Categories
Culture Food Fashion What's New

Cheetos And Forever 21 Unleash A Flamin’ Hot Clothing Collection

Photos: Pete Pham

Cheetos, the cheesy snack with a cult following and fast fashion powerhouse, Forever 21, have linked up to release a seasonal collection of clothes that scream summertime hijinks. Stay on trend and on fuego with the fits with a capsule collection that celebrates the fun of Cheetos, minus the orange-dusted fingertips.

Launching today, June 6th, the limited-edition collection will consist of flamin’ hot gear the likes of graphic tees, shorts, swimsuits, crop tops, socks and slides. Comprised of women’s and men’s styles, the collection will be available online and at Forever 21 stores nationwide and will retail from $5 to $30. Check out the pics below for a glimpse into what’s in store for Cheetos fans.

Categories
#foodbeast Culture Features FOODBEAST Opinion

Love It Or Hate It, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Foods Are Here To Stay

“I think there’s a great discussion to be had here. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos seem to be everywhere right now and we’re covering a lot of it. It’s definitely worth a look into and would make for a great story.”

As I sat there taking in Foodbeast’s Publisher, Elie Ayrouth’s thoughts on the prevalence of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in menu items these days, my immediate reaction was to recoil in disgust and gas face the thought of it into oblivion.

“And Reach, I think you would be great to take lead on this story. Curious to know your take on it!”

Terrific. Mental note: Next time let the disgust show on my face from the jump.

My initial thought on this assignment was to wonder incredulously how Elie could have missed my vehement and dismissive takes on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos being cliched and washed. Maybe the volume of my griping wasn’t loud enough. I mean, really, weren’t people tired of restaurants just throwing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on seemingly every menu item these days? The move has clearly jumped the shark, zooming past the trend that it was touted as a few years ago, right into the cheap gimmick it is now. At least in my eyes. It’s the Pitbull and Flo Rida collab of the food world.

flamin' hot mac & cheese cone

But the more I stewed, the more I gained a curiosity for how this red scourge on my timeline and Instagram feed was such a hit. Beyond my own thoughts on the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto movement, it’s fair to ask, has it really crossed into mainstay territory? And if so, why? Are burritos now meant to be a canvas for it? Does every food item have to be topped with its signature radioactive red? Or are chefs and restaurateurs just mailing it in for a quick buck?

“It’s been around forever but only now are people really giving a shit,” offered celebrity chef and YouTube personality, Josh Elkin. “You should talk about the fact that, when using them with making food items, the “Hot Cheetos” flavor rarely sticks around and therefore, is just used as color and hypebeast-ness.” The term “hypebeast” refers to trendy and overzealous consumers of streetwear, usually in derision, to emphasize that their only interest in the product is due to the hype and cool factor surrounding it. Then perhaps Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are the Supreme collaboration of the food world.

“Think of it like this: If you sell dope pizza, and want to try a one off to gain attention, why not make that awesome pizza a Hot Cheetos version? Might be a great way to get people into your business.” Elkin had a point. For establishments looking to drum up attention, playing upon the massive draw of anything Flamin’ Hot Cheetos related can be the difference between a surefire hit and a mundane — at least on the surface — menu item launch. But is deferring to gimmicks and campiness really the answer?

Aaron Caddel, owner of the popular Mr. Holmes Bakehouse franchise, had a stern yet thoughtful take that touched on how Flamin’ Hot Cheetos items are affecting the restaurant industry as a whole. “I really think this points to a larger problem that is destabilizing pride in blue collar work and weakening the food industry as a whole. Countless folks who have dedicated their lives to this craft of executing phenomenal and innovative dishes — from street food to fine dining — are getting clobbered by companies that have identified [Flamin’] Hot Cheetos as the quickest way to exploit their customer, regardless of the innovative substance or execution of the dish. We’re seeing people line up for canned nacho cheese on top of their frozen Sysco French fries; throw some [Flamin’ Hot] Cheetos onto it and the masses flock. As a business owner, I’ve been tremendously lucky to have a customer base that has not pressured us into caving to banality, but I recognize that many of my extremely talented chef friends are awestruck by the growing trend of dull-mindedness in the American consumer.”

Such a take does spark a longer conversation that can address how this trend may affect minimum wage jobs, can mute the value within culinary ingenuity, and perhaps dumb down the thought process when folks decide on what to consume.

Thomas Pham of Slique Media, a food marketing agency that has clients the likes of the beloved Halal Guys, offered a more democratic take, playing both sides of the polarizing topic. “Sure, people like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos too much. I think when hearing about it, it’s cliche. However if I saw it on a menu, I’d consider ordering it pending the type of eatery I’m in. Would I use it as a gimmick or selling point for my personal establishment, probably not. But I may recommend it to a restaurant to have as an offering if it tastes great. I think there’s still a lot of people that would be willing to try it, especially with the hype surrounding it.”

And that very hype is what’s been a boon for businesses like Fatima’s Grill, a restaurant in Downey, California, where the feature of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in menu items like their Quesarito, has helped them go viral. Owner Ali Elreda gushed, “I feel it’s great, a turn around.” When I asked if he thinks the trend is now a norm, he responded, “It’s a stamp! It’s unique! And it’s not going anywhere! It brings back childhood cravings.”

