Archive for September, 2008

One last cup of bile before he goes

September 2008

I missed the Chimp hosting “Fear Factor” on the teevee while I was off at some amazing friends’ very glamorous birthday party (terrace, jazz band, great caterer, winking waiters), but I do hope the myriad manufacturers of antacids seized the opportunity to run commercials for antidotes to the fresh yellowcake. Given that his stooges are rolling over yet again, I can’t wait for the dinner skit where he goes laughingly looking for those weapons of financial destruction he managed to sell. If only an infamous pretzel had been one small chocolate mint. . . .

The Romans had a word for it, starting with V

September 2008

I also enjoyed how the Chimp Wannabe helped seal the deal in DC, by going out for a lavish dinner while the actual negotiators negotiated the Wall Street “stuff” he admits he does not understand. (They got Cosi takeout.) What is most remarkable about that is where he spent the evening. Until his party’s culture of corruption corroded the capital, there was no Mandarin Oriental in that stuffy town. Scumbags who wanted to suck hookers’ toes had to do the deed at venerable joints like the Jefferson. Once again, I marvel at how such a looongtime resident could have written a gushing ode to the new booming restaurant scene and never followed the trail of crumbs from all those kitchens to K Street criminals. And now they’re handing us the $700 billion tab.

Or they could melt Ben & Jerry’s

September 2008

Some days you wonder how the Onion comes up with material when the real news is so silly. I just spotted a piece dutifully reporting on a dairy that’s marketing chocolate milk as a sports drink. And Snickers is one hell of an energy bar.

Or, as they text it, ho

September 2008

I see Andrew Cuomo’s paramour is getting her own magazine, which means more trees will be squandered for pap, more oil will be wasted getting said pap from printing plant to newsstands. If they want to publish, have her people not thought about matching the content to the carrier with this crazy new thing called Twitter? You don’t even have to make it from scratch.

Keffiyah, meet kibble

September 2008

Just as ridiculous is Yummo for dogs. Why doesn’t she take it to the obvious extreme and slap her name on toilet paper, too? Cover both ends of the alimentary canal? And do they really think the world is dumb enough to believe she “created” the recipes? That is a job best left to the nutrition experts, not even to developers for hire. She could be scarier than melamine. Most revealing is the description of the line as “charity-driven.” Read the fine print and you’ll see “a portion of the proceeds” will be donated. Paul Newman, with every penny turned over from his products (including pet food), can truly rest in peace.

Please don’t eat the raisins

September 2008

This has to be one of the lamest full-page ads ever: A big nut company swallows a smaller snack food company and takes the opportunity to tout its “culinary nuts.” That adjective drives me batshit insane to begin with, but can you not eat walnuts straight from the bag, too? Must they only be used for cooking? And wouldn’t it be better to be promoting those unsalted, un-glopped-up nuts as a healthful snack anyway? What the world needs now is culinary potatoes. Or, even better, culinary corn.

91 points for mouthwash

September 2008

File this under How to Stretch a Lobster With Steak: A wine writer decides to go bargain hunting and sets the bar at $20  — while those of us out in the real world are wondering what’s good for $5 these days. But I suppose newspapers still need to pander to the suffering who have to cut corners on nose jobs and private jets in tight times. And I guess it’s better than $400 worth of caviar in a single sauce. Clearly, language is not the only reason no one reading print saw the greatest photo of the last week: At a rally on Wall Street, a protester holding up a sign reading, “Jump, you fuckers!”

See your black beans, raise you mayonnaise

September 2008

My suspicion that the crazy increases in food prices could not be blamed on the usual suspects, or even natural causes, was confirmed by the WSJ’s front-page story on allegations of collusion among egg and milk producers. You know everyone is just jumping on the greed wagon anymore, certain there will be no accounting for evil as long as the personification of it remains in office. And I guess we are supposed to consider ourselves lucky our milk is only afflicted with gouge pricing, not poison as it is in Lender Nation. Or at least it is not so far. The USDA seems to be ramping up its “let the consumer beware” campaign and distributing food handling information rather than forcing beef producers et al. to clean up their shitty act. Can you imagine what it will be like when there is no money left for inspections because the banks ate it all? The only justice will be that fat cats will be accidental coprophagists, too. But literally, this time.

