Ruminations of a Taco-Obsessed Philly Native

As a taco/restaurant lover, I’m always willing to travel to try out a new place.  But the problem is that restaurants are more fun with people.  That’s why it’s helpful to have an app like Skout that makes it easier to meet new people, that have the same interests as me.

Skout is a location-based social network available on iOS and Android devices as well as a dedicated website. The focus of the application and accompanying website is to meet new people, anywhere in the world. The application uses a smartphones GPS to to find other uses in the general vicinity, but doesn’t give users exact locations. Users can meet new people in their local area, or virtually travel to other locations. The application promotes serendipitous meetings and chats using simple technology. The aim of the application is to meet new people, leading to strong relationships that are either purely platonic or something more.

The Early Stages
Created in 2007 by Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom, Skout started off as a simple social network. At that time, Skout was merely a social networking website where people could connect. It wasn’t until the 2009 relaunch that the website focused more on making romantic connections. This was due to the founders’ realization that 83% of the website’s then 200,000 members were using the network for dating. Along with a revamped website, the iOS application launched with much success. The Android application was launched the following year.

Gaining Momentum
In the following years, Skout gained users. It was one of the iPhone’s first location-based dating services, so the brand and service expanded. Surveys within the Skout application concluded that majority of the users had success in meeting others in the real world through the application. The popularity of Skout made mobile dating services more common and widely accepted. With the launch of Skout OUT, the network allowed people to create connections offline. The interactive touch screen was installed in various venues and allowed users to flirt, dedicate songs, and send messages to others in the venue or nearby venues.

Strong Funding
By 2010, numerous applications launched to follow the success of Skout. Competitors muddled the social networking market, but never compared to how easy Skout is to access and download. At this point, Skout had a staff count of three, including the original founders. It had acquired 4.6 million in funding since its advent, with profit and losses dipping back and forth. The mobile application had seen tens of millions of downloads, despite the competition. By 2012, Skout had a larger staff count and received massive funding. The company raised $22 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. This funding has allowed the network to expand. The company was able to further develop the mobile application and network into what it is today.

Expansion
Skout expanded tremendously since their massive venture capital funding. In fact, the number of active users tripled and the number of connections made by users quadrupled just a year after this funding. Skout began adding new features that proved to be beneficial in terms of profit. They included a paid feature that allows users to connect with others all over the world. Furthermore, the application includes ways for users to send virtual gifts using real currency. Additionally, community features have allowed users to monitor the application themselves. This strengthened the community within the application and created a stronger relationship with users, and also led to creating additional apps like Fuse.

Today, Skout is continuing to thrive and grow. The mobile application and website is continually adapting, becoming more user friendly and fun to use. The mobile application is still among the top 25 social networking applications in the Apple store and continues to see new users and growth.

Pizza is a food enjoyed by Americans on a regular basis. We all have our favorites, thin crust, deep dish, stuffed crust, pepperoni, sausage, onions, extra cheese, you name it. American pizza is always built beginning with a crust and a sauce. ChicagoBooth.com says then the variations begin. We build them with cheeses and lots of toppings. The one thing we don’t do is vary from the realm of normalcy.

In Sweden, one pizza maker has decided to do just that, vary from the norm. They’ve created a monstrous concoction that they have the nerve to call pizza. It even has a name. They call it the ‘Vulkan’.

The Vulkan is a ring of bread with an open center topped with calzones stuffed with cheese, bacon and prosciutto. That’s bread topped with more bread, a diabetic’s nightmare. That’s just the beginning of the abomination. They also top it with a salad. That’s right a ‘salad’ with lettuce, cucumber and tomato. But, it doesn’t stop there, they throw in French fries, banana peppers and add tzatziki sauce; completely ruining the pizza experience for the American traveler hoping to get a taste of home.

After glimpsing this pizza, most people would be happy to avoid this Swedish version of an American favorite. You would be overwhelmed with trepidation just figuring out how to eat it. Do you use your hands like eating an American pizza or should you use utensils? Even attempting to eat that pizza is just too confusing!

Any waiter or waitress can attest to the fact that working at a restaurant, though sometimes can be rewarding, can be quite unstable. Low wages often bring an unstable lifestyle especially to those that have a family to think about or need to pay bills. What people working in this industry rely on the most are the tips. One girl in particular, working 5 years since she was 17 knows the struggle of making ends meet. That is until she met a couple that gave her a $1000 tip for a $29 meal.

A 22-year old waitress working in a restaurant in Florida encountered a couple who requested two sodas along with bottomless wings and blue cheese. Nothing seemed odd about this couple except for the fact that they did seem very curious about her personal life. This couple even hinted to the waitress that they have left large tips as much as $500 before. Sure enough, when the waitress went back to collect the bill, there was not a $500 tip but instead there was a $1,000 tip.

