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José Andrés Brings Food Truck to Golf Court

José Andrés Brings Food Truck to Golf Court

Food trucks have become a popular alternative to classic restaurants, and today they can be found in several cities across the country (and world), serving anything from mac and cheese to cupcakes. Earlier this year, select airports started to add food trucks to their selection of dining options. Now, the mobile kitchen idea has found a new location: the golf course.

As a collaboration between renowned chef José Andrés and Dorado Beach Resort & Club in Puerto Rico, a food truck opened today, Nov. 25, at the resort’s golf course.

"Today’s golfers have come to expect innovative and elevated dining experience and the golf course should be no exception. The days of a peanut butter cracker, bag of chips or pretzels or simple tuna sandwich are over. Golfers want and deserve more. Eating has to be fun, especially in the golf course," said chef Andrés.

After opening his restaurant Mi Casa at the Dorado Beach Resort, Andrés teamed up with the hotel staff, headed by chef José Shamil Cedeño, and created a new, exciting menu to be served at the golf course’s 19th hole. The food truck offers a separate breakfast menu and lighter bites and sandwiches for lunch and dinner, as well as a selection of beverages including sangria, coconut water, Arnold Palmers, and fresh juices. Sample menu items include "bikinis" (ham and cheese sandwich) with serrano ham and manchego cheese and the option of an additional egg for breakfast; the DBR burger with ground rib-eye, lettuce, tomato, pickled red onions, and Spanish tomato ketchup on a brioche bun for lunch; and small bites such as shrimp, crab, stone crab, or oyster cocktail, served with plantain chips.

The food truck is also available for catering and private parties within the golfing community. Future plans for this new food concept include an enhanced hole-by-hole food cart and specially designed cocktails.

D.C.’s Pro Tennis Tournament Adds José Andrés to Revamped Concessions Crew

Under new management, D.C.’s annual pro tennis tournament in Rock Creek Park has announced a new concessions program that will bring on several brands from beloved celebrity chef José Andrés along with a handful of other homegrown companies.

The Citi Open is expected to draw more than 75,000 fans to Rock Creek Park Tennis Center from Saturday, July 27, to Sunday, August 4. It’s billed as the as the fifth-largest professional tennis tournament in the U.S.

Entrepreneur Mark Ein, who owns the Washington Kastles in the World Team Tennis league, assumed management of the Citi Open from the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) this spring. As part of his bid to upgrade the 50-year-old tournament and keep it in Washington, Ein has brought on Levy as the Citi Open’s new food and beverage partner.

Like it’s done at D.C.’s soccer stadium in Southwest, Levy has partnered with Andrés to bring on a handful of different concessions: Beefsteak for fast-casual, veggie-heavy meals Pepe food truck for Spanish sandwiches and Butterfly for Mexican tacos and tortas. The tournament will also have core menu items from Shake Shack, Marra Forni Neapolitan Pizza, Dolcezza Gelato, Ice Cream Jubilee, Compass Coffee, and OakBerry Acai Bowls.

Levy feeds fans at high-profile events like the U.S. Open, Kentucky Derby, and the Grammy Awards.

Beefsteak and Pepe will set up along with a sangria bar in an area branded as “José’s Way.”

An enclosed, air-conditioned tent called Market Square will house Beefsteak, Butterfly Tacos y Tortas, and Shake Shack. Located within view of the practice courts, the area will be free to enter for everyone at the tournament.

A new Moët & Chandon Stadium Club, an air-conditioned tent with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the the 7,500-seat stadium court, will serve “premium” food and drinks as part of a luxury package.

An air-conditioned tent, dubbed Market Square, will house a string of on-site concessions, complete with front row seats of the tournament’s practice courts. Citi Open [rendering]

Overlooking the 7,500-seat stadium court, the Moët & Chandon Stadium Club is a new air-conditioned hospitality suite featuring fancy food and bubbly service and seating for 40. Citi Open [rendering]

Other drinking destinations on-site include a shaded Founding Spirits Cocktail Lounge serving a vodka “Match Point Mule” cocktail, and the Amstel Light Beer Garden & Rock Creek Grill featuring Heineken brews and snacks.

Single session tickets for the Citi Open start at $25. The tournament will continue to benefit the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF).

Meanwhile, Ein is also gearing up to unveil his new 700-seat stadium for the Kastles perched atop Union Market. The summer season featuring superstar pro Venus Williams kicks off Monday, July 15, with eight planned matches.

Food and drinks at the Northeast venue will include three-course VIP meals from Adam Greenberg’s nearby Coconut Club and James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi, who owns Philly Wing Fry inside. There will also be vendors from the downstairs food hall (Arepa Zone, Bun’d Up, District Fishwife, Dolcezza, La Jambe, La Petit Lou Lou, Neopol) and incoming La Cosecha tenants La Casita Pupuseria and Peruvian Brothers.

What it's like to be a chef for the Spanish Navy and come to the US with just $50

Shontell: Going back a little bit to growing up, for you and the Spanish navy. You were a cook, right? First off, what was that experience like?

Andrés: Well, in Spain, everybody had to go to serve the country — in the old days, not anymore. I think it's unfortunate because I do believe for young boys and girls it's so, so important. It's good to serve your country through the army or through the navy or through any social enterprises that you can be helping your community. It gives you a sense that the country is yours and that it's yours to fix it and it's yours to make it better.

For me, the navy was probably a changing point in my life.

Back when I was young, my father again took me to Barcelona and I saw this amazing boat — four masts, sailing the world, the training ship for the midshipman, the Spanish navy, one of the most beautiful ships in the world. I said to my dad, "What do I have to do to go there?" "You have to go to the navy and you have to be lucky to be chosen."

Then, 10 years later — boom — I'm there in the navy. I'm, like, "Great, I'm going to go on the boat." "No, you're going to cook for the admiral." I'm like, "What!?" "You're the best navy chef we have you're going to go for the admiral." "I want to go on a boat." "No option." I'm, like, "What!?"

But I have learned in life that if you knock on the door, and they don't open you the door, you keep knocking, and if not, you go through a window. But you go you don't give excuses of why you didn't do something. I did that, and I spoke to the admiral himself, like, "Listen: I cannot believe they put me cooking for you." He was, like, "What?" "I want to go on a boat." He tells me, "OK, we have a deal." He was almost crying. "Don't tell my wife because she's in love with you already. And one week before, I send you to the ship." I said "Deal, admiral." And I did it.

