When deciding to remodel the kitchen it is very likely that you will have to purchase new set of kitchen appliances. The importance appliances is not only to provide functionality, but also, making the space more appealing. However, choosing the suitable appliances for the space and your needs can be somewhat challenging. Luckily, there are endless possibilities and varieties of kitchen appliances nowadays, which makes the process slightly easier. Apart from the usual appliances every kitchen needs, today there are also all sorts of smaller appliances designed to make life in it much easier.
That being said, before you set out to the local or online store you need to perform the necessary research. Catch up on some reading about what the latest appliances offer in terms of functionality from the best fridges, cookers and dishwashers, but also make sure you read additional microwave, toaster, slow or pressure cooker reviews.
How to Choose From Suitable Major Appliances
No kitchen space can be imagined without a dishwasher, sink, refrigerator and cooker. Naturally, all of them should match in terms of design, material and color not only in regards to the kitchen style, but also among themselves.
The first choice you will have to make is whether to go for free standing or built-in appliances. Choose a fridge according to the space and your needs. Built-in stoves are more frequently used nowadays, because they are more practical and blend in with the countertop space. Furthermore, if you have the need for two stoves, the only way to go is built-in appliances.
Depending on the design and style of the other appliances, in this case the fridge, you need to pick out the appropriate dish washer and sink. Make sure they blend in with the style and color of the cabinets. Almost every appliance can now be fitted under the countertop.
Which Small Kitchen Appliances to Buy
Now that you’ve decided on the major appliances, you should also spend some time considering which smaller appliances you require. Smaller kitchen appliances are very popular today, as they prove to be very useful for cooking faster and easier. Slow cookers, pressure cookers, toasters, electric grills, food processors are only some of the tools you can get.
However, they are by no means as necessary as the major kitchen appliances. No kitchen can function properly without a fridge, but you can easily survive without a slow cooker, for example. Even though they are small and don’t take up much storage space, piling them up for no reason will take up most of your storage space.
Therefore, only buy the small appliances you know you will use in your cooking routine. A microwave, for example, can be very useful when you want to quickly heat up leftovers from yesterday’s lunch. A slow cooker will come in handy when you don’t have the luxury of standing over your meal the entire time. A pressure cooker is ideal for people that rarely have the time necessary to prepare a meal in the usual way. Pressure cookers rely on pressure and steam to cook food a lot faster than conventional cookers.
Do Your Homework
Before setting out to get any of the mentioned appliances, whether they are big or small, you need to know all they features and how they match your needs in terms of functionality. There are endless sources for you to perform the necessary research on all kinds of products from all kinds of brands online. You can find product reviews of all the appliances you need, which will undoubtedly make it a lot easier for you to decide which product is perfect for you.
Some websites specialize in doing reviews for you, but if you feel they are too commercial and promote certain products more than others, you can always check out many forums about kitchen and cooking where you can read first hand experiences with certain appliances from other people that already have them.
Now that you have completed all the research and made well informed decisions on which products to buy, you can head to your local store and ask for exactly what you need. That way you ensure getting the right product for you, and sellers will not be able to manipulate you into buying something you don’t need.
Music is one of the most essential things in people’s everyday life. But it is not just a simple fact that music is only a means of entertainment that helps human relax and have fun, music also has enormous influence to mental and physical condition to individuals. Using music as a therapy treatment has been discussed as a serious issue that was concerned by scientists all around the world.
It is not random that symphonies of Mozart or other famous song composers are often recommend for children and babies all around the world. They are often played with the best record player to get the best result. There must be some kind of effectiveness that is clearly so that people often do researches on the benefits of music to human.
According to recently results of scientists all around the world, music is the best cure for the soul and health of human.
Music improve the function of brain:
Music arouses some certain areas inside the brain that helps develop the functions. Quick tempo songs and melodies often make the brain to work harder with clear mind, more active and more sensitive with factors to react faster and correctly. When listening to an eventful favorite song, the brain becomes energetic that make people do work with enthusiasm and much better results.
In contrast, songs with slow and gentle melodies have the effect of relaxing the mind; help your brain to lose the stress. Therefore, music helps the whole body to feel relieved, reduce stress and anxiety – which are the main reason that increase the rate of diseases related to the heart.
Music therapy helps preventing and healing effectively:
According to American scientists, music is also treated as a therapy that has the effect to make patients to feel relaxed and getting back normal mental state after shocks. In many famous hospitals in the world, music therapy brings various successes in motivating the healing process of patients.
The therapy for the soul or secret to prevent senescence:
With patients who are facing other problems such as depressions, sadness… music is one of the answer that help people become happy and get back the balance life.
A person that often plays music and has music senses is often positive and pessimistic people. This is also the secret to help the soul younger and positive state of mind… in order to reduce the process of senescence of body and nerve system. With women, relaxing with music is also the key to a healthy and strong skin and youth.
Music helps people to have good meals:
That sounds crazy, but the truth has been claimed be scientists that: listening to some ballads within the meals can help the digest system to work harder and better. To explain for this one, American scientists said that when you listen to music, cortisol rate inside your blood is reduced, so the whole body is relaxed and can absorb more nutritious from the same food we eat. This process also arouses the appetite feeling in your brain.
Enjoy listening to music to achieve the best results:
It’s not listening to music all the time can bring the best achievements to your body. Selecting and enjoying music have to be chosen carefully with reasonable time and place. Some energetic and loud songs in the morning is the best tonic to your body every day.
Listening to music in the morning can give the boost to your brain, release depressions and stress, and help people to get ready for a hard working day.
When in stressful work, a little bit ballads would take effect to your brain, help you to focus on the work with 100% patience and the mission would be easy and effective. Of course this depends on the favorite genre of each individual.
Music is one of the most effective therapies in the world. It is not only be used as a type of entertainment methods but also the international language that help people get together quickly. In fact, music helps people to understand each other quickly and make everybody friendly through songs. I believe that music is the part of your life no matter who you are.
