Top Restaurant Prices https://www.toprestaurantprices.com The authority of restaurant prices online Fri, 18 May 2018 00:48:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 The Ultimate Casual Dining Steakhouse Face-Off: Texas Roadhouse vs. Outback Steakhouse https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/the-ultimate-casual-dining-steakhouse-face-off-texas-roadhouse-vs-outback-steakhouse/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/the-ultimate-casual-dining-steakhouse-face-off-texas-roadhouse-vs-outback-steakhouse/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 00:48:05 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=8686 There are tons of things that should convince you that the Texas Roadhouse and the Outback Steakhouse are more than just competitors. For one, they’re constantly pitted against each other by diners. There are lots of places where people ask which one is better. It’s safe to say that most of them conclude with a […]

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There are tons of things that should convince you that the Texas Roadhouse and the Outback Steakhouse are more than just competitors. For one, they’re constantly pitted against each other by diners. There are lots of places where people ask which one is better. It’s safe to say that most of them conclude with a tie.

Then there’s also the recent Twitter “feud” that tended to cement their image as rivals. The not-so-friendly ribbing involved a lot of memes and brought enjoyment to a lot of followers. Everyone won here because people on the internet love it when brands interact.

The comparisons shouldn’t be surprising since both are casual-dining steakhouses with virtually identical menus. It all boils down to how individual locations perform which can vary greatly from one area to another. This is a common issue among chains, so people’s opinions will always be divided.

But if you really want to know which one might tickle your fancy better, let us lay down some facts that can help you make a choice.

Texas Roadhouse: Everything You Want in a Bar/Chain Steakhouse with a Honky-Tonk Vibe

Just like the state it’s named after, people either love or hate Texas Roadhouse. Lots of folks fall in love with its laid-back environment. Combined with good food and it’s practically a go-to eatery for a lot of Americans.

In the eyes of the experts, Texas Roadhouse is doing much better than most of its competitors. By knowing who their clientele is and focusing on them, they get to steadily grow in an environment where chain restaurants struggle to survive.

In the eyes of diners, this restaurant is offering a good deal of a great time and excellent value for their money. They get to offer better than basic steaks at friendly prices as well as a wide range of other menu items.

What might surprise you about Texas Roadhouse is that they almost always make nearly everything from scratch in each location. This can probably explain why some folks think that they have inconsistent service but no one can deny this rarity. This makes dining at Texas Roadhouse feel like you’re eating at a local restaurant but with some upgrades.

If you want to sample the best of the best from this chain, make sure not to miss their cinnamon butter and dinner rolls, prime rib, margaritas, Jamaican Cowboy, and chili. Their steaks are considered by many as the best that you can get from a chain restaurant. Make sure to try those as well.

Outback Steakhouse: Offering a Different Mix of Southern Flavors

While the Outback Steakhouse isn’t from the land down under, it has done a lot to spread the word about the Australian outback through its themed restaurants. The food is decidedly American with a few Mexican and Continental delicacies, though. This means that you don’t need to be too adventurous with your food choices when dining here.

Best known for their Bloomin’ Onion appetizer, you can be guaranteed that you’ll get pretty standard casual-dining and steakhouse fare from this chain restaurant. Their steaks are also well-loved for their consistency. So if their 17-spice steaks suited to your taste buds, you can always expect to enjoy the same flavor every time you visit one of their locations.

Aside from its 17-spice rub recipe, Outback also prides itself for offering full-flavored dishes. They achieve such by using real butter and heavy cream in their dishes. This doesn’t mean that you can’t count your calories here. They include the nutritional data on their food and offer lighter versions of their dishes. These concessions make them a good pick for different kinds of diners.

Their menus are also regionalized to ensure that their food will suit the locals’ taste buds. Their steaks tend to stick with their signature recipe but you can be sure to find local favorites and ingredients here and there.

The convenience they can offer is also very notable. With more than 1000 restaurants around the globe, you can get your fill in a lot of different places in and out of the US. So if their 17-spice rub is your kind of fix, there’s a good chance that you’ll find a location near you.

The Verdict

Choosing between the Texas Roadhouse and the Outback Steakhouse will greatly vary from one diner to the other. There are really just some folks who will prefer one over the other depending on lots of different factors.

If you’re the kind who likes a laid-back dining environment, the Texas Roadhouse will be a great place for you. If you’re a big fan of the whole concept of casual-dining chain restaurants, you might be satisfied by what the Outback Steakhouse has to offer.

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Dippers Galore with Your Cheese Fondue https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/dippers-galore-with-your-cheese-fondue/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/dippers-galore-with-your-cheese-fondue/#respond Fri, 11 May 2018 11:50:10 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7995 There’s nothing complicated about a cheese fondue – it’s essentially a combination of melted cheese and wine poured into a pot before serving at the table. Such is its simplicity that it can be enjoyed at home although we strongly suggest enjoying the Melting Pot fondue experience, partly due to the premium ingredients used and […]

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There’s nothing complicated about a cheese fondue – it’s essentially a combination of melted cheese and wine poured into a pot before serving at the table. Such is its simplicity that it can be enjoyed at home although we strongly suggest enjoying the Melting Pot fondue experience, partly due to the premium ingredients used and partly because it’s Melting Pot, people!

But in its simplicity also lies its versatility. Cheese fondue lends itself so well to a wide range of dippers that there will likely be one that will satisfy your own unique tastes. Better yet, you and your fellow diners at the table can each choose different dippers for dipping into a single pot – and that, right there, is proof that dining out is also about your clan, your community, or your tribe, whatever you call your circle of family and friends.

