fruit Salad; Egg Frittatas; Whole Wheat Breakfast Wraps; Avocado Toast; Breakfast Grain Bowls

Lunch: Quinoa with Grilled Chicken and Veggies; Shrimp and Vegetable Stir Fry; Lettuce or Whole Wheat Wraps; Salad; Brown Rice or Quinoa Bowls; Assorted Bean and Veggie Salad (no greens); Sweet Potato or Zucchini Noodles; Salmon with Lentils and Veggies; Chickpea Pasta Primavera

Snacks: Hummus and Veggies; Hard-boiled Eggs; Fruit; Nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts); Granola Bars; Dried Fruit; Roasted Chickpeas; Trail Mix; Whole Grain or Veggie Crackers; Air-Popped Popcorn; Almond Butter with Fruit or Veggies; Pumpkin or Sunflower Seeds; Granola; Dark Chocolate 

Keep Yourself Hydrated!!!!: One thing that we do suggest that is crucial to a healthy lifestyle is keeping yourself hydrated! The recommended amount of water that you drink per day is eight 8 oz glasses or about 2 liters, which most people don’t drink! Drinking water is the best way to get rid of waste in your body, help your body burn calories and keep you feeling full. People often confuse thirst with hunger and start snacking when their body is really craving water, since our body depends on water to survive. Drinking water during and between meals will make you full faster and keep you full longer. If you don’t want to be chugging water all day, green tea is another great option for keeping yourself hydrated between meals. It has a bunch of antioxidants and nutrients that your body craves and also improves brain function!

Think Outside the Box: The best thing about meal prepping is that you can get creative with the meals that you make. If you really love a specific fruit or vegetable, check out some recipes that include it so that you can find other ways to incorporate it into more of your meals! Interested in making zucchini noodles as a pasta replacement for lunch?! Research how it’s cooked and give it a shot! There are so many different ideas available to you for healthy meals that you can test out and see what you like or don’t like! You don’t want to get bored with the same meals day after day so be committed to trying out new foods that are delicious and still good for you!

Be Kind to Yourself: Even with your meal prep schedule and your best intentions, there will still be days that you just need pizza or tacos or fries for lunch. And then there will be some weeks where life/work gets really crazy and the meal prep just ain’t gonna happen at all. And that’s okay! A healthy meal prep also includes a healthy mindset, so it’s key to learn to accept when you slip up and move on from it rather than beat yourself up. Treat each individual meal or snack as a clean slate and a new opportunity to get back on your plan. But remember that you know your body and what it needs, so splurge every once and a while so that you don’t ever feel like you’re depriving yourself of something that your body wants. Be proud of the hard work that you put into your meal prep and allow yourself those cheat meals that you need! With food, it’s all about creating the balance that works best for you!

 

0 comments on “Beat the Heat with Our 20 Minute Taco Salad!”

Beat the Heat with Our 20 Minute Taco Salad!

The NYC humidity is no joke in July! With the temperature staying around 80/90 degrees the last few weeks, turning on the oven to cook these days is no longer an option. So we’re cooling it down with our delicious taco salad recipe that’s super easy to prepare and will keep you full for that post-work Pilates class or (who are we kidding?!) happy hour drinks! For our salad, we topped it with some zesty, seasoned shrimp but the best thing about this recipe is that you can customize it any way you want: include jalapenos if you’re feeling spicy, or top with tofu if you’re a vegetarian! Mix and match any ingredients that you want to celebrate Taco Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday….. 😉

Taco Salad

Recipe serves 3 – 4

You’ll Need:

2 heads of romaine lettuce

shredded taco cheese

sour cream

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 jar medium salsa

1 avocado

cilantro

tortilla chips

Chop romaine lettuce and toss with salsa as a low fat and flavorful dressing. If desired, add a spoonful of sour cream to make dressing creamier. Chop red onion and avocado and add on top. Add cheese, cilantro, tortilla chips as desired.

Seasoned Shrimp

Recipe serves 3 – 4

You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon of avocado oil or olive oil

1/2 pound of fresh, raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon fresh chopped garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro

Combine dry seasonings except cilantro in a bowl. Add in shrimp and mix until shrimp is well coated. Heat avocado oil or olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add chopped garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add shrimp. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat or until shrimp is fully cooked. Turn off heat, add fresh chopped cilantro and mix. Once done, add shrimp to taco salad and enjoy!

If you’re looking for a side dish to complement the taco salad, our go to is always the classic Mexican rice and beans. Check out our 5-minute recipe below if you’re looking for something a little heartier to serve on the side or mix into your taco salad!

Mexican Brown Rice

Recipe serves 6 – 8

You’ll Need:

1 tablespoon of avocado oil or olive oil

2 bags of Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown rice

1 small can of sweet corn

1 small can of black beans (we used reduced sodium)

1/2 jar medium salsa

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Cook both bags of Uncle Ben’s brown rice in microwave for 90 seconds. Heat avocado oil or olive oil in a large skillet or pot on medium heat. Add all of the ingredients listed above except for the cilantro, starting with the cooked brown rice, black beans and corn. Mix well. Cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat, add fresh chopped cilantro on top and mix!

 

0 comments on “Improve Your Office Meals”

Improve Your Office Meals

If you’re like most offices in NYC, things tend to slow down during the summer months. Whether it’s because of the humidity that keeps New Yorkers from moving at their usual high-speed pace or the fact more people are out on vacation, June, July and August give you a chance to catch up on those projects that may have fallen by the wayside earlier in the year. One of the most important of those being the food. It’s time to take a look at what you’re feeding your office and how you can improve your meals and snacks to get yourself and your team eating and feeling good!

Send out a survey. Get an idea of what your team likes/dislikes for breakfast, lunch (dinner if applicable) and happy hours/snacks! Ask questions such as “Do you eat what is usually provided for breakfast meetings?” “What do you typically enjoy eating for breakfast?” “Which of the snacks that we have in house do you like or dislike?” “What kind of snacks would you like to see more of?” “Do you have any cuisine requests for team lunch?” “What do you think team breakfasts/lunches are lacking?” Getting this information will give you a better idea of what can be improved with the current meals that you’re offering in your office. It’s also crucial to know what dietary restrictions you’re working with and what your team’s eating preferences are when you’re ordering for everyone. Maybe HR recently hired 3 people that are vegetarian and your COO just decided to cut gluten out of his/her diet. Make sure that you include questions on the survey similar to “Are you a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, other?” “Do you have any food allergies? If so, what are they?” so that you can get a clear breakdown of dietary restrictions to keep in mind when putting a meal together, especially if someone on your team has Celiac’s disease or a nut allergy. Finally, make the survey anonymous so that everyone can give their input without fear of judgement (food judgement is real, people!) and anyone in your office that does have a specific request that they want you to be aware of can include his/her name.

Read each survey and starting implementing! Take the time to go through each response that you receive and start making changes in your office based on your team’s comments. At FoodtoEat, we’ve noticed that a lot of companies want to eat healthier during the summer but don’t want boring options. An easy way to do this for lunch is to start introducing more unique cuisines that have proteins, veggies and low-carb starches that are delicious and will keep your team feeling full but aren’t too heavy, such as Vietnamese, African and Cuban. Or try something light and different like a build your own poke bowl! It’s important to also have healthy snacks around your office so that when people do start snacking (which they will), they are eating healthy snacks rather than chips, cookies, candy, etc. We suggest replacing chips with pretzel thins, air-popped popcorn or nuts (almonds, pistachios, peanuts), cookies with granola bars or dark chocolate and candy with low-calories ice pop and dried or fresh fruit.

