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Adventures Restaurants

Petition Underway To Create America’s Next Official Great Food Neighborhood

Photo from Forn Alhara by Peter Pham.

Some of the country’s greatest food neighborhoods include San Francisco’s Chinatown, New Orleans’ French Quarter, and San Diego’s Little Italy. Regardless of where they are, these areas are steeped in rich food history and have a history of being the local food life force.

Many of these places have official designations that help make them more pronounced and elevate them into a destination. Little Arabia, in Anaheim, California, is currently lobbying to receive that mark and recognition, hoping to get established as that next great food neighborhood everybody should visit.

Photo from Sahara Falafel by Peter Pham

Little Arabia is the center of Arab-American culture in Orange County, and home to a plethora of varying types of restaurants. From bakeries like Victory Sweets to falafel mainstays like Sahara Falafel, you’ll find a little bit of everything in this neighborhood.

These are restaurants that have been around for decades, and the neighborhood itself has been established by locals and tourists from nearby Disneyland alike. However, the city of Anaheim has yet to give Little Arabia that official designation of “neighborhood.”

This really has been an ongoing battle for years, as city council members have pledged to give Little Arabia its due as far back as 2016. However, pressure to make good on those promises has ramped up as the coronavirus pandemic has hit many restaurants in the area hard.

Photo from Victory Sweets by Peter Pham

While business grants and reliefs have helped, many local restaurant owners feel that getting the official designation will help to promote the area, getting more people to come order their food and in turn revitalizing the economy.

As a result, they’ve turned to an online petition that asks the Anaheim City Council to officially adopt a resolution that recognizes the neighborhood.

Photo from Sahara Falafel by Peter Pham

“Now more than ever, it is vital to support our local business community,” the petition reads. “Businesses in Anaheim have felt the impacts of the covid-19 pandemic and government-ordered shutdowns. Promoting this economic district will aid in Anaheim’s economic recovery.”

Those interested in supporting the effort, and helping to make the country’s next great food neighborhood official, can sign the petition at this link.

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Adventures Art Restaurants Video

Harlem’s ‘The Edge’ Combines British And Jamaican Dishes With Renaissance Legacy

In Harlem, New York, the building located at 580 St. Nicholas Avenue carries a unique piece of Harlem Renaissance history. Librarian Regina Anderson Andrews, a resident there, would host rooftop and apartment gatherings where literary juggernauts like Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and W.E.B. DuBois would show up to and recite their works.

While the Harlem Renaissance has come and gone, the building has still remained a gathering place, thanks to The Edge, a restaurant located on the bottom floor that pays respect to that legacy.

Owned by sisters Juliet and Justine Masters, you can find homages to the legends that roamed the building throughout the restaurant, including a regal portrait of Langston Hughes and a collection of books folks can read while sipping on coffee and enjoying their meals.

The food here, by the way, is a unique story of its own, calling to the childhoods of the two owners. Justine and Juliet are Harlem locals, but have parents from Jamaica and Britain, and grew up eating dishes from both countries.

That has led to some creative and inspirational dishes on their menu, including a luxuriously creamy Jerk Chicken Alfredo, and coconut-crusted fish used for the British staple fish and chips. Ackee and saltfish, a national dish of Jamaica, even has a home here in tasty taco form. One also shouldn’t leave without a glass of homemade sorrel, which Juliet and Justine’s father makes on a regular basis.

With such a unique building history and innovative and tantalizing dishes, The Edge is a restaurant chock full of stories that has made it locals’ favorite.

To learn more about The Edge, check out the full video at the top of this story. The restaurant is currently offering outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery, as well as some limited indoor service.

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Adventures Packaged Food

Hard-To-Find Japanese Snacks Headline This Subscription Snack Box

The snack scene in some parts of the world is innovative, creative, and tasty beyond belief. This is especially true in Japan, where the snacks range from your standard range of chips to a plethora of unique KitKat flavors, mochi, and more.

For those looking to get some of the harder-to-find Japanese snacks, there’s a subscription box service called Bokksu that tracks them down and gets a ton of them to your door.

Bokksu works directly with local snack manufacturers in Japan, some of whom have been in business for hundreds of years. The comapany’s specialty is using those connections to make hard-to-find snacks more accessible globally.

You have the option to get one of their snack boxes, which are thematic (ie. “Seasons of Japan”) and can change, but there’s also a marketplace where you can buy items individually, including some of those coveted Japanese KitKat flavors.

Foodbeast got a box to try filled with a lot of snacks we normally wouldn’t expect to find just shopping around in the U.S. These include uni-flavored crackers, freeze-dried whole strawberries, yuzu sake candy, matcha and red bean sponge cakes, obanyaki-inspired cookies, and even a sack of Kinako sugar donuts.

The variety and breadth of local snacks available is definitely intriguing and makes for an interesting gift or just something you can get to satisfy your cravings.

Bokksu boxes are available for sale on their website.

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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. 

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#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.

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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.

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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.

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#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.