Archive for July, 2009

Hope no one gets carded . . .

July 2009

Among the Big O’s many talents, his political slyness may be the best. By inviting the aggrieved professor and the cop who acted stupidly to the White House for a beer, he makes the clear point that the dry drunk all those fool Americans wanted to have a beer with could never have done something so intelligent and conciliatory. One drink and the Chimp would be over the line. Obama can even have a second or third without winding up bruised, battered and bewildered. AA, I see in so many comments, now means African-American. And that’s a healthy first step.

3 stars for the stalls

July 2009

The Chimp’s old lapdog Panchito, meanwhile, may have done a Craig on himself with the TMI that gave new meaning to “put your fingers together and blow” (chunks). We’re now digesting bloggorhea about skid marks and the acid effect on his palate, all lovely thoughts when you contemplate food and restaurants. I guess it’s better than bedding down with Dad. But the funniest result is that his name has now become a verb: Amazing Obamafoodarama saw something sickening and Twittered about immediately wanting “to go and Bruni.” Reviewers, you have your punch line.

Meatloaf photo courtesy of “Regrettable Food”

July 2009

One more sign we are living in end times: Someone actually managed to get a whole book published on ice cream mix-ins. I assume it was the opposite of 101 salads in agate, with “open M&M’s, blend well” in 96-point type over 128 pages.

Did Beard even want people partying in his throne room?

July 2009

Can “I Feel Bad About My Dreck” hustle that movie any harder? Or should the question be: Will there be anyone left to pay to see the thing once the free screenings are exhausted? Countless food bloggers have already been thoroughly co-opted, and food writers with bit parts are doing their swooning part in promoting it, too. But I find it rather amusing that formerly arboreal and other so-called legit media are apparently being asked to keep their reactions to themselves until the official opening (if you can believe one annoyed reporter on the other coast). And I wonder if that all started once the New Yorker got a whiff of turkey.

Looking at shards from both sides now

July 2009

Interesting business plan: You provide the content. They collect the profits.

No one ever went broke underestimating the allure of cloud sourcing, I guess. Plus it’s funny to see an e-operation operating as sluggishly as Thanksgiving-in-July old media. Ain’t no asparagus in farmers’ markets now. And testing with industrial blueberries to publish at the height of local season signals a certain . . . disconnect. Still, Betty Crocker lives — I baked something remarkably similar that very a.m. I guess “she” is just being tweaked for a new generation.

What, no artificial lettuce to be had?

July 2009

Some years ago an editor friend at an important women’s magazine suggested I look into a mysterious phenomenon in food (for sport, not for a fee). A “girl” was said to be making millions with emails on fake food, but at the time some were unsure she even existed. Some, shall we say, suspected she was a front for Big Food — none of “her” recipes ever showcased raw, raw and more raw ingredients, only heavily processed crap combined with even more heavily processed crap. The results may all have been low-calorie, but then so is Tab. Human bodies need natural nutrients.

So I have to say I approached the LAT profile with almost unnatural interest (on the second try, after a blog goaded me, though; the first attempt was thwarted by a miscoded display ad). And of course I found only a timid nod to the head-scratching going on out in the real world. The poor test kitchen even had to test processed crap, and I know from nearly six good years that that team is most comfortable and most adept with what farmers produce with the help of the oldest mother of all.

One of the many reasons I rarely link here is that I don’t want to drive traffic to train wrecks and encourage the addled engineers. And I am not alone. Imagine if a once honorable newspaper had chosen to do what newspapers once did so well and challenged a huge phenomenon whose success runs counter to all that is good. The hits would just keep coming in this viral blogiverse. But that might scare off the advertisers obliterating your stories. Good luck living on little box ads for “lose 25 lbs” and “free Jewish recipes.” How’s that selling-our-souls-to-the-Google working out for downsized journalists anyway?

They know McD’s selling chocolate caliente?

July 2009

One thing came clear from the old white guys on idiot parade in the Senate: Our health insurance fate is in the hands of people trapped in a steak-and-potato past while we’re all eating burritos and banh mis. But at least we’ve come a long way from Coke and hair pie.