A cheese fondue can also be a savory meal or a sweet dessert depending on your choice of dippers. Here then are a few choices that you may want to consider.

Breads Are Traditional Choices

Breads with their spongy absorbent quality are still the most popular dipper for a cheese fondue. While the Swiss usually use mi-blanc, a bread with a sturdy crust, the Americans are more innovative in their choice of bread for dipping. Often, it’s a matter of personal preferences as one person prefers croutons while another likes bagels.

Most types of bread can be used as dippers, such as bread sticks, croutons, French bread, baguette, sourdough, multigrain bread, bagels, pumpernickel, and rye. Many people even like to dip whatever bread is on hand or whatever takes their fancy, if it’s on the menu.

Keep in mind that the bread will be dipped into the cheese so a little preparation can go a long way. Ask the staff about the bread being lightly toasted before it was cut into cubes and served at your table.

Go Crazy on the Dippers

While bread is a delicious dipper for a cheese fondue, it isn’t the only choice. You can use just about any type of food that can survive dipping – or dunking, as the kids call it –into a pot of melted cheese and wine without disintegrating into the gooey goodness.

A few ideas include:

  • Pretzels, tortilla chips, and dried fruits like figs and apricots, even candied walnuts if you like layering nutty and cheesy into a single bite
  • Vegetables that are served raw or that have been blanched, steamed, and roasted. These include just about every vegetable possible like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots, artichoke hearts, radishes, pearl onions, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, and summer squash. Even mushrooms like shiitake, crimi, and oyster as well as portobellos are great dippers.
  • Steamed sweet potatoes and baby potatoes, such as fingerling and Yukon Gold, are excellent for a cheese fondue-base meal. Just be careful about eating too much as you don’t want carbs overload.
  • Fresh fruits including grapes, pineapple, pears, and cherry tomatoes also go well with cheese. Think of it as enjoying your wine (grapes) and cheese albeit in a different form.
  • Cooked meats like ham, steak and chicken should be cubed first before serving. Avoid overcooking the meats as these should still hold their structure enough to slide down the fork and down into the melted cheese.
  • Cured meats like meatballs, sausage, and salami can also be dipped into the cheese fondue, a contrast of tastes that appeal to the more adventurous diner.
  • Seafood like lobster and shrimp should be lightly steamed before serving as dippers. The cheese may have been melted over fore but it will not cook the seafood in a satisfactory manner.
  • Pickled cucumber and pearl onions dipped into cheese may sound weird but it works. Just make sure to pat dry with a paper towel the pickles before dipping into the cheese fondue.

The quality of the cheese fondue from its blend of cheeses to its preparation will also affect the type of dippers that will go best with it. The likes of the Melting Pot usually uses two or more types of cheeses and wine in their fondues so that diners will enjoy different flavors and textures. The cheeses may be of Swiss, Italian and French as well as American origin – indeed, a veritable lesson in cheese history and manufacture, if you’re interested in it.

The cheese and wine are enough to give the cheese fondue its complex yet comforting flavor. But many restaurants also add herbs, spices and garlic to enhance the flavors, which may or may not be to your liking.  You may prefer the simpler flavors of just the cheese and wine on days when you’re feeling lazy then switch to the fancier combos when you’re feeling sophisticated.

Whatever your choice, you have to remember that cheese fondue isn’t about being a snob, no matter how well-versed you may be in its Swiss, Italian, or French traditions. It’s about being with your family and friends in a Melting Pot restaurant and enjoying life in the here and now.

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Food Trends We’re Still Seeing in 2018 https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/food-trends-were-still-seeing-in-2018/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/food-trends-were-still-seeing-in-2018/#respond Fri, 04 May 2018 10:46:58 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7991 We are almost nearing the end of the first quarter of 2018 so it’s a good time to determine what trends have stayed and what trends have gone in the restaurant industry. Keep in mind that many of these trends aren’t exactly new or innovative since these have been around for a few years but […]

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We are almost nearing the end of the first quarter of 2018 so it’s a good time to determine what trends have stayed and what trends have gone in the restaurant industry. Keep in mind that many of these trends aren’t exactly new or innovative since these have been around for a few years but have gained in popularity.

Street Food

Of course, street food has always been popular because of their affordable prices, ease of eating on the go, and fairly flavorful and filling quality. Every city in the United States likely has a street food unique to its own locale but Americans in general have a fondness for hotdogs, corndogs, and Belgian waffles topped with nearly everything in toppings. The popularity of street food in large cities is also partly behind the emergence and enduring popularity of the food trucks.

But the restaurant industry doesn’t just stop with street food per se. Instead, many restaurants are serving street food with an upscale touch! We aren’t sure whether to be happy or sad about it because street food, after all, has little to do with the upscale, thanks to its humble origins.

Many restaurants, fortunately, are making the right moves in making street food more upscale yet still retaining its down-to-earth quality. There are decadent Belgian waffles, Turkish flatbread pizzas, and elote, the Mexican-style roasted corn on the cob with a mayo coating.

The best thing: You can order upscale street food for your parties and events! The trend toward combining themes, such as in rustic chic, goes well with the enhanced street food concept.

Plus, there’s also the bonus that the street food-style dishes and desserts served in restaurants are more likely to be prepared with food safety measures in mind, no offense to street food cart and food truck owners.

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Flavors

The increasing popularity of Mediterranean flavors in the United States isn’t surprising as we have a strong Italian heritage so the former comes easily to us, so to speak. Mediterranean cuisine, furthermore, emphasizes the use of cardamom, sumac, zatar, pomegranate, and turmeric, a few of which many Americans don’t know.

