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6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

In 1621, Pilgrims dressed in black and white with buckled shoes and hats atop their heads in the Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. They invited the Wampanoag Indians and everyone gobbled down turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

That’s the story you probably learned as a young child. Well, it turns out that only part of that is true. Historians say there was indeed a feast that year shared by the colonists and Indians but nobody actually knows whether Turkey was really on the menu. Deer was served in 1621 and turkey may have been there too but there is no record of it. Pumpkin was available but probably not whipped into pie, sweat potatoes were not a familiar food to the colonists and cranberries may have been at the table but most likely not as a sauce or relish. Pilgrims didn’t even dress in black and white with buckled shoes and top hats.

It is still unclear why Americans started eating turkey in the 1800s for Thanksgiving but I do know one thing… It sure is tasty!  That’s why I have compiled 6 different ways to cook a Turkey for your feast this year. Whether you’re serving patrons or your family, these cooking methods will work for you. Perhaps you will decide to try something new this Thanksgiving!

Deep Fried Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 3 gallons of peanut oil for frying, or as needed
  • 1 (12 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • ¼ cup Creole seasoning
  • 1 white onion

Directions:

In a large stock pot or turkey fryer, heat oil to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Be sure to leave room for the turkey, or the oil will spill over. Layer a large platter with food-safe paper bags.

Rinse turkey, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub Creole seasoning over turkey inside and out. Make sure the hole at the neck is open at least 2 inches so the oil can flow freely through the bird.

Place the whole onion and turkey in drain basket. The turkey should be placed in basket neck end first. Slowly lower basket into hot oil to completely cover turkey. Maintain the temperature of the oil at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook turkey for 3 1/2 minutes per pound, about 45 minutes.

Carefully remove basket from oil, and drain turkey. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh; the internal temperature must be 180 degrees F (80 degrees C). Finish draining turkey on the prepared platter.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Smoked Turkey 6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 pound) turkey, neck and giblets removed
  • 1 (20 pound) bag high quality charcoal briquettes
  • Hickory chips or chunks

Directions:

Place the charcoal into the bottom pan of the smoker. Light the coals and wait for the temperature of the smoker to come to 240 degrees F (115 degrees C). Lightly oil grate.

Rinse turkey under cold water, and pat dry. Place hickory chips into a pan with water to cover.

Place turkey onto the prepared grate. Add 2 handfuls damp chips at start of cooking, then a handful every couple of hours during the cooking process. Leave the lid on – DO NOT keep looking at turkey or you will let the heat out! Continue smoking until the internal temperature of the turkey reaches 180 degrees F (82 degrees C), or keep going until the coals die out. 

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Roasted Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (18 pound) turkey
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ qt turkey stock
  • 8 cups prepared stuffing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place rack in the lowest position of the oven.

Remove the turkey neck and giblets, rinse the turkey, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in the roasting pan. Loosely fill the body cavity with stuffing. Rub the skin with the softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Position an aluminum foil tent over the turkey.

Place turkey in the oven, and pour 2 cups turkey stock into the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices on the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them, about 1 to 2 cups at a time. Remove aluminum foil after 2 1/2 hours. Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the meaty part of the thigh reads 180 degrees F (80 degrees C), about 4 hours.

Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 to 30 minutes before carving. 

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Turkey Brine 6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-18 pound) turkey
  • 1 gallon vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 tbsp crushed dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried savory
  • 1 gallon ice water

Directions:

In a large stock pot, combine the vegetable broth, sea salt, rosemary, sage, thyme, and savory. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to be sure salt is dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.

When the broth mixture is cool, pour it into a clean 5 gallon bucket. Stir in the ice water.

Wash and dry your turkey. Make sure you have removed the innards. Place the turkey, breast down, into the brine. Make sure that the cavity gets filled. Place the bucket in the refrigerator overnight.

Remove the turkey carefully draining off the excess brine and pat dry. Discard excess brine.

