It's been a long time. And I'm back here to disapooint John T. Edge, to whom I made hasty promises of having discovered ya-ka-mein in Iceland, some 3,718 miles northeast of New Orleans. When the cinetrix and I visited this rather imposing church, the Cod noticed a truck and people eating soup nearby.
The soup was in tall styrofoam cups, and appeared to have noodles. We'd just lunched at Snaps, so there was no room for soup, but I was intrigued. Sneaking back later, I got a better look at the operation:
This is what they do:
It was an aptly named soup. Not the most spicy soup ever. But satisfying. I got a small, which probably looks smaller from the angle of the photo:
Ultimately, the only real similarity to ya-ka-mein is the serving container, somewhat surprisingly Styrofoam, given the pretty intense environmental ethos we felt elsewhere in Iceland. At least according to legend, the late night Iceland drunk food of choice is the hot dog, which was good, but not the transcendent experience I was primed for. There is, however, much to be said for a cilmate where you can have a business selling lamb soup in the summer. If it ever cools off here, I'll look forward to recreating. Finally, the two young women who seemed to make photobombing tourists at the cathedral their job.
So, this was in the inbox. It's a little disappointing. I know that TV is a ratings-driven business, and that Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri are personalities with huge followings, and that's important for getting a show like this off the ground. At the same time, if you're having a Kids Cook-Off, it seems kind of harsh to exclude the guy who developed the concept.
Been a while since I rapped at you. I have no excuse (blogging is dead). Anyway, stay tuned for news of a big trip to the Lowcountry, but until then, terrifying news from Dallas (is there any other kind):
As part of its new series of test concepts (including a chicken restaurant called Super Chix and a fast-casual taco shop), Yum! Brands, parent company to restaurants like Taco Bell and KFC, is indeed opening a banh mi sandwich shop. (Eater)
The banh mi is a delicious sandwich made with terrifying cold cuts, a few slivers of carrot and daikon, some dubious mayo, and cilantro.* What makes it delicious is the bread. The one thing the Yum! brands family has demonstrated is complete helplessness and indifference to any bread related food substance. The entire business model for Pizza Hut is "Hey! Let's put pizza toppings on fried dough and see if anyone notices." Are they going to bring in the guy who perfected KFC's biscuits to devise a perfect mini baguette with a shattering crust that can be produced by kids in a mall working at Banh Shop in the interval between quitting the Genius Bar and when Foot Locker starts hiring?
More generally, I am concerned about the martinification of one of my favorite sandwiches. Martinis got popular, and the next thing you knew, someone was trying to sell you a sour apple martini, or French toast martini, or some damn thing. The same thing is happening with banh mi. If you run a restaurant, and you a) buy your eyeglasses on the Internet, or b) you have a Twitter, then if you have a sandwich on a baguette on the menu, chances are you're calling it a banh mi. But it's not. I will take to the Twitter for the rest of the discussion. In any case, if proof were needed, it's just another Guiteau Monday.
As an adult, I'm with the Kings that you should not eat deep dish pizza unless you are Dennis Franz. The bagel question is a tougher one, what with the proliferation of really terrible New York-style bagels at NYC places that should know better. MTL style is not for everyone. Ironically, if I were looking for a reliable bagel in NYC, my first instinct would be to hit up Mile End for a MTL style bagel in Brooklyn.
Incoherently hateful! Embattled masculinity (Bobby Flay = Liberace, I guess) + racist dogwhistle (Inner city = The Ghetto = Where The Black People Are). It's hard to be both homophobic and racist this efficiently. Maybe this dude does not like the kind of BBQ where you might get sodomized by Omar?
"Don't read the comments" has entered the lexicon alongside truisms like "never eat at a place called Mom's." The thing with truisims is that they are true. I'll go on ahead and add "never listen to words on the radio." On the way home from a fantastic trip to B1G territory, an Mp3 player whose gum was tired led to a tour of the FM dial, where I learned that for one thing, the Clippers players and fans are just as bad as their owner, and also, there is a movement called "grilling while armed." It is exactly what you hope it is not:
It's worth unpacking this just a little bit. Even if we accept the notion that carrying a handgun makes you safer, it seems that your risk just might vary based on where you are. Visiting a crack den? Sure, a gun might be helpful. But cooking out in your own yard? Because intruders might hop your fence and make off with the potato salad? Also, my limited understanding of gun laws suggest that you are encouraged to be sober when carrying a handgun. Thus, by transitivity, when grilling while armed, you are supposed to be sober. Which is to say, that the feeling of security that comes from standing in your yard with a Glock on your waist while you flip burgers is more important than the God-given right to pound a few cold ones while grilling.
