Archive for September, 2013

Blitzkrieg Hop and More The Ramones Beers

Photos by Tom Harmon

I don’t wanna go down to the basement … unless it’s filled with craft beers themed after The Ramones. Fortunately, an East Village basement bar called Idle Hands (a mere 54 blocks from 53rd and 3rd) really was serving attendees of New York’s first Get Real Beer Week brews celebrating the Queens punk rockers. It’s a sound pairing. In the 70s, The Ramones created a new breed of pop music when it seemed like there wasn’t any room for innovation. In that spirit, four New York breweries experimented with single casks in fun and interesting ways that most beer makers wouldn’t try. Here’s what they came up with:

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Meatless Monday: Oktoberfest Feast

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

You don’t have to make it to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest. Pick up some seasonal beer and set the table with good ‘ole comfort food — German style. To make it meatless, skip the bratwurst and make Roasted White Asparagus with Sauerkraut Hollandaise instead. Rich and buttery with sour notes and wholesome crunchy bits, this dish is best served with a crisp pint (or two).

White asparagus is loaded with nutrients so you’ll feel better about sopping up more of the rich and creamy sauce. With a milder flavor than their green counterparts, the white stalks are the perfect landing spot for for tangy hollandaise and hearty pumpernickle breadcrumbs.  To make it a true Oktoberfest feast, don’t forget the potatoes. German potato salad is awesome.

Roasted White Asparagus with Sauerkraut Hollandaise and Toasted Pumpernickel Breadcrumbs

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Smell Like Breakfast All Day With Toast-Scented Perfume

It used to be that perfumes had one singular purpose: To make you smell like a weird amalgamation of musky flowers and your grandmother’s nightstand. Nowadays, however, there are all kinds of ironic fragrances competing for space on your dresser. Some of them even smell like food.  Hold on to your plates, because here is another one that also may cause hunger pangs.

It’s called Eau de Toast. Guess what it smells like? This toast-scented perfume was recently featured at London’s Fashion Week and was created by Federation of Bakers as a way to remind fashionistas about the importance of yummy carbs in their diet (really.) Reports indicate it actually does smell like toast, which leaves me hopeful for one day being able to experience an entire breakfast in perfume-form.

If you want a vial of your own, you are out of luck. Eau de Toast was extremely popular and sold out almost immediately. You’ll have to settle for bacon-scented air freshener. 

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What Makes the Perfect Bowl of Ramen

Say sayonara to the instant ramen you had in college. The ramen that has swept the nation in recent years is more complex, dynamic and, quite frankly, much more delicious! Some say the noodle dish originated in China, some say Japan. Regardless, every chef has their own opinion of how to create this traditional Asian comfort food.

To get to the bottom of what truly makes the perfect ramen, Unique Eats visited Ramen Tatsu-Ya in Austin to chat with Chef Tatsu Aikawa and find out how he creates his mouthwatering specialty.


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This Restaurant Gives You a Discount to Give Up Your Phone

Smartphones are great. They let us keep in touch with everyone we’ve ever known at all times no matter what. This is also why they are awful. How many times have you tried to socialize only to find everyone around you staring at screens? One restaurant in Beirut is trying to do something about this modern scourge against societal norms.

Beirut’s Bedivere Eatery and Tavern is giving a discount across their entire menu to anyone who hands in their phone upon entering. It’s their way to encourage talking and discourage talking. Severing the cord for a couple of hours will net you ten percent off your check. Not bad, but those candies aren’t going to get crushed by themselves.

This concept isn’t new, but it’s nice to know more eateries are thinking of ways to get people to put their phones away.

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How to Throw a Breaking Bad Finale Party

Like so many of its predecessors — Lost, Six Feet Under and The X­-Files, to name a few — Breaking Bad has introduced a cast of characters so intricate, complex and badass that we can’t help rooting for even the most fallible of main characters. As much as we’re mourning the loss of one of TV’s greatest dramas, we’re super psyched to see how the final episode plays out.

Follow these simple steps, so this Sunday won’t just mark the swan song of your favorite TV show; it will also mark the day you threw the greatest theme party your friends have ever attended.


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A Kitchen Knife Made From a New Kind of Matter

What is it that NASA does? Sure, they put a man on the moon and consistently do things that us mere mortals could never even imagine, but what have they done for our kitchens? Besides astronaut food, not a whole not. This is about to change, thanks to a series of cutlery created with a brand new type of matter.

NASA and Caltech both played a hand in discovering what is now known as amorphous alloys or amorphous metals. These structures may look and act a lot like metal but, on an atomic level, they tend to better resemble glass. It all has to do with nano-particles and other fancy words that remind me of old X-Files episodes. Aside from the science lab, these alloys haven’t found much real world use. Now a company called VMatter Cutlery has produced some kitchen knives using the metals and the results have been pretty astounding.

The knives, which come in a variety of sizes and editions, are said to never need sharpening, thanks to the changed atomic structure. It is also said that they resist rust and all manner of corrosion. It is also said they have gained sentience and will prepare mise en plase before you even ask for it. Just kidding about that last one. These knives sure do seem cool though.

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Enter to Win a Family Vacation

To celebrate the new season of  My Grandmother’s Ravioli (premiering Wednesday, October 2, at 8pm ET), Cooking Channel and Amtrak are teaming up to give away a family vacation on one of the company’s unique long-distance trains. The grand prize is 4 round-trip tickets with sleeping accommodations on Amtrak plus $2500 so you can spend time with the people you love across the country. (It’s completely up to you whether or not you cook up some treasured family recipes when you get there.) Enter now!

Be sure to tune in to the new season of My Grandmother’s Ravioli starting October 2 to watch the very funny Mo Rocca learn to cook from grandparents in their kitchens across the country.

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Thirsty Thursday: A Cocktail to Get You Excited About Fall

It’s more than just alliteration; it’s a statement, a proclamation that Thursdays are when the weekend should really start. Kicking it off right is the key, and what better way than with a cocktail that not only takes the edge off, but tastes good too. A hard thing to disagree with, we know. Drink up, get down and go to sleep happy.

What to do when the hot summer days are behind us, and those slushy, boozed-up punches with party straws and umbrellas are no longer fitting for the season? Well, we stir ourselves up a fall-fashioned cocktail to welcome in the new season!

Now that it’s officially fall and we are swapping in amber leaves for summer sun, try this cocktail with a deep, burnt-orange hue that mimics Autumn Colors. This fall-inspired sip gets its color from pomegranate liqueur and sweet ice tea mixed with vodka and orange zest. Its crisp taste reminds us of the cooling air that characterizes the fall harvest season.

Bottoms up, folks.

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25 Ways to Use Cardamom

Using spices like cardamom really helps me think outside the box and play with new flavors and cuisines that I normally don’t cook. Cardamom is a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines (try it as a flavoring for coffee or in some mulled wine) and also plays a big part in Swedish cooking, which seems strange until you find out that it was brought back from what is now Turkey to Scandinavia by Viking explorers. Cardamom was used as a breath freshener by the ancient Egyptians and a digestive aid in traditional Indian medicine, but most importantly, it’s delicious — warm and sweet in a way that pairs well with many savory dishes (think poultry, curries and all kinds of rice dishes) and is particularly fantastic as we head into the crisp days of fall. If you’re using the whole pods, gently toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until they start smelling aromatic. From there you can use whole or toss in a spice grinder. Cardamom is one of the world’s most expensive spices, second only to saffron. A little bit of this pungent spice packs a punch though, so don’t worry about having to use your whole stock in one dish. Incorporate cardamom into your weekly routine with these 25 recipes:

  1. Your next weekend cooking project has arrived: Pistachio-Crusted Chinook Salmon with Ginger-Cardamom Yogurt Sauce, Glazed Beets and Grilled Summer Squash. Although this dish comprises several pieces, none are overwhelmingly complicated.
  2. Aarti Sequeira rehydrates dates in brandy for her Date, Pistachio and Cardamom Cake (pictured above), adding a bit of bite to contrast the sticky sweetness of the dates.
  3. Just when you think creme brulee can’t be improved upon, in comes Banana and Cardamom Creme Brulee.
  4. Southmoreland Plum Kabobs with Cardamom Sugar Rub might just be the easiest (and most delicious) dessert you will ever make. Sprinkle plum kabobs with cardamom sugar rub, then grill and eat!
  5. Make easy Cardamom-Orange French Toast for a weekend treat. Aida Mollenkamp utilizes French batard bread, which is similar to a baguette, but a little shorter and squatter (like a squished football). If you can’t find any batard, substitute brioche or even ciabatta.

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