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Posts from the ‘Go Figure’ Category

Millennials May Be Pre-Gaming, but Seniors Are Drunks


Eric Asimov of the Times seems surprised that 26% of Americans, particularly younger people, drink wine without food. Perhaps I am an immature wino  because I don’t find anything unusual about this. I can’t possibly be the only one who might have a pre-dinner glass of wine at a bar.

A Harris Poll released today shows that matures are the most inclined to drink daily, at 11% and increase in daily consumption seems tied to increase in age. At least I have something to look forward to as I wither.

Popular drinks by age: youngsters drink more vodka than anyone else, shockingly, Gen X drinks the most beer and seniors excel at nearly everything else in the liquor cabinet, including wine (domestic and imported), bourbon, gin and scotch. Brandy is shunned by all.

Foie Gras, Salt Shakers & Silverware


Emirates has been voted the airline with the best meals, according to a survey by Skyscanner. And indeed the comments on are overwhelmingly positive. That's clearly not an economy example above, and it's just one of many courses.

Hopefully, tenth place Air France, will change minds now that Joel Roubuchon is involved with the menu. I actively avoid most food trucks unless they’re serving something unique that can’t be found at a proper restaurant (I hate standing around outside eating) but this falls into the I’m-just-curious-enough camp. I’ll see what’s up when the roving Air France vehicle hits my work neighborhood on Monday.

1. Emirates
2. Lufthansa
3. Singapore Airlines
4. Aeroflot
5. Qatar
6. Malaysia Airlines
7. Thai Airways
8. Etihad
9. KLM
10. Air France

Singapore Airlines is the only one of the top ten that I’ve experienced first-hand, and yes, they’re fairly ritzy even though the only thing I can specifically recall eating was a decent curry on the way to Bangkok the time I lucked out on a massively discounted SARS-related deal.

Foreign airlines can be fun, top ten cuisine or not. Aeromexico only had beer and tequila—poured from full-sized glass bottles—to accompany their enchiladas (yes, I asked for wine). I wonder if I will be getting rioja and paella on Iberia when I fly next month?

Photo of Emriates Airbus A380 meal from Chow Times

Steak Diane On the Go

Tesco Tesco Real Food has found that French is the fastest-growing cuisine in England (at least among prepared grocery store meals). Sales increased 16% last year, followed by Chinese (15%), British (6.7%), Italian (6.6%) and Tex-Mex (3.2%). What? No American? Well, the Tesco Tex Mex Multipack Dips do contain "an American style mayonnaise and soured cream nacho cheese dip."

Apparently, Tesco sells a whole line of French Classics, putting our frozen T.G.I. Friday’s Frozen Loaded Cheddar & Bacon Skins to shame. Chicken Chasseur, the star of this store brand’s line, increased sales 226% over last year. I don’t even know what Chicken Chasseur is exactly other that it involves mushrooms; I’d like to imagine it’s a little like this.

Brits may like to pretend they’re refined with their Gallic groceries, but it seems that 14% of them have dined and dashed. Thirty-nine percent, the largest group, have left a restaurant without paying because no one ever brought them the check. I’ll admit that I was tempted to run out on the bill for this very reason at a Mexican restaurant in Vegas.

But flirting for discounts isn't a crime, right? Exalted research firm,, surveyed 3,000 Brits and it turns out that ladies save nearly 150 pounds ($241) per year “hair tossing, maintaining eye contact, giggling and being overly friendly” to get discounts. More than 56% didn’t have to pay a cent due to their feminine whiles.

And I thought British women were all ugly?

But What Flavor of Doritos Do They Prefer?


Data mining. There’s so much you can do with tidbits gleaned (I will not say scraped because it sounds too gross and biopsy-ish) from the web. A company named Rapleaf (almost as gross-sounding as scraped) has analyzed grocery purchase behaviors of Google and Microsoft employees (or at least people using and email addresses) for purposes unknown.


Googlers are younger, less likely to be married and have children, drink more Mountain Dew and eat more bacon and ice cream and perhaps incongruously, more fresh fruit and vegetables. Microsoft workers consume more butter, vitamins and Capri Sun (or their kids do). Fascinating stuff.

I wonder if any of this explains Nathan Myhrvold, former Microsoft CTO and his 43-pound, five-volume, $625 (discounted to $461.62 and sold out on Amazon), Modernist Cuisine. Maybe the statistic that 2% more Microsoft employees eat Orville Redenbacher's popcorn than Google workers could somehow be tied by this video of popcorn popping slowed down to 6,200 frames per second that was shot in the Modernist Cuisine laboratory.

Image credit: Rapleaf via TechCrunch

Pacific Northwest Eclipses National Average in Insufferability Demand for ‘Local’ Foods

According to a survey of 1,000 consumers in Oregon and Washington by Foster Farms (a company that I always thought was like Perdue or Tyson, but apparently is more indie, or so they would have you believe) 92% think it’s important to buy food grown in the Pacific Northwest, 86% think they are unique and better than the rest of the country for this belief (ok, verbatim: “believe they differ from the rest of the nation”) and over 60% think the Northwest has fresher, more local food than anywhere else in the country.

I would be curious to see the percentage of Northwesterners who ever travel outside of their home states.

This is where I would logically link to the Portlandia bit about the couple who want to visit the farm where Colin, the chicken they are about to be served, was raised. We all know that is funny.

However, I’m also partial to this commercial where Jim Perdue speaks Bloomberg-esque Spanish (mine is no better, but I am not a wealthy man on TV trying to relate to the people). I mean, for purely poultry-related laughs, no Oregon connection necessary.

Original Video – More videos at TinyPic

The Baby Food Diet


Subway may have surpassed McDonald’s in global locations, but according to Keller Fay Americans are still talking about The Golden Arches more than any other food brand. It’s number one with both men and women and nearly 60% of Americans mention a food and dining brand daily in conversations (I wonder if typing into the ether counts) with fast food dominating the top ten.


The biggest difference between the sexes is that women talk about Starbucks more and love Gerber. I like to think it has nothing to do with being moms and everything to do with emulating Jennifer Aniston.

Go Figure: Ladies Love to Bake

Wilton Cooking Channel’s FoodCrafters would have you thinking that the nation is one big Brooklyn with everyone—even dudes—smoking, pickling, distilling or growing.

Not so, finds a Wilton survey. “Food crafting…is the number one hobby for women” and gets broken into baking, decorating and celebrating. No charcuterie or even jam-making in sight (yes, Wilton is a cake pan company). Cake is the most popular celebration dessert (49%), icing is the most popular decorating ingredient (94%), the 21-34 age range a.k.a. moms bake the most (31%) and the midwest and southeast tie for most frequent baking (29%).

CathyChildless women (which I take to mean females with grown children) are most likely to bake from scratch (43%). Scratch bakers in general (38%) are almost neck-and-neck with Sandra Lee acolytes (37%). I’m not sure where Hungry Girl fits into all of this—is using hot cocoa mix, fat-free liquid egg substitute and Splenda to make muffins cooking from scratch, doctoring or something else altogether?

Go Figure: Italian Food Favored by American Tourists

Hamburger helper Most Popular Cusines Among US Travelers
1.  Italian 54.3%
2.  American (tie) 35.3%
2.  Mexican (tie) 35.3%
3.  French 27.6%
4.  Chinese 25.9%
5.  Japanese 22.4%
6.  Greek 19.0%
7.  Spanish 13.8%
8.  Indian12.9%
9.  Other 11.2%
10.  Lebanese 6.9%

In shocking news, Americans prefer to eat spaghetti, hamburgers and nachos no matter what part of the world they’re traveling in. According to a survey, a stubborn 13% won’t try local cuisine at all and 18% prefer American fast food chains when abroad.

Two-thirds did say they try local cuisine on vacation, but considering Americans only leave the country to live out a once-in-a-lifetime Parisian or Tuscan fantasy (or settle for a nice Venetian facsimile) or to binge drink at Caribbean/Mexican resorts where you could eat hamburgers and pizza all day, it’s not saying much.

In a way, these food choices simply mirror popular travel destinations, Lebanese cuisine withstanding. A recent TripAdvisor survey found that the top three international travel destinations for Americans in 2011 are Paris, London and Rome. Sorry, England, I’m not sure if British cuisine will never crack the top ten.

In fact, Britons aren't even eating their own food. A December Valued Opinions poll unearthed Britain's favorite takeway food, and fish and chips came in fourth place at only 13%. The top three were Chinese (38%), Indian (22%) and pizza (18%).

Go Figure: Vegas Dining Kind of More Expensive Than New York


According to 3,736 local reviewers covering 523 restaurants in Las Vegas for Zagat, the city is now the most expensive place to dine in the United States. The average meal (which is not defined—appetizer, entrée, dessert? Two of the three? Are drinks included?) will set you back $47.53. Clearly, Zagat reviewers are not being lured by discounted prime rib. Also, 20% of them are memorializing their pricey dishes with smartphone pics.

In a December, AlixPartners’ survey, which clearly has little Zagat overlap, diners planned to spend 5% less on each restaurant meal this year, which works out to $12.90. Eleven percent planned to spend no more than $5 per meal, and I doubt they’re photographing what they eat. 

An Intelliprice study from earlier last year found that the cost of an average dinner entrée in 2010 was $13.88. Still too much for the AlixPartners’ crew. And New York, not Vegas, had the highest priced entrées with an average of $15.01.

Image from Slot Machine Finder

Food: The Bests and Number Ones of 2010

What else is being snowed-in good for if not whiling away the day aggregating best of lists? Here is a completely random collection of food-related bests (and a few worsts) of 2010. When there wasn’t a ranking—and many didn’t play favorites—I simply chose the first on the list or picked a popular choice when there was a number of different respondents. Because I wanted to allow for clickable links, this isn’t a traditional tag cloud with the more mentioned getting larger fonts. Also, with the exception of ABC Kitchen and Lincoln, there weren’t many duplicates.