And then there are the Middle Eastern flavors that although have been part of the American food scene for years is gaining traction. The ingredients commonly used include lamb, hummus, and kefir, which are relatively familiar to Americans.

Why the increasing popularity of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors? Let’s just say that while Italian, Mexican, and Asian foods have their own merits, life is too short to become stuck in one of these cuisines – and consumers agree. The unique flavors of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines provide an opportunity to broaden one’s culinary horizon without leaving the country.

Food Bowls

The popularity of food bowls started in 2015 but three years on, these are still as popular as ever, perhaps even more popular in chains like Genghis Grills. Food bowls are, after all, seen as healthier food options because diners can choose from vegetables, lean meats, and nuts and seeds in their customized meals. These are also versatile because these can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as found in plenty of restaurants.

We have to say that while food bowls may contain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, among other healthy ingredients, but it isn’t a license to go crazy on the toppings and portions. You may well consume in a single sitting your whole day’s calorie consumption including high levels of sodium and saturated fat.

Breakfast Foods

It isn’t just the Golden Arches that have made an all-day breakfast menu available for its customers. The likes of IHOP also have their all-day breakfast menu – pancakes are, after all, the quintessential breakfast items in American households.

Many more restaurants are also offering its customers mash-ups of ethnic cuisines, which can be playful takes on otherwise serious street foods. The choices include Punjabi samaos and potato masala.

Plant-based Food

No, plant-based foods aren’t the same as vegan foods because the former still allows for small amounts of animal-sourced products like meat, dairy and eggs.  Yes, these are becoming more and more popular because of their health benefits (i.e., eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains has been proven good for your body). Plus, there’s less carbon footprint with a plant-based diet in comparison with a diet heavy on meats including beef and poultry.

The popular plant-based foods include pizzas with a zucchini or cauliflower crust, risotto made from squash blossoms, and zucchini noodles known as zoodles. These are great ways of transitioning into a healthy diet with more emphasis on plant-based food, if you are so inclined.

Of course, each year brings new trends, not to mention that trends now will become passé tomorrow. Like in fashion, you don’t have to jump into the food bandwagon –you have to decide whether a food trend is in line with your lifestyle.

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Pizza Trends We’re Seeing Now https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/pizza-trends-were-seeing-now/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/pizza-trends-were-seeing-now/#respond Mon, 30 Apr 2018 11:42:37 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7987 Pizzas are the quintessential Italian-American food in the United States with annual sales running in the billions. Like any industry, nonetheless, even a classic food will be subjected to the changes brought on by contemporary times. In 2018, we are seeing several notable trends that we like to discuss in this article. Customized Pizzas, Creative […]

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Pizzas are the quintessential Italian-American food in the United States with annual sales running in the billions. Like any industry, nonetheless, even a classic food will be subjected to the changes brought on by contemporary times. In 2018, we are seeing several notable trends that we like to discuss in this article.

Customized Pizzas, Creative Ingredients

At one point or another, every American with a fondness for pizzas has eaten his fair share of customized pizzas. These pizzas are anything that you want them to be – a sweet or savory pie, a meat lover’s dream or a vegetarian’s choice, and a square- or round-shaped pizza. The chains of pizza restaurants, such as Pizza Express, Domino’s, Pizza Hut , Little Caesars, and Papa John’s, have long been in on the customize pizza bandwagon.

The pizza industry, however, is taking the concept of customized pizzas to the next level! Many pizzerias are actually redefining their menus so that their pizzas can cater to a wide range of dieting philosophies, especially vegan and gluten-free.

The trend toward a more inclusive menu appears to be partly fueled by the realization of pizzeria owners that there is, indeed, a good return on investment in attracting specific subsets of their target markets. The consumers with gluten allergies and people who have adopted the vegetarian and vegan lifestyles deserve to enjoy restaurant-quality pizza, too.

The bottom line for consumers: With patience, you will find a pizzeria that caters to your special dietary needs! You can now enjoy pizzas along with your family and friends without worrying about your gluten sensitivity kicking in soon, for example.

And then there are the creative use of common ingredients in making pizzas. Take, for example, the unicorn pizza inspired by the mythical creature, thus, its bold and bright colors. Many pizza lovers who saw it for the first time even say that it’s a combination of bright, bold and bizarre because of its colors and combinations of ingredients.

While Pizza Express hasn’t made its own unicorn pizza – and we’re hearing sighs of relief from readers – it appears to be popular with the younger set, especially kids fascinated by unicorns. The unicorn pizza takes many forms but it’s usually a mishmash of rainbow colors – a rainbow-colored crust, frosting made from cream cheese, cotton candy, and Pop Rocks. The result: A too-sweet, too-colorful pizza that is as far from the original pizza is the tropics to Antarctica.

Fortunately, unicorn pizzas aren’t going mainstream anytime soon. We are happy instead that Detroit-style pizza is coming into the spotlight because these are more in line with our idea of pizzas, square-shaped, deep-dish pan notwithstanding. Besides, life is too short to limit yourself to the thin-crust pizza – unless, of course, it’s the unicorn pizza, which we will pass up on.

Online Presence Matters More

Nowadays, most of the successful pizza chains use digital tools in strengthening their market presence. Even the holdouts among independent pizzerias are realizing that the online world is a whole different ballgame and they have to act fast before they are run out of business.

The pizzerias and pizza chains use the Internet in several ways although all of these are designed to improve the customers’ experience with the business (i.e., customer-centric thrust).

First, pizzerias are tapping into digital tools to improve the efficiency of their delivery services. These tools include zero-click apps, fast Facebook messaging services, and tweeting locations of food trucks, among others, which make ordering easier and delivery faster.  The use of the Internet as part of an ordering and delivery system isn’t surprising considering that more and more people have smartphones.

Second, pizza chains are using social media in broadening its market reach and in raising awareness of its brand.  Many chains, for example, use advanced customer targeting techniques on social media in driving sales. Many of them also use social listening tools in looking for trending events and in determining their target customers’ changing needs.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the Internet can be an effective venue for tapping into new markets, as well as for keeping in touch with the millennials, most of whom are the strongest influencers on social media.

What do these trends mean for pizza lovers? Well, we have to say that these trends can mostly mean positive things for you and the pizza-loving community.

You will be able to make your order, track the status of delivery, and air your concerns via your smartphone, a more convenient way than picking up the phone or going to the pizzeria. You can also be updated about the latest events in your favorite pizza chain, said events of which can include promotions and offers.

There’s also the opportunity to start a pizza trend of your own! You just never know when your creative idea becomes the new normal in the pizza industry.

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Enjoying Your Fondue Experience Like The Swiss https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/enjoying-your-fondue-experience-like-the-swiss/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/enjoying-your-fondue-experience-like-the-swiss/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:39:49 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7983 There’s a scene in the movie Captain America where Steve Rogers showed his ignorance about fondue – he actually thought that it was slang for an intimate act and he earned the ire of his lady love! Nowadays, most adult Americans know what a fondue is and many of them have even experienced it at […]

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There’s a scene in the movie Captain America where Steve Rogers showed his ignorance about fondue – he actually thought that it was slang for an intimate act and he earned the ire of his lady love! Nowadays, most adult Americans know what a fondue is and many of them have even experienced it at Melting Pot with their family and friends.

But if truth be told, the Americans and the Swiss enjoy fondue in different ways. Let’s take a look at the way that the Swiss like their fondue experience, a tradition that continues to this day in all walks of life. You may just have a deeper appreciation of the fondue experience, too.

Blend of Cheeses

Like the fondue at Melting Pot, the fondue used by the Swiss also consists of a blend of two or more cheese types. The combination of cheeses makes the fondue more complex in its flavors, so much so that every bite feels like an explosion of creamy flavors coming in one after the other.

The most common cheeses used are Gruyère, Emmental, and Vacherin fribourgeois, among others. The Swiss like to experiment with the ratio of the cheeses although the most popular is still moitié-moitié (half-and-half), a combo of Gruyere and Vacherin fribourgeois.

There’s also fondue fribourgeois, a mix of Vacherin fribourgeois cheese and water resulting in a creamier texture with none of the alcohol content from white wine. Many Swiss adults, nonetheless, still like the traditional combo of Vacherin fribourgeois and white wine because of the extra kick.

Bread Presentation

The more common bread used in a Swiss fondue is the mi-blanc, a white bread with a thin but sturdy crust that can withstand being dipped into the thick melted cheese for a few seconds. Most Swiss like to use day-old mi-blanc because of its sturdier quality but it isn’t necessary since even a freshly-baked mi-blanc is just as flavorful.

Unlike in many fondue places in the United States where the bread is already sliced into cubes, the Swiss-style bread is cut into thick slices before being served to the guests. You should get a slice from the pile, tear it into bite-sized chunks as you go, and then dip the chunk into the fondue.

Tip: Leave each chunk with crust still attached. You can pierce the chunk through its crust using your fondue fork. You will then have a chunk with less likelihood of disappearing into the cheese mixture.

Be careful not to let your chunk of bread disintegrate into the fondue! According to Swiss tradition, whoever commits the mistake will complete a dare, kiss the person next to him or her, or pay for the wine. Said tradition is obviously made in good spirit but it adds to the laughter with your fellow diners so it’s all good.

But you don’t have to limit your fondue experience to just the traditional bread-and-cheese combo. You can also try the mushroom fondue, the tomato fondue, and the champagne fondue – or anything that can be melted as a dipping sauce, if you want.

Did you know, however, that the chocolate fondue isn’t a European tradition? No, because it was actually invented by a Swiss restaurateur in New York in the 1960s. If you want to stick to fondue tradition, you can also try the Italian fonduta piemontese and the French fondue savoyarde.

Beverages

The distinctive flavors that come from the melted cheeses deserve the perfect accompaniment in beverage. According to Swiss tradition, there are only two types of beverages that should be enjoyed with a cheese fondue:

  • A dry and acidic white wine, such as Fendant or blanc de la Côte. Both wines are made from the chasselas grape variety.
  • A cup of hot tea is the suggested non-alcoholic beverage. The Swiss believe that drinking cold beverages while eating fondue will cause an upset stomach although scientific tests haven’t shown any proof of it.

But if you’re eating fondue in a Swiss-style restaurant or you are with a Swiss group, then you should just stick with the tradition. You don’t want to mess with it, not to mention that you will get the stink-eye from your fellow diners.

Tip: Before you even take the first sip of your white wine, you should clink your glasses with each person on your table. Be sure to look each one in the eyes, too, when you clink glasses because it’s a sign of camaraderie.

The white wine isn’t the only beverage enjoyed during a fondue. The Swiss have a custom known as le coup du milieu, a small glass of kirsch drank halfway through the meal.

The most important thing really about a fondue, whether it’s the American or Swiss style, is in putting everybody who shares it in a good mood!  If there are lapses in etiquette, you and your fellow diners at your table can just laugh about it and go on with the dipping fun!

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Salad Bar Doesn’t Equal Eating Healthy https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/salad-bar-doesnt-equal-eating-healthy/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/salad-bar-doesnt-equal-eating-healthy/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 11:37:15 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7980 We think that eating at a salad bar automatically gives us a halo of healthy living but it isn’t necessarily true. Even when you eat an apparently healthy salad bowl filled to the brim with sliced fruits, chopped vegetables, and chia seeds dressed in extra virgin olive oil, you may still be eating well beyond […]

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We think that eating at a salad bar automatically gives us a halo of healthy living but it isn’t necessarily true. Even when you eat an apparently healthy salad bowl filled to the brim with sliced fruits, chopped vegetables, and chia seeds dressed in extra virgin olive oil, you may still be eating well beyond the recommended daily calorie intake! You may also be piling on the sodium, fats and carbs into your salad – indeed, in stark contrast with your original purpose.

Suffice it to say that even when you’re dining out in a salad bar, you should still be aware of the mistakes that you may be making when choosing your food order. Keep in mind that you should also fight, so to speak, to keep on your halo of healthy eating.

Be Conscious of Your Safety

Few people are aware of the possible pathogens present in the food offered in a salad bar’s containers. This is a shame considering healthy eating should also equate to safe eating. After all, if you’re suffering from the effects of food poisoning due to your indulgence in a salad bar’s food, then you aren’t getting the full benefits from it.

So first things first: You have to be conscious about being safe while choosing from among the dozens of chopped vegetables, diced fruits, and other toppings on the food containers. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Check that the staff members behind the counter are wearing sneeze guards, gloves and hairnets when handling the food at any stage. If you don’t see even a single one of these food safety measures in restaurants, then you should just walk out of the door.
  • Check the foods are kept at appropriate temperatures, such as inside an open freezer or inside a warmer. You don’t want to eat stale and spoiled foods because these not only taste gross, these are actually gross with their possible bacteria growth. Just walk out the door if you aren’t sure about the salad bar restaurant’s food presentation methods.
  • Observe the level of cleanliness in the salad bar, especially when the staff members refill the food containers. The staff members should clean as they go, as well as ensure that the premises are spotless.
  • Use a napkin when handling the tongs since these have been handled countless of times by others.

Of course, you should always thoroughly wash your hands before eating even when you’re eating with utensils. This isn’t being obsessive about germs and stuff but it’s a commonsense approach to food safety, in and out of the home.

Make Healthier Choices

You may think that you’re in a salad bat so you can’t possibly make unhealthy food choices. But you can be wrong! You should adopt a more systematic and deliberate approach toward filling up your plate or bowl.

First, you should scan your options at the buffet. You don’t have to actually walk down beside the buffet counter without getting anything because it’s an inconsiderate behavior toward your fellow diners. You can survey your options from a few feet away or you can do your research, such as browsing the online menu and looking at photos.

Second, you must avoid piling on whatever appeals to your senses, whether it’s the bright colors of the carrots or the sweet aroma from the mangoes, on to your plate. You will find that such an approach can also lead to an unhealthy portions of otherwise healthy foods.

Third, keep in mind the sequence of choosing food ingredients to make your own customized healthy salad:

  • Pick your choice in leafy greens, such as lettuce and herbs.
  • Add your preferred vegetables, such as julienned carrots and cucumbers.
  • Mix in your preferred protein sources, which can be deli meats, fish or poultry or vegetarian like beans.
  • Go easy on the extras, such as the dressings and toppings, since these can quickly add to your total calorie count. It’s best to stick to the low-calorie, low-fat options like balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil –and even then, you should use moderate amounts only.

We also want to emphasize that not all leafy greens, vegetables, and protein sources are created equal. You should also consider their nutritional value including their number of calories. For example, we suggest choosing the greenest leafy greens like baby kale, spinach, and arugula instead of butter, iceberg, and Romaine lettuce; the darker the green color, the higher the nutritional value.

Do all of these reminders make you already dizzy from all the decisions that you have to make when eating out? Don’t be because life is too short to be worrying about healthy eating all the time so enjoy your food. Better yet, bring your family and friends to your favorite Salata restaurant so you can all start on the healthy eating plan!

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Making Vegan Choices in Restaurants https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/making-vegan-choices-in-restaurants/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/making-vegan-choices-in-restaurants/#respond Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:34:23 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7976 Being a vegan in a meat-loving society can be challenging because of the limited selections available, especially in restaurants. Vegans, after all, will not eat any food product of animal origin so dairy, eggs, milk, and meat aren’t allowed in their diets. This doesn’t even include the fact that veganism is a lifestyle in itself […]

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Being a vegan in a meat-loving society can be challenging because of the limited selections available, especially in restaurants. Vegans, after all, will not eat any food product of animal origin so dairy, eggs, milk, and meat aren’t allowed in their diets. This doesn’t even include the fact that veganism is a lifestyle in itself that strives to exclude any and all forms of animal cruelty and exploitation, from food to clothing, among other purposes.

If you’re a vegan, fortunately, you don’t have to isolate yourself from your family and friends when there are plans of dining out. You just have to be more conscious about the food choices that you make while with them. You will find that even when you don’t share the same points of view, you can still enjoy their company – and that, ladies and gents, is the more important thing in life!

Make a Suggestion for Vegan-Friendly Restaurant

This is your most obvious step because then you can make your choices in an easier and faster manner, not to mention that you will not be asking the restaurant staff about the ingredients used in many dishes. You can even introduce your family and friends to your vegan lifestyle without sounding too preachy about it. You don’t even have to say too many things about it –you can just let the delicious and nutritious quality of the vegan food speak for itself!

Souplantation is among the best choices for vegans because of its impressive range of fresh fruits and vegetables, all of which are suitable for the vegan diet. You and your fellow diners can make your own healthy salads at the salad bar so everybody can enjoy truly plant-based meals.  You can make your salads as light or as heavy as you want depending on your nutrient needs for the day or according to your mood.

The fruits and vegetables laid out on the salad bar is a rainbow of colors from reds, yellows and oranges to greens, purples, and whites. Romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, tomatoes, kidney and black beans, garbanzos, bell peppers, and broccoli are just a few of the choices available at a Souplantation salad bar.  These are packed with all good things for your health – vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and proteins, even healthy fats (e.g., avocado).

What’s a fruit and/or vegetable salad without dressings? You will find that there are several types of dressings for your choosing at a Souplantation restaurant, such as extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and freshly-cracked black pepper.

The best thing about Souplantation: Your non-vegan family and friends can choose from dishes and desserts made with meat and animal-based ingredients, such as milk, eggs and butter. You will then be able to persuade them to eat here again and again since they have several choices in their preferred foods – and everybody wins!

Make a Conscious Decision for Vegan Food

If you’re new to veganism from a meat-loving lifestyle, you will be sorely tempted to eat meat dishes and the like again. But you have to stand firm against the temptation because you made the shift for health reasons, for example. You don’t have to make your life difficult either when you make conscious decisions.

First, call in advance to make inquiries about the menu. You can ascertain the vegan-friendliness of a restaurant by asking its staff about the availability of vegan dishes and/or the willingness of the chefs to make accommodations for vegan diners. You can then choose whether to proceed.

Second, choose the plant-based dishes on the menu. Ask the waiter, if you’re in doubt, since many restaurants train their staff in these matters due to the increasing popularity of the vegan lifestyle. Your best choices obviously include the following:

  • Lettuce, which have low levels of calories although these also have very few nutrients
  • Spinach, a super-food with high levels of vitamin C, folate, zeaxanthanin, and lutein while still being low in calories
  • Tomatoes, zucchinis, and bell peppers are great as toppings aside from being rich in flavors and nutrients
  • Carrots and broccoli are super-foods that boost your overall health

Go crazy on the fruits, too! Your best choices include berries, melon, peaches, apples, and grapefruits. If you want protein in your meals without any animal being exploited for it, you can choose beans and tofu.

Go easy on the toppings, too, even when these are plant-based like nuts and seeds. Keep in mind that every little thing can add to the total calorie count and you may not want to overeat for health reasons, even when these are healthy foods.

Your decision to adopt the vegan lifestyle will have its challenges, as is the case when making other non-conventional choices. The secret in success is in educating yourself about your vegan lifestyle, adopting a proactive approach toward it, and respecting other’s people lifestyle choices even when it goes against your own. You will likely be respected for your own choices, too.

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The Sweet Side of Sweet Potatoes at Souplantation https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/the-sweet-side-of-sweet-potatoes-at-souplantation/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/the-sweet-side-of-sweet-potatoes-at-souplantation/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 10:30:56 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7972 Sweet potatoes are usually seen as staples during the autumn season but Souplantation wants to change it and, in fact, it has been trying to so for a couple of years. Here, the baked sweet potatoes will be on the table on a year-round basis because it’s a good thing to pass up! In the […]

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Sweet potatoes are usually seen as staples during the autumn season but Souplantation wants to change it and, in fact, it has been trying to so for a couple of years. Here, the baked sweet potatoes will be on the table on a year-round basis because it’s a good thing to pass up!

In the United States, sweet potatoes are strongly associated with Thanksgiving, an autumn vegetable, if you will. These are usually served with Thanksgiving dinner, usually along with the roasted potatoes and other vegetables, as well as in your Grandma’s beloved sweet potato pie.

The creamier texture and sweeter taste of sweet potatoes make them perfect in both savory dishes and sweet desserts – truly, a versatile vegetable.  Many people like sweet potatoes, for example, with a generous ladling of maple butter while others may like savory toppings, such as chili.  Beyond the taste, however, we want to look at the super-food status of sweet potatoes.

Sweet, Indeed, with Its High Nutrient Content

Did you know that sweet potatoes come in several colors? Most Americans know the orange variety since it’s the most common but there’s a veritable rainbow of colors the root crop is available in – different shades of yellow, red, purple, pink, brown, and beige. The color influences not only the flavor and moisture of sweet potatoes – those with beige to pale yellow flesh are less sweet than other colors – but also the nutrient content.

Scientists say that sweet potatoes with purple and violet flesh have higher antioxidant content. This isn’t so surprising considering that many super-foods are in these colors, such as grapes.

Antioxidants are the substances that reduce the effects of free radicals on your body. Free radicals are chemicals that accelerate the process of aging by harming the cells, thus, health experts recommend eating antioxidant-rich foods for a healthy body.

Sweet potatoes are also rich in the following vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients:

  • Vitamin A, a micronutrient essential in maintaining good eye and skin health. A medium-sized baked potato contains 400% of your daily recommended intake.
  • Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of certain illnesses including eye disease and cancer. If you’re not into carrots for any reason, sweet potatoes are your best alternatives to get your beta-carotene intake.
  • Vitamin C boosts the immune system’s capacity to fight off infections.
  • Vitamin B6, an essential vitamin in the body’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine (i.e., feel-good hormones).
  • Iron and magnesium, which are minerals that aid in muscle function
  • Potassium, a mineral that aids in proper heart and muscle function (i.e., sweet potatoes have higher potassium content than bananas, too).

