Archive for the ‘Fast Food’ Category

Luxury Canned Food

 Eggplant

Ever grab a nice steak from the grocery store, go home, throw it on the BBQ, and then realize that you forgot to get something to go with it? Or maybe you’re in a rush for dinner and need to prepare something quick. Well no longer do you need to sacrifice good tasting food just because you’re in a bind.

TASTE is billing itself as the first luxury canned food. According to The Luxist

It’s made from first class all-natural ingredients and packaged in a classy contemporary way.

I thought that since The Luxist made mention of this that it’d be pricey, and it is more expensive than canned foods should be, but they’re not out of this world prices.

For example, the canned cherry tomatoes with basil will run you $2.99, while the premium Italian Grilled Peppers, packed in water and lightly seasoned, will cost you $6.99 a can, which is the same price as the canned Grilled Eggplant.

Also available are a variety of canned seafoods, fruits, nuts and candy, although no pricing is available yet. But click here if you want to learn more about their canned products.

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THE REAL TACO TOWN!

Double Roll

Slashfood had a little article on a Japanese Pizza Hut creation called the Double Roll. The Double Roll takes the stuffed crust concept to a new level by adding hot dogs and pepperoni to the crust like tiny corn dogs or maybe pigs in blankets, then throws on peas, corn and miniature hamburger patties as toppings. It reminds them on that SNL skit “Taco Town.”

If you haven’t seen the Taco Town skit, go here, and download one of the versions. But if you’re curious as to what it is…

A crunchy all beef taco smothered in nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato, and special Southwestern sauce; wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with a layer of re-fried beans in between; wrapped in a savory corn tortilla with a middle layer of Monterrey jack cheese; wrapped in a deep fried gordita shell smeared with a layer of special ‘guacomolito’ sauce; wrapped in a corn husk filled with pico de gallo; wrapped in an authentic Parisian crepe filled with egg, gruyere, sausage and portobello mushrooms; wrapped in a Chicago-style, deep-dish, meat lover’s pizza; rolled up in a blueberry pancake; dipped in batter and deep fried until it’s golden brown; and served in a commemorative tote bag filled with spicy vegetarian chili. (from Food Facts)

If you think the fictional version is pretty disgusting, then check this out.  Some guys decided to feed their friends by creating the real thing. You can see their blog about it here.

Bringing Street Vendors Home

Elote

New York City wouldn’t be NYC without street vendors. But apparently the city has been cracking down on vendors in recent.

There are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City – hot dog vendors, flower vendors, book vendors, shoe shiners, street artists, and many others. They are small businesspeople struggling to make ends meet. Most are recent immigrants and people of color. They work long hours under harsh conditions, asking for nothing more than a chance to sell their goods and services on the public sidewalk.

Yet, in recent years, vendors have been victims of New York’s aggressive “quality of life” crackdown. They have been denied access to vending licenses. They have been swept from the streets by powerful business groups. They have been unjustly harassed, and their property has been illegally seized.

The Street Vendor Project works to correct the social and economic injustice faced by these hardworking entrepreneurs. Reaching out to vendors on the street, we hold clinics to educate vendors about their legal rights. Working to support a local vendors’ rights movement, we organize vendors to participate in the political process that determines their fate. Finally, we engage in systemic advocacy to help policy makers and the public understand the important role street vendors play in the life of our city.

For more information about the Street Vendor Project, go to www.streetvendor.org.

That said, I’d happily go out and support the vendors of NYC, if I didn’t live 3,000 miles away. But I do. So instead you’ll find 3 recipes below for street vendor food, including pretzels from NYC, elote from LA, and arepas from Miami so you can honor street vendors everywhere at home.

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Mexican Corn on the Cob – Elote

Ingredients

  • fresh corn
  • butter
  • mayonnaise
  • cotija cheese (grated)
  • cayenne pepper
  • lime juice

Directions

  1. Husk, butter and grill the corn til it starts to brown.
  2. Slap on a coat of mayo (low-fat is fine) and roll in cotija cheese (parmesan works fine as a substitute.)
  3. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and as a squirt of lime juice.

NOTE: This can be done off the cob as well in a bowl. Just mix ingredients and serve.

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New York Style Pretzels

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pretzel salt (large coarse salt)
  • parchment paper

Directions

  1. Stir together sugar, yeast, and 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 110°F) in a glass measuring cup, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. Whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough. Dust work surface with 1 tablespoon flour, then turn out dough and knead, gradually dusting with just enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 8 minutes. (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).
  3. Return dough to bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, then let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 8 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 24 inches long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)
  4. Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled baking sheet and form 7 more pretzels in same manner with remaining dough, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.
  6. Using both hands, carefully add 3 pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining 5 pretzels in 2 batches.
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

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Street Vendor Arepas

Ingredients

  • One cup areparina (Most people will have to buy this. It is made by Goya, among others. Look for it near the Mexican foods, or near flour.)
  • Cooking oil
  • 2 cups of warm water (not boiling) Also good to have around for topping when you are done:
  • Cheese (Feta, swiss)
  • Butter (or margarine)
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Mix the water and the areparina in a big enough bowl. Let it rest for a few minutes.
  2. Knead the dough. Take small balls and knead individually. It is helpful to have a little bowl of water nearby to dunk your hands in occasionally. Flatten using hands taking the ball and starting to press from the center out while you turn the arepa around your fingers so it takes the shape of a little pancake. They should be like 3-5 CDROMs stacked together, only with a little less radius. Your hands will work hard, and get messy, but the arepas should turn out ok. Each pancake will take around 30 seconds to 2 minutes to make.
  3. Use a hot frying pan which has been coated with oil (use a paper towel with oil) and bake the arepas. Turn only once when it is brown. Some of the flours make arepas that split slightly when you cook them; that’s ok. Others you have to just get used to the consistency of cooked arepas and you know when they are done. Do not overheat the pan. Arepas take a while to cook, possibly ten minutes or so. Five minutes per side.
  4. Serve with sliced cheese, or butter and salt.

Photo from Flickr.

Googleteria

Google Cafeteria

From everything I’ve heard, Google is a great company to work for. They get benefits up the wazoo aimed at making them more productive while taking their mind off of every day chores.  According to Eric Schmidt, Google CEO…

“The goal is to strip away everything that gets in our employees way. We provide a standard package of fringe benefits, but on top of that are first-class dining facilities, gyms, laundry rooms, massage rooms, haircuts, carwashes, dry cleaning, commuting buses – just about anything a hardworking employee engineer might want. Let’s face it: programmers want to program, they don’t want to do their laundry. So we make it easy for them to do both.” (from Google)

First-class dining facilities? You mean like a nice clean cafeteria serving burgers and sandwiches? Hardly. According to Food & Wine

There are coolers packed with drinks. We left with Gus Dry Meyer Lemon Soda, Smart Water, Cosmic Cranberry Synergy tea (an organic, raw Kombucha—a handmade Chinese tea that’s cultured for 30 days, and that we’re told Madonna drinks!) in our purses; the drinks are all free to Google employees, and to interlopers like us.

The cafeteria includes the following stations: The Chelsea Grill, a Raw Bar, a Ceviche Station, Antipasti, a Salad Bar, a Soup Station, a Spa Cuisine bar and one for Dessert. The only one we didn’t hit was a Home Cooking station.  Our plates were full.  Nearly 50 local farms, seafood purveyors and sources of general yumminess are handwritten on a board near the Earth & Water station (where they serve a different fresh fish every day).  There are also baskets of fresh fruit everywhere: yellow kiwis, prickly pears, apples and peaches.

And as for Food & Wine’s favorite Google cafeteria selections…

  • From the Raw bar: Shredded carrot and jicama with peanuts, ginger and grapes (one of the chefs told us she’d created the recipe that morning). Zucchini “pasta” with sweet peas and a creamy pine nut sauce.
  • From the Ceviche Station: Sesame soy tuna with rice noodles (large chunks of raw tuna—more of a tartare than a ceviche, but delicious).
  • From Earth & Water: Pan-seared salmon with forestiere [wild mushroom] sauce and sauteed spinach with chive oil and garlic.
  • Chelsea Grill: Pulled pork sandwich with raw cabbage slaw (Fred Thompson allegedly said it was some of the best barbecue he had in NYC).
  • To Drink: Fresh prickly pear, beet and plum/apricot waters (pitchers filled with fresh sliced fruit and vegetables; the beet water was a gorgeous hot pink).
  • Dessert: We eyed the lavender and honey whipped cream with fresh blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, but opted for Google It’s Its (a natural, locally sourced, trans-fat-free version of the iconic San Francisco ice cream sandwich: vanilla ice cream between two oatmeal cookies, dipped in chocolate).  There was also cinnamon angel-food cake, green tea madeleines and fresh peach and agave smoothies. We enjoyed (read: inhaled) our It’s Its on the terrace, which overlooks the city skyline and has amazing views of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings.

So employees get a gourmet lunch? Yup. And if they come to work on an empty stomach or want to work late, they can enjoy a gourmet breakfast and dinner as well.

But what if I get hungry after lunch? Got any snacks?

Employees can snack from free mini-convenience stores filled with everything from organic gummy bears to cereal, yogurt, health bars, pretzels, bottled water and even some seemingly contraband sodas.

Ok, I’m in. Sign me up. Now I just need to learn how to do computer programming.

Wanna see what they eat? Click here.

Photo from Flickr. And check out more Google menus here.

Take Your DS To The Ballgame

 Safeco Field

Do you have a Nintendo DS? Know someone who does? Well bring it to Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners) next time you’re there, and you’ll have a much more interactive experience. Looks like Nintendo and Safeco are partnering up on this.

What happens is this…you bring your DS to the park, download special software, and you’re hooked up. So what features will your software loaded DS have? According to Engadget

  • Watch the Mariners network broadcast of games in real time right on the DS from almost any seat in the stadium – some of the controversial plays they don’t show on the Jumbotron will still be able to be seen by fans…
  • Order food from your seat – use the DS Lite to order hot dogs, sodas, etc. using a credit card – which also keeps those long lines down at the ATMs where people are waiting to get more cash.
  • Access to players stats from all around the MLB.
  • Updated scores and information from other MLB games in progress…
  • Fans can compete against each other in trivia and word games…

Safeco will roll out 17 DS stations to download the software from, and it looks like other stadiums and arenas might soon join the trend. It’ll cost $5 per game or $30 for 10 games.

Oh, and if you don’t have a DS, you can pick up your limited edition Seattle Mariners branded version for $158 at the ballpark.

Now lets just hope they do the same for the iPhone.

Photo from Flickr.

An End of an Era in Coney Island?

Nathan’s

Sad news from Deadspin.com. It looks like Kobayashi might be absent from the annual 4th of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. His mother recently died and he’s been on sabbatical.

“He’s not even in training,” the hot dog eating champion’s manager tells Shukan Gendai. “I haven’t heard a word from him about whether he’s going to take part in the July contest and there’s no way that I know to get in touch with him.”

And in related news…

American Joey Chestnut broke Kobayashi’s all-time record, and with the Nathan’s competition coming up July 4, amazingly, Kobayashi isn’t the favorite to win this time. And that’s if he even shows up.

In other competitive eating news, did you know that Eric “Badlands” Booker, one of Kobayashi’s top competitors was the matzo ball eating champ? According to Slate

The man to beat was the record holder (21 baseball-sized balls in 5 minutes, 25 seconds), Eric “Badlands” Booker. He is a New York City subway train conductor and a giant of a man at 420 pounds. I asked his advice, and we went to the small soup bowl displaying a few balls. He picked one up, felt and turned it, like Rodin contemplating a slab of marble. “Wow, these are pretty dense,” he said.

Nathan’s photo from Flickr.

Replate

Replate

You may already be doing this and if you’re not you should be.

What does replate mean?

It’s to place unwanted leftovers, typically in a doggie bag, on top of the nearest trash can so that they don’t go to waste. That way someone who’s hungry enough to pick up your leftovers will get something tasty, rather than having to shuffle through the can to find some scraps.

It’s simple enough that everyone can do this, and common enough that everyone should.

Visit replate.org for more info. Good post by NOTCOT.

REVIEWED: Hello Red Mango…

Red Mango

…goodbye Pinkberry.

I might not be the first, but I’m definitely one of the few to actually sample the American version of Red Mango before their first store even opens.

If you haven’t yet heard of Red Mango, you will soon. Red Mango is the original Pinkberry. Red Mango has over 140 locations in Korea and has been operating since 2002. Ten Red Mango locations will be opening in 2007 with the first in Westwood, CA by the end of June. Although many people in the states will think Pinkberry was the first of its kind, rest assured that Red Mango is in fact the one that started it all. You can now prove your friends wrong when they try to convince you its the other way around.

Today I was taken to the Red Mango headquarters in Culver City to try what turned out to be the most delicious Pinkberry-style yogurt I’ve ever had. And this stuff IS actually yogurt, unlike Pinkberry. Red Mango yogurt is made with pure and natural ingredients, and loaded with live and active cultures.

If you haven’t heard, Pinkberry is dealing with some legal trouble over the fact that their yogurt might not actually be yogurt. They’ve been forced to drop the word “yogurt” from their cups and signage. That said, I still have much respect for Pinkberry and will be enjoying it until the first Red Mango location opens. But back to the taste test…

I was given a bowl of fresh Red Mango original flavor, plain, in the amount of what a small size would be in stores. It’s as creamy as gelato but not nearly as icey as Pinkberry.

But the taste? Well, let me say this. I’m actually a fan of Pinkberry. A very big fan. I find it to be delicious and refreshing without being disgusting full after I’m done eating it. The taste is a little tart, but still better than most other frozen yogurts. But that said, Red Mango is even better. It’s a bit tart, but not overly tart at all.

SIDE NOTE: For as many people as I’ve turned on to Pinkberry, that many have also been turned off due to the tartness of the stuff.

With Red Mango, that overly sour tart flavor is much less. Hardly noticeable. What is noticeable, however, is the creaminess of the yogurt. If you’ve had gelato, you know what I mean. Although it does come out of a high tech soft-serve machine, it tastes like it was just whipped up in the back of the store. No after taste is left (unlike Pinkberry), and (like Pinkberry) you don’t feel like you’ve just had a bowl of ice cream when you’re done.

The nutritional expert was also on hand working out the nutritional facts of the yogurt and enlightened me to the fact that Red Mango is not only healthier than Pinkberry due to the yogurt elements but also less in calories (about 20 calories in 1 ounce, compared to Pinkberry with 25 calories.)

If you live in LA you’ve probably noticed the onslaught of Pinkberry’s on almost every corner, not to mention the copycats like Kiwiberry, Snowberry, and various others. Well Red Mango has a copycat as well. California Roll & Sushi has been claiming to serve Red Mango yogurt for a while now, but be assured it is not. It’s just another rip-off trying to make a buck. To be sure you’re eating Red Mango, make sure you visit the Westwood location when it opens late June, and look for the Red Mango “O” logo like the one above.

Original and green tea flavor will be offered in various sizes, but only original was available to try. Green tea is being tweaked and they’ll be using high quality matcha. As for toppings, they’ll include granola, nuts, fresh fruits, cereals, chocolate chips and the like.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I went back for seconds.

FINAL VERDICT: Get in line now. It’ll be worth the wait.

Red Mango Locations: Westwood Village – Westwood/Pico – Las Vegas – Culver City – Northridge – Koreatown – Bellevue Square (Washington) – San Diego (Mission Valley)

Red Mango on Myspace
Red Mango Korea

Information for this review taken from the Korean American Journal and from Red Mango employees directly.

Jones Soda Sacks Coke

Jones Bottles

Jones Soda Co. has some big news today out of Seattle. According to SPORTSbyBROOKS, the company best known for selling seasonal sodas (like the 2006 Holiday Pack which featured 5 unique soda flavors including Pea, Turkey & Gravy, Dinner Roll, Sweet Potatoes and Antacid) has beat out Coca-Cola to be the official soda company at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

I can’t think of any big-time sports venue that offers product from such a small company over the big guys, but this makes a lot of sense since Jones is a Seattle-based company.

And according to seattlepi.com

Jones Soda Co., a small, scrappy Seattle-based firm, has sacked beverage titan Coca-Cola to acquire the soft-drink rights at Qwest Field and its Event Center for the next five years, according to a securities filing.

Peter van Stolk, Jones Soda’s chief executive, told the Seattle P-I on Wednesday that his company will sell fountain drinks and sodas in plastic bottles throughout Qwest Field, and canned soft drinks in suites. The bottles will feature pictures of Seahawks players.

It is the first time a small private label has knocked off a large soft-drink company to win a major pouring contract, according to one beverage analyst. Jones Soda also becomes the only label outside of cola giants Coke and Pepsi to have an exclusive deal with an NFL team.

Jones Soda, which currently has 21 flavors, will sell at least six flavors at Qwest Field, including a new cola, diet cola and lemon-lime drink at Seahawks games, van Stolk said.

The company also produces a water beverage, a ready-to-drink organic tea, non-carbonated juice and tea, and an energy drink called WhoopAss. Jones Soda has the right to sell “other non-alcoholic beverages” at the stadium, but it hasn’t decided which products it will sell.

Fenway’s for Foodies

Dog

As a sports fan, it’s always kind of fascinating to see how teams are changing with the times. And according to Slashfood and this article, Fenway Park in Boston is trying to class up it’s concession stands a bit.

It used to be that Ron Abell’s idea of a large crowd was dinner for 200. Now it’s more like 35,000.

The former chef de cuisine of Icarus in the South End is now executive chef at Fenway Park. That means he’s left one small kitchen to oversee six, and serves food to fans in the stands, in the luxury suites, in the park’s private EMC Club and State Street Pavilion, even some of the players in the clubhouse.

New menu items include a turkey wrap with mesclun greens and a steak sandwich with baby arugula and aioli. While he is adamant that staple foods will always be available, he is excited about something like lobster roll, a simple mixture of mayonnaise, celery, Tabasco sauce, lobster meat, and other seasonings on a buttered, toasted roll (it sells for $16).

But Fenway isn’t the only stadium classing is up. You can also get crabcakes at Camden Yards, an Ahi Tuna Sandwich at AT&T Park, a Cuban Panini at Miller Park, Garlic Fries at Pac Bell Park and Dodger Stadium…but according to ESPN’s Page 2 Stadium Review, Safeco Field takes the cake.

You’ve got all the classic stand-bys; but you’ve also got clam chowder, salmon sandwiches, sushi, chocolate-covered strawberries, garlic fries, wok-fried noodles, southern barbeque and much, much more. If Mo Vaughn knew about this, he would have insisted on a trade to the Mariners.

And in Yankee news…

Yankee Stadium finally wakes up to its massive Latino customer base and starts serving foods like empanadas and papas rellenas. (Grub Street)

For more on the Yankees latin food you’ll have to register with the New York Times.

Photo above from Flickr.