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Daily Meal's Boston Editor: Celebrity Burrito Roller!

Daily Meal's Boston Editor: Celebrity Burrito Roller!

Rachel Cossar will be rolling burritos for charity as part of Anna's Taqueria's Celebrity Roller Series

Anna's Taqueria donates their delicious and fresh ingredients in a monthly Celebrity Roller series. This month, I will be their guest celebrity roller on the 28th of October..rolling in the name of Boston Ballet!

Every month since January 2013, Anna’s Taqueria, one of Boston’s most beloved Mexican street food hubs, has been featuring a different local celebrity in their Celebrity Roller Series.

From 6-8 pm on October 28th, stop by their Harvard street location for a burrito, specially handcrafted Anna’s style, aka, with only the freshest, most seasonal ingredients, by this month’s guest celebrity roller….yours truly!

As one of Boston’s amateur food writers and a dancer with the Boston Ballet, I was asked to participate as this month’s celebrity, with a portion of every burrito I make going to the organization of my choosing. I have selected the Boston Ballet, one of Boston’s largest non-profit arts institutions, as the recipient of the funds made throughout the evening.

Past celebrities include Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks, Jonathan Soroff of Improper Bostonian and A.J. Soares of the New England Revolution. So come get your burrito on on the 28th! I cannot promise it will be the most elegant, but I can promise it will be delicious and your good karma will go way up!

Prepared Foods

We have delicious options for you to enjoy in store or take home. Our soups, entrees and side dishes are ready-to-eat or be reheated, which can really save time. We also have fresh salads and sandwiches.

On Our Hot Line

If you’re looking for the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner, visit your neighborhood Rouses Market. Get homestyle favorites fried chicken and fried pork chops every day for lunch and dinner, and a different special every day of the week.

Breakfast (where available): 7am-10pm • Lunch 11am-2pm • Dinner 4pm-7pm

$5 Weekday Daily Deals

Our daily deli deals are prepared fresh daily.

  • Monday: Any Fresh Salad Variety
  • Tuesday: Selected Fresh Sushi
  • Wednesday: Chicken Tender Plate
  • Thursday: BBQ Plate
  • Friday: Fried Shrimp, Hushpuppies & Fries


Did you know we have more than 100 professional Sushi Chefs who work inside our markets around the Gulf Coast. We offer fresh, great tasting, conveniently packaged sushi, wraps and rolls, as well as made-to-order sushi and sushi platters. And don’t miss our $5 fresh Sushi Specials every Tuesday.


Our fried chicken is double-battered, using a Rouse Family Recipe that goes back three generations. It’s made fresh throughout the day. We also have limited time specials like our Crawfish Boil Fried Chicken, which is in store now. Our hot and fresh Rotisserie Chicken is roasted in-store to a gorgeous golden brown. ·

I feel this one more than I

I feel this one more than I have most of the other closures, I think. I've been going to Anna's for at least 21 years.
Still, if things are tight for them that they'd consider closing any location, closing this location may be the way to go, It's walking distance to their Harvard St location, so they still have most of that market covered. Their other locations are spread out. The Beacon St location is smaller than Harvard St (even after they more than doubled seating at Beacon by getting the adjoining shopfront). The other consideration would be what the situation was there for mortgage or rent.
I will add that if they want to boost their business, they would do well to go back to their old salsa recipe. 15, 20 years ago, it was very nice - for quite a while now just ordinary.
Also back to their old quesadillas. Yeah, I like their hearty-sized quesedilla these days, but they're a little too round and rolled - they fall open when you're trying to eat them. Would gladly give up a little filling for them to fold them to an overlapped seal like they used to.

So sad.

I lived at the corner of Summit and Beacon when they opened, and have been a huge fan ever since. I really hope they reopen their Prudential location.

This Hurts

I might have had my first burrito there in 2000. A friend recommended the place with the line, "You can get a burrito and coke for under $5!" I would subsequently go several times a week for years.

Later I switched to Boca Grande but that particular Anna's still held a special place in my heart.

They sustained me through lean years

Same with me. I was a struggling 20 something living around there when i happened to stumble in there. I was hooked instantly. They were either my dinner or lunch 2-3 days a week for a while. So delicious and affordable. Thankfully i was young enough where my metabolism was very high. Not sure how much weight i'd gain eating 2-3 of these a week now. Now i'm an adult way out in the burbs, i still make an annual pilgrimage to Anna's.

Im sure this is sad

I never understood the draw of Ana's. Its just not very good, and never was very good. Meh comes to mind.

Its the Olive Garden of "mexican"

It’s gone downhill.

15 years ago you could get a $4 burrito with quality chicken meat. It’s now a $10 burrito with average chicken meat.

Also I think this location has been closed since the spring.

A regular burrito is $7.49,

A regular burrito is $7.49, or $6.99 if you don't include meat. I guess you could reach $10 including tax if you get a super with a lot of add-ons.

Yeah, not the way they once were

Still, every so often an Anna's burrito hits the spot. They are fast food, meaning it's generally pretty quick to get in and out. They tend to be longer and skinner than other burritos and tightly wrapped like a spring roll so they are easy to eat on the go without making too big of a mess. The rice tends to be moist and flavorful, although it depends on the day.

They are far from the best burrito in the city (and not as good as before they expanded) but they make for a quick and filling snack if you happen to be passing by.

Once upon a time

There were NO taquerias in Boston.

You couldn't even find the ingredients to make your own stuff. No refritos. No jalepenos. No tortillas. No sauces. I brought containers of masa from the west coast in my luggage until Maria and Ricardo's filled the tortilla void.

That was the appeal - along with Boca Grande (which they spun off from), their very existence was a shining beacon for those of us raised on taco truck fare.

I will agree that time has eroded their quality . I go to Tenoch now. But I am grateful that they were there to feed my ravening boys during their adolescence and college years from their convenient Davis and Porter locations. Going to Lesley U, my son never needed a meal plan.

Boca Grande was on First St in Cambridge in the late 1980s

I used to eat there all the time when I worked down the street at Lotus. (But that was Cambridge, not Boston.)

It was the first and only for quite some time.

And still not the same as hitting up the taco truck at the gas station or down the road from the high school between track practice and the sports bus home.

"No jalepenos. No tortillas.

"No jalepenos. No tortillas. No sauces"

Oh come on, I lived in Maine and NH during the 90s and had no problems procuring these items.

Or are you saying you couldn't get high quality/authentic products? Cause that I'd probably agree with.

Bearing the load of many burrito locations

I remember at the end of my college sting at BU having Anna's and really enjoying it. My kids and I used to get burritos there every Thursday after Kumon in Coolidge Corner. However in the last 4-5 years, the prices went up and the quality was not the same.

I have only been to Anna's once in the last year, and I have to say that Los Amigos is much much better. Their grilled fajita veggies are awesome

Most people who contract the virus don't die from it

"Then again, most people who contract the virus don't die from it. Whether they suffer long-term problems is another question." adamg on UHub, Aug 25, 2020

Another Baker casualty. In case readers missed it, most people who contract the virus don't die from it. That's quite an understatement. In fact, 99.96% of Americans will NOT die from Covid. Will anyone ask Baker the reason why he has chosen to decimate the restaurant industry in MA for an illness with an average age of death now hovering around 84? This is beyond ridiculous at this point and it will only get worse.

I'm told that Baker's ABCC is demanding that all outstanding beer/liquor bills from last spring be paid by September 1 after all extensions have been exhausted. Most locally owned, small restaurants don't have that kind of money. Restaurants are forbidden from buying booze at the liquor store and must go through ABCC regulated distributors. Watch for even more "mom and pops" to be targeted if they continue to serve beer/wine/liquor after Tuesday. With most states mostly open, what is Baker's endgame amid the nation's HIGHEST unemployment rate?

Past tense

Forget it, Jake

This is IronyDeficientTown.

