Sure, we’re all stuck at home but think of it as us doing our part to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t spread to our local community. Yes, it’s making us a bit stir-crazy, but it’s what the world needs right now. Staying at home, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t live the life of a Foodbeast.
For those itching to create something unconventional and out-of-the-box in the kitchen while they’re self-quarantined, we put together a lockdown playlist of chefs, influencers, and home cooks who have been making some amazing things from the confines of their own home kitchens.
Some mouthwatering recipes you can expect to see are: a Bloomin’ Onion, banana bread, Hot Cheetos deviled eggs, cereal marshmallow bars, a 1o-minute baked potato, homemade McChicken, pasty pie in a mug, cheesy taco fries, mashed potato grilled cheese, pancakes from scratch, a Boiling Crab feast, and peanut butter Nutella s’mores.
Check out the video above and see what dishes you’d like to recreate in your kitchen. If this video inspires a Foodbeast-worthy recipe in your soul, DM us a photo!
If you grew up in the 2010’s, where Hot Cheetos were breakfast at school and there was always that one kid that sold them out of their backpack, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten popcorn and thought “This would be amazing with that stuff they put on Hot Cheetos.”
Just know that: a) you’re not alone in your hedonistic tendencies and b) this actually exists now. Starting this month, stores nationwide will be carrying bags of Cheetos Popcorn.
And, if you’re one of those people who likes regular Cheetos more— who am I to judge your lackluster chip preferences? — Cheetos Popcorn will be available in both regular and hot.
Each variant can be purchased in big bags (7oz for regular and 6.5oz for hot) at $3.99 as well as small, 2oz bags for $1.89.
Cheetos, unfortunately for my stomach, continues to know my weakness: putting hot Cheetle, the official name for “the stuff they put on Cheetos,” on any chip. I might have to stop by and pick up some from 7-Eleven on my way home from the office today and relive my after school, Cheetle-covered memories.
At the time, the bottle was a rarity with McDonald’s releasing a 10,000 bottle limited batch. Being extremely business savvy, the Big Mac sauce seller shipped the winning bidder a copy of his current mixtape, and planned to use the money to get rapper Young Thug to appear on his upcoming mixtape.
Before McDonald’s officially brought back its coveted Szechuan sauce, there was an underground scene of sellers selling the original sauces that released in the 90s.
The sauces returned to relevance after the Cartoon Network show Rick and Morty mentioned the sauce as part of a gag. They didn’t sell for quite as much as the great Harambe Cheeto, or the Big Mac sauce, though, mustering up a comparatively reasonable $199 bid at the time.
As we all know, McDonald’s later re-released the Mulan-inspired sauce, and while it slowly became more available to the public, at least that eBay bidder had one of the originals.
With all this rich recent history of making money selling ridiculous food items for thousands of dollars, we now see these hundreds of Cheetos, aimlessly floating in the eBay atmosphere, each hoping to be the next hit.
Will we ever see one hit the heights of Harambe? Who knows. Although there is a new Harambe Cheeto listed at $2,500. There are even 26 people watching it, granted it’s probably half the Buzzfeed staff waiting for it to sell so they can write seven two-paragraph articles, and post two quizzes titled something like, “Which Harambe-shaped food are you?”
Regardless if any of the oddly-shaped Cheetos sell or not, we can admire the entrepreneurial spirit and the imagination to see these shapes within their metallic polypropylene chip bags.
Hoodrat Snacks launched this September, and sends out monthly unique snack combinations popularized in Texas and California.
“We just always called those kinds of snacks that we got from like an ice cream truck — or the bodega, or the park — ‘hoodrat snacks,'” said founder Jackie Earhart, who is a Mexican-American from San Antonio, Texas.
Combinations within the boxes help you enjoy snacks such as Hot Cheetos nachos, mangonada lollipops, Micheladas, and an array of Mexican candies.
Those familiar with these kinds of snacks know that there is an endless array of combinations that can be made, from Tostilocos to fruit with the sweet and spicy chamoy sauce.
While Earhart calls San Antonio home, she spent time in Boston, where the east coast food culture is obviously different, and wasn’t exactly abundant in snacks like the cheesy Hot Cheetos kit they offer.
“I made [Hoodrat Snacks] because we lived in Boston so long, and this is the stuff we wanted, but couldn’t get our hands on,” Earhart said.
If you’re from California or Texas, you’re probably thinking to yourself that you can just go to the local grocery store and get all these specific snacks, and you’d be right, but this was not made with west coasters in mind. But even though these weren’t meant for those on the left coast, Earhart said the subscriptions skyrocketed after getting some local coverage.
