Don’t Eat Raw Beef, USDA Warns Everyone — But Especially Wisconsinites

Different households have different Christmas traditions. For instance, some people like to hang stockings by the chimney with care, and other people like to eat sandwiches made of raw ground beef. I’m not going to say which of these traditions is right and which is wrong… but the USDA will. This week, the agency once again warned the public against eating raw beef in the form of “cannibal sandwiches.”

For those outside of the Midwest — and especially Wisconsin where the cannibal sandwich is apparently most popular — the dish is essentially a take on steak tartare served on rye or some other bread or cracker. In a 2013 Associated Press report, Milwaukee historian John Gurda described cannibal sandwiches as a festive food with German and Polish roots served during times like weddings, funerals, and, yes, Christmas and New Year’s. Of course, steak tartare is a dish commonly served around the world, but even then, consuming raw meat always comes with some risk, and what appears to make cannibal sandwiches even more problematic is that they are often homemade, potentially leaving questions about where the beef came from and how it was handled and prepared.

So as it has in the past, the USDA has come down hard on the tradition. “With each holiday season, there are hundreds of people in the Midwest who are sickened after eating cannibal sandwiches,” the agency wrote in the warning. “In fact, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services stated that there have been eight outbreaks in that state linked to the consumption of raw ground beef since 1986.”

“Don’t become a statistic this year. Raw meat is never safe to consume,” the USDA continues. “If cannibal sandwiches are a tradition in your home, try this safe alternative: cook the ground beef with the same spices and toppings, until it reaches 160°F, and serve it on top of bread or crackers. You may be surprised to find that it tastes better when cooked! Not to mention, you won’t be risking a trip to the hospital with every mouthful.”

With a visual like that, the USDA certainly makes a convincing case. Still, if the past has taught us anything, it’s that many Midwesterners have another holiday tradition: not listening to the USDA’s advice.


Taco Bell Is Testing A $1 Beefy Potato Flatbread, And We Want One ASAP

Taco Bell, keep the exciting test items coming, please! The chain is testing a Buffalo Chicken Nachos Box in North Carolina, and Taco Bell fans in the Cincinnati, Ohio area get to try a new item, as well. The Beefy Potato Flatbread seems like a handheld version of the amazing Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.

According to Taco Bell, the Beefy Potato Flatbread “features a warm flatbread loaded with seasoned potato bites, seasoned beef, warm nacho cheese sauce, and melted cheddar cheese.” For those of you always reaching for the Fire sauce at T-Bell, you can add some spice to the flatbread with jalapeños. If the description isn’t making you drool, the price will. It’s only ONE dollar.

The Beefy Potato Flatbread is available as part of a $5 Box, as well. The box comes with a Doritos Locos Taco, Crunchy Taco, Cinnamon Twists, and a medium drink. Taco Bell locations in Cincinnati will begin testing the Beefy Potato Flatbread on December 27.

Since I don’t live in Cincinnati, looks like I’ll be asking for Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes with seasoned beef, and a flatbread on the side at my local Taco Bell. There’s your Beefy Potato Flatbread hack. You’re welcome!

McDonald’s Is Bringing Back Its 2 For $5 Deal, And And It Includes Cheesy Quarter Pounders This Time

Sometimes when you’re going to McDonald’s, you don’t want to have to choose just one of your favorite items to order. The chain is bringing back a deal that will take the tough decision out of the equation.

Beginning tomorrow, McDonald’s is bringing back its 2 for $5 Mix & Match deal, so “customers can choose two craveable and delicious menu items at a great value,” per a press release. A fan favorite has made its way on the new 2 for $5 menu—the Quarter Pounder with cheese.

Other options for the deal include a Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, and 10-piece Chicken McNuggets. You should take advantage of the cheap deal soon, though, because it’s re-launching as a limited time offer (as the $6 Classic Meal Deal is concluding).

McDonald’s is also “enhancing” the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu at the beginning of January, allowing local markets to offer food and drinks on the menu “with greater flexibility, while also meeting the tastes and preferences of their local customers.”

Might I suggest hitting up the 2 for $5 deal with a pal after a night out? A Big Mac will absolutely cure what ails you…

This Nashville Bar Turned Into A Christmas Wonderland For The Entire Month Of December

Also in the decked-out, floor-to-ceiling-festive space: inflatable Santa Clauses, penguins chilling in helicopters, and candy canes, plus wreaths, because of course. Even the food and drinks got a makeover, with Christmas-themed cocktails like Jack’d Skellington and Red Ryder Rosé.

Check the bar’s website for more information on special events; There are Christmas costume parties, ugly sweater parties, and more coming up before December ends. And on December 29, the last night of Reindeers Games’ run, there will be a farewell closing party starting at 8 p.m.


Taco Bell Unveils Massive $1 Burritos as Part of New Value Menu

Last year, Taco Bell pledged to add 20 new items to its dollar menu by the end of 2018—and now, with less than three weeks to go, it looks like they’re making good on that promise. Today the fast food chain made two important announcements. One: Taco Bell’s $1 Cravings menu is no more. But—stay with us here—their $1 offerings will now appear on the new Cravings Value Menu, which features items in the $1 to $5 range (this could be semi confusing for the late-night, post-party crowd). And two: they’re marking the launch of said Cravings Value Menu by rolling out two new $1 grande burritos.

The Chicken Enchilada Burrito combines seasoned rice, shredded chicken, red sauce, and cheddar cheese, while the Three Cheese Nacho Burrito—a nacho burrito!—brings together seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, red tortilla strips, and a three-cheese blend. Both new menu additions will be available starting Thursday, December 27, and, leading up to that date, Taco Bell will launch an ad campaign featuring “fantastical and surreal” burrito imagery.

“Sometimes even our most devout fans tell us that it can be hard to believe that food this good can also be this affordable. Taco Bell truly offers ‘value beyond belief,’ and this campaign dramatizes that,” Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in a company press release.

Back to that Cravings Value Menu! It’ll be divided into a $1 Tacos and Burritos category (that’s where you’ll find fan favorites like the Spicy Potato Soft Taco, the Beefy Fritos Burrito, and the Cheesy Bean & Rice Burrito), a Specialties category (home to Triple Layer Nachos, Cheesy Roll Ups, the Spicy Tostada, and Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadillas), and a $5 Box section, presumable filled with combo meals (Taco Bell didn’t provide any additional details there, but we expect we’ll hear more closer to the drop date).

Baskin-Robbins’ New Caramel Cappuccino Cheesecake Ice Cream Is All The Best Flavors In One

Baskin-Robbins’ December Flavor of the Month puts any other basic holiday flavor to shame. The new Caramel Cappuccino Cheesecake ice cream is just as decadent as it sounds, and it’s filled with some of your favorite sweets.

The flavor begins with cheesecake- and coffee-flavored ice cream, which really would be enough on its own, TBH. That’s then churned with cappuccino toffee and cheesecake pieces, adding some good textures in there. The icing caramel on the cake is a salted caramel swirl, bringing the caramel, coffee, and cheesecake flavors together.

Baskin-Robbins posted about the newcomer on Facebook and people seemed very eager to try it. One user tagged someone and wrote, “I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything so bad in my life.”

Although we’re only a few days into December, New Year’s Eve will be here before you know it and Baskin-Robbins is offering guests a regular or kids-sized scoop of ice cream for $1.50 that day at participating locations. I know what flavor I’m getting!

Here’s How To Get Free Starbucks This Weekend

From Friday, December 14 to Sunday, December 16, Starbucks is offering BOGO free drinks, so the weekend just got even better.

The promotion is for buy one, get one free espresso beverages (size grande or larger) and hot chocolates (any size) after 3 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So treat your friend to a coffee on Friday, and they can return the favor Saturday?

Per usual, you’ll get the offer if you’ve signed up for Starbucks Happy Hour or are a Starbucks Rewards program member. If you’re signed up for Happy Hour, you will get a code via email to use at your local Starbucks, and Starbucks Reward members are notified by email.

Happy sipping!