Food & Beverage News


Food & Beverage News

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    OLD CUP, NEW TRICKS For a major industry convention, Coffee Fest is quite the freak show. As the 12th annual trade symposium lurched fitfully into high gear on Friday at the Washington State Convention Center, once again, a highlight was the latte art competition. (Has your neighborhood barista ever fashioned your latte foam into a Washington apple?) Part of what makes Coffee Fest so thrilling is the abundance of non-coffee beverages that alternately tempt and repulse the palate. Like auto shows, where "concept cars" get all the attention, Seattle's yearly java conference always trots out a few surprising novelties. Particularly odious offenses included the disturbing trend of flavored milk, supposedly popular among children nowadaysthough whose children, exactly, we cannot say. Flavors like peanut butter, bubble gum, and cotton candy should not, in our opinion, be associated in any way with cow juice. On the other hand, smoothies were big this year, with Cascade Valley Blends pushing a back-to-basics approach: berry smoothies with only two non-ice ingredients (berries and cane sugar). According to company rep Todd Des Marais, "High-fructose corn syrup is derailing our country," and a quick glance around the trade show supported his claim. Oregon company Joe Buzz served our first ever "hemp latte," which tasted like a combination of oat milk and nut milk. Another big story at the fest was açaí, an Amazonian berry already commonplace among California surfers, who drink the blueberrylike fruit in smoothie form to get a morning jolt without caffeine. Apparently one can teach an old cup new tricks: Whether it's unwisely flavoring milk, turning rain-forest berries into a hot new trend, or just dishing corn-syrup conspiracy theories, Coffee Fest's annual reinvention of the wheel is bound to quench consumers' thirst for oddball liquid options. GREENWOOD RENAISSANCE From the neighborhood that gave us Gordito's burritos, the DMV, and the Taproot Theater now comes "the most gracious and meaningful gesture of friendship from America to Greece since a full- scale replica of the Parthenon was erected in Nashville, Tennessee." On the evening of Oct. 26, Yanni's Greek Restaurant unveiled Donovan Cheney's "three-dimensional painting" Acropolis at Sunset. Between bites of saganaki, Yanni's diners can marvel at Cheney's "miniature reproduction of the Acropolis," which is to become a permanent installation at the Greenwood restaurant. If other neighborhood bars and eateries follow suit, we might soon witness splendid Rivera-style murals at Gordito'sor the staging of Edward Albee plays at Baronoff. Stay tuned. PAM'S PANTRY The other Pam Anderson, whose cookbook The Perfect Recipe should be a fixture in every kitchen, has taken up a challenge from the North American Olive Oil Association to come up with a basic pantry of 20 items guaranteed to produce a wide variety of healthy, flavorful family meals in 20 minutes or less. Olive oil plays a role, natch, but so do canned tuna, pasta, chicken broth, Dijon mustard, and 15 other staples. Take up the challenge yourself: Check out the recipe link on the NAOOA Web site at

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