June 30, 2005
Mad Cow Confessions
On the Post Secret weblog the confessions about bad things people have done to their food or the food of others are pretty tame. But as we scrolled through the handmade postcards scrawled with other kinds of secrets, we became disturbed, sad, and then delighted with the ring of recognition. There are people out there that have thought that too? What a relief.
Bluegrass Music makes hair shiny and skin clear and smooth
Our Picnic Season column continues. Tonight, pack a bucket or basket with your favorite provisions and head to the Prospect Park Bandshell. For only $3 you can see bluegrass legend Del McCoury. For more information about transportation to the show go to: Celebrate Brooklyn
These Cakes that Don't Run
It's the 4th of July week - one of those times of year when food writers get a lazy. Instead of finding a story to write about that is compelling or might inspire some delicious cooking, they throw in the towel and pretend to teach how to prepare a dish that will really only impress the equally obsessed: weather forecasters and busy-body housewives.
When an article begins by saying, "this dish can be showpieced on your 4th of July table and taste great at the same time," you know the dessert will look tacky and will taste like Styrofoam.
But if you want to shout out to all those naysayers, your doubting neighbors, those Red Staters, that you still love this country (despite the elected leadership) bake the Uncle Sam Cake. There will be no question of your stance with this cake as your centerpiece. Don't forget bigger the cake the greater your patriotism.
These gals must be really patriotic
All patriotic cakes' ingredients are the same. After doing extensive research we found that all recipes required only two ingredients (if you don't count the three shades of food coloring - coloring that you can bet does not run). The ingredients? A box of moist yellow-cake mix and vanilla frosting (from a can). Now what says patriotism faster or more convincingly than boxed cake and canned frosting? You ask what it means to live free? The answer is complex, but it begins with pre-prepared food. Food that frees you from your shackles of the kitchen to pursue acts that a free person would, being that he/she lives in the freest of nations.
We're just looking forward to the fall holidays. Our favorite is Thanksgiving, a time when "creative" types get so lost in their inventiveness that they forget that the turkey entree they're preparing really should not have some semblance to the bird's live incarnation. We feel like this is wrong. The bird is dead so it does not care. But we care.
It's a dead roasted chicken, garnished to look like a live Cabaret chicken
Okay. We've lost that patriotic buzz...and our appetite.
June 29, 2005
Cake of the Week Great for Hiding WMD
Hidden Treasure Cake
The recipe for the Hidden Treasure Cake suggests hiding fruits like mandarin orange sections or strawberry Jell-O in the hollow of the white cake. But why stop there. We suggest that journalists Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper, bake the cake with a creamy filling made of confidential sources. This cake will guarantee the sources will not leak, even if the journalists who baked them spend 18 months in jail.
Stay tuned for next week's Cake of the Week: The Medieval Castle Cake - great for people feeling nostalgic for times when countries were run by feudal lords and the words "freedom of press" was the punch line of a court jester's joke.
June 28, 2005
Best New TV Show about Eating
Andy Milonakis eating Fruity Pebbles
We've finally found a television personality who comes close to having our obsession with food. The Andy Milonakis show is our new favorite. [from Real Boy's Cozy Cabin weblog]
Today was a grand ol' day, I ate 10 twix bars actually 20 because there are 2 in each pack. I was hungry but I only did it because my friend Jeffrey dared me to. He said he would give me a super hard to find Anakin skywalker action figure if I did it and when I was done he told me he changed his mind. So now I'm really full and I don't have an Anakin skywalker figure.
We just hope the show doesn't get canceled because he eats the camera crew.
Product Placement in the NY Times Magazine
It was refreshing to see a small business like Fizzy Lizzy getting a little product placement in the New York Times Magazine last Sunday. In Matt Lee and Ted Lee's article, they profile Elizabeth Marilin and her juicy seltzer company. The story of a woman's struggle to compete in a world where Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola and Cadbury-Schweppes run the show is always riveting. And we've long been a fan of the seltzer/juice combination ourselves. Like the folks at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, we'd also make Fizzy Lizzy our house drink, if we could afford it. We're just curious about why it took two people to report and write this story. We would have gladly sent someone to sip free sparkly sans partner, friend or lover. We would have even reported the missing detail that four bottles of the stuff will cost you over $4. Since we're thrifty folks, we'll just keep mixing our own bubbly. But best of luck to you, Lizzy.
Cook at Home Mondays
Broccoli tortilla casserole
We're assuming you're like us and spent all your hard earned cash on restaurant dining this weekend. Since rent is due in less than a week we're guessing you need to find a way to cut some spending corners. That's why we're recommending you adopt our budget-conscious approach to eating and institute Cook at Home Mondays. On this week's menu is an ode to tequila season. We'll be preparing two dipping sauces and a tortilla casserole.
We suggest making the dipping sauces first so you can snack while you cook.
We assume that figs are in season since we found them plump and ripe at our local produce market. When you buy only one, they're reasonably priced. We paid only $.69 for a really nice one. To make the fig salsa you will need to dice the following ingredients:
1 ripe fig
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion
1/2 yellow pepper
1/8 jalapeño pepper
handful of cilantro
Chop and mix the ingredients above and then add a healthy squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Dip and taste with your favorite tortilla chips.
Radishes, like figs are the featured ingredients in this condiment. Of course you can't make good guacamole without a soft oily base of ripe avocadoes. But to get that deliciously chilling bite, crisp spicy radishes are a requisite. To begin, dice the following ingredients:
1/2 red onion
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
1/8 jalapeño pepper
a big handful of cilantro
Mash an avocado and douse with lemon juice.
Mix lemoned-avacado with first four ingredients and add salt, pepper and a little squeeze of fresh garlic.
Slice thin radish coins and decorate your guac.
Now it's time to prepare the entree: Broccoli tortilla casserole. The casserole pictured below is piping hot, fresh from the oven.
We're calling this broccoli tortilla casserole, but if there's a vegetable that sounds better or fresher or greener or redder that you'd like to use instead, don't let us stop you. This isn't a restaurant that prohibits requests for Parmesan cheese on seafood dishes. This is your kitchen. Improvise as you want. Essentially you're going to build a layered construction in the same way you would lasagna. Tortillas will be your noodles, salsa your tomato sauce. Be as liberal or conservative as you would like with the cheese and follow instructions below for preparation and assembling.
1 pack of soft corn tortillas
1 jar of salsa
8 oz of grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 14 oz slab of extra firm tofu or ricotta cheese
1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped
1 large ripe tomato
1 onion, chopped
Large bunch of cilantro
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp dried hot pepper flakes
In a blender or food processor puree the tofu until silky smooth. Add some salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes, cilantro and 2 cloves of crushed garlic and set aside.
Sautee onion until translucent and sweet. Add broccoli and allow to cook until tender. Add salt, pepper, diced cilantro and two cloves of garlic.
Now assemble away. In a 9x12 inch pan pour a little salsa to moisten the bottom of the pan. Then cover the entire pan with soft tortillas. Cover the tortillas with a thick layer of the tofu puree, then add a layer of salsa, then with sautéed broccoli. Cover with grated cheese, then start again. Tortilla, tofu, salsa, broccoli, cheese. Of course you can go crazy and mix up the order, but don't feel like you need to. Continue until pan is filled. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve piping hot with fig salsa and guacamole.
June 26, 2005
Restaurant Week: June 27-July 1
It's Restaurant Week again in New York City. That means it's time to make your reservations at that restaurant you've been wanting to try, but just couldn't afford.
NYC Restaurant Discounts
You don't have to be a tourist to take advantage of the discount card that New York City's tourist office is offering. From July 1-September 5th use the downloadable discount card at participating restaurants and other cash-sucking venues around the city. We checked out the list of restaurants and saw at least a few that are worth visiting with the card. And with the three Applebee's locations to choose from, the suburban foodie subset will be very happy.
June 25, 2005
The Body of Christ: It's What's for Dinner
Christians know how to eat. After all, it's the church ladies who are responsible for the ubiquitous spiral-bound cookbooks filled with meatloaf and pecan pie recipes for their potluck revival picnics.
When I learned that Reverend Billy Graham had scheduled his final farewell crusade at Corona Park in Queens, I wanted to try out my theory that you don't have to convert to eat like a Christian. I rounded up a team of hungry friends and we set out, hoping to stuff our bellies with some holy grub and participate in this pop culture phenomenon.
Exiting the 7-train, we were quickly absorbed into the slow crawl of crusade goers. I was determined to keep an open mind, even though dolls dripping with red food coloring were being waved in my face. I squinted, hoping to spot a table displaying the food options before I lost my appetite.
The way to my heart, mind and spirit is through my stomach. The only way the Christians stood a chance at converting me was if they presented me with the sublimest of tastings. The stakes were high.
Really the mission was doomed from the start. Between the crowds, the bottlenecking and bombardment of guilt-inducing request to hand over money for starving children in Africa (children who would have to sell their souls to Jesus as the condition for getting a meal), it wasn't long before it became evident this was not the place to be for good Christian eating. While they may be feeding kids in Africa, feeding us was not the priority here.
The food offerings were limited. We could only hope that Jesus would make a guest appearance to turn the limited food supply into larger quantities. And the little food available, proved to be vastly disappointing if not outright embarrassing.
There was foil-wrapped corn on the cob. The kernels were a Dayglo yellow - the first indication that they would be starchy without the necessary sweetness. With a hearty layer of carbon coating on the foil it looked like the corn had been cooking since the days when Jesus actually walked the earth.
When I spotted the pigs-in-a-blanket vendor, relief set in, until I got closer to investigate. As if in reaction to the hot summer weather, the blankets on the pigs were seasonably thin - more like a light tempura coating than a doughy ring. And the pigs themselves were as pale as the old-timer Christians' bald heads -- the white guys who seemed shocked and confused when the Latino Christian Rock kicked in. Despite its limited appeal, the line looped and turned for blocks. We waited for a half an hour and were still not even close to the lightly blanketed pigs. We passed the time watching a white Christian hip hop youth group as they bounced and jumped in synchronicity.
Not wanting to miss Billy's sermon or the alter call, we gave up on the pig line and found a potato chip stand with no line. With hunger grumbling like the devil in our bellies, we bought 10 bags - five sour cream and onion and five barbeque. At a mere $.50 a bag, the chips were a steal. Actually, all the food was surprisingly cheap. It must have been subsidized by all the "offerings" they kept collecting.
The police barricades set up to herd us in and out of the performance areas were elaborate. But despite the heightened security and the bag search, my little bottle of whiskey went unnoticed.
Unlike some unlucky souls who were forced to watch the crusade on big screens in satellite areas, we in the midst of Billy's actual presence. He might have been able to save my soul had he been close enough to lay hands on me. But alas, he was only a figure in the distance. We were so far removed from the legend himself that we were forced to watch him on the big screen too.
Apparently, big screens can save as well as Billy. During the alter call Billy proclaimed, "if you are open to making Jesus your personal Savior, come forward towards me." Then he presented instructions for those in the satellite zones. "If you are in one of the satellite sections walk towards the television screen." The idea of these hungry Christians walking towards a TV screen for salvation seemed like great material for a zombie movie: Ravenous Christian zombies storming towards the television screen, eating any flesh in their path.
While I'm relieved to report that none of my friends were saved that night, the food was a huge disappointment. Perhaps if I had actually felt the Holy Spirit moving through my taste buds, I would have given in and declared myself saved. But as always, the devil is in the detail and where the crusaders went wrong was the important detail of serving up good food.
In any case, it was nice to break from the usual Friday night routine of gluttony and sin. And the delicious Indian feast we ate in Jackson Heights, Queens warmed our hearts and bellies in a way that Reverend Billy wasn't able to do.
June 24, 2005
mmmm, yummy space gel
Eat what the today's space age ants do. For less than $20 you've got yourself a meal the color of the Tranquility Vitamin Water. But unlike that less sweet colored liquid, this meal has jelly viscosity to it. It's not as firm as Jello but thicker than Blue-Die-No.5-tinted turkey gravy. It's satisfying, but doesn't leave a tingle on the tongue for hours after the meal has ended, like the leading brand.
This miraculous gel, derived from a NASA Space experiment, serves as both habitat and nutrition for your ants - allowing you to watch in awe as they turn a brick of aqua-blue gel into a fascinating colony of tunnels. Never before have you been so capable of watching these awesome creatures at work.
If your intention is really to eat the new space-age gel, you will also receive a bonus pack of ants to chew on. Warning: The meal may mysteriously cause your ascent into outer space glowing blue in the middle.
But for you vegetarians, especially those who don't even eat gelatin products, the kit doesn't have to be a slaughterhouse. If you prefer the farm animals-as-friends approach, resort to the conventional use of the farm. The pretty blue glow will keep you and the tunneling ants amused for hours.
June 23, 2005
Eat the Flag
Jon Stewart and a handful of liberal and quasi-liberal do-gooders did at a fundraiser for Partnership for Public Service. [From Transom]:
"This is a night for celebrating freedom," boomed Jon Stewart from the stage of the Waldorf Astoria’s ballroom. "The freedom to honor each other at gala dinners. That"—he paused—"is what we fight for." Attendees at the Participation for Public Service Annual Gala also fought for "American Parfaits"—pretty little Neapolitan ice-cream combos, whose luscious white-chocolate American flags were scarfed down with pride.
They may have to quit their desecratin' if the flag bill passes.
And in other Government and God news: Now that Christians have their own version of an Ivy League University and are in training to Christify government jobs, we're especially glad that an organization like Partnership for Public Service is out there for those of us who want to keep the sinners and heathens in office. According to Hanna Rosin's excellent article in the New Yorker, "God and Country," Patrick Henry College is sending roughly the same number of Evangelical Christians to internships on the Hill as Georgetown University. Liberals, it's time to get cracking.
June 22, 2005
A new museum dedicated to the common cooking mishap
This specimen is proof that Red Lobster is not training their tiger shrimp grillers properly.
With grilling season here and folks like us studying the bbq guides in an urgent attempt to compensate for our vegetarian boyfriends and husbands' inabilities, I just want to issue this warning: if you don't let the coals burn down, your shish kebabs will burn. This and other cooking mishaps are brilliantly documented on The Museum of Burnt Food website. It's the website for all of us who've experienced this culinary disaster.
The toasted bagel disaster could happen to any of us...or is that a donut? [from the Museum of Burnt Food]:
Bagel, gift of the "Benveniste Carbon Dating Service"
This beautifully preserved specimen tells it all: a beloved food, object of gustatory desire, placed in the oven with the best of intentions -- and yet, as so often happens, preoccupation with life's ephemera leaves the beloved alone, neglected, ultimately its heart (and in this case everything else as well) turned hard as stone.
June 21, 2005
I always knew Sesame Street was cutting edge...
The people who taught all you latch-key kids to read and count, are now encouraging you to play with your food. It's okay. You can do it. Click Here to play with your food.
But be forwarned. This may be a secret trick to recruit members for the Clean Plate Club.
Award for cutest deviled eggs goes to....
Is it Russian's version of Kawaii -- cute culture? These little devils remind me of my childhood days when I would glue googly eyes to the flowers in my mother's garden and would then hide in the bushes and quietly weep when she began to cut the stocks for a bouquet. How could you eat these cuties? [From Russian Food.com]
Cute hares from hard-boiled eggs complement palatable “lawns” made from fresh vegetables, cold meats or fish.Peel an egg and cut off a thin slice longwise from one side. Make the “ears” from that slice, cutting out a V-shaped piece. Make a cut in the egg top to put the ears in. Draw the eyes with tomato paste and the whiskers – with mustard and make a tail with mayonnaise.
We've outlined this week's best picnic-friendly events in the New York City area. Now we're going to provide you with a suggested menu for your picnic. Since our pick of the week is Billy Graham's Crusade in Queens, we're suggesting a southern-themed picnic menu of Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches, Deviled Eggs, Cole Slaw and good old fashioned sinners beer. Here's the recipe for Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches [from Ready Made Magazine]
Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches Makes 6
I hated my mom's meatloaf as a kid, but it's clear to me now that I was a fool in my youth. This is her recipe, made spicier but less artery-hardening by substituting hot turkey sausage for the ground beef.
14 slices whole wheat bread
1/3 cup whole milk
2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
3/4 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 lb 3 oz ground turkey
1 lb 3 oz hot turkey sausage, without casing
4 tsps stone-ground mustard
1 large egg
2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp dried dill
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk into a medium-sized bowl. Put in two slices of bread to soak. Set aside.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over moderate heat, and cook mushrooms and onions, covered, until soft, about five minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add ground turkey, turkey sausage, mustard, egg, oregano, and dill. Remove bread from milk and break up into turkey mixture. Pour in any remaining milk and work it all together with your hands until well combined. Season with freshly ground pepper.
Turn mixture out onto a lightly greased sheet pan and form into a 10-by-5-inch loaf. Bake in middle of oven 55 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into half-inch-thick slices. Serve on the remaining bread with your favorite toppings and condiments: lettuce, cheddar cheese, ketchup, mayonnaise, and/or mustard.
With that fluke of a heatwave far in New York City's past and with free the concert season kicked off, it's time to mark your calendar and prepare your picnic basket.
This week's free picnic-friendly events include:
Tonight, June 21, 2005, 7 PM: The Metropolitan Opera performs Samson et Dalila by Camille Saint-Saëns in Prospect Park's Long Meadow.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005, 7 PM: The Madison Square Park Conservancy is presenting Dar Williams
Thursday, June 23, 2005, 6 PM: Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, One Bowling Green Movie: Chac: The Rain God - Based on Tzeltal and Mayan ceremonies and stories and the Popul Vuh, the film focuses on a small village in the Chiapas region of Mexico desperate for rain during a terrible drought.
Friday, June 24, 2005, 5PM: Swedish Midsummer Festival at Wagner Park in near Bowling Green - Celebrate the longest day of the year the traditional Swedish way – picnicking on the grass, making flower wreaths for headdresses, listening to traditional fiddle music, and dancing until dark.
Directions: Take the 4/5 to Bowling Green, or take the 1/9 to Rector and walk down Greenwich.
Walk west along Battery Place until you pass Historic Battery Park and enter BPC.
Bus: The M9, M10, and M22 buses all stop in Battery Park City
Friday, June 24, 2005, 7:30 PM: Pack your picnic baskets and join us in gluttoneous sin before the eyes of the great Christian Crusader, Reverend Billy Graham. For three free days you can picnic in Flushing Meadows Corona Park amid the Saved. Look for us non-believers with our yuppily packed gourmet picnic baskets. Take the 7 train to Willets Point/Shea Stadium. Be prepared yourself for a 15 minute walk.
The Downtown Boathouse provides free kayaking weekends and weekday evenings, perfect for a floating Picnic-on-Hudson.
Pier 26 Between Chambers Street and Canal Street on the Hudson River.
Click here for delicious picnic recipes.
Featured Eating-for-a-Living Job
Lick ice cream cones for a living. Swish fine port about in your mouth on the company card. You've been training your whole life for this job. Now all you have to do is research the cravings of the Denver eating crowd, be slightly handy with wordsmithing and you've got yourself a job. The Denver Post is looking to hire a restaurant critic.
[Job Posting from Journalism Next.com]
Dining Critic/Food Writer
The Denver Post seeks a creative writer and adventurous diner to join its Features staff. We want someone with a passion for finding great meals and a talent for sharing the news through lively writing. The successful candidate will work as the newspaper's chief restaurant critic and contribute regular stories to the weekly Food and Entertainment sections. We want someone with style who will generate real excitement among the eating crowd. Experience as a critic is not essential, but food knowledge is a must.
