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The Washington Post’s Tim Carman leads the food section this week with a bold D.C. vs. NYC cheap eats challenge. And he acknowledges that D.C. is the underdog, but with his healthy dose of “hometown bias” and a few “cheap shots,” the piece is an entertaining read. I’m not even particularly interested in the city’s best breakfast, bakery, hamburger, pizza, gelato, street food, or sandwich, but Carman’s story of his bi-city tour with Serious Eats founder Ed Levine doesn’t hinge on the topic—as is the case with good food writing. Even in the face of his town’s ultimate loss, Carman wins for charm, noting, “cheap is a relative term in New York.”
I recently discovered that the Westin chain of hotels has based some of its menus on the 2004 book SuperFoods RX. It was a bestseller at the time, and I’ve certainly heard the term bandied about, but I’m not sure how deeply this diet penetrated. It’s certainly no South Beach. Also, I mean diet simply as a way of eating, not as a way to lose weight. That too probably retards the brand’s momentum. But I’ve long meant to plug this book as it has had a huge impact on the way I’ve eaten in the past decade (and my doc gives me an A for health).
As I mentioned earlier in the week, you don’t go to the Virgin Islands for the food. However, after reading in Food & Wine that a branch of Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab had opened on St. John, I must admit I felt a flutter of excitement. A place on the island that’s not doing conch fritters–usually so bread-heavy that they are more like hush puppies–or something totally incongruous like Italian is worth a visit.
It was about a year ago that Melissa Clark wrote in the New York Times dining section about her yearly latke–er, Hanukkah–party. I found it inspiring indeed, so I’m happy to pull it out of the archives. I had a …
I’ve been enjoying traveling to Mexico in December the last few years. One of the primary draws for me is the food, which I never seem to tire of. Tiny tacos with a little grilled or stewed meat or fish with some pickled onion and a slice of lime. But why be coy, a pot of bubbling cheese is just as likely an order. Or those wonderful chicken enchiladas, which I can now make for myself. All washed down with hot sauce and beer. And that beer is the one thing I’d improve upon if I could. The first Sol is tasty, but it goes downhill from there.
Slim pickings in the food mags this months—December issues are always all roasts, cookies, and gifts to buy. Both Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living boast something “magical” within, but I had trouble finding those sections. Both did offer the …
The Washington Post food section left a funny taste in my mouth this week. It’s all about cookies, for the most part, and they list a lot of no-thank-you sweets (i.e. not worth the calories). Chickpea cookies? Sesame poppy crisps? And nary a ginger recipe in sight. The other flavor comes from Jason Wilson who trumpets savory cocktails (and uncharacteristically shames any who aren’t on board)…like one that tastes like a hot dog. Like I said, my palate is confused.
So, did you get tired of turkey sandwiches halfway through the second one? Do you still have turkey in the fridge even after making a tasty turkey soup? If so, we have a few things in common. But good news! I have a solution for you, a leftovers end game, which will not only end this dragged out eating tradition, but actually elevates the ingredient, so it can go out with a bang. I’m talking turkey pot pie here, something I had not only never cooked before, I’d never even eaten. I’m regretting the years of turkey sandwiches right now.
All day Wednesday I kept seeing puzzling emails about congee in the Washington Post. Now, I love grits and cream of wheat, but a piece leading with “gruel” and what might be a high point for unappetizing food section cover photos, mentioning that “to say I’m disappointed would be an understatement” and concluding that the best part about it is that it has zero flavor leads this reader baffled. There must have been an editor in the room who thought Tim Carman’s piece should be killed and yet here it is the cover story. Other downsides of congee: easy to mess up; time consuming to make; can take on unpleasant colors when mixed with toppings
You probably had time over the holiday to digest the New Yorker’s food issue. The decidedly international bent might lead us to conclude that not much is going on in the NYC food scene these days. Instead it’s all Nova Scotia, El Salvador, and, of course, Denmark. Jane Kramer must have seen the writing on the wall when she acknowledged the era of the “I foraged with Rene Redzepi piece” before launching into exactly that. Don’t get me wrong, I think foraging sounds like a blast, maybe even with the Noma chef, but reading a piece about it is akin to reading about teens searching for a bargain at the mall. The only interesting piece about foraging would consist of a field guide to the local surrounds.