McDonald’s Pizza Soon to be a Florida Reality

The mystical McDonald’s pizza is making a comeback — in Florida, at least.

In July the fast food retailer broke ground on the future site of a new and improved location on Orlando’s International Drive that will open in February 2016, the Orlando Business Journal reports.

But this is not your hometown McDonald’s. In addition to becoming the world’s largest Entertainment McDonald’s & PlayPlace, the location will serve Italian classics, including pizza.

To make McDonald’s new Italian food ventures a reality, the location will feature “an exclusive open design pizza and pasta kitchen centered around a wood-fire oven,” Orlando Business Journal reports.

Though the original McDonald’s pizza didn’t quite work out for the retailer, in January, a Canadian journalist discovered that there are at least two locations in the U.S. still serving it: one in Spencer, West Virginia and one in Pomeroy, Ohio.

Now, proud Orlando natives can add their city to the short list. Enjoy it, Florida.

Burger King Wants To Make A ‘McWhopper’ With McDonald’s To Promote World Peace

On Wednesday morning, Burger King took out full-page ads in both the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune to propose a one-day-only truce with rival burger chain McDonald’s in order to open a pop up store in Atlanta (halfway between McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago and Burger King’s headquarters in Miami) that would sell a creation called “The McWhopper.” The McWhopper would feature traits of both sandwiches, and the store itself would be manned by employees from both McDonald’s and Burger King, and would also be co-branded.

Why the sudden change of heart? The day of the proposed pop up would fall on September 21, which the United Nations have designated as the International Day of Peace, and all sales proceeds would go to the nonprofit Peace One Day.

In an open letter on the newly established, Burger King writes to McDonald’s:

Peace One Day is a non-profit organization campaigning to make Peace Day September 21st an annual day of global unity. They have a powerful rallying call ‘who would you make peace with?’ which inspired us to lead by example and extend an olive branch of our own. We’d like to propose a one-off collaboration between Burger King and McDonald’s to create something special – something that gets the world talking about Peace Day.

So far, McDonald’s has declined to comment. This is a pretty brilliant move on Burger King’s hand. Not only are they drumming up publicity for themselves and a charitable organization, but they’re going to make McDonald’s look really, really crappy if they don’t take the bait.

Burger King has also put together a video to demonstrate exactly how a McWhopper would work:

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Starbucks And Panera Will Now Put Real Pumpkin In Their Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Bad news for fans of fake chemical pumpkin flavoring — as it’s the time of year when we’re about to inundated with pumpkin spice everything — because when Starbucks and Panera Bread release their seasonal pumpkin beverages this fall, they’re going au naturale. Beginning September 9 at Panera and a TBD date at Starbucks, you’ll be able to order pumpkin lattes made with real pumpkin. Real pumpkin that grew out of the ground! What a time to be alive.

Starbucks Corp. said Monday its version of the concoction this year will be made with real pumpkin, and without caramel coloring. The change comes after blogger Vani Hari, known as the Food Babe, criticized Starbucks last year for the drink’s ingredients and its lack of transparency around the issue.

 Panera meanwhile, also said its pumpkin spice latte this year will be made “entirely without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.”

Panera is offering samples of their new pumpkin spice lattes in Seattle on Tuesday, right across the street from the original Starbucks location in Pike Place Market, which sounds like shots fired to me. How many casualties this pumpkin spice war will leave in its wake by the time December rolls around is anyone’s best guess.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2015

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants offers a list of the planet’s highest culinary talents, and for 2015 we’re privy to a new ranking celebrating the world’s finest gastronomic achievements. With a varied range of geographic locations, this year’s list brings us around the world with numerous continents and a wide range of countries represented. Created from the votes of The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, the voters comprise of over 1,000 of the most influential individuals in the worldwide culinary scene, such as chefs, restaurateurs, food critics, writers and highly regarded “gastronomes.” Spain takes the cake this year, with seven restaurants represented in the top 50, along with the number 1 spot awarded to the reputable El Celler de Can Roca, which also took the top spot in 2013. Other notable culinary regions represented includes France, with five entries, as well as the United States, with six restaurants on the list in addition to one new entry. Head over to The World’s Best Restaurants to see the entire list of the world’s top culinary hotspots.

1. El Cellar De Can Roca – Girona, Spain
2. Osteria Francescana – Modena, Italy
3. Noma – Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Central – Lima, Peru
5. Eleven Madison Park – New York City, United States
6, Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal – London, United Kingdom
8. Narisawa – Tokyo, Japan
9. D.O.M. – Sao Paolo, Brazil
10. Gaggan – Bangkok, Thailand

Pizza Hut is Bringing On Hot Dog Bites Pizza

In 2012, the Internet exploded with news that somewhere beyond the borders of America, in the great wide culinary world that so many of us yearn to visit, Pizza Hut had created something amazing: A pizza that featured straight-up hot dog bites in the crust. Unfortunately, Pizza Hut only made the pizza available in the U.K., which was good for American hearts but bad for the American spirit. Now, that’s all about to change.

According to Business Insider, the pizza — which features not only one topping (yay!), but 28 gourmet bites back into the crust — is coming to American shores in a little more than a week. Starting June 18, you’ll finally be able to taste what sausage, cheese and crust taste like all at once.

Supposedly, the pizza’s coming to boost the Hut’s (that’s what us cool people call it) lagging sales, but I refuse to believe that the same place that created and revolutionized the stuffed crust pizza is in any sort of trouble. This is just a gift from the pizza gods! Move over Frankenslice, your time in the sun is over!

Starbucks Introduces 6 New Frappuccino Flavors

So many choices, so little time.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the illustrious Frappuccino, Starbucks has release six new flavors: Cotton Candy, Caramel Cocoa Cluster, Lemon Bar, Cinnamon Roll, Red Velvet Cake and Cupcake.

The Cotton Candy and Lemon Bar flavors are coffee-free, for patrons out there who are cutting back on caffeine (while also amping up their sugar intake). The sweet additions will be sold nationwide starting on June 8th.

From June 19 through June 30, fans of the new flavors are encouraged to vote on their favorite new creation online. It’s not entirely clear how Caramel Cocoa Cluster is different from a regular Caramel Mocha Frapp, so our money is on the Cinnamon Roll.

The winner of the “Flav-off” will be announced on social media July 3rd. Customers will be able to purchase the winning flavor for a special price over July 4th weekend.

Until then, enjoy sipping on your sweet, liquid candy.


Taco Bell Announces Plans to Sell Alcohol

Fast food chain Taco Bell announces plans to sell alcohol at its new location in the Wicker Park neighborhood in Chicago. Planned initially as a test run in order monitor how consumers react to the alcoholic additions, the new beverages consist of wine, beer, and mixed alcohol offerings as Taco Bell looks to redefine fast food dining. In addition, the chain plans to join other competitors, such as McDonald’s, in renovating its new stores by incorporating modern architecture and artwork from local artists in order to elevate the fast food dining experience. Stay tuned for further updates on Taco Bell’s plans to sell alcohol at its new locations in Florida the near future.

Google Wants You to Buy Big Macs With Your Face

Google may have been the first big tech company to push NFC payments, but it was Apple Pay that got the public excited about buying things with your smartphone. At a Google I/O session for Android Pay, the search giant announced that it was partnering with McDonalds and Papa John’s Pizza to launch Hands Free, a payment system that looks suspiciously like the Pay with Square app (later called Square Wallet and discontinued). Customers walk in to a store and say, “I’d like to pay with Google,” and the cashier will see a photo of the customer and their name on their point-of-sale system. The service is initially launching in San Francisco in the coming months and those interested can sign up for the beta here. Details about the geofencing payment service are sparse, but it should use cards stored in the upcoming Android Pay.

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Taco Bell And Pizza Hut Are Removing All Artificial Ingredients From Their Menus

Things are certainly changing for Taco Bell and the entire Yum Brands family. Gone are the days of cheap food you apparently buy while drunk and open to poor decisions. Now there’s quality breakfast, big name brand partnerships, and the prospect of alcohol sold on premises. It’s a fresh new era for Taco Bell, a sentiment that’s soon to be taken literally.

By the end of the year, all Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants will ditch artificial colors and flavors in their foods. This is a move to combat restaurants like Chipotle which recently ditched GMOs according to Candice Choi at the AP, forcing Yum Brands to rethink their strategy:

Instead of “black pepper flavor,” for instance, Taco Bell will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef, says Liz Matthews, the chain’s chief food innovation officer.

The Mexican-style chain also says the artificial dye Yellow No. 6 will be removed from its nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 will be removed from its avocado ranch dressing and carmine, a bright pigment, will be removed from its red tortilla strips.

Matthews said some of the new recipes are being tested in select markets and should be in stores nationally by the end of the year.

Now it should be noted that this new initiative doesn’t affect their brand partners, Doritos and Mountain Dew. It’s a bit hard to capture Cool Ranch and Fiery without cutting some corners (allegedly). But the AP report notes that “artificial colors, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil” will be out of Taco Bell food by the end of the year, with Pizza Hut following by the end of July and including the new ingredients on their official web site.

It’s always risky when a major chain breaks from their traditional recipes and attempts something new. We can’t forget the debacles of New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. A change in taste can throw off the entire operation, so we can only assume that Taco Bell isn’t making this decision lightly. The AP also notes that chains like McDonald’s and Subway are doing the same, so the change is part of a larger wave.

Check in at your local Taco Bell and see if they’re testing the changes. It’s your duty to warn the rest of us before it happens nationally. Good luck.

Little Caesars App Allows You to “Bacon-Wrap” Your Twitter Timeline

Finally, the chance to escape the news nonsense, unsolicited observations and hashtags that take over your Twitter feed is here. When Little Caesars first introduced its bacon-wrapped deep-dish pizza, it seemed just a step away from full-blown bacon-wrapped ubiquity. Now, that step has been taken—by Little Caesars, naturally—as the company has unveiled its new Bacon Timeline app for Twitter.

Essentially, the app is just 42 images of sections of bacon that will appear in order on your timeline. The result is a replication of a 3.5 foot bacon strip stretched out for your scrolling pleasure. On the app’s webpage, there’s even a warning that reads, “If wrapping your timeline with forty-two image Tweets of a very long strip of bacon is not for you, then you should definitely not do this because that is exactly what happens when you use Bacon Timeline. If you think you can convince yourself, then you should convince yourself and quickly do Bacon Timeline before you change your mind.”

If you feel the need for 3.5 feet of bacon on your Twitter feed, you can get the app here.