Monthly Archives: September 2012

Could A Noodle-Making Robot Revolutionize Restaurants?

Just hope he doesn’t decide to break Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics; he looks like he could be dangerous with that one bladed arm.

Cui Runguan, a restarauntuer in China, has gotten tired of paying around $4,700 a year for an noodle cook, and figured he’d save $2,700 and pay a one-time price. Others would do the same. They’d put the noodle cook out of business, until it swings around the other way, where the few remaining noodle cooks out there are revered and attain notable positions.

How would this change in employment for a working force do it?


Robots make everything better, don’t they? The Chef Cui robot, retailing for the Chinese equivalent of $2,000, is in full-force in China. Restaurants have already started to purchase this Ultraman-stylized robot, and while some features, such as the hypnotically-glowing eyes and general humanoid appearance are just for display, the slicing mechanism (largely akin to a windshield wiper) is where the focus is. What would be tiring for a human chef is nominal for a robot; while he may not build up lactic acid and tire, the robot may need a good oiling and maintenance every once in a while.

If anything, some people may just want to go to a restaurant where a robot is employed in the kitchen.

How To Build A Better Burger

iStock_000010267448Small-200x300Burger restaurants are an unforgettable part of American culture. Whether it be the amazing local place that everyone rants and raves about, or the massive mega-chain that is known regional or nationwide, the hamburger is traditionally one general concept across the nation and the globe. Two buns and a beef hamburger patty in the middle is traditional… and rather plain. How can you make your hamburger stack up better against competitors?

Bake A Better Bun

The bun starts off pretty basic for most. This shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all of buns, though. Whole wheat is the standard upgrade, but you don’t even need to stop there. Add some sweetness akin to a King’s Hawaiian roll, or even go to a potato roll. If you want to stretch out, look at artisan or even alternatives, such as rice-based buns, lettuces, and tortillas. Redefine what the bun is.

Beef Up… or Down

It’s common knowledge that, for a beef burger, you want to go for a good ratio of meat to fat, usually averaging around 80/20. The fat adds flavors to the burger. Still, things can be mixed up, and a leaner burger is always a nice option to consider. Turkey can add some differing flavor, and veggie burgers have their place. There have been burgers made out of ground bacon, ground sausage, and even a few packed with cheese (either throughout the patty, or stuffed in the middle, ready to burst out), and jalapenos can go in as well.

Lettuce Isn’t The Only Green

Jalapenos, coleslaw, spinach, beets, peppers, even french fries; there are dozens of other produce items that can go on top of a burger, and they all stand out more than traditional lettuce. Lettuce just usually adds a cold crisp to a burger, but coleslaw adds some flavor to the crisp, jalapenos add some heat to the crisp, and french fries add some salt and grease to the crisp. Don’t worry about healthy, worry purely about flavor.

Switch The Sauce

Yellow mustard, tomato ketchup, traditional mayonnaise: kinda bland, right? McDonalds’ Special Sauce is largely Thousand Island dressing, wasabi mayonnaise adds a little bit of heat, and a blue cheese dressing could always add a little soothing nature to an otherwise-hot burger. Swapping up the sauces definitely changes the flavor, as most sauces end up coating all the ingredients outside of, or more accurately, inside of the bun. You may have never thought about peanut butter on a hamburger, but give it a shot.

Cook It Cooking

A simple change such as how you cook the patty can make all the difference. Some people have breaded and fried their burgers. Most grill or griddle, some steam, and the big movers and shakers across the nation smash. How do you smash a burger? Make a regular burger patty and toss it on a hot, hot, hot grill. In the first thirty seconds, smash the burger down with a tough spatula. The juices help build a crust on the burger, and spread it out to cook quicker. One smash is all you need.

Change The Cheese

A slice of yellow American is always nice, but go for a strong cheddar, a decidedly different blue cheese, or even a nice and melty queso. Cheese doesn’t need to be basic and boring a for a burger, and many simple changes to selection can drastically swap up a burger.

Bacon: The Other, Other, Other White Meat

Not everyone is content when it comes to the standard beef burger. Traditionally, bacon has been the standard add on, with the bacon cheeseburger almost becoming the national version of the hamburger of choice. Go for a variation on surf and turf by offering grilled shrimp on top, make it a little more breakfast friendly with eggs and/or ham, or even a roast beef slice for a different topping.

Burgers don’t have to be boring. Because so many condiments and toppings taste great on a burger it’s easy to customize them. There’s a reason why you see so many burger joints popping up around the country, they’re fast and easy to make. Try these suggestions at home for a more interesting burger.

Monkey Sauce To Kickstart Your Indian-Desiring Tastebuds

We’ve all put mustard, ketchup, and other “fixings” on a hot dog. Mayonnaise on a turkey sandwich, hot sauce on a piece of pizza, blue cheese and ranch on buffalo wings: there are many staples of the condiment shelf in your fridge, and some may be more exotic than others, but a pair of guys on Kickstarter are aiming to take your taste buds to a new level.


The introductory flavors

Dan Garblik and Lalit Kalani, the two co-founders of Bandar Foods, are readying two types of Indian chutneys, re-imagined and packaged into squeeze bottles for a familiar American twist.

Their argument for why Indian chutney should be in your cabinet? Sriracha, or “rooster sauce”, is nice, hot, and works with many food combinations. Personally, I enjoy it on my eggs.

Spicy Mango Chili Sauce and Mint Cilantro Chili Sauce are the two flavors that Bandar Monkey Sauce will start with. They’ve reformulated the chutneys, turning them into squeeze-appropriate mixtures for 7oz bottles.

Kickstarter pledges will go towards, for the most part, receiving bottles of the initial shipment, but t-shirts (and even a full, five-course meal for six people) are up for grabs. While donations start at $10, the bottles will retail for less than half of that (between $3.49 and $3.99); Whole Foods in Boston has already agreed to try the sauce out. I’m looking forward to the Spicy Mango, myself. Seems like it’d be a great way to kick-up chicken.