Costs Going Up Wine Pours Shrinking!

Photo Credit: Brian Zak/NY Post

I came across this article from the New York Post and was struck by just how true it is here on the West Coast too! Are you feeling the same about higher prices & smaller wine pours where you are?

Article written by Beth Landman, “You’re Not crazy, wine pours are shrinking” appeared June 23, 2022 in the New York Post

When international investor Brian Hogan took an important client to a favorite Midtown restaurant last month, he hoped to impress him. His guest ordered a Chablis by the glass rather than the bottle, and the sommelier poured it with due deference.

But, when the usually mild-mannered client looked down at his glass, he was shocked by the minuscule size of the serving. He summoned the manager and asked him to bring over a measuring cup.

“He thought the pour was ridiculous and offensive,” Hogan said. “When he measured, it turned out to be only 4 ounces.” The manager quickly delivered more wine to the glass, along with a profuse apology.

Inflation has hit the bottle. All over the city, from taverns to fine restaurants, diners are doing double takes as they receive reduced pours of wine at increased prices. A standard bottle of wine contains 25.4 ounces — meaning a generous 6-ounce pour will yield four glasses, a standard 5-ounce glass will deliver five and a measly 4 ounces will eke out six. Diners say they’re increasingly being served paltry pours, and industry insiders confirm their suspicions.

“I worked for Danny Meyer and we always gave 6 ounces,” said a sommelier at a popular new downtown restaurant. “When I got here I was quickly corrected and instructed to pour only 5.”

A somm at another Manhattan hot spot confided that “During COVID, we were told to make sure we got five glasses out of a bottle, rather than the four we were used to getting.”

A spokesperson for Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group confirmed that his restaurants still pour 6 ounces. At Isabelle’s Osteria and Barbounia in the Flatiron, they’re also sticking to 6 ounces.

“All our wine costs went up … but we felt that customers will forgive you if you overcook their meat a bit, but will not forgive you if you skimp,” said Vladimir Kolotyan, a partner in both restaurants. “So we added one dollar to some of the glass prices and left some the same, but never touched the size.”

The stingy servings are creating awkward situations. 

An Upper West Side entertainment attorney had some explaining to do to his ex-wife after she saw a bill from his dinner with their young adult children. 

“She was disturbed by the number of wine glasses consumed, but I explained to her that we actually drank the same amount of alcohol we usually do; we just had to order more glasses,” said the man, who asked to remain anonymous for personal reasons.

Even those in the wine industry, while sympathetic to restaurant’s rising costs, are disturbed by the trend. 

“I’m willing to pay for quality and I feel shortchanged when I receive a small pour,’’ said Mark Fang, a 41-year-old wine blogger and certified sommelier who lives in Hell’s Kitchen. He recently dined at Marea and ordered an $18 glass of Grüner Veltliner that he estimated was a mere 4 ounces. 

“Normally I get only one glass of wine, but this time the pour was so small it didn’t last past the appetizer,” he said. “I like to enjoy wine with my entree, so I ordered a second glass … [in general] I know what bottles cost, and that hurts.”

“I’m blown away by how small the pours are.’’

Karen Harris

(A spokesperson for Marea’s Altamarea restaurant group said: “The standard operating procedure for pouring a glass of wine at Marea is 5 ounces. We do acknowledge that there is an occasional margin of error to take into account.”)

Karen Harris, 59, who lives on the Upper East Side and is an account executive for a wine importer and distributor, said that her entire portfolio has increased in price for the first time in four years. Still, she’s stunned by shrinking servings.

“I go to some places and think, ‘Are they serious?’” she said. “I’m blown away by how small the pours are.’’

Many restaurateurs insist that part of the problem is the trend towards using larger, better stemware that dwarfs the appearance of the wine.

A standard bottle of wine contains 25.4 ounces — meaning a generous 6-ounce pour will yield 4 glasses, a standard 5-ounce glass will deliver 5 and a measly 4 ounces will eke out 6. Above, a 6-ounce pour (left) and a 4-ounce pour.
Brian Zak/NY Post

Maximilian Riedel, CEO and president of glassware company Riedel, thinks COVID isolation is also to blame. “This is an issue of perception,’’ he told The Post. “For the past two years, we have all [been] helping ourselves to what’s in [our] cellars. Now that we are returning to in-person dining, a server’s measured pour likely appears more restrained.’’ To ensure servers hit their mark, Riedel glasses have a subtle indicator in the curve of the glass at what the company sees as the ideal pour: 5 ounces.

But some restaurateurs insist that 5 ounces isn’t enough for their demanding clientele. 

