Photo courtesy of Thrillist
The craft beer industry in the U.S.A. has grown exponentially in recent years, after decades of American beer being ridiculed by Europeans as being unsophisticated, weak and watered down. Nowadays, there are hundreds of microbreweries in the U.S. to bring pride to the American beer industry, with thousands of formidable brews being made in classic styles as well as some experimental ones. And leave it to Denver-based Wynkoop Brewery, Colorado’s first brewpub, to step up this trend of experimentation with its new Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout — made with bull testicles
. How’s that for something an American can be proud of?
“We take our beer very seriously. We’re artists. Our people in the brew house are artists,” said Wynkoop spokesman Marty Jones, the idea man behind the peculiar concoction. “So, there was some reservation about what this would do … but fortunately our brewers had the balls, if you will, to step up and make the beer.” (My conversation with him at the Wynkoop brewpub was filled with many puns like this.)
Continue Reading Wynkoop Brewery’s Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout Is a Beer With Balls, Literally (a review)
Sriracha chili sauce. You either love or abstain from its spiciness, but there’s no doubt that it’s becoming a standard condiment at many a dining table these days. Inspired by southeast Asia, the long red chili pepper-based sauce — particularly the Huy Fong Foods brand’s Tuong Ot Sriracha, with its signature green-capped bottle adorned with a rooster — has gained such a popularity in parts of America that it now has a sort of cult status, akin to bacon. However, sriracha isn’t the only hot sauce worthy of a cult. If you’ve tried one particular hot sauce from Rwanda, you might be convinced that it has real potential to be the next “hot” item.
Continue Reading Could a Hot Sauce from Rwanda be as Cult-worthy as Sriracha? (A Review)
You probably know the image of a mushroom with a bright red cap adorned with little white spots. That’s because this depiction of a mushroom seems like it’s out of an old fairy tale or, these days, a Nintendo game. But this fantastical mushroom does in fact exist in the real world; it’s known as an amanita muscaria, or more commonly as the fly agaric. And amongst the mycology community — the one concerned with the study of fungi — this mushroom has been deemed poisonous, regardless of how whimsical it looks.
Continue Reading How to Eat a Poisonous Mushroom
Unless you’re from the country of Moldova (or know someone from there), chances are you don’t know exactly where it is on a map. This Eastern European nation lies tucked between Romania and Ukraine, where its picturesque countryside attracts visitors who come for its bucolic vibe — those who actually know its geographic location, that is. While many may know Moldova for its wine, this former Soviet republic also produces vodka, a remnant of being under Russian rule for almost two centuries. And Moldovan vodka (or “vodca,” as they spell it) is ready to introduce its creators’ country to America, one cocktail at a time.
Continue Reading Tasting Vodka with Your Nose (A Review)
Get Your Fill with the Garbage Plate
Most American college towns have their go-to late-night eatery perfect for ultra-greasy food after a night of boozing, and Rochester, N.Y., home of the University of Rochester, is no exception. Whether they’re in college or not, most locals know that if you really want to get your fill of greasy food cheaply, you should eat a Garbage Plate: a plate of greasy home fries and macaroni salad, topped with your choice of fried ham, fish, chicken, sausage, eggs, grilled cheese, hamburger or hot dogs (known regionally merely as “hots”). All of this is topped with a signature “hot sauce,” which isn’t spicy at all (just like a hot dog isn’t spicy, either) — it’s ground meat, minced onions and other seasonings.
There are many restaurants in the Rochester region that sell these piles of food, and most are called “trash plates,” “dumpster plates” or “hot plates” because “Garbage Plate” was trademarked by its originator: Nick Tahou, a Greek immigrant who created it during the Great Depression as an offering of a large amount of food at an affordable price. Fast-forward about eight decades and the Garbage Plate (originally known as “Hots and Potatoes”) is still around today, feeding the masses of drunken college kids, or anyone who wants a cheap and nostalgic calorie overdose.
Continue Reading What It’s Like to Eat a Plate of Garbage (A Review)
Sriracha, that red Asian-inspired hot chili sauce whose green-capped squeeze bottle with a rooster printed on it, is more than just a means of spicing up a dish — Asian or otherwise. Like bacon, this iconic hot sauce has garnered praise from all over the culinary spectrum, and it has been elevated to having cult status by the power of Internet-fueled fandom. But can the popularity of Sriracha go too far? I mean, would you put Sriracha hot chili sauce on your sweet and creamy milkshake?
Continue Reading Someone Put Sriracha in My Shake and It Wasn’t a Mistake (A Review)
We live in the future. Mostly everything that had been imagined in the middle of the 20th century already exists, from robots that vacuum our homes to portable video communication devices to the ability to push a button to dispense food. You can also pull down a lever to dish out something to eat — in this case, a dessert. All you have to do is grab the handle.
There are 16 handles at the aptly named frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles, which has let customers extrude their own choice of frosty desserts for the past few years — not that frozen treat dispensers haven’t been around for decades. But their latest flavor is a bit indicative of our “futuristic” times: Like the 1930s’ vision of entire courses of food coming in pill form, 16 Handles has eliminated the prep time of making a root beer float by combining all its tastes in a single frozen yogurt flavor, aptly named Frosty Root Beer Float (112 calories for 4 oz.). The result is a tasty and creamy treat with the flavor of root beer. Additionally, if you opt for the recommended topping of vanilla clodhoppers — vanilla fudge-coated graham wafer clusters — it becomes a crunchy dessert you can sink your teeth into.
Continue Reading Root Beer-Flavored Frozen Yogurt to Replace Root Beer Floats? (A Review)
Confession: As a child, I always assumed tuna was a little fish because it came in little cans. I never imagined the 3-footer marine creatures that they actually are. But it’s no secret that some little fish do come in cans — in this case, sardines — for there are plenty of fish in the sea (just not all are suited to be served in metal containers).
To some people, canned fish may have a bit of stigma attached to it — the can automatically denotes that the fish is not fresh. But for others, it’s a completely normal and delicious way to transport seafood, especially when you don’t live near a coast. In fact in inland Spain, canned seafood, or latillas as they are called (literally “little cans”), is very much part of the gastronomic culture in the home and in tapas bars.
Continue Reading Can King Oscar’s Canned Fish Have Sex Appeal? (A Review)
Love it or hate it, Spam is here to stay — although you’re definitely in the majority if you really don’t care for it. For years, mainstream opinion has denounced the canned pork product, so much that its very name has been used as the slang term for undesirable email that you can’t avoid and just want to drag into the trash.
Spam, a product of Hormel Foods, is almost synonymous with “processed food,” yet with its unnaturally rectangular shape, it’s a product so peculiar that it has become sort of a cult food item. In many developing nations, particularly in the Pacific, Spam is a part of the culinary culture — a remnant of the days of American military bases that required cheap canned meat. I myself am Filipino-American and grew up with Spam, and I quite enjoyed it for breakfast. So I wasn’t too shy about trying a house-cured gourmet version of it.
Continue Reading Gourmet Spam Can Make You Think Twice About the Pork Product