Imagine being a stowaway in the dark bellows of a clipper ship, complete with the sounds of creaking wood and portholes with sea views and changing weather patterns. Or hop on an elegant early 20th-century train, sip a high-end cocktail, and enjoy scenery of fog rolling in over Louisiana’s bayou. These aren’t far-off voyages. They’re the settings of bars in Phoenix’s emerging world of cocktail theater—where elevated cocktails accompany immersive, performance art-esque settings.Over the past few years, Phoenix has become home to three unorthodox spaces for these very realistic theatrics. Though bars have long hosted live acts like bands or burlesque, the bars Platform 18 (train themed), UnderTow (ship themed), and 36 Below (botanical wonderland) are a new breed. In these spaces, a bar becomes the stage and bartenders are the directors. Flip to the back of the menu at Platform 18 or UnderTow, and instead of just drink descriptions, you’ll meet the plotline of the night. Maybe it’s the fictional Hollis Cottley Pennington’s bootlegging adventures in the Rockies, or the story of Captain Mallory’s possible journey to find a shipwrecked Undertow. Read carefully and you’ll notice the cocktail names are weaved into the story as destinations or characters.“We are storytellers,” says Mat Snapp, vice president of operations at Platform 18 and UnderTow. “Creating an environment to entertain that is positive, fun, full of wonder, nostalgia, and emotion is our goal.” While elaborate storytelling is key to these bars’ appeal, the drinks play a starring role. Platform 18 and Undertow offer encyclopedia-sized menus featuring complex concoctions—classics and originals, alike. At Platform 18, you’ll find funky historical cocktails like Hot Pants (a bright pink, 70s-era recipe that melds tequila, grapefruit, and mint into an inexplicably delicious drink) and house-made boozy ice creams, like the Grasshopper. UnderTow offers tiki drinks, original and classics, such as the Scorpion Bowl cocktail—rum, cognac, orgeat, orange, lemon and nutmeg— served in a bowl complete with pools of flames on the rim. Grab some friends; you’ll need help. Hid
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It’s no secret that Argentine chimichurri is one of the greatest sauces of all time. Fresh oregano, parsley, and cilantro join forces with an unshy amount of red wine vinegar to become an excellent condiment or punchy marinade, transforming simply seasoned proteins and vegetables into standout meals. If it’s a sauce you turn to regularly, then you likely have everything you need to try a new version: creamy chimichurriDeveloped by food editor Shilpa Uskokovic for our February 2023 issue, this recipe combines the sharp, herbaceous energy of the original sauce with the soothing tang of yogurt. Whole-milk Greek yogurt is key here. According to Uskokovic, it “plays an extra role in tenderizing the meat, while doing so more gently and effectively than the straight-up acid of the original.” Bracing vinegar-based marinades can toughen proteins like chicken if left on for too long. Yogurt-based marinades, however, slowly tenderize, resulting in juicy meat. That’s what makes Sh
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The shininess of the new year has worn off. If you’re like us, February is when you turn to tried-and-true, homey, comforting recipes—soups and stews, or quick-breads and baking projects that heat up your kitchen. Here are our favorite recipes we made this week—when we weren’t cooking for work. And if you want to see last month’s batch of staff favorites, click here.February 3Party-time chocolate cakeWhen I’m invited to a party, I always offer to bring dessert. Because (1) it’s the nice thing to do and (2) it gives me an excuse to bake without having to watch a plate of cookies go stale on my counter. Last weekend I needed a crowd-friendly recipe, and this chocolate sheet cake from BA’s resident baking maven Shilpa Uskokovic immediately came to mind. The cake was everything I hoped for: intensely moist from plenty of buttermilk, deeply chocolaty from good cocoa powder (my preference is Hershey’s Special Dark, which turned the cake almost jet-black). I added an extra splash of vanilla extract to the brown butter frosting, which gave it toasted marshmallow vibes. Invite me to a party so I have an excuse to bake it again. —Zoe Denenberg, associate cooking & SEO editorHow do you make chocolate sheet cake better? Just add brown butter frosting, whose nuttiness is enhanced by an ingredient found in most grocery stores.View RecipeWeeknight cassouletIn a meeting a little while ago, a few editors were discussing what makes a cassoulet a cassoulet, leading us to this speedy weeknight number by Dawn Perry on Food52. Perry immediately concedes up top: “I was nervous to call this a ‘cassoulet’ at all, seeing as it eschews traditional ingredients, methods, and even the vessel for which the dish is named.” Instead, brothy canned cannellini beans, some sliced chicken sausage (I love Seemore), and a crackly panko crust that turns golden under the broiler made for a one-skillet meal that’s cassoulet-like in its warmth and coziness, but with