LIFE IS SHORT, EAT CHOCOLATE...And, according to scientists out of Japan, eating chocolate can fight cavities and save your teeth! Arman Sadeghpour at Tulane University has discovered that a white crystalline extract of cocoa works even better than fluoride in order to protect your teeth. When analyzing cocoa, he found that the powder (which is chemically similar to caffeine) actually hardened the too enamel, while also reducing harmful bacterial growth in the mouth. Researchers at Osaka University in Japan have independently confirmed that the husks of cocoa beans put the breaks on tooth-decaying bacteria. No big surprise that Hershey’s has invited Sadeghpour to share his lab results with its own researchers. But why wait for the research, nibble on a piece of chocolate and smile! Now that's Hot!

Dear Dinning Duo:We had an unfortunate experience recently at one of our favorite restaurants, Il Sole, on Sunset. The waitress enticed our party of 8 (some friends from out of town who wanted good food, and the possibility of celebrity gazing) with her description of the Roasted Sea Bass, a special for the evening. It sounded so good, many of us (5 in all) ordered it instead of the Seared Ahi Tuna, which also sounded delicious, and was priced at about $24.00. Imagine our shock when the bill arrived, and the Sea Bass was a whopping $50.00 per person! Since then I ask the price of the day's specials. I can understand charging a bit more for something out-of-the-ordinary, but double is robbery. And they could have shared this information with us prior to ordering. We had dined with this group two nights before at Patina, and the bill was nearly half. --M.S.

Dear M.S. The Dining Duo agrees wholeheartedly. Tsk Tsk to a restuarant that swindles it's customers; that's absolutely not hot! Il Sole (despite the faux pas, their tomato soup with pieces of bread floating in it is fabulous) owes you and your guests an apology.

UCLA Medical Group recently announced that undercooked ground meat and unwashed raw fruits and veggies are the usual suspects in E.coli bacterial infections. That said, people easily spread the bacteria from person to person and can be infectious for up to two weeks after symptoms are gone. We say, "That’s definitely not hot"!

The answer? Don’t eat undercooked meat and unwashed raw fruits and veggies, and keep your hands clean and make sure you dine out where the employees do so as well.

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck announced to the press on March 22, 2007 that he will put in place a "humane farm-animal treatment program for each of his restaurants (including the star of his worldwide empire, "Spago" of Beverly Hills). He detailed nine points of action, the main one being his intent to "eliminate foie gras from menus". The Dining Duo adores foie gras, BUT after being educated about where it comes from--ducks being force-fed until they die just to produce a plumper and more tender liver--we say "No" to the stuff as well. In 2006, chef Charlie Trotter of Chicago and Cabo fame started the trend by taking foie gras off his menus. Trotter said recently, "Once again the chefs and restaurateurs have to take the lead on what is the right thing to do, and it's not always popular..." The Dining Duo says, "That's Hot"!

Have you noticed that half of your restaurant bill is attributed to “designer waters”? I bet you didn’t know that Americans consumed 8.3 billion gallons of bottled water in 2006, which was an increase of 10% from 2005. Most of us (including The Dining Duo) are under the misguided belief that bottled water is somehow healthier than tap water, an idea that has been perpetuated by the studies of the American Water Works Association Research Foundation (which is a Denver-bases organization that studies the public water systems).

However, many experts are claiming the theory that bottled water is somehow better than tap water is a misconception. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has said, “All drinking water has to meet the same standard.”

As a result, there has been a movement (albeit fairly small) among some of the top restaurants to provide a variety of filtered waters instead of bottled waters. One of the largest promoters is Alice Waters of the famous Chez Panisse, located in Berkeley, California. Last Summer, she stopped selling bottles of Fuji flat water and instead poured customers fresh glasses of filtered municipal water. Her philosophy is that she wanted the restaurant to go green, and avoid the massive amount of waste attributed to all those plastic and glass bottles. Following suit in Los Angeles are Grace and BLD, who provide flat water filtered through a reverse osmosis system.

Although The Dining Duo has tasted and smelled chlorine in some of the filtered waters around town, we do believe that it’s an incredible pimp to be paying such enormous amounts of money for water that may not even be healthier for you. When you stop to think about it, we’re paying more per gallon for bottled water than we do for gasoline. That’s definitely not hot!

Posted by The Dining Duo | 5:56 PM | , , | 0 comments »

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