Archive for November, 2009

Style du jour

November 2009

And I’m really happy it’s not just me losing it over Panchito’s poor successor, flopping around trying to fill those outsized sneakers. First there was the meh mess; 27 years here and I never knew it was a New York expression. And then there’s the new Bruni Digest, a Miami blogger who has nailed the tics big time. You have to read it to get it. While the ghost of Britchky not so gently weeps. . .

“Some things are not worth exploring or explaining”

November 2009

While I’m in a linking mood, Tweet of the week was from Cynicor, responding to some kkkrazy announcing he/she was off to breakfast with other pro-lifers: “Er– don’t eat the eggs.” And his photo illustration was also priceless. I won’t link to the nonsense the Coven Crier posted, though, on “yams.” This is “culinary journalism” in the age of the Google. Rather than drowning among unreliable sources online, why not make a phone call, or just pull down a solid reference and check your facts? Harold McGee, say, who writes what anyone who knows food knows. Americans eat sweet potatoes. Granny’s ass would not fit a true yam.

Why the Pilgrims invented alcohol

November 2009

The hysteria is bad every year, but for some reason this Thanksgiving is being treated like “The Road” to “2012.” It’s really not the end of the world. It’s just a goddamn chicken dinner with a big bird and extra sides. Why the lunacy has to kick in so far in advance baffles me. And everyone who succumbs to panic is just encouraging the Cassandras. You have only yourselves to blame for Valentine’s angst starting December 14.

And in the annals of ginned-up controversy, sides vs turkey takes the juniper. Especially since it made me embarrass myself by Tweeting about the recipes I couldn’t find so far from the nonsense. Saw them online and wondered how in the hell fresh corn belongs on a November table. I know the oblivious serve asparagus, but fall’s fall. Saint Alice would have a heritage cow. At least this explains why moldy “fresh” ears turned up at the Greenmarket at Union Square on Saturday. As the farmers say, DI/DO readers are a flock of sheep. And not grass-fed.

But your canned peaches won’t get you into heaven anymore

November 2009

The most brilliant entrepreneurial idea of the year is not pickles but pet care for crazy Christians’ left-behind animals after the Rapture. Payment in advance, of course. I’d take in a few pigs for that deal. And if anyone hopelessly deluded wants me to watch over his/her wine cellar, I’m free.

Walkabout

November 2009

One of the too-many-to-count reasons Twitter is addictive is that it lets you rant and get an amen. Like about why a quote whore gets quoted in every fucking story about restaurant trends. Seems to me that someone who’s consulted on something more recent (and, uh, successful) than Sign of the Dove might have a bit more to say. Even funnier, when I checked for a status update I saw the blog-mocker is now . . . blogging. The thing’s a bit dusty, of course, but what’s being mocked on this new blog? Bloggers. Don’t just stand there. Go consult.

Deviled in the details

November 2009

I’m happy to admit I Feel Bad About My Dreck thoroughly redeemed herself with her review of the mismatched cookbooks on Food52. The competition really was like pitting an earnest indie film against a Robert Downey Jr. extravaganza. But the writing and the smarts in her takedown were like the great old days of “Crazy Salad” and “Heartburn.” I’m still not sold on the notion of the great unwashed voting for what’s worthiest with food — in the immortal observation of Mimi, if popularity were all, McDonald’s would be serving the best burgers in the world — but the reviews almost validate the silliness. Icing on the cake was seeing the Drivelist tout that review. As if all those warning words for cookbook authors did not apply. . . .

Culture of wine at the “library,” too

November 2009

No one else wants to even say his name these days, as if the eight-year bender never happened, but I thought the Chimp really outdid himself for shamelessness by showing up at Fort Hood to “visit” the wounded. Imagine being roused from your drug-induced escape to confront that smirk. Must have been like waking up with norovirus and seeing Heston Blumenthal holding warm oysters.