about five percent of the work. —Antara Sinha, associate food editor   Seedy, nutty sconesWhat I love most about this Roxanna Jullapat recipe is its versatility. When I set out to make them this weekend, I quickly discovered I didn’t have the right quantity of all the ingredients called for. What did I do? Supplemented half the dates with prunes and half the flaxseed with chia seeds. I also swapped out the currants for chopped crystalized ginger and eschewed the almonds for walnuts and the pumpkin seeds for pecans. Then came the cream. This was a last-minute bake, so I reached for the closest heavy cream substitute, which ended up being part whole-milk Greek yogurt and part olive oil. What I’m trying to say is: I made an entirely different recipe. But, armed with Jullapat’s weighted measures, I had full confidence that the scones would emerge from the oven beautiful, flaky, and tender. I was right. —Joe Sevier, cooking & SEO editorScones full of the textures and flavors of a granola bar—a hint of sweetness comes from copious dried fruit and a sprinkle of raw sugar.View RecipeCreamy vegan tofu noodlesIt’s well known at this point that my household is Hetty McKinnon–obsessed. Our latest weeknight hit: tender wheat noodles tossed in a genius sauce made from blended tofu, garlic, a little sugar, and Chinese five spice. The whole thing is topped with a punchy dressing, featuring all stars like chili crisp, scallions, vinegar, and soy sauce. Each twirl of noodles is slicked with a creamy, nutty base that’s livened up by the spicy-savory dressing. No one said a word while eating, which is how you know it’s a keeper. Also, it comes together in under 30 minutes. An all-around win. —Ali Francis, staff writerVelvety squash soup Maybe it was my 45th bowl of butternut squash in one season, maybe it was the 75th. Whenever the precise moment, at some point a few years ago, I couldn’t tolerate what I came to think of as the tyranny of butternut squash soup any longer. But something about Gregory Gourdet’s Creamy Butternut Squash and Plantain Soup made me relent. It might have been the visuals, not just the signature lush orange of butternut, but also the colorful garnish of pickled green apples, shallots, and cilantro. Or perhaps it was the addition of plantain, which I’d never knowingly had puréed in a soup before. I had to give it a try and I’m so glad I did. The plantain added a light starchiness which complemented the zip of the ginger. I used a serrano instead of a habanero, a little less coconut milk than called for, and a little more ginger than indicated. I served it to friends and when the bowls came back clean, I knew it was a success. —Dawn Davis, editor in chiefComfort and flavor are at the heart of this velvety squash and plantain soup loaded with aromatics and topped with a crunchy apple garnish. View Recipe
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Eric See is the chef-owner of Ursula, a New Mexican café in Brooklyn. He’s also one of BA’s Heads of the Table recipients for 2021 and an Albuquerque native. We couldn’t think of anyone better than See to guide us through a food-packed day of eating through this high desert culinary gem.New Mexico is the self-proclaimed Land of Enchantment, but growing up here we called it the Land of Entrapment—we wanted to escape the little-town feel of Albuquerque. Now that I live in Brooklyn, I can never wait to go back. For folks visiting for the first time, or those of us who return, the idea of entrapment takes on a much more magical meaning: Albuquerque’s serene beauty ensnares you in such a way that you want to stay forever. This is one of the longest continually inhabited places in the Americas, and one of the oldest colonized regions in the nation. Its history is the amalgamation of thousands of years of Indigenous land stewardship, combined with the nearly 500 years it spent suffused with Spanish, Mexican, and, of course, now, American influences.Through this combination of Mesoamerican, European, Pueblo, and American traditions, the state has developed a very specific and hyper-regional cultural and culinary identity. There is a dialect of Spanish spoken here that you won’t hear anywhere else in the world, along with 23 Indigenous Native communities or tribes: the 19 Pueblos, the Navajo Nation, and three bands of Apache tribes. My own family’s roots go back further than 400 years in the state. The food in New Mexico, and Albuquerque specifically, is a representation of this history.  In addition to the introduction of wheat and domesticated livestock to the Southwest, ingredients like safflower, a cheaper substitute for saffron, as well as anise seeds and citrus, arrived by way of Spain. The famous Hatch chile peppers we now associate with the region are ancestors of peppers cultivated by ancient Mesoamerican communities around 6,000 years ago, before they found their way north and were enjoyed by Pueblo inhabitants. The most notable elements of the food in New Mexico came by way of the American agricultural revolution, as dairy and cattle be
