FUNKY LUNCH

Dean & Deluca opened in Singapore this week, which is very exciting. I am secretly loving all these fabulous new retailers and cafes/restaurants that have branched out to Asia, especially Singapore. It can be hard to find a favourite lunch spot that is consistent and of course delivers on service and a good coffee.

So in 2012, what are the options for a good work lunch that is – fast, reasonably priced, good quality and has a “cool factor” or buzz from the café/outlet. Here are a few that may be of interest when you are next in that city.

Dean & Deluca
Singapore, New York, Tokyo, Dubai, Bangkok (I know there are more)
The Dean & Deluca NYC Soho flagship store is great for a fast work lunch as the choice of food is varied and high quality, and while not as big, Singapore ticks the boxes too (even a cheeky glass of wine is an option).

Wholefoods
Stores all across the USA and Canada. Love the one in Seattle and it’s spot a celebrity in the Malibu location. Has now opened locations in the UK too.
LOVE the range of salads, soups… you name it (I actually feel overwhelmed in them sometimes). If you can’t find something to eat in here you aren’t looking hard enough. And of course it is all pretty fresh and healthy. Fingers crossed they come to Asia soon.

Selfridges
London
One of my all-time favourite food halls. Perfect for a Friday lunchtime treat of oysters and a glass of champagne and you can still be back in the office in under an hour.

Hardware Lane
Melboure
Basically you are spoilt for choice in this funky laneway in the city that is full of individual cafes. Try Hardware Societe for a pre-work breakfast or lunch.

Wagamama
UK, Europe, Middle East, USA, Australia, New Zealand
If you are craving Asian food that is stock standard, then this is perfect. While you won’t get a very authentic experience the food is still good and served fast.

If all else fails and you are stuck at your desk, you can always go old school and pack a sandwich and piece of fruit from home!

Where is your favourite lunch place during the working week?

DOWN & DIRTY ON THE STREET

As you travel the world for business (or pleasure) it’s always fun to experience the local culture through food. Now we aren’t talking fancy restaurants, rather food vendors on the street… and a McCafe doesn’t count!

And yes, I have taken into account cleanliness, so no one is getting sick on my watch!

Here are some of the world’s best, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Sfenj, Morocco
Think donuts crossed with a croissant – spongy, deep-fried pastry rings made of unsweetened, sticky yeast dough, with no milk or butter added. Perfect for a morning coffee.The best sfenj are prepared in hanout (closet-sized booths) in the medinas of Morocco’s biggest cities.
Cost – 10 cents each or $2.50 a kilo

Banh mi, Vietnam
I love the food in Vietnam – think French crossed with fresh Asian influences. A baguette grilled over coals – filled with meat, a touch of pâté, crunchy pickled vegetables and fresh herbs, and then add few drops of soy sauce or chilli. The sandwiches are sold almost exclusively from street stalls.
Cost – 90 cents

Currywurst, Germany
Think the perfect hangover food. A thick sausage cut into chunks and doused in curry flavoured ketchup/sauce. You can add chips or bread.
Cost – $3.00

Too many to pick just one, Singapore
Known as one of the cleanest places to eat street food, it also has some of the most varied options. Fish head curry, Hainanese chicken rice (a National dish), chilli crabs, satays. Try Lau Pa Sat for an old school experience.
Cost – from $2.00

Tacos, Mexico
Not just any tacos… but Tacos al pastor (a special in Mexico City) consists of marinated pork and pineapple and of course fresh salsa to accompany it.
Cost – $1.50

Special thanks to WTF reader Nick, for the topic idea!

HOST WITH THE MOST

I am the first to admit I am much better at attending dinner parties than giving them – my strength is eating and drinking rather than cooking and hosting!

Dinner parties aren’t a recent fad from the 70’s, the earliest one has been traced back to a 12,000-year-old site in Israel where the remains of two cows and 71 tortoises, plus fire pits and shaman bones were found – definitely more than two courses worth. Romans were also great at dinner parties, lots of sitting around in togas and eating peeled grapes – a dinner party anyone would like to get invited to.

Attending or hosting one this weekend? Here are some golden rules to guide you through the next dinner party –

As a host you must provide alcohol, and as a guest you must bring it. And the host should always serve guests’ wine immediately.

People know how much Yellow Tail wine costs – always buy a good bottle of wine to take. It costs a small fortune to put on a dinner party so bringing cheap wine is just rude.

Smoking cigarettes without asking permission is unacceptable.

Brush up on your table manners – slurping/eating noises, eating with your mouth open, picking your teeth and blowing your nose on napkins should just not happen.

What ever happened to the cheese course at dinner parties? Hosts, don’t be scared to bring back the cheese!!!

Get some white wine on ice – it is the most popular alcoholic drink for that special meal, being served at 82% of dinner parties.

Guests lists are just as important and here are the popular must have’s and no thank you’s!

NO’s – Hitler, Charles Manson, OJ Simpson, Sarah Palin and Kim Jong II.
YES’s – Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali and Elvis Presley.

And remember lunch can sometimes be better than dinner as you have a whole afternoon and evening ahead!

SUPER-SIZED FOOD

Been eating too much on your last business trip? I definitely did!

Globally, there are now more than 1 billion overweight adults, and at least 300 million of these obese.

Current obesity levels range from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban Samoa. But even in relatively low prevalence countries like China, obesity rates are almost 20% in some cities.

In the USA, one-third of all children born in the current decade will be diabetic.

Why…

The typical hamburger is now four times the size it was in the early 1980s. You can get an order of french fries/chips that is nearly three times as large as an order from 20 years ago. At the movies, you used to get five cups of popcorn, now you can get a tub that holds a whopping 11 cups.

Even our plates are bigger! The typical plate from the 1970s was nine inches across, now they’re on average 13 inches across.

But being on a diet is not always cheap… the average person spends USD$55 a week on food, but these diets cost a lot more than that:

Jenny Craig $138 per week; Nutrisystem – $113 pw; Atkins $100 pw; Weight Watchers $96 pw; Zone $92 per week

The answer… burn more calories than you consume!

THIRSTY THURSDAY

There is nothing better than a nice glass of wine, great conversation and some bar snacks. But drinking and snacking can add up to a lot of unwanted calories, so order carefully next time.

A serving of potato chips (20 to be exact) can cost you 150 calories.
One cup of Trail Mix has a whopping 693 calories!!
Thank goodness this tasty snack only has seven calories per serving. . . Olives
And a serving of wasabi nuts has 168 calories.