Categories
Adventures Brand Cravings Features FOODBEAST SPONSORED Video

Between 2 Meals: This Isolated Restaurant Can Only Be Reached By Horse-Drawn Sleigh Or Skis

When I heard that the Foodbeast team was going to Aspen for the new episode of Between 2 Meals, I was worried. There was no doubt in my mind they could do what they set out to— create a utility guide of good eats and a possible excursion for any curious travelers in Aspens, that is. But a bunch of Southern Californians in the mountain cold? I was sure someone was going to end up like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

Luckily, it appears they kept the Java Monster flowing and their bodies moving. Indeed, only once did they come close to a frozen Foodbeast when the episode’s host Geoff Kutnick mistook how to cross-country ski (walking in the snow on skis, for the uninformed) and tried to, literally, ski two miles uphill.

Needless to say, this did not go well, but it did provide for one of the episode’s best moments. And that’s saying something, as Geoff explored two of Aspen’s prime eateries and one of its signature activities.

At the first stop of the episode, Geoff explores the accidental history behind Aspen hotspot Bamboo Bear’s signature fried chicken, which is double fried for a remarkably crispy skin. The dish has become a staple for Aspen eaters, along with the restaurant’s traditional banh mi that uses fresh baguettes from a local Vietnamese bakery. Judging by the look of pure bliss on Geoff’s face after dunking a wing in the restaurant’s Bear’s Breath sauce, there’s no doubt that this is a must visit in the Colorado town.

Before the next meal, our host was joined by twelve-time X Games medalist Jackson Strong. The two tour Aspen’s main attractions, the slopes, via snowmobile. While most people opt for skis or snowboards as their mode of exploration, when an X Games contender approaches you with snowmobiles, you take the snowmobile. Once Geoff had a snowmobile ride that was a little more than he bargained for, it was off to the next restaurant.

After the aforementioned uphill trek, the two reach the Pine Creek Cookhouse, a local stronghold that’s only accessible by sleigh or cross-country ski, to check out it’s surprising specialties. The first is the massive Kurt Russell burger, sourced straight from the actor’s cattle farm. The second, a type of Nepalese dumpling called momos, is a tribute to Pine Creek owner John Wilcox’s extensive experience in the Himalayas. The restaurant’s forte is handmade by actual sherpas, who staff much of the kitchen.

Check out the full episode at the top of this article to see these delicious eats, Geoff’s misadventures, and the beautiful snowy mountains of Aspen.


Created in partnership with Java Monster. 

Categories
#foodbeast Adventures Cravings Culture Features FOODBEAST Opinion Restaurants Video

Taste The Details: Why Is Filipino-American Food Overlooked?

Chicken adobo. Lumpia. Leche Flan. These are all traditional Filipino dishes that are getting remixed through the lens of Filipino -merican chefs. And though it’s drawing skepticism from Filipinos themselves, while still having to prove itself to the mainstream, Filipino-American cuisine is poised to overcome such obstacles.

Growing up, busting out my lunch of kare-kare with a dash of bagoong didn’t exactly draw kids closer to me, eager to trade up with one of their Lunchables creations. Which is fair, not many really find ox-tail in a peanut stew with a dash of fish paste to be appetizing. But these days, folks have more adventurous palates and are being exposed to Filipino food that has a touch of “growing up in America” generously added to it.

In this latest episode of Taste the Details, walk with me as I explore the friction between traditional and modern Filipino cuisine. This new generation of Filipino-American chefs are cooking up their interpretations of the traditional Filipino food they grew up eating — and pissing off our lolas in the process.

Categories
Adventures Brand Features Hit-Or-Miss

Parmigiano Reggiano’s Impact on Food Culture

A couple hours south of Milan is one of Italy’s most treasured and storied regions that you may not know about. The Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy is a beautiful countryside that encompasses a lush pasture — the ideal place to cultivate epicurean goods. This region is home to important staples of Italian cuisine, with deeply rooted traditions that stretch their influence worldwide, lending itself to be superior producers of ham, balsamic vinegar, and of course Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) —”The King of Cheeses.”  If your travels ever take you to this land of plenty, it would be easy to see why the culture of food in this region is especially valuable.     

Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese that bears the weight of centuries old tradition. It carries with it an immortal process of cheese making that has been unchanged since its conception.  The process, developed by the Benedictan monks in the thirteenth century, uses only three ingredients: raw milk, rennet, and salt. With that, they were able to develop a method that safely aged cheese over a long period of time.  To this day, Parmigiano Reggiano, the authentic parmesan cheese can only be produced within the Emilia-Romagna region, using the same ingredients and methods.  

The 352 dairy farms within the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium (the union of producers and traders) abide by a strict process in creating this natural cheese.  The process begins by combining fresh, raw, unpasteurized milk from local cows with calf rennet — the enzyme used to jumpstart the curdling process. It is whisked around in a large copper vat, separating the solidifying cheese and the liquids over a short period of time.  Once the cheese completely sinks to the bottom, it is scooped up and molded into a large wheel. It is later brined in salt and is set to mature properly over the course of at least two years before being sold.

This arduous and meticulous process requires a masterful hand to create, and goes on year round without fail.  It makes absolute sense that these wheels (of fortune) cost what they do at market.   

True Italian chefs know that there is no substitute for authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, and it’s potential in dishes soar higher than as just a garnish on a bowl of bolognese.  Unlike its American counterfeit of the grated variety, parmesan in its truest form can be delivered in innovative ways that take advantage of its robust flavor.

Over time, Parmigiano Reggiano was established as a Denominazione di Origine Protetta (DOP), a product with a protected designation of origin — which means that it is a good produced only in a specific region of Italy, requiring a specific production process that cannot be duplicated elsewhere, due to its association to culture and historical value. 

Parmigiano is truly valued in many frames of Italian culture, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region.  It’s special to all the chefs and gourmands — who value true craftsmanship and artistry; and the pursuit of authenticity.  But especially for the Consortium’s 352 dairy farms and its farmers — the literal nine centuries old art of cheesemaking tradition that spans several generations; all families that are prepared to pass down a noble livelihood to the next generation.  It is pride, passion, and genuine love that is at the center of this story.

Categories
Adventures Alcohol Art Features

Gate Bar Centro Is The Most Unique Cocktail Experience in LA

Imagine globetrotting around the globe without ever having to step foot in a congested TSA line, all the while enjoying a delicious one-of-a-kind cocktail at each stop you make. No, teleportation has not been miraculously figured out. And trust, no sorcery is involved — unless you count the magic the bartenders are working at Gate Bar Centro, a new cocktail tasting menu at The Bazaar and SLS Hotel Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, CA.

Here, the mixology masters of the program are taking your tastebuds on a traipse around the world via distinct ingredients and drinks indicative to the area. For instance, imagine being shifted into the warm, inviting shores of Copacabana in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil via an “LN2 Caipirinha,” which is essentially a traditional Brazilian caipirinha cocktail miraculously turned into frozen sorbet form.

Or picture yourself headed to Russia’s Caspian Sea by experiencing an unparalleled interpretation of a Dirty Martini — in caviar form. The application of molecular knowhow along with the thoughtful approach to using key ingredients unique to each location is a testament to just how singular the experience is at Gate Bar Centro.

So don’t worry about the fasten your seatbelt sign, instead turn your attention to the twelve destinations you’re bound for, all in cocktail form. It’s jet setting at its finest, complete with masterfully crafted cocktails that capture the essence of the country they’re most proud to represent.

Categories
#foodbeast Adventures Cravings Culture Features FOODBEAST Restaurants Video

Taste The Details: Cowboy Cuisine in Fort Worth, Texas

In the Old West, we can easily picture a scene set for cowboys, working hard on the ranch or out on the range. Most ranch owners wanted their cowboys to be well nourished, helping them stay healthy on the trail. This lead to cowboy cuisine, where fresh beef was the main feature, supported by food staples that traveled well and wouldn’t spoil. Steak, beans, wild game, fish — all plenty to keep a hungry cowboy fed.

In casting for a new industry to accelerate the city’s growth, it was natural to think of a meat packing house, as Fort Worth had long been a livestock shipping center. The reliance and prevalence of beef, coupled with its rich history of the wild west frontier and cowboys, has lead cowboy cuisine to be a linchpin to Cowtown’s unique and all at once typically Texan character, which is captured by the Fort Worth Stockyards and their famous twice-daily longhorn cattle drive. What typically is food prepared by chuckwagon cooks and cowboys out on the range is a staple to the West that consists of, but not limited to, long-stewed chili, chicken fried steak, and plenty of beef.

