First New York, now CHOW. Devoted to the pleasure of food and drink, CHOW launches today. You may remember it as a print magazine. It's now reborn as an online concern, complete with recipes and a food blog.

New York magazine's new food blog launches today. Grub Street promises hourly updates covering everything from the cult street vendor, nameless yet venerated, to the latest temple of gastronomy, awash in renown.

If a mass-marketed coffee product is as close as I'm going to get to the godfather of molecular gastronomy, I'll snap up that opportunity and approach it with an open mind. Another review of the new espesso being served in Chicago, this one more positive. I hope it comes to New York City soon!

Getting too full during a great meal

Via email from a reader, who I shall call "R":

While I was in San Francisco I dined at Bouchon and Chez Panisse. I had high expectations of both. Unfortunately I was unable to really enjoy my experiences because I ate too much! How do you prepare yourself for this kind of eating and traveling? How do you pace yourself? Also, I made the mistake of ordering a special of the day that looked good, tasted good for one bite, and became an entire food that I will now avoid because of the experience - it was just too rich, too flavorful, too much! And this was at Bouchon where the servings are not typical American-style biggie sizes.

Any thoughts? What are your experiences?

I've definitely had that same problem, most memorably in Las Vegas. My husband and I ate lunch at Mesa Grill, and while it was delicious, it was quite filling. That evening we had reservations at Bouchon and ended up disappointed with our dinner, in large part because we were too stuffed to really enjoy eating it.

In general, I try to avoid eating much during the day if I know I'll be going out to a big dinner someplace special, especially if it's the kind of place where I'll likely order the tasting menu and be eating for four hours. Also, I try to be cognizant of how rich of a dish I'm ordering. In Austria, because most of the main courses were meaty and heavy with cream, I opted for salad starters every evening. That way I wouldn't be full before the main arrived.

Another trick is exercise. I run or go to the gym nearly every day, and I find that gives me a larger appetite -- and an increased gastronomic capacity -- than when I don't work out. If I can't fit in a jog (because of travel or something), I usually try to do a lot of walking around before a big meal, so I'm good and hungry before going in.

I also try to pay close attention to how full I'm getting, so that if I'm starting to fill up soon (say, on an appetizer, or early into a tasting menu), I back off a bit. I don't finish every course, especially if I'm not that crazy about it.

Most importantly, I don't try to become a member of the clean plate club anymore. It took me years to break the habit from childhood of eating all the food I'd been served. But I realized that in a restaurant, I hadn't had any input into the quantity of food I'd been given, and therefore was not obligated to finish it. Being too full is the easiest way to ruin a good dinner, and though I'm not always successful, I work to avoid it.

Does anyone else have thoughts about this and suggestions for R?

New super-thick foamy espesso by Ferran Adrià is just 'bleh' according to Chicagoist. If you want to judge for yourself, you'll have to head to the Windy City, where it's served at the three Lavazza cafes in the United States.

The Agriculture Department has proposed a standard for grass-fed meat that doesn't say animals need pasture and that broadly defines grass to include things like leftovers from harvested crops. Somehow this is not surprising to me. [via an obsession with food]

Whole Foods to begin selling lobsters again? Whole Foods is reportedly building special housing to make lobsters more comfortable in its stores so its customers won’t have to go elsewhere to buy them. But how comfortable will these new houses be? Berber carpets? Gourmet kitchens? Jacuzzi?

Two Chicago alderman file to have Chicago foie gras ban repealed. "Anybody who's traveled anywhere in this country knows that people are just laughing their heads off at us....It has become an embarrassment."

I hated this meal in a way I've never hated a meal before: I felt a violent emotional reaction to what this restaurant stood for. The Amateur Gourmet visits Le Cirque and in the comments, some responses from a "Mauro Maccioni." Could it really be the owner's son joining the discussion? Or is it just an imposter?

Florence Fabricant of the New York Times reports that former Blue Hill at Stone Barns executive chef Michael Anthony will be the new executive chef at Gramercy Tavern. He'll start next month, but his new menu won't be in place until January. Mr. Anthony, please oh please don't remove the "fresh bacon" from the Tavern Room menu. It's one of my favorite things in the whole wide world.

For some, a trip to Austria steers their gastronomic attention to wiener schnitzel, but for me, it's all about the wurst. Jason summarizes our würst-eating adventures in Austria and Switzerland.

