I have an unnatural penchant for simple, straightforward things. Design is one of them. When I was a kid I loved the no-frills aisle in my supermarket. To this day, simple food packaging gets me jazzed. Public Goods is the latest in the short line of cleanly designed packaging available. The trick to these companies is that the food needs to be equally as good as the package design. Yeah, we eat with our eyes but only until it touches our tongues. So when my first box arrived I admired the unboxing but then tore right into a pack of ramen. Slurping down the last little bits of noodles was the acknowledgment of quality and validation of the small membership fee that allows these inexpensive, yet quality, items to show up on my doorstep. They jumped off as a Kickstarter and now are in full swing with stock across personal care, household, grocery, vitamins and supplements, and pet supplies. We heavied up on the grocery department but threw in some dental floss for good measure. Pro tip 😉 Oral hygiene is key when you are always eating. If you’re fast, you might still be able to catch the sale they were running on membership this month.
All Food Stuff
Thirty-eight years ago David Letterman started his late-night show, Tylenol capsules laced with potassium cyanide killed 7 people and the first issue of USA Today was published. As an eight-year-old, all of that paled in comparison to the introduction of McDonald’s McRib sandwich. This first brush with BBQ left an indelible mark that would stick with me years later at Memphis in May and while slurping up every full slab I could find from Mississippi to Chicago. Today this sandwich king is available nationwide for the first time since 2012. I know what you’re thinking, with all the incredible BBQ available across this great country why would I opt for a frozen, pre-formed, visually faked rib sandwich? You could easily dismiss my love as nostalgia but it runs deeper than that. Anthony Bourdain made a point to champion all food through the lens of culture. He was also known for his penchant for some of the more, let’s call it, faster of food options from time to time. With that in mind, the McRib is that food for me. Its impact on me was just as culturally profound as David Letterman challenging Johnny Carson or USA Today taking on the New York Times. I’m not the only one who feels this connection. McRib fans across the country have had lunch planned since this announcement in October so a word of advice if you are going to give it a go, and you should, get the McD’s app and order early.
Thanksgiving 2020 is going to be an unprecedented one. Less family gatherings. Higher COVID 19 rates. More cooking in your home. That’s why we thought we’d offer a reprieve from at least one of those tired realities. Our top 10 Thanksgiving delivery dinners in New York City. Take a needed break from the kitchen and order in some gourmet. For this list we looked beyond the turkey because, let’s face it, a big bird is only good if there’s enough people around to eat it. If you’re in ear shot of DeBlasio, Cuomo and Murphy you know a full family gather is not the recommended agenda. Sure that day-after-turkey-sandwich is delicious but our list has leftovers potential we think puts that makeshift sando to shame. We’re not hating on turkey. We’re just mixing it up with some alt options since there is nothing traditional about this Thanksgiving. Let’s keep with the theme. Here’s our list with the star item called out on each. Most orders come with an array of sides and other accouterments. Cost runs from cheap eats to 5 star in home. You frugal festive Forkers can get away with only a $39.99 investment. For those of you posh revelers, our top end choice comes in at $588. Choose wisely.
The Breslin-Roasted Turkey Breast and Smoked Leg
Fields Good Chicken-Cascun Farm Whole Chicken + Cornbread
Popeyes-Cajun Whole Turkey
Jean Georges-Whole Roasted Organic Turkey and Sourdough Stufffing
M. Wells – Meat Pie
Mission Chinese Food – Whole Roasted Chicken with smoked sweet tea brine, five spice citrus glaze
Hometown BBQ – Whole Smoked Brisket
Kimika – Turchetta (think Porchetta)
Seamore’s – Salmon Roast
Forma Pasta Factory – Bolognese Lasagna
We never thought of putting garam masala on cold greens either but a few nights ago we were treated to such a salad. A sprinkle of this quintessential Indian mixture onto crispy fresh fennel, juicy grapefruit supremes and the occasional candied ginger, worked better than I would have ever guessed in making our tastebuds dance. With a bit further investigation (Raiding our friend’s pantry) we discovered this triad of masalas from the late, great chef Floyd Cardoz in collaboration with Burlap and Barrel. Chef Cardoz passed from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020 but left a legacy through his compassion, teachings and artifacts, like these spices. Burlap and Barrel partners directly with small farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and help improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. This collab was no exception. Working with Chef Cardoz’s wife and business partner Barkha Cardoz, as a memorial to his love for the cuisines of India and his passion for sharing them with the world, the three masalas are uniquely different but all Chef Cardoz. The garam masala is floral, sweet and aromatic. Second in the trifecta, the Goan masala has an earthy, pungent, gingery complexity flavor profile. Lastly, the Kashmiri masala brings the heat with a fennel, ginger and aromatic profile anchored by the Kashmiri chili. Aside from being great on your favorite greens, this trifector collection is a fantastic way to pay homage and connect with a chef who made a huge impact on the culinary world.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.