BjornQorn: Bard Grads Cook Up Solar-Popped Popcorn

In the epic quest to find the perfect snack, New Yorkers may want to take a turn into Brooklyn to buy a bag of BjornQorn, a bold popcorn looking not only to become your go-to nosh but maybe even to save the world.

Former freshman dorm-mates at Bard College, Bjorn Quenemoen and Jamie O'Shea combined Bjorn's corn-farmer roots and Jamie's solar technology to cook up a healthy, low-emission, high-flavor snack. BjornQorn is made with organic corn, popped in a solar kettle, and flavored with nutritional yeast -- an ingredient not well known in the world at large but a favorite seasoning among vegetarians and vegans for its cheesy, nutty flavor and high protein and vitamin levels.

We caught up with Quenemoen and O'Shea to talk popcorn, love at first sight, and the "dirt cheap kits" they're developing to bring their solar-cooking technology to places like Senegal and India.

More »

Following the Spiedie Trail to Binghamton and Endicott, New York

Categories: Snackshots

When dishes travel, they often change. It's why the spiedie, a simple sandwich of grilled marinated meat, popularized by Italian immigrants farther upstate, is now being served in Brooklyn with the addition of American cheese. "WTF?!" our commenters responded.

Though many natives were delighted to hear a version of their beloved sandwich had made landfall here--despite its cheesy perversion--others found it violated the very rules of spiediedom. And they declared the hot dog roll an unacceptable vehicle for the sandwich.

We haven't completely mapped our itinerary, but we've decided to follow this sandwich trail right out of Brooklyn and up into Spiedie Land on an upcoming road trip, and we'll be sure to stop at some of the places you shouted out in the comments.

More »

Binghamton's Famous Spiedie Sandwich Appears in Brooklyn

Categories: Snackshots

Brooklyn Bird's chicken spiedie with an unusual addition: American cheese.

North of New York City, close to the Pennsylvania border, old-school restaurants like Sharkey's, Lupo's, and the Spiedie and Rib Pit have championed the humble spiedie for decades.

Popularized by Endicott and Binghamton's working class Italian immigrants in the 1930's, the grilled meat was traditionally served on a skewer with a slice of fresh bread on the side, and prepared most often with small pieces of lamb. But the city's meaty legacy has evolved into something closer to a proper sandwich, loaded with pieces of meat already pulled off the stick (and the meat of choice now tends to be chicken or pork).

More »

Seven Ways of Looking at a Twinkie

Here's a commercial circa 1970 featuring "Twinkie the Kid."

It was 1933 when the first Twinkie rolled off the assembly line, manufactured by Continental Baking Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. The inspiration was strawberry shortcake, and the crème-filled snack was intended to be something of a substitute during the months when strawberries were not available.

Twinkies are also the stuff of urban myth. One says that Twinkies are so laced with artificial preservatives that one will last 100 years without appreciable decay. Another suggests that Twinkies won't burn, and you could use them almost like asbestos. Twinkie - delicious snack, pernicious pouch of chemicals, or indispensible cultural artifact? Now that we've learned that this much-loved (or perhaps not-enough-loved) cake treat is about to be discontinued, here are seven different ways of looking at it.

More »

Cannabis Caramel Corn -- What Will They Think of Next?

A handful like this is probably more than you want to eat.

It's always an exciting time when my friend E. visits from Oakland, California, a town that likes to call itself "Oaksterdam" or the "Cannabis Kingdom." This weekend, I was eager to ask her about the pressure the federal government, trying to close them down, is putting on marijuana dispensaries. (Thanks loads, Obama!) Were dispensaries fast disappearing from the streets in parts of NoCal?

More »

Espresso To Stay, Surfboard To Go?

Where do you intend to use that thing? Kips Bay?

New York real estate makes for some mighty screwy bedfellows. No sooner had coffee-bar-turned-restaurant Doma been unceremoniously ejected from its West Village digs at the corner of Perry Street and Waverly Place than the brown paper went up in the windows, and the space started incubating. The result was Saturdays Surf, another coffee bar -- but a coffee bar with a difference.

More »

Photos: Snazzy Italian Pastries in the Bronx

Categories: Snackshots

Tejal Rao

There's no shortage of hefty, rainbow-colored Italian pastries on Arthur Avenue. Morrone Pastry Shop and Cafe is just one of the spots you can find cannoli, giant cream-filled lobster tails, super-dense eclairs, and Naploeons so firm they bend back your plastic fork. There's a freezer full of layered gelato cups, too.

Morrone makes Sanguinaccio, a dark chocolate custard enriched with pig's blood, and bakes it off in miniature tart shells (but they won't be selling those until the cold weather comes back). Morrone Pastry Shop and Cafe; 2349 Arthur Avenue, Bronx 718-733-0424

More »

Attn, Heroin Users: Try Some Junkie Fries at Pizza Junkie

I'd ridden past it many times on my bike, a pizza parlor just off Bowery called Pizza Junkie. What an odd name, I thought. But really an appropriate one in this tiny neighborhood just off what used to be the city's skid row, limited on the east by the wide expanse of Chrystie Street and Sara Roosevelt Park, which was a place you could always find a used work if you sifted around in the dirt under the bushes for long. Pre-Pulino's, this little strip was one of the most hardscrabble in the city.

More »

Miss Lily's Variety's Jamaican Beef Patties

Categories: Snackshots

Alexia Nader
Jamaican patties bring some serious spice.

Downtown Manhattan is seriously lacking in Caribbean pastry shops. This may not mean much to some, but other people don't want to have to hop the train to Flatbush just for a snack. Luckily for that second group, Miss Lily's Variety (130 West Houston Street; 646-588-5375) now has the downtown patty front covered.

More »



Empellón Cocina's Tongue Sopes

Categories: Snackshots

Alexia Nader
Tongue sopes

More »