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.
All Fresh Stuff
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
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 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.
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.
Impossible Foods has been on our radar ever since they announced that they were attempting to make meat from plants. After a 4 hour Google rabbit hole session, we emerged with an understanding that “hem” is a cell structure found in both traditional protein and plants. The part we love most about this endeavor is that it’s not about adding another tofurkey into the world to give vegetarians faux meat on their tastebuds. It’s about the opposite. Supplying the ever growing meat eating world population with something that satiates our salivation for umami while the supply of cows fails to meet demand, is now possible. Getting an Impossible Burger of the limited supply at Momofuku Nishi (the only place they are currently available) may still prove impossible.
Ashley started Farmbox Direct because she thinks that the freshness of the farm should be available to everyone. Here in NYC we have an incredible framers market network but even then it’s sometimes tough to stop in. When I can, I usually spend the day with a brussel sprout tree or some lacinto kale hanging out of my bag. Farmbox Direct brings the freshness of the farm (or green market) to your door. It’s sort of like a CSA and Hello Fresh smashed together. The box comes with what is fresh, local and at it’s peak, given the unpredictability of mother nature. This is a good thing for adjusting our eating habits back to the seasonal, locavore ways of the past. I remember when I was a kid, my grandmother would spend a weekend canning tomatoes because they didn’t grow in the winter. Not the case today. That’s because those winter tomatoes are greenhouse, pesticide, growth hormone, genetically altered seed, specimens that probably can grow on Mars (and they taste like it too). Ashley’s roots are on a farm which makes her perfect to start a service like this. She understand the enormous impact it can have on farmers and those of us subscribed to their delicious, natural bounty.