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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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F&W Dream List

Fantasy Cocktail Pop-Ups

Phil Ward's Paloma

Customers don’t typically frequent strip clubs for the drinks. But on October 20, Los Angeles cocktail lovers may be tempted to visit Cheetahs, a Los Feliz strip club. That’s because mixologist Matthew Biancaniello recently announced that he will guest bartend there that night. Biancaniello is known for his farmers’ market-inspired drinks and the creative boozy ice creams he makes for L.A. ice cream shop Scoops.

While it's a smart idea for mixologists to share their talents outside of bars, there are plenty of places we'd like to drink great cocktails where nobody is baring anything let alone all. Here are a few personal requests for New York mixologists.

Phil Ward’s palomas at the movie theater.
While some theaters do offer bar service, the average multiplex could benefit from expert tequila drinks. At Phil Ward’s Mayahuel, one of the best snacks to get with his fizzy, grapfruity, salt-rimmed Paloma is popcorn topped with cotija cheese and ancho chile. It’s almost as if Ward was planning a theatrical pop-up all along.

Tristan Willey’s high-tech cocktails at the Apple store.
The Booker + Dax bartender would bring a legitimate genius element to Apple's Genius Bar, where one colleague recently had to make repeat visits simply to replace a pair of headphones. Customers could test the new iPhone 5S camera while Willey carbonates gin and juice or centrifuges rum and bananas, and consuming alcohol would make the inevitable wait to get one a bit more bearable.

Jason Mendenhall’s kale margarita at the gym.
Restaurateur Danny Meyer recently started offering a line of juices called Creative Juice at some Equinox gym locations. The organic green juice combines kale, kohlrabi, spinach and swiss chard. Sounds like the start of a delicious, vegetel cocktail like Mendenhall’s Garden Variety Margarita at The Wayland: tequila with fresh kale and ginger juice. Danny, meet Jason. Jason, Danny. You two should talk.

Sean Muldoon’s pre-Prohibition cocktails at vintage clothing shops.
Vintage fashion calls for beautiful old-timey cocktails. At The Dead Rabbit, Muldoon serves an array of pre-Prohibtion cocktails like a Grandieur punch from 1888, which is ladled into lovely, antique porcelain teacups.

Related: 50 Best Bars in America
Fantastic Fall Cocktails
Classic Cocktail Recipes

Kitchen Trash

The Future of Food: Canned Bugs, Ramen Pizza & Fast Food Frankensteins

Mooning Mooncake

The Internet is a black hole for strange, weird and wonderful things—especially when it comes to food. Rather than dive in yourself, let F&W do it for you. Here, five of the most absurd food items we saw this week.

NSFW Mooncakes: In honor of China's Mid-Autumn Festival this week, F&W offered a mooncake master class and shared bizarre mooncake trivia. Now we present the next generation of mooncakes, ones that literally moon you. This Hong Kong store baked up a batch of butt-shaped mooncakes. We’ll stick with the classic, non-grossly anthropomorphic shape.

The McEverything: A brave journalist with a sad bucket list ordered all 43 sandwiches offered by McDonalds (including breakfast sandwiches) and created a towering monster held together by bamboo sticks. The McEverything came out to $141.33 (one dollar went towards a Diet Coke).

Ramen Crust Pizza: Ramen burgers might not be able to compete with this. Serious Eats whiz J. Kenji Lopez-Alt created a crispy, bubbly 30-minute ramen-crust pizza (a.k.a. college kid dream food) with instant ramen noodles, pizza sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and pepperoni. It looks quite tasty.

Man Eats 49 Garlic Cloves: This past weekend in Dorset, England, a talented man named Oliver Farmer ate 49 raw bulbs of garlic in just five minutes at the World Garlic Eating Competition. His prize: $173 and the knowledge that he will be vampire-proof for the foreseeable future.

Canned Flavored Bugs: It’s the future of snacking: canned, ready to eat, flavor-packed bugs. Available in seven-can variety packs for $40, the bugs come in flavors like bacon and cheese grasshoppers, BBQ bamboo worms and sour cream and onion dung beetles. Perfect for a Halloween-themed party dish—or an alternative game day snack.

Related: Best Burgers in the U.S.
Delicious Garlic Recipes
Spooky Halloween Recipes

Supermarket Sleuth

Fantastic Freekah

F&W food editors apply their incredible cooking knowledge to explaining what to do with a variety of interesting ingredients.

Many years ago, we published a recipe in Food & Wine for frik, or freekeh as it’s more commonly called now, from the always awesome Paula Wolfert. The dish itself was easy, as I recall, but it took three of us more than an hour to clean the toasted green wheat we had purchased (from the only source we could find, Kalustyan’s), separating the grains from the bits of stalk and chaff that clung to them. Fast-forward to today, and this lovely protein- and fiber-rich, slightly smoky whole grain, with the texture of farro and wheat berries, is easy to buy and ready to cook. Freekeh is delicious on its own, with olive oil, salt and fresh herbs; in grain salads, stuffings, pilafs, risotto, tabbouleh; or added to soups.

Related Links: Salads with Grains
Delicious Recipes with Grains and Vegetables
Healthy Soup Recipes

Drink This Now

The Cure for End-of-Summer Blues: Salt-Cured Fruit Cocktails

Salted Key Lime Soda and Gin

Salt-cured pork = delicious bacon. Salt-cured salmon = beloved lox. Salt-cured fruit? It’s a genius new cocktail ingredient featured at DC’s recently opened Doi Moi. Inspired by chanh muoi (Vietnamese soda made with salted lemons), bartender Adam Bernbach preserves fruits like Key limes and apples to use in interesting sodas and alcoholic drinks. The method extends the life of the produce, and the salt enhances the flavors of cocktails in the same way that it’s essential to cooking. Salt curing also provides what Bernbach refers to as an “underlying funkiness,” in a good way.

Doi Moi features a salt-cured Key lime soda with gin year-round that takes about three months to make—but the process is easy. Bernbach quarters limes, packs them in kosher salt, vacuum packs them in plastic bags (though any Tupperware or sealed jar will work) and leaves them in a cool spot. Months later, he cuts open the bags to reveal limes with skins that have turned a dark green. He then brushes off the excess salt, steeps the citrus pieces in hot water for an hour, adds sugar and star anise and lets that sit for another three hours. After it’s strained and chilled, the Key lime syrup is ready to be brightened with fresh lime juice, diluted with water and carbonated in an iSi siphon.

For the cocktail, Bernbach simply pours the soda and Fords gin over ice. “It has a similarity to the classic gin rickey that’s popular in Washington, DC,” he says. He describes the soda’s flavor as seashore-y. At-home bartenders can re-create the drink without the syrup step by muddling salt-cured limes with sugar before adding ice, sparkling water and gin.

Salting isn’t just for citrus fruits, and the more porous the fruit, the less time it will take to preserve. Bernbach is currently working on apples for fall. “I’ve not found a fruit that salting fails on yet,” he says.

Realated: Incredible Fall Cocktails
Reinvented Classic Cocktails
Terrific Gin Cocktails

Expert Guide

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Mooncakes

If you’ve never heard of mooncakes, the baked pastry that is typically given as a gift during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, now is the perfect time to seek them out. The festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month, which, according to our handy Chinese lunar calendar, is today! So laugh it up like chef Yip Wing Wah (left). Chef Yip is The Peninsula Hotels' dim sum ambassador and he recently showed us how to make the sugary calorie bombs on his first US mooncake tour. Here, bizarre mooncake trivia to prepare for celebrations this week.

 

1. A 4-inch mooncake has roughly 1,000 calories; a Big Mac contains 550.
2. You can buy mooncakes for puppies in Hong Kong.
3. Häagen-Dazs makes an ice cream mooncake.
4. Luxury mooncakes encrusted in gold and stuffed with shark fin have been used to bribe corrupt officials
5. Chef Yip makes 400,000 mooncakes each festival and sells out in one day.

Related Links: Delicious Chinese Recipes
Healthy Asian Recipes
Better Than Takeout

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