FOOTBALL GAME FOOD: Food has been steadily improving in places like airports, movie theaters and concert arenas, where people gather for reasons other than to eat. Although staples like hot dogs, pizza and popcorn still make up about two-thirds of food sales in sports stadiums, baseball menus have matured to include gochujang-glazed eggplant buns, fresh Dungeness crab sandwiches, ceviche, espresso and craft beer. (NYTIMES)
Credit: Dan Chambers for the New York Times
Football has lagged behind baseball largely because the sports are different. Baseball is played at a slower pace, with built-in breaks that allow fans to wander around a stadium sampling food. The crowds are smaller, and stadiums are open for about 80 games a season, which makes it easier to polish and sustain creative concessions.
Football is a different beast. Crowds can top 80,000 fans, most of whom want to be in their seats for every play and visit concession stands only before the game and at halftime. With just eight regular home games a season, it’s hard to create a system that produces consistently great food.
Then there is tailgating, although it’s hard to say whether bad stadium food led to tailgating or tailgating led to less emphasis on food inside the stadium.
6 ICED COFFEES: Inventive, refreshing and delicious in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY
Kenya Cola, Mockingbird Hill in Washington, D.C.: Kenyan coffee with a little sugar is chilled in an ice bath, mixed with three kinds of bitters (tiki, Spanish and black walnut), then poured in a glass with ice and topped with soda water.
Thunderbolt, Smith Canteen in Brooklyn: First came the freshly made lemonade, a taste of the Arkansas childhood of Rob Newton, the chef and an owner. Then came a shot of Haru, a citric coffee with gingery flavors that is grown in Ethiopia and roasted by Counter Culture Coffee. The two partner beautifully for a captivating flavor that’s part iced Americano, part American South.
The Black & Blue from Cuvée Coffee (Phil Kline, NYTimes)
DOMINO’S SMART SLICE: Domino’s is delivering a pizza it calls the Smart Slice to more than 3,000 lunchrooms in 38 states, up from 3 states in 2010.
Compared with the standard Domino’s pizza, the Smart Slice has 1/3 less fat in the pepperoni, 1/3 less salt in the sauce, and cheese with just half the usual fat — all changes made to fit the new standards.
Domino’s uses a brand called Ultragrain, made by the food giant ConAgra; it makes up 51 percent of the flour in the crusts. Ultragrain is derived from a hard winter wheat called Snowmass, developed in 2009 by food scientists at Colorado State University, and the brand is showing up as an ingredient in an increasing variety of foods aimed at the school market, including Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish.
CANNED CRAFT BEER: More and more fancy craft beer is showing up in aluminum cans. For decades, canned beer was the stuff you bought cheap — the PBR or Natural Ice — bottom-shelf beer. But the number of craft breweries putting their beer in cans has more than doubled since 2012.
Can advocates and brewers who are choosing cans say there are clear advantages over bottles: The beer in a can cools faster. The can protects from beer-degrading light. Beer cans are portable and take up less space, advantages both for retailers and for consumers who want to take them camping, hiking or fishing. There’s also more space on a can for wraparound design and decoration.
The biggest selling point for the bottle, though, is flavor. There’s at least a perception that cans impart a metallic taste, whereas liquid stored in a bottle comes out tasting pure. However, Most aluminum cans these days are lined with a polymer coating that protects the beer from the metal.
FOOD WRITER WHO CAN’T TASTE: To not smell the world around me, to not discern tastes, was horrifying. I’d lost all memories of tastes. My first mouthful of bacon was “So tasty!” But each encounter with bacon was like eating it for the first time. It might have been wonderful to be thrilled over and over again except that I felt incredibly stupid. (NYTIMES)
Baklava in Istanbul, Turkey (Credits: Christine Lai)
LOVE PROPOSAL: Don’t count on anyone else to bring beauty and adventure into my life. The kids are grown; my time and money are my own. Do what I want to do. Go where I want to go. Buy what I want to buy. Be engaged by myself. (NYTIMES)
SLEEPseems like a perfectly fine waste of time. Why would our bodies evolve to spend close to one-third of our lives completely out of it, when we could instead be doing something useful or exciting? As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking. (NYTIMES)
GOOD BYE JIM BEAM: Iconic American bourbon Jim Bean and Maker’s Mark to be sold to Suntory of Japan for $13.6 Billion. Few spirits are as American as bourbon: Jim Beam harkens back to 1795 in Kentucky. Suntory was founded 115 years ago. (NYTIMES)
Mini glass of beer at Beer Bazaar in Tel Aviv, Israel (Credits: Christine Lai)
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw, Playwright
BEER-WINE FUSION? The Red Hen DC sommelier and DC Brau blend a chocolatey porter ale with a touch of Bordeaux. Dogfish Head makes a Nordic grog that blends beer, fruit wine and mead. Yes or no? (NPR)
COCA-COLA GLASS was introduced by Riedel, the 250-year old renowned Austrian wine glass maker – its first for a non-alcoholic drink. “We fine tuned our Sauvignon Blanc glass seemed best, so we fine-tuned that bowl shape to form the glass.” Selling for $29 for two, $19 for one. (NYTIMES)