Game Day Recipes

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While there’s always a place on the table for the classics, these dishes will add spice to the spread as well as turn your place into game-day headquarters (you’ve been warned).

To kick off, Sriracha Wings:

sriracha-wings

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of chicken wings
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c onion, diced
  • ½ c ketchup
  • ¼ c Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly prep with oil
  3. Toss wings with 2 tsp of oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl and then place wings onto the prepared baking sheet
  4. Bake wings for about 35-40 mins until slightly browned, flipping them over after the first 20 mins
  5. While the wings bake, prepare the sauce in a saucepan over med heat by adding 2 tsp vegetable oil and onion until slightly browned
  6. Add garlic and cook until aromatic
  7. Add remaining ingredients and stir well and let simmer for about 3 mins
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat and set aside
  9. When wings are done, toss in the sauce and serve

Recipe adapted from White on Rice Couple

Next up are Brigadeiros, closely related to chocolate truffles. They may not be your traditional brownies or cookies, but they are instant crowd-pleasers, dangerously bite sized, and easy to make.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz. can unsweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Dagoba)
  • Chocolate sprinkles or any other toppings such as shredded coconut

Preparation:

  1. Pour can of condensed milk into a saucepan and add the butter and cocoa powder
  2. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon to keep it from burning
  3. Continue for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the bottom and sides of the saucepan
  4. Pour out into a shallow dish and place in fridge to let cool completely
  5. Once cooled, grease your hands with some butter and make 1 – 1 ½ inch balls and roll them in chocolate sprinkles or other toppings

Recipe adapted from Tudo Gostoso

And lastly, some refreshing ginger margaritas to quench your thirst after all that cheering and spicy wings:

ginger-margarita

Ingredients:

  • ¼ c kosher salt
  • 1 wedge lime
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (I recommend squeezing your own)
  • 4 oz ginger beer
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp triple sec
  • About 2 c ice cubes

Preparation:

  1. Spread salt on a small plate
  2. Rub lime on the rim of your glasses and dip into the salt to lightly coat and set aside
  3. In a cocktail shaker, stir the sugar and lime juice together until the sugar dissolves
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and shake really hard (I usually shake for about 10-15 seconds, recommended is for 25 seconds)
  5. Strain into the prepared glasses and serve

Recipe from Epicurious

Celebrate Yourself! Picking the Best Spots for a Birthday Dinner in LA

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Remember in college when it seemed necessary to award yourself an entire week or even month for your birthday? As if you didn’t have enough reasons to drink on a Wednesday. But then the post-grad years start to add up, and all of a sudden your birthday is less about creating the perfect power hour mix and more about figuring out what day is best for your friends’ babysitters. But who says it still can’t be fun?! In this town, there are more than a few options for getting the group back together, having a great meal, a few drinks, and creating NEW memories. There’s a concept. Here are some great picks to ring in your best year yet.

 

Pot at The Line Hotel

3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Koreatown

PotInterior

This is Roy Choi’s world and were all just living in it. The LA-chef-turned-food-demi-God has created a legitimate food empire in less time its taken the city to figure out we need a subway to Santa Monica. From A-Frame and Sunny Spot to his brand new show on CNN (!!!!), Chef Choi is THE name in food not only in LA, but possibly the country. And then there’s POT, the crown jewel restaurant in the game-changing Line Hotel in Ktown. With a minimalist design, house DJ, and a communal menu suitable for large group, this hot spot is the perfect place to get everybody back together, have some fun, and eat with the cool kids.

 

El Coyote

7312 Beverly Boulevard, Mid-Wilshire/The Grove

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Out with the old, in with the new? Not always. This Los Angeles staple shows now sign of slowing down anytime soon and its for good reason: Create an environment people want to dine in, and they will dine in it! No, El Coyote does not have the best Mexican food in Los Angeles. And that’s ok. Because what it does better than anyone else though is create a festive, welcoming atmosphere every night of the week. The place is secretly enormous, with a fantastic outdoor patio and fairly famous margaritas. Oh, and did I mention its been around since 1931? In Los Angeles, that basically makes it St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ve celebrated many a birthdays with friends here and no matter what, people stumble away happy.

