I’ve never been much of a beer drinker (wine, please), which means that I’m an even-worse beer pourer. The Onion kitchen boasts not one but two kegs, and nearly every time I approach them, I wind up with a beer milkshake: about seven inches of foam and one inch of actual liquid at the bottom. So when I signed up to volunteer at my local street fair/music fest this summer, I begged to be put on the beer tent to get some experience. Fortunately for me, I was paired with brewmaster John J. Hall from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, and received a four-hour crash course in all things ale-related. We had to taste about 12 beers in case the fest-goers wanted some guidance, so I quickly learned that I hate hops and am more of a wheat ale person. Red ales, stouts, not for me. John was stern but patient as he coached me on the perfect beer pour: Pull it like you mean it, with the glass almost fully sideways, slowly inching its way to vertical. By the end of the afternoon, I was finally getting it.
The most popular item at our tent by far was an ale that John had created himself: the Paletas Guava, which happily fell into the wheat category. It’s not sweet like a radler, but the added fruit makes the beer lighter and more refreshing. It also has an unusual but appealing color; more than half the people who approached our tent asked for the “pink beer,” and they all walked away happy. Coincidentally, that same night I went out to dinner and spied on the menu the Paleta Prickly Pear that John had also told me about: just as pleasing for the beer palate. But 5 Rabbit only offers these delicious Paletas in the summertime: You have until the end of September to try them out, or wait until the warm weather returns next year. [Gwen Ihnat]
I mostly use Instagram to post blurry show photos and to try to figure out why people are yelling at a celebrity on Twitter, and almost never for its intended purpose of fostering a meaningful human connection. Except, that is, for the Instagram of rapper/actor/chronicler of life’s little foibles Ludacris, which I enthusiastically follow and love for the way it inexplicably amuses the shit out of me. Maybe it’s the fact that—in between the live shots, throwback CD covers, and constant updates from the Fast 8 set—Ludacris frequently delights in posting the kind of inspirational quotes and moon charts that adorn the Facebook wall of your loneliest aunt.
Or the fact that he reposts some of the shittiest memes ever created—most of them seemingly targeted not at a 38-year-old millionaire Dirty South rapper, but at teenagers still living at home.
But what I really love the most is just how seriously Ludacris seems to have taken his name as a mantle, devoting himself to posting bits of observational comedy under the hashtag “#nowthatsludicrous”—an endearingly hacky catchphrase that’s become his social media raison d’être.
All together, it’s a constant flow of goofy, unabashed lameness from one of the hardest, coolest rappers in the business, and the juxtaposition of that simply never gets old for me. I have no idea what else Instagram is good for. [Sean O’Neal]
It’s easy to like food journalist and cookbook author Mark Bittman’s laissez-faire attitude about cooking: Use whatever herb you have around. You can’t mess up soup! His mission, in addition to making good food, has been to get people to cook who might not otherwise, merely by taking the pressure off. His New York Times peer Melissa Clark is not his antagonist so much as his spiritual foil. She’s not fussy, but the screws are tighter on her recipes. She lets things get complicated if it’ll result in something delicious. Her ultimate veggie burger more than justifies the dozen-plus (not cheap) ingredients and time-intensive preparation. Her lemon bars with olive oil and sea salt manage to improve upon the originals. Fresh ricotta, green garlic toast, pasta with breadcrumbs (yes, breadcrumbs)—I haven’t made a bad dish from a Clark recipe. I even learned about tossing a parmesan rind into soup from her, which strikes me as the kind of thing Bittman would love. [Laura Adamczyk]