Megnut

The Shake Shack camera was fixed there for a couple days but I guess the huge crowds over the weekend taxed its capacity and it's busted again. I'm sure the line is over an hour long though with the gorgeous weather, so no need to check it to see how long you'll be waiting if you head over today. You'll be waiting all afternoon.

Update: Seems to be fixed!

One dollar can buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Michael Pollan argues this is the year for everyone to get involved in the Farm Bill, and to realize it's really a Food Bill that effects everyone in the United States. I agree with him, but am not optimistic it will happen. At least, not this year. Maybe by the next Farm Bill.

Because people use to go to sleep around sundown, the biggest meal of the day once centered around noon. As candles and lamps became more common, mealtime shifted. By the 1800s, the upper class would have supper at 2 AM and stay up until dawn. Who knew the history of mealtime could be so interesting? [thanks Jason]

I want my rBGH

Stephen Colbert explained rBGH the other night on "The Colbert Report." So if you're still in the dark about this milk additive, perhaps the amusing clip will help you understand the issue more clearly. [via The Ethicurian]

Veal becomes more flavorful if it’s allowed to walk around, and that deliciousness has contributed to a rise in humanely raised veal consumption. More producers are allowing calves to roam pastures with their mothers, and using feed and grass in their diets in addition to milk. The result? Guilt-free, tasty veal. Of course, "The American Veal Association, a majority of whose members still raise their animals in crates, maintains that the new kinds of veal on the market don’t even deserve the name." They want it to be called "calf" or "young steer." I'm partial to the label "humanely raised veal" so you know what you're getting: a young calf that wasn't confined to a crate.

cow_grazing.jpgDairy farmers go organic before upcoming rule change. Current regulations allow dairy farmers to feed their cows 80% organic feed during most of the transition year to organic. With an upcoming change to the rules (requiring 100% organic feed during transition), many farmers are now making the switch to organic. But don't expect organic dairy prices to drop any time soon. There's been more demand than supply for organic dairy for a while now, and the market will quickly absorb all the new milk. I just hope it means more access to fresh organic local milk for people, and less reliance on the ultra-pasteurized stuff.

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Beautiful looking white chocolate cheesecake from Flickr user Sashertootie, recipe included.

NYC Trend Alert: high-end late night dining! Tribeca Vietnamese restaurant Mai House recently announced they'll be serving a late night menu "28 terrific plates, all priced at $10 or less from 10 PM on." Remember, Momofuku Ssäm Bar started out with a late night menu after 10 PM, which they then began serving at 6 PM because their early night menu wasn't nearly as delicious. So it looks like options for fancy late night dining in New York are increasing. Of course, there have always been options for non-fancy late night dining. And sometimes, nothing tastes better at midnight than a grilled cheese, if you ask me.

Regarding the poor man's sous-vide post from yesterday, it looks like boiling Ziploc bags is not recommended. From a consumer specialist at S.C. Johnson & Son (makers of Ziploc), "Ziploc bags are not designed or approved to withstand the extreme heat of boiling and therefore, using Ziploc bags to make any recipe that requires the bag to be boiled is not recommended." The plastic can melt at the temperature, and who wants to eat food merged with plastic?

Of course, if I'd read the recipes more closely, I'd have realized the salmon I was keen to try out doesn't even call for the faux sous vide prep, and is just slow cooked in the oven. The only recipe that calls for the use of freezer bag is the slow-poached shrimp, and that only wants water brought "to 150 degrees, just below a simmer." So you might be ok if you keep the temperature low, but consider yourself warned. [thanks Allan!]

I'd heard rumors of this, but it looks like it's official: Danny Meyer's opening a Union Square Cafe in Tokyo. Wonder how the famous Meyer hospitality will translate to Japan, and how he'll manage a restaurant so far away. It will be interesting to see the results.

See also: a diary of the opening process. [thanks Jason!]

