When you’re at the mall looking for a quick snack, like a churro, you probably walk up to the counter, make an order, and take off as soon as you have your on-the-go treat. Doing this at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Southern California, however, means you’re missing out on something truly special.
Churro Buzz, one of the mall’s newest food stalls, is home to a 60-year-old recipe and one of the tastiest churros you can find in SoCal. There’s also more unique items, like “churro boats” filled with various toppings and even churro ice cream sandwiches.
But it’s so much more than the crispy, chewy fried dough at this spot. That’s because it’s also the newest chapter in the incredible life stories of the people that put a ton of TLC into your treat.
Tany Rodriguez is the man who ensures that every churro comes out perfect, and his story is just as incredible as the flavor of one of his handmade treats. He’s been an integral part of the Churro Buzz story long before it arrived at Del Amo. Rodriguez has been handling the churro duties since 1991, when he started work at the popular Pier Bakery in nearby Redondo Beach. Prior to that, he was a homeless immigrant from Mexico, but has been all smiles and dancing ever since he managed to get the job.
In his time at the bakery and at Churro Buzz, Rodriguez has made over 5 million churros, each one just as golden, crispy, and tasty as the rest. You can see his passion for the treats go into every single order, whether it be on the beach or at the Del Amo Fashion Center.
Another incredible life story behind Churro Buzz comes from the owners, Jay and Parin Demel. The children of Sri Lankan immigrants, they bought the original business from a Mexican woman, allowing her to retire after years of running the stand. With the bakery came the long-standing churro recipe that Parin had fell in love with upon her first bite. Since then, the recipe hasn’t changed, and the bakery has long become a fixture of Redondo Beach. The Demels and Rodriguez hope that Churro Buzz can develop a similar legacy at Del Amo.
The backgrounds of the Demels and Rodriguez, and the tale of Churro Buzz, represent so much more than just another churro stand. As Foodbeast’s latest episode of Taste the Details reveals, it’s all about believing in and achieving the American Dream. To get the complete story and understand why, watch the full episode above.
Created in partnership with Del Amo Fashion Center
The current ice cream social media game is flooded with photos of cones topped with cotton candy, swirled with a spectrum of colors, or utilizing some other kaleidoscopic visuals. However, there’s a SoCal chain called Honeymee that’s making their ice cream visually pop without the need for as much color, and it’s thanks to a special ingredient: organic raw honeycomb.
Honeycomb’s naturally perfect geometry and bright yellow hue make it contrast gorgeously with bright white ice cream. At Honeymee, you can find the honeycomb served as a unique and tasty garnish on a handful of their signature desserts, like colored waffle cones filled with ice cream or the “Honeymee,” a cup of true milk ice cream topped with a honey drizzle and a square of honeycomb.
For those who’ve never tried it before, honeycomb has more body and depth compared to just honey on its own because of its unique texture. This is where the honey is normally stored in in beehives, so it gets a concentration of the floral notes from all of the nectar gathered as well.
Honeymee’s simplistic but flavorsome menu has paid off. Even though they may not have the bright colors of some local ice cream rivals, the chain’s approach has made them explode in the past four years.
It’s not just about the honeycomb, which proves that you can make a visually stunning dessert without needing to use the entire rainbow. The rest of the menu has a focus on simple, pure ingredients that deliver big on flavor while retaining a perceptible charm. From the “true milk ice cream” to the drizzles of real honey and fresh-baked waffles, Honeymee’s approach is all about simplicity at its best, and it shows.
You can get the fragrant, sweet honeycomb at all of Honeymee’s locations, including the one at the Del Amo Fashion Center.
Created in partnership with Del Amo Fashion Center
As a tribute to Independence Day, the director celebrates July 4th in what he feels is the most “AMERICA way possible” — combining food and fireworks.
Watch as traditional 4th of July picnic foods like hot dogs, watermelon, and Jell-O explode to the National Anthem.