I went in these boats six months sailing around the world. First time I saw the world away from where I grew up. It was fascinating and really changed my life in so many ways. I came to America, Pensacola, the five flags to celebrate. One of them the Spanish flag. I knew I belong here. In New York City of Liberty, coming under the Verrazano Bridge, Ellis Island, the beautiful American flags everywhere. I saw the stars and the beautiful night sky. Freedom. Everything is possible. I want to be part of the American dream. When I finished my military service a year later after working in Spain, I got an offer to come to New York. In case there's an immigration officer here or any CIA ex-directors, I came legally. And here I am.

Shontell: So you came with $50 or so in your pocket?

Andrés: I came with $50, but that was the story at one time. How much money you had? $50. But I was a lucky one.

New Produce Truck startup carts fresh food to Dallas neighborhoods

When three Dallas friends saw a need to get their families more fresh fruits and vegetables during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, they took matters into their own hands. A few months later, their efforts have culminated in The Produce Truck, a company that boxes fresh, restaurant-quality produce and sells it out of a truck.

Amy and Wade Havins and Jack Sheneman — whose day jobs are digital influencing, oil and gas, and software — are the innovators behind the startup. Despite not having backgrounds in food or farming, they share the passion to feed families high-quality, nourishing produce regardless of the circumstances.

"Our goal is simple, and that is to bring reasonable prices, convenience, and quality together in the produce grocery shopping space," Wade Havins says.

A standard $65 box contains a bounty of staples including apples, blueberries, lemons, limes, lettuce, onions, peppers, a dozen cage-free eggs, and more. Exciting extras have included rice, tortillas, and even sweet potatoes. Customers have the option to add a loaf of freshly baked bread from La Francaise Bakery for $7.50, or buy a berry box for $20. Each week's full lineup is posted here.

"We meet to find what we can offer that is both in season and popular with our customers," Sheneman says. "We also like to try new items to see if the response is there. Like most direct-to-consumer businesses, our number one priority is customer satisfaction."

Boxes can be purchased on-site at The Produce Truck's two current pop-up locations: at José on Lovers (4931 W. Lovers Ln.) and TCBY in Lakewood (6402 E Mockingbird Ln.) Customers simply pull up, place their order, and masked staff places the box in the car. Payment can be made without leaving the car.

Due to consumer demand, boxes now can be reserved through the company's website, as well.

It wasn't that long ago that Wade and Amy Havins were the ones sitting in their cars, waiting for a produce delivery. That is how the idea for The Produce Truck was born.

"The idea came to us when Amy and I sat in the [local wholesaler] Chef's Produce line at José during shelter in place," Wade Havins says. "We chatted with the owner, Richard Torres, and he gave us the green light to share our idea with Jack."

In fact, the Dallas restaurateur liked the idea so much, he jumped on board as a partner in the startup.

"The lack of attention to detail by third party delivery sites also was a huge catalyst in starting this company," Havins says. "We believe that every consumer deserves to receive the quality goods that they are paying for."

Chef's Produce — which has supplied the regional restaurant industry with produce for years — now supplies The Produce Truck with its fresh fruits and vegetables. Meaning customers get the same quality food that chefs use to craft their cuisine.

Always looking for ways to help the community, the team supported Austin Street Center when it launched this summer.

They hope customers will help guide The Produce Truck in directions where it can best meet community needs, as well.

"We expect to see a lot of growth through the fall as people come back to Dallas from vacations and try to get back in to a routine," Wade Havins says.

The Produce Truck's dates and times are subject to change based on consumer input. Their next pickups are August 29 and September 5 at TCBY and August 31 at José on Lovers. Reserve boxes here or pick up on while supplies last, from 8:30 am-11:30 pm.

And the team welcomes feedback and suggestions from first-time or repeat customers.

"While we are currently focusing our efforts on our first two locations," Sheneman says, "we have every intention of expanding should we get feedback from our customers that this is something that they would be interested in."

Introducing Circa’s Restaurant Lineup

  • Saginaw’s Delicatessen from Detroit restauranteur Paul Saginaw , marking the first new restaurant outside Michigan from the masterminds behind Ann Arbor’s famed Zingerman’s
  • Barry’s Downtown Prime , the first Downtown venture from Chef Barry S. Dakake
  • Victory Burger and Wings from American Coney Island’s founding family Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros , the first new concept from the family in more than a century
  • 8 East , the first pan-Asian restaurant from Chef Dan Coughlin
  • Project BBQ by Chef Rex Bernales , the first permanent food truck and Carolina barbecue joint on the Fremont Street Experience.

“While each owner brings a diverse background to Circa, they are united by the common thread of having a passion for customer service and the Downtown Las Vegas community,” said Stevens. “In addition to incredible food, they will all deliver that spirit of fun and community that is integral to the Circa experience.”

Circa’s restaurant lineup will include the following:

Saginaw’s Delicatessen

Conceptualized by Michigan legend Paul Saginaw , Saginaw’s Delicatessen will be his first restaurant outside of the region. A lifelong fan of Downtown Las Vegas, Saginaw has collaborated with Stevens to introduce a family style deli touting sandwiches “so big, you’ll need two hands to eat them.”

Saginaw is known worldwide for the iconic Zingerman’s Deli – an Ann Arbor institution he opened with partner Ari Weinzweig in 1982 – that’s consistently ranked among the world’s best sandwich joints. A college-aged Stevens used to line up early for the restaurant’s buzzed-about sandwiches, and later opened the Coffee Stand at the D Las Vegas, proudly serving Zingerman’s Coffee.

Saginaw’s menu will include his famous Reuben and several more of the creative sandwiches for which he’s known. Traditional delicatessen favorites will round out the menu, including matzo ball soup, onion rings, salads, latkes, chopped liver, breakfast specialties and more.

Barry’s Downtown Prime

Vintage glamour and hospitality meet modern innovation and design at Barry’s Downtown Prime, the new steakhouse concept from Chef Barry S. Dakake and Make It Happen Hospitality . Barry’s Downtown Prime will deliver the city’s finest steaks and seafood, fresh tableside preparations, creative cocktails and a memorable service experience.

Evoking a throwback vibe worthy of Downtown’s legacy, Barry’s will bring guests back to the classic cool of the 50s and 60s when great music and sounds of clinking martini glasses filled the air, the chef greeted you at the table, the bartender knew your favorite cocktail and everyone felt like a VIP.

Barry’s Downtown Prime was developed by 980 Restaurant Consulting partners Barry S. Dakake and Yassine Lyoubi, which merged with Marco Cicione and Donnie Rihn to create Make It Happen Hospitality. Boasting longstanding careers in the Las Vegas food & beverage scene, Chef Dakake was at the helm for restaurants N9NE Steakhouse and Scotch 80 Prime for nearly two decades. Lyoubi served as general manager for N9NE Steakhouse and Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, and most recently held the title of director of fine dining at the Palms Resort & Casino.

