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#foodbeast Alcohol Drinks FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Recipes SPONSORED

Hard Seltzer’s The Trick To A Perfect Floating Margarita

The birth of the margarita is much disputed. There are various origin stories, stretching from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, but lost among these wildly specific theories is the fact that the margarita may simply be a variation of a Prohibition-era drink, The Daisy.

The two drinks are remarkably similar– the only difference is that the margarita swaps out The Daisy’s brandy for tequila. In fact “margarita” is the Spanish word for “daisy.” So oddly enough, regardless of the true genesis of the margarita’s journey to stardom, it’s likely that it may have been a result of someone playing with the recipe of an already popular drink.

The lesson here, my friends, is that good things can always be improved upon. Inspired by this ideal, our latest recipe, in collaboration with Bud Light Seltzer, is our own twist on the margarita.

Keeping the essence of fruit in mind, we swapped out the traditional orange-flavored triple sec for a Bud Light Strawberry seltzer. This creates a smoother drinking experience, mellowing out the tequila enough to give consistent, well-rounded sips.

We also threw in some frozen strawberries, which helps the drink blend into a fluid, almost creamy, consistency, while giving things a refreshing edge that compliments the acidity of the lime.

With a rim of chili lime seasoning, and a fresh strawberry to garnish, this drink will certainly make me head to the fridge for a seltzer and some frozen strawberries the next time I get a craving for a margarita.

Check out the full recipe below, and, if you’re in California, make sure to enter iHeartRadio and Budlight Seltzer’s sweepstakes, which could land you a $500 gift card to one of your local Hispanic grocery stores. Click here to enter.

This recipe collab is featured at participating hispanic grocers.

Iceberg Strawberry Margarita

Yields: 2

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tbsp agave
  • 1 can Bud Light Seltzer Strawberry
  • Chili Lime Seasoning for garnish
  • Fresh lime & strawberry for garnish

METHOD:

  1. Prepare 2 glasses with a chili lime rim using lime juice. 
  2. In a blender, combine frozen strawberries, ice, tequila, lime juice and agave and blend until smooth. 
  3. Divide Bud Light Seltzer Strawberry into prepared glasses. Slowly pour blended margarita into the glasses. Garnish with a lime round and strawberry.

Created in partnership with Bud Light.

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Hit-Or-Miss

dineLA in Los Angeles Offers Glimpse At How City Restaurant Weeks Could Look Now

I’m afraid I’m gonna have to invoke a phrase that has been the epitome of being used ad nauseam in 2020: the new normal. It’s application has overlapped all aspects of our lives, with the food world feeling a major impact. The effect has rippled throughout all facets of dining culture, from restaurants shuttering in heartbreaking fashion to food festivals having to pivot into iterations that are stark differences from the usual.

The iconic dineLA Restaurant Week is one such festival that’s reconfigured itself into innovations that still bear the spirit of Los Angeles’ dining scene within the parameters of a pandemic. For the summer season of dineLA, going on from September 1 through September 18, the main focus has been to highlight restaurant experiences through the lens of al fresco dining, takeout, and delivery. This of course reenforces the need to social distance, all while not sacrificing the essence of enjoying the city’s many restaurant options at a budget-friendly cost.

Of the numerous options participating in this summer’s dineLA Restaurant Week, here’s a few worth noting that are Foodbeast-approved for a unique experience.

TATANG

Ever wanted to experience modern Filipino food fit for a family feast? Tatang in North Hollywood is offering a $65 family-style feast that includes some delicious favorites like their beef brisket tapa and chicken sisig.

BOURBON STEAK

What’s a true dineLA experience without some top-notch slabs of juicy, dry-aged beef? Fulfill that scenario by checking out Bourbon Steak, where they’re offering large format steaks like a 32 oz. Porterhouse or a 38 oz. double cut bone-in ribeye. So take that steakhouse craving home and tuck into a beefy food coma ASAP.

SEVERANCE WINE BAR

For $35 you can take a cheesy dip into dineLA headfirst by choosing Severance Wine Bar. Melty Emmental and Gruyere cheeses get together for a fondue dining experience that includes dunking fixtures like a French baguette, fingerling potatoes, and veggies.

SUSHI|BAR

For a safe dine-in option, Sushi|Bar is one to consider if you’re missing some top-tier sushi. Their $65 option includes fresh choices like king crab, giant clam, spot prawn, red snapper, and even bone marrow.

ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET

The Original Farmers Market is more choices within the choices that dineLA already offers. It’s a choice-ception, friends. Peruse the legendary open-air market for a fried chicken fix at Fritzi Coop, falafels at Moishe’s Restaurant or festive Mexican fare at Trejo’s Tacos.

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Hit-Or-Miss Packaged Food

Cinnabon Launches Frozen Breakfast Line Including Chicken Biscuit

Photo courtesy of Cinnabon

When I think of Cinnabon, I think of those mall food stalls that deliver a euphoric dose of cinnamon butter smell particles as I walk past on my way to the movies. While movies aren’t happening any time soon, Cinnabon is hard at work expanding their offerings past concession stands and straight onto your breakfast table. 

The brand just announced its first-ever line of frozen breakfast items that cover both the sweet and savory sides of everyone’s favorite meal. 

Photo courtesy of Cinnabon

Six new items are set to drop simultaneously, each with Cinnabon’s own signature style of flavor: Caramel Pecan Ooey-Gooey Rolls, Frosting Filled CinnaPastry, Frosted CinnaSweet Swirls, CinnaBiscuit Chicken Sandwich, Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage Bites, and CheddarRoll Sausage & Egg Sandwich.

The new breakfast line is now available nationwide in the breakfast aisle of your local grocer’s frozen food section. I wonder if I can piece them all together and form some kind of Cinnabon breakfast Megazord. 

Probably shouldn’t. 

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Hit-Or-Miss

Happy Ice’s Philly-Style Water Ice is the Perfect Summer Treat

Summer is here and no ‘rona is gonna stop hot days from heating up. I can’t say whether our collective desire to socialize publicly despite the apparent health risks is a testament to our indifference or our endurance. Nevertheless, it’s important to find ways of maintaining some sense of normalcy, albeit with a level of responsibility and respect to the times. 

In the spirit of maintaining that, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lemeir Mitchell, brainchild of popular Melrose Ave. chillzone Happy Ice. Following a wildly successful opening of his first brick & mortar location, during a maelstrom of social unrest and the corona-demic, Lemeir and I talked about his humble beginnings.

Originally from Philadelphia, the imprisonment of his Father sent Mitchell into a phase of youthful recklessness. One which led his concerned uncle Joey to step in as a support system to help him build self confidence. Looking for a fresh start, Mitchell moved to Los Angeles following the passing of his brother. One of 13 siblings, he is no stranger to hard work, as he spent many nights sleeping at his then job at the time, a tattoo parlor.  

One day, he saw an ice cream truck driving around Melrose and was impressed by the visual aesthetic. It was an inspiring and fresh way to approach the traditional ice cream truck. Noticing an opportunity to bring a bit of his hometown to Los Angeles, Mitchell, along with the help of his wife, mother, and many restless nights, created Happy Ice.

Mitchell wanted to introduce Angelinos to one of his hometown’s most popular staples, Philadelphia water ice, one that he says is just as important there as the world famous Philly Cheesesteak. Curiously discovering a way to achieve the same scoop each time, Lemeir credits his “perfect scoop” technique as a main factor to Happy Ice’s instagram following. A visit to their Instagram page is akin to feeling like a kid again, with the colorful allure perfectly suited to social virality.

As for the treat itself, Philadelphia water ice is definitely unique. It blends the creaminess of ice cream with the refreshing ease of shaved ice combined with sorbet-esque flavors. Happy Ice has no dairy, nut products, and uses natural flavors. In other words, it’s everybody-friendly. This inclusive treat stands juxtaposed to the protests which raged around Melrose Avenue, threatening to interfere with the grand opening of Happy Ice’s brick and mortar. A moment after which, the settled dust revealed a landscape of destroyed business fronts and property.

Miraculously, Happy Ice made it through unscathed. As a business owner, Mitchell’s plea to the frustrated masses marching through Melrose was punctuated by a photo of him with the words “Black Owned.” His commitment to the community is rooted in wanting to inspire not only Black business owners but anyone who has a dream. During the recent protests, the Happy Ice squad gave out free cups, hoping to offer a momentary respite from the harrowing moment. This community involvement has been a pillar of Happy Ice’s mission from its inception and continues today.

As the tug of war between the pre-corona and post-corona world persists, Happy Ice continues to serve the community, standing as an example of small-business perseverance. This is the spirit with which every cup of Happy Ice is infused and one Mitchell hopes to pass on in every scoop.

To get your hands on a cup of happiness, stop by Happy Ice on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles or follow their Instagram page to find out where their roving trucks will be pulling up next.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Artificial Intelligence Is Helping Restaurants Stay Afloat

For restaurants, survival during a global pandemic has depended on razor thin margins that determine whether they succumb to the circumstances and shut down or are able to keep their collective heads above water to make it through another day. Being able to make rent, labor, and food costs while dealing with drastic changes to their business models and slashed income from prohibited dine-in measures have been harrowing times for restaurant owners. 

