Saturday, May 30, 2009

Conan's Sudden Interest in Cupcakes

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien provides the 10 items on his "Must List." This is how he explains Item No. 1:

MARTHA STEWART'S CUPCAKES — This book comes out June 2. I'm putting it on my list because I'm afraid if I don't, Martha Stewart will rip my face off and sauté it with butter and chives. Have you met Martha Stewart? I have, and trust me . . . she would.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Makes You Wanna Grab a Fork

. . . doesn't it? I have no particular reason for posting that photo above. But it looked so good and it reminded me that a slice of black forest cake that I had many years ago still ranks as one of the best desserts I have ever eaten.

Cherry and chocolate are two flavors that marry quite well.

What Schnitzel Is . . . . And Is Not

Having enjoyed several fantastic schnitzels in Vienna this past December, this N.Y. Times article immediately caught my eyes today.

The NYT's Melissa Clark writes that the secret to marvelous schnitzel is

to trap air in the crust when you cook the meat by moving and shaking the pan. After dipping the veal in flour, egg and bread crumbs, he put a cutlet in the skillet, swirling it so the hot oil undulated over the cutlet in waves. This motion creates steam that lifts the crust away from the meat, allowing the bread crumbs to crisp without sticking to the veal in a gummy mass.

BTW, I must mention that as much as I enjoy eating hot dogs, I was appalled to see that some hot dog-focused restaurant franchise actually named itself Wienerschnitzel. How dare they? That would be enough to keep me from going there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Call It Winegate

Few individuals hold as much leverage over an entire sector of the economy as Robert Parker does when it comes to wine. How he rates wines can be make-or-break for a vintner's profitability. Those who hold such power should be held to a high level of accountability.

And that's why this news story has been getting a lot of attention in the food and wine-related media. According to the WSJ's David Kesmodel:

For decades, wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has championed a rigid system of ethics, paying for all of his travels to wineries and shunning gifts from the trade. "It is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way," Mr. Parker wrote in his latest book, published last fall.

But Mr. Parker, it recently has been discovered, hasn't held some fellow writers at his influential newsletter, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, to the same standard.

. . . The trips haven't been disclosed in the newsletter. [One of Parker's fellow WA critics] also has vacationed and enjoyed lavish social dinners in the company of wine importers whose wines he reviews, according to his own writings and interviews with industry executives.

Great Pork Rinds in . . . . Chicago?

Apparently so. And they are worth making a detour for at a restaurant called Publican.

According to the N.Y. Times' Frank Bruni, who wrote this review:

At Publican, an outstanding newcomer in this city’s Fulton Market neighborhood, the wrinkle is rinds.

As you sit under three monstrously large illustrations of pigs, you can nibble on slivers of fried pigskin that aren’t anything like the clunky, often gratuitously crunchy wedges plucked from a plastic bag.

These rinds are airy — as if pigs really could fly and you’re touching bits of their wings — and subtly fiery in taste and color, courtesy of Espelette red pepper and cheddar dust. They’re rinds made-over, rinds classed up: a Pig-malion story.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Name Game

There is someone, somewhere who is responsible for starting a custom that is distinctly American and annoying at the same time. I don't know who that person is, but they deserve a kick in the pants.

I'm referring to the custom of a server at a restaurant approaching your table, usually with a wide-eyed grin, and telling you, "Hi, my name is ________ . . ."

It isn't really that useful because even if you're looking for your waiter or waitress, most of us are very unlikely to approach another server and ask, "Excuse me, have you seen Scott?" Why? Because it just feels weird.

Scott isn't our friend, and we are unlikely to ever lay eyes on him again. We're only here to eat. Sure, instruct our server to be cheerful and attentive, but our server can behave in this manner without telling us his/her name.

As this column from San Diego magazine notes, a lot of diners seem to agree with my view:

Once again, it’s perfectly clear most San Diegans aren’t seeking a closer, personal bond with their waiters. “I don’t want to know my waiter’s name, and I don’t want my waiter to be my friend,” sniffs one reader.

