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NO FORK, NO PROBLEM! A hands-on approach to summer dining

Summer is back and we’re digging in hands-first

By Emily booth  |  Photos by Roneil Chavez

Behold, the season of fun is upon us! Longer days and warmer nights give way to summer breeze and culinary ease. The cuisine we love becomes as playful as the season itself, as finger food and shared plates return to the party. Jump into summer and ditch the silverware for these forkless favorites.

1. Spice & Rice

It’s not every day that you get to eat Thai food with your hands, but the Golden Moon Appetizer is a chance to do just that. Wrapped in egg paper and fried to golden brown perfection, these playful little pockets are packed with curry powder, minced chicken, potato, peas and carrots. Couple these with a side of cucumber salad for that perfect curry cool down.

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2. The Broken Yolk

Breakfast is perhaps the best time of day to give the fork the back seat. Set the day’s tone with a fun approach to food with this Waffle Sandwich. Yep, you read that correctly. Fluffy scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese and applewood-smoked bacon are pressed between two Belgian waffles to create a handheld phenomenon. Dunk it in some maple syrup for that perfect combination of sweet and savory. This is how you rise and shine.

3. Elixir

Sunny SoCal days call for food that suits it, like the Mediterranean Panini. Get your hands on this pressed sandwich, featuring sautéed zucchini and red peppers, hummus, creamy feta cheese and Kalamata olives. Perfecting the delicate balance of light and rich, this handheld can easily be enjoyed on the go, or on San Diego’s own version of the Med. Pro tip: Keep your other hand company with a cold-pressed juice.

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4. Americana

The slider just might be the ultimate handheld food, but this version of it might have you reaching a little faster. These Pastrami Sliders are built upon savory roasted garlic rolls and are bound together by tangy grain mustard and melted swiss cheese. A side of black pepper rye au jus seals the deal, creating the perfect fusion of flavors at this fork-free party. Grip, dip, repeat.

5. Pumarro

Forks aren’t invited to pizza parties and that’s just a fact. Sorry, we don’t make the rules, we just obey them. This Neapolitan-style Pizza Vegetariana will have you licking your fingers and praising the pizza gods. Cooked in a woodfire oven, this masterpiece is topped with grilled red peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, soft mozzarella and fresh basil. This is what hands were made for.

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6. Girard’s Gourmet

“The bigger, the better” has never been truer than when it comes to sandwiches, and the Grilled Gerard Gourmet Special is living proof of such a claim. Turkey and bacon are piled high on grilled Italian bread along with all the fixings. Tomatoes, roasted red peppers, avocado, sprouts, mayo and provolone turn this dish into a two-handed situation. Bring your best appetite.

7. Pomodoro

You’re never too old for fried finger-food. Case in point? The classic Calamari Fritti. Lightly breaded then deep fried, a simple combination of squid and zucchini creates a playful, but sophisticated dish—no cutlery necessary. A squeeze of fresh lemon and a side of marinara make this antipasti a top-pick on our list. Save room for the secondi!

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You don’t need an excuse to eat with your hands, but we gave you a few anyway. Get a little dirty and dig into the handheld lifestyle this summer with laid back eats and bite-sized treats. Whether you grip, grab, dunk or dip, don’t forget to have fun with it!