Harold’s Famous Deli

Do you ever resist going somewhere mainly because people keep telling you that you “have” to go? That the food is so much better there than anywhere else? Everyone has heard about Harold’s New York Deli in New Jersey, with their, literally, foot-tall sandwiches and matzo balls that are larger than softballs. They compare it to Katz’s! Can you believe it? I don’t care how big the portions are, how can you compare any place to the number one deli in New York City?

Maybe I’m a little biased. Not Manhattan versus Jersey biased. But, on top of Katz having what everyone knows is the best pastrami on the planet, this is where they did the famous faking it scene in When Harry Met Sally: there’s even a plague on the table where Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal sat. Okay, so maybe it’s not just about the food, which is why I decided Harold’s deserved a chance.

I’d read somewhere that when you walk in you feel like you’re in that movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, but I didn’t really get it. Holy cow! Hearing about and seeing pictures of the portions at Harold’s cannot prepare you for walking down the aisle and having patrons’ meals tower over you. It might even be a little frightening if the smells weren’t so tantalizing that all you can really think about is getting your hands on a menu and ordering one of everything!

Of course, the portions aren’t the only thing a bit daunting at Harold’s. Wait until you see the prices. Those huge corned beef and pastrami sandwiches were $60. The triple decker was a whopping $89! They may look and smell incredible, but when was the last time you remember weighing eating lunch or making your mortgage payment? The good news, once the faintness has passed, is that those sandwiches are meant to feed you and as many of your friends that are lucky enough to be with you. Harold makes sure you have loaves of freshly baked bread and a generous (surprise!) portion of slightly sweet and delicious coleslaw, as well as unlimited access to what is billed as “the world’s largest pickle bar”. If you love pickles, this is heaven! What’s more, there are no extra plate fees or upcharges for sharing. By the time you split the bill, not only will you be happily full and satisfied, but you will likely pay less than what you did some place that didn’t come anywhere close to being as good.

I guess on everyone’s first time, the pastrami (always my personal favorite) or corned beef just has to be ordered. How can you have regrets about ordering something that is so tender, so juicy and full of flavor that it simply melts in your mouth? Normally, you couldn’t. But Harold’s isn’t your normal place. The desserts, which are beyond huge, are said to be wonderful, and they certainly look it. The pancakes and homemade cheese blintzes are going to call to me until I find the chance to get there for breakfast. I adore BLTs and cannot wait to try Harold’s, which looks like it must have at least a pound of bacon on it. Even the matzo ball soup looks delicious, and I have never really been a fan.

Listen, to me: I sound like all of those people saying that you “have” to try Harold’s. Guess what? They were right.

Tourist Trap Restaurants That Are Good?

Manhattan residents tend to stay away from known tourist traps. Not only are they busy, but the food isn’t usually all that great either. Some destinations break the mold, though, and so we’ve compiled a list of tourist trap restaurants that are popular with everyone and serve great food to boot. Here are the best restaurants the city has to offer!

  1. Katz’s Delicatessen is known for its pastrami, and for good reason. If you live nearby, chances are you’ve come to expect a lot of hustle and bustle during the day. But come closing time, you know to sneak in as the crowds die.
  2. If you’re looking for some exquisite baked goods, head on over to Veniero’s Pastry. If you can get past the travelers, you’ll find tasty gelato, tiramisu, and sfogliatelle. Once again, your best bet is closing time.
  3. Everyone loves a French-style restaurant, and you’ll find the best at Balthazar. If you want to order food without waiting in line, ask for a seat at the bar. You’re less likely to get stuck behind noisy outsiders.
  4. Eataly is exactly what it sounds like: a place for traditional Italian fare. It’s not far from One World Trade Center, which is part of the reason it’s so popular with tourists. If you’re looking to Italian bread, cheese, pizza, or pasta, then Eataly is the place for you.
  5. Everyone loves a good cronut–except the suckers who have never tried one. It’s a specialized combination of donut and croissant, which is what all the tourists order. Those who have the advantage of living in the area can keep coming back to try the other items on the menu. They’re all amazing.
  6. Gray’s Papaya is popular with everyone. The Recession Special provides two delicious dogs and a refreshing beverage (flavored soda, anyone?). If you’re young and local, then you’ve probably ventured to Gray’s Papaya after a drink or four.
  7. If you’re in the neighborhood, then check out Nathan’s Famous for some exceptionally tasty hot dogs. It’s an experience you need to have.
  8. If you’re a carnivore, then you can’t miss the Peter Luger Steak House. You’ll find everything from the traditional fare such as a mouth-watering burger, to more elaborate offerings like slabs of bacon you won’t find offered the same way anywhere else.
  9. The Levain Bakery offers a simple selection of world-class cookies. They’re expensive, but the chewy gooey taste is well worth the extra cash.

