Archive for the 'Food & Restaurants' Category


Oreo Shares it 100th Birthday with You!

Today marks the 100th birthday of Oreo cookies. That’s 100 years of twisting, licking, dunking, and chowing down on Nabisco’s tuxedo style sandwich cookie. To bring in the big day in a big way, Oreo is encouraging the world to make their life a little less serious and “celebrate the kid inside” of them. To do so, Oreo is creating exciting moments around the world through large scale events. Oreo events include a flash mob with a performance by Lady Antebellum at The Grove in LA, fireworks at China’s Shanghai Bund, an Oreo inspired playground in Indonesia, a piñata party in Venezuela, and so much more. If you’re unable to make it to one of the events, you can still participate online. Over the net, Oreo is letting you send a bag of cookies to someone you love, share your own Oreo photos, play in the Oreo Arcade, and so much more. To keep along with the tagline, you can even go to Oreo’s Facebook page and share your own story about how you let your inner child shine. With the “Million Moments Meter”, Oreo tracks all the memorable moments submitted so the entire world can share in all the great Oreo moments people have. It’s a big birthday for the cookie and having events both live and online is a great year to get the celebration in swing!

Oreo 100th Birthday Image: Oreo Website


Fat Fat Attack: Hook Burger

I recently asked my Facebook followers the question if you had one thing to eat for the rest of your life what you would chose. If you thought like me, the assumption would be responses like “pizza” or “filet mignon”. Instead, my awesome followers said good old “salmon”…eh, and a chameleon too. While they’ll live on fish and reptiles, if I had the choice it would be cheeseburgers—and maybe a Hook Burger.

My friend Ajay and I caught wind of a new burger joint and I really dig it. Hook Burger, founded by Brent and Bruce Reichard, is the sister restaurant to The Habit. The difference between The Habit and Hook Burger is that Hook Burger is a bistro inspired restaurant with quick casual dining prices. Their tag, “fine dining in a bun” hits it right on the head. The food oozes of quality, freshness, and pure delicousness (yeah I made that up) and it’s all at a reasonable price. If you think the restaurant sells only beef burgers and fries think again. You can get chicken sandwiches, tuna melts, salad, coleslaw, onion rings, beer, and wine. I got the Prime Burger with sweet potato fires (right). It was so good, juicy, full of flavor, and the fries were amazing! I absolutely loved it. Plus the employees are so cool and nice it doesn’t feel like you’re in restaurant. Even better is that the atmosphere of the spot has an open and relaxing vibe that you don’t feel the need to leave immediately when you finish. Currently they have locations in Oxnard and Burbank, and are opening a spot in Pasadena. If you have the chance to go to the bistro, I highly recommend it. The food is good, the staff is great, and the setup is perfect especially with summer coming up. If you haven’t done so already try it out for yourself, you just might get hooked!

Hook Burger image: Danielle Salmon


Sprinkles Cupcakes Brings You Ice Cream and 24-Hour Dessert!

If you ever want to see a smile on my face, give me dessert. Want to see me look like the Cheshire cat then give me a big cupcake—red velvet to be exact. I was first introduced to distinctively delicious cupcakes when my friend Leticia took me to Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, CA. Since its start back in 2003, Sprinkles has become a national phenomenon thanks in part to great publicity. With support from celebs like Tyra Banks, Katie Holmes, Barbara Streisand, and being featured in major publications the brand has popped up everywhere and has become the leader in the cupcake craze. Minus about 1 inch of too much frosting the cupcakes are great. Add atop of that a cute and open store environment and you’re set. So when I saw the news about the company developing a convenient purchasing machine and expanding its product line to include ice cream I felt like I hit the jackpot!

Next door to its Beverly Hills location, Sprinkles is introducing the 24-Hour Sprinkles. The brightly colored ATM style machine (right) will dispense cupcake mixes, cupcakes, and apparel to anyone itching for that quick sugar fix at any time of the day. The unique invention is a great way to give people what they want and allow them to avoid the long, yet worthwhile, wait. Directly next to 24-Hour Sprinkles, Sprinkles Ice Cream (below) will sell hand-crafted ice cream alongside waffle cones, sundaes, homemade toppings, and freshly baked cookies. While the debut date hasn’t been announced yet, I can image the stores will be up and running just in time for summer. The addition of the dispensary and creamery next to the original Sprinkles makes it quite possibly the tastiest block in the 90210.

To check them out yourself, you can visit them in store or online!