 

Night + Market

9043 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood

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It’s so easy to have pre-conceived notions about this place. With it’s high-profile Sunset Strip location and less-than-familiar menu, being over-priced, over-rated and and flat-out inaccessible is a legitimate fear. And while much of Sunset Blvd is left to the hoards of our traveling European friends, Night + Market has succeeded for being exactly the opposite. Marked by just one tiny neon sign out front, walking into this place is like walking into any Thai Town hole-in-the-wall, with a local no-frills vibe and serving some of the best Thai fare in town. But make no mistake, this place can get raucous in the best way possible. It’s long, communal tables and popular Beer Towers will not make for a quiet evening. But its your birthday after all!! Once you figure out the menu isn’t actually scary at all and the tower of Thai beer is sitting in front of you, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to finally give in to this restaurant’s many wonders.

 

Hara Sushi 

12222 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica

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Spoiler Alert: This isn’t your pure-bread sashimi joint. This isn’t even your pure-bread sushi joint. This is straight-up, unapologetic Americanized sushi and it has become a Westside staple because of it. With a happy-hour menu so epic ($3 saki bombs) you’ll wonder if you’re reading it right and a newly expanded dining space, Hara is pure fun. And let’s face it, no friend group is ever entirely composed of sushi eaters – sigh. But Hara provides a delicious, Americanized stepping-stone for those still wary about putting raw fish in their mouth. And when it comes to your birthday dinner, you just want people to be happy. And a little buzzed. Hara has got you covered.

 

Mao’s

1512 Pacific Avenue, Venice

Mao'sExterior

Well, we’ve checked off Korean, Thai, and Japanese, might as well throw Chinese into the Birthday ring. And Mao’s is simply one of the best. Criminally overlooked in a city begging for better Chinese food (we see you San Gabriel Valley!), Mao’s offers a refreshing, “street food” feel to its menu that is both exciting and familiar. Adventurous and conservative eaters alike will find something absolutely delicious at Mao’s, making it the perfect group environment. The bohemian vibe of its Venice location (there’s also one on Melrose) makes Mao’s almost seem like an alternative choice for a big group dinner, thus awarding you cool points in the eyes of your friends. Oh, and the best part? It’s BYOB. Like, really BYOB. Roll up with a 12-pack of your favorite beer and get this birthday started off right. It’s steps away from the beach and Venice’s hipster nightlife, making it the perfect jumping-off spot for a fun night on the beach. The babysitter’s got your back.

The Best of Brooklyn Dining

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Brooklyn tastes good. There is no denying that. But how to quantify and qualify an entire borough is another story. The real problem with Brooklyn is that if you want to search for well-reviewed restaurants you have to turn to methods like google searches and word of mouth. Good news is that things are about to change and your Taste Savant blackbook can fill up with coveted neighborhood joints east of the east river.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH

photo courtesy of Dough

Brunch is done best in Brooklyn. Proof can be found at Diner, where menus are drawn on white paper table cloths and the food makes you remember why being a foodie can be a seriously rewarding endeavor. Dough – the donut king of Bed-Stuy – is the place to turn for sweet satisfying and perfectly puffy friend dough treated with interesting flavors and classic renditions. These are two ends of the Brooklyn brunch spectrum that make you want to cross the Williamsburg Bridge before your morning coffee.

DINER || 85 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249
DOUGH || 448 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

LUNCH

photo courtesy of Daniel Krieger and Court Street GrocersLunch in Brooklyn is an endless Smorgasburg (have you heard of that?) of hand held delights. Sandwiches and tacos take center stage but Court Street Grocers and Runner and Stone take the midday meal to the next level. Court Street Grocers serves a sumptuous pulled pork sandwich but if meat is not your jam, try the veggie option that uses, get this, real vegetables and treats them right. Over at Runner and Stone things get gourmet with a bread program to rival the best Manhattan and clever sandwiches, salads, soups, and sweets to fill up on. Just get a loaf of bread to-go, the trip to Gowanus is not complete with out it.