NYC Dessert Bucket List

You’re in love with New York City for an endless number of reasons, but one of the highest on the list is its delectable selection of desserts. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent the night out on the town or you’re just looking for a slice of heaven from the comfort of your home (grab and go), NYC is the place to be if you love tasty treats. Here is a bucket list of our favorites!

  1. Holey Cream’s donut ice cream sandwiches are something you desperately need to try. Not only can you build your own donut, but you can also opt to turn the thing into a tempting ice cream sandwich. This isn’t something you’ll find done the same way anywhere else.
  2. If you’ve never been to the Dominique Ansel Bakery, now’s the time. Their milk and cookie shot is shockingly unique, and it’s a combination everyone already loves. It’s a cookie-shaped shot glass with milk poured inside. Be careful how you eat/drink this dessert experience, otherwise, it might get a little bit messy! Be prepared to wait in a long, long line.
  3. If you can’t decide between cookie or cookie dough, then Schmackary’s is the place for you. You’ll find cookie dough cookies, which are exactly what they sound like: cookies with cookie dough slathered on top.
  4. The milkshakes at Black Tap are probably the best looking dessert you’ve ever seen, and you’ll probably feel the gastrointestinal distress before you take your first bite. The milkshake is topped with every sugary candy you can imagine, from M&Ms to cotton candy to whole cookies.
  5. Take a trip to the Levain Bakery for a wholesome chocolate chip cookie that you’ll dream about for years to come. These gargantuan treats are perfectly gooey on the inside, and crispy on the outside: or as we like to say, perfect.
  6. If you’re in the mood for something a little more on the adventurous side, then check out the banana bread pudding cups at Magnolia Bakery. This establishment is famous for its array of mouth-watering cupcakes, but the pudding is something else that really sets it apart from the common fare you’ll find everywhere else.
  7. It’s hard to find a good macaron in the states, but Laduree knows how to get the recipe just right. Better yet, you can grab a box of cookies for home.
  8. If you can’t choose between a proper taste of French cuisine or aromatic Japanese flavor, then why not combine the two? At Eight Turn Crepe, you can try the traditional French crepe accompanied with exotic Japanese flavors. Then again, you can also just go with the usual topping like chocolate or strawberry.

NYC Food Bucket List

Whether you live in NYC or you’re just visiting, the city is home to some of the greatest chefs and best food the world has to offer–and you shouldn’t be quick to pass it up. If you’re in the mood for some great eats, then check out this awesome NYC food bucket list for some fresh ideas and places you may not have heard about through the grapevine.

  1. The Recession Special from Gray’s Papaya is a delicious double-dog like no other. It’s only about five bucks, and the topping has a distinct flavor with garlic and onions.
  2. If you’ve never had octopus, then it’s time to get adventurous. The grilled octopus at Taverna Kyclades is slathered with olive oil and lemon and is a lot more sumptuous than similar fare you’ll get someplace else.
  3. Try the pierogi at Veselka in East Village if you’ve never had them before. If the option is available, go with the short rib special.
  4. What’s life without dessert? The chocolate chip cookies available from Levain Bakery will leave your mouth watering both before and after. Just be prepared to stand in long lines to get your fix.
  5. The spicy cumin lamb noodles from Xi’an Famous Foods are a delicacy you won’t find anywhere else. The lamb-noodle combo is seasoned with no fewer than thirty different spices. Yum!
  6. If you’re in the mood for pizza, then you could do no better than grabbing a pie from Di Fara Pizza, where Dom DeMarco works his magic.
  7. If you want something a little different, then check out Totonno’s Pizzeria Napolitano. The crispy thin crust pizzas have been called the best in the world.
  8. If you’re looking for comfort food done just right, then try the Chicken Hash at 21 Club. If you’re in a different kind of mood, then knock a few back after your food is served.
  9. You can’t leave NYC without trying a slice of cheesecake from Junior’s. You’ve never had a dessert as sweet as this.
  10. If you’ve never heard of the cronut, then you’re in for something extra special. This croissant-donut offered by Chef Dominique Ansel in the Dominique Ansel Bakery is one of the most creative breakfast-desserts you’ll ever have the honor to taste.

