Thursday, October 30, 2008

In defense of vodka, part two.

I don't care that vodka is bland (that's what makes the flavored stoli so delightful with soda!), I drink it and I remain level headed and alert with no hangover the next day. (To be honest I'm not that crazy about being drunk, so being clearheaded is a plus for me).

After spending the next morning puking, miserable and headachey after an interviewee (who was a lovely man), gave me samples of two scotches, two bourbons, and rum (and mind you these were small pours in snifters of high quality, high proof spirits, and I hadn't eaten much that day), I'm going to have to say I'll stick to vodka, even if it makes me hopelessly uncool.

Scotch= wood dissolved in alcohol!!!! I understand why people like it and can even appreciate it from a connoisseur's viewpoint but I absolutely hate what it does to my body.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letting you all know I've started a nutrition blog of my own here:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dick food

Stuff I ate at a bachelorette party last night:

-dick pasta salad (with ham and mayonnaise)

-blowjob shots (amaretto, bailey's, whipped cream, no hands)

-dick cake (actually I didn't eat any)

-cocktail franks with beans

-olives and gherkins threaded on a toothpick to look like dick n' balls

-hot wings


I also got fake-fucked by a stripper named "black magic" with a monstrously big dick. It was ridiculous. I really don't get the whole bachelorette party thing but it was fun in a horrible way. I had the WORST heartburn after though. I guess dick doesn't agree with me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some shameless self promotion.

My article about Japanese food in Chicago is on the cover of the Time Out Chicago site today.

It also gets mentioned here. I feelz famous!

Check it out!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two things I hate today, food journalist edition

1. PR people and press releases.

No, I am not impressed that Lil Wayne sips your champagne at douchebag nightclubs. (My hatred of douchebag nightclubs and the cult of empty conspicuous consumption could occupy a whole other post). I get a lot of press releases as a food writer, and most of them suck. It's as if they're written to make a product or place less appealing. There are three reasons places seem to hire PR people:

1. Because the scale of their business is so massive that it doesnt make sense to handle marketing inhouse. This is probably the only valid reason, though it's not actually the most common one.

2. Restaurant/product wants to appear foofoo and important. Me= not impressed. When I schedule interviews with bar people I have much more positive initial impression if I set up the appointment with them directly. Yesterday, I had an interviewee "forget" his appointment his PR person scheduled for him. See how well that worked out?

3. Their product sucks or their business is slow and they're trying to drum up interest. This doesn't work so great either because most editors and writers have a natural aversion to press releases.

I do sympathise with PR people to a degree, because being a freelancer and sending queries is a very similar (and frustrating) process. The problem is writers/editors receive so much CRAP that is totally irrelevant that something the good stuff falls through the cracks. And most editors already have an idea of what they want, and it's probably not what you're selling.

2. Booze snobbery: in defense of vodka.

The past six months have been a crash course in booze appreciation for me. Quite frankly, I didn't drink much prior to becoming a booze writer, though a lot of this was due to being poor. I'd enjoy the occasional $6 bottle of Trader Joes wine, and a vanilla vodka soda or PBR on the occasional occasion of going to a bar with friends. $11 cocktails, craft beer and artisanal spirits were simply not in my budget.

The interesting thing about being a journalist is you can basically live at the poverty level and pretend that you're not desperately broke through the miracle of press passes. I've been forced to learn a lot about booze very quickly, which is actually a lot of fun and quite interesting. At this point I'm fairly indifferent to wine, have developed a passion for fancy beer, and have mixed feelings about the whole mixology craze since I find that it's a- get ready for this- MIXED BAG! For every FUCKING AMAZING $11 cocktail I've tried, there have been 3 or 4 just kinda ok ones.