Sweet potatoes also have higher fiber content so these are popular among people who want to lose weight, maintain the health of their digestive system, and juts generally feel fuller for longer periods. These tubers also have low glycemic index – potatoes rank higher – so these are also recommended for diabetics as substitutes for potatoes.

By the way, sweet potatoes and potatoes aren’t closely related. Instead, these are distant relatives belonging to different families – sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family while potatoes are in the nightshade family. Both, however, belong to the Solanales taxonomic order.

Sweet, Indeed, Are the Choices

At Souplantation, the selection of sweet potato-based dishes and desserts is still limited. But what it lacks in number, it more than makes up for in flavorful quality! The baked sweet potatoes with its creamy texture and delicious flavor makes it to the top of our list, although we have to say that the other dishes with the super-food in it are just as tempting to the palate.

What makes the cooked sweet potatoes served at Souplantation restaurants so yummy? Well, the chain doesn’t just use any sweet potatoes sourced from random farms! Instead, the tubers are supplied by the Alvernaz family farm started by Sweet Potato Joe, the legendary farmer who introduced more modern farming methods into the cultivation of sweet potatoes.

Nowadays, the Alvernaz family has perfected sweet potato cultivation, a fact that shows in the world-class quality of an otherwise humble root vegetable. The sweet potatoes, for example, are cultivated only in a specific type of soil and stored in wooden bins to keep them fresh longer after harvest; the farmers say the temperature inside the wooden bins are between 55 and 60 degrees while the humidity is at 80%.

According to Souplantation’s management, the chain will continue to offer more creative sweet potato dishes, a piece of good news for people who know the benefits of these tubers. We can expect both savory and sweet dishes because sweet potatoes lend themselves well to both types.

And don’t believe the rumor about sweet potatoes causing a high incidence of farting either! You have to eat plenty of the tubers before you will experience an upset stomach and you will likely not do so because sweet potatoes make you feel fuller faster and longer.

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Trans Fats And Their Effects On Your Body https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/trans-fats-and-their-effects-on-your-body/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/trans-fats-and-their-effects-on-your-body/#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 11:27:53 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7968 The trans fat revolution started in Chicago and New York, two cities known for their foodie culture. Here, the city officials cited the adverse effect of trans fats on the heart in banning these man-made fats from restaurant menus.  Soon, other jurisdictions including Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire also filed bills with […]

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The trans fat revolution started in Chicago and New York, two cities known for their foodie culture. Here, the city officials cited the adverse effect of trans fats on the heart in banning these man-made fats from restaurant menus.  Soon, other jurisdictions including Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Hampshire also filed bills with the same purpose. Many restaurant chains also adopted a “no trans fat” policy in its food preparation – and it’s a good thing, indeed!

Of course, while restaurants may be among the biggest transgressors in trans fats, these aren’t the only violators. Consumers should also beware about the processed foods available in supermarkets and groceries that contain high amounts of trans fats.

But if you want to skip the trans fats in restaurants, you should know more about them. Here’s a basic guide.

Tiny But Unhealthy

Emphasis must be made first that trans fats are naturally found in many foods like milk, butter and meat albeit in tiny amounts. These manmade fats, however, are commonly found in deep-fried and baked foods cooked in partially hydrogenated vegetable fats. The foods with high amounts of trans fats include cakes, cookies, chips, crackers, and fries.

Most trans fats are made from liquid vegetable oils that, when subjected to the hydrogenation process, will turn into a partially solid product. Hydrogenation means hydrogen was added to the mix while a hydrogenated produce means it has been subjected to such process.

But trans fats weren’t the bad guys, so to speak, they are nowadays. These were originally touted as the healthy alternative to saturated fats, as well as used in a wide range of culinary purposes. The partially hydrogenated vegetable fats improved the shelf life, stability and texture in foods, maintained freshness in bakery goods, and even improved the quality of certain foods. Their use resulted in flakier crusts in pies, crunchier mouth-feel in cookies, and creamier feel in frosting.

No wonder that these were staple items in American households with a wide range of uses in fried and baked foods.

But scientists began discovering the harmful effects of trans fats on the body. Nowadays, we know that partially hydrogenated vegetable fats were just as capable as saturated fats in clogging arteries, raising LDL cholesterol levels, and reducing HDL cholesterol.

And it doesn’t stop there either! Trans fats also contain high levels of calories and, thus, can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Such is their negative effects that the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned consumers about limiting the intake of foods high in trans fats and saturated fats.

Lengthy List of Foods

Studies have shown that the following foods have the highest levels of trans fats, especially when served in restaurants:

  • Cakes, cookies and pies, particularly the ones with frosting
  • Biscuits (i.e., trans fats use result in flakier texture)
  • Microwaveable breakfast sandwiches
  • Margarine
  • Crackers (i.e., trans fats are behind their long shelf life)
  • Microwave popcorn, especially the flavored and buttered varieties
  • Doughnuts
  • Fried fast-food fare and deep-fried treats at fairs and the like
  • Frozen pizzas

While you can’t entirely avoid these foods, especially when you live a hectic lifestyle where food convenience is a must, you can reduce your consumption.  Better yet, you can make healthier decisions in your food choices!

Making Your Choices

When in you’re a restaurant, you can actually avoid trans fats by avoiding the fried foods as much as possible. But if you can’t do so for any reason, you should ask the chef about the type of oil that they use for frying and base your decision from there. You may have to make sacrifices if you’re determined to enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet.