“HOW DO YOU roast a chicken? That’s like asking how to boil an egg,” a French chef once said when I requested advice. Cooking an egg perfectly is no easy trick, and roasting a chicken perfectly poses even more problems. I never sorted through them until I read a provocative recipe for roast chicken in Barbara Kafka’s Food for Friends, an imaginative and stylish book full of unconventional ideas, which was published last year. After following her recipe, which calls for a short cooking time at 500 degrees, I roasted a dozen chickens in a dozen ways and found that she was right to put a chicken in the oven and leave it alone. But I formulated my own rules for temperature, which puts me squarely in the camp of Kafka-followers, who find that disagreeing with her can be more productive than agreeing with anyone else. My rules also apply to turkey, a bird I don’t like nearly as much but can’t avoid around this time of year. Comparing to several other cooking methods such as use clay pots, pans or even using best pressure cooker, I still love this method for sure.
The Interesting Path to Cooking Chicken
I always like to think that the way you cook something makes all the difference in the way it tastes, but finally I had to admit that when it comes to chicken, nothing matters more than the quality of the bird. So that I could judge flavor, I rarely used anything other than salt and pepper for seasoning, and I found that most chickens don’t have enough taste to warrant such delicate treatment. Chicken is versatile because it has a mild flavor, but it shouldn’t have a flavor.
Mass-produced chickens are raised in-doors under twenty-four-hour lighting and are given yellow corn or marigold petals to color them yellow. Their food is supplemented with medications to prevent poultry diseases and with low levels of antibiotics as a precaution against intestinal and other infections that inhibit “feed conversion” of grain to meat. Preventive doses of medicine are virtually mandatory because wood-shaving litter, which harbors protozoa, is usually replaced only once a year, and because of the close proximity not only of the houses themselves (each of which holds as many as 30,000 chickens) but also in some cases of producers. If a flock becomes ill, it is given higher doses of medicine.
Some fancy butchers are selling “free-range” (or, as I saw on a Philadelphia menu, “range-free”) chickens. This is nearly always a misnomer. A true free-range chicken would eat whatever it could forage, which might be a lot of bubble gum. Ideally what is sold as a free-range chicken will have been fed grain without medicine and allowed to roam outdoors in a fenced area and to sleep indoors at night or other way to cook faster with a best pressure cooker. Very few farmers follow this uneconomical practice, which requires a great deal of space and hardy breeds that can withstand winters. Wholesalers aren’t interested in variable rates of supply or in levels of quality that must by definition be inconsistent.
Replace “free-range” to More Suitable for Specific Styles
Instead, “free-range” is most often used to mean chickens raised indoors on high-quality grain (usually corn and soy) and given either no antibiotics or only those that stay in the intestinal tract and thus leave no traces in the eviscerated bird. The reduced number of antibiotics and the breeds used cause the birds to mature more slowly than mass-produced ones. Most have white skin, because they are not fed colorants.
When roasted, the meat of the free-range chickens I tried was velvety and as moist as if it had been poached; it had the light but identifiable taste of chicken. Free-range chickens are hard to find, but even if you can buy only a frozen one, try it. Defrost it slowly in the refrigerator (it usually takes a day and a half), wrapped, in order to lose as little liquid from the bird as possible. If you have no luck, and feel like spending $33 on a four-pound chicken ($12 for the chicken, $21 for postage), Ariane Daguin, the daughter of a famous French chef, who sells fresh foie gras and game birds, will ship you by next-day UPS a true free-range chicken, raised indoors and out and fed no antibiotics, that is a cross between the American Rock and the legendary poulet de Bresse. It is very good, and beautifully proportioned (by the time I received one I had studied perhaps too many chickens), but no better than the best of the other free-range chickens I sampled. Daguin’s company, D’Artagnan, is at 399 St. Paul Avenue in Jersey City, N.J. 07306; the telephone number is (201) 792-0748.
Some Necessary Points Need to Be Careful
When buying fresh chickens in the supermarket, you should avoid ones with reddish-brown marks which are often bruises, and skin that looks dried out. If you don’t like the taste of the chickens your supermarket carries, ask the meat manager to stock more brands. Some relatively small growers and packagers with good reputations include Bell & Evans and Paramount in the East, Foodworks in Chicago, Shelton in southern and America Poultry in northern California, and Marshall Durbin in Texas and the South. Even though there are a lot of machines can help your easier cooking, even a best pressure cooker, you need to consider to the flavor made by these support cooking methods.
Don’t worry about roasting what is called a broiler or a fryer. These terms refer to weight, and you can successfully roast any size chicken. Cornish game hens or poussins, which weigh two pounds and under, are chickens bred to look and taste good at low weights. Fryers and broilers weigh between two and four pounds; roasters are four pounds and over. Capons–neutered roosters–generally weigh between six and eleven pounds. They are rarely available fresh except during the holidays, because they are expensive to raise and to buy, and because that is when demand is greatest. Capons have the largest and best-tasting breasts. Fresh turkeys are also plentiful at holidays. Don’t ever buy a “self-basting” bird. It has been injected with liquids, which have the effect of steaming the bird, and with fats and stabilizers you wouldn’t add yourself. Buy fresh birds now, while they are in abundant supply, and nag your butcher to find a source for them during the rest of the year.
Well-Prepare before Cooking
THE ONLY WORK in roasting a chicken comes before you put it in the oven. Bring it to room temperature so that it can start cooking right away. Take out the giblets, usually wrapped in paper, and the liver, usually in a plastic bag. The heart can feed the dog, the liver can feed an unfinicky eater the next day, and the rest of the giblets can flavor stock. Reach into the cavity and pull out whatever is left. Chickens are rarely as clean as they could be; the area of the cavity near what is usually called the pope’s nose (although many families use different names–“parson’s nose” and the Yiddish pupik, or “belly button,” are the most common) almost always has extra viscera. Pull out all the pieces of fat you can see, starting with the undersides of the flaps of skin around the cavity and the neck. (To render the fat, which will keep in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several weeks, heat it for a half hour or so at the oven’s lowest setting in an uncovered pan with just enough water to cover the bottom. Strain the bits of gristle that remain or lift them out with a slotted spoon. Pour the fat into a jar, chill it, and use it for stir-fried dishes or for bread stuffing.) Wipe the chicken inside and out with paper towels.
Whatever you put into the cavity will flavor the meat more thoroughly than anything you put on the skin. Start with salt and pepper, which is easier to add to the cavity if you put it in a spoon first. “Poultry seasoning” is mostly sage, a brutish herb whose acrid taste drowns out any other flavor. I prefer to season with a lemon cut in quarters, half an onion, and a big bunch of whatever fresh herbs I have (often that means a lot of slightly old parsley). You don’t need to close the cavity. In fact, leaving it open will make the flavors scent the air in the oven, so that they can penetrate the chicken from within and without.
