Veestro 100% Plant-Based Foods

Veestro 100% Plant-Based Foods: Meals Delivered Right to Your Door

You may have seen the numerous memes about the elevated amount of cooking we’ve had to do. In other words, we’re a bit over having to cook. If you also add in empty grocery shelves, increased prices on staples and scarce food deliveries, lunch and dinner options are dwindling. We’ve personally seen meat and chicken prices increase, which mostly leaves everyone with plant-based foods; but fresh produce is still hard to come by, which leaves you with limited options. Slowly but surely, we are being pushed into a plant-based diet but what can you when produce is limited? The answer, Veestro 100% plant-based foods.

Veestro 100% Plant-Based Foods

With all the grocery stores running out of food, why not order some pre-cooked meals straight to your doorstep? And what better time than the celebration of Earth Month to highlight delicious, organic, healthy, sustainable food, made from plants. With the Veestro meal delivery service, there is no chopping, no cooking, and no cleanup required. Simply heat up your Veestro plant-based meal in the oven or microwave. For those who still enjoy the act of cooking, some of the meals can be heated on the stovetop. The 100% plant-based foods are made with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. We had the pleasure of trying out a few of the meals: Red Curry with Tofu, Country Fried Chick’n, Enchilada Casserole, and Soba Noodles in Peanut Sauce. As life-long carnivores, we can attest to how delicious they are.

Veestro 100% Plant-Based Foods Red Curry

We began our plant-based adventure with the Red Curry with Tofu; this mouth-watering and hearty meal is a delicious mix of broccoli, carrots, tofu, coconut curry sauce, and brown rice. The savory and sweet sauce gives this hearty meal a bold flavor that you, vegan, vegetarian, or carnivore, will absolutely enjoy.

You can choose from different flexible meal plans and dietary preferences that Veestro has, including gluten-free, low-calorie, nut-free, kosher, soy-free, and high protein. The meals are prepared fresh and shipped frozen, which allows you to eat them within 8-10 weeks. We highly recommend you at this stay-at-home savior to your list, especially as grocery shelves continue to be sparse and just as a break from the task of cooking.

Business.org $100 gift card giveaway

Business.org Support Local Restaurants With Gift Card Giveaways

We always champion supporting small businesses; Small Business Saturday is a favorite of ours, but during this uncertain time, supporting them is needed more than ever. Of course, due to unemployment, our budgets are not what they were, so Business.org is stepping in to help. Business.org wants to help out local restaurants by purchasing $5,000 worth of gift cards and gifting them to you to support your favorite restaurants.

Business.org $100 gift card giveaway

To give small businesses a quick cash infusion during the Covid-19 shutdown (and help us put food on our table), Business.org is offering a total of $5,000 toward local cuisine. How does it work? They have purchased 50 gift cards valued at $100 each and asking you to submit the name of your favorite restaurants; from the entries, they will randomly select the winners and send them a $100 gift card for the restaurant they nominated. We have selected our favorite from our neighborhood and pray to god we are selected. Who will you be nominating as your favorite?

We love this idea as it is a fantastic way to help out local businesses; this small boost will help them, and of course, you (who doesn’t need the extra grocery budget). There are rules for entering of course. Anyone 18 years or older, located in any of the 50 states, can submit a local restaurant for nomination. Only one restaurant or small business can be nominated, so be sure to select your top favorite. Submitting your name enters you into the drawing for a $100 gift card that Business.org will purchase from the local restaurant of your choice.

You must hurry though as the nominations are only open until April 30th at 5 pm MST; that’s 7 pm EST to you fellow East coasters. Click on THIS NOMINATION FORM to fill out your favorite small business. All winners will be contacted via email on May 4th, 2020.

The Great American Takeout: How You Can Help Restaurants During COVID-19

#TheGreatAmericanTakeout: How You Can Help Restaurants During COVID-19

Practically every industry across the globe is feeling the effects of the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. From entertainment to retail, this pandemic is causing businesses to shut down their operations for the foreseeable future. One industry, in particular, is likely to feel the effects of this global crisis for months — if not years — to come: the restaurant industry.

