Categories
Fast Food

Chipotle Is Facing A Criminal Investigation Over Norovirus Outbreak

Chipotle-Delivery

To say it’s been a rough year for Chipotle has been an understatement. Between the massive norovirus outbreaks and the E. coli incidents, the fast casual chain has seen better days. Now, it looks like the company will be facing a criminal investigation thanks to the norovirus outbreak at a Chipotle restaurant Simi Valley.

The Associate Press reports that a federal investigation is underway after 100 customers and 17 employees got sick last summer. According to Chipotle’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it seems the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California will be working with the Food and Drug Administraiton’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

While this kind of investigation to an outbreak is very uncommon, a lawyer who represents the customers affected speculates that it could have something to do with employment violations.

In the month of December, when the majority of the shit hit the fan, the company reported a 30 percent plunge in sales at “established locations.”

Wonder if Chipotle will be able to turn things around this new year.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

How The Beloved Churro Became A Disneyland Staple

Churros4

Come the wild—presumably brightly clothed—summer of 1985, a new outdoor amphitheater was arriving at Disneyland. Called Videopolis (which later became Fantasyland Theatre), the concept was to be akin to a teen hangout that would vibe sort of like a nightclub…if it was inside Disneyland and for teenagers, so use your imagination here.

Jim Lowman headed up Fantasyland restaurants at the time, so he needed new eats for the coming attraction of Videopolis. Lowman went to the Long Beach Grand Prix that year, where he bought some churros, and, as all people do, enjoyed the hell out of them.

Realizing the beloved pastry would be killer for Videopolis, he reached out to the company, J&J Snack Foods, and struck up a deal to bring churros to Disneyland’s Videopolis. However, he didn’t want the six-inch churros he dug immensely at the race, since he figured it’d be the equivalent of two pieces of popcorn at an amusement park, so he asked the company to make the churros a foot-long.

The churros were an instant hit at Disneyland, even before Videopolis opened.

churros

See, to test the snack’s draw, Lowman stationed a churro cart near the Mark Twain Riverboat exit. Rumor has it there were already more than two dozen people trailing the car before it even parked. When Videopolis opened two weeks later, with two churro carts inside, the doughy cinnamon madness couldn’t be contained! So new carts opened around the park.

And now it’s pretty much impossible to not eat a churro at Disneyland. Or state fairs. Or restaurants. Or home. Honestly, churros might have nicotine in them because damn.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Ketchup, 9 Ways

Kickass-Ketchup-Cover

Ketchup has always been an iconic condiment here in the US. The simple blend of tomatoes, sugar and vinegar can be found topping burgers, hot dogs, fries and many other comfort foods.

However, if you’re ready to take your ketchup experience to another level, here are 9 different ways. Found on Misleddit, this infographic gives us a simple ‘how to’ on combining ketchup with other ingredients to create kick-ass hybrids.

From a Bloody Mary-inspired recipe to a replica of popular fast food secret sauces check out the graphic below and start upgrading your ketchup.

Kickass-Ketchup

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

‘La Sriracha Racha’ Is The Magical Mexican Version of Sriracha You Need To Know About

La Sriracha Racha Mexican Asian Hot Sauce

When I initially met Lincoln Lee from LA Culinary, we both shared a common displeasure with the word ‘fusion.’ The word is used to describe countless mashups of ethnically-eccentric cuisine and is technically accurate. But it’s surface level. A lazy label. A classification that only knocks at cuisine’s door and comments on the floor plan, without a full tour of the house.

Bulgogi Taco? FUSION. Waffle Gyro? FUSION. Pizza Fried Chicken. Weird, but still FUSION. Enough.

When you grow up in Southern California, surrounded by Asian and Latin cuisine (to name a few), the flavors of different ethnic cuisines weren’t completely isolated from each other. Instead they represent the bounty of spice constantly at your fingertips – regardless of origin or cultural connection, ready to be consumed. And in the hot sauce realm, that meant Tapatio on your fried rice or Sriracha on your al pastor tacos.

Within the last decade we’ve seen the commoditization of the red-bottle-green-capped Sriracha. You no longer have to go to the Asian supermarket or the pho restaurant to get your fix, you can find it at Whole Foods and gastropubs. Not to mention being able to find miniature versions on key chains, apparel, fast-food items and hundreds of consumer packaged goods. There’s always going to be a place in my heart for you Sriracha, but I’ve been looking for something else to spice things up. And I found it: LA Culinary’s La Sriracha Racha – a Mexican hot sauce at its core that’s fermented in a Sriracha style. AKA the Mexican Sriracha hot sauce of your dreams.

Lee uses the vegetables and produce found in Mexican cuisine including lemons, cilantro, roasted peppers, onions and tomatoes. He then ferments those ingredients with vinegar for the layered taste and finish. I’ve already thrown the Racha on multiple burritos and pretty much everything at LA Culinary’s booth at the 626 Night Market including these #manimalfries (pictured above). French fries topped with frog legs, chicken hearts, chorizo, chimichurri and the Racha. You can also find LA Culinary at this weekend’s LA Street Food Festival, don’t sleep on it.

