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Restaurants

This Restaurant Serves A Calamari Steak Parm And It’s Beautiful

Photo courtesy of Constantine Spyrou

Even when he’s on vacation, Foodbeast Costa never really takes his finger off the pulse. The resident food scientist discovered a seafood restaurant in Monterey, CA, serving a unique take on chicken parmesan.

Monterey Fish House replaces the chicken with a hearty piece of calamari steak.

Photo courtesy of Constantine Spyrou

Once known as the Sardine Capital of the World, the seafood industry of Monterey is actually primarily calamari. Pretty much every restaurant offers some kind of iteration of the squid on their menu.

In the case of Monterey Fish house, a large Mexican Squid steak is breaded, grilled, and prepared parmesan style — with both the calamari cutlet, eggplant, and some pasta and vegetables on the side. A hearty portion of marinara and parmesan cheese sits at the top of the entree.

It’s a seafood-oriented Chicken Parm take nonetheless that is cooked perfectly, so the squid is tender – making it actually an arguably more tasty alternative to traditional fried chicken in the role of lead protein for parm.

Constantine William Spyrou

For seafood lovers who want to try a fresh take on Chicken or Eggplant parmesan, definitely check out Monterey Fish House. It’s also a few miles from the famous Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Might as well make a day out of it.

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Video

4 Mind-blowing Charcuterie Board Builds Including Banh Mi

Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board? You have delicacy after delicacy carefully presented in stunning patterns; you almost feel guilty digging into one. Almost. 

In this month’s Foodbeast Recipe Challenge, the crew was tasked with building a stunning charcuterie board that went beyond deli meats and cheese. 

Foodbeast Theresa Tran, inspired by some posts in popular Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits, decided to create a Banh Mi Charcuterie board she endearing names “Shark Coochie.” 

The board is stacked with various Vietnamese proteins: cha lua, cha chien, xa xiu, pickled carrots/daikon, cilantro, cucumbers, Vietnamese mayo, pate, jalapeños, and sliced French baguettes. 

Other innovative boards include Oscar’s Seacuterie board filled with fresh seafood offerings, Ramy’s Lebanese board, and Ashley’s sweet and spicy FOODBEAST board. Check out the video above to see all these incredible builds! 

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#foodbeast Alcohol FOODBEAST Restaurants Science

How Different Types Of Sake Affect The Umami Taste In Fish

Sake has to be one of the most versatile alcoholic beverages in the world. With all of the different types and flavors available, the options in your grasp when it comes to picking a sake are almost endless. 

One thing they all have in common, however, is their synergy with seafood when it comes to umami. Research has shown that sake is much better at enhancing the sensation of umami in our mouths when compared to other alcoholic beverages like white wine.

This is because sake contains an umami compound called glutamic acid that can interact with the umami compound in seafood, called inosinic acid. The two react on our taste buds to boost the effects of umami, and sake plays a large part in supplying the glutamic acid for that burst of flavor. 

Foodbeast and Instagrammer George LaBoda @atlasandmason got to try this out firsthand while visiting Hermanito, a restaurant in Los Angeles, California. There, he met up with sake sommelier Bryan West to sample three different sakes with Hermanito’s Hamachi and Uni Agua Chili Sunomo. Each of the sakes had different properties that affected LaBoda’s perception of umami. 

jfoodo hyaku moku edited

One of the properties discussed was the ability to blend sakes, which was the case for the bottle of Hyaku Moku Alt. 3 from Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing they started with. This blend of Junmai Daiginjo and Junmai Ginjo has a collection of fruity aromas to it. LaBoda also noted that the sake and seafood together opened up flavors he couldn’t perceive with just the dish on its own.

Another property of sake the pair dove into dealt with the polishing of rice. A higher degree of rice polishing doesn’t necessarily translate to a higher quality of sake. Instead, it refers to the amount of protein left, which means that something less polished has more protein available to create a unique range of umami flavors.

