Monday, September 25, 2006


Baby's first baseball game

We took Little Miss to see the Astros Friday night. One of financial printers had Amanda's group from work at their suite, so the living was easy. I had a hot dog with grilled onions, ketchup and cheese. Minute Maid Park also has the best, and most calorie-laden, potato salad in the world. It has been my ritual for some time to have Cracker Jacks in the seventh inning, and this weekend was no different. Most important, I took advantage of all the people to look after Little Miss (and Amanda's designated driver status) and drank three Shiner Bocks.

Little Miss had two bottles of formula.


What's in a name?

Just ask my little sister.

Note to Lorien: the name of the guy who owns the Mi Cocina restaurants is Mico Rodriguez, so the name is a kind of pun.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Everyone's a critic

Amanda had one bite of her Kashi Go Lean cereal and said "it looks like cat food, but it tastes pretty good." WIlliam Grimes couldn't have said it better.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


What's in the papers

Two stories in the New York Times dining section:

One, artisinal espresso has finally made it to New York City. These super-skilled baristas work on $10,000 machines to get the temperature and pressure just right, depending on the type of single-estate coffee they're using at the time. My favorite fact: "Tamping is also codified. At Ninth Street Espresso, it’s 30 pounds of pressure. Mr. Nye encourages his baristas-in-training to practice tamping espresso grounds into the portafilter on a bathroom scale so they know what 30 pounds feels like."

Two, Lipton and other teamakers are putting premium long leaf tea into pyramid-shaped nylon or muslin bags for a superior cup of tea that's easy to make. The new-and-improved teabags have limitations, though: "And even though the better tea bags will produce an excellent cup of tea, some of the finer points of tea making have been lost, like the different water temperatures and steeping times required, depending on whether the tea is black, oolong or green. An exception is the tea made by Le Palais des Thés: a suggested temperature and brewing time is printed on the foil packets that contain the muslin tea bags."

Super-elite espresso and high-end tea bags follow microbrewed beer, fancy-pants chocolate, artisanal cheese, and organic meat in our ramping-up of food quality. What's next?

My money is on lemonade. How long before we read "Jackson uses a simple Ph test to measure the acidity of each batch of sorrento lemons and adjust the amount of organic turbinado sugar and Greenland Iceburg water he adds to the mixture. Optional added flavors include Madagascar vanilla, pomegranate extract, Moroccan blood orange, or Tibetan yak's milk. Sales at his Fort Greene boutique, Lemon Aid(e), have quadrupled since opening in early 2006. Jackson plans on opening outposts in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Eugene, Oregon in 2007. You can also read his blog at or check out his band on myspace"?

Friday, September 08, 2006


Gotta Love The Heights

This is totally unrelated to food, but I have to share:

At the gas station around the corner from us, we just saw three Goth girls--violet-black hair, black eyeliner visible from a block away, black sweaters over black skirts with black tights to match the jet-black hair--on roller skates. They were gathered around a purple art car, shaped like a dragon no less, that some other goth kids were filling up.

It may have been no American Graffiti, but it was just as sweet and charming.

Bonus.'s word of the day today is "small beer." As in Shakespeare's Henry IV: "Doth it not show vilely in me to desire small beer?"

Friday, September 01, 2006


Slate gets it wrong.

Today's cover piece in Slate is "Brunch: an investigation." Bryan Curtis spends a few paragraphs (are all Slate stories shorter now? Is that part of the new fomat?) with a few New York chefs who claim that they, or their relative, invented Sunday brunch. He offers two ways of looking at things:

"While it's tempting to see brunch as a secular ritual—a slow start for those coming to after nocturnal prowlings—there's an argument that it owes a great deal to American Jewry. Brunch, Gary Greengrass acknowledges, was a kind of Jewish alternative to church. Jewish families, with nothing much to do on Sunday mornings, would take a long, leisurely meal, with traditional foods like bagels, lox, and blintzes."

"It's easy to see brunch as a battle of wills: the restaurateurs, who want to keep the turnstiles moving, versus the customers, who would have the meal to take all afternoon."

Although New York is indeed one of the best food cities in the world, not everything can be traced back to Manhattan. A lot of restaurants--and every hotel--in the country have Sunday brunch for the same purpose. Anthony Bourdain will tell you in his book, and any other chef will tell you if you give him a cigarette, that brunch is the long, drawn-out version of Minestrone: a way to get rid of leftovers. Saturday is a big night for food. You have an extra special, you have big parties, you have your catering wing out and about putting finger foods in chafing dishes. And Sunday is the day you get rid of the extra food. You open a little later that usual, and you offer cheap breakfast foods and leftover dinner foods. The best brunch dishes, eggs benedict for example, are a combination: eggs tossed in some water and covered with the holindaise from last night's asparagus. You may be thinking that good holandaise sauce breaks down long before the next morning, but when was the last time you had really good holandaise sauce on eggs benedict? That creative combination of vegetables, cheeses, and meats in your Sunday afternoon omelette? That's what was in the bottom of those chafing dishes last night.

Now that Brunch is such a great tradition, lots of places use fresh ingredients and make it a meal equal to the others. But if you're looking for the origins of bruch, look no farther than the leftovers from a Saturday night wedding.

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