So here's the thing. I LOVE Stoli Vanil, and Stoli Blackberry. I love Stoli Vanil with Dr. Pepper and vanilla ice cream. I especially love it with soda, a smidge of grenadine, and a zillion maraschino cherries, and yes, I realize that's basically a glorified Shirley Temple, and I don't care. However, I have quickly discovered that in the land of pretentious boozeology, vodka is a big socially unacceptable NO NO. While I understand why people adore and adulate whiskeys for all their variation and complexity, blah blah, but I personally don't enjoy the taste of whiskey enough to care. I am not pretending that vodka is the same thing as whiskey. It's a clear, refreshing base spirit that allows other flavors to shine. It's the tofu of the beverage world! Would you accuse an order of thai deep fried tofu of being un-delicious simply because it doesn't have the gameyness of a lamb chop?

Ok, see this is what I don't get- the same mixologists who bag on vodka secretly like it! Regard the following excerpt from Jeffrey Morgenthaler's blog:

I badmouth the spirit in private and trash it in public. I grimace every time you order a vodka martini - “Shaken, up, with three olives” - at my bar. For all of the shit I’ve talked over the years, vodka is my number one guilty pleasure drink - I will always accept a vodka on the rocks after work. I’ll drink a Screwdriver at the airport, and a Greyhound when I get on the plane. And if you’ve got a bottle in your freezer, you’ll catch me stealing straight shots right out of the frosty bottle neck. I love the stuff.

So can we just accept that vodka, while flavorless, is a perfectly acceptable base spirit that is wonderful for infusing with other flavors? Furthermore, there IS a difference when you spend a bit more money on vodka- good vodka tastes smoother, and gives me less of a hangover. Of course, we're talking the difference between well vodka and stoli, but like I said, I'm poor. I can't help but wonder if part of the vodka stigma is the fact that vodka is frequently drunk by women and Eastern European peasants, which makes me wonder if there's some secret sexist/classist agenda going on here.

And while we're at it, mint, vanilla and cucumber (three ingredients a nameless mixologist professed to avoid yesterday since their "overused") are all delicious components in a cocktail and should not be eschewed, dammit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Meet Natto

Natto is what happened when some crazy Japanese person decided to eat the rotting horse feed in some edo-era stable. Natto is a blob of fermented soybeans with a disgustingly stringy texture, that has the same appeal as smelly rotting cheeses- it's good while at the same time disgusting. Most Americans and many Japanese refuse to eat it. It made me throw up to look at it until I developed a taste for it (like many other bizarre Japanese foods that I now crave, like pickled plum, grated mountain yam and burdock root).

I've come to realize I can eat almost anything as long as it's not sketchy meat. (Sketchy meat wrecks my digestion, so it may be a self-preservation thing). But rotten soybeans and fruit that smells like dirty ass? Bring it on!

Speaking of sketchy meat, Mike Sula at the Reader posted the menu for his pig dinner (the Reader bought some kind of heirloom pig with the express intent of butchering and eating it- I guess it's supposed to be some kind of environmentally positive gesture but it's the sort of gesture that would have angry vegans throwing bricks in my hometown of Berkeley.) Anyway, I am less sad about not being able to attend this event because if I tried to eat my way through that much pork, combined with wine, no less, my digestive system would probably stage a hostile revolt (which happened after eating pork belly at Hot Chocolate, as delicious as it was). My digestive system adores probiotics laden natto on the other hand. So that was your TMI for the day.

Ethical Dilemma

I really want to support the independent coffeeshop by my house over starbucks, but they're making it really hard to.

First off, their shit is kind of pricy which I could accept if it were good, but it's not that good. My mocha is too hot and tastes like it was made with swiss miss. My bagel is flaky, not chewy (the sure sign of a goyish bagel) and burnt. Where's the love?

Maybe I should just go to an independent coffeeshop in another neighborhood. Sigh.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's a Carnivore to do?

I keep falling back and forth between throwing myself completely into marketing my latest weight loss/detox/nutrition program and wanting to giving it all up for a nice, boring day job. I've been known to flip flop within the course of a day, hours even. It's all a matter of what kind of "hard" sounds less painful at the moment.

