New Vegan Pink Drink of Starbucks for Summer

Starbucks added a new vegan Iced Guava Passionfruit Drink to its expanding plant-based beverage options at participating locations across the United states.

The company describes the new drink as “guava, passionfruit, pineapple, and ginger, hand-shaken with coconut milk and ice for a smooth and creamy beverage.

At Bleu Sushi in Philadelphia, a Robot Hands Customers Pick-up Orders

Rachel Vigoda wrote . . . . . . . . .

Customers shouldn’t feel too surprised to find themselves bowing to a robot next time they pick up a food order at Bleu Sushi. After all, he bowed first. Owner Hendra Yong installed the robot at his Washington Square West sushi restaurant a few days ago in an effort to follow safety protocols during the coronavirus pandemic while also having a little fun.

Stop by Bleu Sushi to pick up a takeout order of soft shell crab tempura and spicy tuna rolls and the robot, named Bleu Bot, grabs the bag of food, rotates to bring it over to a table next to the restaurant’s big, open front window, and sets it down before gracefully bowing to the customer in a wordless “thank you.” Yong or one of his employees initially hands the bag to Bleu Bot, but they’re able to follow social distancing guidelines and stay six feet away from customers.

“We wanted to keep serving customers, in a safe way. So we came up with this idea. I can see people’s surprise when they come because no one else is doing this,” says Yong, who’s originally from Indonesia but landed in Philly several years ago. His sushi restaurant turned eight on May 1.

“When the robot bows, the customer bows,” he adds with a laugh. “It’s kind of funny to watch.”

Yong is clearly getting a kick out of the robot, which he ordered from Japan for this purpose. It’s decorated in LED lights that change colors and, in addition to the bowing, can do a clunky little dance and bang a small gong. Yong says he’s still playing around with it and figuring out what else he can program it to do. He plans to give it a voice later — customers may soon be greeted by a warm hello from Bleu Bot.

Source : Eater Philadelphia

Skip the Steak, Buy the Brisket: Consumers Need to be Flexible Amid Beef Bottlenecks

Kevin Rector wrote . . . . . . . . .

Skip the steak and buy the brisket. Start going for those big, bone-in options. And if you still want prime cuts and can afford it, consider buying directly from a local butcher.

That’s one message from California cattle ranchers and suppliers as the closure of big meat processing plants across the country creates a bottleneck for processed beef. As they work hard to get their animals to market, buyers can help steady the supply chain by branching out.

“I always tell people, ‘Why don’t you want roasts?’” said Julie Morris, co-owner of T.O. Cattle Co. and Morris Grassfed in San Juan Bautista, which normally does brisk trade in steaks but has been overwhelmed by recent orders. “They are easy to cook. They are delicious. They feed a family. They leave leftovers.”

As the coronavirus crisis continues to disrupt normal food supply chains, those in the beef industry are looking for new ways to sell animals, and stretch each one that gets to market further.

Nationwide, dozens of processing plants have shuttered because of outbreaks of the coronavirus among employees. Unions are calling for more protections for workers, even as President Trump has demanded processors keep operating to feed the nation.

Some fast-food outlets have struggled to source enough meat for their carry-out and drive-through customers. Groceries are working around the clock to stock shelves, but are seeing some shortages.

In California, which is one of the biggest beef producing states in the U.S., cattle ranchers are not immune to the fallout. For large operations in particular, the reduction in processing has meant a sharp decline in the number of cattle they can get to market.

Reshuffling is going to take some time, and supply might fall short as long as the bottleneck is there, said Dave Daley, a fifth-generation cattleman in Butte County and chair of the California Cattle Council.

“The most important thing we can do is to get those processing facilities open and working and safe,” because local butchers can’t make up for shuttered processing plants that normally handle thousands of cattle per day, Daley said.

Luckily, cattle can be held onto longer than chicken and pork, and Daley said he does not expect California ranchers to begin killing off unused animals. They will keep herds on green pastures and keep looking for ways to sell more animals into the market, he said.

Still, the outlook is cloudy.

Buyers of ranch cattle are unsure of what demand will look like in coming weeks, and how many animals they will be able to move into market due to processing slowdowns, all of which has held down the price per head even though grocery demand is high, Daley said.

“Logically, if people want to buy it, the price would go up. The problem is we can’t get it through the process,” he said. “There is a lot of frustration in the agriculture community.”

Some critics of the meat industry say a drop in meat consumption would be a good thing, given the industry’s contribution to climate change, the health impacts of a meat-heavy diet and ethical concerns about eating animals. But meat producers say it’s hardly the time to let such a vital supply of food shrivel.

To help, customers shouldn’t hoard meat, because that frustrates efforts to reach a new balance between supply and demand and adds volatility to pricing, those in the industry said. Shoppers also shouldn’t fear that suddenly there will be no meat, because there is a lot of it in California. But they will need to be patient.

