Food and Drink Feed

Manhattan businessmen meet over lunch. (Photo by Phillip Capper via Flickr Creative Commons) The way to a business contract is through a client's stomach. That revised adage underscores what every business person, whether they run a major corporation or a mom-and-pop company, knows: that personal relationships are key to success. And much of the time, those relationships are cemented over business meals. Business meals still tax deductible: The Internal Revenue Service this week gave business a break — or really left a tax break in place — when it comes to deducting the cost of business meals. The tax agency... Read more →


It's my second favorite holiday, National Ice Cream Day! Yep, it's a sorta real holiday, occurring every year on the third Sunday in July as part of National Ice Cream Month. So many ways to enjoy ice cream on National Ice Cream Day and any/every day. (Image courtesy GIFS for Humans Tumblr). National Ice Cream Day became official in 1984 when then President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation declaring its existence. And even though the holiday was the brainchild of the dairy industry, I can't think of many more things as worthy of celebration than this beloved and iconic treat.... Read more →


With apologies to Charles Dickens, it is the best and worst of times for soda taxes. News out of Washington State today is that Seattle's sweetened beverage tax raised about $1 million more than predicted in its first three months. Seattle's tax — similar to others across the United States that tax a variety of sugary beverages but are popularly called soda taxes — took effect on Jan. 1, 2018. In its first three months as law, it reportedly raised almost $4.5 million. If that pace holds throughout the rest of the year, it will blow past the city's budget... Read more →


"On this day, take time to remember those who have fallen. But on every day after, do more; put the freedoms they died for to greater and nobler uses." — Richelle E. Goodrich, author During holidays, we're generally encouraged to remember the reason behind the special day. The two instances where this is most prevalent is Christmas and Memorial Day. Memorial Day's purpose often gets lost in the revelry of summer's arrival … except when your awash in a tropical storm's rain bands. But today is supposed to be more than time with family and friends at picnics, trips to... Read more →


A sampling of some of my favorite beers. Yes, this photo is a few years old (note the 2011 Christmas brew label), but rest assured, I regularly restock the refrigerator. Across much of the United States this Memorial Day weekend Sunday it's hot. Very hot. We're pushing 100 here in Austin. That's why many beverages will be consumed by folks out today at beaches, picnics and sporting events. Tax collectors thank you for your thirst, especially if you're slaking it with a cold brewski. Beer tax tallies: Beer drinkers annually make a $5.3 billion excise tax payment to state and... Read more →


Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Today is a commemoration of the Mexican Republic's victory in 1862 over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. While it's a national holiday in Mexico, festivities in that country are mostly located in and around the Puebla region. Here in the United States, however, Cinco de May is a big deal. That's especially true in Texas, where my native state once was part of Mexico. The Lone Star State's origins and the role of Mexican nationals and other Texians in helping establish Texas' independence in 1836 is one reason why we celebrate Cinco. That, and... Read more →


Apparently working on your taxes works up an appetite. That's the message from businesses offering freebies, or at least discounted items, on Tuesday, April 17, aka Tax Day 2018. Bagels, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches (sub, traditional and breakfast versions), cookies and Texas favorites corndogs (although some vendors — Yankees, perhaps? — call them hot dogs on a stick) and tacos (same culinary language nationwide) are there for your tasty taking on Tax Day. Taxes got you too stressed to eat? Take advantage of massages to ease you into a post-filing relaxed state. If you prefer to stay focused on the day's... Read more →


Doing taxes is all about the numbers. The forms require our Social Security number and that of our spouse and dependent children. Similar identification digits also are key on tax forms from, for example, our employers and other entities that contribute to our taxable income. And, of course, we have to put in all those figures about our earnings and subtract the numbers in the form of expenses and deductions and credits to get to the most important amount of all, our final tax bill. Today's the 30th anniversary of the math-inspired unofficial holiday Pi Day is a good time... Read more →


Throwing a Super Bowl Party? Gunaxin has some tips to help you make it the best party ever, regardless of which team wins. Are you hosting a Super Bowl party tomorrow? If your NFL championship game is typical — and I'm talking expense-wise, not your exemplar hosting abilities! — then you'll probably spend more than 200 bucks. That's what 1,000 folks recently surveyed by LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loan refinancing, said they planned to spend. The precise amount, according the results of the online inquiry conducted by Pollfish, was $207.16. That amount is this week's By the Numbers... Read more →


While I make my coffee at home during the week, I'm a Starbucks fan on weekends. During hot Texas summers, those icy Frappuccinos are heaven. Heck, even in our not-that-cold winters, I get them. (Note to Starbucks: I sooo missed the Chile Mocha option this past holiday season. This flavor should be a regular, year-round option, especially here in Texas where chile peppers are one of the major food groups. We even have an official state pepper. But I digress. But bring it back, please!) When we do get the occasional cold spell, I'm an Espresso Macchiato fan. My drink... Read more →


Most folks will ring in the new year by raising a glass. For many, it will be an adult beverage. For us, it's the local sparkling almond wine shown there at left. Traditional or more extravagant celebrants, however, will ring out 2017 and welcome 2018 with bubbly. More tax sparkle: The toasting with champagne will have extra meaning this year for the makers and importers of the fancy sparkling wine. Not only will they be celebrating more year-end sales, they'll be reveling in a significant reduction in 2018 taxes on their product. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, with the implementation of... Read more →


Cook County residents lined up last week to tell county commissioners what they thought about the board's proposed soda tax. (Photo by Hal Dardick via Twitter) Cook Cook County officials implemented a tax on sugary beverages this summer. That levy, which was designed to (1) promote healthier habits among Chicago-area residents, (2) raise more much needed money for the Illinois county or (3) both, has fizzled. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, county commissioners voted 15-2 to repeal the penny-per-ounce tax, which, like similar proposals, is usually referred to as a soda — or pop in the Midwest — tax. Collection of... Read more →


I’ve mentioned in few posts already this month that it’s hot. Here in Central Texas, we’re in a stretch of triple-digit temperatures that are breaking records every day. That’s why our pantry is full of Cokes — that’s Texan for any kind of soft drink — and bottled water, since I like the carbonated kind. The refrigerator also is stocked with juices and, of course, beer. Our increased liquid diet every summer means that we pay added sales taxes based on what beverages are in our grocery cart. Soft drinks are subject to Texas state and local sales taxes, but... Read more →


Millions of Americans will be enjoying picnics and cookouts in advance of July 4 fireworks. In a few places, though, the sodas in those outings' coolers will cost a bit more. So-called soda taxes took effect in Oakland, California, and Boulder, Colorado, on July 1. A similar levy was scheduled in the Chicago area, but the day before a judge put Cook County's penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages on hold at least until July 12. Bay Area beverage battle: Oakland voters approved the tax, which applies to more than soda pop, in November 2016. The added tax, say supporters, should... Read more →


I'm generally a cereal person when it comes to breakfast, cold in the summer and the occasional bowl of oatmeal or Malt-O-Meal in those few months when temperatures drop here in Central Texas. Today, though, I'm going to stop by my local doughnut shop. Why the change to the most important meal of the day? It's National Doughnut Day! Or National Donut Day if you're into texting or Twitter and are looking for a character shortcut. In addition to giving me an excuse a reason to munch on a sweetened round of iced dough, today is a chance to acknowledge... Read more →


What's a weight watching person to do? Artificially sweetened soft drinks, a staple of dieters' menus for decades, recently have come under fire as a health, both mental and physical, risk. Now the no-calorie drinks could be a threat to some Seattle soda drinkers' bank accounts. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revised his original soda tax, reducing the per-ounce amount a bit and adding diet drinks the list of beverages to be taxed. Sugary drinks tax target: In his State of the City address in February, Murray called for a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks with the... Read more →


How do I celebrate each May 5th? With guacamole, cerveza y tax tips! That means here in our Texas casa, every day basically is Cinco de Mayo. Yes, there really is a tax component to Cinco de Mayo beyond the use of my poco Español as a framework for this list. That's why I feel justified in urging you — before you lift a glass, be it brimming with Dos XX or a margarita, to commemorate Mexico's victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla on this day in 1862 — to check out these five tax-smart tax moves.... Read more →


An autographed photo of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and the NBA team's head coach Gregg Popovich from Daniel Lewis' autograph collection. Another Coach Pop signature on a restaurant receipt with a really, really big tip is now getting attention. Gregg Popovich is in the midst of going for his sixth NBA championship as a head coach, but he's already the champ to one Memphis, Tennessee, restaurant employee. Pop, as the coach of the San Antonio Spurs is known, apparently left an almost 613 percent tip after a visit April 21 to McEwen's on Monroe. The dollar amount... Read more →


It's National Margarita Day! Each Feb. 22, the focus is on appreciating this popular tequila-based cocktail. I'm in Texas, specifically Austin, which is the drinking-est town I've ever lived in -- not judging, just observing! -- so truth be told today is no different from the other 364 here. FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. But if you're in less alcoholically inclined location and need a special reason to enjoy a margarita, then Feb. 22 is your day. If you're looking for a drink that's a bit more elaborate that the basic one preferred by cable... Read more →


Sunday is a big day not just for football fans, but also food fans. Super Bowl party snacks rank right up there with the specially-created television commercials, crazy prop bets and the game's halftime show. These items I regularly purchase are, according to my local H.E.B. grocery store's labels, hecho en Mexico. Heck, a lot of people look forward to those events more than the annual NFL championship game itself. Literally loading up on guac: In fact, it's a major day for guacamole. "Guacamole has become one of the most popular Super Bowl snacks," Ramon Paz, spokesman for the Association... Read more →