Food for Thought: August Edition


"As a long-time Cheetos fan, I'm thrilled to join forces with a snack brand that is truly an iconic American staple."

- Anne Burrell in response to her Cheetos pop-up restaurant in NYC

Hors d'Oeuvres

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Fast-food innovation wars continue; this time, it’s all about breakfast. From Taco Bell’s Naked Egg Taco to Jack In The Box’s Hangry Chicken Hash, outrageous food is in. We’re living in an age of trying to go above and beyond. Unfortunately, sometimes it just a big flop.

Move over New York City, the Windy City is the new culinary capital. The Midwest hub was named Restaurant City of the Year based on its innovation and concentration of up-and-coming talent. What can we say, Chicago really blew away the magazine’s editor?

Foodies, it’s time to book your flights to Italy: Eataly is opening a 20-acre food theme park in Bologna. Get ready to nosh on authentic meats, cheese and pasta at one of the 40 restaurants and refreshment stands . Want a hands-on experience? Fico EatalyWorld will also feature classes and events in its 10 classrooms and two-miles of educational paths. 

Photo from Electric Rose Wine Co.

Juice boxes just got an adult spin. Meet Electric Rose, a pouch of wine that is perfect for a picnic on the beach, backyard barbecues or a stroll around the neighborhood.  Available in a six-pack (1.5 bottles of wine), it’s all about the age of convenience.  

Stressed when you see rows and rows of wine at the store? Don’t worry – the Vivino app. is here to help. Basically, a pocket sommelier; the seven-year-old app features closely 425 million labels with 72 million ratings and a newly launched marketplace.  

The Main Course

Hopefully, by now, everyone knows that Amazon bought Whole Foods Market. The $13.7 Billion deal became official on Monday, August 28, with some items dropping in price by 43 percent. This is good news for anyone that has lovingly used the nickname “Whole Paycheck” to refer to the upscale grocery chain. Whether you’re an Amazon Prime member that has never stepped foot in a Whole Foods store or a religious Whole Foods shopper that lives off of the hot bar, here are a few things you’ll see in the coming months:

Photo from Gratisography

  • Special Discounts for Prime Members: Amazon is not forgetting about its loyal Prime Members (and is rolling out a customer rewards program just for you. These discounts could include special savings and in-store benefits as well as access to Whole Food’s private label products through Prime Pantry and Prime Now with extra incentives for delivery. Amazon Lockers will also be available for customers that order online and want to pick-up or return products.
  • Hello Alexa: Probably not a big of a surprise, products like Amazon Echos and Amazon Echo Dots will be available for purchase and displayed throughout the store.
  • Upping Their Game: Competitors like Walmart are not too keen on this merger and gearing up for a fight. In Dallas and Orlando markets, the discount giant expanded its online grocery delivery service by partnering with Uber. The company has rolled out the service in four additional markets: Denver, San Jose, Calif., Tampa and Phoenix.
  • Even Google is Getting In On the Action: On August 23, Google and Walmart announced a partnership with Google Express. The goal is for Walmart customers to utilize online services like Google Assistant for easy shopping and predictive ordering. This is the first time that Walmart is having its product available for purchase on a third party website.

On the Side

Ever look at a West Elm catalog and think, “I’d love to sleep in that bed?” Well, now you can! The retailer announced plans for its sixth boutique hotel location– this time, in Portland, Maine. The hotel’s goal, projected to open in 2020, is not to sell West Elm products, but share the “local design elements, culture, and cuisine” of each city.

Photo courtesy of Burst

If you’re a barre believer and yoga fanatic, don’t worry – Hyatt Hotel Corporation has your back. The hotel group acquired Exhale, a fitness and spa concept, late last month shortly after buying Tucson’s Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa. The company plans to expand the fitness and spa brand with more freestanding locations with some integration in Hyatt Hotel locations.   

From Home Alone 2: Lost In New York to Sleepless in Seattle, The Plaza Hotel has been the backdrop to some pretty iconic movies. Now, the Big Apple gem is up for sale; but it will cost you a pretty penny. The sale has been deemed the to be “one of the most expensive hotel sales on a per-room basis”.

Sweet Escape

Beloved travel guide, Lonely Planet, is planning to debut its newest project – an iPhone app called Trips. It’s basically Instagram from those that love to travel. It has its glitches but it’s a great place to look for pictures to decide where to go on your next adventure.