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off limits cereal

Food | Pantry

Off Limits Cereal Says Eat us Anytime.

Adult cereal and adaptogens are quite old but both are fairly new to most of us. Dare I say trendy. Off Limits is a new cereal brand developed by Emily Miller, famous for all sorts of breakfast stuff like books and tours. Watching my grandmother eat her daily milk doused bowl of bran and wheat germ with a yuck face had me running for my Tony the Tiger well into my 30’s. These days, as a smarter, slower metabolism, dude an alternative was in order. We’ve highlighted some of these new cereal brands before. What takes Off Limits to the next level are these wonderful little adaptogens added to the crunchy O’s. Adaptogens are things you’ve heard of but don’t really know what they are aside from “they are good for you”. Originally created in 1947, I told you they were old, to describe a substance that may increase resistance to stress, today they promote other benefits such as anti-inflammation and hormonal balance. They have crazy names like rhodiola, schisandra and, most trendy, ashwagandha but they are basically roots and plants you can find in various parts of the world. Ashwagandha is the adaptogen in one of the two current Off Limits flavors, Zombie. The green O’s are made from rice, oat, and coconut flour with notes of vanilla and pandan. BTW, pandan is a Southeast Asian plant that when crushed gives off a sweet, floral scent. The other flavor is Dash. Championing a caffeinated female rabbit mascot, these dots are a chocolatey, coffee goodness guaranteed to pep you up. There are three different coffee ingredients in them. WOWO. No chill adaptogens in these. Together these two options get you up in the morning and put you down at night hence their claim that this is cereal for any time of day. As cereal nerds, we like that idea a lot. Aside from the quality and taste, the design of everything from the box to the website wins in our book. Emily partnered with Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One for the character development and Pentagram partner, Astrid Stavro for the visual identity. She didn’t stop there. We opened this post with “old stuff but new to us”. Continuing on the old is new theme, they even brought back the free toy inside, although it’s not inside. It’s more a carnival ticket system approach. You accumulate tickets with each purchase and then can go shopping in their online toy store for stuff like mascot keychains and other fun tchotchkes. Next time you are hankering for your childhood, need a boost but hate 24hr energy, or need to mellow into slumberland drop some Off Limits in a bowl and fix that need in a most delicious and fun-loving way.

Food | Refrigerator

6 Sweet Reasons not to leave New York City

OddFellows Ice cream just dropped a NYC collab with the Bodega Boys celebrating what can only be flavors loved by die hard New Yorkers. If there was ever a reason to squash that idea of leaving the city, these pints will have you deep in thought reminding why you came here OR stayed here OR was born here. The grit, the hustle, the culture and of course the obligatory BEC. Cram all that into a 14oz paper container and the brain freeze you’re experiencing isn’t just the ice cream. We’re not sure how comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero met up with chef Sam Mason but with flavor names like baconeggncheese (All one word damn it, A smoked cream ice cream with candied bacon, whipped cheese cream and candied egg yolks), Budget Breakfast (A honey ice cream with chunks of homemade honey bun cake and coffee soil) and Bodega Counter Crunch (A light caramel ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels, honey roasted peanuts and crushed homemade butter crunch cookies) we are sure glad they did. To do the boroughs the way we do these days a special ice cream truck is touring for the next month, check out the schedule and hit up the traveling end of summer bodega ice cream mayhem. We all scream for it especially those of you contemplating packing your bags for less dense lands. This will have writing one more month’s rent check for sure.
Rice's red snapper franfurts

