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Cobra Kai is my new favorite show on Netflix

I didn’t grow up watching many 80s films as a kid. I always heard of Karate Kid but cannot remember watching it in my youth. I knew who Mr. Miyagi was since he was legendary. I was a fan of Japanese culture though thanks to my father and growing up in San Francisco.

As a child, I enrolled in karate at a local dojo in my neighborhood, it was a short stint that never went beyond the white belt – but I fondly remember learning katas, sparring, and that one time I accidentally almost broke my sisters boyfriend’s nose while showing him a new move I learned from my sensei.

Yes – I thought it was pretty cool.

Karate was an important part of American culture in the late 20th century and although it might not be as popular today, clearly there is still an interest out there. Cobra Kai tells the story Johnny Lawrence, the high school cool kid who didn’t grow up to be such a hot shot and also Miguel Diaz, a Latinx kid who lacks confidence and becomes the first recruit to a new Cobra Kai dojo.

Lawrence is a good anti-hero, flawed and funny and he is far more entertaining than Karate Kid star Daniel LaRusso, who is stuck up and constantly whiny. The show centers around the never-ending feud between these two nearly 30 years after their first tournament. The dynamic between them is good and sometimes you even want them to become friends although the rules of the show won’t allow that.

Cobra Kai is a little strange for our current era – it doesn’t try to fit into the mold you see on so many shows but looks to its roots from the 80s to boost itself and that makes the show quite charming. The high school drama never gets too intense and there is plenty of karate action to compensate for any melodrama. This show is neither 13 Reasons Why (thankfully) nor is it Kill Bill.

When some shows try to make grown-ups interact, it can often feel forced and like a tangent from the actual story, but I very much enjoy watching Johnny Lawrence and Daniel LaRusso navigate their adulthood.

Also I like the idea dynamic between Miguel and Johnny. It’s almost like a big brother relationship over a fatherly one. Maybe its that they are both taking the crappy hand they have been dealt and making the best of it.

For me – I really liked watching Miguel Diaz. Maybe it reminds me of my karate childhood and the cool kid I wanted to be when I was little or how I felt wearing a katate gi.

Many of the shows characters are living in wealth, privilege, or are just plain whiny, but Miguel is down-to-earth and so are his friends. Like most kids they are looking for confidence and karate gives them that. In an interesting way Cobra Kai is more like LaRusso as a kid which is an interesting twist.

The way the show portrays younger kids today as stuck on social media and lacking social skills is pretty accurate as well. Kids could use some karate.

Plus I like watching them kick ass.

Cobra Kai is a well-written and acted show and the fighting choreography is good. We live in an era where people are hyper critical of every detail and it is very hard to make a show just entertaining, but I feel that Cobra Kai does that well and I am thankful for that. Over the weekend it hit #1 on the Netflix watch list.

I recommend Cobra Kai on Netflix and am looking forward to Season 3.

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Articles Beer News

NEWS: Coppertail Brewing in Ybor City celebrates 6 years

Coppertail Brewing Co. located in Ybor City is celebrating their 6 year anniversary with a crowd-sourced mixed 4-pack of Hop Skull IPAs. A little over a month ago, fans were asked to vote for their favorites of the Hop Skull Series and the top three would end up being re-brewed and released as part of an assorted 4-pack.

The fourth beer in the 4-pack is Coppertail’s Sixth Anniversary Hop Skull Triple IPA. This hazy IPA comes in at 10.5% and features Chinook, Citra, Loral, and Bravo Hops with their house haze strain. The
beer features notes of citrus, apricot, and pineapple with a sizable malt backbone to make it the “juiciest” IPA they have ever made.

The three winners of the voting contest were Hop Skulls #3, #5, and #11 which are all hazy IPAs.

“It feels great when you hit those milestones and the whole team wants to get together and celebrate. This is the best way we could think of to celebrate that milestone and still keep everyone involved.” says Kent Bailey, President at Coppertail Brewing.

The pack was released on Friday, August 28th, at Coppertail’s Ybor City location tasting room ONLY in a mixed 4-pack and on draft. It is also available as a standalone 4-pack. Commemorative shirts and glassware are available for purchase as well as a gift pack containing a shirt, 2 glasses, a mixed 4-pack and 2 free beer tokens.  

Coppertail Brewing Co. is an independently owned production brewery in Tampa, Fla, founded in 2014 by homebrewer and reformed attorney, Kent Bailey and professional brewer, Casey Hughes. The two wanted to bring more hop-forward and Belgian-influenced beer to the thirsty masses.

