Plant-Based Science

This Mushroom Tastes And Smells Exactly Like Lobster

Before you even get a chance to take a bite, the aroma of a salty effervescence hits your nostrils. You’re instantly transported to the Maine coast, ready to dig into a generous helping. The first taste comes, and the familiar briny sweetness of lobster resonates inside of your mouth.

It’s only when you come back to reality and see what’s in front of you that you realize you’re not eating freshly cooked lobster. You instead just bit into a lobster mushroom, an equally pricey fungus that gives you the same aromatic experience that the beloved crustacean does.

lobster mushroomPhoto: Constantine Spyrou

Native to the forests of North America (particularly the Pacific Northwest), the lobster mushroom is actually unique in that it’s not entirely a mushroom. It comes about as the result of a parasitic fungus that attacks certain mushroom species, contorting their shapes and giving them a reddish-pink hue, similar to that of a cooked crustacean.

The parasite also changes the flavor and aroma of the mushroom, becoming similar to that of seafood. As such, it can be used as a natural substitute for lobster or shrimp in several dishes. You may find it, for example, serving as the “shrimp cocktail” in an epic plant-based seafood tower in Hollywood, or used to add a punch of briny flavor to a wild mushroom ragu.

In a world where food scientists are using technology to make plants taste like meat, it’s interesting to find the rare times that nature itself had something that does just that all along. The lobster mushroom is a perfect example of that.

For those interested in getting these yourselves, they do require foraging (or purchasing from a forager that specializes in gathering them). They are hyper seasonal, and can go for as much as regular lobster by the pound.


Here’s The Secret To Great Tamales According To Chef Ray Garcia

If you hit up a Mexican household for Christmas, tamales are the most important, second most important, and third most important thing you’ll find at the dinner table. There’s something about unwrapping the corn husk that feels like a present in itself.

Chef Ray Garcia knows all too well the importance of making a good tamale. Garcia, the owner of Broken Spanish and B.S. Taqueria in Los Angeles, and Esquire Magazine’s 2015 Chef of The Year, taught us the essence of tamale-making.

“I have a special place in my heart for tamales when it comes to the holidays,” Garcia recalls fondly. “I have memories of making them with my mother, my father, my grandfather, and everyone coming together as a family.”

What we learned was, aside from a Mexican mother’s love, the secret to good tamales is picking up fresh, and quality ingredients.

“With tamales, what’s often overlooked, you have to have great ingredients,” Garcia said.

While it sounds obvious, Garcia thinks that little things like using non-GMO masa or responsibly raised meats, and ingredients that are in season, make the biggest difference in tamales.


And if you think that sounds like some hipster nonsense, Chef Ray understands the criticism of straying from traditional recipes, but believes it all comes down to supporting creativity.

“I’d rather support and have people support the fact that we’re being creative,” Garcia said. “We’re making the best, with the ingredients that we have. Younger generations welcome that change.”

With that said, Garcia came down to the Foodbeast Kitchen and made a kick-ass recipe for Mushroom and Poblano Tamales, which is totally not what you’d expect from a Mexican dish, but again, it’s Chef Ray’s creativity helming the dish:


30 dried corn husks

For Tamale Filling

5 Poblano peppers

1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced ½ inch thick

2 cups white onion, julienned, divided

1/2 cup garlic, sliced thinly, divided

1/4 cup Serrano peppers, sliced

1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoons Tabasco Green Sauce

1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated


For Masa

3 lbs. ground corn masa

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 3/4 cups canola oil



For husks

Put the dried husks in a large bowl or pot, cover with hot water and submerge for one hour.


For tamale filling

Roast the Poblanos over an open burner flame until charred and rotate throughout process so that all sides get charred. Once charred, place the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam in the bowl for about ten minutes. Remove the peppers from the bowl, peel off the skin, then remove the stems and seeds and cut the peppers into ¼ inch thick strips. Reserve for later.

In a large heavy bottom pan, add enough canola oil to cover the surface with a thin layer. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering but not yet smoking. Add the shiitake mushrooms to the pan and cook until dark golden brown. Add ¼ of the onion, garlic, and Serrano peppers and sauté for a minute, not letting the onions get too dark. Remove the mixture from the pan, season with salt, and reserve for later use.

Repeat the same process for the cremini mushrooms using ¼ of the onion, garlic, and Serrano peppers.

Place an 8 qt pot on the stove over medium heat and add enough canola oil to cover the surface with a thin layer. Heat the oil to medium heat. Once oil is shimmering, add remaining onions, garlic, and Serrano peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.

Stir in the Poblano pepper strips and the mushroom mixtures; add heavy cream and reduce heat to low. Let mixture reduce until almost all of the liquid is gone, about ten minutes.

Add Tabasco Green Sauce and season with salt as needed. Allow the mixture to cook for one more minute, then remove from the pot and refrigerate until cold.


For masa

In a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, add the masa, baking powder and salt; mix on low speed. Slowly add canola oil in intervals. Once oil is well incorporated, increase speed to medium for one minute to mix all ingredients. The masa should be moist, soft, and scoop-able. If needed, a small amount of water can be added.

Remove the rehydrated corn husks from water and rinse them well. Lay the husks out on a table or large work surface that has been lined with plastic wrap. Scoop about a ½ cup worth of masa into each husk and spread smooth, leaving a 1-inch gap between the masa and the end of the husk.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of Monterrey Jack cheese over the masa and add 3 tablespoons of tamale filling into the center of the tamale. The filling should be placed in a straight vertical line of even thickness.


