Is Paris Really The Gourmet Food Center Of All Europe?

Paris is a city of phenomenal restaurants, quaint bistros, and tea saloons as well as the little cafes we have heard so much of. These establishments serve a variety of fine gourmet foods from elegant fine dishes to foods from the region including ethnic cuisine from restaurants that make you feel at home and a variety of so many different foods you will never be able to sample them all.

Lovers of fresh food will enjoy the markets that exist in Paris where you are able to walk around and rub elbows with the locals as you experience the thrill of the outdoor markets and enjoy the taste of the fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables and the newer organic foods.

Of course the high end fine dining is what Paris is known for and if you are looking for this you will find no shortage of choices in Paris. In gourmet stores such as Layfayette’s you will find a huge selection of regional gourmet foods and fine wines from all over the globe. The store is very popular and a great place to buy local food to cook your own meals if you don’t want to eat out the entire time you are there.

If you are not a fancy food connoisseur and are more into just eating a quick bite and getting back to exploring the area you can find a wide assortment of familiar haunts if you are an American especially. You will be able to eat at pretty much any of the larger fast food establishments you are accustomed to from home such as Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and McDonald’s, where you will be able to drink a beer with your burger if you so choose.

I suggest that you try to blend in and enjoy the local culture and the local food as much as you possibly can. You will see that many of the local diners and restaurants have budget menus with less expensive offerings which many of the locals partake in. Try some of the rare tastes that you may not get a chance to sample again.

Even though Paris is known as the gourmet capital that isn’t all that it is, there is also the regional native food. And one thing good about these kinds of food is that they are cheap, and the locals prefer it as I said. Take advantage of the opportunity to explore the new foods as you explore the sights that Paris has to offer.

Perth Restaurants, Cafes and Cocktail Bars for Every Mood

The Australian city of Perth is a fascinating mix of creativity, money (thanks to the mining boom) and a determined independence that comes from the fact that most of the nation’s other major cities are a five-hour flight away.

Visitors to Perth are in for a treat, with every kind of food and drink experience on offer, from five-star restaurants to seductive wine bars and cafés that make the most of the city’s alfresco climate. Here are some of the best in the most interesting neighbourhoods:

For a bar you’ll never want to leave, put Must Winebar, in the foodie area of Highgate, on your list. It doesn’t put a foot wrong. There’s quality wine, well executed tapas, a relaxed yet cosmopolitan atmosphere and a very convivial crowd. What’s not to love?

If you’re looking for a café where sustainability matters, make a beeline for Source Foods in evolving Northbridge. The clean, contemporary lines of the décor are a perfect fit with the simple goodness on offer on the menu.

To see a master chef at work, go to Shige Sushi Bar in South Perth. The décor is basic, if authentic, but the food is sublime. Acclaimed Sydney restaurateur Tetsuya Wakuda is rumoured to rate it very highly and other sushi enthusiasts will happily concur. NeoNeighbourhood.com Chief Experience Officer, Verity Byth’s insider’s tip, is “sit up at the bar, offer Shige-san a glass of your wine, watch and learn. There’s nowhere else like it.”

For a great find even the locals don’t know about take your friends to Annalakshmi on the Swan at the Barrack Street Jetty. Few restaurants run completely on love, but this one does. They supply fabulous home-style Indian vegetarian food, you “eat as you want, give as you feel”, making a voluntary donation for the meal. The prime river views are a bonus.

To see the future of Perth’s café culture make the trip to Fremantle, where Tonic is a beacon of contemporary design and food, providing all-day breakfasts and great fair-trade coffee. The lovely hand-painted screens are by the owner, Vicky.

Super Green Food Recipes

Smoothies are no longer crunchy granola hippie food. They are in sidewalk cafes and are being sold at the grocery store in 6 packs. But smoothies are easy to make at home and can be even more nutritious when you make them yourself. One of the best reasons to start drinking smoothies is if you are prone to skipping breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet millions of people walk out the door with a thermos of coffee and a full to-do list. Your body needs fuel to work properly. Your brain needs energy to think properly. Smoothies are a great way to get super nutrition in a tasty treat. They are quick to make and easy to share. What more could you want form a great breakfast?