Cook the turkey as desired reserving the drippings for gravy. Keep in mind that brined turkeys cook 20 to 30 minutes faster so watch the temperature gauge.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Rotisserie Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 pound) turkey

Seasoning:

  • 1/4 cup lemon pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp celery salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sage

Turkey Stuffing:

  • 1 medium onion cut into 8 equal parts
  • 1 carrot cut into thin disks
  • 1 apple cored and cut into 8 thick slices

Directions:

Mix together seasonings and rub over the surface and inside of cleaned and dry turkey. This is best done the night before to let the seasoning permeate the meat.

Stuff turkey and place securely on rotisserie skewer. Test it to make sure it’s well balanced and tightly secured. Make sure that the wings and legs are firmly tied to the turkey and that the turkey is well balanced on the rotisserie skewer. Prepare grill by removing grate and placing a drip pan in the center. Pan should be big enough to hold the turkey itself.

Light grill and let it heat up. If using a charcoal grill make a medium fire around the drip pan. With gas turn the burners to medium. But generally follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Half fill the drip pan with water and place the turkey on rotisserie. The cooking times should be similar to that of a 350 degree F. oven so use the time chart on the turkey packaging as a guide. You will need to use a meat thermometer to be sure of doneness.

Remove rotisserie turkey from grill when the internal temperature reaches 185 degrees F. The water in the drip pan is there to keep the drippings from evaporating away. If the pan goes dry add more water. I suggest hickory, oak or alder wood chips if you wish to add an extra smoky flavor.

Recipe courtesy of about.com

Grilled Turkey6 Ways to Cook a Turkey

Ingredients:

  •  1 (12 pound) turkey
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Prepare an outdoor grill for indirect medium-high heat.

Rinse turkey and pat dry. Turn wings back to hold neck skin in place. Return legs to tucked position.

Brush turkey with oil. Season inside and out with Italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. 

Place turkey, breast side up, on a metal grate inside a large roasting pan. Arrange pan on the prepared grill. Grill 2 to 3 hours, to an internal thigh temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C). Remove turkey from grill and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

These are all great and tasty ways to prepare your Thanksgiving bird. And though the colonists possibly left the Turkey out of their first holiday feast it would be a shame if your guests were deprived of their Thanksgiving gobbler.

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Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

Picking the correct ice type for your establishment is very important when shopping for a commercial ice machine. The shape of the ice has everything to do with its intended purpose.  Whether used in beverages, food presentation or health care services, Tundra Restaurant Supply offers many different types of ice machines in order to satisfy the widest variety of uses.

Full cube: Also known as “full dice cube”, measures 7/8” on all sides and looks very much like a cube. This ice type is the most recognizable by consumers and offers maximum cooling with nearly 100% ice to water ratio. Furthermore, it melts slowly and can be produced quickly which is perfect for high-volume operations.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Mixed drinks
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Bagged ice/ice retailing
  • Ice dispensers
  • Banquet services
  • Ice displays

Full Cube Ice Machines

Half Cube: Also known as “half dice cube”, measures 3/8” x 7/8” x 7/8” and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Like full cube ice, half cube offers maximum cooling with nearly 100% ice to water ratio. The small, easy-to-handle shape is perfect for blended drinks because if breaks down easily and creates a smoother finish.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Blended drinks
  • Mixed drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Ice dispensers
  • Ice displays
  • Banquet services

Half Cube Ice Machines

Nugget Ice: Also known as “pearl ice” or “cubelet ice”, measures 3/8” – ½” in diameter and encompasses a soft, chewable texture. This ice type is very versatile and slow melting. It cools drinks rapidly due to its high liquid displacement resulting in increased profits.

Ideal uses include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Blended cocktails
  • Smoothies
  • Fountain drinks
  • Salad bars
  • Therapeutic uses/patient care
  • Produce displays

Nugget Ice Machines

Flake Ice: Also known as “Shaved ice” is small, soft pieces of ice with a 73% ice to water ratio. Flake ice maintains food hydration, which extends the shelf life and appearance of seafood, produce, meat displays and helps increase sales. Flake ice is also great for use in bakeries, catering and health care applications.