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As far as steaks go, London broil is not the most glamorous way to prepare a cut of beef. It doesn’t have the star power of a sizzling T-bone, nor does it necessarily have the name recognition of a tenderloin. Still, a London broil has its own charm. For one, it’s more affordable than some of its more well known siblings—I’m looking at you prime rib. But, with a little planning and a sprinkle of ingenuity, London broil can become the luxuriously tender, bracingly savory centerpiece of any dinner. Although the two are often seen as synonymous, London broil is in fact a preparation of m
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In the past, if parsley was in my kitchen, it was for dinner—but no more. Now, instead of using it in pasta or tabbouleh or chimichurri (to slather on eggs or tofu or fish), my parsley will be used for something else entirely: smoothies. I stumbled upon this frosty drink in Heston Blumenthal’s latest cookbook, cheekily titled, Is This a Cookbook? I’d say so. In it, there are plenty of stomach-growl-inducing recipes, from pickle-y egg salad sandwiches to fried fish with seaweed salt. Yet it was the parsley and banana smoothie that I couldn’t resist making first. What does it tast
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Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other decidedly unserious news. Last week we discussed M&M’s decision to replace its spokescandies with Maya Rudolph.In scrupulously charting the trajectory of food news for this once-baby, now-young-adult column, we’ve begun to notice some recurring patterns and archetypes, as all empirical scientists do. A drink features on some zeitgeisty show and skyrockets to fervent popularity itself. A buffoonish tech oligarch peels back the curtain on their consumption habits and, in turn, their slightly questionable psyche. Anna Delvey. All three of them, in some iteration, made a reappearance this week. The negroni sbagliato passed the virality baton to Beaujolais-Villages wine, which has The Last of Us to thank for its 15 minutes of fame. With basically all the world’s resources at his disposal, Jeff Bezos opted for homemade Betty Crocker pancakes as his daily breakfast of choice—because he's just like us. Anna Delvey is somehow still profiting from her scammery, debuting a televised dinner party series while on house arrest. Steeped in a different reference, the iPad Kid reached a level of tech savvy that has parents everywhere quaking. A precocious six year old, in spite of his yet-to-be-developed consciousness, called in $1,000 worth of food on Grubhub, and I can’t help but be impressed, albeit scared. You do you, little boy.  Beaujolais Villages wine is trending thanks to The Last of Us I’m not here to talk about why there are zero Dunkin’ Donuts 10 miles west of Boston in HBO’s new hit TV show. I can forgive The Last of Us for that because, frankly, I’m still recovering from Bill and Frank’s tear-jerking love story (and The Last of Up edit did not help!!!) in the latest episode. The third episode, titled “Long, Long Time,” is a best-case scenario survivalist fantasy: Bill and Frank have tools, weapons, gas and electricity, strawberries, and candlelit dinners. Despite his rough exterior, Bill is a man of taste who knows to pair rabbit with a bottle of Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages, a cheap French red wine that Jadot’s website calls "fruit-forward" with "expressive aromas and flavors of strawberries and black cherries with spice notes." It appears and returns in a scene guaranteed to emotionally destroy you. One closeup of the label and
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A couple weeks ago, I received some cocktail bombs in the mail. You know, the kind you plunk into your bathtub—I mean, cocktail glass—with seltzer water, then let them fizz out their powdered flavors before perhaps adding a little booze and drinking them. The cocktail itself tasted fine, if a little redolent of Flintstone vitamins. But as I watched the kinetic crystals of orange mojito dissipate, something snapped. How on earth did I get here, I wondered, consuming a product so gimmicky that its drinker could be forgiven for accidentally taking a bath with it? The beverages had gone too far. At seemingly every supermarket and drugstore, I’ve tripped over a dozen hard seltzer displays spilling into the aisles. I kept my cool through the influx of cactus, hop, birch, aloe, probiotic, and adaptogenic waters; through the canned highballs, sake spritzes, and margaritas (a few quite good), flavored lattes, sparkling cold brews, and redundantly conceived “hard” kombuchas. I didn’t even overreact that time I brought home an energy drink I’d mistaken for tangerine-flavored sparkling water—mostly due to humiliation that I somehow missed ENERGIZE shouting in all caps on the box. Listen, I’m American. I love, nay, need consumer choice. Nothing empowers me more than matching my exact mood to the thing I’m imbibing. (Am I feeling warm-spicy, like ginger beer with black pepper? Or fiery and fresh, like jalapeño-watermelon tepache?) I likewise understand that for far too long, people who opted out of addictive stimulants or alcohol faced abysmal alternatives. Plenty