Luckily, he now has one of the Skank Twins cleaned up and shipped out to make him look less cretinous by contrast. Anyone who believes she actually had anything to do with writing a book probably still thinks Robo-Mom baked those Cowboy Cookies back in 2000, the recipe for which has since been scrubbed off the White House web site. While I was looking for it yet again, though, I found out how horse-fearing the tough guy really is: The family recipe for guacamole calls for eight avocados. And exactly one jalapeno. I guess we should just be glad he didn’t invade Mexico for harboring habaneros.
I see Barbados routinely notes that it is the only Caribbean island to be Zagat-rated. And that’s supposed to be a good thing? We won’t talk about why, but here’s a hint to sorry Montserrat: Maybe you can buy your way back. No scam is an island.
Speaking of airborne gravy trains, the WSJournal tried to stop the presses by reporting that restaurant bloggers take freebies. Wait till they hear how much gushing travel coverage in mainstream media comes from something more insidious than an opening party. Consider the advice I just turned up on the google — one warning read: “. . . word travels fast if you take free trips and don’t publish. Your free travel will end very abruptly if you don’t follow through on your end of the bargain.” Serious money is involved now that junket is spelled FAM. Beyond friends in convenient places, even Portland was not discovered by accident. Next hot spot: Colombia. There’s apparently a gastronomic fair there to die for.
Delta seems to be flipping a page out of the Turd Blossom playbook — rather than attacking its opponent’s strength, it is showcasing its own weakness. The idea of opening a midtown lounge to serve airplane food with a price tag is so bizarre it makes me half-tempted to trek down and try a gruesome tray-tableful. Then again, maybe the goal is not really to get the asses into the cramped seats to wait forever for takeoff. Maybe it is to give Americans trapped by a worthless currency and witless government a chance to fly high without going anywhere. Eco-sensitive Potemkin Airlines works in Delhi. Why not New York?
Not coincidentally, after our brush with the movie star, we watched “Midnight Cowboy” again, and I could only think of the Michelin when we saw Ratso doing his “I’m walkin’ here” routine. The poor guide is about that unmoored, judging by the panel it has set up to discuss restaurant reviewing in New York to try to shine some attention on the new edition. One speaker is Rogetgirl, the other a reviewer best described as “former.” And what either Daily denizen has to do with the Restaurant Witness Protection Program is a mystery. Or, come to think of it, maybe it’s not.
And it could be worse. They could be featuring the Mammamia who is filling out the Skinnygirl caricature on an unnecessary new restaurant/service web site. I have to confess I dissed yelp.com early on. But I now think the future may lie more with the youthful rabble than with the endless repackaging now going on. The internets is starting to feel like a supermarket putting clean Saran and fresh sell-by dates on old chicken. Somehow I don’t think deadlydull.com has a bright future, even if they do “Scanner Darkly” it.
Of all the dispiriting details in excerpts of the new “Dead Wrong,” the most stomach-churning had to be those describing the Chimp at trough, wadding cheese into his maw and spewing hot dog fragments while talking with his mouth full. Now we indubitably know “honor and dignity” in the White House really means a child with his boots on the people’s irreplaceable desk demanding, “Bring me an ice cream.” Which he needs, he admits, because he craves the sugar in booze. Surely Panchito could have passed along these kinds of tidbits in time to warn the world a disastrous boor was headed for power-drunkenness. He got seduced. And we got the sloppy seconds.
Campaigns to get Americans to eat better are the surge of the food wars. Marketers will seize on any tiny sign of progress as huge news, and the media will chime right in while people just get fatter and more diabetic. Take Hannaford Brothers’ test of a star system for supermarket food, which it just proclaimed a huge success after a year. The billboard in the NYTimes read: “Sales jump for many foods that get a ‘healthy’ rating.” But the story said the biggest increase was all of 7 percent, for lean ground beef; the other “jumps” were 1 to 5 percent. That strikes me as being as statistically significant as the Chimp’s approval rating. After googling Hannaford to see how many other news outlets swallowed the press release, I’m starting to wonder about that chain. Not only is it trying to persuade shoppers to avoid good whole milk, but a 65-year-old woman was not allowed to buy wine in Maine because she did not have her driver’s license on her. Chain policy is to card anyone who looks under 45. Which, if I’m doing my math right, is more than double the drinking age in any state. See what happens when a grocer turns nutrition nanny? Grandmas can’t get their heart-healthy shiraz.
In showing his smirk in New Orleans, the Chimp was like a dog eating its own vomit. No true human with a scintilla of shame would ever have foisted himself off on an octogenarian restaurateur who has not been able to reopen for real after two whole years. What’s saddest is that the cheery photo op worked, yet again, for mainstream media — the world saw the smiling faces at Dooky Chase and not the devastation just outside. Potemkin was a piker compared with this sociopath.
One of my favorite media mysteries is why anyone succumbs to the horse shit shoveled out by airlines hiring “celebrity” chefs. Escoffier crossed with Robuchon with a few Jean-Georges genes thrown in for good measure could not make anything decent to eat seven miles up in the clouds, and the average hostage strapped in cruddy coach would never be able to detect the improvement if he could. Yet this continues to constitute news. And what do the allegedly cash-crunched airlines get for their neon investment? At Delta, hummus. You know, a Todd English “creation.”
But then this is a strange time for travel reporting, with the NYT deciding readers’ comments are fit to print (or just suddenly realizing that content really is free). Among the suggestions for ways to economize in Eutopia with devalued dollars was advice to buy supermarket food to take back to your hotel room “and ask the housekeeping staff to bring the bowls, plates and utensils for your meal.” On what planet? Try to get an extra roll of toilet paper, let alone a wineglass. You would have better luck asking a flight attendant to produce a sharp knife for your Safeway sausage. Hotels are in the business of selling food and drink, not catering to your chintziness. You know that “refrigerator in your room”? It’s called a mini-bar, and they don’t even like it if you move their $75 half-bottle of wine out to chill your bargain Burgundy. Strange to think old media believes everything it reads on the internets. . . .