Main Course

Urban Salt Mines in the Sky

When Sarah Sproule realized that much of New York City's sea salt was shipped in from hundreds of miles away, she decided to make her own - locally - on the roof of a building in Midtown Manhattan.

We mourn the passing of tiki-themed restaurant Bahooka

This month, Southern California will say goodbye to an institution. Bahooka, one of the few surviving examples of mid-century, South-Pacific themed “tiki”-style restaurants, is closing after 50 years in business. Rico visits the eatery and talks tiki with with Sven Kirsten, the author of “The Book Of Tiki,” a sort of the Bible on the subject.

Music Sommeliers Pair the Tunes to the Food

A recent LA Times article talked about the rise of "music sommeliers" - professional compilers of music playlists for restaurants - like the folks at Prescriptive Music. Brendan speaks with Prescriptive founder Allen Klevens about creating a song menu for every place... and every person.

Rico gets a taste of home from Pittsburgh’s Primanti’s

America's been noshing it's way through a sandwich renaissance - with grilled-cheese cropping up on luxe menus, chefs reinventing fish sandwiches, etc. Now, Pittsburgh's signature sandwich - Primanti's - is making the rounds; restaurants and food trucks from SF to Brooklyn to LA have started serving the peculiar meat/fries/slaw sandwich. Native Pittsburgher Rico visits the original Primanti Bros. restaurant to learn why their concoction remains inimitable.

Panuchos, from the Yucatan to you

They're fun to say...and to eat: Panuchos! The beloved dish of Mexico's Yucatan region is finally starting to catch on stateside - the San Francisco Chronicle's food editor is a big panucho lover, and the dish got a mention in USA Today this month. Picture a tostada, crossed with a taco... with a hidden surprise. Rico caught up with Gilberto Cetina, chef at the Yucatanian restaurant "Chichen Itza" in L.A., to dig into this under-sung import.

Pigtails you can eat

It's the ultimate, literal example of "nose-to-tail" cooking: chefs are now serving pigs' tails. The braised tail is somewhere between pork belly and a spare rib - and it's best if you're unfazed by fat...or phallic symbols. Rico heads to Los Angeles restaurant The Spice Table to chat about the unusual offering with chef Bryant Ng.

Hot Sriracha(s)

It’s hard to escape the red plastic bottle with a rooster on it; Sriracha is now a staple of cool-kid eateries everywhere. In fact, the condiment is so popular that imitators are springing up…in a bad way: the blog “Food Republic” reported they’d received a box of counterfeit Sriracha. To learn about why the sauce is so hot (in every sense of the word), Rico caught up with Randy Clemens, author of “The Sriracha Cookbook.” Turns out, there’s never been just one ‘sriracha.’