Why is it, that in America it's easier to buy drugs, guns and political favors than it is to buy a gallon of raw milk? A look at how we went from drinking raw milk (naturally filled with vitamins, enzymes and antibodies) to ultra high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk that's had its nutritional value cooked away.

When lab-grown meat is readily available, what happens to the experience of eating meat? Or purchasing it? This research examines how our interactions will change as technology changes. Fascinating to contemplate, though I can't say it looks very appetizing to eat.

Genetically modified plants escape test areas, go wild. Didn't we learn anything from Jurassic Park? You can't control nature. [via rebecca]

It's that time of year again, time for the falliest yummiest sandwich. I made my first for lunch today, using slightly different ingredients. The nice thing was the apples I have (Ginger Golds, from my CSA) aren't as firm as I used last year, but they kept their flavor. So they sort of melted into the sandwich. Yum!

The best meal that never was

Delicious lunch in AustriaAs you can tell from the resumption of links, I'm back from my Austrian travels. And what a trip! I didn't really have any expectations for Austrian cuisine, but have returned a huge fan. Our first few days in Linz, we had dinner with a group of people and ended up at non-traditional restaurants. (Our first night was a vegetarian place. Only later, after eating pounds of meat in other parts of the country did I wonder how, and why, we'd ended up eating there!) So it wasn't until Salzburg that we began to search out Austrian cuisine. Lunch found us exploring the various würst stands each day, trying as many different kinds as possible. My favorite? The Munchner, or weisswürst. Oh what I'd do for one of those right now...

Fondue photo by Jason KottkeDinner found us slurping creamy soups (garlic, potato), meats and (more creamy) sauces, and the occasional wiener schnitzel. On our last night in Salzburg, we sat outside at a little place near our hotel. I'd heard it was mushroom season, and we'd spotted lots of them at the market, so when I saw chanterelle specials listed on the menu, I knew my choice: a salad to begin, and then the mushrooms in a cream sauce with dumplings. Jason ordered a similar dish with roasted pork. Alas, when my plate arrived, it was chanterelles on top of greens, some kind of mushroom salad. Apparently there'd been some confusion with the order (along with a such a delay that I didn't want to send the salad back) and I'd gotten the wrong mushroom special. It was good, the mushrooms were delicious, but when I tasted Jason's creamy dish, I realized how much better mine could have been if it were actually the right thing.

Mushrooms and dumplingsThe more we traveled, the more I kept looking on every menu for the creamy chanterelle dish. Every taste of dairy, every bite of spätzle or dumpling wrapped in that delicious cream, made me long for what surely would have been an excellent dish. But I never saw it in Innsbruck (though the photo to the right appeared in the Innsbruck tourist guide, which raised my hopes), and it didn't seem to be anywhere we went in Zurich either. And while the fondue was great, and the würsts memorable, and sauerkraut and smoked meats delicious, it's that damn mushroom dish that sticks in my memory. The culinary highlight of my trip is the best dish I never ate, and I can still imagine its taste on my tongue.

There are just seven producers who are permitted to entitle their cheese Roquefort. A great look at what goes into producing Roquefort, from the ewe's milk to the aging in select caves. I had no idea, but that's not surprising since I'm pretty much a cheese novice.

Lovely post about fleur de sel de Guérande from David Lebovitz with details about how it's harvested. And there's even a picture of potato chips with fleur de sel. Boy what I wouldn't do for those!

The hard life of an organic farm worker

Hard Labor is an interesting article from The Nation about the people who work on organic farms.

For many consumers, an organic apple tastes sweeter not only because it's healthier but because it conjures up a vision of a simpler, more pure world, where we produce our food without wreaking havoc on the environment and our relationship to it is unmediated by fear, guilt or the drive for excessive profits. This image of a food utopia has fueled the growth of the organic food industry, which is expanding by 20 percent each year.

But the farmworkers who bring in the organic harvest face a different reality, one largely invisible to food buyers. Whether they work in the fields or in processing plants, most workers on organic farms, like those on conventional farms, are immigrants from Mexico who earn minimum wage or slightly more and receive no benefits. Fieldwork on organic farms can be especially strenuous because farmers employ back-breaking methods like hand-weeding to avoid using pesticides.

I spend a lot of time on this site talking about how animals are treated. This article makes me realize how little attention I've paid to how the people who harvest our food are treated. From now on, I hope to do a better job of that.

Interesting look at greenhouse gas emissions caused by food production. Includes graphs and lots of interesting facts, including "People in industrialised countries eat between six and seven kilogrammes (about 15 pounds) of food additives every year." Whoa.

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