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Recipe inspiration, tips, and kitchen hacks from the Chowhound editors.

Italian Words Mean Better-Tasting Pasta

Italian Words Mean Better-Tasting Pasta

This week's mission: fancy food with a foreign name. READ MORE

Artisanal Biscuits in a Can?

Artisanal Biscuits in a Can?

This week's mission: biscuits with folk-art packaging and an "all natural" claim. READ MORE

SF Beer Week: Hit Beers So Far

Hungover is the new normal, four days into SF Beer Week. The Bay Area blowout of craft beer events and parties kicked off last Friday at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where 30 Northern California breweries poured their rare and lesser-known beers. (Pictured: Beer from Devil's Canyon out of Belmont, California.) I got a chance to try a bunch of stuff I had never tasted before. All of these beers will be available during the rest of Beer Week, along with plenty of cool events, tastings, dinners, and more. Here are some highlights.

• Urban Peoples' Common Lager and Burning Oak Black Lager from Linden Street Brewery, a brand new outfit in Oakland, and the first production brewery in the city since 1959. The brewery is currently only producing these two old-timey pre-Prohibition-style beers that would have been made when Oakland last had a thriving brewing scene.

• Golden Doom, from 21st Amendment Brewery. A deceptively strong, approachable golden ale that made you want to drink more and more, but threatened to knock you on your ass. San Francisco's 21st Amendment is becoming famous nationally, and not only for its quirky canned beers, like Watermelon Wheat. I've been slow to fall in love with its beers, probably because the brewpub is totally lacking in ambience. But now I am officially smitten!

• Old Thunderpussy Barleywine, Four Winds Quadrupel, and Delilah Jones Rye, all from Magnolia Brewery of San Francisco. Magnolia showed spunk for only pouring strong beers (meaning beers over 8.5 percent ABV). For years, February has been Magnolia and 21st Amendment's official Strong Beer Month, during which both brewpubs offer six strong beers on tap, and you try to fill up a punch card by sampling them all. All three of these beers were well-balanced, aromatic, and totally poetic.

• Imperial Common, a collaborative brew created by members of the San Francisco Brewers Guild. The copper-colored, 10 percent ABV lager was aged in St. George Spirits whiskey barrels. Herbal, strong, fresh, and strangely comfy; drinking it felt like hanging out on your living room couch with your best friends smoking weed. (I wasn't the only one to make this analogy, either—it was the consensus.)

Additionally, Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in the Mission District of San Francisco is serving many of these beers, in ice cream form, all week. You can get a $4.50 flight of four different beer scoops. If they still have it, the ice cream version of Magnolia's Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout is out of this world.

Image by Galen Krumel

Intention-Enhanced Chocolate, Crank-Enhanced Jerky

Have you ever felt your chocolate was not spiritual enough, or your beef jerky didn't keep you pumped up when shredding on your snowboard? Finally, your prayers have been answered!

First, Intentional Chocolate, which claims to be the first "intention-enhanced" food on the market. This chocolate is, literally, imbued with good vibes. The process outlined in the press release for making it: "Experienced, meditating monks in Madison, Wisconsin project positive intention into a device developed by the HESA Institute that is designed to capture, hold, and then transfer intention into food." The company claims that a study published in Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing found that one ounce of the chocolate eaten over three days "increased test subjects’ well-being, vigor, and energy by an average of 67 percent." The company says on its website that 50 percent of net profits are donated to "organizations committed to the benefit of humankind."

That's all very nice. But what if the monks go rogue and put bad vibes in the chocolate? We'd like to see this turned into a movie ASAP, possibly starring Keanu Reeves, who would first have to choose between the bad or good vibe chocolate, then he'd learn kung fu and wear a lot of PVC and some sweet shades.

Next up is Perky Jerky, "the world's first all-natural performance-enhancing meat snack." Perky Jerky is a caffeinated jerky (150 milligrams per 2-ounce bag), thought up by two dudes in a ski lodge after a "long, hard night of energy-drink-cocktail-fueled libation" (at least, that's what it says in the press release). Apparently they got some energy drink on their jerky, which they ate the next day "as they floated their way down the mountain through bottomless powder." I imagine the ensuing dialogue went something like: "Dude, brah, this is nuts!" "Dude, totally, Broseph. We need to take this brofessional."

Katie Couric Lays Into Antibiotic Use in Livestock

Tonight, CBS Evening News is airing the first installment of a two-part investigation into antibiotic use in livestock production and how this may be contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs." Katie Couric was on the Early Show this morning to discuss the series, and sounded the alarm bell. According to Couric, "the CDC says that antibiotic resistance is one of the most pressing issues facing Americans today, and there is growing concern agriculture may be playing a major role in this, with huge amounts of antibiotics being given to healthy livestock."

The New Goat Champion

streetgourmetla has completed another one of his exhaustive, Los Angeles–spanning mega-surveys. This time, he and his team visited five beloved joints specializing in birria di chivo.

This is a specialty of Jalisco and the central states of Mexico: a goat, roasted in a pot or in the oven, with the drippings turned into consommé. "It can be stewed as well, but the roasted goat is a more intense experience. There's nothing like walking into a bunch of birrierias like the famed Las 9 Esquinas in Guadalajara, or outside the mercados in Zacatecas completely surrounded by the seductive aromas of slow roasted goat and cumin," explains streetgourmetla.

The top joint, by overall consensus, is Birrieria Tepeque. "As soon as I walked in to this place, the haunting aromas of goat, and that familiar sense that we were in the right place set in," says streetgourmetla. Tepeque cooks in the style of Apatzingán, Michoacán, and stews its birria. "Their dedication and cooking are stellar," says streetgourmetla. "The consommé was balanced and packed with flavor. All natural and all good. The special salsa of pure dried chiles and oil elicited ooos and ahhhs all 'round our table."

The lovely goat flavors slowly trigger the pleasure sensors, says streetgourmetla. Best of all is the goat ribs. "This was a goat taste, quality, and polish that retained an edge over all the other birrierias that day."

Birrieria Tepeque [East LA-ish]
3249 E. Gage Avenue, Huntington Park

Discuss: Taco Task Force: The Best Birria de Chivo in Los Angeles, America's Goat Central

A Latte That’s Worth $3.75

"This is hands down the best latte I've had lately," says WBGuy, speaking of the brew on offer at Espresso Cielo. "I've never tasted milk that is so smooth, creamy, and not overwhelming, complement perfectly with the coffee below. I want to go back tomorrow and more than happy to fork over another $3.75 for a tiny little cup of latte."

Espresso Cielo will also soon offer single-origin coffee by the cup.

Espresso Cielo [Westside - Beaches]
3310 Main Street, Santa Monica

Discuss: Expresso Cielo - Main on Santa Monica

The Return of Hatfield’s

Hatfield's, a "bastion of contemporary Cal/French cuisine," has finally opened at its new location, reports kevin h. It's a bigger space to take the restaurant to the next level: bigger menu, extended hours.

Turns out the new incarnation's doing just fine. Seafood is a strong point: Frisée and smoked trout salad is unabashedly salty and tangy, and "the fish's smoky, briny essence was apparent in spades," says kevin h. Beet-cured Japanese fluke is wonderfully textured, with soft, supple fish and the great crunch of buckwheat.

There's charred Japanese mackerel, with the powerful fishiness of mackerel moderated by sweet pineapple and lush, creamy avocado, as well as olive-oil poached Alaskan halibut, with ridiculously tender fish, and perfectly smoky, nutty pumpkin seeds in the crust. And the prawns a la plancha with Espelette pepper channel the flavors of Asia with Thai-style spice, peanuts, and coconut.

"The new space is very elegant and even as the room filled it was easy to hold a conversation," says BHAppeal."Hatfield's is back with a vengeance," says kevin h.

Hatfield's [West Hollywood]
6703 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

Discuss: Opening Night at the New Hatfield's

Overheard on the Los Angeles Boards

"Antica's friendly, casual Neapolitan ambience is absolutely the perfect antidote to the often loud and obnoxious experience all too common in the City of Angels." - lapizzamaven, on Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey.

"The Roma Market & Deli on North Lake in Pasadena has a phenomenally good mortadella, as well as about all the other meats and cheeses you might want ..." - Will Owen

"I'm always looking for unique dishes at Chinese restaurants, so the Hot Links Fried Rice I found today at Wok on the Wild Side on La Brea and Centinela in Inglewood is definitely worth the mention." - Chandvakl

The Dark Side of the Sunny Side

The Washington Post's Checkup blog is all freaked out about commercials for Eggland's Best featuring eggs sunny-side up. If you weren't in the know, as, apparently, I wasn't, sunny-side up eggs are perceived by many to be only slightly safer than fugu or warthog anus in terms of their potential health impact.