Grumpy Old Lady News Peruse

Good morning and welcome to the latest edition of the Fabulous Foodie News Peruse, wherein I am sorry to report that I am a tad grumpy. I know, I know, I was grumpy this weekend over the lack of cheese at the Chili and Cheese festival this weekend. I moved on from that, honestly. My current grumpiness is due to birds eating all the remaining cherries off the tree and both the pear tree and the plum tree seem to have … stalled somehow. Fruit is there, it looks ALMOST right. But it’s taking ages and ages to actually ripen.

So to kill time until harvest, a news peruse.

Continue reading “Grumpy Old Lady News Peruse”

Hot as Heck News Peruse

July, as I am fond of reminding everyone, is ice cream month. At least it is in the United States and it has been since being proposed in Congress and signed into existence by presidential proclamation by Ronald Reagan in 1984.

President Reagan, who rather liked his sweets, also declared that the third Sunday in the month would be National Ice Cream Day. Now this may strike some as overkill but I’m not sure such a thing is possible with ice cream. I mean, I could go on and on about the stuff with no difficulties whatsoever as you can see – You Scream, I Scream. We All . . . Well, You Know.

To mark the occasion of Ice Cream Month (and I disregard the national part because to me – ice cream knows no boundaries), the news peruse will be ice cream themed. Continue reading “Hot as Heck News Peruse”

Fabulous Finds for Your Favourite Foodie

It’s holiday time and once again we wrack our brains trying to come up with gifts that will be both appropriate and appreciated (and let’s be honest, not too expensive). For the foodie in your life, this usually comes in the shape of a cookbook or some culinary gadget. But how many whisks does one kitchen need (even whisks with egg heads or handles in the shape of pigs). So here’s a few ideas that might push the envelope a bit without breaking the bank.

normal_haribo-starmix-sweet-tree-square-vaseBBC Good Food has a gift guide – having gone out and collected links to products they like. You can search by category (baking, gadgets, kids, etc) or price range (and with 81 products under £15, it’s worth a look)

Not the High Street as quite a nice gifts for foodies selection that runs from £3 milk chocolate letters to a £170 monthly wine club membership. There’s a ton of reasonably priced goodies in between so even if you don’t find something for someone else, you might find a little something to treat yourself. Go on, you deserve it.

It’s sale season so it’s worth checking out the Gifts For Foodies at Lakeland. I admit that sometimes the prices here give me pause but during the holiday sale season, something a bit special is a bit more within reach.

I confess that my favourite thing at that particular site isn’t food-related at all. It’s the Grammar Grumble Mugs. I want ALL of them.

Naturally the newspapers, magazines and food websites have their round-ups as well but they seem, in the case of newspapers anyway, to be going for the goofy gadget angle or just see how pricey a list they can compile. But every now and again, there is something that sparks an idea.

fairy-tale-feasts-a-literary-cookbook-3451-p[ekm]250x250[ekm]Literary Gift Company has some unusual and fun cookbooks that you can almost guarantee your foodie won’t have:

Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook £20.00

The Bloomsbury Cookbook £24.95

The Jane Austen Cookbook £9.95

The Shakespeare Cookbook £10.99

Obviously this is just the tip of the holiday gift iceberg. I’ll be putting together other lists *(Cookbooks, Gadgets, Food Writing, etc) over the next couple of weeks. All out of the goodness of my heart, of course. And not because I just love online browsing. Not at all 🙂

Some later additions I found on other food blogs and are TOTALLY worth checking out

The Ultimate Foodies Christmas Gift Guide from FabFood4All

2014 Christmas Gifts for Foodies – Part 1 and of course, 2014 Christmas Gifts For Foodies – Part 2

Obviously this is just the tip of the holiday gift iceberg. I’ll be putting together other lists *(Cookbooks, Gadgets, Food Writing, etc) over the next couple of weeks. All out of the goodness of my heart, of course. And not because I just love online browsing. Not at all 🙂

Gotham-Related Goodies

The Sound of Manhattan In Spring: Ah, NYC in the Spring. Lobby doors are open and the gentle sound of doormen follow you down the street. Just head a lobby full of guys slavering over flier for horrifying new KFC sandwich – the Double Down – that uses fried chicken in place of bread. Seriously, the thing looks like a heart attack waiting to happen.  Midtown Lunch makes the point that even “If KFC’s ‘Double Down’ Kills Us, At Least We’ll Go Down Smiling.” Way to look on the bright side, guys 🙂

From the “No One Asked Me But . . . ” File: is Peter Luger’s really the ideal place (from a PR standpoint) to hold discussions about the state’s budgetary woes? Don’t get me wrong – I love me some Peter’s Luger’s but it seems to strike the wrong note.

