Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Trends in Your Mouth: Lukewarm coffee

We know what you're thinking. It's a nice day, maybe the mid-afternoon. You want some coffee, but you don't necessarily want hot coffee. At the same time, iced coffee sounds so, you know, "Starbucks." That's why a few select coffee shops in Manhattan have started serving lukewarm coffee drinks, known simply as simply "lukes."

"We start with our finest siphon-dripped Ethiopian Yergacheffe coffee, and then we let it sit on the prep counter for like an hour," says Ethan Nostrum of Burt's Beans on West 37th. "It gets down to a balmy temperature, which kind of makes it a little bit gritty. It's disgusting. You have to try it."

Other shops take a different approach. Cafe Spitz on 5th Ave. uses the cold brew process, in which beans are steeped for 16 hours in cold water, filtered, and then microwaved to order for about 20 seconds.

"We find the cold brew flavor is essential to good coffee, and then we pretty much ruin it with the whole microwaving thing," proprietor Dave Necktat says of Spitz's luking process. "But fuckin' Burt's started doing it so we had to do something to stay competitive."

Look for luked coffee to come to a shop near you soon. Or just let your hot (or iced) coffee sit on your desk for a couple hours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Secret Menu" items at Long John SIlver's

It's well-known that many restaurants have a "secret menu": a selection of items that aren't listed on the official menu, but which most or all employees know how to make. Perhaps the most well-known of these is In 'n' Out Burger, with its "animal-style" fries, "protein-style" burgers, etc. But the secret menu was originally pioneered by fast seafood chain Long John Silver's. Here's some of their off-menu secrets:
  • ask for your Popcorn Shrimp Combo served "dingo-style" and they'll rub the shrimp on the hind legs of a stray dog before throwing them in the deep fryer

  • any fish item can be "evolved" (with two chicken legs strapped on)

  • ask for the "baby bird service" and a manager will chew your food into a more easily swallowable bolus

  • a meal that has been "chopped & screwed" will take much longer to be served (available at Houston locations only)

  • any fried item can be "oven baked," which involves it still just being fried, but the guy at the counter smirks and says, "Yeah, sure, we can bake that instead."

  • the "Vermont cod" is accompanied by a 40-something man in a hemp vest who will sit with you and ask if you really think you ought to be ingesting that much hydrogenated oil, man. If you ask for it "Berkeley style," he will be accompanied by the woman with whom he is in a "domestic partnership" (whom he won't even refer to as his domestic partner because "Hey man, we don't own each other.") She will judge you silently while sewing a Kindle cozy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Fooderist Thanksgiving turkey

This recipe was passed down by my neighbor, who made it up while pretty high on salvia last year. If it doesn't taste good, you're doing it right:
  1. Buy a turkey. The bigger it is, the longer it will take to thaw, which means you should get a really tiny one if you're starting at 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Like a turkey fetus.
  2. Brine it in Yeungling, Old English or if absolutely necessary, PBR.
  3. I don't know what "brining" is either. Look it up.
  4. Rub some herbs and seasoning on it: Rosemary, pepper, Cholula, tarragon, cinnamon, allspice, Lowery's, Himalayan pink sea salt, Mrs. Dash, hot chocolate mix—whatever you have in your cabinet.
  5. Put that shit in the oven. 350 degrees? Sure.
  6. Check on it once and shrug your shoulders.
  7. Take it out when it smells like burning in your house (may take several hours).
  8. You really want the outside to be kind of crispy, so if it's not, just use a Zippo to crisp up the skin.
  9. Get your drunk-ass uncle to carve it. Better his thumb than yours. If no drunk uncle is around, just get a kid to do it or something—they're right at eye level with the thing.

Merry Thanksgiving.