0 comments on “Four Grilled Cheeses That We Wish Were Dateable”

Four Grilled Cheeses That We Wish Were Dateable

By Emily Collins

If you’re anything like me and would rather stroll around Central Park with a nice, warm grilled cheese than a significant other, you’re in luck! Our grilled cheese dating profiles give you the lowdown on some of the best grilled cheeses New York City has to offer. Nothing says “I love you” quite like a grilled cheese date, does it?

1. Mexican Grilled Cheese from Eggstravaganza Cart

Not to be confused with a breakfast sandwich, the Mexican Grilled Cheese from Eggstravaganza Cart will put a little kick into your day! Skip the line by pre-ordering this spicy sandwich online.

2. Bacon Cheddar Blue grilled cheese from The Milk Truck

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The Milk Truck specializes in packing a ton of ingredients into one, harmonious, cheesy sandwich. With New York aged cheddar and Wisconsin blue cheese, you can’t go wrong with the Bacon Cheddar Blue. Order this delicious grilled cheese online today!

3. Mr. Otto from La Maison Du Croque Monsieur

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This grilled cheese is a little bit of everything: sweet, sour and savory. The fanciful Mr. Otto combines roasted pork, pickled pear and Tickler aged cheddar to make for a sophisticated take on a classic.

4. Shroom Grilled Cheese from The Melt Shop

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Melt Shop is a grilled cheese enthusiasts dream – it’s got 3 locations for easy access grilled cheese and offers a ton of different options. The Shroom is just one of many noteworthy grilled cheeses Melt Shop has to offer.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Semi-Organic anyone?”

Semi-Organic anyone?

I love the Internet’s ability to give me what I want, when and how I want it.  So I decided to trust it with my lunch.  Could an image search wield a results page leaning towards my own inkling of a thai infused daikon curry kebab on a hogie?  I put Google to the test and they came up with onion rings, pizza pies, roast pig, donuts, spoiled bananas, a food art inspired fruit salad, Jelly beans and baby eating baby food.  I give up.

I jogged through my recent lunch encounters and decided that I wouldn’t mind another chipotle salad.

Being outside of NYC is difficult, but with my brand spanking new 4G mobile network, life becomes manageable. I did a quick search and found a site near my GPS location and astoundingly, a “chipotle music video” to complement my mood for the walk over to their most convenient location.  I was pumped.Chipotle burrito in a bowl

The music video ended up being a short set to the Willy Wonka theme song.  Now I don’t know why exactly it got me so excited in the first place, but it did leave some unanswered questions.  If any of you haven’t seen it, it’s viral – get on it.  Here’s the skinny, a farmer-scarecrow lugs around all day in a pink slime factory trying to establish the meaning of his life amongst the exceedingly corporatized management of milking cows and plumping up chickens.  When he returns after his day long sob story he gets inspired to do something out of the box and decides to open up a ‘farm fresh’ eatery mimicking my neighborhood Chipotle. Really touching, but i’m already on queue to order my salad bowl and catch up on commentary about this hot little viral number.  I’m a busy man.

Brandon Oldenberg (one of the co-directors of the short) states  “It’s a universal concept about an unlikely hero up against a big problem making a decision to do something about it.”(1)  He lays down the premise of this real world ordeal with spectacular imagination in his film. There is a world of hidden costs behind the way our lunch is manufactured. That whole landscape of over fed livestock and modified agricultural messes is what were putting into ourselves and essentially cheating the natural order of its methods. All this leads to madness, causing an imbalance at the expense of maintaining economic sustainability, in the meantime we overly neglect the long term movement towards living a greener and healthier lifestyle.  Unfortunately the less familiar leave it at that. So will I for the sake of terseness – maybe next week we’ll talk about cow milk-puss and clone tomatoes attacking my jedi-ish body mind chakra.

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The whole issue is profound and very unlikely to be tackled by corporate offices, but Chipotle believes they can help raise a certain level of awareness through discourse and calculated restructuring of resources.

The Food with integrity campaign launched in 2010 has made a significant impact to Chipotles bottom line, pushing them into new territory, while also bringing a certain degree of skepticism to their initiative.  Since they began marketing themselves as ‘more than just aware’ of the sustainability issues, they’ve moved towards naturally raised meats and organic locally grown ingredients where “at least 35 percent of one of their produce items were sourced from smaller local farms (defined as within a 350 mile radius of the restaurant).”(2) This alone has pumped their corporate structure to strive towards a national awareness across all of their establishments.