Poor man's sous vide

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photo by Ken Hively/LAT
The Los Angeles Times looks at "poor man's sous-vide" in Low, slow and succulent. Instead of using an immersion water bath and vacuum-packing the food to be cooked, the article describes a simpler technique: Ziploc baggies! Place food in a zippered freezer bag, place bag in warm water, poach. The results look pretty good, and the three recipes at the end of the article sound tasty. I think I'll try out the salmon and see if it actually works. [via The Ethicurean]

From Esquire comes this list of 60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For, many of which are food. Also some of which I've eaten, and would eat again, like duck-fat potatoes and deep-fried Twinkies. I'd like to try The Fat Darrell at the R. U. Grill & Pizza in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a "sandwich made up of chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, and french fries." Yum. And of course, the downhill skiing they mention sounds pretty fun too.

The cuisines of the world are merging into one giant, amorphous mass, worries Salma Abdelnour in May's Food & Wine. "The problem is, too many chefs worldwide are creating menus that flit across so many borders and reference so many traditions that they--and we--lose any sense of place." She raises a valid point, but I'm not sure I buy it. Of course if you go to one of the may Nobu's anywhere in the world, you're not going to have a local experience. But there's plenty of street food to be had that's authentic. I traveled around Asia a few years ago and ate Thai food in Bangkok and Vietnamese and French food in Saigon. Perhaps if you only visit high-end restaurants, you'll get stuck with fusion and miss out on local specialties. But after the amount of eating and traveling I've done in the past few years, I don't feel like we're in danger of a homogeneous world cuisine any time soon.

batali_bowls.jpgMy mother-in-law was visiting recently and while she was in NY, she stopped in at the MOMA Design Store and picked up these awesome Nested Prep/Measuring Bowls as a gift for me. The orange melamine bowls are designed by Mario Batali (what can't that guy do?!) and inside have lines for measuring. So you can use them for prep, or measuring cups, or both! Handy dandy, and beautiful to boot.

Photo by David LebovitzI'm a few days late on this, but David Lebovitz's Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream sounds fantastic. My ice cream maker's been out of the freezer for a while now (I use the KitchenAid attachment) because it hasn't been ice cream weather. But after reading this, it's going back in. And with the warmer weather coming (it's got to be coming, right?) I'm going to get back to making more ice cream. Mmmmm...I wish I had some salted butter caramel ice cream right now!

Interested in visiting the New York Food Museum? If so, no need to buy a plane ticket, it's mostly an online museum. Currently with no permanent home, the museum organizes events (like Pickle Day) and exhibits at schools and in mass transit stations. Poke around the site for a look at New York City food 100 years ago, and other interesting tidbits.

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What is this, you ask? Port Wine and Confit Duck Sausage with Truffle Sauce Moutarde and White Truffle Cheese from Hot Doug's, "The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium" in Chicago. Mmm...mmm...good! My husband and I wanted to go to Hot Doug's last spring when we visit Chicago and somehow managed not to. Stupid! We'll have to head back soon.

shake_shack.jpg

You'd think with all the recent wind (gusts over 50 MPH) here NYC, the Shake Shack would be able to power their web camera but the poor thing's been out of commission for at least two weeks. Either that or this guy's been hanging out forever trying to decide what to order. Come on, Shack Crew! How hard can it be to keep a lil' ol' web cam running?

Missing links at the New York Times

It seemed like the New York Times Dining Section was really trying hard to get the web. They set up some blogs like Diner's Journal for critic Frank Bruni and The Pour for wine writer Eric Asimov. Recently they added more bloggers to Diner's Journal, increasing the number of daily posts and the breadth of coverage. Things were looking good. And then, they go ahead and run articles like today's Expanding the Options.

The article is a little summary of new joints that have opened in the West Village in Manhattan that they've already reviewed. But they don't link to the original reviews in the online version of the article! They just mention there was an article and the date it appeared, leaving readers to dig through their archives to find it. How stupid is that? Links people, links! The web is all about links!!! And a business aside to the Times: if you're worried about getting your dead-tree-printing ass kicked by the internet, your best bet would be to up your page views (and advertising revenue) by driving people to your own freakin' content. You wrote it once, help people find it again.

Get farmers off the agri-welfare roles, says the Christian Science Monitor, encouraging Congress to revamp the Farm Bill this year. "This is the year for Congress to do for agriculture what it did for welfare reform in 1996."

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