Send out a meal feedback form post-meal. Once you’ve made the changes that your team requests and ordered a meal based on their suggestions, we advise sending out a meal feedback form to see what everyone thought of the food and gauge whether or not you’re on the right track. The easiest way to do this is to create a template for each meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner, happy hour) and send it out to everyone in your office 30 minutes or an hour after they’re done eating. This way they can write what they thought while everything is still fresh in their mind. Majority of the time most people in your office probably won’t fill out this form but a handful will and will give you honest and constructive criticism. And once other coworkers start realizing that their feedback can have an influence on what is ordered, they’ll start speaking up as well!

Give yourself some credit (and others will too)! Once you’ve created your survey and feedback forms, make this a recurring process that happens after each meal so that people in your office get used to the emails and look forward to filling them out! Setting up this system will allow you to get the feedback you need to keep coordinating awesome meals for your coworkers and keep your team happy. However, make sure that you keep in mind that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. There will always be someone who complains about the food or wants something different. But at the end of the day, making an effort to order a meal that has something for each dietary preference or isn’t from the deli below your building won’t go unnoticed. It may require a little more work on your part but taking the initiative on an area that’s so pivotal to your office culture will make you look good and your coworkers will thank you for it!

 

0 comments on “July Vendor of the Month: Todaro Brothers”

July Vendor of the Month: Todaro Brothers

It’s time to celebrate the red, white and blue! Which we’ll be doing all month long thanks to Todaro Brothers, our Vendor of the Month for July!

This self-proclaimed “neighborhood store” makes customer service and food quality it’s top priority, which is why they’re able to customize every menu to meet their client’s needs. Their menu flexibility makes them the perfect fit for July’s featured vendor special because they’ve provided us with a great mix of menu options that can accommodate any 4th of July themed celebration! Below are the different menus options that they will be offering FoodtoEat clients only throughout the month of July!

Build Your Own Burger Bar

Beef Hamburgers and Veggie Burgers

Hamburger Buns, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese, Ketchup, Mustard

Build Your Own Hot Dog Bar

Beef Hot Dogs and Veggie Dogs

Hot Dog Buns, Relish, Ketchup, Mustard

Build Your Own Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Ice Cream

Sprinkles, Chocolate Chips, Cookie Crumbles, Strawberries, Bananas, Whipped Cream

Todaro Brothers Pulled Pork

BBQ Pulled Pork

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Need to know more about this Kips Bay market that’s been a staple in the area for over 100 years?! Read more below to find out the secret to this family business.

Peter from Todaro Brothers

Todaro Brothers had been a family business since it opened in 1917! It started off as a place for importing and distributing Italian products from Sicily to New York City but over the years Todaro Brothers began to focus on retail, putting their signature touch on a variety of jams, marinades and dressings. Now, as a gourmet food market and wine bar, Todaro Brothers focuses on using the best ingredients sourced from the Mediterranean, making food quality a top priority!

Todaro Brothers is currently owned and operated by Peter Todaro (pictured above), the grandson of Pellegrino Todaro, who started the business with his brother. After Pellegrino, the business was taken over by Peter’s father, Luciano, who then passed it on to Peter. Peter strives to keep the “neighborhood store” feel that the store was founded on by valuing customers and food quality above everything else. Customers and employees know each other by name and have created long-term relationships that keep them coming back each day.

 

0 comments on “Immigrants Help Create Economic Growth.”

Immigrants Help Create Economic Growth.

As we celebrate the end of Immigrant Heritage Month, it’s important to understand why supporting local, immigrant-run businesses is important and why it’s part of our mission at FoodtoEat. Although there is a social aspect to our desire to promote a community that is underrepresented throughout the U.S., and the obvious reason that the food found in immigrant-run restaurants is typically the most delicious and authentic, many people don’t realize that without immigrants, the U.S. economy and the workforce would be facing major issues.

Immigrants make up about 13% of the population but contribute almost 15% of the economic output in the U.S. This is due to the fact that immigrants are an integral part of the workforce in our country, participating in the labor force at 73% as opposed to the 71% of native-born Americans.

Being represented in a variety of different industries, losing immigrant employees in any area would create large gaps in the workforce that U.S.-born workers would not be able to fill. This is a result of the fact that immigrants are most heavily filling labor-focused jobs. Studies show that immigration actually pushes U.S.-born workers up in the labor market because immigrants are creating the groundwork to support higher-skilled positions and providing more job opportunities for U.S. workers in those areas. In fact, when an immigrant is willing to fill labor-focused job that might otherwise be left open, it creates an average of 4.64 U.S. jobs.

Immigrants are also job creators in the respect that they are more entrepreneurial than native-born workers. In a recent report done by The Partnership for A New American Economy, researchers found that immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as a native-born American. In general, immigrants are considered bigger “risk takers” because they are willing to leave their homes in pursuit of potential business opportunities in the U.S. Which explains why 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants, such as Apple, IBM and eBay. There is a larger desire to succeed as a immigrant due to the societal pressure both in the U.S. and their home communities to find the “American dream” and more immigrants are willing to accept the challenge.

Food, agriculture and all related industries currently make up about 5% of the U.S. GDP, an area that is only expected to keep growing. Supporting local, immigrant-run businesses in NYC is not only socially important but also crucial to our economy. By working with our team, you can directly impact the economy: creating more jobs for restaurant owners to fill, producing more food for consumers to purchase, increasing the GDP and ultimately putting money back in your own pocket.

So the next time you’re choosing between a chain restaurant and the “hole in the wall” Greek store on the corner, remember the impact that these individuals (and their businesses) will have on our economic future.

 

References:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stuartanderson/2011/06/19/40-percent-of-fortune-500-companies-founded-by-immigrants-or-their-children/#dc27f1f4a590
https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/ag-and-food-sectors-and-the-economy/
https://abcnews.go.com/US/immigrants-us-economy-disaster-experts/story?id=45533028
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/immigrants-impact-on-the-u-s-economy-in-7-charts/
https://www.newamericaneconomy.org/sites/all/themes/pnae/openforbusiness.pdf
https://citizenpath.com/immigrant-heritage-month-american-story/
0 comments on “How To: Become a Baller ;)”

How To: Become a Baller ;)

Okay so we don’t mean that we’re going to teach you how to get rich overnight or become really successful….. but we ARE going to teach you how to make 3 different types of delicious meatballs that you can feed to your family and friends! All of the recipes listed below are super easy to make and provide a unique twist on the “traditional meatball”. We’ve also suggested ways to pair each meatball option to dispel the belief that meatballs are only served in marinara sauce or with pasta! So check out your options below and make your favorite one! And if you’re feeling really “ballsy”, why not try em all?!

Traditional Italian Turkey Meatballs

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

3 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 

1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1 egg

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and form into 1 & 1/2 inch balls. Put meatballs in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or avocado oil). Cook meatballs on medium heat on each side for about 3-5 minutes or until outer layer is brown and crispy. Transfer meatballs to a large pot and cover with sauce (we recommend Rao’s Tomato Sauce but feel free to use your favorite jarred sauce or make your own sauce from scratch!). Cook on low heat for about an hour and a half to two hours, stirring occasionally.

