What do lentils, honey, oysters, bananas, and chocolate have in common? According to legend, they are culinary aphrodisiacs, perfect for Valentine’s Day, which falls on a Friday this year. Some of these have actually been verified by science:
Both Hippocrates and ancient Egyptians thought lentils would aid in male potency. No wonder those little legumes are still popular.
Along the same lines, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, popped out of the water on an oyster shell. Oysters also rank high in zinc, a key element in testosterone production.
Would you believe that even nutrient-rich bananas are among the foods offered to fertility gods in India? I just thought they were a great fit with peanut butter and hot fudge sundaes.
Montezuma is said to have imbibed in 50 cups of chocolate a day so he could take care of his harem. Guess Monty wasn’t concerned about calories, fat grams, or sexting.
When it comes to the restaurant industry, many capitalize on one of the biggest annual dining-out occasions in the U.S. Industry analysts say this year should be particularly beneficial since V. Day falls on a Friday and President’s Day occurs on the next Monday.
Many love-themed offers abound at this time of year. Carvel is offering a heart-shaped Chocolate Decadence cake, while Baskin-Robbins will sell Conversation Heart cakes in two sizes. Dunkin’ Donuts and Tim Hortons have sprinkle-heart shaped donuts and chocolate-iced goodies in their lineup. Salvatore’s Italian Gardens created a Chocolate Brunch menu, which they’re rolling out for the second Valentine’s Day in a row. Russell Salvatore, general manager of the venerable restaurant, said he and his sister Josette came up with the idea and figured it would be something “different and fun” for the dining public.
It's a veritable feast with a chocolate twist: French Toast with a Chocolate Maple Sauce, pastries with chocolate chips, and even a tossed Salad with Blackberry-Chocolate Vinaigrette and Chocolate Bliss Waldorf Salad, just to name a few. Other standard brunch dishes will be there for the taking too.
“The chefs all came up with the menu and added chocolate with all that we thought could work,” Russell explained. Table for two, please!
Apple skins contain vitamins and antioxidants that can improve your overall health, lower your cholesterol and even reduce your risk of serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, and diabetes. The chemical behind the apple skin’s waxy shine is being credited with a host of health benefits from building and maintaining muscle to keeping the lid on your weight by keeping your blood sugar stabilized.
I had the "Today Show" on as I was getting ready for work the other day. My ears perked up when I heard them talking about annoying lunch habits of co-workers.
It got me thinking about places I’ve worked and the irritating things that some of us do on a regular basis. Hmmm, it also has me wondering if I am guilty of some of the most common infractions as well.
For the past few weeks, I have been eating an apple every afternoon at my desk. Do my robust, crunchy bites annoy the other people around me in cube city? I tend to time my bites when it’s noisy in the office so as not to disturb anyone. I am cognizant of any noise and gross sounds but have been in situations in previous work places where the habits of others are sometimes cringe-inducing and downright disgusting.
Some of the examples cited in the show and in blogs include noisy eaters who insist on chewing and talking with their mouths full. Thanks, but I’d rather not see your masticated lunch flailing around in your mouth. Lip smackers are a close relative of this gross custom.
Have you run into people who insist on re-heating seafood, popcorn, cabbage, and spicy aromatic foods in the microwave? At another workplace, I remember smelling salmon from morning to night one week as the odor permeated the entire first floor. In another situation, the whole office had to evacuate the building after someone insisted on burning popcorn yet again.
Another habit that drives me up the wall? The slurpers, who noisily consume their liquids, whether it’s soup, coffee, pop, water or whatever beverage they’re loudly swallowing. A little decorum here, please.
Leaving food, crumbs and wrappers and boxes for others to clean up is another pet peeve, but that is a column unto itself. Same goes for dry food left in dishes in cups in the sink.
Ever since we learned what a calorie was we have been told they are all alike but that’s not true at all.
I was told whether you eat 500 calories worth of celery stalks or tiramisu, your body will burn or store them equally. Right?
Wrong. New science shows that when it comes to weight loss, calories are nowhere near alike; it’s about the way food impacts your body. Plus some foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains require more energy to eat and burn more calories while you’re digesting them – you can burn up to 30% more calories!
For the second year in a row, the weather was rainy for part of the day at the Taste of Williamsville, held Sunday, August 7 at Island Park in the village. The skies were threatening when we arrived in the late afternoon, but it didn’t deter a good-sized crowd from sampling some terrific food from 20 local eateries. Kudos to Al Yates and the other organizers who added new restaurants, a classic car show, and a seating area under the pavilion, which proved to be a good move given the intermittent showers. I also liked how many of the vendors had delicious choices that weren’t necessarily gut-busting. I loved the Caprese Salad on a skewer from 800 Maple, the refreshing Mango Lassi from Kabab & Curry, and the peanut butter gelato from Sweet Melody’s. If I were designating an overall winner, I would agree with the judges, who awarded Milo’s Rookie-of-the Year. I had a sampler of their fresh and fabulous dips and pita, spinach pies, rice pudding and grape leaves. Outstanding! Can’t wait for next year’s edition, the 24th annual, under sunny skies for a change.