States and cities across the United States have mandated that restaurants must close their dining rooms in order to stem the spread of the dangerous coronavirus. Restaurants can offer takeout and delivery, but the regular revenue from these services certainly don’t equal what can be made with a fully-open establishment.

#TheGreatAmericanTakeout: How You Can Help Restaurants During COVID-19

That’s why a coalition of restaurants in the U.S. is asking consumers to participate in “The Great American Takeout” on Tuesday, March 24. This grassroots effort, led by the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout on social media, encourages consumers to order at least one pick-up or delivery meal on Tuesday. With many Americans practicing social distancing and making all of their own meals over the past couple of weeks, the push to order out is likely a welcome one. And with delivery options available, the effort is still accessible to the 10% of the world’s population who live with a disability and may not be able to go to a restaurant to pick up their food.

The Great American Takeout: How You Can Help Restaurants During COVID-19

photo courtesy of @edisonclarabarton

Some of the brands in the coalition promoting The Great American Takeout include California Pizza Kitchen, Panera Bread, El Torito, and The Habit Restaurants Inc. Many other restaurants, varying in size from large chains to local businesses, are joining in the effort as well.

“This is no longer about the survival of individual restaurants. It’s about the future of our industry. And time has run out. Together, we must act to support each other and our communities in unprecedented ways,” said Russ Bendel, CEO of Habit Restaurants, in a statement.

In addition to the obvious challenge of only being able to offer takeout and delivery, this campaign hopes to raise awareness of the other obstacles restaurants face in the time of coronavirus. Without the revenues that dining-in provides, many restaurants have been unable to keep their employees on the payroll. Tax season will also bring challenges to the restaurant industry. Corporate income taxes comprise about 11% of the taxes collected by the federal government, but this number might look very different when the government collects for 2020, as many restaurants will have been fully closed for a good portion of the year. Efforts like #TheGreatAmericanTakeout campaign hope to offset this future burden by generating revenue and awareness now.

photo courtesy of @falasophy

Participating in The Great American Takeout is easy, as well as tasty. To spread awareness of the campaign, the coalition is asking consumers to post on social media in advance of the event and encourage their followers and friends to take part in the campaign’s hashtag. The coalition is also asking consumers to engage their friends, family, and coworkers in the effort by directly asking them to order takeout meals from local restaurants.

The final part of participating in this delectable event is to order takeout or delivery for at least one meal on March 24. This means you could order your favorite coffee made from specialty beans, which account for just 3% of global coffee production, with a bacon, egg, and cheese for breakfast or get that curry you’ve been craving from your favorite Thai restaurant for dinner. Or do both! No matter what you order, the coalition wants participants to share the photos of the meal on social media and tag them with #TheGreatAmericanTakeout.

Of course, ordering takeout and delivery for just one day isn’t going to solve the restaurant industry’s problem. It’s still uncertain how long the COVID-19 pandemic will keep cities and states in lockdowns. To continually support restaurants during these troubled times, the coalition is also urging consumers to keep ordering takeout regularly in the weeks and months ahead. Community-based efforts like this just might be the key to keeping everyone healthy, fed, and funded for as long as the pandemic continues.

Will you help support the restaurant industry but participating in #TheGreatAmericanTakeout?

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

On February 22, the farm-to-fork movement pioneer D’Artagnan celebrated 35 years in the sustainable food industry. For over three decades, D’Artagnan has delivered high-quality artisanal meat products while using free-range, natural production and sustainable, humane farming practices. Founder Ariane Daguin has been leading her company through these initiatives since its founding in 1985.

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

Ariane Daguin, Tom Colicchio attend D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

Bryan Hunt and Tom Colicchio attend D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

D’Artagnan started its celebrations with a night of decadent food in New York City. Some of the world’s most renowned chefs prepared these meals, including Jacques Torres, Tom Colicchio, Pierre Landet, Justin Bogle, and Michelle Palazzo. At this event, the purpose was to honor D’Artagnan’s vision, Daugin’s Gascony heritage, and the brand’s place amongst the culinary elite as well as consumers who are searching for superior products.

