Some people hear the phrase “beef alternatives” and think tofu, seitan and bean burgers. We think local goat, French-style chicken, grass-fed lamb, name-brand pigs, roast duck, double-smoked Danish salmon, whole lobes of foie gras, elk — and then sometimes beef again, because beef from here is technically an alternative to beef from there. Ready to for a feast of all of the above? Here are our 10 favorite online purveyors of high-quality meat.
If your significant other invited the relatives for Thanksgiving, you’re probably praying that there won’t be a repeat of what your cousins still call the Great Turkey Fiasco of 2003. But why not go on the offensive? This is your day, dammit, and just because Aunt Hellen and Cousin Doug have decided to hold a…
A Five-Star Gear Patrol Dining Survey
Trusting someone with a restaurant suggestion is a show of great faith. A good suggestion puts you in the inner circle, a candidate for godfather of the next child, a guy whose name is mentioned behind closed doors, approvingly, with vigorous nodding. A bad suggestion keeps both parties involved up at night. There is so much good food in America right now that winnowing the lot to a few handfuls of the best is difficult. Do you include the roadside shack that isn’t technically a restaurant? Do you disqualify a place for foam smears and cheese dust? Are you being persuaded by hype?
And so our litmus test was simple: these 25 American restaurants are the places we’d send a friend if he had time for one meal in Chicago, Denver, Houston or any of the other cities on this list. One city, one suggestion, one good meal. Thank you. You’re welcome.
Capon, Capon, Goose
The noble, courageous turkey. Subject of paintings by Claude Monet and Norman Rockwell; famed favorite fowl of Benjamin Franklin. For the past century and change, the beloved bird has complemented the traditional Thanksgiving feast. However, as home chefs and weekend warriors become more adventurous in the kitchen, many are eschewing tradition for pomp, presentation and flavor. If you’re looking to join the nouveau-thankful, try embracing one of these five options.
Armed to the Gizzard.
The kitchen is one of the last bastions of respect and order in a society that mostly eschews hierarchy. Snapchat may be run by kids, but grandma’s red sauce is no flash in the pan. Though we’ve proved our chops in the kitchen, for Thanksgiving we decided to bring in one of the big guns of culinary wisdom: Jim Oseland, former Editor-in-Chief of Saveur, one of our favorite food magazines. Here’s his essential turkey-roasting kit.
Carving a Winner
The Thanksgiving turkey is the one dish each year that’s make or break, and it’s all yours. Get the turkey right and you’ll be giving warm handshakes and sipping bourbon all night; dry it out and you’ve brought a dark cloud over the extended family. The good news is, roasting the big bird is easier than running the fumblerooski against the in-laws — and that works every year. To find the most direct route to turkey perfection, we consulted with chef Harold Moore for his foolproof recipe.
Good Gifts, Whichever Way You Slice 'Em
We get it — everyone is a foodie now. From your buddy excitedly fawning over the new Santoku he just picked up to your dad calling to inform you about the super authentic Ethiopian place he wants to try next time he and mom come to visit, the chances of having a cookie on your holiday shopping list are greater than ever.
But what do you buy them? Your food-focused gift-getter obviously already has the basics — the knives, pans and culinary detritus that make up his obsession — and nothing says, “hey, I’m too lazy to make an effort, but I think I remember you’re into food” like a gift card that ends up only covering half the bill at the restaurant-du-now. Thank Bourdain, we’ve got you covered with a dozen of the best gastronomic gifts for the season.
A taste of the Northwest
Feast Portland is more than just the story of food or chefs in the Rose City. While the bulk of the festival’s events take place in Downtown Portland, Feast is about all of Oregon and its bounties: locally sourced meat and produce; fish from the Columbia River and surrounding waterways; wines of the Willamette Valley; and a craft beer industry that has made Oregon the number one state for brew artists and Portland the state’s epicenter. GP stopped in to enjoy the tastes.
The sights and sounds of two-weeks in Spain
It’s got to be slog (a once-in-a-lifetime slog) to travel through an entire country in just two weeks. But to pare your footage from those two weeks into a three-minute video? Monumentally more difficult. Fortunately, this clever three-minute video employs split screen formats, so your eyes can multitask and take in more than three minutes worth of visuals. Good thing, too, because there’s a lot to take in.
[Cacao] farm to table
Back safely in the U.S., I removed the cacao ball from my running shoe. I unwound the plastic wrap from the dark brown orb and sniffed it. My best friend, Mycah, and his wife, Ashley, had picked it up at a cacao farm in Baracoa, a small town on the eastern tip of Cuba. This was the good shit. I pictured myself shaving it over ice cream to impress a date or using it to flavor chili. Oh, this chocolate here? I got it from a guy in Cuba. Chef François Payard showed me how I could actually use it.
Cool, moisture-rich dishes are perfectly refreshing in summer. Pulling ingredients from the fridge, or better yet, your backyard, and preparing them sans the uncomfortable added heat of an oven or stovetop is the ideal. In our cold dish primer, we examine five excellent cold-dish recipes, along with the “methodology” of preparing each type of food and optional accompaniments and alternatives to make your (picnic) table sing.
As I write this, I have a Bhut-Pepper Vertigo candy, made with five of the world’s hottest peppers, on my tongue. It is hot.
Sauces with a little extra sauce
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine is a great corn whiskey that we’ve covered before; what really caught our eye recently, though, is their huge range of Moonshine-soaked foods. Soaked isn’t the right word, exactly: each jar contains less than 1% of their 100 proof ‘shine. Still, it’s an entertaining menu.
Ignore those cries for Yelp
Customer reviews make or break countless decisions — particularly when it comes to where to dine. But why take the word of all the world’s self-righteous social media whores when you could rely on expert advice? That’s the idea behind Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favourite Restaurants ($13).
Whittle away at your meal
Sure, you’ve used an Opinel blade to eat — but that was a skewer of venison charred over a kindling fire under the stars. Enjoy quality cutlery under different circumstances with Opinel’s Bon Apetit Table Knives ($70). These dishwasher-safe, olive wood-handled knives feature Swedish stainless steel blades and handsome, sleek design, somewhere between a paring and a steak knife
What's Hawaiian for more water please?
Founded on the basic ingredients of love and salmonella, culinary amateurism can be downright frightening. Yet hot sauce producer Adoboloco ($8+) has managed to pull it off, thriving without a Kraft-sized bankroll. This Hawaiian family unit has turned cuisine curiosity, which started as a simple family garden project and a love of spiciness, into a…
Don't carbonize these ones
Wondermade Marshmallows ($8) shatter the conventional s’mores mold with their diverse line of flavored addiction cubes sugary treats. Boasting a perfect spongy consistency, these handcrafted marshmallows challenge the pallet with a bouquet of unique flavors like gingerbread, peppermint, s’mores (s’mores inception?), pumpkin pie, Guinness and bourbon. A smartly designed box accomplishes the sole mission of…
Delicious to the bitter end
A key cocktail element hasn’t gotten much love lately, but Woodford Reserve Bourbon Aged Spiced Cherry Bitters brings small batch excellence back to our favorite drinking “dash”. The notable bourbon maker teamed up with Bourbon Barrel Foods, blending standard gentian root with cherry and spices to create a unique alcoholic add in. The bitters are…
A baker's dozen for the culinary nut
Blame Anthony Bourdain and his gallivanting food porn circus. Blame Bravo’s utterly watchable, bro-it’s-not-reality-TV show, Top Chef. Blame the hipsters, the bandwagoners, the trust-funders — and for Guy Fieri’s sake — please, someone, blame Bobby Flay. Because if one thing is certain in today’s chow-crazy culture, it’s that you’ve got a foodie on your holiday…
No, it wasn't a four-hour talk
Pine pollen is a powder that contains the cellular material used to produce male sperm cells in coniferous plants. It’s available on Amazon.com as a supplement to increase testosterone, with some companies marketing it as a source of “perpetual youth”, claiming that it helps with everything from improving endurance to regulating prostate function. As part…
Think Outside of the (Grill) Box
If you’re grilling as much as you can before the blizzard season hits, you may be growing a little tired of beer-can chicken and burgers. For a change of pace, Beefeater brings you their grilltop Pizza Oven ($250). A replacement for the conventional hood on a Beefeater 4- or 5-burner grill, this alternative top gives…
The spice is right
Artisanal condiments are the latest front in the slow food war, and our taste buds are thrilled to be part of the collateral damage. Jojo’s Sriracha ($12) is a new brand of small-batch chili sauce created by Joelene Collins, who became so entranced by the stuff at the age 15 that she now slathers it…
Five pillars of American beef
Every kind of meal has its own purpose, its particular ritual and significance. Burgers are meant for tailgating; road trips run on fast food; French restaurants seem fit for special occasions like anniversaries and third dates where you’re really trying to get some. Chief among dining rituals is the steakhouse dinner, when friends and colleagues…
Meat for the Masses
We’ve been blessed with a very high quality supply of meat in this inaugural Month of Beef, but the reality of life is that there isn’t always a Wagyu beef cache and a hot cast iron pan in arm’s reach — especially on the road. We wondered, is it possible to get a good steak…
A side of beef you've never seen
There are sacred destinations for people of all faiths, religious and otherwise: Mecca, Islam’s holiest city; Paris or maybe Milan for the fashion set; Kona for triathletes. But what about those who follow the beef creed — at which temple do they gather and pray? We’ve been hot on the trail for a full month,…
Next to a steak, anything is a side dish. Serve a beautifully roasted capon on the same table as a steak and you’ve got a side of capon. Traditional accompaniments for steak like garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and sauteed mushrooms are altogether nothing to scoff at. But this being the Month of Beef, and…
Ménage à beef
There’s more than one way to skin a cat, the saying goes. The same is true for cooking a steak. Most of the time the way we cook at home is dictated by circumstance: grill when the weather permits; pan fry if it doesn’t (or if we live in an apartment); broil, uh, when the…
Good breeding is everything
We’ve given you a beef baptism in buying beef online, the rules of store-bought beef, beef’s lesser-known cuts and even beef you can drink. Kicking things up a notch (BAM!), let’s explore the breeds of cattle that end up on your plate — putting a face on things, so to speak. Get your breed on…
Not quite frozen in carbonite
The problem with fresh herbs is a matter of practicality. Show us a single man that has ever used up one of those giant bunches of cilantro on himself before it’s started to spoil, and we’ll show you a liar. Here to save your salsa accompaniment is the Prepara Herb-Savor Mini Pod ($15+). Made from…
One family's patty-filled chapter in the book of American Dreams
In-N-Out Burger is something of a cult to those living outside of the chain’s west-coast bubble, proselytized by endless waves of sunkissed acolytes devoted to spreading the good burger word. Their brief testaments, filled with whispers of “animal fries”, “secret menus” and multiplied stacks of beef and cheese, speak of a fast-food paradise whose divine…