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Las Vegas Food Truck Serving Up BIRRIA-STUFFED Tamales

Birria has been booming in the food scene outside of those in the know recently. For those that have been up on it, they’ll probably tell you, “What took y’all so long?”

And I get it, birria, from its origins in Jalisco, Mexico to the widespread appeal it enjoys today, is something that shouldn’t be treated as some new trend. Proponents (which I assume would be pretty much anyone that’s had it because it’s f*cking delicious) will extoll the virtues of its savory allure all day, all the while pointing you in every direction to where you can enjoy it in different iterations and contemporary takes. This then can take you into a fantastic journey that will have you feasting through creative takes like birria ramen and birria pizza.

However, keep going further in that journey and you might find yourself in Las Vegas, Nevada, just like I did, where birria takes on the form of tamales. Yes, the concept of birria has now found a home inside a warm tamal, with melty cheese as its roommate, all courtesy of El Tamalucas, the city’s first tamale food truck.

Since opening El Tamalucas in 2014, owner Saul Talavera has innovated his recipes and expanded the repertoire of his takes on the iconic dish, which include unique selections like chicken alfredo tamales and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos tamales. His next hit is the BirriQueso Tamale Dunkers, which I described earlier, and is a holy trinity of birria, consomé, and cheese. My mouth just watered typing out that sentence and now I’m fighting the urge to buy a plane ticket to Las Vegas. That’s because these tamales were one of the best things I’d eaten this year and the memories of having it look like a rush of the rich, bold consomé-soaked, cheese and birria-stuffed tamale cascading down my greedy gullet.

If you’re trying to catch a glorious fever dream off one bite, absolutely look up El Tamalucas when you’re out making questionable decisions in Las Vegas.

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Entrepreneurship Food Trends Health Sustainability

Salmon Skin Chips Are Here, Would You Try Them?

goodfish

Growing up, pork rinds were a popular snack. My mother, vehemently anti-pork, would never buy them, but on a rare occasion, I’d steal a munch from a relative or friend. Even now, I recall the salty crunch, and how quick they mysteriously evaporate in your mouth. Those are good memories, yet with age, I became more conscious of my diet and as a result, haven’t had a chicharron in years. With that said, pork skins are still wildly popular. 

In today’s “alternative world,” social media has spurred entrepreneurship which in turn has fueled innovation across industries. As health consciousness grows and alternative “everything’s” are popping up weekly, a pork rind alternative was inevitable. 

goodfish

New upstart snack brand Goodfish is that answer. It’s the aquatic alternative to pork rinds and is made with wild caught Alaskan Salmon from Bristol Bay. These fish skins are packed with clean protein, good omega fats and marine collagen. Goodfish aims to give you all the nutrients, with none of the sluggishness carbs cause. They come in four flavors; Sea Salt, Spicy BBQ, Chili Lime and the oddly curious Tart Cranberry. 

I don’t know about ya’ll, but these sound pretty fire to me. They have a lighter crisp but still deliver on the salty savoriness. I can’t call the tart cranberry though. Would you try these as a healthier alternative to pork rinds? Possibly a replacement?  

If you’re interested in doing a deep dive, you can find Goodfish at your local retailer here.

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Cravings Food Trends Humor Now Trending Sweets

Hilarious Toilet Paper Cakes Are Now A Thing

toilet paper cake

Photo: @asap_dombroski

Due to recent overzealous hoarding during the covid-19 pandemic, toilet paper has been a rare find at the store these days — unless you look in the baked goods section. That’s because toilet paper-themed cakes have now begun to pop up at various groceries and bakeries everywhere.

The cheeky cakes have been spotted at Albertson’s locations in Southern California as well as a ShopRite supermarket in New Jersey. Bakeshops are also getting in on the trend, with spots like B.Candy in Corona Del Mar, CA making toilet paper mini cakes and Two Fat Cookies in Delray Beach, FL serving up toilet paper cupcakes.

“Our toilet paper cupcakes sold out like wildfire,” gushed Two Fat Cookies.

I guess even toilet paper cakes are getting snatched off of shelves with the quickness, too, then. Hopefully the re-stock will be a lot quicker than the real ones.

Spotted: Toilet Paper Cakes at an Albertson’s in Orange County, CA

With the pandemic gravely affecting business for many small establishments in the restaurant industry, many have had to get creative to stay afloat. In this case, these shops are offering some levity to the situation, because in these uncertain times, humor can go a long way to keep spirits encouraged.

 

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Photos: @bcandy_oc, @twofatcookies

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Find America’s Best New Chef on James Beard Foundation’s Long List.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Always wanted to know the next great new chef? The James Beard Foundation is here to help.

James Beard, famous for having the first nationally televised cooking show on NBC titled: “I Love to Eat,” passed away in 1985.  Since then, Julia Childs and other notable TV chefs created a non-profit foundation in his name to “celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone,” or as they put it more succinctly, to celebrate people who make, ‘good food for good.’

This is the 30th year it has been handing out awards, with each winner awarded a medallion bearing James Beard’s welcoming avuncular face and a one year membership to the organization. The James Beard foundation also gives out scholarships to promising would-be-chefs.

They just released the ‘long list’ of semi-finalists and have added a few more categories this year to represent different demographics and geography.  Now you can find best chef categories just for California and Texas.

The America’s Classics award was posted as well as the ‘long list’ and will be culled down to the top five finalists by March 25th and the winners will be announced May 4th at the Gala in Chicago.

Here is the full long list, find a chef or restaurant in your area and go celebrate their nomination!

Best New Restaurant

  • Automatic Seafood & Oysters, Birmingham, AL
  • Beit Rima, San Francisco
  • The Blind Goat, Houston
  • Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR
  • Cultura, Asheville, NC
  • Demi, Minneapolis
  • Eem, Portland, OR
  • Fox & the Knife, Boston
  • Gado Gado, Portland, OR
  • Gianna, New Orleans
  • Golden Diner, NYC
  • Il Nido, Seattle
  • iNDO, St. Louis
  • Kalaya, Philadelphia
  • Kāwi, NYC
  • Lazy Betty, Atlanta
  • Nightshade, Los Angeles
  • Oak Hill Café & Farm, Greenville, SC
  • Pasjoli, Santa Monica, CA
  • Rooster & Owl, Washington, D.C.
  • Saffron De Twah, Detroit
  • Salaryman, Dallas
  • Squable, Houston
  • Sunday Vinyl, Denver
  • Tanám, Somerville, MA
  • Thamee, Washington, D.C.
  • Thattu, Chicago
  • Tzuco, Chicago
  • Vecina, Phoenix
  • Verjus, San Francisco

Outstanding Baker

  • Kim Boyce, Bakeshop, Portland, OR
  • Spencer Budros, Pistacia Vera, Columbus, OH
  • Evrim Dogu and Evin Dogu, Sub Rosa Bakery, Richmond, VA
  • Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery, Philadelphia
  • Graison Gill, Bellegarde Bakery, New Orleans
  • Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, NYC
  • Clyde Greenhouse, Kessler Baking Studio, Dallas
  • Don Guerra, Barrio Bread, Tucson, AZ
  • Briana Holt, Tandem Coffee + Bakery, Portland, ME
  • Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery, Cambridge, MA
  • Ayako Kurokawa, Burrow, NYC
  • Lisa Ludwinski, Sister Pie, Detroit
  • Moshit Mizrachi-Gabbitas, Janjou Pâtisserie, Boise, ID
  • David Norman, Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden, Austin
  • Taylor Petrehn, 1900 Barker, Lawrence, KS
  • Nathaniel Reid, Nathaniel Reid Bakery, Kirkwood, MO
  • Avery Ruzicka, Manresa Bread, Los Gatos, CA
  • Matt Tinder, Saboteur Bakery, Bremerton, WA
  • Chris Wilkins, Root Baking Co., Atlanta
  • Na Young Ma, Proof Bakery, Los Angeles

Outstanding Bar Program

  • Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
  • The Atomic Lounge, Birmingham, AL
  • The Baldwin Bar, Woburn, MA
  • Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu
  • Clavel Mezcaleria, Baltimore
  • Colita, Minneapolis
  • Existing Conditions, NYC
  • Expatriate, Portland, OR
  • Horse Inn, Lancaster, PA
  • Kimball House, Decatur, GA
  • La Factoría, San Juan, PR
  • Las Almas Rotas, Dallas
  • Leyenda, Brooklyn, NY
  • Little Rituals, Phoenix
  • Lost Lake, Chicago
  • OTOTO, Los Angeles
  • Novare Res Bier Café, Portland, ME
  • Sugar House, Detroit
  • Trick Dog, San Francisco
  • Williams & Graham, Denver

Outstanding Chef (Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters)

  • Andrew Carmellini, The Dutch, NYC
  • Ann Cashion, Johnny’s Half Shell, Washington, D.C.
  • John Fleer, Rhubarb, Asheville, NC
  • Nobuo Fukuda, Nobuo at Teeter House, Phoenix
  • Sarah Grueneberg, Monteverde, Chicago
  • Gavin Kaysen, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
  • Melissa Kelly, Primo, Rockland, ME
  • David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
  • Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
  • Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
  • Ludo Lefebvre, Trois Mec, Los Angeles
  • Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
  • Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama, Hoboken, NJ
  • Missy Robbins, Lilia, NYC
  • Gabriel Rucker, Le Pigeon, Portland, OR
  • Holly Smith, Cafe Juanita, Kirkland, WA
  • Ana Sortun, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
  • Vikram Sunderam, Rasika, Washington, D.C.
  • Marc Vetri, Vetri Cucina, Philadelphia
  • Justin Yu, Theodore Rex, Houston

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

  • 15 Fox Place, Jersey City, NJ
  • 1919, San Juan, PR
  • Angus Barn Steakhouse, Raleigh, NC
  • Black Trumpet Bistro, Portsmouth, NH
  • Brigtsen’s, New Orleans
  • Canlis, Seattle
  • Chez Fonfon, Birmingham, AL
  • Dominique Ansel Bakery, NYC
  • HOBNOB, Racine, WI
  • Hugo’s, Houston
  • Kai, Phoenix
  • Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, Charleston, SC
  • Love Handle, Indianapolis
  • Marcel’s, Washington, D.C.
  • Mi Nidito Restaurant, Tucson, AZ
  • Mistral, Boston
  • Pekin Noodle Parlor, Butte, MT
  • Saison, San Francisco
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco
  • Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Pastry Chef (Presented by Lavazza)

  • Antonio Bachour, Bachour, Coral Gables, FL
  • Neil Blazin, Driftwood Oven, Pittsburgh
  • Lincoln Carson, Bon Temps, Los Angeles
  • Ali and Kevin Cohane, Persephone, Jackson, WY
  • Renae Connolly, Benedetto, Cambridge, MA
  • Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
  • Megan Garrelts, Rye, Leawood, KS
  • Sylvia Gould, Kool Beanz Cafe, Tallahassee, FL
  • Maggie Huff, Homewood, Dallas
  • Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
  • Claudia Martinez, Tiny Lou’s, Atlanta
  • Mimi Mendoza, Senia, Honolulu
  • Diane Moua, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
  • Natasha Pickowicz, Flora Bar, NYC
  • Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, Bullion, Dallas
  • Emily Spurlin, Lula Cafe, Chicago
  • Krystle Swenson, Crawford and Son, Raleigh, NC
  • Katherine Thompson, Thompson Italian, Falls Church, VA
  • Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
  • Country Velador, Super Chunk Sweets & Treats, Scottsdale, AZ

Outstanding Restaurant (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

  • Boka, Chicago
  • Bolete, Bethlehem, PA
  • FIG, Charleston, SC
  • Fore Street, Portland, ME
  • Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
  • Hà VL, Portland, OR
  • House of Prime Rib, San Francisco
  • Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
  • Kogi BBQ, Los Angeles
  • Komi, Washington, D.C.
  • La Morada, NYC
  • Mai Lee, Brentwood, MO
  • Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
  • Neptune Oyster, Boston
  • Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
  • The Original Ninfa’s on Navigation, Houston
  • Quince, San Francisco
  • Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis
  • SriPraPhai, NYC
  • Sushi Den, Denver

Outstanding Restaurateur (Presented by Magellan Corporation)

  • Paul Bartolotta, The Bartolotta Restaurants, Milwaukee (Ristorante Bartolotta, Harbor House, Lake Park Bistro, and others)
  • Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer, JK Food Group, Boston (Little Donkey, Toro, Coppa)
  • JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline Restaurant, New Orleans
  • Sameer Eid and Samy Eid, Birmingham, MI, and Detroit (Phoenicia, Forest, Leila)
  • Benjamin Goldberg and Max Goldberg, Strategic Hospitality, Nashville (The Catbird Seat, The Patterson House, Henrietta Red, and others)
  • Ruth Gresser, Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, D.C. (Pizzeria Paradiso)
  • Martha Hoover, Patachou Inc., Indianapolis (Café Patachou, Public Greens, Bar One Fourteen, and others)
  • Jennifer Jasinski, Beth Gruitch, Crafted Concepts, Denver (Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Stoic & Genuine, and others)
  • Mike Mastro and Jeff Mastro, Prime Steak Concepts, Scottsdale, AZ (Dominick’s Steakhouse, Steak 44, Ocean 44)
  • Thomas McNaughton, David Steele and David White, Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, San Francisco (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Trick Dog)
  • Larry McGuire, McGuire Moorman Hospitality, Austin (Jeffrey’s, Perla’s, Pool Burger, and others)
  • Jay McSharry, Portsmouth, NH (Jumpin’ Jay’s Fish Cafe, Vida Cantina, Moxy, and others)
  • Ouita Michel, Ouita Michel Family of Restaurants, Lexington, KY (Holly Hill Inn, The Midway Bakery and Cafe, Honeywood, and others)
  • Willy Ng, Magic Gourmet Trading, San Francisco (Koi Palace, Dragon Beaux, Palette Tea House)
  • Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom, Portland, OR (Langbaan, PaaDee, Hat Yai)
  • Steve Palmer, The Indigo Road, Charleston, SC (Indaco, The Macintosh, O-Ku Sushi, and others)
  • Alex Raij and Eder Montero, NYC (La Vara, Saint Julivert Fisherie, Txikito)
  • Cookie Till, Margate, NJ (Steve and Cookie’s, Ventnor No. 7311)
  • Tracy Vaught, H Town Restaurant Group, Houston (Hugo’s, Xochi, Caracol, and others)
  • Jason Wang, Xi’an Famous Foods, NYC

Outstanding Wine Program

  • Bacchanal, New Orleans
  • Beholder, Indianapolis
  • Canard, Portland, OR
  • COTE, NYC
  • Death & Taxes, Raleigh, NC
  • element 47 at The Little Nell, Aspen, CO
  • Flight Wine Bar, Washington, D.C.
  • FnB, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Great China, Berkeley, CA
  • Grill 23, Boston
  • haley.henry, Boston
  • Le Caveau, Philadelphia
  • L’Oursin, Seattle
  • Lucky Palace, Bossier City, LA
  • Miller Union, Atlanta
  • The Morris, San Francisco
  • Night + Market Sahm, Venice, CA
  • Ops, NYC
  • Rosie Cannonball, Houston
  • Spiaggia, Chicago

Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer

  • Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall, High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC
  • Jean Broillet IV, Tired Hands Brewing Company, Ardmore, PA
  • Cathy Corison, Corison Winery, St. Helena, CA
  • Brianne Day, Day Wines, Dundee, OR
  • Austin Evans and Richard Patrick Jr., Cathead Distillery, Jackson, MS
  • David Favela, Border X Brewing, San Diego
  • Aaron Fox and Daniel de la Nuez, Forthave Spirits, NYC
  • Deirdre Heekin, La Garagista Farm + Winery, Barnard, VT
  • Nancy Irelan and Mike Schnelle, Red Tail Ridge Winery, Penn Yan, NY
  • Marika Josephson and Aaron Kleidon, Scratch Brewing Company, Ava, IL
  • Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
  • Todd Leopold and Scott Leopold, Leopold Bros., Denver
  • Steve Luke, Cloudburst Brewing, Seattle
  • André Hueston Mack, Maison Noir Wines, McMinnville, OR
  • Kim McPherson, McPherson Cellars, Lubbock, TX
  • Amanda and Stephen Paul, Whiskey Del Bac, Tucson, AZ
  • Yoshihiro Sako, Den Sake Brewery, Oakland, CA
  • Jeffrey Stuffings and Michael Stuffings, Jester King Brewery, Austin
  • Rutger de Vink, RdV Vineyards, Delaplane, VA
  • Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, CA

Rising Star Chef of the Year (Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water)

  • Will Aghajanian and Liz Johnson, The Catbird Seat, Nashville
  • Angel Barreto, Anju, Washington, D.C.
  • Nick Bognar, iNDO, St. Louis
  • Trigg Brown, Win Son, Brooklyn, NY
  • Ana Castro, Thalia, New Orleans
  • Valerie Chang, ITAMAE, Miami
  • Bria Downey, Clay Pigeon Food & Drink, Fort Worth, TX
  • Alisha Elenz, mfk./Bar Biscay, Chicago
  • Robbie Felice, Viaggio Ristorante, Wayne, NJ
  • Rikki Giambruno, Hyacinth, St. Paul, MN
  • Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina, Bar ‘Cino, Newport, RI
  • Jesse Ito, Royal Izakaya, Philadelphia
  • Matthew Kammerer, Harbor House Inn, Elk, CA
  • Zoë Kanan, Simon & The Whale, NYC
  • Liz Kenyon, Rupee Bar, Seattle
  • Jeanine Lamadieu, Yūgen, Chicago
  • Irene Li, Mei Mei, Boston
  • Gaby Maeda, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
  • Daniela Moreira, Timber Pizza Co., Washington, D.C.
  • Henry Moso, Kabooki Sushi, Orlando, FL
  • Shota Nakajima, Adana, Seattle
  • Austin Nickel, Spuntino, Denver
  • Johnny Ortiz, /Shed, La Madera, NM
  • Lena Sareini, Selden Standard, Detroit
  • Ashleigh Shanti, Benne on Eagle, Asheville, NC
  • Kaitlin Steets, Theodore Rex, Houston
  • Cassie Shortino, Tratto, Phoenix
  • Maricela Vega, 8ARM, Atlanta
  • Paola Velez, Kith/Kin, Washington, D.C.
  • Jon Yao, Kato, Los Angeles

Best Chefs (Presented by Capital One)

Best Chef: California

  • Genet Agonafer, Meals by Genet, Los Angeles
  • Kim Alter, Nightbird, San Francisco
  • Val M. Cantu, Californios, San Francisco
  • Rocío Camacho, La Diosa de los Moles, Paramount, CA
  • Gabriela Cámara, Cala, San Francisco
  • Josef Centeno, Orsa & Winston, Los Angeles
  • Jeremy Fox, Birdie G’s, Santa Monica, CA
  • Brandon Go, Hayato, Los Angeles
  • Brandon Jew, Mister Jiu’s, San Francisco
  • Jessica Koslow, Sqirl, Los Angeles
  • Mourad Lahlou, Mourad, San Francisco
  • Mei Lin, Nightshade, Los Angeles
  • Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis, Bavel, Los Angeles
  • Niki Nakayama, n/naka, Los Angeles
  • Brandon Rodgers and Ian Scaramuzza, In Situ, San Francisco
  • Carlos Salgado, Taco María, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Joshua Skenes, Angler, San Francisco
  • James Syhabout, Commis, Oakland, CA
  • Karen Taylor Waikiki, El Molino Central, Boyes Hot Springs, CA
  • Pim Techamuanvivit, Kin Khao, San Francisco

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)

  • James Anderson, Ray Ray’s Hog Pit, Columbus, OH
  • Abra Berens, Granor Farm, Three Oaks, MI
  • Thai Dang, HaiSous, Chicago
  • Brian Jupiter, Frontier, Chicago
  • Gene Kato, Momotaro, Chicago
  • Ji Hye Kim, Miss Kim, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Jason Hammel, Lula Cafe, Chicago
  • Andy Hollyday, Selden Standard, Detroit
  • Allie La Valle-Umansky, Jeremy Umansky, and Kenny Scott, Larder Delicatessen & Bakery, Cleveland
  • Abbi Merriss, Bluebeard, Indianapolis
  • Ethan Pikas, Cellar Door Provisions, Chicago
  • Noah Sandoval, Oriole, Chicago
  • Ryan Santos, Please, Cincinnati
  • John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, Smyth, Chicago
  • James Rigato, Mabel Gray, Hazel Park, MI
  • Mike Ransom, Ima, Detroit
  • Mariya Russell, Kikkō, Chicago
  • Sarah Welch, Marrow, Detroit
  • Erick Williams, Virtue, Chicago
  • Lee Wolen, Boka, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (D.C., DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)

  • Victor Albisu, Poca Madre, Washington, D.C.
  • Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood, NJ
  • Sunny Baweja, Lehja, Richmond, VA
  • Amy Brandwein, Centrolina, Washington, D.C.
  • Peter and Lisa Chang, Mama Chang, Fairfax, VA
  • Zenebech Dessu, Zenebech Restaurant, Washington, D.C.
  • Nicholas Elmi, Laurel, Philadelphia
  • Christian Frangiadis, Spork, Pittsburgh
  • Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, Canal House Station, Milford, NJ
  • Matthew Kern, Heirloom, Lewes, DE
  • Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
  • Danny Lee, Anju, Washington, D.C.
  • Cristina Martinez, South Philly Barbacoa, Philadelphia
  • Taylor Mason, Luca, Lancaster, PA
  • Cagla Onal-Urel, Green Almond Pantry, Washington, D.C.
  • Peter Prime, Cane, Washington, D.C.
  • Dan Richer, Razza, Jersey City, NJ
  • Jon Sybert, Tail Up Goat, Washington, D.C.
  • Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore
  • Wei Zhu, Chengdu Gourmet, Pittsburgh

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)

  • Dane Baldwin, The Diplomat, Milwaukee
  • Andrea Baumgardner, BernBaum’s, Fargo, ND
  • Karen Bell, Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee
  • Steven Brown, Tilia, Minneapolis
  • Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO
  • Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis
  • Linda Duerr, The Restaurant at 1900, Mission Woods, KS
  • Michael Gallina, Vicia, St. Louis
  • Nicholas Goellner, The Antler Room, Kansas City, MO
  • Vaughn Good, Fox and Pearl, Kansas City, MO
  • Lona Luo, Lona’s Lil Eats, St. Louis
  • Benjamin Maides, Au Courant Regional Kitchen, Omaha, NE
  • Jamie Malone, Grand Café, Minneapolis
  • Jesse Mendica, Olive + Oak, Webster Groves, MO
  • Loryn Nalic, Balkan Treat Box, Webster Groves, MO
  • Christina Nguyen, Hai Hai, Minneapolis
  • Sean Pharr, Mint Mark, Madison, WI
  • Joe Tripp, Harbinger, Des Moines, IA
  • Hai Truong, Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, St. Paul, MN
  • David Utterback, Yoshitomo, Omaha, NE

Best Chef: Mountain (CO, ID, MT, UT, WY)

  • Carrie Baird, Bar Dough, Denver
  • Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm, Boulder, UT
  • Jeff Drew, Snake River Grill, Jackson, WY
  • Nick Fahs, David Barboza and Mike Blocher, Table X, Salt Lake City
  • Caroline Glover, Annette, Aurora, CO
  • Briar Handly, Handle, Park City, UT
  • Duncan Holmes, Beckon, Denver
  • Peggi Ince-Whiting, Kyoto Japanese Restaurant, Salt Lake City
  • Suchada Johnson, Teton Thai, Teton Village, WY
  • Sarah Kelly, Petite 4, Boise, ID
  • Tommy Lee, Hop Alley, Denver
  • Brother Luck, Four by Brother Luck, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Josh Niernberg, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO
  • Cindhura Reddy, Spuntino, Denver
  • Dana Rodriguez, Super Mega Bien, Denver
  • Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, Laziz Kitchen, Salt Lake City
  • Nick Steen, Walkers Grill, Billings, MT
  • Dave Wells, Tasting Room at Chico Hot Springs Resort & Spa, Pray, MT
  • Kelly Whitaker, The Wolf’s Tailor, Denver
  • Luis Young, Penrose Room, Colorado Springs, CO

Best Chef: New York State

  • Einat Admony, Balaboosta, NYC
  • Albert Bartley, Top Taste, Kingston, NY
  • Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit, NYC
  • Nick Curtola, The Four Horsemen, NYC
  • David DiBari, The Cookery, Dobbs Ferry, NY
  • Eric Gao, O Mandarin, Hartsdale, NY
  • Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko, NYC
  • Brooks Headley, Superiority Burger, NYC
  • Jenny Kwak, Haenyeo, NYC
  • Chintan Pandya, Adda, NYC
  • Kyo Pang, Kopitiam, NYC
  • Junghyun Park, Atomix, NYC
  • Carla Perez-Gallardo and Hannah Black, Lil’ Deb’s Oasis, Hudson, NY
  • Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn, NYC
  • Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Uncle Boons, NYC
  • Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC
  • Daniela Soto-Innes, ATLA, NYC
  • Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske, Wildair, NYC
  • Alex Stupak, Empellón, NYC
  • Helen You, Dumpling Galaxy, NYC

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)

  • Unmi Abkin, Coco & the Cellar Bar, Easthampton, MA
  • Tyler Anderson, Millwright’s Restaurant, Simsbury, CT
  • Tracy Chang, Pagu, Cambridge, MA
  • Cara Chigazola Tobin, Honey Road, Burlington, VT
  • Vien Dobui, CÔNG TỬ BỘT, Portland, ME
  • Carl Dooley, The Table at Season to Taste, Cambridge, MA
  • Tiffani Faison, Orfano, Boston
  • Devin Finigan, Aragosta at Goose Cove, Deer Isle, ME
  • Erin French, The Lost Kitchen, Freedom, ME
  • Mayumi Hattori, The Club Car, Nantucket, MA
  • Seizi Imura, Cafe Sushi, Cambridge, MA
  • Ben Jackson, Drifters Wife, Portland, ME
  • Krista Kern Desjarlais, The Purple House, North Yarmouth, ME
  • James Mark, Big King, Providence
  • Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley, Palace Diner, Biddeford, ME
  • Ravin Nakjaroen, Long Grain, Camden, ME
  • Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA
  • David Vargas, Vida Cantina, Portsmouth, NH
  • Derek Wagner, Nicks on Broadway, Providence
  • Douglass Williams, MIDA, Boston

Best Chef: Northwest & Pacific (AK, HI, OR, WA)

  • Chera Amlag, Hood Famous Cafe + Bar, Seattle
  • Jay Blackinton, Hogstone’s Wood Oven, Orcas Island, WA
  • Peter Cho, Han Oak, Portland, OR
  • Logan Cox, Homer, Seattle
  • Gregory Gourdet, Departure, Portland, OR
  • Sun Hong, By Tae, Seattle
  • Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, Senia, Honolulu
  • Mitch Mayers, Sawyer, Seattle
  • Katy Millard, Coquine, Portland, OR
  • Sarah Minnick, Lovely’s Fifty Fifty, Portland, OR
  • Kristen Murray, MÅURICE, Portland, OR
  • Keiji Nakazawa, Sushi Sho, Waikiki Beach, HI
  • Ryan Roadhouse, Nodoguro, Portland, OR
  • Beau Schooler, In Bocca Al Lupo, Juneau, AK
  • Sheldon Simeon, Lineage, Wailea, HI
  • Mutsuko Soma, Kamonegi, Seattle
  • Naoko Tamura, Shizuku, Portland, OR
  • Aaron Verzosa, Archipelago, Seattle
  • Chad White, Zona Blanca, Spokane, WA
  • Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: South (AL, AR, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, FL, LA, MS)

  • Blake Aguillard and William “Trey” Smith, Saint-Germain, New Orleans
  • Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Timon Balloo, Balloo Restaurant, Miami
  • Michael Beltran, Ariete, Coconut Grove, FL
  • Bill Briand, Fisher’s Upstairs at Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach, AL
  • Paxx Caraballo Moll, Jungle BaoBao, San Juan, PR
  • Derek Emerson, CAET, Ridgeland, MS
  • Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR
  • Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans
  • Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer, Boia De, Miami
  • Hao Gong, LUVI Restaurant, New Orleans
  • Michael Gulotta, Maypop, New Orleans
  • Mason Hereford, Turkey and the Wolf, New Orleans
  • Timothy Hontzas, Johnny’s Restaurant, Homewood, AL
  • Natalia Lucía Vallejo, Cocina al Fondo, San Juan, PR
  • Duane Nutter, Southern National, Mobile, AL
  • Niven Patel, Ghee, Miami
  • Rafael Rios, Yeyo’s Mexican Grill, Bentonville, AR
  • Austin Sumrall, White Pillars, Biloxi, MS
  • Isaac Toups, Toups’ Meatery, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)

  • Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC
  • Gregory Collier, Uptown Yolk, Charlotte, NC
  • Adam Cooke, Topsoil Kitchen & Market, Travelers Rest, SC
  • Cassidee Dabney, The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
  • Steven Devereaux Greene, Herons at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, NC
  • Bryan Furman, B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue, Atlanta
  • Josh Habiger, Bastion, Nashville
  • Meherwan Irani, Chai Pani, Asheville, NC
  • Kevin Johnson, The Grocery, Charleston, SC
  • Philip Krajeck, FOLK, Nashville
  • Joe Kindred, Kindred, Davidson, NC
  • Cheetie Kumar, Garland, Raleigh, NC
  • Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor, Heirloom Market BBQ, Atlanta
  • Leonard Lewis, Bones, Atlanta
  • Ricky Moore, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Durham, NC
  • Annie Pettry, Decca, Louisville, KY
  • Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis, TN
  • Julia Sullivan, Henrietta Red, Nashville
  • Viviek Surti, Tailor, Nashville
  • Shamil Velazquez, Delaney Oyster House, Charleston, SC

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, NM, NV, OK)

  • Lisa Becklund, Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy, Depew, OK
  • Nicole Brisson, Locale, Las Vegas
  • Jeff Chanchaleune, Gun Izakaya, Oklahoma City
  • Alan Ji, Mott 32, Las Vegas
  • Stephen Jones, The Larder + The Delta, Phoenix
  • Bernie Kantak, Citizen Public House, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Dan Krohmer, Other Mama, Las Vegas
  • Shinji Kurita, Shinbay Omakase Room, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Phoenix
  • Maria Mazon, BOCA Tacos y Tequila, Tucson, AZ
  • Josie and Teako Nunn, Sparky’s Burgers, Barbeque, & Espresso, Hatch, NM
  • Fernando Olea, Sazón Restaurant, Santa Fe
  • Jonathan Perno, Campo at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM
  • Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Silvana Salcido Esparza, Barrio Café Gran Reserva, Phoenix
  • Samantha Sanz, Talavera, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Jeff Smedstad, Elote Cafe, Sedona, AZ
  • Kevin Snell, Amelia’s, Tulsa, OK
  • Ryan Swanson, Kai, Gila River Indian Community, Chandler, AZ
  • James Trees, Esther’s Kitchen, Las Vegas

Best Chef: Texas

  • Dawn Burrell, Kulture, Houston
  • Kevin Fink, Emmer & Rye, Austin
  • Michael Fojtasek, Olamaie, Austin
  • Alexandra Gates, Cochineal, Marfa, TX
  • Manabu Horiuchi, Kata Robata, Houston
  • Anita Jaisinghani, Pondicheri, Houston
  • Molly McCook, Ellerbe Fine Foods, Fort Worth, TX
  • Steve McHugh, Cured, San Antonio
  • Aldo Mora, Cafe Central, El Paso, TX
  • Trong Nguyen, Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
  • Misti Norris, Petra and the Beast, Dallas
  • Alex Paredes, Carnitas Lonja, San Antonio
  • Esaul Ramos, 2M Smokehouse, San Antonio
  • Regino Rojas, Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas
  • Teiichi Sakurai, Tei-An, Dallas
  • Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop, Dallas
  • Norma Frances “Tootsie” Tomanetz, Snow’s BBQ, Lexington, TX
  • Jason Vaughan, Nancy’s Hustle, Houston
  • Iliana de la Vega, El Naranjo, Austin
  • Laurie Williamson, Rancho Loma, Talpa, TX

 

Categories
Food Trends Restaurants Technology

Could This Japanese Robot Cafe Be The Future of Restaurants?

Photo Provided by OryLab Inc.

Pop culture has always envisioned what our future may look like. Sometimes we’re wowed by concepts like instant microwavable meals. Other times, scary possibilities are delivered with a comedic tinge, like soda replacing water. Mostly, entertainment touts the inevitable demise of human civilization at the hands of our superior robotic counterparts. There always seems to be something irreconcilable about the nature of humankind that robots or A.I., find too flawed to compute. While many futurist theories have remained theories due to lack of capable technology, recent years have seen the gap between entertainment and real life begin to close.

No country is ahead of the futurist curve more than Japan. From building real life mechs to heated toilet seats, Japan always has its finger on the pulse of possibilities. One Japanese company, OryLab Inc., has a more optimistic approach to robotic application.

One of their experiments involved an interactive pop-up shop named Robot Cafe Dawn Version Beta 2.0. Guests were invited to a cafe which featured a remotely-operated robotic waitstaff. The experience offered a peek into the potential future where robotics and smart technology intersect, introducing new possibilities for people with disabilities. Basically, OryLab Inc. took the Avatar concept and brought it to life, albeit in a much simpler, less colorful way. 

Robot Cafe Dawn Version Beta 2.0’s robotic waitstaff were piloted by ALS and SMA patients who are unable to leave their bed. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles and SMA (superior mesenteric artery syndrome) is a rare digestive system disorder. Creator Kentaro “Ory” Yoshifuji envisioned a future where bedridden patients, typically unable to participate in normal societal activities or occupations, could put their skills to use. 

Within the cafe, guests can order from small OriHime robots placed on each table, each remotely operated by patients known as pilots. Beverages are then ushered to the table by larger robots equipped with arms known as OriHime D. These are also remotely piloted and guests can converse with the pilot by talking to the robot. The pop-up was a test to learn what shortcomings the technology currently has. 

With all the talk of robots replacing us, this application of robotic technology has the potential to benefit many people facing physical disabilities that have long been unable to contribute their skills to society. OryLab Inc. CEO Kentaro Yoshifuji’s mission is to “let anyone, even a person with a disability, go anywhere in the world,” and was inspired by the CEO’s desire to help a personal friend with ALS. Their aim is to launch a permanent Avatar cafe later this year.

Who knows if this will catch on within the restaurant world? Either way, it does point to a more promising future where humans and robots can collaborate to improve lives.

Categories
Food Trends Humor Products Sweets

Meet Japan’s Mayonnaise-Flavored Ice Cream Bar

Photo provided by Moringa Milk Supply

From candied squid to tomato chocolates, Japan is known for their unconventional flavor concoctions. Continuing that tradition, Moringa Milk Industry is here to twist your taste expectations yet again with a mayonnaise-flavored ice cream bar. It goes by the equally outrageous name The Calorie Monster Cherio Creamy Mayonnaise Flavor, is 307 calories and coated in white chocolate and cookie crumbs. Sure to fulfill even the sweetest of tooths, it surpasses the average calorie count in Japanese milk teas which come in around 278. 

Photo Provided by log1i_yk for Gigazine.net

A taste review reveals that a bite into this milky beast has an initial crispy texture of white chocolate and cookie crumbs before giving way to the sour creaminess of mayonnaise flavor within. The mayo aftertaste is unmistakable, though doesn’t overwhelm the white chocolate sweetness. This takes Japan’s love for mayonnaise to a whole new level.

The Calorie Monster Cherio Creamy Mayonnaise Flavor ice cream bar is now available until March 2020 at convenience stores and supermarkets all around Japan and can be found online here.

Categories
Food Trends Hit-Or-Miss Pop-Ups

Breakfast Salad and Souffle Pancakes Are A Thing At This OC Pop-Up

Photo: Greg Nagel

I’m not sure what I did in life to deserve this, but I somehow got coerced to order a secret menu item: breakfast salad at brunch. But here I am, camera in one hand, fork in the other, cracking runny yolk with a plastic fork over various arugula, thick smoky-bacon chunks and potato crunchy bits like it’s some sort of health-nut food porn. “Bro, want me to hold your light so you can get that shot?” Nah homie, I don’t photograph salad.

It’s a salad, with an egg, with other breakfast stuff tossed in. It’s really good, but hey man, no salad ever asked to be photographed, unless it was made by the man who brought us the spaghetti grilled cheese.

Photo: Greg Nagel

The solid line of hungry Instagrammers out the door is at least thirty-people deep and is here for something else: the amazing Japanese-style souffle pancakes. “When we talked about doing a brunch pop-up, I knew I wanted pancakes… but not just any old pancakes,” says chef-owner Paul Cao of Burnt Crumbs in Irvine, California. “I went down this rabbit hole of the souffle pancake and tested these for a couple of months, and here they are, perfected,” he continued with a grin.

Photo: Greg Nagel

The souffle pancake is unique for a few reasons. First is the time it takes to prep. Each one has to be crafted from scratch per order, otherwise, they’ll deflate faster than a football in New England. Total time from order to plate? Roughly twenty-five to thirty minutes.

Once the batter is whipped and folded into an egg yolk mixture, it’s then ice-cream scooped on a griddle, then covered until flipped. Each pancake maintains a poofiness up to one inch thick and is stacked two high, then garnished for service. I went with fresh strawberry cream, a couple of dustings of powdered sugar, and some fresh fruit on top. Digging in,  the consistency is sort of like a sponge cake that’s light and fluffy, making the plate super satisfying to jiggle. They’re best hot, so be sure to get a couple orders, one to eat first, then one to shake until your brunch date feels uncomfortable.

Burnt Crumbs Brunch Popup is at their Irvine location only. Follow them: @burntcrumbs

Categories
Cravings Culture Food Trends Restaurants

How Frog Legs Came To Be Synonymous With French Cuisine

Here in the states, frog legs are typically associated with Cajun cuisine, but traditionally, the frog legs we know today originate from the Acadian motherland of France. Archaeological evidence suggests earlier iterations in Southeast Asia, Europe, and even South America, but further information is scarce.

Known in France as Cuisses de Grenouille, frog legs were consumed in response to a 12th Century Catholic Church ban on meat. Apparently, monks enjoyed a king’s diet. Noticing an increase in XXL robe requests, the church authorities decided to prohibit meat consumption for a period of days each year. This imposed “meat-tox” fueled the monk’s resourcefulness and in response, they cleverly had frog legs designated as fish. Consequently, religiously devout locals hopped on the bandwagon, and the rest is fishtory. 

Cuisses de Grenouille is a French national delicacy. To give an example of its popularity, around 80 million frogs are eaten each year. That’s a mind-numbing 160 million frog legs. The most surprising part of this fact is that due to a ban on frog hunting in France, each leg is imported. Let that staggering statistic hop around your mind for a bit.

Like most dishes, frog legs can be prepared in various ways. In France, they’re most commonly cooked using butter, garlic and parsley sauce accompanied by salad or steamed rice. Á la Parisienne, or Paris-style, is another approach that is more akin to chicken wings and involves breading and frying the legs. Lastly, the à la Poulette (white sauce with egg yolk) style is slightly more complicated with its use of a white wine and mushroom sauce reduction.  

Back stateside, New York City is experiencing a froggy resurgence thanks to freshly opened  restaurant Brasserie Saint Marc. Head Chef Frederick Piccarello (former Executive Chef of Le Barricou bistro in Williamsburg) along with owner and Swedish actor Karin Agstam are bringing an amphibious flare to 136 2nd Ave with Cuisse de Grenouille à la Provençal.

In French cuisine, à la Provençal refers to dishes prepared in the style of Provence, France, a southeastern region that borders Italy and the Mediterranean Sea. Provençal ingredients generally include garlic, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, and olive oil. Chef Piccarello’s Cuisse de Grenouille a la Provençal is sautéed in garlic and parsley butter and served with roasted tomatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. It keeps with tradition while paired with an American twist.

Owner Karin Agstam’s attraction to French cuisine comes from her time spent in Paris studying art at Sorbonne University at the receptive age of 18. Experiencing Parisian brasseries with their classic menu offerings made a lasting impression. It’s this experience that she hopes to share with Brasserie Saint Marc, a passion project four years in the making. If you have a predilection for French cuisine with an American edge, look no further than Brasserie Saint Marc — but don’t forget the longstanding connection of French cuisine and frog legs.