Sprinkles Cupcakes, 24-Hour Sprinkles, & Sprinkles Ice Cream
9635 Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
24 Hour Sprinkles Facebook
Sprinkles Ice Cream Facebook

Sprinkles Cupcakes images: 24-Hour Sprinkles Facebook page





Kate Upton is Having the Best Week Ever

Well maybe not ever, but it’s probably the best week this month. Aside from being announced as the cover model for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit magazine on Monday, supermodel Kate Upton just landed a commercial deal with Carl’s Jr. & Hardees (aka Carl’s Jr.). The 19 year old Michigan native is the beauty in the upcoming commercial for Carl’s Jr.  Southwest Patty Melt (below). Since the 70+ year old restaurant chain has positioned its U.S. commercials heavily to men, incorporating some of the country’s hottest women has always been a focal point in their ads. Previous faces have included Kim Kardashian and most recently Gizem Mimec (Ms. Turkey). Now that Kate is the cover girl of Sport’s Illustrated swimsuit edition, it looks like Carl’s Jr. pulled the year’s best woman for the new job.

To create the ad, Carl’s Jr. agency 72andsunny went to IMG Models (New York) to negotiate a deal of Kate working for the fast food restaurant chain. Although the commercial won’t air until late this month, both Carl’s Jr. and 72andsunny have dropped the behind the scenes video (below) to get you amped for the finished product. What you get from the sneak peak is more than Kate eating the burger, but a look at the strategy to create the spot. To tell the story of the all American style patty melt, 72andsunny gives you a 50s inspired commercial set at a drive in movie theater. Kate came into play primarily for her sex appeal, but also because of her “American qualities” that were evident during her work with Guess back in 2010. Combine it all together and you can drool over Kate as she seductively eats the spicy patty melt with jalapenos atop a vintage car from various angles. Filmed in Los Angeles, Glenn Cole, Chief Creative Officer at 72andsunny, explained that “if Kate Upton is not giving young hungry guys what they want, I don’t know what young hungry guys want.”

So what do you think, the does the sneak peak look hot or not?

Behind the Scenes: Kate Upton Commercial for Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s

“Behind the Scenes: Kate Upton Commercial for Carl’s Jr. & Hardee’s” image and video: Carl’s Jr. YouTube Channel


Diane von Fürstenberg Makes Diet Coke Fashionable

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is in full swing in the big apple and the best designers are out showing their collection in tents galore. One of fashion’s greatest icons, Diane von Fürstenberg (DVF), is scheduled to show her newest collection for the event this Sunday. However, while she is known for her popular wrap dress, she is in the press for her most recent partnership with a major brand. Not shy to collaborations, Diane has done work designing the T-Mobile Sidekick and now most recently she’s working with Diet Coke. Bringing the fashion and beverage worlds together, Diane is leveraging her know-how to create printed bottle wraps for an exclusive sale. For the month of February, DVF will sell limited edition Diet Coke bottles online and in DVF select stores (right and below). At $30 for a set of four, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. While the bottles don’t actually contain the low-calorie drink, they are a collector’s item that come just in time for a Valentine’s Day gift.

Diet Coke Limited Edition Collection by Diane von Furstenberg images: DVF Store


[Phenomenal Campaigns]: Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Lets You Make the Commercial

Today when the biggest football game of the year is in full swing people will anxiously await to see which team wins and if the half-time performance will live up to its hype. However, seeing as you’re reading this blog you’re probably interested in seeing which commercials will be worth skipping the bathroom run. Considering the Super Bowl is the biggest stage for a brand to reach an audience, brands are dropping up to $6 million dollars for 30 to 60 seconds of your attention. That would include Chevrolet, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Skechers,, and others. Instead of creating a Super Bowl commercial in house or through an agency, Doritos (owned by Frito-Lay) let consumers take a swing at it, all in hopes of winning a seriously grand prize.

As an official sponsor of the NFL, Doritos started the Crash the Super Bowl in 2007 which has quickly become an amateur director’s dream. In the contest directors create a Doritos commercial to compete against other submissions in hopes of receiving the most votes by consumers. Out of this year’s 6,100+ submissions, 5 madeit to round two where they received $25,000, a trip to Indianapolis to attend the game, and the chance to move to the final round. Out of the top 5 ads, only the top 2 rated ads will air during the Super Bowl and the directors will find out who made it with everyone else—during the game. Out of the two ads, to determine the grand prize winner, the ad that receives the #1 spot on USA Today’s Ad Meter (or the USA Today’s Facebook Super Bowl Ad Meter) will win (Dr. Evil voice) $1 MILLION DOLLARS!!! (Clears throat) Not stopping there, the winner will also get to work creatively with The Emmy Award winning trio The Lonely Island. It’s quite possibly the best avenue for a director to showcase his work to an eager audience, display his capabilities to prospects, add a major name to his client list, and free himself from a freelancer’s rate. And if you think the ad will only air during the game think again—it’ll run for weeks following and be featured on news networks and magazines (i.e. Advertising Age). The director’s work and name will be everywhere and the publicity will be life changing at the least.