Victory Burger and Wings

Overlooking Circa’s sportsbook, Victory Burger & Wings Co. will be an all-star sports bar experience. Developed by Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros – the third-generation owners of the 102-year old Detroit’s American Coney Island – the menu will offer simple items, executed flawlessly. Gameday staples will include five specialty burgers, wings and appetizers. Following the same business model that made American Coney Island successful for more than a century, the new Circa concept will feature fresh, high-quality ingredients, made to order, in a fun and lively atmosphere.

The star of the show will be the Victory Burger, featuring a ½-pound patty made with a proprietary blend of Angus beef, short rib and brisket topped with a secret sauce. In an homage to the Midwest, Victory also will serve a twist on the beloved Michigan Olive Burger. Crispy and meaty, diners will love the hearty portions of wings and signature dipping sauces, and no meal will be complete without Victory fries and a pour from its excellent beer selection.

Guests will be able to watch the sports action via TVs throughout the space in addition to a prime view of the massive three-story screen in Circa’s sportsbook. The venue will have its own radio booth, where fans might spot their favorite sports talk show conducting a broadcast on game day.

8 East

Inspired by metropolitan Asian food markets, 8 East will offer Chef Dan Coughlin’s creative takes on Pan-Asian cuisine. Spanning Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai dishes, 8 East will have a hip, high-energy atmosphere punctuated by great music and communal dining.

A key player in sparking the Downtown food movement with hotspot Le Thai , Coughlin will introduce new fusion dishes and techniques at 8 East that he’s been keeping in “the vault” – previously tested both at his Thai restaurant and at home for family and friends. His menu will be full of shareable dishes such as Coughlin’s GaPow basil chicken pot stickers, dumplings, wontons, skewers and steaks. Each will be served with signature Chinese, Szechuan, Shangdu and Thai sauces, amongst others, offering unique flavor combinations for guests to explore.

A beverage program curated by Sonny Ahuja and Don Welch of Downtown Las Vegas’ Bin 702 will feature rare Japanese whiskies and sakes, in addition to specialty cocktails.

Project BBQ

Serving up a Southern festival of gourmet smoked meats, Project BBQ at Circa will be Fremont Street Experience’s only permanent food truck and its first Carolina BBQ joint.

Conceptualized by Chef Rex Bernales , along with partners Rob Baker , Mo Pierce and Steve Hamlin , Project BBQ’s menu will offer pulled brisket, pork, chicken and more. Its signature “Garbage Bowl” will include handmade potato chips covered in its signature meats and decked out with a trio of Carolina BBQ, beer and cheese sauces, then topped with applewood-smoked bacon and coleslaw.

Situated on Circa’s exterior, Project BBQ will spill out onto the Fremont Street Experience with a built-in “backyard” for communal gathering. Guests can dine on picnic tables and sip on cocktails from Circa’s Fremont Street Experience bar as they enjoy spectacular light shows from Viva Vision overhead and live music from surrounding concert stages.

Circa Resort & Casino will be Downtown Las Vegas’ first ground-up casino resort since 1980. The integrated resort will feature a massive pool open 365 days a year, the world’s largest sportsbook, luxury rooms and suites, and much more.

Exploring Hermosillo, northern Mexico’s great unsung food city

In the historic colonia of Villa de Seris — a quiet neighborhood just south of the Río Sonora in the city of Hermosillo — Gregoria Guadalupe Fraga Yáñez spends her weekends making tortillas.

Yáñez — the head tortillera at Burros y Tortillas San Ramón, a popular stand on a leafy corner in Villa de Seris — grabs a smooth ball of dough from a baking tray and uses a rolling pin to flatten it into more or less the shape of a dinner plate. She then stretches it by hand, draping it over her forearm, where it hangs like a thin, loose bed sheet. Finally she flings it onto a hot comal, a huge, rounded steel dome constructed from a repurposed tractor disc blade. (The use of reconfigured farm equipment is common in Sonoran campfire cooking.) The tortilla lands on the dome with Olympic-level precision the dough puffs up and starts to blister.

Made from just wheat flour, salt, water and lard, and stretched to what seems an unreasonably thin consistency, a proper Sonoran tortilla sparks a sort of ephemeral pleasure spiral: You are consumed with the sense of eating something unequivocally buttery, light and tender something so rich and finely honed you can almost feel your neurons inflate with pleasure.

Yáñez makes the thin, extra-large wheat flour tortillas commonly known as sobaqueras. The name, a derivation of the Spanish word “sobaco,” or “armpit,” inspires all manner of conjecture. One popular theory is that it’s a reference to the extravagant diameter of the tortillas, which extend from armpit to armpit. Some Sonorans, however, consider the term a pejorative, preferring instead tortillas de agua or tortillas grandes.

Yáñez calls them tortillas de harina. Wearing a flour-smudged apron, her dark hair tucked neatly into a plastic shower cap, she is solemn and polite, with a natural wit that reveals itself when you start asking questions. “I haven’t been doing this very long,” she says with a wry smile. “Only about 20 years.”

Exceptional flour tortillas are ubiquitous in Hermosillo. They are made at itinerant roadside food stands, upscale steakhouses and every type of restaurant in between. Locally made flour tortillas are even sold at the souvenir shops inside General Ignacio Pesqueira García International Airport, where travelers stuff their carry-ons with a few last precious bundles to take home.

But there is more to Hermosillo than flour tortillas, as if they weren’t enough. It is one of Mexico’s great underrated food cities, and worthy of gastronomical pilgrimage.

The city is a hot, dry working-class desert metropolis of 800,000, situated about 220 miles south of Tucson it’s the capital of Sonora and the industrial and cultural hub of northwestern Mexico. The economy is fed by auto plants, tech firms, agriculture and local tourism (the city is only about an hour’s drive from the beaches and bays of the Sea of Cortez).

Hemosillo has a well-developed and singular culinary personality. Its modern foodways, shaped by the harsh yet fruitful Sonoran desert, represent more than 500 years of different cultures rubbing up against one another.

Although not technically a border city, Hermosillo has long been a compelling incubator of borderlands cuisine. This is the land of béisbol (recall that Fernando Valenzuela hails from Navojoa in southern Sonora), root beer stands, Mexican sushi restaurants, Chinese-Mexican eateries (the legacy of robust Chinese immigration to northern Mexico) and perhaps the most famous borderlands food of the modern era: the bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dog. You’ll find carretas de dogos (hot dog stands) scattered around the Universidad de Sonora campus. Most are late-night joints if you can’t wait for dinnertime, try an all-day neighborhood spot like Hot Dog Los Asombrosos, where fluffy split-top buns cradle Sonoran dogs and a massively complicated pantryful of toppings: avocado, onion rings, chiles güeritos, mounds of cheddar cheese. Anything goes.

Even if its hot dogs have helped put the word “Sonora” in the mouths of Americans, classic Sonoran cooking is a thing apart from that. Just north of the Hermosillo city limits, in the village of San Pedro, Viva Sonora is a culinary time capsule. The restaurant, situated in what looks like a botanical garden, is run by the family of Olimpia Cruz Puebla and Miguel Cruz Ayala. The restaurant has an explicit philosophy: to preserve the flavors of traditional Sonoran cooking. It’s the place to go for grand combo platters of homemade chile colorado (beef or pork stewed in a red chile sauce) tamales de elote caldo de queso (the irresistibly rich Sonoran-style cheese soup) and burros overflowing with machaca con papa. On weekend mornings, a tianguis (outdoor market) springs up on San Pedro’s main strip, with vendors selling traditional Sonoran ingredients like chiltepin, the wild native chile that still graces the table of many Sonoran households.

At its most basic, classic Sonoran cooking is flour tortillas and beef. Jesuit missionaries brought cattle, wheat and Christianity to this part of the world in the 17th century. Beef has been a regional obsession ever since. Carne asada is religion in Hermosillo: thinly sliced, simply seasoned and grilled over mesquite charcoal. It’s found in every corner of the city, and everyone has a favorite. Asadero El Leñador in the Colonia El Centenario isn’t fancy but the carne asada is typical of what you’ll find at many midrange sit-down restaurants: mesquite-grilled rib-eye, lightly charred and served with all the trimmings — whole grilled green onions, flour tortillas and pinto beans stippled with queso fresco.

Hermosillo also is home to some of the most venerable steakhouses in northern Mexico, including the flagship location of Restaurant Palominos, a staple since 1973. Another of the city’s white-tablecloth steakhouse temples is Sonora Steak, a restaurant in the Colonia Pitic where the aged rib-eye is cut and weighed right at your table.

Sonorenses’ obsession with beef is palpable at the Mercado Municipal, the city’s central meat and produce market, which has been in operation for more than 100 years. The market stalls are lined with local butchers, many of them multigenerational family outfits, who carve up enormous slabs of beef in plain view.

Even if you aren’t here to shop for an upcoming barbecue, the market is the right place to get a second or third wind when you’re hungry. Food stalls are teeming with regional specialties: thin, shatteringly crisp chimichangas, nothing like the leaden north-of-the-border variety belly-warming bowls of gallo pinto stew and seafood staples like caldo de cahuamanta, Sonora’s famous manta ray and shrimp stew. A good rendition is sold at Mariscos Naranjeros Home Team, a restaurant named after the city’s wildly popular Mexican Pacific League baseball team. The family-owned spot has been in the market for almost 20 years. A bowl of cahuamanta here hits you like old, familiar medicine: hot, gorgeously briny and reliably comforting.

Hermosillo — and the north’s — beefiness has not always played to its favor, regardless of the popularity of carne asada. There is a quote about el norte, attributed to the early 20th century Mexican philosopher and writer José Vasconcelos, that goes like this: “La civilización termina donde comienza la carne asada” (“Civilization ends where carne asada begins”). It has since been discounted as a misinterpretation (the original language is milder, and Vasconcelos was probably writing about a trip to Querétaro in central Mexico), but the sentiment captures the sort of unfeigned snobbery that norteño culture — and, by extension, Hermosillo’s worthiness as a destination — has endured over the decades.

And with a strong vaquero and ranching heritage, and relative isolation from the rest of Mexico, the city reckons with a reputation for provincialism.

“People think we’re all cowboys here,” Sergio Robles tells me over dinner at Mochomos Fusión Sonorense, an upscale Sonoran-style steak and seafood restaurant on busy José María Morelos Boulevard.

Like many young, relatively affluent Hermosillenses, Robles, a college student, is fluent in English and has spent a couple of semesters north of the border, in his case studying at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. “[Other Mexicans] think we’re still riding our horses down the street,” he laughs. “They think everyone here owns a ranch. But Hermosillo has grown a lot.”

Robles points to Hermosillo’s growing craft beer scene, which you can sample at Buqui Bichi Brewing, the city’s oldest microbrewery and taproom, and the city’s newish open-air food truck court and beer garden, Parque La Ruina. Craft-beer fanatics also gather at Espuma Artesanal in the centro historico, a friendly, low-key spot for sampling regional craft Mexican beers.

But the heart of Sonora’s drinking culture is the region’s famously intense native spirit: bacanora.

The “moonshine mescal” is wrapped up in outlaw lore — bacanora was banned in the state for most of the 20th century by Sonora’s conservative government, and there’s still something thrilling about taking a sip out of abuelito’s hidden homemade stash. (You’ll have to know somebody’s abuelito to try one of these renditions.)

An easier way to get hold of the good stuff is at Bacanora de Sonora, a small shop stocked with high-quality bacanora, including añejo varieties that are a little softer on the palate. You can also find a smaller variety at the chain wine store La Cubiella, and if you just want a taste, most of the city’s upscale steakhouses keep bottles in stock.

Like bacanora, coyotas — flat, round wheat pastries, traditionally filled with piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) and jamoncillo (a dulce de leche-like sweet made from milk, sugar and nuts) and baked in wood-fired ovens — are synonymous with Sonoran food culture. Villa de Seris, the tranquil, largely residential neighborhood tucked south of a dried-up stretch of the Río Sonora, is home to several family-owned bakeries specializing in coyotas.

Coyotas Doña Maria is one of the oldest and most famous coyota producers in the city it has a gift shop stocked with parcels of packaged coyotas and perhaps the biggest selection of all the bakeries — everything from the standard fillings (piloncillo and jamoncillo) to harder-to-find flavors like fig, strawberry and coconut. The smaller but well-regarded Coyotas Doña Coyo on Calle Alfonso Durazo is the place to go for freshly baked coyotas. Walking into the tiny, dimly lighted shop can feel like an incursion the shopkeepers are usually in the back room baking — but it’s worth hanging out at the counter for one of the bakery’s sweetly chewy coyotas.

If you can resist eating it right away, walk your coyota to Plaza Zaragoza in the city’s historic center, where teenage couples flirt under the shade of the plaza’s grand kiosk. Hipster-friendly coffee shops are everywhere here. During the city’s long, excruciatingly hot summers, the mercury can drop by as much as 20 blissful degrees at sundown. That’s when the plaza snaps dramatically to life. Families from the nearby colonias emerge from their homes to socialize and walk their dogs around the cobblestone streets. Vendors, selling everything from handmade jewelry to raspados and pirulín candies, line the perimeter of the plaza. If there’s anything better than eating in Hermosillo, it’s standing here at sunset, watching the white-hot sun fade over the cathedral towers.

Eating, drinking and shopping in the Sonoran capital

Mercado Municipal. The city’s central meat and produce market is a great destination for tacos de cabeza shatteringly crisp chimichangas machaca breakfast plates and hearty bowls of hot cahuamanta stew. Av. Plutarco Elías Calles 26, Centro.

Viva Sonora. Located about nine miles north of Hermosillo in the village of San Pedro el Saucito, the restaurant serves traditional Sonoran dishes like carne con chile, carne asada platters, machaca, tamales de elote, costillas adobadas and handmade flour tortillas. Ures SN, San Pedro el Saucito.

Burros y Tortillas San Ramón. This food stand sells excellent flour tortillas de agua and a delicious assortment of braised meats. You won’t find diminutive “burritos” here, but rather the bulging, oversize Sonoran specimens known as burros. Alfonso Durazo No. 6, Villa de Seris.

Los Asombrosos Hot Dogs. This neighborhood hot dog joint features bacon-wrapped franks stuffed into artisanal hot dog buns and topped with ingredients like cheese, beans and onion rings, plus a condiment bar where you can pile on the add-ons. Olivares 183 Esq. Manuel M. Dieguez, Olivares.

Asadero El Leñador. This group-friendly restaurant specializes in massive platters of mesquite-grilled rib-eye served with grilled onions, beans and tortillas. Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio 168, Centenario.

Restaurante Los Palominos. This high-end steakhouse has been serving Sonoran-style prime cuts since 1973. The restaurant is well known for its paquetes — family-size grilled meat dinners served with frijoles maneados (refried beans spiked with cheese and spices). Galeana 72, Villa de Seris.

Reforma 255. A hip brunch spot featuring updated Sonoran breakfast classics, including lorenzas (open-faced crispy corn tortillas topped with turkey chorizo and melted cheese) and an excellent beef machaca with eggs. Calle de la Reforma 255, El Centenario.

Mochomos. This upscale steak and seafood restaurant serves updated takes on Sonoran classics. Try the shrimp in bacanora sauce, or the eponymous house speciality called mochomos — finely shredded beef cooked to a crisp. Blvd. José María Morelos 647, Bachoco.

Coyotas Doña Coyo. A tiny, family-run storefront in the coyota bakery district of Villa de Seris, Coyotas Doña Coyo sells freshly baked round wheat pastries. Calle Alfonso Durazo A. 22, Villa de Seris.

Coyotas Doña Maria. The biggest and most popular coyota bakery in Hermosillo offers packaged coyota pastries in an assortment of flavors. Sufragio Efectivo 37, Villa de Seris.

Bacanora de Sonora. This small, upscale shop is regularly stocked with high-quality bacanora, including añejo varieties. José María Yañez 40 B, Centro.

Rancho “Los Mezquites” Don Kiko e Hijos. This roadside shop, just north of the Hermosillo city limits, specializes in regional Sonoran food products, including a good selection of dried chiltepin peppers and dehydrated machaca. Carretera Hermosillo, Moctezuma, San Pedro el Saucito.

Buqui Bichi Brewing. The city’s first microbrewery and taproom serves beers made with ingredients characteristic of northern Mexico, including brews made using orange, piloncillo and locally roasted coffee. Blvd. Eusebio Francisco Kino 69 Local 1, 5 de Mayo.

Parque La Ruina. A food truck court and beer garden, this hugely popular open-air venue draws Hermosillenses of all ages. Eusebio Francisco Kino 9001, Cruz Gálvez, Centro.

Coronavirus Resources: Here’s Where You Can Get Food Assistance In Maryland

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Tens of thousands of Marylanders are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving some to wonder where their next meal may come from.

A number of counties have set up meal distribution sites for those in need keep reading for the full list.

The Maryland Food Bank said it’s seen a doubling in the number of requests for food and a 90 percent drop in donations. They also said they’re in need of volunteers. For more information about their services and how you can help, click here.

Schools across Maryland are also providing free meals for students for more information on that program and a list of sites, click here or here.

It’s not just humans that are worried about where they may find food a number of organizations have set up food banks for pets.


The Salvation Army has launched a program to help home-bound seniors get meals. For more information, click here.

Celebrity chef José Andrés and his charity, World Central Kitchen, are giving away free meals on Saturdays at Oriole Park and at some area schools on Wednesdays and Fridays. To learn more, click here.

Baltimore City Public Schools are also offering free meals for students. A full list of sites is below click here for the latest information and menus.

For information about the summer meal program at Baltimore City and Baltimore County schools, click here.

  1. Sandtown-Winchester Achievement Academy
  2. Dorothy I. Height Elementary School
  3. Alexander Hamilton Elementary School
  4. The Historic Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School
  5. Yorkwood Elementary School
  6. John Ruhrah Elementary/Middle School
  7. Arlington Elementary School
  8. Beechfield Elementary/Middle School
  9. Sinclair Lane Elementary School
  10. Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
  11. City Neighbors Charter School (site closed April 10 [re-opened April 14] after an employee tested positive for COVID-19)
  12. Maree G Farring Elementary/Middle School
  13. Holabird Elementary/Middle School
  14. Lakeland Elementary School
  15. Pimlico Elementary School
  16. Gwynns Falls Elementary School
  17. Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School


The Senior Nutrition Lunch Service will distribute seven meals per client on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at:

  • Annapolis Senior Activity Center: 119 S. Villa Avenue, Annapolis
  • Arnold Senior Activity Center: 44 Church Road, Arnold
  • Brooklyn Park Senior Activity Center: 202 Hammonds Lane, Baltimore
  • O’Malley Senior Activity Center: 1275 Odenton Road, Odenton
  • Pasadena Senior Activity Center: 4103 Mountain Road, Pasadena
  • Pascal Senior Activity Center: 125 Dorsey Road, Glen Burnie
  • South County Senior Activity Center: 27 Stepneys Lane, Edgewood

As of April 10, 82 community pantry locations are available in the county. Click here for the full list.

On Saturdays, free produce boxes are available at Hilltop Elementary School for students.

For a full list of programs, click here.


For information about the summer meal program at Baltimore City and Baltimore County schools, click here.

