The Main Dish: Whole Foods Drops Prices, the Best Bread In the Country and Other Highlights

In the age of information overload, refinement is key. That was the thought behind The Main Dish — a quick compilation of the most bookmark-worthy links from the Foodable Network. Aside from our usual daily content, every Sunday, The Main Dish will serve a fresh batch of handpicked pieces of the most appetizing lists & literature that you may have missed.

bread basket

The Role of Bread In An Elevated Dining Experience

Ahh, bread. As a guest in a fine dining restaurant, either you love it or... you don’t understand it! Has anyone ever advised to not eat too much bread, because it can ruin your appetite? Or, maybe you had that one friend who would refrain from eating the warm doughy loaf in hopes of maintaining or improve their figure. These mixed attitudes towards bread have left the ancient food with a negative reputation. To restore that reputation, the rise of the "bread program” movement highlights the significant role of bread in an elevated dining experience. “It’s incredibly important,” said Chef Marc Forgione, whose restaurant serves an elevated version of the classic potato roll, brushed with clarified butter and sprinkled with black salt.

Coolhaus: How a Beat-Up Ice Cream Truck Turned into a Multimillion Dollar Brand

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. It’s safe to say that Ice cream continues to be a fan favorite and is here to stay. While ice cream chains like Baskin-Robbins and Carvel often are nostalgic to ice cream lovers, today’s foodies are gravitating to other innovative concepts. But consumers aren’t only looking for creative ice cream flavors, they are looking for something different. Enter Coolhaus, a brand that started when the co-founders Natasha Case and Freya Estreller started selling ice cream sandwiches at the Coachella music festival from a beat-up van. While the brand still operates food trucks in LA, Dallas and NYC, there are now two brick-and-mortar stores in California.

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Brand's Social Responsibility

Giving back to the communities we serve is not a mandated practice, but is rather something extra that restaurants, and businesses alike, can do to improve their local and national communities. This is also known as— social responsibility. This practice can not only increase employee engagement, but also develops a positive perception of your brand, increases revenue opportunities, and increases the possibility of local media coverage. What restaurant wouldn’t want that? 

ice cream

So, What Do We Call Whole Foods Now? Affordable?

Amazon.com Inc. slashed prices at Whole Foods Market stores on Monday, with some items seeing cuts up to 43 percent. Items like organic Fuji apples and organic rotisserie chicken were accompanied by orange signs showing the old price, the new price, and text reading “More to come...” In total, over 400 items have seen price cuts. According to "Bloomberg," prices on whole trade organic bananas fell 30 percent, responsibly farmed tilapia fell 33 percent, and organic Fuji apples fell 43 percent. Since Amazon won the antitrust approval by the FTC last week, the e-commerce giant has made some big announcements about both of the the companies’ futures. Learn more by watching this week's episode of On Foodable Weekly: Industry Pulse!

A Fundamental Shift In Consumer Expectations Leads to a New Restaurant Segment

As consumers continue to demand more transparency and more healthy options, what is the future of foodservice? Today, something is fundamentally changing in our industry.  In this episode of On Foodable Weekly, we sit with Scott Davis, President of CoreLife and Steve Schulze, Co-founder of Nekter Juice Bar to talk about how the consumer is enforcing their values with their dollar and the industry is reacting.  The customer has created a whole new segment that we call, future brands. These restaurants are more focused on lifestyle and offer more than just a meal. For example, CoreLife is focused on providing fitness classes like yoga, and lifestyle content. 

Zuuk Mediterranean Brings Bold Flavorful Bowls Paired with Addicting Made-in-House Dips to Brickell

The team that brought My Ceviche, a south American fusion seafood-focused fast casual concept with six stores in the Miami area, decided to introduce a new fast casual to the Miami market. Enter Zuuk Mediterranean. The first store in Brickell opened in April and serves Mediterranean-inspired items. This style of food appeals to today’s diners (millennials, in particular) because it offers an array of flavorful healthy choices.

The Role of Bread In An Elevated Dining Experience

Ahh, bread.

As a guest in a fine dining restaurant, either you love it or... you don’t understand it!

Has anyone ever advised to not eat too much bread, because it can ruin your appetite? Or, maybe you had that one friend who would refrain from eating the warm doughy loaf in hopes of maintaining or improve their figure. These mixed attitudes towards bread have left the ancient food with a negative reputation.

To restore that reputation, the rise of the "bread program” movement highlights the significant role of bread in an elevated dining experience.

“It’s incredibly important,” said Chef Marc Forgione, whose restaurant serves an elevated version of the classic potato roll, brushed with clarified butter, sprinkled with black salt and served with a side of caramelized onion butter. “It’s the first bite you have at the restaurant, so it’s the first impression you’re getting of our food and the experience.”

Traditionally, bread has always been part of fine dining (usually, at no extra cost.) But, when a bread program really shines, it’s because it offers something unique or of the best quality.

Bringing the best product forward to each guest takes extra time, effort and money. Some restaurants achieve this by producing fresh, house-made bread daily, while others, leave the job to local artisans who have mastered the craft and only worry about the logistics of getting the quality loaf to the patrons' table.

In some cases, restaurants may do a combination of both depending on their menu offerings.

This is the case for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (MGFD,) the flagship restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef and owner Michael Schwartz.

“We know that somebody else has better resources who does it to perfection. We like to promote those people, because they are doing something special,” says MGFD’s Pastry Chef Maria Garcia, referring to Miami-based artisans from Zak the Baker, La Parisienne Bakery and True Loaf that provide bread for the bread course and some sandwiches on the menu at Michael’s Genuine.

Avocado Toast with spicy crab, cilantro, lime, Zak's Rye #thisismgfd #mgfdbrunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

Oof that's lunch. #mgfdlunch #pastramisandwich #falafel #mezze @zakthebaker 💗

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

A lot of thought and effort goes into ensuring the best quality breads make it to guests’ tables, therefore the bread course at MGFD is offered for an extra charge.

“A lot of restaurants with our style of cooking are doing this nowadays, because in all honesty, it’s so much better to bring something that is actually really special that people can get excited about, and granted, yes, you have to pay, but it is so worth it,” said Chef Garcia, who attributes her love for bread to her family from Spain and her respect for its role in an elevated dining experience to Chef Michael Schwartz and Chef Bradley Heron.

“I think Schwartz and Brad have a really good philosophy and they have managed to teach it to all of us, so we can appreciate the good things,” added Chef Garcia.

Not only is Garcia in charge of confections as Michael Genuine’s pastry chef, but she also oversees the production house-made breads for MGFD and their sister restaurant cafe, Ella. These include: focaccia, pizza dough, pita bread, donuts, buns and bagels.

Her day begins at 6 a.m. at a commissary kitchen, where she spends the first three hours of her day.  An everyday task in the day-to-day prep list, is assuring the dough being fermented in bulk, is done so appropriately.

Soppressata Pizza 🍕🍕 crushed tomato, chile flake, honey, mozzarella #mgfdpizza #mgfdlunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

#eggsandwich with grilled bacon & cheddar on a brioche #mgfdbrunch #michaelsgenuine #miamidesigndistrict #baconandeggs #sundaybrunch

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

🍩🍩 cookies & cream donut #sobewff #thisismgfd #brunch #donutlovers 😍

A post shared by Michael's Genuine®Food & Drink (@michaelsgenuine) on

“The quality of your bread will rely on how well you ferment things and how they behave. So, we bulk ferment so the dough can develop a lot more flavors, so the alcohol doesn’t have that yeasty flavor. We like to give time for it to slow down and give time for the bacteria to grow, so it allows the bread to slowly ferment,” said Chef Garcia, who considers bread-making both an art and a science.

“It’s understanding the elements, their behavior and qualities as well as the artistic beauty of good bread.”

Foodable Labs ranked the following restaurants no. 1 in their respective cities when it came down to sentiment scores towards bread.

  • Portland - Le Pigeon
  • Miami - Michael's Genuine
  • New York - Marc Forgione
  • Denver - Work & Class
  • Chicago - Monteverde
  • Los Angeles - Animal

Watch the video to learn about other restaurants doing in-house bread!

Las Vegas Restaurants Excell at Complimentary Bread Service

While restaurants are generally praised for the quality of the dishes featured on their menus, a number of local Vegas eateries are making waves for their excellent complimentary bread service.   For these restaurants, the superb bread they offer diners is of equal quality to many of the items on the menu.

At classic Vegas steakhouses such as STK and BLT Steak, pull apart rolls and popovers are served, with the former offering blue  cheese butter and grape seed oil on the side and the latter suggesting diners accompany their Gruyere filled popovers with char grilled slabs of bacon. Handcrafted assorted dipping sauces and butters are also offered to accompany the bread service at the Top of the World restaurant inside the Stratosphere, featuring such unique accompaniments as orange ginger or pesto whipped butter. Yet perhaps the largest standout is the Lardo Focaccini served at Mario Batali's Carnevino, which features a crusty bread with salty, kneaded pork fat.   

Will unique bread services like these become restaurant norms?  Read More