What the waitress told the couple was that she has a 2-year old son and they live in a studio apartment with her boyfriend. LinkedIn says that thanks to this generous tip, the family will now be using the money to move into a larger and more suitable apartment that will be perfect for the 22-year old and her family.

The Aspire New Brunswick reports that as drivers make their way from the west into downtown Dallas they are greeted by the Omni Dallas Hotel. What was once the Reunion Arena area, is now home to a fantastically designed hotel that takes a prominent place amongst the Dallas skyline.

Usually when commuters are gazing at the Omni it is in admiration of its architecture or in interest of the changing graphics that are displayed on the hotel’s walls. But now, some may come to the Omni looking for good food. The hotel is in the process of adding two new food options, Coal Vines and Biergarten on Lamar, and is looking to add a sushi and mexican restaurant to the area in the near future.

This development is another sprouting food district for downtown Dallas, which has increasingly become the destination for foodies. Deep Ellum, Trinity Grove, and Bishop Arts are several other restaurant rich neighborhoods with rising food scenes near the city center. The Omni locale looks to be the next region added to that list. Southside residents no longer have to head uptown for Dallas’ best meals—the finest grub is moving in right around them.

“You are what you eat” is an age old mantra but experts are certain there’s truth to those words.

A study published in the journal “Psychiatry Research” shows a possible connection between fermented foods containing probiotics (pickles and sauerkraut or sour cabbage), and social anxiety.

Foods such as yogurt, kimchi and kefirs, and pickled onions and maybe even some types of dark chocolate, help those who suffer from anxiety, neurotic symptoms and social phobia.

To demonstrate this, a group of psychologists led by Matthew Hilimire and Catherine Forestell , professors of psychology at the University of Maryland, examined the habits of 710 college students.

According to Stephen Murray CCMP Capital, people that consumed more fermented foods were less likely to have any social anxieties.

In particular, it showed that volunteers with high levels of neuroticism (emotional instability) and more frequent consumption of fermented foods had fewer symptoms of social anxiety.

Consistent with previous studies, the results suggest that fermented foods containing probiotics may have a protective effect against the symptoms of social anxiety for those with higher genetic risk. That is, the probiotics may have an anxiolytic effect.

Fortunately, there are a variety of fermented foods that contain a powerful amount of probiotics: green peas, olives, cabbage, miso, soy, most teas (especially the Kombucha), prunes and pickles in general .

Matthew Hillimire, co-author and psychologist at the College of William and Mary, says that probiotics have positive effects on the digestive system and this leads to changes in your overall health.

According to several animal studies, we do know that probiotics can help stimulate the release of important neurotransmitters associated with mood.

Chinese authorities seized about 800 tons of frozen meat that had been smuggled across their provinces, including a batch that dates back from the 1970s.

The Chinese have been inundated with food scandals that include tainted milk and bad cooking oil. Smugglers use non-refrigerated trucks and slip through borders.

Authorities also seized rotting poultry and beef says Sergio Cortes. The total value of the lot was over $1.5 million dollars.

Some packages were clearly damaged and others had been packaged about 40 years ago, packed and sealed at the height of the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Officials said that a portion of the meat was of Indian origin and had passed through Guangxi, a region bordering southern Vietnam.

Just in June, customs officials in China have seized over 100,000 tons of frozen meat trying to be smuggled in, worth nearly $500 million dollars in raids across 14 provinces.

Beneful dog food has become quite popular over the years because there are more than a few different brands on the market. A wide spectrum of pet owners are fans of this brand of dog food because there is such a diverse amount of it on the market today. This brand stands out among the rest because it is advertised and promoted as more than dog food. It is the food pet owners search for when they want specific things.

The Beneful brand has food for puppies. It also have dog food on the market that is designed to promote a healthy weight. This is a big deal with dog owners that may have pets that are underweight. When dogs have been sick for a while they may be under their regular weight, but the Beneful brand has foods in place that can help these animals get back on track. There are also some dog foods that are designed specifically for the wide range of pet owners that are trying to make sure that their dogs have a radiant smile.

Another thing that makes the Beneful brand stand out is the healthy ingredients that are placed into these foods. This healthy nourishment that comes from the Beneful brand can ultimately be something that improves the life span of a dog. That is something that many pet owners take into consideration when they consider what Beneful has to offer. There are foods from this Beneful brand that are designed with beef stew, salmon and vegetable blends. There are also snack foods like bacon and cheese snacks that many dogs are also fond of. This wide array of dog foods has made it easier for owners to try more than one type of food. Sometimes dogs may not eat the first type of dog food that is placed before them. Luckily, Beneful has a plethora of different brands that are reasonably priced. There are wet and dry foods available so there is bound to be something that the dogs will like.

