Where were you during the Great Chili-Crisp Craze of 2020? It ranks as barely a blip in that extraordinary year yet still is useful in defining it. Chili crisp—commonly associated with Lao Gan Ma, a brand started some thirty years ago by a noodle-shop owner in China’s Guizhou Province, who became a billionaire after bottling her recipe—is a thick and crunchy chili-oil-based condiment that might include fried garlic, Sichuan peppercorn, sesame seeds, or fermented black beans among its ingredients. It keeps indefinitely and can be used to perk up just about anything, the ultimate shortcut for the home cook. Last spring, it rose to prominence as, arguably, the condiment of the pandemic. A variety produced in Chengdu, Sichuan, by a U.S.-based company called Fly by Jing became a commodity so hot that there was a months-long wait list, and Momofuku’s Chili Crunch sold out within hours of its début.
It goes without saying that Fourth of July parties might look a little different (read “smaller” or, you know, like, nonexistent) this year than they have in the past. This doesn’t mean that all traditions need to fall to the wayside, though. Your music playlist and food spread can still be on point. If you don’t feel like stressing over food prepping or you want a trusted restaurant to corral food in safe, single servings, these spots are here to help. Below, all the restaurant food deals for July 4 that you need to know about. (And for those that are all about a DIY meal, check out our classic Fourth of July recipes. Gather safely!)
The Cheesecake Factory
Throughout the week leading up to Independence Day, The Cheesecake Factory is offering two double cheeseburger “Happy Hour”