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Cravings Culture Entrepreneurship Restaurants

Chef David Myers Launched His Burger Bar In 30 Days During The Pandemic

“Why not 30 days?”

Chef David Myers delivered this rhetorical with the gusto and affirmation of Babe Ruth calling his home run shot. For the celebrity chef and successful restaurateur, this declaration was all at once decisive and serene, intention clothed in confidence.

As a chef that counts a Michelin star and multiple restaurants around the globe as some of his many accolades, the challenge of opening one in the span of 30 days is another glistening win that means so much more given the strenuous circumstances the pandemic has wrought on everyone, especially the restaurant industry.

“There was nothing to do, people were out of work, spaces were going empty, people were unhappy. This was a moment where I can maybe make a difference. Maybe we can put some smiles on people’s faces, get them jobs, put some money in their pockets, and do a little bit of good — so let’s just do it!”

Though Chef Myers is a decorated and expert restaurateur, establishing restaurants in Toyko, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Sydney, even the ambition of opening one in 30 days presented itself as a mountainous undertaking.

“For us to open a restaurant in general, it takes us 9 months, A to Z. And that’s at a good pace with no major hiccups, everything hitting at the target time frame of being completed. This was a complete unknown and it was a complete unknown because it’s a pandemic, it’s a new concept, and it’s in an area we never opened before,” acknowledged Myers. However, momentum swung fortuitously in his direction once a target was established. “Let’s focus on what the end result is, which is let’s get people jobs, let’s get a place open for business, and let’s provide some happiness for some people. Once we got focused on that goal, people really got on board and it helped clear away all the nonsense that’s usually involved.”

This general spirit of making things happen, along with equal parts community-driven enthusiasm, resulted in Adrift Burger Bar opening in November of 2020. And with that came the return of one of Los Angeles’ most iconic burgers. Myers achieved critical acclaim for the burger served at his West Hollywood restaurant, Comme Ça, almost a decade ago and reclaims that with a whole focus on it at Adrift.

“It is a burger-focused restaurant that starts with the burger that really put me on the map as a chef — which is the DM Burger.”

A masked Myers described the DM Burger to me with a reverent joy in his eyes. Under it, I was sure he was grinning with satisfaction. “It was based on a 1940’s-style burger recipe that my mom learned how to make. We jazzed it up a little by changing the normal American cheese to an aged Vermont cheddar cheese, and we put it on a brioche bun versus a simple classic bun, and we changed up the meat a little bit to just amp up the fat. It’s really juicy and the flavor is off the charts incredible. What you get is the simplest burger you will ever have and is magical when you eat it.”

And magical it really was. My own assessments confirmed such sorcery: melty to the point of irresistible viscosity, juicy on the side of thirst-quenching, and balance on the level of zen. Trust, this delicious energy translates to the rest of Adrift Burger Bar’s menu.

When I asked Chef Myers if 30 was the new restaurant, he still wasn’t ready to assure that with every future opening. Though he did reply with a smirk, ““If we do this again, I want to be open in seven days.”

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Cravings Culture What's New

This Cheeseburger Sub Highlights The Exciting New Menu Items At SoFi Stadium

Los Angeles Rams and Chargers fans have something delectable to look forward to once the brand spanking new SoFi Stadium opens up to the public and it comes in the form of a Cheeseburger Sub. As the picture above suggests, this is a meaty dream and is one of the exciting new food menu items featured in SoFi Stadium’s culinary program, which is expertly reimagined by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the duo responsible for iconic LA restaurants Jon & Vinny’s, animal, and Son of a Gun.

Los Angeles’ food culture will be celebrated in SoFi Stadium’s menu offerings as a part of the overall LA Eats program, which include other stand outs like a Chicken Salad Sub, City Link Hot Dog, Vegan Chili, and Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage.

The LA Eats program will leverage local food purveyors, seasonal offerings and farmer’s markets, taking advantage of the abundance of fresh ingredients that Los Angeles is in immediate proximity to.

