Categories
Restaurants Sweets

Instagram-Famous ‘Mochi Muffins’ Shipping Nationwide For The First Time Ever

If you’re from or have been to the San Francisco Bay Area recently, you know that the hot sweet treat around there is the Mochi Muffin. Third Culture Bakery, the shop behind the viral and widespread treat, is now making their signature food available for purchase nationwide for the first time ever.

Owners Sam Butarbutar and Wenter Shyu have been growing the Third Culture Bakery brand, with a new bakeshop having opened a few weeks back in Colorado. With the coronavirus pandemic drastically affecting everyone, however, the company decided to expand their Mochi Muffin offering to nationwide masses yearning to get a taste.

As of press time, Third Culture is only selling their Original Mochi Muffin nationwide, rather than branching out into the other flavors they make for shipping just yet. Shyu told Foodbeast that their other flavors of the mochi muffins will be available for national delivery later this week. Folks who live within UberEats ranges for their Bay Area and Denver also have access to the showrooms’ full online menus.

The Original Mochi Muffins are sweet while nutty, with a base of rice flour and ingredients like sesame and pandan that add to their aroma. They’re also incredibly squishy, and might be the closest to an edible stress ball we’ll ever get to.

You can now find these Mochi Muffins for sale on Third Culture’s website in packs of either 6 or 12, alongside other items like Uji Ceremonial Matcha, rice flour totes, and other apparel. Shyu told Foodbeast that they’ve already shipped to 16 states so far.

Photos courtesy of Third Culture Bakery.

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#foodbeast Adventures Culture Food Festivals Health Pop-Ups

KIVA Confections Elevates Cannabis Culture at Outside Lands Music Festival

Photo by Omari Allen

Recently San Francisco held their 11th annual Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park. Like any music festival, the bill featured a long list of performers across a wide range of genres. Aside from great music, the main draw to Outside Lands is its emphasis on food, wine, and art. San Francisco is known for its restaurant scene and with Napa Valley and Sonoma nearby, its wine scene is pretty poppin’ too. Each year Outside Lands invites visitors to feel like a San Franciscan for a weekend in what may be described as a love letter to the city. 

Another thing San Francisco is famous for is it’s cannabis culture. Haight-Ashbury, a district widely known as the birthplace of the hippie movement, has had a storied history with cannabis. The first well known cannabis dispensary, or “head shop,” was called Ron and Jay Thelin’s Psychedelic Shop, which opened in 1966 and grew, along with others, to become a major hub for the hippie movement. Steeped in counter-establishment ideals and widespread drug use, the movement was regarded by mainstream society as naive and idealistic. Popular terms used to describe hippies were tree-hugger, beatnik, granola, liberal, and the most notorious, stoner. 


Photo: MK Feeney on Flickr, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The “stoner” image still stigmatizes cannabis culture, although the movement dissipated long ago. Only in recent years has the word shed some of its negative connotation, gaining popularity through entertainment and the internet. With access to information and a global community, the benefits of cannabis began to see the light of day. One example of progress was this year’s aforementioned Outside Lands Music Festival. It wasn’t the first year OSL allowed visitors to consume cannabis, but it was the first time it has been legally sold at a music festival. I was curious to experience the “experiment” first hand, especially the booth by California-based brand, KIVA Confections. The edible market has evolved considerably in the past few years and KIVA is at the forefront.


Photo by Omari Allen

KIVA Confections was started in 2010. Their goal was to offer cannabis edibles that were potent, consistent and tasty.  At the time, the cannabis edible market was less regulated, having a more inconsistent homemade quality. KIVA co-founders Scott Palmer & Kristi Knoblich saw an opportunity to elevate the cannabis edible. Searching for fresh approaches to cannabis infusion, they consulted with a local chocolatier which helped bring everything into focus. They next met with expert cannabis cultivators and certified analytics laboratories to ensure the highest quality product. Like with any start up, it took some effort before they landed on the perfect edible. Fast forward to today and KIVA Confections, through efficacy, food safety, and business integrity, has become one of the leading California-based cannabis edibles. They have maintained their mission to offer a premium cannabis experience for customers. I witnessed this first hand during my visit to their confectionary booth at Outside Lands.


Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

If you’ve never attended Outside Lands, it is made up of different “lands” which offer unique experiences. For example, if you’re looking for libation, there is Beer Land and Wine Land. And for “canna-bation,” there’s Grass Lands, a sprawling stoner paradise perfectly situated under a shadowy canopy of tall blue gum eucalyptus trees. The Grass Lands were definitely the chillest land around, filled with a wide range of cannabis vendors, smoking sections and interactive activities. Located squarely in the center, and standing out amongst the more subdued color palettes of neighboring vendors, was the KIVA Confectionary booth. 

Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

The booth was shining white with gold trim and had a See’s Candies feel, an aesthetic akin to quality confectionaries consumers are typically familiar with. Workers were dressed in white dress shirts with black aprons, wearing white 5-panel baseball caps which added a hip, yet classy feel. Festival-goers bustled around the booth, patiently waiting to get their hands on one of KIVA’s confections. My personal favorite was the dark chocolate KIVA bar with the Camino pineapple habanero gummies being a close runner up. KIVA’s chocolate tastes rich, full and creamy yet has a subdued bite with a balanced sweetness. Their gummies melt in your mouth. The pineapple habanero flavor leaves a slight tingly feeling on the tongue, adding a spicy kick to the sweet flavor profile. With only 5 milligrams of THC in each serving, microdosing KIVA’s confections offers a smooth and subtle high, perfect to experience over the course of a day. Interactive stations included mazes, a gumball machine, mystery drawers and a life-sized chocolate fountain, which unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of swimming in.

Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections

KIVA Confections elevates cannabis culture through its aesthetic and focus on quality. The care they take can not only be tasted, but felt through the clean product design, informative packaging, and potency. With a blind taste test, it’d be hard to know that cannabis is in the product. But, you can certainly feel it. Like the cannabis taste, the microdosing effects are subtle as well — the perfect amount for first time cannabis edible users. Coincidentally, this aligns with the recent resurgence of “hippie ideals” in the last few years. In a time where legal medical and recreational cannabis use is prevalent, getting high doesn’t overshadow the actual benefits of cannabis use like it once did. By making more artisanal and thoughtful products, KIVA’s approach is helping to de-stigmatize the “lazy stoner” image. 

The confectionary booth attracted a wide range of festival-goers of various age groups and backgrounds, displaying how the culture is evolving into something the average consumer can enjoy.  It’s only a matter of time before cannabis-infused products are a norm at your local grocery store.

Photo courtesy of KIVA Confections
Categories
#foodbeast Adventures Art Culture Design FOODBEAST News Sweets

The Museum of Ice Cream Continues On To San Francisco With Even Sweeter Installations

Folks in the Bay Area now have their chance to scream for the Museum of Ice Cream. Following wildly successful runs in New York and Los Angeles, “the Hamilton of museums” as dubbed by Jimmy Kimmel, has made its way to the Bay Area to spread its sweetness to more fans.

The equally visual and flavorful phenomenon has taken social media by storm with eye-popping installations like playful swings, giant gummy bears, scratch & sniff wallpaper, and other whimsically themed rooms. Each of these aspects within the whole exhibit are highly interactive and provide prime content for your social media platforms.

For the SF iteration of the MOIC, Founder and Creative Director Maryellis Bunn has kicked up the level of excitement with vibrant and fun installations like a Rainbow room with secret access to a disco room celebrating the history of San Francisco, a Pop Rocks room with a rock climbing wall, and of course the iconic and Insta-famous Sprinkle Pool. With cotton candy, Unicorn Milk ice cream, My/Mo Mochi, and tons of tastings throughout you will also get to enjoy the launch of Bunn’s own ice cream.

You can grab tickets at the Museum of Ice Cream website, with an extended run up until February 2018.

Categories
Fast Food News What's New

McDonald’s Makes It Splash With New Crab Meat Sandwich

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Photo: McDonald’s

Look out, Filet-O-Fish. There’s a new McDonald’s seafood sandwich in town.

McDonald’s USA began testing of a brand new CRAB MEAT SANDWICH in four McDonald’s restaurants across California’s South Bay Area.

Based on the McDonald’s website, the Crab Meat Sandwich consists of snow crab meat, seasoned clarified butter, celery, seasoned mayo, lettuce, and slices of tomato on a sourdough roll.

While Dungeness Crab is more local to the San Francisco/South Bay area, a McDonald’s rep told NBC Bay Area that complications with sourcing led to to the choice to use snow crab meat instead.

According to KETV, local chef Ryan Scott of the Finn Town Tavern in San Francisco teamed up with McDonald’s to develop this new sandwich, aiming to capture the local flavors of the Bay Area into a fast food sandwich.

The crab-stuffed sandwich is the latest McDonald’s regional release for the San Francisco area, following a successful launch of Garlic Fries in stores across the Bay Area last year.

The four stores that the Crab Meat Sandwich can be found in are as follows:

San Jose: 2191 Monterey Road

San Jose: 2699 Union Avenue

San Jose: 4838 San Felipe Avenue

Santa Clara: 3509 Homestead Road

While it’s not likely that the sandwich will be available nationwide, it might eventually make it to all 250 Bay Area McDonald’s locations if the sandwich is successful.

The Crab Meat Sandwich is also believed to be the first crab sandwich sold by a fast food chain in the United States. If it’s successful, we hope other chains could follow suit and make their own versions. Considering crab is a relatively popular seafood item across the United States, that definitely could be a possibility.

For now, we’re just hoping to get a taste of this groundbreaking sandwich.

Categories
Restaurants

Why Every Big Player in Silicon Valley Goes to This Chinese Restaurant

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Silicon Valley is known for a multitude of landmarks, including the garages Apple and Google were started in, the Facebook campus, and the IBM Almaden Research Lab. The one landmark, however, that perhaps garners the most universal praise from the best and the brightest of the area is Chinese restaurant Chef Chu’s.

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Started by Lawrence Chu in 1970, Chef Chu’s has been the go-to place for the Bay Area’s tech elite, celebrities and politicians. Tennis superstar Serena Williams, platinum-selling artist Justin Bieber and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett have all frequented Chu’s establishment. The late Apple founder Steve Jobs also used to be a regular before he became a recognizable tech titan.

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“He’d come in here as a nobody,” Chu told Mercury News in a 2012 interview. “He’d wait 45 minutes to get a table and all of a sudden he’s on the cover of Time Magazine. I was busy making a living. I didn’t know who he was.”

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In the mid-1980s, when then Secretary of State George Shultz needed to hold an emergency meeting with other high-ranking officials in the Reagan administration, he held it at Chef Chu’s.

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Even though he’s been in business for 45 years, the 72-year-old Chu still goes to work with seemingly the same passion and drive he started with. He’s frequently in the kitchen helping the staff and tries greeting every single customer that walks through the door.

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Silicon Valley futurist Paul Saffo once said: “No restaurant has had the longevity of Chef Chu’s for either quality of the food or popularity with the valley’s movers and shakers. It’s as vibrant and lively as it’s ever been.”

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Most recently, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has become a regular at Chef Chu’s.

Chu tells NextShark: “Mark Zuckerberg comes in here all the time. Him and his wife Priscilla came here last Sunday. Their parents too, they moved from the East Coast.”

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Even with all the celebrity attention, Chef Chu believes in one core philosophy when treating customers: “Whoever comes in here, we should treat them the same. For a simple reason: they all pay the same price. Whether they’re an engineer, doctor, governor.”

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Aside from his restaurant, Chu has published three cookbooks, started a catering business, and created his own cooking classes.

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Chu, born in China and raised in Taiwan and Hong Kong, stayed behind when his family moved in the early 1960s to California where his father went from being an architect to a restaurateur in Silicon Valley. A couple of years later, at the age of 20, Chu moved as well.

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His first job was as a busboy at Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in San Francisco. He recounts: “In the restaurant, we worked so hard and I found out that I loved restaurants. It’s very famous as well. I was there; I met all celebrities there. I was a busboy, waiter, bartender. Then I told myself, one day I want to do something like this. Maybe not a busboy, but I want to do something of my own.”

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At the time, he was trying to woo his future wife, Ruth Ho, who was then a PhD student at Stanford University. He’d often joke to her that he was also a PhD: poor, hungry and determined. Chu successfully wooed not only his future wife, but also his future father-in-law, who was a successful entrepreneur.

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“I told the father that I had a dream. I said I want to open fast food Chinese restaurants in America. The father liked me. They all liked me in a sense, but they never asked my education. They only said, ‘This guy is 25 years old and has a dream.’ ”

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It was in 1970 that Chu decided to follow through on his dream of starting his own restaurant, opening his first fast-food Chinese restaurant in a space that used to be a small laundromat between a beauty salon and appliance repair shop.

