Food and Beverage News

Fast Food Beats Fancy Fare

Seems that Americans love to eat out, but they like their meals quick and dirty—well, quick, anyway. A national Internet survey by Market Trends ( shows that 56 percent of Americans chow down on fast food more than twice a month. Surprisingly, the fast-food junkies appear to be the more affluent—households who make over $75,000 a year choose fast food 61 percent of the time, more often than lower-income households. This may prove that eating fast food is less a money-saving precaution and more about saving time. Fine dining seems to have been cut from the menu—only 13 percent of those surveyed choose a higher priced dining option more than twice monthly. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am!

Vegetarian cows aren't mad

Fact: Cows aren't naturally cannibalistic; they love grass. Still, the FDA only too recently banned cattle blood from livestock feed. Go figure. Lucky for us, there are plenty of happy, grass-grazing cows on the small farms in our virtual backyard. More of that grass-fed beef is being sold directly to the public at local farmers markets. Local farms like Skagit River Ranch in Sedro Woolley, who will start selling their beef at Mount Vernon, Sedro Woolley, and West Seattle farmers markets this spring, have no secrets to hide: They welcome visitors to their farm and even give tours on Saturdays. The Natural Beef Company will sell at the Everett Farmers Market starting in June, and you'll find Roger Wechsler from Samish Bay farm in Bow at the Ballard Sunday Market, which is open now. In most cases, you can ask questions and buy directly from the farmers. Fresh beef is also available now at the Port Angeles and Pike Place markets. Look for many more locations around Seattle during the summer months. Go to for a full list!

Less talk, more foam

Anyone who's seen L.A. Story prescient it was about the coffee scene. The 1991 Steve Martin film depicted a circle of liberal bourgeois Angelenos sitting around a table at a trendy cafe, turning the act of ordering coffee into rocket science. Now, walk into your local Starbucks and eavesdrop for five minutes; we bet you'll hear orders that make Martin's satire look like realism. Proactive as always, the world's largest coffee retailer is trying to curtail the complex recitation that modern ordering requires. Starbucks' "customization tumbler" comes with illustrated stickers like "caramel," "triple espresso," and our personal favorite, "extra foamy." The idea is to plaster your tumbler with stickers that reflect your default drink. That way, when you stumble into Starbucks before work, the barista can figure out your order without your actually having to speak. Just think: Instead of saying, "I want a cinnamon-tinged extra-hot triple macchiato with organic rice milk, Splenda, and no whip unless you've got Cool Whip in which case a daub or two of whip," you can just hold up your tumbler, plunk down your dollars, and smile.

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