But, apparently, the name game can get even worse. According to this post at

. . . why in the world do I need to know my waiter’s name when I eat out at a restaurant? Furthermore, why does it need to be written in purple crayon on my table? I’m sure you’ve had it happen to you before. You walk into the Italian restaurant and some overly friendly kid from the junior college comes over and scribbles his name. Even worse, the waiter or waitress will often embellish their name with a heart or maybe a balloon.

Actually, I have never had such a "scribble" incident occur at my restaurant table. And I sincerely hope this practice is limited to a class or category of restaurants that I don't tend to frequent.

Who the hell does this? Applebees? Buca di Beppo? Say it ain't so.

Maybe there's a simple compromise. Why don't restaurants approach this like hotels? Have waiters wear small, unintrusive name tags, but stop making it part of their job to tell us their name.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Best Steakhouse in NYC?

Given the competition, that's a title that shouldn't be claimed or assigned lightly. But N.Y. Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni is calling Minetta Tavern "the best steakhouse in the city." Excerpts from Bruni's review:

. . . it’s serving some of the most expertly aged, flavorful and exquisitely prepared prime beef in New York. This beef is showcased in one trailblazing burger and two titanic steaks, the côte de boeuf for two and a bone-in New York strip, that have for two months now been the incessant talk of insatiable carnivores, who can’t get enough of them.

. . . Although little of the rest of Minetta’s food rises all the way to the extraordinarily high level of the beef, much of it is terrific.

While the best porterhouse on the best night at Peter Luger can be an amazement, there’s no seafood there as fine as the tender, sweet lobster in a big, crisp salad at Minetta or as this restaurant’s trout meunière, buttery and bedecked with crab meat. And at Minetta the servers don’t bark at you.

I may have to find an excuse to dine there soon.

But I am perplexed by something. At the top of the NYT article, it shows Minetta Tavern getting three out of a possible four stars. How does Bruni justify calling Minetta the best steakhouse in NYC if it doesn't garner four stars?

Guacamole: My Recipe

You may have read my recent post on guacamole. Well, I made it, and I was pleased.

Below is the final recipe that I settled on -- it's a hybrid of a few different recipes I found on the web. One thing's for sure. The texture of guacamole isn't thick enough if you add the juice of a whole lime (as the Food Network's Alton Brown suggests) so I decided to cut that back to the juice from just 1/2 a lime.

For the sake of simplicity, I also propose using two cans of premium, diced plum tomatoes. If you choose wisely, you give up nothing on taste while avoiding the time-consuming chore of peeling, seeding and dicing your own tomato. Plus, it adds a nice color.
Be sure to add the diced tomato after you have mashed and combined the other ingredients. Without further adieu . . .

  • 3 Haas avocados (halved, with pits removed)

  • 1/2 cup of diced red onion

  • 1/2 lime, juiced

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped cilantro (or 1-1/2 tablespoon of dried cilantro leaves)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce (optional)

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cans of diced plum tomatoes (look for 14.4 oz. cans)
DIRECTIONS: Scoop the avocado pulp out of its peel and place it in a large bowl. Add the next seven ingredients to the bowl. Use a potato masher to mash and integrate all of the ingredients. Add the diced tomato and then fold them in by stirring with a spoon -- not the masher. (If you're going to add the Tabasco to give it extra "kick," then add it with the other herbs and spices.) Let the guacamole stand at room temperature for 15 minutes, then serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Economical Steaks for the Grill

The temps outside are starting to climb, and the summer grilling season is just around the corner. So I welcomed this Washington Post article headlined "Affordable Steaks That Make the Cut."

According to the Post article:

Affordable cuts of beef tend to fall into three groups: hanger and flatiron steaks, long prized by chefs; flank, flap, tri-tip and skirt steaks, which used to be even cheaper when they were less popular; and gems such as chuck eye, chuck shoulder and top sirloin steaks, which are, for the moment, the least expensive of the lot (less than $5 per pound).

One thing they all have in common is their tough texture. They come from well-exercised muscles of the animal, which tend to be the most flavorful.

. . . Attentive prep work, intense marinades and closely watched grill time can do wonders for the bargain cuts we're focusing on here.

And the recipes for those marinades can be found near the end of the article. You might also want to read this article from N.Y. Magazine on how to grill the perfect steak.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Best Wine Importers

Culinary writers are constantly recommending wines and even wine producers. But a recommendation for wine importers? That's pretty strange.

Frankly, I can't remember ever reading an article that purports to give me something akin to a Foreign Wine Cheat Sheet naming the most dependable importers of foreign wine.

But that's precisely what Slate's Mike Steinberger has done. The article is right here -- look for the hyperlink to the Cheat Sheet near the end of the first paragraph.

Guacamole Decisions

I'm planning on making guacamole later today. I've bought everything that I'll need -- avocados and the rest. But, first, I need to decide on a recipe.

The Food Network's Alton Brown has this recipe, calling for a 3-to-2 ratio of avocado to tomato. That contrasts with this recipe from the website Simply Recipes, and it has a 4-to-1 ratio of avocado to tomato.

Maybe I should split the difference. Then there is the issue of whether I simply use cayenne pepper or whether I add something with a little more kick -- such as diced serrano peppers.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Incivility Around the Bar

At the food blog on Atlantic Monthly, Derek Brown has an axe to grind. And I'm inclined to sympathize with his point of view.

In this post headlined "Why Your Bartender Hates You" (provocative, eh?), Brown explains how things can get off on the wrong foot:

The incivility can be from both sides [of the bar], so I do acknowledge that sometimes customers are the victims as well as the perpetrators (and sometimes it's just one long chain). However, it's not uncommon for customers, bar side, to begin their interaction without even the basest of pleasantries. They shout "gin and tonic," an unnecessarily hostile beginning like a cannon ball fired from close range. This happens even in a quiet or slow bar.

While this method is direct, it's also a more appropriate first meeting for a vending machine. Why not, "Hi, can I get a gin & tonic?" or even, "Please." (Exasperated "pleases" don't count, either.)

. . . I was at an event recently making specialty cocktails and John McLaughlin, of the McLaughlin Group, asked for tonic water and lemon. When I tried delicately and politely to direct him to the bar that had those ingredients, which I did not, he threw up his hands in astonishment and made a gruff remark before departing the station. I did keep hoping he would say, "from zero to ten, ten being metaphysical certainty, do you have tonic water?" Of course my answer still would have been no.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

He's One Fastidious Frenchman

And our stomachs are a lot happier because of it. Celebrity chef and restauranteur Daniel Boulud will soon open his latest restaurant (no. 10) in the lower east side of Manhattan. It will be called DBGB, and it's slated to open within a few weeks.

As this N.Y. Times article reveals, Boulud remains very meticulous to detail, especially when he is grading potential dishes for the new restaurant:

. . . during Round 8 of recipe tests, on Tuesday, [Mr. Boulud] refuses to grade on the curve. He stoically appraises entrees and appetizers in what feels like a marathon episode of “Top Chef” — except that this judge has helped conceive the dishes and never seems very pleased by the results.

The lamb ribs confit with roasted lamb leg and spring beans? “Maybe a little more herbs in it,” he suggests. The Maryland lump crab cake with a curry sauce and pickled radish? “More crab, less garnish.” The passion fruit crepe with mango slices? “We’re still not there.”

One of the dishes he tested sounded very tasty -- beer-battered haddock beignets. I hope that makes the opening menu.

Experts have calculated that Boulud's new restaurant DBGB will have to generate $4.5 million a year in revenue in order to be profitable. That's a lot of business, especially when you consider that DBGB envisions the average bill for a three-course meal coming to roughly $32. For NYC dining, that's simply "moderate to expensive."

Well, it definitely provides another excuse to return to NYC for a weekend this summer.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Are All Melons Created Equal?

Apparently not.

Yubari melons are probably the most highly coveted fruit in all of Asia, if not the entire world. On Friday, the first two Yubari melons of the season were auctioned off in Japan for $5,200. That wasn't a typo -- the price for these two melons was indeed $5,200.

If that sounds like a lot of money, consider this. The "winner" of that auction must feel like he or she got a really good deal because the first two Yubaris from last year were auctioned off for five times that amount.

Camel's Milk Chocolate

This post definitely brings a whole new twist on that old Madison Avenue line: "I'd walk a mile for a Camel." In the current issue of Harper's magazine, Negar Azimi writes an article called "Dubai Is for Flamingos." Here's an excerpt:

Just off the road to El Ain, a few kilometers from the densely zigzagging skyline that marks "downtown Dubai," is the world's first producer of camel-milk chocolate. ... [Al Nassma] operates under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the vice president of the UAE ...