Add 1.8 percent for gullibility

September 2008

Long ago I decided my last meal should be in France, but I never imagined it might precede euthanasia. Or that it might flash before my eyes before my cappuccino. Could the salvation of the cuisine have been made any more soporific? A good writer meets a great topic and readers nod right off. It was still better, though, than the latest installment of Butt Boy for Eli. When the kicker turns out to be “never mind,” you wonder why the damn thing even ran, except to provide just what he intended, a promo for a store where prices are already so absurd I have often calculated it would be cheaper for shoppers to take a cab across town to the real Zabar’s. But the guy, to his credit, does pony up for an awful lot of advertising, especially starting right about now. High holy days, indeed.

Will there be burgers in heaven?

September 2008

Looks as if one editor went from the saute pan straight into hellfire, from a forced obsession with Korent to the poor man’s Zagat. But he might have landed on the right level. Even the people’s choice award did not go to Chang. Then again, Bobby Flay rules.

Cholla buds and Tuscan olive oil

September 2008

Speaking of whom, I dragged myself off as I do every year to a certain state tourism event solely to see how badly my birthplace is getting dragged through environmental hell with fountains and spas. This year was even more unsettling than usual because the organizers had decided to downsize the venue, which is, admittedly, a very good way of making a McSame-worthy crowd look like an Obaman mob. I managed to get in and out without uttering the words “state rape,” but it was tough when I saw photos of the hideous hotel that has been installed in what really is a natural cathedral, Monument Valley. Even the salsa trail the same promoter was touting as a way of drumming up interest in a dead zone to the southeast was not redemption enough. Depressing as it all was, I did spot a stealable idea: the incredible shrinking hors d’oeuvre. Waiters were passing out crab cakes and risotto bites the size of nickels. And I mean minuscule. If the pros can get away with that, I’m going with quarters at my next party.

Once you’ve had black . . .

September 2008

When I was a kid, almost the biggest treat at Thanksgiving was olives. Straight from the can. I still have an exploitable weakness for them, bizarre as they are in comparison to the kind sold from bacteria bars everywhere, because they are so junky (really, even Velveeta makes the best chile con queso). So I was actually looking forward to trying the new incarnation of California’s finest, proudly processed without artificial preservatives and water. The good news is that I can’t quote Biff Grimes’ immortal line “give me pesticides and flavor” with conviction, because they taste the same as they ever did. The bad news is that they have lost literally half their appeal. They are no longer shiny black but more matte (the polite way of saying shit) brown. And they certainly don’t gleam as tantalizingly when attached to fingertips. On pizza, they’ll look like mouse droppings. Even if they are labeled Colossal.

My kingdom for a Katz’s photo op

September 2008

The Moose Murderer has already proven herself beyond qualified to succeed the worst president ever, and not just because she comes across as developmentally disabled in interviews. Sequestered in Philadelphia, where she greeted not voters but “fans” in an Irish bar before the debate, she ordered the requisite cheesesteak with the proper processed crap rather than elitist cheese. Viola, as they say in wingnuttia — election accomplished. Mr. Heinz, eat your heart out.

MBAs are fungible

September 2008

In one scary week, it was surprising how reassuring it was to see the Chimp photographed repeatedly with wineglass in hand, toasting at the fancy dinners he felt compelled to follow through on as his cronies worked away on the great tax heist. If he was hammered, at least he was not trying to help. The tab would be twice as high, and he’d be walking out on the check.

All aboard the late train

September 2008

I’m revising one of my favorite sayings again, the one about how there are no new stories, only new reporters. Now it’s going to be: “There are no new restaurants, only newly hired flacks.” How else to explain why a place I Trailed last April — after hearing about it from a neighbor last winter — suddenly turns up not just in DI/DO but also on a sober blog? Both used some variation on “recently opened” to describe it, too. I guess compared to Cafe Luxembourg it is. And free is a very good price for dinner.