November 5, 2007

The Company James Cayne Keeps

Maury Povich and Jimmy Cayne, the CEO of Wall Street I-Bank Bear Stearns I-Bank, are two peas in a pod.

read more | digg story

June 5, 2007

I am so smart, S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R-T.

The Guardian has an article regarding a new study by the University of Wales, which backs up my rant on Soilgate ’07; Nixon had nothing on these people. According to University of Wales researchers found that only 2 percent of the environmental impact of food comes from farm-to-store transit, the majority of, “its ecological footprint comes from food processing, storage, packaging and growing conditions.”

The real kicker, has to do with the label of organic itself. Speaking on local produce, Ruth Fairchild at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff stated,

"I'm a bit worried about the food miles [debate] because it is educating the consumer in the wrong way. It is such an insignificant point…Those [foods] could have been produced using pesticides that have travelled all the way around the world. If you just take food miles, it is the tiny bit on the end."

Sooooooo…can I say I told you so yet? Don't worry, I'll say something exceedingly dumb later on to wipe the slate clean.

Thanks to Chow’s the Grinder for the tip.

June 4, 2007

No Organic Veggies makes Jack a Dull Boy

Chow’s The Grinder covers an issue which puzzles even my immense brain (known to move mountains and take out the trash with just my mind); it appears that our brethren across the pond in the UK are considering a ban on air freighted organic produce. Here is the Telegraph’s coverage of the subject, mind numbing on a number of levels.

The logic behind the potential ban is that air freighted organic vegetables are responsible for 11% of the UK’s carbon emissions produced by British food transport. Members of the Soil Association (which licenses 85 per cent of Britain's organic produce) have stated that, "Government research has shown that the environmental benefits of organic food outweigh the costs if it is transported by road or sea."

Sure, I’m not much of an environmentalist (little known fact: burning hundreds of tires does not help rebuild the ozone despite my original hypothesis) but last I checked organic referred to how crops/meat were raised, nothing else. Organic is food raised in a particular (non-chemical) manner; that’s it. The classification assures consumers of how food was raised and that they would not be digesting chemicals with every bite, a comforting thought that many people (myself included) like. While it’s likely that the long distance the crops have to travel do put strain on the environment that in no way influences the organic nature of the product itself.

So why am I so upset about this?

I am a big supporter of buying products from local vendors and markets thus supporting local agriculture, businesses and traditions. However, there are many items which are unavailable certain times of year, or in certain parts of the world, making global sourcing something of a necessity. Having an organic certification, guarantees how the food was raised, assuring a certain degree of quality, irregardless of the food’s birthplace.

I’m bothered whenever healthy eating is threatened by stupid political thinking. This ban would undermine the current inroads made to healthy and organic farming/eating and could potentially damage the entire organic movement. More importantly though I see this as an isolationist view, never good for a global economy.

I can only hope that common sense prevails; I’m already pissed off at the rising number of items I’m not allowed to purchase because they’re supposedly not good for me; I don't need inane politics getting in the way of enjoying a decent batch of blueberries.

May 31, 2007

Pop Rocks Have Nothing on This.

A great trick from Indestructibles to make ‘fizzy fruit’. While the fruit loses its fizz quickly (after 15 minutes), I’m thinking some great desserts and drinks can be made from super fizzed out fruit.

Fizzy fruit salad perhaps?

May 30, 2007

I'm Freaking Out Man!

The 92nd Street Y had a panel discussion with some heavy hitters of the food world participating: Gael Greene, Jacques Pepin, Michael Whiteman, Arthur Schwartz and Mike Colameco chairing. I unfortunately was not in attendance.

Grub Street thankfully covered the event so that lazy bloggers like myself are not left in the dark. Remember, secondhand knowledge of an event is just as good as firsthand knowledge if I pretend like I was there and dodge any specific questions. “What was Gael Greene wearing?” “Ummmmm, wait what’s that in the sky!!??” My motto is avoid, avoid, avoid.

It appears that the question of the day was, “Is the New York dining scene better than ever?” With sides drawn definitively in the sand, some pulled the “In my day things were better” logic, while others proclaimed this to be the most revolutionary time in recent culinary history. So what’s the real answer? Of course I have a theory as well.

