MUNCHIES is VICE's food website and digital video channel. Launched in 2014 and now spanning 11 countries, MUNCHIES offers groundbreaking content for a young, smart audience, showcasing how food fits into an infinite number of identities, customs, and aspects of culture at large. We're here to tell the stories about food that haven't yet been told.
Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 17h ago
The first In-N-Out opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, California, a San Gabriel Valley town that was, at the time, known mostly for its family-run turkey farm. That restaurant became the state's first drive-thru and, over the next several decades, it slowly became synonymous with California fast food—despite the fact that the chain didn't start expanding until 1992.
Seventy-plus years later, In-N-Out's 346 locations are all contained within six states, and none of them are further east than Texas. And all of that is a long way of saying that no one has any clue how—or why—an impeccably wrapped In-N-Out double-double could've ended up in the middle of a street in Jamaica, Queens.
Lincoln Boehm, a Brooklyn-based creative director, was on his way to McDonald's for breakfast before he caught an early morning train from the Jamaica Long Island Railroad (LIRR) station. He looked down and that's when he saw it: this decidedly out-of-state burger, sitting neatly on the pavement. "We didn’t touch it. We stopped for a second and took photos and looked around to see if anyone else was noticing it and then we walked on," he told the New York Post, adding that the unexpected burger sighting "genuinely shook me to my core."
Boehm, a California native, told the Post that he'd probably eaten a thousand In-N-Out burgers in his lifetime, and that's how he recognized it as a legit Double-Double. But his familiarity with that particular menu item is also why he's so freaking confused: He said this burger looked fresh off the grill, despite the fact that the closest In-N-Out is some 1,500 miles away. He also said he'd tried flying from Los Angeles to New York with a personal stash of In-N-Out, but that the food had a tendency to get soggy during the trip.
So… what gives? Boehm believes it could either be a marketing stunt, or some unintentional (or deliberate) litter from "somebody incredibly wealthy" who could've packed his or her private plane with In-N-Out. But Twitter has some other no-less-ridiculous theories, including:
The burger is some kind of art installation, was dropped there by Banksy, or by some would-be Banksy with a less compelling accent.
That some "fancy company" hosted an In-N-Out pop-up—or had the means to fly In-N-Out into New York—and that an attendee dropped it after leaving the party.
That it was a prop from a TV or film shoot, with a craft services burger dressed up in an In-N-Out wrapper
That it was from Queens' own Petey's Burger, which has been described as an In-N-Out knockoff, right down to the "California Fries" and the similar paper wrappers (although Boehm's find did have the In-N-Out logo on the wrapper, as well as the words 'Double-Double')
That alleged early-70s airplane hijacker D.B. Cooper is still alive, and is now deliberately dropping burgers on the East Coast, instead of accidentally dropping tightly-bundled $20s in southwest Washington state. (Look, they can't ALL be winners).
That this burger is just a seed and, if properly planted, it would eventually grow into a fully functional In-N-Out restaurant
VICE has reached out to In-N-Out for comment. Until we hear back, you can be damn sure we'll be looking at the ground when we're walking around today. And yes, we're totally eating any Double-Double we find.
Uncharted premiered yesterday with a pilot episode set in Peru's Sacred Valley, where Ramsay scales a mountainside with acclaimed chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz, learns to prepare local dishes including roasted guinea pigs, and then presents dishes inspired by what he's learned to elders. The six-episode series traverses through New Zealand, Morocco, Hawaii, Laos, and the Alaskan panhandle. Parts of Uncharted have a fun showiness: Ramsay puts himself at the butt of jokes ("I'm Gordon James, not James Bond," he says, when he sees a cliff he'll have to scale); he rides a motorcycle, and cooks outside over open fire at high-altitude. Still, after watching three of those episodes, it's fair to make the call: Uncharted feels less like eating those words of criticism, and more like chewing on gristle—tedious and bland.
Because a lot has happened in a full year, let's revisit the controversy. As described in the press release, the then-pre production Uncharted would have three parts: "unlocking a culture’s culinary secrets" through exploration, "tracking down high-octane traditions, pastimes and customs that are specific to the region in hopes of discovering the undiscovered," and "testing Ramsay against the locals, pitting his own interpretations of regional dishes against the tried-and-true classics."
That "anthropology-through-cuisine" slant relied on a foundation of colonialism, Alicia Kennedy wrote in the Washington Post. It wasn't a great look for a platform that had just publicly acknowledged its racist history and its effects on the people it covered. There was the idea that foreign cultures aren't valid or real until experienced by Westerners—"This is definitely uncharted territory," Ramsay says at the end of the show's intro, despite having been brought to communities by local guides—and also the idea that Western knowledge is needed to improve them.
"The ridiculousness of Ramsay’s premise lies in a flawed belief that Old World culinary technique is the standard by which all food should be measured. And that’s absolutely not true," said now- San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Soleil Ho in Kennedy's piece. News this past February of Ramsay's London-based Lucky Cat—described in a release as "the go-to destination for exquisite, authentic Asian cuisine"—smacked of similar sentiments.
To others, the idea that a man known primarily for shouty, know-it-all verbal abuse could approach travel with the same level of care and respect as Bourdain also seemed unlikely. "The sound you hear is Bourdain, who died in June," Tim Carman wrote, also in the Washington Post, "trying to convince St. Peter to give him a day pass so he can come back and slap some sense into Ramsay, who apparently didn’t read the Columbusing memo on white men 'discovering the undiscovered.'"
For the most part, Bourdain earned the respect of people from the cultures he covered because he sat down, broke bread, and listened. "Black folks loved this man because he didn't appropriate, when it came to us all he could do was celebrate. He told the world we were the center of Southern & Brazilian food and he let us speak for ourselves," tweeted the food historian and author Michael Twitty, who added that Bourdain "challenged us to not see bad or good but human."
The criticism must be discussed because, watching Uncharted, it seems vaguely like the network has taken some of these conversations into account. The controversial competition aspect, for example, isn't so much a Master Chef-style cook-off as it is Ramsay sitting casually outside with a group of Peruvian elders, serving what he's learned about their cuisines, and being told that his undercooked meat wasn't a popular choice. "I want to cook what I've understood," Ramsay says, before the cooking challenge. And instead of screaming at people, Ramsay's obscenities are reserved for situations: dangling off a mountainside, or being surprised by a guinea pig, for example.
While it's impossible to know what decisions happened behind the scenes, the show just feels walked-back. It's biting off pieces of other shows—the authenticity of Parts Unknown, the Ramsayisms of Kitchen Nightmares, the shock factor of Man vs. Wild—but never fully committing to any of them. The result is a show that isn't so much bad as it is vaguely boring to watch. For some of us, I imagine, that's a relief when what we expected was off-the-rails offensive. But if a travel show feels lost, what's the point?
From a viewer standpoint, the success of travel shows comes when a host can convey experiences we might not be able to experience. No Reservations and Parts Unknown worked, for example, because Bourdain seemed in control of the narrative; he was there to ask questions, not to answer them. In Uncharted, Ramsay doesn't seem sure of what the narrative is and his role in it—should he be Nice Gordon, or the Gordon everyone has come to love (and hate)?
Ramsay, in the version sold to us most prominently as the kitchen's angry, macho, shouting, authoritarian white man, is not the understanding drinking buddy of Bourdain. If Bourdain helped us see "not bad or good but human," as Twitty wrote, Ramsay, through Kitchen Nightmares, operates on a binary of good and bad, with little regard for the human collateral between. For Ramsay to work in the context of Uncharted—reliant upon the on-the-ground knowledge and expertise of others, and in places more daring than the kitchen—the show needed a different type of Ramsay.
That change, of course, is good. But it seems that for Uncharted, there's the rub: Ramsay is caught between two worlds. There's a clear desire on his part to learn and grow from other cultures, but there's also the shroud of Ramsay's long-standing persona, built on a foundation of being presumed as the only person in the room who's worth a damn. In the context of how we know Ramsay, the show's deference feels forced and tenuous. As a result, the show can't quite make up its mind about what it is either, and it makes for an experience that isn't compelling.
The adrenaline-inducing stunts and Ramsay's willingness to go along with whatever his hosts throw at him pull the show along, but ultimately, there's not much thrust behind the story. What's the point of Ramsay being told his food is good or bad, other than some sort of feeling of indirect retribution for his bad behavior on other shows? And sure, Ramsay pays attention as locals teach their customs and traditions, but it's easy to wonder whether listening felt as tedious for him as it feels to watch the show.
Perhaps Uncharted was doomed by its premise, perhaps the critiques put too many tensions in the show's creation, perhaps Ramsay just wasn't feeling it. In any case, it doesn't quite hold up to the legacy of either Parts Unknown or of Kitchen Nightmares. Both of those, at least, have a little more heart behind them.
Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 21h ago
A couple of summers ago, a boba tea-themed pop-up called The Boba Room opened in New York's Bowery neighborhood, promising an Instagram-worthy experience, a rotating selection of boba teas, and "a celebration of the culture that produced it."
What it actually delivered was disappointment. If its 1.5-star Yelp rating is anything to go on, visitors felt let down by the ticket price, by the size of the installation—it was literally a room—and the fact that it was pretty much just a bunch of smudged-looking balloons and partially deflated inflatables. "To echo everyone else's sentiments, don't bother coming here," one reviewer wrote. "Save yourself from the frustration, disappointment, and $10 price tag. You'll have more fun going to a McDonald's ball pit and jumping into that."
Don't give up on those oversized boba dreams just yet; apparently a different and possibly more sanitary bubble tea attraction is coming to Tokyo later this summer. According to SoraNews24, Tokyo Tapioca Land will open in a new shopping center near the Harajuku railway station on Tuesday, August 13, and this one says it's going to be the "tapioca land of your dreams." (If you've been to Harajuku, you know that this is the perfect location for Tapioca Land.)
Tokyo Tapioca Land is bigger than a single room, which is good, and suggests that every visitor will be able to "experience tapioca with your whole body," which is slightly unnecessary. (The last person to "experience tapioca with her whole body" was probably the constipated teen who had a boba-related intestinal blockage.) Anyway, visitors can still sample tapioca foods and drinks, take some kind of as-yet-undetermined tapioca ride, and yes, there will be at least 10 photo booths for your hashtagging pleasure. "We offer various attractions, such as collaborations with celebrity store managers and a Tapioca tour," the event organizers said in a press release.
Tokyo Tapioca Land will be open seven days a week through Monday, September 16, and if you have your heart set on a full-body boba experience, then it's probably best if you score a ¥1000 ($9.30) ticket in advance. If you can't make it to Japan—or you can't get a ticket—then you'll have to close your eyes, take a sip of your fave boba tea, and dive right in to that McDonald's PlayPlace.
Servings: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
for the donut: ¾ cups|180 ml milk, heated to 115°F 2 tablespoons honey 1 (¼ ounce) package active dry yeast 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract ¾ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoons kosher salt 1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks 2 ½ cups|350 grams bread flour, plus more for dusting Canola oil, for frying
for the filling: 1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces|225 grams), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces 1 cup|250 ml coconut milk ⅓ cup|115 grams honey 6 tablespoons|85 grams unsalted butter, softened 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
for the glaze: 1 cup|160 grams light brown sugar 4 tablespoons|60 ml coconut milk 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ cup|65 grams confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove lumps
to garnish: ¾ cup finely chopped roasted and salted peanuts
1. Make the dough: Combine the milk, honey, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the butter, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and eggs and mix until combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour and beat until the dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic, then transfer to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
2. While dough is rising, make the filling. Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until knife-tender. Drain and put through a potato ricer into the saucepan. Add the coconut milk, honey, butter, curry paste, and salt, and whisk. Cook over medium until the mixture comes to a low simmer. Mix the cornstarch with 1 ½ tablespoons water and add it to the mixture. Cook, stirring, until thick, about 2 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and cool. Transfer to a pastry bag and refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 2 2/3 cups.
3. Once dough has doubled in size, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Using a 2 ½-inch ring cutter, cut dough into 18 rounds. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheets, at least 2-inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until they double in size, about 30 minutes.
4. Heat 2-inches oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Use scissors to cut the donuts out of the parchment paper, leaving at least 1” of paper around each donut. Working in batches, fry the donuts, parchment side-up, and quickly peel off and discard the paper with tongs. Cook, flipping once, until puffed and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Fill the donuts: Use a skewer to poke a hole in 1 side of each donut, and wiggle it around inside to create a space for the filling. Working with 1 donut at a time, insert the pastry bag tip about ½-inch deep into the side of the donut and pipe 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling inside.
6. Make the glaze: Pour the crushed peanuts into a shallow bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk the brown sugar, milk, and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until fully incorporated. Pour into a medium bowl and dip each donut in the glaze. Dip into the bowl of crushed peanuts. Return donuts back to the wire rack to set before serving.
