Welcome to Off-Menu, where we'll be rounding up all the food news and food-adjacent internet ephemera that delighted, fascinated, or infuriated us this morning.
- Over the weekend, as reported by the New York Post, women started tweeting about their experiences having their drinks drugged at Staten Island's The G.O.A.T. bar, and now owner Chris Shaleesh is taking steps to make the scene safer for patrons. He alerted the NYPD, hired plainclothes security guards, and is no longer serving alcohol in open glasses at night. Beer will be served in bottles and all other drinks will be in lidded cups—all of which are decent attempts to manage the unfortunate reality of men just roaming around wrecking havoc. Though I suppose it does beat trying to reason with dudes who would roofie a woman's drink.
- The last pay-what-you-can location of Panera Cares in Boston will close on February 15 after six years. The fast-casual chain had already shuttered all the other outposts of their nonprofit arm—which relied on suggested donations to cover the costs of customers who couldn't afford to pay for meals—around the country. “During its six years in operation, we served meals with dignity to everyone who walked through our doors. Despite our commitment to this mission, it’s become clear that continued operation of the Boston Panera Cares is no longer viable," Panera said in a statement to Boston.com.
- José Andrés attended the State of the Union last night at Nancy Pelosi's invitation and wore a shirt that said "IMMIGRANTS FEED AMERICA" under his suit jacket. All of the sartorial displays of anti-Trumpism were a welcome spot of sanity in an otherwise maddening evening—but the man at the center of the whole spectacle remains president.
- If you stole a 200-pound decorative burger from just outside Shuswap Grill Gourmet Burgary in British Columbia, please return it and report immediately to USA Strongman nationals.
- Would you eat Japanese ramen chain Kourakuen's Valentine's-special chocolate ramen (the rest of the dish is still savory and pork-based)? Maybe a bite, but I can't imagine it being very good.
- How about Japan’s Freshness Burger's fruit-topped burgers, which come in blueberry, peach, and mango? Sure, although the patties themselves look strangely both over-cooked and yet under-seared.
- And what about an okonomiyaki burrito—stuffed with sliced cabbage, red pepper, meat, cheese, and topped with savory sauce—from the Osaka outpost of Taco Bell? Yes, def.
Olga Shishkov, a mechanical engineer at Georgia Tech, wanted to know how black soldier fly larvae in the above video were able to devour a 16-inch pizza so quickly and thoroughly (it took them two hours; the video shows a time lapse). And so she researched it and published the results (they eat in five-minute shifts!) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, which is why she is a scientist, and I'm just here thinking about how happy I am for the lil guys.
Lizzo's Tonight Show performance of "Juice," which is the only song I want to listen to these days.
Buy This Bucket
Four pounds of animal crackers should last you, oh, the entire rest of your life and then some.