Posts for May 14th 2009
After five years as the lead restaurant reviewer of the New York Times, Frank Bruni is hanging up his napkin, the newspaper announced today.
As the restaurant critic at one of the nation's preeminent publications, in the last five years, Bruni has been arguably the most influential food writer in America, catapulting restaurants like Napa's Ubuntu to fame while sending others, like Jeffrey Chodorow's Kobe Club, to a controversial early grave. But come August — around the same time that his new food memoir gets published — he will step down from his position.
Despite the fact that his reviews have ignited as many haters as supporters, I'll miss Bruni's poignant and often hilarious reviews — although I am looking forward to learning more about him in Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater. Are you disappointed to see Bruni join the likes of former critics Craig Claiborne, Mimi Sheraton, Bryan Miller, and Ruth Reichl? Who do you think should be his successor?
Perhaps Virgin America's move to take flight with absinthe has inspired other airlines to focus on its in-flight services. American Airlines has announced that it will begin serving items from Boston Market on select flights.
Beginning tomorrow on flights to and from Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Hawaii, American will offer a bevy of menu items from the chain popular for its rotisserie chicken. The $10 selection includes the Carver sandwich, the Beef Brisket Grinder, and the Italian Grinder, as well as the Chicken Caesar, Market Chopped, and Italian Chopped Salads. The airline plans to serve the selection to additional routes starting July 1.
The familiar Boston Market brand could be welcome on airlines, which are not usually known for their selection of food. Still, even though I haven't been to a Boston Market in a while, I don't recall shelling out anywhere near $10 for a sandwich. Would you order Boston Market on your next flight?
If you're hosting a party — like Ronda's belly dancing-themed bachelorette — that begins in the early evening and carries on until the wee hours of morning at a second location, skip the shots and hard alcohol. You don't want guests getting too wasted too quickly, and you'll save money by not having to purchase a bunch of liquor.
At a bachelorette, serve a girly, bubbly cocktail like this lavender and peach bellini. Its vibrant color matches the sunny Mediterranean appetizer menu, and the easy recipe makes a large batch. White wine and sparkling water are other good beverage options to have on hand. For the recipe to this fruity and floral concoction, read more
Last week I dined with a girlfriend at a neighborhood restaurant called Local. While I couldn't get enough of its meaty housemade linguine with rich Bolognese sauce, my gal pal was crazy about the truffle fries. It may not be my most preferred flavor, but I, too, enjoy the taste of truffles on fries, in salad dressings, or drizzled on pizzas. How about you?
The other day I decided to treat myself to my favorite table cheese, grana padano. This Italian cheese is similar to Parmesan reggiano and is excellent eaten right out of your hands. However, my local grocery store was all out. As I stood staring aimlessly at the cheese selection, wondering what could replace my beloved padano, the cheesemonger saved me. "Have you tried Cypress Grove's Midnight Moon?" he asked. While I've had my fair share of artisanal cheesemaker's Cypress Grove's most famous cheese, Humboldt Fog, I've never tasted the Midnight Moon. An aged goat's milk cheese, Midnight Moon is perfect for any cheese plate. To find out why this is my new favorite and check out my suggestions for serving, read more
Belgium's made its mark on the culinary world with waffles and chocolate. But could Ghent, Belgium, become the world's first city known for its vegetarianism? Starting today, the city has instituted a weekly "veggie day" in which government officials opt for meatless meals. When school begins again in September, schoolchildren will also have a weekly meat-free day.
Deputy mayor of Ghent Tom Balthazar explained that the reasons for going vegetarian are manifold: in addition to tackling obesity, raising awareness for vegetarianism reduces the city's environmental footprint and helps fight hunger. "Eighteen percent of the greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the meat industry . . . and the fight against hunger will go better and smoother if we eat less meat. For producing one kilogram of meat, you need seven to 10 kilograms of grains," he said.
Citizens of Ghent still have the option to eat meat on "veggie day." However, as Balthazar (who is a self-described flexitarian) explains, the main menu on these days at city schools and many restaurants will be meatless, and the alternative menu will contain meat.
Although I consider myself a big meat eater, it's a relevant time to consider the social, health, and environmental impacts of consuming less meat. Would you support a vegetarian movement in your town?
A couple of weeks ago, my sister came over with her CSA box. Among the romaine and rhubarb was a bunch of perfectly tender asparagus. When she asked how we should cook the thin spears, I replied, "like Martha Stewart prepares hers: roasted and topped with a poached egg." Since that day, we've both enjoyed this simple yet sophisticated vegetarian meal many times. It's quite versatile — if you have other veggies like mushrooms or green beans on hand, roast them with the asparagus. For a heartier variation, plate the asparagus on top of toasted country bread. To appease meat eaters, sprinkle with salty pancetta. Whichever way you serve it, you'll need the basic recipe, so read more