I haven’t, yet, had the chance to travel to an Indian vineyard but the country did have a clear presence at the London Wine Trade Fair in May. It now produces 13.5 million litres of wine a year, according to a report by the United States department of agriculture. To put that into context, it’s five times as much as we produce in this country.
via The Telegraph--
"Funnel cake. Deep fried twinkies. Even fried butter on a stick. Republican politicians mingling with farm animals and standing on hay bales to denounce President Barack Obama - and paint all their rivals as Obama clones, in contrast to themselves.
Welcome to the Iowa State Fair and the starting point for the 2012 Republican White House race, where would-be presidential candidates and ordinary voters are served up small government rhetoric and big portions of the unhealthiest food this side of the Atlantic."
"...People were happy to line up for the Famous Dave’s barbecue that (Tim) Pawlenty was serving, but they didn’t stay long — and when they walked away, they weren’t wearing the green Pawlenty T-shirts that signaled support. By mid-afternoon, volunteers were glum.
There were plenty of orange (Michelle) Bachmann T-shirts, though, and an even longer line at her tent, despite the fact that she was serving inferior food: giant corn dogs andtrompe l’oeil “beef sundaes” that consisted of a scoop of mashed potatoes topped with chunks of beef, a ladle of gravy and a cherry tomato."
Now we can show you photos via the Iowa State Fair, but, alas, cannot show the Reuters pic of Mrs. Bachman with a long, erect, corn dog just inserted in her mouth, we just cannot. ( Shows B's naivete as a candidate, even considering trying such a thang...)
In the tranquility of Ubud's Hotel Tjampuhan open air dining area, we ate perfect omelets, croissants, the local ( lousy) powdered Balinese coffee, fruit, and, for "dessert," Bubuh Injin or black rice pudding, a not-too-sweet treat that goes well with the excellent tea we chose, after enduring the poor coffee.
( With Sumatra and Java right next door, how is it that Bali coffee, Kopi Bali, reigns supreme? One can get fine Italian-style coffees, yes, at cafes, but not at the hotel, and non touristic restaurants.)
Bubuh Injin---Black Rice Pudding via Bali The Online Travel Guide
1/2 cup of black glutinous rice (see below).
Mix the black and white glutinous rice, and rinse under running water to remove starch.
We reported recently on a new local brew, made to the specifications of its creator, but not yet produced in St. Petersburg, Fl. At the Ale and Witch today finally, dear readers, we tried it. Terrific! A Belgian-style wheat or white beer with a touch of citrus. The barkeep at the A&W said they were down to their last two barrels, that they could not keep it in stock, etc., etc.
We await word that St Pete Brew is under full production. Here, in Tampa Bay.
OMG All winter I have been living in a place with no microbreweries! But now, a local home brewer has climbed up out of his basement/sauntered out of his garage, and, voila, via Dog Brewing Company in Westminster, Maryland, Tom Williams is seeing his Florida orange-inspired concoction foaming forth. At this point it's available exclusively at a new " craft beer" bar in town featuring 32 drafts, The Ale and Witch.
Michelle Williams, CEO of St Pete Brew, said they wanted to move slowly, first by gaining interest on Facebook, then brewing up one offering. The Williams' intend to build or create the St Pete Brew brewery in due time. But for the moment, it's St Pete Brew out of Maryland.
The logo pictured here was designed by Carrie Jadus, who grew up in St. Pete. It features the inverted diamond structure on St Pete Pier, the intertwining banyans on the inner harbor, a tower of the iconic Hotel Vinoy and happy throngs, among other elements. An airboat? It's busy, what can I say. I'd like a closer look at it.
And a glass of the ale. I think it will be Belgian-like.
Push a cart down a supermarket aisle, and you’ll pass a kaleidoscope of color. The use of artificial dyes by foodmakers is up by half since 1990, and it’s not limited to candy. The list of foods made pretty by chemicals now includes pickles, bagels and port wine cheese balls.
Many years ago, on a visit to Hawaii, our 4 year-old was given a blue shaved ice treat, one of the favorites of the people in that region. Minutes later, from the backseat, he erupted in wild crying and agitation, and we tossed the blue monstrosity out, and gave him water, and possibly ginger ale. When he was older, after another odd incident I cannot recall, it was determined by some doc that he was “allergic” to red dyes.
Maybe everyone is allergic to chemical food additives!
Shave ice was a Japanese notion dating back centuries, and at first was a specialty only for those wealthy enough to have access to snow/ice, etc. When Japanese immigrants arrived to work the big sugar plantations of Hawaii, they brought the shave ice concept with them. Hawaii Shaved Ice has the full story.
(Photo is from Matsumoto Shave Ice, a 60 year-old business in Haleiwa, on Oahu's north shore. A food heritage site, for sure. It’s likely that esoteric shave(d) ice joints are using naturally colored flavorings today, but back in the 1980’s, not so much.)
