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TikTok sensation takes New York by storm



Sardines, once considered a humble food for the less fortunate, have experienced a remarkable resurgence in the heart of New York City, fueled by a TikTok craze that has taken the social media platform by storm.

With a combined total of 831 million views under the hashtags #Sardine and #Sardines, it’s official – sardines are the new “it food” of NYC.

The city’s newfound obsession with these tinned treasures coincides with the arrival of a renowned Portuguese sardine merchant, adding a touch of luxury to the canned fish craze.

The Fantastic World of the Portuguese Sardine, located at the corner of Broadway and 48th Street, represents the flagship store of a Portuguese chain with 20 outlets.

Entering the venue, which is still in its soft opening stage, feels like stepping into an epicurean toybox frozen in time. The interior is adorned with painted figurines and staff dressed in old-fashioned sailor outfits. The real treasures, however, are the two stories of shelves – accessed via sliding library ladders – showcasing multicolored sardine cans, resembling a Fort Knox of fish.

These cans, priced at $15 for four ounces, are organized “chronologically” from 1916 to the present, featuring events and famous birthdays for each year. Quaresma assured that these were not the actual years of canning to avoid any customer misconceptions.

Most of these delectable cans have a shelf life of approximately seven years, so any dreams of survival during a nuclear apocalypse or indulging in “Lazy Girl Meals” indefinitely must be set aside.

Inside these cans, one can discover scrumptious sardine filets bathed in copious amounts of olive oil, all compiled at a factory in Alvaro, a place renowned for its hand-prepared and hand-packed fish since 1952. This endeavor aims to elevate sardines in the United States, where, unlike in Europe, they have long been associated with “low-end eating.”

The timing of “Fantastic World” couldn’t have been better, as sardines have become a sensation on social media. TikTok users like Danielle Matzon have amassed millions of views by indulging in this trendy “hot girl food.” The soaring demand for sardines led to a nationwide tinned seafood shortage in January.

Fashion world

In a fascinating convergence of food and fashion, the sardine obsession has spilled over into the fashion world, with Bottega Veneta introducing a Sardine handbag and celebrities such as Ana de Armas and Lily Allen sporting nautical-themed attire.

To cater to Instagram enthusiasts, Fantastic World offers a special treat – “Ouro Portugues,” a $44 gold ingot-shaped tin containing three ounces of sardines flecked with edible gold flakes. While the experience is indulgent, it doesn’t significantly differ from the standard date-bearing sardines, except for meticulous skinning and deboning, making it lighter and airier.

One of the standout offerings at Fantastic World is the moist and smoky “Sardinia Asada” with sweet peppers and onions, a canned version of the charcoal-grilled sardines traditionally consumed at Lisbon’s Santo Antonio festival on June 12, aptly known as the Festival of Sardines.

Apart from sardines, Fantastic World also offers Bacalhau, the flaky and savory dried and salted cod that is a staple of Portuguese cuisine. In the coming week, the store will introduce all 18 varieties of tinned fish, including sole, salmon, octopus, whelk, mussels, and “Mediterranean sea bass” (branzino). They even have a cookbook detailing how to pair sardines with various cuisines, from Portuguese to Chinese.

While the prices at Fantastic World may be steep, and their lease is set to expire in ten years, the store stands as a unique boutique destination amid the kitschy expanse of Elmo impersonators and “I Love NY” T-shirt vendors that make up Times Square.

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McDonald’s plans massive expansion with 9,000 new burger joints by 2027



Fast-food giant McDonald’s has unveiled an ambitious plan to open nearly 9,000 new burger joints across the globe by 2027.

The move comes as part of the company’s aggressive growth strategy to maintain its dominance in the competitive fast-food industry.

McDonald’s, known for its iconic golden arches, currently operates over 38,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries.

With this expansion, the company aims to tap into emerging markets while also strengthening its presence in existing ones. The plan includes opening new outlets in urban centres, shopping malls, and even smaller towns, catering to a diverse range of customers.

The expansion drive is expected to create thousands of jobs, from front-line crew members to management positions, offering economic opportunities in various communities.

Furthermore, McDonald’s will continue to focus on sustainability, with commitments to reduce its environmental footprint through eco-friendly practices and packaging.

As the fast-food giant prepares to embark on this ambitious journey, the focus keyword for Google SEO is “McDonald’s expansion.”

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Citigroup’s enormous billion dollar restructuring cost revealed



Citigroup, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, is undergoing a significant restructuring effort that comes with a hefty price tag of $1 billion.

However, this massive overhaul is now anticipated to extend beyond the current quarter and will likely stretch into the next.

The restructuring plan, which was initially expected to conclude this quarter, involves a comprehensive review of Citigroup’s operations, aiming to streamline its business processes and enhance efficiency. The bank has been facing mounting pressure to adapt to changing market conditions and technological advancements.

The delay in completing the restructuring has raised concerns among investors, as the prolonged uncertainty can impact the bank’s financial performance. Citigroup’s leadership remains committed to the plan, emphasising the importance of getting it right rather than rushing through the process.

Despite the cost and delay, Citigroup remains optimistic about the long-term benefits of the restructuring, which include improved profitability and competitiveness in the financial sector.

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British American Tobacco issues warning on future of U.S. brands



British American Tobacco (BAT) has raised concerns about the long-term viability of its US-based cigarette brands, marking a significant shift in its outlook on the American market.

The company is now planning a massive $31.5 billion writedown, reflecting its dim view of the future prospects for these brands.

BAT, one of the world’s leading tobacco companies, has traditionally maintained a strong presence in the US market through brands like Newport and Camel. However, changing consumer preferences, stricter regulations, and the rise of alternative tobacco products like e-cigarettes have put pressure on the traditional cigarette industry.

The company’s decision to write down the value of its US brands highlights the challenges it faces in a market that is evolving rapidly. BAT is expected to focus more on the development and marketing of reduced-risk products and alternative nicotine delivery systems.

This strategic shift may have significant implications for BAT’s future operations and the broader tobacco industry. It remains to be seen how the company will navigate this changing landscape and whether it can adapt to the shifting preferences of consumers.

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