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Posts from the ‘Page & Screen’ Category

Un-American Activities: Breakfast at Denny’s Japan


I ate breakfast at Denny’s in Tokyo and wrote about it for Extra Crispy. Spoiler: there are no Grand Slams.


Thoughts No One Asked for On Two Things I Read Related to Bon Appetit Two Weekends Ago


I still remember the first time I saw that photo in Bon Appétit of a line of beautiful people patiently waiting outside a low-lying, barely marked building, a tree blooming out front. It was a spoon-fed fantasy — that you, too, could be one of the good-looking regulars — and I wanted all of it.

Me too, despite being over two years ago, because two of those “beautiful people” were women not being skinny, something always surprising to see in a lifestyle publication not specifically featuring a larger woman because they have to i.e. she is being profiled. Interestingly, the image on has been cropped to erase one offender (the other was already hidden behind a pole).

* * *


This wasn’t so much reading–if you call tiled blurbs and captions reading–as page-skimming and absorbing, though that’s all it takes to have an “It Me” moment with Peter Meehan. Crab rangoon is my favorite junky snack food in the whole world, and the only dish I miss when not doing a traditional Thanksgiving is the stuffing (ok, and pecan pie but there are no guarantees there will be a pecan pie).

Still Summering

I’m almost back in the NYC saddle, after a not-super-food-focused vacation in Portland. Pricey, pop-up sushi was consumed (it was ok–ack, so jaded New Yorker), rural-suburban pizza that was such a hit I went back twice was the sleeper hit, Southern Thai was a charmer, no surprise to me since the city excels at new and shiny but not newfangled Thai food.


In the mean time, here’s an essay I wrote in defense of dining at chain restaurants abroad for Serious Eats while they were doing a paid experiment on Medium. It was previously un-linkable publicly, and now it’s not.

A to C: The Ice Cream Life

ice cream#sevenfirstjobs mania has really given me a lot of food for thought. Ok, not really at all, but it was good for some really bold A to C fodder like strawberry harvester to editor in chief in three steps (not an actual example).

That’s my segue to trying to figure out why at the end of the August Food & Wine’s regional round-up of ice cream there is a short personal essay from the author of He’s Just Not That Into You. “My Life in Ice Cream”‘ (that’s the name of the piece because it’s about ice cream and her life) wouldn’t have even registered as a blog post. Print, though…such veritas.

A. So, she works at an ice cream shop in the West Village as an NYU student and eats ice cream.

C. She owns an apartment in the West Village and is always on a diet and can’t eat ice cream.

There’s a lot of life between those two things. Though honestly, it doesn’t seem as egregious now as when I read the whole thing at the gym and got outraged. I’m convinced exercising has the opposite effect of its intended purpose (clear-headedness? calming?) on me.

Spoiler: Big Gay Ice Cream opens and she starts eating ice cream.





Bon Appétit’s March culture issue presents a full page of A-to-C action: “I Quit My Boring Job So I Could Make…”

Babies would be my answer if asked (no, I don’t have children) but whatever. It’s all well and good, not terribly upsetting or anything. The kimchi anecdote was my favorite, though.


Buying a bodega in Queens is going to be my new response to any life goal-type questioning.

I can’t speak to Mama O’s, but I bought a jar of Mrs. Kim’s last week on Fresh Direct as a whim and I must concede that it’s 10x better than the grocery standard Kimchi Pride. Fresh and effervescent overall, lightly gingery, with a funky, beefy backbone. Sadly, not made in a bodega in Queens.

A to C

Rather than periodically start Tumblrs (or even categories) I can’t finish (dishracks, anyone?) I’m just going to talk about my ideas to get them out of my system and move on.

I’ve always been fascinated by what I call “A to C” stories where Style section types seem to emerge fully formed and lauded for non-traditional toiling.

The most recent candidate for my “A to C” treatment would be lingerie designer turned avant-garde confectioner Maayan Zilberman, whom I wouldn’t even have given second thought to if she hadn’t seeped into my consciousness a few years ago when she went gray for Refinery 29 when I was wanting to go gray on purpose too. Obviously she is back to brunette. So am I.

So, how does one become a lingerie designer who makes a living gilding candy cock rings and crafting mentholated Q-tips good enough to eat?

Ms. Zilberman charged $1,000 to $1,500 for her cakes, which she sold mostly to art-world friends…

Creativity, confidence (and free time) are all good, sure. There’s no mystery really, the short profile isn’t opaque, and it’s the reason why the theme would ultimately be boring because the answer is always the same: know rich and/or well-connected people and/or be one yourself. Boring…

The candy is pretty cool, though.