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Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 4d ago
Earlier this month, the owner of a Los Angeles ice cream truck decided that he'd had it with influencer culture, and was exhausted with (and a little embarrassed for) anyone who'd asked for free soft serve in exchange for a two-second shoutout on their Instagram story. So instead of trading ice cream for that promised 'exposure' that he doesn't need, he printed a sign informing any self-described 'influencer' that they'd be paying double for their orders.
As satisfying as it is to give professional Instagrammers or YouTubers or TikTokers a reminder that they're not as important as their follower counts make them think they are, an Indonesian airline took it too far, threatening to file defamation charges against a travel blogger because he posted its shoddy-looking menu online.
Rius Vernandes' Insta feed is filled with pictures of first-class flights, lie-flat seats, and even a hypebeasty Supreme x Rimowa suitcase. In his bio, he describes himself as "a miles geek trying to master the art of traveling free with miles," but we swear, he's the good guy in this story.
Last weekend, he and his girlfriend flew business class on Garuda Indonesia from Sydney to Denpasar, Indonesia and, as he usually does, he made a video of his experience and shared it on social media. Despite the supposed swankiness of the cabin, he was handed a handwritten menu on what looked like a sheet of spiral-bound paper. He posted a photo of it, with the caption "They told me the menu was still being printed," punctuated with a facepalm emoji.
His menu pic went viral, especially in Indonesia, and Garuda Indonesia didn't like being dragged, at all. The airline quickly announced that the menu was just for the cabin crew and shouldn't have been passed out to customers. According to frequent flyer site One Mile At a Time, it just-as-quickly released a memo suggesting that it would ban all photos, videos, or "[documenting] of activities" during its flights. (After being roundly mocked on the internet—again—it changed its mind and said that selfies and personal pics would be permitted, as long as they weren't "disturbing the comfort or harming other passengers.")
Vernandes posted an explanation on YouTube, and said that he wasn't trying to hurt the airline's reputation; he was reviewing the service as he would during any other flight. On Wednesday, he Instagrammed a photo of two brown envelopes from a local police department, telling him that he and his girlfriend both needed to come in for questioning. Reuters reports that several airline employees had filed a police report, accusing Vernandes of "using a negative perception [...] towards the country’s national flag carrier," and potentially violating Indonesia's internet defamation laws.
"I really ask for your support about this. All of it. Anyone. You all have a voice. Especially influencers," he wrote in the photo caption. "I hope you can help share and support me through this problem because I don’t want to see that, in the future, whenever we review something as is, whenever we give constructive criticism, we can be criminalized."
On Friday, The Jakarta Postreported that the Garuda Indonesia Workers Union had dropped the charges against Vernandes. He and his attorney joined the airline's president, Ari Akshara, at a press conference, and said that Garuda Indonesia had offered him two free flights as compensation.
Bro, we're not telling you what to do, but we'd probably say no thanks.
Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 4d ago
Ten years ago, the conservationists at the John Muir Trust advised hikers to stop leaving banana peels at the summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. At any given time, they said, more than 1,000 banana peels could be found scattered on the Scottish mountain. "Banana skins are a particular problem because people think they will quickly disappear. Sadly this isn't the case," conservation officer Sarah Lewis told The Scotsman at the time. "When you speak to [hikers] about it, they say it is not a problem because they will biodegrade."
A decade later, the John Muir Trust is still reminding people to stop throwing their damn banana peels on the ground, and a couple of other groups are also doing its best to deal with what seems like a never-ending pile of fruit trash. Like Lewis said ten freaking years ago, banana peels don't "quickly disappear"; at the peak of Ben Nevis, which is 4,409 feet above sea level; it can take years for a single peel to decompose.
"The cold weather is the issue. The breakdown process is far slower and takes up to two years. Some portions of the mountain are sub-zero all year round where the sun doesn’t reach, it's pretty much a subarctic climate,” a spokesperson for the John Muir Trust told The Telegraph. "It varies from year to year but in some parts for most of the year it's like being frozen.”
In addition to that, a rotting banana peel—or a lot of rotting banana peels—can also affect the composition of the soil, which is why a number of organizations work constantly to clean up after careless hikers. Last weekend, the volunteers at the Real3Peaks Challenge picked up eight kilograms (17.6 pounds) of banana peels on the Ben Nevis summit, and on the path leading up to it. The group estimates that approximately 300 peels are dropped on the mountain every week.
On the bright side—and despite the 'Ah shit, here we go again' annual fight against banana peels—apparently hikers and walkers aren't leaving as much trash behind as they used to. "[S]ince I started the Real3Peaks back in 2013, [Ben Nevis] has steadily become noticeably cleaner," Real3Peaks founder Rich Pyne wrote in a Facebook post. "In the first year, we shifted about 230KGs off The Ben, last year was approx. 135KGs. (Mostly banana and fruit peel, and tissues!!!), a huge difference in weight and volume."
Ben Nevis has seen a sharp increase in foot traffic, with a whopping 160,000 people attempting to reach the summit last year, and a lot of those day-hikers (or just briefly enthusiastic Instagrammers) don't know to take all of their trash with them, don't know that banana peels can be a huge pain in the ass for groups like Real3Peaks, or they just don't care. "There’s been a surge in visitors to Ben Nevis and the popularity for the Highlands is growing due to social media bringing it to life," the Trust spokesperson continued. "Where these kinds of visitors might not go the whole way up some mountains, they all go up Ben Nevis. It’s not just experienced walkers, who are more aware when it comes to climbing and dropping litter."
So come on, people. It's not that hard to put a banana peel back in the bag you pulled it out of, and it's not that hard to carry it back down the mountain. Don't make the Trust yell at you in 2029.
Servings: 4-6 Prep time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
1 large red bell pepper 6 ounces|175 grams pitted kalamata olives, crushed by hand 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1 (15-ounce|439 gram) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 (12-ounce|340 gram) jar marinated artichoke hearts 8 ounces|225 grams fresh mozzarella 8 ounces|225 grams salami 1 (12-ounce|340 gram) jar pepperoncini 10 sprigs fresh oregano, stems removed and discarded
1. Heat the oven to broil. Place the pepper on a sheet tray and cook, turning occasionally, until blackened all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film. Let sit for 10 minutes, then peel, discarding the blackened skin. Remove the stems and seeds and cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a bowl with the olives, vinegar, and chickpeas.
2. Meanwhile, drain the artichoke hearts, reserving 2 tablespoons of liquid. Chop the artichokes into about 1/2-inch to 1-inch chunks and transfer to the bowl with the liquid.
3. Tear the mozzarella into 1-inch pieces and toss them into the bowl. Cut the salami in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again. Cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and add to the bowl.
4. Drain the pepperoncini, saving 2 tablespoons of liquid (you guessed it, add that to the bowl, too). Remove the stems and thinly slice the pepperoncini. Toss them on into the bowl.
5. Season with salt and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour. Toss in the oregano leaves before serving.
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Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 5d ago
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has its own iPhone app—because of course it does—which features a virtual reality-ish video that'll give you a taste of what it's like to step inside America's premier nitrate-free, semi-erect sausage vehicle. In the vid, two of Oscar Mayer's own Hotdoggers open the Weinermobile's doors and invite you to fasten your "meatbelt," ride "shotbun," and endure at least a half-dozen more hot dog-related dad jokes as you ride down a scenic highway.
And if you thought that was the closest that you'd ever get to sitting on the Wienermobile's ketchup and mustard colored upholstery, then you'll be downright delighted to learn that Oscar Mayer is turning one of its six Wienermobiles into an ultra-temporary Airbnb.
"Hot dog lovers, we’re calling you home. For one night only, you can have the opportunity to eat hot dogs, dream of hot dogs, and yes, live in a hot dog, with an overnight stay in the iconic Oscar Mayer Wienermobile," the company wrote in its Airbnb listing. "For the first time ever, your wildest hot dog dreams can come true with a stay in our 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels."
But don't start packing an overnight bag yet: the Wienermobile will only be available for August 1, 2, or 3, and each guest is limited to one night inside that iconic fiberglass casing. Although the exact location hasn't been released, the Wienermobile will be parked somewhere near downtown Chicago, because as NBC Chicago points out, its Airbnb-ability coincides with the annual Lollapalooza festival. (And yes, the Weinermobile will remain parked all weekend. You're not getting a ride, even if you've been meatbelted in all morning).
The Wienermobile is priced at $136 per night, and that includes a fridge full of Oscar Mayer hot dogs and everything you'll need to assemble some Chicago-style dogs; a branded roller grill that you get to keep; and a welcome kit filled with "hot dog-inspired accessories" that you'll probably end up leaving behind. What the Wienermobile doesn't include is a toilet, although the Airbnb listing promises that one will be available in "an adjacent outdoor space," which is exactly what you want after a full day of drinking festival beer and eating free hot dogs.
Oscar Mayer will release those three reservations at various times on Wednesday, July 24, so be prepared to frantically refresh that listing all day. If you don't get to stay in the Wienermobile—and most of you won't—you can always download that iPhone app, grill a couple of hot dogs, and use the bathroom outside. There, you've saved $136.
Servings: 4 Prep time: 15 minutes Total time: 30 minutes
2 pounds|1 kg fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1 (28-ounce|795 grams) can whole peeled tomatoes ¼ cup|60 ml extra-virgin olive oil 8 anchovies 5 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons tomato paste ½ teaspoon granulated sugar ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ¾ cup|90 grams pitted castelvetrano olives, halved ¾ cup|95 grams pitted kalamata olives, halved ¼ cup|40 grams capers, rinsed and drained kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 pound|450 grams paccheri or rigatoni pasta 1 cup|25 grams packed basil freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve
1. If using fresh tomatoes, place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and pulse until blended yet still slightly chunky. Do the same thing if you're using a can of whole peeled tomatoes. Set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add the anchovies and cook, breaking apart into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Add the tomato paste and cook 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the puréed or canned tomatoes, sugar, and pepper flakes and cook until thick, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir in the olives and capers and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
3. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Strain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
4. Toss the pasta in the sauce to coat. Add the pasta water to loosen up the sauce and toss. Garnish with basil and serve with parmesan cheese.
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Munchies by Jelisa Castrodale, Leslie Horn - 6d ago
On Tuesday night, the West Hollywood Business License Commission voted unanimously to allow the soon-to-open Lowell Café to become the nation's first cannabis lounge. The cafe will have a menu that includes assorted edibles and other weed-infused food items, and it will also have an outdoor area where its customers can smoke or vape some of Lowell's finest strains.
Although a lot of people are nodding enthusiastically about the city's decision, Rabbi Denise Eger isn't one of them. She has raised her concerns about the cafe, mostly because she's worried that the weed smoke will drift across La Brea Avenue to her synagogue, causing a "contact high" among the Congregation Kol Ami attendees.
"We are deeply concerned about this business and this outdoor space and smoke clouds of cannabis that will limit the usage of our outdoor space," she said during the commission's meeting last night—and according to NBC Los Angeles, she left without speaking to anyone after that all-in-favor vote.
Wehoville reports that Lowell's shiny new license will allow the cafe to be open for business between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m. the following morning, but it will have to adhere to the state's cannabis license, which prevents the sale or delivery of any cannabis-based or cannabis-containing products after 10 p.m.
The cafe's license also specifically states that the scent of weed cannot and should not be detectable "outside the property"—which is why its owners have invested in a special HVAC system that will filter the smoke out of the air. They've also promised that special "fragrant plants" and "odor-absorbing plants" will be scattered throughout the outdoor smoking area.
That may or may not be enough for Rabbi Eger, who wrote a letter to the city's business license commission before the meeting took place too, expressing her concerns about the members of her congregation who are participants in 12-step programs; the children who will be potentially be exposed to weed smoke; the cafe's ability to sell cannabis products; the outdoor consumption area; the potential for cannabis-addled drivers, and subsequent danger to pedestrians; and yes, about contact highs.
"The business is to have outdoor space for smoking pot–and I don’t know why my congregation members and participants have to walk through clouds of marijuana to get to synagogue. It will limit the use of our outdoor space as well because of the contact high from the smoke that will waft in the area," she wrote. “We have no objections to people buying marijuana for their private use in their domains. [...] We object in very strong fashion to this business." (VICE has reached out to Rabbi Eger for additional comment about the city's decision to approve the cafe's license but has not yet received a response.)
To its credit, the Lowell Cafe is taking Rabbi Eger's concerns seriously. "We are respectful of the neighborhood and are committed to ensure any cannabis scent generated from our property doesn’t impact our neighbors. We screened countless air filtration proposals and selected a system that specializes in local capture—similar to what’s used in a luxury Las Vegas hotel, chemical lab, or hospital," Kevin Brady, Lowell Cafe's general manager, told VICE in a statement.
"[O]ur street facing patio (closest [to] Congregation Kol Ami) will be for our non-smoking guests [...] We intend to show that an establishment which allows for cannabis consumption can be as great a neighbor as any other business. We welcome the concerns and support of the neighborhood as we know all of this is uncharted.”
Lowell Cafe's license is good for one year. Hopefully, everyone can get along—and the odor-absorbing plants do their job—so that they'll get a second year, too.