Today we’ve seen an explosion of interest in cooking and the delights a kitchen can offer. The Food Network offers unparalleled access to food porn, blogs allow immediate analysis of new information and cooking has become a national if not international phenomena. Things are moving along quite nicely.

Yet the same problems that have always existed remain, just as they did years ago. Cutting edge dishes are bastardized and standardized as crappy chefs emulate the best trying to cash in on the flavor of the month while fad items are overused and prices have skyrocketed. Pretentious eaters spouting off at the restaurant of the moment? They were around back then, and were just as obnoxious. Apparently their kids are now too.

As with most things in life, I’d have to say the answer lay somewhere in the middle. The only real difference between the 80’s and early 90’s and today is that information moves at an insanely faster pace. This means every change is picked up immediately and broadcast to a wide audience on an hourly basis. Molecular gastronomy is just as radical as the changes made to French cooking seen back then, just at a faster and more obscure pace. Flavors from around the world are available at a rate never seen before. Things are just faster, but so is the rest of society.

Cooking and food, just like everything else in life (see the financial markets), follows a circular pattern and is just a summary of what society looks like at a particular moment in time. I’ll leave it to the heavy hitters to try and prove one side over the other; I’ll be too busy standing on line for a couple hours trying to get a Shake Shack burger.


Sure that was a bad Fergie pun, but I have a hard time imagining a good Fergie pun. The New York Times in its weekly food insert (read: crack for foodies) has an article by Kim Severson about the 175 days set aside for food and beverage “days”.

After reading this I wanted to create the most obscure food holiday ever, but both Serious Eats and I noticed that we were both late to the game. Some crazy (If do it, eccentric, anyone else does it, insane) Pennsylvania couple specialize in creating wacky little holidays. A few examples:

Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Night (Aug. 8), National Eat What You Want Day (May 11), Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day (Nov. 8) and everyone’s favorite Yell Fudge at the Cobras in North America Day on June 2.

And I thought National Frickle Day was going to be wild and crazy. Now “Cannibal Day”, that’s something way ahead of its time.

May 21, 2007

The Chewbacca Defense

Bob Morris at the New York Times is insane; there is no other word for it. What else could explain this article? The premise of Morris’ story: the reason people drink Diet Coke isn’t for the calorie cutting attributes, but because, “people who drink it like to think they’re bad.”


Dating a biker? Bad. Getting a tattoo or multiple piercings? Bad. Eating 60 McDonald’s chicken nuggets or trying to stuff an entire double Big Mac into your mouth? Dumb and bad; I know that from personal experience. Diet Coke? About as bad as a puppy convention (No, I couldn’t think of anything better).

Is the world really that desperate to feel bad, but too lame to do anything about it that people use Diet Coke as their outlet? No, because quite frankly I don’t believe Morris when he says they do. That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. When have you ever met anyone who drinks Diet Coke to feel bad; Ask around and see what answers people really give you.

The usual responses are that people are sick of drinking water (fine) and that Diet Coke has less calories than Coke, thus healthier (drink water if you want healthy, but whatever). Never in my entire life have I heard anyone ever give this, “it makes me feel bad” logic.

I really can’t offer more than questions here, because why would the NY Times even print this article? Sure it’s interesting, but it’s also blatantly stupid. Isn't there a yet green market that he could be writing about instead?

Thanks to Megnut for the article.....and for having an absurd name

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Jeffrey Chodorow a few months back paid $30,000 to place an ad in the New York Times bashing Frank Bruni, the New York Times food critic (and food critics in general), for an unfavorable rating. While I agreed with much of what he had to say, I imagine him to be the kind of guy who would pick up the kickball and take it home if something wasn’t to his liking.

The problem wasn’t his opinions; critics are not the be-all-end-all arbiter’s of taste they’d like to believe they are, especially Bruni. The issue rather stems from the medium he used. Taking out a full-page ad to tell about how great his restaurant was doing despite Bruni’s negativity? Poor form. Take it like a man…all the way to the bank.