Different Recipes of Difference Countries
French recipes tell you to truss the bird, which involves tying the legs close to the breast and the wings close to the body. This is considered the only acceptable way to bring a bird to table. When I told a classically trained friend that I planned not even to tie the legs together–the minimal step for decency’s sake–she said, “Do you know what an untrusted bird looks like? My ninety-year-old grandmother is on a club chair after supper.” I have several trussing needles (they look like knitting needles but have eyes and sharp points), and I’ve learned to sew a bird together in no time flat, but I won’t do it again to a chicken. Trussing makes a chicken cook unevenly. Protecting the breast meat with the legs is necessary for a small bird that has only a thin layer of breast meat and little fat. American chickens have been bred for thick breasts, and they have copious amounts of fat. For ease in handling I do fold the pinion, the small end of the wing, behind the large end, and can countenance tying the legs, but only enough to keep them from spreading during cooking and tearing the skin–not so that they touch.
Put the chicken breast-side up on a rack in a shallow pan just big enough to hold it. Don’t add any liquid–the chicken will soon release enough fat to keep the juices from scorching, and you want to roast it, not steam it. A rack isn’t essential, but without one the bottom of the bird will sit in a pool of fat and some of the skin will get soggy. (If you don’t use a rack, jerk the pan a few times in the first fifteen minutes to prevent the chicken from sticking.) Instead of using racks the French exploit the hot metal in browning the bird, which they turn from side to side, finishing breast-side up. They say that they want to sear the outside, closing the pores so that liquid won’t escape. This appealing theory has been almost completely discredited, Harold McGee reports in his invaluable book On Food and Cooking. Browning the outside gives a delicious flavor, but it won’t keep in juices. A chicken will brown in a very hot oven without being turned. In any case turning can tear the skin, which should stay intact in order to protect the meat under it. Cooking a chicken breast-side down for a time in order to make juices flow to the breast is another intuitive idea but a mistaken one, according to McGee. He explains that juices are restricted to whatever parts of the chicken they are in; almost all the blood has been drained, and only that could freely circulate.
Suitable Degree for Great Flavor of Roast Chicken
I RECOMMEND STARTING roast chicken at 450 degrees for fifteen minutes and then turning the oven down to 400. I part company with Kafka not because her 500-degree method isn’t closer to true roasting, which is done over a fire at a temperature of up to 1,000 degrees, and not because it doesn’t work–it does, and well. But few kitchens have sufficient ventilation to clear the smoke that fat spraying against 500-degree oven walls produces, and few cooks feel like cleaning the oven afterward. Even starting at 450 degrees can make a dirty oven smoke, so be careful: if you’re expecting guests and don’t trust your exhaust fan, start roasting at 400.
I do go along with Kafka’s refusal to baste. Very lean meat benefits from a coating of fat, which prevents some moisture from escaping and keeps the outside from becoming too dry. Chicken skin and the fat deposits under it serve this purpose for breast meat. French recipes call for butter, to supplement lean, truly free-range birds. American chickens don’t need any more fat. Basting slows down cooking, because you have to keep opening the oven. It also slows the browning of the skin, which must dry each time it is covered with juice before it can go on crisping. I experimented often with basting, and found that for short cooking times–under two hours, say–it made no difference in texture or flavor. Not taking out the chicken to baste or turn it keeps the oven at an even temperature and also cuts down on arm burns from spattering fat. In my experiments I quickly discovered why you never see a chef in rolled-up sleeves, no matter how hot the kitchen.
Safe Temperature for Specific Dish
My temperature scheme won’t work on a bird with a meat or bread stuffing, because the stuffing might not cook through by the time the bird does. The safest temperature is 325 to 350 degrees from start to finish, which makes cooking time much longer and increases the risk of drying out the breast. Toward the end of cooking a stuffed chicken or turkey in this way, you may want to baste the breast, put a cheesecloth soaked in butter over it, or cover it with foil after the skin browns. A mahogany-colored skin often means that the bird is overdone, even if it does look like the color pictures in ads and magazine articles. Many food stylists heat turkeys at the oven’s highest temperature for several minutes to make the skin absorbent and then slather on a mixture of Kitchen Bouquet, a gravy enhancer that consists mostly of caramel and salt, and dishwashing liquid.
Combine Chicken to Several Genres of Vegetable
Roasted vegetables brown with no help and are delicious. The time to put them in is when you turn down the oven after the initial high heat (or twenty minutes after you put in a stuffed bird). Don’t expect whole root vegetables, such as potatoes, parsnips, and carrots, to cook through in the oven. It would be save your time a lot to use the best pressure cooker for quick boiled ingredients. Parboil them first, starting them in cold water and cooking them for five minutes after the water boils or until they are halfdone. The English scratch peeled potatoes with a fork so that they will absorb more fat and form more crust. Don’t cram the area around the chicken, or the vegetables won’t have any crust and they will release so much liquid that the chicken will steam.
The best way to tell if chicken is done is by the temperature of the meat, and I don’t think you should roast meat unless you have an instant-reading thermometer, which costs about $15. It tells you in seconds whether to take meat out or let it cook longer. Insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, aiming for the middle of the meat and making sure that it doesn’t touch a bone. If it reads 160 degrees, the chicken is done. Ignore the instructions in most books, which say that chicken should reach 175 or 180 degrees. Ignore, too, the pop-up thermometers in many commercial roasters, which typically are set to pop at 184 and are in the breast, which cooks fastest.
Another test–the standard one–is to put a skewer, a toothpick, or one prong of a cooking fork into the thigh, keep it there for a second or two, remove it, and examine the juices that flow out. If they are golden, without a trace of red, the chicken is done–or overdone. The red is not from hemoglobin in blood but from myoglobin, an almost identical molecule, which is what muscles use to store oxygen. Many cooks look for juices to be clear at the beginning but then slightly pink just as they stop flowing, knowing that the hot liquids will keep cooking the chicken after it comes out of the oven. Undercooked chicken is revolting–no one considers it fashionable–but overcooked chicken is little better, and that’s what most people serve.
Continuously Change for Better Results
I’VE ALWAYS RESENTED the instruction to let a roast sit before carving. It’s taken long enough to get done, and I want to eat. But after tasting chicken right out of the oven and at various intervals afterward, I won’t even pull at a scrap of meat for twenty minutes. McGee explains that while the chicken rests, the proteins can re-absorb some of the liquid that they have released during cooking. The length of the rest period should increase with the size of the bird and the oven setting. Meat cooked at 500 degrees is so startled that only after a half hour or so does it stop being chewy and fibrous. A twenty-minute wait is a good rule for a chicken of four pounds or more cooked at 400 degrees or less. Leave it on a platter in the warmest area of the kitchen and it won’t get cold.
Choose Your Favorite Beverage to Drink along Your Dish
The rest period will give you time to collect the pan juices. Pour as much as you can into a glass jar. When the juices settle on the bottom and the fat rises to the top, skim the fat. Deglaze what’s left in the pan by putting it over low heat and adding a very small amount of hot water or stock–start with two tablespoons. Scrape up the caramelized drippings, which will melt into the liquid. You can add more stock or even make a thickened gravy–both mistaken ideas, to my mind. The bit of juice from the pan and at the bottom of the jar isn’t a lot but it’s all you get, and it’s best unadulterated.
Chickens of four pounds and under should be served in pieces rather than carved. Remove the wings, legs, and thighs, and cut the breast down the middle lengthwise, and then cut each half in two, along a diagonal. Poultry shears make sectioning easy. Carving is more elegant, if more difficult, and it’s necessary for larger birds. Use a very sharp knife, so as not to squash the meat while cutting, which encourages loss of liquid. Try to cut off only the skin that comes with each piece, no matter who begs for extra, because skin will help leftover meat stay moist. So will keeping the meat on the bone.
Storage Chicken Ready for Whenever Cooking Time
Chicken that has been refrigerated is never as smooth or tender as it was at first serving. The gelatin, which is cooked collagen, or connective tissue, solidifies, and if you melt it by reheating, you dry out the meat. Whether your method you choose is, kitchen utensils like the best pressure cooker might be your great decision to bring into your modern kitchen. I wrap leftovers tightly in plastic and leave them in the coolest place I can find other than a refrigerator, and eat them the next day. I haven t died yet, or even been sick–but I carry on this foolhardy practice only in cold weather, and I can’t seriously recommend it, because unrefrigerated meat does spoil rapidly and I’m not that well insured. I can only say that Europeans have relied for quite a while on cool, dark pantries. After a day or so even my courage fails and I put the chicken in the refrigerator. I never mind cold chicken, no matter how cold it is.
While a loaf of bread and a jug of wine may have been ample fare for lovers in ancient Persia, tempting today’s American consumers with Middle Eastern cuisine is another matter. Eastern cuisine is another matter. Replete with exotic preparations and unusual ingredients, the dishes indigenous to countries such as Lebanon, Arabia and Syria have incited only a modest popular demand in the U.S., met by scattered eateries, shish kebab vendors and, most notably, pita bread sandwiches.
Unique Culinary Creations of Middle East
Yet falafel, hummus, baba ghanouj, kibble, and other culinary creations of the Middle East are healthful, tasty and unusual, offering a unique dining experience that can rival Chinese food in its ethnic appeal. Thus, to foodservice consultant Bill Palermo, the relative obscurity of Middle Eastern cuisine actually presents growth potential on which he and his clients are banking a $1.75 million investment in two years of research and two new prototype dining establishments.
Located in the Beverly Center, an eight-story mall in West Hollywood, California, Hala is a moderately priced table service restaurant featuring Middle Eastern cuisine and frozen yogurt drinks–its sister operation, Bazaar, offers a limited menu for fast carry-out service in an adjacent food court. The restaurants, which share a common kitchen, opened this spring. They reveal a concept that is the outcome of a scientific and sentimental commitment to the cuisine of the Middle East.
Local Remarkable Cuisine
Backed by a group of Middle Eastern businessmen, who had observed how few restaurants in America serve their native cuisine, Palermo two years ago commissioned a market study to find out how well such fare would be received. It revealed that Americans are becoming more adventuresome about dining out, and that they are particularly open to sampling ethnic and other exotic foods that are fresh and healthfully prepared. An encouraged Palermo shortly set off on a tour of the Middle East, netting approximately 200 recipes as well as the realization that, “We had two different concepts–fast food and full service.”
The collection of recipes was refined into the 35-item menu now offered at Hala, which means “welcome” in Arabic.
Most of the meat in Middle Eastern cuisine in barbecued, in the tradition of the Bedouin tribesmen, and among the staple ingredients are lamb, beans, rice, eggplant and other vegetables, fruits and dates, yogurt, and such spices as dill, garlic, cardamom and cloves.
Hala’s menu thus includes fruit and meat kabobs; cucumber and yogurt and silver beet and lentil soups; and a range of unusual appetizers, salads, and entrees. (For a fuller description of individual items, see page 126.) Also offered is a line of pita sandwiches, incorporating the round “pocket” bread that has become a great favorite of the diet- and health-conscious, to the extent that Burger King has put pita in its salad bar program. “We’re in the midst of a pita sandwich revolution,” Palermo claims.
Profitable Price for The Diet- and Health-conscious Consumers
The restaurant’s appeal is, Palermo claims, enhanced by the absence of liquor service made in the interest of providing a family atmosphere (this policy is consistent with the Moslem prohibition that makes alcohol a relative rarity in many parts of the Middle East). In place of cocktails aer “freezes” and “smoothies,” frozen blender drinks that incorporate such exotic fruits as papaya, guava and passion fruit, as well as the more conventional strawberry, banana and apple. (“Smoothies” also include frozen yogurt, while “freezes” are made with a base of crushed ice.) At $1.75, they “sell like crazy,” according to Palermo, who observes: “Our beverage sales are 23 percent–the same as restaurants serving liquor. We make as much profit on a fruit drink as on a glass of wine.” A range of coffees–including a house blend that typifies the strong brews of the Middle East–is also available.
