Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Sometimes you just really need some Burger King

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Two employees of the city's ice skating rink have been fired for making a midnight fast-food run in a pair of Zambonis. An anonymous tipster reported seeing the two big ice-resurfacing machines chug through a Burger King drive-through and return to the rink around 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 10. The squat, rubber-tired vehicles, which have a top speed of about 5 mph, drove 1 1/2 miles in all.

The Zamboni operators, both temporary city employees whose names and ages were not released by Parks and Recreation Department, had to negotiate at least one intersection with a traffic light on their late-night creep from Idaho Ice World.

''They were fired immediately,'' said Parks Department Director Jim Hall. ''We're pretty sure it was just the one time. When we interviewed them, they didn't seem to be too concerned about it. I don't think they understood the seriousness of it.''

Hall said neither the $75,000 Zambonis nor their $10,000 blades appeared damaged, but the city could charge the employees with operating an unlicensed motor vehicle on a public street.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Three things I didn't know...but that don't surprise me

1. The frozen Margarita was invented in Dallas, and "it was coeds from nearby Southern Methodist University who really spread the drink's fame."

2. In France, you can take the wild mushrooms you've picked to any drug store to make sure you avoid toxic varieties, because "all pharmacists here are trained mycologists."

3. Lonesome Dove, a restaurant that's perfect in Fort Worth, is not doing so well in New York.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Quote of the Day

From a New York Times review of rapper The Game's new album: "Hi-Tek produced the slow-rolling "Ol' English," a tribute to the Game's favorite malt liquor and his favorite typeface, too."

Several of us have been having fun today thinking of new rap topics fitting the booze/font theme. Feel free to play along.

Laphroig and Century Gothic
Monopolova and Helvetica
Saucerne Sans Serif
Monotype Corosiva and Courvoisier
Dewars and Dwellers
Diploma and Dimple Pinch
Haettenschweiler and Goldschlager
Trebuchet Sauvignon
Malibu and ...Malibu

Of course, as fun as this is, none of us have attempted to actually write rap lyrics. Maybe this weekend.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Give this man a Nobel Prize.

Or a Macarthur. Hell, give him an Oscar. Just recognize his genius in some fashion.

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters Life!) - A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall -- fried Coke.

Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe -- a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.

Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas where Gonzales' fried Coke made its debut this fall. "It was a huge success."

Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over 24 days for $4.50 each -- and won a prize for coming up with "most creative" new fair food.
Now other fairs in North Carolina and Arizona are following the trend, and other people are trying to emulate Gonzales' recipe.

Gonzales gave no indication of the calories in his creation and said he would not patent it.

"The best I can hope for is that it's the original and hopefully the best fried Coke out there," he said.

But Gonzales said the success of his fried Coke had inspired him. Next year's fair-goers can look forward to fried Sprite or -- for those watching their weight -- fried diet Coke.

"We are trying to cut a lot of the sugar out of it. It has less calories but it's still very, very sweet," he said.

Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Co., said: "We're constantly amazed at the creative ways folks find to enjoy their Coke and make it part of celebrations like fairs and festivals. This is one is definitely different!"

Another victory for Texas.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Drinking and driving

In the interest of time, I'm going to have to spare the details. Just let me tell you this: after a couple of margaritas and a shitload of Tex-Mex from Chuy's, you should probably wait for a while before going to the driving range to hit golf balls. Trust me. The new rule is to wait half an hour before swimming and two hours before swinging metal rods in close proximity to total strangers.

And to the weird, chain-smoking, phone-call-making golfer next to me: damn you! After you gave me that bit of "friendly advice," I lost what little concentration I had. I was at least avoiding the trees before you helped me out.

And if you're watching the news and wondering: we're just fine. Though the apartment building two and a half blocks away is now flooding, we're several feet higher. As long as it lets up just a little, I should have no trouble getting to work in the morning.

Friday, October 06, 2006


In praise of Great Chefs of the World

The Food Network just gets worse and worse. They quit playing the real Iron Chef and replaced it with their lame Iron Chef America. They got rid of Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour for the same reason: because they want to focus more on domestic food. Luckily, Bourdain got picked up by the Travel Channel, and No Reservations is much better than Cook’s Tour was to begin with. But Food Network has also been pushing loudmouth Paula Dean and her loudmouth sons way too much. They also devote an inordinate amount of time to cooking contests involving sculptural cakes. I never thought I’d live to say this, but Emeril Live is now one of the best shows they’ve got. (Emeril’s Essence, his traditional cooking show instead of the loud live one, is actually really good. It only comes on weekends.)

So let’s take a moment to remember Great Chefs of the World, which still airs (I think?) on the Discovery Channel. No matter what Alton Brown may say, GCotW is the ultimate foodie show. A single camera captures a chef making a dish in his own professional kitchen, not a set. He—we’re dealing mostly with hotel chefs in Europe, so it’s almost always a he—explains what he’s doing as he does it. A pleasant woman’s voice narrates, though she doesn’t actually translate word for word. This gives plenty of great moments when a chef will speak for about 60 seconds in German or Greek, and the narrator will only tell us something like “he then adds the other ingredients.” One of the other things that I like about the show is that the executive chef will prepare the dish from raw ingredients, so he has to chop, whisk, and sautee himself rather that making his staff do it. Occasionally, you’ll see him unsure about where to find a bowl or which pan to use.

The ironic charm of the show, and Food Network won’t understand this, is that the chef NEVER seems excited about what he’s doing. Imagine you’re at work and some stranger walks up and asks what you’re doing. You give a polite but short reply and move on. GCotW makes an extremely watchable show out of that format.

And that’s it. Each show features an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert. Each course comes from a different chef in a different city, and there’s no apparent connection between the three. The chef makes the dish, usually with some sous chef standing around in the background trying to look busy, a single shot of the finished dish gets displayed, and they move on to the next. No “bam!” or “mmmm, yummers!” or animal fats made from sock puppets. It’s not meant to be educational or even entertaining, unless you happen to enjoy great meals being prepared.

There are several varieties of Great Chefs, but the "...of the World" version is by far my favorite. A lot of the fun is lost when the chefs speak in English and know that the audience may actually show up at their restaurant.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Why I have to go to chicago soon

Gourmet magazine named Alinea, in Chicago, the country's best restaurant. For the record, I've been to numbers 2, 3, 29, and 41. Part of the charm (and pathetic conspicuous consumption) of going to French Laundry was that it was the undisputed best restaurant in the nation. Oh well.

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