6 Years, 1000+ snacks, here are some keepers.
Piri Piri Grilled Pineapple Salsa With Plantain Chips Recipe Here
Steel Drum Plantains // Miss Marjorie’s // Seattle, WA
Barbecue was born on the beach — the word’s Caribbean, in fact — and it makes sense: with weather like that, why hover all night over an indoor stove? Island grillers are some of the best, especially when it comes to the accoutrements, from jerk sauces and rum cocktails to simple snacks like these, the signature appetizer from Seattle’s best Jamaican restaurant, just right to nibble while the fire warms, the meat cooks, the coals die, or — hell — all barbecue long.
Spice-A-Delic Granola with Mango Recipe Here
Spice-A-Delic Granola // Granola Jones // Independence, MO
Mellower munchies may fill most hippies’ plates, but the folks at Jones march by the beat of a different drum circle. Their granola jams with hearty oats, berries, and organic sweeteners, ja mon, but adds a hefty toke of spices strong enough to blow your dreads back. Add yogurt, mango, and a swirl of honey to make a morning meal that doesn’t taste like cardboard, no matter how unwashed your breakfast bowl. Just remember to keep your stash out of the communal pantry.
Maple Sugar & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds // SuperSeedz // North Haven, CT
Sunflower-snacking pros spend more time spitting shells and picking teeth than eating — you can cut to the chase with these husk-less wonders. Dry roasted in small batches with tons of natural seasoning — never sprayed — they’re packed with iron, zinc, and protein, each handful shrapnel-free satisfaction, no tooth brush needed.
Bourbon Bacon Caramel Corn // Liddabit Sweets // Brooklyn, NY
In baseball, tradition rules, and most are sacred — the pinstripes, the anthem, the seventh-inning stretch. And yet how cracker jacks became the timeless stadium candy they are today, we’ll never know — is it their stale, molar-sticking bite or the useless “toy” stuffed in every box? Let’s upgrade. Started at the Brooklyn Flea by two culinary school buddies, Liddabit is now anything but little: a confectionary powerhouse of candies, caramels, even a cookbook. Who better to breathe new life into that tired snack? Their version covers all the bases: salty, sweet, boozy, bacon-y, it’s barbecue in a box, no toy needed.
Hatch Cheese Nibbles // Wackym’s Kitchen // Dallas, TX
Wackym’s Kitchen started as a home-oven operation, slinging a half dozen varieties of cookies at Dallas-area farmers markets; it’s now an empire of Texan proportions with flavors as, er, wacky (it’s his real name) as the owner’s trademark hats. Some, like chocolate snicker doodle, might be best when the drinking’s done and the sweet tooth kicks in, but before happy hour swings toward desert time, these biscuits hit the spot, with a savory, tangy mix of sharp cheddar, blue cheese, and New Mexico’s infamous Hatch chiles.
Beer Caramel Pretzel Nuggets // Roni-Sue’s // New York, NY
Another classic bar side bite, long gone stale: stripped of their brawny Bavarian glory, most bar pretzels are banished to dusty snack bowls, pawed through by dozens of drunken hands. Good riddance. Leave those for the unenlightened and get hip to Roni-Sue’s redux, a collaboration with her neighbors at the Brooklyn Brewery: sweet, salty, crunchy pretzel nibbles infused with, what else? Beer.
Sriracha Nuts // Sugar Plum // Forty Fort , PA
The humble peanut gets upstaged by chicer seeds like walnuts and filberts and, unshelled and unadorned, it’s not hard to see why. But doll ’em up a bit — and we don’t mean with a top hat and cane, Planter’s man — and the nut will draw a crowd. Cooked in Sriracha and vanilla, these are sweet enough to satisfy, spicy enough to keep you sipping: a communal snack bowl you’ll horde yourself.
Arugula & Roasted Chickpea Salad Recipe Here
Rosemary Chickpeatos // Watusee Foods // Washington, D.C.
Good food takes time, but bellies don’t wait — and the better the smells from the kitchen, the louder the rumbles. We know, you gotta snack while the sauce simmers or the steak sizzles. Born as a semi-secret munchie snuck into med school study groups (the crunch gave it away), Chickpeatos have you covered, wholesomely. Crunchy as a breadstick, addictive as chips, sized for the fistful, and fragrantly spiced. Leftovers? We doubt it, but if the salad course arrives before the snacking’s over, dump the remainder on top. You’ll never use a crouton again.
Maine Blueberry Granola // Naked Granola // State College, PA
On busy weekday mornings, nothing’s as rare, or as relished, as a breakfast as hearty and warming as the blanket you reluctantly slithered out from under. A banana, a ‘spro, and a muffin to go? That’s a flimsy foundation for a go-get-‘em day. Instead, tuck into a bowl of almonds, blueberries, cranberries, and pomegranates. Yeah, we haven’t seen any pomegranates growing in Maine either, but you won’t care about provenance after a bite or two. High in fiber and all organic, it beats anything you’ll find on the super-store shelves. The breakfast of champions just took silver; granola steals the gold.
Chai Masala Popcorn // Masala Pop // Portland, OR
Wander urban India, and if you listen hard through the clanking rickshaws, shouting street vendors, and constant droning horns that make up daily traffic-clogged life here, you might hear the familiar rat-a-tat snare of popping popcorn. But this Indian staple is far from familiar: heavily spiced and made in an iron wok, it’s the Bollywood version of your buttery movie snack. The Masala Pop founder first tried the curry spiced kernels in his mom’s homemade Indian trail mix; now he makes it himself, with the extra spicy touch of tea-infused caramel coating each crunchy bite.
Lemon Ginger Almonds // Clif Family Kitchen // Napa, CA
Nothing says winter in New York like the scent of roasting nuts, sizzling on street corners. There, the smoke dissolves into the city’s haze of subway steam, taxi exhaust, and, yeah, trash. But not in Napa. On the Clif family vineyard, nothing touches these almonds but a Mediterranean breeze through the grape vines. That, and a dash of ginger, lemon zest, and herbs de Provence. If only the 6 train made it this far.
Soft Pretzel With Smoked Salt Recipe Here
Smoked Sea Salt // Bulls Bay Saltworks // McClellanville, SC
On every table, in every takeout bag, on every pantry shelf: shakers and packets, boxes and bags. Salt: ubiquitous and placeless. It’s everywhere, so it comes, it seems, from nowhere. But the funny thing about salt, is despite the industrial-scale machinations that dust it so liberally into our lives, it’s damn low-tech to make. One part seawater, two parts sun. Oh yeah, and the most important part — a person. At Bull’s Bay, that’s Rustin and Teresa Gooden, who wade out into the South Carolina seashore (a national wildlife refuge no less — the water’s filtered by delicious Bulls Bay oysters), to harvet seawater they then dry under the southern sun and smoke over oak chips. After all that work, these crystals deserve a proper setting: like a homemade artisanal pretzel.
Soft Pretzel Mix // Haldeman Mills // Manheim, PA
We’ll start with a disclaimer. Your hand-rolled pretzels won’t look anything like those perfect twists you’re used to. And that’s OK — because they wont taste anything like them either. Either tooth-caking and dry when hard or airy as a pool float (and even less flavorful) when soft, there’s a reason most bars give commercial pretzels away for free. Not these. Made with hearty whole grains from a family mill whose German stock runs centuries deep (they know from pretzels, in other words), these are the real thing, and they require a bit of effort. Mix the dough, wait for it to rise, roll out and twist (as best you can), dip in a mix of water and baking soda for that perfect crust, then bake. So good, no one will care what they look like.
Garlic Green Chile Pistachios // Eagle Ranch // Alamogordo, NM
New Mexico’s oldest and largest orchards turn days of desert sun into nature’s perfect packable protein snack — the ever-nutritious pistachio. Ditch the cocoa-covered peanuts and over-salted almonds, and stuff your saddlebag with these, flavored — of course — with the state’s famous chile. Just be sure to pick up your shells, lest a hungry trail bum raid your private stash.
Grilled Romaine w/ Smoked Popcorn “Croutons” Recipe Here
Hickory Smoked Cheddar Popcorn // Quinn // Boulder, CO
Impossible to stop eating, and impossible not to regret finishing the bag when you toss its greasy, translucent, glue-fumed skin in the trash, most microwave popcorn is delicious — and disgusting. Quinn’s is just damn tasty. Organic corn mixed with Kentucky cheddar and double-smoked paprika in an all-natural compostable bag: all good, no grief. Perfect as-is, or a jazzed-up stand-in for stale croutons in your salad (we like it on grilled romaine drizzled with lemon-spiked dijon).
Chipotle Barbecue Halfpops // Halfpops // Bellevue, WA
For you popcorn fanatics, craving the partially popped, crackling crisp kernels at the bottom of the pot, Halfpops are exactly what they sound like: half-popped popcorn. With an echoing crunch and high-decibel taste, these munchies make regular-old popcorn taste, and feel, and airy as packing peanuts. They hold up so well, in fact, you can mix the nuggets into soup, a salad, over your ice cream (trust us). Or, since you’ve no qualms about scraping the pot, snack ’em straight from the bag.
Macadamia Nut Crusted Fish Sandwich Recipe Here
Black Peppah Macadamia Nuts // Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company // Waimea, HI
Hawaii’s first macadamia tree was planted two centuries ago, and — legend has it — it’s still growing, somewhere on the verdant coast for which this company’s named. The island’s mac nut trade is still just as old-school: small producers, private farms, local families. Tradition you can taste (even when dusted in cracked pepper and sea salt). Savor them solo or grind up a handful with lemon and olive oil for a luau-ready crust on baked snapper.
Jamaican Banana Granola Recipe Here
Pistach-A-Colada // Granola Jones // Independence, MO
For us bacon-and-eggers, healthy hippie breakfasts seem best only when slept through: muesli mush, plain-old oats. Pack your bowl with this instead. Granola, sure (all natural grains, brown-sugar-sweetened, mother-earth-approved), but mixed with nuts and honey, cardamom and coconut — sweet, savory, spiced. A sliced banana and drizzle of Pineapple Gum Syrup turns morning into cocktail hour — and who’d want to sleep through that?
Mexican Hot Chocolate Walnuts // Old Dog Ranch // Bellota, California
This San Juaquin county farm has been shaking down and shelling walnuts for five generations — they know their nuts. Walnut trees can live for centuries, but times and tastes change, which means this Old Dog has some new tricks. While dad runs the farm, his daughter turns their buttery, rich, omega-3-packed nuggets into even tastier (and even more irresistible) flavor bombs like these Mexican-inspired morsels, dusted with rich cocoa, warming cinnamon, and a zesty pinch of cayenne. Trendy, but traditional: the ranch still grows, dries, and grinds the peppers themselves.
Sweet Potato Breakfast Tacos Recipe Here
Jalapeño Chips // Deano’s Jalapeños // Hardwick, VT
First tested at Doehne “Deano” Duckworth’s Cactus Café in Stowe, Vermont, these chips are like your lodge-standard apres-ski pepper-topped nachos, without those pesky tortillas (or gloopy, questionably-tinted cheeze). Simply sliced peppers, fried and dusted with all natural cheddar. Besides the obvious (right outta the bag, on the lift or in the deck chair), they make a great crunchy, kick-in-the-tongue topping for a breakfast taco of scrambled eggs and fried sweet potatoes.
Sweat Heat Pecans // Molly & Me Pecans // Holy Hill, SC
Another sports-night staple we can’t live without is the humbly habit-forming beer nut. A cinch to serve and impossible to resist — your coffee table’s downright naked without a heaping bowl. In the grand tradition of southern cooking, wherein sugar and spice make everything nicer, these pecans, plucked from a 150-acre farm outside of Charleston, get a dusting of crunchy cinnamon sugar with an afterburner boost of chile pepper heat. No need to fear — the flavor’s balanced and subtle — just keep the beer glass close at hand.
Pork Clouds // Bacon’s Heir // Atlanta, GA
You say your beloved underdogs will win when pigs fly? Get ready for liftoff. These are the fluffiest, crunchiest *chicarrones* we’ve ever seen — the porky puffs practically float on air. The Georgian maker’s method is a Wonka-like secret, but involves kettle-cooking hand-seasoned salt-cured pig skin in good-for-you virgin olive oil — no goopy, deep-fat fryers here. So even if your team stays grounded, you can gorge away your suffering guilt-free. There’s always next game.
Next Day Cranberry Sauce, Granola Yogurt Parfait
Good News Cashew and Coconut Granola // Hudson Henry Baking Co. // Palmyra, VA
Say you’re feeling peckish the morning after but want something a little lighter than a turkey sandwich breakfast — wake up your tryptophan-numbed taste buds with a bowl of tart Greek yogurt, a dollop of cranberry sauce, and a few scoops of this nutty sweet nosh, made with oats, cashews, and, best of all, where most granola swings into junk-food territory with sugars and fats, real maple syrup and healthy coconut oil.
Chipotle Lime Peanuts // Bees Knees Food Co. // Chicago, IL
Appetizers are more than just a way to quell anticipatory grumbles as your guests await the spread to come — they’re your first impression, and stale party mix is like a limp handshake. Upgrade the bar snack with a pop of lime, kick of cayenne, and the building burn of chipotle, to keep the cooling cocktails flowing.
Dutch Stroopwafel // Rip Van Wafels // San Francisco, CA
Update your coffee break from a paper-cup-and-pastry affair to the stately Dutch koffietijd, a mid-day ritual of patience, pleasure, and oh yeah — a gooey caramel filling. Balance this rich, buttery waffle on the rim of your mug and let the steam slowly melt its syrupy core as you gaze over the rippling Herengracht canal, or the latest cat video making the office rounds. Go Dutch, but don’t share a bite.
Green Chile Cheddar Brew Bread // Soberdough // Nashville, TN
It’s easy to get mystified by baking, but Soberdough has simplified the process to three steps (on the bag) and you get creative control over the beer. Jordan at Soberdough recommends a Pale Ale or American Lager. We recommend the near bulletproof plan of getting a 6-pack, drinking five and putting one in the bread. Fresh out of the oven, smother it in butter and honey or Fuego Salsa.
Toasted Coconut Chips // Dang // Berkeley, CA
A family business, “Dang” was named after mom and inspired by Bangkok street hawkers. The recipe is adapted from the toasted coconut chips founder Vincent’s mother would put in her homemade thai lettuce wraps. Ditch the doritos dusted fingers for this perfect companion to frosty beers, screaming at the tv and living room touchdown celebrations.
Thai Curry & Lemongrass Peanuts // Lord Nut Levington // Dallas, TX
If there’s one flavour Thai food doesn’t do well, it’s bland. The reigning champ of bland may be the bar peanut. The stale, lifeless decoration found at your local sports dive gets the royal treatment as Lord Nut Levington creates something to look forward to between swigs of Miller Singha. Stay at home, grab a handful and be grateful the suds are ice cold, the couch beats a bar stool and you are the master of your snacking domain.
Dark & Stormy Cocktail Recipe Here
Butter & Scotch // Green Chile Margarita Corn // Brooklyn, NY
There’s small-batch and then there’s making every single batch on a tabletop popcorn maker in a makeshift Brooklyn kitchen using Hatch Chile peppers smuggled in from New Mexico. Due to Butter & Scotch’s tiny production capacity, we had to wait a couple months to feature this product..however we suggest you tear into this bag before anyone else in the house gets a crack at it.
Fiddyment Farms // Chili Lime Pistachios // Lincoln , CA
Recently turning 90 years young, David Fiddyment has definitely shelled a pistachio or two in his day and is not the gent you want to find yourself in a thumb war with. But you are going to want to get your hand on a cerveza and start chasing swigs with these zesty gems. A popular Oaxacan bar snack (traditionally roasted in pork fat) lime and chile flavored nuts can also be bartered off vendors throughout Mexico. We’d like to cheers this pistachio pioneer on 30 siesta-less years of growing, roasting and packing premium pistachios on his family farm in the heart of California.
Smoked Salmon & Mustard Sauce On Porter Crackers Recipe Here
Beer Flats // Porter Crackers // Cincinnati, OH
Beer and baking came hand in hand around 4000 BC in the Fertile Crescent, when an innovative Mesopotamian used beer instead of water in a recipe for grain cakes, the precursor to bread. Beer, clearly unhappy with being a “replacement” largely parted ways with baking, until Beer Flats’ Baron Maria Walley hopped in and brought the two back to their ancient culinary roots. She uses the malty complexity of beer mixed with whole grains to produce a sturdy flatbread cracker that can stand up nicely to our take on smoked salmon and mustard sauce (recipe: mantry.com).
Parmesan & Rosemary Popcorn // Quinn Popcorn // Woburn, MA
Quinn founders Coulter and Kristy have been poppin’ off of late catching a new wave in popcorn game. Overhauling from bag to hull, the two decided it was time for zappable corn to clean up it’s act, introducing chemical free bags and Non-GMO organic kernels coated in actual ingredients (eureka!) to nuke the competition. What’s left is a salty, herbaceous bowl that pairs equally as well with Shawshank as it does champagne.
Tamarind Fusion Granola // Granola Lab // Brooklyn, NY
Granola is no stranger to the usual suspects of birkenstocks, brown sugar, maple syrup and dried fruit. But Granola Lab stirs things up with Tamarind, the sticky, sweet and sour pod like fruit found throughout India. We recommend topping off a dollop of greek yoghurt with granola, pistachios, fresh grapefruit and a drizzle of honey, wash it all down with an iced Tipu’s Chai to spice up any rise and shine ritual.
Pearson Farms // Georgia Pecans // Crawford, GA
Can a lazy day watching March Madness actually be approved upon? Well, sub in a couple pints & pecans for that guy complaining the #11 seed screwed his bracket and there’s a shot. Pearson Farm Pecans get shelled out everywhere from michelin star joints like Per Se in Manhattan to man caves across the Empire State South. Crack em’ like a local: squeeze two together in the palm of your hands and chase with a frosty brew and college sports.
Ovenly Bacon Caramel Corn // Brooklyn, NY
Smoky bacon from the pasture-raised hogs of award-winning Benton’s Country Hams is tossed with organic popcorn and smothered in a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale caramel. The greatest thing in caramel corn since the worst thing, Cracker Jack last year debuting their caffeinated popcorn aptly named “Cracker Jack’d”.
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