Food for Thought: May Edition


"We wanted to create something over-the-top that's never been done before, and you've never seen or tasted anything like it before."

-  Brian Mazza, president of Paige Hospitality, explains the reasoning behind the new craze of 24K gold chicken wings.

Hors d'Oeuvres

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It was quite a month...





We've all done it. After a long day at work, sometimes you just don't feel like cooking. Rather than opening up your UberEats app or going out to eat, you go for the next best thing: a frozen meal. Interestingly, despite a recent slump in sales, frozen food is on the rise among millennials. Why? It's less expensive, there are a multitude of vegetarian, vegan, paleo, non-GMO, gluten-free options, and you can control your portions.

Image from Delish

Image from Delish

If you've been desperately wishing that the Taco Bell's naked chicken chalupa come back, you're in luck; the fan-favorite menu item returned to a local bell near you on May 10. For those of you not in the know, the special chalupa consists of a chicken cutlet "shell" with your favorite fixin's inside. To up the ante, a new variation deemed a "wilder version" has also been released that turns the heat dial up a couple of notches.

I'm sure you're familiar with a Chipotle burrito baby. You know, when you scarf down an entire Chipotle burrito and have a little "food baby" to prove it. Well, this couple's version of a burrito baby is very different. Last month, a Denver couple gave birth to their fourth child in a Chipotle parking lot. In celebration of the occasion, the QSR decided to throw a Chipotle-themed baby shower for the happy family. Spoiler Alert: the baby's name is not carnitas. 

The Main Course

The next time you stay at a hotel, don't be shocked if your bathroom sink is missing a few items. In an effort eliminate waste, many hotel companies getting rid of those small bottles of shampoo and condition and opting for something more eco-friendly.

Image from Ishan via Unsplash

Image from Ishan via Unsplash

  • A slow phase: Like most corporate changes, it's not going to happen overnight. Many companies are opting to slowly phase on their current products for the wall dispenser options. For example, Marriott has been converting U.S. based hotels to the bulk method across five of their brands: Courtyard, Residence Inn, TownPlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, and SpringHill Suites; they're hoping to have 450 properties completed before the end of the year. The company's Starwood Hotel brands and Moxy hotels have already made the switch. InterContinental Hotels is taking a larger scale approach and plans to have 1,500 of their North American properties without the little bottles by January 2019.  They've already enacted these policies at Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Avid Hotels, Even Hotels, and The Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. 
  • All in the family: Not only is this a better practice for the environment, but it's something great for the entire family. Most parents complain about not having enough soap or shampoo to satisfy their large families and often contact guests services for additional bottles. With the dispenser method, the entire family can use as much shampoo as they'd like.
  • Not everyone is on board: As with life, not everyone is keen on the change. Many guests see the dispensers as a way to cut costs that cheapens the guest experience. Economy brands like Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotel Group are resisting and have decided to continue having individualized bottles. On the opposite spectrum, many luxury brands work diligently with companies produce special product lines for their hotels. The thought behind these partnerships is to encourage guests to take the products home; unfortunately, most of these get left behind and are tossed in the trash.
  • What else? For those companies that are going to keep with the small bottles, organizations like Operation: Care and Comfort can distribute unused products to our troops, veterans, and their families. Other organizations like Clean The World (one of our favorite do-gooders) are repurposing the used bar soaps from hotels by recycling them and distributing the soap to developing countries around the world. 

On the Side

Image from MCR via Curbed NY

Image from MCR via Curbed NY

If you were born before 1995, you probably remember Trans World Airlines (TWA). What you probably don't remember is the TWA Flight Center that was located near JFK Airport. As a blast from the past, the former flight center is being converted into a retro TWA hotel. The only hotel located within the airport grounds, it will feature more than 500 rooms along with 50,000 square feet of meeting and conference space. The hotel is projected to open next spring.

The royal treatment was what one Kenyan hotel tried to provide its guests in honor of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For $10,000, guests could enjoy two nights at the to the Windsor Golf Hotel & Country Club in Nairobi and watch the wedding with a bonus helicopter ride to Mount Kenya. Pretty sure this would not get a stamp of approval.

Sweet Escape

When it comes to wine, most people imagine California, Europe, or South America, but what about Asia? Turns out, there are quite a few wineries in the region. From Sula Vineyards in the Nashik region of India to China's first winery established in 1892, the wine will surprise you.