Ideal used include:Buying Guide: Commercial Ice Machine Types

  • Produce, seafood and meat displays
  • Blended cocktails
  • Therapeutic uses/patient care
  • Salad bars

Flake Ice Machines

Hopefully this ice machine buying guide exposes all of the options you have when it comes to choosing the right commercial ice machine for your needs. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them in a comment below!

 

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Instagram: A Social Media Must For Food Service

Instagram: A Social Media Must For Food ServiceIsn’t it ironic, after years of striving for flawless, lifelike images of the highest achievable resolution, people are still drawn back to vintage photographs with light-leaked softness? There is just something about the tones and hues of the snapshots that add character and personality to even the most ordinary day-to-day events in life.

That is the perception Instagram hit the ground running with and they were dead on. Since launching in October 2010 Instagram has captured 80 million+ registered users, 4 billion+ uploaded photos, 5 million+ photos per day and they are still growing beyond belief. And it’s obvious that among those millions are chefs, restaurants and foodies who are using the app to connect with their fans as another social media avenue.

Instagram is mainly used as a personal mood board but there is, however, a fraction of chefs and restaurateurs out there using the app for much more. The cleaver tool becomes an outlet to show off food porn including new menu items, fancy cocktails, tasteful desserts, customer and employee candids and artistic close ups.  Below are a few great example of how Instagram is being used in the Food Service industry to inspire and reel in fans.

Food trucks can also greatly benefit from Instagram. Take daily portraits of your ever changing and creative menu – the tasty food items themselves, not the chalkboard menu – as well as snapshots of private events. You can also mix in some silly photos of staff, hanging out at home with a decadent cocktail in hand or researching new fancy flavors. It’s truly the personalization that lures fans in. They become more invested in your brand when you let them into your personal life than if you were just a random food truck they only came in contact with once a week.

A neat feature Instagram encompasses aside from 18 filters is the sharing option. You can share your photos taken through Instagram on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Flickr and foursquare. Sharing your photos is a great and easy way to let existing social media fans know you are present on Instagram. In addition, when posting a picture, don’t forget to geotag, hash tag and call out other users in your photo’s description (ex #Tequila tasting with @mgpatter0106 at Zolo Grill). Again, easy ways of letting fans find you.

Lastly, customers, friends and family have the option to engage with you through the app. Similar to Facebook, users can comment and “like” your photos. In fact, if they really dig your picture, they can tweet it to their followers – BONUS!

In the end, the technology is there for your taking. You can use it for your personal photo album or a soft-filtered glimpse of your restaurant and workings of your business. Just remember that is it a fun, free way to connect with your fans and it’s not going away anytime soon!

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Floor Strainers: What Do You Need Them For?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” With that in mind, are you doing everything you can to protect your floor drains? With items like vegetable cuttings, miscellaneous trash bits and general dirt finding its way into your floor drains, it’s just a matter of time before disease, foul odors, slip hazards and health code violations fall into your hands. At worst, you may have to close down your kitchen for a day to remove the clog. At best, the kitchen will have to work around a plumber for a few hours. This is an inconvenience and costly expense you can easily prevent!Floor Strainers: What Do You Need Them For?

A floor drain strainer, as with strainers used in sinks, is a device that insets into the floor drain and collects all debris entering the drain, preventing it from creating a clog. Floor drain strainers come in different sizes and styles and are usually plastic or metal. The most common types either sit in the floor drain or are a cover attached to the top of the drain. Regardless of which style best serves you, the cost of the strainer will be far less than the cost of one plumber service call.

When it comes to selecting a floor drain strainer, follow these three steps:

  1. Identify the style of your drain
  2. Determine the types of debris that could potentially clog your drain
  3. Select a strainer that will provide the greatest protection

Though floor drain strainers are not required in every state they are highly recommended. Preventative plumbing will create fewer plumbing expenses, eliminate wet and slippery floors, risk of fines and increase employee productivity. The benefits far outweigh the expenses.

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BPA: Helping You Make the Right Choice for your Restaurant

BPA: Helping You Make the Right Choice for your RestaurantBisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used as a building block in certain plastics and resins since the 1960′s. Furthermore, BPA is found in many food storage containers made of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers made with BPA or into your body when you handle BPA products causing health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. Though this topic remains controversial and many plastics companies say there isn’t risk associated with BPA, consumers are starting to pay close attention to the plastics they handle.

