This time last year, Naples, Italy was the home of the world’s longest pizza. Guinness World Records clocked in their achievement of dough, sauce, and cheese at 6,082 feet. I was actually in Naples on vacation at the time, obliviously and ironically unaware of the world record event taking place a just a few blocks over.
I was blinded by the delicious pizza I was inhaling curbside of an unmarked Naples alleyway at the time, but when I heard the good ole US of A was attempting to shatter the world record in Los Angeles, I made sure to show up the morning of to make sure I could see our patriots join the world ranks of pizza making.
This past Saturday, pizza history was indeed made in California. After renting out the outer border of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, a group of pizza artisans had flown in from around the world to construct a new world record pizza, one that measured a tongue-wagging 6,331 feet long.
The pizza, which eclipsed a mile in length, used roughly 17,756 lbs of dough, over 5,000 lbs of sauce and 3,900 lbs of cheese.
The best part about the day was witnessing the custom-made-mobile oven that ran along the world-record-setting table scaffolding that held the pizza up. The gas convection oven on wheels followed the track like a disciplined monorail system, moving at a smooth 17 feet-a-minute. If you’re up for an anxiety-ridden adventure, we live-streamed the entirety of the pizza monorails journey. You can even witness an official judge from Guinness World Records walking parallel the entire length of the pizza, scrutinizing every square inch for sauce, cheese and dough connectivity.
Ironically, it’s our longest live-stream-to-date.
The entire effort took the work of over 23 companies and 200 volunteers, with setup beginning 8pm Friday and finishing touches on the pizza ending at roughly 4pm the following day. Close to 2,000 spectators attended the event and had a chance to sample the pizza, but a majority of the food was donated to local homeless shelters and food banks.
Kudos to all parties involved and for such a massive achievement and donation!
Lab-grown meat producers Memphis Meats broke the internet a couple of weeks ago when they introduced their “clean” fried chicken and duck. It’s a telling sign that lab-grown meat, also known as cultured meat, is becoming a more significant part of the discussion of the future of meat.
With that in mind, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia decided to survey a group of over 600 Americans — none of whom had tried any cultured meat products — to answer one key question:
“Would you be willing to try or eat lab-grown meat?”
Through a series of detailed questions about the subjects’ backgrounds and attitudes on lab-grown meat, the researchers concluded that about two-thirds of those surveyed would be willing to try lab-grown meat. A third of the total group also said they would be down to regularly consume lab-grown meat.
Of course, not everybody was on board. The study also found that a fourth of participants considered cultured meat to be “unethical” and those with higher incomes or vegetarian/vegan lifestyles were less likely to eat this meat, even if they agreed that it was better for the environment.
There’s no question that lab-grown meat is better for the environment, as Memphis Meats claims they can cut down their water, land, and emissions by a staggering 90 percent compared to conventional farming of meat. With the general consensus in place that factory-raised meat is going to be unsustainable within the next 30 years, alternatives like lab-grown meat are looking better to those who would be unable to obtain meat otherwise.
And with this significant proportion of Americans saying they would either try or eat lab-grown meat, it’s becoming even more clear that it will be a vital part of the future of food.
If you’ve ever been a fan of professional wrestling, boxing, or the UFC, it’s easy to understand the magnitude and importance of a championship belt. It underscores the challenge of getting up and grinding, knowing the promise of success is not guaranteed.
Thanks to the creative minds here at FOODBEAST, in August 2016 we had an authentic, custom-made, heavyweight style championship belt to award the editorial staff member who earns the top story each month, based on page views.
The rules were simple, whoever’s story had the most page views by the end of the month, held the belt the following month.
For the first two months of the belt’s inauguration, I was its proud holder. I’ve carried the belt everywhere for the past 60 days. From happy hours, to dinner dates, and back and forth from the office everyday. I discovered it’s pretty easy to get free dessert once people find out you’re a champion food blogger.
Still, the stories that helped me reach back-to-back months as FOODBEAST’s Editorial Champion became important talking points in the conversations I had about what exactly this belt represented.
My reign as champ started when I wrote about America hating Chipotle, a topic that resonated heavily with our audience. However, there was a sense of astonishment when discussing Chipotle hatred in person, as some people seemed blown away that there was animosity toward Chipotle.
