Saturday, August 30, 2008

Work-Related Food Hate

For a bit of back-ground: I work in a movie theater that serves food, beer, and wine. Accordingly, we have a small, not very impressive wine list.

Now, I'm not here to defend our wine list. I know nothing about wine. If you ask me how the (whatever red wine) is -- I will tell you it has good body with notes of cherry and plum, and if you ask me about the (whatever white wine) I'll tell you it has a nice nose with notes of apple and pear. That's my standard line and it freely reflects my ignorance.

But the beer. That is a different story. We have a small, but mostly decent selection of beer, and I know something about them.

That said; I am ASTOUNDED how often some one will quiz me or a co-worker about the Merlot or the Chardonnay or the Shiraz or, or, or. Taste two or three...then buy a pint of Pabst Blue Ribbon.


They pass over everything on the wine list, and everything good on the tap line to buy the cheapest, most watery, least beer-tasting-beer we sell.

Any thoughts on this one?


I went there yesterday. Having tried Starfruit (frozen kefir, though it's now tainted by association with a certain event in my life) and Red Mango (Korean froyo, really good) recently, I decided to suck it up and try the crackberry instead of ya know, eating real food for dinner. I guess that makes me a sorority girl.

I approve of the recent trend of froyo that really tastes sour like yogurt instead of like glorified softserve. They have a pretty impressive assortment of toppings including girl scout cookies, although I felt so rushed by the server that I wasn't even sure what I wanted. Opted for pineapple, strawberry (my favorite fruit) and chocolate chips. That's where I went wrong. Fruit+froyo=great, chocolate chips freeze and become waxy and inedible. So I guess this is a post dedicated to the eradication of chocolate chips as a froyo topping, or maybe they should be re-engineered as chocolate shavings or something so they are still edible when frozen. I guess that's why the chocolate in mint chip is always kind of flat pieces, it has a better texture that way.

And if you ever find yourself at Red Mango, get the green tea froyo with mochi topping, for realz.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lesson learned!

Don't hang around with bartenders (excuse me, *mixologists*) who want to get in your pants. Drinking ten foofy cocktails in the space of 3 hours may *seem* like a good idea, but trust me, it's not when you wind up puking ten times the next morning. (Sorry for getting it in your car, Samantha).

They had me until it was served

Bacon & Egg ice cream. Sounds nummy and custardy with salty bacon as a nice balance. Then they go and fuck with it by serving it all foo-foo:

It's called OVERKILL people!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lunch: the least loved meal.

I would be happy to do away with lunch and just eat brunch and dinner.

Or maybe be European about it, and have tea and a late dinner.

Lunch is highly overrated.

I hate the lunch menus at restaurants. Crappy sandwiches, crappy soup, crappy salads, crappy pasta. Lunch entrees are the entrees that aren't special enough to eat at dinner. Dinner is steaks and grilled fish, buttery vegetables and multiple courses. Dinner is expensive for a reason, while lunch is cheap and forgettable.

While we're at it, let's eliminate breakfast in favor of brunch. Who wants to spend $4 on a bowl of oatmeal or a yogurt parfait? Brunch is salmon benedict at Tre Kronor and oreo flapjacks at the Bongo Room. All restaurants should be required to serve brunch until 3pm, seven days a week. Melissa and I actually walked out of Milk and Honey at high noon because they stop serving brunch at 12pm and neither of us wanted anything from the dismal sandwich menu.(bring out the tiny bobo violins!) I get annoyed by places that only serve brunch on weekends because it's always impossible to get a table on weekends and I want my brunch on a wednesday.

So from now on, I eat brunch, tea and dinner.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Snarky's top 5 food label pet peeves

Here are my top 5 word you find on food labels to fool you into thinking it's "healthy":

1. Natural
"Natural flavorings" is a popular name for MSG

2. Organic
I'm still waiting for them to come out organic candy canes this Christmas. Just wait.

3. Contains real (juice, fruit, etc)
Usually found in fruit flavored products. Which makes you wonder what else is in there.

