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Celebrity Grub

George Lopez Launches His Own Line Of Salsa

George Lopez is best known for his Mexican-based comedy, but is slowly making a name for himself in the food world.

After opening a handful of “Chingon Kitchen” restaurants over the three years, he is now bringing heat to that branding with his new Salsa Chingon.

The initial salsa launch comes in two flavors: Roja and Habanero Pineapple Mango.

The Roja is comparable to your everyday medium salsas, and doesn’t carry too much heat to it, but the Habanero Pineapple Mango supplies the spiciness you seek, balanced by the sweetness of the fruit pieces chopped within.

The term “Chingon” in Lopez’s branding roughly translates to “badass,” and seems to be the common thread in his food launches.

While not the most reverent of terms, Lopez told Foodbeast in a 2017 interview that he’s very much conscious the public’s unfamiliarity with the Spanish slang word, but loves seeing white people read it with confusion in their eyes.

The Salsa Chingon is currently available at Rivalworld.com, at $15 per 16-ounce jar.

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Celebrity Grub Restaurants Video

This YouTuber’s Boba Shop Is Pioneering American-Born Chinese Cuisine

Chinese and Taiwanese food is slowly starting to have a renaissance movement in the United States. This is clear from the prevalence of renowned dim sum chains like Din Tai Fung, the emergence of hot pot, and the proliferation of boba shops across the country.

Despite all of this, the most popular Chinese dishes in the USA are still Chinese-American, rather than Chinese. General Tso’s Chicken and orange chicken dominate the palates, all because Chinese food in the US was engineered around Western palates first, making the food sweeter and less authentic to what you can get in China and Taiwan.

In Los Angeles, restaurants are starting to open up that push back against that concept. Instead of engineering Chinese food to work for American tastes, they’re twisting up beloved American dishes to work with the traditional flavors of China and Taiwan. While you might expect to find this through the lens of fine dining, one of the pioneers of this movement is a small boba shop and cafe in the heart of LA’s San Gabriel Valley.

The spot is called Bopomofo Cafe, a modern take on boba and American-born Chinese food. Bopomofo, which is named after the first four letters of the Taiwanese Mandarin alphabet, is co-owned by Philip Wang, one of the main creative forces behind Asian-American YouTube and digital media powerhouse Wong Fu Productions. Wang, together with his co-owner Eric Wang and chef Andrew Park, have put together a revolutionary menu that fuses Chinese, Taiwanese, and American together, but not catering to the “American runs on sweet” mantra.

“We always thought that there’s new American food,” Wang told Foodbeast, “but there’s no new real Asian-American food, and that’s kind of how we saw our menu.”

As a result, you get dishes that explode with equal, stunning amounts of creativity and flavor. The gold standard at Bopomofo is the Ma Po Tofu Tater Tots, which swaps out the Sichuan classic in a modern rendition of chili cheese tots. Since mapo tofu is typically served over rice, the crunch and fattiness of the tots is an unexpected yet welcome contrast that elevates both dishes this one is inspired by.

Other such innovative items on Bopomofo’s menu include a Walnut Shrimp Burger, nachos made from Chinese scallion pancakes and topped with braised pork belly, a fried chicken sandwich modeled on Taiwanese flavors and cooking techniques, and a “MOFO Club” inspired by Wang’s travels to Taiwan.

Bopomofo keeps that creativity going in their drink selection as well. Whether it’s a beet-colored Taro Milk or a dreamsicle-like take on Orange Bang! (called Orange Wang), you get nostalgia yet novelty in every sip and bite of the cuisine served up here.

With that creativity, Wang and his team are pushing the envelope of what it can mean to combine American, Chinese, and Taiwanese flavors. By staying true to core Chinese and Taiwanese flavors, but still using ingredients familiar to Americans, the food here becomes a potential pathway to explore authentic Chinese and Taiwanese tastes through an American lens.

To learn more about Bopomofo, watch the above episode of Foodbeast’s News Bites that features the cafe.

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Celebrity Grub Twitch

Trader Joe’s Favorites Are The Theme Of Foodbeast’s Next LIVE Cooking Battle

We’ve all got our favorite items at Trader Joe’s, whether it be the legendary Orange Chicken, the hype new Knafeh released this year, or even some holiday Jingle Jangle. Some of those favorites are about to be stretched to their creative limits in an upcoming intense cooking battle.

