Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rally's Burgers & Fries Launches Newest Reimage Location; Plans to Double Presence in Cincinnati

Twenty plus years in the making, Rally’s Restaurants is best known for its bold and flavorful burgers lineup, and iconic double drive-thru lanes. These attributes have carried the brand to become a nationally renowned and nearly 800 unit burger chain over two decades, but now after extensive research and careful planning, it is introducing Cincinnati consumers to a brand new Rally’s. The new Rally’s Cincinnati reimage will launch at 3010 Reading Road on June 30, 2012.

To create excitement for the brand reimage, on Saturday, June 30, starting at 10am, Rally’s is offering FREE fries for a year to the first 100 guests in line. Guests in line, 101 and after will receive FREE fries with purchase all weekend.

“This is only the second round of reimaging we’ve done to an existing restaurant in this appearance,” said Rick Silva, Chief Executive Officer of Checkers Drive In Restaurants. “It is an evolution of our brand that we believe will attract new guests to our restaurants and excite even our most loyal guests.”

The new, fresh look and feel of Rally’s will include an exterior reimaging, the addition of stainless steel over both drive-thru lanes and the introduction of a black and white checkered scheme to compliment today’s red colored decor. The interior will include upgrades in the kitchen to correspond with Rally’s mission of efficiency and timely service.

As a market with both corporate and franchise locations, Cincinnati has always had incredibly strong sales numbers. Having reinvested in the market, Rally’s increased comp sales in 2010 by 6.7 percent, in 2011 by 10.3 percent, and are up in 2012 by 4.8 percent. In fact, the 3010 Reading Road Rally’s location had comp sales rise from 2.9 percent in 2010 to 14.8 percent in 2011. Confident in the growth and future of the market, Rally’s wanted to take a step forward by further reinvesting in the market by unveiling its whole new look.

“We’ve chosen to introduce our reimaged restaurant in Cincinnati because it’s been one of our strongest markets for years,” said Silva. “We believe that inviting many of our long-term guests to see our new look will generate a great deal of excitement around our brand.” Over the past 25 years, Checkers/Rally’s Drive In Restaurants has grown to a nearly 800 unit system made up of corporate and franchise units. Silva said the company’s unusually large restaurant ownership position ensures the corporation maintains connected to guests’ desires and to the operational aspects of its business.

“It also demonstrates to our franchisees that we are highly knowledgeable about any changes to menus, equipment or restaurant designs in our system,” he said. “When they know our profits are also on the line in those situations, it strengthens our partnership with them.”

If Your Going to London for the Olympics...

Acclaimed London based event and dining company The Brewery announces The Retreat, a membership-based hospitality event ( The Retreat will provide a perfect base for visitors wanting to avoid the crowds and congestion during the peak hours of the day during the entirety of the games (July 27th - August 12th 2012).

The Retreat will be playing all Olympic events on 14+ big screen TVs in each of their themed areas while also offering interactive activities and experiences. Later in the afternoon guests will be treated to live music and entertainment with presenters and personalities to engage the club's members. Breakfast and lunch will be offered for Retreat members who would like to stop by on their way to the office or on their lunch break and watch their chosen event.

The venue will be split into six distinctly different areas each celebrating the Best in British. The Park, a picnic area in The Brewery's historic Courtyard; The Great British Diner, a diner with traditional American charm and an English makeover featuring a luxury high tea and other food events; Mo*Vida will occupy The Club where some of the world's best DJ's will be playing well into the early hours; The Cinema, a custom-built theater showing the Olympic games and classic British films; The Country Club, a traditional English club with interactive simulators and other amusements; and The Backstage Theatre, an area where guests can relax and enjoy massages, manicures and a variety of treatments sponsored by WATC (We Are the City) and Citypoint Spa.

Alongside these extravagant additions there will be the usual mix of premium brand beverages and food, prepared by international executive chef Tom Gore, accompanied by a whole host of entertainment throughout the fortnight.

Access to The Retreat is membership based, with several membership options available including a daily membership for guests who want to come on a specific day, evening membership, or a full 17-day membership (season members). Season memberships are transferable allowing members to share their access with colleagues or friends. Only one person per membership will be allowed into The Retreat at any one time.