According to Eater NY (one of my fav site seeing stops): McDonald’s Germany has just introduced cupcakes inspired by four different neighborhoods in New York City. That may well be but I don’t know which New York they based their theme on – it’s not any NYC I recognize. Why does Soho girl look like she took a wrong turn at Ohio? Chelsea man? Not in that shirt and those jeans, my friend.

Fabulous – but quick – Link Roundup

A quick link round up because I am powering through my “Get Out of Town for Labor Day Weekend” To Do List

Are you reading the Answers About the History of the Bagel? If not why not? First Set of Q&A | Second Set of Q&A – third set to come.

I saw Julie and Julia. Did you see it? I have a confession – I didn’t read the blog, don’t intend to read the blog, didn’t read Mastering the Art of French Cooking and don’t intend to cook my way through it – but never mind all that. The movie was half semi-decent if formulaic rom-com (the Julie half) – the other half, the Julia segments were a SCREAM. An aside: As an indexer, an indexer who has indexed cookbooks and an indexer who worked on the 75th Anniversary edition of Joy of Cooking – well, you can imagine my reaction to THAT conversation. But I have to agree with the review of the film in Gourmet. Julie’s approach to the whole endeavor (the Julie of the film since I haven’t the vaguest clue what real life Julie’s approach actually was) seemed so off. She establishes at the beginning that she finds cooking relaxing, soothing, comforting. But it is apparently NONE of those things once it has become work (self-assigned or not). She was also – again in the film – annoying, narcissistic and unlikable. But the Julia part more than made up for it.

I found the discussion of “Foodie,” “Cook,” and “Home Cook” – the differences between them, the meaning, when and who uses one or the other – interesting mostly because I realized that I don’t consider myself to be any of those. I mean to engage in the act of cooking, yes. But I wouldn’t describe myself as a cook – home or otherwise. I like food. I even love some food. I like writing about it, thinking about, researching it and exploring different types. But I do it because I find it interesting. I don’t find talking about what I found out as entertaining as the act of finding out. So I don’t consider myself a foodie. I’m just someone who likes food. I don’t know that I will ever be – or ever want to be – anything else.

Oh and lest I forget — Ice Cream Review 87 Flavors at 17 Spots in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

OK, I really have to get back to my list. Tah!

2009 Vendy Finalists, Here I Come!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the finalists for this year’s Vendy Awards have been announced and as a proud New Yorker, I feel the need to check them out personally.  What’s that? No, not Wendy’s. I said the Vendys.

vendy You must have heard of it – it’s been going on for years (well four – but that’s years).  It’s a cook-off to find the best sidewalks chefs in New York City. Yes, I said sidewalk.  That’s right – street food.  Those carts on the corner? Those. Though many are now actually trucks but never mind – they set up shop and serve customers right there on he street so they remain street food. No, these are not dirty water dogs (not that there’s anything wrong with dirty water dogs). The world of New York Street Food is a vast landscape, covering a world of cuisine – including everything from the South American grilled chicken to Sri-Lankan style vegan to dessert.

This year’s finalists include:

  • Traditional Indian offerings from Meru Sikder and his Biryani Cart
  • Middle Eastern fare from Falafel King, Fares “Freddy” Zeidaies
  • Dumplings courtesy of Kenny Lao at Rickshaw Dumpling
  • Jamaican food from Jamaican Dutchy’s O’Neill Reid
  • Mexican from Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck run by Fernando & Jolanda Martinez*

My goal is to try something from each finalist before THE BIG DAY. I always say that of course and somehow always miss one. But this year – I’m gonna do it!  I must say that the Vendy Awards people have made it easier than ever to find and get to know the finalists. I love the maps and the interviews. – looking forward to it all.

That said, I have already experienced the joy of Rickshaw Dumpling.   All I have to say about that is — pardon my French – FAN. F*CKING. TASTIC!


* somehow I’ve never tried their stuff despite having been out to the Red Hook Ball Fields a number of times – the Red Hook Ball Fields are worth a post all on their own and will get one shortly. In the meantime, check out Serious Eat’s Red Hook Vendors: A Quick Guide for the Uninitiated. Mouth-wateringly informative.

Best(ish) Burger in NY

As is sometimes happily the case, I have come across something that fits nicely into both sides of my blogging world – food and NYC.

jgmelonGrub Street has gone national! Whooo-hooooo.

And yet, my joy is dimmed slightly by the fact that their recently published Burger Register (New York’s 82 Most Notable Burgers) fails to include a burger of such excellence and which is held in high regard across a wide swathe of the population that I can only assume it’s an very early (or very late – depending on how you look at it) April Fool’s Joke.

Seriously. JG Melon’s burger is the very defnition of sublime, the very essence of all that is burger. The other 82 burgers wish they were that good.

Yes We Can (Eat Like A President)

What is on the menu for the Obama inaugural luncheon in Washington next week? Well, first of all you should know that they meal has a theme: Abraham Lincoln and ‘The New Birth of Freedom.’ Really? OK —  if historians tell me that Lincoln liked seafood I’ll take their word for it but he might take a very different view of “seafood stew in puff pastry.”  I’d love to know what Mary thought. Still, I don’t mean to quibble on what should be a happy occasion. I merely point out the facts and let you decide how to use or ignore them. So, the menu:

  • seafood stew in puff pastry (why ruin a perfectly good stew with puff pastry?)
  • a “brace of birds” as Abe Lincoln would have said but which we call duck and pheasant (served with sour cherry chutney)
  • molasses sweet potatoes (can someone explain to me the appeal of sweet potatoes? I just don’t get it.)
  • apple sponge cake (which sounds absolutely delightful and which I shall try bext time the urge to bake strikes)
  • and California wines (which doesn’t tell us much beyond the fact that someone at the end of the meeting remembered not to order French or Australian wines)

I approve of this menu (except for the puff pastry and the sweet potatoes but it is a democracy so to each his own). And I am not the only one with presidential grub on their minds. Not by a long shot.

All great stuff – and it’s making me hungry so if you all would excuse me . . .

It’s the Potato’s Year

Yup, 2008 is the International Year of the Potato.

“A whole year?” I hear you ask. “Why a whole year and who says so?”

Well, I couldn’t quite see why it needed a whole year either so I went to check. Turns out it is The United Nations, that’s who and we know how tetchy they can get when no one listens to them. Seriously, no one ever listens to them and they are starting to develop a complex(1) so let’s throw them a bone and pay attention to what they have to say.

And besides, why not celebrate the potato? They are delicious, come in umpteen varieties, relatively inexpensive and – did I mention flexible?

Potatoes can be boiled, baked, fried, microwaved, steamed, or roasted, with or without their peels. They partner up beautifully with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheese, veggies, and so many other things we’d be here all day listing them.

They are also a much misunderstood veggies. Yes, you can pile them with all sorts of delicious, full fat toppings, grease them and fry them with an inch of their delicious lives but you know what? Left to themselves they’re quite low in calories and far from being culinary filler (as many people see them), they are loaded with nutrients.

Yes, the potato – of all foods – may very well need a longer celebration than most. And because I feel bad about missing the whole first part of the Spud’s annus mirabilis(2) – I am going to really go all out for National Potato Month (September in case you were wondering) and try and squeeze a year’s worth of starchy goodness into 30 days.

Stay tuned!


(1) and I don’t just mean the renovation of their offices though that project isn’t exactly small potatoes.

(2) no, go look it up.

Wine Whine

What the . . . What on earth is all that racket?

Oh! It’s just someone scamming Wine Spectator magazine out of an Award of Excellence. Oh, didn’t you hear? Everyone’s talking about it. And by everyone I mean – Epicurious, the Boston Globe, New York Magazine’s Grub Street (no less than 4 times in the past 2 days) and the Diner’s Journal at the NYTimes.

Yes, this year, the award was given to a restaurant that does not exist.

And these people went to some trouble with it, creating user profiles for Chowhound, posting about their experiences at a fictitious restaurant, etc. I’m not sure what was accomplished beyond the “Gotcha!” factor and the wailing and gnashing of editorial teeth on the mags forums. But I am still entertained – especially since it now explains a lot about their – in my opinion – flawed selection process. They don’t actually, ya know, GO to the restaurants. I can see not going to every one that nominates itself but come on – once you’ve got it narrowed down, surely the actual wine should be experienced and in context of the restaurant. Yes, that might incur expenses but apparently the magazine collects $250 or so from every entrant so why not use that?

edited to add: Robin Goldstein, perpatrator of the whole scam, can talk about doing this as part of an academic investigation but I’m sure the fact that it is boosting book sales comes into play as well.