Bingo. Nostalgia.

Thinking about such childhood cravings mentioned by Elreda, I’m transported back to carefree high school days, where a proper snack consisted of a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and a bottle of Surge to get us through classes. It’s the comfort of nostalgia that drives so much appeal to trends and what makes retro anything a hot commodity. Often the chase of cool is a roundabout trip that finds ourselves at full circle. Sure everyone is doing anything and everything for the ‘Gram these days, and the blushing glow radiated by any Flamin’ Hot Cheeto-based item is enough to pique almost any foodie’s interest, but what’s navigating the trend into mainstay waters is the millennial consumers’ comfort in fond memories of the puffed snack. Their purchasing power would also attest to the normalcy of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on menus these days, and the overall demand is the navigator here.

Perhaps the birth of this trend owes its existence to the ingenuity of The Attic on Broadway in Long Beach, California, where owner Steve Massis decided to top their mac and cheese with a healthy dusting of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos way back in 2012, a good four years before outlets had deemed the crimson crunch to be a burgeoning trend.

“I think food trends, where we’ve been in the last few years, are a lot of fun,” shared Massis. “People have been having a lot of fun with food and trying new things outside of the box. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Don’t ruin it. That’s what we get worried with, somebody going somewhere and trying something with Hot Cheetos on there and be like ‘Ah, this is disgusting’.  Otherwise, I can’t see it hurting the business, unless people are coming there and your product isn’t good, but if you’re bringing people in the door by having fun with your food, then go for it!”

 

The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos scenario that we’re at now is six years removed from the virality of The Attic on Broadway’s first foray into the incorporation of it on a menu item, two years past the initial crowning of trend status, and seemingly made a home in the realm of normalcy within menus now. Considering such sustained fervor and relevance, it’s safe to say that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are here to stay — in your burritos, on your pizzas, and incorporated in pretty much every other food item willing to snag some Instagram love. My feelings be damned.

Chalk it up now as a no frills addition to the host of toppings and ingredients we can church up our favorite dishes with.

Though the topic is still as polarizing as ever, the decision to deem the use of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in restaurant dishes as a menu staple has already been decided by the multitude of consumers licking their fingertips clean of the undoubtedly comforting and gaudy snack.

Categories
Packaged Food Restaurants Video What's New

This Taco Joint Makes Their Tortillas Using FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS

You know how the radio bumps the same big hit every 30 minutes? That’s how I feel about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos food right now. All I’m seeing on my social feeds is restaurants looking to score some viral Internet points by piling the ever-popular extrudates on whatever they sell — pizza, burgers, burritos, you name it.

But there’s so much more potential to work with when it comes to Richard Montanez’s brainchild. Innovating around the spicy snacks shouldn’t be the equivalent of a Snapchat filter. In the words of my main man Rahzel, “You gotta do something new!”

Paraiso Juice Bar, out in La Mirada, CA, knows what I’m talking about. They’ve channeled their inner Iron Chef and made the chips their own with a homemade taco shell imbued with plenty of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. A twist like that is a definite 5/5 on the originality scale in my book.

To make the tacos, Paraiso grinds up bagfuls of the vibrant red Cheetos and mixes them into their masa. That then gets hand-pressed into a disc and sent to the griddle to heat and crisp up. The tacos are loaded with carne asada, cilantro, onion, tomatillo salsa, and even more Hot Cheetos crumbs because why not, the whole vessel is already made up of it anyways.

If you wanna go fully loaded on these, you can also opt for avocado, cheese, and sour cream on top.

What’s great about Paraiso’s take on the viral food fad is how their incorporation affects the flavor. With most takes on Hot Cheetos food, they’ve been drowned in enough sauce or sitting out long enough to make them taste staler than my dad jokes.

The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos tacos Paraiso produces, however, bucks that trend. You get the expected flavor and heat of the taco shell as a warm back note to all of the tasty taco meat and fixings on top. By creating their own masa, the restaurant ensures that flavor and texture is controlled for an optimum entree.

flamin' hot cheetos tacos

That makes Paraiso’s contribution to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos game one that merits more than a double-tap on Instagram. Oh, AND it’s gotten the thumbs up from the Hot Cheetos inventor himself. That throws even more respect on this creative taco’s game.

I hear that Paraiso isn’t done innovating yet, though, as Takis taco shells are in the works. Hot Cheetos AND Takis?! Now that’s my jam.

 

Photos by Peter Pham
Categories
Film/Television Now Trending

The Humble Janitor Turned Exec Who Invented Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Is Getting His Own Movie

Richard Montanez, the man who went from factory janitor to top-level executive after inventing Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, is getting his own biopic.

According to Variety, FOX Searchlight and producer DeVon Franklin will bring the film to life. It will center on how Montanez went from picking grapes to a Frito-Lay janitor to the head of their Hispanic marketing team. The current working title for the movie is “Flamin’ Hot,” after the iconic snack Montanez created that became one of Frito-Lay’s top-selling products.