Membership includes:
Unrestricted access to all areas of the Retreat (except private branded spaces) on a hop-on hop-off basis. Members can enter and leave The Retreat daily as many times as suits their needs.
Olympic action on big screens
Unlimited fine food and drinks
Pampering area for massages, manicures, and treatments
Interactive experience and activities
Daytime Country Club lounge
Historic courtyard with sponsored areas
Evening entertainment with presenters, personalities, music and bands
Nightclub until 2 a.m. with music and dancing
Unrestricted Wi-Fi
Secure luggage storage

Membership costs are as follows, 17-Day Membership: $4,650 (£3000); Day Membership: $456 (£294); and Evening Membership: $236 (£150). For more information about The Retreat please visit or call 0845 143 1448.

The Brown Hotel Announces New Chef de Cuisine

The Brown Hotel’s general manager Brad Walker has announced the addition of Richard Mills as chef de cuisine at Four-Diamond award winning restaurant the English Grill. Mills comes to the Louisville luxury hotel from Ravello at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn. where he served as sous chef.

After a devastating flood in 2010, Mills worked to revitalize Ravello by helping its team reopen the doors and develop a hand-crafted menu of Southern favorites fused with classic Italian techniques. He specialized in butchering, curing artisanal meats, and cultivating the wine selection. Mills also sourced local ingredients to bring Nashville diners a new option for regional and European-inspired fare.

As part of the English Grill team, Mills hopes to serve as the face of the restaurant and lead the kitchen to deliver the best quality products. He looks forward to working in the boutique hotel where he can focus on serving simple and elegant food to guests from around the world. The West Virginia native will collaborate with Executive Chef Laurent Geroli on a new menu to be debuted later this summer.

“My cooking philosophy is that less is more,” said Chef Mills. “I let the ingredients speak for themselves without crowding the plate.”

Mills started his cooking career in Columbus, Ohio during high school while working as a dishwasher. When the temperamental chef stormed out, Richard stepped in to make pizzas for the hungry guests. The owner was so impressed by his initiative that he soon promoted him to cook. Working his way through college at various restaurants, Mills soon decided to pursue his passion for food full-time. The Le Cordon Bleu Program in Culinary Arts graduate studied at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute before working in Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Club and the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Regular, Moderate, Coffee Drinking May Reduce Heart Failure Risk

If you drink coffee regularly in moderation, you could reduce your risk of heart failure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation Heart Failure.

Researchers, analyzing previous studies on the link between coffee consumption and heart failure, found that moderate coffee drinking as part of a daily routine may be linked with a significantly lower risk of heart failure. In contrast, indulging excessively may be linked with an increased chance of developing serious heart problems.

"While there is a commonly held belief that regular coffee consumption may be dangerous to heart health, our research suggests that the opposite may be true," said Murray Mittleman, M.D., Dr.P.H., senior study author and director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

"We found that moderate consumption -- which we define as the equivalent of about two typical American coffee shop beverages -- may actually protect against heart failure by as much as 11 percent," he said. "On the other hand, excessive coffee drinking -- five to six commercial coffee house cups per day has no benefit and may even be dangerous. As with so many things, moderation appears to be the key here, too."

Researchers reviewed five high quality prospective studies of coffee consumption and heart failure risk published between 2001 and 2011. Combined, the studies included 6,522 heart failure events among 140,220 males and females. Four of the studies were conducted in Sweden and one in Finland.

The study defines moderate consumption as four Northern European servings per day, the equivalent to about two typical 8-ounce American servings. Excessive coffee consumption is 10 Northern European servings per day, the equivalent to four or five coffees from popular American coffee restaurant chains (servings sizes vary from 9 to 20 fluid ounces per serving).

Researchers didn't account for brew strength, but coffee is typically weaker in the United States than it is in Europe. They also didn't differentiate between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, but most of the coffee consumed in Sweden and Finland is caffeinated.

"There are many factors that play into a person's risk of heart failure, but moderate coffee consumption doesn't appear to be one of them," said Elizabeth Mostofsky, Sc.D., lead study author and research fellow at Beth Israel.

"This is good news for coffee drinkers, of course, but it also may warrant changes to the current heart failure prevention guidelines, which suggest that coffee drinking may be risky for heart patients. It now appears that a couple of cups of coffee per day may actually help protect against heart failure."

The American Heart Association recommends that heart failure patients consume only a moderate amount of caffeine -- no more than a cup or two of coffee or other caffeinated beverage a day.

Researchers didn't definitively say why coffee offers a heart-health benefit. But evidence suggests that frequent coffee drinkers develop a tolerance to the beverage's caffeine, which may put them at a decreased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Habitual coffee consumption is also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, with most studies showing the greatest reduction in risk with higher levels of coffee consumption.

