Vegas takes off its fancy pants
January 18th, 2011
05:30 PM ET
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Las Vegas, long known as a city of excess, might be getting a little less flush.

According to a Zagat survey released earlier this month, even though Vegas is still the nation's most expensive dining city - the average bill is approximately $47.53 - Las Vegas diners are eating out less. The average number of meals eaten out dropped from 3.8 per week in 2005 to 3.3 in 2010.

Combine those figures with a few notable restaurant closings, and it makes you wonder – are the city’s restaurateurs starting to hedge their bets?

Study shows people don't give a crap how many calories they eat
January 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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Posting calories on menus has little effect on what customers buy, according to a recent study.

Customers at TacoTime (a western Washington chain)  who read how many calories are in their chimichangas, burritos and tacos on the restaurant's menu were just as likely to order them as people who don’t have that information.

For 13 months, researchers recorded food purchases at seven suburban TacoTimes and seven inside Seattle, Washington. Seattle passed a law requiring that all fast food chains post their calories, fat and sodium content to the menus in 2009.

Once the law went into effect, public health researchers in Seattle  and researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School compared what people were buying at TacoTimes inside and outside the city.

Contrary to their hypothesis, “We found no difference,” said lead author Eric Finkelstein.  “We looked at the variables – the transactions, total calories per transaction, food, dessert, entrees. We weren’t able to find any effect whatsoever.”

Read the rest of "Customers pay little heed to calories on menus" on CNN Health.

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Filed under: Diets • Health News • News

January 18th, 2011
02:30 PM ET
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From Lunchtime poll – does authenticity matter to you?

It's nice to know what the "authentic" food does or should taste like. The great thing about cooking is that everyone makes what they make based on availability, freshness, and locale. My grandmothers both made great chocolate chip cookies but they tasted different. One was from the South and one was from the North.

Also, we are too used to eating everything anytime we want. There are true peak seasons and you shouldn't expect to eat a good oyster in January. One cook may use a lime while another uses an orange or lemon. One may use Basil and another Thai Basil. This may happen in the same country for God's sake.

I'm also tired of someone trying to "Patrick" someone else. Patrick is a friend of mine from college who always had a better experience that everyone else. He would say things like "this is good, but it's not as good as the salsa I had in Spain." Also, if you're in Spain, doesn't everything taste a little better anyway? - wasabiguy

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Lunchtime poll - does authenticity matter to you?
January 18th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
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You probably knew this, but fortune cookies didn't come from China. Neither did chop suey or General Tso's chicken. That surely doesn't stop them from popping up on Chinese restaurant menus from coast-to-coast or tasting truly fabulous with a cold Tsingtao.

Does authenticity matter?

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