Ruminations of a Taco-Obsessed Philly Native

Taco Bell has created mouthwatering and healthy new flavors. They have added Doritos to their taco shells. They also raised their standards with their new set of nutritious ingredients. They are removing any artificial flavors, colors, and added trans fats. There will not be any high fructose corn syrup in their menu items. They have made the choice to replace many ingredients with natural and tasty alternatives according to Alexei Beltyukov. You may expect to see a brighter and enhanced menu selection. Taco Bell has fully committed to becoming the brand you can continue to trust. Their commitment to every consumer can be counted on. These new changes will not change their beverage selection. The co-branded items will also remain unchanged. You can expect that Taco Bell will provide more natural ingredients for their customers while adding delicious flavors. These changes are planned to be set in place by the end of this year.

Anyone who has ever been hungry at the grocery store knows what a mistake it is. When your stomach is grumbling unhealthy convenience foods are extremely appealing. So what can someone do to help ensure their trip to the grocery store is full of healthy choices?

Researchers from Cornell University think they have the answer. A new study conducted shows that eating healthy foods before shopping can be used a psychological primer for making healthier choices.

The study conducted looked at the shopping habits of more than 100 participants. Those who were given a slice of apple before selecting their groceries purchased up to 28% more fruits and vegetables than those who were given a cookie. They even purchased 25% more fruits and vegetables than those who were given nothing at all.

Priming is a well known construct in psychology according to Alexei Beltyukov. Marketing agencies use it all the time to sell you products. It works by creating associations in your brain that affect decision making.

Eating healthy food before going to the store will help keep healthy food on your mind. Eating a healthy breakfast will help you eat healthy the rest of the day. Bringing a list of healthy food to the store will constantly keep you in the healthy mindset and help you make better choices.

Humans have the natural tendency to place blame on tragic events on people rather than on societal conditions. It is often until years after a tragic event that society finally states that an individual or group was less responsible for the event then the conditions of the time.

According to CNN, a lawyer for 32-year-old engineer Brandon Bostian, who was driving the Amtrak train that crashed late Tuesday night, told the hosts of “Good Morning America” this morning, Thursday, May 14, that his client doesn’t remember much about the crash. Bostian suffered a serious head injury that has left him with 15 staples in his head. He remembers the curve, attempting to slow the train, losing consciousness, waking up and then calling emergency services.

Although Bostian tested negative for drugs, police and investigators are in the process of retrieving his phone records as other engineers have caused past crashes by texting while driving according to Bernardo Chua on Facebook.

Yet, the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” hasn’t been handled well by officials. Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, has judged Bostian and told the media that he was “reckless” even though no proof of recklessness exists at this time. National Transportation Safety Board Robert Sumwalt told the press that the NTSB is still investigating. Some of Nutter’s critics have told the media that he’s the one being “reckless” by judging Bostian before all of the evidence has been gathered by investigators.

Attention Olive Garden bread stick lovers. Be prepared to have your day made. The popular Italian-style restaurant chain has announced that they will now be offering more than just unlimited bread sticks. They are taking their bread to the next level by offering bread stick sandwiches.


The company has announced that effective June 1st they will introduce two new sandwiches to their lunch menu. They are rolling out the Chicken Parmesan version and a Meatball version to start. They plan to keep the variety limited at first to see if this product will really resonate with guests.


Mark Ahn has read that, according to a spokesperson from the Olive Garden, they announced that they were excited to launch the new test product. They said if they are as popular as their current bread sticks, expanding the selection shouldn’t be an issue. The company is confident that the new product will really increase lunch time sales and they will be able to move the option to their dinner menu shortly after.


This is not the first time Olive Garden has introduced an insanely creative marketing strategy. Just last year they offered the unlimited pasta passes for a seven week period. A North Carolina man purchased a pasta pass for $100. This allowed the man to get unlimited pasta, salad, bread sticks and a soft drink for seven weeks. The man said for the $100 her spent on the pasta pass he was able to eat over $1500 in food.


Fast food is setting out on a new frontier, and the biggest names in the industry are revamping their menu’s to stay on top of consumer demands, as well as the cost efficient demands of their corporate structures, as there has been a significant decline in sales compared to last year’s numbers. It’s the wild wild west out there, with firework-like displays of guns blazing to guide our attention, and taste buds, towards new specialty artisan sandwiches, healthier menu options, mascot enhancements, and allowing consumers to get the most from their dollars. People are not only interested in the cheapest fare anymore, it’s all about a delicate balance between quality and quantity. As a fast food consumer I feel this fierce, and healthy, competition among chains across the country, proves the value of my business to these brands, and it honestly makes me want to go get a pretzel burger right now! says however, I do wonder how the low income consumer will be accommodated.

As an entrepreneur and real estate developer, Haidar Barbouti has certainly made his mark.His venture into the restaurant world leaves little to be desired either, as his dedication to real food and substantial portions have made his restaurant UP, popular with restaurant aficionados in Houston.

Barbouti’s restaurant specializes in good quality American food. Despite not having any experience as a chef or having a culinary degree he decided to open his own restaurant. He was inspired after traveling to Europe and visiting restaurants all over the world. His experiences taught him what he wanted and what he didn’t want from his dining experiences. He decided to use this knowledge to create the kind of restaurant he would want to eat at.

His restaurant focuses on American fare and specializes in simple homemade food like your grandmother used to make, but in a classier, more upscale atmosphere. The larger portions and simpler food compared to other top-notch restaurants are what makes UP Restaurant stand out from the crowd.

Barbouti used his experience in business to help build the restaurant so that it would be a profitable enterprise and attract the right kind of clientele. He knows how to run a business, as he has demonstrated in his past ventures, such as the successful Highland Village shopping center in Houston and applies that expertise and experience to his restaurant.

In addition to expertly crafted, yet simple food with ample portions the restaurant features a chic decor and a beautiful patio that attracts the kind of crowd that likes to see and be seen. The patrons come for the atmosphere and stay for the food. Barbouti takes a hands on approach to his restaurant and likes to make sure that everything is made from scratch. That means carefully selecting the best flour for the restaurants homemade Italian inspired pasta, and using fresh carefully pealed garlic and other ingredients in the restaurant’s dishes. Barbouti visits his restaurant
on a regular basis and makes sure that everything is up to his standards. If something is not up to his quality standards, he does not hesitate to tell his staff.

It is Barbouti’s dedication to quality, hands on approach and business expertise that make UP restaurant such a success.

Mikal Watts suggests that Panera Bread has made a list of 150 ingredients deemed unacceptable for their food products. They’re following on the heels of other companies that have made the decision to improve the foods and drinks they sell. Last month, PepsiCo said they’re removing aspartame from diet drinks, Kraft is getting rid of artificial dyes from their iconic macaroni and cheese, and Chipotle is banning all genetically modified foods.

People are looking for whole and natural foods, and they want to know exactly what they’re eating. Artificial ingredients that can’t be pronounced are becoming increasingly undesirable, so Panera is eliminating such things as maltodextrin, sulfur dioxide, aluminum potassium sulfate, etc.

Nobody knows whether Panera Bread made its “no no” list for publicity purposes or not. The most important thing to note, though, is that companies are listening and making changes that the public seems to want.