I came across the Brim’s Snack Food lines on a recent trip to Dollar Tree and was craving for Cheese Popcorn, one of my favorite snacks. This ultimate cheesy popcorn is layered with a nice coating of Cheddar cheese flavor, and you can taste the sharp Cheddar in every bite.
This addictive snack will make you want to eat the whole bag in one sitting and with popcorn having a nice fiber count makes it a very nutritional snack (less the salt) as opposed to other fried snack foods. The popcorn is really fluffy, and the company does not skimp of the portion size of the bag as it is really full. It makes the perfect snack when watching a long film at home or when studying as I…
I love Toast’em’s. I had never been a big fan of toaster pastries, thinking that items like Pop-Tarts by Kellogg’s were for little kids. Over the last few years, I discovered Toast’ems when I was shopping at the Dollar Tree and needed to bring a snack with me on my walks in Manhattan in the afternoons. These delightful treats carry so well and there is such a variety of flavors to choose from.
The Frosted Strawberry Toast’em’s
You do not even have to heat these pastries as they are good just out of the bag. They have the same consistency as a Pop Tart at half the price and sometimes they have a bonus pack where you get an extra package of pastries for the same price.
The taste is delicious with fillings that include…
I had been shopping in the Boscov’s Department Store in Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, NJ recently and I walked into their Candy Department on the second floor to admire all their candy selections.
The shelves were ladened with products from Hershey’s Easter candies which rang true for a department store company based in Pennsylvania. So many wonderful food companies are based in the Lancaster and surrounding communities.
On one table I eyed one of my favorite holiday treats on the display table near the register, a decorated butter cream Easter Egg by the Lerro’s Candy Company. The beautifully decorated egg came in two sizes, and I preferred the larger one that would last until Easter morning.
This sweet Easter Egg was nicely decorated with all sorts of flowers and edible embellishments. The center of…
I first discovered the ravioli from Pede Brothers in the frozen food section of Dollar Tree and for $1.00 a package I thought I might as well give them a try. I was surprised by how delicious they were when I made them at home.
First, these raviolis cook in about three minutes in boiling water and are perfect coming out of the pot. They are so tender on the outside and creamy from the ricotta cheese on the inside that they ooze when they are cut. They blend so well when they mix with the sauce.
What is nice about a package of their ravioli is that there is just enough for two people with a nice salad and garlic bread or nice sized meal for one person who is really hungry.
With the Easter holidays coming up, the aisles of the local stores are filled top to bottom with Easter candies of all assortments. One particular that I found that I had not eaten in years are the Spangler Bunnies, Chicks & Eggs, a delicious marshmallow candy that comes in various colors and the shapes of bunnies, chicks, and eggs that are perfect for any Easter basket.
These soft and sweet little candy figures are very similar to Circus Peanuts, another item that the company makes. This specialty item is only available at the Easter holidays. The consistency is slightly firmer than a traditional marshmallow but these rich treats taste of a sugary goodness in each bite.
These sweet treats are only available at the Easter holidays.
I have been in love with Circus Peanuts candies since I started eating. When I was little, we used to go to Joe’s Fruit Farm on Washington Valley Road in Bridgewater, NJ for our local fruits and apple cider. In the store front area of the farm (which was still going strong into 2006) used to have the old ‘penny candy’ jars.
When I was in elementary school, I used to go shopping with my mother there and used to beg for three things: red licorice strings, orange slices and Circus Peanuts. I still remember that little white bag I got filled with two of each (if I was good) and saved the Circus Peanuts for last.
Circus Peanuts by Melster Candies
I love the soft marshmallow consistency of these orange treats and…
I recently came across Munch Rights snacks on a recent trip to Dollar Tree and have enjoyed the quality and taste of the three flavors that I have tried. Going from bag to bag I wanted to try them more.
First what I like about the Munch Rights snacks is that they have 0 trans fats, very low in saturated fats and low in calories. For people with special dietary concerns, the snacks are gluten free (due to their corn meal base) and Kosher. These guilty pleasures are a welcome to someone who absolutely loves Fried Extra Cheddar Cheetos. The problem I have like most snackers is that once I open the bag, I have to eat the whole thing because they are so addictive. Munch Rights takes that guilt away.
Please check out my new blog, “Add This To Your Grocery List” and then add it to your cart.
I carry Mrs. Freshley’s snack cakes when I walk around Manhattan for MywalkinManhattan.
