Diet Coke and “spaghetti lobster”

Whenever I see a photo these days of the Big O living it up in a restaurant somewhere around the world, I sadly realize again how much the presidency has been diminished. We officially now have a giant peach-colored toddler banging his fork on the table for an overcooked steak with ketchup. America is no longer leader of the food world.

Spatchcocked? Again?

I quit reading the Sunday Arts & Leisure section literally decades ago after a couple of theater people I met at a dinner party pointed out the obvious: It is nothing but promo copy to fill up the spaces around, and justify, the theater/movie/gallery ads. The food pages of course have no ads, so there really is no excuse for a huge feature that amounted to a press trip for which subscribers paid by kicking in to pay “journalist” salaries. I mean, really? Signing on to shill for a teevee show as a way to explore a story you could find literally in the backyard with all the cheap-and-shitty Thai restos on Ninth?

Then again, on one of my increasingly regular trips to the consort’s hometown, I happened upon a laudatory story in the hometown paper on how all the local taxpayer dollars were paying off in high-profile coverage of a city that has been, for at least 10 years, a food scene happening in plain sight. Lede: “America’s favorite city. One of the top places to see in 2016. A top 10 food city in America. These are the accolades that Travel & Leisure, CNN and National Geographic, respectively, have showered on Buffalo recently. Over the past few years, writers from USA Today, The New York Times, popular travel media and newspapers nationwide have visited the Queen City and shared their intrigue and, ultimately, their love . . . Last year, we were able to influence well over 230 stories, and some of them, of course, went viral in other ways. They had a media value of $4.1 million.” How much was in “clean” coverage? And how did we get to this so-called president, anyway? On Kerala wings?

RT: The circle will never be unjerked

Weird jetsam gets caught in my cranial sieve. Whenever I pass the Puck Building, as I did the other night on the way to a friend’s play in the East Village, I flash back on the Wall Street wedding we went to there a full 30 years ago. I commented that the passed food was surprisingly good and the best man, standing next to me, threw his toothpick onto the tray and spat: “It should be. It cost a fucking fortune.” Did I mention it was a Wall Street wedding? And they’re back . . .

Cubano, well-done, with ketchup

If I could ever get it together to update my Trails page, I could make a very persuasive case for places like Bodega 88, which opened a few blocks from us not so long ago. In these T’ing times, a sports bar is the rare refuge from the all-orange-chaos-all-the-time insanity. You can be surrounded by 12 teevees, one on ice, and realize: Puck it, we’re tuning it out.

Following in a golf cart

And at a time when wingnuts are actually debating whether fellow Americans need food to survive, I have to rant yet again that the best way to save SNAP would be to rebrand it as what it actually is. Not a lifeline for the poors. A huge subsidy to supermarkets.

Self, amused

I panicked and captured a huge bug in the kitchen by slapping a plastic “glass” over it and — cuz I know how those suckers can push back — weighting that with a tin of salt and a mango until Bob could get home and kill it. Then I put on my glasses. And saw it was a piece of crust from the Maison Kayser olive bread.

RTs

When you’re out of tortillas, you’re out of breakfast, lunch and dinner. // Cannelloni are Italian enchiladas. // Heard a woman in Chipotle asking for rice in her hard-shell taco. That shit doesn’t even belong in burritos. // Someone could do a whole graduate thesis on @alexstupak’s crab nachos with uni “queso.” College dropouts like me can only marvel. #trailTK

Houston, you have an un-problem

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.

Plastic or Platinum?

News that the global seed bank established in a climate-change-proof site had been flooded as the glaciers melt and the oceans rise was bad enough. Now I know we’re truly in end times, though. The other day the tasting bar at the corner liquor store was offering samples of Veuve Cliquot’s latest: sparkling wines meant to be poured over ice. Ice, I said. And they’re also meant to be “garnished,” whether with a berry or a sprig of mint. I’m assuming they’re meant to be drunk on hot days when the melting cubes will cut the syrupiness. But at $64/$65 a bottle, they ain’t exactly a quencher for the poors. So it all just feels like Evian for a new century. And how did bottled-or-tap turn out for the world?

Bazaar, misspelled

I also read a whole story that came off like a PR stunt to promote a book. Then read a review of said book that proved you can so easily shortchange your work by promoting it. There’s an actual hook there, about the rights and wrongs of supermarkets. Instead we got the oldest tale in the Kroger’s — the poison is in the center, the good stuff is around the perimeter, it’s all processed crap and blah and blah and more aisles of blah. So much for the “skillful portrait that might make you want to catch a flight to Cleveland.”

“Butler” sequel will be a horror film

Every day I wake up and think: “It could be worse. At least I don’t have to scrub toilets in the White House.” And then the day goes on and more awfulness pours on and I flash onto why that orange shit-eating grin looks familiar. It will put you off your bloody Mary . . .

Moscow mules. Or asses.

And it gets worse: Climate change is killing off Champagne grapes. We will go through End Times with nothing to ease the pain.

Hamsters, fed 

Saddest thing about the Magnificent doc? How directly My Biggest Fan nailed what has happened to the food world, and why I have lost so much interest. Used to be you had a week’s or month’s respite before being ka-slammed with a barrage of hottest/newest bullshit. Now it is nonstop.

Puppy. Drum.

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. . .

Tattoo handouts with those phones?

The Chinese must be laughing at us all for living in such interesting times. Immigration authorities are cracking down even harder even though immigration is way down thanks to the Kenyan Muslim. So in one day you will read that Tyson Foods is so desperate for workers willing to do hard, dangerous jobs that it’s actually (OMFG) raising wages. And that food pantries and other social services are finding immigrants are going into hiding, too terrified even to seek help, let alone sign on to suit up to whack up chickens. I guess safety through unaffordable food was always the plan?