Baby, It's Hot Outside!

It’s summertime so not surprising it’s hot everywhere but this year seems hotter earlier than previous years. We thought it would be interesting to look at what foodservice operators, some branded companies and every day consumers are doing to help everyone stay cool.

Drinks, Drinks and More Drinks

Staying hydrated is the secret to good summer health and staying cool in the heat. Water is best but sometimes we want something more. Whatever your choice, drinks are one way restaurateurs are trying to lure you in the door. And there are plenty of choices to make at home too.

  • Yesterday was National Tequila Day but any summer day is great for margaritas, that staple drink in Mexican restaurants. But, then there’s the slightly sweeter Italian margarita, rimmed with sugar instead of salt and including amaretto. Kitchen Gone Rogue features a comforting blend of spirits, fruit juices, and sweet and sour mix.

  • Then there’s the smoothie; that wonderful blend of fruit and/or vegetables, yogurt/ice cream and fruit juice that keeps so many going these days. And sometimes they’re even served in bowls akin to acai bowls. has recipes if you’d like to try. Flavor & the Menu wrote about restaurants trying new smoothies, including the Bacon Cheeseburger Insane Milkshake at the Sugar Factory American Brasserie in Miami.

  • As mentioned, water is best for hydrating and companies know that. It’s why some, like Pepsi, are putting naturally-flavored sparkling water into cans. Their Bubly is flying off shelves everywhere because it’s healthy and refreshing. Of course, there’s always the old favorite, San Pellegrino, if you’re looking for a traditional sparkling water.

Popsicles – Boozie or otherwise

Restaurants across the country are adding popsicles to drinks to help cool their guests. Parents everywhere are also preparing these easy-to-make-treats for hot kids or grown-ups alike.

  • It’s as easy as pouring juice into the store-bought popsicle molds and freezing.

  • Or, mix juices and fresh fruit for added nutrition and bite.

  • Want to add spirits? Use ½ cup spirits for every 2 cups of juice.

  • Country Living magazine recently published more than 20 recipes for the homemade ice-cold treat.

We Have AC, Shade or Misters!

It goes without saying that one of the easiest ways to cool off and avoid the kitchen is to eat out. This summer, restaurants everywhere are advertising cooling patios and air conditioning, especially in areas where it’s not normally so hot so early in the summer.

Many operators offer summer menu options including lighter and cooling fare. Those who aren’t doing this might want to consider doing so. All-time menu favorites don’t have to go away, but customers are usually looking for lighter meals and cooling drinks so adapt and shout it from the rooftops…and social media.

No-cook meals

Whether made at home or in a restaurant, no-cook (or low-cook) meals are a summertime staple nearly everywhere.

Poke bowls, the Hawaiian tradition, is taking over the nation as restaurateurs and consumers adapt these combinations of raw fish, vegetables and sauces to create their own meal in a bowl.

  • Dallas’ Poke O in Mockingbird Station is banking on this trend serving a variety of bowls or offering “create your own.” Customers can order online, eat in, or pick up at the location. And the bowls are works of art.

  • If you want to make it at home, Hawaiian celebrity chef Sam Choy, has a host of recipes. He’s well-known for his Hawaiian cuisine, including poke.

Salads are a standby “no-cook” meal. There’s nothing better than fresh-picked lettuce from your favorite farmer drizzled with some lemon juice. Simple and delicious. If you’re feeling more adventurous though…

  • Chicken Curry Salad is a go-to in our house. Use a rotisserie chicken from the deli if you don’t have cooked chicken breasts. Add some toasted coconut, almonds, raisins and a Granny Smith apple along with a bit of purple onion. Dress with a mix of mayonnaise, curry powder, honey, lemon juice, fennel and cinnamon. So good!

  • Food Network’s 50 salad dressing recipes are always at my finger tips to enhance what’s in the fridge to create a salad.

  • If you’re not comfortable mixing and matching the fruits and veggies in your refrigerator, Delish offers nearly 150 recipes for summer salads. There has to be at least one for you.

Takeout/delivery Meals Changing Our World

Years ago, the definition of foodservice changed from being food prepared and consumed outside the home to that which was prepared but not necessarily consumed away from home. This was because of the increase in deli counters and takeout.

Today, we’re seeing another evolution with the new ways to get cooked food delivered.

Everything from GrubHub to Amazon Restaurants, Uber Eats and more are competing to pick up your restaurant order and deliver it to your home. What could be easier? Only time will tell.

Hopefully, these thoughts on staying cool will help you this summer. If they don’t, there’s always a cool bath, or you could soak your feet in a bucket of cold water.

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The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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