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According to Jay Z and Alicia Keys, New York is a concrete jungle where dreams are made and where you feel brand new. It's also a city where most celebrity chefs have at least one restaurant so the food scene is amazing. The haute cuisine shows not only traditional French influences, but also employs techniques and ingredients beloved in Asian, European, Latin American and Middle Eastern cooking. No matter what type of food you're craving in New York City, you can rest assured that you can find the perfect place to eat.
With this in mind, my head was swirling with thoughts of where to dine on a recent visit -- Aquavit which is co-owned by Marcus Samuelsson; Aureole owned by Charlie Palmer; Jean Georges owned by Jean-Georges Vongerichten; per se owned by Thomas Keller; Restaurant Daniel owned by Daniel Boulud; WD-50 owned by Wyle Dufresne; Le Bernardin owned by Eric Ripert. The choices ... the choices ... the choices ... and so many restaurants offering delicious food!
In the end, I chose a restaurant for a special dinner based on two things -- it was at the 49th floor of a building and the restaurant revolved which would allow my husband and I to enjoy the cityscape while dining. It was called The View and it sat atop the Marriott Marquis hotel. It wasn't a celebrity-chef owned restaurant or anything. But this was New York City, so you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that serves sub-par food.
The view was actually a sight to behold as we dined into the fading evening light looking out at the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Times Square and the Hudson River; the big question was whether the food would be able to rival the view.
We were surprised to find that a three-course prix fixe meal was set at $79 and we had fantastic offerings from which to choose -- quail, foie gras, braised short ribs, duck breast, roast salmon, filet mignon, rack of lamb, grilled rib eye and a decadent dessert menu that offered tempting treats like a crème brulee, caramel nut tart and apricot ice cream trio, New York cheesecake of course, strawberry panna cotta and a dark chocolate pate. We got to choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert. That certainly did not sound too bad, but the proof had to be in the taste.
I ordered the grilled quail with honey almond goat cheese, fig compote, frisee and sherry vinaigrette, while my husband had the heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese, plums, cucumbers, micro basil and white balsamic vinaigrette. And as we both are foie gras lovers, we both ordered the foie gras duo of seared foie gras with plum compote and a snipped salad and a foie gras mousse. It added a couple more dollars onto the bill, but who cared --this was of course foie gras.
My grilled quail appetizer to say the least was simply divine -- tender quail, honey-sweetened creamy goat cheese with a slight crunch from the almonds, with delicious fig compote ... perfect. That was a delicious start to the meal.
The foie gras duo sent me into another stratosphere literally. The seared foie gras was buttery and delicious and the mousse just sent the dish over the top. Delicious!
And of course I ordered my roasted salmon with Israeli couscous with ratatouille and a lemon-parsley emulsion medium rare and it was served up perfect. The fat piece of center cut salmon was so silky and buttery that my only regret was that I literally could not finish the dish.
My husband's rack of lamb (cooked to a perfect medium) with white bean ragu, mustard greens and thyme lamb jus was also delicious.
No matter how stuffed we were, dessert was coming our way, and I could not pass on the crème brulee, caramel nut tart and apricot ice cream trio. Thank goodness they were miniatures, so I dug in. My husband opted for cheesecake and fresh marinated strawberries. Dessert was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.
Actually, while The View wasn't a restaurant owned by one of those celebrity chefs, the meal in my husband's words was "one of the best he'd ever had." And I must admit it was very good.
The restaurant I chose simply because of its view and the fact that it rotated, did not disappoint. Actually it was as I was dining that I found out that The View was OpenTable.com Diner's Choice winner for 2012. Next time I'm in the city that's a concrete jungle where dreams are made and where you can feel brand new, The View will be a must do. And for all you die-hard New York City fans, the next time you're there, make sure you check it out. You will not be disappointed, the meal certainly rivals the view.
Food retail consolidation is "inevitable" given the over-supply of competing chains and stores, AML Foods' chief executive telling Tribune Business it was likely to happen first in Freeport, where 10 major players were chasing 40,000-50,000 customers.
Gavin Watchorn, who is also the BISX-listed food retail group's president, said acquisitions were the likeliest route for achieving consolidation, given that no grocery retailers were contemplating failure, while the industry's "diverse" ownership meant mergers would be hard to execute.
With food retail industry veterans describing the current market as "the most competi ...