Mrs. Freshley’s Dreamies snack cakes.
Don’t underestimate the quality and taste of Mrs. Freshley’s products. I pack them for my journeys around Manhattan for my walking project. It brings back that taste of childhood during recess, for a bag lunch dessert or coming home after school. Even as an adult, I love snack cakes.
When I roam the aisles of the Dollar Tree, I am always looking for snack foods to bring to work with me to save on the ever rising prices at the vending machines. A snack cake can cost now $1.50 for one piece. When you have a craving for something sweet, you need to bring it from home.
This is when recently, I came across Mrs. Freshley’s Swiss Rolls on the shelve. A box of eight twin packs is a $1.00 instead of the Hostess brands that will run between $3.50 to $4.00 a box. The quality and taste are very similar.
I have only had the Swiss Rolls, which is a thinly rolled chocolate sponge cake with a sweet creamy filling. These light desserts are then dipped in…
I took time out of my walking project to take a detour to the Javis Center to the Annual New York Restaurant Show. I try to keep up with the latest trends in what kitchen equipment is new and innovative, how computers and apps are changing the way we order and have food delivered and new food stuffs that will be gracing the tables of banquet halls and restaurants not just in New York City but all over the country. What scares me the most of the Hospitality industry is how some people in the industry are trying to take the hospitality out of it by computerizing everything to the point where you don’t see people anymore.
By walking the entire show, I saw more things that will improve the industry and more money saving items will make cooking easier and better in design and sanitation. One of the best items that I saw in new kitchen equipment was the The Self Cooking Center by Rational USA from Rolling Meadows, Illinois. This oven does it all. With the combinations of heat and steam in one single appliance, it offers new possibilities when it comes to the professional preparation of food (Rationalusa.com (888)-320-7274).
The machine was interesting in that it could cook multiple items perfectly with just the touch of a button. Each of the cabinets were cooking something different. One time I stopped by the display they were cooking a pizza and another time they were cooking and cutting a roast. Each item was cooked perfectly and the unit looked like it was easy to clean.
The Food Section of the show has grown this year. About five years ago, the show had cut back on the number of food merchants and companies that carried lines for commercial restaurants. I guess they felt that people were eating their way through the show and just wanted lunch which is further from the truth. I think the restaurant food companies have a big place in the show as you are seeing the equipment, the computer programs and the merchandising. Now how do you tie the actual product into all that? By having the equipment not just cook the food but what types of foods for a commercial kitchen can be offered.
There were many commercial restaurant vendors at the show this time around and it was such a success with the customers walking the show, I am sure this area will get bigger again as more vendors know this is open to them. The visiting participants seemed to enjoy it and it got a lot of buzz amongst the buyers.
It seems that Brooklyn, NY is quickly becoming a hot-bed for new food start-ups and incubators. One vendor that I sampled were Brooklyn Patisserie (19 Fifth Street, Brooklyn, NY 718-852-1768) had the most delicious croissants and cinnamon danishes that I had sampled. They were light, buttery and had a wonderful sweetness to them.
Another area vendor that I sampled was Brooklyn Cured (www.brooklyncured.com Brooklyn, NY 917-282-2221) for deli meats and salami. I sampled both their pastrami and their maple bourbon ham both of which had a nice smoky taste to them. The ham had a hint of sweetness due to the maple syrup flavoring the meat. Another Brooklyn vendor was selling Middle Eastern Hors D’Oeuvres that were filled with meats and spinach. Rose Gourmet (1677 McDonald Avenue (718) 382-1226) had an interesting cheese filled puff pastry called a Burekas that had a nice bite to it and these savory tidbits were very popular with show goers.
A further standout from Brooklyn was Table 87 for their flash frozen coal oven pizzas (table87.com). They provide the whole package to the customer in way of the freezer, the oven, trays, cutter and the pizzas. The whole concept is sold to the restaurant. The pizzas are really of high quality and the tomato sauce, which I always think is the base of the pizza tasted of real tomatoes.
There were many options to choose from with high quality Asian products at the show. Walong Marketing Inc. http://www.AsianFoodsOnline.com (877-675-8899) offered many different vendors at the show. Some of these were dumplings that had been steamed and fried for sampling at the show. They had a wonderful mixture of ground pork and spices.
These sweet little desserts have a sweet rice flour wrapped on the outside and a delicious ice cream in the center. Two of them I was able to sample were the vanilla and mango.