Court Street Grocers || 485 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Runner and Stone || 285 Third Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

DRINKS

photo courtesy of Momofuku Milk Bar

Drinking in Brooklyn is not relegated to stereo-typical bars. Instead you can find drinks in bakeries and amazing food in beer bars; which is why drinks must be had at both Milk Bar and Tørst. Milk Bar – note this is only at the Williamsburg location – serves boozy milkshakes with the famous cereal milk soft serve. Tørst, on the other hand, has a wall of beautiful tile and unmarked taps holding imported and local beer for every type of beer drinkers and bar munchies are not to be missed as they come out of the Luksus kitchen.

Milk Bar - Williamsburg || 382 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tørst || 615 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

DINNER

photo courtesy of The PINES

Dover is the new hip spot dinner spot and The Pines regularly requires a reservation but both of these places are worth the planning. The Pines serves shared, well-balanced, American plates. That are “shared” because you will not want to sit across from someone without have at least of a few bits of their cleverly constructed plate. The Pines boasts casual dress and atmosphere served with elevated food. Dover is for date night and has a romantic vibe that hums in the space. Raw oysters, magnificent fish, pristine produce all make this a not-to-miss place for dinner. Feeling fun? Dover offers a tasting menu not to be missed.

Dover || 412 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
The Pines || 284 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Date Night Spots in NYC!

Date night could be a complete toss-up. It could be the start of a fun new relationship, a miserable night that turns into a good story, or a special night out with a special loved one after you’ve realized you order delivery and watch re-runs of Modern Family too much on Friday nights. The one thing in common with all the types of date nights is that good food is a must! Here are a few ideas of where to go for a romantic night:

Alta

64 West 10th Street

Alta

Tapas! By sharing a variety of shared plates it adds a little fun to the typical dinner date. There are over 40 small plates to try and range from fried goat cheese to roasted pork belly confit. Even that date who is a picky eater will be able to find something they like.

Craft

43 East 19th Street

Craft

Craft stays true to focusing on good food and ambiance. The atmosphere keeps a good balance between elegance and comfort. The menu has a good variety and definitely try some of their appetizers! There are a couple dishes that two people can share, maybe you’ll be inspired by Lady and the Tramp sharing a plate of spaghetti!

Barbuto

775 Washington Street

Barbuto-Interior

This high energy Italian has a fun yet comfortable atmosphere for date night. They have garage doors that can open for romantic outdoor dining on nice nights. The menu changes depending on seasonal produce so you know you will be getting the freshest food.

Aquagrill

210 Spring Street

Aquagrill

An amazing seafood restaurant to bring your date. They have great indoor or outdoor seating and beautiful décor. Be sure to start with a plate of oysters from their raw bar to kick off your night of romance! If you are looking for a good cocktail, try the Jalapeno Quencher.

Q&A with Marz Community Brewing Founder, Ed Marszewski

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This one’s for the beer lovers.

One of the newest microbreweries in town is Marz Community Brewing in Bridgeport. We were lucky enough to interview one of the founders, Ed Marszewski. Check out what he has to say and some of the amazing labels they’ve designed for their first brews scattered throughout the post and throughout Chicago of course.

Also, *BONUS* – the Marz Community Brewing launch party is Monday, September 8th. We’ve got 10 tickets to giveaway. Tweet to us or write on our Facebook wall to snag them. First come, first serve.

1. Congratulations on the brews! Tell us about the process of getting this off the ground. Creatively and logistically. What were the biggest hold ups?

Thanks, Shelby! It’s hard to believe Marz Community Brewing Co is open for business. It took us 18 months from actually saying “Let’s brew it”, to getting to serve our beer to the public. So in the beginning of our liquid dreams we knew we wanted to open up a space in our neighborhood of Bridgeport. We love our neighborhood and we love the people that live here. We felt it was important to contribute to the blossoming cultural ecology that is evident in the every day life of this part of town. We feel that breweries add value to a community and bring people together. And frankly, it is in Bridgeport that I feel opportunity and growth are reaching a sustainable moment. It made complete sense to do something that seems ridiculous here, in the Community of the Future.

