This was not appreciated when I mentioned it at the brunch table, but I’ve noticed something fascinating whenever my seat faces the dining room and I can see couples individually head to the bathroom for overlong periods, then follow either in. Girls puke. Boys poop.
Judging by Twitter reaction, this is not for the squeamish: The dirty little secret of wannabe Sex&City types was on unnerving display at FishTag the other night. Our table was squished between two crammed with big bottoms who kept squeezing in and out between courses, of which there were way too many. After about the sixth go-round, I told my consort this reeked of scarf-and-barf. He looked at me as if I was nuts. Then he exited the unisex bathroom on our way out and reported: “Greens were floating in the toilet.”
Over at the Twitter, I got some “ra-mens” for expressing my wish for a Super Bowl shelter where I could hide from any mention of that idiotic spectacle. But if I had one, I would have missed the most astonishing concoction for an idiotic spectacle known for astonishing concoctions: “Oreo truffle footballs.” And even the Semi-Ho could not have dreamed this one up — smashed Oreos mixed with cream cheese, covered in chocolate melted with Crisco(!) and decorated with Betty Crocker icing. Forget the fact that even Deen’s gorge would seize up at that mess. USA Weekend was so skinny from so few ads that the actual food story and other recipes only appeared online. Why should Big Food spend when it gets all that brand recognition for free?
After reading cyber-commentary on the “Fancy” Food Show, I’m going to revise my notion that anyone trying to cover it is like a blind person describing an elephant. This year it seems the blind took the elephant on a honeymoon to Niagara Falls. Dicks are the New! Big! Thing! Really, you could substitute anything for herbs there and build a report around it (especially with Bangin’ Blueberry “pesto”). What I noticed was that the last day is the best day; the usually hyper pushers in the booths are too fried and stupefied to harass the hell out of you when they see a press badge. Ask what a coolly packaged drink called Twelve is and the beaten woman pouring it will just say: “Twelve.”
Aside from grits in a tube, the things that jumped out at me were seasoned skewers (much easier than buying grillable chicken with flavor) and energy bars for pregnant women (Baby Needs Chocolate? Right. Baby Probably Also Could Use a Stiff Drink Now and Then). The first booth I stopped at was showcasing GOP and Democratic cookies, and when I asked what the difference was, the sheepish vendor could have been describing the general election: Nothing but the package. I decided not to taste until I saw either something new or something weird and went through two whole long aisles before succumbing to Smoky Mango Barbecue Sauce (which was just as awful as it sounds; all it needed was white chocolate).
Other random thoughts: Crab can be really scary (especially when a bite of dip will send you straight to Paula Deen chemical dressing to erase the taste). Cheese will absorb anything: pickles, olives, Thai curry. But the three scariest words on a cheese label are “no refrigeration needed.” Then again, someone thinks the world needs pasta in the shape of the Star of David. And pumpkin pie fudge, too. Bad riesling makes worse ice cream. (Champagne, however, was made to be sorbet.) “Quality is not an option” is a very strange slogan. And could chocolate possibly benefit from being stone-ground? Stone-washed I could see. . .
Given that it was the last day, the celebrities on so many labels were mostly not to be seen, aside from the suspiciously thin orange-freckled arms on a bag of mixed grated cheeses coming soon to supermarkets everywhere. But one ubiquitous big name I did spot signing autographs made me realize a plastic surgeon is not the best friend a famous face can have. Photoshop is much, much kinder.