Hot Dogs for the Dog Days of Summer

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Hot Dogs are America’s Favorite

Hot dogs are considered one of America’s favorite summer time foods.  In fact, most hot dogs are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year.  On average, Americans eat about sixty hot dogs in each year – that is a lot of hot dogs.  If you think about it – would a baseball game, Fourth of July cookout, or just hanging out with friends in your backyard be the same without a hot dog?

Hot Dog History

In 1987, a city in Germany celebrated the 500th anniversary of the hot dog.  The city was Frankfurt, which is where the term frankfurter comes from.  This first hot dog was actually created in 1484; which is before Columbus even set sail for the new world.  In 1867, Charles Feltman opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand in Brooklyn, New York.  It is claimed by some that in 1880, a St. Louis street vendor invented today’s hot dogs when he asked his brother-in-law, a baker, to invent a roll or bun that would hold the dogs.

Hot Dogs are Best when Steamed

There is one thing, however, that stands out about hot dogs.  The hot dogs that you cook at home never seem to taste as good as the ones that are cooked and prepared bStar Hot Dog cookery a vendor or by a restaurant.  Why is that?  Could it be that hot dogs cooked in a hot dog steamer are always juicier than hot dogs cooked on a grill?  Could it be that hot dogs that are served in a steamy warm hot dog bun taste better than hot dogs served on a toasted bun?  The answer is most definitely “yes” to both questions.

Hot Dog Steamers carries some of the industry’s best hot dog steamers by Star Manufacturing International.  Star’s hot dog steamers feature side-by-side design to better control the temperatures of both the hot dogs and the hot dog buns.  The Star classic design also features top-loading for quicker and easier access to the hot dogs and buns.

If you are ready to start serving one of the favorite foods of summer, give one of our customer representatives a call and we will get you started.

Food Safety Should be at Top of List

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Food Safety Matters

Food Safety … It isn’t something most people think about on a daily basis, except for the restaurant industry that is.  We think about it everyday because the last thing any of us want is for someone to get sick from the food that we work hard to prepare.  We also don’t want to think about our restaurant being shut down because we didn’t meet food safety standards.

Food Safety Guidelines

With the right equipment and the right knowledge, food safety is a pretty easy thing to handle.

Some great guidelines to remember are:

–  All restaurant employee employees should follow hygiene guidelines; such as washing hands after using the restroom and before preparing food.

–  Cross-contamination of foods should be avoided at all times.  Wash, rinse and sanitize all food contact surfaces, such as work tables, slicers, and other preparation equipment.

–  Foods must be cooked to recommended internal temperatures.

holding cabinets–  Hot foods should be held hot at temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.  Holding cabinets provide a constant source of proper heat.

–  Cold foods should be kept cold at temperatures of 41 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.  Keep a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is at the proper setting.

–  Abusing standard time and temperature standards for food should be avoided at all costs when handling prepared foods.

–  Leftovers should only be reheated in the oven once; after that they should be tossed out.

Food Safety Means Better Health

As stated earlier in the post, food safety matters to everyone … restaurateur, chef, employees, and patrons can all be harmed by foodborne pathogens.  There are more than 250 known foodborne diseases that cause anywhere from minor illness to death.  By following the simple guidelines listed above and by making sure all of your equipment is functioning properly, you can help prevent disease and illness caused by unhealthy foods.

Taste of Chicago is Summer Favorite

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Taste of Chicago in 28th Year

The Taste of Chicago is an indicator of summer for many Illinois residents. Considered the world’s largest food festival, the Taste of Chicago promises not to disappoint.

The Taste of Chicago, considered the second largest tourist attraction in Illinois, runs for ten days starting this year on Friday, June 27th and running until Sunday, July 6th. The Taste of Chicago, now in its 28th year, sees over 3 million festival attendees in its Grant Park location in downtown Chicago. There are over 70 restaurants and food vendors that participate each year in this free-admission food festival.

Taste of Chicago Brings World Class Fare

All types of cuisine can be found at this much anticipated food festival. Kitchens all over Chicago prepare ethnic and exotic foods, family favorites and Chicago specialties to feed all the hungry festival goers. Then the restaurants line up along the park with their portable ovens and refrigerators in hopes that their food creations are chosen as the Taste of Chicago favorite.

Taste of Chicago More Than Food

Food isn’t the only thing that you will find at this Mid-West food festival. You will also find a 5K Race for the Taste with proceeds going to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, as well as top-notch entertainment.
The free entertainment at the 2008 Taste of Chicago food festival includes the likes of Chaka Kahn, Stevie Wonder, Plain White T’s, Gomez, Old 97’s, Bonnie Raitt and many others.

Taste of Chicago Participants

Now if you are a Chicago restaurant that wants to participate in the Taste of Chicago, you are a little late for this year. The applications were due back in February. However, contact the Illinois Restaurant Association to make sure that you are on the list to receive an application for the 2009 Taste of Chicago.

And if you do get in, make sure to give us a call and we will get you all the restaurant equipment you need to prepare your festival cuisine.

Ice Machine Slime: Is Your Ice Machine Dishing Slime?

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Ice Machine Slime Is An Important Maintenance Issue

Ice machine owners may be getting slimed without knowing it.

Ice machine slime is more than a funny-sounding phrase that evokes fond memories of watching Bill Murray in Ghostbusters at the matinee. For restaurant equipment owners, ice machine slime is a real health hazard that can run a kitchen afoul of the health inspector and possibly shut down a thriving foodservice business.

The Gory Details on Ice Machine Slime

Ice machine slime is such a prevalent hazard that muckraking Houston newsman Marvin Zindler made the sentence “Slime in the ice machine!” a household phrase along the Texas coastline. Ice machine slime isn’t deadly to healthy adults, but still, it can be harmful. It also has a distinctive taste and smell, and can be visually disgusting to your customers. Here’s what the City of Houston says:

It is a type of mold or fungus that accumulates from bacterial growth on surfaces that are constantly exposed to clinging water droplets and warm temperatures. Water residuals may be present on these surfaces due to machine construction or the presence of scouring utensils such as steel wool or scouring pads. If the residuals are left exposed and not wiped clean or the machine is not sanitized regularly, you will then see bacteria and mold growths in the moist, cool environment of your ice machine. Most times, slime will take on a pinkish tone; if left untreated, the pink will turn to red, green, brown and even black ropes of slime hanging from the freezer panels inside the machine after a while. Pretty picture, isn’t it?

Green and pink ropes of slime hanging in your ice machine and dropping in customers’ drinks… it may not be fatal, but it could soon be sending your once-healthy clients to the lab for some health tests.

The Ice Machine Slime Answer

If for example you’ve got ice machine slime in your favorite Manitowoc ice machine model SD-0852A, how do you handle the problem?

The Houston health inspectors recommend using quarternary ammonium (QAC), which kills the mold/fungus and also inhibits additional growth for a period of time after the slime has been removed. This chemical won’t react with the stainless steel of your SD-0852A, and it’s also handy for keeping slime out of other restaurant equipment like your soda machine or the nozzles and hoses of your direct draw systems.

For other ice machine buying tips and maintenance advice, check out our ice machine buyers guide!

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