Popular Bay Area BBQ Joint Is Serving Free BBQ To Medical and Frontline Workers

horn bbq brisket

Burgeoning underground pop-up Horn Barbecue has been making a reputation around the Bay Area. It was started in 2016 by head chef and pitmaster Matt Horn through a desire to impress his wife. Her disapproval of some ribs he cooked once inspired him to never cook another piece of bad ‘cue. Horn has since honed his skills in Central Texas-style barbecue that’s dry rubbed, smoked, and hormone-free. Now, his popular ‘cue garners queues of hundreds. And as such, the last few years have quickly made Horn BBQ one of the go-to Bay Area spots for locals. 

Another contributor to Horn BBQ’s success is it’s family owned, co-ran with his wife, Nina. As a black-owned business in a city rich with black history, Horn feels a responsibility to his community and those that came before him. Those strong community ties are present in Horn BBQ’s recently launched initiative, which was created in response to the on-going corona pandemic. The Horn Initiative is a philanthropic effort that stems from a lifelong commitment to give to those in need. Being of service was a fundamental part of Horn’s upbringing and during these dire days, he wanted to give back to the community that has given so much to him. Horn recalls a recent interaction with a police officer: 

“While hosting one of our community ‘cues, I had an officer ask why I was doing the [pop-up] cooks. I explained to him that it is my responsibility to my community to step up and be a blessing to those that need it. He asked, “Why me?” and I told him that he is a vital part of our community and through love, we can get through this together.”

Committed to serving the community, with your help, The Horn Initiative will continue into the post-covid future. To donate, Horn BBQ has created a Gofundme to cover food costs. For the moment though, as we move towards overcoming this, you can stay up to date on the next pop-up here. To bolster their efforts, they’ll also be dropping off food at homeless camps and hospitals. Meals are open to anyone in need.


Photos: Matt Horn/ Horn BBQ

Joe Coulombe, Founder of Trader Joe’s, Passes Away at 89

Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe’s, the revolutionary grocery store that focused on high quality items at low prices, has passed away at the age of 89, according to the Associated Press.

Joe’s curiosity, philanthropic generosity, and irreverent sense of humor were woven into the fabric of the culture that defines Trader Joe’s stores.the company said in a statement over the weekend. 

Known for its Hawaiian shirt-wearing employees, fair wages, and a focus on serving “overeducated and underpaid people,” the store amassed a cult following soon after its original Pasadena, CA location opened in 1967.

Five years after its opening, Joe introduced a granola to the store that he considered to be a “game-changer,” in that it was the first time the company had acquired a product at the wholesale level and sold under the Trader Joe’s brand name. 

The snack was a preview of the business model that would propel the store to its current popularity. This, along with a policy of discontinuity that insisted on only buying prime items at a good deal, no matter if that meant switching suppliers, allowed the store to maintain its low prices and continue attracting the struggling conscious consumer whom Coulombe originally envisioned the store to serve.

While Coulombe sold his interest in the company to Aldi Nord in 1979 — when there were only 19 stores — his vision and mission still lives on in each and every one of the 500+ locations across the nation.

For that, pour a two buck Chuck out for Mr. Coulombe today.


Target & Walmart Lettuce Hit By Nationwide E. Coli Outbreak

A new Thanksgiving tradition appears to be forming in the United States: a massive recalling of lettuce. 

After last year’s untimely recall of the entire nation’s supply of romaine lettuce, the same appears to be happening again this year. There has been a recall of romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, CA due to its carrying of E. coli.

The CDC first announced the outbreak on Friday, and repercussions have continued to show themselves throughout the weekend. As reported by Fox 11 Los Angeles, some of the nation’s biggest retailers have been clearing their shelves of all romaine lettuce originating from the central valley city. Target recently joined other mega-chains such as Walmart, Sam’s Club, Aldi, and Wegman’s in doing so.

However, before any store could act, there had already been 40 related cases reported in 16 different states, 28 of which have led to hospitalizations, and 5 of which have resulted in kidney failure. Luckily, though, no deaths have been reported in relation to the outbreak. 

The CDC suggests to throw away any remaining romaine lettuce whose packaging says it either originates in Salinas or has no mention of growing location.

Better to play it safe than introduce an E. Coli outbreak to the family.

Unfortunately, it looks like there won’t be any salad to slowly wilt away as everyone ignores it at this year’s Thanksgiving. But, on the bright side, that’s one less dish to worry about. 

