Eating well on the cheap. It’s not nearly as easy as just eating on the cheap. And we have 50 years of the fast-food industry to thank for that. Not that I’m opposed to the occasional bag o’ drive-thru, mind you, but the old maxim is still true: You get what you pay for. The truth is we all have our own budgets in mind, and not all $6 burgers are created equal. So let’s look for a moment, beyond the bucks, to what makes food bang at any price point — a happy medium sandwiched in between Kobe dry-aged beef and the dollar menu. Here are my four tips for finding a legit cheap eat:
Figure out if the food/restaurant is “people driven.”
This is kinda like “chef driven,” but it involves a little more on your part than pulling up a website or a Yelp review. Bottom line: Are the people who work at this restaurant proud about the food there? Do they eat there on their days off? Can they list the faves from the menu in, like, no time flat? For most of you, this means gathering intel from your waiter, but don’t ignore the person bussing your table either. And, no, this doesn’t apply to only table-service restaurants. I reviewed a national burger chain ($6 and up) and was floored by how both the ladies taking my order were so down for their employer and the burgers they smashed (that’s a hint). After all, don’t you want happy people — people who genuinely believe that they are worthy of your hard-earned buck — serving your food?
Continue Reading What to Look for in a Quality Cheap Eat
Chef Pasquale grew up in Orsara di Puglia, Italy, and brought his recipes and stories to America. Watch how to make eggplant Parmigiana, meatballs, chicken cacciatore and more like an authentic Italian grandpa with skills from the old country.
Watch how he makes eggplant parmesan like he learned in Italy after the jump and check out the rest of his Cooking It Old School videos.
Continue Reading How to Cook Like an Italian Grandpa
Salvador Dalí. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí. Courtesy of TASCHEN
Lately it’s been feeling as if we live in a surreal world, from the recent election to newfangled illusory dishes like the raindrop cake. It’s like we exist inside a Salvador Dalí painting. Actually, depending on whom you wanted to win the presidency, you either want to drown your sorrows in comfort food or throw an over-the-top celebration as only a man adorned with a cape, walking stick and upturned waxed moustache like Dalí could. Dalí loved extravagance, and his penchant for opulence is captured in his 1973 cookbook Les Dîners de Gala, which has just been rereleased by TASCHEN. His esoteric guide to cooking has 136 recipes, many illustrated by Dalí, over 12 chapters (one of which is dedicated to aphrodisiacs and another to snails and frogs). Get his timely recipe for Turkey with Roquefort after the jump for a taste.
Continue Reading Enter to Win Salvador Dali’s Cookbook
Thanksgiving is full of wonderful food, family and fun, but before you get to the good stuff, there’s a lot of stress in the kitchen. Help calm things down by preparing in advance many Thanksgiving side dishes that can reheat well. We’ve rounded up five of our favorites — including Haricots Verts with Rosemary (pictured above), which can be served either room temperature or warm — that will keep you from going berserk on Turkey Day.
Continue Reading Thanksgiving Side Dishes That’ll Hold Up to Reheating
Seven seasons in, Unique Sweets is still finding wacky treats across the country. In the premiere episode, our colorful commentators tried savory bone-marrow-stuffed doughnuts and everything-bagel doughnut hybrids at The Doughnut Project in New York, edible cookie shot glasses at Dirty Cookie in California and much more. If you missed any of the sweet action, watch the full episode for free below, and tune in for more on Sundays at 10pm ET.
Continue Reading See Bone Marrow Doughnuts and More Crazy Food on the Unique Sweets Premiere
Vitamin A-rich carrots are good for your eyes, so we’re always thinking of new ways to incorporate them into meals. One foolproof way to get more carrots into your diet is to make recipes that are easy on the eyes and thoroughly craveworthy. Take this Beet and Carrot Slaw, pictured above, that takes only minutes to make and is instantly Instagram-ready. Below, we’ve rounded up four more gorgeous ways to eat more carrots — some healthy, and some cake — that’ll have you saying, “What’s up, Doc?”
Continue Reading 5 Gorgeous Carrot Recipes That Will Make You Eat with Your Eyes
Brussels sprouts have come a long way in the palate-pleasing department. Once known as the foul-smelling, boiled, soggy vegetable of nightmares, they’ve transformed into a trendy, craveable and usually healthy dish. When you get sick of roasted Brussels, try crafting new, innovative salads instead.
Chuck Hughes makes a warm Brussels sprout salad (pictured above) by lightly sauteing leaves with bacon and Parmesan — hey, we said usually healthy. Check out three more of our favorite Brussels salads below.
Continue Reading Every Day We’re Brusselin’: 4 Craveable Brussels Sprout Salads
It’s easy to fall back on your fifth Hocus Pocus Halloween party in a row, but this year, ditch witches for other horror and sci-fi fun. To help narrow down the genre’s options, we’ve picked five TV shows for inspiration. How about a Stranger Things-themed bash featuring Eleven’s favorite food — waffles, pictured above, that you can make in less than 30 minutes — or a Walking Dead party where you serve a zombie cocktail?
Check out more Halloween recipes and ideas below.
Continue Reading 5 Horror and Sci-Fi TV Show-Themed Halloween Bites
On the Season 2 premiere of Food: Fact or Fiction?, host Michael McKean brought bagels, doughnuts and other treats to court for an important question: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the hole truth and nothing but the truth?” Actually, he just learned the history of baked goods with middles missing, including why New York City bagels are so good, whether doughnuts helped end a war and what makes Bundt cakes important. Check out the full episode streaming for free below, and watch Food: Fact or Fiction? on Mondays at 10pm ET on Cooking Channel.
Continue Reading Learn the Hole Truth About Bagels on the Food: Fact or Fiction? Premiere
Tonight’s the perfect night to have chips for dinner. But before you go HAM on the nearest bag in your cabinet, fancy things up a little bit by topping a bowl of chili with them — and plenty of melted cheese — with Rachael Ray’s Nacho-Topped Chili Pot (pictured above). Check out more of our favorite ways to pair chili and chips, below.
Continue Reading Warm Up Chilly Days with Genius Chili-and-Chip Combinations