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Alcohol Culture

Crown Royal Honors Black Cowboys and Cowgirls to Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth became a national holiday, in large part, to the work of many Black Texans. So, it only makes sense that to toast to this celebration of freedom, we return to its roots.

To honor the cowboys and cowgirls of Texas, Crown Royal will be hosting a grand procession of all Black riders including, Crown Royal Rider and Professional Steer Wrestler, Tory Johnson, equestrian, horsewoman and activist, Brianna Noble, award-winning Steer Wrestler, Denard Hunt, and Compton Cowboys’ solo cowgirl, Keiara Wade, through the Fort Worth Stockyards in advance of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo on Saturday, June 18.

The procession ends at the Cowtown Coliseum within the stockyards, which will house a photo exhibit of the Black cowboy and cowgirl. Images and artifacts sourced by Tramaine Townsend, a Texas native and mixed media visual artist, and the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum were included to amplify and honor the cowboys and their important place in our country’s history.

“I am excited to celebrate Juneteenth in partnership with Crown Royal as we raise a glass to the cowboy community,” said Jim Austin, Founder of the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum. “The grand procession and photo installation give people a full perspective of how Black cowboys shaped our country and continue to impact our nation.”

The museum strives to provide a full historical perspective of the people and activities that built the culture of the American West. In support of their efforts, Crown Royal, through the Crown Royal Generosity Fund, will be donating $25,000 to the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth.

“As we celebrate the 35th Anniversary of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, Crown Royal has been such an amazing partner in joining our mission of uplifting the Black cowboys and cowgirls who have impacted the culture in and out of Fort Worth,” said Margo Wade-LaDrew, Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo National Development & Marketing Director, “And we look forward to the inaugural procession this Juneteenth weekend through the streets of the stockyards.”

In honor of the storytellers, historians, photographers, and more that preserve and share the iconic cowboy culture, Crown Royal will announce Ms. Opal Lee as one of the first Royal Rider award recipients for her commitment and efforts in making Juneteenth a national holiday.

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Art Culture Design Snacks Sweets

This Pop-Tart Supports the LGBTQ+ Community

To kick off Pride Month, for the first time Pop-Tarts is teaming up with a queer illustrator and NEON-GLAAD to collab on their first pride product ever.

The “Neon Pink Block Party Lemonade” Pop-Tarts showcase Thaddeus Coates’s cheerful designs not only on the box but also on the frosting of the toaster pastries — also a first for the brand. Thaddeus Coates explains that the designs are “inspired by a summer block party — a celebration of a community that doesn’t prioritize fitting in over living authentically.”

Thaddeus Coates is a Graphic Design student at FIT as well as an independent artist. He has a passion for clean and thought provoking design with beautiful and bright aesthetics. His goal is to utilize his gift of design to revolutionize and further inspire and show that “art is a present with a presence.”

Each weekend of Pride Month ( June), 450 boxes of the “Neon Pink Block Party” Pop-Tarts will be released for purchase via Instagram for $5. Your purchase will support and publicize for these four BIPOC LGBTQ+ associations:

The Salt Eaters Book Shop – an independent bookshop in Inglewood, CA

Destination Tomorrow – a grassroots agency in Atlanta , GA

Nobody’s Darling – a queer and POC-owned bar in Chicago, IL

Bronx Book Festival/The Bronx Is Reading – a social impact organization in New York

Each of the four organizations above will acquire a $10k grant in relation to box sales to further benefit their missions of fostering inclusive communities. Pop-Tarts will also be donating $100k to GLAAD to progress their work in growing recognition for the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities.

Support and shop all month long via Instagram.

Happy Pride!

Categories
Alcohol Culture Drinks News

Lunar, the First-Ever Asian Craft Hard Seltzer Brand, Shares Limited-Edition Flavors to Celebrate AAPI Heritage

Lunar, the first-ever Asian craft hard seltzer brand, has launched the second in its series of limited-edition collaborations with iconic Asian restaurants in New York City to celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

For the Heritage Line: Sunset Edition, Lunar co-founders Sean Ro and Kevin Wong worked closely with Michelin star-awarded Jeju Noodle Bar, James Beard semifinalist Win Son and Cantonese cuisine newcomer Bonnie’s to develop three hard seltzers inspired by the atmosphere of an Asian beachside market. 

The Heritage Line is a testament to the brand’s mission to represent the AAPI community and diaspora — especially in New York City, where co-founders Ro and Wong were born and raised.

“As a homegrown NYC brand, we’re incredibly honored to once again work with local AAPI business owners who’ve inspired us tremendously: Douglas Kim of Jeju Noodle Bar, Josh Ku of Win Son and Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s,” said Lunar co-founder Sean Ro. “Not only did these three bring years of culinary expertise to the table, they also channeled their own personal memories and their own individual Asian American experiences into these first-of-their-kind seltzers.” 

As with Lunar’s core line of Korean Plum, Yuzu, Passion Fruit and Lychee seltzers, all Heritage Line seltzers are made with real ingredients sourced from Asia and the US. Created specifically with upcoming summer drinking in mind, the Heritage Line: Sunset Edition seltzers include:

  • Mint Omija w/ Jeju Noodle Bar: Inspired by the summertime Korean delicacy 오미자 화채 (Magnolia berry or schisandra berry punch), the mint highlights flavors provided by the omija, also known as the “five flavor berry” (sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and even spiciness). It pairs well with the flavors of Chef Douglas Kim, who runs the first noodle bar in the US to receive a Michelin star.
  • Teresa Teng (Citrus, Cranberry) w/ Win Son: Inspired by the first true international Asian music superstar, this blend of cucumber and spice is as more-ish as her music catalog. “Asia’s eternal queen of pop” died in 1995 after a 30-year career that deeply influenced most of Asia. Josh Ku, Taiwanese-American owner of Win Son, named one of the restaurant’s inaugural cocktails after her. Lunar has built upon the tributary cocktail with this honorary hard seltzer flavor. The crisp, citrusy cranberry-flavors blend with a touch of smoky complexity.
  • Salted Kumquat w/ Bonnie’s: An answer to the everyday orange juice mimosa, this flavor was inspired by a traditional Chinese American remedy — kumquats preserved in salt and sugar, then steeped into a hot tea to ease a sore throat. This cocktail is a sweet, tangy, citrusy sipper with a hint of salt and MSG for added depth. The flavor pays homage to the preserved kumquat fridge staple of Cantonese American chef Calvin Eng’s mother — for whom his restaurant is named. 

The mission behind Lunar’s cocktails is to increase cultural awareness and representation within the predominantly white brewing and seltzer segment. Through the Heritage Line, they continue to share the stories and lived experiences of their AAPI partners.

“Sean and I are just two Asian kids from New York, but we have big dreams beyond just selling beverages,” Lunar co-founder Kevin Wong says. “We created Lunar to make the beverage world more open-minded and diverse. In many ways, our own journey as POC founders and entrepreneurs is a microcosm for the larger AAPI experience of learning to find pride in your culture so that you can share it with the world — and in doing so, make the world a better, more understanding place.”

Released in 2021 (and sold out online in 3 hours), the inaugural Heritage Line included Pineapple Cake and Mango Chili Salt hard seltzers co-developed by chefs/owners of Di An Di and 886.

Lunar’s Heritage Line is now available for nationwide shipping via their website, and individual flavors will be available at their respective restaurants.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Culture Film/Television

First Look at Jo Koy’s Upcoming Film, ‘Easter Sunday’, Features Scene With Filipino Food Spread

Photo: ED ARAQUEL/UNIVERSAL PICTURES via Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly has gotten an exclusive first look at comedian Jo Koy’s upcoming movie, Easter Sunday, that’s centered around a Filipino-American family, a first for a studio film. Jo Koy has rocketed to stardom via his comedy based on his stories of growing up as a Filipino-American kid and his hilarious dynamic with his mother.

Coming as a Filipino-American kid myself, I remember hanging on to the few Filipino celebrities I’d see in TV and movies. Dante Basco had me rooting for Rufio in Hook and his younger brother, Dion, had me tuning in on Saturday mornings watching City Guys. When it came to representation in entertainment, I took what I could get.