Food | Refrigerator

Rice’s Red Snapper Frankfurts

They make these RED hot dogs in Maine. Locally they are called red snappers and are what everyone from Kittery to Caswell uses in their summer backyard BBQ’s. We picked up a pack of Rice’s (one of two OG competing makers) before we left the state to try the red dye, natural casing snap for ourselves. There are two bits of folklore important in this maker story. One, sometime in the late 18th century, the red dye was added as a marketing gimmick to have their dogs standout amongst the 30 other competing butchers. Two, after World War II, Rice headed down to NYC where he heard a few German sausage makers, turned soldiers, turned POW’s were being held. He interviewed them and hired one to create his hot dog spice mixture. Kidder & Rice, the companies original name, was sold to a few larger industrial meat purveyors over the years until W.A. Bean and Sons, Rice’s original competitor in 1898, bought the Rice name back from Tyson Foods. Today W.A. Bean and Sons pump out 500,000 pounds a year of Rice’s original recipe. With all that history we were intrigued what a naturally cased, steamed Red #40 food dye, pork and beef dog would taste like. The snap lived up to the legend. The taste was on par with the Nathan’s of the world but the marketing trick was what hit the home run for me. The contrast of the red dog, yellow mustard and green relish just makes it stand out and create conversation. Just like when you repeat this story to your pals when you try one. What’s still confusing is W.A. Bean and Sons also makes a red snapper. How they both “stood out” with the same marketing trick is unclear as is who was first. Regardless W.A. Bean and Sons now make both recipes so I suppose that origins moment is moot.

peter lugers delivery

Food | Refrigerator

Peter Luger’s Delivery

It took two American pandemic’s to create Peter Luger’s Delivery. Remember 1887, their founding year, was before 1918 Spanish Flu season. We’ve been vocal about our love for this establishment and its place in a New Yorker’s New York history. Legend has it, they get first pick from all the meat that comes through the boroughs. That means if they were to turn into a butcher shop, they would instantly be the best butcher in the city. If you believe this lore, well, that butcher shop is now open for business. Launched yesterday with 6 pre-fixe packages, the legendary cuts can be yours to take home. There’s no mention of how to cook them to the delicious perfection they have mastered in restaurant, nor are they accompanied with those kitschy doneness tags they stick out of the chop when it comes bubbling to the table. For that, you’ll have to hit the interwebs. There’s one modification to the packages and we found it a bit odd. A drop down allows you to add on 2 or 4 packs of their supermarket bacon. (We’re head-scratching on that one a little) None-the-less, for the cost of the rest of your grocery bill you can have steak for 4 at your home table. Sizzling, “shine” dripping, monogrammed plate not included.

back to the roots windowsill garden

Food | Fresh

Back to the Roots Windowsill Garden

Spring at FTHQ means firing up the grill and picking shishito peppers straight off the plant to toss on those sizzling cast-iron grates. That scent becomes the envy of our Queens neighborhood and we bask in it. Before we can wear that urban farming crown we need to get dirty in some soil. If all that trouble isn’t your style and black specs under your freshly primp and polished gel manicure makes you throw side-eyes, Back to the Roots has a solution that is as easy as opening a can of beans. That’s mostly because it is opening a can just not beans. Pre-canned seeds sit dormant waiting for you to crack open and pour in sunshine and some H2O. Besides ingenious, the clean design looks perfect amidst your $300 toaster and fair trade coffee display. BTW, save those grinds for healthy soil, ohh wait, dirty nail issue again. Never-mind Now you just need to choose what to grow. From herbs and flowers to tomatoes and peppers they have a DIY kit that’s even easier than your second-grade avocado pit science project. Remember that? In terms of timing, plant now so you are ready to show off during your Memorial Day party even if that will be over zoom this year.