While Chodorow may have been outraged at no one fighting for restaurateurs against pompous critics, do it through a proper medium. Write an op-ed, get another paper to write an article (Think the NY Post wouldn’t be a potentially receptive ear to bash the Times?) perhaps another established critic to disagree; all better ways of getting your point across. While I can’t place myself in Chodorow’s shoes, being a lowly anonymous blogger and all, I’d like to think he is a bit better than bullying. While his ad did get the point across clearly, some believe the potential ramifications are less than stellar.

Which brings us to round 2 of Chodorow vs. the critics: Wild Salmon.

Eater has an analysis of Adam Platt’s review of Wild Salmon, yet another Jeffrey Chodorow establishment. While Platt’s article places Wild Salmon in the distinctly “blah” category, Eater believes he never goes for the jugular. Because of Chodorow’s NY Times’ ad coupled with his powerhouse PR firm, critics are now forced, according to Eater, “to find a way to pan the restaurant without really, wholeheartedly tying it to the proverbial train tracks.” Obviously this has problems galore, if it’s true.

But while Eater wants to look at elements of Platt being overly timid, and is possibly right on some counts, they overshot their mark in the name of drama. Some of Eater’s statements are critiques of Platt’s style rather than critiques of his critique (Definitely overused that word). You want the truth? Look to the number of stars Platt gave; 1 out of 5. That’s a pretty clear indication of how he really feels.

While quick little numbers take away from the substance of the overall review (a separate topic all together), they give a great overview of how the author ultimately felt, in this case 20% of an amazing restaurant; not enough to make me want to run out and throw around Washingtons over at Wild Salmon. Yea that’s how I roll.

I’m not ready to believe that critics are going to comprise themselves on Chodorow’s behalf; I’ll be keeping watch on Wild Salmon reviews and we’ll see where the critics stand when the dust settles. Hopefully pompous and pretentious win out in the end; I couldn’t handle myself if the status quo were to change.

Critics: 1 Drama: 0

Car 54 Where are you?

So I’ve been on what you call a “hiatus”

Got sick, went on vacation, abduction, sure I could make up some story about where I was, but it would never convey the truth; I was saving the world.

Oh you don't need to say anything, your silent praise is more than enough thanks.

February 15, 2007

Is Nothing Sacred?

Keep your outrage on high fellow cosmonauts as we learn today about….THE NEAT FEE!!!!!!!!! That would have been way better with an epic voice, but moving on. The majestic Ruth Reichl’s friend John (John Doe perhaps? Mystery solved!) discovered that when he ordered a nice drink without ice the restaurant charged him $1.50 extra. Why, oh outraged reader? Investigation has shown (not mine of course, I work on the backs of others) that because the ice takes room…they charge you for it. I’m thinking that you’re saving the place some ice, so the drink actually costs a little less, but logic tells me I should charge more for this. Its things like this that make my brain hurt and I have to assuage it bacon. Because bacon makes everything better, duh!

Looking at this I see a day on the horizon where we will be charged for the bread and water served at every restaurant. A day where oxygen itself will cost money to breath.

That may have been a little melodramatic, but you get the idea.

Cheeseburger + Chicken Nuggets = Pure Gluttony

A Hamburger Today blog documents the greatest revolution in burger technology. Taking the McDonald’s chicken nuggets and placing them, ever so carefully, on the hamburger, and eating it all at once. Pure cardiac arrest, but oh so delicious…if of course I could survive eating it.

Serious Eats: hated by doctors everywhere

Can’t Resist….

The obvious team strikes again in German as a study proves that women who had dieted or were dieting had greater feelings of guilt when they saw pictures of chocolate.

I’m not the smartest man with a fancy PhD or anything, but my spider sense tells me that when you’ve been eating nothing but rice cakes for three weeks straight, chocolate looks like manna from the heavens, the ambrosia of the gods, and a crave case of White Castle burgers all at the same time. I need a time out before I get all worked up.

Thanks Slashfood for reminding me where that extra weight came from.

