Dish of the Week: Beer-Battered Apple Fritters

Photo by JustyCinMD
Finish the fritters with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of caramel.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and desserts, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week. See the complete list of recipes at the end of this post.

This week, we're sharing a recipe perfect for fall: apple fritters.

The word fritter is derived from the Latin word frictura, meaning "to fry." So it should come as no surprise that fritters are basically batter (chou paste or yeast dough) that gets fried until light and crisp. Often, the batter either coats or is mixed with fruit, vegetables, meat, or seafood before being fried.

Fritters can be found in all types of cuisines, from Japanese tempura and Indonesian gorengan to French beignets and Italian fritto misto. Of course, there's also the all-American fried dessert, the apple fritter.

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Royal Oak Bar & Grill Just May Have the Largest Poppers Ever

Photo by Brooke Viggiano
These jalapeño poppers are definitely big enough to share.
The $6 stuffed jalapeños happy hour deal (offered weekdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) at Royal Oak Bar & Grill could be the best $6 you ever spent (on fried food, at least).

With 3 miniature football-shaped fritters to a plate, that's just $2 each for the biggest, spiciest jalapeño poppers to ever grace the planet (or Montrose, at least).

On the outside, the trio of avocado-sized peppers are breaded and fried to a deep, golden crisp, with the crunchy coating made thick enough to withhold the gloriously overstuffed filling. A generous drizzle of sour cream sits atop, though you'll likely want a bit more to cool your tongue after you break inside the shell.

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Taste-Testing the Lay's Do Us a Flavor Chips

Categories: Snackshot

Photo by Molly Dunn
Which flavor do you like the most?
The Lay's Do Us A Flavor Competition has returned once again. The four potato chip flavor finalists are Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Cappuccino, Wavy Mango Salsa and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger. Each chip is on opposite ends of the taste spectrum.

You have 75 days to vote for your favorite chip in hopes that it will remain on the shelves; the three losers will say sayonara. But in case you were wondering what we think (of course you were!) we have ranked the four chips based on overall flavor, texture and if they make our taste buds happy.

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The Rodeo Is Over, but You Can Still Get Deep-Fried Oreos

Photo by Brooke Viggiano
You don't need to go to the rodeo for these deep-fried treats.
I miss the rodeo. I miss cowboys in bolo ties, mutton bustin' and bull riding, live music and two stepping...the list goes on. But perhaps most of all, I miss the unspoken understanding that everything at the rodeo -- and I mean everything -- is to be deep-fried and or/covered in bacon.

I was traveling for most of the season this year, so I didn't even get a chance to indulge in my favorite rodeo "dessert", deep-fried Oreos. So you can imagine my delight when I found them on the menu at Saint Dane's Bar & Grille.

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Top 5 Discontinued Chips We Want Back!

Photo by theimpulsivebuy
Apparently, chips can be wild AND mild.

Nothing lasts forever, and we both know snacks can change. Well, that is not exactly what Axl Rose sang, but his sentiments about ephemerality, I think, apply to junk food as well as love. In the world of chips, flavors come and go; here are five that made their mark and deserve a comeback.

5. Mozzarella Cheese Stick Pringles. Back in the day, Pringles issued a line of chips called "Restaurant Cravers," which, as you might guess, were supposed to replicate the flavors of popular mainstream restaurant appetizers such as Mexican layer dip, cheese fries, a fried (a.k.a. "bloomin'") onion, etc. Miraculously, the cheese sticks chips actually did taste of marinara sauce and fried mozzarella.

4. Wild and Mild Ranch Fritos. I'm convinced these chips were dusted with cocaine, so addictive were they from the very first crunchy, peppery bite. Many thought the flavor sacrilege because it was antithetical to the taste tenets of traditional corn-forward Fritos, which is perhaps why they never gained traction among die-hard Fritos fans.