Honorable Mention:

Everyone love Italian, and no food bucket list would be complete without Tra Di Noi’s Lasagna alla Bolognese. If you love meat and traditional Italian food, then this is the place for you.

Best Places to Get BBQ

What do Harley’s and barbeque have in common? We don’t usually associate motorcycles with pulled pork or baby back ribs, but it was at the annual Harley Rendezvous Classic motorcycle rally that the idea for the award-winning Dinosaur BBQ was birthed. Biker rallies, shows, and festivals are known for being a lot of fun, but the food choices have not always been the best. The Dinosaur BBQ founders decided to change that and spent five years traveling the motorcycle show circuit and perfecting what Good Morning America would say was the nation’s Number One BBQ. Eventually, they took their barbeque off the road and settled in Syracuse, New York.

Dinosaur BBQ is classic southern barbeque, which usually means that the main type of sauce has a vinegar base. The best places to get BBQ are often based on the sauce, which is what has traditionally distinguished the barbeque in one part of the country from another. There are four main types: vinegar and pepper, light tomato, heavy or sweet tomato and mustard.

Some say that what makes South Carolina barbeque so unique is the sauce; what is often called Carolina Gold, due to it being mustard based. Actually, though, South Carolina is the only state where you can find all four of the primary barbeque sauces in the same state, often on the same menu. What folks in the Palmetto State will tell you about their barbecue is that it is family-based. The smoking methods and the secret recipes for the sauces are passed down from one generation to the next. Maybe that’s why South Carolina has its own BBQ Trail that snakes around and across the entire state showing the location of more than 200 barbeque restaurants.  

Different techniques and different sauces make barbeque more than a menu choice; for many, it’s a passion. Popular barbeque restaurants all over the country consistently have such strong followings that the line is always out the door. Some of the ones you won’t want to miss if you are ever within driving distance include:

Murphysboro, Illinois – 17th Street BBQ – located in a town with a population of fewer than 8,000 people, this restaurant features cherry and applewood-smoked baby back ribs that Bon Appétit Magazine named “The best in the U.S.”

Lockhart, Texas – Black’s Barbecue, Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market – making a pilgrimage to this small Texas town southeast of Austin is said to be a barbeque rite of passage. Well worth booking a room because all three places are legendary!

Memphis, Tennessee – Central BBQ – people in Memphis love their barbeque and have voted Central BBQ their number one pick 10 times. You don’t have to try the barbeque bologna on your first visit, but, whatever your choice, do not pass on having it topped off with the mustard slaw.

Austin, Texas – Franklin BBQ – Franklin BBQ may be one of the few things in life that can inspire the question “can something be too good?”. If you are willing to brave the three to five-hour wait in line for your turn, the reward will be what Bon Appétit named Best Barbecue Joint in America and about which renowned chef Anthony Bourdain said, “It is the best. It is the finest brisket I’ve ever had.”

Brooklyn, New York – Hometown Bar-B- Que – barbeque may have gotten a slow start in New York City but now that it has arrived, there are excellent choices, including this favorite in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Kansas City, Kansas – Joe’s Kansas City BBQ – the people of Kansas believe that the best barbeque in the world is found in Kansas and, while others may disagree, few of them will do so while eating at Joe’s. Started by Jeff and Joy Stehney winning a barbeque contest and eventually set up shop in a tiny neighborhood gas station and convenience store, the Stehney’s have Kansans continually lined up for ribs that are said to be “life-changing”.  

