March 2009

Tweeting vs. Blogging

On February 5th, 2004, I wrote my first Tweet. This was before Twitter, so it wasn’t an actual Tweet, but it may as well have been: I’d just gotten the news that CNN was coming over to my apartment to do a segment about my Janet Jackson Breast Cupcakes. I wrote a post called BREAKING NEWS!!! that said: “CNN IS COMING OVER TOMORROW TO DO A STORY ON MY JANET JACKSON BREAST CUPCAKES! THIS IS NOT A JOKE! I REPEAT, CNN IS COMING OVER TOMORROW! THE STORY WILL AIR MONDAY NIGHT!”

Granted, this was 32 characters too long to be an actual Tweet, but the spirit of it was certainly Twitteresque. In fact, the spirit of my blog, in general, before Twitter was so Twitter-like that now that Twitter’s here, it’s hard to know what’s blogworthy and what best belongs on Twitter.

Gourmet Tuna Casserole

I found it.

After my first attempt at tuna casserole, I finally found a worthy alternative. I was at the Community Book Store in Park Slope and there on the cookbook shelf was Andrew Carmellini’s Urban Italian, a pretty dazzling book of recipes from the former chef of A Voce. I took the book to the grimy couch and sat down next to a cat, a dog and an iguana (this store has pets) and began flipping through it and there it was: “Ziti with Tuna, Red Onions and Cannelini Beans.” Was it a casserole proper? Absolutely not. But it had many of the components of a tuna casserole–noodles, tuna, onions–and assembled them in a way that made much more sense to me. I quickly took out a pen and my secret little pad and copied down the recipe, hoping the iguana wouldn’t rat me out to the store owners. On my walk home I picked up the ingredients and cracked my knuckles, ready for Italy to conquer America in the battle of noodles and tuna.

Brunch at Irving Mill

I love brunch but I’m always a bit perplexed when I arrive at a celebrated brunch spot–Prune, for example–and see crowds of people huddled outside, waiting desperately for eggs and pancakes and coffee, foods they can easily and much more cheaply prepare at home. Don’t get me wrong: a place like Prune can dazzle you with its brunch food, but at the end of the day, it’s brunch food and no brunch food–however spectacular–should require a one hour wait.

Which is why I’m delighted to tell you about the brunch I had a few weeks ago with my friend Lauren at Irving Mill, one block east of Union Square. The place is enormous, like a farmy banquet hall, and on Sunday at 12 noon it was almost totally empty, which should’ve been a cause for alarm. Instead, though it was a cause for celebration: Irving Mill serves a pretty killer bunch and the best part is, you don’t have to wait.

We Try Marmite

I received Marmite on my birthday and today we finally got around to trying it for the first time. Many of you have strong opinions about the stuff so watch the video to find out what we thought.

Wheat Berry Salad

There are two kinds of cravings: the bad kind and the good kind. Most of us are familiar with the bad kind: it sends us to Dunkin’ Donuts at 2 AM, keen on devouring a stale toasted coconut doughnut beneath the fluorescent glare. It’s the craving that forces hamburgers when you should be thinking salad, it’s the craving that tells you to add cream to that tomato sauce to make it oh-that-much-more decadent. And lots of cheese. And to make brownies for dessert which you serve with vanilla ice cream.

So, yes, we all know that craving. But every now and then a different kind of craving comes along; it’s a rare craving, the kind of craving that if it happens to you, count yourself among the lucky: it’s a craving to eat something heathy. When this happens, the clouds part, the sun beats down on your face and a choir of angels bursts into song. Should you have this craving, there’s no better place to turn than to my friend Heidi’s excellent cookbook, Super Natural Cooking.

What I Ate in Austin, Texas

There are a few things you need to know about my trip to Austin, Texas. First, the purpose of my trip was to support Craig’s film at SXSW, so while a typical trip to a new city would involve obsessive visits to any and every eating establishment, this trip I was pretty restrained and also a bit hobbled because I didn’t have a car. Craig’s film team had a van that would drive us to screenings and interviews and other film events, but to get anywhere food-related cost about $25 by cab because our hotel (a dilapidated Day’s Inn that we fled to after the house we rented had fleas) was way out in the boonies. Add to that the fact that my camera overheated and died (I used Craig’s camera instead), this was quite the challenging trip. And yet still, somehow, I ate really well.

Craig’s Premiere at SXSW

Before I get into all the food I ate in Austin, I just have to share with you how exhilarating it was to be at the premiere of Craig’s movie, True Adolescents, at SXSW. Having been there at the very beginning of the project–remember when we scouted locations on The Olympic Peninsula?–it was amazing to sit in a darkened movie theater, every seat full (they turned almost 50 people away at both screenings) and to see the words “written & directed by Craig Johnson” projected on the giant screen. It was even better to feel the audience reaction afterwards.

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