Posts tagged with "foodie"

Kaelen Felix illustration for 360 MAGAZINE pizza article

NO. 1 TAKEOUT DISH – PIZZA

According to New York Post, pizza is one of the most popular takeaway dishes searched in the world.

National Pizza Week: growth pizza restaurants comes to abrupt halt

BoldData crunches the numbers 

Next week is National Pizza Week. An entire week in honor of one of America’s all-time favorite foods. Time to crunch the numbers! The latest statistics from data specialist BoldData show that the amount of pizza restaurants in America has increased with a whopping 39.2% over the last five years. However, the growth abruptly stopped in 2020. 

Pizza party over?

Craving pizza? There are currently 90.817 pizza restaurants in The United States. An increase of 39.2% compared to 2016, in this year there were 65.213 pizza places. Especially 2017 was a good year for pizza: with an increase of 11.137 pizza joints (17.1 %). In the beginning of 2021 the USA should’ve reached the magical number of 100.000 pizza restaurants, but then COVID-19 happened… The growth of pizza restaurants came to an abrupt halt in 2020, with an increase of only 581 restaurants.  

California is the pizza place to be

When it comes to pizza, California is the place to be. The state has 8.271 pizza places, of which 2.044 are based in the Los Angeles area. New York comes in second with 7.190 restaurants, a growth of 48% compared to 2016. The biggest growth took place in Hawaii: a whopping 69%. Pizza lovers best stay away from Wyoming, the state has the lowest number of pizza joints (133). 


USA takes biggest slice worldwide

Americans love their pizza. It’s even considered America’s favorite food. Therefore it’s no surprise that the USA is home to the largest number of pizza restaurants worldwide. Italy –  where the modern pizza was originally invented – comes in second with 42.288 pizzeria’s. Brazil completes the top 3 with 32.283 pizza joints. But the USA has nothing to fear from the rest of the world. With 90.817 pizza restaurant the USA still has more pizzeria’s then the top 4 combined (88.100). Australia is number 8 on the list: with 5.598 pizza restaurants they have one of the highest number of pizza places per capita.   

About BoldData:

We are global data experts with a highly accurate database of 287+ million companies worldwide. With our data have helped 2.000+ companies with analytics, research and CRM. Our data is being used by renowned research companies such as Statista. As well by FMCG companies such as Heineken, P&G, Danone and UberEats. 

Vaughn Lowery makes pizza for 360 MAGAZINE article
Michelin chef article illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 MAGAZINE

“Top Chef” Season 18

Bravo’s “Top Chef”, produced by Magical Elves, calls Portland, Oregon home for season 18, kicking off with two weeks of supersized premieres starting on Thursday, April 1 from 8:00 – 9:15 pm ET/PT.  This season, a new batch of 15 extremely talented Executive Chefs and restaurant owners, representing a cross-section of kitchens and food around the country, vie for the coveted title bringing their unique skillsets, diversity of cuisines and gamut of flavors.  With Portland as a picturesque backdrop and culinary inspiration, the chefs compete in a variety of challenges including celebrating PDX’s Pan-African cuisine to feeding hundreds of frontline workers and crabbing on the Oregon Coast in a tribute to the culinary icon and Oregonian James Beard.  For a sneak peek, visit Bravo’s website.

The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.  For the first time ever, a collection of “Top Chef” all-star winners, finalists and favorites are joining an elite rotating judging and dining panel including Richard Blais, Carrie Baird, Nina Compton, Tiffany Derry, Gregory Gourdet, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Edward Lee, Kwame Onwuachi, Amar Santana, Dale Talde and Brooke Williamson.   This season also includes appearances by José Andrés, Massimo Bottura, Gabriel Rucker and Alice Waters, as well as “Portlandia” stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein who stop by “Top Chef” Kitchen for a Quickfire Challenge.

Beginning Thursday, April 8, Bravo’s Emmy-Winning digital companion series “Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen,” hosted by Tom Colicchio, returns for season ten as the eliminated chefs go head-to-head to try to cook their way back into the competition. Presented byBMW of North America,each week’s episode will be availableon Bravotv.com, On Demand or wherever you stream Bravo’s “Top Chef” at the conclusion of each week’s episode.

Meet the New Cheftestants:

*For more information on the cheftestants, please visit  Bravo’s website.