Pro tip: Pair these Italian turkey meatballs with some whole wheat spaghetti for a lighter pasta dinner!

Greek Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped

2 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 large zucchini grated

2 tablespoons dried oregano

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

4-6 tablespoons seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1 egg

1/2 small container of crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and form into 1 & 1/2 inch balls. Put meatballs in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or avocado oil). Cook meatballs on medium heat, turning them every few minutes. Cook for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked through and brown on all sides.

Pro tip: Top these Greek turkey meatballs with some homemade Tzatziki Sauce (recipe below) and serve with brown rice and a side of veggies if you’re trying to cut down on the carbs!

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

Recipe yields about 3 cups

You’ll Need:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt (we recommend Siggi’s)

2 mini seedless cucumbers, diced small

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

juice of 1 lemon

2 large cloves of garlic, minced

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

In a large bowl, mix all of the above ingredients together and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

Vegetarian “Meat”balls

Recipe yields about 25-30 meatballs

You’ll Need:

1 can lentils, drained and rinsed

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

4-6 large Crimini or button mushrooms, wiped clean and finely chopped

2 eggs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

salt (to taste)

pepper (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse lentils and set aside. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil to a large pan. Bring heat to medium/high and add in chopped onions, celery, carrots, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir frequently for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the tomato paste to the pan and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Once cooked, transfer mixture to a large bowl and let cool. When cool, add in the lentils, eggs, Parmesan cheese and walnuts. Mix by hand until all ingredients are well incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. Remove mixture from the refrigerator and form mixture into 1 & 1/2 inch balls, making sure to pack the mixture firmly. Use cooking spray to coat a baking sheet and place balls on cooking sheet. Cook for about 30 minutes until meatballs are firm, cooked through and crispy on the outside. Allow meatballs to cool before topping!

Pro tip: Try these vegetarian “meat”balls in a whole wheat pita with arugula and topped with chimichurri sauce! YUM!

Tag us on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook @foodtoeat with pictures of the meatball recipe that you chose and what you paired it with for your meatball-inspired lunch or dinner!

 

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Celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month with Us: Join Us on Wednesday, June 20th!

“One of the remarkable things about America is that nearly all of our families originally came from someplace else. We’re a nation of immigrants. It’s a source of our strength and something we all can take pride in.” – Barack Obama

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the diversity that the United States is founded on and the contributions that immigrants continue to make in our country. Immigrant Heritage Month is an initiative that was created in June 2014 by Welcome.us. The focus is to 1. give each person an opportunity to explore their own heritage, 2. gather and share stories to create understanding and 3. to take action by supporting immigrant coworkers, family members, employees, neighbors and friends.

At FoodtoEat, we work directly with women, minority and immigrant-run food businesses throughout NYC because we believe that food is one of the key components of a city’s culture. Without the immigrant businesses that contribute to that culture, you lose a part of the city’s identity. Which is why we are partnering with General Assembly for a panel event in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month, celebrating the immigrant-run businesses that we work with and listening to a few of the stories of vendors that are open to sharing them with us and you!

The panel will be taking place on Wednesday, June 20th from 6:30-8:30PM and will include food that reflects the culture of each panelist. Below is information about each of our panelists and how they came to be involved in New York City’s food industry. RSVP today so that you don’t miss out on this extremely important event that will discuss the issues facing the immigrant population in the United States, the factors that affect restaurant owners and the food industry as a whole, and why our mission of supporting local food businesses is so important.

Kay- Hey Hey Canteen

Kay Ch’ien, Hey Hey Canteen

Kay was born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong, where she grew up surrounded by her family’s food business and the delicious and diverse cuisines of both cities. In between college and law school, she spent a fascinating year exploring her family’s roots in Beijing, teaching English and eating her way through the metropolis. A job offer at a law firm allowed her to fulfill a lifelong goal of moving to New York City. After six years as an attorney, she decided to leave “Big Law” to pursue her true passion: Asian cuisine. In 2014 Kay opened the well-received farm to table Chinese restaurant, 2 Duck Goose, and in 2016 she teamed up with Carlos Barrera to bring delicious and wholesome Asian dishes to Brooklyn with the launch of Hey Hey Canteen.

Siwat- Mamu Thai Noodle

Siwat Thitiwatana, Mamu Thai Noodle

Mamu Thai Noodle started as a food truck in 2013 by Siwat and his sister. It was the first Thai food truck in NYC dedicated to Thai noodle dishes. From a successful Kickstarter campaign to the mean streets of NYC to a brick & mortar in Queens to a corporate catering company, the path to fruition was not a conventional one for this company. Using family recipes from his uncle’s noodle shop in Bangkok as well as a few of Chef Siwat’s own, Mamu Thai has just celebrated it’s most successful year to date!

PriaVanda Chouhan- Desi Galli

PriaVanda Chouhan, Desi Galli

Owner PriaVanda Chouhan and her husband opened Desi Galli in 2012 to satisfy the Desi (Indian sub-continent disapora) hankering for Indian soul food. Desi is a Hindustani term for the people, cultures and products of the Indian subcontinent or South Asia and is derived from Sanskrit which means “one from our country”. Galli symbolizes an “alley” or “street”. Though her father warned her husband-to-be that she couldn’t cook, PriaVanda taught herself to make not only her mother’s recipes but also her husband’s family favorites. Inspired by Rachael Ray’s fast and easy methods for putting dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, she turned her home kitchen into a test kitchen, mastering a multitude of Indian recipes every day and developing her own personal style of lighter, healthier, vegan and gluten free cooking without sacrificing flavor.

Their restaurant specializes in Kathi (or Kati) Rolls, Vada Pav, Chaats and Biryani, all of which is prepared in front of diners in their restaurant’s open kitchen. Since they opened they have been featured in a variety of different outlets such as: The Rachael Ray Show, ABC News, TimeOut, Jus Punjabi and the NY Times. They have also been voted best sandwich for their Aloo & Paneer Tikki by Time Out and voted one of the best dishes in NYC by Village Voice for their Bhel Puri.

Charles- Jaa Dijo Dom

Charles Chipengule, Jaa Dijo Dom

Charles was born and raised in Botswana, Africa. He is a mechanical electrician and chef by profession. Growing up in Africa, he had a passion for food and simply loved cooking. After graduating from high school, he was able to save up just enough money to open a breakfast food stall, which helped him fund his technical college and culinary courses. However, due to the dire economic conditions in Botswana, Charles eventually had to close down his breakfast stall and emigrated to the United States. After arriving in the United States, Charles worked in restaurants and pursued his cooking dream, despite a great learning curve and increased responsibility. He took culinary classes in New York and got inspired to share the richness and flavor of the African food of his past.

Charles believes in good, healthy eating, which is why he sources his African peppers and herbs straight from Africa, grinding it all in house. All of the unique African dishes that he creates have been handed down through generations and are currently being made all over Africa on a daily basis, from nations North, South, East and West. Today he turns those daily, basic dishes into a meal you will never forget!

 

*Featured image taken from http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2017/06/june-2017-immigrant-heritage-month.html
0 comments on “June Vendor of the Month: Salad Pangea”

June Vendor of the Month: Salad Pangea

Happy June ya’ll! This month we’re excited to offer new menu items from Salad Pangea as our featured special for June for all FoodtoEat clients!