So I'm back on the business wagon after I got a couple of calls, both from vegans who found my phone number on my college website, thinking I'm the school, and wanting to sign up for my Healthy Holiday cooking class. This is ironic for so many reasons. Both of my professors not only promoted meat (free range, pasture raised organic of course), but also consumption of internal organs and told stories of how Native American hunters ate the raw adrenals of animals immediately after killing them. I still have trouble eating liver if it's not pate, but I can list five nutrients off of the top of my head that are impossible to get if you go vegan.

My class is geared towards avoiding food sensitivities (a lot of people in my field have difficulty choosing sexy, appealing titles for our programs) but I mention that the recipes are dairy and egg free. In my desperation for enrollment, I say yes, these classes are vegan (although it didn't occur to me until it was pointed out.) So I'm accepting dirty vegan money, supporting their anti-animal protein addiction. I'm terrified one of my professors will magically appear and start scolding me. My secret evil plan will be to have plenty of sublingual B12 and rice protein powder for the vegans to sample and purchase if they get faint or cranky, which I've discovered from experience is inevitable.

It will be nice to get one of these programs off the ground at least!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hey Mon Sauces

I was on youtube looking for the Hey Mon In Living Color sketch that pretty much describes my career (Mim always called it "being a jamaican job lady").

I found this instead. It's perhaps one of the most horrifyingly, embarrassingly low budget advertisements ever created.

Carribean Style Holiday Turkey! Oh my.

Booze hate

#1. Bartenders who correct my pronounciation of a beer or beverage when I pronounce it correctly.

Me: Can I have a pint of schpahten?

Bartender (at a phony German bar in Lincoln Square!!!): You want a spay-ten?

(of course, Magaret at the 4am bar St. Pauli club down the road says schpahten, but tourists don't go there)

Me: One Mohjheet please.

Bartender: You mean Mah-deet?

Okay, so I'm a pretentious journalist from California, but if I actually know how to pronounce something correctly, I'm gonna. Just don't correct me back to the American pronounciation, dammit.

#2 Another thing that bugs:

This is a crappy photo booth photo, but it's a Belvedere vodka ad that says "Luxury Reborn" with A PICTURE OF VINCENT GALLO!!!!! How Vincent Gallo became a sex symbol (in his own mind, at least) when he clearly was born to be a wino is beyond me. This man is cut out for stuff like Night Train and Thunderbird, produced by E&J GALLO winery, not foofy top shelf vodka.

People of the world, I beg you- STOP GIVING VINCENT GALLO MONEY. He has nothing to offer you but self important pap!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

convenience or perpetuating uselessness?

NPR ran a bit on "food assembly" businesses, something I had never heard of as I am a grown up and cut up my own veggies and wash my own dishes. Basically rich people pay alot of money ($150 was a quote I heard on NPR) to prepare their meals for the week. The selling point is that one does not have to shop for the ingredients, prep the food or clean up afterwards and that it is healthier than frozen entrees. True but really, how hard is it to cook for oneself? Last night I managed to make (all homemade and the only shortcut was pre-chopped garlic) curried zucchini soup, tomato & cilantro rice, broiled salmon w/ green pepper and tofu w/brocolli; all in the span of about 2 hours. Oh and I made Feminist Popcorn too because I love the stuff and it travels well. I easily have enough meals to last me the rest of the week and I can assure you it didn't cost me $150 to buy all the ingredients. Yeah, I have to wash the dishes tonight but really-how lazy have folks become? Odds are one who can shell out $150 for one week's worth of meals has a dishwasher and can afford all the pre-sliced ingredients most higher end markets sell anyway.
I suspect its another opportunity to "network" (especially after checking out some of the websites Google led me to)or for the rich and busy and self-important to get a kick out of playing like they are regular people all the while still having disdain for them. Kinda like when the higher ups at my office have to pull their turn of dishwasher duty.