Entries categorized "Food and Drink"

Chefs Feeling Competitive and Creative for the COOL Cuisine Burger Battle

Bistro 33 Impossible burger at dinner_crop
Bistro 33 Impossible burger at dinner

By Linnea Patterson

Plant-based eating is growing faster than ever in 2019. For this we can thank the many creative chefs whose innovations allow more and more people to become comfortable with meat alternatives.

The COOL Cuisine Burger Battle is a month-long contest where chefs compete for diners’ taste buds. Diners get to taste and rate each burger they try among 17 different eateries. Many of the participating chefs are just as excited, if not more so, than the diners. You can find a list of contenders at coolcuisine.net.

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UC Davis study shows grain-free and other “boutique” diets associated with heart disease in dogs

Petco-displayOne of the benefits of living in Davis is having a world-class veterinary research center right down the road, one that produces research like the work highlighted in the article “Dogs Fed Some Popular Diets Could Be at Risk of Heart Disease.”  Yet the more that I learn about this research, the more I realize how resistant people are to the message.

The rough idea is this: researchers have found a relatively recent increase in the number of dogs diagnosed with Taurine-Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).  DCM is a disease of the heart muscle that leads to reduced heart pumping function and increased heart size, and it can result in severe consequences such as congestive heart failure or sudden cardiac death.  Researchers are still trying to isolate the exact cause, but it has been associated with grain-free diets, raw diets, and foods that contain exotic ingredients like peas and lentils.  It is not yet known why these foods would lead to low taurine and DCM, but adding taurine (an amino acid) to the dog’s diet does not seem to help.  (More details here).

So, the cautious approach would seem to be to avoid feeding dogs these boutique and grain-free foods until researchers figure things out further.  What should dogs eat, then?  A Facebook group which is facilitating the gathering of data and exchange of information among researchers is currently recommending Purina Pro Plan, Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, and Iams.

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Davis Chefs Battle to Create the Best Planet-Friendly, Plant-Based Burger, March 1-31

Graphic logo and participanThere’s no easier way to do something good for the planet (and your health) than to sit down and bite into a juicy, flavor-packed plant-based burger with friends or family. And thanks to COOL Cuisine, a partner of Cool Davis, seventeen eateries in Davis will be offering plant-based burgers or sandwiches on their menus throughout March as part of a fun contest involving all diners as judges.

Beef is a very resource-intensive product. The Burger Battle will offer a wide range of alternatives that are taste sensations, filling, and that diners can feel good about ordering. A beef burger can use more than twice the acreage and emit 10 times the greenhouse gasses than a meal made from plants. To produce one beef burger is takes the same amount of water as 33 showers or washing your car 15 times. In the last year many Silicon Valley companies rolled out patties that mimic the mouth-feel, juiciness, look, and flavor of a beef burger. All competing burgers, whether made from scratch or using commercial patties, and side dishes offered will contain no animal products.

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Vegan food at de Vere’s Irish Pub? Yes!

AvocadotoastLast night, about 30 members of Cool Cuisine visited de Vere’s Irish Pub, where a grand (and tasty) time was had by all.  Cool Cuisine, founded by Davisite Anya McCAnn, “is a coalition of individuals and organizations seeking more plant-based dining options.”  Through meetups at restaurants and potlucks, Cool Cuisine seeks to support people who want to eat plant-based diets (for whatever reason, and whether they are vegans or not), while also encouraging local restaurants to provide more plant-based restaurant items.  In other words, all are welcome – check out the Facebook page or the Meetup group to be updated on future events.

I’ve been to several successful Cool Cuisine restaurant meetups now, including ones at Symposium, Nami Sushi, Davis Noodle City, Yeti Restaurant, and Three Ladies Café.  In some cases we were given special menus, whereas in other cases we just enjoyed the vegan items already on the menu.  But de Vere’s was certainly an unexpected surprise, vegan food not being typically associated with Irish pub fare.

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