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

Patrick Nollinger attends D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

Foie Gras

D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

Foie Gras

D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

The next portion of the celebration was its sixth annual Cassoulet War on February 24. In this event, also based in New York City, 20 renowned chefs battled to cook the best cassoulet. A cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked bean and meat casserole integral to French cuisine. It is a French tradition to have chefs and villagers compete in a showdown for the top cassoulet. D’Artagnan’s iteration involved chefs from across the United States, allowing them to put their own distinctive American stamp on the classic dish.

6th Annual Cassoulet War

Laetitia Rouabah, Andy Knudson, Dieter Samijn and Ariane Daguin attend D’Artagnan’s 6th Annual Cassoulet War (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

6th Annual Cassoulet War

Erwan Caradec, Jacques Torres and Laurent Tourondel attend D’Artagnan’s 6th Annual Cassoulet War (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC

This year, Laetitia Rouabah was named the People’s Choice Winner, Andy Knudson was the Reimagined Cassoulet Winner, and Dieter Samjin came out on top as the Grand Prize Winner. All proceeds from the evening benefitted Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization that focuses on taking decisive action against the root causes and effects of hunger.

With values consistently leading the actions of D’Artagnan, it’s no surprise the company would choose such a worthy cause. D’Artagnan has been credited with leading the charge on sustainability within the meat and poultry industry. While many people may associate the word sustainability with industries such as the plumbing industry — which made over $107 billion in revenue in 2018 — because of their direct effect on the world’s natural resources, it has been a recent focus in D’Artagnan’s field. Modern consumers are no longer only concerned about what they eat, but where and how their food made it to their table.

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

D’Artagnan Celebrates 35 Years In The Midst Of NYC’s War On Foie Gras

D’Artagnan’s 35th Anniversary. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)

This concern is evident in New York City’s recent push to ban foie gras, a dish that many people view as cruelly-made. On October 30, 2019, the City Council voted to ban the dish beginning in 2022, joining California, Australia, India, and many other places that prohibit the dish for animal rights reasons.

The ethical issue comes in with the production of foie gras, which requires force-feeding birds to enlarge their livers. The livers often become up to 10 times their normal size and the process often involves inserting a tube down a duck’s throat to force-feed them large amounts of grain, according to animal rights activities.

Foie gras farmers are challenging the ban. According to the Catskill Foie Gras Collective, which includes the producers of foie gras in NYC, the small tube used to feed the ducks does not cause discomfort. The collective also points to the fact that their ducks are cage-free and that they use a rubber tube rather than a traditional metal one to further ease the process.

In the midst of this battle is D’Artagnan. At the end of 2019, Daguin said her company would be amongst the others in the industry fighting the ban. As Daguin has always been a champion of sustainable meat and poultry practices, she feels certain that the process of fattening a duck’s liver is not cruel, when done in the correct way.

“The farms feed the animals like they would naturally feed themselves in the wild prior to migration to store calories up in their liver…the actual feeding process itself is not painful nor stressful to the animal. In fact, the worst thing for a meat purveyor to do is cause stress for animals, because it impacts the quality of the meat,” she said.

While the foie gras battle rages on, Daguin and the D’Artagnan team look towards the future. She estimates that the company will reach $250 million in sales within the next five years and expects to drive this growth through ongoing innovations. One such innovation is the Green Circle Chicken, which is a unique vegetable-fed bird that eats excess veggies that come from restaurant kitchens and markets. With progress like this, D’Artagnan is situated to continue making waves in the meat and poultry industry for decades to come.

Grand Opening: Asian-Inspired Wagamama Opens 3rd New York Location

Grand Opening: Asian-Inspired Wagamama Opens 3rd New York Location

When people discover something good, they want more of it. This is true for everything, especially food. We discovered just how amazing the Asian-inspired cuisine at Wagamama is when we attended the grand opening of their 3rd New York location in midtown. The London-originated restaurant boasts a cult-like following thanks to its fresh spin on pan-Asian cuisine and vibrant, social dining experience. Wagamama offers a healthy variety of big plate dishes, Kokoro bowls, ramen, teppanyaki, etc; Okazu (small sides or shares) like dumplings, tempura, bao buns, etc; drinks that range from fresh juices, beers, cocktails, soft drinks, hot drinks, and sake; and of course desserts.

