Burger King’s unique fast food delivery service first launched in Washington, D.C. early last year and expanded to Houston, Miami and New York soon after. Now, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago are joining the list.
The push to expand BK-branded delivery comes as an attempt to compete with similar fast food powerhouses (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, etc.), while also fending off chains like Chipotle who are reinventing how we think of fast food in terms of quality and price.
15 Burger King locations will participate in the San Francisco Bay area and 20 locations in the Los Angeles and Chicago area. This is, of course, only a sliver of the 7,500 spots BK has in North America and the 13,000 they have globally.
With food under a burning spotlight thanks to social media and menus that are continuously producing new items to fill consumer appetites, BK hopes their newest move will help attract customers from its rivals.
AP reports that according to a BK representative, this new delivery service increased sales at participating locations but declined to provide further details. If you’re in one of the participating areas and don’t feel up to the drive-thru (sigh), you can order online or by phone between 11 am and 10 pm, with a minimum order of $10.
This is not your average gas station, so-so beef jerky. It’s the real deal crafted by Angeleno Matt Lauster of Dried and True — an “artisan” jerky company of sorts.
After swooping up a commercial dehydrator, Lauster began making his own homemade jerky — finding a local meat supplier to provide him with up to eight pounds of roast. He then would undergo the process of cutting the fat and gristle off the meat, slicing it into thin pieces, and finally marinating each slice in his custom sauces.
Thus, Sriracha-lime, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Habanero and Korean BBQ jerky flavors were born (with the Sriracha being homemade as well, of course). Other, more subdued flavors like original and peppered were also created and Lauster is still crafting new concontions, like the lemon pepper marinade that is currently in its early developmental stages.
“I’m already doing jerky in a different way that’s kind of unique, but I think the flavors as well are a big contributor in the attention it has received,” Lauster told LA Weekly. “They’re not flavors that you’re used to hearing. They have some flair and a little more personality.”
Although, while Dried and True’s jerky gets kudos for being void of nitrates and MSG, this means it has a much shorter shelf life than its mass-market competition. This makes it difficult for Lauster to sell his product to big-name retailers like Bristol Farms and Whole Foods. Luckily, the Sriracha-lime flavored jerky seems to be on a good path; it sold out at its debut at the Abbot-Kinney Festival and seems to be popular with those of us tired of stale, ho-hum jerky.
Lucky for us hungry data gatherers, the folks at “offline dating” site HowAboutWe have just released a visual compilation of the dating network’s first 1 million dates recorded.
The results? Enough information for us to get an idea of top food dating trends across the United States, noting the top 10 cities in the country with the highest percentage of dining dates and a little bit about each. You can imagine our excitement when Philly cracked the top 10, and BYOB was a key selection when choosing a date in the city. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fans are proud today.
Here’s a look at the rest of the data:
1. Atlanta: ⅓ of all date ideas in Atlanta suggest getting a bite to eat. Artisan pizza is a hot trend.
Admittedly, when I think pizza, I think New York or Chicago. Yet while Atlanta isn’t the first thing on my mind when I think of wood-fired pizzas topped with fresh local ingredients, I’m not complaining. Kudos to all those singles feasting on gourmet savory pies.
2. Philly: BYOB date spots have a higher response rate than other dining dates in Philly.
Bringing your own PBR and Two Buck Chuck to your favorite Italian date spot? Stay classy my friends.
3. Boston: Bostonians are 3x more likely than average to suggest tapas on a first date.
Boston is known for its wealth of history and culture, so it’s no surprise that taking out a date for tapas, a Spanish tradition, is more common in this city. Note: In Spain, Tapas consist of appetizers usually eaten during the time between the end of the work day and dinner, as well as weekdays around noon. Tapas are seen as dishes that encourage people to socialize and mingle, so we can see why they’d be an excellent option for a date.
4. Austin: Food trucks are more popular in Austin than in any other city, accounting for 1 in 5 dining dates.
We can jump on this bandwagon food truck. Ranked as one of the World’s Best Cities for Street Food by Food & Wine, Austin steals the show when it comes to getting grub on wheels.