of products are thoughtfully made, genuinely delicious, and cleverly named (looking at you, Phony Negroni). The ritual of gathering over them can be universally fun. But we’ve swung so far into beverage saturation territory that I can’t even peruse the coolers at 7-Eleven without wanting to bury my head in the sand like an ostrich because I’m overwhelmed by choice. I suspect we’ve only scratched the surface of “innovation” in the beverage category. The global ready-to-drink (RTD) market reached $89 billion as of 2022, according to research company Transparency Market Research. The firm also estimates that the North American RTD beverage market will hit somewhere between $13.9 and $22.3 billion by the end of this year. Between 2020 and 2021, premade, spirits-based RTD makers increased revenues by 42 percent in the US, no doubt buoyed by recurring periods of at-home happy hours due to the pandemic. If my inbox is any indication, reopening society has done little to stem new product introductions, alcoholic or not. Recent newcomers included watermelon-infused moscato from a celebrity, strawberry-vanilla prebiotic soda, and those cocktail bombs. Who knows what fountain-of-youth or sentient concoctions drink makers will be peddling us next year?Lately, I’ve decided to rebel the only way I know how, by opting exclusively for analog and DIY drink choices—I’m talking tap water, home-brewed coffee, and (gasp!) plain old wine in bottles. Occasionally I’ll make a London fog (tea brewed in steamed milk) for a bit of theater. I may not be alone
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Coconuts play an important role in Parsi cooking and are symbolic of prosperity and life in Zoroastrian culture and religion. At most food markets in India, there are stalls dedicated to cracking, peeling, and grating coconuts, which makes life easier. If you’re based somewhere without this luxury, it is a useful and rewarding skill to learn how to crack a coconut.Before we can crack our coconut, we must first have a coconut to crack! There are telltale signs for good and bad coconuts and once you have them memorized, you will be able to tell a perfect coconut from a dud in seconds.First, look for lots of fresh fibers on the coconut—the older the coconut, the drier the fibers; look for ones that are lush and almost damp. Second, pick up the coconut and feel the weight—there should be a reassuring heft to the coconut. If it feels light for its size, it is probably old and dried out. Check the surface of the coconut for any cracks that may have let air in and spoiled the flesh. This is no good. Finally, place that coconut up to your ear and give it a good shake—there should be a generous amount of sloshing of coconut water going on inside that shell. The more water, the less time it’s been hanging around drying out.To begin cracking, remove as much of the dried husk from the shell as possible, as this only gets in the way and dampens the blows. Go outside and find a hard piece of concrete, a brick, or a similar surface. Have next to you a bowl to collect the coconut water and a sturdy, pointed knife to pry the shell open.Crouch down and, with a firm grip on your coconut, start giving it sharp blows on the ground around its equator. In this moment, I like to picture myself as one of the apes in the opening sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey as I strike the blows.After every strike, turn the coconut a few centimeters around and strike a different area along its equator—you are not looking to smash the coconut to smithereens, only to strike with enough force to crack the shell open a little and allow you to slip the knife in. Soon enough the sharp cracking sound will turn to a dull thud. This means the force field has been breached!Find the spot with the crack and give it a few short, sharp taps to open that crack up. Stick your knife gently into the gap and, holding the coconut over the bowl, twist the knife to open the shell and empty out the coconut water. Once you’ve drained all the coconut water, a few more blows around the coconut should be sufficient to break it in half. You can now use a butter knife to carefully pry the flesh away from the shell.Taste the water before you use it—sometimes it can turn sour inside the shell, although this is not always a reflection of how the flesh will taste. If you can resist drinking all the water in one go, you can use the rest for cooking. Excerpted from Parsi: From Persia to Bombay: Recipes & Tales from the Ancient Culture. Used with the permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury. Copyright © 2022 by Farokh Talati. Parsi: From Persia to Bombay: Recipes & Tales from the Ancient Culture
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In our Taste Test series, BA editors conduct blind comparisons to discover the best supermarket staples (like vanilla ice cream or frozen pizza). Today, which potato chip will satisfy your crunchiest cravings?What’s not to love about potato chips? They’re cheap, easy to find, and gloriously junk-foody. A potato chip’s delicate, salty crunch is the quintessential snack on its own. But added to a sandwich, for instance, or even boosted by complementary seasonings and dips, it alchemizes, transforming into something greater than the sum of its parts.There are seemingly endless brands and genres of potato chips to choose from. Would you prefer baked or fried? With ruffles or without? D
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To food editor Shilpa Uskokovic, when it comes to home cooking, cheap is the greatest compliment. Each month, in What a Steal, she’s sharing a highly craveable recipe—and showing us how to save so
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Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, but I already have an analog thermometer kicking around in the back of a drawer somewhere! Do I really need to buy another one?! The answer from us is an emphatic YES. There’s a reason that all of our recommendations are for digital instant-read thermometers. While the notion of a battery-free kitchen thermometer may be intriguing in theory, analog thermometers are simply not fast or precise enough to be helpful in most situations. When so much of successful meat cooking comes down to brief moments and degrees, waiting 10 seconds for a ballpark reading—is the needle hovering over 125 or 130?—just isn’t going to cut it.What is the most accurat
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Photo by Alex Lau, food styling by Susie Theodorou, prop styling by Heather GreeneLike spicy shrimp stir-fry, coconutty stew, and creamy pasta.January has been all about recipes with dazzling, glossy,
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The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.There’s a lot to be said about people who wake up at the crack of dawn to whip up elaborate breakfasts for their loved ones. The whole endeavor screams selflessness and, at some point in our lives, we all aspire to be this person. But let’s face it: Even if you are a morning person with a nurturing side, chances are you don’t want to be measuring, mixing, kneading, resting, shaping, rolling, and frying dough before sunrise. And that means no one gets puris. I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. You can wake up at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday morning and be scarfing down a puri with your eggs by 8:15. You can invite 12 of your friends over for brunch and serve puris without breaking a sweat.Puris—deep-fried flatbread—are a beloved breakfast across South Asia. In Pakistan, people wake up early on weekend mornings to drive up to road-side dhabas to get their hands on this flaky, chewy bread. The server comes to your car window, takes your order, and before you know it, brings over a metal tray bejeweled with golden, hot, puffy puris, plus a few sides like aloo bhujia, channa, suji halwa, or fried eggs. The joy of sitting in your car, eating food that is definitely not intended to be eaten in a car, is unparalleled. Half the experience is balancing the tray in your lap, while grease and yolk drip down your wrists, eating as fast as you can, not just because it tastes good, but also because the tray is scalding your thighs.For those of us living in the diaspora, puri can seem inaccessible as a casual breakfast food. Recipes can be extensive and time-consuming, so people often save them for special occasions or weekend projects. This trick involves just two ingredients: tortillas and oil. It’s a technique similar to Mexican and Mexican American dishes like gorditas infladas, salbute, and puffy tacos: fried masa tortillas that puff up like balloons and are served with sweet and savory fillings and toppings. My puri shortcut relies
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In Baking Hows, Whys, and WTFs, food editor Shilpa Uskokovic will answer your burning baking questions and share her tips and tricks for flawless sweets. Today: Can you use applesauce instead of oil or butter for baking?When I was asked this, my first reaction was: Are people really doing this? Substituting fruit for fat? Then I remembered my aunt, a self-certified “health nut” who scrabbles for raspberries during her hikes and runs an almonds-for-snacks household. She once told me that she made a chocolate cake but used applesauce instead of oil. “It tasted good, but I had to use my electric knife to cut it.”So this is for my aunt and everyone else like her. In a nutshell, the answer to the question, “Can I replace oil or butter with applesauce?” is a resounding, “Sometimes.” Let me explain. Whether store-bought or homemade, unsweetened applesauce is just cooked and puréed apples. It contains lots of water, some natural sugar, fiber, and pectin. This high water content is both good (because it adds moisture to the final product) and bad (because high moisture = more gluten development = tough cakes). Pastries made with oil or butter are soft and tender because the fat surrounds the flour particles, preventing strong gluten bonds from forming. Fat also opens
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Since I reported on the darkest corners of the meat industry last year, I haven’t been able to eat anything with a face. It’s a workplace hazard, I guess. Dining on vegetables and grains and tofu is going fine, thanks, but I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been missing the dopamine hit that comes with something like a salty piece of fried chicken, until I was recently presented with a big hunk of cheese at Gem Wine in New York City. The waiter plopped down our main dish: a voluptuous wedge of salt-flecked Gouda haloed by sturdy slices of firm-but-sweet pear, flanked by a pile of marinated peppers and a plate of roasted celery root. I can’t tell you where in the world the cheese came from, or exactly how bad dairy production is for cows and the environment (fairly, probably), but I do know the sight of it made me foam at the mouth. The heft of the smooth-bottomed cheese knife felt powerful in my hand, and the thick wedge fought back, tugging at the blade in a way mushrooms could never. The flaky, misshapen bits of cheese melted in my mouth, filling the fatty, salty, meat-shaped hole in my heart. At the end of that meal I sat back in my chair, unbuttoned my cargo pants, and sighed with satisfaction. Then, I started to wonder: Why is large format cheese not the norm at restaurants? Before you point at the mélange of cheese boards on menus around the country, please hold. Little bits of cheese just don’t have the same carnal appeal as one huge chunk. They’re also less equitable; while you’re focusing on the aged goat, your “friend” has already finished up the matchbox-size Brie sitting stage left. All is fair in love and big cheese. Whether or not you eat meat, I propose that we think of big cheese like we do a roasted branzino or a half-chicken: a sharing dish that can be easily accessorized with a rainbow of veg-heavy small plates.To be sure, Gem isn’t the inventor of Big Cheese. An eight-minute walk away, the Greek restaurant Kiki’s serves an almighty block of saganaki that’s been rolled in phyllo pastry, fried to a golden crisp, and drizzled with honey. According to a colleague, the Kansas City pizza joint Mama Leones used to giv
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Each spring, home cooks who are otherwise reasonably disciplined humans lose all inhibitions at the first sight of ramps at their local farmers markets. This broad, leafy vegetable is beloved for its garlicky flavor, which shines in sauces and vinaigrettes, as well its ability to share the spotlight with more readily available alliums like leeks and scallions. Come springtime, ramp season starts (and quickly ends), and this wild plant makes its way into the kitchens of home cooks, food writers, and greenmarket enthusiasts alike.Ramps tend to grow in the Appalachian mountain range in eastern North America, as far north as Quebec and down through New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, all the way to Georgia. Given the demand, biologists say that overharvesting is a major concern, so source your ramps from responsible retailers. Read on for how to buy, store, and cook this delicate green.What are ramps, anyway?Ramps (a.k.a. wild leeks or Allium tricoccum) are part of the allium family, which includes other vegetables like chives, garlic, leeks, scallions, and shallots. The word ramps became part of colloquial American English from Southern Appalachia, where it’s a regional word for “spring onion” or “wild leek.” They’re available for just a few months, beginning in early spring and disappearing around mid-May to early June. On first glance, ramps somewhat resemble spring onions; they both have stringy roots and thin stems. Unlike the young onion, ramps’ green tops fan out into broad leaves. Their flavor is undeniably garlicky, which mellows once they’re cooked. Like spring onions, you can eat ramps from top to bulb.How to buy ’em:Don’t get your hopes up—you probably won’t find ramps in the average grocery store. Instead, head to a local farmers market, where you’ll have to navigate a crowd of eager cooks who are also stocking up on ramp bundles. Enthusiasts may even find themselves at a ramp festival (the most prominent of which are held in southern Appalachia). When choosing ramps, look for ones that have firm stems, vibrant green leaves, and healthy roots that show no signs of rottin
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The best blenders can do it all, from blitzing your daily smoothie to prepping a big batch of peanut butter or crushing ice cubes for watermelon margaritas. But how to separate the proverbial blender wheat from the chaff? To help guide you in this endeavor, I spoke to associate food editor Kendra Vaculin, who’s tested a jillion blenders (approximately) and offers great insight on the best options for different types of users. According to her and our other BA test kitchen staffers, the best blender overall is the Vitamix 5200—but that’s not the only one she loves. Read on to learn more about her top picks.Which type of blender is right for me?We generally like to split countertop blenders into two categories: standard and high-performance. The one that’s best for you will depend o
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Not to spook you, but zombie fungus is real. Cordyceps, an orangey tendriled fungus, can indeed infect and control the bodies of certain bugs like ants, spiders, and millipedes, among others, effectively turning them into zombies. But it can’t do that to humans, and it’s not likely to lead to a full-blown, world-ending zombie apocalypse. Thanks to HBO’s hit TV show The Last of Us, Cordyceps has been in the spotlight recently. In the show, which is based on a popular video game, Cordyceps has evolved to be able to infect humans, take over their brains, and turn them into mindless monsters. In a matter of days, the fungus has infected millions, and the apocalypse has begun. In real life, Cordyceps behaves a bit differently. It’s edible and has been harvested and used medicinally f
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Gnocchi, Tequila, Pickles. This is a list of delicious things but also a collection of very real dog names. While the majority of dogs in America are still called Max or Charlie, drool-worthy food names have been on the rise—and I, personally, am obsessed with this trend. It’s okay; I know a lot of you are reading this, eye-rolling, thinking that modern journalism has gone down the drain, and muttering to yourself that naming dogs after food isn’t a personality. To that I’m simply going to say……I don’t care. Long live us dog-whipped fools.  Don’t take my word for it: According to 2022 national data collected by the training and pet care website Rover.com, pet names inspired by foods and drinks are skyrocketing. Hotpot’s traction grew the most (up a wild 1,085%), followed by Sashimi (up 785%), Pastrami (up 485%), and Yerba (also up 485%). Meanwhile, Oreo and Cookie remain the most common edible names.I have a theory on why this is happening. Existentially distressed millennials (like me), who are more likely to delay traditional milestones like marriage and homeownership, are probably filling the emotional void with their fur children—and their meals. So
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The only type of pan that’s technically dishwasher-safe is stainless steel—and while this cookware can go in the dishwasher, that doesn’t mean it should. Exposure to excess humidity can ca
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Carne asada—a dish of grilled steak marinated in lime juice—is a signature of Northern Mexico, and you’ll find variations across the country. Most carne asada recipes start by marinating a lean cut of beef (like flank, skirt, or flap steak) in a mixture of lime and orange juices, dried chiles, and spices. Here, we take a different approach. Our recipe starts with a dry rub of chile powder, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and brown sugar; the sugar tenderizes the steak and, once it hits the heat, caramelizes into a beautiful crust. Citrus, however, can turn bitter when exposed to the fire, so wait until after grilling to brush the meat with an intensely citrusy dressing, made from all the usual carne asada marinade ingredients.Cook the steak on an outdoor grill, preferably charcoal, for big smoky flavor. If that’s not an option, get a cast-iron grill pan ripping hot on the stovetop and sear away. Either way, use a meat thermometer or cake tester to test the steak’s doneness, and after it rests, slice the meat against the grain for the most tender bite.Requiring minimal cooking and prep time, this easy recipe is a great staple to have in your rotation—especially around grilling season. Tuck slices of the grilled meat into flour or corn tortillas for carne asada tacos, or make burritos stuffed with pico de gallo, guacamole, thinly sliced jalapeño, and fresh cilantro. Pile leftovers on a bed of tortilla chips for an epic plate of nachos, or go for the San Diego c
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This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are eating, drinking, and buying. Here, Elyse Inamine writes about the best sunrise alarm clock.I tried it all. I stored my phone away from my loft bed, forcing me down some very steep, not-up-to-code stairs. I’d routinely read and reread all the late fees I’d incurred for sleeping through morning circuit training classes. Nothing—not even shame and losing money, my two greatest weaknesses!—got me to refrain from hitting the snooze button and actually rolling out of bed when my alarm would beep. That is, u
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You are not allowed into Chapel Bar. A firm but polite hostess will tell you, smiling, that you may not have a table this evening at the members-only bar located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. Perhaps you can try nearby New York restaurants Gramercy Tavern or Union Square Cafe, she might suggest, warmly, while showing you toward the exit. In fact, that’s exactly what happened to the lovely couple that walked through the imposing carved wood doors just before me. Chapel Bar has a strict members-only rule, but this evening I’ve somehow managed to weasel myself and a friend in for drink
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Joyously messy, and positively vibrating with gutsy flavor, India’s beloved pav bhaji is an exercise in economy. Built from frugal pantry staples like potatoes and onions and green bell peppers, this Mumbai street-style “sandwich” is the answer when you need to clean out the pantry or want to feed a crowd on a dime.Thought to have originated as a quick but filling and nutritious meal for Mumbai’s textile workers, pav bhaji has become a revered Indian street food practically synonymous with Mumbai itself—perhaps just as iconic as Juhu Beach and Bollywood. Vendors usually set up massiv
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Trader Joe’s New Year’s resolutions seem to be: Air-fry until there’s no air left, give the people cabbage—so much cabbage—and invent snacks that confound and distract us from the tedium of modern life (or from investigative articles about how its dark chocolate was found to contain dangerous levels of lead). Have you tried the new corn ribs? I sure did! January’s new products accomplish those resolutions and more. Frozen DelightsHerbs de Provence Potato WedgesOh là là, what do we have here? Potato wedges are speckled with herbs that get near burnt in the air fryer as the wedges get crispy. Still, they’re fries, a perfect food. I added flaky salt (needed) and dipped in mayo (wanted), and I’m happy with the direction my life is headed. Stir Fried Garlicky CabbageIf infl
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This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are eating, drinking, and buying right now. Here, Alaina Chou writes about the squeezable tahini she drizzles on just about everything.Tahini is to me what garlic is to garlic girls. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use in both savory and sweet contexts—I love a tahini-based dressing for my salad just as much as I love to drizzle it over a bowl of brown-sugar-laced oatmeal. But for years I felt I couldn’t use tahini without the potential of greasy countertops and a ruined shirt. Despite my best efforts, I’d somehow always end up sloshing separated oil over the sides of the jar as I tried to stir and homogenize its contents. It’s a process I would reluctantly commit myself to for recipes that
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Tom Hanks would eat Tom Cruise’s coconut Bundt cake for his last mealI thought I was aware of all the celebrity foods, in part because it’s important for me to know which foods are popular but may not actually taste that good. No fault of theirs; if it were my full-time job to be thin as it is for many celebrities, I too wouldn’t be prioritizing the most delicious foods. So I was surprised that I had not heard of this famous Tom Cruise cake, which he supposedly sends to his celebrity friends every year for Christmas. It’s a $110 white chocolate Bundt cake from Doan’s Bakery—a coconut cake with what appears to be an extremely thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Most recently, Tom Hanks said he would eat it as one of his last meals. Many fellow plebeians claim the cake is ind
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Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.In today’s Receipt, a 23-year-old college student makes most of his food purchases with food stamps while juggling class and work. Keep reading for his receipts.Jump ahead:The financesThe dietThe expensesThe diaryThe financesWhat are your pronouns? He/him/his What is your occupation? I am a full-time student at a local university studying natural resources and sustai
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I’m not huge on New Year’s resolutions, and I didn’t exactly go into 2023 with a plan. I did, however, enter the year intent on eating very well, and if this roundup is any indication, so did the rest of our team. My highlights of the month were a beautiful sweet-salty beef carpaccio from a Cambodian pop-up I follow around New York like a Deadhead, and a carbonara-ish dry ramen from a San Francisco chef’s counter featuring uni and cured salmon roe that melted into a sort of briny pasta sauce. Other staffers’ best meals included life-changing okonomiyaki in Coral Gables, Florida, a caramelized onion torta in New York, and plenty more signs that, if nothing else, it’s going to be a very tasty year. —Elazar Sontag, restaurant editorBuddy3115 22nd St., San FranciscoIt was a huge
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Brownies invite a lot of opinions: Fudgy or cakey? Crispy edge or gooey, chewy center? Naked or topped with ice cream? But if there’s something we can all agree on (at least, here at BA HQ), it’s that boxed brownies—be it Betty Crocker or Ghirardelli—are good. Homemade brownie recipes have their place, but there’s something extra (maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe it’s the artificial vanillin) that makes boxed brownies tough to beat.But you’re an overachiever, aren’t you? Determined to add your own spin to a verifiably perfect product. You are looking to make them even more chocolaty, want added crunch, or are seeking a memorable riff on a classic. These brownie hacks, swaps, and mix-ins take a comforting treat from good to great, without much added prep time.
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