Grand Opening: Asian-Inspired Wagamama Opens 3rd New York Location

This third location in midtown, located at 100 West 55th Street, joins the NoMad and Murray Hill locations and brings their total to more than 200 restaurants worldwide. The name Wagamama roughly translates to “self-indulgent”, which was our exact feeling when we indulged in a delicious cocktail and variety of menu items. With its “Bowl to Soul” philosophy based on the belief that what we eat, who we are, and how we feel are inseparable, it’s easy to understand why the eatery is so popular. So popular that we were greeted with a nicely packed grand opening.

Grand Opening: Asian-Inspired Wagamama Opens 3rd New York Location Grand Opening: Asian-Inspired Wagamama Opens 3rd New York Location

The Asian-inspired menu draws on the best flavors from Japan, China, and Korea, using the freshest ingredients to create dishes that nourish the body and the soul. Whether it’s a sizzling noodle dish, a spicy duck and sticky rice bowl or a crunchy, well-dressed salad—always made to order and served as soon as it’s ready. With Global Executive Head Chef Steve Mangleshot at the helm, there’s no way you’ll ever be disappointed with the menu offerings. You see Wagamama remains committed to offering a balanced, healthful menu of craveable, beautifully presented food. All of which are cultivated from listening to customer feedback and reviews and using that knowledge to inventively adapt its menu to reflect modern taste preferences and lifestyles. A great example is their mouth-watering buns. While you may be familiar with typical Pork Buns, Wagamama offers a variety of bao buns including pork belly + panko apple, Korean barbecue beef + red onion, panko chicken + sriracha, and mushroom + panko eggplant. There’s literally a boa bun for everyone; there’s ramen for everyone; no matter your food restrictions, Wagamama prides itself in offering something for everyone.

Food Photography: Bao Buns Food Photography: Bao Buns

Let us not get started on the addictive variety of dumplings, prawns served with spicy chili and garlic sauce), and the Chicken yakitori (marinated chicken skewers, spicy teriyaki sauce, shichimi, scallions, fresh lime)….yum.

We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Wagamama’s Global Executive Head Chef Steve Mangleshot and learn all we could about the innovative menu and blending of Eastern and Western flavors as we indulged in a yuzu collins cocktail. Check out the interview below:

 

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Unfortunately, we had to head out to another event and only got to try one Yuzu Collins cocktail and didn’t get a chance to try dessert. We hope to rectify this error immediately as the Yuzu Collins was absolutely delicious and we need a repeat of that, and just looking at the dessert menu is making us drool.

Cocktail

We definitely adding Wagamama to our repeat visit list. We loved it and we know you’ll love it too.If you’re in the mood for some delicious Asian-inspired lunch, dinner, snack, check out this new location.

Hotel Chocolat Drinks

Celebrating Galentine’s Day with Hotel Chocolat USA

Valentine’s Day has come and gone and many couples enjoyed celebrating the day of love and coupledom. But the day before Valentine’s Day, lovingly known as Galentine’s Day, is a day to celebrate female friendship. In honor of this wonderful day of friendship and support of the fellow women in your lives, Hotel Chocolat hosted a Galentine’s Day event with chocolate tastings, wonderful pairings, and showcases of their special Valentine’s Day hot chocolate drink and sundae. You may remember we indulged in some chocolate delicacies when Hotel Chocolat’s Rabot 1745 Beauty made it’s US debut.

Hotel Chocolat V-Day Drinks

We grabbed one of our favorite gal pals and headed out for a night of fun, friendship, and chocolate. Along with the above Love Potion Hot Chocolate and Sweetheart Sundae, we enjoyed an evening of chocolate delicacies that included the following: White Chocolate Batons, Supermilk Batons, Billionaires Shortbread, Gianduja Bombe, Salted Caramel and Pecan Spread with Milton Amish Cheddar, Enrobed Mango with Saint Antoine, Passionfruit Truffles paired with Dos Alas Blanco Tequila, and Dark Ginger Truffles paired with Hamilton Jamaican Dark Rum.