"Diabetes and hypertension are among the most important risk factors for heart failure, so it stands to reason that reducing one's odds of developing either of them, in turn, reduces one's chance of heart failure," Mittleman said.

Other co-authors are Megan Rice, Sc.D., and Emily Levitan, Sc.D.

The study was partly supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Limited Edition Marque Adds a New Flavor Dimension to La Vie Grand Marnier

The House of Marnier-Lapostolle is proud to announce the release of Grand Marnier Cherry: a limited edition expression that will debut for the 2012 holiday season. From world renowned French producers of Grand Marnier – expertly blended fine cognacs flavored perfectly with the essence of exotic oranges – Grand Marnier Cherry extends the brand’s commitment to innovation and marks the launch of an entirely new series of marques that will continue to explore the world’s most elegant flavors.

Grand Marnier Cherry is blended with the same, premium quality cognacs – sourced from the best crus of the Cognac region and aged in French oak barrels – used to craft the original Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge. This unique new expression, inclusive of the orange spirit the brand is best known for, also blends the essence of natural European Griottes cherries. To ensure world-class quality, the Grand Marnier spirits are synonymous with, the 100% natural Griottes cherries are hand selected from one of Europe’s finest producers. Each and every step of the spirit-making process is strictly controlled, from painstaking selection to delivery and maceration of the fruit in neutral alcohol for three to four weeks to extract the peak of flavor and aromas.

The result is an elegant and delicious spirit distinguished by the natural essence of cherry and orange. Grand Marnier Cherry’s rich, deep red and all natural color is warmed by just a touch of an amber tone imparted from the cognac. On the nose, its elegance is immediately evident: one’s first perception is of the traditional wild tropical oranges of Grand Marnier followed quickly by the scent of rich and ripened cherries. From the first sip, Grand Marnier Cherry delivers a lush and complex, yet balanced, marriage of orange and cherry flavors mellowed by the cognac that sustains the delicious flavors of the fruits for a long finish.

Grand Marnier Cherry follows on the heels of last year’s highly successful launch of Quintessence, the first new marque since the release of Cuvee du Cent-Cinquantenaire, which marks the brand’s 150th anniversary in 1977. Created to please the most discerning palates, Grand Marnier Cherry is taking its place as a most intriguing addition to the evolving world of Grand Marnier.

Grand Marnier Cherry is available nationally, debuting September 2012 (SRP: $41.99 / 750ml).

Frozen Margaritas for 4th of July? Yes please!

Renowned boutique tequila distillery Casa Noble, which produces some of the finest handcrafted tequila in Mexico, has created some refreshing Frozen Margarita recipes to help celebrate the 4th of July!

True Blue Margarita
1.5 oz Casa Noble Crystal
0.5 oz Blue Curazao
1 oz lime juice
0.5 Agave nectar

The Purple Margarita
2 oz Sambazon® Acai Original juice
1.5 oz Casa Noble Crystal
Squeeze half of 1 fresh lime juice

The Noble Margarita
2 oz Casa Noble Reposado
1 oz Orange juice
1 oz Cranberry juice
1 oz Chambord ® Raspberry liqueur

Black Magic Margarita
1 ½ oz Casa Noble Blanco
1 oz agave nectar
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz of fresh blueberry’s muddled to create a very unique color and flavor.

Mayan Margarita
2 oz Casa Noble Crystal
1 oz Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Tangerine juice
1 oz lime juice
half-teaspoon Tajin ground chile powder
0.5 oz Agave Nectar

Mix ingredients in blender until smooth, serve on martini glass, garnish with 2 fresh blueberries on a skewer

A renowned boutique distillery, Casa Noble represents the pride, passion, and quality commitment of more than 200 years and over 7 generations of tequila production. The Casa Noble family of Single Estate Organic tequilas -- Crystal, Reposado, and Añejo -- has a rich history that has earned them a position as one of the finest ultra premium spirits portfolios in the world. Casa Noble's handcrafted tequilas are exported to over 23 countries worldwide and currently available in premium retail outlets, exclusive restaurants, distinguished bars and lounges and destination hotels Nationwide in the U.S. The tequila is harvested, distilled and bottled on the private family estate that boasts over 6,500 acres of land and more than one million blue agave plants. Recently, Carlos Santana joined the Casa Noble family has a part-owner.