Food Trends News Products Restaurants Sweets What's New

Here’s How To Become a Cheesecake Taster for Japan’s Uncle Tetsu Bakery

The world-famous Japanese cheesecake bakery, Uncle Tetsu, is offering up an opportunity for a select few to become their elite taste-testers. Here’s a chance for all of you cheesecake lovers to live out your wildest dreams as you will get to taste the newest and most unique creations Uncle Tetsu has to offer, some of which have yet to be released to the public.

Lydia Chen, Master Baker and Head of Product Development for Uncle Tetsu USA, went on to note that the company “recognizes the growth of foodie culture and wants to continue to improve our cheesecakes and flavors by working directly with our guests. We believe that guest involvement is the key to Uncle Tetsu’s continued success. Since the opening of our first California store, we have received so much support from our loyal guests and the wider community, so we would like to give a few lucky cheesecake lovers the opportunity to have direct access or a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the creation of our cheesecakes.”

For a chance to be one of the select few, you must grab a “Pick Me” card at one of Uncle Tetsu’s participating California locations, post a picture or video on your Instagram story with the card and an explanation on why you should be selected, and tag @uncletetsu_us’s Instagram account. Uncle Tetsu will start their search for taste-testers from August 31-October 26, 2019. For more information, please visit Uncle Tetsu’s Contest Rules page.

Participating Stores:

Santa Anita Mall

400 S. Baldwin Ave, Space M15
Arcadia, CA 91007
Phone: (626) 254-9007


Del Amo Mall

3525 W Carson St, Space 514B
Torrance, CA 90503
Phone: (323) 275-9190


Hillsdale Shopping Center
72 Hillsdale Shopping Center
San Mateo, CA 94403
Phone: (650) 437-0399


A Los Angeles Pizza Joint Created A BIRRIA TACO PIZZA

I was in my mid-twenties when I first discovered the joy of a birria taco. A popular Mexican dish consisting of goat or beef meat, the protein is cooked in a spicy consommé, which is a rich broth. I would wait in line at the taco trucks on many late nights making sure I get a plate of fresh birria tacos. My friends and I would enjoy the juicy meat folded inside the tortilla and, if offered, dunk the tacos straight into the consommé.

Rose City Pizza in Rosemead, CA, is now offering another iteration you can enjoy the time-honored dish in, and thankfully, it’s a pizza. The Birria Pizza is the newest addition to the Rose City menu, joining the ranks of such iconic pizzas as the Elote Pizza, Al Pastor Pizza, and even a Filipino Breakfast Pizza.

To start hearty chunks of beef are braised with guajillo and ancho chiles, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and thyme overnight. They’re then seared, shredded, and added to the pizza.

On the crust, the birria is combined with mozzarella, diced onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a Chile de arbol salsa. Once sliced, it’s served with a cup of the consommé you can dunk your pizza straight into or enjoy on its own.

This isn’t Rose City’s first foray into taco-inspired pizzas either. The pizzeria went viral after offering an Al Pastor pizza a few years back where the marinated pork was sliced straight from a spit right onto the dough. It gained so much notoriety that it remains on the menu to this day.

How it’s birria-based brother will fare remains to be seen. Though, having tried it, I have a good feeling it will do just as well, if not better.

Fans of birria tacos may want to check this one out if visiting the Southern California area. While some may argue that soggy pizza is a sacrilege, Rose City’s crust game is so balanced, it’s like the pizza was made for the dunk. Just make sure to arrive early if you’re itching to try some. Due to its popularity, only a limited quantity of birria will be available daily.


Come Get This Unbelievably Tender Wagyu Brisket At Upcoming Queen Mary Cook-Off

As a barbecue enthusiast, the quality of the meat you choose is essential to a proper beef brisket. If you’re using any kind of inferior meat, you better be a master of the smoke because you’re pretty much in an uphill battle. Now I’ve had briskets made with amazing cuts of beef before, but I’ve yet to see one that’s smoked with Wagyu meat.

For the unfamiliar, Wagyu beef is widely regarded as ultra-premium quality beef that’s of the utmost level of tender. And Wagyu beef brisket is exactly what The Q Joint BBQ is bringing to the world of barbecue.

Slicing up USDA Prime Wagyu Brisket, The Q Joint is an Irvine, California-based barbecue company that offers a plethora of smoked and grilled meats. This includes smoked, deboned chicken thighs, St. Louis-style ribs, and their 12-hour hickory-smoked brisket.

All their items come together in what they call The Judge’s Box which boasts: 1 chicken, 2 ribs, pulled pork, 2 slices of brisket, and 2 burnt ends.

This incredible platter of smoked delights can be found at The Queen Mary’s Waterfront Cook-Off. The annual event will be held on May 11 from 12PM to 5PM. There will be two competitions held during that day, one that pits BBQ masters together in a smokey cook-off. The other brings together some of the country’s best chili cooks to see who can craft the most delicious bowl of chili.

Sounds like heaven on earth.

Packaged Food Sweets What's New

These Cannabis Gummies Are Designed To Make You Feel Specific Moods

Photo courtesy of Kiva

Now that cannabis is legal in many states, California included, we’re seeing more decadent edibles come to fruition. What a time to be alive.

Kiva Confections, known for being one of the original edible cannabis companies, has launched a line of California-inspired candies, called Camino Gummies, that offer a unique mood depending on the flavor you choose.

The gummies pair custom combinations of THC and variety of carefully selected terpenes to craft a tailored cannabis experience for consumers. Kiva’s idea is to trigger a California State of Mind, allowing their consumer base to experience the feeling of relaxation.

Photo courtesy of Kiva

Each gummy will give you a specific result. The Camino Wild Berry provides a “chill” effect for stressors in your life. The Blenheim Apricot Gummy offers a feeling of “balance” when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When you’re feeling a bit anti-social, the Sparkling Pear is designed to help you strike up a conversation. Finally, the spicy Pineapple Habanero will uplift your spirits for whenever you’re feeling blue.

Not sure if popping one of each will create a Captain Planet of emotional balance in your body, or just get you lit, but I’m curious to find out.

The gummies are notably sold at Med Men, a popular US-based dispensary, but a full list of retailers that offer Camino Gummies can be found here.

Culture Drinks Opinion

Exploring Mexico’s Wine Country Through The Scope Of The Parent Trap

Hallie Parker and Annie James, the beloved red-headed twins of cult classic, The Parent Trap, exude a twinship attained through CGIs and a body double. Such a twinship, destined by a predictable plot, was stalled for 12 years as each part of Lindsay Lohan grew up in different regions, with a different parent. The once innocent actress gone awry convinced everyone and their mothers that she actually had a twin (well, I mean, I was pretty convinced), and displayed the common phenomenon: identical twins with opposing personalities.

Hallie and Annie’s personalities slightly run parallel, and retain qualities in a wine-world twinship between Napa Valley, California and Guadalupe Valley, Mexico AKA the Valle De Guadalupe.

Photo: Jim G on Flickr, CC 2.0

Hallie’s hometown, Napa Valley, California, has upheld a status in wine culture — it’s an oasis of fine wine bred from the finest grapes. For those unfamiliar, Napa is Northern California’s wine-country located about one and a half hours away from San Francisco. This world-renowned wine region offers what one would expect: endless ranges of vineyards and tourist attractions. With the reputation that Napa withholds today, the thought of it ever being unpopular feels foreign. Yet, up until the 1976 Judgment of Paris — a  blind tasting of French and California chardonnays, cabernets, etc. — wines from California were overshadowed by France’s age-old wineries.

Breaking into the wine world through a prestigious wine competition, expectedly propelled the commercialization of Napa’s wine, shaping the high-class culture grown out of its wealth.  The uppity and proper aura people tend to associate with Napa Valley, because of all that capital, aligns it with Annie’s persona, not Hallie’s.

Photo: Jim G on Flickr, CC 2.0

Before “coincidentally” meeting at summer camp, their opposite worlds were panned through. Annie grew up in London, England with the proper, British mother. Lohan’s subpar British accent combined with Annie’s style, emulating Princess Diana’s lady-like couture, made this twin borderline-stereotypical. Yet her fire, her sass, all springing from her wit (basically, logical clap-backs), made up for it. Hallie, the other half, went with the hunky dad (Dennis Quaid) to his grand winery in Napa Valley, California — thus growing up on smashing grapes and riding horses — you know, just tomboy things. Her daring, spunky demeanor kickstarted the mayhem in the first place, bringing the Parent Trap into existence, really.

So if Hallie isn’t Napa Valley, what’s her other wine-world half? Apart from Napa Valley, Hallie is rough around the edges, casual, and although the camera didn’t zoom in on this shot, she probably has some dirt under her fingernails and some grape stains on her fingertips. All the dirt and grit along with her warmth and spunk make her more relatable to Guadalupe Valley in Mexico more so than Napa Valley.