You were all so busy

Reflexively trashing Fish that you failed to notice that he's right. Baker is picking winners at this point, not stopping the spread of disease. End the ABCC.

What does the ABCC have to do with this specific story?

Did this Anna's ever have a liquor license? Are they in debt to pay for outstanding beer/wine/liquor purchases? I don't see the relevance between this and what's quoted in the above links (much less the random quote from Adam, who is a great guy but as far as I know, not an epidemiologist or a medical expert and probably would not want to be quoted as such).

It doesn't

I'm just responding to the sentient points raised by Fishy. Yes, he does that sometimes.

MA has less cases than similarly populated states.

Certainly less than states that just opened everything. Massachusetts was one of the biggest cases at first and has now dropped to like 13th, which is the right direction and pretty damn good for a place that was dealt a hand with a bunch of cases. If only there was a graph that showed something like that and it was easy to find, let's say on a service called Google:

Look how much it's gone down.

And if government isn't to "pick winners", than what is your solution? Just reopen everything without restriction? That worked soooooo well for Florida and Arizona (which is now one of the biggest). And we heard your ideas in other threads, btw. They completely ignore CDC guidelines and would spread the virus way more. The government isn't perfect but has done 1000x better than anything you've suggested.

My solution

Is to reopen things with common sense. Bars have to serve food now? What, I won't get the 'rona if I have a (expletive) burger in front of me with my beer?

That's either stupidity or willful sabotage.

Common sense?

Again, we have seen your other posts. Completely against what the CDC recommends. It's not common sense, it's nonsense.

The reasons for the food

The reasons for the food service requirements are incredibly obvious, and have been explained many times by public officials.

The point of requiring bars to serve food is to increase the distance between groups of customers (people tend not to want to eat shoulder-to-shoulder), decrease mingling between unrelated groups (people tend not to want to eat a meal in front of strangers), and reduce the effective capacity of the venue (eating takes more room than drinking) while increasing the amount of money each customer spends (a drink and a meal is more expensive than a drink by itself) which can hopefully help the business offset at least some of its losses. These are well-established strategies for limiting the spread of a contagious disease.

It's also necessary to draw a line between restaurants, which it seems can be operated relatively safely, and bars, which have been responsible for dozens of large outbreaks across the country over just the last month or two. Bars are not allowed to open if they serve food bars are not allowed to be open, period. A business that traditionally functions as a bar can only be open if it can now function as a restaurant, not a bar.

Someone call FISHY a cab,

Someone call FISHY a cab, please.

Slight statistical correction

The stat is not that 99.96% of Americans will not die from Covid. It's that only 0.04% of Americans have died from Covid. What percentage of Americans have been infected, and how does that extrapolate to the point where we have herd immunity?

It's lazy math. It's a shame that you never learned math when you were in school.

I'm so tired of this trope

If death rate were the only thing that mattered when evaluating disease impact, then we should quit researching the causes of blindness and deafness. We should stop worrying about debilitating arthritis or any of a number of other diseases that produce chronic misery and disability.

Sad News

I probably ate burritos from there, or another Anna's, at least once a week between about 1996 and 2017. Loved every bite for most of that time. Waited for years for the Cambridge Street location to finally open and dreamed of having one in Back Bay. But by the time the Pru location opened, we were less enthused. We tried the burritos twice and thought they were awful.

In the previous century, you got a big, thick slice of cheese on your burrito, and ordering extra cheese got you a second one for about 75 cents. Then they began tearing the cheese slice in half, while you watched, so you had to order "extra" to get a full slice of cheese for the same price. That half slice grew thinner and thinner over the years.

We could always tell when the owner had made a site visit: for a few days, your beans and rice were carefully measured and your burrito was much smaller. In about a week, they'd revert to the usual quantity. Prices went up and up, of course. A few years ago, the burritos became consistently tasteless (cooking the beans without salt?) at most locations (Newton Highlands wasn't so bad.) We switched to Felipe and haven't looked back. But it's still sad to see the original Anna's go.

I simply disagree with the

I simply disagree with the complaints about quality. They're burritos, and they're great. The smaller locations (both Summit Ave. and Prudential emphatically included) are consistently more delicious than the more-spacious ones, but my hunch is whichever one is closest tastes the best.

No great loss.

No great loss.

Let me know if El Pelon closes.

That would be a gastronomical atrocity.

There was a two year stretch

there was a two year stretch in the mid 2000's when one of my hardest daily decisions was which Anna's I would walk to that day, Beacon Street or Harvard Ave.

then i got food poisoning twice in one summer after going to Beacon Street location. They did me dirty, literally. Harvard Ave never did that to me.

Anna's Forever. Forever Anna's.

Anna's is gone, long live Anna's

It was always amazing that Anna's maintained two locations 1/4 mile apart. It's not a Dunk's (which you'd expect).

In the early days of Facebook, there was a group called "I get Pino's on the way home from Anna's" mostly for Newton kids. In high school (North) there were definitely times when someone with a car and a free block at lunch would make an Anna's run and bring back half a dozen burritos. Everyone in the next class who didn't have a burrito was jealous. Back then it was cash-only, and at one point I kept a log of how much a burrito cost, because despite ordering the same thing (super Carnitas) it always wound up costing something different. But for $3 for a burrito, I didn't complain.

Anna's, of course, is part of the sibling rivalry with Boca Grande (background here). Both are/were owned by a pair of Japanese-Americans from the West Coast who wanted a Mission-style burrito in Boston and couldn't find one. So basically Mexican food was brought to San Francisco and California-ized, then brought to Boston by Asian-Americans (some more genesis here). If that's not the American dream, I don't know what is. Sadly, Michael passed away last year. (Oh, and Anna's is fine it was great in the '90s when it and Boca Grande were the only games in town. California is still better. But Chipotle is trash, don't @ me, they don't even melt their cheese and the fresh-chopped carnitas at Anna's are where it is at.)

Apparently, when MIT was looking for a new food vendor in 2004, they did a survey, and the majority of responses wanted Anna's. So in Anna's came, and it's as busy as ever 15 years later (or, it was before covid).

A personal story: when I ran the marathon in 2018, I raised money for Tufts Medical Center (because, you know). Anna's has a great program for people or organizations wanting to raise funds: a "celebrity roller." For two hours, you roll $10 burritos (with chips and salsa) and all the money goes to your cause. With some help: rolling the burritos is harder than it looks. It was great fun, by the end of the night I was doing a pretty good job rolling, and they even gave me an Anna's hat! Plus, Michael kicked in another $500 on top of burrito sales.

So, yeah, Anna's might not have changed in the past 25 years, but that's okay. Long live Anna's.


1968–1996 Edit

Rachael Domenica Ray was born in Glens Falls, New York, the daughter of Elsa Providenza Scuderi and James Claude Ray. [2] Her mother's ancestry is Sicilian and her father's is French, Scottish, and Welsh. [3] [4] [5] [6]

When Ray was 8, her family moved to Lake George, New York. Her mother managed restaurants in New York's Capital District, including the Lake George Howard Johnson's restaurant, located near the former Gaslight Village amusement park, which attracted many of the entertainers. [4]

In 1995, Ray moved to New York City. [7] She worked first at the Macy's Marketplace candy counter. When Macy's tried to promote her to a buyer in accessories, she moved to Agata & Valentina, a specialty foods store. [8]

1996–2004 Edit

Moving back to The Adirondacks, Ray managed Mister Brown's Pub at The Sagamore, a hotel on Lake George. From there, she became a buyer at Cowan & Lobel, a gourmet market in Albany. Ray credits the concept of 30 Minute Meals to her experience working at the store, where she met people who were reluctant to cook. She taught a course in which she showed how to make meals in less than 30 minutes. [ citation needed ]

With the success of her "30 Minute Meals" classes, WRGB, the local CBS-TV affiliate, asked her to appear in a weekly segment on their newscasts. This, along with a public radio broadcast and the publication of her first book, led to a Today show spot and her first Food Network contract in 2001. [ citation needed ]

2004–2017 Edit

Ray, who favors a "quick and easy" cooking style, teaches many simple recipes that she says can be completed in 30 minutes or less, although critics claim her concept does not include preparation time. [9]

Ray says her Sicilian maternal grandfather, Emmanuel Scuderi, and her Cajun ancestry both exert strong influences on her cooking. She uses ingredients such as fresh herbs, garlic, and chicken stock to boost flavors, and believes measuring "takes away from the creative, hands-on process of cooking." She, instead, favors approximations such as "half a palmful" or "2 pan swirl."

