The Daily Dish

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The Daily Dish: ‘River Rat’ Burgers Are Trending in Russian Restaurants

Dishing out the latest in food news
The Daily Dish - December 2, 2016

Brian Sheehan dishes on what's hot and trending in the world of all things food and drink for Friday, December 2, 2016.


Flickr / woozie2010 / CC BY-SA 2.0

‘River Rat’ Burgers Are Trending in Russian Restaurants

The latest food trend to hit Russian restaurants involves rodents in the form of burgers. Nutria, also called coypu or "river rats," are large rodents of South American origin raised in many parts of Europe, Asia, and North America, primarily for their fur. Those found in southern Russia weigh around 12 pounds, according to Attempts to promote the use of nutria as meat in Louisiana and elsewhere have not been successful. However, chef Takhir Kholikberdiev of Krasnodar Bistro in Moscow is now serving nutria burgers, in which the animal's meat is ground into hamburger patties and piled with toppings, according to The Guardian. The association between rats and food may not be the most appealing, but Kholikberdiev believes people are misinformed. “It’s a really clean animal; not only is it an herbivore but it washes all its food before it eats,” Kholikberdiev told The Guardian. “And it’s very high in omega-3 acids. A lot of doctors and dietitians recommend it.”


robert cicchetti/

David Chang Says Security at Trump Tower Is ‘Killing’ Midtown Businesses

President-elect Donald Trump’s residency in his Midtown Manhattan penthouse in Trump Tower has caused concern among not only residents but also retail and restaurant businesses. Celebrity chef David Chang expressed his discontent for the widespread security on Fifth Avenue via Twitter, tweeting “All the NYPD & Secret Service checkpoints killing restaurant foot traffic on 56th St. It's not like I needed another reason to dislike trump.” Other critics have compared the increased security of Trump Tower and the surrounding area to an “armed encampment,” predicting a bleak future with “clogging streets” and “retail businesses shriveling,” wrote Justin Davidson of New York Magazine.


Flickr / cyclonebill / CC BY-SA 2.0

This Snack Company Uses Solar Energy to Pop Corn

The popcorn company BjornQorn is setting a precedent in the food industry by using solar energy as its main energy source for food production. Bjorn Quenemoen teamed up with his friend Jamie O’Shea, who was in the process of developing a solar-powered cooking mechanism to eventually bring to developing countries. Together, they started selling sun-popped corn in the spring of 2013. “For our pilot plant, which is still operating in the Hudson Valley, we use an experimental solar system where we have giant hemispheric dishes that we install in the ground [with] reflecting material,” Quenemoen told FoodNavigator-USA. This method transforms light into heat and pops the corn in kettles which are hung above. Due to a spike in popularity for the brand and its renewable energy resources, the business increased by around 90 percent compared to sales in 2015.



McDonald’s Is Now Offering Fresh Beef to Compete With Wendy’s

McDonald’s keeps rolling out so many changes that it’s hard to keep up. The newest experiment is fresh beef patties, which are being tested at 75 restaurants in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area. If the test goes well, fresh beef could expanded to all McDonald’s menus nationwide. If fresh beef sounds familiar, that’s because “fresh, never frozen” has been a Wendy’s tagline for years, setting it a cut above the rest of the fast-food crowd. Now McDonald’s is emulating Wendy’s fresh burger success. McDonald’s has been quietly removing unwanted ingredients from its food since early 2015. It no longer serves meat and poultry products that were raised with antibiotics, and it removed artificial preservatives from its McNuggets. Fresh beef is just another step in a “clean food” rebrand. 


PRNewsFoto / PepsiCo

The PepsiMoji Campaign Is Back to Spread the Holiday Cheer

Japan Gets Special, Super-Carbonated Pepsi

Pepsi announced Nov. 28 that it would extend its PepsiMoji #SayItWithPepsi campaign into the holiday season in the U.S. with new holiday-inspired emoji characters. The collection is available to download for free in the Apple App and Google Play stores, and it’ll also be featured on two-liter Pepsi and Diet Pepsi bottles through the end of the year. Pepsi also launched an online holiday shop filled with special-edition PepsiMoji merchandise, available through Dec. 26, according to a press release. The shop includes items from beanies and sweaters to door mats and mugs.