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

SPOTTED: Taco Bell Testing A Plant-Based Naked Chicken Chalupa

Ring the alarms and tell a friend: Taco Bell is testing a new plant-based Naked Chicken Chalupa shell! Spotted at a Taco Bell location in Irvine, California, The Crispy Plant-Based Shell is a take on their own hit innovation a few years ago that changed the whole game.

This time it’s made from a pea protein-based proprietary blend, which is then breaded and shaped into a one of a kind Chalupa form and crisped up. This shell is certified vegan by the American Vegetarian Association, so you know it’s valid. The tasty shell is then filled with delicious deets like lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and a rich, tangy avocado ranch sauce to complete a mouthwatering mouthful. 

The new Naked Chicken Chalupa with Crispy Plant-Based shell will be testing at the Taco Bell location on 2222 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, California, from now until June 27, 2021.

Created in partnership with Taco Bell.

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Packaged Food SPONSORED

White Cheddar Chex Mix Arrives In Stores Just In Time For Summer Snackin’

Tried and true, whenever I get my hands on a bag of savory Chex Mix, it’ll tide me over for any mundane event in my day-to-day life. Whether it’s something to snack on during the commute to work or the pre-lunch snack if a meeting’s running late, you really can’t go wrong with a medley of cereal, pretzels, and crackers seasoned and roasted. 

Chex Mix has just announced the addition of their newest flavor: White Cheddar. 

The new flavor brings together the iconic bevy of morsels such as cheez cereal, pretzels, rye chips, and crackers and blends them with the rich profiles that you can only get from white cheddar. 

White Cheddar Chex Mix is hitting stores now at Stop & Shop locations and will be available nationwide at grocery stores and retailers starting mid-June.

Created in partnership with Chex Mix

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Brand Hit-Or-Miss SPONSORED

Get Rewarded By Sharing Your Family’s Favorite Lent Friendly Recipes

If you’re familiar with the Lenten tradition, you would know that it involves an offering associated with abstinence from red meat every Friday for the forty days leading up to Easter Sunday.  It’s a time where people observe a sacrifice as a practice of faith.  With such tradition, beef, pork and poultry are abstained from — bringing seafood, vegetable and cheese dishes to the forefront.  FUD, the food brand boasting rich Hispanic heritage, is conducting a Lent recipe contest, sure to excite with $50,000 worth of prizes, including a $10,000 kitchen remodeling grand prize!

Have fun with FUD and share your family’s favorite “best lent secret” recipe with the world — using any of the fine, unique and delicious Lent friendly products that FUD has available

To help inspire your creations, Foodbeast’s very own Chris Abouabdo (@small_town_mayor) shared his favorite recipe that his brother taught him: a spicy shrimp quesadilla pizza, using FUD brand Queso Oaxaca. 

We’ve also asked our Foodbeast fam, Nicole Triebe (@windycitydinnerfairy),  Jenny Martinez (@happybelliesbyjenny) and Fabrizio Villalpando (@theemoodyfoody) to show us how their families are celebrating the season.   

With amazing prizes at stake, what are you and your family waiting for? Share your family’s favorite Lent friendly (no red meat) dish using FUD products and you could win a coveted kitchen remodeling!  Don’t wait, enter the FUD Lent contest now!

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#foodbeast Fast Food FOODBEAST Hit-Or-Miss Restaurants SPONSORED What's New

Chipotle Adds Quesadillas Nationwide Complete With Dipping Sauce Tray

Every so often, I find myself torn between ordering a burrito or tacos when stopping at Chipotle. While the bowls have their own magic, there’s something special about biting into a layer of warm tortilla paired with fresh meat. It’s euphoric.

Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Imagine how much tougher that decision has become, knowing that Chipotle has now added mouthwatering build-your-own Quesadillas to their plethora of menu options. 

Oh, man.

Customers can choose from any of their favorite proteins. This includes Adobo Chicken, Steak, Barbacoa, Carnitas, and plant-based Sofritas, before filling it with their favorite accoutrements.

You can personalize it with any of their salsas and dips, so your meaty quesadillas will never be without sauce options.

The Quesadillas are available at Chipotle locations nationwide and can only be ordered online or through the Chipotle mobile app.

Created in partnership with Chipotle.

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Brand FOODBEAST SPONSORED Twitch

Kitchen League’s Highly Anticipated Grudge Match Hinges on Messy Meals and Cleaner Kitchens

Foodbeast’s Kitchen League has been stirring things up and causing commotion in Twitch’s food and beverage segment. Through a one-of-a kind a cooking competition, a live audience is able to interact with savvy chefs by triggering sabotages that can land competing cooks in hot predicaments. Not to worry, viewers are also able to grant chefs protections that could save the competitors from such sabotages. Let’s just say, things get messy.

