HOW DO YOU CREATE A FLAWLESS RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE?
As a foodie, it takes me about the same amount of time to ascertain whether a short-crust pastry shell is perfectly flaky or not, as it does to recognize a well-thought-out restaurant. Entering one is like donning a cashmere sweater in the winter; tension disperses with a sigh and a smile. Creating this feeling, however, is anything but simple. A sentient space with a distinct personality is birthed when countless elements collide; elements that enhance the gastronomic experience without hogging the spotlight. The best decor often goes unnoticed because that’s what is intended. It discreetly helps to create one of those memorable meals we’ve all had (I hope) at some point, where everything just clicks. It is the driving force behind the mighty, yet intangible, ‘vibe’.
CHIPOTLE SAYS HACKERS HIT MOST RESTAURANTS IN DATA BREACH
Hackers used malware to steal customer payment data from most of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s restaurants over a span of three weeks, the company said, adding to woes at the chain whose sales had just started recovering from a string of food safety lapses in 2015.
Chipotle said it did not know how many payment cards or customers were affected by the breach that struck most of its roughly 2,250 restaurants for varying amounts of time between March 24 and April 18, spokesman Chris Arnold said via email.
A handful of Canadian restaurants were also hit in the breach, which the company first disclosed on April 25.
Stolen data included account numbers and internal verification codes. The malware has since been removed.
The information could be used to drain debit card-linked bank accounts, make “clone” credit cards, or to buy items on certain less-secure online sites, said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
The breach could once again threaten sales at its restaurants, which only recently recovered after falling sharply in late 2015 after Chipotle was linked to outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus that sickened hundreds of people.
An investigation into the breach found the malware searched for data from the magnetic stripe of payment cards.
WHEN FISHING TRIPS GO SOUR
There’s an expression we anglers love to recite: “The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of working.”
Sometimes, however, the fishing gods choose to smite those who subscribe to that belief. I know this, and I have bruises to prove it.
Recently I took a week off to go fishing. A doctor’s appointment and family obligations whittled the number available fishing days to just three, but no matter. Fish always seem to bite in May.
And I’m sure they did, at least for many of you readers. But not for me.
The first sign of a star-crossed vacation came on a brilliant Tuesday morning. A 90-mile drive took me to my favorite bluegill-fishing spot. A sunken blacktop road runs along one side of a small lake, and if one knows where to gain access to that road, one can wade for a couple hundred yards in knee-deep water, casting poppers to bluegills nesting on both of the sunken berms. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
If, that is, one can get to the barrel.
WHAT IS BOTULISM, AND HOW DOES IT KILL?
Two separate outbreaks this month of the rare but deadly toxin botulism have focused attention on this potentially fatal illness, which usually strikes about 150 people a year, mostly infants.
In Sacramento, California, one person died and nine others were hospitalized after eating gas station nacho cheese contaminated with the toxin, likely from improper heating and storage.
Another death from botulism occurred in nearby Napa County earlier in May, according to county public health director Dr. Karen Relucio. “We are suspicious that canned goods might be the source, but we have not yet fully identified the food,” she said.
What is botulism?
SURVIVING AND THRIVING
As one of the oldest restaurants in Michigan City, and celebrating the 25th anniversary, Holly’s Restaurant and Pub knows a thing or two about surviving — and thriving — in a city with plenty of dining choices.
What’s its secret to success?
“Consistency of the product you serve and the service you give that keeps the people coming back,” advised Mike Buda, owner and operator of the restaurant at 3705 S. Franklin St.
Buda began in the restaurant business back in 1975 when he opened up a Mr. Steak Restaurant at 4105 Franklin St., where Schoop’s Restaurant is now. In 1992 he purchased Holly’s Restaurant and Pub (formerly Holly’s Steak & Four and Holly’s By Golly). He changed the name of his newest business and ran both restaurants for a short while before selling his Mr. Steak building and concentrating solely on Holly’s.
OUR CHEAT SHEET TO EATING WELL AT DISNEY WORLD
There’s plenty of terrible food at the parks, but many restaurants there are “100 times better than people realize,” says Jonathan Rubinstein, the founder of New York’s Joe Coffee, who’s been to Disney World seven times in the past four years with his daughter, now eight. These are his tips on eating well in the Magic Kingdom.
- “If you want a coveted restaurant, like Be Our Guest, you have to call right at 7 a.m. exactly six months in advance. It took me three years to get a reservation—if you wait even five minutes, you’ll be out of luck.”
- “Tiffins, in the Animal Kingdom, feels like the opposite of theme-park food. They do a delicious chermoula-rubbed chicken and an interesting bread appetizer with pomegranate olive oil, harissa yogurt, and black- eyed-pea hummus.”
- “At Rose & Crown Dining Room, in Epcot Center, I like the cheese plate with onion relish and preserves, and the Angus burger with Welsh rarebit sauce, Branston mayonnaise, bacon, and beer-battered leeks.”
- “Dole Whip is the iconic but surprisingly hard-to-find Disney snack, a nondairy pineapple concoction they invented in 1986. I get mine in Adventureland, at the Tiki Juice Bar next to the Enchanted Tiki Room.”