In celebration of my first victory, my roommate Kevin and I went to Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa, where Joel Amaro, OC Weekly’s 2015 bartender of the year basically runs the show. Joel knows everyone and put me on blast (in a good way) in front of the whole bar. It was pretty incredible to be treated like royalty, especially when it’s from one of Southern California’s most recognized mixologists.
Joel also told me I couldn’t return without the belt from now on.
That same night at Pizzeria Ortica, I was followed around by a 10-year-old kid who gained enough courage to ask me if I was, “a UFC guy.” I was crushed by flattery and felt bad for not being more important. I let him hold the belt while mom and dad snapped photos, before I could offer permission.
In December, I broke the news on Liftware’s spill-proof spoon, one of the most innovative and life-changing products that can potentially help millions of people who suffer with physical immobility enjoy their meals with ease. Witnessing the initial reaction from people seeing a spill-proof spoon for the first time was nothing short of amazing.
One rainy night in January, Kevin, along with our friend Roy, took the belt to Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles. Our server, Kenny, made it adamantly clear that desert was, “on Kenny.” He also insisted on clearing our table before taking a photo of us, because he didn’t want to make it seem like Plan Check left their tables full of empty plates and glasses. We assured Kenny that it was all good. It just goes to show the level of service that followed the belt everywhere it went.
Personally, this belt has become more than a motivational tool and ironically began to symbolize my hard work as a journalist for the past decade. It’s been a tough road, but this seems like a notable milestone.
I made sure to document everything via Instagram, because who knows when I’ll be able to tell a story like this again.
Being able to explain that I earned the title of inaugural FOODBEAST Editorial World Champion, in back-to-back months is a high bar to set. I already know everyone on my team has accepted the challenge.
My job is to tell stories, which is usually a thankless job. While I may never be an ultimate fighter, or the next Muhammad Ali, but possessing this belt has helped me understand my potential as a writer and a professional. Most of all it has motivated my team to accomplish great things.
I won’t lie, I enjoyed the obnoxiousness of walking into an restaurant — or anywhere, really — knowing every single person’s head would turn and look at me as I stepped through the doors with an oversized, golden heavyweight belt hanging off my shoulder.
For one reason or another, most people seemed a bit disappointed after discovering I was just a writer and not a fighter, but, I’ll be the first to tell you there’s no better feeling than someone asking you, “What’s up, Champ?” when they have no idea who you are, or what you do.
Currently fellow writer Peter Pham is the new Editorial Champion, but February is the shortest month of the year, so his collar should be getting tight already.
Another Independence Day has passed as we now suffer through the struggles of the 5th of July. I’m sure we all had fun playing drinking games, grilling burgers and thanking the Smith/Goldblum duo for saving us from aliens, but the day after any big party always comes with an apprehensive approach to our bank accounts.
Seeing how much we individually spend is a frightening thought, but there’s something a bit reassuring in seeing how much we spent, ate and drank collectively, as a nation. It’s just nice to know that we’re all degenerate spenders together. According to Fox News, these are some of the wildest numbers we both recorded and should expect.
The amount each household spent on average on supplies for their parties, including food and picnic ingredients and products.
The total amount of money spent this 4th of July from each consumerist household. While we can all agree that the point of the 4th is to celebrate our independence and freedom, it would be naive to think that supermarkets and liquor stores aren’t also celebrating a very productive day for their respective businesses.
The estimated number of cases of beer sold nationwide during the 4th of July weekend. That means roughly 547.2 million individual cans or bottles of beer were sold. If you assume that it takes an average of seven beers to get one person drunk, that means there could have potentially been 78 million drunk people walking around America over the weekend.
The number of hot dogs eaten on the 4th. if placed tip to tip, the hot dogs could line up to and from DC to LA more than five times. Four of those hot dogs came from me, thank you very much.
The number of hot dogs professional eater Joey Chestnut ate this year at the annual hot dog eating contest held at Nathan’s Famous, a Coney Island fixture famous for its hot dogs.
The number of pyrotechnic effects, displays and fireworks during the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show held in New York City every year.
The estimated amount of money spent on consumer fire works during this holiday weekend, excluding the grand and lavish displays put on by major companies and corporations.
The amount of money spent on American flags last year. Surprisingly enough, about 98% of those flags were made in and imported from China.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Americans from coast to coast are preparing for the extended holiday weekend with two essentials: patriotism and a whole lot of alcohol.
We thought it might serve us all well if we combined the two! If you’re going to be drinking this Fourth of July (and if you don’t think you will be, you’re lying to yourself) then you might as well be drinking something that came right from good old ‘Merica.
So we took the liberty of compiling the ultimate patriotic alcohol shopping list, with All-American-made liquors, for whatever your poison might be.
WHITE WINE: Pine & Post, Washington
Located in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, this Seattle-area winery called Pine & Post makes some of the most acclaimed wine on the West coast… and let’s not forget that’s where California, the wine capital of America, is located. So that is seriously saying something.
Pine & Post boasts a particularly delicious Chardonnay, which has lovely aromas of peach, nectarine, baked apple, and pineapple. Have you ever heard of a crisp white wine more perfect for Fourth of July than that?
RED WINE: Iter, California
Voted the best red wine of 2015, Iter Cabernet is a medium-bodied wine that is bursting with summer flavors like blackberry, currants, black cherry, and cocoa. The winery, also named Iter, is located in Napa, California (like nobody saw that coming) and has been praised as one of the best in the country.
If you’re a red wine fan, don’t let this beer-drinkers holiday get you down — you can still be classy AF while celebrating America’s birthday.
WHISKEY: Stranahan’s, Colorado
Whiskey fans will love Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, a cult-favorite out of Denver, Colorado. Their single malt is made in small batches using only Colorado grain and Rocky Mountain water, which fans say makes each batch just a little different than the last. This uniqueness has garnered Stranahan’s millions of fans nationwide, hopefully including you, after this weekend.
RUM: Thomas Tew, Rhode Island
Named after the pirate who discovered the infamous “Pirate Round” sailing route out of Atlantic ports like Rhode Island and Bermuda, Thomas Tew Rum is as legendary as its namesake. The Newport Distilling Company in Newport, Rhode Island was founded in 2006 and released its first Thomas Tew Single Barrel rum in 2008.
Since then, the black molasses rum has become extremely popular — fans love the tones of smokey oak, vanilla, and caramel in each sip. If you’re looking for some brash, all-American flavor to celebrate with this holiday weekend, you can’t go wrong with Thomas Tew.
VODKA: Rain, Illinois
A super-premium vodka, RAIN is made from corn grown on Fizzle Flat Farms in Yale, Illinois, smack dab in the middle of America’s Heartland. RAIN advocates love that Fizzle Flat is one of the few farms growing organic grain in the United States, and we think that’s pretty cool, too.
To achieve the best smoothness, RAIN undergoes a rigorous production process, including quadruple distillation. Translation: a few shots of this and you’ll have the whole barbecue chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
PALE ALE: Hill Farmstead, Vermont
In Greensboro Bend, Vermont, there is a brewery called Hill Farmstead that has gotten a name for itself as one of the best breweries on the East coast. The little brewery may be off the beaten path, but it makes damn amazing beer.
As a part of the breweries’ Ancestral series, Hill Farmstead released a pale ale called Abner, named after the founder’s great grandfather. The pale ale was made from water drawn out of Abner’s own well at his old Vermont home. We would like to commend Abner and his water for making this stupendous pale.
STOUT: Founders KBS, Michigan
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, the release of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (or KBS) was literally a week-long celebration. This dark beer has been aged in oak bourbon barrels before being bottled and sold to fortunate Americans like yourself.
But the real magic happens when you take the name too literally. It is a holiday, after all. You could start at breakfast if you wanted to. No judgement here.
IPA: Tree House Brewing Company’s Julius, Massachusetts
The Tree House Brewing Company in Monson, MA is like the stuff of myths. It’s legendary IPA, Julius, will come and go so fast, you won’t even know what hit you. Thursday through Saturday, you have a chance to stand in line to buy a bottle of Julius yourself — but they only sell to the first 350 people. You read that right. 350 PEOPLE.