February 14, 2007

Rent or Restaurant, the Eternal Decision

Just when you thought eating out was expensive enough, apparently like all things related to Valentine’s Day scalpers are getting into the restaurant game. Both craigslist and ebay have street entrepreneurs selling premium reservations for tonight at $60 or more.

Sure I love the girls and all, but is it really an expression of love when I can’t afford hot water and bathe just so you can eat Kobe beef? Ladies, I know romance and reservations at White Castle is it. Sure its 49 cents a burger, but it’s a crave case full of love.

The Rising Sun.... Rises Again

I’ll admit, I know nothing about Japan, but it is now the second greatest country in the universe, Manhattan being the first. In Japan, Valentine’s Day is for the guys. They get the gifts, the chocolate, the whole nine yards...and the ladies buy them these gifts willingly. Give me a second; I’m getting a bit choked up. Before you womenfolk get ready to smother me in my sleep (impossible as it is, because I don’t sleep.), the Japanese have a separate Valentine’s Day just for the ladies. Lady Liberty is alive America and her name is Japan.

Hat tip to Slashfood for the article…..forget it, you get a full bow.

Cannot Resist......Your Charms......Arg!

The always romantic Rob Wolke of the Washington Post debunks aphrodisiacs claiming that they simply do not work. Alcohol and marijuana simply lower inhibitions, but the desire must be there already. Viagra simply makes the body work and pheromones appeal to receptors that have been rendered useless by evolution. Fortunately for the young perverts of the group, there is a chemical called bremelanotide which appears to work in clinical trials; it is years away however.

Wolke did not do his research thoroughly though, as he missed the most powerful aphrodisiac known to mankind. Listen, its not my fault I was born with this curse of beauty, charm and wit.

Thanks to The Food Section for teaching me how to feel again.

Put on Your Helmet On before You Eat

Apparently all enjoyment must be sucked out of life with the banning of tea and toast from being served by a group that meets weekly in England. I would give you more details, but read the thing yourself before I have a brain aneurysm. Apparently our litigious culture has gotten to the point where we are unable to serve prison food to our children for fear of someone burning themselves on toast and bringing in Jackie Chiles to bleed them dry.

What weaklings we are raising today; they fear everything. When I was a child my parents used to intentionally put out food that was hotter than the sun and made of lava. Sure it was cruel, but it taught me an important lesson about life: never eat fire. Years of therapy have taught me that I am stronger because of it.

Thanks Slashfood for making me hate the world

Spinnin' Wheel Got to Go 'round

Don’t know where to eat? Tired of eating at the same three places? Thanks to some random dude who I will never meet or care about yet strangely admire, I give you: The Wheel of Food (please same in ominous voice thank you). Punch in your zip code and food choice and have the wheel make all your decisive dining decisions for you (High traffic load is butchering it though).

I’ll be really impressed when I can get the handheld version to guide me through menus, jobs, dates or life in general. I believe the greatest device in lazology is only a step away: Wheel of TV. Because even channel surfing is too much effort

Thanks to the Grinder for the heads up

February 13, 2007

Yeah, more blogs

The title says it all. Please read it with the proper lack of enthusiasm.

More NY Times blather as Frank Bruni allows other’s into his kingdom of the Diner’s Journal

Eric Ripert is bored with ruling the universe and now dabbles with mortals for Wine Spectator. (though you have to have a subscription to read it, not really a true blog huh?)

Thanks to Grub Street for the tip.

I am the Greatest Romeo ever

Captain Obvious stopped in at Slashfood (Don’t hate me, its just a joke. Come on baby please take me back…Damnit.) to give us a breakdown of what you can do for your mate on Valentine’s Day. They present all of the obvious choices, cook or eat out, get a private chef or cook together, except the most glaring one: don’t eat! Oh anyone can serve food, but it takes a real Casanova to serve Oxygen. And because you care about her looks, you’re taking her latest diet seriously. Its not that you’re cheap though, it was never about the money.

I take romantic to a whole new level.

I May Cry at the Nuptials

Serious Eat’s asked the question: “What’s your favorite kitchen sound?” Mel’s answer: “Sizzling bacon - oh, the anticipation!” I just developed my first man-crush. He had me at “sizzling”.