Ma told Foodbeast:
“This was a personal project and ode to my favorite 4th of July foods with fireworks I was never allowed to play with as a kid.”
The director revealed that the foods chosen were not only iconic to Independence Day picnics, but items that would also yield to beautiful explosions in slow motion.
“I had a small but brilliant team who made all this happen. Brett Long was our food stylist who worked in tandem with Mike Quattrocchi (our fireworks technician) to attach M80 and mortar fireworks to watermelons, potato salad, Jell-O molds and hot dogs for precision in our blasts. For the set decoration and propping, Chuck Willis and Melissa Stammer brought to life my vision for the tabletops, which was a kitschy Americana ’80s feel.”
Remember kids, DO NOT try this at home. As this behind-the-scenes pic shows, the explosions were very real.
If you close your eyes and take a bite of a warm pie, a nostalgic feeling can reverberate through your body. Well, this baker can give you that same nostalgic feeling, but through the visual appeal alone of her stunning custom pies.
Pies are known as for having flaky, doughy flat tops, but clark-Bojin does not limit herself to those specifications. Not only does she draw pop culture characters on the pie surfaces, she also brings the baked goods to life with 3D, in-your-face, sculpture-like pies.
If you have a stash of Hershey’s kisses in your bedside table or do thorough research on which dark chocolate is best for your heart, then you probably consider yourself a chocolate aficionado – or, at least, a super fan. But how much do you really know about the melt-in-your mouth candy we all adore or the ancient bean from whence it came? We’re about to find out. Here are 15 things you probably didn’t know about chocolate.
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Milk and dark chocolate come from the cacao bean, which grows on the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), an evergreen from the family Malvaceae (other members of the family include okra and cotton). This makes the most important part of the sweet treat a veggie. Eating your daily vegetables just got a whole lot easier.
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Sorry, white chocolate lovers. Since this extra-sweet variety doesn’t contain cocoa solids or chocolate liquor, it isn’t chocolate in the strict sense. However, it does contain parts of the cacao bean — mainly cocoa butter — so that counts a little bit.
The cacao bean is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Archeologists say the ancient inhabitants of these areas started cultivating the bean as far back as 1900 BCE and that the valuable bean was used as currency in the Aztec society. Cacao beans would be traded for luxury items like jade and ceremonial feathers, or everyday items such as food and clothes.
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Despite its Central American roots, nowadays most cacao (nearly 70% of the world’s supply) comes from Africa. The Ivory Coast is the largest single producer, providing about 30 percent of all the world’s cacao.
The French leader demanded that chocolate be made available to him and his senior advisers even during intense military campaigns. He was famously known to choose chocolate over coffee when he worked late at night, often enjoying the sweet until 2 or 3 a.m.
Milk chocolate was invented almost 4,000 years after chocolate was first cultivated
The Mayans and Aztecs were enjoying the bitter cacao bean long before the dawn of modern society, but that “chocolate” is nothing like a Hershey bar you’d go pick up at the store. The most popular chocolate in the modern world (although its darker counterpart has become extremely trendy recently) is milk chocolate – however, this wasn’t invented until 3,600 years after ancient civilizations started enjoying cacao.
Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter created the tasty treat in 1875 after eight years of trying to make his recipe work. Condensed milk ended up being the key ingredient he was missing.
The invention of the first chocolate bar started a manufacturing empire
In 1847, British chocolate maker Joseph Fry found a way to mix the ingredients of cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa to manufacture a paste that could then be molded into a chocolate bar unlike anything the world had seen before. Demand was immediately high, and the Fry Chocolate Factory in Bristol, England began pumping out the bars. In the following decades, over 220 innovative chocolate products were introduced to the masses, including production of the first chocolate Easter egg in UK in 1873 and the Fry’s Turkish Delight (or Fry’s Turkish bar) in 1914. In 1896, the firm became a registered private company and was run by the Fry family, with Joseph Storrs Fry II, grandson of the first Joseph Storrs Fry, as Chairman.
Hot chocolate was the first chocolate treat
But, to be fair, it wasn’t quite the frothy, delicious drink we know today. The OG hot chocolate was an Aztec invention called xocolatl, which means “bitter water.” The drink was made with cacao beans, vanilla, and chili peppers and was thought to help battle fatigue. When Columbus and his men brought cacao beans back to Europe, sugar was then added to the drink, helping it to become popular throughout modern society. Now we get to watch first hand as YouTuber wilmo55 shows us a behind-the-scenes look at how this ancient beverage was prepared centuries ago. We’re not sure how well xocolatl would go over in our AS (After Starbucks) age, but we know that we owe a lot to this ancient drink.
Chocolate inspired the invention of the microwave
The thing that heats up so many of our frozen dinners and takeout leftovers – we owe it all to a little bit of melted chocolate. About 70 years ago, Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer was testing military-grade magnetron (or really intense magnets) when legend has it the heat made the chocolate bar in his pocket melt. Fascinated, Spencer brought popcorn kernels into the office next day and put them by the same heat, creating the first ever batch of microwave popcorn. Thanks to his melted snack, the microwave oven was born. Check out this How Stuff Works video to get the whole history on our favorite appliance.
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It probably sounds impressive that these ancient trees, which have been revered as “gifts from the gods,” can live to be centuries old. Seems fitting, right? Unfortunately, there is an interesting catch. Although these trees can live to be hundreds of years old, they old produce cacao beans for 25 years of that time. Talk about delicious irony.
Chocolate has a special melting point
When modern day chocolatiers were trying to find a way to market candy that wouldn’t melt in the consumer’s pocket, they discovered the trick was to make the melting point right below the human body temperature. Chocolate is the only edible substance to melt between 85-93° F, which is why it melts so easily on your tongue; it has a specially designed “mouthfeel” unlike any substance on earth, somewhere between solid and liquid. Want to learn how to melt chocolate correctly? Then you need this quick video tutorial from Everyday Food to feel like a honest-to-goodness chocolatier.
There’s now a chocolate that can withstand intense temperatures
Food scientists have been laboring for decades to come up with chocolate that won’t melt in the higher temperatures, to accommodate warmer places around the world. In 2012, Cadbury announced that they were developing a technique for formulating a bar that could withstand very high temperatures – up to 104 °F. By grinding the sugar down to a smaller particle size and reducing the fat content, Cadbury’s new chocolate can withstand much higher temperatures without liquefying. The company hopes to introduce the product in Africa and Brazil in the future.
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Granted, there was a lot more that won the war than eating chocolate, but historians credit the chocolate rations Hershey provided to the troops as a source of positive morale and energy. The Hershey Chocolate company was approached in 1937 about creating a specially designed bar just for U.S. Army emergency rations. According to Hershey’s chief chemist Sam Hinkle, the U.S. government had just four requests about their new chocolate bars: they had to weigh 4 ounces, be high in energy, withstand high temperatures and “taste a little better than a boiled potato.” According to some soldiers, the taste of a boiled potato was preferred to these ration bars, but the treat had a knack for picking up the soldier’s energy and spirits.
The cacao bean has this nifty concoction of chemicals in it, a mixture that really sets off the pleasure centers in our brain (which is why we love/crave chocolate constantly). One of the big parts of that mixture is a chemical known as anandamide, which activates dopamine receptors and consequently, makes us happy. The most closely related compound to this chemical is THC, which is the main constituent of cannabis and has a similar effect in the brain.
According to U.S. News, Switzerland is the #1 purchaser of chocolate in the world. The people of Switzerland purchased 18.1 lbs. of chocolate (yes, per person) in 2015 and that number went up to 19.8 in 2016. On the other hand, the U.S. wasn’t in the Top 10 in 2015 and broke in at #9 last year, with Americans buying 9.5 lbs. of chocolate for themselves in 2016. Honestly? We were expecting a lot more.