Such circumstances have forced them to explore different solutions to help them stay afloat, which have come in the form of adapting to technology that addresses potential holes, mitigates cost, and keeps revenue streams steady. 

The latest episode of Foodbeast’s The Katchup podcast delves into the benefits of alternative technology for restaurants, giving them more options beyond the feeling of being forced to depend on third-party delivery apps just to make it by. One of which is Numa, a ground-breaking service that acts as a concierge for the restaurant, whether it be answering phone calls, messages, or streamlining operations.

I spoke with with Tasso Roumeliotis, co-founder and CEO of Numa, and Lex Gopnik-Lewinsky, owner & founder of Augie’s Montreal Deli in Berkeley, CA to talk about the benefits of alternative technology beyond third-party delivery apps and how they could be the next wave in restaurants taking advantage of different solutions to serve their customers.

However, there are other forms of technology that restaurants are implementing to help them get through the precarious situation of restaurant ownership during quarantine. Here are four that can help disrupt businesses’ reliance on third-party delivery apps.

4. Numa

Imagine your restaurant having a built-in concierge service. With Numa, this is a reality. The service connects to an existing business phone and answers incoming calls, texts customers and answers their questions, and provides team coordination tools which help streamline operations, amongst a host of other features.

3. Belly Melly

Recently there have been an ease of dine-in restrictions in parts of the country, which has led to some solutions needed for as much of a touch-less experience as possible. A company like Belly Melly is now available to offer a touch-free tech-enabled dining experience. The tech was specifically created for restaurateurs by restaurateurs as a free tool. Its technology allows for a zero-contact dining experience in which customers can pull up the restaurant’s menu, order their food, and pay all from the safety and convenience of their smartphones.

2. ChowNow

Founded in 2011 by Christopher Webb and Eric Jaffe, ChowNow is a unique tool for restaurateurs in that it lets their business individually build out and customize its own fully branded app. What’s more, ChowNow has advantageous features that let consumers order from restaurants directly from Google search results and even from businesses’ Instagram profiles.

1. Touchless Dining

As restaurants throughout America continue to ease restrictions on dining in, a new trend of a touch-free and tech-enabled experience has taken shape. Such tech, specifically created for restaurateurs, is available through new tools like BellyMelly and Order For Me. The advantage here is that both allow diners to view menus, order, and pay for their meals all via their smart phones.


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#foodbeast Celebrity Grub Fast Food FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Plant-Based Restaurants SPONSORED

Matthew McConaughey Just Won A Celebrity Burger Showdown, Here’s What He Made

May 28 was a big day for burger lovers.

In celebration of National Burger Day, Off the Menu, the LA-based food discovery app, teamed up with Uber Eats to host The Burger Showdown. The challenge paired more than 60 celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Paris Hilton, and Dwyane Wade with restaurants in 10 cities to create their ultimate burger, available exclusively on Uber Eats. Even better, the Showdown supported Frontline Foods, a grassroots organization that supports local restaurants while feeding frontline workers and impacted communities..

Each pairing created a video sharing their burger inspiration and recipe, which lived on theburgershowdown.com for fans and burger lovers to watch and vote on their favorite before ordering on Uber Eats from May 28-31. 

And, the winners are in: 

Best Burger (US):

The Best Burger in the US was awarded to The Jacobite, made by Scottish actor Sam Heughan and Boston’s The Haven. It’s made with a chuck beef patty smothered in bacon-infused marmalade, pickle sauce, arugula, tomatoes, Huntsman cheese, deep fried onions, and a hand-cut french fry wedge served on a milk bun to create a deviously rich burger. 

Best Burger (Canada):

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

The Best Canadian Burger was won by the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Mitch Marner and The Burger’s Priest. The Mitch One-Six Burger kept it simple, with a smashed patty, cheddar cheese, thick cuts of bacon, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, the famed High Priest Sauce, and a classic, soft house bun. Simple, to the point, and dependable. 

Most Creative Collaboration:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

The winners of the Most Creative Collaboration, Shay Mitchell and NYC’s Flip Sigi, created the Filipino-inspired Shay Sigi Burger, which featured a three-meat burger that bonded longanisa, ground beef, and bacon. Seared on a hot pan, the amalgamation of a patty was topped with pickled onions, tomato, lettuce, a homemade banana ketchup, and a pan de sal bun.

Best Plant-Based Burger:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

Max Greenfield and Chicago’s Busy Burger’s collab, the Busy Max Veggie Delight, won the Best Plant-Based Burger presented by Lightlife. Here’s the juicy deets: Two Lightlife Plant-Based Burgers topped with pepper jack cheese and cut with guacamole and sauteed veggies, were topped with butter leaf lettuce, tomato, pickles, and Busy Burger’s signature Busy Sauce. 

The Burger Showdown Hall of Fame:

Photo Courtesy of Off The Menu

Rounding out the awards by being inducted into The Burger Showdown Hall of Fame is Matthew McConaughey and Aaron Franklin of Austin’s Loro, who created a burger for those who hate when their patty slides out the back (or “slidie-out-backie,” as deemed by Mr. McConaughey) when bitten. Dubbed the “And…” burger, it is made with a brisket and chuck patty and brioche buns, then stacked with double-cut smoked bacon, American cheese, pickled jalapeños, butter leaf lettuce, thin-sliced tomato, mustard, and a jalapeño aioli.

The Burger Showdown was truly something to behold this year. Make sure to peep the builds of all the burgers mentioned, and more here.

Keep an eye on @offthemenu and @ubereats to see what they’re cooking up for their next tasty event, The Wing Showdown.

Created in partnership with Off The Menu.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Street Dog Taquitos Exist and Here’s How to Make Them

It’s happened.

We have, unfortunately, come to the final installment in our series of recipes inspired by the recent release of Hidden Valley Ranch’s Secret Sauces and their pursuit in bringing restaurant-style meals to your home.

This one is a love letter to a Los Angeles staple: the street dog. The bun has been ditched though, and replaced with a tortilla, to create the HVR Street Dog Taquitos.

This is a one pan recipe, but requires the cooking of a couple different things on said pan, so find a decently large one. Then preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and gather your ingredients.

While the oven is warming up, cover both sides of a tortilla with non-stick spray, or some kind of oil. Wrap it around a hot dog, and lay the wrapped dog on the pan, seam side down. Repeat for as many hot dogs as needed. Make sure to leave some room on your pan, as some space will be needed for the onion and pepper mix.

Prepare this mixture by cutting some onions and bell peppers into strips, both at about a cup each. You could use a frozen mix as well or whatever you have at hand. Spread them out over the remaining empty pan space, and toss them in non-stick spray, or some kind of oil.

Throw the pan into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until everything has achieved preferred doneness.

Make sure to prepare some garnishes as well, such as sliced jalapenos, bacon bits, or anything else that sparks your imagination.

Once the taquitos are done, top with the onion and pepper mixture, whatever garnishes you selected, and, most importantly, a strong helping of HVR’s Spicy Secret Sauce for some much-needed heat.

The best part of this recipe, besides how easy it is to make, is its versatility. Perfect for an appetizer, a party favor, or a late night snack– it’s hard to imagine a situation where these wouldn’t hit.

See the full recipe below, and check out our previous installments of HVR’s Pub to Plate recipes to see some other unmissable dishes.

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Hit-Or-Miss

Disneyland Foodies Take Note, The Parks Reopen In July

If you’re a Disneyphile like myself, your Disneyland annual pass has been burning a hole in your wallet. Both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure park have been closed for over three months since their initial shutter back on March 14th, 2020.

In Disneyland’s 65+ year history, the COVID-19-induced closures mark one of only six times the park has ever had an unscheduled close time, the last of which being in 2001 following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Today, a glimmer of hope shown through — Disney has announced their proposed reopening plans for the Southern California-based parks.

As a Disneyland fan, I been longing for lazy days at the park, pummeling through food, getting drunk around California Adventure and falling asleep on the Pirate’s of the Caribbean. With no immediate end to “COVID-19” in sight, it seems Disneyland has found what they believe the minimum viable product in a reopen would look like. Here’s a recap of what we know:

  • Theme park capacity will be significantly limited to comply with governmental requirements
  • Attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system (even Annual Passholders must reserve their spot to enter the park)
  • There will be a temporary pause on new ticket sales and Annual Passport sales/renewals
  • Parades and nighttime spectaculars will not be available on reopen — they will return at a later date not yet announced
  • Character meet-and-greets won’t be happening, but Characters will be roaming the park in unexplained “new ways to entertain and delight guests”

All other information is still under wraps and has yet to be announced, including details surrounding the enhanced cleaning, health and safety measures throughout the park.

No word on how the food courts will look like either — but assuming if they’re open at all, they’ll likely take pre-packaged measures akin to how Wholefoods’ hot and cold bars currently look like (pre-portioned instead of scoop-and-serve).

My Disney foodie family — does this news excite you? What are your concerns? Let me know how you feel and what questions Foodbeast can work on answering for you by interacting with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!