Van Almsick, the general manager of the firm, is a German-born chocolatier who once served as director of Cologne's chocolate museum.

... "The newspapers write about Iraq and Afghanistan and all these sufferings, but people have had enough. They need chocolate! We all need it. It is something related to our childhoods," he says, biting into a piece of chocolate shaped like a camel.

"And camel's milk has higher-than-average levels of vitamins B and C — iron, too."

... [Al Nassma] is faring well. Since its launch last October, van Almsick has attracted many customers, among them several luxury hotels in the region and the Saudi royal family. Soon you will be able to buy his chocolates from Harrod's, in London.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lays It On Thick

Are large food producers stretching or manipulating the real meaning of "locally grown" or "locally sourced"? From an article in the N.Y. Times:

When Jessica Prentice, a food writer in the San Francisco Bay area, invented the term “locavore,” she didn’t have Lay’s potato chips in mind. But never mind. On Tuesday, five potato farmers rang the bell of the New York Stock Exchange, kicking off a marketing campaign that is trying to position the nation’s best-selling brand of potato chips as local food. Five different ads will highlight farmers who grow some of the two billion pounds of starchy chipping potatoes the Frito-Lay company uses each year. One is Steve Singleton, who tends 800 acres in Hastings, Fla. “We grow potatoes in Florida, and Lays makes potato chips in Florida,” he says in the ad. “It’s a pretty good fit.”


Well, at least it suggests that the mass-producers of processed food realize that more and more Americans are thinking a few seconds more than they used to about what they put in their mouths.

Cheerios Is Not So Cheerful

Not after having the U.S. Food and Drug Administration take it to task for making what the FDA considers to be false claims about the benefits of eating the cereal.

In its letter to General Mills (which makes the cereal), the FDA cut right to the chase. "Your Cheerios product is misbranded," the letter said.

At issue was a claim that appears right on Cheerios' cereal box: "You can lower your cholesterol 4% in 6 weeks." The letter declared that Cheerios' claim violates federal law. General Mills has promised to work with the FDA to resolve the matter. It sounds like the FDA believes there is a simple way to resolve it -- stop making the claim.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Great Big "Oops" for KFC

It must have seemed initially at KFC's headquarters like they'd scored a major coup -- getting a free plug from Oprah for a promotion around KFC's newly introduced grilled chicken. But this is one promotion that truly blew up in the company's face, as KFC was forced to cancel the promotion.

On his blog, Sean Aune explains:

. . . why this whole thing was done prior to Mother’s Day makes no sense. It is one of the biggest days of the year for the chain, and to put extra strain on their supply chain at such a critical time of the year for them just made no sense. And to top all of this off, there are rumors circulating that the franchise locations were not warned of the pending promotion, and they are also supposedly not being reimbursed for the redeemed coupons.

. . . How can two companies of this size and reach have gotten this whole thing so horribly wrong? Was no one aware that Oprah’s legions of fans will do anything this woman says?

. . . Did they not think it might be a good idea to coordinate with their franchise locations? Did they not think that perhaps they should launch it after Mother’s Day? No, apparently they just totally did this thing by the seat of their pants and now they have egg all over their face.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Don't Touch This Man's Napkin

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio (co-host of TV's "Top Chef") has a pet peeve about restaurant staff:

"Don’t touch my napkin. I do not want the server to pick up the napkin and put it on my lap. I know it belongs there; maybe I don’t choose to put it there."

He also can't stand okra. You can learn more about him from this recent N.Y. Times piece.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

French No Longer See Red . . . Americans to Keep Seeing Blue.

The dairy farmers in southern France who produce the coveted Roquefort cheese are a lot happier this week.

A few days ago, U.S. government officials agreed to drop their threat to triple custom duties charged to those who import the salty, bleu cheese which hails from the area near the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon. (The U.S. is the 3rd largest export market for Roquefort.)

From what I understand of the agreement, it seems to make sense. If I were a European, I sure wouldn't want hormone-treated beef flooding into my continent.

According to a British news report:

Under the provisional deal, the EU will keep the hormone-treated beef ban, which it claims poses a health threat, but will quadruple imports of non-hormone treated American beef in four years.

In a joint statement, the U.S. and EU trade representatives said: "An agreement is in our mutual interest."

José Bové, a Roquefort farmer, who trashed a McDonalds in 1999 to protest against unhealthy food, said the move meant that the U.S. had "accepted that health is more important than trade."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Shrinking Water Glass

What is happening in upscale restaurants? Why have so many of them in recent years chosen to introduce new, smaller water glasses -- the kind that need to be refilled every 5 minutes?

This not only tests diners' patience, but it means larger restaurants constantly need to send a staffer around the dining space to refill water glasses. Not very efficient.

Restauranteurs, behold -- look at the photo above. That's the proper height of a real water glass. If it can't hold at least 10 to 12 ounces of liquid, then it shouldn't be used (or called) a water glass.

SC's Pinot Noir Gets Kudos

In the early 1990s, Sonoma-Cutrer's chardonnay helped establish it as a solid, reputable winery among the wine-drinking public. I find most California chards to be much too strangled in oak and much too "buttery" (as they say) for my tastes, but even I liked SC's chard.

Until last night, however, I had never drunk any SC wines other than their chardonnay. The Washington, D.C. restaurant Fahrenheit had a bottle of SC's Pinot Noir on its list.

I was skeptical. I am generally a big fan of pinot noirs, but too many of 'em from the U.S. (especially Oregon) seem so frail, have no backbone at all and lame color. Our server told us we'd be pleasantly surprised. And we were.

Resting in the wine glass, the color of SC's pinot noir was so deep and rich that it could have been mistaken for a cabernet. This wine has backbone without being brutally tannic. It worked both with lamb and chicken entrees.

Anyway, I was very pleased with SC's pinot noir. Judging from the wine-list price, I am hoping that it won't be too pricey at a wine shop.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Ray's Hell Burger Blowback

On Tuesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden stepped into a limousine and were driven across the Potomac River to Arlington, Va. Their lunchtime destination? Ray's Hell Burger (shown above), a hamburger joint that has achieved a sort of cult following among locals.

So it's a cute little news blip and nothing more, right? Wrong. Even though both men waited their turn in line, and neither one of them said or did anything remotely offensive, a small handful of people with empty lives are whining about the Obama-Biden lunch.

According to Washington Post's The Sleuth:

Freedom-fry loving conservatives are venting over the president's choice of Dijon mustard, while foodies of all political stripes are mortified by the omnivore-in-chief's preference to have his burger cooked -- gasp! -- medium well.

Hey, if you've seen what passes as "medium" in many hamburger-serving eateries, you might order it medium-well too. The Sleuth continues:

Taking the lead for the right, Sean Hannity railed against the cheeseburger blasphemy on his Fox News show last night, rallying his many incensed followers to accuse MSNBC, and Andrea Mitchell in particular, of waging a "cover-up" of Obama's Dijon mustard eating ways during the cable network's coverage of the burger outing.

Pundits, get over yourselves. The Obama-Biden lunch is proof that there is no subject or event on the planet that can't be seized for partisan political purposes. Not even a frickin' hamburger lunch.

For one blogger's review of Ray's Hell Burger, click right here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy B-Day to James Beard

I want to wish James Beard a happy birthday, albeit one day late. Beard was born in Portland, Oregon, on May 5, 1903. He died in 1985, only getting a hint of the impact his life would have on cooking (both at home and in restaurants).

Like Julia Childs, he gained public exposure primarily through the medium of television. Beard's show "I Love to Eat" focused on the importance of using fresh ingredients in cooking.

The James Beard Foundation helps advance his views and values. Time magazine has called the awards bestowed by JBF “the Oscars of the food world." Just this week, the JBF announced its 2009 winners -- a list can be accessed right here.

The world is definitely a lot more wholesome and delicious because of James Beard.

Butterscotch Ideas

I've had a butterscotch pudding recipe on the desk of my den for a few weeks, telling myself that at some point I'd try to make it. It doesn't look that tough to prepare.

But my ears perked up when I was flipping through TV channels yesterday, stopped at cable's TV Land and heard Aunt Bea talking on an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" about making a pecan butterscotch pie.

