The Halal Guys grew their legend slanging delicious meal platters built for easy consumption on the go. Piles of chicken and gyro meat, falafel, rice, dabs of red sauce, waterfalls of white sauce — all are part of the delicious hype. The popularity of this cart-turned restaurant chain cannot go unnoticed, and their latest menu addition proves their prominence on the list of Top 10 Fast Food Game Changers for 2019 (link: restaurant game changers).
Keeping in their habit of serving iconic street food, The Halal Guys have confirmed that they will now be serving burritos filled with their beloved rice platter ingredients. Additionally, they’ve unveiled a new, creamy, luscious cheese sauce that’s blended with their famous white sauce. It’s a big move for the chain, but they’ve shown in the past how nimble their model can be with new offerings that continuously capitalize on trends or simply recognize the tastes and wants of their customers.
We got our hands on these new burritos and instinctively ordered an extra side of that new sauce because we had to experience its velvety high. Dunking this burrito all up in it? It would be criminal not to. All of your favorite choices, whether it be chicken, gyro meat or falafel, can be stuffed into this burrito, so trust the platter essence remains true regardless of the vessel.
Feeling a little more hungry than usual? The Halal Guys has verified the ability to order the burrito as secret menu item that’s double the size — and it’s all thanks to the viral creator of “The Blake Diet,” Blake Horton AKA @blake_201 on Instagram. Horton is known for creating and eating massive meals, with portions built for competitive eaters, rather than any normal human, to promote the intermittent fasting diet. The Halal Guys contacted him for the release of their new burrito, which now birthed a version that’s, as Horton put it, “Twice the size, twice the nutrients, twice the gains.” Pretty much think of it as two burritos in one.
So if you’re up to the task of taking down one of these behemoths, make sure to request your burrito be “Blake-sized” and The Halal Guys will serve you up a meal that would make Blake himself nod in approval.
I’m a 29-year-old co-founder of Foodbeast, a website and media company whose content is seen by over a billion people a year. Our articles are read on Foodbeast.com and our videos are viewed on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We have some premiere food and travel shows in our network now. My work day consists of answering emails, thinking of content ideas, client relations and growing our audience.
I started Foodbeast close to 10 years ago as a blog. It was a time prior to Facebook’s newsfeed, before Instagram was a seed in Kevin Systrom’s entrepreneurial ballsack — in short, social media as we know it did not exist.
I was still in college at the time and had a passion for writing and telling stories in any medium I could. Whether I was blogging about my friend attempting to eat 30 Sloppy Joes in one sitting inside a school cafeteria, the new burgers at Carl’s Jr., or using a MiniDV cam to film myself burning the roof of my mouth on hot pot the first time — I just wanted to tell stories I cared about.
I wanted to discuss food sans all the pretentiousness, because the proposition of Food Network being the sole voice for food was starting to feel stale to me. Fast forward 10 years later, Foodbeast is a humble company of creators, social media managers, ad sales, writers and video producers that continue to live out that vision. To say we owe a LOT to social media would be an understatement. Before Facebook and YouTube, our monthly audience maxed out at 2 million people a month. That’s a LOT of people, don’t get me wrong, but when technology and hackers like Mark Zuckerberg, and the bros behind YouTube gave us some bigger microphones to tell our stories through, our audience ballooned. For a self-funded, entirely private company like Foodbeast, social media gave us an opportunity and voice we likely wouldn’t have had without it.
That said, I just deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat from my phone. Any social application that gives me access to a seemingly unlimited amount of people, I’ve removed. Only 1-on-1 conversations. Text and phone is cool. No “social validations” for a while. No quick social media dopamine hits to vacantly boost my mood when people like or view my “content.” No addictive social validation loop. Gone:
I didn’t run this decision by my business partners, my family — I didn’t want to make a symbolic gesture by announcing “going dark” on all my social feeds by uploading some dumb all black photo. I’m obviously not looking to advocate for the eradication of the amazing tool that social media is — my business wouldn’t have succeeded without it. With social media I have the ability to, within seconds, speak to anyone on fucking planet Earth. It’s an amazing tool, I want to use it, but I no longer feel like I have any control over it.
Fuck, I literally just switched tabs while writing this — entirely muscle memory — to check Facebook. The above is literally a screenshot, in real time, of me stopping the task at hand and going to Facebook. Good thing I’ve logged out of all of it. But seriously, I just hot-keyed my keyboard to spawn up a new tab and began typing ‘F-A….’
This morning, on our bi-weekly Katchup podcast I do with my co-founder Geoff Kutnick, the topic was the Most Important Food Instagrammers of 2018. I had been planning to discuss my research, interviews and surveys I’d accumulated over the past couple weeks. Who’s the most important? Who takes the best photos? Who has the best engagement? My goal was to finish the article before the podcast went live. I didn’t. I must have been too busy to finish… hm.
If you listen to the podcast, you’ll notice that I nearly crack and lose it towards the end as I describe Facebook “not giving a fuck about you.” The one bit of my research that stuck with me so profusely happened to come from a random YouTube video featuring ex-Facebook execs talking about social media.
The following video reveals both Sean Parker (ex-President of Facebook) and Chamath Palihapitiya (former Facebook exec and current Golden State Warriors co-owner) having immense regret for growing the Facebook platform.
“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Palihapitiya said in front of students at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Alright Chamath, you sound CRAZY, dawg. Easy to sit on your billions and say you don’t “do” social media now. But…
…then something clicked for me.
I know these tools inside and out: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They’re crucial and give us a wealth of power and communication. But who’s really in charge? I hate to call social media a drug, in fear of sounding like my mom circa the grade school years telling me my hours of Nintendo were turning my brain to mush, but fuck dude, I can’t take a shit without passively scrolling Instagram. I’d more rather have my phone on the toilet than toilet paper — at least I have my phone to look up alternatives to wiping my ass when the TP is depleted.
I can’t even go to the gym without checking Twitter for that fire Lavar Ball Tweet. I reward every task on my work ‘to-do’ list with a quick “hit” of social media. H ow come no one has checked me into fucking rehab yet?!
A study in 2016 (yeah, it’s two years old but it’s the first study that came up in Google, sue me) says the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day. Bruh. That’s a TYPICAL person. And that’s an OLD study.
Psychological and mental health aside of living within the walls of a digital world for a majority of your day, the physicality of my neck crane-ing over 5+ cumulative hours a day actively using my phone while I wait for people to like my Instagram photo is fastidiously putting a herniated disc into my neck. Truly, my neck hasn’t stopped hurting for the past couple years.
Bruh, it hasn’t been but a couple hours, but speak of the devil:
I’ve found I haven’t been able to write like I used to. I’ll get 400 words in and my mind will find some unexplainable reason that I must check Instagram. An hour of scrolling later, I forgot what I was writing about, have jumped to Facebook, ignored my girlfriend’s texts and cracked my neck three times since there’s no “healthy” way for you to posture looking at a 4 inch screen on a couch.
I haven’t published a memorable article on Foodbeast in the past year or so. It took me “weeks” to get 80% done on three different articles, tens more in drafts. I even went on a “spiritual food journey” during a recent trip to Seattle and left my phone in my room for 24 hours. I documented every food I ate and person I encountered in a journal. A spiral-bound book of blank paper and a pen that ejaculates ink is what people used to use to document memories. It was brilliant day. It was eye opening. I felt like Bourdain on his third book. On the 25th hour when I sat down to write about my day sans-phone, I got two sentences in to my recollection, got distracted by a glowing notification on Instagram and never looked back at that draft.
It’s been five months since then.
It’s February 1st now. I’ll use social media again in March. I won’t be able to tell if people are “commenting” on this story, or the subsequent journal entries I’ll produce this month, but you can email me what you think.
I’d love to hear if I’m crazy. Will my food taste better now? Will my mind change? Does your neck hurt, too? Do you get anxiety about taking shits without your phone? Who will I share my food photos with? Have you ever lost your iPhone for a few hours and felt like you were completely void of meaning and direction in your day? E-mail me. Don’t Tweet me, don’t DM me on Instagram. I can’t see your messages on Facebook — but I can see your e-mails. My email is: email@example.com
My Managing Editor didn’t proof this story. There may be typos. Like I said, I haven’t written in a long, long time. I’ve decided not to wait until March to journal my story, ’cause when I pick up the pipe again, I may just forget what the fuck it is I wanted to say.
Now you see why this is weird for me to write. I’ll see you tomorrow with more.
[UPDATE: YouTube has finally come down on Logan Paul, removing him from Google Preferred, which is the video platform’s primary advertising tool. They’ve also put a hold on some of Paul’s upcoming YouTube Red projects. He is still profiting off AdSense, and has not been banned, like some of the food channels mentioned in the story below. The banning issues with L.A. Beast and Wreckless Eating have also yet to be resolved. ]
YouTube has been under a microscope since letting daily vlogger Logan Paul post a video showing a dead body, and even promoting it on its homepage. They’ve been called out by popular YouTubers, saying Paul should have been banned in accordance to YouTube’s guidelines, and while Paul is taking a hiatus, it was not a break imposed by YouTube.
Fast forward a few days later, and fellow YouTuber Kevin Strahle AKA L.A. Beast received a three month livestream ban after eating a dead cockroach on video.
L.A. Beast is known for his iron stomach, once taking down 13 ghost chilies in one sitting, and even eating a live cockroach back in 2013. While gross, this is kind of his thing.
Sure, that might have toed the line of YouTube’s posting guidelines, but now the video Website is being questioned for Strahle’s ban, while Logan Paul got off scot-free.
YouTube channel Wreckless Eating came to Strahle’s defense, calling out YouTube, saying:
“So @youtube promoted the showing of a suicide on their trending page with no punishment to @LoganPaul but banned @KevLAbeast from live streaming for 3 months because he ate a dead cockroach. This is really the current state of youtube. Any response @TeamYouTube?”
