April 2018 Culinary Depot Blog Posts

    How Restaurants Can Fight Seasonal Allergies

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    With flowers blooming and trees sprouting leaves, it’s clear spring has arrived. But with spring time comes seasonal allergies, and experts are predicting 2018’s spring to be especially brutal for allergy sufferers. Consequently, restaurants should do everything in their power to combat allergy season and keep their comfortable. There are several steps restaurants can take, and they’re all thoroughly explored in this post.




    salmon with broccoli


    One way to offer customers a better experience during allergy season is to provide a menu that features special dishes that help ward off allergies. The following is a list of foods that are known to reduce allergies:

    -Fish: Since omega-3 fatty acids excel in the battle against allergies, fish like salmon, trout, tuna, and more are perfect meals for when the flowers are blooming.

    -Walnuts: Like fish, this hearty nut is also chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids. Surprisingly, one handful of walnuts is equivalent to roughly 3-3.5 oz. of salmon in regards to fatty acid content.

    -Apples/Onions/Berries/Cauliflower: Each of these items is rich in quercetin, a flavonoid that’s supposed to help minimize the inflammation that accompanies allergic reactions.

    -Garlic: Thanks in part to its high vitamin C content, garlic has been proven effective for suppressing the release of histamines associated with allergic reactions.  Raw, freshly pressed garlic yields better results than garlic extract when it comes to fighting allergies.

    -Broccoli: Combing the aforementioned quercetin and vitamin C, this leafy green vegetable is good for you as advertised.  




    steaming tea


    -Smoothies: Packing significant nutritional value, a smoothie can combines fruits, vegetables and nuts into one single drink. Since there are nearly limitless smoothie combinations, do some experimenting with items that are known to ward off allergies. Just stick a few ingredients in your blender and see how they taste in smoothie form. Nutrient-dense juices make great foundations for smoothies, but water works just as well.

    -Tea: While any nonalcoholic beverage will help thin out the mucus in your nasal passages, a cup of hot tea has the added benefit of steam. Perfect for alleviating sinus issues, steam in any form is an allergy sufferer’s best friend.


    Minimize Allergens


    restaurant windows


    Trees, plants, and grass are the enemy. They are the culprits that cause sneezing, runny noses, inflamed sinuses, and just an overall discomfort for people who are prone to allergies. As a result, you’ll want to consider keeping your restaurant’s windows closed during allergy season. At the very least, ask patrons if they’re suffering from allergies and if they mind that windows are left open. Customers will be extremely appreciative of your consideration. 

    Some restaurants feature indoor flowers and plants that provide stylish decor. Although these indoor plants will likely have significantly fewer allergens than outdoor varieties, they can still cause discomfort. The weeping fig and flowering maple especially can be unkind to allergy sufferers, and nearly all plants are susceptible to the unwanted growth of mold. The best way to combat mold growth on plants is by ensuring plants kept in wicker baskets are properly tended.


    The most important thing to remember when dealing with customers is their comfort is top priority. By showing patrons you really care about how they’re feeling, you'll help ensure they'll return to your restaurant in the future.

    Gelato vs. Ice Cream vs. Frozen Yogurt vs. Soft Serve

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Since we’re now a month into spring, it won’t be long before seasonal ice cream shops open for the warmer, summer months. But ice cream parlors today aren’t what they used to be. Some specialize in products like gelato or frozen yogurts, while others strive to go above and beyond by offering a full gauntlet that also includes soft serve and hard ice cream. This post will explore each of these four frozen treats and explain the differences between them.


    Hard Ice Cream


    hard ice cream


    Thick and full of fat, hard ice cream is usually made from a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. The classic summer-time treat comes in a wide range of flavors, satisfying every type of sweet tooth. Baskin Robbins was once famous for offering 31 unique flavors, but advancements in ice cream technology have allowed modern ice cream shops to far surpass that number.

    Hard ice cream can be easily and safely stored in ice cream dipping cabinets and commercial chest freezers. Cabinets and freezers vary significantly in size, enabling foodservice owners to find the perfect unit for their unique establishment. For best results, it’s recommended that traditional ice cream is served at a temperature between 0°F and 6°F.




    gelato flavors


    This Italian treat is made mostly of milk, cream, sugar, and flavorings. This quality means gelato weighs more than ice cream, so servings of the Italian treat are usually smaller than that of ice cream. To achieve perfect gelato consistency, you’ll want to serve cups at 10°F. If gelato is served at a colder temperature than that, there’s a chance it will be too frozen and won’t have that unique soft consistency that sweet tooths crave.

    Featuring between 3%-8% milkfat as opposed to traditional ice cream that has 14%-18% milkfat, gelato also has less air than ice a cream. As a result, the Italian treat has distinct richness and requires less flavoring and added sugar to achieve its desired taste. The dessert comes in dozens of flavors and looks perfect on display, helping to prompt countless impulse purchases. Gelato is often served by the scoop, and customers frequently combine two or more different flavors to make their own personalized creation.

    While a gelato dipping cabinet might look similar to an ice cream dipping, it’s not. Gelato dipping cabinets are specifically designed to hold gelato. Investing in the wrong type of cabinet can result in you serving a product that’s not up to par. Always be sure to research cabinets beforehand so you know exactly what you’re getting..