The low-calorie, high-protein ice cream brand that captured everyone’s heart is finally launching their first scoop shop in Los Angeles.
“Healthy ice cream,” an oxymoron that Halo Top has somehow turned into reality, is the hottest new trend that won’t die down anytime soon. If you don’t believe us, check the numbers. Halo Top is currently the best-selling pint of ice cream, even surpassing ice cream giants like Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs.
With insane popularity like that, it’d be foolish for them to lose momentum at such a pivotal time of their success. So what’s the next step? A brick and mortar in one of the nation’s most health-conscious cities, of course.
Located on the second-floor dining terrace of the Westfield Topanga mall, the shop will be serving their classic pint flavors but will also introduce new soft-serve flavors including chocolate, vanilla bean, strawberry, birthday cake, and peanut butter cup. You can even liven up your ice cream by opting to create your own ice cream sandwiches with their high-protein, vegan cookies, or by adding some fresh fruit toppings.
The scoop shop is set to open on Wednesday, November 15. Die-hard fans who plan to go on opening day will be able to enjoy complimentary soft-serve and ice cream from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sure, we can lay claim to the Cronut (croissant donut) and Milky Bun (ice cream stuffed donut) as some of the craziest desserts to hail from the United States in recent memory. While our country is churning out fantastic and bizarre sweets week after week, our neighbors to the East have also been crushing it for centuries.
Check out some of the most unique desserts enjoyed in Asia that you may not even have heard of.
A classic Thai dessert, Khanom Chan literally translates to “layered dessert.” Similar to Woon Bai Toey (sweet coconut milk and pandan jelly), Khanam Chan boasts a gelatinous taste. Made from pandan leaves, sticky rice flour, and coconut milk, the dish is steamed and stacked together in multiple layers. Nine, a number of prosperity, is usually the amount of layers seen in the dessert.
The process of making Luk Chup is a bit tedious: grinding steamed mung beans into a paste, molding them into the shape of fruit, coloring them, and finally glazing them in gelatin. Still, once you’ve accomplished all those steps, you’re left with a plateful of vibrant desserts that look like candy versions of the real thing, each complete with different layers of flavor and textures originally intended for Thai royalty.
A classic Chinese dessert that can most commonly be found during the Mid-Autumn Festival, Mooncakes are pastries filled with red bean or lotus seed paste. Each mooncake is imprinted with a variety of Chinese characters that stand for either “longevity” or “harmony.” You can also find the name of the bakery inside each cake.
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Also known as Broken Glass Gelatin, this vibrant dessert in the Philippines is made from condensed milk and a variety of colored Jello. Once it’s finished, it resembes “Broken Glass” or the stained windows of a majestic cathedral.
Woon Bai Toey
Made from the aromatic pandan leaf and coconut, Woon Bai Toey is a Thai gelatin dessert that boasts a creamy and nutty flavor with a chewy texture. The dessert typically follows a spicy Thai dish to help refresh the palate. FoodTravelTVEnglish shows you the step-by-step process to create this dessert.
A dessert soup or pudding that’s found in Vietnam, che is made from mung beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, and aloe vera. Che Ba Mau is a variation of the dish that is comprised of three main ingredients as Ba Mau translates to “three colors.” Choice of beans vary as long as the three colors are distinct.
In the Philippines, leche flan is a celebrated dessert that originated as a Spanish dish. Made with condensed milk and egg yolk, the sweet dessert is steamed over an open flame. Unlike the Spanish variation of flan, the one served in the Philippines is much more rich — featuring more egg yolks and sugar.
A deep-fried Korean pastry, Yagkwa is made with wheat flour, honey, and sesame oil. Yagkwa originated as a medicinal cookie that’s soaked in honey. Because of how much honey it contains and being deep fried at low temperatures of 248-284 degrees F, the pastry is both moist and soft when you bite into it. ARIRANG CULTURE did a recipe video for those curious.