The Average Price
Prices range from $3.95 for a pita sandwich to $8.95 for lamb chops, for an average check of $7. With 160 seats, Hala is grossing approximately $50,000 per month. Customer counts are averaging between 450 and 500 on weekdays, and up to 900 on weekends. The clientele includes a substantial complement of diet- and health-conscious consumers.
But the restaurant’s low prices, fresh and exotic ingredients and complicated preparations are still profit-pinchers. Palermo’s solution is in a “cluster” restaurant concept whereby neighboring units are serviced by a central kitchen. Thus, Bazaar serves a limited fast food menu of pita sandwiches, appetizers, kabobs and Middle Eastern pizza, almost all of it prepared in Hala’s kitchen. “The whole menu was designed with a central kitchen in mind,” Palermo explains. “It’s not easy to duplicate the food on a location-by-location basis. There’s a lot of hand work–like the grape leaves–and labor costs are high.”
Convenience with Monthly Choice
With an average check of $4.50, a monthly volume of about $34,000, and customer counts of 250 to 300 per day, the 600-sq.-ft. Bazaar is rated by Palermo as a definite success. He projects first-year volume for Hala and Bazaar combined at $2 million, a figure he says exceeds the square-foot average volume of eateries in Beverly Center. (The floor on which Hala and Bazaar are located is devoted entirely to foodservice and entertainment.)
Palermo Envisions for the First Time
Palermo envisions the two restaurants as the beginning of a nationwide chain, comprising groups of Middle Eastern eateries. Initially, three or four more Bazaars are expected to open in the Los Angeles area, a market that has particular appeal with the ’84 Olympic Games coming up. These restaurants will be supplied by Hala, which actually has two kitchens–a commissary operation and a display kitchen, for the benefit of diners. Units are now slated to go up in the suburbs of Brentwood and Westwood, where Palermo faces the challenge of further popularizing the concept. “If we don’t expand. Hala won’t be too profitable,” Palermo predicts. “In terms of long-term investment, we should start seeing a good return after the fifth unit.”
Common Middle Eastern Concept
Free-wheeling Los Angeles was selected as the test site for the Middle Eastern concept because Southern Californians dine out frequently and are wont to be more adventure-some about sampling new and unusual foods than some other of their fellow Americans. Initially planned as free-standing restaurants, Hala and Bazaar were both modified to fit the accommodations at Beverly Center when a lease agreement with attractive terms became available. The unit in Westwood (which is the location of the UCLA campus) is thus expected to put the concept’s menu to a crucial test, for it will be competing for student customers against neighboring restaurants that also serve Middle Eastern cuisine. (There are approximately 20 restaurants in the L.A. area that offer this kind of fare.)
To modify Hala’s menu to appeal to the shoppers of Beverly Center (whom Palermo notes are 75 percent women), an emphasis was placed on lighter foods, such as salads, chicken and fish. While most menu items are selling evenly, an Israeli chicken salad incorporating dates, sesame seeds, lemon, mint and dill has proved extremely popular. Also well-liked are mezze (appetizers), which account for 30 to 40 percent of sales, as opposed to the more customary 10 percent. The appetizer selection includes two sampler platters, which sell for $6.95 and $7.95, and thus also have appeal as entrees.
Gorgeous Ambience of Ethnic Cuisine
Enhancing Hala’s unusual ethnic cuisine is its exotic and pleasant ambience. Decorated with archways reminiscent of the architecture of mosques and palaces, and painted in a cool salmon tone, the restaurant combines a casual, contemporary atmosphere with a faraway sense of the Middle East. Guests may observe dishes being prepared to order in the display kitchen, while an open serving line with hot and cold tables for pre-prepared items helps hasten waitress service.
At the front of the restaurant is a small gourmet shop, marketing some of the Middle Eastern grains and spices used in Hala’s kitchen, as well as teas, coffees, coffee makers, tableware and decorative items. Originally conceived as a large-volume operation featuring baked goods, the retail areas has been scaled down to 500 sq. ft. and is bringing in between $3,000 and $4,000 per month. Palermo expects both size and volume to grow, however, as Middle Eastern cooking gains more consumer acceptance.
Compare to Several Other Restaurants
“We’re competing with Japanese and Chinese restaurants,” Palermo says, “and in that market segment, Middle Eastern seems to be holding up, especially in fast food. Bazaar is a concept designed and ready to go into shopping mall food courts. But with Hala, we need time to refine the concept because we don’t have liquor. We have to be careful where we go.”
For future expansion, Palermo envisions the establishment of Hala/Bazaar clusters in such West Coast markets as San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, with centrally located commissary kitchens supplying a full-service restaurant and four to five outlying fast food units. Initial investment costs for opening up a new market are set at $2 million, with a projected ROI of 25 percent. “We’re developing specific design criteria for a ‘cookie cutter’ approach,” says Palermo. He notes also that Hala’s recipes will remain proprietary when the operation begins franchising. “We’re very protective of the recipes, because it’s important to maintain consistency,” he explains. “Ninety-five percent of the preparation will take place in the commissary kitchens.”
Places for Vendors Sell to Passersby
This attitude reflects the painstaking investment of time and research that went into the menu. Traveling through Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Israel, Palermo haunted the sucs, or bazaars. This is where vendors set up little hibachis and grill special delicacies to be sold to passersby. “It’s the equivalent of American fast food,” Palermo says. “The Chinese have egg rolls, the Mexicans have empanadas, and the Arabians have moutabal.”
Of the 200 recipes gathered in the tour, some proved too bland, others too spicy and others simply too esoteric. The field was initially narrowed through taste tests conducted on Americans living in the Middle East. Back in the U.S., the elimination process moved to the test kitchen, where certain ingredients proved to be problematic. Flour used in the moutabal (a grilled turnover filled with meat, cheese or fruit), could not be duplicated. “We finally tracked it down to one mill,” Palermo says. “The secret was a high gluten content.”
Palermo claims 20 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, including stints with Holiday Inns and Sheraton, as well as a decade as an independent consultant. Nonetheless, the two years he’s devoted to the development of Hala/Bazaar have afforded a uniquely absorbing and instructive experience. “It’s one of the most researched restaurant concepts I’ve ever been involved in,” he concludes. “We hope to do for falafel what McDonald’s did for the burger.”
