Wine Dine and Play: February 2018

Norovirus at the Olympics

February 20, 2018
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Food Service Staff Need To Up There Game

The Pyeongchang, South Korean 2018 winter games started on February 9, but four days before the opening ceremony 32 workers were being treated for norovirus and were placed in quarantine, including 21 from the Civil Security Staff along with three foreigners according to the initial reports from the Associated Press. Five days after those first cases appeared, The Horeb Youth Center had 108 more cases with an additional 77 cases in the coastal city of Gangneung plus 59 in the mountain villages around Pyeongchang, bringing the total number to 158 cases. The main group of affected workers was security staff, resulting in the South Korean Government mobilizing the ROK Army to take the workers place as the Olympic organizers removed 1,200 personnel from their posts and quarantined them in their rooms after several dozens more tested positive. 
Picture courtesy of Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

By February 15, the number increased to 244 according to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and had spread to two Swiss athletes, and that both have been treated by the Swiss team’s doctors and no longer show symptoms of the highly contagious viral stomach flu. There's no current treatment for norovirus, but most people recover in one to three days. According to a statement from the Swiss delegation, the two cases are isolated. Both athletes were staying in Bokwang, not in the Olympic Village, and have had minimal contact with other athletes. Six months before the start of these games at the world athletics championships in London, 30 athletes from Germany to Botswana came down with norovirus, and several of those infected had to withdraw from their events, so Pyeongchang is far from being an isolated event for this outbreak.

After the February 15 report was released, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin vomited before her slalom run and said between runs that she might have a virus. At first, it was reported by the Korean news service Yonhap that the source of the norovirus was unknown, but investigators later traced part of the outbreak to contaminated water used in food preparation at the Horeb Youth Center. Christophe Dubi, the IOC's executive director for the Olympic Games, told reporters they are taking no risks to contain the outbreak and prevent it from spreading to more athletes or spectators. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia some 685 million cases of norovirus per year are reported with 1.1 million in Great Britain alone killing 50,000 + people worldwide. 

The norovirus
Working in the food service for the past twenty years, when I first read about this outbreak, I included it in the morning training meetings with the food service staff. Most are third-country nationals from India, Nepal, and the Philippines. We take issues like this very seriously, as we don't want to lose our jobs by making our clients sick. I had recently given them a week-long refresher training class on the second chapter of the ServSafe book covering the many forms of contamination and foodborne illnesses. So with the issues at the games, and the recent E. coli romaine lettuce outbreak in California and Canada, it was a hot topic for discussion and review.  For example, in the United States alone, there are 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually (1 in 6 Americans) each year. These illnesses result in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

There are four ways food can become contaminated. They are biological, chemical, physical, and deliberate contaminations. Chemical contamination is caused by cleaning products, and pesticides getting mixed with food or having the food cooked in copper and zink pots. Physical contamination covers things like bugs, human hair, metal shards from a can, band-aids, fingernails and much more. Deliberate contamination is spread by terrorists, disgruntled former employees, or restaurant competitors. Under biological contamination where norovirus comes into play, there are four known biological pathogens from bacterial, parasite, fungi, and the dreaded virus. According to the FDA, CDC, and scientists at USAMRID, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, there are over forty types of biological contaminants out there that can spread to humans through food, and six have been singled out as highly contagious. Norovirus is one of these six. The others are Shigella, salmonella typhi, salmonella nontyphoidal, E. coli, and Hepatitis A.   

What Is Norovirus, And How Did It Break Out at the Winter Olympics?

Norovirus is in a group of related viruses in the Caliciviridae family. Its spread through ingestion in the small intestine before being expelled in feces. Norovirus can be found in an infected person's feces even before they start feeling sick and two weeks or more after they feel better. Most norovirus outbreaks happen in food service settings according to the CDC. Like Hepatitis A, norovirus is commonly linked to ready-to-eat-food. Food workers who touch foods with their bare hands before serving are frequently the source. Also, any foods that are served raw or are handled after being cooked without the food service worker wearing gloves can become contaminated.