During a time of extreme hardship in the restaurant industry, these chefs have more on the line than ever before.  From working with foraged mushrooms and picking produce at the famous Hood River Fruit Loop to visiting the Tillamook Creamery, the chefs are tasked with cooking with Oregon’s natural bounty of ingredients.  With Padma, Tom and Gail and a table full of alums to impress, the expectations have never been higher, especially in this year’s unique Restaurant Wars where the teams must perfectly execute on a micro-restaurant concept with a cohesive seven-course tasting menu that rivals the best in the world. To stay in the game, the chefs must cook at their best while contending with a Quickfire using ingredients used on the Oregon Trail and a surf and turf elimination challenge honoring the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. While in the “City of Roses,” the judges definitely don’t hold back their thorns as they narrow it down to find this season’s “Top Chef.”

The winning chef will earn the coveted title of “Top Chef,” $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.

Last season, “Top Chef” ranked as 2020’s #1 food show across all of cable, averaging nearly 1 million P18-49 and 1.1 million P25-54.  Additionally, the season was up 42% on Video On Demand/Streaming, all told, it was viewed over 10 million times.  (Food Show: Nielsen, L7, P18-49/P25-54, FY 2020, including food programs across cable, excluding repeats. VOD/Streaming: Rentrak and Adobe Analytics, S17 vs. S16, includes STB, TVE (on+off), dMVPD, and OVD.)

“Top Chef” is produced by the Emmy Award-winning production company Magical Elves with Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, Doneen Arquines and Hillary Olsen serving as executive producers.

About Magical Elves 

Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, non-fiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for hits like “Top Chef” (Bravo), “Nailed It!” (Netflix), “Sugar Rush” (Netflix), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen) and “Brain Games” reboot (Nat Geo), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest quality programming. Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio of production companies. For more information, visit www.magicalelves.com.

About Bravo Media

Bravo is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content across all platforms. The network features a diverse slate of original programming, including Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef” and “Project Runway,” fan-favorites “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the highly popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises. Bravo also boasts the only live late-night talk show on television with the critically acclaimed “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” which has become a nightly destination for A-list celebrities. Bravo is part of the NBCUniversal Television and Streaming portfolio, which includes NBCU’s broadcast, cable and streaming platforms: NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA Network and Peacock. For more information, visit BravoTV.com.

Meet the Man Behind Bronx Night Market

By Hannah DiPilato

360 Magazine recently had the opportunity to sit down with Marco Shalma, founder of Round Seven Media and MASC Hospitality Group. He is responsible for beginning a food and culture festival in New York called The Bronx Night Market. In this interview, he talks about everything from advice for young entrepreneurs to his favorite food spots in New York. 

How did you begin Round Seven Media and why did you decide to start this?

I started in 2013, which was after my education at NYU for undergrad and pursuing a master’s degree in film and tv. Marketing was my passion, and I wanted to run a campaign in a different way. I wanted to use the concept of getting people into the mix of the story and I wanted to get that into a narrative for clients in marketing. In 2013, I sold my shares in restaurant groups and I wanted to begin marketing for myself. I went around and started looking for clients in restaurant and hospitality for about 20 years, which I had experience in. With the explosion of Instagram and technology, it was the perfect time to explore marketing opportunities.

When the company started, the first thing was to go find professional people with a school of thought from film and writing. Our business is known for being a launch campaign for ideas, projects, etc. and we will build an online presence for our clients by finding the key demographic. We are focused on the launch period so our work doesn’t really go further than the six month period.

You also founded MASC Hospitality Group, what made you start another business as well?

MASC Hospitality is one of those situations that happened backward, meaning we first took on the Bronx Night Market project in 2017, which then branched out to many other events that were affiliated with the Bronx Night Market. At one point, we needed to incorporate all of these events, so we decided to create MASC Hospitality Group. If you think about it, MASC Hospitality is a company that basically creates different events while Round Seven Media is the one promoting these events. Sometime around 2018, I started taking fewer clients for Round Seven Media and started adding more of my own companies to Round Seven Media. 

What is your favorite event that MASC Hospitality Group is responsible for?