The Food and Drug Administration now shares this level of concern and is taking steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply industry by finding alternatives to BPA in food containers.

Here is what the FDA is telling consumers to do:

  • Plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.
  • Do not put very hot or boiling liquid that you intend to consume in plastic containers made with BPA. BPA levels rise in food when containers/products made with the chemical are heated and come in contact with the food.
  • Discard all bottles with scratches, as these may harbor bacteria and, if BPA-containing, lead to greater release of BPA.

Because the BPA issue has raised concern amongst consumers it is very important for restaurants to show their awareness. The best way to do this is obvious, start using BPA free plastics. There are several manufacturers who offer this option.

Cambro Manufacturing Company offers an abundance of BPA Free products. BPA is not found in Cambro’s polypropylene or polyethylene storage containers, ABS products, or in most Cambro tumblers which are made from the SAN resin.

Rubbermaid Commercial Products is also committed to helping you make the right choice in your establishment. RCP created the revolutionary product line in collaboration with Eastman Chemical Company using its Tritan™ copolyester, a material free of BPA that offers the highest quality, durability and clarity in the industry. The collection includes ingredient management, food pans, food boxes, and square food storage containers.

Check out the cool video RCP made to show off how their BPA free products hold up in a commercial kitchen.

FOH just started offering an awesome BPA free barware collection called Drinkwise. The drinkware is safe for 3,000+ washings, stronger and longer lasting than SAN and polycarbonate, has glass like clarity, is heat resistant to 248°F, chemical resistant, crack proof and impact and shatter resistant. Not only is this stuff tough, it’s stylish too!

If you do decide to go BPA free, make sure you market it like crazy. As with anything “green”, customers look for your impacting initiatives and appreciate your awareness. To special order BPA free products just contact Tundra Restaurant Supply. They can get you anything you need!

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Tundra Can Help Make the Perfect Halloween Bash

Tundra Can Help Make the Perfect Halloween BashTundra’s product assortment is like the best Halloween party you’ve ever been to:

The commercial cutlery will dominate any pumpkin carving contest. Tundra carries everything from carving knives and garnishing sets to cutting boards and knife sharpeners. With a cutlery selection of over 1,300 items I can assure you that you’ll find exactly what you need to make the scariest jack-o-lantern or spookiest ghost carving this year!

Craft your tastiest witches brew with Tundra’s soup kettles. Your patrons will be impressed with these cauldron-like kettles. Tundra offers a wide range of sizes and a color selection including black, burnt copper and stainless steel.

While the witch’s brew is warming, don’t forget to concoct some tasty potions for your guests. Serve hocus pocus fizz, goblin mimosas and pumpkin martinis in restaurant glassware from Tundra’s massive selection. Punch bowls and beverage tubs for truth serum punch and pumpkin beer offerings should be on the list too!

Pumpkin shaped Bundt pans, fall harvest loaf pans and an electric spice grinder are exactly what you will need to whip up some festive Halloween baked goods for dessert. Be sure to swing through Tundra’s Halloween baking supplies before you checkout.

You can’t enjoy your delicious treats without something to eat them with. GET offers Pumpkin harvest melamine dinnerware. The color is great for any Halloween bash and you don’t have to worry about clean up because these puppies are dishwasher safe and virtually unbreakable! There are over 30 pieces in the collection.

What’s a Halloween party without candy? Use commercial serving bowls on every service to display candy, chips, dips and anything else you would like to serve guests for a snack. Tundra offers serving bowls from major manufacturers including Vollrath, Cambro, American Metalcraft and many more.Tundra Can Help Make the Perfect Halloween Bash

You don’t want all your hard work in the kitchen to go to waste. Send your customers home with leftovers, desserts, etc in our Eco Products clamshell containers. Halloween is one of the busiest holidays of the year for the food service industry and many people order take-out. You can’t risk running out of to-go containers, you’ll lose money!

