Billionaires Are Betting Big on Alternative Meat

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Creating designer protein that can make your veggie burger taste like the real thing is as easy as brewing beer. Or at least that’s what a new subsidiary of Boston-based bio-manufacturing startup, Ginkgo Bioworks Inc., says.

Ginkgo’s Motif Ingredients, which aims to replicate animal protein for meatless alternatives, is getting $90 million from investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, whose board includes tech billionaires Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Jack Ma. Commodity powerhouse Louis Dreyfus Co. and Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, New Zealand’s dairy-exporting giant, are also backing the company.

The goal at Ginkgo is to get alternative products to market faster, chief executive officer Jason Kelly said in an interview. In a statement announcing the funding, the company likened making alternative foods to the beer-brewing process, because vital ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and flavors are made through fermentation with genetically engineered yeasts and bacteria. Eliminating extra time in the lab can streamline the process and make it go faster, Kelly said.

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Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr. are bringing back Froot Loops Mini Donuts

Froot Loops Mini Donuts return to Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants for a limited time.

“Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. are bringing back their popular Froot Loops Mini Donuts.

The miniature doughnuts, inspired by the Kellogg’s cereal, will be available for a limited time starting Feb. 25 at participating Hardee’s and Feb. 27 at Carl’s Jr. restaurants, parent company CKE Restaurants announced Tuesday. They come in five colors – red, yellow, purple, green and blue – and taste like their smaller cereal counterparts. A five-pack starts at $1.99 and they will be available all day, not just for breakfast.

“Froot Loops Mini Donuts are the perfect anytime snack and will bring any consumer back to their childhood,” Owen Klein, CKE Restaurants vice president global culinary innovation, said in a statement. “We know our fans craved these nostalgic treats, and we’re thrilled to bring this fun innovation back to our menu this spring.”

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In New York City, Restaurants Welcome Tables for One

Customers dine at Boqueria for lunch. The Spanish restaurant’s tapas, or grazing-style menu, appeals to solo patrons.

In New York City restaurants, the party-of-one is becoming a cause for celebration.

OpenTable, the online reservation platform, said that bookings by solo diners at restaurants in the city jumped by 80% from 2014 to 2018. And while OpenTable said those parties-of-one represent a very small slice of overall bookings, some restaurants said that business from solo diners can now account for up to 10% of their sales.

Even on Valentine’s Day, the most couple-oriented dining occasion of the year, New York restaurants are making room for patrons dining alone. OpenTable said that Valentine’s Day solo reservations in 2018 increased by 33% over the previous year. And perhaps for good reason: Restaurants said solo customers represent the ideal, as they are truly there for the food and experience rather than the social occasion.

“The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” said Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron District.

Restaurants are doing their part to encourage such business. At such establishments as L’Artusi, an Italian restaurant in the West Village, and Odo, a Japanese spot in the Flatiron District, solo diners are given a free offering—say, a small serving of an off-menu item or a glass of sparkling wine. And on Valentine’s Day, some restaurants said they make an extra effort to welcome the solo crowd. For example, at Jones Wood Foundry, a food-driven pub on the Upper East Side, a communal table is set aside for party-of-one diners.

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DoorDash Closes $400 Million Funding Round

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“In the last month, a pair of food delivery startups were battling complaints about their tipping policies. Customers and workers chastised the companies for unfairly using tips to subsidize worker pay. As the furor grew, one of the companies, Instacart Inc., changed its compensation policies to match some of workers’ demands.

Meanwhile, the other company, DoorDash Inc., stood firm. It still uses tips from customers to offset some of the minimum payment that a worker gets for each delivery job, in which “Dashers” travel to restaurants or stores and bring food to customers. That decision apparently hasn’t harmed DoorDash’s reputation in the eyes of investors. The company said on Thursday that it received a new round of funding that values it at $7.1 billion.

In an interview Thursday to promote the investment, DoorDash Chief Executive Officer Tony Xu defended the tipping practice, which has been in use since 2017. Xu said internal data show that under the current pay model, Dashers stay on the platform longer, are more satisfied with their jobs and make deliveries in a more timely manner. He blamed recent backlash on Instacart’s implementation of its own policy.”

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Fluffy Japanese Pancake in Chinatown

People are going wild for these Japanese souffle pancakes

“Chinatown Japanese dessert shop Taiyaki is drawing wildly long lines with a new menu item: fluffy souffle pancakes. People waited in a two-hour line to grab the pancakes last weekend, which come topped with sugar, butter, whipped cream, and syrup, or with matcha cream. The Chinatown restaurant at 119 Baxter St., between Canal and Hester Streets, is selling a stack for $7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.”

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How Urban Development Shaped the Way 19th-century New Yorkers Ate

“New York City is famous for its food culture, whether it’s a $500 tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a bodega bacon, egg, and cheese. It’s possible to find food from every corner of the world, no matter how obscure. Restaurants make, and sometimes unmake, entire neighborhoods.

This is a city that eats out. But that wasn’t always the case. Rewind just over 200 years, when New York was caught between being a Dutch colony and a city, and dining out was a rarity. As the city urbanized, how its residents ate profoundly changed.

An oyster cart, circa 1885

“Food serves as a nice medium to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of New York City history,” says Victoria Flexner, the founder of Edible History, a supper club that creates dinners themed around specific historical moments. Recently Flexner and chef Jay Reifel hosted a meal at the James Beard House that told the story of New York City’s urban development in the 19th century through how its residents dined out.

As the city became rapidly industrialized in the 19th century, a new system emerged to feed these workers: the mobile food cart.

While politicians, businessmen, and other white-collar workers went to oyster cellars and restaurants for their midday meals, lunch came to the working class. Vendors would park outside of factories and docks and, for a few pennies, would sell items like gingerbread, yams, oysters, and corn.”

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Taco Bell and Chipotle Want to Shave Time off Food Deliveries

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“When it comes to restaurant delivery, speed matters. And the burrito chains want to be faster.

Taco Bell –– which now offers delivery at roughly two-thirds of its U.S. restaurants through GrubHub Inc. with plans to continue expanding the service –– says its average delivery time is 34 minutes. The company acknowledges that’s not good enough for today’s demanding customer.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., meanwhile, says it’s averaging between 28 and 32 minutes for delivery, but it thinks it can shave four minutes or so as it expands pickup shelves across the nation. It’s also introducing prepaid delivery so drivers don’t have to pay in stores. It’s all part of a digital push that is a key part of the comeback plan laid out under Chief Executive Officer Brian Niccol in his first year on the job.”

“While restaurant delivery has long been part of the culture in major cities like New York and San Francisco, pizza was often the only option in many markets. That has started to change as on-demand delivery services like DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have proliferated, joining GrubHub to expand delivery options.”

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