“I was trying to reach people outside of South Texas, but I was like, ‘This is great.’ I’m glad everyone was super stoked,” Earhart explained.
Current subscriptions vary from “mild,” “medium,” or “hot and spicy,” depending on the commitment you’re willing to make. For the Mild $25 a month you can get a 3 month sub to test out the waters. For the Medium $22 a month sub, you can try the snack packs for 6 months. If you’re really about that hoodrat life, you can commit to a 12 month subscription, at just $18 a month.
Every time a viral item hits social media, I brace myself for the inevitable barrage of texts, tags, and links. Hungry foodies will stop at nothing to get their hands (and IG feeds) on this unique dish. And for some reason, old Pete has to come along for the ride.
We’ve been fortunate enough to help ferry some of these items across the sea of social media.
Because there’s so much more to the simple fact that a viral item may help a restaurant take off,
I spoke to a few restaurant owners who have each had an item blow up overnight. Each concept was unique: a kabob burrito, a Mexican pop culture donut shop, a cotton candy burrito, and one of the first restaurants to throw Flamin’ Hot Cheetos onto a menu item.
Here’s what they had to say:
You may best know Mini Kabob owner Armen Martirosyan by his nomme de guerre: Eat Bearded.
Mini Kabob is home to the one our favorite Middle Eastern restaurants in Los Angeles County but it was also the birthplace of his viral Ali Baba Kabob Burrito.
“The first time we created the burrito was with Instagrammer Grubfiend (Nick Fasone),” he told FOODBEAST. “It was a kabob burrito and after that we called it the Grubfiend Burrito.”
Trying to create a more marketable name, Foodbeast head of video and Lebanese Lothario Marc Kharrat came up with the Ali Baba Burrito, which Martirosyan loved.
“It’s funny because my dad calls my mom: Ali Baba. So that’s how the Ali Baba Burrito came to be.”
Wrapped within the flatbread known as lavash are a medley of hummus, rice, chicken thigh or beef shish, homemade salad, garlic sriracha sauce and sumac.
“The Ali Baba Burrito is basically a Middle Eastern Dish in a burrito.”
As soon as the video dropped, people came in waves.
“Last year when the video went up, we had a three-hour wait every Sunday. We were making about 80-90 burritos in the hour and a half that Mini Kabob offered them. It was a little too much.”
Mini Kabob lives up to its name, with about 225 square feet and a 120 square feet kitchen. Martirosyan knew about two weeks into selling the viral burrito that this just wasn’t going to work. Instead of taking down the popular item, however, he created a new business around it.
The fusion concept can be found at Smorgasburg Los Angeles every Sunday. Martirosyan is currently working on more taco products to add to his already popular menu. Though most who come for the Ali Baba Burrito will have enough on their plate dodging Mr. Sandman on the drive home.
Donas Donut Shop
“It happened on a Wednesday that you guys posted the video on your Facebook Page,” Donas co-owner David Vasquez recalls.
Donas is so much more than a donut shop. “It’s a whimsical little slice of Latino culture tucked away in Downey, CA. As fellow Foodbeast Isai Rocha puts it,
“Donas also serves as a gateway into the nostalgic memories of Mexicans who grew up with Selena, El Santo, or Abuelita hot chocolate.”
Well, it seems everyone with a sweet tooth headed straight to Donas after the video dropped.
“People just kept showing up nonstop all day. It just stayed like that where every morning we would get a line, people would come in throughout the day, and we would sell out.”
“The first Sunday since the video launched was really difficult to be honest,” co-owner Ashley Vasquez admitted. “At that point, we were only making a batch of 200 donuts a day. In the afternoon we would have a baker come in and make us a few extra ones, but the first four or five days we wouldn’t have another batch coming out.
She explained that Donas is churning out more volume, making more sales, but paying that back in labor costs.
Donas recently had to shorten their hours from closing at 10pm to 6pm. They’ve begun training a second baker to help produce a new batch of donuts for the later hours.
“We’re not just saying ‘hey, we’re sold out,” and that’s it. We’re working really hard to meet demand. We’re only meeting demand because we’ve decreased our hours.”
Ashley, David, and the partners of Donas are still working to train new staff to meet the newfound popularity of their colorful donuts. If you’re looking to get your hands on one, like the vibrant Selena Donut, you may want to get in line early, just to be safe.
Cotton Candy Burrito
“When it went viral, it was hilarious because the wife didn’t hear anything that night, got up the next morning and went to Sugar Sugar and saw that customers were already lined up at the door.”
Martin Lacombe, owner of Sugar Sugar in Sarnia, Canada, recalls his wife calling him and asking: “What the hell did you do?”