For an ad that doesn’t get the million dollars, there’s still a prize that I’m sure will suffice. The ad that ranks #2 and #3 on the USA TODAY Ad Meter or the USA TODAY Facebook Super Bowl Ad Meter will receive $600,000 and $400,000 respectively. (Makes me wish I were a talented director.) But why use this meter and not say…YouTube? Simply because since starting in 1989, the USA Today meter is considered to be the most influential Super Bowl rating system in the ad industry. It “tracks the second-by-second responses of a panel of viewers to ads during the national broadcast of the Super Bowl and ranks them favorite to least favorite” (-Doritos press release). So it’s reliable, unbiased, and the decision maker for the contest.

The finalists and their ads that have placed them in the top 5 are:

“Dog Park” by Tyler Dixon
• “Sling Baby” by Kevin T. Willson
• “Hot Wild Girls” by Brad Scott
• “Man’s Best Friend” by Jonathan Friedman
• “Bird of Prey” by Joby Harris (video below)

To find out who are the big two, you have to watch the game and then follow the USA Today meter to see who came out on top

“Bird of Prey” Doritos Crash the Super Bowl ad

For more information on the contest, check out its press release.

Doritos contest images: Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl YouTube Channel


Starbucks Happy Hour Anyone?

Your favorite coffee franchise is taking big leaps to evolve its brand. Selling coffee, tea, and smoothies, wasn’t enough on the beverage side as it is now branching out to sell beer and wine starting at 4pm. If you thought only the stuff pouring out of the espresso machines was changing think again. The pastries and packaged meals was one thing, they are now planning to sell small plates and hot food. This shake up is known as the Starbucks Evening Day-Part Concept and comes as a response of consumers asking for more options. Clarice Turner, senior vice president of U.S. Operations at Starbucks explains that “Building an evening day-part is a natural progression for us [Starbucks] as we are always looking for ways to evolve and enhance the Starbucks Experience based on what our customers are telling us”. I don’t know if this is just me, but when I think “more options” I think of things to keep me alert and awake, not to cloud my judgment. A natural energy drink pops into my head, not a lager.

But before you get your green straws in a bundle, know this isn’t that new. Starbucks tested the concept in 2010 in its headquarter city of Seattle, WA. Currently, beer and wine are sold for $5 and $9 respectively at its Olive Way locaiton. That’s only a buck or two above the price of its coffee and blended drinks. After assessing the trial, the company sees success in the new venture and plans to fully roll it out to Atlanta, Chicago, and Southern California by the end of 2012. This newly enhanced menu in select locations will offer hand-selected wine and beer that will be perfected to the overall consumer’s taste. With a new menu will come a new store layout. Starbucks explains that specific locations will “incorporate flexible seating to accommodate individuals and small groups as well as larger parties that want to host community meetings or other events such as book clubs”. One thing you’ll need when you give people beer is lots and lots of moving space and more bathrooms.

I can see that Starbucks is expanding its line to attract a new customer, to get people in the store more often, and to encourage people to stay, but I feel as if it changes the Starbucks Experience a bit. I and many others know Starbucks as the go to place to study, chat at a reasonable tone, or to sip and people watch. Adding alcohol to the mix seems like there is the potential to make the locations louder and rowdy as people tend to talk loudly and get active when drinking. Having an unrealistic expectation that only the refined and conservative drinker will purchase beer from Starbucks is wishful thinking, especially in eclectic Los Angeles. Anyone wanting a beer may hit up the store and can disrupt the chill and peaceful ambiance of Starbucks. Where will nerds like me go to work if the people drinking can’t handle their liquor…the library? Sike. And will the baristas regulate drinkers? At what point will they cap someone off? I mean some people get out of hand when simply drinking too much coffee, imagine adding beer to the scenario. Then when it comes to my rewards card, do I get rewards for drinking? Will Starbucks become the place where you get points for drinking beer? And then riddle me this Batman, why am I going to Starbucks for a beer instead of my go to bar? Just wondering.

I am not against the new concept but I am not fully for just it yet. The only way I can make a final decision is by trying it out myself, a few times of course. (You guys can totally shoot me a gift card, hint hint). When it comes to a city near me I will definitely give it a shot to make a sound opinion and will blog about it afterwards. However, there is one thing that I am upset about after looking at this whole deal. How come Starbucks can incorporate an entire product line of beer, wine, and food to sell in their stores throughout the year but I can only get a gingerbread latte from November to January??!!??

For more information about the new concept, check out the press release in the Starbucks newsroom.
Starbucks wine image: Esquire Food & Drink Blog

What Day is It?

July 2018
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Quote of the Week

“Brick walls are there for a reason. They give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” - Randy Pausch, "The Last Lecture"


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