Celebrated by Iranians, people in Afghanistan, Kurds, and by many others with ties to Persia and to Zoroastrians, Nowruz and the coming of spring underscores rebirth, and reaffirmation of growth and abundance. Alas, this year, it also marks a violent confrontation in Libya.
Nowruz or New Day, "has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian (This was the religion of ancient Persia before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.), " according to this piece from the Iran Chamber Society, a non profit that seeks to promote understanding of Iran and its history.
The seven traditional items key to the 13 day celebration are these:
"Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinager), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). Sometimes instead of Serke they put Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice). Zoroastrians today do not have the seven "S"s but they have the ritual of growing seven seeds as a reminder that this is the seventh feast of creation, while their sprouting into new growth symbolized resurrection and eternal life to come."
As the new spring dawns, I am visualizing benevolent dictators, and peaceful gatherings around food everywhere.
"Corned" beef refers to beef cured in barrels with kernels of coarse salt--the word corn described small or granular bits.
Ironically, although beef cured in this manner was a big export from Cork, Ireland for generations, the average Irish person was unable to afford such a luxury item. The locals ate cured pork, with any luck.
After the famine, Irish people arriving in the US in the mid to late 1800's discovered that corned beef was inexpensive, and paired it with other cheap foods, in particular the cabbage and the glorious spud. Hence, corned beef and cabbage ( and spuds and carrots) is very much an Irish-American food.
A "real" onion ring is a thing of beauty and a joy forever, eh? After two tries at local joints, finally, the fanatical fresh onion ring maven ( moi) found some, right around the corner at Munch's, rhymes with lunches, a neighborhood beacon since 1952.
This place has funky stuff on the walls, like class photos of local elementary school kids from the 1960's, a counter with fishing mags, specials for each day of the week--yesterday, Shepherd's Pie--and a bustling waitstaff that favors the term "Hon," as in "OK, Hon, I'll bring a side of slaw." They do fresh fish--mullet was hoped for--and the grouper sandwich is a local legend, but I have yet to try either.
True Munchkins adore the creamed chipped beef, fried chicken, meat loaf, pulled pork, the grits and biscuits, and on, and on. The comfort of American foods.
Back to those rings! Flaky, thin, oniony, too many in a serving, etc etc. Fantastic. The right stuff. If you really need to eat anything else, the catfish sandwich is fine, though I am not a fan of that bottom dwelling, mud sucking creature.
ps Munch's apparently will be featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives sometime soon, via the Food Network, not that I asked the owner about this--I was too busy examining Laura's Brownies on the counter, baked by his wife. Maybe next time.
"...the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South, " is open, daily, at Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans. Its focus:
---The many ethnicities – African-American and Caribbean, French and German, etc. — that have combined to create unique Southern food and drink traditions;
---The farmers, fishermen, and hunters and gatherers who have produced the food;
---The processors, inventors, chefs and business people who run the restaurants and stock our stores with Southern products, and the home cooks and families who have passed down recipes and food traditions for generations.
Liz Williams, the prime mover behind SOFAB, told us that a few years ago she just decided to open the project, still not well-funded, or prepared, but they had scored a deal on the retail space, and Liz felt they should just plunge ahead. The result is a mix--some exhibits utterly professional, some frayed around the edges, all of interest to any foodish person. Liz, a lawyer with a specialty in food-related issues, is well aware of the limitations, of the gap between the vision and what is possible to achieve given limited resources and staff. But she and her colleagues and volunteers have done it--started a major food museum in the U.S. Bravo!
Another New Orleans favorite to anyone with an interest in booze has its home at SOFAB: the Museum of the American Cocktail. The New Orleans "Sazerac" identified with the city is rye whiskey based.
Current large temporary exhibit: All About Sugar. (Thank you, Domino Brands.)
(Above right: the Katrina Deli exhibit, with Heckuva Job Brownies down front. Levee Leak Soup is also on the menu... )
Let's just cut to the chase here. This weekend is when you go out and buy the best champagne you can afford for your Valentine, ok? End of story. Forget the jammies, the chocs, the heart-festooned balloons-- OMG $1 at the Dollar Store--diamonds, and other dreck. Got that? FYI We favor a modestly priced, superlative product born in the aridity of New Mexico, any of the Methode Champenoise offerings from Gruet, a company established and run by actual French people.
"In 1984, Gilbert Gruet, whose Champagne house, Gruet et Fils had produced fine Champagne in Bethon, France, since 1952, made the decision to plant an experimental vineyard, exclusively planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. His children, winemaker Laurent and daughter Nathalie, and family friend Farid Himeur then relocated to the great state of New Mexico to begin their American wine making adventure.
At 4300 ft. the vineyards are some of the highest in the United States, so regardless of how hot the days might be, the temperature at night can drop as much as thirty degrees, cooling the fruit and slowing down the maturation process on an otherwise short growing season. Sandy and loamy soil, and a lack of humidity that might contribute to rot, give us a consistency of fruit year in and year out, and allow us to produce our award winning wines without the use of pesticides."