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Followerwonk: Why it’s Great For Your Restaurant

Followerwonk is like a pet gopher. This mega tool digs deep into your Twitter data and reveals everything you could ever care to know about your Twitter world. Use it to track your follower gains and losses, compare Twitter accounts, do global searches in Twitter bios, and analyze any account’s followers! Soon enough, this tool will be able to make you hot cocoa and crumb cake because it pretty much does everything!

Do you want to search Twitter bios to target and connect with anyone?

Followerwonk has a unique bio search function that allows you to find potential new customers, friends, talent or even competition. Let’s try a search!

Let’s say I am opening a new Vegan restaurant in Denver, Co. I want to see if I can reach out to Denver based Vegans so I’m going to click “more options” to get a location based search field.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Voila!

Now you can sort the list by criteria such as tweets, following, or followers. This is a good way for restaurants to find customers, future employees and content developers within a specific niche. Then you can start an outreach campaign!

How to Compare Twitter Users:

Compare Twitter users to see whose followers or followed accounts overlap. Use this to see if you are missing any customers in your niche. You can also use the overlapping metrics to see how you stack up against influencers in your business. Let’s search!

When doing a search you will need to compare at least two Twitter users. You can look at either who they follow or their followers. When the results load you will see a breakdown of their followers/followed and an awesome bubble graph.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

 

From here you can click on any of the categories to get a report of shared followers or unique followers. You can also click “follow” next to users that you are not currently following. Make sure to pay close attention to to the influence, tweets, followers and following sort options to ensure you are not following spammers or nonactive accounts.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

The bar graphs at the bottom of the page help you see things like influence and activity on Twitter. It’s a great way to see how competitive your competition really is in the Twittersphere.

How to Analyze Followers:

Analyze any account’s followers/followed to see a treasure chest of data. You can look at metrics on influence, gender, location, languages, and much more. Let’s go!

Type in the Twitter account you want analyze (in this case it’s @NoochVegan) and choose whether you would like to look at followers or who they/you follow. The first thing you will see is a map of the world. This map is interactive and can show you the geotagged locations of your followers/followed. It’s a great way to get an idea of where your audience is hailing from.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

After you track down your followers like James Bond; you can check out a plethora of other metrics displayed on interactive pie charts.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Each section of this delicious data pie can give you insight into what accounts exist in each range. Just click on the section you want to look at and you will get a comprehensive report of the followers in that data set.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

You can also check out when your followers are most active on Twitter. The graph is based on GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), but if you hover over the bars you can see your local time. The last thing that makes my eyeballs spin with radness is the word cloud report.

Followerwonk: Why its Great For Your Restaurant

Followerwonk also allows you to track gains and losses of your followers. You can see which followers put you on a pedestal and those who drop you like it’s hot by unfollowing you.

Unfortunately Followerwonk can’t pull historical data on your account so you can only see the losses and gains for the time period Followerwonk has been tracking your account.

In a few days after joining you will be able to see your daily followers, gains, losses or days without change.

The Twitter analytics that Followerwonk returns is insane. From searching Twitter bios and comparing users to analyzing and tracking followers you can optimize for social growth in no time. It’s never too late to connect with new influencers in your niche. Followerwonk is such a great tool for restaurants who are on Twitter. If you’re restaurant is not on Twitter yet, well then, that’s a whole other story…

For more on how to use Followerwonk check out this awesome video from SEOMoz – They acquired Followerwonk in August and believe me, they know their stuff!

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Oktoberfest: What is it?

Oktoberfest: What is it?Oktoberfest is the world’s largest people’s fair where over 6 million people from around the world visit Munich, Germany for a 16-day festival to drink beer, eat “wursts” and join together in song. The celebration is most famous for its heavy liter steins of beer but there is more; dance around with locals, sing with the Bavarian bands, gawk at traditional costumes and get an enormous plate full of German hospitality.

Oktoberfest started when Crown Prince Ludwig, was married to Princess Therese of Bavaria on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s meadow”) in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the “Wies’n”.

Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.