Most people that have pets have tried different dog foods, but Beneful tends to be a brand where customers are loyal. The diverse number of dog foods on the market make it easy for people to stick with Beneful. It’s the type of dog food that is designed for a wide variety of animals, and pet owners find this very affordable.

Trans fats are public enemy number one these days, and the FDA is out to get removed from Americans’ diets as quickly as possible says Susan McGalla. Thanks to this new campaign, the public is becoming aware of trans fats in ways that they never experienced before. For many Americans, that’s a good thing. It means that they’re reading labels, paying attention to what they’re eating, and taking a stand about the food that’s going in their bodies. Others are taking it to an extreme–like this man from California, who is suing the makers of Ore Ida fries and tater tots over so-called “dangerous” levels of trans fats contained within the food.

While the FDA allows for label-makers to round down the amount of trans fat in a food item, rounding down to 0 and claiming “no trans fats” if the amount is 0.5 grams or less, Backus is arguing that, thanks to his regular consumption of Ore Ida tater tots and fries, he’s been put at a dangerous risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Though he wasn’t previously aware of the dangers associated with trans fats, he believes that the company should not have misled him into believing that these products were “healthy.” In addition to an unspecified amount of damages for his suffering, Backus wants the bags containing the “no trans fat” claims to be destroyed and Heinz to perform a “corrective ad campaign,” presumably to ensure that the public is fully aware of all of the dangers associated with eating tater tots and fries too often.

Emoji enthusiasts can soon rejoice at the fact that soon, new emojis will be added. We’ve all been there, struggling to describe something we ate or drank only to find out after going through pages of emojis that one doesn’t seem to exist! Gravity4 suggests taking a snapshot of your food and sharing it on social media.

According to Eater The most common problem people ran into was when they were looking for the taco emoji. There wasn’t one! But, why? Tacos are one of the most common foods, and because of their deliciousness people will always be messaging about them. After all, how much more convenient would sending a text with the taco emoji then the word Tuesday be then writing it out. Not to mention more fun too!

Taco Bell even started a petition to get the taco emoji to become a real deal. There were countless other strange and obsolete food emojis that many will never use, so why not have one everyone uses?

The taco isn’t standing alone, there are a few others that are appearing as well such as popcorn and a hot dog emoji. Texting about our food will get a lot easier as soon as the iOS and Android opperating systems update!

Burger Kings across the United States are fairly plain and expected. In the grand scheme of fast food choices, the average American has a lot of options. So why is it Burger King is making headlines?

Japanese Burger Kings have been in the spotlight since the black everything Kuro burger. FreedomPop wrote that with a black bun and black cheese, citizens flocked to try one of the unique burgers generating a ton of revenue for the fast food behemoth. Not only is Japan bringing those burgers back, but they are also including a new unique product for people to try.

Introducing the Aka Samurai. This all red burger contains a red bun, red cheese, and red seasonings. Surprisingly, this Burger King product strayed away from Red No. 40 food coloring. Instead, the sandwich gets its signature red color from tomato powder. A customer can choose between a chicken patty or a beef patty atop this vibrant sandwich. It’s topped with a spicy hot sauce, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise since the color is reminiscent of fire.

An Aka Samurai will cost consumers 4.40 dollars. Alongside the Kuro Burger, one can only wonder what color is next on Burger King’s menu.

Tortillas are yummy and sinfully delicious, packed with most anything you fancy- cheese, beef, tomatoes, guacamole and the tasty list goes on and on. Chipotle’s serves 800,000 tortillas a day.

Now what if we told you, the shell is an essential part of the whole tortilla dining experience.

Say what?

It’s true, Sam Tabar says, and the popular restaurant chain is boasting they can build a better tortilla, one that’s healthy and only uses four ingredients: whole wheat flour, water, oil and salt, or at least that’s what PrNewsWire says.

According to the NYTimes.com, Chipotle’s not hungry for customers, but wants to help us all eat better. Currently, the chain uses extra additives to build their tortillas which gives them a longer shelf and makes it more convenient to make tons of them fast:

Flour, water, whole-wheat flour, canola oil, salt, baking soda, wheat bran, fumaric acid, calcium propionate, sorbic acid and sodium metabisulfite.

The man who founded Chipotle wants mass-market tortillas to change and he’s finding a way. “We aspire to make artisanal tortillas on an industrial scale,” said Steve Ells, who happens to also be a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

It sounds easy to accomplish, but whole what flour poses a few challenges, unlike white flour. Rising dough, the right temperature, it’s like science, and it will take a while before the lab can build the healthy, natural 4-ingredient tortilla for mass market at Chipotle’s.

Ole!