Find more information at Coppertailbrewing.com/HopSkull

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Articles Recipes

Recipe: Mom’s Corned Beef

My Mom grew up with corned beef. I only had it sporadically as a kid, but wasn’t a big fan in my childhood. The other day my Mom decided to make some and told me stories about my Grandma who made it to help support her kids as a single mother.

Here is my mom’s corned beef recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 can corned beef
  • 1 small can of corn (diced)
  • 1/4 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons of sofrito
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1/2 can of tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro (rough chopped)
  • 1 small potato (peel and cut into mid-squares)
  • Sazon Tropical packet (about 1 tbsp. if using your own Sazon)
  • Garlic salt, black pepper and salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of water

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle a pan set to medium-high with cooking oil to saute sofrito, onions, and bell pepper for about 5 minutes
  2. Add crushed garlic, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup of water, combine and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add corn with corn juice from the can (if the consistency is too thick add 1/4 cup of more water) and simmer for 2 minutes
  4. Add the corned beef and break it up and then add potatoes
  5. Add the Sazon Tropical packet and other seasonings (garlic salt, salt, black pepper) as well as half of the cilantro and cover on medium low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. NOTE: Always make sure consistency is not too dry or too wet…add a little water if needed but also adjust seasonings if needed.
  6. Serve with white rice and sweet plantains. Add the rest of the cilantro a little to each plate.
  7. Enjoy!
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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: PSL is back at Starbucks along with other fall favorites

PSL season continues with Pumpkin Spice Lattes now at Starbucks locations nationwide and as well as in Canada. This is the 17th year that the drink will be featured at Starbucks locations.

The pumpkin spice industry is worth over $500 million according to the Forbes. This is the earliest that the coffee industry has moved to begin the fall season.

Pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes feature real pumpkin sauce, signature espresso and steamed milk with the celebrated flavor combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Available hot, iced or blended.

Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew returns to the menu, crafted with Starbucks® Cold Brew sweetened with vanilla syrup, topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a dusting of pumpkin spice topping. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Pumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks

Fall bakery items are also on menus nationwide with the pumpkin trio: Pumpkin Cream Cheese MuffinPumpkin Scone, and Pumpkin Bread. 

There is also a number of pumpkin spice-flavored ground, packaged, and ready-to-drink products now available and NEW Starbucks® Maple Pecan Flavored K-Cup® Packs + Ground Coffee and Starbucks® Salted Caramel Mocha Flavored Creamer.

Hopefully this brings this cheer to people. Happy PSL!

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Articles Product Reviews

Product Review: Pacific Foods Organic Oat Non-Dairy Beverage

I have been wanting to buy some oat milk for some time so when I was Pacific Foods Organic Oat Non-Dairy Beverage the other day at Target I decided to give it a try. It costs around $4 which isn’t too bad.

Pacific Foods Organic Oat Non-Dairy Beverage.

The taste of the oat milk is solid, but it does taste a little on the watery side especially in my coffee. However, I would say the taste of the beverage is growing on me the more that I drink it. I also like that this product is organic and non-gmo considering the controversy around pesticides and oats and that it has some protein.

Since the product is on the sweeter side, I use it very lightly in my drinks so even though it is only 32 fl. oz. – it goes a long way for me. I would also like an unsweetened version of this.

I definitely want to explore trying the product in different ways beyond just my coffee in the future. I would buy it again.

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Articles News Restaurant News

NEWS: BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi opening first Tampa location September 2020

BENTO Asian Kitchen + Sushi is opening their first Tampa location near USF in September 2020.

The 100-seat, 2,800 square-foot eatery will be located at 5103 East Fowler Avenueacross from the new Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, and University of South Florida campus. Fans of the Florida-based chain have long been asking for a location to open in Tampa.

“Our first BENTO location opened in the small college town of Gainesville 18 years ago in 2002 and was an almost instant hit amongst the University of Florida student crowd. Following that success, we’ve opened in college communities across Florida from UNF Jacksonville to UCF Orlando to FSU Tallahassee to USF St. Pete. Tampa has been one of our highest-requested cities so we were ecstatic to have found a spot that would be easily accessible for USF Tampa students,” says Johnny Tung, co-founder.

The Tampa location will offer plenty of outdoor seating, and will feature BENTO’s signature red sushi bar, warm wood tones, and brass accents reminiscent of modern cafes and lounges found in Japan & Taiwan.

“We’ve been eyeing Tampa for a very long time. Being an economic hub in West Florida, and home to a major University as well as several well-established sports teams, we’re thrilled to finally be able to call Tampa our new home. Notably, there’s an amazing emerging food culture that we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of. The Fowler location will certainly not be the last in the area. We’re hoping to open up three more Tampa locations in the near future,” says Tung.

