Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Ramen Burger to Set Up Shop in Crown Heights

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Keizo Shimamoto, creator of the Ramen Burger a.k.a. one of the most popular food hybrids of 2013, is looking to expand from his humble Smorgasburg booth to a more permanent location. Eater reports that a Ramen. Co storefront recently popped up in the Financial District of New York but don’t get too excited yet, this might only be the base of operations for Shimamoto’s business.

The Ramen Burger Facebook page does state that Shimamoto will make Ramen Burger a “full-time operation” this year and it looks like it’ll be sooner rather than later. Berg’n, a new storefront located in Crown Heights, will feature Smorgasburg’s beer hall, Brooklyn’s Flea Market and a food court housing four of Smorgasburg’s favorite vendors: Mighty Quinn’s, Asiadog, Pizza Moto, and of course Ramen Burger. Berg’n is set to open this March which means New Yorkers only have a few more weeks before they can get their Ramen fix any day of the week.

H/T Eater, Facebook

Categories
Cravings

New Ramen Burger Creations Include Pork Belly, Brisket, and Eggs

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Ramen Burger creator Keizo Shimamoto is looking to tantalize hipster taste buds all over again with the introduction of new creations inspired by several of his fellow Smorgasburg neighbors. Shimamoto debuted three mouthwatering photos on his blog earlier this week detailing each new Ramen Burger.

The Adobo Shack Ramen Burger draws from filipino influence with the usual wagyu patty replaced with pork belly braised in soy sauce and vinegar. It also looks like there’s some cilantro tucked into the sammie along with some hot sauce and greens nestled between those signature ramen noodle buns.

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The Lonestar Empire Ramen Burger is an East meets West fusion with a thick cut of brisket over barbecue sauce and some fatty sliced pickles.

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Shimamoto’s original “what-if” idea was the Breakfast Ramen Burger made up of eggs, cheese and sausage. Drool. As crazy as it is genius it was this morning mashup that originally led him to collaborate with other Smorgaburg vendors. Not gonna lie, that Breakfast Ramen Burger looks like something out of my wildest food dreams. No word yet on when these new additions will make their Smorasburg debut but there’s no doubt they’ll be just as delicious as the O.G. Ramen Burger.

H/T Gothamist + PicThx Go Ramen

Categories
Cravings

This Mac and Cheese Cheesecake is Everything we Could Ever Dream of

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We’ve seen quite a few fusion creations this year from the cronut to the ramen burger, one would think it couldn’t get much better. Oh, but it has. Dan Whalen, owner of The Food in my Beard and author of Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook: Taking Your Favorite Foods and Stuffing Them to Make New, Different and Delicious Meals, has concocted something out of our wildest dreams, a Mac and Cheese Cheesecake.

The dish is put together and baked up in a springform pan similar to a cheesecake but is made up of typical macaroni and cheese fixin’s. Dan swapped out graham cracker crumbs in favor of breadcrumbs for the dish’s crust. The cheese sauce made up of creamy ricotta and cream cheese with the addition of cheddar to add some bite. Basil and canned tomatoes tossed with the elbow macaroni helps to bring some additional flavor profiles to the mac and cheese party but to be honest I’m still too distracted by the cheese sauce to notice such things.

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The final product looks almost like a quiche but slicing into it will reveal that baked mac and cheese goodness. Look at those noodles all nestled together in a creamy cheesy cake. Dan has certainly come up with a new and unique way to nom on everyone’s favorite comfort food.

Yup, this is now officially on my to-do list.

PicThx The Food In My Beard

 

Categories
Adventures

This OC Mexican Restaurant Serves Escargot, Frog Legs in Bacon Sauce & Plantain Foster [9 PHOTOS]

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It doesn’t happen too often, but every once in awhile in the midst of breaking national food and beverage news – our team finds something spectacular in our own backyard. The unveiling of new delicious foods and restaurants is always exciting, but can also be a bit embarrassing as one starts to understand their full scope of ignorance to the greatness that is.

To start, Antojitos Don Juan, is a mere 10 minute drive from our office in Santa Ana, CA, a Southern California city known for its high-density Hispanic population and therefore, some of the best Mexican food in the country. To have access to such brilliance is a blessing (have you tried Mexican food in states that don’t share a border?), but allows for an over-saturation of mediocre, even semi-decent food within the same city limits. Think tourist trap, but instead hundreds of taquerias, carts, trucks and sit-down restaurants boasting 90 percent of the same menu items – tacos, burritos, mariscos, etc.

So because eating at a different Mexican establishment everyday is a bit overwhelming (even for us), we tend to stick to the tried-and-true. The places we would mourn upon closing. Add Antojitos to that list.