In comparing the final two sakes, a Tokugetsu Junmai Daiginjo from ASAHI-SHUZO SAKE BREWING and a Shirakabegura Tokubetsu Junmai from Shirakabegura Brewery, that difference was made clear. The Asahi-Shuzo sake was a lot more balanced, and even provided a cooling effect, lending itself to the fish. On the other hand, the full, rounded, and savory flavors of the Shirakabegura sake lent to the vegetables, creating unique experiences for both sakes from the same dish. 

None of the above necessarily has to be the “ideal” or “correct” pairing for a dish. If anything, the different qualities of the sakes show that each can provide a unique experience to the meal. However, the one commonality they do have is that synergy when it comes to umami. 

Hermanito’s Hamachi and Uni Agua Chili Sunomo will be available, with the Hyaku Moku Alt. 3 sake to pair with, through the month of December as part of the Unlock Your Palate campaign by JFOODO

You can learn more about the relationship between sake and seafood, as well as other restaurants featuring it, through JFOODO’s website, or by following the hashtags #UnlockYourPalate and #SeafoodAndSake. 

Created in partnership with JFOODO.

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#foodbeast Alcohol Culture FOODBEAST Restaurants SPONSORED

Sake Is The Key To A Tastier Lobster Experience

Synergy is a buzzword that’s used to illustrate vividly the beautiful result of two plus parties or substances working together to achieve something more significant than the sum of their separate effects. Applying the concept to food yields scintillating possibilities, like flavor profiles being enhanced to create more dynamic and memorable dining experiences.

In one useful and powerful example, the synergy between the lauded taste of umami and sake produces a boosted dining encounter. “Umami is created by the meeting of glutamic acid — which is found in sake; you also find it in a lot of fermented food — and inosinic acid, which is found in meat and seafood like lobsters and oysters,” explains sake sommelier Bryan Patrick West. He continues, “When you get a meeting of the sake and flavors in the lobster pot pie, the union will boost the umami levels overall in your tasting experience.”

West guides Foodbeast Reach Guinto through this umami event like the wise sake sherpa he is, teaching him how to smartly pair an exquisite Lobster Pot Pie from Raw Bar by Slapfish in Huntington Beach, CA with three different sakes.

The results vary with each type of sake when eaten with the Lobster Pot Pie, yet the common thread through all three is the heightened taste of umami flavor from the synergy between the seafood and sake. Let’s take a look at the specifics:

Tamano Hikari Junmai Ginjo Yamahai Classic

“Fuller in body, nice and rich, earthy” is how West described this sake. He adds that beyond a fitting pairing to the seafood and root vegetables in the chowder, it is also bold enough to stand up to fried foods like the oyster crowning the pot pie.

Nihon Sakari Daiginjo 

“I personally think that the umami synergy between the fried oyster and this sake in particular will go really, really well,” highlighted West. Historically one of the more prominent producers of premium sake in Japan.

Amabuki Junmai Ginjo “Himawari”

The unique thing about this sake is that the brewery uses yeasts that are derived from flowers. Moreover, it’s an unpasteurized sake, literally giving it a blooming flavor profile that enhances the seafood’s flavor.

“The way I like to put it, [sake] isn’t the star of the show. It’s a really, really good supporting actor creating this savory, umami, mouthwatering note that leaves you wanting more,” illustrates West. 

Another argument can be made in support of how the umami flavor in seafood is enhanced when paired with sake via a recent experiment conducted by AISSY, Inc., a company that provides data and consulting related to the sensation of taste. The experiment revealed that sake, which contains an abundance of umami, increased the umami score no matter the food it was combined with, with the pairing of seafood like grilled lobster achieving the highest increase in umami.

With this synergy between sake and seafood making food taste better, it unlocks so many flavor possibilities through the pairing of them – whether it be through boosting some Lobster Pot Pie with Crispy Oysters as part of the Unlock Your Palate Campaign or any other seafood dish worth the extra push to titillate your palate. 

To learn more about the incredible umami synergy, click here

Created in partnership with JFOODO.

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Fast Food Restaurants

Red Lobster Is Making GIANT Holiday Seafood Trays

Photo courtesy of Red Lobster

Red Lobster is making a splash into the holiday platter game by making their own version of loaded seafood trays.

