After a long, late night in the kitchen, chefs deserve a relaxing drink or two or 10 to take the edge off. Naturally, a few adult beverages and hours later, those familiar tipsy-induced munchies kick in.
While some culinary queens and kings opt to construct their own inebriated palate-pleasing plates, others search for (and successfully seek out) something quick, delicious, and—most importantly—available at 2 a.m. Forget fancy wine and dish pairings. Read on for the post-cocktail cravings that ring tried and true for chefs across the country.
1. Korean BBQ
“My favorite drunk food is Korean BBQ. It’s communal, and you feed yourselves—perfect for a drinking environment. My son Christopher introduced me to Korean BBQ. He lived in South Korea for a year teaching English. In the Korean tradition, you’re not supposed to pour your own glass of soju. The eldest at the table never has to pour for anybody. The banchan side dishes are fun—you never know what you’re going to get. In Las Vegas, I like to go to Honey Pig. It’s nothing fancy, and the food’s pretty decent.” -Rick Moonen, Chef and Owner of RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room in Las Vegas, NV and former Top Chef Masters cheftestant
2. Vegemite Toast with Avocado
“The saltiness of the vegemite is absolutely amazing at any time, let alone when drunk, and is made better with the softness and creaminess of avocado. I can’t even remember when this first started, it’s been a staple drunk food for a while now.” –Mimi Baines, Head Chef at Hole in the Wall Cafe & Bar in Manhattan, NY
3. Avgolemono Soup
“Out: Avgolemono soup from the diner. Avgolemono is the legendary chicken lemon soup that literally cures anything and everything at the end of the night. Let’s just say: it’s a savior! At home: cheese with fruits. The sugar brings you back to life, and it's natural sugar, so you don’t have to feel so guilty. And of course, leftovers. I mean, who doesn't dive into a cold pizza?” –Nicholas Poulmentis, Executive Chef at 11 Hanover Greek in Manhattan, NY
4. Butter Burger
“My ‘buzzed food of choice’ is a classic from where I grew up: the Milwaukee Butter Burger. Growing up in the Milwaukee area, and Wisconsin being the great dairy state, butter goes on almost everything. These burgers are found in small burger shops and taverns all over Milwaukee. They are absolutely delicious and show the simplicity of locally sourced ingredients, especially butter. I started eating the Butter Burger while in a bowling league I belonged to in Milwaukee. The burgers go great with, of course, Miller Beer. At Osteria Tulia, we use two Waygu beef patties seared on a cast iron flat top over wood coals. The patties are topped with American cheese, stewed onions, good ole pickles, and, of course, a lot of Wisconsin butter.” –Vincenzo Betulia, Chef and Owner of Osteria Tulia in Naples, FL
5. Patacon De Pabellon (fried plantains stuffed with black beans, shredded beef, sweet plantains, fried queso blanco)
”The patacon de pabellon is the perfect food for those late night, drunk, cravings. The salty beans, meat, cheese, and nata, combined with the sweet plantains and the crunch of the fried plantains, provides you with everything and anything you could possibly want after a night of binge drinking. Unlike some other questionable drunk combinations, the patacon de pabellon is absolutely something you’d eat on any given Tuesday at 1 p.m. It’s delicious and filling for lunch, dinner, and beyond. I’ve been eating plantains and patcóns since I was a little kid. It’s embedded in my DNA.” –Jonathan Hernandez, Chef and Owner of Patacon Pisao in Manhattan, NY
6. Double Bacon and Egg Cheeseburger
“My favorite drunk food is definitely the double bacon cheeseburger—add bacon and egg—from Au Cheval, in Chicago's West Loop. The burger is incredible, juicy, salty, fatty, and filling. I'd like to say I'm usually several drinks in before devouring this beauty, but my friends know I'd be lying. Two tequilas in, and I'm usually pretty blackout. The burger is equally delicious when sober, but the way she looks back at you when drunk: you know it's a perfect match. The best part about being drunk while eating it, you never remember the entire experience, only encouraging you to get drunk and return again.” –Michael Kaplan, Chef and Owner of Two Forks in Manhattan, NY
“I make individual ones—salty, bad for you, spicy, crunchy, gooey, delicious and satisfying. I’m either drinking wine or gin and "Todas" which are half tonic and half sodas—made that up drunk, I’m sure. [In college], we made them in our dorm rooms: a package of Cracker Barrel cheese that we grated, a can of refried beans that we spread, and a microwave. We used packets of hot sauce that we saved the extras from when we went to Taco Bueno. Smart kids! There is a Mexican restaurant in Napa that has loaded nachos, but I get them plain with jalapeños only—every time we go—in addition to what I am eating. They are the best.” –Casey Thompson, Executive Chef at Morada at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe in Santa Fe, NM and former Top Chef cheftestant
8. Lo Mein
“Lo Mein is always my go-to when I'm drunk—not pizza, not burgers, but Filipino pancit. It's funny: growing up in the Philippines. I've eaten lo mein since birth. Whether I'm at home, or out at Henrietta Hudson, after a few bottles of Heineken and a few rounds of Fireball, the only thing I want to eat are these noodles. For some reason, I love cooking while I'm drunk, and I always have the ingredients for a good lo mein in my fridge. I get the noodles at Phil-Am, this little Filipino grocery store in Queens, and I'll pan fry them with oil, vegetables, garlic, and soy sauce and eat them up. I usually have great coordination sautéing the noodles, even while tipsy. –Frances Tariga, Executive Chef at MEGU in Manhattan, NY and former Top Chef cheftestant
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