On weekdays, limited takeaway meals for families will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at:

  • Cockeysville PAL Center: 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
  • Dundalk PAL Center: 15 Commerce Place, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
  • Hillendale PAL Center: 1111 Halstead Road, Parkville, Maryland 21234
  • Mars Estates PAL Center: 1498 East Homberg Avenue, Essex, Maryland 21221
  • Scotts Branch PAL Center: 3651 Rolling Road, Windsor Mill, Maryland 21244
  • Shady Spring PAL Center: 8876 Goldenwood Road, Rosedale, Maryland 21237
  • Winfield PAL Center: 8304 Carlson Lane, Windsor Mill, Maryland 21244

On Fridays, a drive-thru food bank will be available at the Messiah Community Church at 909 Berrymans Lane Reisterstown from 5-7 p.m.

On Saturdays, food distribution will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11 a.m. at:

  • Arbutus Community Center: 865 Sulphur Spring Road, Halethorpe, Maryland 21227
  • Bear Creek Elementary School: 1607 Melbourne Road, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
  • Cockeysville PAL Center: 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
  • Colgate Elementary School: 401 51st Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21224
  • Dundalk PAL Center: 15 Commerce Place, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
  • Eastern Regional Park: 11723 Eastern Avenue, Middle River, Maryland 21220
  • Edgemere Elementary School: 7201 North Point Road, Edgemere, Maryland 21219
  • Edmonson Heights Elementary School: 1600 Langford Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21207
  • Fullerton Elementary School: 4400 Fullerton Avenue, Nottingham, Maryland 21236
  • Grange Elementary School: 2000 Church Road, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
  • Halethorpe Elementary School: 4300 Maple Avenue, Halethorpe, Maryland 21227
  • Hereford Senior Center: 510 Monkton Road, Monkton, Maryland 21111
  • Hillcrest Elementary School: 1500 Frederick Road, Catonsville, Maryland 21228
  • Hillendale PAL Center: 1111 Halstead Road, Parkville, Maryland 21234
  • Lansdowne Elementary School: 2301 Alma Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21227
  • Mars Estates PAL Center: 1498 East Homberg Avenue, Essex, Maryland 21221
  • Martin Boulevard Elementary School: 210 Riverton Road, Middle River, Maryland 21220
  • Parkville Middle School: 8711 Avondale Road, Parkville, Maryland 21234
  • Perry Hall Elementary School: 9021 Belair Road, Nottingham, Maryland 21236
  • Randallstown Elementary School: 9013 Liberty Road, Randallstown, Maryland 21133
  • Reisterstown Senior Center: 12035 Reisterstown Road, Reisterstown, Maryland 21136
  • Rogers Forge Elementary School: 250 Dumbarton Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21212
  • Scotts Branch PAL Center: 3651 Rolling Road, Windsor Mill, Maryland 21244
  • Shady Spring PAL Center: 8876 Goldenwood Road, Rosedale, Maryland 21237
  • Warren Elementary School: 900 Bosley Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
  • West Town Elementary School: 401 Harlem Lane, Catonsville, Maryland 21228
  • Western Tech High School: 100 Kenwood Avenue, Catonsville, Maryland 21228
  • Winfield PAL Center: 8304 Carlson Lane, Windsor Mill, Maryland 21244
  • Woodbridge Elementary School: 1410 Pleasant Valley Drive, Baltimore, Maryland 21228
  • Woodmoor PAL Center: 7111 Croydon Road, Gwynn Oak, Maryland 21207

For the latest information, click here.

For more information about Baltimore County Public Schools’ meal program, click here.


  • Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church: 21 Carroll Street, Westminster
    • Bagged meals available on Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
    • Bags of food will be available from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Saturdays
    • Drive-through service available on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
    • Pet Pantry held once per month. Visit the church’s Facebook page for more details
    • Groceries available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. Mt. Airy residents can visit once per month. ID required for new visitors
    • Food pantry available Mondays-Thursdays call 410-239-6216 to set up an appointment
    • Call 410-635-2470 to make an appointment
    • Food pantry open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for Finksburg residents.
    • Soup kitchen services will be take-out only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Call 410-876-9358 to set up an appointment to visit the food pantry
    • Food pantry available on Monday afternoons
    • Drive-through food pantry held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    • Bagged lunches served on Thursdays from noon to 1 p.m.
    • Takeout meals available from 11:30 a.m. to noon at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 38 West Baltimore Street, Taneytown
    • Delivery service only for more information, click here.
    • Drive-up food pantry available on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Bagged lunches served from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
    • The food pantry will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on April 25.
    • To-go meals provided at 3 p.m. on Sundays
    • Call 410-871-4621 for information
    • Bagged lunches served on Mondays from noon to 1 p.m.
    • The Shepherd’s Table also serves a meal on Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. call 443-240-0453 for more information

    For the latest information, click here.


    • American Legion: 501 Saint Johns Street, Havre de Grace
      • Self-service food pantry
      • Food giveaways on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon
      • Family food distribution from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month
      • Food bank available on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month
      • Drive-through food pantry available Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
      • Food pantry on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      • Food giveaway on April 17 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
      • Self-service food panty on front steps
      • Drive-through food pantry set up on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Photo ID required.
      • Food pantry available on Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Photo ID required.
      • Drive-through food pantry set up on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon
      • Pre-bagged groceries available via drive-through for residents of northern Harford County Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
      • Food giveaway on April 25 from 9 a.m. to noon
      • Food giveaway on Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m.
      • Food pantry on the third Saturday of the month from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
      • Take-home meals and groceries available on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
      • One bag of groceries available on Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon
      • Groceries available on Tuesdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to noon
      • Must call 410-887-9730 ahead of time
      • Open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      • Food closet available on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon
      • Families can receive three bags of free groceries from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month
      • People can pick up one bag of groceries at the Twice Blessed Thrift Shop on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (except the third Saturday of the month)

      For the latest information, click here.

      For more information about the school program, click here.


      Howard County Public School Systems Grab N Go meals are available Monday-Friday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm for anyone under 18, no pre-registration needed. Locations include:

      • Bushy Park Elementary School, 14601 Carrs Mill Road, Glenwood
      • Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia
      • Deep Run Elementary School, 6925 Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge
      • Ducketts Lane Elementary School, 6501 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge
      • Hollifield Station Elementary School, 8701 Stonehouse Drive, Ellicott City
      • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
      • Laurel Woods Elementary School, 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
      • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
      • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
      • Talbott Springs Elementary School, 9550 Basket Ring Road, Columbia
      • Wilde Lake Middle School, 10481 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia

      Community Locations: (Weekend meals not provided at community locations)

      • Forest Ridge Apartments, 5890 Stevens Forest Rd, Columbia
      • Monarch Mills Apartments, 7600 Monarch Mills Way, Columbia
      • Bethel Christian Academy, Campus 1, 8455 Savage Guilford Rd., Savage

      Department of Community Resources and Services is currently offering Grab-N-Go food distribution for eligible older adults at the Ellicott City 50+ Center, located at 9401 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042. Distribution is held on Thursdays between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for registered residents.

      Howard County Food Bank is open Tuesdays – Thursdays 1 – 4 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon at 9385 Gerwig Lane in Columbia. The Food Bank is providing pre-packaged bags of food to clients and new clients should bring identification and proof of Howard County residency for their first visit.

      Pop Up Food Pantry daily April 19 – May 3 from 6 – 8 p.m. at Long Reach Village Center, 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia. Call 410-340-0529 for information or to donate.

      Columbia Community Cares is providing grab and go bags of food, and other essential supplies such as diapers, at the following locations, Monday – Friday, 11 a.m – 1:30 p.m:

      • Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia
      • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
      • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
      • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
      • Wilde Lake Middle School, 10481 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia

      Salvation Army hosting a monthly pop-up pantry, April 15, May 20, and June 17th, at 3267 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City from 1 -3 p.m. They will have fresh produce along with canned goods, please bring proof of Howard County residency

      For the latest list of school sites offering meals for those ages 18 and younger, click here.

      Food blogger’s extreme eating challenge

      It’s lunchtime on the last Thursday of 2010, and JoAnn “Jo” Stougaard is holding court at her usual corner table at Jitlada on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, as she has nearly every week since March. But this is a momentous occasion.

      Today, Stougaard will eat her 148th, 149th and 150th dishes from among the restaurant’s about 300 mostly southern Thai specialties — the halfway point toward her goal of working her way through the entire menu, curry by curry, pad see ew by pad Thai, miang khun shrimp by yala tiger prawn.

      “I’m tying my hair back to get ready,” she says, getting down to business. She pulls out her trusty Leica D-Lux 4 camera, which she has used to document via Flickr every Jitlada dish she has eaten, and takes a photo of the plate in front of her — deep-fried soft-shell crab in a dry curry with pumpkin. “OK, let’s eat.”

      Stougaard, an infectiously perky 46-year-old with a white-bright smile, doesn’t have to ask before a server brings to the table her preferred beverage — Singha beer. When she wants an extra glass of water, she dashes to the waiters’ station and pours it herself. And when customers walk in but the harried staff is too busy to notice, Stougaard will get up, seat them at a table and start recommending dishes.

      In a city of peripatetic pop-ups and food trucks and guest chefs, when the allegiances of distracted patrons are divvied between the newest supper club, the latest iteration of bacon-wrapped you-name-it or the next Foursquare badge, Stougaard is a regular’s regular. She might be the ultimate diner.

      This isn’t the first time her infatuation with a restaurant has compelled her to eat every single dish on the menu. It took her a month and a half to get through the opening menu at José Andrés’ Bazaar at the Beverly Hills SLS Hotel. “I stopped counting after the 20th time I went there,” she says. (She’s not exaggerating.)

      Her zeal didn’t go unnoticed. “So much enthusiasm, so much passion for the food,” Andrés says of Stougaard. Dining “is her vocation almost.”

      Her eating and photo-documenting the hundreds of items at Jitlada — renowned for specialties such as rice salad “in the style of Songkhla province” and curries with catfish and sator beans or beef and pickled cassia buds — is less a Lucullian stunt than an extension of her obsession with food.

      She blogs about food at her website, My Last Bite, and has been taking pictures of what she eats since 1982 (back then with an Instamatic and 110 film). Stougaard tweets gastronomic news throughout the day from her home in Studio City — a 900-square-foot cottage with a swimming pool, recording studio, tiki hut and Bedouin-style tent in the backyard that she shares with her husband, Peter, who is a former studio executive, and four dogs.

      Her tchotchke-packed kitchen is a window to her fervor. Over the door hangs the sign, “La Cuisine de la Jo Jo,” and the shelves are stacked with hundreds of cookbooks, her collection of Easy-Bake Ovens and a couple of cans of haggis of dubious vintage. There are orange clogs à la Mario Batali on the wall, photos of Stougaard with chef-lebrities such as Anthony Bourdain, and a smattering of pig paraphernalia — a pig timer, pig bowls, pig cutting boards. “I was born on the island of pork,” she explains, referring to Okinawa, Japan, whose cuisine puts an emphasis on the pig.

      By 6 a.m. every day, she has perched herself on her pink-upholstered, retro Steelcase chair in front of her 27-inch computer screen, monitoring the online food world via TweetDeck and Google Reader (she subscribes to 206 food blogs).

      Stougaard, previously a nature photographer’s assistant who now focuses on her passion for food, has more than 30,000 Twitter followers, gaining more at a clip of about 100 a day. “That’s more than [the band] Rush!” Stougaard notes. “It still blows me away. I don’t want to let people down. There’s pressure to tweet good food.”

      Meanwhile, My Last Bite soon will be a mobile phone app — a guide to her favorite restaurants. Stougaard is working with a developer to roll it out by summer.

      She’s also writing a memoir, “The Key to Red Meat.” She says the decade she spent at an orphanage in Covina were “the dark years.” Not just because she grew up without her parents — the unfortunate fallout of a divorce between her mom, who ran a hostess club in Okinawa, and her father, a musician now living in Scotland — but because she remembers with a shudder the S.E. Rykoff truck that regularly would pull up to the Masonic Home at Covina to deliver food. The memoir’s title is a reference to a childhood incident in which she and her sister lost the key to a can of Spam and went hungry. She still loves Spam.

      Now Stougaard calls Jitlada her remote office and chef Suthiporn “Tui” Sungkamee and his sister Sarintip “Jazz” Singsanong her second family. “It’s not just the food that keeps me coming back,” Stougaard says.

      “We have to get you a pillow and a blanket,” Sungkamee tells Stougaard.

      “Jo has her own style,” adds Panumas “Joe” Sungkamee, another sibling who works at the restaurant and is usually the waiter who serves Stougaard at lunch. “She’s so friendly and always makes everyone feel comfortable. She knows a lot about food, and she really likes spicy.”

      It might not be a coincidence that Stougaard — a fan of chiles such as habanero and Bhut Jolokia — started the Jitlada Project shortly after Tui put his “Dynamite Spicy Challenge” on the menu. His warning: “If you do not eat spicy food, do not order this!” Your choice of meat comes blanketed in a thick sludge of chile sauce that packs more your-ears-will-ring heat than Tui’s famously spicy kang neua khii-lek, a lip-numbing beef curry. (A tip: In case of emergency, ask for a beverage called sala, a milky, pink-tinged drink that takes the edge off the burn.)

      “I trained by eating whole habanero chiles every day,” says Stougaard, who has had several iterations of the dish — with beef, pork, tofu, seafood (mussels, scallops and squid) and soft-shell crab. Once in a while she orders by saying, “Tell Tui to hurt me!”