Magic Spoon Healthy Childlike Cereal

Food | Pantry

Magic Spoon Healthy Childlike Cereal

We love cereal but, in all honesty, we’ve been out of the carb for b-fast game a while. The occasional cereal milk cone from Milk Bar and my once a year splurge on an oversize bowl of the Great Tony the Tigers’ Frosted Flakes are about all the Saturday morning, five-year-old-kid impersonations I allow myself. Imagine my zeal when I realized a few boxes of this more than playful, yet almost none of the guilt, quad pack of keto-friendly cereal showed up at my door. Magic Spoon is doing god’s work, if your god’s name is Kellogg. As the disruption and bettering of just about everything these days continues with a heavy foot on the pedal, Greg and Gabi disrupted an industry built on sugar-coated grains with free prizes inside. Taking the four most popular cereals; Frosted, Fruity, Cinnamon and Cocoa and turning down the crap but keeping all the flavor is no small feat. Any of their keto-friendly, gluten and grain-free flavors barely have carbs, 3g net if you’re counting, and are packed with 12grams of protein. Considering a comparable bowl of Fruit Loops has 21 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein, they quite literally flip the nutrition on it’s head. I know, what about your love for Toucan Sam, Count Chocula and the gang? Magic Spoon has that covered too. The boxes come with their own mascots and ride on sidekicks like Frosted Wizard and Flying Bunny. The team hasn’t produced any catchy jingles or wacky cartoon commercials yet but we wouldn’t put it past these guys to have animated mascots in the works. After all, they broke themselves into food disruption developing cricket energy bars so, this is an obvious second act. Uhh, sort of. As we learned when we were 5, pretty boxes and dancing animals only get you so far. If Magic Spoon tasted like the knock off Sugar Smacks your mom tried to pass off as authentic after a secret run to Pathmark we wouldn’t even be writing this story. So, product flavor is critical. First let’s talk about the shape. They went with the classic “O” for all four flavors. It took me a second to get past my love of the “flake” but on taste that quickly was forgotten. Each of the flavors was a time machine back to the 80’s right down to the last slurp of bowl milk. Impressed, I went in for a second round and decided the $40 a month subscription is as critical as my Spotify and Netflix monthlies. Speaking of, a little pairing of the two seem in order this Saturday morning. Here I come Papa Smurf.

Lobster Roll Kit

Food | Fresh

DIY Lobster Roll Kits

We love things in boxes. From shoes to toys to Apple products to stories, (That last one is a very obscure Magic Garden reference for our 70’s and 80’s born tribe.) our zeal redlines with every seal breaking, top flopping, layer sorting moment. It’s something about the first peek inside that makes our eyes widen and our knees knock like a school kid discovering an old milk crate of spray paint. Mix that with food and our vitals jump to a level we are some what slightly embarrassed to admit. Hence the rarely mentioned 2013 unboxing of a surprise bacon of the month delivery. When Luke’s Lobster announced their DIY lobster roll kits it took everything inside us to not drop to the food alter in the middle of 7th avenue and thank the seafood god (Crustaceous of course, right?) for the box bounty of sweet meat and firm, fresh buns that was now just a quick call or text away. We’ve been long time fans of Luke’s even collaborating on a stunted dinner series a few years back. Their expansion from NYC and Philly across the country and into Asia has been fantastic to watch. To think, that Maine fresh quality not only can make it across the world but to your kitchen table with the same perfection that you’d get in Kennebunkport is quite a herculean feat. Equipped with their secret recipe each box contains enough perfectly cooked knuckle and claw meat for 2 rolls, 2 fresh and non-soggy buns and a secret spice packet. We’re thinking summer party gift to augment the obligatory bottle of rose. Who doesn’t love the team that shows up with lobster rolls in tow. Crowdpleaser to say the least. Delicious food and a DIY craft. No one is better than you.

Applestone meat vending machine

Food | Refrigerator

Meat Vending Machine

It’s late. Your buddy accidentally ate some potent edibles. You peer into your bright, empty refrigerator with a gape that only says one thing. “Where’s the beef?” Normally at 2am you’re SOL until your Key Food opens at sunrise but, if you live close to what we consider the greatest vending machine invented since Sprinkles cupcake ATM, you’re in major, grill-it-now, satiate those gourmet munchies, luck. That’s right 24/7 of prime cut beef on demand all from a little, smart, butcher called Applestone Meat Company. The Meat Vending Machine interior spins displaying the various cuts like diamonds in the windows of 47th street. You don’t even need your wallet just your phone with an Apple and Android Pay integration. This means you can Instagram your purchase in real time bragging to whoever is still awake. Prices vary depending on the cut and the size just like non-robot meat purchasing. We’d recommend going big and pricey because if your standing in front of this machine in pajamas it’s a major meat mission and why skimp now? Apparently, this gets confusing so the guys over at Applestone made this helpful video. We’re so psyched about this we’ve contemplated the 111 mile drive just to experience this merry-go-round of meat first hand. Look for an update on this post once we finally make that move. For now, those closer have a real innovation on their hands. We just hope this spreads far and fast so the rest of the carnivore night owls can share in the on-demand fun.

Meat Hook Sausage Company

Food | Refrigerator

Meat Hook Sausage Company

Meat Hook Sausage Company ran a Kickstarter about a year back but now the successful Brooklyn butcher has taken their star product beyond the shop and packaged it up in supermarkets near you. Near you if you live outside their Williamsburg epicenter but still in hipster distance. The real hook to these tubular treats is they cover the classics but run crazy with some more creative options. Much like the Ample Hills approach to sausage. You’ll find the classic Italian, Brats and even a hotdog on the straight side of the options. Then it breaks out with ridiculously exciting options. Try a Bacon Cheeseburger (exactly what you’d think it is) or
Big Trouble In Little Dumpling, everything a dumpling would have to be awesome just inside a casing instead of a raviolo. The list continues with Buffalo Chicken, Beet Roasted Onion Sausage (no it is not vegetarian), Chicken Tikka Masala Sausage, a Banh Mi and even the one that got them on the map in this game, a pork, pepperjack cheddar cheese, roasted jalapenos and Texas Pete hot sauce sausage named Long Dong Bud. If all this has made you’re non-NYC resident mouth water their is a solution to this, delivery just became available via Mercato. Considering the biggest grill day of the year is looming, we’d suggest an order is in…order.

bakeys edible cutlery

Food | Pantry

Bakeys Edible Cutlery

You may think that here at FTHQ, we’re partial to utensils of the four-pronged variety, but we generally appreciate any and all cutlery that helps us deliver food into our perpetually hungry mouths. Although we’ve been known to nearly jump up-and-down in excitement about all kinds of eating instruments — knives, salad tongs, corn-on-the-cob holders, you name it — it’s been a while since tableware has gotten us as excited as these 100% edible and biodegradable utensils from Bakeys. With funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, and an aim to provide a viable alternative to the billions of plastic utensils thrown into landfills every year, Bakeys has it covered when it comes to usability and sustainability. Turns out sorghum, an environmentally-friendly crop you may have never heard of, seems to be the magic ingredient. Not only does sorghum allow Bakeys to produce 100 edible spoons with the same energy required to make a single plastic one, it also prevents the utensils from degrading in liquids — a particularly important fact for the environmentally-conscious ice cream enthusiasts among us.

burgabox

Food | Refrigerator

BurgaBox

If you know us, you know burgers are something of a perfected item in our purview. When we discovered the Burgabox we danced a ground meat jig and hollered to the burger gods. We’ve written about box concepts in the past. We love the idea that our on-demand world can now summon boxes of quality food to our door from a few swipes of a smartphone. The thing Chuck and his cofounders at Boston Burger Company didn’t like was how healthy the contents of most box delivery companies tended to be. Having made their way into the restaurant biz with 28 over the top burger concepts, they thought dropping the ingredients into a box so people, not in Boston, their home turf, could try their amazing product was genius. We agree. We we’re so intrigued that this ex-postal worker, ex-real estate guy and ex-bartender started a phenom restaurant dynasty we dug deeper. Read the burger names and tell me you don’t want to hop an Amtrak to Cambridge this afternoon. Some of our stand out favs, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, KILLER BEE and VERMONSTER. That last one is offered in box form and boasts sautéed apples & red onion, bacon, maple mayo, sharp cheddar on top of an 8oz patty. In the box you get two or four burgers (depending on the pkg you choose) along with 2lb Pulled pork mac & cheese, 1lb Chili wedge fries, 1lb Chili wedge fries, 8oz side of Boston baked beans and 8oz side of homemade cole slaw. In case math isn’t your strong suit, that’s 6lbs of food goodness ding donging on your front stoop. We’ve already ordered two subscriptions just in time for the grill season kick off.

The Gefilteria
The Gefilteria
The Gefilteria

Food | Refrigerator

The Gefilteria

Old World Jewish cuisine and delicious usually don’t make it into the same sentence. That’s why when we read “A culinary laboratory where Ashkenazi stories and culinary wisdom from the Old World could be explored and brought into the new.” we immediately wanted to know who said it and why. Turns out Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern are not only behind the statement but behind a dinner series, product line and cookbook dedicated to keeping this slice of culture alive. Speaking of slices, tonight of all nights is the perfect time for a slice of the Gefilteria cornerstone product. Artisan Gefilte fish made where else BUT in Brooklyn. The duo now bring Gefilteria goods to you online and through some specialty shops in NYC. Bring a loaf to your holiday parties and keep the new traditions alive.

white mustache turkey brine

Food | Fresh

White Moustache Whey Turkey Brine

Who doesn’t want to roll up to Thanksgiving with a gallon of whey? Protein brined in protein might be a little bit of a change for you but The White Moustache claims it produces one of the juiciest birds you can cook. With their order only Whey Turkey Brine you can be the hero of the table. Add on some of their other products to accompany and you have apps and desserts covered as well. We’ve been big fans of their labneh and yogurt for years now. This annual item only adds to our obsession of their truly small batch products.

the matzo project

Food | Pantry

The Matzo Project

Today’s the day of atonement. I only know this as an honorary member of “the tribe” having sat through my fair share of Yom Kippur dinners. This is the meal that breaks the fast of the past 24 hours. This was the day that sent all my Jewish friends home from soccer practice early to beat sundown in high school. The thing is, my jew crew didn’t really do the fasting part very well BUT they definitely did the breaking part excellently. The typical Jewish cuisine gets a poor rep. This, under the trained taste buds, is a falsely perpetuated opinion perhaps the same way Portlanders say it’s always grey in Stumptown. For context and as a case in point, I’ve sampled some incredible homemade gefilte fish that can go toe to toe with any cultural cuisine. To this end, Jewish food needs better press and a little more marketing oomph to jump the hurdle into main stream. Ashley Albert is spearheading the effort with her artisanal matzo company from Brooklyn, The Matzo Project. Salted, cinnamon or everything (as in bagel) are your delicious choices. You can’t pick wrong. We’ve tasted them all. You might be asking why I didn’t post this last week. That’s the point you should be stocking this year round. Eating it instead of chips or Triscuits. Plus, those of you who partake in the festivities, you’ve got Sukkot in five days. Stock up.

snackin free paleo crackers

Food | Pantry

Snackin’ Free Paleo Crackers

Ahh, the paleo diet. It’s an admirable regimen incorporating the simple foods the cavemen and women who went before us decided to place between their ancient incisors: fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, and…crackers? Yep, peeps, you heard correctly – the cracker for the modern-day caveperson is finally here. The homo sapiens at Snackin Free have come up with Paleo Crackers for when you want your neolithic diet with the crunch and convenience of modern, packaged snack food. With only 16 grams of carbs, eight different varieties including Cinnamon Graham, Toasted Onion, and Cheddar N’ Chives, and tasty ingredients like tapioca flour, jalapeno powder, and Himalayan pink salt, there’s something for everyone to love – Neanderthal wannabes and otherwise.

Food | Pantry

Swedish Fish Oreos

Oreo’s has been playing with flavors for a while now. Some of them hit and some of them…meh. The latest in this line up of special flavor limited time releases is the Swedish Fish Oreo. I’m not sure who in the Nabisco test kitchen decided this would be a great combo. The only logical rational is that the facility is in Colorado or Washington State and there was more than just cookie experiments being conducted on this day. Seriously Cookie Lab guys, you’ve had some hits. Birthday Cake was a game changer. Cookie Dough, yes please. But fruit punch? Watermelon? Limeade? What were you thinking? I guess we don’t have a 100 years of cookie making and millions of dollars in quant qual customer research to back up our opinion. Whoever you people are our they with Blueberry Pie Oreo crumbs in the crevice of your couch please tweet at us your motivation. We’d love to hear all about it. In close, this isn’t meant to be a slander post. On the contrary, Oreo breaking from it’s 50+ years of stuff, double stuff, vanilla cookie stuff is a breath of fresh air. Keep ‘em coming. We love following the flavors. Can we lobby for spaghetti Carbonara? Seriously though, WTF, no cannoli yet?