Separating two twins does not impair the similarities inevitably bound to biologically-identical beings, yet their individuality is molded by their environment alone. Their pivoting personalities, influenced by the region they grew up in, differentiates the twins and integrates the vibrancy of their red hair — the fire within it — relative to their mannerisms. No, their hair is not quite literally on fire, but the striking feature matches their different-but-all-at-once-same fierce attitudes.

Like Hallie and Annie, Valle de Guadalupe and Napa are separated by regions, and principally-based, they are different and the same all at once. The traits Napa Valley and Guadalupe Valley retain are often compared — weather conditions, the successful wineries and restaurants — and this twinship was destined to form once the media put Valle in the spotlight (like destiny bringing Hallie and Annie together at summer camp).

© Tomas Castelazo, / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s wine region about two hours south of San Diego, California and is often deemed as “under the radar” or the “Napa Valley of Mexico.” According to a qualitative study of the region done by Jorge Covarrubias and Liz Thach of Sonoma State University, “Mexico has a long history in winemaking and is considered to be the oldest wine growing region in North America…[and] the Valle de Guadalupe accounts for 80–95% of all of Mexican wine production.” Despite a storied and long tenured presence of winemaking in Mexico, the Valle’s media presence is fairly scarce and recent — and the media is definitely excited, feeling as if they discovered Napa’s long-lost twin, the Hallie to its Annie, if you will.

Okay, so the whole point of Parent Trap was to reunite Hallie and Annie’s parents. These starry-eyed, 12-year-olds longed for their parents to reignite their love and be together, so they can be a complete family (yes, very cute). But, the dad fell in love with a young lady, the evil stepmother of the plot, Meredith Blake. Meredith was the catalyst for even more conflict, barring old loves from rekindling past bonds.

This may be a stretch, but hear me out (read this out?): tourists who visit Valle de Guadalupe can only drink those wines when they are there. People have tried to import the Valle’s wine, however, it is still fairly limited [source info] due to California import laws. So, winery owners result to a tactic called Direct to Consumer (DTC) sale. This tactic is more so a requirement, rather than a strategy.

Covarrubias and Thach  explained that California only allows: “1 L max [of imported wine] at the [California-Mexico] border.” Because of this limiting legislation, all of the Valle visitors who fell in love with the wine are unable to bring it home. And the love left behind in Mexico is hard to rekindle. Essentially, Valle’s evil stepmother is this said law blocking wine lovers from the Valle de Guadalupe’s wine. And all the Valle wine lovers, are basically all the Parent Trap fans who, like Hallie and Annie, long for a reunited love.

Photo: Cbojorquez75 on Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0

Like Napa Valley, Valle de Guadalupe is magnetic, pulling in tourists to taste fine wine grown in optimal conditions: a lot of sun and just the right balance of dryness and moisture. These biological similarities create this twinship, but based on Valle’s environment alone a rough-around-the-edges vibe is molded. The open landscape of dirt, cacti and other desert plants is remnant of California’s wild West past, and even, Napa’s early beginnings. Therefore, it’s valid to mark Valle de Guadalupe as the “Napa Valley of Mexico,” being that Mexico’s wine-country is not as well-known at this point, like Napa pre-Judgment of Paris. Twins can share similarities like this, but that does not imply that one-half wants to be identical, or compared to the other. And, the winery and restaurant owners are definitely not the biggest fans of the label of the “Napa Valley of Mexico.”

Chef Javier Plascencia, the owner of Finca Altozano, a restaurant within Valle De Guadalupe,  interviewed with The Independent and stated: “If you talk to the winemakers, they hate it when they compare it to Napa. They’re doing their own thing.”

Although there is an imbalance of popularity in this twinship, forming this connection parallels the quality of Mexico’s wine to California’s but recognizes the diverging ambiance each region emanates.

As Mexico continues to develop their wine industry, the popularity of Valle de Guadalupe will rise, and with the help of its twinship with Napa (despite the unfavorable comparison), their products will potentially be as widespread. However, for now, the Valle remains under the radar with its Meredith standing in the way. But hopefully, the tourists who directly consumed Valle de Guadalupe’s wines will reunite with the chardonnays and cabernets they fell in love with, and the imbalance in Napa Valley and Valle’s twinship will neutralize in the future.