Guidebook in one hand, fork in the other: travel means eating. And eating means discovery. While the tourist hordes flock to this trap or that, scenic overlooks, museums and monuments, we worship the tastes of the central market, snap selfies with the swirl of sriracha in our pho, send postcards of pushcarts, blogpost the back alleys. The world is our kitchen. In fact — maybe all you need is the fork.
Spicy Thai Peanut Butter // Eliot’s Nut Butters // Portland, OR
As morning-after stains attest, we’ve been known to, in a drunken pinch, squirt Sriracha on our late-night peanut butter toast. Delicious? Yes. Debauched? Assuredly. Here’s maturity in a jar. Cleansed of sugars and other artificial fillers, it’s a step up from kid-friendly spreads; made with Thai chilis and lime leaves, its rich chew and lingering burn make a PB to savor, not just smear on your PJs. It doubles as a flavor-building block stirred into noodles, swirled into soups or sizzled into stir-fries. We dig it in peanut hummus or a punchy peanut vinaigrette for a quick trip to far-off flavor lands.
5 Fast Uses:
1. Stir Spicy Thai Peanut Butter into a stir-fry.
2. Spicy Thai Peanut Butter Cookies.
3. Make an easy Spicy Thai Peanut Butter Vinaigrette.
4. Add a scoop of Spicy Thai Peanut Butter to curry.
5. Top a burger or PB & J with Spicy Thai Peanut Butter.
Shawarma Spice // Villa Jerada // Seattle, WA
Beautifully spiced, revolving towers of meat adorn street corners across the globe, gently awaiting a quick slice into warm flatbread to be devoured as a quick lunch or a midnight snack. What makes Shawarma well, Shawarma? It's the secret spice blends of each maker, a pinch of this, a hit of that and Villa Jerada has the best we have found in the country. The Seattle-based dealer of Moroccan and Levantine goodness has built a dazzling repertoire of pantry improvers from condiments like Harissa and Chermoula to perfectly executed Dukkah and Tahini. But no need to stop at shawarma sandwiches or wraps, we find the stuff elevates everything from grilled steak tacos to roasted cauliflower salad. This is what it is all about folks, a talented maker, sharing their home recipes and taking everyday meals on a little journey to somewhere new.
5 Fast Uses:
1. Shawarma Spice dusted on grilled lamb.
2. Sprinkle Shawarma Spice over baked vegetables.
3. Add Shawarma Spice to yogurt with lemon and olive oil for a quick sauce.
4. Shawarma Spice Butter anything off the grill.
5. Add a pinch of Shawarma Spice to avocado toast.
Chruk Cambodian American Hot Sauce // Yeak // Studio City, CA
This sauce is proof that you can take a dish to the next level in a few drops of the right stuff. Chruk in Cambodian means to pickle. And this family recipe showcases the heat of a habanero that is mellowed out by pickling it in sweet brine. Drop a little on a banh mi sandwich and over stir fried noodles or wake up your breakfast by adding a touch to fried eggs. The beauty of Yeak's sauce is that just a tad helps flavors pop with thanks to the acidic blast of vinegar (this is why lemon juice makes things taste better). Look no further than this crunchy beef salad littered with fresh herbs.
5 Fast Uses
1. Douse Chruk on Carne Asada Tacos.
2. Chruk over roasted pork or meats.
3. Chruk on fresh boiled seafood like crawfish, shrimp or clam.
4. A drop or two of Chruk to spice up a broth or soup.
5. Add Chruk to a sandwich (the vinegar heat is like next level spicy pickled peppers).
Shawarma Chicken Wings With Yeak's
Shawarma Salad With Yeak's
From The Maker:
Chruk is a recipe our family wanted to share with the world. It's simple. Make a sweet brine. Find the hottest pepper you can get your hands on. Pickle it. Wait. Wait some more. Finally, eat it with anything you want. Chruk isn't the spiciest thing in the world, but it's spicy enough to do some damage. Created with pain and flavor in mind, the sweetness calms the spice down, so it's bareable.
Everything Jerky // Field Trip Jerky // Brooklyn, NY
Jerky is a moveable feast: have meat, will travel. Field Trip is made for carnivores on the go. Started by three ski bums looking for a healthier, heartier fuel pre-, post- (and during) long days on the slopes, where mountain lodge sustenance is scarce, and usually covered in nacho cheese. Grass-fed beef and no MSG or preservatives make this a perfect way to sate your cravings anywhere you go. This bag transports you to a classic NY Deli, except instead of chewy bagels, tender beef is subbed in for one of our all-time favorite jerky mashups. Want to think outside the bag? Try tucking some into this crunchy, zippy slaw and wash it down with a couple ice cold beers after your next field trip.
Mini Stroopwafels // Belgian Boys // Brooklyn, NY
New York knows its coffee, but what about the coffee break? Bagels and bialys satisfy stomachs, sure — but the sweet tooth? Take a tip from these born-and-bred Belgians, who missed their country’s sweets, wishing their adopted Big Apple home were caramel-dipped. They made their own — the classic stroopwafel — and nothing says coffee time like these crunchy, chewy, caramel-filled (and corn-syrup-free) snacks. Eat it like a local — balance on a mug rim to soften in the steam, or make a wafel-gato with a scoop of ice cream and drizzle of espresso or go waffle ice cream sando and chill.
Sea Salt Caramel Cream // Le Caramel // El Cajon, CA
One fortuitous meeting, one bite, one generations-old recipe — then, a year-long tour around France, a business plan, a cross-Atlantic move, and Le Caramel was born. It’s a long road from that first taste of a traditional French treat to this SoCal sweet shop, but the best caramels’ flavor lingers long after that final bite, and so this story is as epic as the caramel’s taste is lasting. Serve over ice cream, or roasted apples or do what we do and just squeeze the stuff onto a spoon for a quick indulgence.
5 Fast Uses:
1. Sea Salt Caramel Cream over roasted apples or grilled peaches.
2. Cover ice cream or yogurt in Sea Salt Caramel Cream.
3. Stir Sea Salt Caramel Cream into your coffee.
4. Drizzle Sea Salt Caramel Cream on any baked goods (yum cinnamon buns).
5. Sea Salt Caramel Cream on popcorn.
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