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Archive for the ‘Food Breaks’ Category

Blog, schmog

Oh blogging, wherefore art thou so hard for me to keep up with? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that your name rhymes with only yucky things: bog, smog, fog, jog, log(ging), sog(gy), moldy eggnog, inedible hog, rabid dog, schmog. See what I mean?

As everyone knows, the cure for being unable to maintain a blog is… to start another one! I’m totally insane, but I came up with the loveliest idea for a blog and couldn’t resist. Therefore, allow me to introduce Menuing: Life a la Carte. It’s a beautiful little space where I tell the story of my day through art menus. Menuing planning is one of my very favorite pastimes (incidentally, it can also be done while indulging in another of my favorite pastimes, drinking wine), and Menuing is a way for me to hone my graphic design talents while thinking about food. Perfect!

I hope you’ll enjoy it. Fear not, this does not mean the end of the First Crush Blog. I will endeavor to keep up with both blogs, and pastry school, and my copywriting business, and my pursuit of domestic goddessdom, and my wine business at the same time.

As for the latter, I had a meeting today with a local wine shop. They tasted my red beauties and, well, we shall see what happens there!

Yes, I’m in pastry school. (I know, I know, nobody tells you anything.) Well now you know. It’s delicious. Yes, I am a rock star. No, I am not gaining weight. Haven’t you heard? Butter is a girl’s best friend.

I’m serious. There shall be no talk of calories on this—or my other—blog, ever. You’ve been warned.

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One of the best parts of writing a blog is that you get to read all the crazy search engine terms people use to find, or stumble upon it. I’ve gotten some pretty interesting ones, to wit: “initials of the person crushing on me,” but without a doubt, every single day, someone (or two or eighteen) gets to the First Crush blog by searching for some iteration of “bacon and chocolate.” In fact, I believe that more people search for bacon and chocolate than they do for wine-related topics. Gotta say, I’m tempted to start a new blog… Anyway, I love bacon, apparently you all love bacon, so today, First Crush is all about the bacon. Here we go!

Other foods featuring bacon (Go on, have a bacon adventure.):

Bacon-flavored coffee, bacon cake (an iteration of the bacon donut, which I’ve had and enjoyed), bacon vodka, maple-bacon lollipops, candied bacon ice cream, bacon mints, bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon.

Hm, you know how when you read one word over and over it starts looking kind of funny? Yeah. So bacon is hugely popular right now and everyone is trying to make a buck off the salty, chewy, crispy, luscious……. ohhhhhhh. Where was I? Oh right, although there are two special places in my heart for the Vosges bars (a bigger place for the dark bar) my favorite way to eat bacon is all by it’s wonderful porkalicious self. I take slow bites, chewing for a while to release all of the fatty goodness and savor for it as long as possible. Sometimes I even close my eyes.

Oh man, a piece of my computer just broke off! Crap. I guess it had too much bacon.

I hope all you “bacon chocolate” searchers found what you were looking for here. (Hm, realizing that putting the word bacon in this posting 24, no 25 times, will probably not help to sway those search metrics.) But while you’re on the blog, how about a glass of wine?

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Goodbye, Gourmet

‘Tis a strange day in the world of food. Gourmet Magazine, that bastion of good taste and even better food styling, will release its very last issue this November. Cond√© Nast is blaming the shut-down on lack of advertising revenue, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given the state of things, but it’s shocking nonetheless. Well, I’m not going to lie, I was slated to be Editress in Chief one day and you better believe I would have brought the publication to shimmering heights of deliciousness. Alas, I will apply the shimmers elsewhere.

