Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cow laughing at gum di guar

July 2017

I kept the end flap of a box like this on my desk for a full year, fully hoping to type about how scary fud like this can be (the flight attendant last July responded to my Italian seatmate’s rejection of the wake-up meal with a chortling “Oh, you’ve had it, have you?”) And here I am, home again. (In AA’s defense, though, the Italian dressing was made in Germany.)

Don’t the Amazon make the apron blue?

July 2017

I’ve only been back in the home of the brave for less than 72 hours, so maybe I’m missing something on the latest outbreak of food hysteria over burrito bowls. Do Americans shun cruise lines when norovirus wipes out whole shiploads of passengers? Or does social media make it easier for squitter reactions to spread fast? I’m so cynical I always wonder about industrial sabotage — factory fud is not gonna give up the fight kindly. Even as chefs clamber onto the dying burger train while basketball stars see the future is round and cheese-y. And made to your order by human hands.

Ketchup, well-done

July 2017

And I probably should be nervous that the DHS (that would be the agency with the Deutschesque middle name) is now sending me releases on an expansion of visas for ag and hospitality workers. Why me, who can’t even keep a cat employed, let alone myself? Couldn’t be that I have noted that a certain orange shitstain benefits most from waivers of immigration laws at “his” vineyard and sanitation-challenged private “club,” could it?

Like pigeons on chips

July 2017

Apparently there is no T-free zone in the world. And there should not be. It would be like ignoring typhoid when Mary is your cook. Still, the trouble with traveling while wired is that it’s too easy to stay obsessed with the insane clowns and the posse after them back home while blissfully exploring a favorite city for the fourth time on your fifth* trip. Even away from the computer there is overlap. One day I picked up online outrage over the dismantling of regulatory agencies, then passed a marker in the Piazza delle Herbe, once Torino’s most important market square, where full centuries ago “city authorities had to guarantee supplies of foodstuffs and check weights and trading.” The free market can never be trusted to be free. Now every time I start to think this bogus regime is going medieval on America, I’ll realize that might be an improvement.

*The food here is so uniformly good I can even vouch for what they serve in hospitals. 

Regina TP next to the Asso

July 2017

And I have also realized the Italians know exactly what to do with an orange jackass. Make something that would intimidate Bobo Brooks.

Every day is take your dog to market day, though

July 2017

One night I spotted a couple eating at the vegan cafe whose slogan is “eat with head” tossing scraps to their dogs. Who were gobbling. I didn’t know if I should alert the Italian version of the FDA. Or the Torino ASPCA.

RTs/MTs

July 2017

You can always tell a city is changing in the best way when liveliest neighborhoods are not on the tourist map. // On my third walk through an open-air food market in Torino I thought: “They all have the same stuff.” Then: “Oh. Yeah. Cuz it’s all seasonal.” // Even Ray Bradbury never envisioned Cryovaced octopus. // Only travel writers can see the Po from a table at Porto di Savona on Piazza Vittorio Veneto. // An important distinction at a farmers’ market: You say “due” and they ask “chilo or numero?” // Chest of quail is a pretty great translation. // Why you run through cash so fast in a foreign country? Every time they announce the check, clueless you reaches for the biggest bill to avoid misunderstanding. // I also saw a produce vendor wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with “nice people make nice things.” So that’s my problem. . .

#endtimeswillbegorgeous

June 2017

I am such a conflicted loser that I refuse to even approach the WSJ with story ideas cuz I don’t want to support it (#deportallmurdochs), but I have still been complicit for many years in subscribing to the print edition cuz it does such great stuff, on both food and books (the Saturday reviews are like coulibiacs compared with the NYT’s Hot Pockets). So on this most recent Saturday I was treated, having enriched Rupe’s pockets but unable to share, to a smart story on the “fast-fine” trend in dining and an exquisite essay on T’s ICE brownshirts killing apple towns. The former made it clear that workers will be the first expense tossed off the ship on the brave new sea of RestoWorld (let the paying customers and the iPads do the heavy lifting). The latter lyrically spelled out how fear is crippling a town that had been revived by immigration. “Oaxaca in a Wyeth painting,” indeed.