5. New York: New Yorkers love a progressive meal: 28% of their dining dates involve multiple stops.
New York restaurants alone bring in a projected $31.9 billion in sales and for a city famed for it’s vast collection of ethnic enclaves, we understand why it would be difficult to settle on just one spot.
6. Chicago: 1 in 11 dining dates in Chicago is veggie-friendly, the third highest in the country.
I suppose this means that Chicago is the place to be if you’re trying to find your veggie-eatin’ soulmate. Consequently, the Foodbeast Staff would probably be single for eternity if we lived there.
7. Los Angeles: There are more breakfast dates in Los Angeles than in any other city.
We’re thinking that this has more to do with late-night hookups making breakfast the default date of choice, than an actual preference for bacon and eggs. Hey, we don’t judge. There’s a reason LA alone has two Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles.
8. D.C: Cupcakes are extremely popular in D.C., accounting for 1 in 7 of their dining dates.
Cupcakes are the top choice for eats in D.C, as 14.1% of dates involve feasting on this petite towers of icing. But really, who doesn’t like cupcakes? They’re like the bacon of desserts and if you don’t like bacon… smh.
9. St. Louis: Going out for tacos is suggested 3x more often in St. Louis than in any other city.
Busch Stadium is the most popular date spot in St. Louis, because sharing a hotmess of tacos while cheering on your team screams sexy.
10. San Francisco: S.F. has more brunch dates than in any other city, accounting for one-third of their dining dates.
Apparently, San Francisco is chock full of genius singles. It’s about time we’ve recognized brunch as the most important meal of the day. When else is it socially acceptable to get boozy at 12 noon off delicious mimosas while simultaneously munching om french toast and gruyère sandwiches? SF, we see you.
Or: twenty very solid reasons I probably should have gone to college on the east coast.
For those of you who don’t know, drinking in Southern California, where we so fortunately lack any efficient form of public transportation, is difficult. It’s more of a mission, really, involving not just going out and getting sh*tfaced, but also debating over who’ll be DD, stealing people’s keys and waking up, after your keys have been stolen, passed out and sprawled all over a stranger’s living room floor.
Finally, if you are one of the lucky ones who’ve managed to make it through a weekend headache-free, you’ll spend the next five days looking forward to next Friday, when you’ll do the whole thing over again.
Or we could all just wise up and move to New York and be done with all the nonsense. Whaddyasay?
MasterChef, is a FOX reality cooking show that pits home cooks from across the nation together in an all-out competition for the title of MasterChef and the prize of being able to write, and publish his or her very own cookbook. Oh yeah, they also throw in $250,000. Produced by Gordon Ramsay (who’s practically the face of FOX these days), the amateur chefs are judged every week by culinary icons Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich and Ramsay himself. Each week, contestants are whittled down through pressure tests that challenge their skill and creativity in the kitchen until one remains as the MasterChef.
I got to chat with season 3 finalist Mairym Monti Carlo, who made it into the top five before being eliminated from the competition. Monti beat out of the tens of thousands who auditioned and 31 out of the 36 chosen to compete on air. This single mom and radio personality was a fan-favorite and underdog for the entire season, exceeding everyone’s expectations and making it to the top five this last season.
Can you describe the events that led up to the moment you walked into the warehouse in front of the judges during the audition show? What pushed you to get onto the show?
You know, I’ve never even seen MasterChef before I tried out. I’ve never even heard of the show, I’ve never seen the show. I was living in L.A. in a little tiny studio apartment 300-square-feet with my son, Danger, and my blind diabetic dog, Chewy Chew Chew Super Dog.
I was broke. I was living on a $10 dollar a day food budget. I’ve been unemployed at that time for two years. I couldn’t find a gig in radio to save my life. My unemployment was running out. So when I found out about an audition for MasterChef, I had no idea there was even a prize involved or anything, but one of my good friends was like,
Hey, you’ve been so stressed out about every thing, you never leave your house, why don’t you go to this audition have a good time, I’ll watch the kid. If anything you’ll have some funny stories to tell (Cause I also do comedy) on stage.