My favorite event hands down is Bronx Night Market. The Bronx Night Market is my baby, it’s a proud moment for me because it came from a vision of bringing something to the Bronx community, my community, that is a prideful event and a reason to be proud of the borrow, without needing to commute to Manhattan or Queens to experience a festival that celebrates culture, cuisine and commerce. 

We always say culture, cuisine and commerce because culture encompasses the diversity of the city with so many different flavors, cuisine because this is the grand unifier, everyone can enjoy a meal together no matter what skin tone or nationality and commerce is the idea of creating space for young entrepreneurs and small local businesses to present what they do to a large number of people and promote their business to help them move into the next stage of their success. This encompasses everything we are about, supporting small businesses, young entrepreneurship and of course, good, good food. 

Have you encountered any problems while being a business owner for these two organizations?

When you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, you always encounter problems. It’s always a matter of hiring the right people, navigating through resources, financing and funding, but mostly it’s identifying and understanding the demographic. I think for me, as a serial entrepreneur, a good idea is a good idea, but you need to identify your key demographic. You need to identify what you do and who it’s for. Then, you work for months or years fine-tuning to make everything connect and basically build a community around your brand.

For example, Round Seven Media is a brand that understands the power of our way of doing business. We are known as one of the top agencies in New York to run launch campaigns for brands because we are dedicated to doing that. With something like The Bronx Night Market, it’s about identifying Bronx-based foodies and people that want to explore offerings and now they have the opportunity to do that in a place where they feel safe, secure and happy. The event is really designed for the community instead of something that could be done anywhere else. 

What do you look for in employees that you hire for your company? 

We hire on a regular basis, we continuously hire for different projects on behalf of companies. When we finish a launch campaign at Round Seven Media, we like to hire people to replace us, younger people, hungry people that can do social media for those brands. When we look at hiring, the most important thing for us at the moment is consistency and the ability to have a follow-up and a follow-through. I think those are the three very, very important elements because in today’s field of business, having consistency and bringing your A-game every time is something that is critical to the success of any business. I’ve unfortunately had to work with people that can bring 120% one day and 30% the next day. This also has a lot to do with company culture and the idea that you need to create an environment that allows people to be consistent.

Another big part is the ability to follow up and follow through. I can’t even tell you how many times you will be doing things where you need to follow up with clients and partners and sometimes it even takes up to 20 emails. Each and every opportunity for you to accomplish something or to create something if you don’t follow through, you have failed. We are also looking for employees that are super savvy with communications and social media because this is becoming a crucial part of any brand. The ability to understand how media works and how to maximize these services is important to our brand. 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like you once were?

If I had to give one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs, it would be to not bite off more than you can chew: focus, focus, focus. I keep seeing a lot of young entrepreneurs that I work with trying to do too much. They try to put on six or seven different hats and be the CEO of the universe at the same time. I always say, focus on the one thing, take your time, become the best in your field and then explore from there. From what I’ve seen, the ability to focus and distill your message and brand into the simplest form and show it to other people such as the investors and partners, showing your dedication to a single idea is the most valuable.

When I used to work on movies, right after grad school, one of the exercises I had that influenced me completely was an exercise of writing a logline for a feature film. You have a script of like 90 pages that you need to turn in to a 25-word logline that will explain exactly what that movie is. It’s almost an impossible mission, but once you start on this, you understand how important the focus is. I now tell people you need to understand your business so well that nothing will get in the way. That’s how you get investors and money. 

I know you’re passionate about food, what are some restaurants you would recommend to our readers?

It’s hard to talk about restaurants right now when the restaurant industry is suffering so much. Every day we see another one of my favorite restaurants closing down and the industry is struggling especially when it seems like the industry won’t open soon. I’ll tell you about food in general, as a foodie the most important thing for me is not chasing trends, but a restaurant that has a focused menu, where they know what they’re doing and they’re focused on creating the best experience with a sense of consistency. I know I probably sound like everything is driven like that, but honestly, it’s so important.

Before covid I used to go to a restaurant once a month in West Harlem that used to make the most amazing eggplant pasta, there was also a place I used to go with the most amazing salmon dish and I used to go to another place with the most amazing pad thai. That’s the best thing about living in New York, you get exposed to so much food and you’ll try a lot of trends, but at the end of the day, when you hit something that you know is going to be just as good every time you get it, it becomes the place you go for that dish.