To critics of her shortcut techniques, Ray responds, "I have no formal anything. I'm completely unqualified for any job I've ever had." [7] She has also repeatedly said, "I'm not a chef." [3]

On her television programs, she has used catchphrases such as "E-V-O-O" (extra-virgin olive oil), "yum-o", "G.B." (garbage bowl), "Oh my gravy!", "entréetizer" (entrée-sized appetizer), "stoup" (cross between a soup and stew), [10] and "choup" (thicker than a soup but thinner than a chowder). [11] In 2007, The Oxford American College Dictionary announced the addition of the term EVOO, short for extra-virgin olive oil, which Ray had helped to popularize, and credited her with coining the phrase. [12] [13]

One of Ray's specialties is burgers. She has devoted one of her published works to the topic, The Book of Burger. [14]

Other works Edit

Television Edit

Ray hosted 30 Minute Meals on Food Network for 11 seasons from 2001 to 2012, as well as a revival of the series starting in 2019.

In 2005, she signed a deal to host a syndicated daytime TV talk show. [15] The show, Rachael Ray, premiered on September 18, 2006. Recurrent appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show were used to fuel the launch, much as Dr. Phil's show was spun off based on his own frequent visits to Oprah. [16] The show tapes in New York City. In coordination with the syndication announcement, Ray said, "People know me for my love of food, but I have so much more I want to share". [ citation needed ]

On January 12, 2008, Ray's television series Rachael's Vacation premiered on the Food Network. [17] The show was a five-part food travelogue shot in various European countries. [18] [ dead link ]

In 2008, Ray became a television executive producer [19] of a short-lived Latin cooking show on the Food Network, called Viva Daisy!, starring Daisy Martínez.

In January 2012, Ray and Guy Fieri were team captains in the Food Network reality series Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. [20]

In 2016, Ray guest starred in the second episode of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, a miniseries revival of Gilmore Girls, as a fictionalized version of herself. [21]

In 2019, Ray fulfilled a long-time goal of voicing a cartoon character when she voiced a character on the Nick Jr. program Butterbean's Café. [22]

Magazines Edit

In 2003, Ray posed for the men's magazine FHM. [7] Though she was not nude in any of the photos, this drew criticism so harsh, not least of all from Ray's own mother, that in a March 2, 2009 ABC News Nightline interview she gave to Cynthia McFadden, an ABC News correspondent, Ray defended her decision to pose in the magazine. [23] The interview quoted her as saying, "I'd do it again tomorrow." [24]

The Reader's Digest Association launched Ray's magazine Every Day with Rachael Ray on October 25, 2005. The magazine featured seven issues in 2006 and increased to 10 issues in 2007. In October 2011, Meredith Corporation acquired the magazine. [25]

Product endorsements Edit

In November 2006, Ray became a spokeswoman for Nabisco crackers. She appears in commercials and on boxes for the many Nabisco products. Many boxes with Ray's picture have her recipes. [ citation needed ]

In February 2007, WestPoint Home launched sheets, blankets, and coverlets designed by Ray. [26] Within six months, WestPoint expanded Ray's bed and bath line to include the "Moppine," a two-in-one dish towel/oven mitt, as Ray is often seen with a kitchen towel over her shoulder that doubles for her as an ersatz mitt. [27]

In March 2007, the Dunkin' Donuts company announced Ray as its celebrity endorser, mainly of its coffee, since she had denied being able to make coffee herself. [28] As part of a promotional campaign, Ray describes the company's coffee as "fantabulous." [29]

In May 2007, Ray's recipes were made available on AT&T cellular phones via the "Rachael Ray Recipes on the Run" feature. [30]

In July 2008, Rachael Ray's "Nutrish" pet food was introduced. The dog foods are created from recipes Ray developed for her pit bull, "Isaboo". All proceeds from the sale of these products go to Rachael's Rescue, a charity which Ray organized specifically to provide assistance for at-risk animals. [31]

In December 2016, PulteGroup started Rachael Ray Home Collection for their interior design division. [32] [ better source needed ] The furniture it markets is all of Ray's own design. [ citation needed ]

On September 24, 2005, in Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, Ray married John M. Cusimano. Ray owns homes in Lake Luzerne, New York, and Manhattan's Greenwich Village. [33] [34] The Lake Luzerne home was damaged in a fire on August 9, 2020. [35] The next day, a director of emergency services with the county stated that there were no injuries to Ray or her family. [36]

Charity work Edit

In 2006, Ray launched the Yum-O! nonprofit organization. Its mission is to "empower kids and their families to develop healthy relationships with food and cooking. This is achieved by teaching families to cook, feeding hungry kids, and funding cooking education." [37] [38]

How Top Chefs Stay Thin

They spend all day surrounded by delicious food, yet they don't pack on the pounds. Rachel Syme spoke to svelte kitchenmasters to find out how they eat and eat without gaining weight.

Rachel Syme

From left: NBCU Photobank / AP Photo NBC NewsWire Getty Images

We used to like our chefs fat. A rotund belly was not only a sign that a cook was eating well, it suggested that he or she would feed us well—there was something comforting about James Beard's plumpness and Julia Child's hulking physique. And still, we have many large-scale icons in the culinary world. Mario Batali, Ina Garten, Paula Deen, and Paul Prudhomme all seem to like to eat food as much as they like to prepare it. There is something unabashedly charming about Deen's insistence on heaping another spoonful of lard into a pan, cheerfully agile in her curves.

But as American diets have moved toward healthier, farm-fresh ingredients, a new crop of svelte chefs have risen through the ranks. Culinary stars like Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver, Top Chef's Sam Talbot, and Food Network starlets Cat Cora and Giada di Laurentiis have shown that it's possible to fire up the grill without putting on the pounds. But it takes discipline. To prep for the stressful, food-packed holidays, The Daily Beast checked in with six working chefs who have managed to stave off weight gain, despite being surrounded by temptations on the line every night. Below, their top six tips for staying thin and healthy, even if you love to eat. And no, we didn't let them get away with saying they simply “have a high metabolism.”

1) Taste, Don't Gorge Nibbling their most fattening dishes is a key trick chefs use—they test a forkful and move on. "To be successful as a chef, you've gotta try the food," says Greg Griffie, head of Boston's popular 606 Congress, which will serve a decadent four-course truffle menu on New Year's Eve. "But you by no means have to eat the whole thing. We have tastings and daily checks on the line before each service, but I only sample." Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield's in Los Angeles, where he works with his also-slender pastry-chef wife, agrees. "I think people always assume chefs eat foie gras all the time," he says. "But actually, it's possible to work an entire shift and not eat anything, since we're running around all the time. And the butter and meat and calories I consume are so minimal compared to what goes out on each plate."

• Click Here to View Some of Our Chef's RecipesTakeaway tip: When faced with the huge feeding trough that is a holiday meal, do as the chefs do—take a bite of everything (a bit of cookie here, a smear of pâté there) and do not fill up your plate with one thing. A little taste can go a long way.