Our list is just the tip of the iceberg. Although we tend to have our favorites, Americans love to barbeque in all of its many different and delicious forms. Sometimes half the fun is seeking out and trying new places.

Food Delivery Services Are Changing How We Eat

In the twenty-first century, how we purchase food is changing rapidly, and growth of thefood delivery business has sent shockwaves out through the food industry. This isn’t only because it is shaking up moribund business models; the food delivery business is also changing the way Canadians think about where their food comes from. Because of the growing desire for convenient, locally sourced food, more and more consumers are turning away from traditional shopping patterns to embrace innovative solutions that bring ethical consumption together with 21st century flexibility.

Over the past couple of years, the overarching trend in eating is local and fresh foods. As processed foods are being crossed off the grocery lists of people of all ages, background, and income brackets, a groundswell of new producers is coming forward to meet their needs. But while many Canadians are now familiar with the idea that they can have fresh produce delivered to them, especially during the summer months, it is only recently that consumers across large markets like Ontario have been able to order meat online (those who want to learn more about how to buy meat online should visit the truLOCAL website for more info).

One of the barriers to online meat delivery, of course, has been ensuring the safety and freshness of the product — steaks, unlike cabbages, need to be refrigerated to avoid spoilage, and it is only recently that a service program that is capable of offering frozen meat delivery to your door has arisen to address these concerns. Advances in technology and logistics have allowed companies on the leading edge of the industry to provide their customers with a wide range of choice in terms of what they want, and flexibility around how they want it delivered to them.

Say you’re organizing a dinner party for later this week. You’re planning on heading to your favourite butcher on the way home from work tomorrow, but at the last minute you get called into a meeting. An excellent opportunity has opened up to generate more business with a major client — but it means you’ll be burning the midnight oil for the next couple of days. With an online service that offers next day online meat delivery, you can pull the extra hours confident that afresh steak delivery will be sitting on your doorstep on the day you need it.

But consumers don’t only rely on such services for last-minute special deliveries. Any company operating in a place like Ontario knows that in order to stay competitive, it has to anticipate the needs of a diverse cross-section of customers. Younger buyers especially expect companies to be flexible, which is why delivery services are offering their customers the freedom to develop their own packages tailor-made to suite their lifestyle. Whether it’s frozen chicken home delivery one week and fresh beef delivery to their office the next, delivery services need to be able to adapt to their customers’ needs. This is why Ontarians can now get meat delivered not only to their door, but to their place of work as well.

There is no doubt that as technology improves, shopping will become even more seamless. How we eat may have changed a lot in the past decade, but the constant remains that customers increasingly want a shopping experience that changes to adapt to their lives, rather than needing to organize their lives around the way they shop.  

How to Enjoy Sweets and Treats on a Healthy Diet

Yes, we said the ‘D’ word and the ’S’ word in the same sentence. Afraid? Don’t be! The most important part of any diet is the mental relationship that you have with food. There is no such thing as the perfect diet that will send your fat cells packing and give you the perfect body. Why? Because there is no one food that makes you ‘fat’ and no single food that makes you ‘thin’.

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The important thing is to understand that everything begins in the mind. Does this mean that you can stuff yourself with nice treats all the time and expect to be healthy? Of course not! But it does mean that you’re allowed to have that delicious treat every now and then. And dessert is definitely on the cards!

Simple guidelines to a successful healthy diet – with treats included – are below:

  • Everything in moderation.
  • Change your view towards food. All food is equal and if you’re going to hate what you’re eating then the ‘diet’ is doing more harm than good to your body.
  • If you want something sweet make sure that you opt for treats that are made with finely sought ingredients that have a feel-good effect on your mind. Sea salt caramels from McCrea’s are a perfect treat throughout your ‘diet’. They are made by award winning masters and only use the finest ingredients, making this a real treat for your body. They’re small enough to not overindulge by eating one or two when you get your sugar craving and at the same time, they’re really good for you, both mentally and physically.
  • We all know the saying, “You are what you eat.” Well this is absolutely true. If you’re going to put fast food and cheap thrill foods into your body that is exactly what you will be getting out. If you choose the healthier but still delicious foods, then your mind and body will find a perfect balance and create a perfect equilibrium for you to steadily lose the pounds and feel great!
  • Remember to always affirm the positive. Your diet is successful! You will reach your goal weight. You look incredible. Never affirm the negative such as, I am not fat. Why? Because the subconscious does not ‘read’ negative words such as ‘not’, ‘can’t’ etc. So, what you are affirming when you say ‘I am not fat’ is actually ‘I am fat’, and our mind does exactly what we tell it to do. This means that you will be programming your body to gain pounds instead of losing them.
  • Remember you’re perfect exactly the way that you are. If you would like to sculpt your body and fine tune it, that’s great but a positive mind first, then a definite self love, and then of course couple it with a healthy vision.

