Three words on elBulli: Make it stop. It’s impossible to parody at this point, no matter how jealous you are you missed the helicopter. So up that to five words: Make it fucking stop. Please.
Archive for May, 2011
And it’s taken me forever to focus this week, but I have more over on Trails. Including on Smorgasburg, where it was disturbing to see youngstahs building businesses on unsustainable ingredients. (Garlic from China? What, no exploding melons were available for rind-pickling?)
All those fools who voted for a dry drunk they wanted to have a beer with must have been happy to see what the Chimp said he was eating when he got the Osama news: a fucking soufflé. Just the sort of Freedom Food you’d crave after clearing brush. But my favorite detail is that the restaurant, which also boasts of serving very American “vin et Champagne,” has to define its signature offering on its website for the rubes — “a fluffy baked dish made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites.” Which sounds a bit like yellowcake, non?
And I’m blaming the Reagan grave robbers for the disturbing phenomenon of Zombie Gourmet. I would be entirely unaware of it if not for the poor soul tasked with flogging new posts, whose doctor, I really hope, is named Kevorkian. Parisian myths, debunked? The genealogy of eggs Benedict? What is this, morning in America, 1983?
This is a bit of a ReTweet, but as I was inundated with e-releases on a cupcakery expanding to NYC, all I could think was: I read Sprinkles and think Annie. Hold the lemonade, please.
No matter how much a chef gets paid in this life, he will pay again in the next for actually coming up with a recipe for guacamole that calls for the most unlikely ingredient: beer. What is that, a streamlined way to scarf and barf? Why not hold out for the big bucks and get a tequila deal? Make that yawn truly Technicolor.
As everyone addicted to it knows, Twitter is the wrong room for an altercation. But as everyone addicted it to it also knows, it is very hard to resist low-hanging baited fruit. So I should have clicked faster when I saw a big name in food wondering if anyone in my part of this little island had actually eaten at a restaurant most of us in these parts had never even heard of. But my point — who but a Brooklynite looking for fodder would bother? — got lost. I guess I came off the dummy for not having succumbed to acknowledging a place that, if it survives, will only do so for a few years because of the old location, location maxim. Having lived up in these parts for going on 30 years, though, I’m not too worried. With a plethora of restaurants opening as canteens for the priciest co-op in the city, the mediocrities that traditionally survived thanks to proximity to Lincoln Center curtains may have to try a little harder. As in: Make the natives restless. Or at least aware.
I was treated to a cappuccino this week by a true Southern gentleman, with the usual awkward moment in an afternoon encounter: We had needed somewhere to meet for coffee around 3, and our waiter needed to close out his dealings before we moved on ourselves. Is there no better method than having the poor guy approach the table and ask us to settle up? I was a waitress in college (and for exactly one day after dropping out and moving to Lincoln, Nebraska), and even diners (places, not people) had a rule that the customer was always a guest — a new waitress simply stepped in and turned the tip over the next day. I guess this is just another example of how computers have dehumanized the world. And I’d like to think if we had not, at my stupid suggestion, met in the dread TWC it might have been different. But, as they would never say in a city where you can linger forever: J’doubt it.
Not sure how I wound up slogging slack-jawed through the Egopedist’s post pegged to “Tomatoland,” but I clicked away feeling as if I had just watched him not just dissing a waiter for wearing a bad toup but pissing all over the table. What kind of narcissist could helicopter into one of the most horrific farm-crime scenes in America and buzz right out blissfully blogging about his next high-end adventures? Thank the nightshade gods the barely unenslaved tomato pickers do not have access to the series of tubes. I’m sure they would totally appreciate the idea that “one needs a little downtime, after all.” Jeebus. And people mock his Spain fellow traveler?
Over at my Dr. Jekyll outlet, I’ve already commented on the idiocy of a cake mix company trying to re-target its crap to Food Network followers it thinks might be willing to put in two and a half hours on a dessert from a box. But in retrospect Ms. Hyde started dwelling more on the apparent naiveté of the reporter who brought the marketing campaign into the Timeslight. His last graf noted that Duncan Hines “began attaching his name to food products.” Licensing/franchising, you mean? I believe that’s called selling out.
I’m sure I’ve recited one of my mantras many times: You can refuse to grow up, but you still grow old. And the downside to that is that your cranial sieve collects all the wrong bits. In the case of the JGold Wannabe’s review this week, that would be the fact that the shift-shaping restaurant of the week has had many game-changers over the decades. Who needs to reach into the way-back machine for Stieglitz and O’Keeffe when the JBeard Wannabe is so recent? Face it: If a name chef and a reinvention could lure New Yorkers into that desolate canyon, Mr. Artisanal might (might, I say) still be there.
While I’m talking worshiping the wrong god, I keep thinking of the auction of Bernie FlimFlam’s liquor collection. Way too much of it was made up of mini-bottles. Most news outlets suspected he’d raided minibars. But they sounded more like high-flying booze. Only in steerage do you pay.
My biggest fan seemed a bit miffed when I Tweeted that the Beard awards are not the Oscars of food but the Golden Globes. Apparently his great mind had run into the same gutter first. But it struck me on reading all the frothing coverage that the awards would be worth so much more if they were handed out the way the movie Oscars are, by a jury of peers. Instead, you get the industry, the dilettantes, the journalists acting like film critics from furrin countries. Nothing proved my point more than the pen wielder formerly known as Mr. Cutlets jumping into the fray with a “real” story on the awards. He nattered about the NYC winner winning more for her book than her restaurant, then segued into his butt-hurt over not winning for his “journalism.” The FlimFlammer must be so envious. Enron on 12th Street has come up with the perfect scam. Co-opt food writers and they’ll swallow whatever smoke you blow our your ass.
Speaking of this Beardshit, though, I can’t be the only woman stunned by the bizarre coverage in the hometown paper — not in the party pages but in the food and under-advertised-wine section — of two restaurateurs who won a big award. Readers learned almost nothing about their Basque boardinghouse (note: one fucking word) and everything about what rubes these Bakersfieldsians be. Christ on a Continental Trailways. Probably three-quarters of the “winners” were just as new to the rotten apple. Why shit all over women with what appeared to be an authentic “heartland” story to share? Besides: Either one could undoubtedly write a more sophisticated wine column. Even though probably neither “loves” barolos. The new reefer should be “are you sauvignon-savvier than a fifth-grader?” Mme Ami has carved out a wonderful new life. But oh, the wine columns she could have done. . . .
I saw a fair amount of mean-spirited chortling over the Big O joking that no one should get between his wife and a tamale. But once again, the way they eat illustrates how far this big old melting pot has come. Am I the only one old enough to remember when Gerald Ford humiliated himself by stuffing a tamal into his pie hole husk and all?