Portland takes food very seriously. There exists such a degree of food austerity that instead of being an award-winning comedy so good it’s starting its fifth season in January, the show Portlandia could have been a procedural drama about unfit artisanal seltzer. In Portland, if you’re going to bottle club soda in hand-etched beakers at a farmers’ market, it better be infused with organic, locally-sourced, cage-free, house-made CO2.
To celebrate the food that defines the city and the show, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein have made The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local. With more than 50 recipes from Portland restaurants and from the show’s characters (Mr. Mayor, Kath and Dave, Peter and Nance, and more), the book would be a fine companion at an Allergy Pride Parade for any foodie, freegan, gastroethologist, foodtrucker or adult babysitter.
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The conventional list of basic needs for physical well-being includes food, clothing and shelter. But so much of the innate wisdom and discourse around the first, and arguably most important, resource is saturated with inaccuracy and misnomers. Most people believe they have perfected eating — it being the first vocation they tackled after crying — but they really haven’t improved at it since that first day on Earth.
Do you consume burgers right-side up? You could be eating better. Do you fill a glass with ice cubes (that aren’t actually cube-shaped) and then pour liquid on top of them, or do you dump ice into a glass filled with liquid? Do you even pay attention to this stuff? You could be drinking better.
Continue Reading Win a Copy of Eat More Better and Improve Your Existence
When it comes to barbecue obsession, Ed Mitchell goes the whole hog — literally and figuratively. The pitmaster of Raleigh-Durham’s The Pit and the new Ed Mitchell’s Que is revered for using farm-raised pigs and traditional cooking methods. We caught up with the legend at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party to dig into his BBQ secrets.
Cooking Channel: What’s the most common mistake people make when barbecuing at home and what is the one thing a home cook can do to take their barbecue to the next level?
Ed Mitchell: One of the mistakes people do at home is that they’re not experienced knowing how hot to get the grill. The temperature has to be right so the meat will come out perfect. It’s something that I can feel from years of doing it. To take the barbecue up a notch, you need the right selection of meat. If you’re a person who’s not knowledgeable about how to cook beef, then don’t try to cook beef. Cook what you’re very skillful at. It’s the selection of the product.
CC: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever barbecued?
Continue Reading BBQ&A: Pitmaster Ed Mitchell’s Grilling Tips
Willy Wonka’s candy inventions are as erroneously named as they are innovative. Nerds are actually quite popular, Everlasting Gobstoppers dissolve several millennia sooner than forever and Laffy Taffy, in all its uniform ruddiness, can be very austere. In all likelihood, the snozzberries on his lickable wallpaper taste more like kumquats.
Public deceit isn’t his worst offense. Oompa Loompas are basically slave labor. Sure Loompaland has its share of hornswogglers and whangdoodles, but that’s no justification to smuggle its natives into your vault of a factory and pay them in cacao pods. Maybe his political shortcomings shouldn’t negate his culinary genius. Even the clean-cut Beatles were fairly scurrilous in private life, and we still like Abbey Road. We digress.
The Willy Wonka Candy Company has recently released some frozen desserts called Peel-a-Pops. They legitimately look like bananas and are sheathed in an edible husk that can be stripped away in four segments to reveal a soft center of vanilla ice cream. The peel has the consistency and flavor of an actual banana peel, or at least how you’d imagine the texture and taste of a peel — somewhat gummy and tangy. It has the gelatinous give of the thick skin of some banana-flavored pudding. That sounds unpalatable, but it has a tantalizing je ne sais quoi. The ice cream at the core is everything a soft-serve aficionado could desire: creamy, soft but firm, and with that wonderful, albeit synthetic, vanilla essence. Overall, the spectacle of peeling open your ice cream like a tropical fruit more than rectifies however off putting the act of eating it may be for some people.
Well done, Wonka, you wily wizard.
The pops are available in banana or grape flavor at supermarkets nationally.
A long time ago, a seemingly wise, old, green being of an unspecific species stole a human’s lunch and asked, “how you get so big eating food of this kind?” So maybe his wiseness is questionable. Also of questionable wiseness: purchasing any of the following Star Wars-themed kitchen wares to celebrate Star Wars Day, May 4th.
- R2-D2 Measuring Cups (pictured above) [via: ThinkGeek]
Continue Reading May the Fourth Be With You: 5 Star Wars Kitchen Gadgets
Chuck Hughes is the mayor of Awesome Chef Styleville. He continually takes his passion for cooking and cool design and creates beautiful things. For proof, you can look at his limbs, adorned with artwork of bacon, lemon meringue pie, lobster and arugula, to name an armful. Now he’s taking his authority of food fashion and adding some function to the form. Chuck’s teaming up with Vans and a Montreal-based boutique called Off The Hook to create two pairs of all-black, kitchen-ready sneakers they call the “Black Crab.”
According to the release, both are “constructed from water-repellant materials with minimal stitching on the uppers and with waxed cotton laces to withstand the at-times tumultuous kitchen environment.” In any case, they’re definitely more fashionable than bright orange Crocs.
The $134 shoes will be soled (shoe joke) at the Off The Hook store in Montreal or on their site starting March 22 if you can Oxford them (shoe joke). Even if you can’t literally get a hold of Chuck Hughes’ shoes, you can still figuratively take a walk in them by tuning in to Chuck’s Eat the Street every Thursday at 10pm ET.
Living in Game of Thrones’ land of Westeros can’t be easy. There are icy-sword wielding zombies, winters last for decades, the king is a major jerkface and, fast but not least, there are dragons. New York’s Brewery Ommegang can help (or at least pay homeage to) some of those complexities with the upcoming release of their newest Game of Thrones-inspired brew, Fire and Blood Red Ale. Ommegang sent a bottle to us early to sample (all hail the brewery in the North!).
Like Khaleesi’s aforementioned dragons who adorn the bottles’ labels (there will be a different bottle for each of the reptilian beasts), the beer is meant to bring some heat since they brew it with ancho chiles and spicy hops. In actuality, it’s a bit more mellow than you’d expect from something called “fire and blood,” but it does live up to its serpentine image with a suitably roast-y bite. There’s also some rye in the mix to add to the kick, or it may have something to do with harvesting the Dothraki plains, or maybe they realized you can’t spell “Targaryen” without “a rye grant.” Anyway, it’s a good-tasting beer and we recommend it whether you’re into the show or not.
The 750ml (over a pint and a half) bottles hit stores on March 31, in time for the April 6 premiere of the show’s fourth season. You can get more info here.
With the Red Hot Chili Peppers taking the stage during the halftime show, this Super Bowl is the year of food — and also apparently bringing back stuff that peaked in the early 90s. (Looking at you, too, Full House commercial.) That means drinking games should be replaced with eating games. Instead of gulping a beer every time Peyton Manning yells “Omaha” or Richard Sherman says something egotistical or Dave Coulier shows up on your TV, why not chomp on a wing? And when you chomp on a wing, make sure you chomp on it in the most efficient way possible. Lucky for you, Cooking Channel’s newest web-original show You’re Eating it Wrong will show you how to eat wings (and other foods) the right way.
Watch now as competitive eater Crazy Legs Conti demonstrates how he was able to take down 125 chicken wings in 10 minutes. (Pay attention, Richard Sherman, and learn from the best):
Continue Reading How to Win at Competitive Chicken Wing Eating
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:
Continue Reading Blitzkrieg Hop and More The Ramones Beers
Have you ever had that dream where you’re drinking coffee in a red-curtained room and a backward-speaking dwarf starts dancing to dreamy sax for no discernible reason whatsoever? Sometimes dreams do come true! Sort of. The outré Twin Peaks director David Lynch is now selling his own coffee — an organic house blend, organic espresso blend and a decaf house blend — at a few Whole Foods in Southern California.
You might give your own left arm to drink a coffee with a cult director’s name on it, but a pound of the beans will set you back only the price of a couple damn good slices of organic cherry pie — $10.90 to $13.10. Be advised: do not attempt to drink a cup with imperfect courage, for if you encounter your own shadow self, it will utterly annihilate your soul. Enjoy!