Burger-eating contest ups the ante, offers $2,500 to first place winner at Smokey Bones

Let the “hunger games” begin! Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, the restaurant and bar specializing in good food, good drinks and good times, will once again give competitive eaters the opportunity to devour a ‘build-a-burger’ masterpiece for a $2,500 cash prize during its second annual BURGER BATTLE eating contest on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

BURGER BATTLE contestants can leave their hunting and gathering skills behind as their eating skills are what will allow them to survive this game. For the first two rounds, competitors will be provided a Smokey Bones’ build-a-burger menu where they will need to strategically create a half-pound burger (choice of a brisket or pulled pork topping in addition to a cold topping, hot topping, cheese and specialty sauce) to out eat the contenders. Those that consume their creations in the fastest amount of time during their heat will advance to the next round.

The “final ten” will compete in the championship “Burger Blitz.” During this final round, opponents will be timed as they eat a one-pound build-a-burger and the fastest time secures victory both regionally and nationally.

The first place eater in each restaurant location will receive a $200 gift certificate for Smokey Bones, as well as the opportunity to submit their time against each of the fastest times throughout the 66 locations. The grand prize winner, the competitor with the overall fastest time, will collect $2,500 and earn bragging rights as the Smokey Bones’ 2012 BURGER BATTLE champion. All participants who do not win a first place prize for each location will receive a $5 bounce back card for use after the contest or during their next visit.

BURGER BATTLE is accepting 40 entries at each location and all eaters must be at least 18 years old to participate. Applications are available at all Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill locations throughout the United States or via email at

The fee for participation is $10, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Homes for Our Troops, a non-profit organization dedicated to building specially adapted homes for severely injured veterans.

WHAT: BURGER BATTLE Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill Burger-Eating Contest

WHEN: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. 7 p.m. Check-in and qualifying round for extra participants 7:30 p.m. Round 1 8 p.m. Round 2 8:30 p.m. Final Round: Burger Blitz

WHERE: Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill’s (66) locations nationwide

REGISTRATION: 40 entries per location to be accepted Participation fee is $10, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Homes for Our Troops

All participants must be at least 18 years old Applications are available at each location or can be submitted via email:

PRIZES: Grand prize receives $2,500 First place in each restaurant receives a $200 gift certificate All other participants will receive a $5 bounce back card


Monday, June 25, 2012

Back-to-School Products from Wean Green

Wean Green is the perfect multi-purpose solution for your lunch time needs— portable, leak-proof, and safe to transfer from heat source to freezer, Wean Green’s eco-chic tempered glass containers are safe from harmful chemicals. But what about little fingers? No need to worry—Wean Green is breakage-proof, so hand over the tough-as-glass containers to your little Weaner, and rest assured that these containers can withstand any activity you decide to throw at them.

The Wean Green back to school pack will retail for $19.99 and come with a Lunch Cube, Wean Tub and Wean Cube.

You can find Wean Green products at The Container Store, Whole Foods and online at and

Monday, June 18, 2012

Too Much Salt May Damage Blood Vessels and Lead to High Blood Pressure

Eating a high-salt diet for several years may damage blood vessels -- increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to research reported in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

People with this type of blood vessel damage who eat a high-salt diet are more likely to develop hypertension, or high blood pressure. This research hints at the presence of a "sodium amplification loop" in which eating too much salt for a long time damages blood vessels, leading to a greater chance of developing high blood pressure if the high-salt diet is continued.

Researchers didn't assess the cause-and-effect relationship between salt intake and high blood pressure. But the study's results "add to the considerable evidence that a diet heavy on salt is closely linked to high blood pressure," said John Forman, M.D., lead author of the study and a nephrologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.

"In addition, this study reinforces guidelines backed by the American Heart Association and other professional organizations that recommend reducing salt consumption to minimize the risk of developing high blood pressure," Forman said.

One gram of sodium is equal to 2.5 grams of table salt (sodium chloride).

Researchers conducted an observational study (PREVEND) in which they tracked the sodium intake of 5,556 men and women from the general population of Groningen, Netherlands. Sodium intake was assessed by collecting multiple 24-hour urine samples, which is considered the optimal method to measure sodium intake.

Researchers analyzed the association between sodium consumption and blood levels of uric acid and albumin in the urine -- both markers of blood vessel damage -- in participants not taking high blood pressure medicine.

During a median follow-up of 6.4 years, 878 new hypertension diagnoses were made.

Higher sodium intake was associated with increasing levels of uric acid and albumin over time. The higher the levels of these markers, the greater the risk of developing hypertension if dietary salt intake was high, researchers found. Compared with participants eating the least amount of sodium (about 2,200 milligrams a day), those eating the most (about 6,200 mg/d) were 21 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure. However, those who had high uric acid levels and ate the most salt were 32 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure while those with high urine albumin levels and highest salt intake were 86 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure.

A high-salt diet is believed to be responsible for 20 percent to 40 percent of all cases of high blood pressure in the United States.

Because the study involved only European Caucasians, the results should be replicated in Hispanics, African-Americans and others in the United States; however, other researchers have found a link between a high-salt diet and high blood pressure in these other populations, Forman said.

Co-authors are Lieneke Scheven, M.D.; Paul de Jong, M.D.; Stephan Bakker, Ph.D.; Gary Curhan, M.D.; and Ron Gansevoort, M.D.

The American Heart Association, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease, and the Dutch Kidney Foundation funded the study.

The American Heart Association recommends you choose foods with little or no salt to reduce blood pressure and thereby lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Learn more about the American Heart Association's commitment to helping all Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume and about hidden sources of sodium. You can also take The Scoop on Sodium Quiz.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Celebrate Dad with Wendy's Sixth Annual Father's Day Frosty Weekend

Now through Father’s Day, Wendy’s Frosty fans can help children in foster care find permanent, loving, adoptive homes. Continuing its Father’s Day Frosty Weekend tradition for the sixth year in a row, Wendy’s invites customers to help raise $1.6 million through three easy ways:

· Buy any Frosty product: On Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17, for each Frosty product, participating Wendy’s will donate 50-cents to support Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a program that is dedicated to finding permanent adoptive families for children in foster care. All Frosty products are included — even parfaits, shakes and floats.

· Use a mobile website to check in at Wendy’s: Wendy’s will donate 50-cents for every customer that checks in at Wendy’s restaurants during Father's Day Weekend (June 16 and 17 only) using Wendy’s special mobile-friendly website found at

· Re-Tweet: Now through Father’s Day, customers can re-Tweet one of @Wendys special Twitter posts with the hashtag #TreatItFwd. Wendy’s will make a 50-cent donation for each designated re-Tweet made from Treat it Forward.

“My father was passionate about foster kids finding permanent, loving homes, as he was adopted himself,” said Wendy Thomas, daughter of founder Dave Thomas. “Father’s Day Frosty Weekend is a special tradition that allows us to carry on his dream of getting even more children in foster care adopted.”

As an added bonus, actress and proud adoptee Kristin Chenoweth will be sharing Tweets with her fans in honor of this year’s Wendy’s Father’s Day Frosty Weekend. Visit for information on her whereabouts as she Tweets from the road while on tour.

Since its beginnings in 2007, Father’s Day Frosty Weekend has raised more than $8 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in support of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a program that finds permanent adoptive homes for children in foster care.

To date, nearly 3,000 children have been adopted through Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, and several thousand more have been matched with families and are awaiting adoption. Recently released data from a five-year study of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids shows that children referred to the program are up to three times more likely to get adopted.

For more information, visit or

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Bitch Wine Founder, DebbieGioquindo, Reveals Job Loss and Past Led to Entrepreneurial Endeavor

When Debbie Gioquindo was downsized from her corporate job last year, she thought life was handing her a raw deal. With a mortgage to be paid and two children entering college age, the newly unemployed mother was understandably upset and fearful of what her future held.

“My husband and I had many conversations about what direction to go. Do I try to get back in the corporate world again only to find myself in this same position? Or do I pursue something of my own, something I’m passionate about and love?”

If she followed her passion, it would certainly involve wine. She and her husband Paul both love to explore new wines. So much so, that Gioquindo started a wine blog a few years back. She is known in the blogging and wine world as The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess. While she had fun with it, she also took it seriously, earning such notable designations as Certified Specialist in Wine by the American Society of Wine Educators and a Wine Location Specialist in Champagne and Port by the Center of Wine Origins.

But how to turn her love for wine into a career? Her answer came via Twitter. “I was bouncing back and forth between feeling sorry for myself and growing a set and figuring this out. Then a Tweet came across my screen that changed everything.” That Tweet was from an acquaintance, Keryl Pesce, who is the author of Happy Bitch. Keryl said, “What do you think about the idea of a Happy Bitch wine?” Gioquindo wasted no time in responding, suggesting that she consider making it a Hudson Valley or New York sourced wine. A few days later, the two met for coffee and were off to the races.

“I knew where to start, where to go and who to talk to. I set up a meeting with a local wine master and six months later, Keryl and I launched Happy Bitch Rose wine, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.” “Debbie’s awesome. She’s a hard-worker, has guts and is a good person.” Says Pesce. “I am so lucky to have her as a business partner.”

Happy Bitch wine is distributed in New York State, Arizona and beginning July 1, in New Jersey. The wine can also be ordered on line and shipped wherever allowed by state law.

But the story doesn’t end there. With a glass of wine in hand, she was browsing the internet one evening doing some research about her family roots. That’s when she made a startling discovery. Her forefathers were wine makers too Her great-grandfather Alfred Lessner came from family of wine merchants who owned six vineyards in Tapolca in western Hungary in the 1700’s.

"Wine is in my blood. " says Gioquindo. “Making this discovery about my ancestors was not only exciting, but it confirmed without a doubt I’m on the right path. A year ago I never thought I would say this, but I am so grateful I lost my job. What an amazing adventure this has turned out to be."

For more information on Gioquindo, visit For more information on her wine,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Find Local Farms and Food with the Good Earth Guide

Ohio summers are a time to enjoy the bounty of fresh garden vegetables, ripe off-the vine berries, and orchard harvests bursting with juicy flavor. The Good Earth Guide to Organic and Ecological Farms, Gardens and Related Businesses by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) can help bring these delicious tastes of summer to any kitchen.

The Good Earth Guide includes information on farms and businesses that sell directly to the public, including 166 certified organic farms and businesses and more than 90 community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

The directory identifies sources for locally grown vegetables; fruits; herbs; honey; maple syrup; dairy products; grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb; free-range chicken and eggs; fiber; flour and grains; cut flowers; plants; hay and straw; seed and feed and other local farm products.

“Since we started publishing the Good Earth Guide in 1990, it’s grown from a list of a dozen or so farms to more than 350 farms and related businesses, reflecting the tremendous growth in demand for locally-sourced and sustainably-produced foods, fibers, products and services,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt.

Each listing includes name and contact information, products sold, a farm or business description, and whether the farm or business is certified organic. Both the print and online versions include tools that make it easy to search the listings for a specific product, farm/business or farmer/contact, by county, or by sales method. Additionally, the online version includes locations and maps for where the many farm and business products are sold.

“The purpose of the Good Earth Guide is making connections—Connecting consumers to local farms and businesses so that their dollars support wholesome food and sustainable products. Connecting farmers with other farmers so they can network and develop business relationships that support a successful farming community. And, connecting businesses and farmers who are building the links in the local food system chain that brings food from the field to a finished product available to consumers,” said Hunt.

The Good Earth Guide is available free to the public in an easy to use online searchable database and as a downloadable pdf at Print copies are distributed free to OEFFA members and are available to non-members for $10 each at

“You can find just about anything you’d want being grown or produced right here in Ohio. The Good Earth Guide helps provide a blueprint for consumers interested in eating locally and in-season. Eating locally allows consumers to get to know who raises the food they eat, and to find out how it was produced. It keeps produce from traveling far distances, allowing it to be picked and sold ripe and full of flavor and nutrition. Buying locally and directly from the farmer also helps keep our “food dollars” in the local economy, which in turn helps our rural communities,” concluded Hunt.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sowing the Seeds of Salad at Noodles and Company - June 7

Little else conjures up the nostalgia of childhood in the summer like vegetable gardens, juicy strawberries and backyard barbecues. Noodles & Company makes it easy to capture all those delicious tastes and memories with the introduction of three wholesome and tasty summer salads.

For a limited time, Noodles & Company guests can enjoy three salads that feature fresh ingredients and big flavor.

Chili-Lime Ginger Salad with seared chicken is a nod to Thai cuisine with bold flavors like ginger, mint and lime, the crunch of red pepper and chopped peanuts, and a dressing that’s sweet with a slight kick. And with three ounces of chicken, this entrée salad is sure to satisfy. It’s like a refreshing spring roll in a bowl.