Salad Pangea has been a part of FoodtoEat since 2013 but recently underwent a change in ownership and is trying to add some diversity to their offerings. Although they are known throughout NYC for their awesome pre-made salad and salad bars, they are currently expanding their menu to include options such as pasta, entrees and side salads, and YOU can have first dibs on taste testing! Below are different menu options for you to mix and match.

Pasta Options:

Penne Ala Vodka

Penne Arrabiata

Meat Lasagna

Spaghetti Bolognese

Chicken Parmigiana over Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Salad Options:

Panzanella Salad

Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables Salad

Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad

**Please note: 20 person minimum is required for all orders**

Want more information about the new faces of Salad Pangea and how they’re reinventing the well-known NYC business?! Read below!

Salad Pangea

Zeeshan Ali and Shadman Saeed took over Salad Pangea in January 2018. Two young and eager entrepreneurs, they saw an opportunity to take charge of a struggling business and jumped in with both feet!

Salad Pangea specializes in salad but focuses on adding a unique twist to each one, making it stand out from your everyday salad. After bringing on Muhammad Anas as their executive chef, they are ready to expand their menu beyond the salads that their clients know and love! Muhmmad has 11 years of experience in the culinary industry and has studied and worked in Pakistan and Dubai. After working in the New York food industry for 5 years, he is teaming up with Zeeshan and Shadman to create a menu that is reflective of his cooking style and flare.

We can’t wait to see what this group creates in the future!

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Healthy Eats for Memorial Day Weekend!

Really trying to stick to that diet plan this summer? Same. But if you’re like us, you’re already scared of what food will be tempting you at the Summer kick off BBQ that your friend is hosting for Memorial Day Weekend. Alcohol + all of the delicious food you’ve been avoiding = recipe for disaster!

The best way that we’ve found that we can avoid cheating on a diet is to meal prep. Which is why we’ve come up with healthy alternatives to the traditional burgers and sides that are usually served during the holiday weekend. All of these items are super easy to make and can be prepared at home and brought with you to any MDW party! So whenever you’re feeling like you’re about to dive headfirst into the buffet table, you can chow down on your pre-made turkey burger, pesto chickpea pasta salad, grilled carrots, tomato and cucumber salad and crispy chickpeas without feeling guilty!

The Burger

Turkey Burgers: Recipe yields about 4 burgers

You’ll Need:

1 pound ground turkey

2-3 heaping tablespoons of tomato sauce

2 cloves of fresh chopped garlic

1 egg

1/4 cup of breadcrumbs (we suggest seasoned breadcrumbs but any kind is fine)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

1 teaspoon onion powder

Pro Tip: Adding tomato sauce to your ground meat recipe keeps the meat super moist without adding a tomato sauce flavor!

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients above and form into patties. These burgers can be cooked on a cast iron skillet inside (New Yorkers stuck in the city, we’re lookin at you) or an outdoor grill. Cook on each side for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure that they are completely cooked through before adding your favorite toppings. For our meal we did arugula, onion, tomato and avocado!

If you’re really committed to your diet, we suggest eating the burger sans bun. But if you’re craving the burger, bread and all, we suggest Multigrain sandwich thins (which is what we put our burgers on) or Multigrain toast as a replacement for the traditional Potato or Brioche bun.

The Sides

Grilled Carrots: Recipe yields about 3 carrots per person

You’ll Need:

2-3 pound bag of carrots

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pro Tip: Leave carrot tops on for pretty presentation!

Peel carrots and place in a bowl. Drizzle will olive oil, mix in seasonings and toss. Grill for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat on a cast iron skillet or an outdoor grill OR roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes (we prefer roasting them in the oven but either works!). Carrots should be charred on the outside but soft on the inside. Use a fork to test!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad: Recipe yields about 4 portions

You’ll Need:

10-12 Plum (or Roma) tomatoes

3 stalks celery 

3 mini seedless cucumbers 

3 cloves fresh chopped garlic

handful of fresh chopped basil

1/4 cup olive oil

Cut the celery down the middle and then slice. Cut the cucumbers down the middle and then slice. Cut tomatoes in half, slice each half down the middle and then across to make 4 pieces (pieces should be about 1 inch in size). Add all of the ingredients above to a large bowl and mix. Let everything sit in fridge for 1 hour before eating or serving!

Pesto Pasta Salad: Recipe yields about 4-6 portions

You’ll Need:

1 box Banza (chickpea) pasta (any shape you like, for our meal we used rotini)

3 mini seedless cucumbers

1/2 container of Heirloom Cherry tomatoes or Cherry tomatoes

1 small container of crumbled Feta cheese

2-3 handfuls of arugula

Pesto sauce (store bought or homemade)

Cook Banza pasta, rinse with cold water and chill for 15-20 minutes. Cut the cucumbers down the middle and then slice. Slice cherry tomatoes in half. Add all of the ingredients above to a large bowl, using as much or as little pesto sauce as you’d like. Add in the chilled Banza pasta and mix. Let everything sit in fridge for 1 hour before eating or serving! (Our homemade pesto sauce recipe is below for any overachievers! It does require a food processor.)

Homemade Pesto Sauce: Recipe yield about 1 cup

You’ll Need:

2 cups fresh basil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup pine nuts

juice of 1/2 lemon

3 cloves garlic

 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Add the basil and pine nuts to the food processor and blend for a few seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients to the basil/pine nuts mix in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Crispy Chickpea: Recipe yields about 2 cups

You’ll Need:

2 cans chickpeas/garbanzo beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Rinse and drain chickpeas. Place on paper towel and make sure to dry completely. Add the chickpeas and the ingredients above into a large bowl and mix. Transfer chickpeas to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil and bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until desired crispiness. These are perfect for snacking throughout the day!

Tag us @foodtoeat on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with pictures of your creations! Happy cooking!

A Guide to Dietary Restrictions

Most of us know what it means when someone says that they are vegetarian or nut free. But the development of food allergies as well as cultural changes in eating preferences have created new food restrictions that are more prevalent than ever before. If you are responsible for your office’s food ordering, it’s important to be aware of these changes as well who in your office is effected by certain foods. Being aware of this information can help prevent potentially life-threatening situations and can create a better work environment for all employees whose needs are being noted and accounted for.

If you haven’t already done so, we suggest sending out an anonymous, brief questionnaire to all employees asking about their eating preferences: if they have any food allergies, if there are any items that they generally stay away from, if they have any religious or personal food preferences that they hold, or if they have a particular diet that they like to follow. In the mean time, we’ve created a dietary restriction 101 guide that breaks down some of the most common dietary restrictions that we encounter on a daily basis in the food industry. It’s important to know what they all mean and how you can make sure that every restriction is accommodated during your office meals!

Ovo-Vegetarian: A person that does not eat meat or dairy but does eat eggs.

Lacto-Vegetarian: A person that does does not eat meat or eggs but does eat dairy.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: A person that does not eat meat but does eat dairy and eggs. This is the most common form of vegetarianism.

Vegan: A person that does not eat anything that comes from an animal. This diet is plant-based and becomes a lifestyle for most people that follow it. Vegans will not use any products that come from or were tested on an animal, such as clothes, fragrances, household cleaners, etc. in order to reduce the exploitation of animals.

Pescatarian: A person that does not eat meat but will eat fish, dairy and eggs. A pescatarian has a very similar diet to a vegetarian but will also eat fish as an additional  source of protesin.