Houston, you have an un-problem

May 2017

My consort is definitely the sharpest blade in this rack these days, as I am consumed by the shitshow no one has the guts to impeach so I can get back to food. He was flipping through the Murdoch Crier and noted yet another tourism ad that put chefs front and center of the skyline. And it is a sea change. Art is dandy as a city-sell. Food is quicker.

Puppy. Drum.

April 2017

Big scandale down NOLA way might have an easy answer: Locals can’t write “see it like a local” stories cuz they have no idea where to sleep. AMA about Manhattan, and I am clueless on where to drop $300 a night beyond our own AirBnB. . .

$46 service, chicken included 

April 2017

I never know quite what to make of this kind of stuff but am certain of one thing: The most money I ever made in my life before I landed a job at the (now dead) Louisville Times was as a waitress in the summer before I dropped out of college. People, even down-and-outers (or especially down-and-outers), could not leave enough on the diner table to encourage this working-her-way-through-college striver. Unfortunately, I moved on to Nebraska and learned in a single day how the serving pros are perceived. As one of those, I made exactly 15 cents in tips on my first and only day. There’s a big argument lately over whether everyone should go to college. I vote yes, if not just to feed your head by expanding your horizons. The attaboys at part-time jobs will keep you going.

And the Citymeals bid?

August 2016

Also, too, what amazed me about all the elegiac coverage of the carcass-stripping of the Four Seasons was how little mention was made of why that sorry end had to happen. A greedy developer was not ungreedy enough to let the okay abide. All those who lined up to throw down megabucks for nostalgia in the making never seemed to have been called to account for their part in the destruction. For once this pauper can feel superior. I took matchbooks and didn’t have to consider dropping $1,400 on a check holder.

And that’s proof that my consort and I actually ate at the Four Seasons a couple of times, once on our own dime. The second time, as “research” on a black trumpet mushroom story, was nowhere near as much fun as when we were much younger and reserved for dinner on Britchky’s recommendation for what must have been Bob’s birthday. The waiters et al were so clearly thrilled to have relative youngs in the house that they showered us with attention, so much that we wound up ordering a second bottle of wine. I think the tab was $250, a ginormous amount at the time, but neither one of us had a whiff of remorse. (Or any recollection of what we ate.) The memory is worth any two of the $10K hassocks Marie Kondo would just advise us to pitch.

RT/MT/UT

October 2015

It’s always 5 o’clock on the Internet. Or closing time. // Never omit the fish sauce. // Flip through a Sur La Table catalog if you wanna see a million solutions to non-problems. #buyonegoodknife // So many food photos online are just Technicolor yawns. Is it soup or is it hurl? // Also, too: Biscuit or Googled squamous cell cancer? // Tuna tartar is what’s scraped off fish teeth, no? // So old I remember when Krispy Kreme generated the NYC excitement Bigot Chicken now is. // On the 7 train I read a review that had editor boot prints all over it. Narcissism must be the greatest fuel of all. // Bylines are more than enough, thanks. // Overheard woman in white linen pants at the Greenmarket telling her husband they can’t buy Ray Bradley’s amazing tomatoes cuz “they’re out of season.” // Wanted to say “go to hell” to every flack flogging New Year’s Eve shit. And then I got a VD one. Skinny VD, at that. // Have you tried penne alla Vicodin?

Tom Waits to the Small Batch piano . . .

June 2015

Got up and told The Cat WCTLWAFW I was going to spend the whole day eating and calling it work. Let him envy me for a change.

And he was getting all ready to come with me until reality intruded. His day would be spent sleeping on the refrigerator as usual.

Second thing I heard on walking into the press office: “Did you bring The Cat?” (His fame was my fortune: fast retrieval of a badge despite some glitch in registering.)