“I hear that in the city they are lowering servings and jacking up prices,’’ said Zach Erdem, owner of Southampton hot spots 75 Main and Blu Mar. “Here, if you give people 5 ounces, they will scream at you!’’

Are you on Facebook? You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: food news, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Long Live Langer’s Deli!

Langer’s Number 19 Pastrami Sandwich

This article appeared in today’s Los Angeles Times – Nicholas Goldberg says it more perfectly than I ever could, so enjoy his ode to 75 years of the institution known as Langer’s Deli!

They’ve been making the world’s best pastrami sandwiches for 75 years. Can they keep it up? BY NICHOLAS GOLDBERG | COLUMNIST JUN 20, 2022 | 3:00 AM LOS ANGELES TIMES

The long, slow decline of the Jewish delicatessen has been bemoaned and lamented for many years. In the early 1930s, there were more than 1,500 kosher delis and many more non-kosher ones in the five boroughs of New York alone, according to city records. In recent years, the estimate fell to 150 in all of North America. That’s why it is a cause for celebration that Langer’s delicatessen, the venerable pastrami emporium on 7th and Alvarado near MacArthur Park, marked another milestone birthday this weekend. The restaurant, which opened with space for 12 customers in June 1947, is now 75 years old. Langer’s is, of course, a Los Angeles institution. In 1991, Jonathan Gold wrote in The Times: “The fact is inescapable: Langer’s probably serves the best pastrami sandwich in America.” In 2002, Nora Ephron went farther, declaring unequivocally in the New Yorker that Langer’s made the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world. She described it as “soft but crispy, tender but chewy, peppery but sour, smoky but tangy.” And, if I may be so bold, my recent lunch of matzo ball soup and hot pastrami on rye with sauerkraut confirmed — to my satisfaction, anyway — that those assessments still hold. Of course, if you don’t want pastrami, there are alternatives. You can have the corned beef (Mimi Sheraton called it “excellent” in a 42-year-old review that still hangs, fading now, in the restaurant’s window). Or blintzes, kasha varnishkes, latkes, a bowl of borscht or a knish with gravy. For dessert, noodle kugel. I guess you could also order the hamburger or even — don’t tell the ancestors, please — a ham and cheese sandwich. But that would be foolish. Ephron was snide about the decor. “It is decorated, although ‘decorated’ is probably not the word that applies, in tufted brown vinyl,” she wrote. That was 20 years ago, and that’s pretty much how it still looks today. She noted that Langer’s always seems to be just barely hanging on. That’s also still true. The sufferings of Jewish delis over the years have been legion, the challenges monumental: There’s the passing of the shtetl generation and its children. The assimilation of its grandchildren. The dispersal of the Jewish population from the cities to suburbs (and, in the case of Langer’s, from Westlake-MacArthur Park to the San Fernando Valley and the Westside). Rising rents. The climbing costs of ingredients. The tut-tutting of cardiologists everywhere, what with all the fat, carbohydrates and salt. More recently, the COVID closures. And now, a new burst of inflation. The price of a pastrami sandwich at Langer’s rose recently to $22, a number that even its owner, Norm Langer, concedes is meshuga. “Is half a pound of meat, two slices of rye bread and a pickle worth $22?” he asks. “I don’t know. But I’ve got to make ends meet.” When the restaurant first opened, a pastrami sandwich cost about 35 cents. When The Times mentioned the deli in 1973, the price had risen to $1.75. In 2002, it was $8.50. Langer is 77 years old. He says he has no plans to retire. “I get up in the morning, I’ve got to go somewhere,” he says. “Everybody needs a place to go.” The restaurant was opened by his father, Al Langer of Newark, N.J., who’d gotten his start in delis years earlier when his mother sent him to work to raise money to help pay for his $35 bar mitzvah. In 1947, Al was living in L.A., was recently out of the service and had saved $500. He borrowed a few thousand more. In those days, the Westlake-MacArthur Park neighborhood had a big, middle-class Jewish population. At one point the restaurant had so much business it stayed open nights until 3 a.m. Now it closes at 4 p.m. In the 1980s, The Times wrote endless stories about the troubles facing the deli because of the changing neighborhood, including one histrionic article about MacArthur Park headlined “Winos, Dopers, Crime Overrun City Landmark.” But Langer’s hung on. The restaurant got a needed boost in 1993 when Metro’s Red Line opened, with a subway station just a block and a half away. Crowds flocked in from downtown. “I saw 500 people lined up to get into Langer’s and I told Norm, ‘It was worth spending $1.2 billion to keep you in business,’ ” said then-County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, a regular. In L.A. today the delis that still exist include Canter’s, which opened in 1931 in Boyle Heights and only later moved to its location on Fairfax. Also Art’s Deli, Nate ’n Al’s and Wexler’s. There’s Brent’s Deli. To name just a few. But they keep closing down. Izzie’s in Santa Monica shut its doors in May. Greenblatt’s in West Hollywood closed in 2021 after 95 years. New delis have opened, in some cases with modern, sustainable or health-conscious twists on the classic cuisine. Less shabby, less irascible, they’re gambling that deli food can be gentrified and rejuvenated. But pastrami, let’s face it, is an acquired taste. So are creamed herring, chicken liver, tongue, whitefish salad and other old country staples. The bagel may be firmly embedded in the American food pantheon, but traditional Ashkenazi deli fare of the sort that flourished in the years after the great Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe is unquestionably endangered. And with it a tangible link to the culinary past. A connection to the forefathers. A piece of the collective culture. The good news is that reports of its extinction have proved premature so far, as Langer’s demonstrates. So rather than rend my garments, I’ll make the most of it while I can (and hope my heart holds out).