Gluten Free: A person that cannot eat gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, is the most common cause for a gluten free diet. For people with this disease, eating gluten can trigger an immune system reaction that damages the lining of the small intestine and keeps the body from absorbing nutrients. There are also people that have a gluten-sensitivity or gluten intolerance and although they don’t have Celiac disease, they can have the same reaction to eating gluten that someone with Celiac disease does. 

Dairy Free: A person that has an allergy to milk or a person that is lactose intolerant, which means that they are not able to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in dairy products.

Nut Free: A person that has an allergy to a type of tree nut or peanut. This allergy can be mild or life-threatening, depending on the person. Some people have an airborne peanut allergy so it’s very important to clarify with all restaurants/caterers if they have a nut free kitchen, if any of the items that you order contain nuts or nut oils or if there is any cross contamination between items being cooked in the same oil or pans. It’s important to read the labels on all items as a lot of foods that you wouldn’t expect contain nuts.

Egg Free: A person that has an allergy to eggs.

Shellfish Free: A person that has an allergy to crustaceans (shrimp, crab and lobster) or mollusks (clams, mussels, oysters and scallops).

Fish Free: A person that has an allergy to fish. The most common fish allergies are salmon, tuna and halibut. Most people who are allergic to finned fish are not allergic to shellfish as well.

Soy Free: A person that has an allergy to soy.

Kosher: A person that must eat food that is prepared according to the requirements of the Jewish law. A person that is kosher cannot eat pork or shellfish and meat and dairy cannot be consumed together. All meat must be killed in a specific way and then blessed by a rabbi to make sure that it is fit and proper for consumption. For some people that are strictly kosher, only a specific set of dishes, pots, pans, etc. can be used while preparing the food and eating the meal.

Halal: A person that must eat food that is prepared according to the requirements of the Islamic law. A person that is halal cannot eat pork and all meat must be killed in a specific way to make it “permissible” for consumption. If you’re looking for a halal vendor for your next meal, be sure to clarify with the restaurant/caterer that their meat is certified halal. 

 

Resources:
https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/what-is-gluten/
https://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/dietcom-blog-so-what-exactly-is-a-gluten-free-diet/
http://www.webster.edu/specialevents/planning/food-information.html
https://jvisit.org.uk/jewish-dietary-laws/
Photo: http://www.hilaryphelps.com/genuine-joy-blog/2013/11/7/a-guide-to-eating-styles#.Wvu-UIjwbIV
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It’s Time to Treat Mom… with Food!

Mother’s Day is right around the corner (it’s this Sunday, May 13th for those who were still wondering…), which means it’s time to start panicking about a gift. Do you get the typical flowers and candy? Do you try to pick something unique that you think is a good idea but she may or may not like? Do you get the same gift card for a mani/pedi that you got last year??? It’s hard to know what gift is just right to show your mom that you appreciate her and everything that she does for you.

But panic no more! At FoodtoEat, we understand the importance of food and that when you gather together with loved ones, it’s more than just a meal. This Mother’s Day, think outside the box and celebrate mom by combining a food that she loves with an activity that brings you together. Whether you’re spending time together just you two or celebrating with the whole family, any of the ideas below will make your mom feel special for the thought you put into it and you’ll both get to enjoy some amazing food 🙂

1. Plan a pizza crawl! Is your mom obsessed with NY pizza?! Or maybe she’s never tried it! Map out some of your to go places for za and spend the day walking around the city, visiting your favorites spots and maybe trying  some new ones! This will give you some quality time with your mom and an excuse to try out all of the pizzerias that you haven’t checked out yet. The experience of exploring New York and (some of) the pizza that it’s famous for will be something you’ll both remember! And if you need some recommendations, our list of pizza places would definitely include Prince Street Pizza, Rubirosa, Joe’s Pizza, Emily, Bleecker Street Pizza and Roberta’s…. just sayin!

2. Buy tickets to a cooking class! If your mom is into cooking, a class where she gets to learn how to make one of her favorite foods is the perfect way to show your support for something that she loves to do. Make the gesture even more special by customizing it for her! Does she have a sweet tooth? Check out a gelato or macaron making class. Sushi lover? Find a class that will teach her to make her own California rolls! If you think that’s not enough, buy yourself a ticket and do the class with her! Spending time together doing something that she loves to do will show her that you appreciate her and are willing to spend time doing things that she enjoys, even if you’re horrible at it!

3. Learn how to pair your wine. If activities aren’t your mom’s style (or yours), there are plenty of informational classes that allow you to sip on some wine, eat some cheese and relax while you gain some knowledge about the different wines and the food that they go well with. If your mom is a wine lover, she’ll be excited to put the information that she learned to use at home or the next time that she’s hosting a party! If she’s not into wine pairing, you can always plan for a wine tasting or, if your mom is into beer, a beer tasting! All of these classes usually have an instructor so this is the easiest option to execute last minute. There’s not much coordination needed on your end, which will allow you to relax, drink, eat and enjoy the class with your mom!

4. Food. Festival. If your mom is adventurous when it comes to food, bringing her to a food festival is a great way to spend Mother’s Day! With so many different cuisines available in one place, she will be able to taste a bunch of amazing food that she may not usually try or be familiar with. Smorgasburg and Queens Night Market are two really popular food festivals that run on the weekends until October, so even if you can’t make it this weekend, you can make a plan to go with your mom one weekend when you both are free! If your mom isn’t able to get into the city, do some research to see what’s available in her area! New food festivals are popping up every season so if you’re in Manhattan, Queens, Long Island or Westchester and don’t want to travel, try to find something around you that might work! 

The most important thing to keep in mind for Mother’s Day is that your gift should be based on what your mom enjoys doing, whether that’s cooking, trying new foods or drinks, or pizza crawling! A thoughtful gift that really takes her interests into account and allows you to spend time together will be more valuable to her than anything else.

 

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May Vendor of the Month: Little Urban Food & Drink

(cue *NSYNC) It’s gonna be May!…..  Well it already is, which means we have a new Vendor of the Month bringing you an exclusive menu through FoodtoEat

This month we’re so happy to work with one of our newer vendors, Little Urban Food & Drink, who created a Spring-themed menu that goes perfectly with the beautiful weather we’ve been having! The menu will be the following:

Choice of One Protein:

Herb Roasted Chicken with Spring Garlic Pesto

Seared Tofu with Sesame Slaw, Crispy Garlic and Cilantro

Served with the following sides:

Quinoa Salad with Red Wine & Honey Vinaigrette and Fresh Herbs

Roasted Asparagus

Sofrito Braised Kale with San Marzano Tomatoes and Carrot Sofrito

Country Smashed Potatoes with Creme Fraiche, Butter and Green Onion

If you aren’t convinced from the menu, below is a little more information about the inspiration behind Little Urban Food & Drink and their amazing food!

Little Urban Food & Drink

Little Urban Food & Drink was founded by Bobby Little and Chad Urban, two chefs who were looking to create a neighborhood restaurant where family and friends could get together and enjoy food inspired by the melting pot of cuisine and culture that make up our country.

After both working in top kitchens throughout New York City and helping to open multiple successful restaurants, these amazing chefs joined forces to make their restaurant vision a reality and Little Urban Food & Drink was born! Hospitality is at the core of this restaurant, acting as a gathering place for neighbors and tourists alike. This restaurant was founded on the belief that everyone can gather around the communal table and eat together as family.