4. 0% trans fats
I have yet to see a package with this title which doesn't list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the ingredient list. It all boils down to what percentage they can legally call 0%. Don't you just love the FDA?

5. Contains no... (major ingredient you would expect in said food.)
Which brings us back to #3. So what the hell is in it anyway? Is it really any better than the missing ingredient?

Which takes us to the moral of the story. Instead of reading the advertising, turn the package over and look at the list of ingredients. How many words are unpronounceable? How many grams of sugar per serving? (30 g = 10 teaspoons of sugar) And of course, does a serving in any way reflect how much you will eat at once?

Bonus fact: Just because you bought it at Whole Foods doesn't mean it's good for you. Sorry.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm just getting started!

Dear Miss B knows I love my food and I love my lists so expect to hear alot of griping from me! This is just the tip of my iceburg of food complaints...

1. bad nachos (how hard is it to fuck up melted cheese and tortilla chips?)
2. gourmet takes on basic sandwhiches, thus making a BLT ridiculously and in excusably expensive (and still just a BLT and usually not as good as one available for much less at a greasy spoon)
3. the disappearance of Butter & Herb Pringles (BEST CHIPS EVER)
4. anything that tastes like licorice besides licorice (especially if there is no warning upfront)
5. having to pay 50 cents for soy milk in my coffee at most coffee shops-I buy soy milk and I know what it costs and the mark up is ridiculous
6. speaking of ridiculous mark ups....ordering pasta at just about any restaurant is a complete rip off
7. Miracle Whip (ewww....why?)
8. Pepsi (nasty shit, just nasty)
9. "upscale" soul food (hello, its soul food and charging any more than a few bucks for greens is worse than going to church with a loose weave)

This was just my warm up ;-)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stuff I hate, volume 1.

-Vanilla as a savory seasoning. It's innovative, sure. But also kind of gross. It's only acceptable because it's less gross than you would expect, but that doesn't really mean it works.

-People who try to convince me of the superiority of vegan baked goods. Don't get me wrong, I've eaten some that were delicious, but I don't think they taste better (or are really any healthier) than if they had been made with butter and eggs. (Unless you have an allergy, butter and eggs are good for you. Have a problem with factory farming? Buy organic.)

"People get all excited about vegan baked goods. You know what's exciting? DAIRY FAT!" -Mike R.

"People only think vegan baked goods taste good because they expect them to taste bad and they're pleasantly suprised." -Andy C.

Actually, don't get me started on vegan elitism at all, heads will roll.

-Stupid one word bar and restaurant names. Bite. Feed. Sip. Swig. Puke.

-Sushi as an overpriced gimmick. Y'all do realize that that $15 "dragon maki" you're eating is a way to use up past-date fish by hiding it under hot sauce and avocado slices, doncha?

-Having to teach bartenders how to mix basic drinks, like a White Russian. I don't understand why it's so difficult to get bartending jobs when the industry is full of incompetent idiots.

Bringing the hate.

Chicago is a food city. That does not necessarily mean it is a city of good food. There's just a lot of food. A lot of it is bad.

I grew up in Berkeley, home of Chez Panisse and the slow food movement. I lived in Japan for four years, where I got used to being taken out for $100 meals and lavish work banquets with exotic foods. Now I write about food and drink for a couple of Chicago magazines, as well as eating out a lot with friends, and lately, it seems like I spend a lot of time feeling hungry and annoyed. I get mad when I get charged a lot of money for shitty food and crappy service. Hangry, if you will.

A spate of one star reviews on yelp and a few back issues of ANSWER Me! later, this blog was born.

This blog will be a acid tinged paean to the restaurants I love to hate, the douchebaggery that passes for haute cuisine in Chicago, and the culinary concepts gone oh so wrong. A cold glass of haterade. Street justice foodie-style.

I have invited some fellow foodies from around the country to share the hate. Join us if you dare.