Restaurants make their space MySpace
Perhaps it's an economizing measure, or maybe it's a ploy to capture younger audiences, but restaurants are opting for MySpace.com pages instead of Web sites these days. A no-brainer, really: It's free, you don't need any fancy domain names or Web hosts, and restaurateurs can put them together in a snap. Chefs and owners are pimping their pages with emoticons, they're picking songs, they're accruing walls of friends, all the usual MySpace shenanigans. Fine and good, we say. But restaurateurs, your page should contain the address, phone number and hours of operation for the restaurant, even better if there are directions and a current menu.
TV dinners are back?
Remember the sectioned tray, the Salisbury steak's brown sauce sequestered from the mashed potatoes, which in turn were tidily corralled next to the peas? The Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in New York City is bringing the 1950s staple back. Executive chef Andrew Rubin is doing riffs on the traditional comfort foods with his own versions of pot roast and fried chicken, but adding new players like grilled salmon. Offered in the hotel's restaurant and as in-room dining, these new TV dinners' price tag? $30. Well, some things do change.
Laura Reiley, Times staff writer, and wire reports
More reasons to go nuts
With the highest fiber content of any seed or nut, 1 ounce of almonds contains 12 percent of the daily recommended protein and 35 percent of the daily recommended vitamin E, a valuable antioxidant. All the more reason to grab a bag of Diamond Foods' new Emerald Cocoa Roast Almonds, a low-sodium, low-fat, trans-fat-free nut snack, with baked-in chocolate flavor. They have a subtle cocoa powder, slightly sweet flavor due to a roasted-on coating of dark cocoa and sucralose (a low-calorie sweetener). A plus: They are melt-free, making them easy to carry during summertime. A single 1.5-ounce serving (a scant 1/3 cup) has 150 calories and contains 13 grams total fat. Suggested retail price is $6.69 per 11-ounce container, $1.89 for a 2.5-ounce size package and $9.89 per 38-ounce, family-size plastic container. Look for the product at Albertsons, Kash n' Karry or Publix or go online to www.diamondnuts.com.
One last serving of 'Top Chef'
The 16 contestants, including winner Stephanie Izard, return at 10 tonight for Bravo's Top Chef Chicago: Watch What Happens Reunion. Host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Ted Allen offer their thoughts; chefs take viewers' questions about the fourth season, which concluded June 11. Also on the menu: The "fan favorite" will be announced. It won't be Lisa Fernandes.
Kudos to two Florida companies
• Winter Haven-based Noble Juice is the first and only juice to come in 100 percent all-natural, compostable plant-based bottles (made of corn), an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastic. The company also introduces two new flavors this summer, blood orange and tangerine cranberry, available at Publix and Albertsons stores.
• Tampa-based Melting Pot has received the Ernst & Young 2008 Florida Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Retail and Consumer Products category. With 130 restaurants in 36 states and the District of Columbia, and another 36 locations in development, the Melting Pot is the nation's most noted fondue restaurant franchise.