By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
Chicago will get a taste of The Bahamas next month as Bahamian chef Simeon Hall Jr. will treat participants of a special Food Network concert at the Ravina Festival to Bahamian culinary delights.The concert, which will be held on September 20, will attract thousands of food lovers to Chicago. It's the first time that The Bahamas will participate in the event.Chef Hall will be among 75 top chefs and will participate in the "Hot Hot" luncheon prepared by the Islands of The Bahamas."We are going to represent The Bahamas, and we have three categories that we are working with. One of them is a VIP event for 300 people and a major event for 1,200 people and then there is something even bigger than that. I am just working along with the Food Network kitchen to produce," said Hall.
"It is a great privilege but first and foremost representing The Bahamas anywhere is fantastic. We are doing everything uniquely Bahamian...down home. We will be preparing conch chowder, old fashioned peas and rice, dried conch, and we are doing a twist on a dish, which is a little bit more modern but it is still uniquely Bahamian. Everything that we are doing is going to be uniquely Bahamian."The concert will also draw music lovers to its doors as John Mayer will be performing. A Bahamian DJ that lives in Chicago will perform at one of the scheduled events.
"It's going to be very Bahamian, and we plan to take some Bahamian props over there and we want it to feel very local because we are taking these things over there to sell The Bahamas," said Hall.The chef representing The Bahamas has an extensive resume from working as an executive chef, food and beverage manager, executive sous chef and as a culinary expert at locations such as Walt Disney Cruises, Marriott Hotels, Island Catering Inc, Grenada W.I., Taino Beach Resorts Ltd. to Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort and The Ritz Carlton's Abaco Club to name a few.
Bahamians from all walks of life stood united in the warm glow of candlelight, to pray for relief of people living in poverty and hunger around the world.
As Solomon's Fresh Market's opening looms in November, AML Foods Limited is considering two more store openings in the coming years, with executives confident there is a strong place for the supermarket in the Bahamian marketplace.
"We're very confident it will be successful and with the right location we can duplicate it in the future," said Gavin Watchorn, Group President and CEO.
"There is room for more than one of these stories - I would say three is a possibility in The Bahamas."
Watchorn was unable to give an exact timetable or specify where the stores would be built at this time.
The business model behind Solomon's Fresh Market, he added, includes a healthy, natural and organic image, which is a niche he believes will fit in well with Bahamian shoppers.
The news comes as the company announced their second-quarter results this week, revealing that while the company's sales are up, net profits have suffered due to the high price of utilities.
In fact, utilities rose 15 percent this year, or $294,000, which "materially impacted" earnings, according to the press release.
The company is putting aside $1 million in 2012 for capital expenditures that will focus on energy usage reduction, geared towards replacing air conditioning and refrigeration units throughout their holdings.
The CEO explained that is four times AML Foods normal expenditure in this area.
Most years, he said the company tends to spend $250,000 on upgrades to improve energy efficiency.
Although the $1 million is expected to have a major impact on utilities costs, Watchorn noted that Solomon's Fresh Market presented a particularly unique opportunity to reduce costs in the future.
Building something "from the ground up", he said, allows AML Foods to be "as energy efficient as possible".
He speculated the approach will save the store between 40 and 50 percent in costs, compared to the other stores under AML's umbrella.
"When we were designing the store, we sat down with utilities in mind," he said.
"Our branding and vision for the store is healthy, natural and organic. We don't want to give the wrong impression as energy hogs. So we have made a lot of decisions and investments that will reduce energy usage."
For example, Watchorn said the new store will make use of skylights, meaning Solomon's won't have to rely on standard electricity as much.
Dionisio D'Aguilar, the Chairman of AML Foods Limited, added that employing these energy saving tactics have been a priority from the beginning.
"I know it has been a major topic of discussion," he felt.
"Natural lighting, keeping the building cool, and yet reducing AC usage is important."
In the case of the skylights, Watchorn explained the lights in the supermarket will actually automatically dim or brighten based on the conditions outside.
Similarly, Solomon's will employ top-notch air conditioners that work in tandem with the store's humidity, cutting on and off depending on the climate control needs.
Energy efficient refrigerators, freezers and special building materials represent a larger initial expenditure.
But Watchorn said he is confident the investment will pay off.
"We believe we will see a return on it in the future in regards to our utility bills."
As the weather starts to really warm up we start to look for ways to cool down and food is no exception.
Summer food is lighter and seems fresh and bright compared to the heavier meals of the winter season. When the mercury starts to approach the red line, these hot season favorites will be a hit around the pool, out on the patio or under a beach umbrella...