    Soft Serve Ice Cream


    soft serve ice cream


    Perhaps the standard for cooling off in the summer heat, soft serve ice cream is just as delicious whether in a cup, cone, or between two ends of a cookie sandwich. Usually offered as chocoloate or vanilla, soft serve also comes in more exotic flavors and is best enjoyed at a temperature between 10°F-20°F. Most soft serve machines enable users to choose between two individual flavors or go with a twist option. With less milk fat than traditional ice cream, soft serve features more air than its counterpart and has a texture that’s predictably soft, creamy, and delicate.


    Frozen Yogurt


    frozen yogurt with toppings


    Also known as Fro-Yo, frozen yogurt is exactly what it sounds like. Yogurt is mixed with milk, cream, sweetener, and sometimes even live cultures that can aid in digestion then served at a temperature between 17°F-19°F via a soft serve machine. Fro-yo mixes vary in regards to whether they utilize pure fruit sugar or cane sugar, and consequently the ideal serving temperature of frozen yogurt differs on a case-by-case basis. Always be sure to read the label on your frozen yogurt mix before serving.

    Since frozen yogurt does not contain cream, the frozen dessert has significantly less fat content than traditional ice cream. However, toppings are extremely popular among customers when it comes to frozen yogurt. By adding sauces, fruits, and other toppings atop cups of fro-yo, the delicious treats can quickly approach the fat level of a regular cup of ice cream.

    Craft Beer and Food Pairings

    Written by: J. Vigotsky


    Over the past 10 years, craft beer has benefitted from a meteoric rise in popularity throughout the United States. Microbrews and micropubs have often leveraged the success of their beer by teaming up with esteemed chefs who add delicious food to the restaurant’s menu. But with so many different beers, there’s a bit of an art to matching the taste of each beverage with the perfect dinner dish. This post will aim to help educate servers and owners about what styles of craft beer to pair with certain foods. 


    India Pale Ale (IPA)


    india pale ale (ipa)


    The crown jewel of the craft beer movement, IPAs are everywhere these days. The beer is known for its bitter flavoring that’s been sweetened via citrus and herbal additions. For thirsty customers who prefer a more bitter-tasting beverage, a double IPA will be more likely to satisfy them. Made with more hops, double IPAs have higher alcohol content than traditional IPAs.

    The bitterness of heavier IPAs is great for offsetting spicy foods like Thai, Indian, and Mexican. Anything that’s liable to make an eater sweat is a perfect match for double IPAs. Lighter IPAs that also offer some sweetness do best when paired with more mild dishes like barbecued meats. Steak, chicken, are burgers are all great choices.




    wheat beer craft


    The lightest beer on this list, wheat beer generally has less carbonation and a lower alcohol content than other craft options. Since wheat provides minimal flavoring to the beer, breweries often add in fruity flavors when brewing.

    Glasses of the light-tasting beer are ideal for pairing with appetizers and snacks like salads, cheeses, and sushi. The combination ensures diners won’t get weighed down by a meal that’s too heavy. Wheat beer is also known to match well with a variety of sweet dessert offerings.




    stout beer craft


    Deep black or brown coloring leaves no mystery as to whether a stout is a light or dark beer. Blending dark malts with hops, stouts are most popular during cold months. The beer has a smooth texture and often tastes similar to coffee, chocolate, or a combination of the two. As a result, stouts are excellent dessert options and are commonly enjoyed alongside cakes or brownies.




    porter craft beer


    Another dark beer, porters have a very similar taste profile to that of stouts. Sharing a strong roasted flavor bursting with hints of chocolate, caramel, and coffee, porters differ than stouts in that they generally have a smoother finish.

    As a result of a porter’s rich flavors, the beer is a great match for desserts as well as smoked or barbecued dishes. Meals like burgers and chicken become even heartier when they’re washed down with a heavy pint of porter.




    lager craft beer


    It’s essential to understand there are both light and dark lagers. Although light lagers are extremely popular within the United States and celebrated for their refreshingly crisp taste, they don’t have the same powerful flavor punch that other craft beers possess. While this light tasting beer is versatile enough to be enjoyed with nearly any meal, it especially excels at putting out a spice-induced mouth fire caused by spicy dishes. 

    On the other hand, dark lagers are more popular in Europe and feature a nuttier flavor that often has a bit of caramel syrup taste. These heavy beers are usually paired with hearty dishes like sausage, bratwurst, pizza, and stew.


    Amber Ale


    amber ale red ale craft beer


    Also known as red ale, amber ale commonly feature caramel and crystal malts while boasting a dry, smooth finish. Commonly utilizing citrus and other fruity hops, the beer is versatile enough to go well with a wide range of dishes.

    Since amber ales have such a smooth finish, they excel at cleansing a diner’s palate. This means they do well when paired with heavily seasoned dishes that pack a flavorful punch. Barbecued chicken, grilled fish, and other smoky or flavorful meats are ideal matches.


    Craft beer offerings vary significantly, and the aforementioned styles only scratch the surface of what breweries are churning out. Since the craft beer bubble still hasn’t popped, restaurant owners might want to consider offering some local options if they haven’t already done so. Beers don’t have to be on tap, and customers will likely appreciate a cold bottle just the same. Just make sure you keep your glasses and bottles cold with bottle coolers and glass chillers. For other essential bar items, check out the rest of our bar refrigeration equipment and bartending supplies.

    Arming servers with knowledge of which beers pair with which dishes puts you even another step ahead of the game, as it ensures each customer receives personal attention related to their own food and drink preferences. After they experience the synergism effect of a thirst-quenching craft beer combined with a mouth-watering meal, they’ll be even more likely to revisit your restaurant.