Right to bore

November 2009

And it was a rare misstep by the hyper-image-savvy White House to have Mrs. O pose alongside Molto’s bare flesh and schticky footwear. Even Carla Bruni could not deflect attention as assertively, but hers was visual seduction, not assault. Judging by the reaction in my email, DI/DO should have been delivered with a free bottle of brain bleach. Then again, what better way to get your eat-right-and-exercise message across than standing with poster boys for the second deadly sin?

Monetary Jack? It’ll cost you

November 2009

Twice lately, at Zabar’s and at Holy Foods, I have passed tasting tables where slices of cheese were being offered under something fruity and have felt rather sad. How quickly a brilliant concept devolves into typical American raspberry-chocolate-ranch-Dorito panini. It’s not just fast food that has fattened this country. It’s bastardization and trend mashups. A great cheese is great on its own. It doesn’t necessarily need frosting. But tell that to the people who will wind up schmearing Smucker’s over Kraft’s best. . .

Cough into the subway pole

November 2009

Another day at Zabar’s I saw, at the same moment, people greedily scooping up food samples and a worker walking past in a flu mask. It was just as jarring as considering how amenable New Yorkers are to communal tongs in the mesclun bins in the midst of an epidemic that has hit nearly all 50 states. Maybe it’s proof that lack of universal health care makes us tougher. We can compartmentalize our paranoia.

In lieu of drugs, send turkey lifter

November 2009

One of Neil Young’s best songs has the rocking refrain “piece of crap,” and it will be echoing through my cranial sieve from now until January. Judging by the catalogs piling up around here, Thanksgiving is coming and the consumer’s getting dumb. Does anyone really need a “stuffing cage” to shove up the turkey so you can extract all the nasty bits with more work than using a spoon? It struck me as a poultry speculum, and the cleanup has to be about as appetizing.

Headline Ambien: “Reminiscences”

November 2009

I know a little bit about how political the assignment of reviewers to books can be at a certain publication, so I would really love to know the back story on the choice to assess the latest from one of the most gifted writers at that publication. Maybe his book really is the trudge she evokes in summaries like: “It would be difficult to exaggerate the Edenic profusion.” (WTF is a cheap reaction, I know, but in this case I would add an extra F.) But a writer of that caliber and a book of such interest to his food-obsessed city really deserved a reviewer with, shall we say?, some heft. Maybe a book to her credit at the least? I never thought I would say this, but where the hell was David Kamp?

Chickenhawk steak

November 2009

I’m no fan of MoDo, who gives unmarried menopausal women a very bad name, but I have to admit she knocked one out of the hot dog park in poking Rush the Malevolent Blowhard. As she recalled, when they shared a meal at ’21,’ the man of the little people ordered the high-priced fish eggs plus Freedom wine (Corton-Charlemagne, to be precise). Those were the good old days, before he sent the maid to buy the oxycontin. It’s just too bad his peasants can’t read. He’s very smart to infect them with fear of poisoning from the wrong end of the alimentary canal.

Gordon Ramsay on a wing with a chive

November 2009

I Tweeted this when the great food city of Buffalo issued its official cringe-inducing “tour,” but it’s worth reiterating: I will never understand why producers of food-promo videos think they need to show people eating and reacting. It’s not enticing. It’s disgusting. Not to mention fake. A beef on weck is just a goddamn sandwich, not the second coming (so to speak). The worst part is that a whole generation not raised around a dinner table where manners can be imbued is going to invade restaurants thinking it’s normal to talk with your mouth full and spewing graphically. Be serious. Even Oprah doesn’t read books while imitating Linda Lovelace.

RIverside 02

November 2009

One of my faithful e-correspondents beat the hometown paper to a correction on the obit that identified one of the most identifiable restaurateurs in town as a mere chef. But the bigger issue was with the obit itself. Absolutely not to diss the dead, but the name was not exactly household and the achievement not exactly original. If the chain were in any other neighborhood (aside from Montclair, where, as the saying goes, “the elite retreat”), would it be worth a mention? At least the misidentified was what he always is: gracious.