Last week, it was a slow day at a Williamsburg, Brooklyn pizzeria and the cooks decided to try something new: whipping up mini-sized pizzas and layering them on top of other pizzas. It was really just a joke — until they put a photo on Instagram, bloggers picked up the “news” and crazed customers demanded a taste of this pizza-topped. So Vinnie’s Pizzeria actually started offering “pizza on pizza” and in just a few days have sold some 400 slices. America: Is there anything we can’t do?
It pretty much had to happen.
We’ve seen poutine potato skins, poutine tater tots and poutine just about everything. A few years ago it was just an obscure French-Canadian specialty, but now it’s America’s favorite over-the-top comfort food.
And now, Hopdoddy Burger Bar in Austin is serving a burger topped with a full serving of poutine: French fries, gravy, cheddar cheese (although apparently, NOT authentic curds) and for good runny measure, a fried egg too.
Take that, Canada. Anything you can do, we can do unhealthier.
Well, SXSW, one of Austin’s craziest times of year, is over for another year. After any big event, festival, birthday weekend or wedding, I harbor a mix of sadness and relief. Sadness because I love celebrating, drinking, and dancing with friends, but relief because there is only so much abuse my liver and digestive system can take, especially as I get older. It’s depressing but true.
This weekend, not only did I party around SXSW but I attended my friend’s lovely wedding, which was an awesome way to cap off my SXSW, but by the end of it all my body was just hating me. So today I tried to get back on the “I’m a normal human who makes relatively good choices” wagon.
Easing back into a somewhat responsible routine is a bit of a process. I have a couple tools I use to get myself through the “I just wanna keep partying and eating Taco Bell for every meal” withdrawals. Once I force myself to incorporate all these tricks into my life, I feel 100% better about everything.
5 Tools to Help You Detox & Bounce Back!Read More›
For example, if you serve a hamburger with giant onions ring on top, but then even an extra-large-mouthed person has to deconstruct the burger and take the onion rings off to get any kind of decent bite in, then that’s not really that crazy of a dish. It’s actually just a burger with onion rings on the side, but presented crazily, with more work involved for the eater. #foodaddictproblems
In Pittsburgh this weekend, home of the great Primanti’s french-fry-on-a-sandwich, I was fortunate enough to stop in Franktuary and be offered a hot dog served “Pittsburgh style” — topped with housemade, slaw and a housemade cucumber-y ranch dressing on top. Now, this could easily fall into the gimmick category if they overloaded that dog with so many pierogies that you have to pick them off and eat on the side. But with just two crispy pierogies on top it’s just crazy enough that you can actually pick the whole thing up and get a taste of each element — dog and dumpling included — in each bite.
In fact, they didn’t even offer me a fork. Bravo, Pittsburgh.
Mornings suck. What’s worse than waking up early in the morning last minute and realizing that you either didn’t set the coffee maker or don’t have time to make any? Stopping for some java on the way to work may run you the risk of arriving late, while going without it runs the risk of being a cranky curmudgeon. Well, what if I told you that instead, you could brew a nice jolt of caffeine right in your car? That’s right, Handpresso crafted an industrial-esque espresso machine that plugs into your 12-volt carjack and fits in your cup holder (with the power cord wrapped around the machine with a compartment even for the plug). Handpresso claims in 3 minutes, you can brew a fresh cup of espresso right in the comfort of your car. They sent us a machine to test and it’s my caffeinated pleasure to bring you the results.
The Handpresso Auto is designed in a way that looks like it was part of a jet engine and belongs in the newest sport version of your next Ferrari. It looks luxurious while also durable and easy to handle. I did not realize there were so many European languages until I got the manual for the machine, but luckily the device operates off of a few easy steps and you can follow along a numbered diagram. After plugging in the machine, you pour water into the reservoir until the last clear dot is darkened. Then, you place an E.S.E. Espresso pod on top of the spring-loaded platform and screw on the top of the machine. Next, simply press the power button and let it loudly work its pressurized magic. Once the machine beeps, you are free to invert the machine over your cup and press the coffee button. Once poured to your liking, press the “stop” button and enjoy.Read More›
Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating…
Hate it: Overpriced Food & Drink Festivals
We LOVE that Oktoberfest is sweeping the nation, bacon festivals are occurring on the east coast, and people are excited to experience food. However, some of these prices are ridiculous. For instance, the Philly fest is asking $25 for general admission and THREE samples. C’mon now!
Plate it: Whiskey Wedge
The makers of corkcicle bring us a new and improved way to drink our whiskey without diluting the drink. Review to come!
Hate it: Christmas-Themed Food in OCTOBER
Somehow gingerbread flavored creamer ended up in my fridge. We’ve seen candy canes and chocolate oranges in the grocery stores. Apparently the supermarkets and the food corps want to push Christmas on us already. Well… we are not ready. Put the holiday foods/drinks/scents away! At least let us get through Halloween!
Plate it: BOOK IT! Alumni Program
Remember those buttons we would get in school with the purpose of filling it with stickers to earn your personal pan pizza? As we realize the Book It! program is 30 years old, we all realize that we’re not as young as we think we are. Now you can re-enroll online as an alumni and get a free pizza!. Nostalgia awaits you.
Plate It? The Olive Garden Foodie Strikes Again
Merilyn Hagerty strikes again as she reviews Applebee’s and their ground breaking Oriental Chicken Salad. While “lunching” with a friend, she helps us determine whether or not to go with the half or full size salad, and “regular customers know how to order two full sized entrees and one appetizer to share.” While insulting at one level, it’s pretty damn hilarious on another. We give the woman credit for getting by on these pieces. The publication – not so sure.
Hate It: The Neelys are Getting Divorced?!
So, the internet has collectively decided that liking pumpkin and pumpkin spiced flavored things makes you a basic white girl. There have been many online thought (well, “thought”) pieces written about this, including one fairly accurate Buzzfeed list. If you’re really interested in the history of being basic, the truth is that everyone has taken a phrase coined a few years ago and twisted it into something completely different meaning ordinary/boring. New York Mag has a pretty good piece on it, and over on The Awl they have an interesting 2013 read about the fetishization of pumpkin and pumpkin flavor. If you’re interested into delving into this weirdly specific trend/topic.
Anyway, whatever. If liking pumpkin shit and football and boots makes me basic, then basic it is. Pumpkin is delicious, football is an amazing justification for day drinking, and boots keep your feet warm and dry.
All that being said, what up with all the pumpkin-flavored stuff in stores these days! It’s getting borderline ridiculous. Apparently these limited-edition Pumpkin Spice M&Ms debuted last year, but I never experienced them in-person until this year, the year of our lord 2014. SUPPOSEDLY there are also Pumpkin Spice Oreos out there now, but I have yet to see them in stores them despite a semi-intense search at Target last week. But let’s rewind a sec to the M&Ms.
I was in said Target purchasing my new Crock Pot (one more step in my quest to be the most basic white girl in the fall, I guess) when a garish display of seasonal M&Ms caught my eye. Nestled among the Halloween-themed regular flavors were Pumpkin Spice and White Chocolate Candy Corn varieties. Clearly the powers above were sending me a message, and that message was: you must sacrifice your pre-vacation crash diet and sense of pride. You must taste test these cheap, bandwagon-y limited edition candies.
I decided to save the candy corn flavor for a later unfortunate date, but purchased the pumpkin spice kind and tore into them in the car ride home (obv, why would I delay this flavor experience longer than necessary?) To the disappointment of my friend and myself, they were barely pumpkin-tasting at all. If anything, I would describe these M&Ms as “Mexican chocolate,” that is, regular milk chocolate infused with a tiny bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and generic “spice.”
When I got home, I introduced them to Rob in a BLIND TASTE TEST and he thought I was just feeding him regular milk chocolate M&Ms. Another failure.
But… something strange started to happen. The longer the weekend went on, the more we snacked on these little nuggets of dubious seasonality. And the more we snacked on them, the more we liked them. Soon we were saying things like “You know, maybe I CAN taste the pumpkin spice” and “Well, I actually really like these, they taste like fall” until we were full-on making conversation with each other about how we might be borderline addicted to Pumpkin Spice M&Ms.
What does this all mean? I suppose if the summary of my review is “They don’t taste that great at first, but just keep eating them and eventually you’ll think you can taste the difference, start to like them, and eat way more than you meant to in one sitting” that might not be high praise. But, this is kind of how I feel about pumpkin spice and fall in general. You resist at first, you think you’re better than it, but you’re not. Just give in.