You can get the sauce  for $6.99 at LACulinary.com, and don’t be confused if you see La Sriracha Macha or La Sriracha Racha. They’re the same, I just caught them in the midst of a rebrand. Use code Foodbeast30 to save 30% on your order.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

14 Food Facts You Only Think About In the Shower

We can all admit we have some of our most interesting thoughts while we’re in the shower. Some awesome Redditors had the good manners to share their musings about food.

A few just tell it like it is:

Starbucks-Sign

Sushi-5-1

There were a few entrepreneurs…

Thai-Food-Express--Asian-Fusion-Wallingford-03

pho

…more people concerned about names…

chocolate-ice-cream-wallpaper-free-wallpapers-download-high-definition

coffee-snob

chocolate-chip-cookie-app-600

…some inventors…

salsa

cream cheese

…and people asking the right questions.

BLEAT

pizza drones

hamburger-raw-sm

Categories
Cravings

What’s Pho Stuffed into a Burrito Called? A Phoritto, of Course

Phoritto-Cover

The Phởrrito || Photo: Peter Pham

If you told us a few years ago that there would be a burrito that held the contents of a bowl of phở, we’d probably reply with “Why not make a burger out of ramen noodles while you’re at it?” Yet, here we are. The present.

Earlier this year, we discovered a restaurant that serves an orange chicken burrito stuffed with chow mein. Heaven, right? Looks like you can now enjoy a bowl of on-the-go phở by also wrapping it into a burrito.

Komodo invited us to come out and try their new phở burrito, fittingly titled the Phởrrito, at one of their brick-and-mortar locations. Made with thinly-sliced rib-eye steak, bean sprouts, cilantro, onions, Thai basil, jalapeño, lime juice and phở noodles, the burrito is wrapped with a large flour tortilla and served with sriracha and hoisin sauce.

Phorrito

A close-up look at the Phởrrito. Screen licking is highly encouraged. 

What surprised us most about the Phởrrito is how much it actually tastes like a bowl of phở, the popular Vietnamese noodle soup that inspired this creation. Obviously it’s missing the key factor of broth, but then you’d get nothing more than a soggy burrito. Perhaps a phở broth-based au jus might be a possibility in the future? In the meantime, we’re more than happy chowing down on this beauty.

Oh, they also had a few other delicious munchies to offer.

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The Java, the MP3 and the Fish N’ Grapes.

Komodo has a pretty sizable menu of tacos inspired by different cultural cuisines. The Java features Indonesian pork braised in coconut milk. Marinated sirloin, tater tots and a fried egg make up the MP3. The Fish N’ Grapes includes a deep-fried Alaskan cod topped with a mixed salad of lettuce and grapes.

Obviously their portions are much larger, but after killing an entire Phởrrito, these itty bitty bites were all we could handle.

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The Komodo 2.0, the Loko Modo and the Asian Marinated Chicken.

The Komodo 2.0 is made with sirloin steak topped with southwest corn salad and jalapeño aioli. The Loko Moko features Hawaiian-seared Angus ground beef and teriyaki pineapple sauce topped with a fried egg. Finally, the Asian Marinated Chicken boasts grilled chicken, jalapeños, stir-fried rice and mandarin oranges topped with a soy sauce glaze.

All were pretty delicious, but we just can’t stop thinking about that Phởrrito.

Categories
Fast Food

Kid Summarizes Chipotle’s Fan Base in a Matter of Seconds

chipotle-funny

We’ve all had that friend who lives and breathes Chipotle. It’s like you can’t even suggest eating at another place around them. The fast-casual faux Mexican chain has been dominating the burrito game for years, drawing lines at all hours of the day.

Titled “white girl b like,” a Vine video of this young gentleman absolutely captures the essence of the Chipotle craze in a matter of seconds. If you’re at work, I suggest putting on some headphones and brace yourselves for a chuckle.

H/T First We Feast

Categories
Adventures

A Look at El Torito’s New Comida Clásica Menu Including A Pasilla Red Mole Carne Asada

Steak

Back in September, El Torito stunned Foodbeast staff by offering a new, limited time ‘Flavors of Baja’ menu that not only tasted good, but seemed to finally break the stale mold of Chain Mexican Restaurant dining. This time El Torito is back at it again, successfully introducing more traditional Mexican flavors not typically seen at your average taco shop. The vehicle is through its new, carefully-crafted Comida Clásica menu that swayed toward the conservative but could boast tradicional roots without destroying the facade of “Mexican Flavors’ the American palette has been trained to love (for better or worse).

In a utopian world, established restaurants with Research and Menu Development budgets, similar to El Torito, would be able to take grandiose and most importantly aggressive steps to introduce new flavors and finally shift the American palette to Mexican cuisine outside of the Asada Taco, Carnitas Burrito and Cheese Enchilada. It’s true, the metropolitan palette in the US has already been shifting due to the success of mainstream ‘Mexican’ like Chipotle/Taco Bell and the Asian-Fusion popularity that took us all by storm (and is still delicious). But will that direction last? Would we want it to?

The Comida Clásica menu takes baby steps in the right direction toward new flavors based in Mexican cultural relevance. Case in point, the Enchiladas de Huitlacoche include a creamy almond Nogata sauce (typically popular during the holidays) and sautéed Huitlacoche, otherwise known as mushroom of the corn or corn smut. By itself, when boiled and sautéed, Huitlacoche could be described as having an intimidating taste, virtually unknown to everyday stateside flavors. However, when delivered through a popular menu item like the enchilada and combined with chicken, manchego cheese and roasted pepitas, the flavor and also therefore its chances for mainstream acceptance — come to life. Of all the dishes, the enchiladas took the most confident step into the unknown, for which I give the Real Mex Executive Team a ton of credit. Branding a new Huitlacoche menu item isn’t easy nor is executing it at 60+ restaurants.

One will start to feel the conservatism expressed through the remaining menu items: Queso Fundido Appetizer, Mahi Mahi Veracruz, Street Taco Trio and the Carne Asada con Mole Tradicional. Of the remaining items, the Carne Asada dish is worth a specific mention because of its attempt to present Mole in a new light. Mole Poblano is the most popularized type of sauce outside of Mexico. If you’ve had Mole in the past, and can’t remember what kind – odds are you ate a Poblano. The Comida Clásica menu twists that script by introducing a traditional Red Mole from the state of Guanajuato, a state smack-dab in the middle of the country. The Red Mole is less sweet than its Poblano counterpart, mainly because less chocolate is used. Red Mole also uses the Pasilla pepper versus the darker Mulatto chiles. For someone opposed to the sweetness of the Pablano, but still interested in Mole flavors — this Red Mole might be the perfect combination. The sauce still adds significant flavor to the seasoned asada without completely overpowering it.

Overall the menu still impresses even if my personal hope would be to see a more aggressive set of food options. Still, I have come to terms with how a new menu item’s success is still dictated by its sales (for the most part). And boy, us Americans — we’re a tough crowd to please.

Check out the photos and menu descriptions of the full Comida Clásica menu below including its featured cocktails: the Margarita Toreada and the Fire Chata. Photos by Peter Pham.

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Queso Fundito Appetizer

Queso

El Torito’s Queso Fundito uses a hybrid of Chihuahua and Manchego Cheeses as the primary ingredient. Chihuahua Cheese was originally brought to Mexico by European Mennonites and can be compared to a mild cheddar. Manchego, originally from Spain, traditionally is a white, sheep-milk cheese but has since been adapted to a cow cheese here in North America. The combination of these cheeses, lean chorizo, sautéed mushrooms, and a roasted pepper salsa proved to be more than worthwhile.

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Enchiladas de Huitalacoche

Enchiladas

As previously mentioned, if there’s one menu item you should try — it should be these enchiladas. Similar to many contemporary independent restaurants El Torito also found a good way to implement the ever-popular squash blossoms that sit at the bottom of the plate. Try this dish for the almond Nogata sauce and most likely your first bite of sautéed huitalacoche.

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Street Taco Trio

Taco-Trio

This entree serves a variety set of tacos on corn tortillas including steak, grilled chicken breast and carnitas. The pickled nopalitos add an interesting flavor but the real standout is the side dish. The tacos are served with a restaurant adaptation of esquite de maiz, similar to a Mexican creamed corn. At stands off the highways in Mexico, one can buy the street version of this food: sliced corn off the grill thrown into a cup with lime juice, hot sauce and mayonnaise. The El Torito version has been classed up, but you’ll get the idea.

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Mahi Mahi Veracruz

Fish

Loreto Alacala, Manager of Training and Development at El Torito, specifically noted the seafood rivalry between two coastal states of Mexico — Veracruz v. Sinaloa. The Mahi Mahi Veracruz ironically combines a Pacific fish that could technically be caught in Sinaloa with the Veracruz culinary style by using roasted vegetables, citrus and tomatoes. Perhaps this was a subconscious decision by Alcala that ends up politically pleasing countryman from both states. The fish itself is light and refreshing, but I’m going to guess most patrons don’t frequent El Torito for it’s lighter fare.

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Margarita Toreada and Fire Chata Cocktails

Margerita

Horchata

The Margarita Toreada includes Maestro Dobel Tequila, sweet & sour and jalapeño toreado chiles. The Fire Chata brings similar heat with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Rum Horchata.

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Loreto Alcala, Training & Development – El Torito

Chef

No, Mr. Alcala isn’t on the LTO menu, but his worldly expertise and graceful manner in which he communicates should be properly noted. El Torito, he’s a keeper. And the crew is excited to get our hands on his new Mexico City LTO menu.