Their menu focuses around locally sourced seasonal vegetables and sustainably raised meat, always offering a refreshing twist on the global flavors that make up their recipes! Email catering@foodtoeat.com to order Little Urban Food & Drink for your next office meal!

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Celebrating Administrative Professionals: Ways to Say Thank You!

You may not recognize it on a daily basis, but administrative professionals are one of the most important parts of your company. They are constantly coordinating meals, booking meetings, planning events, keeping track of important information and making sure that everything in your office is running smoothly. Wednesday, April 25th is a day dedicated to honoring these individuals, understanding all of the hard work that they do for your company and finding small ways to celebrate and appreciate them. Below are some fun and thoughtful ways to say “thank you” to the people that keep you sane, but whatever way you celebrate, make sure that you keep plans/gifts focused on the person being celebrated! Every person is different, so it’s crucial to recognize what he/she values and customize your ideas to fit who they are and how they need to be appreciated!

Plan a personalized afternoon snack or happy hour. Personalized can mean themed- if he/she really loves Mexican food you can make it an afternoon fiesta, with sombreros, maracas, quesadillas, chips and guacamole, etc.- or it can literally mean personalized, i.e. ordering cookies or cupcakes with their name or a “thank you” message written on them! Pick a snack or some finger foods that you think they’ll really enjoy and get the team together to celebrate! This is a great way to publicly recognize your admin for all of his/her hard work and give your colleagues a chance to show their appreciation by allowing them to say a few words during the snack or happy hour. Whether they say it out loud or privately pull them aside, hearing positive messages from coworkers will show them how much they are valued in your office!

Take them to lunch! Looking for a more formal way to show your appreciation? Say it over lunch (or breakfast, if they prefer!). Treat your admin to a sit down meal at a restaurant that he/she chooses or a place that you know he/she loves and make sure that you take the reigns on the planning to set up the meal. Since he/she may be the person that usually coordinates your lunch meetings or team meals, they will appreciate not having to take care of all of the details. While at lunch, tell them personally how much you appreciate their hard work. Give examples of things he/she has done in the past that you really loved and how they contribute to the culture in the office. Also, be open to discussing their role at the company and how they may expand their role in the future or move into a new position if/when it becomes available. Nothing shows that you value an employee more than investing in them and their future at your company!

Brighten their day with flowers, coffee, candy, etc.! A small gesture can go a long way. If you don’t know it already, figure out his/her favorite coffee shop and surprise them with a fresh cup in the morning! Or ask around to other coworkers and see what candy he/she loves and leave them all over their desk to snack on during the day. If you frequently see him/her returning to the office with smoothies from Juice Generation, buy them a gift card for the next smoothie craving! Whatever you choose to buy, make it something unique that he/she will really love and that shows that you put thought into a gift that would improve their day. It’s less about the item and more about the thought and care behind the purchase!

 

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5 Small Changes You Can Make in the Office to Protect our Planet!

This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day- a day dedicated to recognizing the fight for a clean environment and the preservation of our planet. Not able to get outside and do an Act of Green? We’ve outlined some small, easy changes that you can make in your office that will help reduce waste and conserve the natural resources provided by our planet!

1. Make the switch: all electronic errrything! The use of computers/laptops in corporate offices have helped companies “go green” but there are still ways that you can reduce the amount of paper being used each day. Internally, allow employees to bring laptops to meetings rather than notebooks and email agendas to everyone beforehand rather than printing them out. If your company’s billing department is still paper-dependent, consider switching to e-bills, online invoices and paperless contracts, which gives the added benefit of allowing you to be more efficient with the movement of funds. Also, make sure that you’re re-using paper goods! When you order food for 50, there always seems to be plates/napkins/utensils for 100. Rather than throwing them away, save the leftover paper goods and store them in a specific spot in your office for the next team lunch or client meeting! Then when it’s time to order again, break out the extras and ask the vendor not to include any with their delivery.

2. Invest in recycling and recyclable items! Recycling bins may seem like a no-brainer when thinking of ways to protect our environment but many companies don’t have them. In New York City, the Department of Sanitation provides free decals to label bins for recycling and provides clear instructions for how and when you can recycle your glass, metal, rigid plastic, paper and cardboard. Adding a recycling bin to your office is an effective way to get your coworkers to start recycling items that they would normally throw away. Placing this recycling bin in a communal area makes everyone aware of where they can recycle and also holds everyone accountable to recycle their recyclable goods. It’s also important to invest in personal recyclable materials! A simple way to do this is purchasing reusable water bottles for your team. Rather than having each person using plastic cups for water or disposable water bottles, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste by providing stainless steel bottles or BPA free plastic bottles. Here are some of the top-rated bottles by customers. Not only does our team love repping FoodtoEat with our custom water bottles (free advertising for your company!), it also keeps us from spending money buying a pack of water bottles every week and wasting plastic. 

3. Reduce the amount of energy you use! Most of the items in our office use energy. So it’s very important that when you can, you reduce the amount of energy that your office is generating. If your office has natural lighting, try turning off your overhead lights and working with the sunlight for as long as you can each day (before it interferes with your work). Also, remind coworkers to turn off lights in any rooms that aren’t being used. Shutting down your computer before leaving the office for the night can also cut back on energy consumption. It takes much less power to restart your computer the next morning than it does to keep your computer running at your desk all night. Also try to unplug any unnecessary items such as phone chargers, laptop charger and lamps from the outlet that they are connected to. Although you may be turning them off before you leave, if an item is still connected to a power source, it will still use energy.

4. Add a plant! Indoor plants not only add beauty to your office, they have also been proven to increase productivity and improve your mood as well as purify the air that you breathe. Adding them into your office can reduce the chemical exposure that you and your coworkers face every day from items like cleaning products, fragrances and formaldehyde (found in garbage bags, paper towels, some fabrics) and help to reduce your overall chemical output. Here are some suggestions for plants that will freshen up your office and are easy to care for!

5. (Metro)Transportation nation! Living in a New York City, there’s always a source of public transportation that can get you where you need to go. Buses, trains and bikes are all available to commuters and are a great way to reduce the amount of gas emitted by cars on the road. If driving to work is unavoidable, try to carpool with other friends that work close to your office or coworkers that live in your area. Start a carpool sign up sheet where each person can sign up for a week in the month that they will drive so that no one gets stuck driving more than anyone else. On warmer Spring and Summer days, try waking up a little earlier and walking to work (if that’s feasible) or biking to work! Ask your team if a they can create space in the office that can be dedicated to storing your bike safely during the work day. Biking or walking to work as well as to meetings, happy hours and lunches throughout the city will help reduce your gas emission and give you some great exercise in the process!

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Lights, Camera, Cinco de Mayo!

As the weather is beginning to warm up in NYC, there’s nothing better than starting to plan all of the ways that you’re going to enjoy the sunny, 80 degree days with your friends and co-workers! And although it may seem weeks away, Cinco de Mayo (the kick-off to the beautiful, sunny seasons that we dream about all Winter) will be here before you know it!

Cinco de Mayo celebrates the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, so it is crucial that your office party is worthy of the battle that’s being commemorated. A sombrero and a few streamers will definitely not cut it. There are three specific areas that must be covered in order to ensure that your Cinco de Mayo party (or any party for that matter) goes perfectly: atmosphere, food and drinks. Without all of these pieces working in harmony, all is lost! Thankfully, we’ve laid out everything that you need to plan the perfect Cinco de Mayo party for your office so that everyone will let you enjoy your margarita in peace 🙂

Step 1: Atmosphere is key.