I'd never heard of such a pie so I started surfing the web to see if I could find some recipes for pecan butterscotch pie.

I found several versions. This recipe from looks pretty simple; it uses those butterscotch morsels that are often used for cookies. This one from RecipeZaar gets there without using butterscotch morsels. I also found this recipe from, which uses an extra egg than most of the recipes I found. The extra egg probably would give this more of a custard-like texture. I'm going to make something butterscotch very soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Save Room for Clafoutis

Clafoutis (pronounced klah-foo-tee) is a traditional French dessert from the country's Limousin region. The classic version of clafoutis is made with dark, sweet cherries, although it is possible to make clafoutis with various fruits. I have seen other recipes for clafoutis that is made with apples, blackberries and pears.

Clafoutis has a unique texture — it's essentially half custard, half cake. Beware of clafoutis recipes (like this one) that propose to replace the milk/heavy cream mixture entirely with low-fat milk. Last year, I tasted one such low-fat recipe, and the clafoutis it produced was somewhat bland.

I decided this weekend to make a clafoutis with cherries. Here is the recipe I use whenever I make it:


1 cup of sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 tablespoons of sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
1 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1-1/2 pounds of sweet cherries, pitted and drained of juice*

* -- this equals roughly 2 15-oz. cans of pitted sweet cherries


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan or 10-inch tart pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. In a smaller bowl, use an electric- or hand-mixer to beat the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract for 20 to 30 seconds.

2. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients in the larger bowl. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until the dry ingredients and the egg mixture are incorporated.

3. Add the milk in a slow and steady stream, mixing until well combined. The mixture should form a smooth, soupy batter.

4. Continue to beat as you add the cream and melted butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With a large spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the cherries and ensure a fairly even distribution as you pour the batter into the greased springform pan.

5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes — until cake is set, but interior is still slightly soft. Then remove cake pan from oven and allow to cool.

6. Serve slices of the clafoutis with freshly whipped cream.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Plot? Yes . . . Menu? No

In Sunday's N.Y. Times, Geoff Nicholson writes this article entitled "Go Ahead. Spoil My Appetite." Here are excerpts from the article:

Like many people, I’ve been spending time lately with Roberto Bolaño’s enormous posthumous novel “2666.” The book is strange and wonderful in all sorts of ways, not least because I can’t think of any other novel in which so many meals are consumed while being so little described.

In the 150-page opening section, four lovelorn literary scholars zip around the world, trying to find a fugitive author . . . . They’re always away from home and going out for meals in bars, restaurants, trattorias, taverns and in one case a “Lilliputian” cafeteria. But what do they eat? I have very little idea.

Most of these meals aren’t described at all, and even when certain items are mentioned — a taco here, sausage and potatoes there — there’s no attempt to evoke any sense of how the meal looked, tasted or smelled. I find this curious. I also find it a tremendous relief.

Haven’t we all read too many novels in which authors go to town describing meals in sumptuous, elaborate detail, in some cases even giving us the recipes?

. . . since I’m likely to be reading this while sitting alone on the couch sustained only by instant coffee, I tend to develop a bad case of food envy. It’s a lot like sex, I think. I don’t want characters in novels to eat better than I do, any more than I want them to have better sex lives than I do.

A Website Worth a Look

I've discovered a nice website for foodies that is worth sharing. Rustic Kitchen was launched by Janine MacLachlan, a woman who splits her time between Chicago and a Michigan farmhouse.

MacLachlan's site includes a link to recipes, a blog and a way to register for the cooking classes she leads in the Michigan countryside.

This recipe for blueberry-basil preserves (pictured above) looks yummy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Dearth of Brunch Places

That's one of the shortcomings of living in Washington D.C. The brunch scene (although better than it was 10 years ago) is still not that exciting.

That's unfortunate because I love eating brunch. It's such a civilized meal.

In ten minutes or so, we're heading to La Fourchette on 18th Street for Saturday brunch. We haven't been there in probably 10 months or so, but we've always had a good brunch there.

The blog Brunch DC has declared that La Fourchette serves "the best brunch on 18th Street." Hopefully, we'll find it as tasty as we have before.