On this week’s upcoming matchup of the Foodbeast Kitchen League, two of Twitch’s top chefs will be squaring off in a Trader Joe’s Battle. Returning champion CookingForNoobs, who unseated chef Josh Elkin last time around, is going up against newcomer Jae_Benny, a Twitch chef and gamer with a serious lineup of unique recipes up her sleeve.

For those unfamiliar with the Kitchen League, in each matchup, the audience has the ability to sabotage the chefs live by taking away knives, eyesight, or other things they need to cook their dish. They also have a key voice in the vote, grading each chef on their dish’s visual appeal as well as the chef’s swagger throughout the match.

The two chefs are making recipes that are based either on their favorite Trader Joe’s items, or using their Trader Joe’s items. What that will actually entail remains to be seen, but it should make for an intense and tasty matchup.

CookingForNoobs and Jae_Benny will square off on Foodbeast’s Twitch channel, live at 11 AM PST on Thursday, December 12th.

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Celebrity Grub Film/Television News What's New

Action Bronson Just Turned Ice Cream Into Fine Dining

Up until this point, Action Bronson’s three collaborations with NYC’s Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream have all been one-off flavors that saw no wider release beyond the event they were featured at. This is far from the case in the pair’s newest drop, a behemoth pack of ice cream flavors and sandwiches deemed the F*ck, That’s Delicious Holiday Package. 

The rapper/chef, hot off the release of his latest EP, Lamb On Rice, is no stranger to wild ice cream flavors. Back in 2017, he starred in a Munchies video where he proclaimed to be making the greatest ice cream ever: a vanilla ice cream mixed with toasted marshmallows and dark chocolate covered graham crackers. Now, while the flavor was certainly delicious, for “the greatest ice cream ever” it seemed a bit, well, vanilla.

This pack is anything but, however, consisting of seven treats that could only be from the mind of one Bronsolino, with ingredients like Charred Chocolate Eggplant Ice Cream to fried Brazil nuts. Check the details for each below.

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Other items included in the pack include a F*ck, That’s Delicious and Morgenstern’s branded t-shirt and hat.

Seeing as the run will be limited to 500 packs, this ice cream will run you a larger check than most — $233 to be exact. Just think of it as the world’s first designer ice cream if you need some impulse purchase validation.

The F*ck, That’s Delicious Holiday Package is available for pre-order or in-store pickup at www.morgensternsnyc.com, and orders will be shipping out on the weekly starting next week. 

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Celebrity Grub Design Packaged Food Sweets

Sour Patch Kids Sneakers Are Perfect For Those Obsessed With The Candy

Sour Patch Kids has been dropping collabs all over the place recently, ranging from cereals to ice cream. Their latest, however, isn’t actually a food, but a new basketball shoe collab between the candy, Under Armour, and basketball superstar Steph Curry.

The new limited-edition Curry 7 Sour Patch Kids collection just recently dropped in China. Marked with Sour Patch Kids all over the inside of the shoe, the outside comes in two colorways: peach and lime. Sour Patch Kids can also be found on the heel backing and pull tab of the shoe.

Sadly, purchasing these sneakers does not get you a free bag of Sour Patch Kids on the side, but there’s some unique tissue paper featuring the sweets and Steph’s own logo on the inside. Could make for some unique wrapping paper, perhaps?

If you want to snag a pair for your collection, these will drop on Under Armour’s website, in their stores, and at other select retailers nationwide on November 29th. Each pair will cost $140.

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Celebrity Grub Culture

New Show ‘Gochi Gang’ Is An Intimate Deep-Dive Into Japanese Cuisine and Culture

First We Feast’s new series ‘Gochi Gang’ premiered this Tuesday.  Hosted by YouTuber, anime producer, and food lover Reina Scully, the show highlights the cultural impact of Japanese cuisine in the U.S. beyond sushi and ramen. The name Gochi Gang was inspired by the Japanese phrase for gratitude, “gochisousama,” which is typically expressed after a meal. The gang represents the spirit of togetherness that sharing food with others brings. 

Japanese cuisine was gradually introduced to the United States decades ago. Initially, immigrants unaccustomed to American food would only eat imports. Since the end of the 19th century, Japanese immigrants were concentrated in neighborhoods called Nihonmachi, or it’s aptly named English counterpart, Japantown. While a macro view of these neighborhoods may correlate them negatively to a “ghetto,” Nihonmachis actually provided a space for Japanese culture to persist on foreign soil. It’s within these areas importation of homeland goods began slowly spreading to Americans in neighborhoods beyond.

Naturally, Japanese cuisine is vast. Sushi and ramen popularity within the US can be traced back to the post-World War II invention of instant noodles and endorsement of sushi by the McGovern Report. The McGovern Report (Dietary Goals for the United States, 1977) was published by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. Due to this, Japanese cuisine spread, yet has been mostly spearheaded by sushi and ramen. 

Gochi Gang aims to burst the floodgates to Japanese cuisine wide open. For Japanese people, preparing and eating food goes beyond mere sustenance. Reina Scully shared her thoughts on why it’s important to raise awareness about the culture and cuisine:

“Both Japanese culture and cuisine are multifaceted and interconnected with each other. Japanese food is generally typecast as ramen and sushi, but that’s just the very tip of the iceberg. There’s so much that’s worth exploring and the world deserves more insight into Japanese culture and food because it reveals how important of a role it plays in our history and tradition.“

Scully hopes that viewers not only learn about the wide range of tasty options, but also see how respectful Japan is regarding food. “We believe that food itself is spiritual and we treat it and those who prepare it with the utmost respect and gratitude,” Scully expressed. I personally believe that when food is connected to something deeper, it elevates the food itself. Equipped with experience and a little help from notable foodies, Scully is prepared to take you on a journey through the history of Japanese cuisine. Catch the first episode of Gochi Gang HERE and after you fill up on brain food, remember to say gochisousama!

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Celebrity Grub Features Health Opinion Packaged Food

Why Caviar Might Become The Next Big Sports Supplement

Aspiring athletes are always looking for that next big health food to give them the competitive edge. Right now, especially in the NBA, that happens to be plant-based meats, with big names like Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, and more jumping onto that movement.

While a vegan product is taking up the athletic spotlight right now, one item is gaining some traction and the possibility of being the next nutrition craze: caviar. The fish eggs, more widely known as a delicacy, just recently got selected to be part of an NBA Labs project. Tins of Brooklyn-based Pearl Street Caviar can now be purchased with logos of various basketball teams on them, signifying a co-signage between the basketball community and the consumption of caviar.

Photo courtesy of Pearl Street Caviar

This is the latest, but not the most recent, example of caviar and sports associations teaming up. In 2015, the Swiss Katusha cycling team got brand Caviar de Riofrio to sponsor them, which included supplementing the athletes with tins of the fish eggs.

Look, I know how crazy that sounds. Caviar is a luxury good rarely seen outside of fine dining, right? What are NBA players, or athletes in general, going to do with such an expensive, tiny scoop of fish eggs?

There’s actually quite a bit of potential for what anyone can do, as the narrative around caviar is beginning to change. As caviar has increased in production volume while maintaining a high quality, its price has begun to drastically drop, to the point where even the NBA was confident enough to put out tins of the luxury good with team logos emblazoned on it. Given all of the nutritional properties caviar possesses and its potential to drastically increase in accessibility, it could very well be a food that we all begin to eat as part of our active lifestyles.

Caviar may just be regarded as an expensive, frivolous accompaniment, but it actually comes packed with a ton of nutrients. Sarah Dimitratos, a registered dietitian and PhD candidate in nutritional biology at the University of California, Davis, told Foodbeast that in particular, caviar can match and even surpass sports drinks in certain scenarios.

“Caviar may be closer to sports drinks with regards to electrolyte profile,” Dimitratos said. “However, caviar will certainly surpass sports drinks with regards to overall micronutrient content. ”

A single ounce of caviar contains significant amounts of minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium, according to the USDA’s Food Composition Database. It also contains nearly the entire recommended daily value of vitamin B12, one of the key nutrients we need in our diet. For reference, an ounce of caviar would be approximately 3 full scoops of caviar from one of those ornate, miniscule mother-of-pearl spoons they typically come delivered with.

That’s not a lot of caviar, but it still has 7 grams of protein packed within it, which is surprising given how small a portion is. You would definitely need a larger tin to get to the equivalent of a scoop of protein powder, which may not be possible given the whopping amount of sodium you’d ingest (420 mg per ounce). However, when treated as a complementary recovery item, like a sports drink, it could act as a more natural and bio-available substitute.

Dimitratos doesn’t recommend using caviar as a protein supplement, however, seeing as you need 3 servings worth (and nearly a day’s worth of sodium) to get the equivalent of a meal or snack. “It is generally recommended that active individuals consume meals or snacks containing 20-30g protein, spaced every 3-5 hours throughout the day to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis,” she stated.

Thus, while it may not make sense to replace your protein powder with caviar, it can be something you could consider instead of a sports beverage mix. Dimitratos implied that it could be more beneficial, since “obtaining nutrients from whole food sources (like caviar) is generally regarded as best practice due to enhanced bioavailability.”

Of course, despite all of the potential nutritional benefits caviar contains, there’s still the big question surrounding its cost. To properly be designated as caviar, the fish eggs should come from sturgeon. Based on the sturgeon’s location and breed, caviar’s price normally falls around $50-$75 an ounce at minimum.

While that may have been the case in the past, an increase of production in China has drastically affected costs. China’s takeover of the caviar industry has sent prices plummeting in the US, despite a 25 percent tariff implemented earlier this year. According to the Washington Post, the wholesale price of caviar has plummeted 13 percent in the past year, and 50 percent over the past 5 years. At a current price of $350,000 a ton, getting caviar from China has allowed the price to significantly drop. The Pearl Street Caviar x NBA tins, for example, costs $25 for a 12-gram tin of Siberian Select, which comes out to just under an ounce.

Why is so much caviar coming from China, you ask? The country’s sturgeon farmers can produce caviar at a higher, more consistent quality than most places here in the US, and at a higher capacity to boot. Thus, everyone from Michelin-starred restaurants to Pearl Street is utilizing Chinese caviar, and can use it a lower cost to themselves, as well. Photo courtesy of Pearl Street Caviar

Caviar definitely has the nutritional profile and lowering cost to make it a more appealing workout nutritional aid. Historically, it hasn’t had much use, although USSR Olympic athletes were persuaded to eat caviar because of its protein content.

In today’s modern world, however, it’s not as common, even in the sports organizations that are starting to back the usage of caviar. Interviews Foodbeast conducted with multiple players in the NBA revealed that while it’s still used to show off at dinners and such, caviar hasn’t yet made it as a health food.

“I personally never heard of any basketball players eating it on the regular,” Orlando Magic guard D.J. Augustin told Foodbeast. “Maybe a few international players here and there!”

Indian Pacers center Myles Turner concurred with Augustin’s words, saying that “I personally don’t know a lot of players who use it as a dietary thing. I personally like it a lot! Most of the time when guys are at fancy dinner they’ll try it just to say they have, but it’s grown on me over the years.”

While it hasn’t seemed to have broken a ton of ground in the NBA, that doesn’t mean the potential for caviar to make it as health food doesn’t exist. However, if patterns in price slashes continue, the electrolyte and micronutrient profiles of caviar could make it convincing enough for professional athletes in the US to incorporate it into their diets. If that pattern begins to grow, caviar could become the next big nutritional supplement in the athletic community.

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Celebrity Grub Restaurants What's New

Dominique Ansel’s All-You-Can-Eat Pie Buffet Features AL PASTOR PIE

Dominique Ansel is putting together an Avengers-like ensemble of figureheads for an upcoming all-you-can-eat pie buffet. One of the most intriguing creations for the event, however, is an Al Pastor Pie of his own design.

Photo courtesy of 189 by Dominique Ansel

That pie, featured at the top of the above photo, is one of many that will be available at Pie Nights, a four-night dinner and experience at Ansel’s Los Angeles restaurant, 189. The Al Pastor pie comes with slow-cooked al pastor, spit-roasted pineapple, corn, tomato, chilies, and lime, making it one of the more unique savory pies in the ensemble.

Al pastor, in particular, has already been at the heart of some fusions, like the viral Al Pastor Pizza, so it’s interesting to see it being used in another format.

Other pies at this lineup include a chocolate cream pie designed by Wolfgang Puck, a brisket shepherd’s pie from the mind of Aaron Franklin, green chile chicken pot pie from Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and a sour cherry crostata imagined by legendary food writer Ruth Reichl.

Pie Nights will happen from October 8th-11th, with two 90-minute seatings available each night at 6 and 8pm. Tickets, which go on sale on this website at 12 PM PST on September 20th, are $59 for all-you-can-eat pie plus ice cream to get the sweet ones a la mode. A special craft cocktail you can top off throughout the night will also be served, as well as warm mulled cider for the road home.