Decorating your office is the first step in your Cinco de Mayo party prep! Be sure to use decorations such as streamers, balloons and banners that incorporate the colors of the Mexican flag: red, white and green. If you really want to make the party stand out from past events, create a personalized photo booth area (like this one from Etsy) for different groups to take funny pictures together throughout the night! It’s also important that people attending the party (your co-workers) feel invested in the theme. Encourage your team to dress in red, white and green and supply party favors for them, like sombreros and maracas! This is an easy way to get your team excited and break the ice when the party starts! Finally, no fiesta is complete without tunes to get your office in the mood! Personally, we recommend Cinco de Mayo radio but you can also put your personal touch on it by creating your own playlist on Spotify or having everyone on the team contribute to the playlist in the days leading up to the event! Although decorations may seem obvious, it’s important for you put effort into the party and take it seriously so that your coworkers will too! After all, getting the whole team together is vital to a successful event.

Step 2: The Food- It will always be welcomed and appreciated.

Now onto our favorite topic…. the food! Cinco de Mayo is always associated with tacos so you can never go wrong with a build your own taco bar. But it’s important to keep in mind the timing of your party so that you can serve the right amount of food for your office. If your event is taking place during lunch time, you can do the taco bar as we mentioned, or try something more traditional like rice and beans with cochinita pibil or carne asada and tortilla soup. You can also do pre-made tacos, burritos or tamales if your team isn’t interested in building their own. If your event is taking place after 3 or 4PM, people will be looking for finger foods rather than a meal, so it’s better to focus on your favorite Mexican snacks such as chips and guacamole (duh), quesadillas, taquitos, churros and flan. With finger foods it’s best to assume that everyone will want a little of everything so start by defining your budget for food and work backwards from there on how many pieces per person you can afford. If numbers are already starting to swirl in your head, have our team do it for you! Reach out to us by emailing catering@foodtoeat.com for a customized proposal based on your team’s needs!

Step 3: Drinks **Please secure approval before proceeding to this step**

This step comes with a disclaimer because although Cinco de Mayo translates to margaritas for most people, that may not be true in your office (even if you wish it were). So please double check whether or not drinks are being served at your event before visiting your nearest liquor store!

In this step, you must analyze how much effort you want to put into your drinks, because there are many options. The first being hiring a bartender or two to mix drinks on site and serve them to your coworkers. This option will be the most expensive because of the staffing but the easiest for you because you will only have to provide the alcohol and mixers and leave it up to the experts to dispense! The second option is providing the alcohol and mixers and having team members make their own drinks. This option is more cost effective and probably the easiest to execute but could also lead to people over-serving themselves because they think that they’re a bartender when they’re not. No one wants to be the drunk guy at the holiday party AND the Cinco de Mayo party! Which leads to the final option of having margarita mix pre-made and delivered in a dispenser. This option will only require you to provide the alcohol and helps control the amount of alcohol in everyone’s drink because you can pour the alcohol directly into the pre-made mix. Keep in mind that not everyone likes margaritas so it’s good to get a headcount before the party of beer vs. margaritas so that you can supply any non-margarita drinkers with some Corona and lime to drink during the party! Whichever option you decide to move ahead with, FoodtoEat can help here as well. Email us at catering@foodtoeat.com to facilitate a drink delivery for your team!

We hope that our guide on Cinco de Mayo party planning 101 will help you to impress your team and make your party amazing. Getting your team together to enjoy events like these will continue to foster your office community and make employees excited to come to work. There’s nothing better than creating an event that your team truly loves and having fun while you do it! 

 

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April Vendor of the Month: Veselka

We are proud to announce our new Vendor of the Month initiative here at FoodtoEat!

Starting on April 1st, every month we will be highlighting one of our favorite vendors whose food we love and who we think our clients will love too! We are hoping to give these vendors more exposure by offering a specialty menu item that is chosen by the vendor and only available to FoodtoEat clients during the month of April! We will also be giving a little background about the vendor and how they got started for our clients to get a better understanding of the people and places that create their food.

This month, we are so excited to offer a custom menu item from Veselka to our clients! Veselka will be creating a special that includes your choice of a vegetarian grilled cheese (Havarti cheese, roasted beets, walnut pesto on 7-grain bread) or a meaty grilled cheese (Muenster cheese, Baczynsky’s county ham on pullman loaf), each served with a bowl of classic, creamy tomato soup.

Veselka

If you aren’t already familiar with Veselka, it is a New York City staple.

It was founded in 1954 and since then has grown into a landmark Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village, serving its famous pierogies, borscht, goulash and stuffed cabbage! Originally founded as a Ukrainian coffee shop that served simple soup and sandwiches, in 1990 it grew into a 24-hour location, serving the dishes that it is known for today. In 2004, Veselka celebrate its 50th anniversary and in 2009, released their first cookbook! It is currently owned by the founder’s son-in-law, Tom Birchard, and is managed by the founder’s grandson, Jason Birchard. Together Tom and Jason make sure that the original family tradition that Veselka was founded on is kept alive!

Don’t miss your chance to take advantage of this awesome special! It’s the perfect way to celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day with your team on Thursday, April 12th! Email catering@foodtoeat.com to order your April grilled cheese and tomato soup from Veselka!

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Women’s History Month Series, Part 4: “We all rise together”

The last (but definitely not least) feature in our Women’s History month Series is Elizabeth Solomon, the Founder and CEO of King David Tacos! Liz’s mission is to bring her Texas-style breakfast tacos to the hustle and bustle of corporate life in NYC and these tacos does not disappoint! Delicious and filling, they’re exactly what you need to spice up breakfast at your office or prepare you for a long day of meetings. Did we mention the queso?  (drool).

When and how did your business get started?

King David Tacos (KDT) is a woman-owned and Brooklyn-founded business, established in June 2016. We aim to bring one of the best exports from Austin, TX to the daily lives of New Yorkers: breakfast tacos. We got started just like any good business—on a wing and a prayer…right? But seriously, we started this crazy journey after I had just about burned out on the advertising industry. So I decided to pursue every Texan-in-New York’s dream: bringing a food to NYC that is so prevalent in Texas and makes so much sense for the New Yorker lifestyle but is nowhere to be found…until now! We are focused on making breakfast tacos that are simple and delicious, and we tailor everything we do to the fast-paced lifestyle of discerning New Yorkers. We opened NYC’s first breakfast taco cart at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park in September 2017 and the second cart opened on Wall Street in November 2017. But we’ve been catering to offices all over NYC since we started!

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Besides being a forever homesick Texan, King David Tacos was actually inspired by my dad, David. He was called “King David” in jest by friends and colleagues- he was a big, burly guy who really could command a room. He loved New York, he loved food and he was really passionate about the idea that NYC needed a breakfast taco cart. King David Tacos is in homage to him. But beyond all the mushy stuff, I do believe that there is/was a big hole in the market for a wholesome, satisfying (without being indulgent), grab & go breakfast. Besides the fact that breakfast tacos bring people joy (as do most tacos), we are also filling a need.

What is the biggest/hardest lesson you’ve learned through running a business?