Send your resumes to Carla Kimbrough-Robinson, associate editor/staff development, at The Denver Post, Fax: 303 820-1497 or Email: email@example.com.
Drink Spanish Wine, Help City Harvest
We missed last year's Spanish Wine Festival to benefit City Harvest, but you can bet we'll be sipping fine Spanish wine this Thursday.
Where: The tasting will take place at the dramatic and richly historical setting of "Landmark on the Park," a Universalist Church built in 1897, located at 160 Central Park West across from Central Park at West 76th Street
When: 6:30 - 9:30pm, Thursday, June 23, 2005
Cost: $75.00 per person
Further information call: 212 567-5500
Where to Eat in July
Usually the Jacob Javit's Center is the #1 place to avoid, but not in July between the 10-12th. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is holding the 51st Annual Fancy Food Show. We would recommend making that long trek West to a fine food-lover's heaven.
For a mere $60 you can wander from booth to booth tasting imported oils from Morocco, plates piled high with chocolates, Kosher Wines and organic fruit juices. Plan to skip breakfast and graze on samples for a day or two. $60 may sound like a lot for one meal - but think of it as nine meals: 3 days, 3 meals/day.
Longing to Fly
Maybe it's a subconscious reflex. I know I'll be working all summer with no vacation time and will therefore not be able to indulge in one of my secret vices: airplane food. It's what I'm craving. In hopes of satiating this craving, I'm announcing this week's airline meal of the week (pictured above):
[From AirlineMeals.Net]Route: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Hong Kong
Ticket price: JPY70000 ($640 dollars)
Aircraft type & class: B777, upgraded to Business class
Meal type: Lunch
Contents of the meal: smoke salmon, green salad, grilled seafood with risotto, bread pudding, fresh fruit
Comments: very nice course followed by selection of fine cheeze.
Rating 1-10 (worst-best): 9
Naturally, I'm drooling over the photo, since it is, after all, the meal of the week. But while I long for airline food, it's the trip not the flight that I will really miss. As everyone knows, the food at the destination is always far superior to that consumed in flight.
But there's a simple beauty to those efficiently packaged meals. And I'm always curious to taste the airline's interpretation of the destination country's cuisine. The meal is always an indication of what's to come and sadly, this summer there is neither airline food nor exotic dishes in my cards.
June 19, 2005
Is it true? On a slow Sunday afternoon I was cruising around on Wikipedia trying to get some quick candy history. One page led to another and suddenly I was reading that Jujyfruits makes an asparagus-shaped candy. Can anyone confirm this to be true? [From Wikipedia]The Jujyfruits shapes are Pineapple, Tomato, Raspberry, Grape Bundle, Asparagus, Banana, and Pea Pod. The banana shape is stamped with "HEIDE." Fruity flavors include raspberry, licorice, lime, orange, and lemon.
Stay tuned for the Asparagus ice cream recipe.
Eat the Ad
Disney's really getting cutting edge. Between purchasing Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle and now this: [From Nephilim]So you've seen Disney marketing on just about every type of merchandise, and you think you've seen it all. Not even. I was looking at a package of Mission brand tortillas (which are pretty good, btw), and I saw that they have an offer for - get this - edible tortilla decals with disney characters and landmarks on them. I have to see these in action. Unfortunately, you can't order them online - it's a snail-mail-only offer involving writing your name and address on a 3x5 card. (Do people still do that?)Let's show Disney that people still do.
Check out Judith Moore's new book: Fat Girl [From Book Slut]At one point, over a cheeseburger, a man she’s dating says she is “too fat to fuck” and she never eats a cheeseburger again. She is fat because she is starved of love and eats and eats and eats to fill that void, sometimes even breaking into the homes of acquaintances to eat their food and dream of how it would feel if those people loved her.Food for Moore is life and love itself and this is clear from the steamy, almost erotic prose she uses to describe food and eating:
"My mouth is dangerous… My mouth wants to bite down on rough bread and hot rare peppered steak and steamed broccoli sprayed with lemon juice. My mouth wants potatoes sluiced with gravy and Cobb salad and club sandwiches and ridged potato chips and loathsome onion dip… Caramel macadamia crunch [ice cream] might as well be the A-bomb, I am so scared of salty nuts and unctuously sweet caramel… of the frozen cream that melts along my tongue and walls of my cheeks."
Christians aren't eating cake...the end must really be near
They are on a boycott. It's hard to believe they aren't eating, but they think by fasting they can stop our friends the gays from being gay - or at least stop representation of gay characters on television.
Expect to see the Christian lemmings - followers of Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association (AFA)-slimming down.
In just the past year and a half, AFA protests and boycotts -- or even the simple threat of boycotts -- have been enough to make a host of American companies pull their ads from TV shows the Christian right considers pro-gay or salacious. "Desperate Housewives" has lost ads from Safeway, Tyson Foods, Liberty Mutual, Kohl's, Alberto Culver, Leapfrog and Lowe's after the AFA's One Million Dads campaign targeted the show's sponsors. "Life as We Know It" got the same AFA treatment -- and lost ads from McCormick, Lenscrafters, Radio Shack, Papa John's International, Chattem and Sharpie. [Read full article]
June 15, 2005
Who needs Grand Central's Oyster Bar?
There's a reason I didn't discovered NYC's best kept cheap beer-drinking secret until yesterday.
I don't use the LIRR or Metro North to come and go each day. As a result, I've been missing out on the best beer deal in town. My discovery occurred yesterday.
Before I boarded the LIRR to take me to the LCD Soundsystem/Interpol/Pixies concert at Jones Beach, I made a pit stop at the LIRR platform bar for a tall cool can of beer.
The platform bars are not a new concept. I've known about them, even purchased beer from them before city getaways. However, the bargain aspect of the stands never registered. Maybe a friend made the purchase or maybe I didn't bother to look at the hefty wad of change I received back. But with money trickling in at a slower clip than usual, I’ve been particularly sensitive to deals when I find them.
On the platform, a mere $2.50 buys you a pint of Amstel Light and other imports. If you're really on a budget, you need only spend $2 on domestics. We're not even talking the wimpy 12 ounce cans. You get the full 16 ounces!
And while drinking is illegal on buses, subways and New York City streets, the MTA says yes to drinking on commuter platforms.
Shout it loud in the overheated subway tunnels. Spread the word. Boycott the taverns. Let's take happy hour to the platforms.
No need to commute to take part in this last glorious vestige of Bacchean tolerance in this neo-puritanical city. Simply go to your platform of choice. Make your purchase and take a seat on the nearby train car and wait for the conductor to announce the departure. Just be sure to not imbibe so much cheap beer that you forget to disembark before the train leaves.
June 11, 2005
Minty Lentil Salad
1 cup of uncooked lentils
1 cucumber chopped in little cubes
1 small red onion chopped finely
1 cup of parsley chopped finely
1/2 cup of mint chopped finely
1 cup of feta cheese
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
Cook the lentils in a pressure cooker for about 15 minutes. While the lentils cook prepare the remaining incredients. Chop and measure and combine in a bowl. When the lentils are cooked and cool add to the other ingredients.
Serve with arugula humus and icy mint tea.
1 cup uncooked garbanzo beans
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup of arugula
Soak garbanzo beans for at least 3 hours until they are plump and swollen.
In a pressure cooker cook the beans for 15 minutes. (Begin timing when pressure is up) If you don't have a pressure cooker, cook garbanzo beans for 1 1/2 hours or until very soft. As a short cut alternative, buy two large cans of cooked garbanzo beans. Save at least a cup of the water the beans were cooked in.
In a food processor puree the beans until the consistency is smooth. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and arugula. Add bean water if the mixture is too thick.
Serve with warm pita bread, minty lentil salad, olives, mint and feta cheese.
June 02, 2005
If you're planning a trip to Point Reyes in Marin County California, be sure to schedule enough time to pick up your lunch at Johnson's Drake Bay Oysters. For a mere $5 you can dine on a pint of the freshest of briny goodness - shucked for your convenience.
Posted by Cakehead at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)
June 01, 2005
NY Times' $25 and Under Column is a Scam
EVER FEEL LIKE THE NEW YORK TIMES MISJUDGES ITS DINING AUDIENCE?
The hunt for cheap eats. It is one of the most enjoyable pursuits that New York City residents and visitors can engage in. And there is no need to limit oneself to street or fast food. But if you're turning to The New York Times' $25 and Under reporters, Eric Mr. Asimov or Dana Bowen, you will be misguided. They do not have your best interests at heart.
Their goal: To try out that hip new restaurant they've been strolling by, using their allotted $25 and under allowance and in the process convince their editor they have the language and taste necessary to take on the real restaurant reviews that get them the bottomless credit card account. Your goal: To leave your tiny apartment rental & eat good food and still have enough money left over to put in savings for that tiny co-op apartment you've been trying to buy.
I read that particular Times column for a reason. Nowhere else on the dining pages are there recommendations for inexpensive places to dine. My hopes are always high. I want that delicious bargain. I want that insider's expert whisper, " try that little hole in the wall on Delancy that you've always wondered about."
Several weeks ago I listened. I took their referral and tried that new nouveau Dominican fusion restaurant in Chelsea. The restaurant is called, It's a Dominican Thing. By the end of the evening, after being charged yuppie-inflation on every dish you could buy in a real Dominican restaurant for a quarter the price, after our waiters took an hour and 1/2 to bring out the first appetizer, after seeing the smallest portions ever served on the largest flying saucers-sized plates, me and my friends were forced to turn the restaurant's name into a joke.
As hour two approached and still no entree, our impatience turned to humor. The punchline: It's a Dominican Thing.
I don't blame the restaurant. They were only doing what any Chelsea-based restaurant attempting swankdom would do (jack up prices and force you to order many rounds of drinks). I do blame Dana Bowen. When the food finally arrived it was fine. But the bill (and the whole point of Dana's column) came nowhere close to under $25 per person. Even if I don't take into account the drinks we were forced to swallow to maintain composure to guarantee a disgruntled waiter didn't spit in our meal, the place would have been a rip off - tallying in at over $40 per person.
Find me a bargain, Dana Bowen, and you will have re-earned my faith.
For those who also find that the Times columnist lacks the drive to find the truly inexpensive morsels, stay tuned. Boycott their suggestions. No need to convert to the New York Times mentality that to be successful in this town requires burning a pretty penny. Don't change careers so you can afford the restaurants the Times thinks you aspire to visit. The Slumming It column is for people who know what a dollar is worth and are happy to eat that dollars worth of grub. There is a philosophy to the cheap eats hunting game. This I will teach you.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME:
1. Avoid all restaurants lit from the floor a la L.A. -- especially floor lights that are a soft pink or blue. The best cheap eat spots are fluorescently lit.
2. Read the menu. If any item on the menu costs more than $15, the place is not a bargain. If the menu advertises a special that is the $18 range, go home and prepare yourself an inexpensive meal. Do this the next day and the next. If you still are craving the restaurant return. You have earned it.
3. Avoid mid-town Manhattan. That means no food anywhere between 65th Street & 38th Street (unless you're talking west of 9th Ave or East of Lexington).
4. A Restaurant that allows you to BYO is a signal to enter. Money's money - whether you spend it on booze or on food.
5. If you're considering a restaurant you've found online go to The New York Times website and search for a review of the restaurant. If The Times reviewed it, skip it.
6. If you've found a place that seems inexpensive and fits the bill atmosphere-wise, ask your waitress what her favorite dish is. What's good, may not be what you're craving, but if you don't ask you'll never get to try that amazing garlic soup that you will crave the rest of your life.