Mel, in honor of Valentine’s Day, will you marry me?

I like Opinions

Snack has an article about the ability to “stealth open” a restaurant in NYC (meaning no press, hype etc.). Part of a 3 part series, part one talks with chefs and restaurateurs (tomorrow publicists, Thursday media)

All seem to agree that it’s impossible to do a stealth opening in Manhattan, though other borough’s can be stealth, but it is just something that has to be dealt with. With the food world the way it is (foodies look at food like porn now) it seems overwhelming (and inane) publicity is something that has to just be tolerated as part of the business.

Did anyone else notice that Danny Meyer took his happy pills in his response? “You're seen! You're noticed! It matters!” I guess when you are in charge of an unstoppable force, its tough not to be. As a blogger, his views on foodies are way off though; we’re a flock of lemmings looking for the next cliff to jump off.

New restaurant? Hot opening? Give me a tiny plateful of the same crap that can be seen elsewhere and make me mortgage my house if I want dessert!! I’m so happy!


Time to Mortgage the House

Because the Eater wants to marry Frank Bruni, they now take odds on how many stars a restaurant is going to receive in his weekly restaurant review.

Despite my initial sarcasm I actually think this is a pretty interesting idea, giving the food world something a little different that a daily dish of mindless foodie blather (something the Hungry Barbarian would NEVER advocate, much less do. We’re not about mindless web postings here, we post substance.).

Anyway, I feel that Eater really needs to spice things up though so I’ve designed my version of this week’s BruniBetting:

PERA (Turkish Cuisine )

--Bruni reminds us how to feel again 35 -1
--Turkish fusion hits midtown like a comet, changing lives 20-1
--Pera owners buy Bruni a unicorn, he is happy 15-1
--No one takes the Turks seriously, no one 3-1 ***
--Mindless Stupidity 55-1

DENNIS FOY (No Clue-Cuisine)

--Foy cries himself to sleep, feeling that no one loves him 60 -1
--Bruni takes his Valentine’s Day aggression of crappy price fixe menu’s out on the owners review; he comes across as spiteful 2-1 *** (this may be more likely for me than Bruni)
--Dennis Foy serves human, put him on the culinary fringes and making him a cult hero to foodies everywhere. 10-1
--Bruni becomes enraged at service, eats200 oysters out of spite 5-1
--Placeholder to reach 5 things 75 million-1

Sure anyone can bet on what he may actually do, but it takes a real genius to bet on what will never happen. I was born to gamble.


So missed a day of posting due to my stomach being all messed up. Some would say that eating a rat burger isn’t a good idea, but I like to live on the culinary extreme. What you’ve had fried scorpion? I eat E-Coli sandwiches for breakfast.

In retrospect still not a good idea. I am not a smart man.

February 9, 2007

Cheap on a Whole New Level

Eater highlights an article regarding a withheld tip lawsuit from a Chinatown restaurant. While this seems to be an instance of cheap owners bilking the wait staff, tips, service charges and the like seem to be a recent topic of discussion. The question I ask is: should owners get involved with the tipping process as little as possible (other than to encourage it as much as possible) or should they have their hand in the pie is some way?

A Little Late to the Game

Food and Wine decided to take a ride on the internet superhighway thingy and now have two of their very own blogs, Mouthing Off and Tasting Room. I bet the editor’s grandkid told them about it and they decided this new fangled thing was worth doing. “You can take music from the web and play it on your computer? What’s next, using your computer to heat your slippers or make a grilled cheese?”

That’s right, I just blew your mind.

Perhaps We Need a for Foodies

Slashfood asks, “Have you or can you date someone with a restrictive diet?” (i.e. vegan, macrobiotic, etc). This is a question I’ve asked myself recently, as to whether I could date someone who was on such a restrictive diet. I pride myself on being willing to eat anything (even the unreasonable, such as raw chicken sushi), and limiting my dieting plans on a daily basis to something wacky may not work. I’d be willing to give it a try (so line up ladies and no fighting, there’s enough barbarian for everyone), but variety is the spice of life and beef, glorious beef, makes life worth living.