Methods of transmission include:
Eating contaminated food
Drinking contaminated water
Touching your hand to your mouth after your hand has been in contact with a contaminated surface or
Being in close contact with a person who has a norovirus infection

One main cause is not washing or not properly washing your hands after using the restroom, then touching the food with feces that may be on your fingers. The second most common is through a sewage pipe rupture which was the case when 529 people became sick with norovirus in 2009 after eating at Chef Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant The Fat Duck which was #3 on the worlds top 100 restaurants of the world list. Also in 2013 sixty-three diners at Noma by Chef René Redzepi who owned the #1 restaurant in the world were infected by norovirus. Both outbreaks were linked to mussels that had been nesting in an area near a broken sewage pipe. According to the CDC, norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach, the intestines or both. A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed.

Signs and symptoms of norovirus infection include:
Abdominal pain or cramps
Watery or loose diarrhea
Low-grade fever
Muscle pain
You may continue to shed virus in your feces for up to two weeks after recovery. Seek medical attention if you develop diarrhea that doesn't go away within several days. Also call your doctor if you experience severe vomiting, bloody stools, abdominal pain or dehydration.

Graph courtesy of Food Safety Magazine

Risk factors for becoming infected with norovirus include:
Eating in a place where food is handled with unsanitary procedures
Attending preschool or a child care center
Living in close quarters, such as in nursing homes
Staying in hotels, resorts, cruise ships or other destinations with many people in close quarters
Having contact with someone who has norovirus infection

Norovirus infection is highly contagious, and anyone can become infected more than once. To help prevent its spread:
Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper.
Avoid contaminated food and water, including food that may have been prepared by someone who was
Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
Cook seafood thoroughly.
Dispose of vomit and fecal matter carefully, to avoid spreading norovirus by air. Soak up material with
disposable towels, using minimal agitation, and place them in plastic disposal bags.
Disinfect virus-contaminated areas with a chlorine bleach solution. Wear gloves.
Stay home from work, especially if your job involves handling food. You may be contagious as long as
three days after your symptoms end. Children should stay home from school or childcare.
Avoid traveling until signs and symptoms have ended.

The proper hand wash method - picture from ServSafe
In the end, if you are in food service no matter what area of the world you work, then wash your hands.
Follow the safety guidelines for food preparation. Wash fruits and vegetables correctly, keep foods at
the proper cooling and heated temperatures. If you're going to be in the news, then make it for a good news
story, not a norovirus story. If you don’t want to do the right thing, then don’t work in an area that can affect
peoples health.
Picture courtesy of ServSafe

Who is John Galt?


Dining on Anna Maria Island

A taste of Anna Maria Island
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Anna Maria Island (aka Anna Maria Key), is a barrier island off the West coast of Florida in the Gulf Mexico, south of Tampa and St Petersburg, north of Sarasota and next to the city of Bradenton in Manatee County. The island is seven miles long, and only a few blocks wide. Named after Anna Maria Ceravolo the wife of a former Tampa Mayor, it was first discovered by the local Timucan and Caloosan Native American tribes and, later, by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1539, but it wasn’t until 1892 that the island received its first permeant resident. The island is divided into three cities; Anna Maria on the North and widest part of the island, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Bradenton Beach to the South where the island connects via a bridge to Longboat Key. There are also three main bridges that connect the island to the mainland. The population is around 8,800 based on the 2005 census but gets over 75,000 visitors each year according to the Chamber of Commerce. The island is known as a cozy paradise with an old Florida vibe, where my wife and I spent four days in a little staycation away from our home in St Petersburg. From the northern end of the Island you can see the entrance to the Tampa Bay through the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, enjoy great restaurants, beaches, shopping, and other activities. 

John Roser was one of the first people to settle and built several places on the island, to include roads, pipelines, and a church, which led to a further increase in population. Roser was also famous for being the creator of the Fig Newton, which he eventually sold to Nabisco Brands.

High rise condos and fast food restaurants are pleasantly absent from this island, and with close to one hundred small restaurants and bars, it is a food lovers delight, home to many award-winning bistros, cafes, and restaurants written up in national newspapers such as the New York Times, and USA Today, as well as magazines from Europe. My wife and I stayed at the Bungalow Beach Resort in the bottom portion of the island in the city of Bradenton Beach. The resort has 16 bungalow style cottages right on the beach, each with a different tropical style name, the pineapple being ours. There are many Anna Maria Island beachside hotels, featuring a wide array of room sizes, from rustic million-dollar cottages by the sea to deluxe suites, remodeled homes, and luxury condominiums. Speaking of beaches, the island is known for is beautiful turquoise emerald Gulf waters and sugar-white sandy beached coastline. Especially Manatee Beach in the middle of the island, and Bean Point Beach, which is tucked away on the North end of the island near the 100-year-old City Pier. Other activities throughout the year include the annual “Bayfest,” the “Beach’N Food Truck & Music Festival,” privateers parades, art gallery walks, July fireworks, Easter egg hunts, holiday walkabouts, several markets, and much more. Check with the local Chamber’s calendar to learn more details. 

Our dog playing on the sandy beach near the Bungalow
City Pier - Picture courtesy of Travel + Leisure

Like most resort islands in Florida parking can be a challenge, so besides taxi and Uber, they offer a Free Trolley to take you where you want to go. As a tradition when we visit a resort area we like to rent a golf cart and drive around the neighborhoods and off the beaten path to see the scope of everything the islands have to offer. This is where we ran into the Anna Maria Bayfront Park, saw private golf clubs, and passed by wildlife preserves. Most of the islands speed limits are 35 mph or under, so driving a golf cart makes for a perfect and fun time. We drove through Holmes Beach first seeing many businesses stretched across a walkable seven-block section of town that included small unique gift shops, coffee and bagel café’s, silver, art galleries, and much more. We popped into a local dive called D Coy Ducks Bar & Grille for a quick drink, and later that evening had a lite dinner at eat here Anna Maria, a cozy inventive chef-driven American beach bistro recently selected as two of Florida’s “Best New Restaurants” as part of Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Awards. They have also received accolades as “Best Restaurant” and “Best New Restaurant” from numerous publications in the local community. Beach Bistro which is also part of the eat here family and owned by Sean Murphy has long been included in ZAGAT's "Top Restaurants in America” list. We did not have time to stop into Beach Bistro, but will on the next visit. We shared a few items enjoying the hickory house-smoked fish dip, and the Seattle style grilled muenster and gruyère cheese sandwich with caramelized onions, apples, and vine-ripe tomatoes. They also had a nice wine list, plus offered a free wine coupon that we forgot to use.

Hickory house-smoked fish dip at eat here Anna Maria

Earlier in the day after leaving D-Coy Ducks, we took our golf cart to the northern end of the island in the city of Anna Maria passing by a restaurant of interest that we marked for our return trip called Sign Of The Mermaid and stopped into The Sandbar Restaurant for a quick appetizer and some drinks. When we rent the cart on the island adventures we love to just restaurant hop, enjoying drinks and different flavors. If it is to our liking, then we return. The Sandbar is another refreshing chef-driven seafood restaurant under the reins of Chef Rich Demarse, and besides causal fair had one of the better beer and wine lists on the island. As a few hours went by traveling around and still in the northern section we stopped for a late lunch at what was by far the best restaurant experience of our trip. The Waterfront Restaurant and Craft Bar was so impressive that we returned for a dinner meal a few days later. Executive Chef Jason Hibberts introduces you to global seafood in this new American cuisine style restaurant that has an emphasis on sustainable products from local and independent vendors. We sat on the patio with views of the city pier and the Tampa Bay with the Sunshine Skyway bridge in the distance and were given the best service from all the restaurants we had visited on the island.  Try the wasabi encrusted Ahi tuna, the brie appetizer, or the truffled gouda mac and cheese cooked with a BBQ pork and bacon mixture. 

Brie appetizer at Waterfront Restaurant and Craft Bar

On the second day, still having our golf cart for the morning, we finished off our drive on the northern end having a quick drink with house-made chips and dips at Poppo’s Taqueria nestled between the waterfront restaurant on the eastern end of the island, and the Sandbar restaurant on the western end. It is a little store sitting next to a doughnut shop, art gallery, and small boutique. Poppo’s was very unique, offering up gourmet style Mexican Street food. Owned by Patrick and Rowen Coleman, this family owned and operated Latin-inspired taqueria is a fully organic restaurant. None of the products have preservatives, GMO’s, or anything else that is artificial. When sourcing their produces, they make sure that as much of it as possible is organically grown, to include ‘whole’ fresh produce, and most importantly, no processed items of any kind. This is a place to add to your list. We then headed to the southern end of the island, having to trade in the golf cart for our car, stopping into a tiki bar and breezy seafood restaurant on the beach for a quick drink called the Gulf Drive Cafe. This area was south of our bungalow and heading into the city center of Bradenton Beach, where there were the most shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants, really catering to the main tourist groups. For lunch, we stopped by the Beach House, a Florida Style waterfront dining restaurant newly redesigned and upgraded featuring Gulf-to-Table concepts by Executive Chef Will Manson. The Gulf-to-Table concept has gained great interest over the years as being the freshest seafood available in a Florida restaurant, where local fisherman make the catch in the morning or afternoon, and it is on your plate for dinner or happy hour. We shared the 24 Hour Florida wild boar dish, which attracted me to the restaurant when doing research on places to eat. It was slowly prepared sous-vide style served with a spinach dip. This along with a few drinks made a perfect happy hour meal. It was so mouthwateringly delicious, and one of the best dishes we had from our entire trip and was the main thing that set it apart from the Waterfront Restaurant. From there we worked our way over to Bridge Street in the center of the city which had the most touristy style shop destinations on the island. Other features as we walked around were the Bradenton historic street pier and clock tower, the Bridge Street Bazaar, and a spot of interest for our next visit for breakfast being the Island Creperie