Are you on Facebook? You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: food news, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Keto on the Run

Sometimes you just can’t plan ahead and must find something to eat while you are out running errands, have to travel or are dining out with family or friends.  Here are a few #KetoFriendly meals to be found at restaurants that are pretty much everywhere.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

ketofriendlyrestaurantmeals

While fast food is not ideal for your Keto diet, at least this gives you some options.

Best Thing I’ve Ever Had at Islands!

I ate something great when I met my husband for a rare weekend lunch out at Islands yesterday.

cheddarfriesThey boast, and truly do have, the #ColdestBeerInTown and they’ve got an amazing menu of burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, tacos, and some truly sinful appetizers.  If you can skip the fries covered in melted cheese and crispy bacon you have far more willpower than I do! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

I sat down at the bar, ordered an ice cold Kona Longboard from the tap,KO_LBL_Pour-with-Bottle_web_204X3771 and glanced at the menu, but was drawn to the bar top menu announcing their limited time specials: Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich and it’s spicy brother  Moa Mauna Loa Crisp the difference between the two being the Moa Kaneohe has bacon, Swiss and a cream cheese ranch spread, while the Moa Mauna Loa has blue cheese crumbles, and Buffalo sauce on it.

What really appealed to me about these chicken sandwiches was that the chicken breasts weren’t just the usual breaded in flour, dropped in oil, & fried, chicken breasts.  These chicken breasts were battered in a lighter tempura batter and then double fried.  I love tempura!

I like blue cheese dressing occasionally, but not on my burgers, and not even with my Buffalo wings.  But a girl can always ask the waitress for some accommodations to her order, right?

So, I ordered the cheddar cheese fries with bacon #IHaveZeroWillPower and then ordered the Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich with it’s crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, chopped red onion, Swiss cheese, cream cheese ranch spread and substituted the spicy chicken breast used in the Moa Mauna Loa: battered in a spicy tempura batter and fried, then added to the sandwich without the blue cheese crumbles, but with an added drizzle of the Buffalo sauce.

islandssandwich

It came out and people around me asked what I was eating…it was pretty darn impressive. Trying to figure out how I was going to get my mouth around it, I cut it in half and found that the breast was incredibly tender and juicy. Not only was it impressive to look at, it was cooked perfectly, and it was the right combination of fresh, creamy & spicy!

The manager was serving tables and stopped to ask if I liked my sandwich.  I told him I was loving it and commented it should always be on the menu.  He said they actually fry the breasts twice, which is why the sandwiches stay on the menu for such a limited time, the cooks complain they have to spend more time on them.  Knowing that, I’m even more impressed that they can keep the breasts from overcooking.

I give #2BigThumbsUp to the Moa Kaneohe Crisp Chicken Sandwich and Moa Mauna Loa Crisp Chicken Sandwich at Islands Restaurant.  I’m not sure how much longer they will be on the menu, but if you get a chance go to Islands and try them!

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Do You Eat Breakfast Every Day?

fruitandoatsSince we were young we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Turns out that Mom wasn’t just trying to keep us from shoving candy and junk food into our pie holes by making us eat breakfast.