Many believe this claim to be unsupported because they haven’t been through independent inspections and those same people claim that a lot of their reports on company specifics are obscure.  Whatever the case may be, it’s commendable that they’ve implemented multilevel campaigns to raise awareness for customers and the industry.

I want to believe them, every bit of those luscious corn kernels and that big glop of guac had me wanting more.  Why should I have to worry about whether or not one of my favorite food vendors is a hundred percent on board the gravy train towards a more expensive organic market?  Is it ok that only 38.53 percent of their ingredient list is put together at a local farm rather than having a dedicated corn kernel factory somewhere along the supply chain? Am I just blowing it up? I took another seemingly massive bite and moved to the issue of personal health and mindfulness of our earth.the face of organic cows

Ive spent the past seven years of my life eating organic locally produced produce – I can trace my morning glass of milk to a single cow and the farm that supplies my groceries is a brisk half hour ride from my residence.  My corn comes from my neighbor’s backyard and from time to time my own garden supplies many of the foods I eat. The benefits are immense, not only am I cultivating the earth for future generations to come, but the sense of peace I get from supporting my local growers is rewarding.

Im at peace with MY world. Can your local Mcdonalds give you that? Chipotle believes it. Lets see where their going with this.

  1. Cheney, Alexansandra. “The Story Behind That Fiona Apple Chipotle Ad.” Speakeasy RSS. Wall Street Journal, Sept.-Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.
  2. Beylis, Bettina. “How Chipotle’s ‘Food with Integrity’ Strategy Can Really Succeed.” Triple Pundit RSS. Triple Pundit, 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2013.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

 

0 comments on “Vegetarians Rejoice…Tofu To [Likely] Join Chipotle’s Menu Soon”

Vegetarians Rejoice…Tofu To [Likely] Join Chipotle’s Menu Soon

Chipotle, the “Mexican” chain loved by vegetarians and omnivores alike will be testing a “sofritas” option, or tofu shredded & sauteed with tomatoes, poblano peppers, and chipotle sauce, in select San Francisco locations in February.

Chipotle prides themselves off of using sustainable sources and has always provided options to satisfy customers maintaining plant based diets. All of Chipotle’s fixings are vegetarian with the exception of the pinto beans, which are cooked with bacon.

The Denver based chain is looking into including tofu as a menu option as meat prices rise due to increasing hay and feed prices.

Depending on the success, Chipotle could expand the tofu option to 1,200 additional locations.

This is not the first time Chipotle has catered to vegetarians and vegans. In 2009-2010, various stores in the Northeast tested serving a “Garden Blend” which was a “vegan blend of plant proteins, grains and vegetables marinated in our chipotle adobo, then grilled.”

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Chipotle has about 1,350 restaurants with locations in the US, Canada, London, and Paris and plans to open an additional 165-180 this year.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Shake Shack Prepares to Invade London”

Shake Shack Prepares to Invade London

Fast-casual restaurant chains are exploding in popularity, and Shake Shack has risen to become one of the most recent successes combining the fresh ingredients and trendiness of the fast-casual restaurant with the reinvigorated popularity of the gourmet burger chain. Now Shake Shack is preparing to open its 19th location, 3,500 miles east of where it started.

Shake Shack opened its first location in downtown Manhattan less than a decade ago, and their new location in London shows just how far the chain has gone in a short period of time. Shake Shack owner Danny Meyer recently confirmed in a press release that Shake Shack will open a London location in mid-2013 in the London neighborhood of Covent Garden inside the historic Market Building.

Shake Shack has actually opened two overseas locations already in the Persian Gulf, but local operators there handle most of the brand’s logistics. Therefore the world will be watching the new London location to see whether Meyer will be able to maintain consistent quality across the globe and replicate his success in the United States.

“For years an enormous number of friends in London have asked us when we would bring our first restaurant to their home,” Meyer said in the press release. “We’ve looked high and wide for just the right time and spot, and at last we’ve found it. We’re positively in love with London’s thriving food culture, and are humbled and excited to bring Shake Shack to the UK.”

Similar restaurants like Chipotle and Five Guys have been very successful since expanding into London, and Shake Shack is expecting no less. The burger and fries chain should fit into the UK’s food scene with ease, especially since McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks have all revealed plans to open hundreds of new stores in the UK over the next few years. At this rate, Shake Shack of growth we’re expecting Shake Shack to become a global brand sooner rather than later.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Election 2012: The Politics of Food”

Election 2012: The Politics of Food

As the 2012 presidential election winds down, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have revealed plenty about their views and how they would like to be viewed by the American people by what they consume. Both candidates understand that eating the right food is a great way to connect with key demographics, and consuming comfort food has become a staple of both candidates in their time spent on the road in battleground states.