Wreckless Eating itself said it has suffered from a YouTube ban, as their AdSense has been under review, and they have completely stopped monetizing on ALL their videos. Over the years, they’ve accumulated thousands of videos, and they are currently not getting a dime for them. The foodie channel did not receive any reasoning for the ban, and has been iced by YouTube for over 20 days now.
Day 23 of having @AdSense sitting in review while we make zero income after being a partner for 6 years. Continue to be ignored by @YouTube/@TeamYouTube/@YTCreators. I await the corporate response telling us to be patient and wait.
This has led to a scary discussion that asks if food channels are being phased out of YouTube. Popular food YouTuber Daym Drops spoke on this, explaining his belief that YouTube has been making changes that helps some channels, and hurts others, and it seems that it is hurting a lot of foodies, in particular, fast food reviewers.
Elie Ayrouth, founder of Foodbeast.com, believes that YouTube has changed, and does favor some channels such as Logan Paul, but feels it is because the content connects with a new generation of viewers that is driving the platform, adding:
“There are some food channels that are doing a great job. First We Feast is doing a great job— there’s celebrity in there, and any age is going to care about celebrities. YouTube should have more food programming, and they’re not giving us good enough advice on what is working. People like Daym Drops and Wreckless Eating feel like they’re on an island, and they don’t know what to create anymore for YouTube, so they have to jump ship to other platforms. YouTube could use better education about food programming, because food is a great catalyst to make a lot of money. It’s a rising tide. Look what’s happening to Facebook— food videos really brought up the platform and created brands like Tasty and Blossom.”
YouTube still has not taken action on the Logan Paul situation, making it hard to form a clear cut picture of what is going on with the video platform, but it is becoming more and more apparent that some favoritism might be at play, and from food channels to daily vloggers voicing their displeasure, it is shaking the company to its core.
The legalization of marijuana in Denver has only bolstered an already eclectic social scene. In addition to their bustling craft breweries, there is now a host of legal dispensaries ready to serve you marijuana you can smoke, eat and even drink. Of course, one of the most glorious parts about a legal dose of marijuana is the damn near criminal level of munchies that immediately takeover your night.
In the latest episode of All Nighter, a new web series that chases me around different cities in the wee hours of the morning, I hop right off the plane, smoke a legal blunt with a bunch of strangers, and embark on the nastiest, sloppiest, most delicious and inebriated food journey I could pack into one night.
The fine reporters at BroBible have already broken down the episode’s hot eateries, while a journalist at The Kind has dug into the episode’s exploration of craft brewers vs. craft marijuana dispensaries. I also use a marijuana friend-finder app which helped me find people to indulge with, drive me around in a limo, and was able to order a pizza straight to the limo.
I love Taco Bell. I love Lasagna. What could go wrong?
In true inspiration-just-struck-fuck-everything-else-at-work-time-to-go-home fashion, I packed my bag, said bye to my co-workers, and drove home early, eager to get to work on this recipe.
With the speakerphone blaring, I remember breaking down the dinner plans for my roommate Matt:
“Matt, I’m on the way home. Taco Bell, we’re doing it in Lasagna form.”
By the time I pulled up to our house, Matt was already waiting on the front porch, amped as fuck, outfitted in his finest stretchy pants. The look in his eye revealed that he was indeed put on planet Earth to co-pilot the ship about to land on planet TACO BELL FUCKIN’ LASAGNA.
The duration of our 3 minute drive to Taco Bell consisted of lasagna architecture ramblings and Live Más puns. “We need a layer of Cheesy Roll-ups!” and then “an entire layer of just their ground beef and cheese.” Everything needs to be separated by ACTUAL lasagna noodles, for visuals and taste, of course.
Upon arrival we ordered $80 worth of product, some 20 sides of ground beef (that’s how they sell them, sides…apparently not everyone builds their own Taco Bell Lasagna…), 20 sides of refried beans, 20 of the Cheesy Roll Ups and 8 various burritos that didn’t have vegetables in them (gross once baked).
Then we went to town:
The only ingredients we didn’t get from Taco Bell were over-sized tortillas for the base of the lasagna pan and the lasagna noodles themselves. Both are super easy to acquire at the supermarket, and really bring the entire thing together.
Every last bite was magical. The sour cream, the layers of cheese, Taco Bell sauce, ground beef, refried beans, tortillas, more cheese…I. Feel. Like. A. Basic. Bitch. But. I. Just. CAN. NOT. EVEN.
If you recreate this for your next party, make sure to tag #foodbeast so we can see how they come out!
Ain’t no one ever upset at some good old Panda Express Orange Chicken, but sometimes, I just want Chinese food in burrito form and no one seems to be fulfilling my need. Panda Express, please e-mail me!
Luckily, making a Panda Express Orange Chicken Burrito is easy AF. Me and my buddy Matt grabbed an Orange Chicken combo, fried rice, chow mein, veggies on the side, and doubled up on the meat. We made a sauce by mixing up some fresh ginger, soy and sriracha, and drizzled it all over. Sweet and Sour sauce was also a nice touch.
Once the burrito is assembled, we gave it a quick browning session in the skillet with some peanut oil. Game. ON: