Archive for May, 2010

Mutton tartare

May 2010

Thanks, Twitter. I just learned “unassuming writing style” is a great euphemism for “drivel.”

Pretzel illogic

May 2010

I might not be the only one convinced the hometown paper is killing itself with a 24/365 approach to publishing with no copy editors on board. I read the garbled take on two iPad apps for recipes and went straight to the Google to see if the byline might not be on the take. Instead I saw he had posted that word salad online more than a month before the paper went on sale for $2 a copy. Remind me why I spring for a subscription? (Oh, I know. I like to see the ratio of house ads to paid placements.) But given how stretched everyone appears to be down Señor Slim way, I’m almost saddened to see both the JGold Wannabe and Panchito having to produce even more poorly vetted copy. The former should be able to handle it, fresh as he is to the marathon/megaphone, but the latter is going to be talking to Ralph on the big white telephone on a regular basis. Back to Round One. . .

No zebras on the walls

May 2010

Speaking of which, the 46 months I invested in my second stint at the NYTimes were not totally in vain. I did get to go to Rao’s on the tab thanks to connections, and so I pity everyone squandering real money on the auction for reservations, at $5,000 a head minimum. As I think I’ve written, I remember not a detail of the mediocre food we ate that night. But I will never forget the boss coming out of the men’s room and relating the exchange he overheard Al D’Amato having with “Little Al” — “You’re a good guy; you don’t ask for much.” I don’t think you’ll get that with the eBay antipasto.

Paper or plastic?

May 2010

After the WSJ’s fascinating but depressing piece on hyped-up flavors in processed crap, I griped over at the Epi-Log that fresh fruit doesn’t get enough marketing muscle behind it. And then what should appear in the pile of mail on our doormat but a CD from the watermelon promotion people. As my consort wondered: Watermelon needs promotion? It is, to quote the packet, an American icon. Unfortunately, we both know from traveling to 12 states in 1992 for our ill-fated harvest book that farmers are almost always shaken down for marketing money that mostly goes into lobbyist pockets. But it’s still sad to see a product that retails for literally pennies a pound had potential profits siphoned off to pay some chef somewhere to come up with watermelon . . . caprese. Much as I love mozzarella, bacon would almost have been a better partner. And, to quote Ogden Nash, liquor is quicker. A bendy straw and some vodka and watermelons would sell themselves.

Bacon brownies

May 2010

My consort went to NOLA for 10 days and all I got was a clutch of magazines and menus, plus a baffled look at my wondering whether he smelled the oil geyser. As bad as it is, apparently it’s still a long way from stinking up the magic city. But he did taste the future, and it was meat. About the only fish he encountered was halibut, which is not from around there. Maybe it’s no coincidence that nose-to-tail eating has taken off so wildly in the last few years. With no seafood fit to eat, we’ll need all the offal we can get. At least it will be safe for the Bitterman. He won’t have to worry about getting flummoxed by speckled trout again.

Whack-a-mole

May 2010

I’ll leave the Rocco trashing to those who care, but I can’t stop obsessing on “¡I Cooked at the White House!” Already feels as if he’s been milking his 15 minutes for longer than Andy Warhol has been dead.

Stick a Deen in it

May 2010

I spotted crabmeat from the Gulf at Chelsea Market the other week and realized it might be the last in my lifetime. And no surprise who’s partly responsible for this eco-catastrophe. If only the NYTimes had had Panchito on the eats beat in 2000, not ambling after a failed oilman and spinning him as harmlessly affable. The world might have been spared blackened everything.

“Open bag and stir”

May 2010

The Daily News apparently does not read blogs. Otherwise it would not have embarrassed itself with: “Nobody doesn’t like Sandra Lee, Andrew Cuomo’s girlfriend.” Or maybe it was right. People don’t not like her. The consensus verb appears to be hate.

Mexican for Mexicans was a good idea, though

May 2010

The most unseemly striptease ever was the slipping off of chef’s whites for two weeks leading up to 15 minutes at the White House. I think at one point there were 829 news items to be found about it, and that was even before the mole had muddied up the Wagyu. (Never let protocol and letting the hostess announce the menu get in the way of self-promotion.) You’d never know Maricel Presilla managed to do a dinner there without all the grandstanding. For Kass’s sake, I think even the top Tin Chefs were less self-aggrandizing. No wonder the attention whores thought they could crash the dinner again. Security had its hands full just trying to monitor the kitchen Tweets.

Half-and-half and one Splenda, pls

May 2010

New rule for processed crap: If it’s nutritionally worthless, it’s got a huge “multi-grain” label on it. The latest is whatever that stuff is that’s packaged in tennis ball tins. If I were a devotee, I’d be annoyed that my junk favorite was being made healthful. No one eats chemicals bound with rice flour for a good reason.

(In other nutrition nuttiness, I liked the study that came out showing industrial sausage is worse for you than plain steak. You think? In other news, water’s wet.)

Soup Nazi or libertarian?

May 2010

As I Tweeted, the first meal I ever ate alone in public was at a Woolworth’s counter, when I was getting ready to drop out of college and move to Nebraska and was training myself to do things I would be forced to in a city where I knew no one. I never would have imagined such an all-American emblem would one day be forgotten, but all the civil rights kerfuffle over the Teabaggers’ little white hope kept mentioning Walgreen’s. Which is doubly odd because that chain is relatively new to New York. At least it was somewhat amusing to think there’s a whole generation who thinks you buy food at the drugstore and cannot imagine sitting down and eating in one, let alone trying to integrate it.

We’re all angry white people now

May 2010

I probably should be more worried about the next book from My Biggest Fan, but what I won’t read can’t hurt me. (Some “friend” or reader will report, I’m sure; he’s very good for traffic.) And I did survive the Porcine Pantload’s straining at stool, after all. Until any acid hits, though, I am enjoying seeing one thing reaffirmed: It’s hard out there for a Schnorrer.

Tagliatelle caprese, too

May 2010

Maybe Jean-Georges is stretching himself way too thin. Got an e-release from his people touting his mozzarella, tomato and basil pizza. There’s a novel idea. I guess as a pizza margarita it would not sell the same.

Last meal on UES Row

May 2010

Speaking of top chefs, though, I increasingly wonder why, whenever they’re interviewed about what they like to eat, no one ever asks about aspirational food. I was guilty of that with Danny Meyer once (Popeye’s), but these days people seem to need far more knowledge about what’s possible on the plate, not about low-end pleasures. It’s no surprise everyone eats crap. What’s the best thing at the top of the food chain? I would rather J-G, say, admit he loves the foie gras marble on that menu more than a Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme. Maybe it’s all part of a culture where 2 percent of the population controls like 90 percent of the wealth, and it makes people with restaurants all over the world safely sound like jes’ folks. We should all shut up and eat our buffet lasagne; it’s what the Trumps do.

Pluralizing with an apostrophe

May 2010

And I admit I waste way too much of my limited mental energy paying attention to what comes out of the mouths of snake oil salesmen hawking gold to dupes. But I have to say Glenn Beckkk hit a funny low with his attack on his attacker, setting up a whole site devoted to “weiner” mockery. This is why kids should get educated, and not at home. So they learn it’s I before E when you’re trying to call someone a dick.