Backyard Barbecue Chicken Salad with fresh-cut corn is new to some guests but will be familiar to others. The salad was first introduced last summer and has been brought back by popular demand. The hearty, yet nutritious salad features marinated pulled chicken breast with fresh-cut summer corn, ripe Roma tomatoes and chopped red cabbage, and is served over mixed greens and tossed with a smoky coleslaw dressing. This “perfect picnic plate” is a leafier version of your own backyard barbeque.

Spinach & Fresh Fruit was first introduced in the summer of 2011 and quickly became a menu favorite. The salad is a wholesome meal that includes fresh strawberries, pecans, crispy bacon and house-made croutons atop tender spinach leaves finished off with blue cheese crumbles and a balsamic fig glaze The combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy satisfies every taste bud.

“Our Summer Salads are made with ingredients that appeal to both men and women, big eaters and little nibblers,” says Tessa Stamper, Noodles & Company’s chef and registered dietitian.” We’ve taken the season’s best ingredients like hand-cut corn, ripe strawberries and fresh mint, and married them together to create the crisp, clean flavors reminiscent of summer We are excited for guests to experience new and familiar tastes in the form of salad.”

Guests can customize the salads, as with any Noodles dish, to meet their dietary or taste preferences. This could include adding one of Noodles’ 17 fresh veggies or protein-rich foods, including meats, shrimp or organic tofu, or removing or swapping an ingredient.

Sowing the Seeds of Salad” takes place on Thursday, June 7, when the first fifty people in line at Noodles restaurants nationwide will receive a card for a free Summertime Salad. They will also receive THREE garden stakes that is good for a free salad that they can share with friends. There are four Noodles locations in the Cincinnati area and all open at 11 a.m.

These limited-time summer salads are available at all Noodles & Company restaurants through the end of August. To find a restaurant near you, please visit Noodles & Company is open seven days a week and offers convenient carry-out, online, phone-in and fax-in orders.

Friday, June 1, 2012

21c Museum Hotels Announces New Chefs for Cincinnati and Louisville Restaurants

21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant group, is proud to announce the appointment of Michael Paley and Levon Wallace as executive chefs of its restaurants in Cincinnati and Louisville, respectively.

Michael Paley, the executive chef at Proof on Main since the property opened in 2006, will remain the chef/partner of Garage Bar, a Neapolitan-style pizzeria, country ham and oyster bar in Louisville’s NuLu neighborhood. Paley will relocate this fall to lead the kitchen at Metropole, the new restaurant in the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati, which is scheduled to open in fourth quarter 2012. Under Paley’s direction, Metropole will emphasize the city’s European and Germanic roots and focus on dishes cooked in a custom-built hearth. Showcasing the region’s sustainable farmers and producers, Paley will develop a menu of string-roasted meats, ash-cooked vegetables, house-made charcuterie and more, with a beverage menu that favors craft beers and bourbon.

“After opening Garage Bar, our wood-fired pizzeria in Louisville last year, I was inspired to create a menu that is cooked almost entirely by wood-fired heat,” Paley says. “Our menu at Metropole will reflect Cincinnati’s rich, European-based culinary heritage, and I am thrilled to introduce our custom-built hearth as the focal point of the restaurant and the menu.”

21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati will renovate the former Metropole Hotel—a historic landmark in downtown Cincinnati—restoring this nearly 100-year-old architectural gem into a beautiful public space. 21c is embracing the architecture of the Metropole building to create a new space for visitors and residents of Cincinnati to view cutting-edge contemporary art, and enjoy Paley’s menu that celebrates the region's sustainable producers and culinary traditions. A rooftop bar will offer stunning views of downtown Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

Levon Wallace, an alumnus of luxury resort properties Ojai Valley Inn, Harbor View Hotel & Resort and The Kelley House in Nantucket, has been appointed as executive chef of Proof on Main, the acclaimed restaurant located at 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville. Over the course of the summer, Wallace and Paley will work in tandem on transitioning the kitchen.

“Over the next few months, Michael and I will work side-by-side to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for our guests and staff,” says Wallace. “I am excited to become part of the vibrant dining community in Louisville, and look forward to introducing my new menu at Proof on Main this fall.”

Signature Proof on Main dishes, including Bison Burger, Warm Ricotta, Charred Octopus, and House-Cured Meats, for example, will remain on the menu. Wallace will gradually introduce new menu items, showcasing responsibly sourced and locally raised ingredients from the restaurant’s Woodland Farm and other regional purveyors, with his approach of soulful, honest cooking to reflect Proof on Main’s style.

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