Happy Tuesday. Now that last night's Iowa caucus is finally out of the way, it's time to focus on the next major television event: the Super Bowl, which will arguably feature better commercials and better snacks. (Not hosting a wings-and-beer party on your couch? Here's where to watch the game in 17 North American cities.)
In today's vital food news: KFC's Colonel is preparing to get another facelift, the Shake Shack sprawl continues, McDonald's is fancying up its Filet-O-Fish, and a NASA intern has invented a coffeemaker using space-age technology. Five things to know today, right now:
— Colonel Sanders no longer wants to be a lowly fast-food mascot to be grouped with the likes of the Hamburglar and Burger King's creepy king. No, these days the dapper old gent is striving to be more like James Bond or Doctor Who, with a constantly revolving cast of actors to play him. Saturday Night Live alums Darrel Hammond and Norm MacDonald are out, and KFC's next celebrity mascot will be revealed in a TV spot set to air during the Super Bowl pregame.
— Shake Shack is continuing to spread its crinkle fries and potato buns across the land: The burger chain just revealed that it's planning yet another store for Arizona, to be located at the upscale Kierland Commons development in Scottsdale. That makes a total of three planned outlets for Arizona; the first is expected to open soon at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
— Hey look, McDonald's is doing the "local/seasonal" thing! Well, sort of: Stores across the Mid-Atlantic will serve a special-edition Filet-O-Fish slathered with Old Bay tartar sauce for "a limited time" beginning today. (Old Bay is a traditional seasoning for crab cakes, crab boils, and other seafood dishes, though it apparently also improves the flavor of industrial-made fish patties.) This is the second seasonal run for the sandwich, which was invented last year by a Baltimore franchisee.
— Coming soon to a cup near you: space-age coffee (literally). A former NASA intern has utilized space rover technology to build a new coffeemaker, the Blossom One Brewer, that precisely controls temperatures to produce a better, more consistent cup. The Blossom One is a single-cup brewer marketed to coffee shops, but a home version of the high-tech machine could be in the company's future.
— The documentary film about Chicago chef Curtis Duffy, For Grace, is now available via purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and XBox. The film chronicles Duffy's quest to open his acclaimed restaurant, Grace, along with his struggles and the sacrifices he had to make along the way; expect a whole lot of gratuitous high-end food shots, too.