Archive for December, 2008

Or, as they say in Trinidad, Mr. Toilet Paper

December 2008

I’m giving up on my apple cart — now I think Chimp piñatas could knock us right out of recession. Fill them with suckers, sell them with shoes.

Grafs with no nuts

December 2008

I have to admit that watching (and watching and watching) one heartsick and furious Iraqi do what the whole world has dreamed of for eight years did get my mind entirely off the inanity of the food world. Leave it to the Silly section, then, to bring me right back to reality TV. What in the name of Allen Funt were they thinking devoting an entire page to the Sarah Palin of chefs, only a week after doing the Chicken Little rap on Depression dining? To quote another train wreck, the whole thing was ragged, fallen and fraying around the edges. But I guess it wasn’t a total waste. I learned you could pick his chopped onions right out of the mirepoix — there’s a talent. Funny that I was laughing at a flackmail with a subject line on “local flare,” and now I hope that’s what we just saw burning out at last.

And the bread is free at Per Se

December 2008

Here’s more proof that “journalists” still don’t get what has happened to this country: Page Six Magazine’s “frugality” feature on Champagne. Rather than springing for a bottle at home in this “Scroog-ier holiday season,” it suggests, you should go out for a glass. At the Campbell Apartment, say, where you can drop $20 on a whiff of Veuve Clicquot, half the price of an entire bottle at even an overpriced liquor store. And really, “snacks” don’t make $29 Ruinart at Daniel a deal. Especially with the A-riffraff hanging out at that bar.

Yawns, in Technicolor

December 2008

Then again, this really is the season for crazy booze. The relocated Kefi has apparently proudly installed an “ouzo shot machine,” which sounds like something that will make you break out in karaoke — imagine hearing “I Will Survive” in Greek. Or don’t. And a new line of vodka has inflicted flavors like “pumpkin pie” and “black truffle” on the world. Maybe the hog logo is not an accident on the latter’s label, though — it could not be more indicative of swill.

Why go out for Spam with steak at home?

December 2008

This is also, unfortunately, the season for skewing facts to fit whatever trend makes a better story. Cynical as I am, I was still astonished to see how many outlets on- and off-line picked up the story on offal consumption rising in England and insisted on putting the hard-times spin on it. Anyone with a nose for tail knows the new appetite for the nasty bits is more about style than subsistence.

Corked nipple

December 2008

The world’s dumbest credentials for a restaurant critic have to be the ones I spotted on some otherwise forgettable website: “I learned everything I need to know about food and wine at my mother’s breast at an early age.” I guess it’s safe to assume chefs who change his diapers get all the stars?

First, we kill all the Realtors

December 2008

Kudos to the City section for attempting to shame all those cretins I still see happily chowing down on the fruits of exploited labor at Saigon Grill. It would be one thing if the food were brilliant, or as cheap as the owners are alleged to be. But how can anyone who has seen the bugs under the flipped-over rock still patronize the place? Says it all, though, that it’s thriving while the Scharffen Berger chocolate shop just a few blocks south has thrown in the nibs. I’m no great fan of the stuff, but as far as I know no cacao growers were harmed in the production of its hot chocolate.

Diet meant Diet, though

December 2008

Among the uncountable pleasures of being able to walk for blocks again is coming across street-level creativity in a city increasingly clogged with above-ground Subways. The other day I passed a Jamaican cart with different sizes of styrofoam trays attached alongside the takeout window, including “Charming, polite, little girl” and “Strong, healthy man.” Guess which one was bigger and more expensive? Clearly, the vendor was a woman who knows from dainty eaters — or at least from scarf-and-barfers.

Yes, Virginia, there are elves

December 2008

Okay, I get it. Readers fly into a tizzy over the size of a kitchen, and somehow the debate centers on equipment. Sounds like a classic case of mistaking the meat for the motion. . . .

Bites will be a little late today

December 2008

I’ve got some shoes to throw. Or mail. Except it’s not funny.

Well, he did give sobriety a bad name

December 2008

Good luck to the Chimp in “creating” a legacy at this late date — Rocco would have better luck. Really, if he were a cook he’d be Typhoid Mary.

Billions and billions and billions

December 2008

If he only had a brain, the Chimp would hire the geniuses who came up with the latest campaign for the wannabe Big Mac. The Gurgling Cod slammed it first, but the ads seem to be working: They’re getting roundly thrashed and trashed everywhere when once they would have instantly faded into oblivion. After all the rainforests are gone, in the next year or so, people will still be marveling that something so offensive could have ever have been produced in a wired world. Now that I’ve vented, though, I’m unfortunately starting to visualize updates of old commercials: Which twin has the Toni, re-shot in the Amazon. Or how about Mikey likes it, in Haiti, maybe? Of course the real offense is the “food” itself, and its cheap allure is not going to end even if “foodies” holler till the cows fall down for someone enlightened as Agriculture secretary. Big Food is a formidable force. And exporting the crap notions only makes things worse — even my latest e-offer from the Molto of India is a set of cookbooks for diabetics. Earl Butz doesn’t have to worry about a legacy. It’s trouble with a capital D.

One for the price of two

December 2008

Williams-Sonoma just emailed to say I could save 70 percent on a panini press, and I don’t think they’re talking $3 down from $10. Actually, I could save 100 percent just by cobbling together one with two skillets. But even that narrowly avoided hustle is not as annoying as NYC’s own Trader Gourmet’s new “New Deal” promos, complete with FDR caricatures, as if a store could be offering Depression salvation when it sells Illy espresso for $4 more than Zabar’s (which is actually not as infuriating as realizing too late that the Carr’s crackers I paid $2.79 for at Fairway are $4.29 at the Food Shitty, which used to be the cheapest place for miles). And I kinda doubt “half-portion entrees” for $20 at the poor man’s Jean Georges are going to save anyone’s bacon anytime soon. Maybe that chalkboard sign I saw outside a takeout shop on Broadway was not kidding about its “beggie” sandwich.

Can’t you buy booze by mail?

December 2008

Sorta interesting to see the new mouth of sustainability showcasing asparagus in December. It would be one thing if the Greenmarkets were barren, but Bialas in my neighborhood had great greenery (and orangery) two days later. (No eggplant, though.) At least Dr. Pollan/Mr. Ray didn’t tout a commercial version of his own recipe just to get the goddamn thing into print one more year, though — and at the top of the chart of the Republican boondoggle-with-veal to boot. Retire that baby already. (Why was I reading this stuff? Mostly because I was looking for the Oo La La, but wasn’t the rest just ads? And that wouldn’t bother me if the selling-out had done anything for my sad stock.) The meanness toward the budding children’s book author continues, too — the peculiar correction on her predating UPI was like a spoof, of “Things Older Than John McCain.”

“Inspired by respect,” indeed

December 2008

As if I can’t get riled up enough on my own, my favorite curmudgeon alerts me to the craven new line of Molto sauces enriched with Ego. Next at the supermarket: Orange Charmin. But even those were not as risible as the “Mexican” pizzas coming from the guy some fools think could actually be in line to be White House pretzel baker. I don’t care if you can find pizza everywhere in Mexico, fat and stupid Americans do not need pizzas with “cilantro and Mexican herbs” in the freezer case. No wonder illegal immigration is down. Imagine struggling across the Rio Grande only to find Chevy’s looking authentic.