Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Hitler's Cross

Here's an odd story about a new restautant in India with a Hitler theme.

I don't know why, but I think "Saddam Mutton Shop," from the last line of the article, is really fun(ny) to say.


Foie Gras Revolution

Yesterday, as Chicago’s ban on foie gras went into effect, Chicago restaurants had a good time flaunting the law.

Not only have restaurants been building special menus and parties around the duck liver, but places that don’t normally serve foie gras made a point of serving it Tuesday. Chefs have shown off their creativity, making foie gras hot dogs, foie gras hot chocolate, even foie gras ice cream. Ironically, the new ban produced foie gras’s finest day.

But of course the whole case against foie gras is ironic. There are two foie gras producers in America, both of them small farms committed to a quality product. We’ve banned their fatty duck livers in Chicago—and are in the process of running Hudson Valley out of the state—but we still consume tons of chicken and beef that are produced under conditions much worse than what the ducks go through.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of the animal-rights activists who crusade against foie gras, and I have to admit that the process does sound gross—it sounds a lot more gross than it really is. But I can’t help thinking that the more widespread disdain for foie gras has less to do with the comfort of ducks and more to do with class and scapegoating. Foie gras, unpasteurized cheese, and sous-vide cooking, recently banned in New York, are all associated with fancy restaurants and the French. Any attempts to limit or control the sale and production of foods that are harmful to people—Big Gulps bigger than a human stomach, addictive spicy Cheetos, pesticides in fruits and vegetables—are quickly condemned as upper-middle-class meddlers trying to impose their values and higher prices on the common people.

So common people, whoever you are, let’s make a deal. I won’t moralize about the type II diabetes epidemic in ten to twelve year olds or ask that schools stop selling soft drinks if you’ll just let me eat some foie gras now and then. And stinky cheese. Lots of stinky cheese.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



Amanda made guacamole last night. Not the quick version, where you put some salsa in some avacado, but made REAL guacamole, with fresh tomatoes, onions, and spices.

Not to be too corny, but it was one of those moments when you relearn the little joys that make life wonderful. On the spontaneous happiness continuum, it was far above seeing a plastic bag blowing in the wind and thinking the world is just so beautiful that you cry, but not quite hearing that the Supreme Court finally reversed itself on Gore v Bush.

And speaking of avacado, Basshole told me just a few minutes ago about a place in Austin that makes a Margarita with pureed avacado in it. I think a field trip is in order.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Still Catching Up

[Today was the first day of school. I'm a little tired and very hoarse.]

I've been catching up on back issues of blogs. Is Ashbloem getting more esoteric, or do I just need to get back into the groove?

I noticed two things on Diner's Journal. On August 3 he talked about Houston's and had fewer good things to say about it than I do. He should have tried the veggie burger. I'm as carnivorous as the next guy (unless this is the next guy), but I like a good veggie burger, and Houston's has the best. And his August 15 post, on menus without prices, has 115 comments, far more than any other post. I thought that priceless menus went away 20 years ago--not only was I wrong, but it seems that it still gets people worked up. I can only imagine what people would have to say about our pet peeve at restaurants--when servers obviously assume that I will be paying the bill when I eat out with Amanda. Not only is it slightly sexist, it's almost always wrong.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Eating Out with Little Miss

Ah, it’s good to be back. Our computer crashed about three weeks ago, and I’ve been without internet since then. But now—a new hard drive and several hundred dollars later—I’m back.

Although I’ve neglected my dining blog lately, I have not neglected dining. It turns out that Little Miss is great at restaurants. At least for now. We feed her and put her into the car seat, and then she’s out for a few hours. We can take her anywhere. Mostly we stick to super-casual and kid-friendly places. She’s been to Berryhill, Chuy’s, and Dry Creek a few times each. We took her for a Café Society day two weeks ago by hanging out at Onion Creek for a few hours, playing cards and drinking coffee (she did neither). After feeding her at home, we went out again to Empire Café for lunch.

But Little Miss has already had a taste of the nicer stuff, too. She was only two weeks old when she accompanied us to celebrate her Grandpa Jack’s birthday at McCormick and Schmick. She had lunch last Friday at T’afia. She’s even been to a private party at Kirby’s Steak House. Amanda and I are trying to give her an idea of the variety of restaurants out there.

People Who Know tell me that this won’t last. For many reasons it’s easier to take a three-month-old baby out to eat than a six-month-old. So we’re enjoying ourselves while we can.

[Note to Basshole: she heard your complaint, and Amanda got some walnut oil and sesame oil.]

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