No doubt Los Angeles is a foodie town and to reflect it in its newest major stadium’s culinary program is only right if one is to truly represent the city.

Categories
Culture Drinks

The World Record For Fastest Time To Drink A Capri Sun Is 16 Seconds

Photo: David Tonelson // Shutterstock

How fast could you slurp up the juice in a Capri Sun pouch? Apparently, there’s a world record that’s been set, and it could be something within reach if you’re skilled enough.

The current world record was set during quarantine lockdowns by UK resident Declan Evans. Guinness has the official record set at 16.65 seconds, which includes the time needed to get the straw unattached from the pouch, unpackaged, stabbed into the pouch, and then used to drink the contents.

According to Food and Wine, it took Evans a few attempts, but he eventually beat the minimum time of 18 seconds needed to set the record.

Multiple folks in Guinness’s Facebook comments have commented that they already beat Evans’ time, but it’s unclear if those attempts were recorded on camera and submitted.

Nonetheless, there’s currently an opening to set a world record with a bit of nostalgia. If you can get that pesky straw off the Capri Sun pouch in time, that is.

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Culture Restaurants Video

Wolfgang Puck Talks To Us About Culinary Innovation And Career Longevity

Wolfgang Puck. I’ve been familiar with the name since the 90’s, where a kid like me would snack on his frozen pizzas and be wowed by the eclectic decor at his chain of cafes. But as the years added up, so did my understanding of Puck’s stature and importance to the culinary world. A vast restaurant empire with a transcendental brand. The father of Los Angeles fine dining. A food mogul in every sense. Puck’s accomplishments and contributions galvanize his reputation as one of the most iconic chefs ever. 

As I sat down with Puck for this episode of Taste the Details, I was most curious about the longevity of his career, how his constant innovation buoys his brand and vision, and his thoughts on the metamorphosis of the Los Angeles dining scene. But what impressed me the most throughout my afternoon with the legend was his palpable joy. Through recalling the various milestones in his career and showcasing his signature dishes in the kitchen, his megawatt smile illuminated each moment — his love for food still evident every time he unsheathed a pearly grin.

It’s likely that this infectious joy has been the catalyst to Puck’s success and longevity, and honestly, I wouldn’t doubt it. Because the apparent zeal begets an approach to and philosophy on food that champions adaptation, hospitality, and modernism; a holy trinity to staying power in a fickle modern food landscape.

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Celebrity Grub Culture Packaged Food Sweets

NBA-Branded OREOs, Featuring Legendary Teams, Arrive In Stores This Month

Photos courtesy of the NBA and OREO

OREO and its parent snack company, Mondelez, are kicking off a long term partnership with the National Basketball Association (NBA) that will feature a massive variety of basketball-branded snacks.

To tip things off, the two companies are coming together to create new “Dynasty OREOs,” which will brand the cookie sandwiches with logos from some of the most iconic teams in NBA history.

According to an NBA press release, the six teams featured represent some of basketball’s greatest dynasties, including the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Lakers. Packs of the logo-branded cookies will be available for each team.

These spirited OREOs will arrive in stores nationwide later this month, but also keep an eye out for future branded collaborations to come.

All of Mondelez’s snack brands, including OREOs, Chips Ahoy!, Nutter Butter, Ritz, and Sour Patch Kids, may get involved in future NBA collaborations. On the basketball end, the WNBA, G-League, 2K League, and USA Basketball may also get to collaborate on some snacks as well.

Categories
Culture Fast Food

McDonald’s New Pokémon Happy Meals Are Being Bought En Masse

Photo courtesy of Brian Yamamoto.

McDonald’s has teamed up with Pokémon to celebrate the gaming franchise’s 25th anniversary. Their way of doing that? Happy Meals branded with the titular game mascot, Pikachu, that also include toys and Pokémon trading cards.

While this was expected to be an easy way to get kids to ask for more McDonald’s, some of the biggest orders for these meal sets have come from adults seeking Pokémon treasure.

These people could honestly care less about the food, as they’re trying to score the packs of Pokémon cards in hope of scoring a rare one.

Over the past year, the value of rare types of Pokémon cards has vaulted through the roof. There are reports of celebrities like Logan Paul or Logic selling or buying the most coveted of these cards for over $100,000.

Rare cards include “holo” or “foil” varieties that have a kaleidoscopic sheen to them. They’ve been included at random in packs of Pokémon cards for years, but the recent spike in value they’ve seen has led to a craze where retailers struggle to keep the regular packs on shelves.

The Pokémon cards from McDonald’s include a brand new set of foil cards, some of which have already resold for close to $100 each. As such, folks are hoping to score some of these rare cards from the McDonald’s Happy Meals, and will clean out inventories to do so.

The cards themselves have a value of about $10 a pack on resale sites as of press time, making them more than double the price of the meal you would purchase to obtain one. Of course, most people are buying the meals in bulk to get their hands on these cards.

McDonald’s doesn’t have a unified policy on whether franchisees can sell just the toys or not, meaning that in some cases, folks can get away with buying out the whole stock of toys and cards and posting them on eBay. Some boxes of hundreds of these cards have popped up for sale there for close to $10,000.

Other locations have had limited amounts available or restrict to having to buy the meals. According to Kotaku, some YouTubers have gotten around this buy purchasing from multiple locations, hoping to generate enough boxes to make videos, and hopefully money, off of.

As for the meals themselves, it seems like people are trying to do their best to not have the burgers and fries go to waste. Some YouTubers will do mukbangs of themselves eating the entire order, while others gave them away to those in need.

There have been reports, although unconfirmed, of people throwing away the meals, but no physical or video evidence has emerged yet to support that case.

The Pokémon Happy Meals were just released on February 9th, meaning there should still be time to get your hands on one if you want. However, since they are a limited-time offering, chances are folks on the internet could buy the entire stock up fast.

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#foodbeast Culture Food Trends Recipes

8 Things We Learned To Make In Quarantine

2020 has been the year of adjustments, making the best of what the predicament of a pandemic has given us. For many, the pivot to the kitchen has been significant, allowing us to explore our inner chefs and bakers, turning the sudden free time we have into a discovery of dishes we never knew we had the talent to make.

The results of this fervor of kitchen talents have manifested in viral trends, ranging from banana bread to whipped dalgona coffee. Sure, it’s been a tumultuous year for everyone, but at least here’s a reminder of the silver lining that these dishes have been in helping us pass these quarantine times.

1. BREAD

Whether it was mastering the alchemy behind the perfect loaf of sourdough or nailing the ideal moistness in banana bread, folks were in some fervor over their newfound baking prowess.

2. DALGONA COFFEE

The dalgona coffee craze was the hit of early quarantine times, taking the internet by storm in all it’s whipped glory. Sure you’ll get an arm workout out of it, too, but the gym’s have been closed for the most part so there you go.

3. THE PERFECT STEAK

Have you ever reverse seared a steak? It’s definitely something to explore in the kitchen, which many of us did as we spent more time in it this year. Face it, a perfectly crusted, beefy, tender, and juicy medium rare steak goes a long way in curving the quarantine blues.

4. CLOUD BREAD

Sure, bread was already mentioned on this list, but the airy wonder that is cloud bread deserves its own entry. It’s really nothing that many of us have seen before, crediting its viral success to the ultra fluffy texture, as if you were biting straight into a nimbus in the sky.

5. HOT COCOA BOMBS

This treat drew fans from the sweet surprise it revealed once hot milk was poured onto it. As the cocoa bomb melted away, it revealed a cluster of tiny marshmallows while flavoring the milk, creating a concoction of heavenly, wintery bliss.

6. TORNADO EGGS

The supremely satisfying aesthetics of tornado eggs were the selling point here, unveiling a savory yellow rose that was hard to resist. Sat atop a steaming mound of rice and you have yourself a dish that’s sure to awaken your senses each morning.

7. PANCAKE CEREAL

Everybody is a sucker for irresistible little bites, whatever they may be. Pancakes, though? The unexpected yet adorable downsizing of the breakfast staple had us scouring the internet for the best recipe to replicate at home.

8. GROWING YOUR OWN VEGGIES

The trend of growing your own veggies, particularly green onions, grew in popularity for its high utility aspect alone. This definitely was a useful and handy option, especially if it saved you a trip from making a run to the store.

Categories
Culture Fruits & Vegetables Health Nightlife Plant-Based Restaurants

This Creative Eight Course Plant-Based Meal Is Attracting Vegans and Non-Vegans Alike

As a vegan, I know about all the new products, restaurants and Netflix documentaries. I have vegan friends and share some of the same vegan views. At times, in this vegan bubble of mine, I even begin to believe everyone’s becoming vegan. A simple conversation with a relative quickly dispels that notion. The reality is that within the United States, vegans only make up an estimated 3% of the entire population. That’s like comparing an edamame, to an, I don’t know, elephant. 

A recent study reveals the silver lining, as veganism has increased around 300% in the last 15 years. That’s an incredible explosion within a short space of time. You can credit the internet with this “mushroom” cloud of a diet shift. Whereas the initial conversation siloed around animal rights, over the years it’s expanded to include climate change and personal health and wellness. More specifically, two important factors for any new way of approaching things; advances in technology and just plain ol’ hands-on human ingenuity. 

One person forging her own brand of human ingenuity is Executive Chef Mimi Williams of Counterpart Vegan in Echo Park, California. Using 100% market fresh ingredients and plant-based processes, she creates familiar staples that are nearly indistinguishable from their original meat-based iterations. This is in stark contrast to many vegan spots that feature alternative protein-heavy menus, which are great advances as well, yet different. 

Raised in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, Williams was one of only a handful of Black families in the community. She shared a household with her parents and six brothers of Sicilian/Creole descent. Although she didn’t resemble most of her neighbors, Williams had a strong family support system. One could say she grew up with a traditional family in a non-traditional setting.

While her mother seemingly loved cooking and wanted Williams to learn, she recalls initially being resistant, feeling forced into doing a thing based on her gender expectations. Learning how to cook felt more like work than fun. Noticing that, her father encouraged her to cook things that interested her. That encouragement was the magic needed to open the floodgates of the world of food.

Williams’ was pushed to explore alternative diets during a period in which her father experienced health complications. With his doctor citing less meat consumption as a course of action, her family subsequently became early adopters of a mostly plant-based diet. By this time, Williams had become the de facto cook for her family, with her siblings frequently requesting her food.

At first, it took awhile to adjust to a mostly plant-based lifestyle, but after witnessing her father’s health improve firsthand, she was convinced the diet change was the right decision. These experiences helped Williams develop a perspective on food many Black people don’t have. She discovered veganism some years later during pregnancy after realizing she could no longer consume meat.

Honing her craft at restaurants across America, Williams’ still carries the same spirit of fearlessness and creativity her father encouraged as the current Executive Chef of Counterpart Vegan. Joining the team in 2019, she set about revitalizing Counterpart’s array of offerings. She credits a period of stagnant creativity as the stimuli behind her latest eight course tasting menu.

Consisting of familiar foods inspired by her upbringing, the flavors feel authentic. Some of the offerings include heirloom tomato carpaccio with a tasty and tangy vegan feta, pappardelle made from beets, seasoned squash ravioli and an unforgettable tiramisu as the finale. Williams’ new menu is a fine dining experience vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy. She says she wants people to walk away feeling a sense of hope, and that when they share, “I didn’t know you could do that with this type of food,” that’s how she knows she’s on the right track.

If you’re looking for some momentary respite from quarantine, while supporting small businesses during the pause of outdoor dining, Chef Mimi will be offering a condensed version of the tasting menu as take-out for two. The dinner package will include a salad, appetizer, pasta, dessert, and likely, two non-alcoholic drinks.

There will be 25 of these dinner plates available to all guests and can be pre-ordered on Tock. The dinner package will be available every Friday and Saturday for pick-up, from 6PM-8PM.