      The Jitlada menu marathon wasn’t something she planned, Stougaard says. “I just kept coming back. A friend asked me, ‘Jitlada for lunch again?’ And I said, ‘I’m going to finish the menu here.’ That was it.… There was no strategy. I just came in and started ordering. I didn’t care if it took me months or years.”

      Now it seems everyone wants in on the party. Freelance writer and LAist lifestyle editor Julie Wolfson has eaten lunch with Stougaard about 20 times. “Occasionally it’s a small group, but more and more lately it turns into an event,” Wolfson says. Lunch has been known to last until 6:30 p.m.

      Tables are pushed together to accommodate friends and friends of friends, including on one December day Jean-Jacques Rachou, chef-owner of the erstwhile French restaurant La Côte Basque in New York, and Joseph Mahon, former chef of Bastide in West Hollywood. Stougaard, who arrives at the restaurant armed with a list of dishes she wants to order, has shared Tui’s “dynamite” with chef Akasha Richmond and the green mussel curry with chef Ludo Lefebvre.

      It’s not always easy work. The kaeng phuung plaa kung sap — a spicy, funky, fish kidney curry — was “just gross,” says Stougaard. “I had to go to the bathroom and scrape off my tongue.”

      But there is little on the menu that she doesn’t love. And because she has been inundated by requests for recommendations, she has compiled Flickr photo lists of 10 dishes for beginners and her top 25 favorites (thus far). “I’m spreading the love,” she says.

      Things to know in Austin food: Ways to support restaurant community

      Austin’s taco mafia food trucks are returning to business after going above and beyond to feed the Austin community. On Tuesday, February 23, Nixta Taqueria, Discada, La Tunita 512, Dough Boys, and Trill Foods will resume their usual hours of operations, giving Austin eaters the chance to give back to these local restaurants, whose operations combined forces last week to prepare 3,250 free meals for East Austin communities in need along with nonprofit Tankproof in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri.

      For those seeking opportunities to give back to Austin’s vulnerable communities: Del Valle Community Coalition is seeking volunteers to help with the organization and distribution of meal kits for its future relief events. Interested parties can find sign-up info for daily distribution opportunities here. Elsewhere, nonprofit Brighter Bites is in need of volunteers to distribute fresh produce boxes to families in need on Tuesday, February 22, and Wednesday, February 23 (timeslots vary). Lastly, political advocacy group, Workers Defense Project is seeking volunteers to help distribute water from its office at 5604 Manor Rd. this week interested parties can sign up online.

      After a brutal week of subzero temperatures, power outages, and no water, local food-centric organizations are still in need of donations. Here are three worthy nonprofits in need of direct financial support.

      • Good Work Austin is currently taking donations to continue its work making meals for locals while supporting restaurant staff. It's also working with Jose Andres' World Central Kitchen to help with disaster relief.
      • Austin’s premier BIPOC queer-focused marketplace Frida Fridays is raising money to supply hot meals and direct financial relief to its Austin community members. Financial donations can be made via the organization’s Venmo account @fridafridayatx, or by purchasing apparel from Lumpia City.
      • Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is seeking financial donations via GoFundMe to help thousands of small, sustainable family farmers and ranchers in Texas who are experiencing a massive loss of crops and/or severely crippled infrastructure.

      As energy bills pile up and food resources remain scarce for Austin residents, one local craft beer personality is helping locals stretch their dollar. After turning his kitchen into a makeshift food bank to service friends and neighbors in his South Austin community, FullClip Craft Distributors account manager (and Austin Beer Guide’s 2017 “Best Beer Personality”) Tim Vela took time to compile a free list of low-cost recipes inspired by his own days of stretching a paycheck. “I made the document after I started making pizzas for people in need from ingredients I just had in my pantry,” Vela tells CultureMap. “ I realized how cheap these ingredients were.” The recipes found on Vela’s Cheap Easy Eats google doc include such flavorful dishes as a veggie-heavy stew, Crock Pot carnitas, and cheese pizza, all of which range in price from $1.50 - $17.50 for all necessary ingredients. Vela also tells CultureMap plans to add more recipes to the list throughout the week, along with recipes submitted to him by friends and associates.

      New Accommodations in Orlando

      With more than 125,000 hotel rooms, 20,000 vacation-home rentals and 22,000 vacation-ownership properties in the area, you&aposd think that Orlando would be well-stocked when it comes to available room supply — but again, we&aposre the sort of destination that never stops improving!

      Take a glance at the newest and updated Orlando hotels and resorts that have opened recently or are coming soon, and you&aposll see what we mean. Then, start dreaming of where you&aposll do your dreaming the next time you visit Orlando.

      New & Updated Orlando Accommodations

      Disney&aposs Coronado Springs Resort

      Disney&aposs Coronado Springs Resort&aposs new, 15-story Gran Destino Tower is now open at Walt Disney World Resort, adding 545 modern guestrooms and suites to the property. The addition also features new dining and nightlife, including the rooftop Toledo — Tapas, Steak & Seafoodਊnd Dahlia Lounge, as well as Three Bridges Bar & Grillਊnd Barcelona Lounge.

      Universal&aposs Endless Summer Resort — Surfside Inn and Suites

      With a fun surf theme, Universal&aposs Endless Summer Resort — Surfside Inn and Suitesਊt Universal Orlando Resort boasts standard rooms and two-bedroom suites that sleep up to six. Guests can also play in the resort&aposs surfboard-shaped pool and refuel at the food court.

      JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa

      With a focus on well-being and relaxation, the brand-new JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa offers a luxurious opportunity to get away from everything while staying minutes from Walt Disney World Resort. It boasts 516 guestrooms, a Spa by JW and a rooftop terrace with nightly views of theme park fireworks, among other amenities.

      Margaritaville Resort Orlando

      Spearheaded by music legend Jimmy Buffett, this waterfront Margaritaville Resort Orlandoਊlready has a 175-room hotel, multiple themed dining and nightlife options, and the brand-new, 14-acre Island H2O Live! water park, with more to come.

      Upcoming Orlando Accommodations

      Universal&aposs Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites

      Featuring a coastal, calm vibe and sunset theming, Universal&aposs Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites has two large pools with a sandy beach. It also has standard rooms and two-bedroom suites, as well as a food court.

      Tru by Hilton Orlando Convention Center

      Designed to be vibrant, affordable and young at heart, Tru by Hilton Orlando Convention Center is scheduled to open in 2020. Located a mile from SeaWorld Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, the property will feature a pool, a 24-hour fitness center, free-to-play board games in the lobby and other guest benefits, as well as a sunlit meeting space for up to 100 attendees.

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