Walking to the show I felt 23 (I have been to old age but got to come back). Three hours in I was 83. Feets don’t fail you. Guts do.

Vosge banner reading “what would chocolate not marry?” makes cacao sound like a total whore. (Raspberry is also shameless. Even lies down with wasabi.)

Sriracha apparently can be rendered tasteless.

Brooklyn aisle was almost an alternate universe of hipster overkill. Jarring to walk out and encounter a booth with sampling from the Ozarks. #clichesareclichesforareason

As always, “no” and “free” were the most ballyhooed ingredients. And more and more, it was ironic to notice “salt-free” and “low-sodium” were nowhere to be seen. At least 20 vendors were shilling salt, salt and more salt, even shaped into a mortar and pestle.

So much water being flogged you’d think there’s a drought on somewhere.

Jerky went crazy and I finally realized why: It’s the new power bar, gluten-free and high-protein.

Terrible crimes have been committed in the name of gluten-free.

Chickpeas can be made into many amazing things. Pasta is apparently not one.

Saved myself many letters in my notebook all day: Foul could be reduced to F. Why don’t their loved ones tell ‘em it sucks?

Probably not the best week to roll out your crab sensation with a shoutout to the Robert E. Lee plantation. . . Especially when the recipe yields nastiness.

So “fancy” latkes are just Jewish pakoras?

I actually tried a “sea salt caramel cheese straw.” Cannot say I tasted it.

Things I saw but did not try: Frozen risotto from Italy. Sun-dried tomatoes from England. Jalapeños from Vermont. Camel milk. Things I kinda understood: Powdered blue cheese. Powdered peanut butter. Thing I did not: “Autism approved.”

You can put beets, orange and quinoa together in a jar. But you really shouldn’t call it salsa.

One more place you will never spot Bill Cunningham: The Javits Center during the food show. #glamourdonts

Props to Jeni’s for having a presence if nothing to sell in the midst of the listeria crisis.

“Troll-caught tuna” makes you think those online assholes should just get out and fish.

Indian, with so much overlap with Mexican, should be taking over the world. Instead, Korean rules. And don’t get me started on how many weird juxtapositions with kimchi there were.

Funny how the backlash against the “fancy” food show looks even more ridiculous now. Not only did I see more artisanal, more vegetables, more fresh (or frozen) meat. I also noticed at least three booths with a certain kimchi that apparently only wanted to be invited into the club. Call it Dumboing Down.

Two more changes in the show over the decades. The frenzy to find a distributor seems to have subsided — many people just told me I could find their stuff on Amazon. #greatdisruption And “press” on your badge no longer marks you as prey. “Old” media is clearly not essential to getting a product promoted.

And while the amount of garbage generated is still staggering, with all those plastic mini-spoons and plates and endless plastic cups, there are hints of hope: Paper spoons and edible spoons might save the oceans a tiny bit.

Nothing, however, will save us from grownup kids of moms who didn’t check English homework. Cow’s and cook’s also on board.

Oh, and there was a lot of drinkin’. Ice creams touting alcohol content, wine brownies, bitters on bitters and Bronx ’shine. I’m not crazy about Mr. Semi-Homemade, but he has been very, very good to NYS firewater, both the making and consuming of.

Finally: If all this food is so super and so smart, why does it all wind up in the toilet?

RT/MT/UT

January 2015

Not sure the NYT fully informed the populace on the closing of Cafe Edison. . . // There is no such thing as a “best vegan cookbook.” // I’ve never eaten at an Olive Garden, but I’m sure it has fine spa food. // Food writing was more readable before the dick-swinging started. // Amazing what search engines auto-fill when you type in “yams up” // Anti-foie gras stories are as predictable as xmas — will no one speak up for tortured champagne grapes? // Odd, idn’t it, how Saint Alice’s favorite books of the year were by chefs in her employ? Call it logrolling under the cast-iron egg ladle. // And I wonder if Dorothy Parker would have been able to get any drinking in if Twitter had been around before typewriters.