This is the greatest convention show that, unfortunately, you guys aren’t invited to! But I always tell my food service connections that they need to be there, because it’s where all the restaurant people can find everything that they need to keep them in business for the next year and beyond.

But I want to let you guys in on it, once again, because I don’t think that many people appreciate just how much thought goes into a restaurant, and that if they witnessed all this hard work from the ground up, they’d better understand why they’re paying seven dollars for a baked potato that they could make themselves for a quarter!

294Here’s an example: I go to the same show in New York as often as I can, with the most recent visit being in 2012. I always bring one of my associates because, as this e-zine states, it’s not about me! I really do respect the opinions of others. Well, some others. This particular time I brought my young pal, Ronnie Hazel, Jr., who’s been working in restaurants since he became a teen-ager, with dreams of opening his own someday. I’m pretty sure that will happen for him because he used to cook me steak when he was three!

So here I was, at the Food Service Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan, walking along eating every sample of food that I can find so that I can recommend them to various eateries, and Ronnie’s stopping at every piece of cutlery! I’ve never examined so many butter knives in my life.

But that’s what I’m talking about—this Expo isn’t just about food; it’s about ovens and umbrellas and moving signage and lighting designs; and let’s not forget payroll services and credit card machines, and mundane things like that. And how about the to-go containers and table cloths? You get the idea. The next time you’re at a restaurant, try to notice every little thing about it, and you’ll see what kind of wares each sponsor is showing at this convention. It’s such an education! www.westernfoodexpo.com

Over the years, I’ve found some of the greatest food items here, and we featured many of our favorites on my former show, Karen’s Restaurant Revue. Let me tell you, my audience was always overflowing for those episodes!

While my pal, Sharon, and I did enjoy several samples on this visit to the Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo, there were really only two that I want to tell you about. The funny thing is that they were right next to each other, and I didn’t even realize it at first! We had tried Kugel from the Kugel Company, and declared it to be our best food, to that point. So, after we went to every single sponsor, we were circling back to the Kugel Company to tell them that they were the grand prize winner in our expert opinions. www.kugelcompany.com

As we were on the way there, we finally noticed waffles, which we searched for when we first got there in the morning. We couldn’t believe that we hadn’t seen any waffles! (I guess we weren’t awake enough yet to think to look them up in the directory. And neither one of us is a blonde!) So, at the very end of the day, as we did a last little search of the place because you know I never like to leave anybody out, we came upon Prince Waffles. We sampled a few flavors that were all delicious, but when I got to the chocolate-filled ones, that was all she wrote. Give me one of those babies with a glass of milk every morning, and I’ll be waking up in a better mood. www.princewaffles.com

But we still had to end with the Kugel Company! Trust me, if there is one food I really know, it’s kugel. In case you are not of my ethnic persuasion, kugel is a hot noodle dish, but the noodles are combined into one substance, and are not loose, wet noodles. And when it’s made well, it has delicious specific seasonings on it. Okay, I just realized that I really have no idea how to describe it, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I’m used to sweet ones on holidays, but the owner here Michelle, also makes a savory one. I’ve never tasted one like that before, but I liked it almost as much as the sweet one. It just depends what you’re in the mood for. But I ended my day with the sweet one, and couldn’t have made a better choice at the entire Expo. And just in time for the Jewish New Year, too! I can’t think of the sweeter way to start the year.


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