It really is important to eat breakfast for some very good reasons:

  • Breakfast influences how we perform physically and mentally throughout the day.  According to John L. Ivy, PhD University of Texas at Austin, “Breakfast immediately raises the body’s energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast.”
  • Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier throughout the day
  • Skipping breakfast can make kids feel tired, restless and irritable
  • Choosing breakfast foods that are rich in whole grains, fiber, and protein while low in added sugar helps boost attention span, concentration, and memory
  • People who don’t eat breakfast tend to overeat later in the day and are more likely to be overweight
  • If you are trying to lose weight, breakfast kicks your metabolism into gear and helps get your body into calorie burning mode for the day.
  • Eating a good breakfast lowers levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, lowers chances of getting diabetes, heart disease and being overweight (per WebMD.com)

Eating the right foods for breakfast is also important:

  • Oatmeal – Steel cut with fruit, almonds and sweetened (if desired) with honey.  Another healthy option, the one that Barry Jay, Co-Founder of Barry’s Boot Camp, prefers, is to add a tablespoon or two of natural almond or peanut butter.  Avoid pre-packaged oatmeal that’s high in sugar and low in fiber.
  • Cheerios – Top with a sliced banana, and serve with non-fat milk and a hard boiled egg.
  • Greek Yogurt – A great “Grab and Go” option. High in protein, just add a pinch of cinnamon and a handful of blueberries or raspberries to sweeten.
  • Vegetable omelet or scramble made with 3 egg whites + 1 egg yolk (which provides protein, vitamin A, choline and B vitamins) a handful of fresh spinach, chopped tomato, a few chopped broccoli or cauliflower florets and, if you desire, a bit of feta cheese.
  • Bananas, Apples, Berries – Easily Digestible fiber that will keep you fuller longer
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake – chocolate whey protein powder, natural unsalted peanut (or almond) butter, ice, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, cinnamon, and water.
  • Whole Grain Bread Toasted – Topped with either: natural almond or peanut butter and a sliced banana; or a scrambled egg, atop a slice of cheese, a few leaves of raw spinach and a slice of tomato

Any of these choices are hearty enough to keep you full until at least 10:00- 10:30 when you should have a mid-morning snack to keep you going.  Keeping your blood sugar steady throughout the day helps keep your energy levels and attention up during the school day or work day, which is especially important if you are someone who operates heavy equipment or drives for a living.  I’d want to be at my very best if that’s what I did!

If you’re dieting it’s important to eat small amounts between your main meals for the same reason.  When blood sugar crashes we are at our most vulnerable and most likely to reach for the nearest food to satisfy our hunger, which often isn’t the healthiest choice: drive-thru, pre-packaged snacks, etc.

quest-bar-cheat-clean

In my case, I always try (I don’t always succeed) to choose:  a piece of fruit with a cutiesjuiceindividually packaged cheese stick;  a low net carbohydrate protein bar (I like Quest Bars); or a hard boiled egg and a glass of fresh sqeezed or whole fruit (no sugar added) juice like Cuties Tangerine Juice.

If you’re like me, you do more in a day than most people and do for yourself last.  I, for one, am slowing down to take care of my health because if I don’t, the rest of the people around me will surely fall apart.  Moms are the grease that keep the squeaky wheel of the family turning and we need to start taking care of ourselves today.  Yesterday is gone, we can’t change that, but we can change tomorrow.

That change starts with breakfast, even if it’s just a glass of juice (or an apple or banana) and a hard boiled egg that’s been pre-made and peeled to grab and go on the way out the door.

One way to make sure to have quick mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack on hand at work is to at least prepare your grab and go snacks on Sunday:

  • If you have a small to medium lunch or grocery type bag you can leave in the refrigerator that’s ideal.
  • Boil a dozen eggs; peel once they are cool enough to touch (I plunge mine in ice water to stop the cooking); put 5 into a zip bag and then into the lunch bag.  Put the other 7 into a second zip bag and put into the snack / deli drawer in your refrigerator.
  • Fill 5 snack sized zip bags with 1-2 TBLS each natural (no sugar added) almond or peanut butter and put into lunch bag.
  • Put 5 medium sized Apples and 5 individually wrapped low-fat cheese sticks into the lunch bag and put into the refrigerator.
  • Make a note for yourself and put it with your car keys so you don’t leave without your snack bag.

It takes a very small effort to eat breakfast when it’s something as simple as a banana and a hard boiled egg that you can grab on the way out the door to work.  Even if you regularly eat out for lunch, you will likely eat less (and better) and will get through your day with more energy and clarity if you have your snacks on hand to get you through the mid-morning and mid-afternoon danger zones.  Who knows, you might even lose a few pounds. 😉

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

 

La Cave in Costa Mesa, CA

I love cooking, but I love eating out too.

La Cave was one of the restaurants my husband took me to on a date many, many moons ago.

lacave

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: local restaurant specials & promotions, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood