For some people, coffee makes the world go round. For some people in the workplace, coffee is the reason their world actually goes round. In a recent survey conducted by Dunkin’ Donuts, the company polled over 4,000 workers to see which profession drinks the most coffee. The results may be surprising to some—especially since most avid coffee-drinkers think no one person could top his or her coffee intake. The survey also stated that 55 percent of U.S. workers claim to drink at least one cup of Joe each work day, and that 43 percent of workers claim they are less productive without their coffee.
The art of making bourbon spans hundreds of years. And most of it comes out of Kentucky—95% of bourbon production to be exact. Bourbon wasn’t much of a player in the grand scheme of distilling until the last several decades with the emergence of premium brands. The state of Kentucky has directly reaped the benefits of this recent resurgence of bourbon. With the building of new distilleries and warehouses, there have been more jobs available, increased exports, and $338 million in additional tax revenue since 2008. The governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, stated that now, bourbon is more than a drink; it’s a lifestyle, a culture for many people.
The Kentucky Bourbon Trail has seen a huge influx of people in the past several years too. This is a tour of six of Kentucky’s legendary bourbon distilleries. Here, where as they say, “the spirit leads you.”
The term “hardcore icecream” might make you think of death-by-chocolate, double brownie blast or even an overindulgence of rocky road. But breast milk? This flavor is precisely what happens when punk rock meets the ice cream parlor, which gives new mea- ning to the idea of sprinkles. But as the world is discovering at London’s famed The Icecreamists shop, except of course, for the mundane.
To the typical patron or interested onlooker, The Icecreamists looks like a bondage-meets-rock club with a few fancy restaurant upgrades, but these parlor-goers are open to a good time.
“People often say, ‘This place looks more like a rock’n roll jew- elry boutique than an ice cream parlor,’” says The Icecreamists founder Matt O’Connor. “They have to cross that barrier and [we] need to adjust you mentality when you first come in [but] you must cross the threshold.” True, this approach yields a younger, edgier crowd, but the décor, ex- perience and even flavor names are geared to a more contem- porary and controversial crowd where tourists live to tell the tale.
In fact, many Americans make it a point to stop by the parlor to take their experience back to the States with them. “It’s just kind of inverted the idea of the ice cream parlor and taken it to an extreme adult direction,” O’Connor says. But the shock value doesn’t end with the ambience. In true punk- rock style, The Icecreamists likes to whip up a little controversy with the heavy cream.
The most talked-about flavor, “Baby Gaga” is a breast milk ice cream with Madagascan vanil- la pods and lemon zest. “I was toying with the idea…(and my) wife said give it a go,” O’Connor says. “Breast milk is a taboo subject. Actually the real per- verts are those who drink cows’ milk. When you think about it, we’re the only mammals drinking the milk from another mammal. Think about where our milk comes from.”
The flavor sold out within two hours of hitting the case, but by that evening, a local counselor from the Health Protection Agency and Food Standards Agency were on alert, which soon led to the removal of all breast milk ice cream from the shop. The ban, however didn’t last — due in part to the fact that the milk is screened and the shop works with a hospital for such safety measures — and the number of breast milk donors has gone from 15 to 600. Back on sale, people come for it all over the world to try this “delicacy,” that comes with a hefty price tag to offset the cost of production and medical screening.
Another hit risqué flavor is The Sex Pistol,” which is made with a “natural viagra” stimulant to enhance libido. It’s served with a shot of Absinthe delivered through an IV drip. “If you we’re dying you’d be resurrected,” O’Conner says. “Obviously not serving that to five year olds.”
The summer favorite has been the pop-culturally relevant, Steve Jobs Apple Sorbetto. Devel- oped in just an hour, this Polish drink-inspired flavor consists of apple juice and Żubrówka— a vodka flavored with a tincture of bison grass. O’Connor —whose admitted favorite ice cream is the Nutella flavor, which he makes with his kids—says the goal is to take his extreme ice cream to the masses, like Ben & Jerry (who put unique flavor combinations on the map). Now that they have conquered breast milk, absinthe and viagra flavors, it’s on to global domination. With so many ideas left to explore on their wish list — like nudity and ice cream —consumers are confident that Cookie Dough, will certainly not be one of them.
By Carlen Funk
When I was little, there was little chance of my parents forcing anything other than Cheerios and chicken nuggets down my gullet. Ev- erything from broccoli to two-percent milk was off limits. I didn’t even like pizza, for heavens’s sake. Recently though, things have taken a turn for the better. My diet regularly consisting of dishes my parents never imagined I’d sit near, much less eat. I’ve been known to try (just about) anything, and this new-found love of all things exotic has com- pletely transformed my opinion of food, and eat- ing in general.
Much like my childhood opinion of diverse eat- ing, Middle America has long been close-minded about what they consume. Nationally, there are more fast food chains than fine dining restaurants, and across the board, our palates have historically been bland. But more recently, food has become a source of epicurean delight – an enjoyable experi- ence that opens up adventurous eaters to a whole new realm of possibilities. Luckily, the culinary world hosts a bevy of chefs eager to please these food fanatics with new technologies, techniques, and innovative interpretations of international fare.
But now that the majority of America has become accus- tomed to seeing offal on fine dining menus, people are looking for the next big thing to please their taste buds, and many chefs are taking a cue from across the Atlantic.
International ingredients and styles are on the rise: out with the black truffle, in with fennel pollen—an Italian favorite beloved by Mario Batali that combines flavors of saffron, star anise, curry and honey, and is be- ing embraced by chefs nationwide as the new must-have ingredient. Asian staples like Korean barbeque, the Viet- namese bánh mì and Japanese ramen are nothing new over here, but lately chefs are elevating them beyond their humble street-food beginnings. Los Angeles chef Roy Choi is taking Korean ‘cue up a notch, and chefs from Chicago to Portland are crafting noodle dishes that will erase any dorm room association you have with ra- men. And if you haven’t tried it, South African cuisine is not only delicious, but also a great geography lesson. The regional menus combines the sweet and spicy Por- tuguese peri peri sauce, a Dutch version of beef jerky
called biltong, and an Indian curry spiced meat dish called bobotie, plus influences from Europe and Indo- nesia. South African food is a veritable smorgasbord of cultural diversity.
The international food movement has many facets. In one sense, it can come to America in its purest form like the aforementioned bánh mì, or in the simplicity of a whole chicken, cooked rotisserie style with Peruvian spices in a tiny shack down the street from my house. Alternately, some chefs are elevating these traditional dishes and ingredients—dusting snapper sashimi with fennel pollen at Canlis in Seattle, or imparting tradi- tional Korean flavors like kim chi with beer can chicken at AFrame in LA. And while some of these flavors can seem intimidating, their recent popularity has made them readily available in most cities. So tonight, get out and try something different. Even if you don’t love it, anything is a step up from chicken nuggets.
Photos courtesy of A Frame and Canlis.
A Frame, 310-398-7700, http://aframela.com,
Canlis, 206.283.1766, canlis.com
By: Brennan Hussey
7-11 is no longer the place just to get your coke Slurpee fix. Select 7-11’s around the country will be serving up mashed potatoes and chicken gravy from a Slurpee like dispenser. For just a dollar, you can get mashed potatoes and gravy mix. Add just one more dollar you and get a big gulp to wash them down. These machines have been in 7-11s in Singapore for a few years now and will now move over to the states. But for a place that sells chili cheese dogs and fried taquitos daily something tells me Slurpee potatoes will be a hit.
By: Brennan Hussey
To celebrate its 100th birthday, Oreo is making a splash— and not just with milk. For months, Oreo has been displaying various print ads on their Facebook page in celebration of their 100 years. Instead of just a candle for each year, each day a new Oreo print ad commemorates a past milestone of mankind. An open face Oreo with a footprint of an astronaut celebrates the First Step on the Moon in 1969. An Oreo being dunked into a milk-less glass remembers the Prohibition Act of 1920. And receiving almost 300,000 likes was a controversial rainbow stacked Oreo that was posted on June 25th, Gay Pride Day. To top off the ultimate birthday bash for a cookie, Nabisco is releasing a limited edition Birthday cake Oreo. So pour yourself a glass of milk, log-on and join that party.
Changing a career isn’t always a good decision. When Niya McIver relocated back to Atlanta after working in the corporate world in Texas, she found her new career path outside her professional experience.
Taking a cue and standard from Dallas-area parties, McIver began making bite- sized cake balls for friends and family gatherings. In just a short time, it was expected that McIver arrive with a plate of goodies. It seems the transition to catering events as a business made sense.
“Where my talents lied, it suggested I go into culinary arts,” McIver says. “I had just never considered it as a career choice.”
Mere months after moving from Dallas, McIver was baking large batches of her cake truffles for parties in the Atlanta area through her
venture, Candy Cake Company. With the quick start and lack of formal training, however, it was a bit of trial-and-error in the beginning. “When I started baking, I couldn’t even find any information or recipes on the Internet,” McIver says. “Now cake balls have become a whole trend.”
McIver worked her way through batter consistency, fondant issues and figuring out just how to place cake on the end of a stick. As McIver puts it: “Baking is like chemistry. It’s a little intimidating.”
She now has a few extra hands to help her bake and deliver all the truffles she sends out of her Atlanta victual laboratory and hopes to gain nationwide distribution in the near future.
Growing the Candy Cake Company into a luxury brand is also in future plans. McIver wants to approach her cake truffles like fashion with seasonal collections of flavors only available once a year.
Owning her own baking company may never have been in McIver’s mind when she was living the corporate life in Texas, but she’s found a home in Atlanta’s sweet tooth.
“It’s something I can do all day and all night and enjoy,” McIver says. “I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I just didn’t know in what business. I’m glad I finally figured it out.”