That was when I was able to get near the display as it was a very popular vendor at the show. TMI Trading Company (firstname.lastname@example.org (718-386-6868) was sampling Lo Mein noodles by Twin Marquis, that were tender and flavorful and adhered to the sauce they served with them.
The ever popular Chef One also represented by TMI Trading Company was sampling dumplings and spring rolls that were steamed and fried and had a nice flavor with every bite.
Their representative told me that the cost factor for these popular items was very fair and were extremely popular in non-Asian restaurants and bars. The company’s dumplings never last that long when they are displayed for sampling.
Chef One Dumplings
The show offered some interesting items in the Beverage area. Tractor Beverage Company (DrinkTractor.com) had some interesting non-carbonated and carbonated sodas and teas. The one that stood out to me was the Blood Orange Soda that had a nice hint of the fruit and a light flavor. There is a big difference in the all natural sodas and the ones that are artificially flavored and you could taste the difference. Plus these sodas are usually lighter in color.
Another beverage vendor that stood out was Fruit-n-Ice (Kanawati Enterprises 249 Lodi Street Hackensack, NJ 07601 (866) 265-9569), who sells the complete package of mixes and machines for a retail spot.
The mixes come in many fruit flavors that are mixed with ice, almost like a Slushy that you might get at a 7-11 but higher quality. I sampled both the Passion Fruit and Mango and both were quite good. The appearance of the machine makes a colorful statement and the quality was very good. I visited them again in 2020 and the quality of their product is wonderful.
There were some stand out desserts at the show that were interesting. A few that stood out were Little Red Kitchen’s (email@example.com (347) 815-4824) Blondies and Brownies that were being sampled. They were rich, dense and rich in flavor.
Two unusual desserts I sampled were a Fruta Pop (www.frutapop.com) which makes a gourmet alcohol infused popsicles that were the perfect adult dessert. They were sweet, fruity and you could get a slight buzz from the pop. These were delicious as they had almost a fizzy mouthfeel to them. They are the perfect dessert for after a barbecue or dinner party. I sampled them again in new flavors in 2020.
Another delicious dessert was the Stroop Club (chantal@stroopclub (512) 400-8906) Stroopwafels, a Dutch dessert treat. These buttery delights are a light waffle like cookie filled with a sweet glaze that tastes like a cross between maple syrup and cinnamon. These little cookies are perfect with coffee or hot chocolate.
Two breakfast vendors sampling at the Restaurant Show stood out amongst the others. New Hope Mills (181 York Street Auburn, NY 13021 (315) 252-2676) has the most delicious waffle mix that produces the lightest waffles. They were being made fresh at the show and with a little maple syrup make the perfect breakfast. Bosquet (bosquetgourmet.com) makes a gluten Buttermilk Waffle mix that is also very light and you would never know the waffles were gluten free.
Another product that I thought was unique and stood out was the Gourmet Fries Seasoning by Chef’s Fun Foods (www.ChefsFunFoods.com (977) 233-3007). The vendor deep fried French Fries and doused them with seasoning, giving each bite the spicy flavor of tomato ketchup or garlic salt. It is a nice spin on not using salt.
Another group of vendors that was interesting was the computer and tech companies stream lining how we order, budget and cost out recipes. The technology has changed so much in the last twenty years that we can now tie in building a recipe, costing it out, build in the retail cost and connect it to cooking it and setting up the inventory of the ingredients. So when you cook the dish, it is already setting up the inventory you will need in the future.
There was even a table that explained all the dishes on the menu and you could order them with the touch of button and a runner would bring the dish out to you and when you were ready to pay, you just put the credit card into the table and pay for it. The salesman got annoyed with me when I asked “doesn’t that take the whole purpose of going out to converse with other people and engage in conversation?” He moved onto the next customer.
So much more can be attached to the Smart Phones and companies like DiningEdge (www.diningedge.com (561) 260-4975) are bringing this straight to the customer with ordering and scanning products.
So much change in the Restaurant industry is going on with new products, new ways of looking at decor, security and staffing but the take away I got from the technological part was that they are taking out the human factor at the expense of saving money on staffing which I think is wrong. The whole point of going out is to meet people, have a good meal with nice conversation and to be social. Isn’t it what Hospitality is all about?
Walking the NY Restaurant Show is a couple of miles long but you see the innovation of the future and figure that every time we go out to eat, it started by walking the isles of this show. Miles of show!
The New York Restaurant Show is every March.
The Restaurant Show in revisited in 2020:
The Restaurant Show this year was very quiet in comparison to previous years. The Flu scared everyone away and the show just did not have the same amount of people milling around. You could walk down each aisle without bumping into anyone.
That being said there were many innovative companies that the industry missed this year. Amongst the vendors I have seen in the past, there were many that stood out. Off to the side of the show, there was a new food innovation area where many small vendors were showing their wares.
In the dessert area was Baci Gelato (Info@BaciGelato.com/1-888-441-BACI) whose flavors were really delicious and refreshing in a building that was getting hot with all the walking. Their Melon Gelato was really refreshing and light and had a hint of sweetness. The Lemon Ice was tart and sweet and also refreshing when wondering around the area of the show.
A new line of Cheese breads, Pao De Queijo, from Brazil really stood out. These light cheesy round breads can make the perfect appetizer or addition to a bread basket. With each bite these small bread bites have a chewy, cheesy taste of Parmesan and cheddar. I talked with the representative of La Toca Blanca (firstname.lastname@example.org-(201) 723-0838) and he told me this was something he grew up with and was proud to sell. These little balls of cheeses are highly addictive and delicious. I had to pop more than a few.
One of the beverages that tasted nicely and was refreshing was from Piper & Leaf Artisan Tea Company (www.piperpartner.com.-(256) 426-9620). These light tea blends had a nice flavor when they were able to seep and the flavors became more complex. I tried their Strawberry Shindig which was light and had a hint of the infused strawberries and their Lemon Berry Blush with tastes of sweet strawberry and a hint of lemon from the lemon grass infusion.
Another beverage company that was a stand out was Blossom Botanical Water (drinkblossomwater.com-(855-325-5777) with their line of infused refreshing bottled waters. All six of their flavors are standouts and when properly chilled it really brings out the flavors of the drinks. Of the six, the Lemon Rose was the big winner with its hints of rose petals and light sweet lemon flavoring and the Mango Hibiscus with its tastes of the rich fruits with an added tartness.
One of the bakeries that stood out was the Brooklyn Patisserie Bakery (www.brooklynpatisserie.com-(718) 852-1768) from Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. This line of breads, scones, pastries and desserts stood out for their quality, taste, appearance and the fact that with every bite you could taste the whole butter in the dough and the fresh fruit in the danishes. Their apple and berry danishes made me visit the booth many times and their Chocolate Croissant was filled with a nice amount of sweet chocolate.
Another dessert product that was popular in the show and I have been to their cafe in Little Italy for over fifty years is Ferrara Foods (www.FerraraNYC.com-(212) 226-6150) with their decadent cannoli and tiramisu. Their pastry shells come in two sizes and the cannoli filling comes prepackaged so that you have the perfect filling for each bite.
Another Asian product that is new to the market and is just entering the United States is Mrs. Tran’s Kitchen (Murrayintltrading@yahoo.com-(718) 230-7888) When I was talking to the representative with the company the business was started by the General Manager of the company’s mother from her traditional recipes.
Their lines of dumplings, spring rolls and samosas are light, flavorful and really give a nice alternative when having Dim Sum with a product containing real vegetables and are Halal and MSG free. Their line of dumplings are light and flavorful.
Mrs. Tran’s Dim Sum Lines
Of the many savories that I tasted, there were more than a few that stood out. The French company Aviko (www.avikofoodsservice.com-(908) 375-8566) specializes in potato products. They offered delicious versions of French Fries which were cooked to perfection and on display for tasting. The two real products of theirs that stood out were their Gratins in both Gratin Cream and Cheese and Gratin Cheese and Broccoli.
Aviko’s Potato Gratins are heaven in each bite
Every little bite of these gratins has a rich, dense and sharp taste of the cheese and the broccoli version I think is the best for its richness and complexity of flavors.
They also have a line of pancake and waffle mixes that there were not sampling. The ladies had mixed the fritter batter with a mix of seafood and also battered shrimp. The batter adhered beautifully and had a wonderful crisp and crunchy outside and the seafood was moist on the inside. The flavoring had a nice malted flavor to it.
The delicious breadings and mixes from Drum Rock add flavor to seafood
Another standout product that was being sampled was from Balkan Bites (email@example.com). The ladies were sampling something called a ‘Burek’ which is a savory stuffed phyllo swirl that was filled with feta cheese and ricotta, beef and onion and potato and onion. These little bites had the rich butter taste of the flaky dough and the favorable fillings.