BENTO Tampa will mark the concept’s 17th location, and the second in the Tampa Bay area following its downtown St. Petersburg debut in the fall of 2018. It will be joining a lineup of 16 other locations across Florida including restaurants in Orlando, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Davie, Boca Raton, Pembroke Pines, Tallahassee, Kissimmee, Winter Park, and BENTO’s newest location in Oviedo.

The concept has no plans of slowing down with six more locations expected to open within the next year. Stores are planned in Dania Beach, Lake Nona, Wellington, Jacksonville Beach, Downtown Jacksonville, and Sarasota – all projected to open before 2020 comes to a close.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, BENTO has been proactive in adapting its operation to accommodate off-site dining. The launch of BENTO’s new company-wide online ordering site, in particular, is making social distancing a whole lot easier for the brand’s loyal customers.

The new ordering platform allows users to skip the line, schedule an order in advance for pickup or delivery, and pay with just a few clicks. Users also have the option to save their favorite orders, and take advantage of online-exclusive deals. There is also a mobile app version coming soon.

Following this wave, future locations will be featuring a new pick-up window for a more contact-less experience.

Find more information at eatatbento.com.

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Articles News Restaurant News

PSL Season is Upon Us: Dunkin’ Brings Back Pumpkin Spice Lattes August 19th

Get your taste buds and outfits ready, Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) season is upon us and will return by Wednesday, August 19th, to Dunkin’ Donuts. It is the earliest that the season has ever started as brands rush to bring back the autumn season.

On the menu…

  • NEW Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte: Spicing up the brand’s fall lineup is an exceptional seasonal sip worthy of even the most fanatical “fallower,” Dunkin’s new Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte. Elevating PSL to another level of enjoyment, the Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte – available hot or iced – combines rich, smooth espresso with pumpkin and vanilla flavors, topped with whipped cream, a caramel drizzle, and cinnamon sugar topping.
  • NEW Chai Latte: Dunkin’s fall celebration includes a new option for tea lovers, offering a sweetened chai tea blend with spices including cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg combined with milk.
  • Pumpkin Flavored Coffees: The classic cup for fueling up in fall, Dunkin’s pumpkin flavor swirl is available in its hot or iced coffee, Chai Latte, Cold Brew, espresso drinks, frozen coffee, and frozen chocolate.
  • Apple Cider Donut and MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats: Dunkin’s Apple Cider Donut features an apple cider cake ring tossed in cinnamon sugar. For a bite-sized serving of seasonal sweetness, guests can also enjoy Apple Cider MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats.
  • Pumpkin Donut, MUNCHKINS® Donut Hole Treats, and Muffin: Fall isn’t complete without the classic treat of Dunkin’s Pumpkin Donut, a glazed pumpkin cake donut that can also be enjoyed as MUNCHKINS® donut hole treats, along with Dunkin’s Pumpkin Muffin, topped with white icing and sweet streusel crumbs.
  • Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: To help feed fall cravings, Dunkin’ is bringing back its Maple Sugar Bacon Breakfast Sandwich, featuring five half-slices of maple sugar seasoned bacon, egg, and white cheddar cheese served on a warm, flaky croissant.
Dunkin’.

Satisfying Snackin’ Selection:

  • NEW Stuffed Bagel Minis: Bagel lovers can go small this fall, as Dunkin’ introduces Stuffed Bagel Minis, mini bagel rounds filled with plain cream cheese and served warm. Stuffed Bagel Minis are available in two varieties, Plain and Everything Topping.
  • NEW Steak & Cheese Rollups: Dunkin’ is adding steak to its lineup of rollups, which also include Ham & Cheese and Bacon & Cheese varieties. Steak & Cheese Rollups, which come two per order, include delicious steak and American cheese rolled up in flour tortillas.
  • NEW Maple Sugar Seasoned Snackin’ Bacon: Dunkin’ is also putting a seasonal spin on its beloved Snackin’ Bacon. Guests can enjoy eight snack-sized slices of bacon specially flavored with maple sugar seasoning. Each order comes in a sleeve, making it easy to enjoy on the go.  

PSL at Home: Guests can also take the taste of pumpkin home with Dunkin’s Pumpkin K-Cup® pods, available at participating Dunkin’ restaurants nationwide for a limited time. Additionally, Pumpkin Spice K-Cup® pods and packaged coffee will be available in grocery stores and other retailers nationwide for a limited time this season.

All items will be available by August 19th nationwide. Happy PSL!