Speaking of (mental) Munchkins

July 2009

My faith in the world and the internets was totally restored when I Googled Panchito by surname after the first Tweet popped up on pub day of his huge disgorgement of TMI. Aside from one reference to his silliness over Blue Hill being too predictable for Obama date night, the first 10 pages of blog results were all on Mme Sarkozy. Forget the peephole into his throne room. No one cared if his crust was limp, either.

But does the alcohol burn off in the sauce?

July 2009

Then again, I needed my faith restored after an absurd story on Obama’s taste for the grape, and beer, and, whoa!, tequila. Amazing how the same media that sat by quietly for eight years while a dry drunk sucked on O’Doul’s nonstop can churn out crap about a normal guy’s normal drinking. Imagine what a field day they would have if he “choked on a pretzel.”

“Electricity is not a hobby”

July 2009

The German chef who blew off his hands while attempting “molecular gastronomy” justifiably caused a stir. What it mostly made me realize was that maybe I’m not paying close enough attention, because I can’t think of a single woman chef who is fascinated with turning perfectly good ingredients into science experiments. Then again, only boys light their farts.

Rooster soup by another name

July 2009

Also turning up constantly in my email are those Evian babies doing whatever they’re doing with potentially loaded diapers. But there is something creepier. And it’s that brand Tastybaby, which I see is still around. Do not want, even braised. Jonathan Swift just wasn’t imaginative enough.

Fried chicken on a sugar cane skewer

July 2009

Maybe I was wrong about attendance being off at the food show. Either that or figures lie and liars figure. What was more fascinating was reading that a hundred or so tons of leftover products were donated to City Harvest afterward. Which made me wonder what the hell kind of dinner a poor family would get out of raspberry-fudge-coated tortilla chips and bacon-laced lollipops. Gimmicks make a thin gruel.

OMG, Applebee’s

July 2009

We get the Daily News, but only on Sunday and that partly to remind us we live in a city where people get murdered on a regular basis, information that seems not to matter down at the imperial palace of debt. So I don’t know how the tab covered the invasion of the Canadian doughnuts, but the hometown paper did a heckuva job. Was it only yesterday that Krispy Kreme invaded and reporters wet their high-priced pants? How’s that working out? Not for the first time, or for only this reason, I dread the opening of the Holy Foods near me next month. Stop the internets! A chain has expanded.

But speaking of formerly arboreal media, it’s funny to see newspapers talking about charging for content this late in the game when Cologne chef Patrik Jaros has just put out his cookbook as an iPhone app. Ninety-nine cents here, ninety-nine cents there and pretty soon you’re talking real euros. Meantime, Grub Street has paved a smart new road. Even if it is missing a link. . .

Anyone left to piss off?

July 2009

Oceana’s sayonara to 54th Street was one of the most heartfelt soirees I’ve probably ever experienced, but I also have to say it was also the closest to a hostage situation I’ve been in in a good long while. It even featured what looked like a video of the victim just before the beheading. The accolades went on. And on. Luckily, the downstairs bartender had an Energizer aspect, and the kitchen kept the really sensational food coming as well. (Each of the three chefs responsible for consecutive three-star ratings did three mini-dishes.) Unfortunately, guests were the untrusting sort and were hoovering as fast as the stuff could be sent out. One snapped at a waiter that food was coming too slow upstairs; one waiter snapped at a guy who summoned him over with a full tray: “I’m trying to get these to people who haven’t had 12 already.” But it mostly felt like an end of two eras in one space. When I was in restaurant school, one outing was to the kitchen at what was then Le Cygne in a city where the only serious places were traditional French. And when RM first cooked at Oceana, we went for Bob’s birthday and had a blowaway meal. Lolling on a banquette in a room about to be abandoned, I could remember exactly where we sat and half of what we ate. My friend who had never eaten there found the space gloomy, but that would be like judging the hotel in “The Shining.”

Everyone’s moving west these days, and I wonder how that will play out. When I got home, I rode up in the elevator with neighbors just in from an anniversary dinner way downtown at a French restaurant who said: “There’s money out there. It’s just not seemly to show it.” Pizza is the new brioche.

A tango between whiskey and foxtrot

July 2009

Here’s an idea for a reality show: Top Republican. Miscreants compete to see which one can cook his/her own goose most outlandishly. Winner’s mistress gets a hundred grand. Moose murderer gets gagged with a salmon (I wish). Biggest loser has to go to dinner with Sunday Styles nincompoop. While Ferran Adria laughs his ass off.