Let me first warn you of a few mental obstacles that may lead you astray upon your visit to Antojitos Don Juan. The location isn’t specifically close to any freeway, and in what is most likely an impoverished neighborhood. The shopping center is nondescript, boasting a Panda Bowl, Hair Salon and King Water as its anchors. From the outside of the actual building, you will have no idea what you’re walking into. Even upon entering, you’ll still be a bit confused. Chalk menu specials. Assortment of tables and chairs. An outdoor patio that resembles a 1980s Taco Bell. This should not concern or deter you from greatness. Pay heed to the food.

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Meet Chris and his father Juan, two of the five-membered Garcia clan whose family is responsible for bringing an aggressive foray of French and Italian inspired Mexican cuisine, in addition to many of the Cali-Mexican classics. On the chalk-written specials, you’ll find a couple off-menu items that look like a mistake. Escargot. Frog Legs. No mistake, and if you’re an adventurer of food – you should trust them.

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Escargot – Garlic, Butter, Tomatillo, Shallot & Crisp Toast

 In a similar vein to many of us, Juan’s first impression of eating snails was a negative one. But as a chef for a popular French-Italian restaurant, he couldn’t help but notice the high quantity of orders for the delicacy. It wasn’t too long before he was eating an order every night and perfecting his own recipe with garlic, butter, tomatillo, and shallot. 

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mexican frog legs antojitos don juan

Sauteed Frog Legs with Bacon Sauce

As much as frog legs can be compared to chicken, they’re still in a league of their own. Even when prepared at a high level (which these are) the texture and taste can still be too gamy for many palettes. But if you can appreciate the tenderness and taste of frog – this non-fried menu item is a must have. Oh, and it’s slathered in bacon sauce (or 3 additional from-scratch sauces).

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Chicken Cutlet

Taking on a similar consistency to Chicken Parmesan, of the multiple entrees we tried family style — this one got demolished first.

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Molcajete: Seasoned Chicken, Beef, Chorizo and Cactus

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Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp in Spicy Cream Sauce

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Carne Asada Fries: Seasoned Beef, Garlic Sauce, Cheese, Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream, Cilantro

The garlic sauce on top of the fries really makes this dish unique. However, here’s some advice: while the sauce adds a ton of flavor, it needs to be eaten with 5-10 minutes, otherwise, soggy city.

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Fresh Salmon in Cream Sauce

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Flaming Plantain Foster with Vanilla Ice Cream

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Antojitos Don Juan

1130 W. Warner Ave.

Santa Ana, CA 92707

(714) 662-2035

Categories
Adventures

Wagyu Beef Lasagna And More Japanese-Italian Fusion at LA’s La Botte [GALLERY]

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Michelin-starred chefs, Stefano De Lorenzo of La Botte and Morihiro Onodera previously of Mori Sushi, graciously collaborated at Chef Squared – a 10-course menu featuring Wagyu Beef Lasagna (pictured above), White Rice White Truffle Risotto and Mushroom Gelato. Although the menu was only available for two-days on Friday, October 19th and Saturday, October 20th, we’re hoping there’s a Chef Squared part deux. Check out the play-by-play of our favorite courses below. Pictures by Marc Kharrat.

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Abalone and Cucumber-Wrapped Crab

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medium rare trout la botte

Medium-Rare Smoked Trout, Morel & Shiitake Mushrooms

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White Rice White Truffle Risotto, Seaweed Broth

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Wagyu Beef and Pork Lasagna (in baking paper)

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Duck Ravioli, Tokyo Negi, Espresso Sauce, Grapes

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branzino tomato water

Branzino, Tomato Water

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Oxtail, Daikon, Nasturtium Flower

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Mushroom Gelato

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La Botte

620 Santa Monica Blvd.

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Categories
Fast Food

Pei Wei Adds Sriracha Pineapple Pork Wraps to Menu

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For those looking to try something new at Pei Wei, they’re spicing up their fall menu for a limited time with new Sriracha Pineapple Pork Wraps.

The Pork Wraps are made from wok-seared pork, pineapples, red onions and both red and green bell peppers. They’re then topped with everybody’s favorite Sriracha sauce and served in lettuce cups.

Definitely looks like a healthy option for anyone looking to cut back on carbs. Plus, Sriracha’s good for you, right? Those out there looking to try it better hurry because they’ll only be available through December.

Together with the new Sriracha version, Pei Wei’s regular menu of wraps includes Thai Chicken, Korean Steak and Traditional Chicken varieties starting at $6.95.

PicThx Pei Wei

Categories
Adventures

Blind Pig Serves Up Cherries Dipped in Bacon Fat and Dusted with Mo’ Bacon

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The Foodbeast Team recently headed out to the Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar to check out their menu. The restaurant, whose name was inspired by the speakeasies of old, is located in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. and opened its doors last month. The shindig was started up by owners  Jarryd Graaff and Tony Monaco and the curious menu is headed by chef Josh Han.

We kicked off the meal with one of our favorite ingredients: bacon.

Bowl of Cherries

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These cherries dipped in bacon fat, dusted with mo’ bacon and served with brie-yogurt weren’t exactly what you think of when “bowl of fruit” comes to mind. Something we were more than OK with.  I’d never think in a million years to add bacon to fruit. The blend of sweet and savory sent the meal off to a great start.

Mushroom Ceviche

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The mushroom ceviche was served with charred scallion, sour grapes, chile guero and taro chips on the side. A light, balanced appetizer to contrast the richness of the cherries.

Beet Salad

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When beet salad comes to mind, it doesn’t sound very adventurous. I was proven wrong, however, with this ingenious take on the usual ho-hum salad. Made with gold beets, cumin-guava vinaigrette, pistachio granola, sharp cheddar, hibiscus compressed Maui onion and watercress, this was a solid dish.

Bone Marrow

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Bone marrow served with a smoked shallot marmalade, pickled figs, maytag bleu cheese and toast. Easily my favorite part of the meal and definitely something I would go back for. The bone marrow was so rich with flavor that every bite seemed like it was a meal in itself. Good thing I had more than a few. The bone marrow dish was the highlight of the meal and definitely something I would come back for, no matter where I am.

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Between pork belly, foie gras and bone marrow, I love me some fatty goodness.

Spot Prawns

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Fried spot prawns served with sweet pepper quinoa, green olives, peanuts, braised fennel, manchego and a bouillabaisse vinaigrette. The final course of the tasting was a flavorful treat to end the meal.

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Nutmeg Float

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A welcome surprise, the Nutmeg Float  consists of vanilla bean ice cream, Pellegrino and Nutmeg syrup which chef Josh used to give the float a distinct taste. It wasn’t too sweet and it wasn’t overpowering. I pretty much told my lactose intolerance to go to hell just for this one moment.

owners

31431 Santa Margarita Pkwy

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

(949) 888-0072

Categories
Adventures

Chorizo Wontons and More Deep-Fried Goodies at Cha Café [ADVENTURE]

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So I was craving tacos like nobody’s business the other day and was recommended to this place in El Monte, Calif. named Cha Café. Since I hadn’t gone on a food porn adventure in a while, I felt like this was the perfect place to jump back in. Cha has been through many changes since it opened in 2009. It started as a Vietnamese coffee house, then moved on to a Tapas restaurant, then a Fusion restaurant and finally found its place serving California comfort food. This hole-in-the-wall establishment was a nice and relaxing surprise in the heart of my former hometown of El Monte.

Taco Tuesday

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Let me start off by saying bravo. Although they have daily specials on different menu items every day of the week, Tuesday is always Taco Tuesday. Cha serves delightful fusion tacos at $2 for two and come in kalbi beef, chicken and pork. I love fusion tacos, and this place really hit the spot in terms of flavor, heat and portions. I was a happy man.

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My definite favorite of the three had to be the kalbi beef. I almost didn’t want to take a bite and ruin the beautiful sight before me. Of course, I quickly squashed that idea the moment the wondrous aroma hit my nose.

Ninja Fries

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I know why they call them Ninja Fries. It’s because they’ve made their way into my stomach, undetected, in a matter of minutes. The Ninja Fries are one of the more well-known menu items at Cha and very much beloved in my own heart after my trip. Served with their special Cha sauce, the fries are made from Kabocha, a Japanese pumpkin packed with vitamin C, iron and fiber. Thankfully, their deliciousness tells you none of that.

Probably because they were deep-fried.

Chorizo Wontons

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This is the one menu item I was most excited for when I first heard about Cha. Chorizo is probably one of my favorite types of meats, and the idea of throwing it in a deep-fried wonton? Well, I just had to try it. Cha, from what I heard, has been known to run out of their Chorizo Wontons from time-to-time. But I was willing to take a chance and see if this was worth all the buzz.

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A definite: Yes.

Served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, these deep-fried packets of heaven were music to my ears and poetry for my soul. It was definitely worth the fatty deposits to my heart.

Cha Café is worth looking up if you’re ever in the El Monte area and craving some good comfort foods. Plus, on a hot day you can order their especially refreshing sweet tea mojitos. Make sure to take advantage of their daily specials though, so you can definitely get more bang for your buck.

 

Cha Café
10308 Lower Azusa Road
El Monte, CA 91731