Kitchen League’s latest matchup was sponsored by Bounty, the Quicker Picker Upper. In addition to Bounty being a true necessity in every kitchen, the match was particularly noteworthy because of the reoccurring theme: Messy Meals, Cleaner Kitchens. Intrigued?  Kitchen League judges, Chris Abouabdo and Reach Guinto, kept their discerning eyes on how conversely messy competitors’ dishes were and just how clean they could make their kitchens within the last minute of their designated cooking time. While Bounty can clean just about any mess in the nick of time, competing Kitchen League cooks were only able to earn sheets of Bounty via the protections granted to them by live viewers. 

Competitors, Josh Elkin and Malika of Hyper RPG, fulfilled the highly anticipated match. The two formidable characters had devoted fans cheering them on in the comments, as this wasn’t the first time they went head-to-head. Josh and Malika met in the Hungerdome of Kitchen League about eight months ago. After a fierce competition, Josh Elkin, the highest-ranking Kitchen League chef, caught the L and Malika walked away with the delicious taste of victory on her lips. 

Malika rolled into Bounty’s stream with confidence as she was a force to watch in the kitchen. The battle proved to be as fierce and messy as predicted, with both cooks throwing down useful Bounty hacks. Elkin used a sheet to pull off the back membrane off a rack of ribs, creating a fuss free experience for a chore that usually proves to be a thorn in many grill master’s sides. Beyond that, both Malika and Josh tried to impress judges with ambitious dishes within the 60-minute time limit: baby back ribs versus risotto/arancini balls.

When the dust settled, judges Reach and Chris declared Josh the Quicker Picker Upper Champion!  Both judges took note of Josh’s energy to crank out a hefty barbecue plate, creating his own spin on an iconic fast food rib sandwich. Though Malika earned high marks on her unique Southeast fusion arancini recipe, she suffered in the visuals and theme category, thus sealing her fate as Josh’s runner-up.  To check out all the kitchen antics and ruckus, check out the Bounty sponsored Kitchen League stream’s recap videos and tune into Kitchen League on Foodbeast’s Twitch channel.

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Alcohol SPONSORED

These SoCal Micheladas Are A Must Try

No matter what season it is in Southern California, you know the sun will always be shining, and the best time for cool and refreshing drinks is, well, always!  Without question, the go-to drink for the SoCal sunshine is a michelada, made with an ice cold can of Montejo Chelada.  Despite the pandemic affecting our day-to-day lives, our friends in the restaurant industry are doing their best to keep us fed while also keeping us safe.  You can be sure that these Los Angeles and Orange County spots got you covered any day of the week that you decide you need that fresh michelada.

1. Alta Baja Market (@altabajamarket) “La Chiquita”

This vibrant red and yellow miche’ from a Santa Ana market/michelada bar is made with passion fruit, with added yellow chilé packing an exhilarating punch.

2. Fiesta Martin Bar and Grill (@fiestamartinbarandgrill) “Dodger Chelada”

If bleeding “Dodger Blue” isn’t enough, you can now drink ”Dodger Blue” at this festive family-owned joint.  While this drink isn’t for champions only, it’s sure to be a grand slam in the taste department.

3. Miche Fresca King (@michefrescaking) “The Piña”

This chalice dripping with chamoy is fit for a king — made fresh daily with the proper fruit and sweets garnishing the rim. This and their other refreshing flavors definitely deserve more than one visit.

4. La Chuperia (la_chuperia1145) “Chupermichelada”

This is one goblet of fuego you are going to drool over — filled with all the spicy and zesty you want in a top notch miche’.  They make sure your thirst is quenched with a whole pint of Montejo in the mix; and are not left hungry with a side of juicy shrimp as a snack.

5. *Homemade Pineapple Michelada

If you can’t make it out to any of the wonderful places we’ve mentioned so far, creating it at home is easy!  We hollowed out a fresh pineapple to use as the cup, drip in as much (or as little) chamoy you want, spice it up with Tajin, and add in that beautiful mix of pineapple juice and Montejo Chelada — foolproof!

6. Las Chelaguas (@laschelaguas) “Vitrolero con Sandia”

You’re a true Foodbeast if you can take this drink down on your own, because this mini jug of miche’ is a hefty little thing. Fill this bad boy up with fresh sandia (watermelon) and Montejo Chelada to balance out the flavors — and of course, enjoy.

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#foodbeast Alcohol Culture FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED

Sake Is The Key To A Tastier Lobster Experience

Synergy is a buzzword that’s used to illustrate vividly the beautiful result of two plus parties or substances working together to achieve something more significant than the sum of their separate effects. Applying the concept to food yields scintillating possibilities, like flavor profiles being enhanced to create more dynamic and memorable dining experiences.

In one useful and powerful example, the synergy between the lauded taste of umami and sake produces a boosted dining encounter. “Umami is created by the meeting of glutamic acid — which is found in sake; you also find it in a lot of fermented food — and inosinic acid, which is found in meat and seafood like lobsters and oysters,” explains sake sommelier Bryan Patrick West. He continues, “When you get a meeting of the sake and flavors in the lobster pot pie, the union will boost the umami levels overall in your tasting experience.”

West guides Foodbeast Reach Guinto through this umami event like the wise sake sherpa he is, teaching him how to smartly pair an exquisite Lobster Pot Pie from Raw Bar by Slapfish in Huntington Beach, CA with three different sakes.

The results vary with each type of sake when eaten with the Lobster Pot Pie, yet the common thread through all three is the heightened taste of umami flavor from the synergy between the seafood and sake. Let’s take a look at the specifics:

Tamano Hikari Junmai Ginjo Yamahai Classic

“Fuller in body, nice and rich, earthy” is how West described this sake. He adds that beyond a fitting pairing to the seafood and root vegetables in the chowder, it is also bold enough to stand up to fried foods like the oyster crowning the pot pie.

Nihon Sakari Daiginjo 

“I personally think that the umami synergy between the fried oyster and this sake in particular will go really, really well,” highlighted West. Historically one of the more prominent producers of premium sake in Japan.

Amabuki Junmai Ginjo “Himawari”

The unique thing about this sake is that the brewery uses yeasts that are derived from flowers. Moreover, it’s an unpasteurized sake, literally giving it a blooming flavor profile that enhances the seafood’s flavor.

“The way I like to put it, [sake] isn’t the star of the show. It’s a really, really good supporting actor creating this savory, umami, mouthwatering note that leaves you wanting more,” illustrates West. 

Another argument can be made in support of how the umami flavor in seafood is enhanced when paired with sake via a recent experiment conducted by AISSY, Inc., a company that provides data and consulting related to the sensation of taste. The experiment revealed that sake, which contains an abundance of umami, increased the umami score no matter the food it was combined with, with the pairing of seafood like grilled lobster achieving the highest increase in umami.

With this synergy between sake and seafood making food taste better, it unlocks so many flavor possibilities through the pairing of them – whether it be through boosting some Lobster Pot Pie with Crispy Oysters as part of the Unlock Your Palate Campaign or any other seafood dish worth the extra push to titillate your palate. 

To learn more about the incredible umami synergy, click here

Created in partnership with JFOODO.

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#foodbeast FOODBEAST Packaged Food Products SPONSORED

Sweet & Salty Popcorn Is A Nonstop Party In Your Mouth

Often, truly exciting food comes in the form of an unexpected combo. Think chicken and waffles, cured meat and fresh fruit, or that oft-debated little bit of bacon that elbows its way into the syrup on a breakfast platter. The simplicity is key. Sometimes, delectability comes purely down to throwing together two foods that embody a flavor profile, like sweet and salty in the case of the aforementioned dishes. 

This, I think, is why one of my recent favorites, Cretors Cheese & Caramel Mix Popcorn, is so mind-blowingly addictive.

I’ll be honest, too, usually I’m not one for flavoured popcorn. Butter and salt is all this guy needs. But, a mix of cheese and caramel? That’s interesting enough to intrigue even the most seasoned popcorn veteran.

But beyond the fact cheese/caramel duo in and of itself is quite striking. This stuff is  amazing because Cretors is doing it right. Their tagline is “Handcrafted Small-Batch Popcorn,” a mantra that they fully live up to.

For the crucial details, the small-batch caramel is handcrafted in copper kettles, creating a complex taste, perfectly walking the line between luxurious and subtle. The cheddar, however, is not to be outdone, having been sourced from high-quality sharp cheddar cheese. Every plush kernel is evenly layered with caramel or cheese, the two flavors eventually intermingling into one explosive tasting experience. There’s a reason this is Cretors #1 selling flavor.

You can find bags of this mix, along with the rest of Cretors variety of popcorns, at most grocery stores. Go ahead and cop multiple. It’ll save you the trip once you find yourself polishing off the whole bag before you know what’s happened. 

Created in partnership with Cretors Popcorn.