Staff Picks

Welcome to InsideHook’s Staff Picks, a compendium of all the stuff our editors have been digging on recently. This week, we’re highlighting the condiment we add to the things we consume so they taste a whole lot better.

Justin’s Maple Almond Butter
JUSTIN’S. Oh baby. I think I’ve singlehandedly knocked out three jars in the office kitchen since the start of April. I’ll put any of Justin’s nut butters on anything (preferably cinnamon raisin toast, rice cakes and apple slices), but the Maple Almond Butter is my favorite. Turns out it’s his, too. From King Justin himself: “People always ask me, what’s your favorite flavor? And I think they expect me to give some P.C. answer that I love them all the same, but I don’t because that would be stupid. Nuts can’t read, so whose feelings am I going to hurt? You’re holding what I consider to be the most perfect tasting nut butter on the planet, and I’m not afraid to say it.” GO OFF, JUSTIN! — Tanner Garrity, Associate Editor

Scrappy’s Bitters Classic and Exotic Gift Set Bundle
Bitters are a tiny but essential part of pretty much every great drink, and you don’t just have to use that crusty bottle of Angostura. Scrappy’s is handcrafted in Seattle and arrives in unusual flavors like lavender, chocolate and cardamom — the small sizes here are perfect, because you’re really not gonna go exotic too often. Bonus: Bitters are great in non-alcoholic drinks (add a dash to seltzer to make … less boring fizzy water) and rubbing a drop or two on your hand can pretty much wipe away any lingering odors. — Kirk Miller, Nation Editor/Managing Editor

Sincerely Nuts Shelled Pepitas
Pepitas are tiny pumpkin seeds that actually come from varietals that produce shell-less seeds, unlike the big daddies you’re used to using for Jack ‘O Lanterns. I recommend the toasted and salted variety so you don’t have to toast them and salt them yourself, but if you’re more into DIY dining, better known as cooking, you can buy raw ones and do it yourself, I guess. Pepitas are great because they’re basically a nut, but way cheaper than a nut, and they add a nice crunch when sprinkled on top of things such as a salad or pasta or ice cream, if you want to get crazy with it. And as an added bonus they’re great as tools of revenge, just sprinkle a handful in your girlfriend’s purse or roommate’s backpack after they’ve spited you (once they’ve left the room of course) and you’ve got instant retaliation! They’ll be fishing those suckers out of their bags for weeks! They’re also very nutritious. — Eli London, Director of Partnerships and User Acquisition

Twang Pickle Salt
I discovered this game-changing flavor powder in packet form sitting on the bar at Hotel Vegas in Austin, Texas (one of the better bars in America, IMHO) — after applying a generous dusting to the rim of my ice cold can of Tecate, I can safely say that I will do everything in my power to never enjoy one without it again. — Danny Agnew, Creative Director

Yellowbird Sauce
I met some guy at a wedding a few years ago and we somehow got on the topic of hot sauce. I think it had something to do with the weak stuff they provided with the bland dinner, but the guy started talking to me about this kind he gets in Texas that he really likes called Yellowbird. Since he was from Austin, and I feel like people from Texas know a thing or two about things like stuff they can put on their food to give it a kick in the be-hind (that’s me talking like I’m from Texas), I said, “I’ll check it out,” and I swear I meant it. The Texas guy didn’t believe me, he figured I was just saying that, and made me write down my address. Three weeks later a package arrive, and sure enough, since I opened it and found a bottle of Yellowbird’s habanero flavor, there’s always been a bottle of it in my apartment since then. It’s sort of a perfect all-purpose hot sauce for everything from tacos to marinating. — Jason Diamond, Features Editor

Stonewall Kitchen’s Lemon Herb Aioli
There’s not a single thing I’ve tried with this aioli that wasn’t delicious. It’s creamy but not too thick or heavy like a traditional mayo, so I don’t feel gross after indulging. It’s lemony but not too tart, and garlic-y but won’t kill your breath. It’s perfect in crab cakes, on top of roasted salmon or chicken, on literally any sandwich and hasn’t met a veggie it couldn’t improve. Spread it all over a steak as an over-night marinade and thank me tomorrow. — Ariel Scotti, Senior Editor


Bee Local Hot Honey
Sweet and savory is the combination that gets all the attention, but sweet, savory and hot is actually the more tantalizing option (looking at you Nashville chicken and waffles). Sustainably produced in Oregon, Bee Local’s Hot Honey is exactly what it sounds like and ticks all three of those flavor boxes. Made with spicy yet flavorful scorpion chili peppers, this stuff ain’t fancy but it is very delicious and you will find yourself eating things just to put it on ’em. — Evan Bleier, Staff Writer

Stonewall Kitchen’s Mimosa Jam
The first time I tasted this jam was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a free sample, and I immediately I bought a jar. Every morning for breakfast, I’d spread this light, flavorful blend of oranges and champagne on a piece of toast or bagel until inevitably the jar was empty. And if I had known that the only place you can get this stuff is apparently Gettysburg I would’ve stockpiled. Still to this day I cannot find a jar in store, and I have to order it online, but it is totally worth it. — Logan Mahan, Editorial Intern

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