Archive for March, 2013

Faux faux fur on the ham

March 2013

Sort of just back from Buffalo, I’ve obviously been discombobulated by how flashy fud news is getting. One day it’s all horsemeat all the time, the next it’s OMG BBQ (editor). Before you food-process it, two weeks have gone by . . .

“Pop” goes the Jim Beam

March 2013

But I wrote this, so I’m posting this: Real wingnuts don’t drink the KoolAid. Soda’s what’s bringing them down. First the bartender who exposed Rmoney as a soulless money grubber comes out to say he was motivated to videograph after not getting even a thank-you for pouring the sugar water. Then the Wasilla Hillbilly “goes down on a Big Gulp” and tries to turn it into Liberty symbolism. Apparently immigrants are welcome, as long as they come clutching half a gallon of Freedom Fizz.

“Used up” Manischewitz

March 2013

Relatedly, the sugar-water industry can keep fighting Big Gubmint restrictions or it can get smart. And move into the wine world. Already moscato is a top-selling fermented grape, and aside from the mild buzz, what sets that apart from Karo’s finest? Wandering   through the big-case wine store near us the other day, I almost went into a diabetic coma just reading the chocolate-syrupy descriptions. And I walked out past a huge display of Jellybean wines. Which I assumed, this being the season for reincarnation, are liquid Peeps.

“Acquavit” “notoriety”

March 2013

Relatedly 2: I Tweeted the other day that using “infamous” in a bar/restaurant press release should be an immediate firing offense unless you represent the cannibal cook/cop. But what inspired that gets worse: The client is not just infusing Campari with guanciale grease but adding mezcal to his new-wave Negroni to minimize the bitterness. If you want a Negroni that tastes like diabetes, why not just add ketchup, with a French fry as a swizzle stick?

View from Montwhere

March 2013

Kinda relatedly 3: I acknowledge I’m an old in New York, one who remembers when you had to run out in a panic on Saturday night, early, if you wanted to serve Champagne at an impromptu brunch on Sunday. The third-largest wine-producing state had/has some of the most restrictive wine laws in the country — if you want to toss a bottle of sauvignon blanc into the shopping cart with the salmon, you need to move to Ohio (as my consort did, for a fellowship year). But apparently journamalists live in an alternate universe, one where they could report just what the NYPD told ’em: Someone in a drugstore was attacked by a demonstrator with a wine bottle. When I Tweeted, sane citizens in other states wondered if I was just dissing sommeliers of Prozac. Nope. If Brooklyn Rite Aids are selling actual wine, I need to move closer to Williamsburg.

Like for lobster (comma not included)

March 2013

As for Enron on 12th Street, I have to admire the savvy. You want the big fish in the pond, throw the net wide. Hackery should be its own reward, but a Hefty medal will do if you need to draw the circle large enough to encompass those banned from participating because, as was once decreed: It’s like the environmental reporter accepting a reward from the timber industry. Next year look for the best troll award. (Also, too, I started reading the Claiborne bio backward and was rewarded with this nugget: He passed on the “lifetime achievement” ceremony because he was “previously committed.” As in doing a supermarket demo. His nonprofessional life may have been a mess, but he could dodge it like he saw it.)

“Up to his elbows in chocolate frosting”

March 2013

I got some pushback from a fellow old-school food writer who skipped the olive gravy train, but I was able to defend myself by saying I didn’t say “all” food writers jumped on the greased skids. She is right, though: There is a secret handshake among those who believed in the cause but didn’t need to be led to the story. And everyone knows how rules were bent to let “outlets with integrity” take the cannoli. I tried my damnedest, but no one wanted to hear that “the family retainer” is stealing the silver. A deal’s a deal. Or, cheap is a very good price.

Salsa-flavored ketchup

March 2013

Not sure what they think about this in Fargo, but support for background checks for gun owners in this country is even stronger than for Italian food. Good thing Congresscritters don’t get to vote on whether we’re allowed to eat “paninis.”

Vegan after cash-in

March 2013

While I continue procrastinating about spelling out the flaws in a certain muddled doc on “food insecurity,” I have to present without (much) comment: NYT versus WashPost. The former natters. The latter matters, making such a great case for the simple solution without ever even spelling it out: Pay people a fucking living wage.

“Goats, you are drunk”

March 2013

Kinda grim to live in an e-world where the kerfuffle is bigger over one bad review of a London clone than over the fact that thousands of sick pigs were dumped into a river in China and only the thinnest allah-save-us-from-the-sequester thread keeps Bushwhacked farmers from doing the same here. Can I just point out that Balthazar was not a great food venue when it opened in SoHo way back in the last century? The best it managed was two stars. I still remember jumping through 65 hoops to get a lunch reservation when it was new and being rewarded with profoundly mediocre cooking in an admittedly glorious setting. In my eating around NYC for a post-9/11 story, I took a friend there for another dinner so just-average she couldn’t be persuaded Leroy Neiman at the next table qualified as a celebrity big enough to validate eating West 50s classics. Today, to me, it’s La Grenouille for kiddles. I wouldn’t turn down dinner there. But did a city just a Chunnel away from Paris really need an Epcot bistro?

On-the-road RT/MT/UT

March 2013

There’s a difference between mixed nuts and nut mix (it’s all in the “tack blend”). // The latest in TSA kabuki: You can bring a knife on a plane but still need to use plastic in an airport restaurant. // I saw @Bourdain in the ladies’ room. At Bacchus. (Actually a “Guts & Glory” poster over the sinks.) // Mignardises in Buffalo are Styrofoam kittybags.

Regular RT/MT/UT

March 2013

Once upon a time did people really dine for Darfur? // Doritos should have a caballo flavor. // Whole Foods cashiers are painfully slow. At least there aren’t many of them. // Only god (AKA nature) can “make” cabbage. // Nice of nature to send snow for grossest NYC parade (firemen had open-carry on D train at 11): fell on all the living and the drunken. // Someone needs to tell WSJ that @JenniferMcLagan said it all & much better in her book. Five years ago. // “Floater” is also a word never to be used in connection with anything eatable/drinkable. That’s plumber talk. // So many food blogs contain so much horseshit you’d think it was a gluten-free ingredient.

To Hellmann’s in small batches

March 2013

That photo of Rmoney in shorts out buying Cheerios just proved one of my points: Great wealth is wasted on the very wealthy. Shouldn’t he be breakfasting on ortolan eggs Benedict?

Lobster “thermidor” with heart of guana

March 2013

Also, too, it’s beyond amusing to watch everyone freaking out about getting droned while “sitting in a cafe.” The odds of being done in at table by the gubmint are much more likely with uninspected food. And of course with silly mandated budget cuts the sound of hooves gets closer every day. I don’t know why a country that eats hot dogs is queasy about the other red meat — you’re getting worked up about Mr. Ed in meatballs when there’s poop bacteria in cakes at the same store? Pretty funny that we’re actually at the point where the absence of meat in the beef potpie is considered a good thing.

Harry Concepcion

March 2013

On the way to dinner in the East Village, my consort and I passed a line outside a new spot giving out free “Japadogs.” My first thought was that the name sounds like an epithet. My second? What makes the original snout-to-tail food Japanese? Irradiation?