Dehydrated pintos

The onetime home of the Human Scratch N Match also ran a silly story, on produce prices rising, that actually quoted a woman stupidly musing that it might be “the economy” to blame. Not bad weather and diminishing water, of course. As I noted over on the Twitter, anyone complaining about the price of tomatoes in March is cooking it wrong — this is the season of “better dead than red” in the produce aisle, at least if you want flavor and fair prices. But then there was the way a protest at the newish Upscale Aldi’s was covered elsewhere. Most shoppers interviewed thought it was all about those softballs next to the flown-in blueberries, not the fact that so much processed crap is cheap because tomato pickers in Florida are paid slave wages. Really, if a chain can’t Shetland-pony up a penny a pound more, you really have to wonder how exploited its grape harvesters are. Two bucks might be more than a price.

Eat your chicken bacon

Forget the insanity of a $12 cup of coffee. The way the distributor described the new Double Down was the real mental explosive: “a cacophony of nuances.” As I Tweeted, is that like a dissonance of subtleties? Ask the real Restaurant Girl: Caffeine and thesauri do not mix.

Ain’t no cherries in August

One of the chapters in my memoir “Born Mean” is going to be a confession that I have actually indulged in Taco Bell. Not in five years, but still. I do understand its allure, although even I had second thoughts early one day in an airport when I saw how the refried beans were made (open bag of dirt-brown dust, add water, apply heat). But the news about its revamped breakfast offerings was even scarier than that sight: Jimmy Dean sausage and Cinnabon? Hope they’re offering a free syringe with every order.  What was even more appalling is how the press release was retyped — it actually included the word “mouth-watering” and described the chain as “the beloved franchise.” This would be, some of us remember, the one where rats ran rampant in Greenwich Village for all the world to see. Maybe the wrong tool was canned at the home of the Human Scratch N Match.

Irony, thy name is Restaurant Girl v Fake RG

Awful lot of grumpy Goliaths lately. Hershey’s has sicced its legal hounds on Jacques Torres (as if anyone would mistake his tres French creations for Pennsylvania’s crappiest), while the ailing Gray Lady took a machete to a basil seedling. In intimidating the Food Section, though, it just invited comparisons to the elephant terrified of the mouse. But it’s nice to see the imperiled have their priorities straight when they’ve been priced out of their own home: Run up a legal tab with cease-and-desist letters rather than stopping to think links. Which I hope at least keeps them from thinking they are ever going to be able to charge for content again while devoting real estate to a tempest in a few Tweets.


Or maybe not. Thanks to the Cod, I see no incompetence still goes uncompensated in this fucked-up society. The old girl has a book deal. Involving definitions. Of “the way we dine now.” Her agent must be very good with moving targets. Not even Applebee’s is safe with apple carts on the way any day now. Notice, though, I am avoiding all the obvious “who do you have to blow around here?” jokes. They seem to write themselves.

Braising summer

The Human Scratch N Match continues to shrink in the job. Building a review around a notoriously flighty chef who has already flown the coop was dumb enough. But someone really should take her aside and show her how a wine label conveys more information than grape and vintage, which are meaningless without the producer, or at the very least the country. For good measure, maybe she could be taught how to do a Google on the Italian for “priest strangler.” I could, of course, stop reading. But then I would miss sly touches like the Dolly Parton link someone at the paper thoughtfully provided to put her assets in perspective. 

When U can’t afford a press kit

Will the last copy editor at the Home of the Human Scratch N Match please turn off her laptop on the way out? I got sucked into reading her latest excrescence and learned that Verbena was an Italian restaurant, the new joint apparently uses the leaves and not the flowers of hibiscus, and the “Torrontes 2006” was just scrumpy. If you can’t decipher a simple wine label, at least do a Google.

Ortolans, you’re next

Call this “when the dew is on the tarte Tatin.” In an unnerving week for food phrasing, I saw pate goose. And oxtail beef. And I got a propaganda-catapulting email wondering if I knew quinoa was a plant product (as opposed to what, a funeral wail?) But on the serious side, I wonder if the weird wording of “pate goose” had anything to do with fear of foie gras — you can’t say anything these days without setting off the liver fascists. But I do have to admit I’m even more than normally astonished that a New York City councilman would take up the faux foie cause when kids are getting beaten to death in their foster homes and building inspectors are apparently taking bribes and cranes are falling and hungry old homebound people are getting shafted. Sure, raise our property taxes to send more inspectors out to be sure the hyper-rich can’t have an indulgence. Now that Chicago has given up the ghost of goose pate, do we really want to be the second city?

Capital M for merguez

This is like kicking a lame ho, but the Human Scratch N Match is really giving bimbos a bad name. I would almost love to be a roach on the wall when the slot decides which copy editor is going to have to descend into the pool of verbal muck to format that crapola and give it a hed. Clearly, no one even attempts to edit it into a publishable state. With Merkato 55, she had me at “the menu is colored.” But the stupid just kept coming. Until I realized that is the whole point. Unlike every earnest reviewer who has ever tried to contort into that impossible position, she has people talking. We study the brain wreck to see if there are indeed limits to cretinism. For the paper, though, it’s a deal with the devil. Let your copy editors amplify delicious nuances long enough and they will soon be letting “seemless bras” into print. And speaking of which, throw one onto the table, please. The promo ads could be for Spitzer services.

Fork in the rode

And speaking of a guy who could have cleaned up selling filthy water to the troops rather than trying to forestall socialized banking in America, anyone else notice that his PaidPal bears a rather striking resemblance to the Human Scratch N Match? Is there some factory somewhere that punches out these “girls”? Just imagine if Ham Awry had thought to record a little lame-ass music before taking her gig. No one would be buying her for a mere 50 cents today.