THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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PRODUCT REVIEW: Seasonal Beers Rule

Got beer? According to THE NIBBLE’s beer expert, Ryan Smith, the three beers you should be cozying up to right now are Goose Island Nut Brown Ale from Chicago, Ayinger Ur-Weisse from Bavaria and Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale from California. Read the full article, including why you should change your beer with the seasons, just as you eat seasonally, in this informative and thirst-inspiring article in the Beer Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. Even if you don’t live in an area where the seasons change much, you should still change your beers, because brewers take advantage of seasonal ingredients just like chefs.   Sierra Nevada Harvest Fresh Hop Ale, Ayinger Ur-Weisse
Our beer expert thinks you should beg, cajole, even take a trip to the California brewery for some of this amazing ale.
 

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ON OUR RADAR: Interesting Nibbles

Chocolatier
Build your chocolate empire (well, it’s only a game).
  Serious Eats reports on Chocolatier: The Game! The company that makes the game, PlayFirst, also makes DinnerDash.com (check out other players’ personalized dinners and waiters) and Ice-Cream Tycoon (own and operate your own ice cream business and become the hottest mogul in ice cream). If you have friends friends who have always wanted to be in the food biz, this might be the holiday gift to start them off.
 

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NEWS: Better Test For Antioxidants

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports a better test for measuring the antioxidant value of foods. The CAA (cellular antioxidant activity) assay is a more biologically relevant method than the popular chemistry antioxidant activity assays because it accounts for some aspects of uptake, metabolism and location of antioxidant compounds within cells, according to the authors of the study. Antioxidant activity has been measured using a range of lab-based assays, including the ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) assay, the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC). A test of select phytochemicals, the researchers reported that quercetin (a flavonoid found in berries, broccoli and leafy green vegetables, capers, citrus, cranberry, red grapes and others) had the highest CAA value, followed by kaempferol (found in apples, cabbage, onions, leeks and spinach,), epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG, found in tea), myricetin (found in berries, fruits, grapes, vegetables and walnuts) and luteolin (found in basil, celery, parsley, peppermint, thyme, sweet peppers), respectively.   Berries
Get your antioxidants here.
The CAA centers on dichlorofluorescin, a probe trapped within cells that can be easily oxidized to produce fluorescence. The decrease in cellular fluorescence when compared to the control cells indicates the antioxidant capacity of the compounds. The popular ORAC is still a valuable test; the CAA shows how the compounds react with cells and are believed to be is a stronger measure of how antioxidant compounds could potentially react in the body. Read more about antioxidant foods in THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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NEWS: Less Dungeness Crab This Year

Dungeness Crab
Look at my big, meaty claws. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
  A cargo ship headed for South Korea ran into a Bay Bridge tower earlier this month, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay. The spill polluted beaches across the bay and beyond. As reported by the Modesto Bee, the oil spill will delay the traditional December 1 start of crab season for the San Francisco fishing fleet, which will drive up demand for Dungeness crab caught elsewhere on the West Coast. Restaurants and seafood stores need to rely on supplies from the Pacific Northwest—Oregon and Washington state.
Some stores are going without; some restaurateurs report the price has doubled. The Dungeness crab, King crab and the Snow crab are the three main U.S. Pacific Ocean crabs. Dungeness, King and Stone crabs (from Florida and the Gulf Coast) have large, meaty claws and are eaten in the shell. Learn more about the different types of crab in our article, Crab Types & Grades Of Crab Meat, including a Crab Glossary. It’s one of 50 food glossaries in THE NIBBLE online magazine. The Dungeness crab, by the way, is named after Dungeness, Washington, but is found from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Santa Cruz, California. For holiday party recipes, try the spectacular jumbo lump crabmeat from Miller’s Select.

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NEWS: Inventor Of Theme Restaurants Dies

The next time you’re at a theme restaurant—perhaps a Hard Rock Café, Jekyll & Hyde Café, Johnny Rockets, Medieval Times or Planet Hollywood—remember David Tallichet, the founder of the genre.* He passed away last month at age 84, and his story was told recently by The Wall Street Journal. Back in the 1960s, he designed restaurants as Polynesian islands, New England fishing villages and French farmhouses barricaded with sandbags to protect against German bombardment (you’ll see why in a moment). His Proud Bird restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport had headphones at each table so diners could listen to control-tower chatter. His company, Specialty Restaurants, grew to revenues of $185 million at its peak in 1980. Almost all of his restaurants were in Southern California.
  Medieval Times
Medieval Times—the ultimate theme restaurant.
Where else can you eat with jousting knights and horses?
A Texan who piloted more than 20 B-17 Flying Fortress missions out of England during World War II, he stayed on active duty in the Air National Guard for a decade after the war. A later visit to the National Air and Space Museum in Washington inspired him to begin collecting war planes. He purchased or salvaged about 120 planes, going on expeditions to salvage wrecked or abandoned planes. He kept some and sold some to other collectors (so next time your significant other or roommate complains about your teapot collection…). In the early 1970s, the collection spawned a series of aviation-themed restaurants, 94th Aero Squadron, with a World War I-era setting. Since everyone wants to be famous these days, we’re waiting for the Red Carpet Restaurant, with “screaming fans” who beg for your autograph and “photographers” who snap bulbs as you walk up a long red carpet to the front door. You’ll get complimentary Champagne sent to your table from management (well, the cost will be included in the price of dinner) and “fans” that keep interrupting your meal for photos and autographs. Too bad that Mr. Tallichet, the king of Southern California theme restaurants, is no longer around to work on this one.*Other theme-oriented restaurants existed before then—for example, Trader Vic’s was founded in Oakland, California in 1934 and today has 30 restaurants worldwide. However, it began as a fine Polynesian restaurant with Polynesian decor. A theme restaurant, is one in which the food takes a back seat to the concept of the restaurant, and customers are attracted by the theme.

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