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The Crumb for July 7th, 2017

Lori Bailey / July 7th 2017

Today’s Crumb dropped in Atlanta, Georgia, where the peaches (usually) grow. Maybe next year.

 

Happy Friday! Grab a glass of chocolate milk (which comes from brown cows, by the way) and settle into this past week’s food news.
 

It’s the bees’ knees

The latest buzz in booze: bees can help us make beer. Researchers at North Carolina State University noted that, as bees and wasps pollinate flowers, they pick up naturally-occurring strains of yeast and carry them on their bodies. Studying some of these yeast microbes led to the discoveries of of two new, viable beer-making yeasts, and so “bumblebeer” was born. Why brew beer from bee yeast? Up until now, alcohol production has hinged on either lager yeast or ale yeast, so finding new strains gives beer-makers more to play with—and, as we know, variety is the spice of life. Plus, “bumble-yeast” may be especially effective for making some dang good sour beers. And hey, more reasons to save the bees! We’ll drink to that.

 

Have a look around

Sure, you’ve got a shiny new menu board, and that table by the window gets some really great light for ‘gramming… but how does your restaurant's interior look on a Google Street View Tour? That’s the question Texas-born, fast-casual chain Mooyah asked their franchisees. Now, they’re rolling out 360-degree digital experiences of select test locations that prospective guests can explore at the click of a button. For customers, Google's indoor Street View feature is a convenient way to scope out a space ahead of time, see if it’s suitable for the kiddos... so on and so forth. For brands, this is an opportunity to make a big first impression before guests ever set foot in the physical store. Not to mention get ahead in the hyper-competitive fast-casual market. Ready, set, Google.

 

Cream of the crops

Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or simply on the hunt for a healthier dessert, the rise of dairy-free ice creams promises delicious options for all. Used to be that “dairy free” meant an icy sorbet, but today’s contenders have a rich and creamy mouthfeel thanks to bases such as coconut, almond, cashew, rice, hemp and banana. While shops like Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit Co. in Manhattan and Frankie & Jo’s in Seattle go unabashedly all-plant, others like Van Leeuwen balance their offerings with traditional ice creams. Even grocery store staples Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Dazs are jumping on the vegan train. Hey, when it looks good, tastes good, and is good (or at least better) for you, even a die-hard meat eater can’t say no.

 

It’s a hard Brock life

At this point, it’s not exactly a secret: restaurants are tough places to work, and the industry crowd is a tough bunch. Tough, though, doesn’t mean unbreakable. Something Sean Brock, the acclaimed chef behind Husk in Charleston and Nashville, had to discover the hard way. Recently he’s opened up about his desperate struggle against alcohol abuse and the chaos it wrecked upon his health, his relationships, and his restaurants. He’s sought help and is bouncing back, but the grim reality remains—the whole restaurant industry needs an intervention. Some, like food journalist and writer Kat Kinsman, are opening up the lines of conversation through initiatives like Chefs with Issues. Baby steps, perhaps—but, on the road to recovery, every one counts.


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