Food for Thought: June Edition


“In Russian we say ‘to the bottom!’ I like that these guys are embracing our culture.”

- a local bartender's reaction to tourist drinking Moscow dry during the 2018 World Cup; the country experienced a beer shortage during the world's largest football competition. 

Hors d'Oeuvres

Our favorite Ghostbuster and weatherman, Bill Murray, has decided to invest in a new venture: food trucks. Opening this summer in Charleston, South Carolina, The Container Bar is a food truck venue that will feature an indoor/outdoor bar along with parking spaces and electrical hookups for the food trucks. Although popular and growing in the heart of low country, city laws prohibit food trucks from parking on public streets. This is one of many investments Murray has made in his place of residence.

Image from Jell-O

Image from Jell-O

Time to channel your inner kid with permission from Jell-O. Luckily, gone are the days of ring molds and gelatinized meat; in their place are new fun, animal and building block molds that will make your jiggly treat come to life. Named Jell-O Play, the newest line from the company encourages kids to play and interact in today's digital age. Noting that these are for play, the products can be found in the toy aisle.

We've all done it; we had all intentions of making a reservation, but life got in the way and we forgot. Good news, Google can now do that for you. Its newest technology, Google Duplex, has the ability to contact a restaurant and make your reservation. Identifying as "the Google Assistant", the computerized-voice is so human-like that it speaks with "ums" and "uhs". Think of it as an upgrade for OpenTable. 

Image from Thrillist

Image from Thrillist

Summer is officially here which means it's road-trip time. If you're a fast-food junkie when traveling, you should check out Thrillist's list of "states with the most fast food restaurants per capita". Hopefully, your trip is through the South or the Midwest; the top 10 states include Alabama, Nebraska, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Indiana, Washington, D.C., Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina. 

The Main Course

Anyone that loves to eat and travel mourned the loss of Anthony Bourdain last month. Dedicating more than 12 years to his shows, Parts Unknown and No Reservations, the icon lives on through numerous episodes, his books, and his influence on food lovers around the world. To pay homage to the celebrity chef and CNN host, here are some of the highlights of his career.

Image from Hollywood Reporter

Image from Hollywood Reporter

  • In 2000, Anthony Bourdain emerged with his best-seller, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, where he discussed what happens behind-the-scenes in the restaurant industry.

  • Before No Reservations, Bourdain appeared on the Food Network with a short-lived series called A Cook's Tour.

  • No Reservations aired on Travel Channel for nine seasons and won an Emmy in 2009 and 2011 for "Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming".

  • Continuing his food travels, Bourdain shifted to CNN in 2013 to debut a new style of programming for the network with his show Parts Unknown - it was deemed "part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic food" according to CBS News.

  • On an episode of Parts Unknown, President Obama shared a meal with the famed host at a roadside shop in Hanoi, Vietnam. "He taught us about food -- but more importantly about its ability to bring us together," Obama explained.

  • Besides his books and shows, Bourdain was well-known for his advocacy for immigrants. He referred to immigrants as the "backbone to the [restaurant] industry" and was vocal about his disdain for President Trump's immigration policies.

On the Side

If you're used to saying "hey, Alexa" at home, you can now continue your habit on vacation. Last month, Marriott International and Amazon announced a partnership as part of the Alexa for Hospitality initiative. In addition to being able to tell you about the weather, play Pandora, and turn off your lights, the vacation-version allows you to order towels, room service, and contact the front desk; think of her as your personal hotel butler. 

Image from Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Image from Pioneer Woman Boarding House

Whether you're a little bit country or a little bit rock n' roll, Ree Drummond's country-chic boutique hotel is sure to please. Located in Osage County, Oklahoma, The Pioneer Woman Boarding House is a eight-room hotel created in a former J.C. Penney's department store. The hotel is the newest of Drummond's ventures; she recently opened The Pioneer Woman Mercantile featuring a multi-use food and retail space. Rooms start at $149 per night.

Sweet Escape

It seems like everyone is getting on the fitness train. Equinox, a New York-based gym, is the first fitness center to open its own hotel. Companies like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG have enhanced their offerings, including in-room options. Wellness vacations are all the rage with cycling trips along the PCH, yoga retreats, and bootcamp weeks with celebrity trainers. Since 2014, wellness tourism has been on the rise with projections of $808 billion by 2020 according to the Global Wellness Institute. It looks like healthy living and adventure are the newest buzz words in the world of travel.