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Hotel Chocolat White Chocolate

One of our favorite Hotel Chocolat chocolate treat combinations (and this may sound a bit strange to you guys but trust us, it is delicious), was the Enrobed Mango with Saint Antoine cheese. For those not in the know, the Enrobed Mango is mango immersed in mango liqueur and covered in Hotel Chocolat’s signature 70% dark chocolate. It is a delight for the palette and beyond delicious. We also could not stop eating the addictive Passionfruit Truffles (also pictured above). This delight is why the words amuse bouche exists because your mouth will be so happy.

Chocolate Covered Mango with Cheese

There was so much decadent chocolate to love and so much to indulge in. Nut lovers will go wild for the Cashew Nuts Chocolate Selector. Each bite will reward you with the popular nut.

Ladies, we hope you celebrated the women in your life with joyful Galentine’s Day festivities. If you’re looking to treat your besties to some amazing chocolate, this is the place to be. Make sure to stop by Hotel Chocolate or visit their website for your decadent yumminess.

What’s the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in Every State?

What’s the Most Popular Valentine’s Day Candy in Every State?

With 90% of Americans regularly treating themselves to a sweet, frozen dessert, it’s no wonder we go crazy for candy on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate is the old favorite, but there’s more variety than you might think when it comes to picking the perfect Valentine’s Day candy for your sweetheart.

For a long time, conversation hearts — those sweet candies with phrases like “be mine” and “xoxo” on them — won the battle of the sweets. But this year there’s a new top pick for Valentine’s Day candies. Here’s a breakdown of what’s sure to sell out when people are buying sweet treats for their sweethearts this year.

Which Candy Won Out?

For a long time, SweetHearts conversation hearts dominated the Valentine’s candy market. But they suffered a set back last year when they failed to appear on store shelves. That had a significant and lingering effect on conversation hearts.

In their place, treats like M&M’s are moving up. M&M’s claimed the number one spot in three states this year: Arizona, Kansas and New Jersey. That may be in part due to the drop off in conversation hearts. But M&M’s Cupid’s Mix and Cupid’s Message products also quickly became favorites since hitting the market.

Heart-Shaped Boxes Reigned in 2019 CandyStore.comSource: CandyStore.com

Of course, the old staples are still well represented. Things like heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Hershey kisses and chocolate roses placed in the top three for several states. Don’t count on these longtime favorites disappearing any time soon. Alongside M&M’s and conversation hearts, gift boxes, chocolate roses, and general chocolates appear as frequent contenders for each state’s favorite Valentine’s candy.

Here’s one you may not have considered: Cupid corn. Often associated with Halloween, candy corn is also making a push during Valentine’s Day. While candy corn, in general, is falling off as a favorite among consumers, there are some places, like Michigan, where the candy is still incredibly popular on Valentine’s Day and other holidays.

Other Valentine’s Day Facts

Candy isn’t the only thing consumers are concerned about when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Many are ready to throw down some serious money to make their loved one feel special for the holiday.

In fact, consumers are expected to spend $30.19 on family members this year, which is up from $29.87 last year. Friends will get about $14.69 (compared to $9.78 in 2019) and co-workers will see an average of $12.96 spent on their gifts (compared to $7.78 in 2019). Even pets are getting some love, with people expecting to spend an average of $12.21 on pets, up from $6.94 last year.

Overall, consumers are predicted to spend about $101 this year, which is up from $93.24 in 2019. That’s still down more than 60% compared to a decade ago.

And where will all that money go? A lot, $5.8 billion, is expected to be spent on jewelry, with another $.43 billion spent on a nice evening out with a significant other. Candy is predicted to account for $2.4 billion, with flowers close behind at $2.3 billion. Smaller amounts will be spent on things like gift cards, greeting cards and experiences.

Source: CandyStore.com.

If you’re still thinking about what to get your special someone for Valentine’s Day, consider picking up the most-loved candy in their state (have fun with the interactive map directly above). After all, there’s a good chance they’ll also be a fan.