Now, with the unexpected help of Steven Spielberg, Jo Koy has made his movie idea about a Filipino-American family a reality. He explained to EW, “[It’s about] a family that lives in America just like everybody else. And you’re going to relate to this family because you know them. And oh, by the way, you’re going to learn some stuff about Filipinos on the way too. So that’s kind of cool too.”

One of the things that folks will get to learn about through the movie is how Filipino families do a feast. In one screen cap from the flick, Jo Koy’s character and his mother are seen in front of a mouthwatering spread of Filipino food. From the looks of things, I spy some empanada, pancit, adobo and sisig.

Jo Koy related to EW, “We’re going to represent my family, and we’re going to represent my culture. Of course, we had the big lechon. We had to. So yes, there’s a big pig on the table, but that’s what’s there every birthday and every Easter. If I didn’t put that there, [Filipinos] would’ve been mad. But on the other side, I wanted to show adobo. I wanted to show pancit. I wanted to show our egg rolls. I wanted to show what a spread looks like on our table and how delicious our food is.”

Categories
Culture Fruits & Vegetables Hacks Sustainability

This Ancient Afghan Fruit Preservation Method Has The Internet Amazed

What is your preferred method of prolonging your fruits’ shelf life — keeping it in the fridge, freezing, canning or even dehydration? What if I told you there’s another technique that not many folks know about? In northern Afghanistan there is a surprising long-established food hack that effectively preserves fruits of summer into winter months, known as kangina.

The kangina looks like two loaves of sourdough bread stuck together. Each kangina is made up of two layers of wet clay-rich mud, with each layer shaped into a bowl and then baked under the sun.

When each pair of kangina is completely dried, ripe fruit is put inside and sealed with another serving of mud to form an air-tight vessel. The kangina are then stored in a cool area, away from direct sunlight, with some actually being buried underground.

This preservation technique has been utilized for hundreds of years, yet it has barely been documented or studied, which is unexpected since the geographical area of Afghanistan has been growing grapes since at least 2000BC, making it one of the most age-old grape growing areas in the world.

So imagine, no refrigerator, no preservatives or chemicals — just a clay container. This technique works so well that they are able to preserve fruit for six months; think an archaic version of Tupperware or a ziplock bag.

So, will you be ditching your plastic containers and bags for this historic eco-friendly hack?

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Cravings Culture Features Video

This One of a Kind Basturma Brisket is When Armenian Flavors Collide With Texas BBQ

Chef Arthur Grigoryan is a bit of a scholar with the way he approaches his barbecue techniques, which he brings to life via III Mas BBQ — pronounced Yerrord Mas or Third Mas — a one of a kind pop-up dinner experience that he runs out of his home.

His extensive knowledge of ancient Armenian and Mesopotamian cooking serves as the North Star for his take on Central Texas barbecue, proving to be a delicious triumvirate that showcases unique creations like Basturma Brisket, Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Spare Ribs and Baharat-Spiced Lamb Shoulder.

It’s likely that you have not seen this collection of cultures on a plate before, but with the way Chef Grigoryan is trying to be both a historian and chef at the same time, III Mas BBQ is here to disrupt the usual. He melds both Armenian and Texas barbecue cultures seamlessly, breathing new life and possibilities into how we currently see the latter’s regional barbecue.

Check out the III Mas BBQ’s Instagram page for all the details on upcoming pop-up dinners or if you’re simply in the mood to see refreshing barbecue takes that will leave you double-tapping your screen like your thumb was possessed by a hungry woodpecker.

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Culture

Red Eggs & Lamb: The Delicious Traditions of Greek Orthodox Easter

Photo: Arthur Etchells

Although Easter season ended for some folks last week, Greek Orthodox Christians will be celebrating Easter this Sunday, April 24. This is because there’s a difference in calendars used by Western Christians and Orthodox Christians. The Julian Calendar, used by Greek Orthodox Christians is about 13 days longer than the Gregorian Calendar used by Western Christians.

The Easter celebrations of Greek Orthodox Christians include a delicious feast that features whole roasted lamb, red-dyed hardboiled eggs, soups, roasted potatoes and more. Yes, I’m intrigued. Yes, I’m trying to get an invite the cookout.

Below is a list of the deliciousness Greek Orthodox Christians get to enjoy when they celebrate Easter.

Ovelias

Ovelias is an Easter custom that involves a whole lamb roasted on a souvla, or spit, over an open flame.

Magiritsa

Magiritsa is traditionally the first meal after Easter service, and is a unique and hearty soup made from lamb offal.

Kokoretsi

Kokoretsi is a one of a kind grilled dish that uses lamb intestines to be wrapped around seasoned lamb offal like sweetbreads, hearts, kidneys and lungs.

Patates Lemonates

Patates lemonates are a top tier side dish that consists of roasted potatoes with ideal crispy edges that are treated to olive oil, lemon juice and oregano.

Kokkina Avga

These hardboiled eggs are a bright beacon of Greek Easter, and dually represent the blood of Christ with its red hue and rebirth, being that it’s an egg. Kokkina avga are a key aspect in a fun game called tsougrisma, where players clink and tap the ends of the red eggs in an effort to crack the other.

Tsoureki

Tsoureki is a sweet bread symbolic of the Christ’s resurrection and rebirth. The kokkina avga on top symbolizes the blood of Jesus.

Categories
Culture Features Recipes TikTok Video

Content Creator Highlight: The Golden Balance

Photo: Facebook

If you didn’t know, this is Arab American Heritage Month. While this is a newly recognized celebratory tradition in the states, it’s long overdue. The purpose of this month is to honor Arab Americans and Arabic speaking Americans by highlighting their culture and contributions to the world. 

Here in the U.S., Arab cuisine is loved yet the culture’s representation is not prevalent. One content creator illuminating Arab culture and traditions is Ahmad Alzahabi, aka The Golden Balance. Inspired by his last name, which means golden, Alzahabi initially had an interest in documenting his journey to a more balanced and healthy lifestyle. Not long after he started sharing his daily routine, his culinary content began garnering attention, drawing more and more eyes to his delicious creations.

Alzahabi admits to having more culinary passion than experience in the beginning. During high school, he interned in Dubai at a four-star Swiss hotel, which taught him the ropes of working in a restaurant. While his knowledge grew, his hunger for more culinary growth pushed him onward. Fast forward a year later, along with countless trial and error attempts, and now The Golden Balance has millions of followers across three social media platforms. 

His self confidence undoubtedly plays a part in The Golden Balance’s success. Instilled in him by his parents, Alzahabi believes that it isn’t an insecurity if it’s something you embrace. This spirit can be felt in his content, which not only features mouthwatering food recipes, but also messages of positivity and encouragement. 

Although it was never his original intention, The Golden Balance has helped shed light on his Islamic roots. He later realized that for many Muslims, sharing their culture was a hurdle. Burgeoning fan interest in his culture inspired him to not only share more of it, but was also the origin of his tagline, “Now Bismillah.” The suggestion was made to him by Arab fans of his content who naturally identified with it. Alzahabi fondly recalled the impression these cultural interactions had on him:

“In their head it was like, sometimes it’s tough to embrace who you are, given your surroundings. So, when they see someone that’s representing who they are, and what they say and normalizing words in Arabic or foods that previously were looked down on — like look at this weirdo, look what they’re eating. And now, it’s making it cool, people feel represented. People feel represented through you, your name is Ahmad Alzahabi, you’re putting out dishes that your mom taught you that are completely Syrian, you’re saying ‘Bismillah’ at the end of every single video. I wasn’t doing it intentionally, I just said it because someone commented on it and thought that’s a good idea.”

During last year’s Ramadan, an Islamic observance of fasting, prayer, reflection and community, Alzahabi would break fast around 8pm or 9pm, and then create food content until the wee hours of the morning. Through this experience he was inspired to begin sharing his process along with other aspects of his culture through a series aptly-named The Ramadan Chronicles.

Moving forward, Alzahabi hopes to continue sharing his culture and making the kitchen a lot less intimidating for people. While he’s unsure if he does the best job expressing it, his goal is to encourage you to embrace who you are and be unapologetic as a person through food. “You gotta embrace the process,” he underscores. 

To follow Ahmed Alzahabi’s journey and learn some amazing recipes while you’re at it, you can visit his website here.