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Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Web Contest

Magic 94.9 is giving you the chance to win a one-night stay at Walt Disney World's Swan & Dolphin, and dinner for two at Il Mulino!

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Oktoberfest Tampa

The 7th Annual Oktoberfest Tampa event is coming to Curtis Hixon Park from Friday, Oktober 7th to Sunday, Oktober 9th!

Click here for more details on Oktoberfest Tampa!

Here's why Chipotle doesn't sell queso

Moe's, Willy's, Barberito's, Chipotle and Qdoba all offer similar items -- menus laden with burrito products and other Tex-Mex options.

 

But one of those is not like the other. 

 

>> Read more trending stories  

 

Chipotle differs from the other restaurants in that it does not sell cheese dip. 

 

And many customers aren't happy about it.

 

 

 

 

So why not sell the liquid gold?

 

A video released by the fast food chain says that the company stands by producing "food with integrity" and that queso, which has to be made with "artificial stabilizers" to keep the cheese in liquid form, does not fall under the chain's quality standards.

 

"Ever head of all natural liquid goopey cheese?" a faux marketing representative asks in the video. "Do you think there's a cow that squirts queso out of its udders?"

 

 

link at the end of the video offers viewers to read more information about Chipotle's dairy standards.

 

Chemical stabilizers are needed to keep cheese at a semi-liquid state for queso and to prevent it from becoming too thin or too thick. Artificial colors are often added as well. 

 

"Queso is something that we do get requests for from time to time, but it's very difficult to do it in a way that is consistent with our food philosophy," Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, told MUNCHIES in June. "To make queso in a way that is stable on the service line pretty much requires artificial ingredients (such as stabilizers to keep its consistency). That's just not what we do."

Chipotle offering freebies to win back customers

In an effort to regain customers after declining sales and a hard hit to the company's reputation, Chipotle is offering deals that appeal to students and families.

>> Read more trending stories  

The first deal appeals to parents, who can receive a free kids' meal with the purchase of an adult entree. The deal is only valid on Sundays in September.

A second promotion allows high school and college students to receive a free drink with the purchase of an entree if they show a valid school ID.

"It's back to school time and students -- particularly high school and college students -- have always been such loyal customers, so we thought a promotion directed specifically to them would be a great way to help them ring in a new school year," a Chipotle spokesman said.

The company's Chiptopia loyalty program promotion, which awards free food and merchandise when customers achieve a certain amount of points, lasts until Sept. 30.

Emergency Information

Below is the local information and resources you will need in the wake of an emergency:Hillsborough CountyHillsborough County Emergency ManagementPhone Number: (813) 272-5900Website: http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/emergency/Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan: http://hillsboroughcounty.org/DocumentCenter/View/16617Hurricane Preparedness Guide (Find shelters, transportation guides, etc.): http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/index.aspx?NID=660Hillsborough County Schools: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us

Pinellas CountyPinellas County Emergency ManagementPhone Number: (727) 464-3800Website: http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/bulletin.htmPinellas County Citizens Information CenterPhone Number: (727) 464-4333, call (727) 464-3075 for general questionsPinellas County Schools: http://www.pcsb.org/

Pasco CountyPasco County Emergency ManagementPhone Number: (727) 847-8137Website: http://www.pascocountyfl.net/Index.aspx?NID=365Pasco County Schools: http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/Hernando CountyHernando County Emergency ManagementPhone Number: (352) 754-4083Website: http://www.hernandosheriff.org/em/Hernando County Schools: http://www.edline.net/pages/Hernando_County_School_Board

 

Sarasota County

Sarasota County Emergency Management

Phone Number: (941) 861-6000 

Website: https://www.scgov.net/AllHazards/Pages/Emergency-Management.aspx

Sarasota County Schools: http://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/

 

Manatee County

Manatee County Emergency Management

Phone Number: (941) 748-4501

Website: http://www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/public-safety/emergency-management.html

Manatee County Schools: http://www.manateeschools.net/pages/SDMC

 

Polk County

Polk County Emergency Management

Phone Number: (863) 534-5600

Website: http://www.polk-county.net/boccsite/Departments/Emergency-Management/

Polk County Schools: http://www.polk-fl.net/

 

Information and resources from The American Red Cross

How to become Red Cross Ready

     
  • The Red Cross recommends that people take these three steps: (1) build a disaster kit; (2) come up with an emergency plan; and (3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.
  • An emergency kit should contain supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Other recommended items are available at redcross.org/kit.
  • Talk with members of your household and create an evacuation plan. Remember family members with special medical needs, and plan how you will care for your pets.

Another good way to stay informed is by downloading the FREE Red Cross Emergency App

     
  • The Red Cross Emergency App features real time emergency alerts and information about how to prepare for a hurricanes and other disasters.
  • The app also includes recommendations for supplies, a tool to make your emergency plan, first aid information and a ‘Family Safe’ feature to help connect with loved ones.
  • The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, text GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or go to redcross.org/apps.

