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There’s A Hidden Speakeasy Inside The First Permanent US Hello Kitty Cafe

The cultural phenomenon that is Hello Kitty has opened a few popups in the United States over the last few years. These mini “cafe stands” served treats and beverages inspired by the animated feline and were beacons for fans to venture forth, visit, and get to know one another through a shared love of the iconic cat. Now, Hello Kitty is finally opening her own brick and mortar location complete with a secret immersive experience for enthusiasts to enjoy: a hidden Hello Kitty tea room and speakeasy.

Located in Irvine, CA, the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe front of house features fresh baked cakes, cookies, donuts, beverages, merchandise, and apparel — all inspired by the beloved Sanrio character.

In the back of the cafe, tucked away against the far wall, is an inconspicuous white door where a single golden bow hangs. When you knock on it, the door opens, transporting you to the wonderland known as the Hello Kitty Bow Room.

It turns out that magic comes in all shapes and sizes, including the form of a tiny white Japanese cat. Who knew?

By day, the secret space operates as a tea room that serves Hello Kitty bites and teas. Afternoon tea assortments include paprika-smoked egg salad in a cone, cucumber bread with dill cream cheese, smoked salmon served with cream cheese on a pretzel croissant, strawberries and cream, and Hello Kitty mini cakes.

At night, however, the Bow Room transforms into what’s essentially a speakeasy — complete with a wide array of cocktails inspired by Hello Kitty and her animated animal friends.

Along with the cocktails, guests can also choose from a selection of wines which are available during both the afternoon tea service and the cocktail service.

Once you’re inside the Bow Room, really take it all in and let yourself become one with the become one with the euphoric pink atmosphere. Dress to the nines, take tons of pictures, make Hello Kitty puns, and immerse yourself in the experience. How often can you really say you’ve been inside a secret Hello Kitty speakeasy?

The Hello Kitty Grand Cafe (and Bow Room) will remain inside the Irvine Spectrum Center as a permanent location. To experience the Bow Room, reservations will need to be made ahead of time by calling the store or visiting the cafe’s website.

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This Chicago Bar Is Serving SPAM Mai Tais Straight Out Of The Can

When you think “Mai Tai,” it’s typically a refreshing, tropical cocktail that screams “Summer” upon the first sip. At The Duck Inn in Chicago, you can get one offered up with an interesting twist: SPAM®.

For SPAM® Restaurant Month, The Duck Inn will be serving up this unique spin on a traditional cocktail. The SPAM® Mai Tai doesn’t have any actual meat in it, but instead uses a cool process to infuse its flavor into the drink.

In this case, lard and SPAM® are rendered together and mixed with liquor overnight. Afterwards, the spirits are drained, leaving behind its flavor to add a new level of aroma to the Mai Tai.

Along with fresh pineapple juice, lime and bitters, the Duck Inn’s SPAM® Mai Tai is served in a SPAM® can on ice.

SPAM® may not be the most conventional cocktail ingredient, but as mixologists clamor to concoct inventive cocktails, in this form, SPAM® adds a depth of flavor to a tropical cocktail making it a must-try.

The Duck Inn will have the SPAM® Mai Tai around for all of August as part of SPAM® Restaurant Month.


Created in partnership with SPAM®

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The Dishes You HAVE To Try While Gaming At Dave & Buster’s


We all know Dave & Buster’s as the grown-up arcade spot where you can relive being a little kid. But going just for that means you’re missing out on a pretty expansive menu of drinks and eats to fill up on while gaming.

The Dave & Buster’s menu isn’t necessarily new, but it went through a revamp a couple of years ago that brought a ton of items in that weren’t there before. Foodbeast’s own Elie Ayrouth and Marc Kharrat joined up with FaZe clan chef FaZe Cheo at the Del Amo Fashion Center location to go try out the entire menu for themselves.

Yes, they ate through the entire menu at Dave & Buster’s in a single setting. You can see the insane feat above in Foodbeast’s latest episode of Going In.

Based on what they consumed, here are some of the recommended items to try on the menu from Ayrouth, Kharrat, and Cheo.

Drinks

One of the drinks the squad really enjoyed was the new Frose, a blended icy beverage with strawberry puree, Absolute citron, and plenty of rose wine both in the slush and poured into it via mini-bottle. Both Elie and Marc were astounded at how good it tasted.

Elie is drawn to anything that’s Instagram-appealing, so the Green Ghost Glow Kone caught his eye. Made with Crown Royal Apple, Smirnoff Green Apple, and Monin Granny Smith Apple, the glow cube inside makes the entire drink light up like a neon sign. It tastes just as good as it looks, too.

The Strawberry Mango Margarita also stood out because of its bright red color and cubes of strawberry. They keep the drink from diluting but also add a great hue and flavor to the whole beverage.

Food

When it came to the food, the whole squad slurped up the Bang Bang Chicken and Noodles pretty quickly. The combo of spicy fried chicken and peanut noodles was a favorite for all three.

One of the craziest items on Dave & Buster’s menu is the Buffalo Wing Burger, which comes topped with a couple of chicken tenders drenched in spicy buffalo sauce. It brings the heat, but also provides a huge “flavor punch,” as Ayrouth described it.

Cheo was a fan of the Short Rib & Cheesy Mac Stack, a sandwich that brings the two together in a savory flavor bomb. It makes for a pretty comforting dish that’ll make you happy even if you’re not reeling in the tickets.

Having all of the food at Dave & Buster’s is pretty convenient, since you can grub to prep for your squad’s arcade marathon or vice versa. And no matter how you do in terms of getting tickets, at least there’s good food and good times abound.


Created in partnership with Del Amo Fashion Center

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The ‘Magic Mike Cocktail’ Is Served To You Via Sexy Lap Dance

For those familiar with the Magic Mike movie series, the only magic going on is how Channing Tatum makes his clothes disappear as a male stripper. Sure, Tatum’s abs and assets were what helped Magic Mike become a household name, but it seems that the success and influence has spilled on over to Huntington Beach, CA bar, Pacific Hideaway, too.

At Pacific Hideaway you can find the ‘Magic Mike Cocktail’, which is essentially a drink featuring coconut cream, vodka, orange and pineapple juice, and orange Red Bull. Yet the uniqueness of the cocktail isn’t what’s in it — though it’s a tasty reminder of an Orange Julius — so much as how it’s served to you.

With Ginuwine’s immortal slow jam, “Pony” blaring through bluetooth speakers, a barely dressed bartender serves the drink to you accompanied by a sexy lap dance. The result is a wild scene that will be perfect footage for your Instagram stories. Bodyrolls and booze, it’s the perfect combo to a fun night out, amiright?

This isn’t the first time Pacific Hideaway’s thought out the box when it comes to innovating cocktails, as we previously highlighted their Dazed & Confused cocktail that featured a faux joint to accompany the drink, which was then lit for an aromatic pairing.

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KFC Serves Up Gravy-Based Cocktails To Hop On ‘Stocktails’ Trend of Stock-Based Mixed Drinks

Our friends overseas are just ahead of the culinary curve — like it or not. For example, KFC in Europe is encouraging customers to use its gravy in cocktails.

Building off of the so-called “stocktails” trend of stock-based cocktails, The Colonel and Co. have concocted three cocktail recipes with KFC’s signature gravy: Finger Lickin’ Sour, Gravy Mary, and Southern Twist (recipes below).

This isn’t the first time that gravy and booze have come together willfully. Last holiday season, Wild Turkey promoted their signature “gravyback,” which was their unique take on a pickleback. In their version, you take a shot of their bourbon followed by a shot of turkey gravy straight from a gravy boat.

So, if that sounds appealing to you and if you’re ready to make your own stocktail, go get some KFC gravy and have at it.

 

The Finger Lickin’ Sour

Ingredients:

100ml KFC Gravy

400ml Mezcal

15ml Cherry liqueur

25ml Fresh lemon juice

10ml Orange marmalade

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

One egg white

To garnish: thyme sprig

Method:

Pour the mezcal and the KFC gravy into a tall glass. Cover firmly and shake.

Place the glass into the freezer and freeze for three hours.

Once frozen, pour the gravy-infused mezcal through a strainer and clean cloth into a fresh glass.

Squeeze the lemon into the glass, add the marmalade, salt, pepper and egg white then shake again.

Pour the cocktail mixture into a Martini glass and sprinkle with thyme to finish

 

The Gravy Mary 

Ingredients:

50ml Vodka

20ml KFC gravy

Spice mix: 20ml Worcester sauce, three drops Tabasco, three grinds white pepper, pinch of celery salt, pinch of paprika, half teaspoon horseradish cream

15ml Fresh lemon juice

90ml Tomato juice

To garnish: celery, Popcorn Chicken

Method:

To create the spice mix pour Tabasco sauce, Worcester sauce, white pepper, celery salt, paprika and horseradish cream into a tall glass. Cover firmly and shake.

Add vodka to the spice mix and pour in the lemon juice, tomato juice and mix again.

Add in KFC gravy into the mix, stir all of the ingredients together and pour into a fresh highball glass.

Finish with celery and a small skewer of popcorn chicken.

 

The Southern Twist 

Ingredients:

50ml Kentucky Bourbon

60ml Fresh hot KFC gravy

Two grinds black pepper

Two teaspoons granulated brown sugar

Four teaspoons dried parsley

To garnish: parsley and brown sugar rim

Method:

Chop the parsley and mix with the brown sugar in a bowl.

Cut the lemon and coat the rim of the glass with it.

Dip the rim of the glass into the chopped parsley and brown sugar mixture

Add ice cubes and Kentucky Bourbon to your rocks glass.

Finally pour KFC gravy into the glass then give it a mix.

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These Cocktail-Inspired Gummy Bears Are The Perfect Gift For The Holidays

We all know there’s no shortage of candy during the holiday season. This year, as the store shelves become packed with candy canes and popcorn tins, find something sweet to take you away from the repetitive holiday season routine.

While there will always be room for tradition, Project 7 has created some must-have holiday treats that are perfect for gifting — or just keeping to yourself.

Project 7 has introduced a brand new line of non-alcoholic, cocktail-inspired gummy bears featuring flavors like Old Fashioned, champagne and Moscow Mule. But just because these one-of-a-kind gummies are non-alcoholic, doesn’t mean they won’t get a party started.

Just think, these craft cocktail inspired gummies will surely be a hit at the company work party, or as a gift for the boss that’s the total opposite of NSFW.

It gets even better – these gummies are made with organic sweeteners, they’re non-GMO, and contain no artificial flavors colors OR preservatives.

So, if you’re still trying to pick out the perfect gift, or just need some legit stocking stuffers for the family, get your Project 7 gourmet gummy bear fix at any Target store.

Don’t wait, though – these treats are only available during the holiday season, so when they’re gone, they’re gone! You can find them in the holiday section at your local Target, or on Target.com.

Photos by Pete Pham


Created in partnership with Project 7

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Sip On These 5 Best Canned Cocktails Out Right Now

Whether they’re at a barbecue or tailgating before the game, craft cocktail lovers often have a difficult decision to make: What to drink when coupes and Collins glasses aren’t handy?

Sure, Solo cups of Jungle Juice or other mysterious concoctions can be fun but what about when you want to take it easy? Enter canned cocktails! These spirited refreshments are portable versions of some of the most classic cocktails.

John Daly’s Grip It & Sip It

There has long been a debate about whether the delicious combination of iced teaand lemonade is called an Arnold Palmer or a Half & Half. What has never been debated though, is that when you add vodka to that or you use an iced tea-flavored vodka instead of the real thing, its called a John Daly. So it only makes sense that the legendary golfer, known for good times on and off the golf course, is now getting into the spirits business with both a canned Hard Tea and a canned Half & Half.  Made with real black tea and premium ingredients, the cocktail line’s name comes from Daly’s “grip it and rip it” attitude. We just like saying “grip it.”

Half-Seas Sparkling Cocktails

Bitters are the staple of many great craft cocktails these days. So, who better than Scrappy’s Bitters, founded by bartender Miles Thomas, to introduce a line of on-the-go carbonated canned cocktails? The Seattle-based company launched with three cocktails to start: a Bramble which includes dry London gin, berries, and citrus; a Daiquiri with rum, water, lime, and sugar; and a Paloma featuring tequila and grapefruit soda. All are made with real spirits and are carbonated for that extra kick. The name “Half-Seas” is inspired by an old sailor term, “half–seas over,” which is a fancy way of saying “fairly drunk.” Sounds like a great way to feel to us.

Bad Larry’s Cold Hard Coffee

If you love booze and caffeine, then this one is for you. Also, you’re our kind of people. This is said to be the first-ever boozy cold brew. Similar to the craft brewing process, each batch is made with locally-sourced cold-brew coffee from Wisconsin-based Blackeye Roasting Co., steeped for more than 16 hours and infused with nitrogen. The result is a nifty alternative to a vodka- Red Bull. Just don’t drink it before work, unless that’s just how you roll.

Owl’s Brew Radler

If you’re not a coffee fan or just prefer tea — particularly with your beer — then these are for you. Radlers are available in four flavors: That’s My Jam (an amber ale brewed with darjeeling tea), The Blondie (a wheat beer with brewed black tea), Short and Stout (a chocolate stout with Masala chai), and Wicked Watermelon (a wheat beer and brewed white tea). So how exactly did Jennie and Maria, the masterminds behind the brand, create these? First, they brewed the beer while separately brewing organic tea and botanicals. They blend the two together with a splash of juice to lighten the the flavor and there you have it!

Salt Point

Moscow Mule is a tried and true classic, but with the recent concerns about the potential poisoning from copper mugs, what’s a health-conscious drinker supposed to do? This Northern California-based company has the answer. Inspired by life on the Pacific Coast, this drink is a tasteful blend of spicy ginger, lime, and American vodka that tastes like just like it was served in a “deadly” mug. Also, how can you beat this logo?

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Experience Drinking With Celebrities Via New “Drinky Fun Time” Podcast

Anthony Bourdain drinks his single malt scotch — Balvenie DoubleWood of course — with one ice cube or neat. If you’ve ever wondered what other celebs, like director Guillermo Del Toro, Walton Goggins and Aisha Tyler, like to drink and you don’t hang out at trendy hot spots in NYC or LA, “Drinky Fun Time” aims to answer that question.

Feral Audio’s new drinks podcast is hosted by wine and spirits expert Dan Dunn and entertainment journalist Emma Patterson and recorded in bars, distilleries, and other places where you can get an adult beverage (not a bad gig if you can get it). The weekly podcast will explore the imbibing preferences and rituals of Hollywood’s A-list.

“After so many years writing about drinking, it occurred to me that talking about drinking might be fun too… and far less likely to cause carpal tunnel,” says Dunn. “Drinky Fun Time is the culmination of a life spent perched on barstools, studying booze, dreaming about booze, drinking booze and dropping the names of famous people I know. Oh, and did I mention my buddy Kurt Russell will be a guest on the show?”

Episode one features “Rick & Morty” co-creator Dan Harmon and singer Halsey. Other upcoming guests include actress Allison Janney (“Mom”), Walton Goggins and chef Curtis Stone, among others.