One last interesting thing to remember is this, the word ‘diet’ comes from the Greek diaita which actually means, ‘a way of life’. And who can live without delicious treats for the rest of their lives? Definitely not me!

Ingredient Suppliers Are Following Food Market Trends

People change their thoughts about food constantly, and ingredient suppliers need to be aware of these cultural ebbs and flows. Consumers have changed their opinions on dietary elements like salt, sugar, fat, eggs, and more over the years. Ingredient suppliers have to be on top of these market trends to keep consumers happy with what’s on their plate.

Checking The Market Trends

Ingredient suppliers have to be aware of all the food market trends in order to appease customers’ choices. For example, the experienced ingredient supplier CCC Ingredients researches the food market and globally sources innovative ingredients to match consumer needs. They have adapted their portfolio to accommodate food trends dealing with dietary restrictions, sugar alternatives and GMOs.

Dietary Restrictions

Ingredient suppliers must comply with the flux of dietary restrictions that Canadians have. Whether consumers are following these restrictions for their health or for personal beliefs, ingredient suppliers need to keep them satisfied. Some examples of dietary restrictions that are present in the market include: gluten-free diets; low-fat, low-sugar, or low-carb diets; vegetarianism; and veganism.

Vegetarian and vegan diets are growing in popularity in North America, which means that alternative ingredients need to be offered. Vegetarian diets can include animal products, so compromises and alternatives are not as difficult to find. Vegan diets are more restrictive, requiring no animal products whatsoever, including eggs, dairy, and sometimes even honey. One of the most important alternatives for vegans and vegetarians is protein, which is typically found in animal products or by-products. Check out the ingredient portfolio at http://ccc-ingredients.com/ to see examples of meat-free proteins like pea protein, rice protein and soy protein.

Sugar Alternatives

With the average consumer becoming more health conscious, there is more demand for alternatives to traditional refined white sugar. The challenge has been to keep food products flavourful and delicious, while accommodating consumer desires. Ingredient suppliers are offering natural sweeteners as white sugar alternatives, like coconut sugar and stevia. Stevia is considered an excellent sweetener for people looking to lose weight or who are suffering with diabetes.

Non-GMO Products

It’s clear that consumers are concerned about health and wellness when it comes to their food. There has been a recent rise of distrust towards GMO products, so suppliers are putting their efforts in creating non-GMO ingredients. Consumers want natural, organic products that don’t feel nutritionally tampered or altered like a GMO (genetically modified organism). Suppliers have been releasing Non-GMO products with clean-labels to show they understand their consumers’ desires to be comfortable with what they eat.

The rapid changes in consumer diets have challenged ingredient suppliers to keep an eye on food market trends and to keep evolving their products. Suppliers have included protein alternatives on their portfolio to appeal to vegan and vegetarian consumers. They have added different sweeteners for those who want to avoid refined white sugar and be mindful of their health. They have also given products clean-labels to prove they are naturally sourced and not genetically-modified. Ingredient suppliers are finding new ways to appeal to their consumers, so that everyone is pleased with what they eat.


How To Increase Your Appetite Again After Being Sick

When you become ill it can be challenging to have an appetite.  Even just getting the slightest thing down seems to take tons of energy.  Some people lose a significant amount of weight when they are ill since they aren’t eating as much as usual.

When the illness finally subsides it can be hard to return to a normal appetite since our stomachs may be churning and quite sensitive after the upset cause on your stomach during your illness.  You will need food to get back to your former self, however, and provide your body with the fuel that it needs.  Here are some tips for making sure that you get your appetite back to where it needs to be.

Avoid Unpleasant Smells

Your stomach is going to be quite sensitive and your gag reflex will be on extreme sensitivity level.  Make sure that you avoid kicking it into gear by not being around unpleasant smells which could kickstart your urge to vomit.

Try to avoid things like litter boxes, rotten garbage, or even chemical sprays for cleaning or  moth prevention.  If you manage to avoid these things then you will be that much less likely to want to vomit.

Eat Meals Rather Than Snacks

When you snack throughout the day in small amounts you may find yourself eating less overall.  Try to build your appetite up throughout the day by avoiding snacking so that when you sit down to a full meal you have the urge to eat a lot in one sitting.

Try to make sure that they are foods which are easily digested and not too overly greasy or full of intense flavor and spice.  Your stomach will still be quite sensitive so it is best to start with foods which are easy on your system.

Work Up a Sweat

When you engage in exercise and work up a sweat you will be more likely to have a big appetite and will be more likely to be ready to eat a big meal.  If you aren’t necessarily ready to start jogging a 5k, you can do something light like walking or dancing in your living room.

Once you start getting a sweat going then you will find that you are much more ready to eat. Try doing this every day and watch your appetite increase.

Start With Easy Foods

Start with foods that are easy like rice, pasta, and fruit.  Instead of going for foods which are heavy or not your favorite, try going for comfort foods which you enjoy and can easily eat and feel comforted by.

Don’t risk being put off by a meal by making a complicated choice.  Start simple and work your way slowly back into a normal diet.

5 Best Foods for Immune System Strength

Food holds a lot of power when it comes to our health and happiness. It can make us sick or protect us from the worst illnesses. If you’re looking for some morsels that will boost your immune system and protect your body from attack, here are some foods you should try.

  1. Ginger and Fennel Tea

Both ginger and fennel are excellent for not only preventing illness, but also helping you recover quickly. They can decrease inflammation, reduce a sore throat, lessen nausea, and ease chronic pain. The best way to serve these two ingredients when you’re feeling ill is through a ginger and fennel infused tea, like Immune Tea from Dr. Smood. It will leave you feeling energized and refreshed.

  1. Spinach and Kale Smoothies

Green smoothies are part of a popular health fad that effectively boosts your immune system strength. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with vitamin C, as well as antioxidants and beta carotene. These elements have proven very useful for fighting off infections and strengthening immunity.

Mix these ingredients with berries and fruits to improve the flavor of the smoothie and maximize the taste. Try any of these recipes from 100 Days of Real Food.

  1. Berry Parfait

Berries themselves are full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which we know are great for immunity. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in particular are great for the body.

Combine these berries with yogurt, which can stimulate the immune system and fight disease. Look for “live and active cultures” on the label, and opt for Greek yogurt when you want to reduce your sugar intake.

Also, avoid purchasing a parfait from a fast food service or cafe, as there will be extra sugar and less fresh ingredients. Instead, purchase from an organic cafe or make your own with this recipe from Orgain.com

  1. Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Most people associate immunity strength with fruits and vegetables, but studies show that poultry can also help you prevent illness and make you feel better when you’re sick. There’s plenty of vitamin B-6 in poultry that can promote the creation of healthy red blood cells.

When put in a soup with plenty of vegetables, the benefits of chicken are doubled. The broth will make you feel better when you’re ill, and the carrots, celery, and other vegetables will give your immune system the vitamins it needs to stay healthy. Try this recipe from Six Sisters Stuff!

  1. Beef, Barley, and Vegetable Stew

Like chicken soup, stew can have healing properties that can ease cold symptoms and make you feel better. What’s more, stew has plenty of vitamins and minerals you need for optimum health.

Beef is loaded with zinc, which is a common health deficiency in adults that compromises health. Grains like barley also have fiber and antioxidant capabilities that can chase away bad bacteria. Finally, the vegetables in beef stew have the vitamins essential for a stronger immune system. When combined together in a recipe like this one from Skinny Kitchen, it’s a delicious way to fight off illness.