The horse races ended in 1960 but that has not stopped people from attending. There is quite the lineup of events that lure people in from all over the globe. Since 1950 there has been a traditional opening ceremony which includes a 12 gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 pm by the mayor of Munich with the cry “O’sapft ist!” (it’s tapped in the Bavarian language). The Mayor then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria.

10 Fun Facts About Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany:

  1. It takes two months for construction workers to transform the fairgrounds from an enormous 100-acre asphalt expanse to a pulsating city of beer tents and food stands, roller coasters and carnival rides—and one month to disassemble it all.
  2. The festival grounds on located on 103.79 acres of land, there are 100,000 seats in festival halls and they use 2.8 million kWh of electricity (as much as 14% of Munich’s daily need or as much as a 4 person family would need in 52 years and 4 months.Oktoberfest: What is it?
  3. There isn’t a fee for entering festival grounds or beer tents.
  4. 6 million people visit the fairgrounds during the 2-week event and together they consume 6 million liters of beer, 500,000 roasted chickens, 120,000 pairs of sausages, 80,000 liters of wine, 50,000 pork knuckles, 30,000 bottles of champagne and a gazillion pretzels.
  5. You must be seated to order a beer unless you are in the “standing zone”. You also must order beer from the server responsible for your section.
  6. There are roughly 965 toilets and 1 km of urinal troughs at the fairgrounds.
  7. Last year’s lost and found had a mountain 4,000+ unclaimed items, including 260 eyeglasses, 200 cell phones, 2 pairs of crutches, 1 wedding ring and a set of dentures.
  8. The drinking age in Germany is 18 for hard alcohol and 16 for beer; therefore you may see some juvenile faces in the mix.
  9. An immensely popular gimmick and sign of affection, lovers and admirers gift one another huge gingerbread hearts (pictured on the right) that are often worn around the neck before being eaten. “Ich liebe Dich” is the most adoring of all the quotations, meaning “I love you.”
  10. In November 2008, Bavarian Anita Schwarz set a new world record when she carried 19 full beer steins (5 in either hand and 9 on top) totaling 90 lbs—a full stein weighs an average of 5 lbs—over a distance of 40 meters without any spillage and placed on a table.

Oktoberfest: What is it?Oktoberfest in the US.

Almost 20 percent of Americans can claim to have German ancestry. Therefore the traditional fall festival Oktoberfest is a popular event in many cities around the country. Oktoberfest in the USA roughly follows the same calendar as the one in Germany, and includes lots of beer drinking, oompah bands, and chowing down German food like bratwurst and knockwurst. Does that sound like a fun time to you? If you said “Jawohl!” (German for an emphatic “yes”), take a look at the following list of the most popular places to celebrate Oktoberfest across the USA.

Cincinnati – Cincinnati, Ohio, hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the United States with over 500,000 visitors a year. Six blocks of Fifth Street in downtown Cincinnati are closed for the weekend. Started in 1976, you can enjoy the festivities in 2012 from September 21st to 23rd. Highlights include the Running of the Wieners and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.

Addison– Addison, Texas located just north of Dallas, hosts Oktoberfest from September 20-23, 2012. The Addison Conference Centre is transformed into an authentic Munich beer hall with a Texas twist. It is considered one of the most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States.

Chicago: Who can forget Ferris Bueller singing “Danke Schön” on a float at the German heritage parade in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?” Indeed, German roots run deep in Chicago, which makes it one of the best places in the country for Oktoberfest revelry.

Alpine Village, Torrance, Los Angeles – Southern California has been celebrating Oktoberfest at Alpine Village for 44 years. USA Today named it one of the best Oktoberfests in the world. It is held on seven weekends in September and Oktober in a 32,000 square foot tent. Located in Torrance, it is the most popular Oktoberfest celebration in Los Angeles.

Denver – Latimer Street in Denver’s Historic Ballpark Neighborhood is transformed for two weekends in September for this celebration of German culture. Over 250,000 people attend Oktoberfest Denver annually.

Pittsburgh: German heritage is very prevalent in Western Pennsylvania, so it’s fitting that the Pittsburgh area has a couple of Oktoberfest events worth checking out. The best known Pittsburgh area Oktoberfest festivals include the Pennsylvania Bavarian Oktoberfest, billed as Pennsylvania’s largest Oktoberfest, and the Penn Brewery Oktoberfest. Pittsburgh’s Penn Brewery hosts this event in its biergarten and brews a special Oktoberfest beer for the occasion.