In general our brewery is an experiment in collaboration and elective participation. Most of the members met each other while drinking beer at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar, a place I helped my family create. Most of us are homebrewers, former brewers that were burnt out working at shitty breweries and people we met at our Mash Tun Festivals that made rad liquid. We drank together, read lot of books, visited conferences, had lots of meetings and made lots of beer. But mostly we learned how to evolve our project by talking to other brewers like: Gabrial Maglione of Half Acre, Gerrit Lewis and Beejay Oslon of Pipeworks, Drew Fox of 18th Street, Master Cicerone, Dave Kahle, Brant Dubovick of Dryhop, and John Laffler of Off Color Brewing and many others. Without those cholos we still wouldn’t be open. We owe them everything.

Logistically we realized right away that we were not going to have a lot of money to play with so we started investing in a nano-brewery system made by Psychobrew. It is the training wheel brewhouse system that Pipeworks and 18th Street used to get their liquid flowing and growing. And its great! We parked our system in a storefront in Bridgeport. The place is small, but the price was right. It’s a great laboratory for what we are doing.

But it took a while to get here. For some reason I thought I could navigate the bureaucracy, rules and regulations that surround the manufacturing of beer as if it were like starting a punk rock band. I wanted to figure out how to do the application process myself because my thinking was that “If a moron like me could do this then anyone could.” And I could prove to all the naysayers that it could be done. But it really sucked. In filling out forms I learned how to be really patient in waiting for agencies to approve them. And no matter how hard I tried to decypher their requests for changes or more information, I invariably failed. But being a life-long successful failure prepared me for the pain. You just have to follow instructions and listen to the very patient members of the licensing agencies who have to deal with dumb asses like me every day. I also would say that Murphy’s Law is real. Very real. Everything will break. Everything needs modification. And the job will be learning how to fix shit. Every day.

But making beer is the easy part. And making awesome beer is hard. But because our brewing system is small we can take risks that won’t break the bank. We can make great standard style beers like our Brideporter and The Machine American Pale Ale. And we can brew exquisite and very difficult to make beers like our Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss or Smoke Wheat Everyday Polish Style Gratzer. We also get super weird making a Pho soup base infused Oak Porter or wheat IPAs made with rooibos tea. We get to collaborate with great chefs like Bill Kim in making conceptual brews that are made real by our team of weirdo brewers and get to have our beer used in sausages made by Missy and her awesome crew at PQM. So we get to have a lot of fun.

The thing about our crew is that most of us have other jobs, because brewing pays shit (or at least brewing for us pays shit). Despite that fact, we all want to work in a brewery and we work long hours on our time off. So besides being brewers some of us are writers, designers, artists, welders, bartenders, coders, and carpenters. And these careers inform our working habits as well as our conceptual and representational frameworks. For example, I have been involved with the arts for a few decades and have worked with some of the world’s best artists and designers. So visually we know that we want to kick ass and get away from some of the shitty graphic design found in some brewery identities. And we can do that because we have Michael Freimuth on our side. He is our graphic designer and partner in this endeavor so we feel lucky. We also have the honor of working with many of our artist and designer friends, like Paul Nudd, Scott Marvel and Cody Hudson, by having them make artwork for our beer labels and schwag. Additionally some of us have been community activists and organizers so we want to give back to the people and groups that fight the good fight. So profits from our Community Brew Series will go to neighborhood groups, non profit orgs and activist and cultural enterprises that we think make a difference in our lives.

2. What are your first brews? Where can we find them (restaurants and retail)?

Our first beers are the Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss series. We call them our South Side Sours. They are tart and mildly funky. We made a Yuzu fruit juice version and a version made with a secondary fermentation and blend of chardonnay grape juice. That one is called the Bubby Creek Winobascillus, dedicated to Mad Dog 20/20 drinkers. We also make a kick ass Pale Ale called The Machine, an homage to the 11th Ward Democratic Organization, and the Bridgeporter, an American Porter that is one of our Community Brews. We also brew the aforementioned Smoke Wheat Everyday, a light smoky and tart wheat ale. And then we have our May 1968 Saison that is perfect and a few other brews like the Buddy Extra Pale Ale and an oak aged amber jam. We have a number of one offs coming soon. We recently sponsored a homebrew competition called the Homebrewer’s Ball where the winner gets their beer brewed by us and we also made a collaboration wet hopped brew with a local brewery in planning called Antithesis.

Believe it or not we have our beers at over 24 bars in the metro region. You will most likely find them regularly at Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar and at Publican and Publican Quality Meats if we keep our allocations in check.

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3. What are the best food pairings for the brews?

The Smoke Wheat Everyday will delight fish eaters. The roasted maltiness of our Bridgeporter goes perfect with deserts containing cocoa or chocolate and I like to eat pork chops paired with it. The Bubbly Creek Berliner Weiss pairs great with fruit and cheesecake but is traditionally served with sweet syrups mixed into the beer like a shot. We even pair it with sour gummy bears. And of course The Machine Pale ale pairs well with bar food. Fried chicken is my favorite choice for that beer.

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4. Will you have brew tours in the future? 

We will! In fact we will be doing Chicago Brew Bus tours of the neighborhood at our launch party this September 8. Otherwise it will be by appointment only. Our space is small. It’s not a big deal unless you want to start a DIY brewery.

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5. Any collaborations in the works?

We love working with Chef Bill Kim and are about to make the first Kimchee spiced beer in the world (maybe)! We plan on making beers with our friends in the hospitality bizness and will continue to help the crazy people that want to start a brewery on their own. One of our goals is to help incubate homebrewers to become pros. We did it and so can you, liquid dreamer…

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6. How is it going? With growth are there any hires you are looking for?

We didn’t kick start our brewery and are therefore going to have a steady climb to get out of debt and reach the goal of opening our expansion facility next year. We have our collective members that will be on board and hopefully fully employed for a while when we get our shit together. So we are not looking to hire additional people in the foreseeable near future. However, if there is someone interested in learning the true skills of brewing, like humping sacks of grain, cleaning up and sanitizing everything, please don’t hesitate to send us a resume. We need a few interns.

7. Marz COMMUNITY Brewing – how has your brew startup been community-centric? Is it specific to Bridgeport, the beer community in Chicago in general, or something else?

I think I unwittingly and long-windedly answered that above…

8. Outside of the new Marz Brews what are some of your favorite beers?

If I want something refreshing and unique that is super low in ABV I drink Off Color beers and Anderson Valley Gose. If I want to get krunked I drink Three Floyds and Pipeworks double IPAs. If I just want to drink something hoppy I enjoy Half Acre brews and Spiteful canned beer. If I go out to a brewpub and want to enjoy awesome food with my beer I visit DryHop, Revolution and sometimes Haymarket.

9. It’s quickly becoming a staple and favorite question for our Q&As with serious food (and beer) enthusiasts like you – what is your guiltiest food pleasure?

I am not ashamed to admit I am guilty of food felonies every day. Pies from Pleasant House Bakery, ramen at Urban Belly, sandwiches at PQM, chicken at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, beef sandwiches with mozzarella and giardanera from Phil’s Pizza, hybrid Korean food from Parachute, and best of all home cooked meals made by my beautiful wife, Rachael Olson Marszewski.

Where to Eat With Your Hands in NYC

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When a piping hot plate arrives, a diner typically reaches for the knife and fork before the dish even grazes the table cloth. More and more restaurants however, are banishing the fork in favor of a less structured eating style. Eating with your hands is no longer the sign of bad table manners, but a way to embrace the vibrant cultural backdrop that supports many of New York’s marvelous restaurants. Hand eating can happen in highly rated restaurants or sandwich shops, but each bite taken with disregard for silverware tastes better than the last.

Bunna Café
1084 Flushing Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11237

Photo courtesy of Bunna Cafe

Bunna Café serves vegan, Ethiopian fare with silverware in sight. Enticing the diner to eat the meal with Injera, a sour, fermented, crepe-like bread in lieu of metal. The food, which is also served on top of Injera, is meant to be molded into perfect little packages. Mixing together the various cooked beans, lentils, cold salads, and spicy stews. Bunna Café’s intimate setting and wetnaps after dinner make you excited to eat every last bit with your hands.

Meat Hook Sandwich Shop
495 Lorimer St. Brooklyn, NY 11211

Photo courtesy of Meat Hook Sandwich Shop

Eating a sandwich with a knife and fork is blasphemous. The transportable, smashable, grabable aspect of the sandwich is what make this food so irresistible. Meat Hook has taken the notion of the humble sandwich to the next level. Encouraging the eater to not only abandon “manners”, but to enjoy twisted takes on classic sandwiches. Gyros become sausages and tartar finds a home in crusty bread in a noteworthy sandwich every sandwich loving New Yorker should know about.

Tulsi
211 E. 46th St. New York, NY 10017

Photo courtesy of TulsiSometimes a Michelin Star does not mean every bit tastes better on silver. At Tulsi, a one Michelin star Indian restaurant, serves encourage patrons to eat with their hands when the dish allows. The decor might make you feel out of place when you push aside the silverware but take your waiters advice: some of this food is truly better without tines.

Los Tacos #1
75 9th Ave. New York, NY 10011

Photo courtesy of Los Tacos No. 1

Sure, street taco vendors might supply you with a plastic fork, but it is solely a formality. At Los Tacos No. 1 the only need for silverware can be found on the vast expansive condiment bar where every dreamy taco topping is available. With limited seating, Los Tacos No. 1 requires the taco lover to stand and stuff or walk and nibble. Both options leaving you happy and the forks completely untouched.

Sigiri
91 1st Ave. New York, NY 10003

Photo courtesy of SigiriNot many restaurants have a Prime Minister’s letter of thanks to display, but Sri Lankan restaurant Sigiri proudly displays the scanned in letter one short click away from their home page. The story here is authenticity and Sigiri does not disappoint. Silverware can be found nestled next to healthy heaping of well-spiced entries but don’t be nervous about throwing silverware to the wind and using your fingers instead.

Q&A with Daniel Stedman, Founder of Taste Talks

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We are so excited for Taste Talks in Brooklyn September 12-14 and in Chicago October 3-5. To get us, and of course, you, even more excited, we interviewed the co-founder of Taste Talks and Northside Media Group, Daniel Stedman. Check it out…

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1. What is Taste Talks? Why did you start it?

Taste Talks started as a conference to celebrate what’s happening in food culture right here in Brooklyn, in the very community that is leading the conversation. There was too much to talk about and too many amazing chefs to NOT gather them together to talk, cook and eat! Now we’re expanding to Chicago as well, which is an incredible food town, and seemed lacking in this type of engaging conversation about taste.

2. Who do you see at Taste Talks Brooklyn? Is it a good mix of industry and non-industry? What is the type of diner Taste Talks attracts?

Our audience is for the person who is interested in what they are eating — both where the ingredients are coming from and how a chef creates a fantastic dish. I like to think that the people who come to Taste Talks are the types of people that go to a restaurant for the chef and not just to follow the hype.

3. If Taste Talks were a music festival, which one would it be?

Pitchfork

4. Why Chicago for your second city?

The friends and family around Taste Talks were talking about asking Paul [Kahan] to come to Brooklyn, until a light bulb went off in our heads that we should be bringing Taste Talks to Chicago. We also saw Chicago’s burgeoning food scene and wanted to celebrate that. Chicago is an incredible city with an equally amazing food culture, and it seemed like a perfect place to have really forward-thinking conversations about the future of food and taste. 

5. Will there be any other events outside of the Taste Talks “main stage”?

We’re having four different venues host tastings, cooking demos and panels. And our dinners are taking place all over Williamsburg. We want all of Williamsburg to feel a part of this event.

6. Which panels are you most looking forward to in Brooklyn and Chicago?

I’m really excited to see Danny Bowien & Christina Tosi make comfort food from dollar store ingredients! And in Chicago I think I can learn a thing or two from the “How to Entertain” panel with Charles Joly of The Aviary.

7. Will you expand Taste Talks again next year? Where to?

There are so many exciting cities for incredible food and incredible culture — I could see us bringing Taste Talks to another big city, or even doing a satellite event somewhere remote. Definitely some exciting possibilites.

8. Where do you see food media going? There have been so many shake-ups in the last year, what’s the future hold in your mind?

As a longtime print publisher myself, with Brooklyn Magazine and The L Magazine, I think that the shake-ups help the medium to find their purpose once again. There are tons of exciting new food magazines, and we’re living in a time where people are devouring the culture of food — I can only imagine that great things will come from this.

9. What are you top restaurants in BK, Manhattan and Chicago?

Brooklyn : Two Toms. Manhattan : Keen’s. Chicago : My favorite sandwich of my life is the Return of the Gyro, from Publican Quality Meats.

10. Where’s your favorite city to travel to for food outside the US? Inside the US?

I had a perfect moment at Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami – I love that place. I’d also like to organize a proper clambake in Maine or Nova Scotia.

11. Where do you get dining recommendations? Who or what is your favorite source?

Well, Taste Savant of course! But truly, the best recommendations come from my amazing wife.

12. What’s your guiltiest food pleasure? 

Gonna go with Popeye’s — so good, but so, so bad.

Alright food enthusiasts – go and get your tickets for Taste Talks before you can’t! Here: http://taste-talks.com/schedule-bk/

 

Food Cart Dining in Portland, Oregon

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Portland and New York can be seen as polar opposite food cities. For starters, the infamous New York makes restaurants hire reservationists just to field the phone calls and fill seats, while Portland has opted to have pre-recorded phone messages with no answering machine. The best solution to this Portland conundrum come in the form of food carts. They were once for downtown work lunches but have morphed into all hours of the day nourishment. Allowing last minute, line-averse diners to eat cheaply and well, with no reservation or line.

The best part of Portland food cart dining are the pods, which are situated in parking lots, undeveloped lots, and other unlikely street corners. The pods have become akin to elevated open-air food court where diners can choose to eat what ever they desire (the gluten-free and vegan friends no longer stop you from enjoying what you crave) and then congregate in the provided communal seating. These pods are possible because unlike twitter driven LA carts, most Portland carts are stationary, making them easy to find – even if their hours are hard to keep track of.

Here are five not to miss food carts in the Rose City:

Viking Soul Food
4262 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR

photo courtesy of Hannah Petertil

It might be because lefse – Norwegian flat bread made of potatoes – is my all time favorite food and that meatballs have captivated me since I was a child but this food cart is my favorite in Portland. The thing is I am not alone, Viking Soul food almost closed due to a family emergency but their fans encouraged them to come back and Portland is all the better for it.

Try the Meatball and goat cheese gravy wrap and the lingonberry and cream cheese wrap for dessert (the wrap is lefse).

Savor Soup House
1003 Southwest Alder Street, Portland, OR

photo courtesy of Hannah Petertil

Soup is once of those foods that we always crave and Savor turns out the best cart soup around. This is a spot where down town workers come to grab their mid day warm up in the winter and homey sandwiches in the summer. The best part about Savor are the small spoons they give you with samples of their vast array of soups – think ice cream sampling but soup – ensuring you never sit down to lunch with a bowl you dislike.

Try the grilled cheese bar and tomato with fennel and orange soup

The Angry Unicorn
5205 SE Foster Road, Portland, OR

photo courtesy of Hannah Petertil

Burgers are back. Everyone is trying to come up with the latest and greatest. One of those greats is housed in this deep south east food cart where a unicorn burger means ground brisket, bacon, cheese and a donut for a bun. The combination is dynamic and the name is clever but this is the kind of burger that you only have on occasionally, as large doses of sarcastically named menu items might not be good for a daily diet.

Try the unicorn burger

Big Ass Sandwiches
304 SE 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR

photo courtesy of Big Ass Sandwiches

These are the sandwiches that late nights where made for. The fries, béchamel cheese sauce (house made of course), meat of your choose, and optional hot sauce all smash in-between locally mad ciabatta are why I stay up late. Luckily for those who don’t like to stay up past your bedtime Big Ass Sandwiches is now open during the day and even has added a breakfast sandwich to the menu. Now night owls and morning folk can rejoice with a sandwich that can keep you full for 12-hours.

Try the Big-Ass Sandwich (the Big-Ass Vegetarian Sandwich is also amazing)

Namu
4209 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR

photo courtesy of Hannah Petertil

The crowning glory of Portland food carts is the diversity. A trip to a food cart pod can mean filling your plat up with a combination of mac and cheese and sushi or perhaps something with a little more purpose like the Bulgogoi Beef at Namu. Namu is situated across the parking lot from Viking Soul Food so this is a great way to travel the globe at lunch or dinnertime in Portland.

Try the Bulgogoi Beef and the Bee Bim Bap

The Best Dessert Spots in New York City

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Many times friends visiting me will comment that I walk them around the city simply to get from one feasting spot to another, and that their tours of the city tend to consist of 10% tourist attractions and 90% “you HAVE to try this” eateries.

The beauty of this New York City is that no matter what kind of dessert you’re craving– whether it’s wonderfully simple chocolate chip cookies or delicate macarons, or cloud-like green tea mousse cake or dense and rich cheesecake, there are numerous places that totally nail it. Here are a handful of bakeries in the city that definitely deserve to be called the best bakeries in the city:

Levain Bakery

167 West 74th St

levain

You will need a friend as there is no way one person can finish these monstrous mounds of heaven. While there isn’t a lot of seating, it’s only a couple blocks away from central park, so I would highly recommend grabbing their signature chocolate chip walnut cookie, walking over to the park, and realizing just how darn lucky you are.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake

17 Cleveland Place

eileens-cheesecake

If you have friends from out of town visiting, this is the perfect place to take them to get a true taste of the city. Nestled on the corner of pretty little Petrosino Square and just out of the bustling SoHo, Eileen’s is the perfect pit stop when cruising around the trendy area. You are welcome to go out of the box and have, say, a coffee or amaretto cheesecake, but my go-to is the classic plain cheesecake, and it has never let me down.

Prohibition Bakery

9 Clinton Street

 

Pretzels&BeerCupcake

Talk about innovation, this place will have you rekindling your precipitously dimming love for cupcakes. If you’re into sweet and salty combinations, a new favorite is without a doubt the pretzels & beer cupcake that features the ever-loved nutella and a local beer, what’s not to like? Prohibition Bakery has raised the bar for cupcakes and has best executed pushing the boundaries of cupcake flavors.

Momofuku Milk Bar

251 East 13th St

cereal-milk

Do not get distracted by the desirable items like the crack pie or compost cookie (get those for later). Just ask for the cereal milk soft serve with any topping or no topping (I’ll let you take the wheels on that one). This soft serve is brilliantly refreshing and indulgent at the same time. Ours TS users show nothing but praise for this bakery, saying it’s a “favorite dessert place in the city” and “dangerous if you live nearby.”

 

Food Trends: All About the Chipotle

chipotle-pepper

In recent years, the chipotle pepper’s star has risen. No longer a background seasoning or one of dozens of elements in a complex mole sauce, restaurants are now putting chipotle in everything from ketchup to macaroni and cheese – you can even find chipotle in featured in cocktails! In this post, we’ll cover all of the bases of everyone’s favorite smoky pepper.

What is it?
The chipotle is not actually a pepper in its own right (so don’t run off to try and buy a chipotle plant for your garden); instead, it’s a smoke-dried jalapeño. The basic flavor profile and heat level come from the jalapeño, while the drying method gives it its signature smoky depth. While you can find dried chipotle peppers at specialty stores and at some exceptionally well-stocked supermarkets, your local grocery store is far more likely to have canned chipotles in adobo sauce. These are re-hydrated chipotle peppers swimming in a thick, tomato-based sauce with spices and aromatics. They make the peppers much more accessible to cook with, since it gets around the problem of re-hydrating the peppers yourself.

Where can I eat it?
Chipotle peppers are popping up everywhere – even Panera Bread has a Chipotle Chicken Panini on their menu. Looking for something more local? Almost any Mexican restaurant will have at least one or two menu items featuring the pepper. Check out the Chicken Tamal appetizer at Maya on the Upper East Side, or Yerba Buena, in the East Village, which puts chipotle in its fish tacos and its guacamole.
If you’re looking for something more out of the box, Maya also has churros served with chipotle caramel sauce on their dessert menu. Soho’s Mercer Kitchen serves their Japanese-inspired salmon appetizer with chipotle mayo, along with crispy sushi rice and ponzu. If you’d rather drink your spice, check out Char No. 4 in Brooklyn, which makes their Bloody Marys with chipotle and bourbon.

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