The older I get I realize that’s the most important thing because I want to go back to the restaurant five years later and get the same food and experience. I’m hoping we’ll come out of this soon and be able to go and enjoy restaurants again. Even if you don’t like restaurants and you’re a great cook, you miss sitting down with your friends in a restaurant, eating some food, enjoying a bottle of wine and sharing a good laugh. It’s not about the food, it’s about the experience. 

Where do you see yourself going next in your career? 

At the moment we are trying to get back to normal life especially with Bronx Night Market and other events that we have. I’m working very hard to define what we can do in public spaces to help restaurants and other brick and mortar restaurants come back to life.

At the moment, I’m really dedicating a lot of my time to working with city and state agencies to create programming that will allow brick and mortar businesses to have more visibility as well as helping small businesses that began at home during the pandemic. I like to call these businesses “homentrepreneurs” and they will need a place for their businesses outside to get more traction in the community once the pandemic is over.

I am taking my experience within marketing and media, my ability to push forth different agendas and my ability to plan different activities to bring these skills to neighborhoods around New York and support these businesses and give a place for new entrepreneurs to grow outside of their homes. This is something I have been very excited about for a few months. 

After Covid is over, are there any events you would hope for the MASC Hospitality Group to execute?

Help New Yorkers get back to normal as soon as possible. Possibly that will be creating open-air markets and events relating to many different niches, and just to let New Yorkers come to celebrate returning to normalcy. After covid, trying to figure out with different partners how to help businesses survive the next few months and thrive as soon as we get out of this crisis. This has been a focus for us to do. We have seen way too many friends of ours close shop and disappear. 

Be sure to keep up with Marco Shalma and the Bronx Night Market on Instagram. 

photo credit foodcre8tive
Photo credit to r.ace.me
Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Saudi Arabia (Tabuk)

Visit Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture

While Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is not yet open to international travelers, there are a number of foodie destinations that should be on travelers’ bucket lists when travel restrictions are lifted. Below are some incredibly unique restaurants, breweries and wineries that showcase the best of Miyagi’s local cuisine.

Akiu Winery in the quiet hills of Akiu was founded in 2015 in an effort to support the prefecture’s local agriculture. The winery produces an incredible array of wines using Merlot, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris grapes that are all grown on the estate. Guests who stop by the winery can sample any of the wines, cheeses and meats, and take a tour of the winery. Japan’s whiskey industry has received global recognition over the last few years, and travelers can experience the scene first-hand at the Miyagikyo.

Miyagikyo Distillery produces Nikka Whiskey which was originally made by the “Father of Japanese Whiskey,” Masataka Taketsuru. Taketsuru founded this second Nikka distillery in 1969 at the junction of two rivers among the Sakunami Mountains. Guests can tour the facility, participate in a whiskey tasting seminar and purchase distillery-exclusive whiskies at the gift shop. There are also a small number of microbreweries in Miyagi including one at the restaurant

Naruko no Kaze serves Japanese dinner staples like ramen and curry rice along with acclaimed sake and beer that is brewed on-site. Its awarding-winning doburoku, a thick, unfiltered farmhouse-style sake, along with its beers, which are made from local ingredients such as Yukimusubi rice and yamabudo (wild mountain grapes), are a must-try for all visitors. Miyagi’s restaurant scene also highlights the best of the prefecture’s local cuisine. Travelers who find themselves in Naruko Onsen should take a short tip to Egao Shokudo, a local soba shop. The fresh vegetables and mushrooms are all foraged by the ladies who run the shop and the local community of the surrounding mountains. The hand-picked vegetables and mushrooms are also pickled and available for purchase in the store.

As Japan is well known for its seafood, no trip to Miyagi would be complete without a visit to the Koei Suisan Fish Store, a popular local store in Matsushima Bay. In addition to offering the freshest seafood available, this family-run shop farms its own oysters. During oyster season (mid-October to mid-March), guests can savor yakigaki (grilled oysters) and raw oysters for dine-in or take-out.

Miyagi also has an incredible array of sakes distributed in the United States for people to try while dreaming of these foodie destinations. With more than 350 years under its belt, Uchigasaki Brewery is the oldest sake brewery in Miyagi Prefecture. Just north of the capital city Sendai, the brewery was founded in 1661 when its hometown Tomiya City became a popular post town along the Oshu Highway during the Edo period.

Another local favorite, Katsuyama has been making sake in Miyagi Prefecture since 1688. This brewery offers a wide variety of crystal-clear sakes to choose from, appealing to every palette. Founded in 1724, the Urakasumi Sake Brewery has been family-run for thirteen generations. Since then, the brewery has been providing the sacred sake for Shiogama Shrine, a 1,200 year-old Shinto shrine and one of the largest and most beloved shrines in Miyagi.

Newer but no less reputable, Ichinokura Brewery was founded in 1973 after four local breweries joined forces to create a very special sake made completely by hand.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com

travel, 360 MAGAZINE

What are the best places to travel to on your own?

Travel is one of the best things that you can do to broaden your mind, experience new cultures, and have lots of fun. Many people, though, do not have friends to head off with, which makes traveling on your own a must. Before you go, you have to plan appropriately to get the most from any trip. If you chose to head to New Jersey on a break, it would be wise to look at sites, including the Tropicana Online Casino, so you had something fun to do in your hotel room during chill time. The same is true for other destinations within the USA or around the world. Looking at what the nightlife is like, what sights there are to see, and what there is to do in the day is sensible. 

Of course, before you delve into the finer details of any resort or city, you need to pick the right place first. That is often a little trickier for solo travelers who have a slightly different set of priorities than those holidaying in a group. But which are the best destinations for solo travel around the world?

Cannes

Beautiful Cannes is in the South of France on the fabled Cote D’Azur. However, like most other destinations around the world, it has been hit by COVID-19 lockdown measures recently, Cannes plans to revive tourism soon. But what makes this place so great? First of all, the weather is superb during the summer months, and this makes it perfect for relaxing on the gorgeous beaches there while doing some people watching. 

The café culture is also evident, so you will feel very comfortable when sipping a latte alone while watching the world go by. Cannes is also a very safe and welcoming destination, which makes it ideal for solo travelers. With a buzzing atmosphere and many other single travelers around, it is a fabulous place to holiday on your own. 

Stockholm

If you fancy heading somewhere where Scandi cool is in full effect, Stockholm in Sweden is a reliable choice. Stockholm just has an air of laid-back charm that allows you to slow down and recharge your batteries. The city that you access via a series of bridges is spread across 14 islands, which makes it simple to get around.

It is also full of lovely parks and stunning architecture to marvel at while having plenty to keep you occupied. If you need help getting around, there is a fun guided Vespa Tour you can take. If you are a real foodie, there are numerous Michelin-starred restaurants around the city where you could dine alone in true style. With a friendly and cozy feel, this is a real gem for solo travel. 

New York 

You might not immediately think of New York as a solo travel hot-spot, but it is. With so much to do and so many people around, you never actually feel isolated. New Yorkers are famous for their particular charm, and this means you will always find a friendly face in cafés, bars, or shops. If you want a city that will also keep you busy, the Big Apple is it.  

The shopping here is excellent (especially Fifth Avenue), and it gives you every chance to pick up cool souvenirs to bring home. Also, New York has many fabulous sights to see – from lovely Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum. If you fancy a change from dining and drinking each night, why not check out the best plays on Broadway? 

Dominica 

One surprising choice for any single traveler may be the Caribbean – after all, it is known as a honeymoon spot or a cruise destination. Dominica is a little different, though, and is somewhere that feels perfect for traveling alone. If you like an adventure when away, it is a great choice. The island has lakes to trek alongside and massive gorges to cave through. The wildlife here is naturally fantastic, and there is also some excellent accommodation for a reasonable price. You will always feel safe here, thanks to the welcoming local community, and it is an island that is very easy to walk around. With delicious local food and some charming bars to enjoy a shot of rum at, Dominica is a real hidden gem. 

Solo travel spots are worth researching first

No doubt, checking out the best places to go alone before booking any trip is worthwhile. Doing so will ensure that you end up in a place where there is plenty to do, and that makes you feel comfortable being there as a single person. Hopefully the above has given you some fresh ideas on the most exciting places to try. 

Lokal Eatery and Bar, Jersey City, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

Clean Eating Tips for a Fresh Start This Year

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to adopt a cleaner, healthier diet, you should start with small changes. You don’t get to erase a lifetime worth of bad eating choices overnight so here are some tips that will make the transition smoother and will help you maintain a healthier, more balanced lifestyle from now on. 

