NEW YORK — Starbucks is testing an order-ahead mobile app at 150 stores in the Portland, Ore., area, in preparation for a national rollout, reported Bloomberg Businessweek.

“We do believe that this will increase our sales and will increase the throughput in our stores,” Starbucks’ Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman told the news outlet. “This is the beginning of a national rollout. We feel we’re going to be constantly learning and improving how mobile ordering works.

Through the new app, customer names will be printed on a label to help reduce human error by baristas. The order-ahead app is also designed to reduce errors in the order itself and free up employees’ time for other tasks, according to the report.

Test use of the app follows these steps:

Customers select their items and the pickup location.
The app displays approximate wait time. The order is created as soon as it is received, so customers cannot set up a specific pickup time.
Payment is made from the customer’s registered Starbucks Card, with no cash to be paid at pickup.
If a beverage is not hot enough or otherwise satisfactory upon pickup, baristas will remake it.
The app’s menu screen will display recent orders the next time it is opened.

The order-ahead app is “the fastest and easiest way to order and pay at Starbucks,” according to company spokesperson Linda Mills. The app is currently available only for iPhones, but Android users will be able to use the app when Starbucks proceeds with the national rollout.

Posted on October 31, 2014 at 12:04 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Kosher New Products, Kosher News


The majority of U.S. children, including preschoolers, consume caffeine, although intake is on the decline, according to a recent report from the Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC and published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The report, which looked at caffeine intake in 3,280 children and youth aged 2 to 19 years old who participated in a 24-hour dietary recall as part of NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), found that 71% of U.S. children consumed caffeine on a given day during 2009 to 2010.

When the researchers started this study, published findings on caffeine consumption were available from older national data. Thus, they wanted to provide updated national estimates of dietary caffeine intake in U.S. children 2 to 19 years of age, both in absolute amounts (mg) and in relation to body weight (mg/kg). They chose to look at intakes in both of these ways because of Health Canada’s dietary recommendations on the daily maximal amounts of caffeine intake as well as daily maximal caffeine intake in relation to body weight for older children.

Overall, median caffeine intake was highest in the 12 to 19-year age range at 13.6 mg per day, but younger children consumed caffeine too; reported intakes for 2 to 5-year olds were 1.3 mg per day and for 6 to 11-year olds 4.5 mg per day. Among caffeine consumers, the median intakes were higher at 4.7 mg for 2 to 5-year olds, 9.1 mg for 6 to 11-year olds and 40.6 mg for 12 to 19-year olds. Ten percent of the 12 to 19-year olds exceeded the maximum caffeine intake guideline of 2.5 mg/kg of body weight from Health Canada.

While the Mayo Clinic says up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults (that’s the amount of caffeine found in about four cups of brewed coffee or 10 cans of cola), it is recommended that teens consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day (one cup of coffee). And since children may metabolize caffeine differently than adults do, maximum intake for children, according to Health Canada, should be no more than 45 mg/day for children ages 4 to 6, 62.5 mg/day for children ages 7 to 9 and 85 mg/day for children ages 10 to 12 years.

In this study, researchers found no difference in intake between male and females, however, they did find some race differences. Non-Hispanic black children (56%) were less likely to consume caffeine than non-Hispanic white (75%) or Mexican American (72%) children. While there wasn’t any have specific data from the study to explain these differences, several factors could be involved, including different eating habits. In this research, no association between income (examined by poverty income ratio) and caffeine intake was noted.

Caffeine consumption trends were also examined between 2001 and 2010, and during that time, caffeine intake actually decreased for all children. Specifically, among caffeine consumers 2 to 5-years and 6 to 11-years of age, a significant decrease in caffeine intake, by 3 mg and 4.6 mg, respectively was noted. Study author Dr. Namanjeet Ahluwalia and her team presented their findings on dietary sources of caffeine for children at the Experimental Biology meeting in April 2014 and they are still in the process of publishing them. However, there have been other reports that indicate that the chief sources of caffeine in children under 5 are tea, soda, flavored dairy and sweetened grains (e.g. cookies, brownies). Among teens, soda, tea and coffee are the principal contributors to caffeine intake.

“The common prevailing thought is that caffeine intake particularly in teens is high and that it is likely to have increased over the last decade; so our results might be a bit surprising as they did not support this. The factors contributing to downward trend in caffeine intake noted in younger children (under 12 years of age) could not be examined in the study; it is possible that increased awareness on the potential negative effects of caffeine could be involved. In older children (teens), no such trend was noted; intakes remained high in more than 10% of teens and this deserves attention,” says Ahluwalia.

The potential adverse health affects of caffeine are many. Healthy persons may tolerate caffeine well, yet individual responses to caffeine vary drastically. Heavy caffeine intake can cause insomnia, nervousness, irritability and fast heartbeat. Caffeine also has some benefits, including its ability to increase wakefulness, alleviate fatigue and improve focus and concentration. Still, consumption in children is worrisome, and future research is recommended to identify the contribution of specific foods and beverages to caffeine intake as well as the main sources of caffeine in children and teens.

In the U.S., an acceptable level of caffeine intake for children and adolescents has not been set as yet. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against the inclusion of caffeine in the diet of children. Ahluwalia says individuals and health professionals should try to follow these guidelines.

“Dietary sources of caffeine intake among children should be examined more closely, and newer data from NHANES to be released this year will be available for older children who were the highest consumers of caffeine. Overall, there is a need to continue monitoring caffeine intake (and sources) in children and youth,” adds Ahluwalia.

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 12:04 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health



Now that we’ve entered the “craft cocktail” era, drinks with double-digit price tags are just par for the course. And in many cities, there’s a decent chance that your fancy craft drink now comes with a large, crystal-clear cube or rectangle that melts unhurriedly in your glass. That’s right: Artisanal ice is a thing.

Excuse me? That’s what we said when the Washington City Paper reported that a restaurant called Second State will charge $1 per “hand-cut rock” if you order from its rye whiskey menu. (If you order one of the cocktails, which range from $11 to $17, the fancy cubes are included gratis.)

Perhaps you’re having the same thought: Is there something wrong with plain old regular ice? Was the ice industry really crying out for disruption?

Well, not exactly. Turns out the rise of artisanal ice probably has more to do with bars trying to justify their high-priced cocktails with one extra perk: ice like you’ve never seen it before.

“If you’re gonna get a drink that’s $15, it better have the best ice,” says Joe Ambrose, a bartender at the W Hotel who co-founded Favourite Ice, the company that’s hand-chiseling frozen water for about 30 restaurants and caterers in the D.C. area. There are several similar fancy ice ventures around the country.
One part sweet vermouth … As a fortified wine, vermouth started out as Vitis Vinifera. After fermentation, the wine met a host of other botanicals as well.

So what exactly makes this ice better? Ambrose says it’s a combination of aesthetics and practicality.

Regular ice is cloudy because of the minerals like calcium in tap water, Ambrose says. (Editor’s note: Air bubbles that form as water crystallizes also contribute to the clouds, as some commenters pointed out.) So he filters water, and then puts it in a big machine made by Clinebell — the same machine that makes those huge blocks for ice sculptures.

The machine churns out 200- to 300-pound blocks of crystal-clear ice. Ambrose and his employee Caleb Marindin, who Ambrose dubs “the Eskimo” because of his Inuit routes, then cut up these giant blocks into 25-pound slabs or 2-inch cubes with a band saw.

“It’s hard work: You’re dealing with ice and slippery surfaces, and working with a blade that’s made for cutting up cows,” says Ambrose. “It’s a little scary, especially when the blades wear down and pop and metal goes flying across the room. Oh, and your hands get really cold.”

Sounds like fun, right? And keep in mind that Ambrose has a full-time job on top of filling his growing list of ice orders, which requires him to drive 45 minutes to Germantown, Md., daily to make and cut ice.

“It’s lucrative, but we’re not getting rich off it,” says Ambrose, who co-founded the company with Owen Thomson, a bartender at Bar Pilar and Rose’s Luxury.

Artisanal ice is pretty, but the real selling point is that the super-sized cubes melt more slowly, which gives you more time to enjoy the flavors in your fancy drink.

“The problem with lots of small ice cubes is that in 10 to 15 minutes, your drink tastes like watered-down booze — it doesn’t taste how it’s supposed to taste anymore,” he says.

This flaw in regular ice is apparently not lost upon a growing number of drinkers who’ve experienced artisanal ice.

“I have managers who are telling me that when they run out of our ice, customers are getting upset,” says Ambrose. “I’m like, ‘It’s just ice, bro.’ “

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 12:04 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics


Hey, it’s football season. Here is a great game time recipe!

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings

3 1/2 pounds chicken wings

2 cups ketchup

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce

4 cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon salt

10 mins

50 mins


Remove tips from chicken wings and discard. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth, and divide the mixture in half.
Put the chicken and half of the sauce in a resealable plastic bag, shake to coat well and place in the refrigerator from 3 hours to overnight. Reserve the remaining sauce in the refrigerator until ready to serve with wings.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place skin side down, in a shallow baking dish. Discard marinade.
Bake for 50 minutes, flipping over half way through baking. Increase heat to broil and broil wings until crisped, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately with reserved dipping sauce.

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 12:04 am by rebrapp · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Kosher Recipes