Hotel and downtown dining segments are pushing for huge summer sales gains in the brewing local race to feed Olympics visitors. Meanwhile, Philadelphia based ARA Services, Boston based Ogden Food Service and Los Angeles-based Man asks & Carl Co. is priming their contract-feeling plans for the Los Angeles Olympics. The three outfits, with ARA in a principal role, have contracted to feed the world’s top athletes, plus international media and fans.
Great Expectation for the Summer Games
But to many local restaurateurs and hoteliers, it looks like the 23rd modern Olympiad, to be staged here July 28 through Aug. 12, might not be the gold medal profit extravaganza they had envisioned.
The specter of discount price gouging by hotels and restaurants, and the pending disappearance of discount air fares among major carriers serving Los Angeles could throw a damper on profit taking by the local hospitality industry. And hoteliers are anxious over the apparent interference of the Olympics with normal summer group and tourist bookings in area hostelries, which could suffer from slack business both before and after the two-week Olympic binge.
Moreover, fewer visitors are expected in Los Angeles for the Summer Games than the two million or so previously envisioned. Some 650,000 out-of-town fans are now forecast by the L.A. Visitors and Conventions Bureau, compared to a total of seven million Olympics tickets to be distributed.
The most of Popular Choice of Local TV Audience
Home cooking is likely to be the choice of many local TV watchers, as well as for many locals who attend Olympic events and then would rather go home than buck the crowds. Consequently, those businesses expecting to cop most of the away-from-home dining dollars are the hotel restaurants and coffee shops/dinner houses along major roadways which connect the far-flung Games event sites to central hotel clusters.
Judy Shane, director of operations for the California Restaurant Association, says the Olympics will probably have a major impact on only 200 or so member restaurants in southern California out of some 4,000 units affiliated with the C.R.A. hereabouts. “Human nature’ will likely motivate most out-of-town fans to eat near their hotel, Shane says.
Huge Impact of the Long-range Economic
Even so, restaurants should be in line for a big chunk of the overall $3.32 billion long-range economic impact on the southern California economy forecast by organizers. Visitor spending on meals and lodging is expected to total some $317 million of the immediate $948 million impact of the Olympics, according to the Los Angeles Olympics Committee.
Nonetheless, downscaled estimates of the number of visitors has burst the local home rental profiteering bubble which had swollen rapidly in recent months. Several lawsuits against brokers brought by prospective renters have besmirched this aspect of the pre-Games dash for the dollar, and analysts now say that existing commercial accommodations in the Los Angeles area will adequately handle the estimated volume of visitors.
Although local hotel operators have been filling their reservation books with the names of visiting fans for months, many are feeling glum over slack bookings before and after the Olympics. These operators fear that convention groups and tourists have written off Los Angeles for the whole summer, in uncertainty over just when the city plays host to the Summer Games.
Los Angeles and Its Specialty
Southern California’s usual summer tourist traffic may “just be bypassing Los Angeles for the whole year,’ says Stanley E. Long, managing director for the Los Angeles Hotel Association. Aggregate readings from L.A.H.A.’s 25 member hotel companies, representing some 50,000 rooms, shows advance bookings for the month following the Olympics at an anemic 47% average, compared to the normal 85% precooked rate usually logged by this time of year.
Local hospitality operators “have all been inclined to magnify the Olympics,’ Long said, “and it’s unfortunate that potential non-Olympic visitors may be doing the same thing.’ Analysts at the L.A. Visitors and Conventions Bureau say the Los Angeles tourist economy could suffer a 15%-20% short-term slump because of the Olmpics, held during the two months when Los Angeles County normally attracts some 10 million out-of-towners.
The Olympics has put a lock on many of the 147,000 hotel rooms in the Greater Los Angeles area from Ventura to San Diego Counties, squeezing out potential non-Olympic tourist business. The unavailability of the L.A. Convention Center– headquarters for the print media covering the Summer Games–further restricts potential tourist traffic during peak months.
Effects of Long-term Damage
Concern over price gouging of hotel guests and possible long-term damage to the local tourist industry has prompted Mayor Tom Bradley to ask the City Council to consider legislation imposing hotel rate restrictions within the city limits during the Olympics.
A spokesman for Mayor Bradley’s office told Nation’s Restaurant News, “We don’t think it’s fair to the industry or to visitors’ for hotels to gouge, citing the possibility of having a luxury hotel charging $120 a day for its rooms while a 10-unit motel down the street charges $200 or more for lesser accommodations.
In his letter to the Council proposing a mandatory roll-back to rates charged on Jan. 1, Bradley cited numerous complaints his office has received over exorbitant rates hotels and motels were attempting to charge for ordinary rooms. The city could impose restrictions on room rates under the same authority used to enact rent control measures.
Prior to Bradley’s action, at least 80 hotels in southern California had already signed an agreement with the L.A.O.O.C. promising to charge rates in Effect on Jan. 1 for the approximated 22,000 rooms they represent. But an informal poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times disclosed that a number of motels and small hotels plan to double or triple their rates during the Olympics. One motel chain has announced it will raise its rates by 342% during the Games.
Several Common Local Legislations
The L.A.O.O.C. has indicated it believes the problem of price gouging will be minimal, and that legislation designed to curb profiteers could do more harm than good by spreading the notion that all Los Angeles hotels were intending to gouge.
But the spokesman for Bradley said in order to forestall pending legislation; the L.A.O.O.C. and the hotel association would have to convince city government they had organized effective countermeasures. Bradley told Nation’s Restaurant News’ MUFSO convention here in October that Los Angeles had won out in bidding for the Olympics largely because of its superior service-sector infrastructure, especially its restaurants.
Reasonable Price of This Service
The additional possibility of price gouging by restaurants “has been discussed’ by the Mayor’s office, said the spokesman, who added that Bradley was pleased by the institution of a self-policing Olympic hospitality program for local restaurants by the California Restaurant Assn.
C.R.A.’s program will seek the participation of approximately 4,000 restaurants operated by some 1,400 members in southern California, asking them to pledge maintenance of prices, portions and presentations in effect on June 1 throughout the Olympics period.
“The people of Los Angeles are very proud of their city and they want the world to see why,’ said C.R.A. president Ted Balestreri.”The southern California restaurant owners will play an important role as representatives of this city and this country. We intend to take that responsibility seriously.’