Patbingsu, or “red beans shaved ice,” is a Korean dessert made of shaved ice, ice cream, condensed milk, red beans, and fruit. The earliest known variation of the dessert dates back to the year 1392. Today, you can find the cold dessert at most Korean restaurants and dessert spots specializing in the icy treat, adorned with chopped bits of fruit and plenty of syrup.
A type of wagashi (a Japanese confection), higashi is made with rice flour. Featuring intricate designs, the sweet and starchy dessert can typically be found during tea ceremonies. The creation of wagashi desserts came after China began producing sugar and traded it with Japan.
A highly popular dessert that started out in Japan, the Raindrop Cake became immensely popular among social media stateside once it debuted at New York food market Smorgasburg by Chef Darren Wong. Made from water and agar, a vegan sort of gelatin, the cake resembles a giant raindrop. Typically, raindrop cakes are served with a roasted soybean flour and molasses or honey to add flavor.
Known for their fluffiness and distinct jiggle, Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecakes started in Japan over 30 years ago. These cheesecakes are made up of flour, eggs, cream cheese, sugar, baking powder, honey, butter, milk, and a special Australian cheese. The result is a super soft, rich, and flavorful cheesecake that’s got as much moves as a bowl of Jello! Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecakes became so popular that multiple franchises have sprouted all over the world to cater to the popularity of these moist wonders.
Our childhood dreams of having dessert for dinner has come true, thanks to the culinary magicians at Salt & Straw.
From November 1-22, you can experience a full Thanksgiving dinner in the form of decadent ice cream at Salt & Straw’s locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland.
It’s a little mind-boggling to imagine savory dishes (like TURKEY) transformed into a sweet treat, but before you knock it, take a look at the website descriptions of the five new flavors Salt & Straw is offering for the “Thanksgiving Dinner of Ice Cream”.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Maple Pecans
We roast sweet potatoes down and mix them with cream and sugar to make a sweet, spicy, sticky ice cream. Then we mix in Oregon pecans caramelized with maple sugar. And then of course you have to add some marshmallow, so we top it off with hand-churned ribbons of our own delicious homemade gooey maple fluff.
Buttered Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
We’ve made over 600 different flavors of ice cream, and this is hands-down the most savory one we’ve ever served. We make a potato-flavored ice cream, thanks to the real potatoes we boil down until the starch turns to sugar, and then stir in our own homemade gravy fudge made from two mashed-up recipes, pun very much intended. The result is a super-dense, super-creamy ice cream that tastes sweet and salty with hints of chocolate, coffee and yes, baked mashed potato.
Persimmon Walnut Stuffing
Our stuffing course tastes like a warm spice cake, thanks to the chopped-up pieces of homemade toasted stuffing made with walnuts and bourbon raisins we add to a savory spiced ice cream. Why yes that is olive oil, salt, pepper and coriander, how insightful of your taste buds to notice. And for a sweet finish, we add roasted persimmons, made with fruit grown locally at Apricot Farms.
Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie
What makes pumpkin pie so delicious? We think it’s the creaminess of the custardy filling. So we challenged ourselves to figure out how to make this ice cream taste just like that. We start with goat-cheese ice cream, which we sprinkle with pumpkin pie spices, but the generous helping of mashed pumpkin we fold and swirl in really steals the show. If there were ever an ice cream that actually warms your face, this is the one. It’s the perfect end to a Thanksgiving meal of ice cream.
…and the pièce de résistance…
Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkey, but how exactly do we make it into deliciously salty, creamy ice cream? Two ways! We cook turkey stock mixed with sugar, spices and onions down until it bubbles into a caramel, which creates the base of the salted caramel ice cream. And we also roast turkey skin until it’s crispy and then candy-coat it and mix bits of that in, too. So you could almost call this Double Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey.
Sounds irresistible now, doesn’t it?
Don’t fret if you don’t live near a Salt & Straw, as you’re able to order all the pints your heart desires and have them delivered in time for the holidays. It’ll be like having Thanksgiving dinner twice with just one food coma!