 

Other Resources

State Of Florida Emergency Management: http://www.floridadisaster.org/index.asp

State of Florida Evacuation Routes and Zone Maps: http://floridadisaster.org/publicmapping/

State of Florida Emergency Management FAQ: http://floridadisaster.org/faqs.htm

Florida Department Of Insurance Hurricane Season Resources: http://www.floir.com/Office/HurricaneSeason/hurricaneresourcepage.aspx

American Red Cross Tampa Bay Chapter: Disaster Services 24-hour phone number: 1-877-741-1444

Website: http://www.redcross.org/local/florida/central-florida/chapters/tampa-bay

FEMA Florida: http://www.fema.gov/states/florida

FEMA contact info: http://www.fema.gov/contact-us

Salvation Army of Tampa Bay: http://www.salvationarmyflorida.org/tampabay/

Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay phone number: (813) 875-5771

Website: http://www.bgctampa.org/

Duke Energy Outage Maps: https://www.progress-energy.com/#Florida

TECO Outage Maps: http://www.tampaelectric.com/residential/outages/outagemap/index.cfm?link=carousel&source=hp&q=tampa+electric

Chick-fil-A to test 5 new menu items, including quinoa bowls, healthy breakfast options

Chicken chain Chick-fil-A will introduce new, healthy items to its menu, including quinoa grain bowls and a protein smoothie.

>> Read more trending stories 

Two new items will hit test markets across the country on Monday.

The first of many new options to hit select menus are the Harvest Kale and Grain Bowl and the Egg White Grill Grain Bowl.

The Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl features a hearty blend of red quinoa, white quinoa and farro, roasted butternut squash and diced apples on a bed of chopped kale, according to a Chick-fil-A press release. It is topped with a goat and feta cheese blend and tart dried cherries, served with a blend of roasted nuts and a light balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 

The Egg White Grill Grain Bowl includes the same grain blend of red quinoa, white quinoa and farro, plus scrambled egg whites, grilled chicken and a Monterey jack and cheddar cheese blend.

"While we will always serve the classic menu items we're known for, we are also excited to try new ingredients that we hope will satisfy our customers' requests and allow us to stay on-top of new flavor trends," said David Farmer, vice president of menu strategy and development. "Our new Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl and Egg White Grill Grain Bowl are nutritious, hearty options for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We hope customers in the test markets think they're delicious; we can't wait to find out what they think to help determine if these items should be added to menus nationwide."

The Egg White Grill Grain Bowl and the Harvest Kale & Grain Bowl will be offered at participating restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Tampa, Florida, and Huntsville, Alabama.

Three other breakfast items will be offered at Chick-fil-A locations in New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Columbia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. later this year.

The Hash Brown Scramble, which can be served in either a bowl or as a burrito, the Egg White Grill Bowl and the Berry Protein Blend breakfast smoothie will be offered for a limited time during breakfast hours this fall. 

The Hash Brown Scramble includes Chick-fil-A Hash Browns, scrambled eggs, a Monterey Jack cheddar cheese blend and a choice of sliced Chick-fil-A Nuggets or sausage. It is served with jalapeño salsa. 

The Egg White Grill Bowl contains freshly scrambled egg whites, a Monterey Jack cheddar cheese blend and sliced grilled chicken. It is also served with jalapeño salsa. 

The Berry Protein Blend is a breakfast beverage made with chia seeds, ancient grains, mixed berries and yogurt. It is handspun with a small amount of Chick-fil-A's Icedream ice cream and topped with granola. 

"More people are eating breakfast away from home, and we want to meet the needs of our guests by providing breakfast options that span a variety of nutritional needs, tastes and ingredients," Matt Abercrombie, senior consultant of menu development, said in a press release. "In addition to our classic breakfast offerings our customers know and love, like our Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit or Chick-n-Minis, we're excited to offer three new breakfast items for our customers to try and help us determine whether or not we launch them nationwide."

In July, Chick-fil-A introduced the Egg White Grill, a lower-calorie a breakfast sandwich comprised of egg whites and cheese on an English muffin. It replaced the spicy chicken biscuit. Customers can also order the Chicken Egg & Cheese breakfast sandwich on the newly added English muffin.

A breakfast packed with 25g of protein and only 300 calories. #NotThatCrazy A photo posted by Chick-fil-A, Inc. (@chickfila) on Aug 1, 2016 at 7:12am PDT

The company also altered its sauce flavors earlier this year.

Read more at Chick-fil-A.

Women find worms in food at 2 McDonald's restaurants

Two women recently took to social media to post photos of worms that they found in their food after eating sandwiches from McDonald's.

>> Read more trending stories  

Tuesday, Lacey Jo Lovett, of Kentucky, said she finished eating a McChicken from a McDonald's restaurant in Draffenville, Kentucky, when she picked up a piece of lettuce on the sandwich wrapper and found a worm. 

Just ate a McChicken from draffenville mcdonalds and picked up the last piece of lettuce on the wrapper and this was below it!!!! Are you serious!!!!Posted by Lacey Jo Lovett on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Just two days prior, Madison Stephens had experienced a similar situation at a McDonald's in Mayfield, Kentucky, 25 miles away.

Stephens said she took her 1-year-old son to the restaurant and ordered a fish sandwich and a cheeseburger. 

Stephens ate half her fish sandwich when she said a worm fell out of it and started crawling towards her son's food.

"If I hadn't seen that worm, my son would have eaten that because it was already on top of his sandwich," she told WPSD. "That's how close he came to eating it."

Stephens said that initially, restaurant employees said they couldn't do anything about the order since she couldn't find her receipt.

She said she later complained to McDonald's officials, who sent her a $10 gift card in the mail.

But for Stephens, the gesture seemed like "a slap in the face," WPSD reported. She said she doesn't want money, but rather an inspection from the health department.

"That scared me, and as a mom, I don't want another child to have to experience something like that," she said.

"Food quality and safety are a top priority for us. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to gather all facts and resolve the matter," a McDonald's spokesman said in a statement following the incident.

Saturday, Michael Love, the owner-operator of the two restaurants, said he's been unable to substantiate Lovett's and Stephens' claims. He said inspections of the restaurants by health officials did not uncover any of the problems raised by the customers, the Associated Press reported.

So, got a fish sandwich and a cheeseburger for Brody and I and look what falls out my sandwich. I am COMPLETELY disgusted and will not be eating Mayfield McDonald's anymore. I thank God my son didn't eat this!Posted by Madison Stephens on Sunday, August 21, 2016

McDonald's recalls Happy Meal fitness trackers

McDonald's is making another effort to emphasize fitness and health by including fitness trackers in its Happy Meals.

Engadget reported that a Fitbit-like toy called Step-It will be available for four weeks in children's Happy Meals in the U.S. and Canada.

>> Read more trending stories

The Step-It fitness trackers, which come in six  colors, blink depending on the level of activity of the child wearing them.

“Step-It is in line with McDonald’s general philosophy for Happy Meal toys, which is to make toys that encourage either physical or imagination-based play," McDonald’s Canada Senior Marketing Manager Michelle McIImoyle said in a statement to CityNews.

But according to The Associated Press, the fitness trackers may not last very long.

New York locations of the fast-food chain have stopped including the trackers in Happy Meals because the company has gotten some reports of potential skin irritations.

Terri Hickey, a McDonald's representative, told The Associated Press in an email that McDonald's is "fully investigating this issue" and restaurants are "offering our youngest guests an alternative Happy Meal toy."

Making kids burn off those nuggets and fries.Posted by Engadget on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Burger King combines Whopper, burrito for new menu item

A week after Chipotle announced plans for its first burger restaurant, Burger King launches another mashup item to its menu.

Bloomberg reported that, beginning Aug. 15, the fast-food restaurant is debuting the Whopperito in restaurants across the U.S.

>> Read more trending stories

The Whopperito, as its name suggests, combines a burrito with Burger King's Whopper.

Instead of a bun, it's wrapped in a tortilla and filled with beef, pickles, lettuce, tomato and onions. It is topped with queso sauce instead of mayo.

Related: Burger King announces a quirky, cheesy new menu item

"It's certainly one of the first times that we've tapped into the Tex-Mex category," North American Burger King President Alex Macedo said. "It's one of the fastest-growing categories. Consumers like the freshness of it. They like the mix of flavors."

The fast-food restaurant has not said if the new item is intended as a competitor to Chipotle, but it would not be unlikely if so.

The Whopperito will be sold for the next three to four months at $2.99.

The 'McDonald’s of the future' features unlimited fries — and that’s just the beginning

Walk in, approach the kiosk, place your order via a large touch screen, then sit down and wait for the food to be brought to your table.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the future of McDonald’s.

>> Read more trending stories

The Chicago Tribune reported that franchisee Chris Habiger brought these upgrades and more to one of his restaurants in St. Joseph, Missouri, which opened to the public Thursday.

The 6,500-square-foot "McDonald’s of the future" includes table service, a dessert bar, tabletop video games for the kids, and fancier menu items like maple bacon, pico guacamole and grilled tomatoes.

Best of all, for the first few months of its operation, the restaurant will offer unlimited fries.

"Unlimited fries are just the beginning of what’s different," Habiger told The Chicago Tribune. "We’re making a shift from fast food to fast-casual."

We just hope some of these big changes make their way to every McDonald’s location soon.

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