So I just went and I made an apple pie. I’ve been making this apple pie; it’s a very special recipe to me because when I filed for divorce it was really just an ugly time in my life. I had just left my job to be a stay at home mom, and that gave me all the time I needed to find out that my husband was cheating on me.
When you file for divorce, you put together all of your finances, and that’s when I found out that he gambled most of my savings. Suddenly I find myself in the craziest situation: I’m a single mom, mid-divorce, no money. It was very frustrating for me so I started to cook because I had to.
I was on this food stamp program. They give you these certificates to take to farmer’s markets. So that’s what I would do with my kiddo, we would go to farmer’s markets in Washington and Seattle and I’d get these big bags of beautiful Washington Apples and I’d chop one up for him in the kitchen when he was in his little high-chair. I would chop apples, sometimes for hours. It was my therapy. I started making apple pies. I must have made like thirty apple pies in a month. It was disgusting. My friends were so sick of my effing apple pies.
It really felt good for me to be able to put all my work into this one thing and have it be beautiful, unlike my marriage where I put all my work into it and it totally fell apart.
Cooking was like this beautiful blessing for me. I was so broke at the time, I didn’t even have anything to carry my pies in. So I dumped out a diaper box and I put three of the pies that I made into this diaper box and then I strung my dog’s leash around the handles of the box to make it like a purse. I was so proud of myself.
I walked up to this audition and there was like 1,000 people in line, and they all had the fanciest things. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so ghetto-fabulous right now.” When were finally got in front of producers, they had us line up like nine people in front of the producers and I realized how ridiculous it was for me to be there. The producers where asking (the people lined up with me) crazy things like “What were the five mother sauces” and I had like no idea about any of it.
When they got to me I was like, I had no idea what the five mother sauces where. I told them I don’t think I should be here, but I ended up being the only person that they chose out of that group to continue on. The process took a few months, but finally they let me know that I made it into the top 100. I was supposed to go into this hotel to start this competition.
I had no one watch my son my little sister had just moved to L.A., she was going to be staying with me for a few weeks and I asked her if she would watch him. So she arrived on a Tuesday night and then that Wednesday morning she drove me to be sequestered. It was crazy.
I’d never been apart from my son before, which was part of the reason I couldn’t stop crying. Those first episodes, I was just out of my mind. I’ve never been apart from him, not even for an hour. That was really insane for me to be away from him. I knew so once I got there that I had to do my best because it was going to be one of the only ways to get us out of the situation that we were in which was just abysmal.
I had no money, I didn’t have a job. So I knew that this was going to be my one shot to try to make something happen.
And that’s what it was like for me walking into that warehouse with Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Ellioit.
What kind of emotions go through your mind when you’re standing in front of figures like Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich?
It was so surreal. It was so crazy surreal. It felt like I was in a dream. I really felt like it wasn’t real. There was like a ringing in my ears, I don’t remember anything that I said.I honestly don’t remember anything that I said so when I watched the beginning of the first episode when they showed my clip for the first time it was like watching something that had never happened in front of my face even though it totally happened. The whole thing to me right now, it’s still so surreal.
Being on MasterChef was it all anxiety and stress like the show portrays it? Were there times when you can just unwind with the other contestants and just relax and have fun?
It is the most intense thing I’ve done in my life, and I made a baby.
When you’re not on set, they’re taking us to the hotel. A lot of the contestants would hang out in the hotel lobby and get something to eat or drink and relax. But I would go straight to my room. Because one, I was still on a mega-budget. I wanted to save as much money as possible. I didn’t come there to spend money. Two, I wanted to study. So they have a library that we could access and that’s how I would fall asleep every night. I would just stay in this library and study, study, study.
But for me it was not all fun and games. Though there was some beautiful moments on the show that were thoroughly enjoyable and one of the highlights of the last year for me.
As a single mother, was it difficult to leave your son, Danger, behind to do the show? How often were you able to keep in contact with him?
I got to speak to him one time. I only spoke to him for 30 seconds to a minute. It was really tough. We were sequestered. We were not allowed to call family we didn’t have our phones or our computers or anything like that.
What’s been going on with you since the season 3 of MasterChef ended?
