- Drinks (83)
- Easy Indulgences (43)
- Gifts (35)
- Media (207)
- Product Reviews (8)
- Recipes (184)
- Restaurant Reviews (113)
This weekend I read the June issues of Bon Appetit and Martha Stewart Living. The BA was about the same as the May issue in tone and quality of substance; the MSL reading experience brought BA’s into sharp focus. Where BA is rapid fire and busy, MSL is slow and leisurely, relaxing even. Where BA gives short, simple recipes, MSL assumes a level of knowledge. Where BA gives the recipe for perfect pan-roasted chicken thighs (oil and pepper and chicken, oh my!), MSL gives you the chorizo paella to go under it.
A perfect read on this Memorial Day weekend–after you’ve hit the farmers market, the butcher, the local for all the meat you can eat–is Michael Specter’s recent New Yorker piece on the future of that burger you’re flipping (“Test-Tube Burger”). (Or in my case, ribs you are smoking.) The gist: There is research in the works to grow meat in a laboratory.
Two months ago, on my last trip to Atlanta, I left one experience unmentioned. On a dreary day, on a remote strip of asphalt, I visited a tea shop called ZenTea. I enjoyed my company thoroughly and dropped plenty of $$ on tea and gear but decided not to pass it on. And I’m embarrassed to say why.
Nothing to recommend in the wraps this week. The Times and the Post dining and food sections are both pretty unremarkable. However, that doesn’t mean there is nothing to read! Yesterday, on the New York Times blog, Sam Sifton posted a parody of the Adam Platt El Bulli piece in New York Magazine that is brilliant, but more importantly FUNNY. It confirms what I suspected about that last supper of decadence!
There is nothing like picking up a random magazine at the grocery store or local book seller. I never really regret it, because there is always something–even if it’s one small, seemingly insignificant thing–to take away. And better than that silver lining? Picking up the random mag that turns out to be really good and making a night of it!
Adam Platt’s play-by-play of the extravagant final meal at the modernist cuisine mecca El Bulli is a must read. Reading it, you will know intimately what it would have felt like to be there–assuming you were a particularly observant, but humorless wallflower. This is a classic case of display copy promising something the piece can’t deliver. “Last Supper of the Food Hacks” is the title, but what follows reads like a very accurate field report from the front lines of decadence, nothing more. What it is is enough, but I would have loved a final scene where, after 50+ courses and limitless Dom, one guest, say Heather Graham, burps into her napkin, which leads to a Stand By Me blueberry pie scene. Or maybe after an unexpected kitchen accident, a new, final dish is hurriedly added to the menu: Universal Donor cotton candy.
Every week, while Sam Sifton flexes his critical muscles and gorges on the food and scene of some new restaurant in New York for the Times, poor Tom Sietsema gives his right calf muscle a workout driving to the burbs to review some new pizza chain. There’s a reason Sifton’s reviews run over 1500 words, and Sietsema’s clock in at under 400. I’d like to say the D.C. food scene is in a slump, but that would imply hills and valleys that I just can’t map.
I must admit I won’t be buying Washington Post food editor Joe Yonan’s new book Serve Yourself based on his Cooking for One Column. Don’t worry this isn’t a criticism; Yonan is clearly thin skinned. I don’t buy any cookbooks really, though I do love reading nutritional books about tonics and superfoods. I get food magazines for inspiration, but most often I wait for a craving, hunt around Epicurious for tips, and build a meal around it.
The June issue of Food & Wine focuses pretty exclusively on malted bevs and the outdoor grill, so I will too. It worked; the editors got me excited about firing up the coals in my grill (or as I say, plugging it in). The wine pairings page now splits its space with beer pairings—good for some, but for me, an adamant Miller Lite drinker who strays only for homebrew, it’s a yawn. This beer-infused marshmallow could be interesting, but here’s a better idea: beer jello shots. Hm, with corn nuts on top. Done.
The New York Times dining section goes big with some breaking news this week: Not eating may lead to weight loss. Actually, it’s a funny piece by Henry Alford, that reads at times like a stand-up comedy routine, about his attempts to fool his overindulged body by merely pretending to eat. Speaking of things that don’t work, all the new food search engines (Google’s Food Search; Microsoft’s Bing; Facebook’s Foodily) are processed with more bug parts than recommended. I say, stick to Epicurious, which pulls from the archives of Bon Appetit and Gourmet.