But if you don’t feel confident yet about your willpower to resist temptation, you can choose to go to a restaurant serving salads and the like, such as Souplantation. You can then enjoy a flavorful and filling meal without exposing yourself to too much trans fats, sodium and sugar since fresh fruit or vegetable salads have little to none of them.

Lest you think that reducing or removing trans fats from your diet is all there is to it, think again! You have to understand that reaping the fruits of a healthy lifestyle doesn’t begin and end with trans fats avoidance. Instead, it’s a total lifestyle change that involves:

  • Engaging in moderate intensity physical exercise, such as cycling, running, and swimming, at least three times a week for 30 minutes or more each session
  • Limiting portion sizes and adopting a balanced diet with the right proportion of carbs, protein and fats.
  • Choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, cold-water fish, and either low-fat or non-fat dairy products instead of junk food.
  • Adopting effective stress management techniques.

In the end, trans fats are just part of the equation and there’s no sense in blaming restaurants for your unhealthy eating habits. The change starts with you and you should act on your desired changes now.

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Dining in Japanese Style: Mind Your Manners https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/dining-in-japanese-style-mind-your-manners/ https://www.toprestaurantprices.com/dining-in-japanese-style-mind-your-manners/#respond Tue, 20 Mar 2018 10:25:27 +0000 http://www.toprestaurantprices.com/?p=7965 In worldwide surveys, Japan is widely considered as among the most polite countries in the world – and it shows even in metropolitan cities like Tokyo! The Japanese emphasize politeness in particular and good manners (mana) in general at home, in the workplace and school, and in public places. Such is the emphasis on good […]

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In worldwide surveys, Japan is widely considered as among the most polite countries in the world – and it shows even in metropolitan cities like Tokyo! The Japanese emphasize politeness in particular and good manners (mana) in general at home, in the workplace and school, and in public places. Such is the emphasis on good manners that there are rarely instances of public altercations, a fact that foreigners in the Land of the Rising Sun wonder at.

Such high level of politeness can even be observed and experienced in Japanese restaurants in the United States. Enter a Wagamama restaurant, for example, and you will find that the diners truly make an effort to be polite to the staff and to their fellow diners. The staff members are also courteous toward every diner while also performing their jobs in a competent manner.

Why Are the Japanese So Polite?

The Japanese has a word for their politeness – omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality. When the Japanese practice it, the foreigners are astounded by the exquisite politeness combined with courtesy and consideration for other people’s needs accorded to them. The Japanese do so as a way of maintaining harmony, giving respect, and making others feel welcome.

For the Japanese, omotenashi is a way of life that influences actions and behaviors in most, if not all, aspects of life.  Even a preschooler already knows its value and practices it in and out of the home!  No wonder then that the staff in restaurants, both the hole-in-a-wall and the big-box chains, greet customers with a bow and welcome them with a warm ‘Irasshaimase!”.

When it’s your first time dining out in an authentic Japanese restaurant, you will be surprised by the lavish courtesies accorded by the staff to you and your fellow diners. This is because in Japanese culture, the farther you are outside of another person’s group of family and friends, the greater the level of politeness shown to you!

This isn’t to say that every Japanese is unfailingly polite since there will be individual cases of what the Japanese call impolite but what most Westerners will consider as par for the course. But when you have lived in Japan for a few months, even a few weeks, you will find that being around polite people can be contagious! You will also likely find that seeing the diners being polite at Wagamama also makes you want to be polite yourself – you don’t want the censure of your fellow diners, after all.

There are many theories about the reasons for the exquisite politeness among the Japanese. For one thing, Japanese etiquette is rooted in the formal yet beautiful rituals of both the tea ceremony and martial arts. Both parties in a tea ceremony, for example, appreciate the efforts that the other has applied to make the process so serenely beautiful.

For another thing, the Japanese Bushido, the Way of the Warrior that forms the basis of the samurai’s ethical code, considered compassion, courtesy and politeness as its core values. Even today when there’s no samurai caste in Japanese society, these core values are still emphasized at home and in school, even in the workplace.

There’s also the matter of city living in Japan’s metropolitan cities like Tokyo. In cities where space is a premium, people have to live in close proximity to each other from their apartment blocks to the trains, shops and parks. Being polite to others is a way of maintaining harmony, as well as peace and order, among themselves.

How Can Diners Be Polite in a Japanese Restaurant?

When you’re in a Japanese restaurant like Wagamama, you will do well to keep these tips in mind. You don’t have to worry too much, however, if you have lapses in etiquette since the staff will be too polite to point out your mistakes. Plus, you can always come back another time and do better!

  • Say “Itadakimasu!” (I receive this food) when you get your food order. You’re expressing your thanks for the people who prepared your food.
  • Use your chopsticks properly. You will find a myriad of rules about it but the main things to remember are never sing it to spear your food like a fork; never stick your chopsticks into your bowl of rice; and never use your chopsticks to move food from your plate to the chopsticks of another person. You can master the use of chopsticks with proper manners over time, fortunately.
  • Say “Oishi desu” when you want to express your appreciation for the food during a meal, such as when a staff asks your about it.
  • Say “Gochisosama deshita” at the end of your meal as a polite way of thanking the staff for your meal.

Of course, you don’t have to be an expert in Japanese dining etiquette to enjoy dining out in a Wagamama restaurant! You may wing it since you’re in America but it still pays to know these basics. You never know, too, when your politeness will earn appreciation from others.

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