So the blogosphere is all atwitter and Twitter is all ablog (that’s like agog) over the news. Not to mention the print pubs — no doubt shaking in their ink-stained boots. Basically, everyone is being overwhelmingly dramatic about it all, and it makes for wonderful reading, as displayed in this Washington Post reportage. A few of my favorite bits:

The opener: “The epicurean elite and the chef wannabes plunged into communal grief Monday at the news that 68-year-old Gourmet magazine was toast.” Obviously I’m not the only one who can’t resist a bad pun. Meanwhile, ouch. Way to alienate your readership, Posty. I’m sure that’ll help your flagging subscription rates. Epicurean elite. Sheesh.

On the reason to close the mag: “This summer, the company retained McKinsey & Co., a managing consulting firm, to help identify which titles were expendable.” Really, McKinsey? Not Golf World or Golf Digest instead? Really? I’m sorry, that’s terribly closed minded of me. Golf really is much better than food.

Anthony Bourdain says: “It’s the center of gravity, a major planet that’s just disappearing.” Goshdurnit, I was going to move to Planet Gourmet when armageddon came!

And one more stab at the readership: “The other magazines to be closed are Modern Bride, which gave advice on everything from gowns to table napkins; Elegant Bride, for upscale brides-to-be; and Cookie, a parenting magazine for yuppies.” I can overlook the yuppie thing but do not appreciate the flippancy in regard to table napkins.

Anyway, I know I’m sounding terribly cynical, but it really is a sad day. I, too, saved all my Gourmets and until recently had a dozen of the most delectable covers framed and hanging on my living room wall. But, I also believe that some grand opening must come from this grand closing, and that’s pretty exciting. So while I shed a few tears (on the inside) for Gourmet and Domino–boo, boo–and the many more closures to come, I’m feeling hopeful for the next wave of journalism. Whatever the heck it is. In the meantime, there’s always Gourmet online… and gourmet in my tummy.

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Thorny Love

This past weekend marked my first blackberry picking excursion of the summer. I headed out to my favorite spot by the side of the road and spent a blissful hour lost in thought and brambles while Oren did a loop on his bike.

How succinctly, how poetically berry picking encapsulates the main themes of human behavior: The blackberry bush says, “What ever you do, don’t come near me. It’ll hurt.” So we dive in, lusting after the aggregate garnets. The bush takes a blood sacrifice, leaving scratches the color of its fruit all over our pincushion arms. But it’s OK, we say. Love hurts. We push on. No matter how far we lean and stretch, somehow the juiciest berry is always just out of reach. We find it difficult to stop, chanting Just one more. One more. One more. Our masochistic mantra.

But in the end, the blackberry bush wants us to pick. It accepts our sacrifice and then traps us in a prickly embrace, hoping that a few ripe berries will slip between our fingers, as they always do. So at the end of the hour—fingers tattooed, clothes ripped, arms stinging—we’re still left with the ultimate prize: a pile of perfect fruit, earned through hard work, that will give us pleasure a hundred times over as we eat, bake with, and then continue to eat each beautiful berry. This time, I turned my plunder into blackberry ice cream.

blackberry ice cream

It’s been a few days, so my scratches are scabbing over and the splinters are working their way out of my fingertips. As soon as the wounds heal, I’m going back out to pick some more.

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Many delicious things

I have many delicious things for you today, none of them wine-related because–as you can probably tell from my less than frequent posting–I’m not feeling oenologically inspired. (Age, age, age, that’s all you do, wine. Well fine, keep aging. See if I care. But let me ask you this: Who’s gonna sell all those bottles once you’re finally ready to leave the barrel? Hm? Hm? Harrumph.)

Ok, delicious thing #1:

just ridiculous

just ridiculous

If you asked a five-year old to create a dessert, they’d probably come up with something like this. It’s like a S’mores Gone Wild dessert bonanza. Marshmallow on top of caramel on top of toffee, covered in chocolate. These were out on the break room table at work (no doubt somebody’s clever plot to see the entire office on a massive sugar high), so I didn’t see the brand, but I did just notice that Vosges makes something very similar. Sans bacon this time. Ooh, now there’s an idea… Anyway, apologies for the out-of-focus photo. Apparently, even my camera was going a little fuzzy from the sugar.

