Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert on Shopping Smart

The “New” Nutritional Guidelines:
While devoid of any startling recommendations, the guidelines in cooperation with the White House’s “Let’s Move” program – and technology – finally empower the population to make changes in their diets. We’re seeing a move away from highlighting or demonizing certain nutrients or ingredients and looking at foods more holistically.

  • Look for simplified (in length and language) ingredient statements.
  • Expect the produce department to change dramatically as supermarkets and farmers start adding stickers directly on pieces of produce that highlight the meaningful vitamins,   minerals, fiber and especially Omega-3’s.
  • All-natural claims are out as shoppers seek more substance about their foods, nutritionally as well as on green issues.

The “New” Customer Service:
It’s all about Food Apps as technology not only allows for in-store information, but will also be used as the checkout. A scan of the bar code tells you everything you need to know to decide what to buy, and then adds to your list automatically. Expect Instant Messages with specials that last for a maximum of a half-hour targeting your likes and dislikes and offering huge savings. At the checkout, your mobile device “talks” to the self-checkout and downloads your coupons, frequent shopper bonuses and deducts the amount of the bill from your checking account. Also, look for the next generation of restaurant apps that will allow you to pre-order from the restaurant’s menu. As you walk thru the entrance your mobile device will send a message to the kitchen to ‘fire’ up your food and will take into account how long you would like to wait to be served.

The “New” Vitamin – Vitamin D:
Supported by medical research that shows Vitamin D deficiencies in Americans, look for naturally occurring Vitamin D to be touted everywhere. Also, milk will make a big comeback with kids and adults, and this time around it’s all about “white”, as flavored, colored and sweet milks make their way out.

The “New” Soda:
Look for new beverages to hit the shelves with less carbonation, a blend of Stevia and sugar to keep calories low, and fruit based flavors created using real fruit juices that go well beyond orange and mango into more South American crops like acai. Loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, expect this beverage to quickly become the favorite amongst aging boomers (who are looking for more natural and healthful ingredients and less carbonation). Also expect these beverages to be

Zagat Miami/So.Florida 2011


I think the general theme is the Miami dining scene is starting to grow up. It still has a ways to go to catch the great dining cities of the country, but it’s heading in the right direction.

Some highlights of 2010 (these are mentioned in the book intro)

“Name” chefs and restaurateurs open in Miami – Daniel Boulud (db Bistro Moderne), Michael Psilikas/Donna Arpaia (Eos), Danny Meyer (Shake Shack), One Group (STK Miami). Local “names” include Norman Van Aken (Norman’s 180), Douglas Rodriguez (De Rodriguez Cuba and Ocean).

Upscale burgers go wild. A second Burger & Beer Joint, Heavy Burger, Shake Shack, Bliss Burgers all opened. Five Napkin Burger opening on Lincoln Road. Local chef Howie “Bulldog” Kleinburg will open burger joint in Aventura. David Manero (DeVito South Beach, Vic & Angelo’s) will open burger joint in Fort Lauderdale. Palm Beach restaurateur Carmine Giardini will open several CG Burgers outlets in the areas around Miami.

Steakhouses remain a very big deal.

The economy and more competition caused some high-profile closings, among them Talula, Grass and Au Pied du Cochon.

Some new stuff. . . trends, coming attractions, etc.

Food trucks went from nothing to the hot new thing. They even have their own informal “food court” off Bird Road. Among the best known: Gastropod, Latin Burger, Yellow Submarine, Rolling Stove, Dim Sum a Go Go.

The hottest local dining destinations are downtown and the Upper East Side, supplanting the Design District, which supplanted South Beach. Hot downtown restaurants are Eos, Area 31, Zuma, Soi Bistro. Hot on the Upper East Side/Wynwood Arts District are Michy’s, Joey’s, Jimmy’z Kitchen, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, Red Light.

The locavore, sustainable, organic, farm to table ethos is taking hold. Michael Schwartz (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink) is the godfather. Other examples are Sustain, Essensia, 1500 Degrees, Market 17 (Fort Lauderdale), Green Gourmet (Delray Beach).

Inexpensive, Asian-esque restaurants, some with prominent local chefs, are getting popular. Examples: American Noodle Bar (Michael Bloise), Gigi (Jeff McInnis), Soi Asian Bistro.

Miami chefs are looking north. Michelle Bernstein has two restaurants in Omphoy Resort in Palm Beach. Her successor at Azul at the Mandarin Oriental, Clay Conley, will open his own restaurant this month in downtown Palm Beach. Gonzalo Rivera has gone from The Tides SoBe to the Boca Raton Resort.

Coming in 2011 are Jose Andres (Bazaar in the SLS South Beach) and Stephen Starr (Makato in Bal Harbour Shops). Rumor has it Mario Batali and Bobby Flay are looking into coming down.

A chef’s one-pot Sunday supper

“Everything goes into one pot. It’s easy and fast,” Boulud told me.

I’ve adapted his recipe to make preparation even easier. Boulud suggests using whatever vegetables you have on hand along with juicy chicken thighs. Herb oil with lemon zest gives the soup a fresh, sophisticated flavor.

Hawks Cay Chef Birk Flavors of the Florida Keys Interview

Ocean Bounty

Hawks Cay Resort and Marina Chef Wolfgang Birk came to my WLRN NPR radio program for a Florida Keys interview.  While cooking his Ocean Bounty recipe for us to taste on air, the wonderful aromas and smoke set off the fire alarm.  Ever resourceful he finished the dish in the parking lot.

And what a dish — raves from everyone.

The recipe is in Flavors of the Florida keys.  For a podcast of the show, click the on air tab for a link to it.

Copyright © 2010 Dinner In Minutes. All Rights Reserved.