Some Foods Need Not Be Reinvented a.k.a. Keep Your Stuffed Peppers Away From Me

Because Miracle Mile came up in conversation with three friends separately in three weeks when it was still balmy (now it’s winter?), once after a dinner at Sizzler while driving past the diner used in the Anthony Edwards/Mare Winningham movie, I  became consumed by the idea that I needed to watch Miracle Mile because I never have, and as things do this quickly morphed into throwing a Miracle Mile viewing party with food from the 1988 release year. And also as things often do, I got stuck in the ideation phase and at the rate I’m going it will be a Miracle Mile-themed Thanksgiving (except now I’ve started obsessing over After Hours).

1988 proved tricky because most foods associated with the ‘80s are really more early-to-mid decade and because Oregon was a little behind the times, things I associate with the early ‘90s like sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and pesto were already old hat in more cosmopolitan enclaves. Plus, my interest for party food purposes has been more Good Housekeeping than Gourmet

That said, I’m on board with Boboli, Boursin-stuffed chicken breasts, pasta salad, black bean soup, designer pizzas (chicken and bbq sauce on Boboli), and cilantro where it might not belong like that pizza. 

Stuffed peppers, childhood despair in the form of stewy tomato-sauced rice and ground beef? Not so much, despite this ad being from 1988. (Don’t even click on this 1983 Beefaroni abomination unless you want to end up in tears.) And now I’m being haunted by those nightshade-rich nostalgia vessels.

I recently attended a screening of Over the Edge (1979) another film crying out for a viewing party, at Nitehawk. In one of the earliest scenes this sweet bit of dialogue occurs:

00:03:25 She’s too stoned to talk to, man. You can’t talk to that girl.

00:03:28 Hey, I’ll see you guys later.

00:03:31 Stuffed peppers tonight.

00:03:33 We don’t wanna miss that, do we, Johnny?

The actor stating interest in stuffed peppers, Tom Fergus, was in attendance, a totally Manhattan-raised kid, not a suburban hesher, who is now a good-looking dad living in Tribeca. That line came up on the Q&A. It was an ad lib. And most genius. But also nine years before 1988.

This morning in 2015 an Epicurious email announced in its subject line: “Make Stuffed Peppers the Whole Family Will Love.” 

And then I shut my laptop and decided I needed to leave the house lest I throw it across the room.

Mom On Mom Crime


As you may know, though I wouldn’t necessarily expect you to, I’m kind of obsessed with both 40-year-old New Jersey mom posing as Williamsburger of 26 fable Younger and chain restaurants generally, especially if they serve Cheddar Bay Biscuits (not to mention one of the nation’s most caloric meals) . So, the latest hate campaign by One Million Moms cuts very close to home.

This easily riled group made up of a few hundred at best wants Red Lobster to stop advertising during the show (and have claimed dubious victory over a recent lack of IHOP commercials) because of the “s-xual innuendos” and “almost impossible to describe the depth of depravity” and then go on to try and describe said depravity.

Highlights include:

  • Pixelated n-dity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Pervert meets woman to buy underwear but scams her by sniffing them and then running off

That’s really just one episode. There’s also homosexuality, drug use, Jewishness, removing a friend’s stuck menstrual cup–and to bring this back to food, a Meatball Shop reference. Ban it all.

Millard really puts it best. What’s next, indeed?

Two’s a Trend: Guacamole

Avocado toast’s trickle down effect appears to guacamole appearing at non-Mexican-ish chain restaurants (Taco Bell has long served avocados blended with water, tomato, onion, jalapeño, salt, cilantro, lemon juice, ascorbic or erythorbic acid, xanthan gum, and sodium alginate) as if this exotic import just arrived in America circa 2015.

Ok, I’ve only seen two commercials in two days. That’s evidence enough by today’s standards. No, really, it is–USA Today wrote about guacamole going “mainstream” based on these two new product introductions.


Dunkin’ Donuts:

Bonus USA Today content because it’s Cinco de Mayo: get Chipotle’s (pronounced Chipoltay according to the millennial platform producer/journalist voicing the video) never-revealed-before guacamole recipe.

Millennials Get the McDonald’s Mascot They Deserve

Jeremy Enecio/New York Times

Jeremy Enecio/New York Times

It’s quite possible that hipster Ronald McDonald was celebrated over the weekend and I missed it. The existence of a lithe, tattooed version with a french-fry thin moustache, pouf of dazzling red hair peeking out from a jaunty knit cap, and fitted v-neck layered under a pop-collared jumpsuit was just brought to my attention last night.

Haunting. I’ve heard that after McDonald’s adds kale to the menu, if you say “Ronnie” three in times in front of a mirror, this jerk will appear and hand you a shamrock smoothie.