by Debra Puchalla in News, May 28th, 2014
by Amy Reiter in News, May 28th, 2014
Bagels are hot. No, really. And though babka and matzo ball soup and brisket don’t conjure haute cuisine, they’re hot too. It’s true: Jewish-American foods that highlight tradition (and remix it) — are pushing Dominique Ansel’s latest trendy treats to the side. (So says BusinessWeek.com.)
In April, Black Seed opened in New York’s East Village, and the lines of fans awaiting everything-poppy-sesame-topped cream-cheese-schmeared Montreal-style bagels stretched to rave reviews. But the growing love of Jewish food doesn’t end with breakfast. In yesterday’s New York Times, Julia Moskin detailed the renewal of excitement around innovative Jewish fare, citing the famous Russ & Daughters Cafe, which serves smoked fish and herring but also, she notes, updates like whitefish chowder and halvah ice cream with salted caramel. Julia described hot spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle where familiar Jewish-American foods and newfangled ones are enjoying a hip-factor heyday, respecting traditions but also building upon them.
“We are always conscious that we are taking care of a piece of history,” Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters told Julia. “But we can’t run only on nostalgia.” Katherine Alford, senior vice president, culinary, here at Food Network, agrees: “That is how we run here too. We love these rich and cherished traditional foods, and it’s so exciting that they are getting their well-deserved moment.” But, she says, it’s more than a passing fad. “When something is really good, it never goes out of style. Who doesn’t want babka now and always?” You don’t have to head to an old-school new-school chic restaurant to get babka. The next trend might just be staying home and making your own Jewish-American foods for family and friends — no lines!
by Amy Reiter in News, May 24th, 2014
Pizza and Beer and Macaulay Culkin’s Bad Day: How was your Memorial Day weekend? It had to have been better than Macaulay Culkin’s. The Home Alone star, now a ripened 33, was booed off the stage and pelted with beer when he and his band, the Pizza Underground — which performs Velvet Underground music, only with pizza-themed lyrics — performed at the Dot to Dot festival in Nottingham, England. According to the Nottingham Post, initial “boos turned to booze, with members of the public throwing full pints of beer at the stage, soaking both the band and the audience.” Macaulay stayed calm, saying: “Why are you throwing those? I’d rather drink them!” After the former child actor and a pizza-box-playing band mate took a few direct hits, though, the band was compelled to cut its set short. Later its members thanked the crowd via Twitter, saying “Sorry that a couple people ruined it for everyone.” [Nottingham Post via Eater]
Fondue Footwear: You probably wouldn’t want to dip your feet in melted cheese and walk around the house. But that hasn’t stopped the maker of a new footwear prototype called Fondue Slippers from finding inspiration in the communal-pot party food of yesteryear. The shoe-slipper, which made its debut at Milano Salone Satellite 2014, will be shaped in your foot’s precise image because it will be made by your foot being dipped in the material provided in a DIY kit. Letting the material dry and voila — insta-custom-footwear. “You can wear Fondue Slipper both inside and outside,” its creator, Tokyo-based designer Satsuki Ohata boasts. No cracks about cheesy workmanship please. [Satuki via RocketNews24]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 23rd, 2014
Memorial Day means more than picnics and barbecues — especially if it rains. For a lot of families, it also means hitting the multiplex together to take in a movie.
Fortunately for foodies this year, when you take that break from grilling burgers and whipping up potato salad and head to the cinema, you don’t have to leave your culinary preocupations behind.
Jon Favreau’s Chef, an indie ensemble comedy in which the director stars alongside Sofía Vergara, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale, John Leguizamo, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony and others, tells the story of a Los Angeles chef and divorced dad who loses his restaurant gig churning out uninspiring dishes. He launches a food truck, which brings him back in touch with his culinary promise and estranged family.
by Amy Reiter in News, May 22nd, 2014
Fry! Be free! Gwyneth Paltrow’s estranged husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, has sparked tabloid titters for taking the couple’s kids, Apple, 10, and Moses, 8, to a fast food restaurant, Reddi Chick, in Santa Monica, Calif., where they were reportedly spotted devouring piles of fries and sucking down soda. The kids “were shoveling handfuls of fries into their mouths,” a witness told In Touch Weekly. “It was like they’d never eaten anything so good in their lives!” Gwyneth, who wasn’t there, has, of course, famously touted the benefits of her kids’ gluten-free, low-carb diet. But you know what they say: When the goop founder is away, her gooplets will play. Or something like that. [In Touch]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 21st, 2014
The Sweet Smell of Success: Those smells that waft out of Cinnabon and other aromatic food and retail establishments are no accident. They’re actually a deliberate attempt to draw customers in — and there’s a name for the thinking behind them: scent marketing. “The battle for noses is getting intense,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Restaurants are adjusting recipes to make aromas more concentrated and pleasant.” They’re also enlisting other scent strategies: For instance, Cinnabon puts its ovens near the front of the store to maximize the smell of fresh-baked buns; moving them to the back, as an experiment, “significantly” lowered sales. That’s nothing to sniff at. [The Wall Street Journal]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 20th, 2014
Turducken Gets Official Recognition — Pho Sure! Foodies and linguists alike will be interested to learn that among the 150 words to be added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate dictionary in 2014, you’ll find “freegan,” “pho,” “pepita,” “poutine” and “turducken,” alongside non-food-related neologisms like “crowdfunding,” “hashtag” and “selfie.” Also to be included is “catfish” in its new sense: “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.” So, no, not the same thing as what you might eat blackened. [Time]
Who’re You Calling the “Second City”? The prestigious James Beard Awards, which have been distributed in a gala ceremony in New York City since their inception 24 years ago, will move to Chicago for their 25th anniversary next year. James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro explained that Chicago, which she called a “great” culinary city, had extended a “very appealing offer to host the show.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Susan said, had provided “passionate support” and had demonstrated himself to be as “a true believer in the importance of culinary tourism.” [The New York Times]
by Amy Reiter in News, May 17th, 2014
When Chef José Andrés took the stage to address the graduates of George Washington University at their commencement May 18, even he seemed surprised to have been the one chosen for the honor. “Wow,” Chef José said after the crowd had offered its perfunctory applause. But after humbly introducing himself — “My name is José Andrés and I am a cook” — the Spanish-born chef, who made his name and popularized small plates at restaurants like Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., gave a speech that built an instant buzz in the food world and beyond.
José’s speech, which began with a funny video showing some of his more famous pals (Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Al Roker, Eric Holder and others) turning down the gig, was as inspiring as it was amusing.
It included advice like: “There will always be critics and naysayers telling you what you cannot do, that it is impossible. There will always be more people bringing you down than lifting you up. It seems that way sometimes. But let me tell you: Get a cocktail shaker (if you are over 21). Add your heart, your soul, your brain, your instinct and shake it hard. Serve it straight up, but let me give you a secret ingredient. Add a dash of the criticism on top because those naysayers play an important role too. They motivate you to rise above, to challenge yourself, to prove them wrong.”
by Amy Reiter in News, May 16th, 2014
Smile and Say ‘Cheese’: Rihanna’s captured the attention of fans as one of several celebrities who has been immortalized atop a pizza. Pizza artist and chef Domenico Crolla, owner of Bella Pizzeria in Glasgow, Scotland, has captured the likenesses of Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Kim Kardashian, President Obama, the Pope and others using pizza crust as his canvas and cheese and sauce as his paint. Amazing, if not appetizing. [Bella Pizzeria (gallery) via The Daily Meal]
Holy Comic-Inspired Beer, Batman! Denver Comic Con organizers have teamed up with Breckenridge Brewery to launch a special limited-edition Batman-themed craft beer called (wait for it) Brews Wayne. The people behind the three-day convention, which last year released the similarly themed Caped Brewsader beer, describe this year’s 6.1 percent ABV brew as a “hoppy amber ale, a hybrid-style with two distinctly different, yet complimenting flavors ” that is perfect “for the playboy-by-day and superhero-by-night.” Oh my. [Denver Post]
by Amy Reiter in How-to, News, May 14th, 2014
Wheely Convenient: Picnicking is great, but figuring out how to transport your sumptuous spread to the perfect spot can rank right up there with bugs as a buzz-killing complicating factor. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just ferry it all there on your bike? Enter (on two wheels) the Kickstarter-funded, Dutch-designed Fietsklik, a detachable, foldable recycled-plastic crate that snaps onto the back of your bike. The crate is big enough to transport up to 24 bottles of beer or 25 pounds of groceries. Who’s bringing the blanket? [Fietsklik via Food Republic]
Spicing Up Your Lunch Bag: Would you like your burrito with a side of deep thoughts? Chipotle believes you would. The Mexican restaurant chain is launching a “Cultivating Thought” initiative, tapping best-selling author Jonathan Safran Foer to bring illuminating quotes to its bags and cups. The two-minute essays and nuggets of wisdom from 10 writers – from Malcolm Gladwell, Toni Morrison and George Saunders to Judd Apatow and Sarah Silverman – will create “a small pocket of thoughtfulness right in the middle of the busy day,” Jonathan said. “We will never have a perfect world,” read the words of experimental psychologist Steven Pinker on one bag, “but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.” Food for thought. [BusinessWire]
Let’s talk steak. Just the thought of a thick, juicy slab of perfectly cooked beef will make the mouths of enthusiastic carnivores water. (Those who don’t eat meat may want to just move along to the next post.)
New York Times dining reporter Julia Moskin fills in her readers on her tried-and-true method for cooking steak on the stovetop: Forget the talk about dry rubs and marinating, she advises. Buy your meat from a butcher. Choose thinner, boneless cuts — marbled, about 1 inch thick. Keep the meat refrigerated until about a half-hour before you’re ready to cook, then pat it dry with paper towels. Use a cast-iron skillet (unoiled) and turn the heat up “insanely” high. Salt the pan (not the steak) and heat it some more. Lay down your meat, wait about a minute, then flip it every 30 seconds until – 4 or 5 minutes later – you have a perfectly cooked steak. It’ll be crusty on the outside, pink on the inside.
“If it’s good quality steak and you don’t cook it for more than five minutes per inch, you really can’t mess it up,” Richard Schatz of New York City’s Schatzie the Butcher reassures Julia’s readers. “Steak is nothing to be scared of.”