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Posts from the ‘Distractions’ Category

Nice Rack

Tangentially related to food and drink, I’ve created yet another certain to be updated only sporadically (unless you send me submissions–and please do) Tumblr to distract me from the important things in life. Don’t be afraid to take a look at Nice Rack, my attempt to document dish drying racks on screen. My newish dishwasher-free existence has been painful, but perhaps these reminders will keep my grounded during this difficult time.

Would You Rather? Ridgewood These Days or Those Days Drinking Edition

Because I just can’t stop keeping tabs on neighborhoods I haven’t lived in for 15 years.

Natalie Keyssar/New York Times

Natalie Keyssar/The New York Times



Or The Bad Old Days?

Top 5 Food-Related Sanrio Characters

The news that Hello Kitty isn’t actually a cat hit the world pretty hard. Frankly, it’s made me question my lifelong relationship with Sanrio (which can never be severed tidily since I have a small, two-decade-old, blurring non-cat inked on my upper arm). Ignoring problems and focusing on something else instead is always a great way to deal with them.

Let’s look at Sanrio’s best food-related characters, which may or may not actually be food.

strawberry king

5. Strawberry King

Ok, this boy (?) with a strawberry on his head isn’t top five objectively. However, props must be given because this is old-school Sanrio circa 1975 and likely the brand’s first food character. The genre had not been perfected yet.


4. Yutakun

The ’80s were a strange time. I couldn’t decide between this watermelon chomper or this plate of eggs and indeterminate vegetables called Party a la Cart. Either way, party on.

Sanrio Wiki

3. Dokidoki Yummychums

This whole collection wins at Sanrio-ness. Dokidoki Burger is the ringleader, as anthropomorphic burgers tend to be. There are also some chicken nuggets a.k.a. chums, a shake, a hot dog, and the above girly box of fries. Doikidoki Yummychums might not be high in name recognition, and yet that has not prevented at least one tattoo from appearing in the world.


2. Kirimi

Leave it to the anthropomorphic salmon filet to take top honors in a 2013 Sanrio contest to choose new characters based on Japanese food.


1. Gudetama

It’s hard to believe that a lazy egg with distinct buttocks would only make it to first runner-up in the above mentioned contest, but really it’s kind of brilliant since losing is staying true to the character’s unmotivated persona. Gudetama does not even appear on the American Sanrio site. Luckily, there is an active Twitter account that doesn’t really demand knowledge of the Japanese language to appreciate.

Bonus Gudetama video that will nearly make you forget about the existence of Hello Kitty.

Honorable Mentions:
Boo Gey Woo
Pom Pom Purin
Nyokki & Penne


All Cried Out

In addition to the very important and sporadic work being done on Palate Patrol 2014, I will now be updating Food That has Moved People to Tears: A Crybaby Compendium indefinitely.

The two new entries couldn’t be more different:

  • This isn’t the first time Cronuts induced tears, but likely the first time from a former club kid fresh off a 17-year prison sentence.
  • It took a little more to set off René Redzepi’s waterworks. Specifically “…a just-cooked langoustine, lying on a bed of rocks, curled up under wisps of pine smoke. The only garnish was a black salt made by drying seaweed, the way the Faroese produced what little salt they had for centuries.”


Food That has Moved People to Tears In No Particular Order or Timeframe

Is crying in a restaurant ever acceptable? Probably not if you’re a baby and everyone around you paid roughly $400 for the chance to eat green apple flavored helium balloons and exploding black truffle ravioli (Alinea is likely the most notable restaurant I dined at in 2013 and never blogged about–more on that soon because I know you can’t wait for my opinion).

But what about the adults who weep literally (in the traditional sense of the word) because the beauty tasted was too much to contain? I kind of hate these people and their emotional availability (and no, I don’t mean that mid-2000s meme) so I’ve been collecting examples for the past few years, waiting for the right moment to do something with them. That time is now!