Shellfish, once almost totally confined to the seacoasts, are now, largely through the advent of freezing, available and popular in every section of the country. There are even live shellfish available in the Mountain States and the heart of the Midwest, tanks to air shipment.
Shellfish fall into two main categories, the crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, crabs) and the mollusks (abalone, clams, mussels, oysters, scallops). Shrimp provides the greatest dollar volume of shellfish used in foodservice operations in the U.S. Crustaceans
There are large number of different crustaceans (sea creatures with horny exterior shells [exoskeletons]). Commercially these include shrimp, lobster, spiny (rock) lobster, crab, prawns and langostino (langouste). Shrimp, the Crowd Pleaser
Shrimp rank first in value of all seafood caught in the United States. Some 240 million pounds annually are caught in the Gulf of Mexico and off the South Atlantic states alone, with Alaska contributing as much as 50 to 100 million pounds more. Shrimp are available to the operator as fresh uncooked in shell; frozen uncooked in shell, cooked in shell, cooked and peeled, breaded in batter; and canned.
Several Remarkable Types of Shrimp
There are four major types of shrimp caught in this country, out of more than two dozen. They are the white, pink, Alaska pink, and brown. These color designations refer to the coloring of the raw (known commercially as “green”) shrimp, in shell. Once the shrimp is cooked, they are essentially indistinguishable from one another, being white meat with a pink exterior coloration.
Since fresh and frozen shrimp are commonly sold raw in shell across the country, however, each type should be known by the distributor sales rep, if for no other reason than to answer customer queries about the differences. (After cooking, there really isn’t any that the average person can distinguish. However, many cooks have their favorites.)
The Number of Fresh and Frozen Shrimp
Fresh and frozen shrimp counts are based on the number of green (raw), headless shrimp it takes to make a pound. After cooking, shrimp are available in shell, peeled, or peeled and deveined. The count size listed for all of them, however, are based upon the number of the green shrimp to make a pound. In general, a rule of thumb is that it takes two pounds of green shrimp to make one pound of cooked, peeled shrimp. So if the count size of your cooked shrimp is 16-20 (average count 18), there will be about 32-40 (average 36) in a pound, despite the count on the label.
Size designations, such as jumbo, colossal, large, medium, tiny, have little uniformity from one packer to another. Sell fresh and frozen by count, for that is the standard. Counts (of green, headless shrimp) ranged from “under 10” to “70-80” and even higher, depending upon the species. The most common size range is from “under 15” to “50-60.”
For frozen shrimp, “butterfly” means the shrimp have been peeled, deveined and flattened so they are wide across the fleshiest part. Tails are usually left on butterfly shrimp. “Split” shrimp indicates shrimp with tails left on, which have been sliced up the center, so both sides are separate, connected only by the tail section, to provide a wider, curled appearance, popular with some operators. “Popcorn” shrimp are small, tightly curled, peeled shrimp. Prawns and Langostina
Two other shrimplike crustaceans marketed in this country are the prawn and the langostina.
The prawn is the common variety, but there are others in the same family) is closely related to the shrimp, but has a differently shaped head and generally grows to a larger size than the average shrimp. Over the past few decades, in this country prawn has come to mean any large-sized shrimp, although true prawns are still harvested off the Gulf Coast and in Alaska. Prawns are usually marketed frozen, cooked and peeled.
Langostina (langouste) is a small crustacean related to both the shrimp and the lobster. It is lobster shaped, but about the size of a large shrimp. The meat has a lobster flavor. It is generally marketed frozen cooked and peeled.
Lobster to a New Englander means Maine lobster. And Maine lobster is still the preferred lobster in most parts of the country, particularly in specialty seafood operations. In addition, most of the lobster meat available in frozen or canned form is from the North Atlantic lobster.
However, the catches of Maine lobster, which are found in a fairly restricted area along the North Atlantic coastline of the U.S. and Canada, have not kept up with America’s increasing taste for seafood. As a result, the prices have become prohibitive for many operations. (A close relative of the Maine lobster is found off European coasts but is in short supply there, as well, and is only imported in any quantity in the form of lobster meat.)
Maine lobsters are sold by the weight uncooked in shell, with “chicken” lobster the weights below one pound. Sizes are by 1/4-pound variations to two pounds, then by half pound spreads above that, although the largest commonly available Maine lobster is the 2-2-1/2-pound size.
Some of Popular Rock Lobster Tails
Lobster tails are not from Maine lobsters, but from the “rock” or spiny lobster. In fishermen’s lingo, “rock” means “similar to.” Thus, rock lobster is a species which is “similar to” lobster. In general, such spiny lobsters are smaller, have only one large claw and one small one, and are sold primarily frozen as uncooked tails in shell.
To a large number of American diners, lobster tails are lobster, and are enjoyed in all sections of the country.
Spiny lobsters are found throughout the world, and supplies seem to be adequate for many years. A vast majority of those consumed in the U.S. are imported, although spiny lobsters are found off both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of this country.
The preferred lobster tail is one which has grown in cold water areas. Leading cold water rock lobsters are those from South Africa and from Australia and New Zealand. Brazilian and Caribbean lobster tails are from warm water areas in the South Atlantic.
The Alaska King Crabs
By far, nationwide, the most popular variety of crab is the Alaska king crab. However, in various sections of the country, generally on the seacoasts, other species are preferred by large numbers of patrons.
The Alaska king crab is a member of the “spider crab” family, a variety with relatively small bodies and long legs. Most of the edible meat is in the legs and claws. It is sold primarily frozen, as cooked in shell (leg sections and claws) or cooked leg (menus) and claw meat.
In recent years, the fishery areas have been depleted and the supply of king crab is limited; as a result, the price is too high for many budget-priced operations which formerly featured it.
To fill the gap, the Alaska snow crab (also imported from Canada as “queen” crab), which is a similar, but smaller spider crab, has been gaining in popularity.
Similar Creature of King Crap
Smaller than the king crab, but with a similar texture and flavor, the snow crab is available frozen, cooked in shell or as cooked meat. The in-shell types are leg and claw clusters (four legs with shoulder meat, one arm and one claw), leg cluster only and claws only. Claws come in three sizes: small, medium and large. One of the most popular items is the cocktail variety claw, which has one-half the shell removed.
The Pacific Coast
The Dungeness crab is very popular and is caught from California to Alaska. It is available live along the Pacific coast and is shipped cooked and in shell to Midwestern and Eastern cities. It is also available as frozen meat consisting of both body and claw meat. Canned Dungeness crab is usually available in mixed leg and body meat.
The Atlantic Coast
The blue crab is probably the most popular. It is available live in both hard-shell and soft-shell versions. The soft-shell version is simply a blue crab which has molted and not regrown a hard shell yet. All crabs go through this process, but state laws prohibit marketing soft-shell versions of other crabs.
Frozen, blue crab is packed as cooked meat in several forms: “lump” meat, which are solid lumps of white meat from the body; “flake” meat, small pieces of white meat from the rest of the body; and “claw” meat from the claws. Claw meat has a brownish tint and is usually priced lower than lumpor flake meat. Blue crab is also available in the same forms canned. Mollusks
Mollusks include all of the hard shelled sea creatures, such as abalone, clams, mussels, oysters, scallops and conch.
Single-shelled mollusks, or gastropods, are marketed as meat only. The only two that are marketed commercially in this country are the abalone and the conch. Both are regionally popular, with the abalone popular along the West Coast, where it originates, and the conch most in demand in Florida and in areas where immigrants from the Caribbean have settled.
Abalone has an oval, flattened shell lined with mother of pearl. It is found beneath the water level on offshore rocks. The main muscle is marketed, fresh or frozen raw, generally sliced into “steaks.” Abalone is usually fried, dredged in flour. Before cooking briefly, it must be pounded well to tenderize the meat. (One little known fact is that abalone, once it has been refrigerated after cooking, becomes tough, and must be pounded all over again before recooking.)
Conch (any of several species with spirally coiled shells) is called “snail” in the fish business. It is sold fresh or frozen in slices or by the piece. Like abalone, slices should be pounded flat before frying, but conch is also used in soups and stews, where it is merely boiled, giving it a stringy, chewy texture.
Mollusks with double shells (bi-valves) comprise clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. Clams are found along both coasts of the United States and Canada. There are a number of varieties marketed, some nationally and some regionally only.
The most common Eastern shore clams are the hard-shell clam or quahog (Venus mercenaria) and the soft-shell clam (Mya are aria). Littlenecks and cherrystones are Eastern dealers’ names for the smaller-sized hard clams, which are generally marketed live or frozen in the half shell or shelled and packed in liquid. In fresh hard clams, the larger sizes are called chowders. The larger sizes of fresh soft-shell clams are known as in -shells and the smaller sizes as steamers.
Eastern clams, generally the hard-shell varieties, are also packed frozen, shucked and breaded, both cooked and uncooked. Breaded strips and muscles are also available frozen.
One of the things which makes clam marketing confusing is that there is a Pacific Coast variety named the little neck, not to be mistaken for the small-sized Eastern hard-shell clams, which are littlenecks–with no space between the words. The Pacific little neck is found from Washington State north to Alaska.
Other West Coast varieties–all hard-shelled–marketed mainly fresh, live in the shell are: the thick-shelled Pismo clam, named after Pismo Beach, California, although it is found along the southern coast of California for more than one hundred miles; the butter clam, found all along the Pacific Coast from northern California to Alaska; the razor clam, harvested in Washington state; and the huge (often over five pounds) geoduck clam–also known as the king clam and the gooey-duck–found off Washington state. Although two varieties of soft-shelled clams are found off the Pacific shoreline, they are not harvested in marketable quantities.
Oysters – A Similar Creature of Clams
Canned clams are not often identified by species. Oysters, like clams are found along all the coastlines of North America. They were a favorite of the Indians long before the white man arrived on this continent. There are a number of varieties, but most are not identified by any label except “oyster.” The exception is the tiny Olympia oyster–harvested extensively off the coast of Washington state, although it grows as far south as Mexico.
Most of those found along the Eastern seaboard are named originally after the sea cost and bays of Virginia, although they are found from Canada into the Gulf of Mexico. A substantial number is harvested off Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The common Pacific oyster is found from western Mexico to Alaska. The Pacific oyster is also known as the Japanese oyster, having been introduced from that country in 1902, and still is found commonly on the other side of the Pacific, along the Japanese and Korean coastlines. A large proportion of the canned oysters imported to this country are gigas.
Almost 90 percent of the oysters sold in the shell or shucked, either fresh or frozen, or frozen breaded, are Eastern oysters. The rest of them come from the West Coast. Most of the seaboard states have oyster beds, where oysters are cultivated (farmed) and harvested every month of the year.
Shucked oysters are sold by size:
Extra Large (Counts)–Not more than 160 to the gallon
Extra Selects (Large)–Not more than 161 to 210
Selects (Medium)–Not more than 211 to 300
Standards (Small)–Not more than 301 to 500 Standards (Very Small)–Over 500
Fresh oysters in the shell are generally sold by the bushel, although some fish dealers sell them by the unit.
Oysters are also sold frozen on the half shell, frozen shucked and breaded, and canned and canned smoked.
Three Significant Genre of Scallops
There are three types of scallops harvested in this country, most of them along the Eastern seaboard, off Washington State and in Alaska, although some are found in the Gulf of Mexico. These are the sea scallop, the bay scallop and the calico scalp; however, only the bay scallop, found primarily along the Middle Atlantic States, and the sea scalp found in most of the areas, are marketed nationally in any quantity.
The scalp is a bivalve with two distinctive ridged shells. (A major oil company uses the scallop shell as its emblem on service stations.) Only the adductor muscle (the one which propels the creature through the water) is used as food in this country.
Bay scallops are smaller, sea scallops larger in diameter and thickness. There is a difference in texture and color between the two, with the sea scallop being grainier with a whiter meat, and the bay scallop having a finer texture with a creamy white, tan or slightly pinkish meat. Some processors note on their packages that the bay scallops are “uncut,” since it is not unknown for some packers to trim sea scallops to the size of a bay scallop.
Scallops are available fresh uncooked, frozen uncooked, and frozen breaded. Mussels are mollusks with black, hard, rough shells and grayish or tan meat. They are harvested from the sea or bays along the New England and Middle Atlantic states. Mussels are primarily a regional specialty confined to the East, being sold live in the shell, and fresh shucked in liquid. However, a few packers have begun marketing them frozen shucked, and frozen breaded.