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Lay's Flavor Contest Is Back, So We've Created Some Houston-Inspired Flavors Of Our Own

Images created by Brooke Viggiano on
We think Houston's doing the world a "flavor" with these inspired combinations.
Last month, potato chip brand Lay's brought back its "Do Us A Flavor" contest, which invites fans all over the nation to submit their ideas for the next great potato chip flavor. What's in it for the fans, you ask? Well, a $1 million grand prize, for starters. Plus eternal glory and ultimate bragging rights in front of all your annoying friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Now through April 5, 2014, entries can be submitted for three potato chip forms -- Lay's Original, Lay's Kettle Cooked and/or Lay's Wavy -- with up to three flavorings of your choosing for each entry. And this year, the company has upped the finalists from three to four, meaning four flavors will be created and brought to store shelves for fan voting.

Well, since this is all too exciting and we want to revel in the fact that Houston has one of the most badass food scenes around, we've come up with a few chip ideas of our own, based on some of our favorite dishes in Houston.

Here are Five Houston Dishes that Should Be Lay's Next Flavor:

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Popcorn Is the New Cupcake: The 10 Best Flavors at Houston's Popcorn Bar

Photo by Kaitlin Steinberg
Did I mention there were popcorn balls?
Cupcakes have had their heyday, and now it's time to move on.

The desserts first grew in popularity--according to Business Insider--in 2000, when Carrie and Miranda ate cupcakes at Magnolia Bakeryin an episode of "Sex and the City." Sprinkles Cupcakes was one of the first (if not the first) cupcake bakeries in the country when it debuted in 2003, but its expansion has since slowed as people chase after newer, more exciting trends.

And that's where gourmet popcorn comes in. Sure, caramel corn and white cheddar-dusted puffs have been available in giant novelty tins for years, but popcorn-only storefronts are a fairly new beast. Here in Houston, we have nearly ten stores devoted primarily to popcorn of all flavors and colors.

Recently, we stopped by The Popcorn Bar on the Southwest Freeway between Edloe and Weslayan to find out what the hype is all about. What we found was enough popcorn to feed a small army in more than 100 flavors ranging from the classic (caramel) to the savory (Parmesan garlic) to the downright bizarre (cherry limeade).

So move aside cupcakes, 'cause popcorn can do everything you can do, plus it lasts longer, it's easier to transport, and it's (probably) healthier.

Here are our new favorites:

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Eat Healthy While Traveling: Five Homemade Snacks for the Plane

Photo by joyosity
Baked kale is a salty, crunchy and healthy alternative to potato chips.
Despite what your stomach tells you at the airport, that last-minute chicken and biscuit basket is not the perfect snack for your flight. Fight the holiday travel bulge with healthy snacks that are easy to make, easy to transport and even easier to eat.

From date- and nut-stuffed bites to crisp and crunchy baked chips, check out these Five Healthy Treats Perfect for Holiday Travel:

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These Limited-Edition Holiday Treats Are Pretty Weird...But We Still Want to Try Them

Image from J&D's Foods
Use these to test just how naughty or nice your kids have been.
Ahh, the holidays. Time for roasted turkey and jingle bells and homemade pies and sriracha candy canes and...wait, what? We're pretty horrified about some of the limited-edition holiday products that have hit the shelves (remember Jones Soda's 2004 Turkey & Gravy Soda, anyone?).

But do you know what's even more horrifying? The fact that we kind of want to try some of them.

Check out these 5 Oddly Alluring Holiday Treats:

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Rise of the Takis

Categories: Snackshot

Photos by John Kiely
Fuegos aren't even the hottest ones.

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have long been the favored spicy snack in many elementary schools. At the school where I taught, the cafeteria sold small bags of them, and several students would sneak the Hot Cheetos out and snack on them in the halls between classes.

I didn't mind. Chris G. would rarely write his name on his papers, but I could always identify his work by the red-orange fingerprints smudged on it.

Then one day, in an enterprising bid to increase revenue, the cafeteria began to sell larger, 99¢ bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. A dozen fourth-grade boys bought bags, and each of them consumed considerably more than one serving.

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