Though unlikely for most traveling foodies on paper, Fort Worth is a bubbling culinary hub that can hang its hat on cowboy cuisine yet still give shine to Vietnamese and Mexican fare. To fully experience the culinary diversity the city has to offer, look no further than the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival, a perfect ode to not only capturing the cowboy cuisine of the city, but the deeper heritage of other cuisines that make up the vibrant dining scene.

Categories
Adventures

I Snuck Tortillas Into KBBQ, Here’s What Happened

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

Korean BBQ is a unique experience where you get to be the grillmaster while still sitting at a table and conversing with loved ones. It’s a fairly perfect dinner that you wouldn’t think needs an upgrade, but we found a way to make the eating experience a tad better.

Tortillas.

Fellow Foodbeast Peter Pham and I snuck in tortillas to our KBBQ meal the other night, and it was everything we’ve dreamt it’d be.

It all started as a semi-serious joke in the office between Pete and I, as we often suggested how life-changing it would be to take our own tortillas to make tacos and burritos.

One fine day, Pete gave me the most serious look he had ever given me and said, “Should I pick up tortillas from Burritos La Palma so we can take them to Gen BBQ?” And in that moment, I knew it was actually happening. I nodded my head, and we were both in agreement that something special was going to happen between us that night.

We put the tortillas in a tote bag and just walked into our local Gen, which is a west coast Korean BBQ chain with over 30 locations spread across California, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona and Las Vegas.

Sure, we were a little nervous, but at the same time, we knew it was a slow night, and the staff was usually pretty chill. What’s the worst they can do, tell us to put away the tortillas? Would they actually kick us out for enhancing our eating experience?

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

If you’re not familiar with all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurants, the price for the food is set. Even if the tortillas made us feel more full, and we ate less than usual, we were still paying the same $23, each.

After grilling up a strip of spicy pork belly and a bit of beef brisket, we knew it was time.

We pulled out the pack of delicious hand-made flour tortillas from Burritos La Palma, threw a couple on the grill, and got to work.

Using the pork belly, rice, a little bit of kimchi, jalapenos, and garlic sauce, we tested out our burrito rolling skills.

The servers passed by a handful of times, surely seeing us dig into our KBBQ burritos, but they didn’t say a thing, which was nice of them.

Now as for the results, calling the burritos orgasmic would be an understatement.

As Pete and I went all in on these burritos, I feel we shared a Harold and Kumar-like moment similar to when they took their first bites of White Castle sliders.

The flavor combinations of KBBQ being neatly stored within the confines of a tortilla made us feel like we Marie Kondo’d our feast.

Admittedly, I have had tortillas with my KBBQ before, as a now defunct restaurant in Rowland Heights, CA used to offer street-style corn tortillas. And of course, Roy Choi revolutionized this concept with his Kogi BBQ taco truck.

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

This experience was different, though, especially when the power to make the burrito is in your hands and you can pack in as much pork belly as your fatty little heart desires.

With the amount of KBBQ restaurants in Southern California, surely there are some others who offer tortillas. But the masses need to understand — it needs to be the new standard.

I hope that more Korean BBQ spots take our experience, and the success of Kogi into consideration, because if they don’t, I might have to just gamble and sneak in tortillas from now on.

It’s that good.

After filling our bellies with more burritos than we could handle, we headed out the door in triumph. On the way out, we spotted the “no outside food or drink” sign and said, ‘Well, that’s a damn shame.’

But it will not deter us until they pry the tortillas from our cold, dead fingers.

Categories
Adventures Food Challenges Food Waste Health Restaurants

Here’s What A 10-Year-Old McDonald’s Burger & Fries Looks Like

As the rest of the world experiences a plant-based revolution, Iceland was unknowingly 10 years ahead of the curve. In 2009, due to Iceland’s financial crisis, McDonald’s closed all locations within the country. Increased operational costs were cited as the reason. Anticipating a Mickey D-less Iceland, one curious citizen by the name of Hjortur Smarason decided to purchase the franchise’s final burger and fries in the country. 

Smarason heard rumors about McDonald’s immortal burgers and wanted to see if they were true. Apparently, and strangely enough, they never decompose. Fast forward and today marks 10 years since Smarason purchased Iceland’s last McDonald’s burger and fries. Since then, the only thing that has decomposed is the French fry box. The showcase of the meal’s durability attracts 400,000 daily visitors to an online live stream set up by Smarason. You can watch the burger in a glass cabinet located at Snotra House, a hostel in southern Iceland. It’s claimed that people from all over the world visit to see the burger yearly.

Once upon a time, I used to be able to mash three double cheeseburgers, McChickens and fries in one sitting. Those are great memories, but I couldn’t imagine eating those now. Learning about something like this should make you curious about what’s in your food. Is it even food? One thing is certain, this isn’t the only time someone has tested the shelf life of McDonald’s food. A 1996 experiment by Karen Hanrahan resulted in a 12 year blemish-less hamburger. There have also been a handful of other similar experiments. 

Nevertheless, despite Iceland’s McDonald’s-free nation, the franchise is still a global behemoth. Health awareness is growing and people are becoming more critical of what goes into their bodies. As this happens, massive franchises like McDonald’s are being held more accountable. Hopefully, experiments like this will not only give us a laugh, but also bring about much needed changes to the food industry.

Categories
Adventures Theme Parks

7 New Foods To Try At Universal Halloween Horror Nights

Every year, thousands make their way to Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights for a spooky fun time. While you’re probably trying to squeeze in every maze and ride you can, you usually make enough time to grab a bite or drink in between.

If you are making the trek to Hollywood to check out all the Stranger Things, Ghostbusters and Us mazes, here’s your guide to the new delicious goodies that accompany those attractions:

Kotton Kandy Cocoon Doughnut

This raspberry-filled doughnut is a sugar rush that excites the senses. Topped with pink vanilla frosting, pink cotton candy, and a straw to suck out the jelly with, the Killer Klowns-inspired treat will surely indulge your sweet tooth.

__________

Zuul’s Egg Sandwich


There is no Dana, only Zuul’s Egg sandwich. Named after the Ghostbusters demon, this Eggslut-like sandwich is a bit of an out of body experience, and arguably one of the tastiest things at the park. Within the brioche bun is a fried egg, turkey sausage patty and cheddar cheese topped with a chipotle aioli and caramelized onions.

__________

Slimer’s Dog


Another one that’s inspired by Ghostbusters, the Slimer Dog is a quarter pound hot dog with “green slime,” that’s actually just green colored nacho cheese, and roasted peppers.

__________

Eleven’s Waffle Sundae


OK, so a lot of these items are diabetes waiting to happen, but I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna scarf down a Stranger Things-themed sundae. Within the cup is a serving of vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce, jelly beans, Reese’s Pieces, chocolate chips, and of course, mini waffles. Would it even be an “Eleven” sundae without waffles? Nope.
__________

Firehouse Hot Chicken Bites


If you complained about all the sweets on this list, here’s something savory. The breaded Nashville chicken bites lie on a bed of coleslaw and are topped with pickles, with a piece of toast as its sitting vessel. The firehouse, of course, is known to house the Ghostbusters, and can now house your tastebuds. If you’re lucky, this thing will be hot enough to make you forget how scared you are at the park.

__________

Mind Flayer’s Milkshake

The “Mind Flayer” shadow monster is a bit of a dick, but this milkshake makes up for all the trouble it caused in Stranger Things. The chocolate milkshake is topped with strawberry sauce, chocolate whipped cream, crumbled Oreos, a black waffle cone and black licorice that kind of looks like the Mind Flayer’s tentacles.

__________

Spooky Cocktails


Universal released a trio of cocktails, and if you just scared yourself shitless at a maze and need a drink, they’re the perfect remedy. The “Ecto Slime,” “Frankenstein Skull” and “Zombie Butterfly” cocktails all come in an awesome transparent skull cup sthat light up, and the drinks themselves change color. The Ecto Slime consists of Crystal Head Vodka, blue Curacao, citrus sour, passionfruit and orange juice. The Frankenstein consists of Three Olives vodka, butterfly pea tea, apple syrup, pineapple and lemon juice. The Zombie Butterfly also has Three Olives and butterfly pea tea, but has citrus sour, blueberry syrup and lemon juice.
__________
These are all excellent choices to munch on this Halloween and if you do try them, be sure to snap a pic and tag Foodbeast for a possible feature.