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Articles News Restaurant News

Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed and Honey Maid Brands join forces to give $50,000 to local restaurants

Three popular food brands are joining forces this summer to give $10,000 to five local restaurants in celebration of National S’mores Day: Hershey’s, Jet-Puffed, and Honey Maid.

The trio is calling on small, hometown restaurants and their staff to showcase their favorite S’mores dessert on their menu (new or existing) for a chance to win one of five $10,000 prizes. Restaurants have until Monday, August 24th to enter.

“We are overwhelmed by the love people have had for S’mores this summer. During the current pandemic, many families have turned to the connectivity and comfort of making S’mores as a way to get through this challenging time,” said Bill Maclean, senior marketing director, Hershey’s brand.

Photo Credit: Hershey’s

“We wanted to say thank you and bring attention to all of those local restaurants who have been affected. We want to provide some relief while celebrating these restaurants, their recipes and their love of S’mores.”

The rules to enter for businesses are:

  1. Post a picture or short video to Instagram or Twitter showcasing your most creative S’mores recipe. The treat MUST at least be made with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Honey Maid Graham Crackers or Graham Cracker Crumbs – the classic S’mores ingredients!
  2. Make sure to tag @hersheys @kraftjetpuffed @honeymaidsnacks and use the hashtag #SmoresGivesBackContest. For the caption of the posted photo or video, tell why your restaurant deserves to win a prize, and how the prize would be used to impact the restaurant and its employees.
  3. No Purchase is Necessary to enter. For full details of eligibility and entry, including judging criteria, see the Official Rules. Contest ends 11:59:59 PM EDT on August 24, 2020. Void where prohibited. Must be age of majority or older to enter. Entries submitted on behalf of restaurants.

Find more information at smoresgivesback.com.

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Articles News Restaurant News

Sweetgreen rolls out late summer menu with new fruits and veggies

Fast-casual chain sweetgreen has announced a late summer menu with new fruits and vegetables to highlight the season such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, summer corn, and peaches.

For the late summer menu, sweetgreen is working with more than 160 suppliers across the country to source local, sustainable produce for each market. 

New on the menu for the season:

  • Pesto Ratatouille Plate: a whole chicken thigh, roasted eggplant and peppers, heirloom tomatoes, basil, shaved parmesan, warm wild rice, with a pesto vinaigrette
  • Peaches + Yogurt: a classic combo of of peaches and cream featuring a tangy cashew yogurt sauce

Returning by popular demand:

  • Summer Corn Bowl: roasted corn and peppers, tomatoes, shredded cabbage, cilantro, goat cheese, tortilla chips, spicy sunflower seeds, warm quinoa, arugula, and Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by Nicolas Jammet, Nathaniel Ru, and Jonathan Neman and now has over 100 locations in the United States. Find more information at sweetgreen.com.

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Articles Coffee Product Reviews Reviews

Review: RoosRoast Coffee – Portland in the 90s and Lobster Butter Love

I worked out of cafes all day in the pre-pandemic era so I’ve been trying to adapt to being home more and still finding a way to explore different coffees. In a way getting coffee delivered is a big game changer since I am more inclined to buy coffee from around the nation than usual.

A friend recommended RoosRoast based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and I decided to give them a try. I ordered myself an 8 oz. bag of Portland in the 90s ($8) and 8 oz. bag of Lobster Butter Love ($8) to try. Both darker roasts.

RoosRoast is rated in the Top 10 in Michigan by MLive.com. Like many entrepreneurs, John Roos started his business in his garage. The business has now grown to have multiple locations and is sold at major retailers.

I loved the packaging of the coffee and the way it was delivered with a personalized postcard. I feel like the little touches definitely improve a customer service experience, especially since I can’t actually travel to Michigan at this time or really anywhere.

The Lobster Butter Love.

The first roast I tried was the Lobster Butter Love. Upon first opening the coffee bag, I almost felt like I was smelling seafood which was interesting (there is no lobster though of course). I ran the coffee through my IMUSA moka pot first.

The coffee has strong buttery element as the name implies and is smooth. It is a very easy coffee to enjoy. The flavor is a little overwhelming and great for one cup – but I probably would not enjoy it as a big batch.

I actually fell deeply in love with with the Portland in the 90s dark roast. This coffee I could drink over and over and waking up to this coffee was truly a delight. The smell and flavor was excellent. I would order this one again.

Both coffees were great as pour overs, but honestly I was quite happy with them in my moka pot as well and preferred it in there for a more bold flavor instead of the light, clean flavor that the Chemex gives for these coffees.

Overall, I recommend both coffees from RoosRoast although Portland in 90s is my choice out of the two and would order from them again. The half pound pricing makes it quite easy to try different roasts as well.

Check them out at RoosRoast.com.