The seafood chain has two different platters you can order on their website. One of them is a Chilled Seafood Holiday Platter, with 18 cocktail shrimp, 8 split Maine Lobster tails, and a half pound of jumbo lump crab meat tossed in a lemon vinaigrette. They’re all served with cocktail sauce for dipping, although we also see some pretty epic sandwiches or other feasts that could be made using this seafood smorgasbord.

Photo courtesy of Red Lobster

If fried seafood is more your thing, there’s also a Shrimp Lover’s Holiday Platter featuring three kinds of fried shrimp. Parrot Isle Jumbo Coconut Shrimp, Walt’s Favorite Shrimp, and Crispy Shrimp come together with cocktail sauce, Dragon sauce, and a piña colada sauce on this tray. Altogether, there’s 4 dozen fried shrimp on this massive offering.

For those looking to splash out a little more cash and impress, the Chilled Seafood Holiday Platter is the more expensive of the two (since there’s 8 lobster tails on it). Prices will vary locally, but in Southern California, the tray costs $71. The fried shrimp variety comes in at $32 in the same region.

Both are now available to order on Red Lobster’s website.

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Alcohol

Old Bay Beer: The Seafood Companion We Wish We Knew About Before

Photo: Flying Dog

When thinking about Old Bay, two things that quickly come to mind is some fresh seafood and a glass of ice-cold beer.

I just learned that you can now enjoy two of those elements in a single sip. Yup, turns out Old Bay Beer is a very real thing.

Old Bay partnered up with Flying Dog, Maryland’s largest brewery, to release a beer called Dead Rise five years ago. Because of its exclusivity, Flying Dog is the only brewery in existence to use Old Bay seasoning in their product. The name Dead Rise pay homage to the Chesapeake fishing boats that gather shellfish year-round.

Originally a blonde ale, the beer is now brewed as a gose boasting a lemony tartness with little bitterness and 5.7% ABV.

For those interested in checking it out, you can locate a bottle through their beer finder. Man, now I’m craving seafood.

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Culture Features

12 Vietnamese Dishes That Everyone Should Try In Their Lifetime

You may remember Connie Bang-Co Aboubakare, also known as @occomestibles, the influencer who took us on a trip to Southern California’s Little Saigon and all the amazing Vietnamese restaurant foods highlighted during the tour of her Chomping Grounds.

Connie was a recent guest on the Foodbeast Katchup podcast and spoke about her origins as an influencer and how she had to learn to cook Vietnamese food once she got married. What set her apart from many food bloggers is that she photographs the Vietnamese meals she would make for her husband and sons and fills her feed with them.

Vietnamese food has always been a beloved cuisine here at the Foodbeast office and while many of us have tried it, there are always those few dishes that not too many know about, but wish they had sooner. Towards the end of the episode, host Geoffrey Kutnick asks Connie what were some essential dishes she could not live without, to which she replied with quite a few Vietnamese options.

Looking at all the different dishes in her feed really inspired us to dive into Vietnam’s rich cuisine.

Thanks to her Katchup visit, we’ve compiled a comprehensive Foodbeast list of all the amazing Vietnamese dishes everyone should try at least once in their life.


Cá Kho Tộ (Braised Claypot Fish)

 

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One of the first dishes Connie mentions, that she can’t live without, is a braised claypot fish dish called Cá Kho Tộ. Catfish is cooked in a braising liquid of sugar and fish sauce within a clay pot in a process referred to as “kho.” Because the dish is so rich in flavor, it’s typically served with plain white rice and vegetables. It’s one of the more common dishes she would make for her family, and looking back, my mom would make this about once a week as well.

Bánh Xèo (Savory Crepes)

 

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A while back, Connie also hosted a Foodbeast Kitchen live stream that highlighted her love of Bánh Xèo, another item she mentions in the podcast. Essentially, Bánh Xèo are thin Vietnamese crepes that are cooked with flour and turmeric powder and filled with fresh meats such as shrimp, chicken, or pork, as well as fresh vegetables. You can eat them directly with fish sauce, or rip them up and roll them into a spring roll.

Cơm Tấm (Broken Rice)

An inexpensive comfort dish, Cơm Tấm translates to “broken rice.” What originated as a street food item, you would typically find grilled meats on top of broken white rice, a steamed egg cake, julienne pork, and pickled greens.

Bánh Bột Chiên (Fried Flour Cake)

A hearty breakfast dish, Bánh Bột Chiên translates to fried flour cakes. Cooked with fried eggs and green onions, the dish is popular in both Vietnam and China. The flour is cut into thick rectagular strips, and served with a tangy soy sauce that the cakes can be dipped into. There is also a turnip cake and radish cake variation that can be cooked in the same way.

Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm (Fish Sauce Fried Chicken Wings)

One of my personal favorite Vietnamese dishes, Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm is mores an appetizer than a meal — unless you’re me and double up on orders. Not too different from how Cá Kho is made, the chicken wings are fried and coated in a glaze made from sugar and fish sauce. Sometimes, fried garlic is also added to the mix.

What I love most about fish sauce chicken wings are that every restaurant has their own take on them, and you can easily get yourself a few wings for relatively cheap.

Bánh Bột Lọc (Savory Tapioca Dumplings)

 

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Made with tapioca flour, the dumplings are stuffed with shrimp and pork, wrapped in banana leaves, and steamed. Once cooked, Bánh Bột Lọc is served with a sweet and spicy fish sauce and fried shallots. From Central Vietnam, the dish is eaten as an appetizer to a full meal. Foodbeast producer Theresa Tran mentions this as one of her favorite Vietnamese dishes, although it will take about 15 of them to fill her up.

Bún Riêu (Pork and Crab Soup)

 

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One of the more popularized Vietnamese dishes, Bún Riêu is a soup made with pork, crab, shrimp paste, dried shrimp, egg, rice vermicelli and lots of tomatoes. This leads to a super robust and umami flavor compared to the more classic Pho dish. After pho, this is one of the more popular Vietnamese soup dishes around.

Bánh Khọt (Savory Pancake Bites)

 

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Bánh Khọt, mini savory pancakes, feature pretty much the same exact ingredients as the more popular Banh Xeo, but comes in a sort of cupcake form. Because of this cooking method, the texture comes out much more different giving it a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. Unlike Banh Xeo, the proteins of Bánh Khọt are cooked on top of the dish rather than inside. Not unlike a gourmet cupcake.

Gỏi Cuốn (Spring Rolls)

 

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One of the lighter Vietnamese dishes, spring rolls are served cold with fresh greens, prawns, pork, and rolled together with rice paper. Gỏi Cuốn can typically be enjoyed with a peanut flavored dipping sauce, or a simple fish sauce that’s mixed together with chilis. Easy to eat either as a snack or even for a long road trip in the car. Just make sure not to spill any fish sauce.

Canh Chua (Vietnamese Sour Soup)

 

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Tart and savory, this Vietnamese dish is typically served with rice. Made with a catfish base as well as tomatoes, pineapple, okra, beansprouts, and Vietnamese herbs. This is one of the dishes you wouldn’t typically find at a Vietnamese restaurant, but rather from the kitchen of a Vietnamese household. During the podcast Connie also mentions that this is one of her essential dishes that she likes to make at home.

Ốc Len Xào Dừa (Stir Fried Snails w/ Coconut Milk)

 

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A common street food in Vietnam, Ốc Len Xào Dừa roughly translates to stir fried snails in coconut milk. While the dish itself sounds pretty intimidating, the flavors that go into this dish make it a top contender for Foodbeast producer Theresa Tran. Made with coconut milk, lemongrass, Vietnamese coriander, chilies, and sea snails, you would find the Ốc Len Xào Dừa at street food carts throughout many Vietnamese cities.

“You can give me a cup of that broth and I’d drink it,” Tran says. “Also trying to get the snails out is pretty fun too.”

Phở (Rice Noodle Soup)

 

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One of the most iconic Vietnamese dishes, you can’t go wrong with phở. An elegant broth made from either chicken or beef, phở utilizes the flavors of charred ginger, onions, and other vegetables over a long period of time. Sure it’s on everyone’s list, but phở is so prolific to Vietnamese culture that you kind of just have to add it to the fold. Both Connie and myself enjoy beef pho, with strips of brisket that you can dip into a mixture of sriracha and hoisin sauce.

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Why Pairing Seafood & Sake Is A Sensory Gamechanger

For most of human history, we had no way of identifying what made certain dishes so delicious. We could describe sour, sweet, bitter, and salty sensations, but not savory. That is, until 1908, when Kikunae Ikeda discovered the fifth taste — umami. Umami is the essence of savory, giving life to some of the world’s most delectable ingredients like meat, soy sauce, and fish paste.

That same year, Ikeda identified the molecular happenings that take our taste buds on this journey. In short, he found that an amino acid called glutamate is largely responsible. Scientists have since expanded on Ikeda’s findings, saying there are nucleotides found in many foods that, when combined with amino acids, intensify the umami experience. It’s this interaction that gives alcohol and meat pairings so much depth, as the amino acids in alcohol pair exceptionally well with the nucleotides found in all meat.

This is especially true in the case of sake, which holds significantly more amino acids than most beers or wine, making it one of the purest tastes of umami that we have on Earth. Because of this, it outshines other alcohols in being paired with umami rich dishes, such as seafood, where most would think to drink something like a glass of white wine.

Sometimes, though, it’s best to drop the fancy talk and put things in layman’s terms. In Foodbeast’s new video regarding the drink, sake expert Chris Johnson says it best. Sake and seafood work, on a basic level, because “the seafood elevates the sake, the sake elevates the seafood, and you have a party.”

The video acts as a crash course in sake, as Foodbeast correspondent George Laboda travels to Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Los Angeles, CA to try nine different seafood and sake pairings. But first, he gets hit with the basics.

There are three overarching types of sake: Junmai, Ginjo, and Daiginjo, each carrying a different percentage of milling, a process that consists of polishing down the rice used to brew sake. The more it’s milled, the more the grain turns into a pure starch, producing a layered, textured brew. This does not, however, mean that as the milling percentage goes up, so does the quality. On the contrary, milling says quite little about quality, and more about the flavor of the sake and what food it might work well with.

The video works to show this by presenting nine different pairings by highlighting a variety of sake along the way — from a hazy, unfiltered desert sake to an unusually amber tinted sake — and their wide-ranging effects on our palate. Check out all the pairings below:

Course #1: Raw Oysters & Konishi Aosae no Sumikiri Junmai


Old Salt oysters topped with a kimchi vignette met a sharp Junmai that relaxed the brininess of the raw oysters.

Course #2: Grilled Oysters & Nanbu Bijin Shinpaku Junmai Daiginjo

The next course showed the textural application of sake by pairing a grilled oyster with a light, fruity Daiginjo whose velvety mouthfeel accentuated the kimchi butter that the oyster was slathered in.

Course #3: Crispy Oysters & Suzaku

A smooth Ginjo was used to cut the fattiness of raw oysters and make their sweetness pop.

Course #4: Hamachi & Nanbu Bijin Daiginjo

This Daiginjo pairs especially well with raw fish, as the dryness worked in cohesion with the lusciousness of the raw Hamachi.

Course #5: Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs & Shirayuki Junmai Daiginjo Daihouju

Playing off of spicy and sweet, these smoky deviled eggs were paired with a heavily aromatic Daiginjo with fruity undertones.

Course #6: Peruvian Bay Scallops & Horin

The sixth course featured another Daiginjo, but this time a microbrew that skipped the fruitiness and focused on a texture and mouthfeel that complimented the creamy scallops.

Course #7: Shrimp & Grits with Gochujang Sauce & Nigori

Nigori, a special type of unfiltered sake that produces a textured, thick mouthfeel, was paired with a spin off of a Southern classic to play with the gritty texture and spice of the dish.

Course #8: Grilled Octopus & Shirayuki Sake of Edo-Genroku Era “Year1702”

Made using half the amount of water as a normal brew, the Year1702 is amber-colored and naturally sweet, which provides for a phenomenal pairing with sweeter seafood dishes, like the Spanish-style octopus from the video.

Course #9: Lobster Roll & Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai

The final course coupled a lobster roll with a simple, clean-tasting Junmai to break up the intensity of the sauce that the lobster was tossed in.


Created in partnership with JFOODO.