Meat Pride

[Image via The Bored Ninja]

The first time that I encountered meat pride was in high school. A new restaurant opened up in our town called Cheeburger Cheeburger. On the wall in the back were framed portraits of people who’d survived the Cheeburger Cheeburger challenge: they’d consumed a one pound burger and, consequently, earned themselves a spot on the wall (but not, I imagine, a free cardiological exam). Someone that we knew, a family friend (who shall remain nameless), once proudly declared that he had won Cheeburger Cheeburger’s greatest honor. I didn’t know whether to cheer or throw up.

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Cold Chicken, Carrot Salad and Yogurt Sauce

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There are certain dinners we make for ourselves that maybe shouldn’t be shared in public.

It’s one thing to share a recipe for a roast chicken, for example; everyone gets that, everyone wants that. But the next day, when that chicken’s cold and wrapped in aluminum foil in your refrigerator and you have a few stray carrots and some yogurt and some raisins and some eggs, and you make a dinner with those things? People may not want to hear about that. So if you’re one of those people, look away! Everyone else, here’s a dinner I made for myself last week.

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Joe: The Coffee Book (Plus, an Interview with Jonathan Rubinstein)

outsideJOE!

I hate repeating myself on my blog, so if you’ve been reading for me a while, you know that Joe is my favorite coffee shop in New York. The location on Waverly is where I wrote my first book and most of my second; it’s where I’d meet friends to chat about projects or lives, it’s where I first laid eyes on Craig before we started dating. The place positively glows with good energy and the coffee is always top-notch, some might say (and I’d agree with them) the best in town.

Now Jonathan Rubinstein and his sister Gabrielle have collaborated with food writer Judith Choate on “Joe: The Coffee Book,” a charming collection of essays and pictures and how-tos that demystifies the process of making excellent coffee at home. What follows is a Q&A with Jonathan about the book, the process of writing it, and how he stays relevant in a city swarming with new coffee shops.

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The Day That I Baked 144 Red Velvet Cupcakes for Librarians in Anaheim

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When my cookbook publicist Molly mentioned, earlier this year, that I’d be speaking at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim in June, she casually mentioned that I should bring samples of a recipe from the cookbook. I said, “sure,” and forgot all about it.

Then the conference crept up and it was time to make those samples. For 125+ librarians. At this point I began to panic–the most I’ve ever cooked for is 15–and after a fretful conversation with Molly, we determined that my best course of action was to make the red velvet cupcakes with pomegranate molasses frosting and dehydrated berry powder that Elizabeth Falkner taught me how to make at her former restaurant Orson in San Francisco.

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Title Change

You may have noticed that the title of my upcoming cookbook has changed from “Secrets of Great Chefs” to “Secrets of The Best Chefs.” That’s because we discovered, rather belatedly, that “Great Chefs” is trademarked. Luckily, this new title works just as well, maybe even better, than the trademarked one. So now you know what’s up in Cookbookland.

Brooklyn Bagel & Mexicali Taco

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As many of you know, since moving to L.A. I’ve been coping with a loss of decent bagels. My coping led me to Everything Bagel Bombs (which were an enjoyable but unrealistic substitute) and to frozen Murray’s bagels, over-toasted in my toaster to compensate for their cross-country staleness.

Commenters in both posts asked if I’d been, yet, to Brooklyn Bagel here in L.A. I hadn’t. I realized I was being unfair to my new home city, criticizing its bagel culture without really exploring it. So off to Brooklyn Bagels I went.

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When Is It OK To Write A Bad Yelp Review of a Restaurant?

[Image via DeliverBliss]

Today someone told me the story of a bad restaurant experience that involved a steakhouse with $30 steaks, a totally oblivious staff, dishes gone missing, and steak knives never proffered. Our storyteller, let’s call him Mr. X, grew so frustrated that he finally jumped out of his seat, stormed past the waiters who were watching a hockey game on the bar TV, into the kitchen where tired-looking line cooks were flipping steaks on a grill, and into the manager’s office “where I really let him have it.”

The manager was immediately apologetic–when he emerged from the kitchen, the staff scattered–and he ultimately comped Mr. X’s meal. “When I got home,” said Mr. X, “I really thought about writing a bad review on Yelp, but decided against it.”

This got me thinking: when is it OK to write a bad Yelp review of a restaurant?

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The Palm Springs Date Shake

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We found ourselves back in Palm Springs last week and after asking my Twitter followers what we missed last time, the consensus seemed to be: a date shake.

A date shake. Ok. I like dates. I like shakes. So after eating dinner at Wang’s (which I wrote about in this week’s newsletter), we found ourselves walking down the main drag of Palm Springs–there was a very cute street festival going on–and finding one of the more celebrated date shake destinations (according to a Google search): Palm Springs Fudge & Chocolates.

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