24 Hour Florida wild boar dish at the Beach House

On the pier beside the gift shops was the Anna Maria Oyster Bar where we came the following morning to have some breakfast since the Creperie was closed that day and enjoy some hangover beers. Later that evening and our last night on the island, we stopped into the Island Time Inn on Bridge Street to the third floor terrace where Bridge Street Bistro was located. They are a fine new American dining restaurant owned by Stephen Bishop and Ron Fuller with Executive Chef Jimmy Lopatinski behind the wheel. There are several “new American” cuisine style restaurants on Anna Maria which are also known by the names modern American cuisine, or contemporary American cuisine restaurants. The term refers to the wave of modernized cooking predominantly served at upscale fine dining restaurants that began in the 1980s. I recommend the Ahi tuna dish with wakame seaweed slaw and a traditional New Orleans recipe of Oysters Bienville. 

Oysters Bienville at Bridge Street Bistro

Our final stop came the next day on the drive home. Before leaving the island some friends told us about a place that had just opened on Anna Maria that they were friends with the owner and to check them out. So we stopped into SMOQHOUSE, a modern and causal BBQ Fusion eatery featuring handcrafted sandwiches, salads, and soups. The restaurant was owned by Andy Kubes who also own two other SMOQHOUSE restaurants in Northfield, Minnesota. The menu changes nearly daily with the specials written on a chalkboard. You can dine in a very uniquely designed dining room that focuses on the BBQ or takes it to go which we did. Go with the smoked buffalo chicken on brioche with slaw, and the brisket burger cooked with some smoked cheddar, caramelized onion, and a house made ‘Smoq’n Sauce.’
Bradenton Beach Pier and Clocktower

This sums up our trip to the island, and like other island adventures around Florida, it did not disappoint. We only scratched the surface of the island when it comes to the culinary scene, and it will take many visits to get a true glimpse of what Anna Maria has to offer, and what it will provide in the future as culinary trends change, and a broader range of people visit. 

Here are the restaurants my wife and I visited and reviewed on Anna Maria Island:

Florida style waterfront dining with Gulf-to-Table concepts 
Anna Maria, Florida, USA
A Chef driven Beach-style Bistro
Anna Maria, Florida, USA
Gourmet organic Taqueria street food
Anna Maria, Florida, USA
Third-floor terrace seafood-centric New American dining
Bradenton Beach, Florida, USA
Chef-driven seafood restaurant
Anna Maria, Florida, USA
Global seafood with a comfort feel
Anna Maria, Florida, USA

A casual BBQ joint
Anna Maria, Florida, USA

Other Florida Island restaurant adventures:

Waterfront upscale new American cuisine 
Sanibel Island, Florida, USA
Beachside Victorian-Style seafood restaurant
Pass-a-Grille / St Pete Beach
Japanese restaurant & saké bar with sushi
Key West, Florida, USA
Italian eatery in the Thunderbird Resort
Treasure Island
Relaxed waterfront seafood restaurant 
Tierra Verde Key
Casual American eats
At The Westin Harbour Island
Tampa, Florida, USA

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country

Other Anna Maria Pictures:

Island Time Inn on Bridge Street
Sunset on Anna Maria Island
Dining room at Waterfront Restaurant

The Sandbar Restaurant Bar
Poppo's Taqueria 
The Beach House dining room 
City Pier 
Bradenton Beach
Sunshine Skyway Bridge 

Who is John Galt?


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