President Obama has fully embraced this concept, making many unannounced stops during his campaign at local eateries, purchasing fresh produce at farms and eating plenty of classic American food like bacon, eggs, grits, buffalo wings, ribs, iced tea and Miller Lite. Romney has made far less unannounced stops, probably because of the high risk involved of making a crucial error that could be photographed instantly. However he still found time to stop at several family ice cream parlors and suburban Chipotle’s.

Certain cuisines hold more water with voters than others, and the right meal can turn any politician into an average Joe in the eyes of the voters, assuming the meal is convincing enough. In the 18th century politicians threw huge barbecues to garner support, attracting thousands of travelers and treating them to free liquor and roasted pig. Barbecues still hold water as a valid political tool, symbolizing ‘carnal instinct’ and a way to prove to voters just how tough politicians can be. According to an American Studies reader at the University of Leeds, “the sheer meatiness of a barbecue can help create the image of someone who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty or blanch at the sight of blood.” Now campaign food stops have mostly replaced barbecues, though each candidate’s behavior around alcohol is markedly different.

President Obama recently began to incorporate beer in his campaign strategy to show that he is from a different generation than past candidates and he allows himself to indulge. The President recently revealed his White House beer recipe, and handed a mean in Iowa a bottle of his own home-brew, confirming he takes them on his campaign bus. At a Bud Light tent Obama bought a round of beer for the nearby crowd, to chants of “Four More Beers!” Consuming beer as well stopping at 24 hour diners and burger joints has acted like an equalizer for Obama, eliminating rumors of elitism.

Obama’s fondness for beer also highlights the somewhat Puritanical ideologies of some conservative supporters of Romney. Conservative voters may shy away from Obama’s fondness for beer, and criticize it as lazy or over-indulgent. Romney’s habits are far chaster, throwing pancake breakfasts hosted by his family in battleground states. Romney’s Mormon beliefs keep him away from alcohol as well as coffee, though ice cream parlors have been a favorite stop for his whole family, giving him a chance to talk about his five children and his 43 year long marriage.

However Mitt Romney has been an ardent fast food supporter, spotted eating publicly at Carl’s Jr., Chipotle and Little Caesars. Romney’s campaign has publicly supported many of these establishment to demonstrate that Romney is a regular guy eating at common restaurants, and supports corporations that create jobs and economic growth. The Romney campaign also spends several hundred dollars a month at controversial fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.

Obama has only taken the fast food route at a Five Guys restaurant three years, preferring to support local establishments. Ultimately every aspect of these candidate’s lives are scrutinized, down to every meal they eat. Many restaurant owners feel their food is much less politically charged than the media seems to believe.

“We sell cheese and smoked meats and delicious homemade turkey breast. Nothing about that is partisan,” said Debra Krause-McDonnell, owner of Krause’s in Cincinnati, Ohio. An Obama campaign commercial featured an image of Krause’s storefront without permission from the owner. She responded by going on national news to remove the video, feeling that she was used as a political pawn. However food does play an undeniably important role on modern politics, and are an excellent window for Americans to relate to their candidates.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Fast Food Restaurants Imitate Chipotle to Modernize”

Fast Food Restaurants Imitate Chipotle to Modernize

Months ago we reported on the proposed changes fast-food restaurants like Wendy’s and Taco Bell were undergoing to modernize their brands and attract demographics they might have lost to more upscale quick service restaurants. Now it appears that many of these brands are exclusively targeting Chipotle as the model for their changes. Taco bell unveiled it’s ‘Cantina Bell’ menu to emulate the more upscale Southwestern options available at Chipotle. Similar styles have been observed at new fast food locations around the world with designs including broad panes of glass, hard wood surfaces, metal poles and blocks of metal and concrete.

The original design of Chipotle’s restaurant locations was created by an architect named Brand Gould in 1996. The design was used at Chipotle’s second location in Denver, and stressed natural colors, raw materials and high seating. This new design had a huge impact with customers, giving them the feel that they were eating at a far more authentic restaurant with modern look. This design is also far more cost effective for the restaurant’s the shinier designs used by Chipotle’s competitors. For instance, Wendy’s new design cost only $750,000 to build per location, compared to the $1 million plus it previously cost the brand.

“Chipotle and Panera, these guys raised the bar and changed what consumers expect,” said Craig Bahner, Wendy’s chief marketing officer. “That inspired us to try to offer a fast-casual experience at quick service prices.”

Ultimately this imitation by other fast food brands may disrupt Chipotle’s enormous growth over the past few years. Customers may be less willing to pay more than $10 for a burrito with guacamole if they can get a similar product and experience for much less at a restaurant like Taco Bell. However Chipotle is continuing to push forward in its design initiatives, hiring New York architect Thaddeus Briner to design a fresh look for a location in Manhattan. Briner has already removed any extra decorations from the stores, leaving just the concrete floors, plywood wall coverings, high wooden tables and metal light fixtures.

“We thought about how Chipotle makes their food. They do a few good things, and they do them well,” said Briner. “So in that first restaurant – and there were these discrete parts – there was this queueing wall, there was this storage box with seating and condiments in it. There was fast seating and slow seating. There was an idea about how to use art. So we had these five or six key things, and they had relationships to each other, but you could go into any kind of space and apply the strategy to all these different kinds of spaces.”

In 2009 Chipotle made this design the new standard for all of their locations. This minimalist design actually requires more work from the designers to make them thoughtful rather than sterile and cold. Taco Bell recently boasted that their new look was designed without the help of any architects at all.

Ultimately Chipotle’s prices are still far above those of any of it’s would be competitors, including Taco Bell, and the direct correlation between design and an increase in business cannot be determined. Since redesigning their restaurant locations, Wendy’s has observed a 20 to 25% growth in sales in its first renovated location.

0 comments on “Chipotle Cuts the Wait, Cuts your Change”

Chipotle Cuts the Wait, Cuts your Change

For many people who eat out for lunch daily, Chipotle is a staple restaurant with its quick moving lunch lines, relatively inexpensive food and high quality product. However new reports suggest that Chipotle may have been rounding up your check all along, and taking your penny’s with every order.

Chipotle locations across the country have been rounding our checks up or down depending on the dollar amount, to speed up their long lines. In Chipotle’s busiest markets in particular, New York and New Jersey, the registers rounded up or down depending on where the coin fell nearest to the nickel. The Star Ledger initially discovered this practice, and a Chipotle spokesperson has recently responded.

“The idea is simply to limit the possible combinations of change on cash transactions to keep the lines moving quickly in high volume areas,” spokesman Chris Arnold said. “It was never our intention to have a policy that was confusing or misleading.”

Apparently rounding to the nearest nickel helps to curb long lines and increase efficiency at many high volume Chipotle locations. Arnold also stresses that the company has not seen any kind of profit from this practice. In response, Chipotle locations in New Jersey will no longer round up to the nearest nickel, only down beginning on August 1st.

Knowing the way Chipotle operates, I find their change practice perfectly understandable. The restaurant chain has never struck me as being ‘cheap’, always offering to put more of any ingredient in a meal and complying with many customer demands. Chipotle is hardly the first business to round the change, local restaurants have even done it to the nearest dollar, and Canada did away with the penny in March. If I have to pay two cents a day to get in and out of Chipotle in under five minutes, I’ll consider it money well spent.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

4 comments on “Mexico Blvd Offers Gourmet Mexican Food From a Truck”

Mexico Blvd Offers Gourmet Mexican Food From a Truck

Mexico Blvd is one of New York’s newer food trucks, but with their lines and the quality of the food they offer you would never know it. I found the truck alongside several others at the new Hudson square food truck lot. On a hot day, the lot is filled with people enjoying their lunches under tables with umbrellas and enjoying the live music put on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during lunchtime.

I waited until the long lines began to subside and ordered a lunch special from Mexico Blvd, two tacos, a serving of guacamole and chips and an ice cold horchata for $10. Mexico Blvd has four choices of tacos, but I ultimately went with the bistec (chunks of beef in a ‘drunken sauce’) and pastor (savory pork marinated in a three chili sauce). Both tacos were topped with cilantro and onions, and were held together by two soft corn tortillas.

The bistec taco tasted like no taco I’ve ever had before, probably because the chunks of lean beef were marinated in beer. The taco was topped with a refreshing salsa, and was mildly spicy but did not overwhelm the flavor of the beef. The pastor taco was my favorite, also topped with cilantro and onions, a spicy salsa verde and two choice slices of pineapple. I’ve had pastor tacos before, but I think Mexico Blvd’s is the best I’ve tasted. The pork had a rich and complex flavor, and the combination of the pineapple made the whole taco seem to come alive. Even though the tacos were doubled wrapped meat still spilled out of them, but I’ve never had a problem with my tacos being overstuffed.

The guacamole and chips were definitely different than what I’m used to at most restaurants or chains, or Chipotle in particular. The guacamole was very fresh, with chunks of avocado still inside and a citrus flavor to it. The chips were also lightly flavored, and were definitely superior to the standard tortilla chips I was expecting. I washed the whole meal down with a horchata, a traditional Mexican rice beverage flavored with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. The horchata was a little sweeter than I would have hoped for, but complemented the spiciness of the meal well.

Mexico Blvd can be found at The World Financial Center, at Hudson Square, at the Dumbo lot in Brooklyn and in the Financial District. You can find their daily location and order online from Mexico Blvd here.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Taco Bells Reveals New ‘Gourmet Mexican’ Menu”

Taco Bells Reveals New ‘Gourmet Mexican’ Menu

With the recent success of Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, the fast food chain has big plans to continue its success by launching a brand new menu. The new ‘Cantina Bell’ menu is inspired by casual dining chains like Chipotle and Qdoba, which are known for their high quality ingredients. The new menu was created by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia who will appear on “Top Chef Masters” this summer, and will be unveiled at Taco Bell’s 5,600 locations sometime in July.

Taco Bell classifies this food themselves as “gourmet Mexican”, and new items on the menu will feature cilantro rice, black beans, citrus and herb marinated chicken, and cilantro dressing. Taco Bell executive Brian Niccol says the move comes from customers increasingly expecting more than just a quick bite on the go. Of course Taco Bell standards like burrito’s, chalupas and nachos will remain on the menu for the restaurant chain’s devoted following of young-adult customers.

The new Cantina Burrito Bowl and Cantina Burrito will be pricier than Taco Bell patrons are accustomed to, and will sell for around $5 each. Customers can also choose from new side dishes including chips and pico de gallo, guacamole, and black beans and rice. Taco Bell executives acknowledge that these new menu items may draw skepticism from some critics, but they are ultimately hoping to increase options for customers and attract new ones as well. In addition, Taco Bell will refund customers or offer them replacements if they are not satisfied by the new Cantina Bell dishes.

The Cantina Bell menu has already been tested at several locations in California, and the brand has seen an increase in lunch and dinner business as well as more female customers. Taco Bell is hoping to capitalize on a niche that may desire food more substantial than Taco Bell’s regular menu, without paying the higher prices at Chipotle and Qdoba.

Taco Bell will spend over $20 million on advertisements for Cantina Bell once the items are released nationwide, and hopes to continue the momentum that it has had in 2012. After a yearlong lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell’s meat contained too many additives to be called beef, its sales have finally rebounded, and it plans to offer its breakfast menu nationwide by 2014.

Taco Bell currently account for 60% of the sales of its owner, Yum Brands Inc., which also owns Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

0 comments on “Chipotle Celebrates Earth Day by Giving Away Free Burritos”

Chipotle Celebrates Earth Day by Giving Away Free Burritos

This Earth Day there’s no better place to celebrate all the wonders of our planet then at your neighborhood Chipotle. Chipotle has just announced that they will be giving away FREE burritos this Earth Day (Sunday, April 22nd), though there is a catch…

In order to receive your free burrito, you must first purchase one of Chipotle’s new limited addition reusable bags. The bags largely resemble lunchboxes, and you probably wouldn’t be able to use them for much else besides lunch. They also have Chipotle written on them, which might detract some people who aren’t interested in broadcasting what they eat, and they cost $18 apiece. On the bright side though, they’re made entirely of old Chipotle billboards, making each bag completely unique, and they are completely recycled, meaning that purchasing one is something to feel good about.

Considering the price of a burrito nowadays, purchasing a recyclable bag may not be such a bad investment, not only do you save on your burrito with a barcode you receive when you purchase your bag, but you can also use the bag to store your lunch, plan a picnic, or just look stylish an day of the week. If you’re into helping the environment, and don’t mind paying $18 for a $10 burrito, than you purchase your reusable Chipotle bag here.

*CORRECTION: You may only receive one free burrito with purchase of a reusable bag. Those who purchase a lunch bag from the online Chipotle store will receive a card containing a barcode, which customers must present on Sunday, April 22 (Earth Day) to redeem their free Chipotle menu item.