Cocktail O’Clock: The Gringo

It’s a billion and one degrees outside. Does that call for a frosty beer? Or a cold glass of juice? Maybe a shot of tequila? How about all three?  Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon is now serving The Gringo, a beer-based cocktail that will make you forget all about the heat.

The Gringo

1.5 oz. silver tequila (100% agave)
.5 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 oz. grapefruit juice
1 Double Mountain Vaporizer Pale Ale (or your favorite pale ale)

Shake tequila, elderflower, and grapefruit with ice. Strain over fresh ice.  Top off with pale ale. Serve in a salt-rimmed glass with a grapefruit twist.

For more summertime cocktail recipes, check out Endless Cocktails

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America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — Veganized

Our recent article on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches has caused quite a stir in the blogosphere, but no one was more riled up  than a group of spunky vegan bloggers. Their de facto leader, Namely Marly, explains:

We read this article with great curiosity but it didn’t take long until the curiosity faded and was replaced with something else. OK. We were grossed out. Particularly at one sandwich that referred to an ingredient called suckling pig. We hoped this was a reference to something other than the obvious, but it appears it is exactly as it sounds. Only one of the 10 sandwiches appeared to be vegetarian. We felt like a cross between Stan Laurel and Rodney Dangerfield, scratching our heads with a half whimper and half scowl thinking, “Why don’t we vegans get any respect?”

So they decided to demand their own respect, teaming together to create tasty and healthy versions of each cholesterol-laden entry on the list of America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches. Hence, America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — Veganized. Here are all ten of ’em. Follow the links for recipes.

10. The Vegan Spuckie

We called this olive-carrot-mortadella goodness from Cutty’s in Boston “the one sandwich that most successfully merges the old-school method of overdoing it on Italian meats with the new world of artisan, veggie-centric goodness.” Drop the meat part and it’s still drool-worthy. Trina Jaconi Biery of Your Vegan Mom made her own meat-free mortadella, featured here on a ciabatta roll topped with vegan mozzarella and a sweet carrot-olive salad.

Recipe: The Vegan Spuckie

(Photo: Trina Jaconi Biery)

9. Vegan Bulgogi Steak Sandwich

When Allyson Kramer of Manifest Vegan learned there was a Bulgogi Steak Sandwich (from Koja in Philly) on the list, she jumped at the chance to veganize it. As a child she used to eat bulgogi steak sometimes twice a week. Now a vegan, she’s been hankering to try a veggie-friendly version. Served on a hoagie roll (Allyson even provided a recipe for gluten-free hoagie if that’s to your liking), marinated tofu is topped with caramelized peppers and onions, chili garlic sauce, and melted vegan mozz.

Recipe: Tofu Bulgogi Steak Sandwich

(Photo: Allyson Kramer)

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America’s Best New Sandwiches, Part 2

Last month ES brought you our list of America’s top 10 new sandwiches. But blogga always said that reader knows best.

Many of you commented on our original story to tell us which of your favorite innovative sandwich should have been included. We chose the ten tastiest suggestions and now present an encore list: America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches, as selected by Endless Simmer readers.

10. Steak Poutine Pita — U Needa Pita St. Catharine’s, Ontario

What could be better than poutine, Montreal’s signature street food? How about throwing that poutine — cheese curds, fries and gravy included — on a pita, so you can actually eat it while walking down the street? Add some steak and you’ve got yourself one helluva sandwich. And yes, for the sake of U Needa Pita, we’re including Canada as part of America this one time only.

9. Westside Monte Cristo — Melt Bar and Grilled — Cleveland

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: there’s no food so good that it can’t be made better by a trip to the deep fryer. Kudos to Melt for being brave enough to test this theory out on the monte cristo breakfast sandwich — honey ham, smoked turkey, Swiss and American cheese — all battered in beer and deep fried.

8. Chacarero — La Sombra — Austin

We’re officially placing money on Chile’s signature sandwich — the chacarero — to become the next bahn mi, and La Sombra‘s version is the most sumptuous one we’ve seen yet. Shiner Bock marinated sliced hangar steak topped with green beans, avocado, tomatoes, pickled cucumbers and spicy mayo, all on a thin, toasty bolillo.

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America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches

Forget who piles pastrami highest or fits the most varieties of cold cuts onto one hero roll. A great sandwich has come to mean more than just bigger, better and meatier. Across the country, a new breed of sandwich artisans are taking lunchtime to a whole ‘nother level. From California to New England, here are Endless Simmer’s top ten favorite new sandwiches.

10. The Spuckie — Cutty’s, Boston

spuckie sandwich cuttys

Spuckie is a term used by old-school Bostonians to identify any sub sandwich, but it’s increasingly associated with this year-old Brookline shop. It’s also probably the one sandwich that most successfully merges the old-school method of overdoing it on Italian meats with the new world of artisan, veggie-centric goodness. Super-thin slices of fennel salami, hot capicola and mortadella are layered on an oversize ciabatta, then topped with gooey, hand-pulled mozzarella and a fresh olive-carrot salad. For even less traditional sandwich-lovers, there’s also an eggplant spuckie available.

9. Bulgogi Steak Sandwich — Koja, Philadelphia

bulgogi steak sandwich

At the risk of outraging an entire city, we’re going to say it: the Philly cheesesteak is boring. With no disrespect meant to the age-old art of slathering fake cheese on top of a mound of meat, we just think this is one classic sandwich that is ready for a creative update. Enter University City sandwich truck Koja, where the chewy cheesesteak meat is replaced with bulgogi, Korea’s signature thinly-sliced, spicy BBQ beef. It’s served on a hoagie roll that’s coated in sweet chili oil and accented by sauteed peppers and onions. Koja also offers bulgogi pork and bulgogi chicken variations, but the best part is the unbelievable price — $3. Read more about this amazing sandwich at My Inner Fatty.

8.Crispy Drunken Sandwich — Baguette Box, Seattle

crispy drunken chicken baguette

Have you ever dug into a steamy styrofoam container of General Tso’s chicken and thought, “this is delicious, but it would be even tastier on a bun?” Of course you haven’t, that’s the most insane thing we’ve ever heard. But crazy is sometimes genius, as is proven at this tiny Seattle sandwich shop, where hunks of tender chicken are deep-fried and glazed in a tangy brown sauce, then served on a crispy baguette with caramelized onions and cilantro. The result is a supremely sticky, but utterly satisfying sandwich. (Photo: Sevius)

7. Cheesy Mac and Rib — The Grilled Cheese Truck, Los Angeles

cheesy mac and rib

Another new West Coast outpost that achieves genius results by thinking outside the bun, LA’s great cheese-on-wheels purveyor offers several list-worthy grilled sandwiches, but none is more awe-inspiring than this. Sharp cheddar mac-and-cheese, strands of sweet BBQ pork and caramelized onions are all stuffed into two perfectly buttered-and-fried slices of white bread. Yes, it sounds like the horrifying 3 a.m. creation of a stoned college student. Yes, it actually works. 
Grilled Cheese Truck)

6. Pibil Torta — Xoco, Chicago

XOCO Pibil

Upgrading Mexican street food has suddenly become a hot task of haute chefs around the nation, although the results often have us pining for the real thing. Not so at Rick Bayless’ Chicago sandwich shop, where tortas baked in the wood-burning oven take Mexican to levels we didn’t know existed. In this sandwich, silky strands of roasted suckling pig are served on crusty bread spread with black beans and achiote paste, then finished with a layer of pickled onions and habanero salsa. The Pibil may be one extra ingredient away from being a Top Chef disaster story, but as is, it’s perfection on bread.

Next: The top 5

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Top 10 New Things to Put in Your Drink

We’ve certainly never been against drinking here at ES — it just traditionally takes a back seat to eating. However, in the last year we’ve found ourselves getting more and more excited about cocktails — because every time we go out we discover our favorite ingredients have migrated from the plate to the glass. From fruits and vegetables to spices and more, here are our top 10 favorite new things to mix in our drinks.

10. Saffron

A saffron ice cube anchors the Venetian, one of several new food-inspired cocktails at Tulio in Seattle.

Not just for paella anymore, the Spanish spice has started showing up in cocktail glasses, too. Saffron Restaurant and Lounge in Minneapolis has mixed the pricier-than-gold flakes into saffron-mango mojitos, saffron-blood orange martinis, and their current offering, the gin-based Saffron Rose. Tulio, an Italian restaurant in Seattle, recently introduced The Venetian — a vodka cocktail poured over an orange-y saffron ice cube. For those experimenting at home, the folks over at Video Jug have a video on how to mix a saffron vodka martini. (Tulio photo: Evan Johnson)


9. Beets

Fresh beet juice, ginger and vodka make up the Beetnik at Colorado's Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.

It’s hard to make a drink look more dramatic than when filled up with bright red beet juice, as in the beet sangria at New York’s Tailor or the Beetnik, a vodka-ginger-beet concoction served at Crested Butte, Colorado’s Dogwood Cocktail Cabin. Meanwhile, the gals at The Humble Kitchen have a recipe for their own tequila-based Beetnik. (Dogwood photo: eenwall)

8. Mole

Mole bitters liven up the Palermo Gentleman at Death + Co. in New York.

Mexico’s spicy-sweet chocolate treat is making the surprising transition from tamales to cocktails via Bittermens Bitters newest product, Xocolatl Mole Bitters. A neat way to add quite a substantial kick to any drink, the mole bitters are showing up in new cocktails like the tequila-based Chipilo at Brooklyn’s Buttermilk Channel and several options at Manhattan’s Death + Co. (Photo: Vidiot)

7. Sriracha

Every Top Chef contestant’s favorite secret ingredient can save a cocktail menu too, as in “El Scorcho,” a fiery mix of habanero infused vodka, sriracha, and jalapeno foam at Bend, Oregon’s Blacksmith restaurant. The sauce also makes a great replacement for Tabasco in bloody Marys — the blog White on Rice Couple has a great recipe, and if you want to get super-serious, check out their instructions on how to make sriracha from scratch. (Photo: White on Rice Couple)

6. Chinese Five Spice

A Chinese five spice grilled lemon garnishes the Fortune Teller at Bar Pleiades in New York.

Another ingredient Chinese chefs may be shocked to discover in American cocktails, C5S is showing up both as a garnish, as in the Fortune Teller drink served at the Surrey Hotel‘s new Bar Pleiades in New York, and as the basis of a drink, such as Imbibe magazine’s Five-Spice Fizz. (Photo: Bar Pleiades)

Next: Top 5 New Things to Put in Your Drink

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