Until the processing facilities are up and running again, buyers can expect less variety, fewer brands and more reliance on frozen products, Daley and others said.

“We’ll get you the beef, but we gotta get time to get it through that processing facility,” Daley said.

Buyers should also get more creative, said Chelsea Minor, corporate director of public affairs for Raley’s, a family-owned grocery chain with 127 stores in Northern California and Nevada.

Some processing facilities are looking for ways to speed up production, and one way to do that would be to spend less time deboning cuts of meat. Shoppers could help facilitate the shift by increasing demand for those cuts, Minor said.

“Don’t be afraid of a bone,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to try something different.”

Cody Nicholson Stratton, a dairy farmer who also sells meat from his family’s land in Ferndale, said big processors are important because they help feed big urban populations cheaply. But the current crisis has highlighted the lack of diversity in processing in California, as smaller butcheries have gone away and large processors have grown in market share.

That makes everyone in the industry more vulnerable to sudden shutdowns of big processing facilities, he said. “We need more butchers. We need more independent processors,” he said.

But it also shows how important smaller producers are in the market, especially now.

From his family’s farm, which he helps run alongside his family and husband Thomas, Nicholson Stratton has continued providing dairy for partner Rumiano Cheese Co. And on his own website, under the Foggy Bottoms Boys brand, Nicholson Stratton has continued offering up meat, including beef tongue for $20, a pound of ground beef for $10 and marrow bones for $15.

“More people are shopping closer to home, buying directly from a farmer right now when they maybe hadn’t in the past,” he said.

Belcampo, which sells organic meats at a premium in boutique butcheries in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, has seen in-store butcher shop sales nearly quadruple, and online sales explode.

Anya Fernald, Belcampo’s CEO, said her company was able to handle the surge because it farms its own animals in Yreka, Calif., and owns its own small slaughterhouse, sparing it from the broader industry turmoil.

“We control our own supply chain,” she said. “This is a time when local butchers can really shine.”

Source: Los Angeles Times

Pancake Cereal is the Hottest Breakfast Trend

Peter Pham wrote . . . . . . . . .

Pancake Cereal might be one of the most innovative and visually amazing breakfast hacks we’ve seen come across this newsroom. Even better, it’s ridiculously easy to pull off.

The trend has been popping up all over our social feeds lately and, frankly, it’s pretty awesome.

All you have to do is add pancake batter into tiny little coin shaped circles over a hot skillet. Let one side cook then, taking a spatula, carefully flip your mini pancakes over to evenly cook off the batter. What’s left is a ton of tiny little pancakes you just toss into a bowl with a pat of butter and drown in maple syrup.

Wonder how many folks are attempting this viral sensation while working from home?

Source: FoodBeast

Japanese Company Launched High-nutrition Bread in the U.S.

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

Bread seems to be the unofficial food of quarantine. No wonder — it’s comforting, it’s affordable, and it’s a soothing home project to tackle, if you’re into that sort of thing.

But much as we love bread, we know that eating it all day, every day is probably not the healthiest decision in the world. A Japanese startup called Base Food is bringing a more nutritionally appealing bread offering to the U.S.

Founded in 2016, Base Food uses nutrient-dense ingredients like whole grain flour, seaweed, and flaxseed to develop healthier versions of staple foods. Starting today, the company’s second product, Base Bread, will be available direct-to-consumer in California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada and Colorado.

It will come in just one big 72-gram roll, which will cost $3.33 each or $2.99 each if you sign up for a monthly subscription. The bread will come frozen, which is why the company is only able to ship within a 2-day radius of their Reno, Nevada manufacturing facility. Frozen food typically equates to high shipping costs, but when I spoke to Base Food’s COO Michael Rosenzweig last week said they have yet to finalize their fees.

Base Food already sells two products — Base Noodles and Base Bread — in its native Japan, and the noodles are already available in the same seven U.S. states which can purchase the bread. Down the road, Rosenzweig said that the company is looking to get into foodservice retail channels, specifically through corporate cafeterias.

Another selling point is Base Bread’s shelf life. Rosenzweig told me that the bread will last a year in the freezer. We’ve in the midst of a pandemic that leads to both panic shopping and a fear of the grocery store, so Base Food’s nutritional profile and long life are both timely selling points. Then again, $3.33 is expensive for a single-serve roll of bread when you can buy a hefty loaf of artisan sourdough from your local bakery for $6 or $7 bucks — or just make your own.

I actually got to sample Base Bread at SKS Japan in August 2019. It was soft and squishy with a malty sweetness — sort of like a honey whole wheat bread. We also got to taste Base Noodles at the SKS 2019 Future Food competition in October, and they were tasty with a flavor akin to a nutty soba noodle.

As someone who loves carbs more than anything else in this world, but is trying to hang onto some semblance of healthy eating during quarantine, Base Bread offers an appealing option. At least until I smother it with butter.

Source: The Spoon