In other news, yesterday was George Washington's actual birthday. Today is Abe Lincoln's birthday. Today also is the birthday of the illustrious founder of The Potato Museum, and co-founder of The FOOD Museum On Line. The day began with an offbeat combo of buckwheat pancakes, blueberries, and a pregnant squirrel hanging upside down from the bird feeder--oh, and with giddiness still emanating from Tahrir Square.
On with the celebrations! (Strict non-imbibers, maybe try some chocolates, but not the rum-laden ones my beloved teetotaling Grandfather adored...)
Pepsi announced that it has redesigned the can for Diet Pepsi in a tribute to attractive females, a class that has until now been celebrated only in television, movies, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, music, books, poetry, paintings, sculpture, posters, calendars and most forms of public advertising, but not in soda-can shapes.
Annals of Absurdity: It's the Virginia Slims of sodas. Terrific.
Note final paragraph of above piece:
"The press release did not note that the redesigned can might make the person holding it appear fat by comparison."
Intrepid Greeniac, farmer, and bon vivant, Sam Smith of Shelburne Farms, Vermont, shares random offerings he encountered in San Francisco.
"The best breakfast ever! Three kinds of smoked meat in a paper cone, from Boccalone at the Pier."
Or are they all "tasty salted pig parts?" Boccalone is the salumeria offshoot of Incanto, a SF Italian restaurant. Salumi is Italian for cured meats, mostly pork-dervied, with the "sal" of course referencing salt.
A nauseating concept to those of us who feel meat has its place, but not in a tall glass, slurped up with a straw. But, yes, Foodie recalls a collegiate era of Singapore Slings. The drink had a raffish beginning at Raffles Hotel in Singapore, in 1915, and by the late 1960's contained a mad swirl of Cointreau, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, gin, and more... OMG, no wonder we were all losing our cookies in Times Square that fateful night.
( Thanks, Sam---and send me your foodish findings/notions, people!)
Renaissance woman and author of the above is Nichola Fletcher, whose 2005 tome published by St Martin's Press introduces us to the global feasting table. I just pounced on this at the libe, so have read little in it. The opening quote, however, must be shared at once.
"However far back you go in time, the gastronomical value of food always outweighs its alimentary value, and it is in joy, not in pain, that man has found his spirit." ---Gaston Bachelard, a French philosopher ( 1884-1962,) about whom I know nothing.
Yes, thin-o-scenti and diet-o-maniacs, I insist that we are here to enjoy, in modest daily dollops, and occasional feast-y amounts, the provender of this planet, in company with those not fretting over every little bite....
Ms Fletcher's newest book is "Caviar: A Global History." She is doubtless one of the non-fretter-ers.
Everyday ordinary supermarkets this weekend are stacking up cartons of soft drinks, snack foods, chemical cheese-ish dips, and watery beer, in snow cave formations, to entice you coming and going. Right?
Now I am sure some people who watch the SBowl may only go all junk-foodie once a year, in its honor. Or maybe twice, for those near a State Fair---Florida's version next month in Tampa is adding these to its roster of culinary grotesqueries: grilled meatloaf sundaes, deep-fried ice cream cheeseburgers, and red velvet funnel cake.
(Also new at the Fair: vegan food from Loving Hut, a franchised outlet said to be inspired by and perhaps owned by controversial spiritual leader/business mogul Ching Hai, originally from Vietnam.)
But then there are the other folks, those whose carts usually contain a few cartons of soda. All the admonitions/suggestions from foodies, nutritionists, and even the First Lady of Decent Edibles, Michelle Obama, are like tiny ice pellets bouncing off the massive igloo that is the nation's snack/soda industry, and its steady customers. The persons of the Coasts and the enlightened places in between need no reminding, of course. They do not eat or drink this stuff, and likely never have.
But o woe to the rest.
Mazzaro's in St Petersburg, FL, is so beyond description, or comparison with other entities--even in Italy--that we give up. I can tell you that select tour buses stop there. And that people drive hours from other parts of Florida to shop/eat/hang there. Their employees are loyal, and calm, and cheerful, even when customers are dithering over which biscotti to buy, or how much fresh pasta to haul home.Pear and gorgonzola pockets? Yes! A pound.
The crunchy, perfect, crispy panini sell out early in the day, and the coffee is roasted in front of your eyes. This celebratory, sprawling place, that is part deli, part bakery, part coffee bar, part cheesery and winery, part lunch joint, started out doing coffee roasting, and things just grew from there. Founded by wayward Pennsylvanians with major loyalty to Pittsburgh, Mazzaro's is where you jockey for parking, and then wait contentedly for your chicken parmesan sandwich, knowing both will work out beautifully.
Owner Kurt Cucarro's blog supplied these stats re Mazzaro 2010: