Alcohol Hit-Or-Miss Recipes Tastemade/Snapchat

9 Ways To Cook With Wine That No True Wino Can Resist

The saying “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” is applied to way too many aspects of daily life. We know for a fact there is one area where it just simply isn’t true, and that’s cooking with wine. You see, there are several recipes we have discovered that will allow you to literally drink your glass of wine, and eat good food at the same time. Because you really do deserve it all, here are nine ways to cook with wine no true wino will be able to resist.

Red Wine Brownies

While these may not get you drunk since most of the alcohol will be cooked out by the time they’re done, they’ll still be the richest brownies you may have ever had in your life. Baking is extremely precise so you need to be careful, but it’s pretty safe to say all you need to do to make these beauties is just use red wine instead of water or milk. Since we can be kind of lazy when it comes to baking, feel free to grab your favorite boxed brownie mix from the store and go to town. If you are looking for a little buzz, these would obviously serve as a great accompaniment to actual red wine.

Beef Bourguignon

The French pretty much run the game when it comes to cooking with wine. There are numerous traditional dishes that involve your favorite booze, and beef bourguignon is just one of them. While this dish is a labor of love, it’s so comforting you won’t mind that it’ll take you over an hour to make. To start, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or other pan that is oven-safe) on the stove. Salt and pepper 2 ½ pounds of chuck roast, cut into cubes, add to the pan, and cook until browned. Once this has been accomplished, remove the chunks of beef to a separate plate. Then, add some diced carrots and onions to the pan, sautee until cooked, and then throw in ½ cup of cognac and light it on fire! This is the fun part. Once the cognac has been cooked off, add the cooked beef chunks, 1 bottle of wine, and enough chicken or beef broth to cover all ingredients. Place in the oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the beef chunks are so tender they fall apart with the slightest touch of a fork. If you want, add some flour to thicken the mixture, and voila! you have dinner.

Red Wine Pasta

Making red wine pasta is so simple, it’s no wonder people are obsessed with the stuff. All you need to do is go halfsies with water and wine in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, you add your pasta and cook to its desired consistency, just like any other time you’ve made the stuff. You’ll end up with perfect al dente pasta with a beautiful red hue, which we’re sure will impress your friends. If you’re feeling really ambitious, why not whip up a red wine cream sauce to go with it?

Chicken Piccata

Chicken piccata is a traditional Italian dish and one of the best ways to use up that white wine that’s been sitting in your fridge for God knows how long. To make this dish, first heat some olive oil or butter in a pan. Then, take a couple chicken breasts and pound it with a hammer or rolling pin until it is fairly flat. Coat the chicken breast in a bit of flour or cornstarch, so it will brown nicely. Once the oil or butter has been heated, add the chicken breasts, and sautee until browned on each side. When the breasts are cooked, remove them to a plate. Now it’s time to “deglaze” the pan by adding about ¼ cup of white wine to the mix. Cook the wine until the liquid in the pan is back to its original amount, which means the alcohol is cooked off. Then add butter, capers, and juice from half a lemon and stir until you’ve reached a sauce-like consistency. Place the chicken breasts back into the pan to soak up all that goodness, and then serve over pasta, quinoa, spaghetti squash, or literally any type of carby food you want.

Red Wine Poached Pears

Craving #stoofpeertjes.. #poachedpears #pears #dutchpride #eattherainbow #winter #brrr #cold #thatsdarling

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Serving poached pears for dessert is the perfect way to impress any house guest because they’re visually stunning, but pretty easy to make. To start, pour a bottle of red wine and an equal amount of water into a soup pot or large saucepan and bring to a light simmer. Peel however many pears you want to make, and then place them in the liquid along with 2 cups of sugar and whatever spices you’re feeling, like cinnamon or vanilla bean. Let the pears cook in the simmering liquid for about 20 minutes, then turn the heat off or place the entire pot in the fridge until both the liquid and the pears are fully cooled. By this point, you’re pretty much done, so serve those babies up with some homemade whipped cream or ice cream and you’ve got dessert.

Bacon & Sweet Potato Hash

Bacon. Sweet Potato. White Wine. Fried Egg. All together in my newest hash recipe on the blog. Link in my profile! Go! Make!

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This bacon and sweet potato hash is a perfect way to consume wine with breakfast without it seeming sketchy. To make this easy breakfast dish, peel and dice a sweet potato. Dice a couple slices of bacon and heat in a frying pan. Once the bacon is nearly cooked and has rendered some nice fat, add the chunks of sweet potato and whatever other veggies you want like leeks or asparagus. Cook the mixture for a minute or two, or until the sweet potatoes brown a bit on the outside. Then, grab about ¼ cup of white wine from the fridge and pour into the frying pan. Cook until majority of the wine has evaporated, and serve!

Wine Popsicles

Wine popsicles are the perfect treat no matter the season or occasion. Making popsicles is always fun since they’re a blank canvas – you can put whatever you want in them, and chances are they’ll always be delicious. To make our go-to wine pops, you’ll need one cup of wine (red or white, whatever you want), 2 tablespoons of sugar, and whatever fruit you think will go best with your wine choice. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then, place the mixture in a popsicle mold, or a few small Dixie cups with a wooden popsicle stick if you don’t have the proper equipment. All you need to do is place the mixture in the freezer until the liquid is frozen, and then you’re free to enjoy.

Red Wine Truffles

You don’t have to be a sommelier to know that chocolate and red wine is one of the best combinations on this Earth. You can eat your little chocolate squares with your nightly glass of wine as much as you want, but we’ve found a way to to combine the two that’s too good not to share: red wine truffles. All you’ll need is eight ounces of baking chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream, and ½ cup of your favorite red wine. Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, and then remove the bowl and stir. Repeat this process until the chocolate is fully melted. While you’re cooking the chocolate, heat the cream in a small saucepan until small bubbles start to form. Add the warmed cream to the chocolate mixture, add your ½ cupe wine, and stir until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a glass baking dish and place in the fridge for about 4 hours. Then, take small scoops and roll into balls. Coat with your desired garnish – like shredded coconut or cocoa powder – and serve!

Red Wine Bread

Making bread can be extremely complex, but there are a few simple recipes out there if you look hard enough. This is one that seems fairly easy to make, and calls for red wine so basically it’s the bomb. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, 1 tablespoon baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Slowly mix in 1 ½ cups of red wine and knead for about five minutes on a cutting board or countertop that has been sprinkled with flour so the dough doesn’t stick. This part is important so the sugars in the mixture can get the oxidation process rolling. Once you’ve kneaded your dough, mold it into whatever shape you desire. Then brush with butter or olive oil, and create a slash in the top of the dough so the bread can breathe throughout the cooking process. Place the dough on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or until bread is fully cooked. Enjoy with some cheese and charcuterie, and a glass of red wine for good measure.

#foodbeast Culture Tastemade/Snapchat

Here Are Seven Of The Most Impressive Child Chefs You Should Know About

The two most challenging parts of adulthood are making sure you don’t die, and feeding yourself. Of course the easiest way to ensure the latter is to eat out for every meal, but that gets expensive. When your bank account is dying, it’s time to turn to the kitchen. We don’t know about you, but no victory in there is too small. Every time we successfully boil water is a good day in the books. That was until we realized there is such a thing as a child chef.

You wouldn’t think the two words go together, but shows like MasterChef Junior have validated this phenomenon. Here are some of the most baller child chefs out there who will most definitely make you feel like a total scrub in the kitchen.

1. Flynn McGarry

It’s not an exaggeration when we say Flynn McGarry accomplished more by age twelve than we have in our entire lives. This youngster first started to hone his knife skills at age ten. Shortly thereafter, McGarry started a supper club from his mom’s house in Studio City, California, called EUREKA. Each dining session hosted 20 guests, and included ten different courses. After mastering the art of the supper club, McGarry staged (a.k.a. was invited) to come work in the kitchen for several acclaimed restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park, Alinea, Next, and Modernist Cuisine. Almost all of these have had or currently have a Michelin star. Of course, McGarry continued the supper club while working. Eventually, EUREKA became a monthly pop-up hosted at BierBeisl in Beverly Hills, and also traveled across the country to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and NYC. He has been listed in Zagat’s 30 under 30 chefs of Los Angeles, and Time Magazine included him in their list of the top 25 most influential teens.

2. Sarah Lane

If there’s one thing Sarah Lane possesses in addition to her impressive culinary skills, it’s a standout personality. She entertained many during her tenure on the show MasterChef Junior, which she participated in at age nine. Sarah was thrown into the restaurant scene pretty early in life: her grandmother owned a restaurant, at which she started making appearances as a wee babe. Apparently she was taught how to make coffee when she was just four years old. While Sarah didn’t win MasterChef, she impressed Gordon Ramsay with her ability to make a perfect Beef Wellington. Since her time on the show, she participated in the LA Cookie Con in 2016 as a special guest.

3. Estie Kung

Estie Kung, a.k.a. Chef Estie was brought to the world’s attention when she starred in the new show, Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown, on the FYI Network this past year. Estie is currently eight years old, the youngest competitor ever on the show, and her favorite foods are steak tartare, caviar, and lobster, so you know her palate is way more refined than ours. Plus, she already knows how to make homemade pasta, is a star Girl Scout, and is already able to read at a 6th grade level. This little wunderkind is from Hollywood and started cooking when she was only three years old.

4. Greg Grossman

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Greg Grossman is often called the Justin Bieber of the food world. Even if you aren’t a Belieber, you hear that and know this guy is good. So good, in fact, that he is unanimously considered a culinary prodigy by anyone he’s met. Grossman began his foray into the food scene by washing dishes at a local restaurant when he was eight years old. By age nine, he was asked to work on the line in said restaurant. Then, two years later, when he was only ten years old, he started his own catering service in the Hamptons. Wut. Even from a young age, Grossman’s passions lay in molecular gastronomy, and his idol was Ferrán Adrià of elBulli restaurant fame. He fancy. Grossman also worked in Alinea in Chicago with Grant Achatz, and received the first ever Martha Stewart Scholar Award in 2009. In 2015, Grossman became the executive chef at Georgica in The Hamptons, when he was only 18. Currently, he has his own restaurant called Oreya, which opened in June 2016 in Southampton.

5. Logan Guleff

Logan Guleff is another child chef with a pretty impressive resume. He began cooking when he was just two years old, and started a food blog called “Order Up! With Logan,” when he was eight. Guleff then won his first cooking contest by the age of nine. The contest was hosted by JIF and Guleff won the prize for most creative sandwich, which got him a feature on The Today Show. It was all up from there. Logan continued to win contests, including the Epicurious Kid’s State Dinner Healthy Lunch Challenge in August 2012, which allowed him to meet and dine with President Obama and the First Lady. In 2014, Logan participated in MasterChef Junior, and won. The meal that sealed the deal for Logan was pretty extravagant, and consisted of saffron spot prawns, salt-crusted branzino, and Meyer lemon madeleines with berry compote and goat cheese mousse. We’d hire him to be our personal chef, tbh.

6. Danielle McNerney

Photo By: NBC
Danielle McNerney stated cooking at age four and considers herself a self-made chef. She is known for her healthy yet delicious meals, which she started crafting after her mother was diagnosed with Merkel cell carcinoma. The family needed to convert to healthy, organic foods, and Danielle took on the challenge. Danielle won the California Strawberry Commission’s #KidsCookOff recipe competition with a strawberry basil quinoa salad. In December 2015, Danielle competed on NBC’s show Food Fighters, where she went head-to-head with renowned cake master Duff Goldman.

7. Nathan Odom

Nathan Odom got into cooking around the age of ten when he started attending cooking classes as part of the Scratch Culinary Education Program in San Diego, California. As part of this curriculum, Nathan helped prepare a three-course meal at a local restaurant for the public. About two years later, after Nathan’s passion for cooking began to marinate, he tried out for MasterChef Junior. Nathan ended up winning season three. San Diego was pretty happy about this, and The City Council officially deemed March 17 “Nathan Odom Day.” Currently, Nathan is thirteen years old and serving as the judge for cooking competitions and the like.

Health Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

Why Eating Turmeric Should Be A Part Of Your Diet

You’d probably be able to place turmeric if we told you it was the stuff in curry powder that makes it yellow, but turmeric in its raw form is a root that looks fairly similar to ginger. The root has a ton of health benefits and deserves to be incorporated in your life way more than solely in the form of a miscellaneous golden powder. Here are just some of the reasons you should be eating more turmeric.

Turmeric is so good for reducing inflammation that it can be just as effective as actual anti-inflammatory medicine.

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You read that right. The root is very high in a chemical called “curcumin,” which is a natural anti-inflammatory. While certain low and short-term levels of inflammation are natural for the body, long-term inflammation is really bad for your body tissue. Studies have shown that turmeric can sometimes be just as effective as your run-of-the-mill anti-inflammatory, so it’s time to throw away the Ibuprofen and stock up on turmeric. Try this tea on for size. .

turmeric is loaded with antioxidants

If you’ve ever fallen victim to the many trendy beverages on the shelves marketed as having tons of antioxidants (we’re looking at you, Bai), then you know antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. These little buggers can be pretty harmful to the body. Luckily, turmeric is a pretty potent antioxidant. Try incorporating it into your next snack. We promise it’s not that hard. Just take a look at this turmeric popcorn.

Turmeric is known to improve brain function

If you’re feeling a little sluggish mentally and all those Lumosity games aren’t working for you, turn to turmeric. Curcumin, which we mentioned earlier, has been found to increase levels of this thing in your brain called BDNF, which stands for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. Basically, BDNF is a type of growth hormone that lives in the brain and contributes to healthy brain function. Some people even think this aspect of turmeric can improve your memory, or even combat several genetic or age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. Adding turmeric to your diet is much easier than you think. Just throw some turmeric in the pot the next time you make rice. Your brain will thank you.

Turmeric is a natural way to keep your brain happy

Certain studies have shown that turmeric can even improve your mood, and protect against depression. This has to do with that BDNF stuff we mentioned earlier. Depression is oftentimes linked to a shortage of BDNF, which as you know affects brain health. Since turmeric boosts BDNF, it can contribute to a healthy, happy brain.

Some people think turmeric can even help prevent cancer

Obviously, cancer is it’s own demon and there isn’t 100% proof that turmeric can cure it at all, but integrating turmeric into your diet definitely can’t hurt. There are a few reasons scientists think this way. First of all, the antioxidant boost found in turmeric protects the cells in your body from free radicals. These free radicals can be pretty harmful to the point where they have the ability to attack your DNA. So by boosting the antioxidants and nipping those free radicals in the bud, ideally there will be less room for that DNA to be mutated into cancer cells. Next time you’re fixing up a midnight milkshake, throw in some turmeric. We promise your milkshake will still taste like a milkshake.

Turmeric can help you undo the damage you did to your liver last weekend

Don’t tell PETA, but we have rats to thank for this discovery. There is a study that had one set of rats consuming turmeric, and the other was exposed to the control drug. The rats that were fed turmeric had increased levels of two essential liver detox enzymes. Honestly we’re not entirely sure how to pronounce these so we’ll leave it to the scientists, but we do know this is good. If you had a particularly exciting weekend, whip up a batch of this turmeric drank. You’ll be good as new by Monday.

Turmeric can lower your risk of heart disease

Alright, we’re about to get scientific with you again. So that curcumin stuff is really good, can’t you tell? In this case, we’re talking about it because curcumin is known to positively affect the endothelium, which is a fancy term for the lining of your blood vessels. Heart disease is highly driven by a dysfunctional endothelium, therefore, by making it better suited to do it’s thang like regulate your blood pressure and help with clotting, your risk of heart disease can be significantly decreased. If you have a sweet tooth, you really need to whip up this turmeric-filled dessert. Just look at it.

Turmeric can tame heartburn and an upset stomach

Similar to it’s cousin ginger, turmeric works wonders against heartburn. It’s also pretty good at relieving any distress you might be feeling in your tum tum. Next time you eat Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, boil some hot water and throw in some chopped turmeric. The hot water will release the flavors of turmeric and you’ll have yourself a nice, makeshift tea. You’ll be pain-free before you know it.

Hit-Or-Miss Tastemade/Snapchat

10 Facts About SPAM That You Might Not Have Known

Love it or hate it, Spam has been a part of American culture since World War II and it’s not going anywhere. For every group of people that can’t stand Spam, there is another camp that is obsessed with the stuff to an almost cult-like degree. Since Spam is kind of a mystery to us, here are some little known facts about the remarkable canned good.

1. Spam was born in 1937

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Spam was created by Hormel in 1937, after an increased need for non-perishable protein food items. This pork product became a diet staple for troops fighting in World War II. The Europeans, minus the Brits, kind of hated it, but those stationed on the Pacific front became obsessed. Spam is still a hit in that geographical area even today.

2. Most people still don’t know what Spam stands for

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One reason Spam was sometimes called “mystery meat” was because people didn’t know the meaning of the acronym. Some theories include a mashup of the words “Spiced Ham” or “Shoulders of Pork and Ham.” Others joked and thought Spam could stand for “Something Posing as Meat” or “Specifically Processed Artificial Meat.” We will probably never find out the real answer because there are only a few past executives from Hormel that actually know.

3. Nearly 100 million pounds of Spam were consumed by the Allied troops during World War II

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Like we said previously, Spam was a hit among the troops, at least functionally, because it was a protein-packed food that required no refrigeration. We’re kind of weirded out about the whole no refrigeration thing, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

4. Monty Python made Spam a pop culture icon

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From wartime grub to pop culture icon, Spam has certainly lived a full life. In 1970, the meat was so popular it made a lengthy appearance in a scene from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which resulted in all characters breaking out into a song about Spam. This musical number was resurrected when the musical Spamalot debuted in 2004.

5. Hormel produces 44,000 cans of Spam every hour

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Even though Spam is available in 41 countries, this production number is still wild. 44,000 cans produced every hour? That equates to 33,000 pounds. Looks like Spam is still alive and well in the culinary scheme of things.

6. The meat in Spam isn’t as much of a mystery as people think it is

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Spam has always had a bad rap for being considered a “mystery meat,” but Hormel has been pretty honest about its ingredients all along. The classic Spam is made up of pork shoulder, ham, salt, water, sugar, potato starch, and sodium nitrate. The type of meat in Spam is actually supposed to be much less sketchy than what you’d find in your standard hot dog.

7. Hawaii alone consumes approximately 7 million cans of Spam per year

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Hawaii has the largest market for Spam worldwide. This is probably as a result of those Word War II soldiers on the Pacific coasts falling in love with the stuff. Spam is such a big deal in Hawaii that those 7 million cans aren’t just found in grocery stores – they’re also featured at the regional McDonald’s locations and even on the menus at high-end restaurants.

8. There is a restaurant in the Philippines that only serves Spam

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The Philippines can almost give Hawaii a run for their money in the Spam department. The country is home to a notable restaurant called “Spam Jam,” which serves a whole menu full of dishes featuring the meat. Popular items include Spam spaghetti, Spam eggs, and even a Spam gift set, that is actually widely considered by Filipinos to be a very thoughtful wedding gift.

9. There is an official Spam museum in Minnesota

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The official Spam museum is located in Austin, Minnesota. Like any museum, there are specialists who lead tours. At the Spam museum, these people are called “Spambassadors,” and they can recite the entire Hormel history by memory. The museum also features an exhibit where you can pack and seal a can of Spam yourself, and rooms for live cooking demos.

10. Hormel created a traveling musical troupe dedicated to Spam

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If there’s one thing you should know about Hormel, it’s that they take their advertising very seriously. After World War II, the company launched a huge campaign for Spam in the hopes of keeping the meat alive post-war. Hormel put together a troupe of female performers called the “Hormel Girls,” who traveled the country promoting the product. At its peak, this group featured over 60 women accompanied by a live orchestra and their own radio show to boot.

Sweets Tastemade/Snapchat

10 Sweet Ube Desserts You Need Right About Now

Ube seems to be every foodie’s new obsession, and with good reason. If you’re not sure what it is, ube is basically a purple yam, similar to a sweet potato, most notably found in Filipino cuisine. While ube tastes amazing and is extremely versatile to cook with, the veggie’s claim to fame is its beautiful purple hue. The stuff can make anything look good. Because ube deserves to be in your life if it isn’t already, here are some of our favorite ube desserts.

Ube Donut

See what we mean about the beautiful color? It’s so rare to find natural foods this vivid without any food dye, but ube has defied all odds. Manila Social Club in NYC started making these donuts and everyone went wild. We would literally hop on a plane and fly across the country for a dozen of these without any shame.

Ube Brioche Ice Cream Sandwich

Dear Lord, we can barely comprehend the amazingness that is in front of us. If you’re wondering, and you should be, this is ube ice cream toasted into a brioche bun with shiso granola and a little coconut dulce de leche for good measure. Yet another infectious concoction out of New York City. What’s in the water over there? The city sure knows its sweets.

Ube Velvet Whoopie Pie

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These are Ube whoopie pies. The cake is ube velvet, as opposed to red velvet, and the cream is ube gelato. That’s three delicious layers of ube in one amazing dessert. You know, this looks oddly similar to Sunday nights when we do meal prep. Oh, what a world it would be to eat ube whoopie pies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Ube Coffee Cake

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Okay, guys. This is ube coffee cake, so that means we’ve officially found a sweet ube treat that’s acceptable to eat for breakfast. This luscious goodie is topped with a coconut sugar walnut crumble, just for that added crunch. With that beautiful hue, how could you say no?

Ube Leche Flan Cupcake

To any known deity in the universe, all we ask of you is that some day we will be able to experience the deliciousness that is this ube cupcake. We would also like to point out that this little beauty is topped with leche flan instead of frosting. That’s just how Cafe 86, a Filipino joint located in Southern California, rolls.

Flores de Ube

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While we mentioned ube is commonly found in Filipino cuisine, none of the sweets we’ve listed so far are traditional applications of the ube. That ends here with these incredible Flores de Ube. Word on the street is you can get three of these these sweet, tasty rolls for only $1.99 at Valerio’s Tropical Bake Shop in Daly City, CA. Use whatever train, plane, or automobile to get there, stat.

Ube NiceCream

Sure, we’ve heard of “Nicecream.” It’s basically frozen bananas that somehow magically adopt the taste and texture of ice cream after being blended together. But we have never seen Ube Nicecream. Now you can indulge in a sweet ube treat that is, dare we say, actually healthy for you. Plus, if you have a blender, this will be a piece of cake to make.

Ube Upside Down Pie

Okay, so this basically looks like heaven in a jar. What is it, you ask? Well, this is an upside down ube pie with a graham cracker Greek yogurt crumble. Pineapple upside down cake is pretty visually stunning as is, but it might have some competition here. That gorgeous shade of purple just can’t be beat.

Ube Cinnamon Roll

Everyone loves cinnamon rolls. They’re the quintessential Sunday morning breakfast. We’ve spent so many weekend mornings curled up with a cup of coffee and a warm, sticky cinnamon roll, you don’t even want to know. It just doesn’t get better than that. Well, maybe we spoke too soon. This ube cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting and caramelized coconut sugar is definitely way better.

Ube Bread Pudding

Wow, this is absurd. We didn’t think anything could top Cafe 86’s ube cupcake with leche flan, but that was before we discovered their ube bread pudding with ube ice cream. What the heck. Just look how dense and delicious that bread pudding looks. And don’t even get us started on the ice cream. Drool.

#foodbeast Hit-Or-Miss Opinion

Should Chefs Decline Requests to Make Modifications to Their Food?

I’m a firm believer that food is art, and chefs are artists. The chef is the one with the vision and they bring it to life, so they have the right to control how their food is served – without modifications if they so choose – regardless of dietary preference or restrictions.

After all, if you were paying a painter to commission a piece of art for your home and you were colorblind, you wouldn’t ask them to omit red and green from their creation… or would you?

There of course can be a conflict between maintaining the integrity of a dish when trying to please a customer. But do all alterations, no matter the size or degree of effort, affect a dish in a drastic way?

I ran into this very issue on a recent trip to Animal, a pretty popular restaurant here in LA. I told the server I couldn’t eat gluten or dairy, which evoked a panicked look I have become pretty accustomed to by now.

I’ve worked at a restaurant. I totally get it. I know how difficult it is to make modifications during a busy dinner service. I also understand how a chef’s signature dish might be slightly different if they prepare it in a way that adheres to my restrictions. But, I didn’t choose to be cursed with a weak digestive system. If I could smite the God that made it this way, I would.

Trust me when I say we gluten-free folk don’t get our jollies from being difficult. We just want to go to the hotspots in town and still feel like a normal human rather than a pariah who probably would have been eliminated from society if natural selection was still a thing.

After 10-15 minutes of waiting, the manager came to my table after meeting with the chef to give me a copy of their menu with notes on what dishes I could eat. Every single item was crossed off except one, because everything contained either gluten or dairy, and they had a strict no modification policy.

Either that, or the $120 bone-in ribeye with half the ingredients (listed as MP) which mysteriously was the only dish they were okay with “modifying” by omission, and also the most expensive on the menu.

It should be mentioned that I would have been able to eat one of the dishes if they just didn’t put the fried shallots on top as a garnish.

Sure, there are people who choose a particular lifestyle like gluten-free because they think it’ll make them lose weight, yet all they eat are substitution products like crackers and cookies made from rice flour, which has a higher carb content than wheat thereby negating that whole weight loss plan. People like that ruin dining for those that actually have severe intolerances or allergies.

It’s these people that are instilling doubt in servers and chefs and tainting the restaurant experience for those who have been gluten-free since before it was popular because they have to be. I’d go into detail about what happens to me when I eat gluten, but I don’t want you to barf up your lunch.

But regardless of why someone doesn’t eat something, I would think the point of opening a restaurant is so people from all dietary walks of life can enjoy your food. Of course, I’m not saying every item on the menu should be up for grabs.

It would be a straight-up crime to make a dairy-free fettuccine alfredo or a gluten-free Beef Wellington because the items in question are debatably the most important ingredients of the dish. But in the grand scheme of things, it really would not kill you to cook that chicken piccata in olive oil rather than butter, and I’ve eaten many a steak tartare without bread and enjoyed it just the same.

Part of this is the customer’s responsibility, however. I rarely go to Italian restaurants because most of the things worth eating have gluten or dairy. There’s no way in hell I’d go to Babbo and ask Mario Batali if he can make his pappardelle bolognese gluten-free, because even if his restaurant did serve gluten-free pasta, it would most likely be outsourced instead of made in-house to avoid cross contamination. So in the end it wouldn’t even be a good representation of their food anyways.

All I’m asking for is some common sense:

From the customer – It is not a badge of honor to be a difficult patron. Being high maintenance doesn’t mean you are important or distinguished. Make your server and the chef’s life as easy as possible. If you’ve never worked in the food industry before, chances are you have absolutely no idea how many steps go into making your meal. If you’re pretty sure a dish is like 50% made of stuff you can’t eat, don’t order it.

From the chef – I really do think some rationality should be taken into account in your quest to find the best way to preserve your art and get your message across. If it’s as simple as just leaving one ingredient off the plate, I feel like that is not a ludicrous request. If like 4 of the 6 ingredients are off-limits, obviously tell the customer that dish isn’t going to work out.

The dining experience should be about showcasing your skills and creating a menu that has something accessible to all excited patrons rather than just those who are blessed enough to have a stomach of steel or those willing to endure a night of pure agony.

Because after all, art is meant to be shared… and in the culinary world, tasted.


12 of the Most Comforting Comfort Foods Around the World

No matter where you’re from, sometimes the only thing that can make you feel better is a nice, warm bowl of whatever your momma makes you when you’re feeling down. Predictably, this manifests itself in different ways across the world. Here are 12 examples of delicious comfort food around the globe that’ll make you want to plan a worldwide tour ASAP.

1. Poutine // Canada

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Poutine is one of the most addictive dishes in existence. Composed of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, the dish originates in the Canadian province of Quebec. Many people call poutine “heart attack in a bowl,” which, based on its components, is a pretty accurate statement. Luckily, the poutine craze has extended to the United States, so there are plenty of places to get your fix.

2. Pão de Queijo // Brazil

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Pão de Queijo involves two of our favorite food groups, cheese and bread, so we’re hooked already. Essentially, pão de queijo is a starchy bread made with tapioca, eggs, milk, and cheese, that is oftentimes stuffed with more cheese or meat. The rolls are known for being a little crispy on the outside, and very chewy and soft on the inside, so you could say they’re everything we ever dreamed of and more.

3. Cha Siu Bao // China

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If you’ve ever went out to get some dim sum, chances are you have experienced the deliciousness that is cha siu bao. Also known as barbecue pork buns, these babies are made with a soft dough filled with pork tenderloin and are usually steamed to order and served with a number of different sauces like hoisin, oyster sauce, sesame or soy. These steamed buns are one of the many highlights of Cantonese cuisine.

4. Chilaquiles // Mexico

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Chilaquiles are usually served for breakfast, but the dish is so comforting we’d eat it for any meal. The best part about chilaquiles is that they’re pretty simple, so you could easily make them at home. The main component is fried corn tortillas cooked with some sort of salsa or mole. Then, the tortillas are topped with a variety of yummy goodies, like pulled chicken or carnitas, queso fresco, refried beans, crema, and eggs. In other words, pretty much everything we love in life.

5. Khichdi // India

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Khichdi is a dish that utilizes three main staples in Indian cuisine: rice, lentils, and spices like turmeric, cumin, and curry. In addition to being delicious, khichdi is a great comfort food because it’s fairly easy to digest, making it a meal of choice when your tum tum isn’t feeling its best. Plus, you only need one pot and a stove to create it, making it one of the easier dishes on this list to concoct in your own home.

6. Pierogies // Poland

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Pierogies are a type of dumpling from Poland that are stuffed with basically anything you could ever want in a meal, like meat, cheese, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and onions. Some people love pierogies so much they’ve created sweet renditions, too. First step in making these babies is the dough, of course. Then once the dough is stuffed, each pierogi is pan-fried to a golden brown on the stove. We’re in love.

7. Moussaka // Greece

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The easiest way to describe moussaka is like a Greek version of lasagna, except instead of pasta sheets, the dish is made with thinly sliced layers of eggplant. Each piece of eggplant is sauteed separately, and then placed into a casserole dish in one layer on the bottom of the pan. It’s then topped with lamb, garlic, spices, onion, and sometimes chopped potatoes. To continue the assembly, add another layer of eggplant and alternate with the toppings until all pieces have been used. Then comes time for the best part: you get to cover the eggplant in all of its glory with bechamel sauce before placing it in the oven to cook. It’s as good as it sounds.

9. Spaghetti alla Carbonara // Italy

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It’s pretty impossible to go wrong when pasta and pancetta or guanciale are involved. Spaghetti alla Carbonara is a pasta from Italy that is native to Roman cuisine. Once cooked, the pasta is tossed with the sauteed pork and parmesan cheese. Contrary to popular belief, this dish actually does not require heavy cream – if you go to a restaurant that includes cream in their carbonara, it’s probably not legit. After the pasta is fully incorporated with the pancetta and cheese mixture, it’s placed on a plate and topped with an egg yolk, which you then pop and mix throughout the dish for creaminess. This last step depends on who’s making the dish – some cooks will combine the parmesan and egg together before tossing with the pasta rather than serving the yolk as a garnish, but to each their own.

10. Shepherd’s Pie // Ireland

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Shepherd’s Pie is probably the most genius way to get children to eat vegetables. Cooked in a casserole dish, the base of Shepherd’s Pie contains ground beef or lamb and vegetables like carrots, peas, and corn that have been precooked in a skillet. This mixture is then topped with creamy mashed potatoes and thrown in the oven to bake until the taters reach a nice golden brown. Leave it to the Irish to know how to master meat and potatoes.

11. Beef Bourguignon // France

The French may be the champions of comfort food, and beef bourguignon is here to prove it. This is a hefty stew that includes bacon, red wine, and flavorful herbs like thyme, bay leaf, and parsley. We’re not gonna lie, this dish takes a pretty long time to make – over an hour of cook time in the oven alone – but your beef will be so tender and rich you’ll forget about all the hours you slaved over it in the kitchen. Just don’t forget to serve it with even more red wine.

12. Pho // Vietnam

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Pho has magical powers. Seriously, it feels like it cures hangovers, the common cold, and rainy day blues. This stuff has been our saving grace on more than one occasion. We’re not sure whether it’s the unctuous beef broth or the meat or the rice noodles, bean sprouts, and other accoutrements, but this Vietnamese dish is one of the most soothing additions to our diet and we can’t imagine what our lives would be like without it.


These 12 Hotels Have Some of the Most Decadent Room Service Available

Whether you’re traveling out of town or just looking for a staycation, choosing the right hotel can be stressful. There’s tons of things to think about – location, price, food, a never ending list of amenities, etc. If you’re like us, food is the most important aspect of the bunch and a hotel stay is the best time to go balls to the wall with your dining choices. To help facilitate that, here are some of the best hotels for decadent room service across the world.

1. Le Royal Monceau // Paris, France

If you consider yourself a high roller, Le Royal Monceau should be the only hotel you even dream of staying at while in Paris. The room service menu pools dining options from two Michelin-starred restaurants, because one isn’t enough. Highlights from this wildly impressive menu include an Omelet with French Imperial Caviar for 300 euros (which thanks to Brexit translates to only $330 US, when it used to be much more) and the Lobster Salad appetizer with baby spinach sprouts, miso flakes, and truffle vinaigrette for 65 euros. Or you can get straight to the point and order 50 grams of French Imperial Caviar for 300 euros, or, even better yet, 50 grams of Beluga Caviar for 700 euros.

2. The Surrey // New York, NY

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New York City is one of the largest and most prominent food epicenters in the world, so it’s no wonder a lot of the hotel room service options in the city are in tip-top shape. With private rooftop butler service and 24-hour room service from Cafe Boulud (which has a Michelin star, by the way), The Surrey is definitely at the top of the list. Highlights from the room service menu include the Rabbit Porchetta appetizer with huckleberry, violet mustard, pistachio, and sourdough for $26, and the Lamb Trio, with lamb chop dibi style, mafe, peanuts, pickled vegetables, and fonio, for $46. Not sure what half of the stuff is in the last one, so you know it’s gotta be fancy.

3. The Water Club at Borgata // Atlantic City, NJ

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When a celebrity chef is thrown into the mix, you really can’t go wrong. The Water Club at Borgata, located in Atlantic City, boasts a room service menu designed by the man, the legend, the Iron Chef, Geoffrey Zakarian. We can say with confidence that Zakarian is one of the greatest chefs to touch this Earth, so even if you aren’t a fan of Atlantic City, the room service alone could be worth the trip. Zakarian’s main contribution to the scene at The Water Club is his “Breakfast Before Bed” menu, with delicacies like hanger steak and eggs topped with Emergen-C vitamin powder, which hopes to give you that extra boost of antioxidants after a wild night at the casino.

4. Bryant Park Hotel // New York, NY

These NYC hotels really don’t hold back and we’re just getting started. The Bryant Park Hotel is another prime example of over-the-top room service, as the entire menu is delivered straight from Koi, a high-end sushi restaurant. The flagship Koi originates from Los Angeles and is notorious for several celeb cameos. When Kobe-Style Filet Mignon and Miso-Bronzed Black Cod are on the menu, it all starts to make sense. By the way, these dishes in the NYC location will run you a minimum of $50 for the beef and $30 for the cod.

5. Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa // Taha’a, French Polynesia

At Le Taha’a Island Resort and Spa, it’s all about the experience. The hotel itself is located on its own private island in French Polynesia, and most guest rooms are actually individual bungalows whose views include wide expanses of the clear blue water of Taha’a Lagoon. Even with all of this, breakfast is the star of the show – literally. Guests can get their food, which can be anything from fresh squeezed juices, danishes, muffins, pain perdu, and fresh tropical fruits, delivered straight to their private deck, by a ukelele-playing staff member in a canoe, to be exact. While we’re not sure what this display of grandeur costs, rooms at the Resort run from $850.

6. The Cosmopolitan // Las Vegas, NV

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is another hotel with a star-studded food lineup. Breakfast can be acquired from a satellite location of the famed Los Angeles eatery, Eggslut, small plates and cocktails are designed by Chris Santos, and then there are three (yes, three) restaurants by famed Spanish chef, Jose Andres. And we haven’t even gotten to the room service yet. Upon entering their rooms, guests will find a book with 22 pages of room service options for meals or events. For breakfast, you can order yourself some Steak & Eggs for $32. Or if you plan on entertaining, you can opt for something like the “Guys Night Out” package, which comes with your choice of four 14” Pizzas, salty snacks, Kettle chips, assorted dips, a mixed case of beer, and a customized bar. This sounds awesome, but it should be noted this comes with a $1,500 price tag.

7. Mark Hotel // New York, NY

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Few people in the world will have the opportunity to experience food created by the Michelin star-studded Chef Jean-Georges, but guests at the Mark Hotel in NYC can be one of them simply by ordering room service. While the hotel staff will allow guests to choose whatever they like from the menu, we highly suggest the caviar with warm blinis, which is $90 per ounce, the chilled seafood platter for $91, or probably the most impressive burger we’ve ever heard of, the MARK Cheeseburger with black truffle dressing and brie for $37. If that price point is still too low for you, there’s always the Wild Dover Sole with spinach, potatoes, and mustard sauce for $86.

8. The St. Regis // San Francisco, CA

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St. Regis hotels are especially known for their grandeur, but the San Francisco location takes it to a whole new level. Before we get into the room service, you should know the place also offers 24/7 butler service, and you can order literally anything your heart desires. Word on the street is that you could even order a new iPhone from the Apple Store, if you wanted. On the room service menu, we recommend the poached eggs a la russe, served with cured Alaskan salmon, brioche, caviar, and mousseline sauce for $24. The hotel also offers a service called “Delights Delivered” for special occasions, or just for the hell of it. One example of a “Delight” is the Champagne & Strawberries package. For $125 you can get a 375ml bottle of Laurent Perrier champagne, three plain strawberries, and three chocolate covered strawberries. You could also probably head to the nearest grocery store and acquire all of those items for much less, but that wouldn’t be as fun.

9. The Hermitage Hotel // Nashville, TN

The Hermitage Hotel takes farm-to-table to the extreme, and we can’t be more into it. All of the food served on the premises, whether eaten in the the restaurant or in the privacy of your hotel room, is sourced from the hotel’s very own farm located about 45 minutes from the location in White Bluff, Tennessee. Back in 2012, The Hermitage bought 250 acres of farmland specifically to grow its own vegetables and raise its own beef, resulting in the freshest produce possible. If you’re staying at The Hermitage, it would behoove you to order either the 8oz Filet Mignon or the 12oz New York Strip, both sold for $48 (not including room service fees) to get the whole experience.

10. Greenwich Hotel // New York, NY

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For what the Greenwich Hotel lacks in size, having only 88 rooms, they make up with food. The hotel boasts 24-hour room service from the Italian restaurant Locanda Verde, spearheaded by Andrew Carmellini. Locanda takes Italian food to the exquisite, with dishes like saffron trenette pasta with sea urchin, razor clam, and gremolata and lamb costolette with almond salsa verde and fregola sarda for $28 and $38, respectively. For breakfast, you can order the uova Modenese with cotechino hash and spinach & tomato hollandaise for $24. If you weren’t thinking those prices were that steep, they are all before room services fees, of course.

11. Waldorf Astoria // Chicago, IL

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The Waldorf Astoria is located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, which is called that for a reason. Gold = money. Get it? Anyways, the staff at this hotel goes all out for meals. Each guest room is equipped with a formal dining room table and room service is served on actual china. The menu is sourced from the hotel’s restaurant, The Kitchen, with highlights being the king crab ravioli with tomato brodo and calabrese chili for $26, the quail with pine nut, figs, port and five-spice for $36, and, the piece de resistance, the Painted Hills bone-in ribeye with marrow butter for $59. Again, that’s the cost before room service fees, so expect at least a $10 price hike.

12. The Peninsula // Hong Kong

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Like any bougie place, The Peninsula in Hong Kong seems to have an addiction to truffles. The most popular item on their room service menu is the Wagyu beef burger, which is served on a sundried tomato bun with black truffles, truffled onion, melted brie, and truffle butter. It’s pretty excessive, and will cost you over $50. Room service is available 24/7, and each meal is served with a candelabra and other “necessary” dining accessories.