Or! These patriots simultaneously exercise the natural right to drink beer while cooking out, and their second amendment right to bear arms. Thereby fulfilling the Founder's vision of backyards from sea to shining sea, with bleary, sunburned dudes on can 15 of Natty Light drawing down on their sister's BF when he accidentally uses the word "BBQ" when he means "cookout." If you can't feel safe in your own damn yard w/o pistol in your belt, the Cod can only conclude that your manhood needs a level of protecting not even Tony Siragusa can offer.
In other news. If you are committed to having a really shitty BBQ (the kind with guns), then Hellman's has the perfect match. BBQ flavored reduced fat mayo. Mostly backyard cookouts are for the weekend, but seems like gun nuts with grills + Tony Siragusa + this condiment abomination would be the perfect way to wrap up another Guiteau Monday.
The menu does change daily, and Tony Maws does work with farmers, but as the map indicates, Craigie on Main is not "a stone's throw from the Harvard campus," but, in fact, 1.3 miles away by the most direct pedestrian route. As it happens, this distance is equivalent to just over 90 consecutive world record shot put throws of 23.12 meters. Even allowing for a smaller rock, it's still a long way from the Harvard campus -- even the unpopular parts. I may be pushing too hard on the literal reading, but it's the kind of carelessly Harvardcentric approach that typifies a certain kind of journalism best confined to inflight magazines. FWIW, if you did want to talk about Craigie's neighborhood, you might want to notice that Craigie is smack-dab in the middle of another university of some renown, and just down the street from Tech Square, whose denizens sometimes get sick of pizza.
The feature itself is interesting, or at least the pictures, even if it is behind swinging doors that do not exist at Craigie. It would definitely be possible to say something interesting about Craigie's move from where it was to where it is now -- from a basement bistro / neighborhood canteen in a neighborhood where all the houses are seven figures, starting with a crooked number, to the site of a former Italian joint in a neighborhood that abuts the old manufacturing district of Cambridge, but not if you don't know where the restaurant is.
To return to the lede -- the Cod may be sensitive b/c he's bracing himself for the end of the semester, but the first sentence of the piece is a prodigy of vacuousness:
"A stone’s throw from the Harvard campus, Craigie on Main is a go-to for Cambridge-ites and Bostonians alike."
We've been through the first part. (Great label, btw!) Tony's restaurant is not a stone's throw from the Harvard campus. The rest of the sentence, though: "Craigie on Main is a go-to for Cambridge-ites and Bostonians alike." The name of the restaurant is correct. But "a go-to"? Literally, sure, people go there. But "go-to" suggests a kind of reliable standby, and Craigie is much more of a destination/special occasion restaurant. It gets worse "for Cambridge-ites and Bostonians alike." The inference here that COM is one of the few things these rival factions of diners agree on? Like it is rare for a diner to cross the Charles to eat? Jesus. It's not like we're discussing Brooklyn and Manhattan here. Finally "Cambridge-ites?" For fuck's sake, it's "Cantabridgians." If you're scoring at home, that's a single sentence with a factual error, two misleading inferences, and a usage error. Better luck next time, Daily Meal.
This is more than anyone wants or needs about a story on a website I'd not heard of before, but whose followers would be a snug fit in the Rose Bowl, but enjoy good food when you can find it, (Tony Maws' restaurants remain a good place to look for it) and enjoy good writing about food when you can find it, b/c it sure ain't here.
The other day there was this very sad message from the firehouse that lost Lt. Edward Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy. Terrible things happen to brave men and women, people want to help, so they bring food. Even firefighters can only eat so much. If you are someone who is inclined to cook when people are sad, sick, or hurt, this message was a reminder of the things that you cannot fix with cooking.
On a brighter note, there are some folks, because they are very talented and work really hard, can cook food that other people will pay money for. Because many of these chefs are generous, they are getting together to have a benefit dinner for the Walsh-Kennedy Memorial fund.
1) You apply via your LinkedIn profile. Not sure if legacy carrier + the social media brand that was Facebook for old people before Facebook was just for old people is the kind of synergy you want, but maybe?