I keep a list of smoothie ingredients on hand so I can make the best tasting, most nutrient rich shake I can. I keep these ingredients on hand all the time so I can substitute different fruits or juices to change the flavor depending on my mood.

Here is my list: juice (I mix it up), plain whole yogurt, flax seeds, a super green powder, coconut milk powder, protein powder (vanilla), flax seed oil, and wheat germ.

You can start out with juice, yogurt, green food and the Coconut milk powder and work in the flax seeds, protein powder and other ingredients. I recommend a powdered super green mix because it mixes easily and digests very quickly. (In fact I often mix it with a cup of juice and take a green shot for a mid afternoon pick me up!) Plus it is less expensive than other vitamin regimes because you get all the nutrients you need in one shot. I particularly like adding vanilla protein powder and Coconut milk powder because they add more protein and omega 3 fatty acids, plus the coconut milk powder tastes really creamy and good! Ok, now that you have your basic ingredients lets get down to it!

Smoothies are good for you for many reasons, but two in particular. One: smoothies combine readily available nutrients in a liquid form. This means you get the nutrients you want in a highly digestible form, right away. Second: they are great healthy food on the go. Let’s face it, we need better food for a fast pace society. Before you go drop another 5 dollar bill on a starbucks -try creating your own smoothies and feel the super green food difference!

Smoothie recipes without using a blender

Creamy orange

1 cup orange juice (to taste)

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tb super green energy powder

1 tb coconut milk powder

2-3 cubes of ice (helps mix ingredients and keeps it cold)

Put ingredients into jar with tight lid and shake vigorously or whisk together

Grape dream

2 cups grape juice (to taste)

1 cup vanilla protein powder

1 tsp super green energy powder

1 tsp coconut milk powder

2-3 cubes of ice (helps mix ingredients and keeps it cold)

Put ingredients into jar with tight lid and shake vigorously or whisk together

This one is sweet and creamy

Cranberry Lemon zest

1 cup cranberry juice (to taste)

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tsp super green energy powder

1 tsp lemon juice

2-3 cubes of ice (helps mix ingredients and keeps it cold)

Put ingredients into jar with tight lid and shake vigorously or whisk together

This one is a real zinger and great when it’s hot!

Smoothie recipes using your blender

These are easy to make before work and you can
make plenty to share with your family too!

Apple banana fun

1 cup apple juice

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tsp super green energy powder

1 tsp wheat germ

1 large cored apple (with or without peel)

1 ripe banana

2-3 cubes of ice

Put ingredients into blender and serve cold

This one turns out very chunky and good! The wheat germ gives I a slight texture and wonderful nutty taste.

Coconut banana cream

1 half cup fresh filtered water

half cup coconut milk powder

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tsp super green energy powder

2 tsp flax seeds

1 ripe banana

half a cup of half and half (optional, but good)

2-3 cubes of ice

Put ingredients into blender and serve cold

Ok, are you ready for a yummy, creamy, coconutty and that’s really good for you? Try this recipe!

For this one I use fruit I keep the freezer, try it – its easy. Next time bananas, blueberries or strawberries (or any other fruit) starts to go bad, just peel chop and freeze it in a bag. I then use these chunks for smoothies all year long! It replaces the ice and gives your smoothies great flavor and texture.

Frozen Slushie delight

1 cup 2% milk

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1 tsp super green energy powder

2 tsp flax seeds

1 cup frozen fruits

1 ripe banana

2 tsp coconut milk powder

1 tsp flax seed oil

1 splash of vanilla extract

Put ingredients into blender and serve cold

Healthy bloody mary

2 cups tomato/ vegetable juice

1 tsp super green energy powder

1 quarter cup celery leaves

2 -3 fresh basil leaves

2-3 cubes of ice

Put ingredients into blender and serve cold, serve with fresh celery sticks

Now that you have all these delicious options for adding a super green drink to your morning – what are you waiting for?

Cat Cafes: Unique Feline Focused Businesses in Japan

Every city has a go-to coffee shop or cafe where residents of the area can feel at home. These cafes tend to offer customers a relaxing atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and even free internet. These offerings are all well and good for the typical coffee shop customer, but what if you could go to a coffee shop that offered all of the above, plus the chance to visit with adorable felines? Japan is home to several Cat Cafes that offer just that.