Everything is hard when you’re running a business! But the hardest part (in food specifically) is consistency. I think that’s something we can really pride ourselves on now- a consistent product. I don’t think people realize how much work it takes restaurants to output the same dishes over and over, giving you, and the person after you, and the person after that, the same experience every time. Obviously a lot of successful restaurants do just that but before I was really behind the scenes, I couldn’t appreciate the work that goes into creating consistency. I mean, you’re dealing with people and so many other factors, not just machines (at least in most kitchens)!

But big picture, I think the hardest thing that I’ve had to learn, or really, the biggest challenge for me, especially since I changed industries, is how to build our employee base properly. I’m really lucky to have a core team now that I trust immensely. But it took time and some anguish to get here. Back in the day in advertising, when I was hiring people to work on my accounts, I was  hiring people that are pretty much like me. People that are going to help me do my job and probably do a lot of the same things day-to-day that I do. But when it comes to running your own business, you’re hiring for all aspects of the operation. You’re hiring someone and then training them and then managing them as well as the rest of your employees and getting everyone to gel and work together like a well-oiled machine. It is a huge challenge! But when it works, it’s hugely rewarding.

How do you think being a female business owner has impacted your business?

Can I answer like Adam Rippon? “Being a female business owner has impacted my business just like being a male business owner would—I work really hard, just with better eyebrows.” 😉

The other part of the answer is, yes, being in food especially, I get some surprised reactions when people realize that the owner/chef is a female (especially being called King David Tacos). At our carts, I’ll be standing with one of our male cart attendants, and consistently, people look at him and ask, “Are you the owner?” I just laugh, and the employee standing with me will laugh too, because it’s an honest assumption. I think it just shows how deeply our societal norms are ingrained, no matter your intentions. The flip side of that is that I get a lot of bonus excitement by women and men alike to support a woman-owned business.

Working with FoodtoEat means that you support the mission to promote female, minority and immigrant run businesses. Why do you think the FoodtoEat mission is important?

The mission is important from an economic perspective for sure. Diversity of ideas breeds better business, and all of that. But taking it a bit further, I think that we come at it from a unique perspective too, because half of the mobile food vending businesses are actually minority and immigrant-run (at least in NYC). It’s important to highlight innovation and support good business coming out of these kinds of industries because being in the minority— whether it’s via gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity— can put you at an automatic disadvantage. But having people look out for you and lift you up benefits the group (I mean the human race, the world) as a whole. We all rise together.

What would be your advice to other female entrepreneurs that are trying to start their own business?

Learn to trust your intuition, be persistent, and get comfortable being uncomfortable. When you have an idea that’s new, it’s going to receive push-back. You need to be strong enough to (a) navigate and course-correct when needed but (b) also know when to barrel forward.

 

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Women’s History Month Series, Part 3: “Create the platform that supports the mission”

 

Our third feature in our Women’s History Month Series is Yemisi Awosan, the founder and CEO of Egunsi Foods, a Harlem-based food company that focuses on producing locally-sourced refrigerated African food. Although they now focus on their individually packaged farm-to-table soups, Egunsi Foods still offers catering through FoodtoEat and is the perfect option if you want to try something new for lunch and introduce your office to a flavorful and unique cuisine!

When and how did your business get started?

I started Egunsi Foods in 2014. In order to see if there was any interest in West African food, I started testing out the market, offering my services through catering and as a personal chef. Once I found that there was an audience for this cuisine and that my idea was validated, I was able to create an extended product line that is now sold at Whole Foods Market, Fairway Market, on FoodKick and Goldbely in New York City.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

My inspiration is to tell/share the story of my Africa, my culture through it’s food. I partner with farmers in West Africa to source their raw materials for Egunsi’s final products. My philosophy is to actively give back to African farmers and create a long-term impact through social entrepreneurship rather than a short-term donation through philanthropy.

What is the biggest/hardest lesson you’ve learned through running a business?

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that you will be the most passionate about your vision for your business. But you have to find ways to have others buy into that same vision that you have; and it may not be at the same level as your passion, but you need to find people that fall somewhere around that neighborhood and understand and appreciate your product.

How do you think being a female business owner has impacted your business?

I think being a female business owner has impacted my business in that I have to be extremely detail-oriented and super organized because I have to wear many hats as I run my business.  

Working with FoodtoEat means that you support the mission to promote female, minority and immigrant run businesses. Why do you think the FoodtoEat mission is important?

I believe that the FoodtoEat mission is important because they create the platform that supports the mission. They are providing the opportunity that allows the mission to be actionable.

What would be your advice to other female entrepreneurs that are trying to start their own business?

Go after the dream(s)/goal(s) that you set for yourself. You don’t want to look back years from now and wish that you could have gone after them. Even if it doesn’t work out or if it doesn’t work out as you envisioned it, at least you tried and gave it your all. So no regret- I live by this philosophy.

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Women’s History Month Series, Part 2: “The future is most definitely female”

 

Our second feature in our Women’s History Month Series is Ashley Jaffe, the co-founder of Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen, NYC’s cutest cafe located at 121 Madison Avenue! Ashley and her husband, Zach, strike the perfect mix with their upscale “coffeehouse” food, offering gourmet breakfast and lunch options as well as artisan coffee, craft beef and wine. Their food is known for adding a twist to your favorite, classic dishes and using fresh ingredients that makes their food as delicious as it is picturesque (see our Instagram where they are frequently featured)!

When and how did your business get started?

We opened our first store, Blank Slate Coffee + Kitchen, in November 2015. I come from an extensive public relations background (specifically focusing on food & beverage) and had always wanted to take the leap into the operations side of the business. My husband had been operating bars and restaurants for years and was looking to open a new daytime concept. So we decided to partner up and open a café together!

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We set out to open a restaurant/coffee shop hybrid! We love coffee and great food and at the time, the concept really didn’t exist. We never understood why coffee shops were only offering soggy grab & go sandwiches. Customers should be able to get a great meal and a killer cup of coffee at the same place. So we set out to give them just that.

What is the biggest/hardest lesson you’ve learned through running a business?

I’ve learned the importance of a strong team that you can really trust. A business owner works so hard to ensure every last piece is perfectly in place, and then it’s up to the staff to execute those practices. Sometimes it’s great and other times a cashier just broke up with her boyfriend or is having a horrible day and is rude to every customer that walks in, which is not okay. I’ve learned the importance of extensive employee training and constant one-on-one conversations with each and every employee about the importance of customer service and quality work. As a business owner, you need to work endlessly to ensure that you have the right team that’s happy and proud to do good work for you. At the end of the day, your business is in their hands. 

How do you think being a female business owner has impacted your business?

I’ve seen the good and the bad of being a female-owned business. I’ve had not-so-nice people come in asking to speak with my husband, even after I’ve told them that I’m the co-owner of the business. But I’ve also seen so many people be extra supportive of our business because it’s female-owned. Wanting to shout us out on social media or order catering from us rather than a different restaurant simply because they want to support other women has been amazing to see!

Working with FoodtoEat means that you support the mission to promote female, minority and immigrant run businesses. Why do you think the FoodtoEat mission is important?

I think the mission is amazing – especially in the food business. Women and minorities make up the majority of our team and we wouldn’t be where we are today without them! It’s so important to give these groups a voice and it’s incredible that a company in this space has recognized that.

What would be your advice to other female entrepreneurs that are trying to start their own business?

Go for it! I promise you- you will be more pleasantly surprised by the support that comes your way than the obstacles that you think you may face. The future is most definitely female!