I need more than greens in my diet, I need reds and white and the entire rainbow. You know when put that way, special diets seem a bit racist. I believe I’ve just discovered the argument for why I should never go on a diet, and why you are a bad person for doing so. You bigot.

I'm not fat, I'm just big boned.

Frank Bruni’s Diner’s Journal yesterday spoke about the downside of the oversized cocktail glass craze. These giant glasses warm a drink far faster than a normal sized glass, despite the additional liquid. The part that most enamored me though was his perfect solution, “get the small glass but the individual shaker with extra martini in it” This reminded me of those childhood excursions to Friendly’s for a milkshake, with the extra bit in the shaker. Sure I had just consumed enough fat to choke a horse, but that extra little bit warmed the cockles of my fatty heart.

Tastes Like Bad Marketing

Serious Eats has a mention regarding XEtertainment’s article on dead sodas. I’ve been thinking of orbitz recently and would love to get my hand on a bottle of the stuff. I have no doubt that a syrup filled with cancer balls will kill me, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

More importantly X-Entertainment has an homage to the greatest drink ever to exist, Hi-C Ecto Cooler. Tasting like orange-erineish and looking like Chernobyl, men have been known to kill over the last remaining drops of this fabled substance. Some say it is the elixir eternal youth, but I say it is to taste God itself. Ummmmmm, cannibalism delicious.

Bourdain Fever

Anthony Bourdain (my and many others personal culinary hero) has a great post yesterday on Michael Ruhlman’s blog regarding the current state of the Food Network and its cast of stars. While I’m basically just getting in line with everyone else on the Bourdain train (Grub Street’s post and a mention from Serious Eats) I have no ego, technically no blog audience, and a huge man crush of the man of steel for the cooking world. In short, humility be damned, I’m following the crowd.

My favorite quotes:

PAULA DEEN: I’m reluctant to bash what seems to be a nice old lady. Even if her supporting cast is beginning to look like the Hills Have Eyes--and her food a True Buffet of Horrors.

GIADA: And Food Net seems more interested in her enormous head (big head equals big ratings. Really!) and her cleavage--than the fact that she’s likeable, knows what she’s doing in an Italian kitchen--and makes food you’d actually want to eat.

SANDRA LEE: A large-racked blonde repeatedly urging Afghans and angry Iraqis to stuff themselves with fatty, processed American foods might be just the weapon we need to win the war on terror.

And to show I’m not a complete misogynist:

BOBBY FLAY: He may not be Mr. Cuddlesworth, but he’s a successful businessman and a good chef--and he doesn’t, after all, need this shit.

I have one major issue though, Bourdain let’s off my archenemy Rachel Ray wayyyyy to easily. Bourdain admits that Rachel can’t cook and admits to being unable to, rather she is “selling us satisfaction, the smug reassurance that mediocrity is quite enough.” The issue I have isn’t that she can barely cook, or her annoying, ear piercing catch phrases (which have become bankable and real), but the fact that she believes that put together some ingredients is cooking. She wants cooking to be effortless and bland. As Bourdain said, Rachel reassures, “You’re doing just fine. You don’t even have to chop an onion--you can buy it already chopped.”

I can put some ants in a piece of play-doh, but that doesn’t make it gourmet. In fact it gets you grounded, from 2nd to 7th grade to be exact…and all of high school. Once you go ant, you’ll never go back.

Onions: Destroyer of Worlds, Crusher of Civilizations

So apparently the onion is more mighty than the sword and the pen. Reuters (picked up here by the Financial Express) mentions today that the price of onions has risen in India to the point where there is potential mass hysteria (exaggerated of course by me).

According to the article: “Onions have held a special status - and obsessive media attention - in India ever since 1998 when the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost state elections in Delhi, due mainly to runaway prices for what are a staple of Indian meals. Onion prices also helped push out a left-of-centre Janata Party national government in 1980.”

I fear a country where brother fights brother over the cost of a vegetable, it seems a bit stone ageish. If the lowly onion could cause political parties to topple, the real question is what would happen to NYC if the prices of Kobe Beef, truffles, or short ribs went up any further.

Mass hysteria people, mass hysteria.