I’m super excited to be working on my cookbook; it’s going to be part autobiography, part recipes that got me through the crazy times. Definitely my apple recipe will be there. I’m going to put my recipe for Puerto Rican Shepherd’s Pie in it because it’s one of the first things that I remember my grandmother cooking for me, my grandmother raised me when I was a little girl, and it’s also the recipe that got me in the top 36.
I’m definitely going to put my Crab Scotch Egg in it because that’s the recipe that made me realize that I just might have it in me to be a MasterChef.
Do you remember the first thing that you ever cooked on your own?
The first thing that I remember cooking on my own was pancakes. I was a latchkey kid, I’m a twin, I have a twin brother named Joel. When we were seven-years-old, my mother had three jobs to try to make ends meet so she was never home. We would come home from school and I would make us pancakes.
We would sit in front of the TV and eat pancakes soaked in half a bottle of syrup and watch cartoons. We would watch Scooby-Doo and Donahue. And that’s how I learned to speak English, watching Scooby-Doo and Donahue.
If you could build your perfect pizza, what would be on it and why?
I love a very simple pizza. I don’t like pizza with a ton of stuff on it. It would probably be a Margarita Pizza. It would be a very thin crust, beautiful mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and hopefully some fresh heirloom tomatoes.
I would keep it very simple. I love simple food. I don’t like things that are complicated. I think it’s very easy to complicate things and it’s a lot more difficult to keep things simple.
Can you tell me a little bit about your radio show?
It’s a morning show in Phoenix on a station call My103.9. I have people from all around the world that listen in that are friends of the MasterChef show. I’ve had people call in from Libya, Australia, Toronto and Pakistan, it’s crazy.
I do it Mondays-Fridays 6 a.m. – noon Pacific Standard Time. It’s not your like your typical radio show. I don’t like to gossip, or kick celebrities when they’re down, or do anything crazy like that. I’m a mom more than anything else, so what I focus on is what I call “Mommy Radio” and it’s something like “Mommy and Me” content so if your kid’s in the car it’ll be a good experience.
I like to start off my mornings with a good news story, I think that there’s so many bad news stories in the world. People just love to talk about bad news. But I hate it. So every morning I start off with a good news story.
(Recently) I talked about this guy in Winnipeg, he’s a bus driver and there was this young man on his bus that was homeless and he didn’t have any shoes on. So when he dropped him off, this guy who’s homeless, steps out into the streets of Winnipeg in 41-degree weather with no shoes. And the bus driver, sort of driving away, stops the bus, pulls the bus over, got out of the bus, walks over to the homeless man and gave him his shoes off his feet and walks back on the bus in his socks.
It was a beautiful, awesome, selfless act of kindness and you have no idea how it’s going to save somebody’s life. When you do these little acts of kindness, you never know how they multiply. It’s like dropping a pebble into a lake and watching the circles get bigger and bigger and bigger.
That’s how I like to start my mornings off.
Is there anything you’d like to say to all the FoodBeasts out there?
Keep cooking. Cooking is a beautiful thing. It brings people together, across generations and across cultures. It’s one of the most beautiful, simple things to say I love you to someone. Keep cooking.
You can continue watching Monti cook in her new upcoming YouTube series Lunch Lady. It’s aimed for parents who are crunched for time and on a budget that sophisticated enough that you can pack for your kids’ to take to school but also take yourself to work.
And if any of you FoodBeasts think you have what it takes to be the next MasterChef, FOX is holding auditions starting early October through early November for season 4.
It happened in New York City: The first time you ate Pollo a la Brasa — a crispy rotisserie chicken that’s marinated and caramelized over an open flame.
You rejoice — this ain’t your mother’s market rotisserie — those sad birds confined to their plastic escape pods and set on a shelf, only to dry out under the oppressive sun of Krypton.
If you asked for rotisserie chicken in heaven, you’d get Pollo a la Brasa. The chicken’s skin is seared and salty like a bacon-wrapped hot dog and the tender meat is juicy, reminiscent of fried chicken, but flavored with salty soy sauce, fresh cilantro, savory oregano, peppery ginger, and sweet, buttery roasted garlic flavors.
If this sound like intercontinental fusion, don’t be surprised. Peru’s traditional cuisine is a literal fusion of Incan, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese cultures.
Typically served with rice, beans and an irresistible ají verde — a spicy citrus green sauce with lime, chiles, garlic, scallions and cilantro whisked in olive oil.
You first stumble upon this deliciously haunting “poultry-geist” when you kill a few hours waiting for a car tune-up in Ozone Park, Queens. Yelp reveals a nearby blip on the radar: About 10 votes for a place called Don Pollo.
You sit down and are presented with free cancha (the OG Corn Nut made from special corn kernels) and the green sauce.
The waiter brings you half a bird ($8!) and your mouth makes sweet love to a carcass for the next 30 minutes. In a mindless, mechanical procession you fork a mouthful of chicken, spoon a ladle of green sauce, and prepare for take-off. Rice. Beans. Repeat.
Later, you need another fix of that sweet, sweet chicken, so you chase down the bird they named best in 1994 New York.
The restaurant Flor de Mayo, located in Manhattan, comes more from the Chinese quadrant of the Peru-niverse. The chicken here is tasty, but the skin is soft and the green sauce is really a disguised ponzu, it’s effervescently pungent but not garlicky enough for you.
That itch again. You lurk into Pio Pio, a chain of mid-scale restaurants that have covered New York with a healthy supply of juicy chickens.
You get talked in to Pio Pio’s Matador Special: A whole chicken accompanied by a plate of French fries covered in fried hot dogs, plus a side salad, rice and beans.
Pio Pio’s chicken skin was flabby, greasy and stretchy. You keep imagining your Aunt Helen oiled up in a bikini after her gastric bypass surgery.
Unsatisfied, you shrink in to Luz Restaurant in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene, but it’s a costly mistake. The whole chicken dinner and regrettable side orders of greasy fried yucca and underwhelming cilantro mashed potatoes came to $45.
You’re jones-ing again in the Upper West Side, and so you duck in to El Malecon Restaurant II, a Dominican micro-chain. You were tempted in by the night glow from their front window rotisseries.
Malecon’s chicken is as good as Flor de Mayo, but their green sauce is a vinegary tomatillo salsa. It tastes like nuclear pickle juice (a compliment), but it doesn’t stand up to ají verde.
After this newfound addiction to the best rotisserie chicken on earth and a jaunt through some of New York’s popular Polla a la Brasa eateries, you plot upcoming trips to the meccas:
El Gran Azul, the restaurant in Lima, Peru credited with creating the modern interpretation of the dish
Pollo a la Brasa in Los Angeles. Apparently, they have cords of wood stacked outside and roast your chicken over an oak fire. And yes, they have green sauce.
But for now, your craving has subsided. It could be all the poultry antibiotics surging through your system, playing mind-tricks on you, and temporarily halting your pursuit.
According to Mohammad Jalilian, a Roscoe’s construction manager, this new location will be the largest of the chain’s six and might even be taking some design cues from its more theatrical neighbor. When it opens “it will be themed as a Southern plantation,” he explained, complete with an “outdoor street-level patio, as well as a second-story French Colonial veranda.”
He also told the OC Register that Roscoe’s is currently looking to expand to other cities including San Diego, and that the Orange County location should be open within the next three months.
Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles has long been considered to be the home of the best pastrami in the world and its No. 19 sandwich has been its staple since the Deli’s inception in 1947. Now, all those who join the deli for its 65th anniversaryFriday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16, will have a chance to enjoy a No. 19 for free.
Langer’s is even extending its usual business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be open 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 15, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 16.
The famous No. 19 consists of a hot pastrami, coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese in between two pieces of warm rye bread.
The rules seem simple enough. One per person, per day, and one must be dining-in. The offer is not valid on to-go orders and there will be no curb service available on those two days.
Of course, the rest of the Langer’s menu items will be available for purchase at regular price.
Joining the festivities will be the folks from 710 ESPN as they will be broadcasting the event live.
Langer’s Deli has won the James Beard Food Award, the highest honor for food in the U.S. and has received nearly 1,000 five-star ratings on Yelp.