Each bite had a nice complex flavor of the meat, cheese and the dough. The beef ‘burek’ had nice spiciness to it.
This product is the ultimate appetizer or snack as they are breaded and deep fried on the outside and filled with flavorful savory fillings on the inside. All of the flavors are interesting. The Buffalo Chicken are spicy and sweet, the Hungarian banana pepper has a interesting twist to a calzone, the Mac & Cheese is decadent and the Steak & Cheese gives the Cheesesteak a new identity. This will be a very popular product in the market.
The Buffalo Chicken Crunch Roll
Leaving the food section of the show and entering the equipment and furnishings section of the Restaurant Show I noticed a lot of interesting designs both in dining equipment and display pieces to add conversation to any restaurant or specialty shop.
The Culinary Depot (Sales@culinarydepot.biz-(845) 352-8200) handles the lines of many manufacturers and one line of serving dishes that stood out to accent any buffet line was the Maximillan Steel Chafer dishes. These are total redesign of the traditional chafing dish and there is a beauty and elegance to their design.
The Maximillan Steel Buffet designs are clean and elegant
The IFI Gelato Collection (firstname.lastname@example.org@ifi.it-39-0721-20021) has some interesting ways of serving up the traditional gelato products but the one that stood out the most is the Tonda serving freezer. This revolving freezer shows off all the flavors carried in your sampling and only stops when you get to the one you want to serve. I can see an almost “I Love Lucy” sitcom value to this product of revolving treats.
Another kitchen product that mesmerized me at the show was the Peel-a-ton by Astra Inc. (www.e-astra.co.jp-(310) 733-7586). This automatic peeler is a cross between peeler, gizmo, bar conversation started and toy for bartenders.
What makes this product so unique is the way it peels the fruit in a whimsical way of taking off the skin while creating a garnish for the very drinks that contain the fruit. It is a nice way for a restaurant to both create garnishes and have the fruit ready for the kitchen while keeping the customers amused.
Peel-a-ton is an interesting piece of equipment
Another interesting addition to any restaurant is from the Compaction Technologies Inc. (www.compactiontechnologies.com-(612) 230-2200) with their new twist to trash disposal with the Ecotrash trash can.
Not only does this compact garbage, recyclables and food waste into a neat package but the design would fit into upscale food establishment or food court environment. They make waste disposal easy and sanitary while creating an elegant look in three colors.
Compaction Technologies Ecotrash machine
Another unique food court item that may not garner much attention but is needed was for the bathroom.
Wiz Kids Products (infor@WizKidProducts.com-(954) 323-2485) offered a new twist to the toilet seat with a set of vertical urinal screens in different colors and scents called the Splash Hog. They were not only decorative but hid smells. I knew this because they were using them in the bathrooms of the Javis Center.
Splash Hogs by WizKid Products
Two technology products that are going to change the way we do business and the way we capture customer information are by KounterTop for integration of information in the kitchen and by Eyecatch, a company that uses eye contact to ‘read’ who we are as a person.
Eyecatch (www.eyecatch.com-(954) 641-8451) is cutting edge technology that has been used on the West Coast for some time now. I had heard it is big in Seattle. The computer reads who you are and tries to guess your age and then sets up a profile about you starting when you walk in the door and then what you buy. The representative said that it will then start a profile on you and even offer you coupons and incentives the more times you come into an establishment. I thought it was interesting but to invasive and “Big Brother”.
KounterTop (Kountertop.com-(650) 900-4499)is an all in one computer program that schedules and staff, does Food Prep Management from waste to ordering and food rotation and also tracks sales, safe tracking and tip out management. It basically runs all your paperwork and back of the house reports to keep you up to date on restaurant profitability. I used to do it all by hand.
These are the developments and changes that are going to take our industry into the 21st Century. The scary part is that it is almost like a “Twilight Zone” Episode where everything gets automated and you no longer need humans to do the work anymore. Things are developing very fast but the industry has to remember something. We are still in the Hospitality field and you need the human touch to make people feel welcome. This changes are good for some aspects of the business not so much for others.
Every year the technology changes surprise and excite me but scare me at the same time. Who is going to be running the show soon? It will be interesting to see when I visit again in 2021 when more developments keep happening. Still, it was an eye-opening show.
The Restaurant Show in 2022:
It was nice to be back at the show. There was no show in 2021 because of the COVID pandemic and the show in 2022 was also smaller than in the past. These are not the shows of 2003-2004, when the entire building was being used for the show.
The show still was packed with new technology and innovative products.
The show in 2022:
It has been over two years since the Restaurant Show of 2020 when at the end of the week the whole country shut down because of COVID. Even though the mask mandates have been dropped, people are still leery about attending these shows. The crowds on the two days that I went to the show rather thin. Sundays are always quiet and filled with college students, but Mondays are when all the Industry people arrive at the show and even then, the crowds were like what a busy Sunday would be ten years ago.
The thing about the Restaurant Show is that it is a third of the size that it was back in 2003 when I first attended the show as part of my job as a professor when I was teaching in the School of Hotel Management at the Katharine Gibbs College. My Dean wanted everyone in our college to attend the Hotel/Motel Show, the Fancy Food Show and the Restaurant Show to keep us abreast of what was happening in the industry. It is an eye-opener with all the new technology that has changed over the last five years alone.
On the Sunday of the show, I was able to walk the whole show in about three hours, a big difference from the Fancy Food Show, which it takes me the whole three days and I barely finish that. Even the Hotel/Motel Show has gotten smaller than this. It is because the food vendors have left the show and I hate to say it but the participants of these shows like to sample and eat while they are walking around.
I saw some very innovative machinery, computer programs and food items at the show this year and wanted to share them. There is so much going on and so much progress that things I had to figure out by hand are now a touch away with updated POS systems that figure out everything from what the best sellers are on your menu, to what you need to order to how much you should cook and how much money are you making on just on the dish but in overall sales for the restaurant. Technology is giving more information quicker and more precise. This is at a time when restaurants need the information as they are closing left and right because of COVID.
I still find the show fascinating and love to see all the new developments. I also notice that the salespeople are so bored that they are always chasing after me. I sometimes think they look at me and think I am going to place big orders with them. When they see that I am a college professor, they immediately back off. Still, it is nice to talk to the vendors who are interested in meeting other industry people who might help them in the future.
There were a lot of standouts at the show in 2022:
In new machines for the Hotel/Restaurant industry, it seems that microchips are ruling innovation.
One of the most interesting piece of equipment in the Coffee business is the S9X Smart Coffee Roaster by the Stronghold Technology Inc. The beautiful coffee roaster not only roasts the coffee bean but the equipment looks so nice on a counter that it fits any modern kitchen. The sales person also told me it is the perfect piece of machinery if you are going to go into commercial roasting.
The rice serving machine, Fuwarica, was another interesting piece of equipment that not only proportions rice into things like sushi. What is interesting is that you measure the amount of rice that you want and then cook it. It then has a rice warming hopper to keep the rice hot before serving, a rice double beater to keep the rice fluffy and a touch panel display so that every portion is consistent.
The representative was making small pieces of sushi and colorful rolls with the rice when it came out.
One delicious piece of equipment that I kept wanting to revisit is the Le Waf, the ultimate French waffle. This delicious mix was studded with pearl sugar and then the waffle was cooked, the sugar caramelized on the top to give it a sweet and crunching coating. Not only did it have a nice, malted taste with a sweetness in every bite.
The Le Waf waffle is amazing
The most unusual and most interesting robot at the show was the SERVI by Bear Robotics, this robot server that moves on command, serves drinks and dishes and welcomes you with a pleasant tone. I thought this thing was the perfect vice in a sitcom.
The machine moved all around the aisle that the display was located and followed customers at the food show, showing us how it moves plates. I can see one day that we will no longer need waiters a restaurant anymore. The robot serves drinks, food and greets the guests.
Another all-in-one drink machine, The DrinkBot by the Botrista Company. Similar to many soda dispensers but these handcrafts drinks and can create a menu to make custom drinks. What I thought was nice is that the syrups are automatically measured, dispensed and mixed by the machine. It can also mix and dispense thicker, more natural ingredients all while keeping the beverages chilled.
The drinks that they were serving that afternoon were really refreshing and had nice flavors. This would be perfect for any home bar.
Some of the food innovations from the show were really good and there were some interesting products some of which I have seen before and others I have tried in various restaurants.
Some of the beverages that stood out from the fountain dispensers was the Bruce Cost and the Yuzu sodas that are made in Brooklyn. These small batch sodas made of all natural ingredients is a real standout.
These refreshing drinks are made with all natural ingredients and sweetened with organic cane sugar and have a zesty flavor to them. I love the Blood Orange and Pomegranate flavors of the Bruce Cost and the White Peach and Red Shiso & Apple in the Yuzu line. These sodas are like a good wine. They don’t rob the food you are eating from its flavor and the flavors are light and fizzy. The would be nice with lighter lunch dishes and all types of Asian cuisines.
Another interesting drink mix is 1883 by Maison Boutin from France. These interesting mixes can be blended with sparkling sodas and used in mixed drinks. The syrups are made with French Alps water and pure cane sugar with all natural ingredients. Their intense flavor is a good addition to any drink.
Another food product at a very busy booth at the show is locally made in New Haven, Connecticut is Gelato Giuliana which is freshly made in small batches. Ms. Giuliana created the recipes that she learned in Italy for a cafe that she later opened up.
These delicious gelatos have such intense and fruity flavors are so rich and decadent. I was only able to try the Strawberry Cream (the line was long) and it was delicious with the sweetness of the strawberries coming out in every bite.
The line of Giuliana Maravalle’s delicious gelatos
The last food product of the few that were featured at the show was delicious Macarons from Macaron Paris which are made in Manhattan (talk about local). Again the line was long for the product and I was only able to try the Birthday Cake flavor and I can say that one is enough. These delightful little cookies are immensely sweet and creamy. It melted in my mouth.
Don’t miss these delightful little cookies and maybe visit their cafe in Manhattan.
I was able to attend just a few lectures at the Javits Center in the two days that I attended the Restaurant Show as it was so spread out. Still, I got a lot out of it. Don’t miss these wonderful recommendations at your local grocery store.
My blog on the NY Restaurant Show in 2017 “Day Seventy-Walking the NY Restaurant Show”:
I spent two days at the Javis Center for the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York on both March 5th and 6th. Like most of the Hospitality shows that I go to in the city, it attracts people from all over the tri-state area.
I have been coming to this show for years and back in the early 2000’s the show was about double of what it is now. It has grown again in the last two years as they have let the food vendors back in the show. It is still only on the lower level, and you can walk the show in about four hours and that is being really detailed with your conversations with all the vendors.
Before that, for about ten years they kicked out most of the food merchants and the complexity of the show changed as why would come to the show and you are stuck just looking at furniture, menu and computer programming all through the show. There is so much more life to the show with food.
I spent my first day at the show walking the many aisles trying to see what new and innovative items were coming on the market for the industry. The most amount of development is in technology. The industry is stream-rolling ahead with computerizing the whole system from ordering to purchasing to receiving. More than a few firms have developed a procedure to streamline the system from when you place the order to how all the ingredients get purchased based on that order.
There were two companies that really impressed me amongst all the tech companies that I talked to that day, ChefTech and Touchbistro. Both are changing the way we do business by making it easier for us to integrate out business. Both make ordering both food and all the ingredients to cook and prepare that food much easier.
ChefTech has been the leader cost pricing menu items and integrating it with the purchasing to make it easier when ordering food items for a restaurant. Now the company is taking it one step further and adding it to the ordering of menu items and has streamlined the system to make it easier.
Touchbistro was the most interesting of the systems and took it one step further. Their Restaurant POS does it all. It handles cash management, bill splitting, take-out and delivery management, customer floor plan layout, seamless staff scheduling, accounting made easy, multiple payment processors, real-time cloud reporting and theft prevention settings. When you use the iPad, you can order your meal and the system will tell you what in it, how it is prepared and the calorie count and then will to track sales. Then on top of that, will set up a purchase order to reorder the item ingredients.
Both companies offer around the clock service which is nice because when the system goes down (and it always does just when you are getting busy on a weekend night), they are there for you. It is interesting to see the future of our industry is here now.
The show finally made a smart decision for the last two years and brought back the food vendors which are always popular with show goers. They featured a “New Vendors” section with new products that are coming on the market, a special “New York State” food vendor section, Wines & Spirits and the annual pastry competition sponsored by Paris Bakery.
Some of the standouts that I found this year were from all over the country. Kontos Foods Inc. from Paterson, New Jersey showcased their Homemade Loukoumades, a pre-baked, fully cooked and warm to serve Pastry Puffs, a small round doughnut hole food product that could be translated into several cuisines just by changing the sauce or topping. By doing this you can sell them as Loukoumathes (Greek), Beignets (French), Zeppole’s (Italian), Malassada (Hawaiian & Portuguese) as many other ways. This were delightfully crisp, and the toppings were delicious. A simple and easy dessert made better by the excellent quality of the product.
Kings Hawaiian showcased their delicious rolls and buns. I have been eating these for years but they had been tough to find on the East Coast. Now expanding with new bakeries in Torrance, CA and Oakwood, GA, the operation is expanding all over the USA.
King Hawaiian rolls are delicious
Their sweet rolls and buns are wonderful. Soft and fluffy with a touch of sweetness, they accent many types of salads and sandwich meats giving them an extra complexity. The afternoon I tried them, they had a delicious chicken salad that complemented the flavor of the bun nicely.
Another delicious local product was by Sukhadia’s of South Plainfield, NJ. They featured their ready made Samosa’s, which is a small crispy Indian snack. They are deep fried or baked with pastry and a savory filling , such as spiced potatoes, green peas, lentils, ground lamb or beef or chicken. They have a triangular size. These little appetizers will translate to any dinner party and are well-spiced and perfectly cooked.
They also offer an interesting assortment of chutney’s, curries and Tandoori breads. For desserts and snacks, the company features Masala Nuts and Trail Mix and an assortment of Indian desserts. The family running the company could not have been nicer in explaining their product and sampling it to hungry show goers.
Brooklyn Patisserie in the New York State vendor section offered mouthwatering desserts and pastries. I was able to sample some of their croissant and sweet buns while fighting off the crowds. These buttery delights make all the awful gluten free items I had to eat all the more worth it. Their quality was excellent and they sell breads and rolls amongst their items offered.
Another delicious addition to the new products was Pasteleria Cidrines Inc. of Puerto Rico with their puff pastry delights, Cidrines. These small puff pastry products come with various fillings both sweet and savory fillings. Show goers were able to sample the Guava desserts and they were yummy. They were crisp on the outside with a sugary outside and a sweet fruity inside. They come in soy chicken and meat fillings and in Quesito, Guayaba and pineapple flavors. A nice way to end a meal.
Another unusual product was Immuneschein, a handcrafted ginger elixir that is made in the Hudson River Valley. These unusual extracts can be mixed with various products such as hot, cold and sparkling soda for a refreshing drink and with Yogurt to add a zing to it. They can also be added to spirits and alcoholic beverages to add a complexity to the drink.
A local product that I enjoy sampling is Joe Teas & Chips by Joe Tea out of Upper Montclair, New Jersey. These zippy teas and chips have a nice flavor to them with an assortment of flavors such as pink Passion fruit and Mango lemonade and the chips come in classic, barbecue, sour cream and sea salt and vinegar.
I was able to take a few classes while I was at the show. I took “Using Customer Engagement to double Customer visits” and “Develop the Right Hospitality Team”. I love the way new technology plays a role in all this advancement in the industry. I hate to say it but after almost twenty years in the Hospitality business a lot of the up and comers keep forgetting the true success of the business is to train people correctly, pay them fairly and treat them nice. That is the key to a happy staff. Treat them like ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen and it will go a long way. I really think everyone in my industry thinks its all about automation and gadgets but it is more about old-fashioned TLC and good treatment. That is the key to success.
The biggest thrill of the show was watching Danny Meyer, the CEO from Union Square Hospitality Group, getting the Torch Award, which is given to an individual or group whose achievements have enhanced and brought innovation to the restaurant and foodservice industry. I have been eating at the original Union Square Café for years and the food and service were always top-notch.
All of his restaurants are high quality with excellent laid back service and delicious food. There is always something on the menu to like. He was being honored by my old president of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), Ferdinand Metz (who taught me how to make the perfect soufflé when I was a student there).
It was interesting to hear how his career as a restaurateur started and how he had grown the business to the public offering of “Shake Shack”. He really mesmerized the crowd with his career and the best part was that they gave the audience a free copy of his book “Setting the Table”, which I had wanted to add to my cookbook and industry collection.
Overall it was a nice two days delving back into my industry to see the latest trends and to talk to the vendors and see their wares. The industry for all of its innovations still has to remember, watch costs, treat the customers and staff correctly and offer wonderful food at a fair price in nice surroundings and these are some of the keys of success in the Hospitality industry.
You will see more updates on the Show in the future.
Don’t miss my blog on walking the International Restaurant show over the years: Day One Hundred and Thirty-Three-Walking the International Restaurant Show: