Winter’s chill brings two options to shivering chefs in need of some culinary respite from the world outside: There’s food for comfort, and there’s food for escape. One wraps in warmth — think slow-cooked, sturdy, stews and roasts, made for hunkering down and waiting out the storm. The other conjures foreign hearths instead of stoking our own, transporting us through taste to distant sunny shores. Made not for staying put, but for jetting off to brighter days. And that’s what we offer this season: a gastronomic plane ticket, a culinary vacation. So de-fog your sunglasses, cast off your coat, and taste the healing rays of your latest crate. Islands await; a new dawn of flavor on the eastern horizon.

Hatchup Katchup // Hatchup // Santa Fe, NM
We’ve all seen that picky kid at breakfast, slumped in the diner booth and only poking at his scrambled eggs until he can drown them in the salving balm of ketchup. (Some of us have even been that kid.) And yeah, his overindulgence in the bright red syrupy sauce is a little juvenile — but young palates can have a point. A vinegary, sweet-sour tang is just the thing to wake up morning taste buds. But we’ve grown up, and our ketchup has evolved too. Here’s the update: naturally sweetened (no corn syrups here) and spiced with hand-picked green chilies from Hatch, New Mexico.

Chimi Rubbed Steak & Eggs

Chimi Rubbed Steak & Eggs Recipe Here

Chimi Rub // Elvio’s Chimichurri // Los Angeles, CA
A family recipe born on the pampas and brought north to hungry gringos, chimichurri is the signature slightly spicy sauce of Argentina, and this one, though made far from its ancestral seat, is as traditional as they come. Use it wake up like a proper gaucho, and greet the southern sun with steak and eggs. Coat your chosen cut in rub (we like a half-inch thick skirt steak), let it sit at room temperature for thirty minutes, then grill fast — cowboys like it rare — and serve with runny eggs.

Sriracha Pretzels Mantry

Sriracha Pretzels // On Tap Kitchen // Boulder, CO
Winter’s fires need a constant source of fuel, and so, ’tis the season for snacking. ’Tis also, of course, the season for sniffles, which — we guess — is why holiday snack bowls are often salted or sugared beyond recognition, to pickle away the germs. So skip the communal nut bowl and nibble instead on these, trading salt for spice and simple, filling fat for true flavor. On Tap’s twists are made with rye flour for a snappy bite, dipped in lye for that perfect burnished brown, and dusted in organic chili powder and garlic to warm the soul and clear the sinuses. Keep the bag to yourself. Hey it’s not holding, it’s sanitary.

Mayan Spiced Bar // Mayana Chocolates // Spooner, WI
When it comes to chocolate, father knew best. The pod, in other words, has fallen far from the tree — the Mayas, who first cracked the code of this now-sacred bean, make our current blends and bars seem bland. Our milks are merely milquetoast; our darks are downright dismal compared the the bittersweet, sharply spiced and richly fruity concoctions the originators thought up. Save those sugared Swiss powders for de-icing the sidewalk and taste chocolate primal source, with spiced marshmallows, salted caramel, and a snappy, tortilla-chip crunch.

Hibiscus Margarita

Hibiscus Margarita Recipe Here

Hibiscus Rose Cocktail Mixer // Yes Cocktail Co. // Paso Robles, CA
Nogs and toddies warm, sure, but like a bed-full of blankets, they satisfy by smothering. Time to lighten up. No beach vacation is complete without a cocktail, and so we offer this one, as easy to make as we could figure, because you have a busy day of lounging to get back to. Pour out a half an ounce of mixer, top with a few fingers of tequila, splash with lime, dash with triple sec, then serve on ice and watch the waves.

Chorizo Smashed Hash

Chorizo Smashed Hash With Hatchup Recipe Here

Chorizo // Les Trois Petits Cochons // Brooklyn, NY
When the pantry’s bare and the root cellar beckons, we needn’t succumb to mere mashed taters. Spice up your spuds with this Pyrenees-inspired, Brooklyn-made sausage: salty, snappy, and naturally spiced. Simmer a bowlful of new potatoes as you cut and fry the sausage in a heavy skillet, adding onions to caramelize. Toss in the potatoes and mash them down into the spicy oil to brown — but not burn! — mix in the charred chorizo bits, and forget everything you knew about French fries.


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