Cat Cafes are small businesses that allow people to visit with the resident cats for a small fee. These cafes started popping up around 2006, and today there are about 79 Cat Cafes all over Japan. Generally, these establishments charge by the hour ranging from about $7 to $10 per hour, with fees increasing on weekends and holidays. In addition to cats, the cafes also offer visitors food and drink, computers, books, and video games.

The resident felines in the Cat Cafes are treated with great respect. Before and during their stay, visitors must follow a list of rules including washing their hands before and after playing with the cats, removing their shoes, and not taking pictures with a flash. Interestingly, some cafes do not let visitors pick up the cats. The only exception to this rule is if a kitty voluntarily decides to jump on a customer’s lap.

These cafes are not just an attraction for tourists to Japan, but are actually quite popular with locals too. Why are Cat Cafes so popular with the locals in Japan?

As of July 2011, the human population in Japan was estimated to be 126,475,664 people. Of this population, only about 13% of these Japanese households owned a cat, and about 5% of the total Japanese population had a pet cat. These low pet cat numbers are due to strict housing legislation that does not allow certain homeowners in Japan to have a pet. Specifically, single individuals between 20 and 30 years of age living in apartments or condominiums cannot own a pet. For this reason, few Japanese homes actually own a pet, which makes the idea of Cat Cafe very appealing to locals.

Cat Cafes offer tourists and locals in Japan the opportunity to spend quality time with friendly felines in a comfortable atmosphere. If you are a cat enthusiast travelling to Japan, be sure to stop in to one of these unique Cat Cafes for a once in a lifetime experience visiting with the local felines.

Regular Deep Cleaning and Maintenance of Kitchen Filters, Ducts and Screens Keeps Energy Costs Down

How did you picture that small cafe you’ve dreamed of running for years and now decided to take the plunge?

Was it a place where friends and co-workers could mix and mingle for business and pleasure? Did your cafe have a planned special theme or type of food and drink?

Whatever the answers, you will have researched thoroughly, perhaps done business start-up courses and drawn up a business plan.

Now you have the financing, found a great location and signed the lease you are no doubt stuck into the detail of setting up the place as you want it – both in the area where your customers will be and in the kitchen.

That means deciding on the best equipment you can afford, the layout and complying with all the Health and Safety (HSE) regulations some of which are listed here.

HSE advice is that you allow in layout of your kitchen for adequate maintenance, cleaning and/or disinfection to avoid or minimise air-borne contamination (i.e. contamination carried in the air) as well as providing enough working space to carry out all tasks hygienically

You also need to protect against the build-up of dirt, contact with toxic materials, shedding of particles into food and forming of condensation or mould on surfaces as well as contamination and, in particular, pest control.

Wash basins for cleaning hands should have hot and cold running water, materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying. Wash hand basins should preferably be fitted with lever, elbow, knee or automatic operation to avoid contamination.

Any windows opening directly into food preparation areas must be fitted with screens capable of resisting common flying insects.

Your kitchen may also have a ventilation system and over-cooker canopies for grease extraction through ducts and filters.

You may have included a daily cleaner in the budget but did you consider that all this equipment, ducting, screens and filtering would need to be regularly cleaned and maintained?

That’s not something that can be altogether kept under control by a daily cleaner.

Over time, even in the most well-managed of kitchens, dust and grease can build up in hard-to-reach corners and around the feet of work stations, cookers and refrigerators. Filters become clogged and duct systems accumulate a mixture of grease, dust, mould and become a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Your overheads can also be affected by the build-up – adding to the energy costs if it isn’t working efficiently.

It makes sense, therefore to include a regular kitchen deep clean from a specialist service into your budget.

The best specialist companies will start from the top down, moving anything and everything to get into hard-to-manage corners and offer regular checking and cleaning out or replacing filters and keeping the air ducting clear as part of the service. Both are important not only for the system’s efficiency but also because they can become a fire hazard.

Most services will be flexible enough to work around the pattern of your cafe’s day to keep disruption to a minimum and if you include such a cleaning and maintenance system from the start you will have the peace of mind of both a clean, well-run establishment and the confidence that you have complied with all the public health, fire safety and other business regulations