I have stood in this line before and it is brutal, but the refreshing tastes of passionfruit, mango, and citrus in this IPA were 100% worth it. It is by far the best IPA I’ve ever tasted. If you’re an East Coaster, a visit to Tree House is must.
Support American breweries, distilleries, and wineries this Fourth of July by choosing some of these top notch, American-made alcohols! Since you’re going to get drunk either way, you might as well do it patriotically, right?
Every culture has its version of the boxed lunch, the thing millions of school children are sent off with every day, 180 days out of the year. In Japan it’s a bento box made of rice, meat and veggies. In America it is the Lunchable, a deconstructed sandwich in a perfectly packaged plastic container. It’s fun for kids and easy for adults. Everyone wins when you don’t have to think about what to make for lunch every day, day after day.
Think about it, what makes a Lunchable special? It’s literally just ham, cheese and Ritz crackers in a box.
However, back in the early ‘90s, it was also a status symbol. My family wasn’t poor, but my mom definitely didn’t believe in name brand anything. As an adult I respect that she took the time to make me a sandwich every day, but as a kid, the Lunchables just seemed, cooler, and I wanted one.
My school lunches were turkey sandwiches wrapped in a plastic grocery bag, but Lunchables were food toys you could eat. Therefore, I was always begging some friend for some ham; it always looked and tasted better in a thickly sliced circle and the cheese, which was savory to the max, when you had to ration one piece.
And I’d never just sit down and eat a Ritz cracker by itself, but with that ham and cheese, it just seemed to have a completely different personality, not dry, like its usual lonesome form.
Likewise, there was always dessert, a little Twix or Crunch Bar, or even a decadent Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Cool looking and convenient, I always approached it with the care I assumed an astronaut lifted his dessert from whatever floating space tray he ate from.
Kids these Days
The website for Lunchables has a tab for both kids and parents. If you click the kids tab, it takes you immediately to a commercial about Lunchables where a satyr eats a playing card. “Mix your food up,” is the new theme.
I also clicked on the “parents” tab, which I’ll just interpret to mean all adults. The site is way less fun, but I did learn about all the new Lunchable options. For example you can get your Lunchable with or without a drink, you can even “upload” to a deep dish pizza, or a turkey sub. Wow! They’ve come a long way from a few slices of cheese, ham and crackers.
Having recently worked at an elementary school, I hadn’t seen a fruit rollup or a pack of Gushers in years. But once a week some kid will come to school with a Lunchable and with a hint of shame, I would ask them for a slice of cheese. Here I go again. Mooching off some kid. What am I doing!? I can buy my own Lunchables, or even better, create my own DIY Lunchable with gouda, pretzel chips and smoked Boar’s head ham, because I am an adult now and I deserve the best versions of my childhood.
“Ugh, The Katchup is FINALLY back. Took you guys long enough, geez.”
Yes, we can read your mind. We’re also really good at recapping all of the craziest stories of the week, so don’t feel bad if you missed out on them the first time around. Although you should still feel a teensy weensy bit bad.
How can one determine the strength of his penis? One man found out with the help of three cases of beer. Ja Rule has somehow managed to be relevant again, but only because somebody threw a beer can at his head, and it’s hysterical. Good luck getting me to ever buy Dr. Pepper again, not after the “prize” one little kid found in the bottle.
Budweiser took a shot for glory (and pretty much missed) when they changed their principal beer’s name to “America.” Somebody finally created a device that can make tortillas. Taco Tuesday will never be the same again.
Saugatuck Brewing Company may have just pulled off one of the greatest trolls of all time on another brewer that, we thought, was trying to troll the whole world with their bold new campaign.
A few days ago, Budweiser announced that they will be renaming their beer to “America,” in an obvious attempt to appease the American public by the power of association and the exploitation of American patriotism. This change comes on the heels of the announcement of their summer campaign slogan, “America Is In Your Hands.”
What does it taste like you ask? Freedom. It tastes like freedom.
Saugatuck Brewing Company saw an opportunity to mock Anheuser-Busch’s bold marketing campaign and immediately jumped on it. On their Facebook page, the Michigan-based brewery released their own rebranded beer, one they emphasized was “actually American.”
Any company that has 1,776 bald eagles employed as supervisors probably knows how to get shit done.