This Hawaiian Mushroom Makes Women Orgasm Just By Smelling It

I have good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good news:

Scientists have discovered an orange mushroom in recent Hawaiian lava flows that can induce instantaneous orgasms in women just from the odor it gives off. That’s right, fellas. You can get your girl to bust nuts all over the place just by having her sniff this thing.

This orgasm triggered by fungus, or “fungasm,” is due in part from hormones in the mushroom that are close in similarity to the same ones picked up by our own neurotransmitters. Basically, the smell of this shroom makes the female body think it’s having sex. Imagine walking into a sorority house with your pockets filled with these mushrooms.

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 3.57.14 PM

Mushroom Stock Photo

Take your time, I’ll wait. Really let your mind paint that picture, and enjoy it while you can. Because here comes the bad news:

The orange mushroom smells orgasmic to women and literally caused nearly half of the volunteers for the study to climax. Unfortunately, it smells like week old horse shit to men. In the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, the discoverers of the orange fungus, John C. Holliday and Noah Soule, concluded that all the male test subjects were repulsed by the fetid smell.

So if you’re bad in bed and need a little bit of help, go find these mushrooms and hide a bunch of them under your bed. Then grab a clothes pin for yourself. Thank me later.

Photo Credit: Deviant Art 

Fast Food

Burger King Japan’s Holiday Burger Is Topped with Berries


Nothing says holidays more than berries and mushrooms. At least that’s what Burger King Japan seems to think as the fast food chain prepares to launch its duo of Berry Kristmush burgers early next week.

The Premium Berry Burger features a regular burger patty and what appear to be bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. It’s then sauced with a spread of cranberries and topped with additional blueberries. Actually, that sounds amazing.

Cheese and mushrooms are a very common pairing when stacked on a regular beef patty. Mostly because they work well together. Although, there’s got to be a better name to give it than Mush ‘n’ Cheese.

Patrons of Burger King Japan can find the Mush n’ Cheese for 480 yen ($4.12 US) and the Premium Berry for 590 yen ($5.06 US). They’ll be available for the holidays at participating Burger King Japan locations beginning Nov. 17.

H/T First We Feast


Oregon Newspaper Accidentally Tells People to Eat Hallucinogenic Mushroom


Mushrooms are a dangerous game to the unfamiliar. The Orgeonian publication should know this now more than ever after mistakenly running a photo of a hallucinogenic mushroom in place of a safe-to-eat one. The Oregan-based newspaper mistakenly ran a photo of the amanita muscaria, a mushroom that features a red cap and white spots.

What they MEANT to run was a photo of a mastsutake mushroom, which began its commercial harvest season earlier this week at four of Oregon’s national forests. Matsutake mushrooms are whitish in color and browner when fully matured, reports Oregon Live.

While the amanita muscaria is not considered deadly, it is capable of putting people into a deep sleep for several hours. It should also be noted that it looks exactly like the Super Mario mushroom, so curious gamers should proceed with caution.

H/T + Picthx Oregon Live


Fast Food

Burger King Launches Bacon Cheeseburger Slathered in A1 Sauce


Burger King has been keeping pretty quiet on the burger front in the last few months. The last major announcement was their new Chicken Big King, which we kind of forgot about after a while. Looks like they’re making up for the lack of new burgers by dropping, not one, but two menu additions to the line-up. The new items include the A1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger and the Mushroom & Swiss Big King. Wait, does one of those sound familiar?

The A1 Ultimate Cheeseburger is made with  half-pound flame-grilled beef divided among two patties. It’s topped with American cheese, onions, bacon and A1 sauce and served on an artisan bun. The Mushroom & Swiss Big King is the traditional Big King, two beef patties and the addition of Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms and mayo.

Each burger will only be available at participating Burger King locations for a limited time.


Picthx Burger King


Denny’s Invites Patrons to ‘Build Your Own Omelette’


Denny’s — the chain that brought you  DIY Grand Slams, pancakes and burgers — is now giving customers the choice to build their own omelettes.


Patrons dining in are given the following options:

Start Up: Three eggs and choice of cheese.

Double Up: Three eggs, choice of cheese and two additional ingredients.

Load Up: Three eggs, choice of cheese and four additional ingredients.

Then, you can choose from these various ingredients to build your omelettes with:

Cheese: American cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, smoky cheese blend, Swiss cheese and pepper jack queso.

Meats: Bacon, chicken sausage, chorizo sausage, crumbled sausage, diced ham, prime rib and turkey bacon.

Veggies: Avocado, diced tomatoes, fire-roasted peppers & onions, sautéed zucchini & squash, jalapeños, pico de gallo, sautéed mushrooms and spinach.


Each additional ingredient afterwards is an extra charge of 50 cents. Every omelette creation also comes with a side of hash browns or grits and a choice of any bread (biscuits, white, wheat and sourdough). The meals start at $5.99, $6.99 and $7.99.

Personally, Denny’s is the place to go after a massive hangover, so I generally never partake in build-it-yourself items if I can help it. It’s too much of a headache deciding what to add and what to keep off. Luckily, I was sober as a judge this morning so I thought why not give it a go?

Verdict: It was alright. 

Though I’ve only had Denny’s omelettes a few times, the BYOO version didn’t really click with me the way some of their other menu items did. If I do come back, I’ll definitely try one of their new omelette dishes: the Chorizo Tortilla Omelette, the Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelette and the Bacon Avocado Omelette. Three new items for those who wish to opt-out of building their own breakfast, but still want  to have an omelette nonetheless.


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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

Spot Prawns


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.


Nutmeg Float


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.


31431 Santa Margarita Pkwy

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

(949) 888-0072