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Culture Feel Good Restaurants

How A Movement To Support San Gabriel Valley Restaurants Became A Major Food Event

The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100,000 dining spots have closed nationwide, with a harsh winter leading many to expect that number to only go up over time.

That being said, group efforts have come about to help get restaurants in some areas the support they need. Of course, stimulus funding and federal/state aid is the optimal solution, but for those that choose to stay open, getting the word out is crucial to making enough money to keep selling food.

In Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, one can attribute a movement called “SGV Eats” as one of the primary reasons the restaurant industry is able to keep going. Originally a group created by friends Alan An, Megan Lam, and Brian Ngoy, their movement has now exploded into over 32,000 people on Facebook, spreading the word on restaurants all over the region.

Photos courtesy of SGV Eats and Brian Nittayo

“When we saw that restaurants were struggling during the pandemic, it ignited something in us to help out,” An told Foodbeast. He, Lam, and Ngoy together started the original group, called “SGV Restaurants Open During COVID-19” at first, as a way to bring light to those restaurants looking to get help.

Lam told Foodbeast that the group started as just the three of them telling their friends, which led to a cascading influx of invitations that saw the group grow to the size it is now. All of the members are locals and restaurateurs who promote and provide support to eateries beyond just their own or their favorites. It’s what Ngoy described as a “phenomenal response” that helped elevate the entire restaurant scene and keep it afloat.

Thanks to their efforts, restaurants who were maybe seeing a few orders a day would sell out close to opening, helping keep many restaurant owners going through the pandemic.

It’s also allowed the innovative food scene in the San Gabriel Valley to flourish. For those not in the know, San Gabriel Valley is an incredibly diverse community: over 44% of the population is Latino and a quarter of residents are of some sort of Asian descent, according to data from the Los Angeles Times.

Photo courtesy of SGV Eats and Brian Nittayo

The SGV is known as a hub for many Asian restaurants, but An, Lam, and Ngoy also surprised even themselves by discovering a large, diverse set of unique restaurants through all of the owners and customers that shared photos and stories of the food. From Filipino food in West Covina to the storied seafood banquet restaurants of San Gabriel, there’s a lot of history and flavor from many parts of the world that reside in the SGV.

You’ll also find a lot of unique restaurants offering creative takes on dishes, often inspired by the meshing of cultures that happens in this region. Mexican and Asian-inspired pizzas, birria loaded burgers, and even Sichuan peppercorn-infused queso are just some examples of the unique dishes the region has to offer.

Photo courtesy of SGV Eats

The team behind SGV Eats is making sure that these restaurants continue to get support for the unique creations they’re making. Outside of the regular daily support the group offers, SGV Eats is also launching a dining event that will spread across the entire valley. Called Eat SGV Week, it features nearly two dozen restaurants that are a part of the group, all of which are providing unique specials and offers to encourage people to order food.

Viral pizza spot Rose City Pizza, for example, is creating a Korean Popcorn Chicken pizza, a spin-off of one of their more recent mouthwatering menu creations. Other options from headliners include a combo meat plate from 38 Degrees Alehouse, a combo pack of obanyaki (stuffed Japanese pancakes) and ube horchata from Mr. Obanyaki, and a meal platter from Hummus Labs, arguably one of the most popular restaurants in the SGV to date.

The Eat SGV Week runs from December 7th to 13th, although you can preorder for pickup on any of those days already on their website.

Photo courtesy of SGV Eats

Going from support group to organizing a dining event that brings together multiple restaurants feels like a large leap. For the SGV Eats team, though, it was just another way to bring assistance and unite the local dining community to help keep it thriving.

Beyond just the Eat SGV week, SGV Eats hopes to find more ways to encourage the community and get folks to discover and explore more local restaurants.

As a bullhorn for one of the more innovative dining regions in the country, they’re definitely a group anybody should join, follow, and be a part of to learn about some of the most creative culinary eats the San Gabriel Valley has to offer.

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#foodbeast Feel Good FOODBEAST SPONSORED

Foot Locker Partners With Foodbeast to Deliver 500 Meals to 100% COVID-19 Hospital

Last week, Foodbeast teamed up with Foot Locker LA and HiFi Kitchen, a local Filipino restaurant to announce a delivery of 500 meals to the Los Angeles Surge Hospital over the span of two weeks.

The hospital, which sprang up in the formerly closed St. Vincent Medical Center, has become one of Los Angeles’ treatment epicenters, as it remains a 100% COVID-19 facility.

The meals look to alleviate the ever busy essential staff, whose shifts have left them with little time to eat any substantial meal, according to sources on the ground at the hospital. Options looked to account for any dietary restrictions as well, with workers choosin from Chicken Adobo, pescatarian La’Ing, or vegetarian La’Ing rice bowls.

In addition, Melissa’s Produce will be donating fresh produce to the hospital’s staff weekly for the next eight weeks, so as to make eating healthy ever convenient.

Austin, TX-based distillery Garrison Brothers contributed to the cause as well, donating 200 6oz bottles of their housemade hand sanitizer, which has become one of the city’s rarest commodities.

“Just to be able to give back in some way and show our appreciation for these literal heroes putting their well-being on the line to care for the health of others is special. Let’s all go show love to medical, essential, and front line workers, and give them their roses while they can smell them.” said Reach Guinto, Foodbeast managing editor, who helped deliver the first batch of 250 meals last Friday.

The next round of meals will be delivered Friday, May 8. Stay tuned to Foodbeast for updates, as well as any news regarding food related pandemic relief.


Created in partnership with Foot Locker LA.

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Alcohol Beer Culture Features Feel Good

Burps For Bartenders: Water Brand Donates $20 A Belch, On Instagram

liquid death

Liquid Death. You read that right.

That’s the name of a contemporary, canned-water brand willing to help the thousands of bartenders without work currently. The name is silly, their new mission is not.

With every social post with the hashtag #BelchForBars and tagging @LiquidDeath on Facebook or Instagram, the brand will be donating $20 to the United States Bartender’s Guild. There’s up to $250,000 on the line for our bartenders, barbacks and hospitality staff affected by the new normal.

I know you’re just sitting at home, so… kick back a toast of sparkling water, or anything else that shoves air down your gullet, and do it already.

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Cravings Culture Deals Fast Food Feel Good News What's New

Checkers & Rally’s Are Giving Out Free Meals to Healthcare Workers

 

Known for their “Crazy Good Food,” Checkers & Rally’s have shifted their focus towards crazy good hospitality.

Now, at all 250 locations nationwide, first responders and medical workers can get a free small combo at the fast food chain, solely by showing up in their uniform.

Each combo includes a small order of fries, a small drink, and a choice of one of the following entrees: Big Buford (which may be the best name out there for a fast food item), Cheese Champ, Chili Dog, BBQ Bacon Roadhouse, Half-Pound Chicken Bites, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Baconzilla, 5-piece Wings, or a Deep Sea Double. 

The restaurant’s employees will also benefit from the policy, as they’ve been deemed “essential workers,” and will get a free small meal for every shift they work.

This is in addition to the $100,000 they donated to No Kid Hungry that’s estimated to provide a million meals to children, and certainly shows a commitment to helping the communities that surround each location, which is rare for such a large chain. 

Hats off, Checkers & Rally’s.

 

Photo: Jeremy Brooks
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Celebrity Grub Culture Feel Good News

Celebrity Chef Jose Andrés Says Doctors And Nurses Will Eat Free At His Restaurants For A Year

Chef Jose Andres is no stranger to philanthropic efforts centered around his love for food and community through his charity World Central Kitchen, as evidenced by the massive contributions he’s made during this COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it be turning the Washington Nationals’ baseball stadium into a community kitchen to feed thousands or jumping on board the quarantined Grand Princess cruise ship to feed its guests and crew, Andres has been an active force of good that’s become a regular highlight during the coronavirus news cycle.

In his on-going efforts of doing good through food, Andres has promised in a recent tweet that doctors and nurses will eat for free at his restaurants for the rest of the year.

My mom and dad, and uncle, and godmother were nurses, doctors, pharmacist! When I reopen my restaurants, I hope I will, every active Doctor and Nurse will eat for free for the rest of the year!

We’re all just as grateful for the work that medical workers and other frontline staff have been putting in during this turbulent pandemic, and for Andres to show his gratitude in such a way is to be commended — especially since most of his restaurants are high-ticket, fine dining, one-of-a-kind gastronomic experiences.

This gesture is but another in a long line of positivity and service that the lauded celebrity chef has displayed in his career, and we’re sure that Jose Andres’ generosity will continue on.

Feature photo: Geoff Livingston
Categories
Feel Good Restaurants

The Great American Takeout: An Urgent Call To Support Your Favorite Restaurant On March 24

The restaurant industry has taken a serious beating over these last few weeks due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. With Americans staying home and practicing self-distancing, restaurants have seen a massive plunge in revenue — many of which have had to close their doors for the time being.

In an effort to support restaurants and restaurant workers across the nation, a coalition of restaurants are starting that they call The Great American Takeout.

Beginning tomorrow, March 24, here’s what everyone can do to support local restaurant and their workers:

  1. Folks are challenged to order at least one delivery or takeout meal to help the struggling restaurant industry.
  2. Encourage others to participate in the upcoming event on social media, using the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout
  3. Share a photo of your takeout after it arrives with the hashtag #TheGreatAmericanTakeout

Created by a coalition of restaurants that include Panda Express, Panera Bread, Noodles & Company, Jason’s Deli, Veggie Grill, El Torito, California Pizza Kitchen, The Habit, Lemonade, Modern Market, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, PizzaRev, and Chevys, the group came up with an unconventional way to support their fellow struggling restaurant owners during these trying times.

The movement is a modern day Hands Across America, but with a little more social distancing and chicken wings. The idea is to get the ball rolling in the country’s minds that there are still restaurants open and in need of support in the weeks or months to come. Gotta think of a good spot to support for this tomorrow. Though, there are three meals in the day, right?

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Feel Good Science Sweets Technology What's New

New THC Gummy Is First With CBN, A Cannabis Compound That May Help With Sleeping

Always on the cutting edge of cannabis infused edibles, Kiva Confections has announced their latest creation, Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies. These new chewy delights continue Kiva’s canna-crusade by being the first to incorporate CBN. CBN stands for cannabinol. Different from CBD and THC, CBN is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is typically found in aged THC. Bursting with medicinal potential, research has revealed that the combination of THC and CBN benefit restlessness, counteracting the morning-after groggy feeling THC typically produces alone. 

The National Sleep Foundation reports that an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by chronic sleep disorder and intermittent sleep problems that can significantly diminish health, alertness and safety. With the new Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies, Kiva gumshoes leveraged their powers of deduction to create custom combinations of cannabinoids and plant-based terpenes that offer a uniquely relaxing mixture of THC and CBN. Each gummy uses 5mg of THC and 1mg of CBN with an added hint of chamomile and lavender oil that help support a healthy night’s rest. 

Suffice to say, we’ve come a long way from counting sheep. Rather than potentially risky medication, Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies presents a natural, yet sweet and chewy alternative to sleeplessness. Retailing at $18 each, Camino Midnight Blueberry Gummies can be found at dispensaries throughout California.

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Features Feel Good News Products What's New

Cannabis-Infused Sriracha Hot Sauce Exists, Is Also Fast-Acting

Potli THC Sriracha

The love for Sriracha hot sauce is practically ubiquitous, what with the way Huy Fong’s marketed their take to the tune of universal recognition and appeal. But such extensive appeal doesn’t grow legs without a sauce that’s comprehensive in its application on damn near any food and dish. Simply put, Sriracha sauce has earned its place in the pantheon of daily hot sauce go-to’s.

But what if I told you that Sriracha can reach another level of allure through a little bit of cannabis? Yes, you read that right, the possibility of a medicated, THC-infused Sriracha sauce is in fact a delicious reality thanks to the brilliant folks at Potli. Founded by Felicity Chen and Christine Yi, Potli offers CBD-infused food and cooking essentials, which range from honey to chili oil.

Potli THC Sriracha

As part of an exclusive Lunar New Year release, Potli will be officially announcing today the drop of this cannabis-infused Sriracha hot sauce that’s aiming to elevate your next meal in more ways than one. That’s because nano-emulsified THC used in it allows for faster, more efficient absorption. Translation: your tastebuds and mind-state are taking the elevator up a few floors in about 15 minutes or so.

Availability for now is limited to select dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area, with wider availability trickling in throughout this week. If you’re not near a California dispensary, buy Potli’s other THC-free products online at www.potlishop.com.

For more info, check their website.

Also, for more of my commentary on this weed-infused Sriracha sauce from Potli, check out the latest episode of the Foodbeast podcast, The Katchup, below.