Washington DC: The Nation’s Capital and environs has quite a number of Oktoberfest, ranging from beer bashes at local breweries to an Oktoberfest at Jessup, Maryland’s Blob Park, purported to be America’s first Oktoberfest.Oktoberfest: What is it?

New Orleans: If there’s an event that revolves around drinking, you can be sure that New Orleans will be up for celebrating. While New Orleans is not known for its Germanic culture, there are many pubs, clubs, and beer gardens where you can celebrate Oktoberfest in New Orleans. The biggest of these celebrations is at the Deutsches Haus, which celebrates with plenty of beer, schnapps, and chicken dancing.

Atlanta: There are a few places to celebrate Oktoberfest in Atlanta, the most interesting of which is an Oktoberfest party bus that takes revelers to the small town of Helen, Georgia, decked out to look like an authentic German village.

Americans love drinking, eating and dressing up so if you are not involved in an Oktoberfest celebration I recommend you jump on the band wagon. They are fun and a great way to connect with your community. Plus who doesn’t want happy customers in their establishment. Just invest in some Oktoberfest beer, liter steins, brats and you will be good to go!

References: funtober, Harrimon Travel Books, VistaWide

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Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?

Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?

Mother Nature has had quite the attitude this year! From devastating fires and flash floods to hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes, she has been turning communities upside down. Thank heavens you can plan ahead for such tragic events. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have generated some tips to help restaurateurs make food safety part of their preparation efforts. If you have a game plan for when severe weather strikes you can prevent food loss and potential food borne illness in your establishment. Temperature controlled food storage can be difficult during a power outage if your commercial refrigeration loses electricity so make sure to stock up on dry ice, canned food, bottled water and batteries. Below are steps to follow if natural disasters are knocking at your door.

How to prepare for a possible weather emergency:

  • Keep a refrigeration thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer at all times. Refrigerator and freezer thermometers will provide the internal temperature of your refrigeration in case of a power outage and help determine the safety of the food. Set freezers at 0°F or below and refrigerators as 40°F or below.
  • Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold after power is out.
  • Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you don’t need immediately to help keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Plan ahead and know where you can get dry ice and block ice quickly.
  • Store foods on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Have coolers available to keep refrigerated food cold if power is out for more than 4 hours. Purchase or make ice cubes and store in freezer for use in refrigerator or cooler. Freeze ice packs and blankets ahead of time to use in coolers.
  • Group food close together in freezer to ensure foods stays cold longer.

Steps to follow during and after a weather emergency:

  • Do not taste any of your food to determine if it is safe!
  • Minimize how often you open your refrigerator and Freezer doors to maintain the internal temperatures as long as possible.
  • A refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep food at the proper temperature for about 48 hours. If it is half full is will keep food cold for 24 hours if the door is not opened.
  • If your food contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below it may be refrozen.
  • Obtain dry ice or block ice to keep your refrigeration as cold as possible if the power goes out for a long period of time. 50 pounds of dry ice should hold an 18 cubic food full freezer for 2 days.Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?
  • If the power has been out for several days you will need to check the temperature of the freezer with a refrigerator thermometer of food thermometer. If your food contains ice crystals or is at 40°F or below the food is safe.
  • If you do not have a refrigerator thermometer then you will need to check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals it is safe.
  • Throw away or compost refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after 4 hours without electricity.
  • If you are ever in doubt, get rid of the food.

How to determine what food to keep and what to discard:

  • Do not keep or eat anything that may have been in contact with flood water.
  • Discard any food that is not in a waterproof food container if it may have been in contact with flood water. (e.g Containers with screw on tops, snap lids, pull tops, and crimpled covers are not waterproof. Also discard cardboard juice boxes, baby formula boxes and home canned foods in they come in contact with flood water because they cannot be cleaned and sanitized)
  • Inspect canned food and discard anything that looks damaged. (e.g Swelling, leaking, punctures, holes, fractures, rusting and denting represents can damage.)
  • Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented bleach per gallon of clean water.
  • Thoroughly wash countertops with hot water and detergent then rinse with sanitizing solution.

How to remove odors from refrigeration:

  • Get rid of all spoiled food.Is Mayhem Knocking at Your Door?
  • Remove shelves, crispers, and ice trays. Wash thoroughly with hot water and detergent then rinse with sanitizing solution.
  • Wash interior of refrigeration including door and gasket, with hot water and baking soda. Then rinse with sanitizing solution.
  • Leave the door(s) open for 15 minutes to allow free air circulation.

If the odor still remains:

  • Wipe the inside with equal parts of vinegar and water. Vinegar destroys mildew.
  • Stuff refrigeration with rolled newspapers, close the door(s) and leave for several days. Remove paper and clean with vinegar and water solution.
  • Sprinkle fresh coffee grounds or baking soda loosely in a large, shallow container in the bottom of the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Place a cotton swab soaked in vanilla inside the refrigeration. Close door for 24 hours.

As you can see there are many precautionary steps you can take to protect your restaurant from food loss, food borne illness and odors that may turn customers away from your establishment. Weather emergencies are not always foreseen so make sure to plan ahead so you don’t go down with your ship!

If you still have questions about the safety precautions you should take before severe weather or what to do post disaster you can contact FSIS representative, Karen, at www.askkaren.gov or m.askkaren.gov on your smart phone. Ask Karen is available 24 hours a day!

 

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Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own restaurant? What concept do you think would be the most successful? Would you serve specialty cocktails, micro brews, wine, coffee or all four? How big would the kitchen be? Would you have a brick and mortar establishment or a mobile food truck? Would breakfast, lunch and dinner be on your menu or just dessert? What would the name of your dream restaurant be? Would your restaurant have a great view or be located in a trendy dining area? Where would you go to hire your employees? Will your restaurant be seasonal or open year round?

Becoming a restaurant owner is always fun to dream about but what if you got one chance to make your dream a reality? Would you do it?

Tundra Restaurant Supply has just launched its first ever “Dreamstaurant Contest”. This contest offers a unique opportunity for one lucky winner to realize their food service dreams. From October 1st throughDo You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea? December 31st you can enter to win a $20,000 restaurant design and equipment/supplies package for your dream restaurant concept. Jeff Katz, the VP of Tundra Design Group – Former Principal of Katz Company, will help the winner design their dream restaurant space and pick the best equipment and supply package for their concept. The equipment and supplies packages will include products from Cambro, T&S Brass, Comark, Robot Coupe, Mercer Cutlery, Star Mfg and Nor-Lake refrigeration.

Tundra will also be offering $500 shopping sprees to two home chefs who enter the best kitchen ideas. This is a great opportunity for foodie bloggers, residential cooks or anyone else who is passionate about cooking get commercial grade supplies for their home.

Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

The contest will be judged by a panel of judges including Chef Kelly Liken, Chef Ian Kleinman and Jeff Katz.

Chef Kelly Liken owns and operates Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO – an Open Table Diner’s Choice Winner in 2012. Chef Kelly hails from Pittsburgh, PA but has always thought of herself as a “small town girl at heart.”

She graduated first in her class at the Culinary Institute of America, was a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef in 2010, a two-time James Beard semi-finalist, and has been called one of America’s most promising female chefs.

Do You Have A 20,000 Dollar Idea?

Chef Ian Kleinman is a pioneering molecular gastronomist and owner/operator of The Inventing Room , a unique catering and food entertainment company based in Denver, CO.

Chef Ian has been cooking since the age of seven, when he helped out on the line at his father’s restaurant in Breckenridge, CO. Since then he has worked behind the scenes at many popular Denver restaurants, including O’s Steak & Seafood, The Rialto Cafe, and Rattlesnake Grill.

Now that Tundra can get you through the first step of opening your dream restaurant, is it time to pull the trigger? Do you think you have the creativity and determination to be a restaurant owner? If so, sign up for the Dreamstaurant contest. There is a chance you could WIN!

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