Delicious thing #2:

A enormous fig from the little tree on our patio.

Sarah and the Giant Fig

Sarah and the Giant Fig

It looks like a crazy jeweled stalagmite cave on the inside.

Oooooh, aaaahhh
a little too close

a little too close

Delicious thing #3:

It is once again time for the TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest! Put on those chocolate thinking caps and bring out the double boiler. (But don’t think too hard, because I want to win this year.) Also, in case you haven’t heard the sad news, Robert Steinberg of Scharffen Berger passed away a couple weeks ago. David Lebovitz has posted a lovely tribute on his site, here. A life devoted to chocolate is a life of making others happy–and isn’t that the greatest achievement of all?

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Slow Food Nation

Labor Day weekend has come and gone, which in NorCal means that summer has finally begun and we’re enjoying some truly pool-worthy days. It also means that it’s been a full week since Slow Food Nation at San Francisco’s Ft. Mason Center. Modeled after Slow Food’s big Italian festivals, this was an enormous celebration of American food, meant to support a “good, clean, and fair” food system. I’ve been letting my thoughts percolate all week (like a pot of Fair Trade artisan coffee picked by left-handed barefoot celibate nuns), so I feel like I can now offer an objective perspective. Ok, that’s a load of organic bull. But honestly, would you really bother reading if I didn’t give you my honest and totally biased opinions? I didn’t think so. Let’s continue.

First up: Decor. Analysis: Deelish! See pics…

The pickle station (those are hanging lids!)

The pickle station (those are hanging lids!)

the jam and honey station. sweet. (see the "lawn" inside?)

the jam and honey station. sweet.

Ticket prices: absurd. Come on Slow Food USA, this was your chance to show your non-elitist side, not just your sides of pork!

Workshops, lectures, dinners: um, I don’t know. Maybe if tickets were affordable I could have gone.

Taste Pavilion: tasty, I think, but I was unwilling to wait in line all day to be handed food with no explanation. Kudos to the coffee tasting booth, where I not only learned something, but also had a fab conversation with a very knowledgeable coffee pro named Peter. Of course, no one seemed to know where I could get my hands on the amazing Ethiopian beans that we tasted. And here I thought it was all about connecting with producers. Did I mention that I didn’t even want to do the wine tasting?!

Slow Food Rocks: Oren was confused because he (rightly so) couldn’t figure out the connection between the music and the food, and there was barely even anything to eat! He ended up leaving to get a sandwich at Safeway. The nice man checking our bags for booze didn’t even get O’s fantastic joke:

Bag Checker: “Could I check your bags please?”

O: “Are you looking for fast food in there?”

Bag Checker: “No, I’m looking for alcohol.”

sigh.

To sum up: I’m clearly bitter about the event. There was so much potential to reach people (new, young, active, concerned, not always rich people) and open their eyes to the importance of a food system that is sustainable, fair and delicious. Unfortunately, what I saw was a free sample fest for those lucky enough to get in.

However: That coffee really was incredible (Ethiopian Beloya by Abdulla Bagersh — it smelled like tropical fruit and citrus blossoms) and I finally got to try the famous Lillie Belle Farms Smokey Blue Cheese truffle. Best-spent $2 of the weekend.

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Cosi Fan TuttiFoodie

Just posted: a little piece that I wrote for TuttiFoodie inspired by my Edible East Bay article on home coffee roasting. Check it out here.

FYI, I did not decide to pursue home roasting, in the end. For me, there’s always the risk of wanting to start a business, and I just don’t have time for that at the moment, what with the whole wine company thing and all. Plus, we’re lucky to have some truly wonderful boutique coffee places in the Bay Area. (Now, making chocolate from cacao, on the other hand…That’s something that I might just have to try.) But, in case you find yourself with some really excellent beans–home roasted or not–and have no idea what to do with them, watch this video from Chow.com.

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