There’s no specific timetable as to when the movie will come out, but there’s been at least one suggestion online for who should play the role of Richard Montanez.

Categories
Now Trending Recipes

A Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Turkey Recipe Has Got The Internet Buzzing

In humanity’s continual quest to see how far we can push the limits of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos dishes, someone has finally added the spicy chips to the traditional Thanksgiving bird. We have now been blessed (or disgraced, depending on how you feel about it) with a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos turkey recipe.

In preparation for the upcoming holiday, tinfoil giant Reynolds released a trio of chip-topped recipes for the typical Thanksgiving centerpiece. Apart from Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which are referred to as “hot puffed cheese sticks,” there are also turkey prep methods involving Cool Ranch Doritos and Funyuns.

Of course, everyone jumped at the Hot Cheetos version, because the internet always goes berserk when people smother them on top of anything edible. Not everyone was on board with this turkey, however. When asked for thoughts about Reynolds’s creation, Foodbeast’s Isai Rocha had this to say:

“I hope that turkey burns in hell. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos hell.”

An onslaught of Twitter reactions that followed Reynolds’ gimmicky recipe also mocked its existence.

While normally, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos creations are dishes the internet flips for, these reactions to this Hot Cheetos turkey recipe signal that the trend may have gone a little too far this time. However, for hardcore Flamin’ Hot Cheetos fans, the fiery Thanksgiving twist could be worth a shot.

Categories
Celebrity Grub Restaurants Video

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Cover The Cheese Within This EPIC Burger Masterpiece

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos may have just taken the spotlight at the brand new Cheetos restaurant, but this burger may top all of their creations in terms of sheer size and deliciousness.

This crunchy, gooey cheeseburger creation was conceived by culinary genius and former Food Network Star contestant Reuben Ruiz, who has since taken his talents to South Beach and begun cranking out some epic burger creations out of Airport Cafe and Liquors in Miami Springs. He’s since been highlighting each massive sandwich that he constructs on his Instagram, which has gained a following thanks to the mouthwatering creations he posts there.

One of these is this massive burger, which features Flamin’ Hot Cheetos crusted provolone, ham croquettes, and fried onions along with some other burger fixings to create a triple layer of crunch and ooze that’ll knock you out in just one bite.

The burger is a daily special that pops up occasionally on the menu, but Chef Reuben has put some of his more popular concoctions on the regular menu in the past, so you never know what can happen. For now, if you really want a taste of this bad boy, check the daily specials menu and Chef Reuben’s Instagram account to see when this’ll be sold at his restaurant next.

Categories
News Now Trending Products Restaurants What's New

For Three Days Only, Cheetos Is Opening An ALL-CHEETOS RESTAURANT

Putting Cheetos on everything, from pizza to macaroni and cheese, has become such a major food trend of late that the chip brand has decided to go “all in” on the Cheeto recipe game.

They’ve teamed up with celebrity chef Anne Burrell to launch The Spotted Cheetah in New York, a restaurant whose entire menu is laced with regular and Flamin’ Hot versions of this classic cheesy chip.

Customers of this exclusive pop-up will get to choose between four appetizers, four entrees, and four desserts that all incorporate Cheetos.

Some menu highlights include Cheetos crusted fried pickles and green tomatoes, Flamin’ Hot Mac and Cheetos (as a pasta dish, not to be confused with Burger King’s snack item), Flamin’ Hot Limón chicken tacos, and a cheesecake made with a Cheetos Sweetos crust.

If that all sounds as droolworthy to you as it does to us, head on over to the website FAST. The restaurant, which is located in New York, will only be open from August 15-17, and just began accepting OpenTable reservations, so if you wanna claim a seat, I’d recommend doing it right now.

EDIT: It looks like all of the initial OpenTable reservations are filled. If you still want a chance at getting into this all-Cheetos restaurant, however, a waitlist has been set up that you can put your reservation on. Who knows? Maybe you can still get in through that way.

Categories
Now Trending Restaurants

This Restaurant Tops And Stuffs Its Bagels With Hot Cheetos

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have always a staple of any junk food addict’s arsenal, but we’re starting to see a serious trend where the corn chips are being crushed and topped on everything, the latest being bagels.

The Bagel Nook in New Jersey looks like they make some hot bagels, but one of their Flamin Hot Cheeto Bagel is particularly more fire than the rest.

The bagel is covered in crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheeto dust, and filled with a jalapeno cheddar cream cheese.

The concept started off simple, with crushed Cheetos on the surface of the bagel, but it has since evolved into a Flamin’ Hot monstrosity, as they just revealed their “Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Overload” which is stuffed with ghost pepper cream cheese and full-sized Hot Cheetos.

I know you’re probably not from New Jersey, because, well, why would you be? But we can still get our hands on these bagels, as the shop ships them nationdwide. So for $62, you can get three Flamin’ Hot Bagels and their jalapeno cream cheese.

If you don’t feel like breaking the bank on a bagel, head to the supermarket, buy some Cheetos, bagels and cream cheese, and just make it yourself for about $10. Just sayin’.