Make cooking a social activity 

One of the main reasons why people cannot stick to a diet is because their closest friends or family members are not supportive enough. So, what better way to preach a cleaner diet if not by making cooking a social activity? 

Host a cooking party every week and ask your friends to join the fun. Friday night or Saturday evening is perfect for trying out new recipes, playing with ingredients in the kitchen, and having fun with your besties. Replace the boring barbeques and fried chicken with grilled fish and veggies and swap beer for a fancy glass of wine. 

Drink more water 

As you age, you might not feel thirsty as often as you did before but this doesn’t mean you should forget drinking water. On the contrary, staying hydrated is the first step to eliminate toxins from your body and adopt a cleaner diet. 

If you’re not exactly a fan of drinking those 17 fluid ounces of water daily, you can opt for other liquids. Light soups, unsweetened tea, and lemonade are also great choices that will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated at the same time, without having to worry about calories. 

Plan your meals 

Another easy trick to stick to your healthy diet choices is to go grocery shopping every week or every 4-5 days and plan your meals. Make a list of the dishes you want to prepare in the upcoming week and stick to the ingredients from your shopping list. Or if you’re a busy body, try one of many popular meal subscription kits available here.

Lean meat like chicken, turkey, and fish (rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that are vital for your health) can be kept frozen for a longer time while fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten 1-3 days after you bought them. Go to your nearest farmer’s market once a week and pick up fresh, organic ingredients instead of buying them from regular supermarkets. This way, you will support local agriculture and stick to your clean eating habits easier. 

Make your own seasoning mixes 

Part of a healthy diet means to watch your sodium intake, which means you should cut on the salt as much as you can. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to season your foods to taste delicious without adding salt. 

Make your own fresh mix of herbs and spices by mixing Himalaya pink salt or sea salt (healthier choices than regular refined salt) with cayenne pepper, rosemary, basil, oregano, sage, and a few chili flakes.

Grill and stir fry instead of deep-fry 

Whether you’re from the South or not, few people can resist deep-fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Unfortunately, deep-fried foods are less nutritious and rich in bad fats which will cause you a lot of health problems, including gaining weight in the long term. 

Healthier options for cooking your food include stir-frying, grilling, and steaming. A slow cooker is a great choice for those committed to changing their diets while grilling is perfect for a weekend afternoon spent with your friends and family. No matter your choice, you should also consider healthy ingredients such as more veggies and lean meat instead of your regular beef and pork. 

Watch your sweet tooth 

Caving into your culinary temptations is only natural and you shouldn’t be worried about it if it just happens occasionally. You can treat yourself with a cheat day every two weeks but you have to watch your processed sugar intake. 

Eating too much sugar will not only make you hyperactive but is also dangerous for your blood, arteries, skin, and teeth. So, unless you want to check some reviews of denture adhesives before term and avoid cavities, replace your usual sweets with raw-vegan recipes or a simple carrot cake.  

101 Best Restaurants

On Monday, Dec. 9, the Los Angeles Times will publish its annual list of 101 Best Restaurants, premiering on latimes.com that evening and in a premium print edition to be delivered to Times Sunday subscribers on Dec. 15.

This year, for the seventh edition of the list originated by the late great Jonathan Gold, Times restaurant critics Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega have chosen the restaurants and written all of the reviews. (See their essay on this year’s list here.) And in honor of the restaurants that have earned coveted spots on the list, The Times Food staff will host a launch party on Dec. 9, with 30 celebrated chefs serving-up small plates.

Credit: Irmantas Gelūnas, 360 MAGAZINE

Lithuanian Fine Dining

Trend of Going Back to the Roots Praised by Michelin-Starred Chefs

Michelin-starred chefs from Italy were impressed by fine dining and food traditions they have discovered in Vilnius – the capital of Lithuania. The chefs pointed out reliance on roots and authenticity as the main strength of Lithuanian cuisine. They saw this as a trend that other countries are likely to follow.

The restaurants, food markets and delicacy shops of Vilnius attracted considerable attention of Michelin-starred chefs Andrea Aprea and Anthony Genovese, who visited the Lithuanian capital to attend the Lithuanian Gastronomy Forum. Both chefs agreed that a combination of authentic elements with modern cuisine sets Vilnius food tradition as an example to follow.

“Authenticity is important for the new generation of chefs we see coming at the moment. It is quite easy to get caught up in what the rest of the world is doing without figuring out who exactly you are as a chef and learning about your own heritage. Once you have this base understanding of yourself and your roots, your food will continue to evolve and thrive,” said Chef Genovese from the restaurant Il Pagliaccio, **Michelin Guide 2019.

According to Chef Aprea, when people make their traditional dishes they save and share memories of authentic food. People then learn from each other by making or tasting food of other cultures.

“I don’t have any memory of Lithuanian food, I don‘t know what is authentic Lithuanian cuisine, but the food itself and chefs who made it were telling stories. They combine the contemporary approach towards food with local traditional food elements. I think that coming back to the roots, saving and sharing memory is the way everybody should and will follow,” explained Chef Aprea from the restaurant VUN, ** Michelin Guide 2019.

During his food exploration trip, Chef Aprea was introduced to food served in Lithuania during the Middle Ages. He tried traditional cottage cheese, smoked pork fat, kvass and spit cake.

“I’d definitely recommend Vilnius as a gastro tourism place. It’s interesting to discover both the modern cuisine with traditional elements and an authentic food experience tasting the food that Lithuanians served on the table in the Middle Ages. Not only I’d recommend Vilnius to my friends or other chefs but I also plan coming back here again myself,” reflected Chef Aprea.

Vilnius’ restaurants focus on seasonal cuisine, improvisation, and unique culinary experiences. And though they differ in flavours, concepts and traditions, they’re all contributing to the city’s budding food scene, which takes guests on delicious flavour filled adventures.

Most of the top-grade restaurants in Vilnius have some traditional Lithuanian elements in their menus. For example, restaurants Nineteen 18 and Sweet Root both base their cuisine specifically on a modern interpretation of Lithuanian culinary tradition. These restaurants were  listed second and third, respectively, on the 2019 Top 30 Baltic restaurants list and given the Global Master Level by the White Guide Nordic. The best Lithuanian restaurant (according to a local ratingDžiaugsmas also serves creative reinterpretation of local food.

The menu of such restaurants features original interpretations of such Lithuanian everyday dishes as carp, schnitzel, beetroots and potatoes. Mushrooms – the must-have of the ordinary Lithuanian kitchen get into unexpected combinations as in dried boletus ice cream with hazelnut biscuit and fourteen months oak-aged apple vinegar served in Džiaugsmas. The fine-dining restaurants use local supplies of Lithuanian farmers or even develop their own farms.

Chef Aprea thinks that the popularity of local produce and food markets also adds to the high quality of food in Vilnius restaurants.

“When I visit foreign countries I first try to find out where people from that country are buying food. It helps me in understanding their approach towards food. It‘s important because food is our gasoline. Finding a nice and lively food market in a city or country is an important sign for me,” he said.

The trends and lessons of contemporary Lithuanian cuisine were further discussed at the second Lithuanian Gastronomy Forum which this year focused on multiculturalism as the foundation of the new Lithuanian gastronomy. Throughout the history Lithuanian cuisine was influenced by French, Italian and German gastronomic traditions as well as Jewish, tartar and other oriental cultures that reached Lithuania through its ethnic minorities. This mix of cultures and the cuisine that grew out of it were the main topics of all presentations and discussions at the forum.

ABOUT GO VILNIUS

Go Vilnius is the official tourism and business development agency of the City of Vilnius. The agency provides visitors, investors, relocating talent, entrepreneurs and businesses with all the essential information they need to know about the Lithuanian capital. Go Vilnius offers information on everything from real estate to leisure activities in Vilnius, simplifying the process of travelling, relocating to, or investing in Vilnius.

*Photo Credit: Irmantas Gelūnas

FarmToFork, armon hayes, 360 MAGAZINE

FarmToFork

“We respect the land immensely and value like-minded brands like FarmToFork that share our commitment to preservation and integrity.”Chuck Herrin (Forth Worth, Farmer)

By Armon Hayes × Vaughn Lowery

Clean and fresh ingredients make the difference when cooking pasta sauce. Proudly dedicated to a standard in growing practices and connecting communities with where their food comes proves FarmToFork to be a social movement. In NYC, we had dinner at The Fat Radish for the launch of a new brand. Encouraged to generously serve and now available in four flavors. Caramelized onions, roasted garlic, tomato, basil, with spicy marinara combined, fabricate a premium collection of super nutrient. 

Rooted in purity, all FarmToFork sauces are non-GMO and contain no tomato paste. Zero added sugars and no artificial colors or flavors. Sprung up from California soil, tomatoes are harvested at the peak of ripeness. Vine ripened tomatoes are picked within 4-8hrs during harvest, ensuring the highest caliber. The brand sources from two multi-generational, family-owned California farms, Casaca Vineyards and Worth Farms. They both share legacies of caring for their tomato crops and the communities who enjoy them. 

The makers of FarmToFork aka Stockton Kitchen share the same mission – supporting agricultural education. Big Green, a national nonprofit organization with local sources, provides “modulate” gardens in low-income schools and their surrounding communities. Their aim is to educate people on the importance of sustainability and how home grown veggies nourish the body.

FarmToFork is available nationwide at most major grocers. Retail price: $5.99-7.99.

ARIA Resort & Casino, MGM, food, travel, 360 MAGAZINE

DIN TAI FUNG 

The soup dumplings once described by the late Pulitzer Prize winner Jonathan Gold as “small miracles” will find a new home as Din Tai Fung announces its first Las Vegas location, joining the stellar culinary line-up at ARIA Resort & Casino in 2020.

The esteemed Taiwanese dumpling and noodle house, with more than 170 restaurants in 13 countries, will debut in the former ARIA Café space mid-to-late next year.

ARIA President & COO Steve Zanella said, “We are thrilled to welcome Din Tai Fung to ARIA as they work alongside our talented restaurant employees to deliver a new culinary experience to our resort.  Both teams are known for their world-class service standards and we know the synergy will be impeccable when the restaurant opens next year.”

“Din Tai Fung consistently provides superior food and service, positioning the venue as one of the most sought-after brands in the world,” said MGM Resorts International Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati. “We welcome their team to our culinary portfolio as they provide ARIA’s guests with a renowned menu full of exciting offerings.”

Din Tai Fung is celebrated from Taipei to Los Angeles for meticulously handcrafted dumplings and noodles served in an approachable setting. Renowned for its Xiao Long Bao, Din Tai Fung’s Shanghai-style soup dumplings are filled with the highest quality Kurobuta pork and broth that bursts upon the first bite, fragranced with aromas of fresh ginger and green onion.

Din Tai Fung CEO Frank Yang said, “We are excited to bring Din Tai Fung to Las Vegas’ international clientele. We will be leveraging our 20 years of experience perfecting our operations in other markets to provide an authentic yet modern Taiwanese dining experience. Our attention to detail and commitment to the highest standard in both service and food quality is, no doubt, a perfect match for ARIA.”

Additional details on Din Tai Fung will be made available in the coming months.

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ARIA Resort & Casino

ARIA Resort & Casino is a stunning AAA Five Diamond resort on The Strip featuring an unprecedented combination of striking architecture, sustainable design, spectacular amenities, high-end service and premium meeting and convention space. Combined with its unparalleled amenities including luxurious shopping at Crystals and the first-of-its-kind public Fine Art Collection, ARIA introduces a new generation of resort experiences, unlike anything Las Vegas has ever seen.  ARIA and its neighboring properties are a joint venture between MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) and Infinity World Development Corp, a subsidiary of Dubai World. For more information and reservations, visit ARIA.com or call toll free at (866) 359-7757; also find ARIA on Facebook and Twitter.

Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant specializing in Xiao Long Bao. Originally founded as a cooking oil retail business in 1958, Din Tai Fung was reborn as a steamed dumpling and noodle restaurant in 1972. Since its founding, Din Tai Fung has focused on achieving steady improvement in quality, standardization, and service. In 1996, the first international location opened in Tokyo, and the first location in North America opened in Arcadia, California in 2000. In 2009, the Hong Kong branch was awarded one Michelin star. Din Tai Fung now has 8 locations in California, 5 locations in the Pacific Northwest and more than 170 restaurants in 13 countries worldwide.

For more information please visit http://dintaifungusa.com/; also find Din Tai Fung USA on Facebook and Instagram (@dintaifungusa).