You may remember a video launching on Foodbeast last summer featuring a cotton candy burrito stuffed with scoops of ice cream and finished with Unicorn dust (edible glitter).
When it posted last summer, Lacombe’s cotton candy burrito did gangbusters, eventually reaching 30 million Facebook views since launch.
“It’s a huge honor when someone drives three or four hours for something you’ve created. It was really overwhelming for me, because I couldn’t believe people were doing that.”
Located in Sarnia, the shop is two and a half hours from Toronto and an hour from Detroit.
Last summer, when the Foodbeast video launched, Sugar Sugar would sell about 200 ice cream burritos a day. Unlike Armen’s burritos from Mini Kabob, Lacombe’s assembly process was much simpler to execute being a quick-serve ice cream parlor.
Lacombe says it only takes about 35 seconds to make a shell, everything after that can easily be done in seconds – scooping the ice cream and assembling the burrito.
“Ice cream’s easily servable, and if there’s a line outside the door and they’re waiting a long time, it’s usually a good problem to have.”
Lacombe did admit, however, he had one major regret from all this.
“The only shame and only regret that I have out of all of this is if my shop was sitting on Youngstreet in Downtown Toronto, I’d be a millionaire by now.”
Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese
Back in 2012, the world was introduced to one of the first viral restaurant foods around: The Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese.
Steve Massin, the owner of The Attic on Broadway in Long Beach, CA, fondly recalls the debut of his iconic novelty dish.
Massin asked himself:
“How do I want to make my mac and cheese fun? It just seemed to me like all of the options out there were pretty much the same — You had your bread crumb topping. It was a lot of the same kind of mac and cheese. I wanted to do something fun and different on a dish that everybody loved.”
Originally it started as Mac and cheese with Goldfish crumbles on top. One day Massin asked himself what would be a good contrast to this dish — what do people love?
“Where I come from a lot of times food was so serious, as it should be, but we took something that had really good quality in it and put something fun on top. Just to show how fun it could be.”
Twenty million views on BuzzFeed and many other videos later and the rest was history. The Attic sold 200 macs a day after that video came out.
“People loved it. I can probably count on one hand how many people said they didn’t like it, and that’s after many many mac and cheeses sold.”
The dish brought a lot of people to the restaurant who maybe wouldn’t visit otherwise if they didn’t see it on a viral video or a social media platform that drove them in.
“I think at the end of the day, It was really good for us.”
While he wouldn’t call it a negative, Massin says a lot of people know The Attic as the Mac and Cheetos place now.
“There’s so much more to the restaurant than mac and Cheetos. That was just something that we put on the menu as an appetizer just to be fun.”
Like it or not, social media is here to stay. For these restauranteurs, we found out exactly what happened to them when their concept went viral. The power of social media isn’t only geared towards unconventional menu items, however. Some fun and engaging coverage on a regular basis can reach customers further than any paid advertisement. Having a Instagram-worthy item go viral doesn’t hurt though. Chili Cheese Churros, anyone?
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.
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.
Anyone who observes the religious holiday of 4/20 will tell you that you need to stock up on very particular snacks to keep you going through the night.
The April 20 unofficial holiday is a perfect excuse for weed enthusiasts to get high without boundaries, but it is also an excuse to eat whatever the hell you want at the same time.
Everyone has their own strategy. You might make a quick run to Taco Bell and stock up on Doritos Locos Tacos or just walk to 7-Eleven and grab 20 bags of Cheetos. Either way, you know it will hit the spot.
A convenience store delivery service called goPuff hooked us up with some data to let us know what their users have been clamoring for the most on this haziest of days, and while some foods are obvious, others might surprise you.
Check out the snacks below and see if they fall in line with your 4/20 process:
It’s the time of the year when stoners gather to smoke a ton of weed and talk about how high they are for seven hours. April 20 has become a holiday for pot enthusiasts worldwide, and it’s not unusual for restaurants to join in on the festivities.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar is celebrating 4/20 by debuting its “High Roller” cheeseburger. This taco-seasoned burger patty is a pothead’s dream, topped with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, bacon ranch-seasoned fries, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ketchup.
That’s right, the ketchup is infused with Hot Cheetos for a little extra kick with each bite. And if you want a nice little dessert, they finish off this order with a spoonful of cookie dough on the side.
We went down to our local Hopdoddy in Tustin, California, to give this beast a try. There’s a lot going on in there, but it’s a gift to your tastebuds, and we can imagine it being a hit on 4/20.
Unfortunately, this bad boy will only be available on April 20, so if you’re near one of Hopdoddy’s locations, you’re going to have to act quickly.