2) Exercise Is Key It should come as no surprise that all the chefs we spoke to are fastidious about working out. Hatfield virtually moonlights as a competitive cyclist: "I spend about eight to 12 hours a week in training or racing, either out on the street or on a stationary bike in the gym.” Pichet Ong, one of Manhattan's most beloved pastry chefs and dessert makers, maintains his teensy 28-inch waist by hitting the gym two or three times per week, where he runs and "does all the cardio I can." He also walks everywhere, and walks “very fast," and the demands of the chef's life keep him "constantly on his feet." In fact, all of the chefs we spoke with claimed that simply running around a restaurant is enough to keep anyone trim. "I can work 15 to 18 hours in a day," says Laurent Gras of Chicago's L20. "I am certainly burning more on my feet than I eat. I try to steer clear of butter and cream, but other than that, just the sheer effort I spend getting the food out will burn everything else."

Click Image Below to View Our Skinny Chef Gallery

Takeaway tip: Exercise is of utmost importance when it comes to staying thin, but short of being able to actually get to the gym, try to remain on your feet for as much of the day as possible. Even standing up at your desk while you type helps. Consider investing in a standing desk, like the Igo model seen here.

3) Build a Routine Aside from knowing the night's menu, a chef's life is wildly unpredictable. There is no “average day,” so many chefs find it useful to establish some eating and working habits that never change. Julieta Ballesteros, the waifish proprietress of New York's Crema Restaurante, says that to counteract her beloved "margaritas and guacamole at the end of the night," she doesn't eat before sundown. "I will wake up and have a manicure or pedicure, but I forget about eating until the evening.” Sophia Brittan, a young chef who hosts her own online cooking show, Kitchen Caravan, also has a routine: "I try to do my heavy cooking in the morning, and eat a stronger lunch than dinner. If you get the bulk of your nutrition during the day, you give your body time to process the food while your metabolism is going strong." Hatfield says it's all a matter of discipline. "Sometimes you don't get off a shift until 12:30 a.m., and then you're starving, and all you want is a giant cheeseburger. The business can promote unhealthy choices, so you have to stick to your guns a bit.”

Takeaway tip: Draft an eating routine and stick with it, without exception. Temptation will always be present, as a chef who has worked a 12-hour shift on an empty stomach can attest to.

4) Indulgence Is Necessary Dessert guru Ong says he eats his sweet confections every day, despite his self-consciousness about his waistline. "I have ice cream pretty much every night," he says. "And not just my own, but any commercial ice cream from the store. I love Ben & Jerry's. I have a sweet tooth. I also keep butter and olive oil on the table, and especially when food is really delicious, I eat everything on my plate." But Ong's indulgences are just one part of his overall healthy diet, which includes a lot of "sashimi and dim sum" to compensate for his caloric intake from dessert. And indulgences don't always have to be fattening. Luis Mota, the chef at Manhattan's new Mexican joint Ofrenda, says his indulgence, very spicy chiles, actually help speed his digestive system and make him sweat enough to promote weight loss. "But I do love tortillas," he admits. "I just pair them with a nice grilled piece of chicken or fish so I don't eat too many."

Takeaway tip: Don't deny your cravings—even the most accomplished chefs binge on store-bought ice cream and refined carbs. But do keep them in moderation, and make sure everything stays in balance.

5) Don't Feed Your Stress The No. 1 danger that every chef we spoke to mentioned is not the pans of delicious food that surround them, but the stress of cooking it. "It's a pretty tough job," says Laurent Gras. "It wears you out. It's so easy to see people who are stressed start to drink and overeat and put on the pounds. I've seen it in so many coworkers." Ong heeds that warning: "I consider myself a glutton, especially on hard days at work. So I have to be sure not to order rice or potatoes because I'll eat them all right away." Greg Griffie adds, "I've certainly worked with some individuals that have no self control and don't know when to stop. There is definitely excess in this business, and high pressure. I often see a dessert and want to five of them."

Takeaway tip: Even professional chefs who have nuanced relationships with food often eat out of stress or emotional strain. It's important to consider why you are putting something in your mouth. Has the pressure of work caused you to reach for the Doritos, or do you really want them?

6) Sit Down to Eat, and then Eat Healthy Another final tip from the chefs we spoke to was to never eat while standing up, working, or moving around. For chefs, that is nearly their entire shift, so they need to be careful to make time for actual meals. "It's possible to taste and graze throughout the day and have consumed thousands of calories without ever knowing it," says Greg Griffie. At home, he cooks with fresh, seasonal produce that he gets from CSA, or community sourced agriculture, deliveries, and says his family has learned to "pickle and preserve" fruits and vegetables, creating low-fat condiments. "Chutneys and vinaigrettes are the best additions," Griffie advises, "because they kick up flavor but don't add a lot of fat or cream." He adds this about healthy cooking: "I don't want my guests to walk away feeling that they need a wheelbarrow. You want people to be able to order three courses and not feel overwhelmed with oil and salt and butter." Laurent Gras agrees. "I want people to wake up and feel great, not extremely heavy,” he says.

Takeaway tip: It sounds like a no-brainer, but meals should not be eaten on the go there is no way to truly tell what you are eating or if you are actually full when you are dashing around. When you do sit down to eat a real meal, garnish it with healthy chutneys and vinegar-based sauces, rather than heavier options that rely on butter, oil, and cream.

1) Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield’s Restaurant, Los Angeles

Slow-baked Salmon with Salsa Verde Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: 4 4 Oz. Salmon filets, skin removed ½ C. minced shallot ½ C. minced garlic 1 C. canola oil 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbs. paprika ½ C. finely chopped parsley 1 Tbs. finely chopped mint 1 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro 1 anchovy filet, finely chopped 1 Tbs. capers, finely chopped 1 lemon (meyer lemon, if available)

FOR THE SALSA VERDE: Place the shallot, garlic and ¾ C. canola oil in a small sauce pot and sweat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until they have lost their sharpness and are tender (about 10-15 minutes). Remove the saucepot from the heat and add the paprika, stirring to incorporate. Allow the paprika to bloom as the oil cools to room temperature (about 10-15 minutes). Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the remaining canola oil and olive oil. Using a rasp, zest the meyer lemon into the bowl and add the chopped herbs, anchovy, capers and a few grinds of black pepper. Mix thoroughly and taste depending on the saltiness of the anchovy and capers, more salt may be desired. Adjust to taste. Transfer the salsa verde to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator if not using immediately. It will keep for up to a week. Allow it to come to room temperature before using.

FOR THE SALMON: Preheat the oven to 225˚F. Check to make sure the salmon filets are free of any pin bones and season lightly with salt. Place the filets in an ovenproof baking dish large enough so that they are not touching. Generously spoon the salsa verde over the salmon, being sure to stir up the solids that have settled to the bottom. Bake the salmon until it is just cooked through (about 10-15 minutes depending on thickness). To check doneness a thin metal skewer or cake tester should be inserted through the filet, against the grain. When the fish is cooked, there is no resistance. Place the filets on four plates. In the baking dish, mix the remaining cooking liquid and salsa verde solids and spoon over the salmon. Be careful about the amount oil you spoon on each portion focus on getting the solids and there will be enough oil to delicately dress the fish. Squeeze a few drops of the lemon juice on each filet, if desired, and serve immediately.

Note: The recipe for the salsa verde will yield more than the recipe requires. The rest goes great with a sliced, toasted baguette! Just be sure to allow it to come to room temperature if it has been refrigerated.

2) Laurent Gras of L20, Chicago

Ginger and Lemon Steamed Striped Bass with Fennel Salad Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: Two 2-pound whole striped bass, cleaned and heads removed One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced 1 lemon, thinly sliced 1/4 cup fennel fronds Kosher salt 1 fennel bulb—halved, cored and very thinly sliced 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons snipped chives

RECIPE: Season the fish, inside and out, with salt. Stuff the bass with the ginger, lemon slices and fennel fronds. Place a wire rack in a large, deep skillet with an inch of water bring it to a simmer. Set the fish on the rack, cover the skillet and steam over moderately low heat until the fish is cooked through, about 18 minutes. In a bowl, toss the sliced fennel with salt and 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice. Let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter. Drizzle fish with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, and sprinkle with the chives. Serve the fish with the fennel salad.

3) Julieta Ballesteros of Crema Restaurant, New York

Crema’s Burrito De Atun (Tuna Burrito) Serves 4

INGREDIENTS: 1 pound tuna loin #1 sushi grade 4 flour tortillas 10 inches White sesame seeds toasted Frisse Pico de gallo Sliced avocado Cilantro vinaigrette Chipotle emulsion Salt and pepper 1 cup of cooked black beans

Pasilla sauce: 6 chiles pasilla roasted 2 tomatillos roasted 1 plum tomato roasted 1 garlic clove peeled ¼ cup mayo ¼ cup teriyaki sauce Salt and black pepper to taste *Blend all the above together until it form smooth sauce

Pico de Gallo: 4 plum tomatoes diced ¼ red onion ¼ Spanish onion 1 lime juice 1 fresh jalapeño diced 2 table spoons of cilantro chopped Salt

RECIPE: Cut tuna in 4 equal pieces (long side), season with salt and pepper then roll in white sesame seeds. Pan seared the tuna in a table spoon of oil, 45 sec each side, place on a warm flour tortilla, filled with frisse, sliced avocado, frizzled with cilantro vinaigrette, chipotle emulsion, wrap like a burrito, place on a skillet medium high 30 sec each side, cut in half diagonally place on a place on a plate with a side of pasilla sauce (garnish with whole black beans)

4) Greg Griffie of 606 Congress, Boston MA

Grilled chicken, farro and Brussels sprout leaves salad, pomegranate vinaigrette Serves 4

For the Salad: 6 oz Chicken thighs, skinless, boneless 1 C Cooked Farro 1 C Brussels sprout leaves, blanched ¼ C Thinly shaved red onions ¼ C Fresh pomegranate seeds 2 tbsp Dried currant (re-hydrate in hot water 10 minutes, drain, pat dry with towel) 1 tsp Fresh chives, chopped 1 tsp Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

For the Vinaigrette: 1 tbsp Sherry vinegar 2 tbsp Pomegranate juice (reduced by half from 4 tbsp) ¼ tsp Fresh thyme leaves 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil, add as little or as much as you like Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste Note - For the Brussels sprout leaves,. Cool immediately.

RECIPE: 1. To make the salad, soak the farro overnight then cook as you would barley. Allow to cool to room temperature. 2. Gently remove the Brussels sprout outer leaves, blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and allow to cool completely. 3. Toss farro, Brussels sprouts, red onion, pomegranate seeds, chives, parsley, salt and pepper together. 4. To make the vinaigrette, in a pot, reduce pomegranate juice by half and let cool. 5. In a bowl combine pomegranate reduction with sherry vinegar, fresh thyme, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk together. 6. Season chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook on a grill to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to rest. 7. To plate, place salad on plate and drizzle with pomegranate vinaigrette. Top with grilled chicken and serve.

5) Luis Arce Mota of Ofrenda, New York

Atún Adobado a la Parilla con Chile Pulla y Salsa Mexicana con espinaca – marinated, grilled tuna with Mexican salsa and sautéed spinach Serves 2

INGREDIENTS: Marinated Tuna 2 6-8 oz. yellowfin tuna steaks 1 pulla chile 2 pasilla chiles 1 ancho chile 1 tablespoon coriander seed 16 cloves garlic 1/8 teaspoon cumin 1/8 teaspoon black pepper 5/8 cup canola oil 1/8 teaspoon ground chile de arbol

Mexican salsa: 2 large, ripe and firm plum tomatoes, diced ½ small red onion, diced ½ Serrano pepper, minced 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro Juice of 1 lemon 4 cups baby spinach

RECIPE: Remove seeds from the pulla, pasilla and ancho chiles. Toast chiles lightly for about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn them. Tear the chiles into small pieces and add them to the coriander seed, 6 cloves of garlic, cumin, black pepper and 1/8 cup canola oil and put into blender and blend to a slightly textured consistency. Rub sauce into tuna steaks and refrigerate for 3 hours.

To make the Mexican salsa, put diced tomatoes into a bowl and season with salt. Add diced red onion, minced Serrano pepper, chopped cilantro, and lemon juice. Let rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, and then mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate.

Take ½ cup canola oil and remaining 10 cloves of garlic, making sure the garlic is immersed in the oil and put in a small pan. Cook at low temperature until the oil is infused by the garlic,and the garlic has become very soft, taking care not to burn the garlic. Strain the oil and put aside. This will be the oil used to sautée the spinach.

About 15 minutes before serving, remove Mexican salsa and tuna from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature. Pre-heat a grill until very hot. Place marinated tuna steaks on grill and grill each side for 1-2 minutes. The outside should be seared and the center should be warm and rare.

Sautée spinach with previously infused garlic oil with a pinch of chile de arbol for 30 seconds.Put spinach in middle of the plate and the grilled tuna on top of the spinach, and garnish the tuna with the Mexican salsa.

6) Sophia Brittan,

Fireside Pear We love the way pear and rum cozy up to each other so easily. Freshly grated pear barely needs any sweetening, which is why we encourage you to make the pear puree yourself. When slightly heated up, rum becomes the best alcohol to drink by the fire under a blanket.

INGREDIENTS: 2 ounces good quality dark rum 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar 1 ripe bosc pear 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

RECIPE: Grate the bosc pear with a cheese grater into a small bowl. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon, and rum. Pour the mixture into a small saucepan, and heat on medium-low until warm. Strain the liquid into two cocktail glasses.

Calories per serving:120 fat: 0g

**Note: a cinnamon- sugar rim makes this cocktail slightly more elegant: Mix together about 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and then lay it out on a flat plate. Rub the edge of two cocktail glasses with the squeezed lime halves. Place the cocktail glasses upside down onto the plate, so as to create a sugar/cinnamon rim along the edge. Pour in the shaken rum cocktail, and enjoy.

Dark and Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Chile ancho powder is a versatile spice derived from dry Mexican Ancho chiles. It goes beautifully with dark chocolate, making for an enticingly spicy version of hot cocoa. Dark chocolate powder is low in calories and fat, but rich in flavor. We sweeten it to taste with organic cane sugar. Orange zest and cloves add seasonal aromas that bring this drink closer to home and the holidays.

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups almond milk (or 1 cup + 1 cup water) 4 tablespoons dark chocolate powder (Valhrona or Droste are the best brands) 1 tablespoon orange zest 1 clove ½ teaspoon chile ancho powder

RECIPE: Heat up the water and milk in a small saucepan. Stir in the chocolate powder and whisk lightly to combine. Add the zest, clove, and ancho powder and stir. Sweeten the cocoa with the sugar, adding more or less according to your taste. Strain into 2 mugs and enjoy!

Calories per serving: 115, fat: 7g

Peeky Toe Crab Salad, Passion Fruit, Meyer Lemon, Tarragon Serves 6-8

Passion Fruit Shaved Icc 2 passionfruit 1/4 cup warm water 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt

Remove juice and seeds of passion fruits. Stir sugar in warm water to melt the sugar, add salt, and juice and seeds of passion fruit. Whisk together all ingredients and transfer to a container with lid. Cover and freeze until solid. Once frozen, use a fork to scrape ice, starting from the top, working all corners, until fine snow. Cover container and return to freezer until use.

Crab Salad Juice and zest of 1 meyer lemon 1 teaspoon ground white pepper 2 tablespoon yoogurt ¼ cup chives ¼ cup chopped tarragon ¼ cup chopped mint ½ cup apples, cut into 1/8” dice 1# crab meat, fresh picked 1 teaspoon salt Toss together all ingredients up to 8 hours before serving. Right before searving, season with salt and pepper.

To Serve (Per Serving) Yogurt Micro mint Star fruit chip, optional Tarragon Infused Oil For each serving, place 1 tablespoon of yogurt on plate. Scoop about 1/2 cup of crab salad mixture on plate, followed by a teaspoon of tarragon oil at the base. Top salad with 1 tablespoon of passion fruit ice, followed by micro mint, and star fruit chip.

Daily Meal's Boston Editor: Celebrity Burrito Roller! - Recipes

Every day people struggle to stay on their diets because they feel they need to deprive themselves in order to lose weight.

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What People Are Posting About #lindasdietdelites on Instagram!

1. Greater diet food choices lead to success because you:
- enjoy your food more
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- no longer crave types of food you have restricted

Linda's Diet Delites gives you access to such variety, but we also purposefully limit our product selection.

We don't stock every diet food under the sun, but instead only the best products not normally found locally. And here is why.

2. When your food choices fuel your body for fat loss you will lose more weight, have fewer cravings, and be more healthy. Although there is a big world of diet foods, not all of them will actually help you.

An easy example is whole grain cereals packed with sugar.

A harder example is if you jump into the nitty gritty of comparing our diet muffins ounce for ounce, you'll find they are sometimes 50% lower in calories and carbs than more widely available diet muffins.

It turns out that by focusing on the diet foods that are a 'step above' the rest:

1. The diet foods we carry are created to often be both low in calories and low in carbs or consisting of very healthy, slow digesting carbs.

Consuming these types of foods creates an environment where calories are burned extra slow by your metabolism and wind up being used for energy rather than fat.

2. As a result of the ingredients required to achieve these superior nutritionals, and the often perishable nature of the products, they are short on filler and long on quality.

Losing fat is great, but if it makes you sick or you put it back on (and more) as soon as you stop, you are no better off.

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By providing you variety in your diet and products that keep the weight off, your healthy lifestyle is easier.

There are a million and one diets under the sun. The best diet is the one you can stick with.

Personally, we believe the best way to achieve and maintain a healthy body composition is to follow a diet of appropriate calories made up of healthy fats*, healthy carbs*, and sufficient protein*. Although the optimal breakdown might vary from person to person.

Linda's Diet Delites is, by far, the most extensive on-line store for healthy and diet-friendly products.

As a Nutritionist, not only do I purchase things for myself, but it's the only store I recommend to my clients due to it's low prices and wide range of products.

It's only made better by how they're always ontop of new trends and companies.

The best selection AND prices? Talk about a rare find!

1. You want the latest supplement claiming to 'melt the fat off your body.'

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4. You're looking for vegan, raw, or 100% organic. Were not knocking it, that is just not us.

5. You want a complete, done for you meal plan. We won't ship you a box with meals for every day of the week, but we will ship you a box with brownies for your dessert after a healthy meal, muffins to go with your morning plate of eggs, and bread to utilize in your sandwich.

The Truth: To get the body and lifestyle you want you don't need pills, you don't need creams, and you don't even need a gym if you really don't want to.

Likewise, you don't have to buy diet food from us, but your chances for success are significantly greater if you do.

By incorporating the foods we offer into your diet, we find many people are able to stick to their diet longer because it provides greater variety, they are able to have foods that they wouldn't be able to make at home (even with serious chef inspired dedication), and in many cases the cost of the item is significantly cheaper than if you were to attempt to create it at home. We've heard some horror stories about spending big bucks on bread machines, ingredients, hours of lost time, and only winding up with a poor tasting loaf.

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Then they return again and again because our products aren't built on hype, the website has been created to make browsing and shopping easy, and our customer service is always here if you need help.

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Celebrity chef Hubert Kellerwas the head chef and owner of Fleur de Lys, a Michelin-star restaurant in the Tenderloin which closed in 2014. Keller still operates a spin-off of the restaurant, Fleur, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Get the Recipe: Hubert Keller

Okay, this one’s not “made in SF.” But, it’ll save you a trip to Tomales Bay. Nick’s Cove’sDungeness Crab Mac and Cheese is to die for, and Dungeness crab season reopens in just a couple of weeks.
Get the Recipe: Nick’s Cove


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Lemon chicken

You might think lemon chicken doesn't sound too bad. After all, chicken is pretty healthy, and lemons aren't exactly famous for their excessive calorie contributions. (We would have noticed the grease floating in our cocktails.) A more accurate name for lemon chicken would be "battered fried chicken in lemony sugar sauce," but it just doesn't have the same ring to it. Check out any recipe for lemon chicken and you'll notice large quantities of oil, sugar, and soy sauce (flavored sodium, by another name), involved in its production. And those are the healthier homemade versions. Farm out the manufacturing to a third party that could care less about your personal health goals, and the numbers go nowhere but up, topping out in the region of 1,500 calories and 75 grams of fat. And the lemon isn't just lending its name to an unhealthy dish. Its inclusion in the recipe actually helps to disguise the sweet flavors a bit. If lemon chicken were a book, you definitely shouldn't judge it by its cover, nor by its first chapter. Instead judge it by the really big font, the preponderance of pictures, and the greasy fingerprints on every single page.

Food stories of 2017: The trends, serious issues, and weird stories (plus, avocados)

Starbucks' "?“Unicorn Frappuccino" starts as a purple drink with blue swirls that tastes sweet and fruity, before changing to pink with a tangy and tart taste with a stir of the straw — and this was just one of the food trends that people went crazy for in 2017. HONS

In a year where politics and natural disasters dominated news headlines, the humble food story still managed to attract its own attention between each new upper-cased Big. Issue.

This year, the food articles and trend pieces that dominated the favorites lists showed a glimpse at the topics that readers are interested in and affected by. There was everything from the tragedy-laced stories on wineries deeply affected by the Wine Country fires to infinitely more fun and Instagram-driven food items, such as the Unicorn Frappuccino.

Here's a look at the food stories from 2017.

2 of 20 Starbucks scored big with its entry into the unicorn food craze, creating the multi-hued Unicorn Frappuccino that led to a social media frenzy. Baristas were very vocal about their hatred of making the new drink, yet Instagram lovers continued to subject employees to making a barrage of other colorful drinks, including the Unicorn Lemonade, Zombie Frappuccino and Christmas Tree Frappuccino. Matt Rourke/Associated Press Show More Show Less

4 of 20 A Reddit thread asking users, "What did your job want you to hide from customers?" went viral after a supposed McDonald's secret was revealed about employees packing its french fry boxes to appear full. (A claim that the fast food chain denied.)
JOERG KOCH/AFP/Getty Images Show More Show Less

5 of 20 Cheese tea is making waves across the U.S. after having a successful run in Asia, and San Francisco is diving into the trend. STEAP Tea Bar in Chinatown serves Tony's Tea, a green and lemon tea and topped with "cheese cream" for customers looking for something different to drink. Susana Guerrero/ SFGATE Show More Show Less

8 of 20 A Redditor with the username booshley, who says she has worked for In-N-Out for two years, allowed users to ask her anything about the burger joint. What ensued was an intriguing deep-dive into questions surrounding one of the more secretive burger joints around. William Luther/San Antonio Express-News Show More Show Less

A new Denver Whole Foods Market will feature a 6-foot-long mac n' cheese bar — a cheese lover's dream — and sent non-Denver residents into serious jealousy.

11 of 20 The food world loves (and loves-to-hate) food mashups, and this one is no different: Behold the Pokecado Toast. San Jose shop Pokeatery took advantage of two trending food items, combining poke and avocado for a photo-worthy food item. Show More Show Less

13 of 20 You may have thought you knew where the best place to buy booze is, but one comparative look at pricing among the local Costco, BevMo, Safeway and Trader Joe's stores had us rethinking where to pick up a bottle of whiskey or vodka. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Show More Show Less

Costco tested out a new cheeseburger at a handful of stores on the West Coast, but does it really deserve its comparisons to Shake Shack? One SFGATE staffer and burger aficionado visiting Seattle tried out the new burger.