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Six months later, he took over the beauty salon’s space in order to expand his venture into a sit-down restaurant. Three years after that, with money he saved over the years and from an investment from his father-in-law, Chu purchased the entire complex and completely renovated his restaurant, including the installation of a state-of-the-art kitchen.

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Although by then a successful restaurateur, Chu wanted to be a chef and worked tirelessly to learn from the chefs he hired at his restaurant, perfecting his culinary skill through practice and trial and error.

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“I worked my butt off. I collapsed in my bed every day. I cooked for 20 years in the kitchen.”

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After his father’s restaurant was closed down by the health department, Chu went to college for two semesters to learn how to properly run a restaurant in order to make sure the same fate wouldn’t befall his own restaurant. To this day, Chu takes cleanliness and hygiene at his restaurant as one of his top priorities.

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“Personal hygiene is very important. That’s 24 hours every second, every minute of the job. When you decorate the plate, everything on the plate should be edible. You cannot just put a flower there because it looks good. Everything on the plate should be edible.”

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Initially, Chu wanted to open a chain of Chinese restaurants all over the country but he eventually decided to just focus on one. At 72, he’s still learning and regularly travels to Asia to discover new culinary secrets.

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“People always ask me why I have only one restaurant. ‘Why do you work at 72? Why don’t you hire people and open two or three restaurants?’ The type of restaurant that I run is totally different than the type of restaurant that you run. It takes a lot of hard work but ultimately you must be a leader.”

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You have to have a great team behind you. For them, it is just another job. For me, it is my life. Most people work for me 20 to 30 years and retire. Why? They knew that they could trust me and that I would not let them down and that I was passionate. You have to demonstrate that you are a true leader.”

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Chu is not the only successful person in his family. His middle son, Jon M. Chu, is a successful director who has helmed films like “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Step Up 2: The Street.” His other son, Larry Chu Jr., has joined his father in the kitchen and plans to take over the restaurant someday.

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“Since Larry joined me [it has] allowed me to cut about 50% of the worry.”

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Even with all his knowledge and success, Chu admits that he will forever be a student that doesn’t stop learning, to which he credits as a major reason for his success.

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“Most people [say], ‘Chef Chu, you should retire. You have all the money in the world.’ I’m coming here [because] I’m proud of what I do. I’m making history. I believe my philosophy, my method. I trust my instinct. I trust my burning desire that we put 100 percent in the business and don’t stop improving. I don’t say change for the sake of change. Don’t stop advancing. Don’t stop because the world is running, the world is changing.”

Written by Melly Lee, NextShark

All images are credited to Melly Lee Photography and have been published with permission.

Categories
Fast Food

Jack in the Box Tests Hella-Peño Burger in San Francisco, Of Course

hella-peno-burger

On a recent trip to San Francisco, Foodbeast’s own Elie Ayrouth spotted the latest burger behemoth (below) from Jack in the Box. Not-so-subtly named after Northern California’s signature lexicon, the Hella-peño burger packs, ahem, hella chopped jalapeños, three fried jalapeño poppers, an ungodly amount of melted cheese, and taco sauce.

As you can see from the above photo snapped by Instagram user @juangalt (who appropriately hashtagged #shame), the chain did not skimp on the hot peppers.

Unsurprisingly, the burger is part of Jack’s Munchie Menu, which launched back in September. The late night menu includes similar stoner dreams such as the cheeseburger topped with a grilled cheese sandwich, a mozzarella-stuffed chicken sandwich and loaded nuggets squirted with ranch and cheese. At the moment, the limited-time item seems to only be testing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Here’s to hoping this late-night item makes its way to Southern California and the rest of the States soon.

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Categories
Adventures News

Adventure: Sahara Falafel (Anaheim)

My parent’s had this falafel spot in the Bay Area that they had been going to for years before we moved away. They hadn’t had any in a long time so as a change of pace, I decided to drive to one of my favorite parts of Anaheim, the Arabic district as we like to call it. To get some food at a small hole-in-the-wall falafel spot. My friend Gio swore by this place and it didn’t disappoint. I need to carry my camera more, and not just take photos with the iPhone. Check this short little trip after the jump.