Have you been to Thursday in the Tent at the Ramada Hotel on N. Forest in Getzville? My hubby and I met another couple there last week; we enjoyed a wonderful picnic menu and free music courtesy of Soul Providers, a live band rocking hard under a large tent in the park-like setting outside the hotel. I ordered off the Embers menu (the restaurant inside the hotel) while my dining mates all enjoyed picnic fare and great appetizers like veggie empanadas and cheeseburgers from the barbecue menu, cooked outdoors by the patio. Drink specials are available and the festivities run from 6 – 9 pm each Thursday through Sept. 1st. With the proliferation of outdoor seating and patios, it’s a wonder more businesses don’t do what Rick DiVita and his company have done at the Ramada. We had a terrific time dining al fresco and soaking up every bit of summer weather.
Heads up on the upcoming Local Restaurant Week. Dry clean your bib and enjoy the fall edition of Western New York Restaurant Week, running from September 26 through October 2.
We all know potato chips are fattening and who can eat just one? If you want a crunchy, albeit unconventional alternative, try kale chips.
Here's the recipe:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove kale from stalk, leaving the greens in large pieces. Place a little olive oil in a bowl, dip your fingers and rub a very light coat of oil over the kale. Lay kale out on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until it starts to turn a bit brown. Keep an eye on the kale, it can burn quickly. You can sprinkle with a little salt or spice such as curry or cumin after rubbing on olive oil for a little added flavor.
There are so many diets: Atkins, high carb, low carb, Transitions, etc. Many have opposite philosophies, but one thing is for sure - diets don’t work and you shouldn’t restrict calories. Bottom line - eat often, don’t eliminate any food groups. We need good sources of protein with every meal, with lots of veggies and fruit and the good low glycemic carbs high in fiber and low in fat. Try lean protein like chicken, fish, tofu, hot nuts. Get plenty of veggies, fruit, good grains for carbs, and don’t skip meals!
Although I like to indulge in omelets and pancakes, better breakfast choices that are not high glycemic and create a feeling of satiety our as follows: Steel cut oats, Greek yogurt with fresh fruit, Ezekiel cereal and muffins,egg bake and lean protein. Break that fast in a healthy and delicious way!
July 11, or 7/11, turned out to be a lucky date for seafood lovers in Western New York as Joe’s Crab Shack opened its first area restaurant on Maple Road in Amherst. The former Pizzeria Uno has been transformed into a bright, lively, rollicking eatery whose motto is “Peace, Love, Crabs.”
Joe’s made quite a splash when they opened on the 11th. You may have seen people camped out
near the restaurant on the night before the grand opening. They wanted to be among the first 100 lucky customers to be awarded a voucher for a free Snow Crab bucket for a year, one of the most popular choices on the large menu.
When I arrived just before noon, the place was jammed with a line out the door for most of the afternoon. Savannah Broce, Joe’s field marketing coordinator, said the Amherst opening was their biggest opening to date.
My husband and I thought it only right to do our due diligence so we ordered some cold drinks from our friendly and efficient server, who was decked out in Joe’s tie-dyed uniform. We started with some of the signature dishes: a rich and flavorful order of Crab Nachos, a colorful array of fresh chips surrounding crab dip, pico de gallo, cheese and a delicious black bean corn relish (pictured above).
I ordered Mussels Diablo (left), a huge serving replete with a garlicky tomato sauce with cilantro, smoked sausage slices and garlic toast. What a treat they were!
As if that wasn’t enough, we dove into a Classic Steampot, chock full of Dungeness and Snow Crab, shrimp, corn and potatoes. Absolutely outstanding flavor and more than enough food to feed a family armed with hearty appetites like ours.
Good thing we took our server’s advice and strapped on bibs as we cracked and picked our way through a memorable meal. It’s no coincidence that each table comes with a spool of paper towels and wet naps. If I wasn’t headed back to the office, I would have washed our feast down with a Shark Bite or Southern Spiked Tea, served up in a to-go Mason jar. Believe it or not, we said no to dessert, but I am heading back soon to try the Key Lime Pie and Crabby Apple Crumble, which I hear rivals my granny’s version.
Here are a few other Joe’s Crab Shack tasty tidbits:
25 differen crab items are on the menu
A fun atmosphere prevails--the kind of place you can chow down with your hands and boogie with the staff to some cool tunes
The full-service bar has a system that ensures that your beer is cold every time your brewski is served
Joe’s makes charitable donations in July & August to “No Kid Hungry – Share our Strength Campaign,” helping to alleviate childhood hunger.
Joe’s Amherst location accommodates up to 400 diners and employs 250 fun-loving, hard working men and women