The Salt & Straw Thanksgiving menu featured creative flavors, such as the salted caramel turkey ice cream seen above. The flavors yielded some divisive thoughts on the samples and definitely stretched the palates of even our more adventurous food eaters in the SFGATE offices.

October meant pumpkin-flavored everything, so SFGATE dived into Trader Joe's pumpkin-flavored items and ranked them from tasty to just awful.

19 of 20 In case you were worried about the overall health of the SFGATE staff, we do try healthy items. The team taste-tested Trader Joe's "healthy" food items in September, including items like cultured coconut milk (a lactose-free yogurt alternative) and an organic coffee drink sweetened with dates instead of sugar. (Trader Joe's Crunchy Nutty Rice Bites are pictured here.) Alix Martichoux / SFGATE Show More Show Less

The food trends (or, how SFGATE ate its way through 2017)

Instagram has, for better or worse, affected a lot of the food scene since its inception and 2017 is no different. The major difference is that a lot of corporations bought into the idea of making their foods photo-worthy. and ended up influencing the market. Never forget that 2017 was the year of the Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks (as well as the to-be-expected barista backlash to the drink) and the subsequent attempt to recapture that popularity with the Zombie Frappuccino.

RELATED VIDEO: Cheese tea is trending in the Bay Area

SFGATE wound up subjecting staff members to these food trends for the sake of Journalism, researching the local trends that were popping up in our foodsphere (Millionaire's bacon, cheese tea) as well as the questionable pumpkin spice food selection at Trader Joe's. We ate a lot of things this year and while that may sound like bragging, not all of it was good (just ask those of us who could not stomach more Mashed Potato ice cream &mdash even if it did come from gourmet ice cream purveyor Salt & Straw).

1 of 23 Marks and Spencer Show More Show Less

An episode of "Rick and Morty" ended with a jokey plea for McDonald's to bring back its Szechuan McNugget sauce. What ensued afterward was a surreal series of events, from Deadmau5 paying an undisclosed amount for a jug of the discontinued sauce, to a disappointing limited-edition release of the Szechuan sauce that enraged fans.

4 of 23 Mr. Hankey, is that you? Denny's mascot was slammed on Twitter for reminding people of more than just breakfast sausage links. @DuncanDriveHome/Twitter Show More Show Less

5 of 23 Australian-themed restaurant chain Outback Steakhouse was accused of concealing hidden ties to the Illuminati and other occult groups, after one astute Twitter user discovered the chain's franchises were arranged in a pentagram shape. Courtesy Baker Katz Show More Show Less

7 of 23 A California man planned to sue Berkeley-based Annie's, because the organic food company's strawberry fruit snacks doesn't contain any strawberries or strawberry flavoring. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Show More Show Less

Sweet Dixie Kitchen in Long Beach was criticized over not disclosing its use of Popeyes chicken in brunch dishes. In an interesting twist, the owner stated that this was never a secret that she kept from customers.

10 of 23 Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Ore., posted a photo of a doughnut memorializing Charles Manson to Twitter after his death, capturing Manson's manic-looking face in frosting atop a doughnut. It was predictably not received well by social media. Anonymous/AP Show More Show Less

11 of 23 A Minnesota brewery, called Modist Brewing Company, had been selling a double IPA called "Dilly Dilly" — a knock on the recent Bud Light campaign wherein medieval monarchs toast while uttering (the copyrighted phrase) "dilly dilly" in unison. Rather than immediately involve lawyers, Bud Light's parent company instead issued an amusing cease and desist via town crier. Modist Brewing/Facebook Show More Show Less

Dan Ryckert and Bianca Monda won a national contest to become the first couple married at Taco Bell's flagship store in Las Vegas. The fast food company now boasts marriage ceremonies among its services at that location.

14 of 23 The Dark Side Bar, an unofficial pop-up establishment that came to Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York on Nov. 15, allows guests to "cross over to the dark side bar and experience the power, fury, and unequivocally macabre environment." Themed bars continued to lure customers inside its doors this year, especially with pop culture themes such as the Stranger Things bar and the Stay Classy Boston bar, dedicated to Will Ferrell. Pictured is the "Imperial cocktail." Courtesy Darkside Bar Show More Show Less

16 of 23 People's affection for avocados led many to the ER. Physicians said that the avocado's rise in popularity has led to an increase in injuries, with some dubbing the injury "avocado hand." The Times of London called it a "global phenomenon." Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley Show More Show Less

British supermarket chain Marks and Spencer's sought to buck the avocado injury trend, debuting a new pitless avocado that can be eaten whole, skin and all. It's also a breeze to slice.

19 of 23 Australian developer Tim Gurner said the reasons Millennials can't afford to buy a house is because instead of saving money, they're spending it all on avocado toast. His comments resulted in near-instantaneous backlash and articles attempting to see how long one must go without avocado toast in order to become a homeowner. John Storey Show More Show Less

The next frontier in avocado? Truman Cafe in Melbourne, Australia, has it figured out. The cafe posted now-viral video of its avocado lattes, or avolatte.

The best of the weird

Pop culture played a lot into the weirdest food stories of the year. There was the Long Beach brunch spot that was discovered to be serving Popeyes chicken to its customers. The McDonald's Szechuan sauce frenzy stoked by cult favorite "Rick and Morty" that resulted in despair after a limited-edition release by the fast food giant. Denny's also made news with its "crappy" mascot, while strawberry-less strawberry snacks from Annie's warranted a lawsuit from consumers.

Of all the weird food stories, however, the food MVP of the year is the avocado. For as basic (or extra) as you may think the fruit is, that green, palm-sized fruit was a news magnet and received blame and praise whenever it was mentioned. (Vice's food site, Munchies, even dubbed 2017 a "Strange Year for Avocados.")

Among the headlines for the avocado: Millennials can't afford a house because of avocados. Pre-peeled and pre-halved avocados for the lazy. "Avocado hand" sends people to the hospital. New, improved (and pitless) avocados are here to save people from "avocado hand." A record-seeking 5-pound avocado discovered in Hawaii. The list goes on.

2 of 18 Acacia in St. Helena, Calif. is just one of the places that landed on the list of top restaurants of the year from San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer. John Storey/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 18 Roxie Food Center is just one of the local cheap eats that Yelpers recommended in the city. Anyone looking to explore all corners of town for the best sandwiches, tacos and Mediterranean food (among others) should follow this list. Jen Fedrizzi/Special to the Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 18 Newcomers — and yes, even food loving locals — would be wise to try out this Bay Area foodie bucket list. This list featured a deep-dive into the food scene and the most popular dishes, spanning from hole-in-the-wall tacos to more-famous options, such as Zuni's popular chicken. Yelp user Lisa I. Show More Show Less

7 of 18 Buy Photo Fans of the Curry family — and great barbecue in general — flocked to the opening of Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina's new restaurant International Smoke. The restaurant was one of the most highly anticipated openings of the year and has a second location planned in Houston. Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 18 There are some bargains to be had on Michael Bauer's Top 100, and he set about trying to find out which ones are a deal. Randi Lynn Beach/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Residents of the Tenderloin weren't impressed by the meat roasting on an open oven at Meraki Market, and complained about all the smoke generated by the wood. Locals launched a "Pink Lungs Matter" movement to protest the store.

Sandra Dee's Barbeque and Seafood in Sacramento received a surprise makeover from celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay for his show "24 Hours To Hell and Back." The restaurant later rejected those changes and said Ramsay "misunderstood this type of food."

13 of 18 With 2017 giving some people plenty of reasons to drink, the new bar scene was overwhelmingly willing to pour something to help. Wine critic Esther Mobley selected her favorites from the year, singling out which ones are worth the time, including Biig, seen above. Mason Trinca/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

14 of 18 If you're looking for more bargains, Redditors shared their favorites under $50, picking out a variety of cuisines and options, including the dim sum over at Kingdom of Dumpling. Courtesy Kingdom of Dumpling / Stephanie Meyers Show More Show Less

For those who frequent BART and find themselves with a hankering for food, this list of BARTable food options fills that void with restaurants within walking distance of each station.

17 of 18 Buy Photo If you're looking to do a fun road trip down toward Half Moon Bay, there's a number of picturesque places such as Miramar Beach Restaurant along the way. Take in the views and history of places such as Duarte's Tavern and Sam's Chowder House along Highway 1. Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

The local food scene

Locals were on the hunt for their next great food adventure, and plenty were also looking for what they've been missing out on. The Bay Area food experience was a mixture of looking at where newcomers should head to first, where to eat on the cheap and also which restaurants are the newest of the new. Locals also aren't as San Francisco-centric as before, leading to explorations outside of the city and searching for food road trips, or even quick dips out of the city via BART for some new food.

San Francisco Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer's Top 100 Restaurants also piqued everyone's attention. While the experience of a dinner at Single Thread might make your heart stop (from both the exquisite presentation to its jaw-dropping price) many were relieved to find there were some bargain places to eat on Bauer's list. He also chooses among his favorites of 2017 in his year-end list, which can be found here.

2 of 15 Places like the Paradise Ridge Winery (seen above) were destroyed in the fires that ravaged much of Northern California. Wine critic Esther Mobley with The Chronicle kept a running list of damaged wineries to dispel rumors of closed businesses. Organic farms in Glen Ellen and Santa Rosa were also affected by the fire, and even after the smoke cleared, grapes that survived still dealt with "smoke taint" damages.

4 of 15 Gender issues were a big focus of this year, and that also translated in the food world. The Chronicle looked at the vulnerable world of female servers, especially in light of sexual misconduct allegations against Tosca Cafe owner Ken Friedman. Yuliya Pavlova Thompson of 1601 Bar & Kitchen also wrote an article as to how gender roles affect life as a female restaurateur. Beck Diefenbach/Special to The Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 15 Sexual misconduct allegations went beyond the realms of entertainment and politics, and along with Friedman, celebrity chef Mario Batali was accused of sexual misconduct over the course of at least two decades. The allegations led Batali to step away from many of his food projects and TV shows, and eventually issued a public apology (along with the questionable inclusion of a recipe with said apology). NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images Show More Show Less

ABC's "The Great American Baking Show," which features Ayesha Curry as a judge, faced its own issues with allegations of sexual misconduct against show judge Johnny Iuzzini (second from left). ABC decided to pull the show after airing only one episode.

8 of 15 A number of beloved and long-running restaurants in the Bay Area closed, including Forbes Island in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the most notable restaurants that shuttered in 2017 here. Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Amazon's big $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods earlier this year led to changes at the grocery store chain — including price cuts and the very public sale of Amazon tech. Whether that translated to cheaper groceries at Whole Foods versus its online owner, was a complicated issue.

GeekWire photo/Taylor Soper Show More Show Less

A gay couple who requested to split an ice cream sundae at upscale Washington, D.C., restaurant Prime Rib was told that two men sharing a dessert "doesn't go with the ambiance of the restaurant." The story led to a public outcry against Prime Rib and eventually the firing of the waiter, according to Metro Weekly.

Scott Suchman / For the Washington Post Show More Show Less

Issues around cultural appropriation is a constant theme in the restaurant world, especially after international cuisines become increasingly popular. A Portland, Ore., burrito shop called Kooks Burrito shuttered a week after being featured in an article, amid accusations of cultural appropriation.

14 of 15 A documentary that aired on German television accused candy company Haribo of using ingredients produced in horrible conditions for both humans and animals. Carnauba wax produced in Brazil was tied to slave labor practices, while the gelatin purchased by the company had poor living conditions for its animals. Markus Schreiber/Associated Press Show More Show Less

The serious food issues

The world of food and wine suffered in October's deadly Wine Country fires and oenophiles were curious as to which wineries were able to survive the flames that torched much of Northern California. The constantly evolving food scene meant a number of closings for long-running restaurants, including Buca di Beppo and LuLu in SoMa, AQ and Rose Pistola closing after almost 21 years and others.

The world of sexual misconduct allegations hit the culinary world first with San Francisco and New York restaurateur Ken Friedman being accused of sexual harassment, leading to accusations and backlash against celebrity chef Mario Batali. Ayesha Curry's new show "Great American Baking Show" was also embroiled in its own scandal when fellow judge Johnny Iuzzini was accused of sexual misconduct, and the show was pulled by ABC after one episode.

If you weren't already certain of it, 2017 proved that the world of food is not as dismissible and useless as perhaps a Soylent advocate may tell you. The meal has come to stand for the one place where people are willing to gather with others &mdash at the very least during the holidays and at its most as a daily communal event.

Food, the thing that can be taken as a mere daily requirement, instead became a great retreat from the larger stories or was itself the conversation-starter. Scroll through the above slideshows to see some of the year's most intriguing, funny and downright odd food stories of the year.

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Your Bikini Body Diet Dinner Choices

Each of these healthy dinner recipes is about 500 calories.

African Sweet-Potato Soup

Saute 1 small chopped onion and 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon canola oil. Add 1 quart chicken stock 1 peeled, cubed sweet potato 1 cubed potato (skin on) and 1 can diced tomatoes. Add 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, and sea salt. Mix in 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes. (Makes 3 servings.) Serve with a whole wheat roll spread with 1 teaspoon butter and a garden salad sprinkled with 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon vinaigrette.

Bean and Cheese Potato

Microwave 1 medium potato. Top with 1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup diced cooked chicken 3 tablespoons shredded cheese 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 cup steamed broccoli. Dollop with 2 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt.

Salmon with Asian Slaw

Marinate one 4-ounce salmon fillet in an Asian marinade, such as Soy Vay, for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Mix together 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt toss with 3 cups chopped cabbage, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds. Serve salmon with slaw on the side.

Chicken and Rice Bowl

Sauté 2 ounces sliced chicken breast, 1/2 chopped onion, and 1 chopped tomato in 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Place in a bowl and combine with 1/4 cup rinsed and drained canned low-sodium black beans, 4 teaspoons guacamole, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 cup cooked brown rice.

Rice and Pork Saute

Blanch 1/2 cup chopped carrots in salted boiling water 3 minutes, adding 1/2 cup snow peas for last minute drain. Saute 2 tablespoons chopped onion, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 teaspoons grated ginger in 1 teaspoon sesame oil for 1 minute. Add 4 ounces cubed pork loin saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup cooked brown rice and saute 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, cooked carrots and snow peas, and 1/4 cup sliced scallions.

Linguine with Clams

Saute 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Strain and reserve half the liquid from a small can of clams. Add half the clams to pan saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 chopped and seeded tomatoes, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup dry white wine, and reserved clam juice cook 7 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup cooked linguine and 1 cup spinach.

Cheesy Turkey Meatballs

Mix 1/2 pound lean ground turkey with 1 tablespoon diced onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 beaten egg, 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons nonfat milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Form 8 meatballs, placing a 1/2-inch mozzarella cube in center of each. Mist a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray bake meatballs 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Saute 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon canola oil 1 minute. Add 2 cups chopped zucchini cook 5 minutes. Serve 4 meatballs over zucchini and 1/3 cup cooked whole wheat orzo top with 1/2 cup tomato sauce. (Freeze leftovers.)

Steak Fajita

Sauté 4 ounces sliced sirloin, 1/2 chopped onion, and 1 chopped tomato in 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder. Place mixture in 1 large whole-wheat flour tortilla. Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, fold, and microwave for 60 to 90 seconds until cheese is melted.

Watch the video: Trying 40 Of The Most Popular Dishes From The Cheesecake Factory Menu. Delish