Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Billy Beer, now kosher

March 2018

Jimmy Carter was not far ahead of his time, although he did install solar panels on the White House roof 40+ years ago. All the news out of Mar-a-Lago, staffed by foreign workers, makes you realize how mean-spirited it was for Republicans to force him to give up his peanut farm. He coulda opened an agriturismo to sell access to his presidency. Not enough $lust in his heart, though.

You say amaro

November 2017

One of my favorite people in the world, Italian-New Yorkese by way of Patagonia, says he is fleeing the kkkountry for Florence next week partly because he despises the feast of the Pilgrims. I haven’t checked in with the Instagram set yet, but food writers should agree. And this year my consort and I are going to be stuffing-free unless I heed my own advice. Also unless we lay in some Calvados. The trou normand would make an even better president than our cat

No free breakfast

November 2017

As a Twitter shut-in, I spend way too much time obsessing on kkkraziness. But on the day after a nutcase did what I worry about at every intersection on this tiny island, I especially kept flashing back on one of our half-dozen trips to real America in the last year. This one was at least rewarded with good food, and encouragement to come back. But the odds that I might be on the bike path in Lower Manhattan had a scary amount of friends checking in. My consort and I coulda just been making a wrong turn into Walmart in “real” America and never have wandered back out. 

Blackwater butter backlash

August 2017

With the ’21’ Club back in the news thanks to the cretin in chief, I do have to note that the toilets there have all been elevated for the comfort of old asses.

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.


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. . .


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.