I would know nothing about this personally, having only been moved to tears by too many pre-birthday dinner Manhattans and a quoted 70-minute wait at an Edgewater, New Jersey Outback Steakhouse over a decade ago, but this soulful breed exists, if primarily in the pages of food and travel magazines.

Food that has moved people to tears, in no particular order or timeframe:

Mackerel tartare with osetra caviar

Grilled sole with olive oil, pine nuts, orange, bergamot, and fennel

Turkish ice cream

Truffle soup

Salmon, avocado and mayonnaise hand roll

47 courses during El Bulli’s final run


A meal that ends with five desserts including the Mont Blanc Snow-Bowl, resembling “a 3-D map of a winter landscape beneath a glass dome” that’s presented as the room turns blue and Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” plays.

Cronuts (lack of)

Double header: foie gras and fig and an oyster encrusted in “dirt.”

If there were any themes to be gleaned, I would say seafood and spectacles have high potential for making crybabies out of diners.

Something to Be Thankful For

gostner schwaige bread bowlIn the December Food & Wine (no features online yet) you’ll find what might be the world’s classiest bread bowl, prettified with saffron, violet and pink petals floated across the still surface. I would like to believe that the crusty loaf is sitting atop a bed of smoked hay, but it’s probably just dry Alpine grass, and it is.

The dish is actually called Hay Soup because that is what it’s baked in, and not only contains 20 herbs, but cream from cows that have eaten the same herbs. You’ll have to go to the Dolomites to experience this sourdough majesty, though; it’s served at Gostner Schwaige, a restaurant with no website.

Since I’m spending Thanksgiving in a desert where the only English-language TV shows appear to be Low Winter Sun and According to Jim, indulge my nostalgia and allow me to link to a teenage photo of myself with a bread bowl (on Christmas, but a holiday still).

Green-Eyed Monster

Matt Rainey for The New York Times

Matt Rainey for The New York Times

This creature appeared in The New York Times last week with no commentary beyond “Appetizers include hummus with olive oil, herbs and lemon.” And parsley hair?


While the Time debacle was sucking up everybody’s attention yesterday, a most important (highly unrelated) tidbit was overlooked: the teen from Me and You and Everyone We Know is a chef?


As beautiful as the food at Alumette looks, I would have a hard time not thinking of pooping back and forth forever while eating it.


Photo: Tasting Table

Greek Tragedy


I am breaking my blog silence (I really meant to be back sooner, but got sidetracked–I’ve also been trying to move my blog from Typepad to WordPress since December but hit my technical know-how limits when php became involved) to speak out on the very important topic of Chobani foulness. I got drunk (well, tipsy) off of bubbly fermented Chobani back in 2011, but no one believed me (or more likely, they didn’t care).  Now, I feel vindicated by the yogurt recall.

And just days after the Greek yogurt rah rah story in The Wall Street Journal.

It’s Fage or nothing, people.

Photo: Oikos Greek Yogurt

Baby’s First Egg on Roll

Egg on roll split

Memorial Day weekend marks my NYC anniversary. I
don't usually give it much thought, but year 15 seemed like a milestone that
needed to be celebrated. And what better way than with a quintessential foodstuff  that I've never ever tried: the egg on roll.
(The street gyro was taken care of maybe four years ago–the cart hot dog has
yet to happen, and may never.)

Egg on roll wrapped

I suspect that the tastiest is simply the version
that's closest, so that would be Hope Deli's. Definitely deli, not bodega, it's
a kind of pricey, spic-and-span affair (that won't give free matches or extra napkins). Accordingly, what I ended up with was
nicely paper-wrapped instead of foil-smashed, and distressingly ungreasy.

Egg on roll open

In fact, the $4.50 sandwich was light and fluffy
from the roll to the egg. And a little naked for my taste. To further admit my
egg on roll ignorance, I made a point to ask for bacon but didn't realize you
had to request cheese. I assumed it came default.

Aldi cheese

Luckily, I keep a stash of Aldi brand deluxe slices on hand. A little Sriracha didn't hurt either.