February 8, 2007

AA junior, here we come!

Grub Street has a mention about Fireside, a soon to be opened Tapas bar in Midtown East. Apparently a highlight will be the “mocktails” served to the 10 and under crowd. Two planned drinks are the Cherry Caiparinha and the Mandarin Ginger Cosmo. Apparently having your uncle slip you some of his “medicine” just isn’t en vogue anymore, faux drinks are now all the rage. Do we see a generation of faux alcoholics on the horizen as well?

I've got a case of the Platts

Adam Platt (Swoon!) from New York Magazine posted a list of things to look for indicating your meal is going to be crappy. Among the most important are:

- Check the butter.

- Adhere to the Kobe ratio. (“if the word “Kobe” is mentioned on a menu more than twice, chances are your meal will cost a lot of money, and will probably suck.”)

This list is a pretty good general reference to use when going somewhere, but I believe he missed a few points:

- The bread basket. I have the bread basket to be the single most valuable indicator of the quality of the dining experience. Is the bread only so-so? Likely that organic salmon dish you’ve had you eye on will likely be the same. The care and concern gives to one of the fee freebies of a dining experience, shows just how much thought is given to everything else.

- Level of obnoxiousness the maitre’d displays. The highest level and best made food in the city is usually hosted by managers with the utmost professionalism and patience. They generally display the same concern the restaurant does for your overall dining experience. If he/she is a jerk from the get go, what does that tell you about the food? Do not mistake brusque for rude, such as with Peter Luger’s. You’re there to eat, drink, get fat, and go home with the meat sweats. Conversation about anything else is a diversion and a waste of everyone’s time. In the deadly serious game of eating meat, never waste time.

Trying to Class you up.

The Chicago Triune has a few thoughts on modern dining:

Restaurants are now sending diner home with a little something for their dining troubles. One sixtyblue gives madeleines in a little cellophane bag (something Per Se does as well, Keller you mad mad genius you! Marry me?) while Charlie Trotter's gives a pastry. The generous Trotters also has been known to allow diners to help themselves to “a piece of fruit from the display in the restaurant's foyer.” Wow, thanks Charlie! That 50 cent apple from the front really makes mortgaging my house for the “Slow Poached Japanese Hamachi with Red Curry” seem just about even! With the housing market the way its been lately, I’ll have to skip the appetizer next time….ZING!

Diners still working on their meals are ready to rebel at the oft uttered, “Are you still working on that.” Servers should anticipate patrons needs better and ask in a much more pleasing manner, if asked at all, such as, “may I clear your course?” I like that there are attempts to class up the process of taking my food away. Now if they could just make getting kicked out of restaurants a more pleasant process, I’d be all set. Perhaps a mat on the front stoop for those hard landings or a clearly labeled sign that says pants are required for service. They only talk about shirts and shoes; its not my fault they’re ambiguous.

Unicorn would be tasty.

Sure I’m one for the advancement of modern science, but when did we all become such lazy fat asses?

According to an article by the BBC, nanotechnology has now made it possible to have lower fat mayo for fatty adults and milk that tastes like “cola” (those silly Brits, no one says cola) so kids would drink it. Milk that tastes like Pepsi? Since when doesn’t a good beating enthuse kids about drinking milk by the gallon? Why else would I have teeth made of steel and bones that can stop bullets. Calcium baby, calcium.

What I can’t figure out is why is the current mentality is to make life so boring. Give me a challenge. I shouldn’t eat mayo because it will make me fat? Then I won’t eat it despite how good that dill mayo looks slathered on my sandwich….so good… tasty….I could just lick you off, I could.….

Food should be challenging, simplifying takes away what makes it great. My grandma’s ricotta filled creampuffs were amazing, because they were a decedent treat because you knew they were so bad for you. The fun was in the naughtiness of it. Making everything ok to eat, fat less fatty, milk not taste like milk at all? Where are the culinary antithesis’s that true enjoyment needs?

On the plus side, I look forward to the coming day where cows will simply crap out hamburgers ready to go and I can dine on the legendary pigeon-rat. Half pigeon, half rat, all delicious.