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Reblog: How “Reality” Cooking Gets It Wrong

17 Jul

Jacques Pépin once again raises the threshold of humans. In this article for the Daily Meal, the respected chef and member of the Daily Meal Council voices his opinion (but doesn’t mouth off) about televised chefs.



What Should I Drink Tonight? Let this graph decide

14 Mar

It’s Friday night, and you don’t have a clue. Can’t decide what to order at the bar? Want to try something new?

Screen shot 2014-03-13 at 10.42.37 PM

A kind-as-cupcakes team at Stanford collected data over a 10-year period and built this fancy algorithm and visual display. Say you like Stone Russian Imperial Stouts and want the brand name (or even aroma) of a similar beer. Faster than a frat party keg stand (but not as messy), this guide selects brews that play well together. It’s kind of like the Genius feature on iTunes, or a “You Might Also Like” column on Amazon.

My shopping for St. Patrick’s Day beers just got easier, thanks to these scientific cicerones (the fancy word for a beer sommelier)

Have a happy and responsible weekend.

If you have as much time on your hands or want something to read while you sip, here’s how the research worked:

Reblog: “20 Things Everyone Thinks About The Food World”

7 Jan


If you’re here, you live, breathe, and dream food. You talk about where you ate last night while at lunch; you plan menus while daydreaming. Reading the Eater HeatMap for your city forms your bucket list. You’re drowning–no, marinating–in a food-saturated world. This is a world of romanticism, of flashy chefs serving abundant quantities of cakes who tell you to “live a little.” Glamor aside, the food world has some facts you’d rather not face, but can’t stop thinking about. This list on First We Feast delves into some notions I can’t help but feel from food-saturated media.

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It’s Knucklepuck Time!

21 Nov

After attending the grand opening of The Alley (check out my upcoming post at the Local Palate), I realized something. The people of Charleston like to eat. We also like to multi-task while eating, whether it’s watching a movie at Cinebarre, or playing a game. Among “niche” gaming, there’s HoM, a boutique of ping-pong and gourmet burgers. The recently revealed Alley takes Home Team BBQ and adds on bowling. Mom always said “don’t play with your food,” but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Charleston artist Marcus Amaker on a roll for a turkey…days before Thanksgiving.

I had a great time during the Alley’s disco-themed party this past Saturday, with all of the crazy costumes (more plaid pants, mutton chops, and ironic mustaches that you could spin a mirror ball at). Can’t imagine always being in that look, but it was kind of cool for a night.

I’m crossing my fingers for a Big Lebowski evening, but in the meantime, bowling (gutterball much?) will keep me content. While playing around and looking for the “Dude-orino” himself, something felt like it was missing. Something’s missing in the ever-expanding food hub of Charleston.

Now I know what.

What Charleston needs more than anything is an air hockey “rink,” a place where both casual fans and airheads(?) can follow their passion in a natural habitat.

Air “Hockney”

Call it a modern, 20-something version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, but I’m hooked on the idea of getting a hold of some more active games, especially after trying out some of the other places in town. Plus, air hockey has so many positive consequences. Air hockey can get more aggressive than pool, but unlike ping-pong, you never have to travel between rooms to retrieve a lost puck. It’s not gambling prone, so if you were trying to avoid a crippling addiction, it’d be easy. As far as table-top games go, it might just be my favorite. I’m really curious why it’s not downtown yet. Hockey’s not played in the humid south, but the fan-powered air hockey knows no borders. I might just have to start one myself.

Maybe a portrait of Emilio Estevez from The Mighty Ducks would happen. I’d definitely want corn dogs or popcorn (popcorn dogs?) at a place specializing in air hockey. The “sin bin” would be the name for the DJ booth.

So that’s a little intense, but look how much fun those people are having!

Air hockey in Charleston: why the puck not?

Boosting the Bandwagon: Cook Out’s Pumpkin Shake

14 Nov

Pumpkin flavoring has found its way into every possible baked good, hot drink, and even burger. When the leaves come down and layers come on, I love getting pumpkin spice lattes, scones, you name it. Cinnamon’s one of my favorite flavors, so I’m all for it in many forms. There’s some serious cinnamon at play in pumpkin spices. But it’s not all sweet. If you order pumpkin spice flavoring in some cases, you might just regret it.

Chow’s Supertaster believes all pumpkin spice products are a vicious facade, a combination of “pumpkin pie vomit on a Lysol can.”

After trying gas station lattes and sugar-free coffee creamer, the Supertaster concludes most of these pumpkin-posing products are “taking something that’s not the world’s finest whatever you happen to be dealing with and calling pumpkin spice.” How about when the ante’s pretty awesome to begin with?

Cook Out, one of my favorite local late-night fast food joints, just added a new and seasonal flavor to its 30+ menu of flavors from peanut butter-fudge to eggnong. There’s not a single one I didn’t think was spectacular. It’s almost like verisimilitude, or a serious attention to milkshake goodness details. Your milkshake has the texture and “form” of whatever it’s recreating. Their cheesecake flavor is chunky with cheesecake bits, and the strawberry (you guessed it) has real strawberries. Call it crazy, but I’m awfully tempted to pull a Super Size Me and try a new flavor daily. The closest location is 15 minutes away, which makes this fast food…not so convenient. My blood sugar thanks you, long distance.

Their pumpkin pie seasonal flavor takes this trend and carries it to Platonic heights. It’s a pie in a cup. I documented my first tastes of this thick treat. Even though it’s cold outside (and milkshakes should be the last thing you want), these are pretty season-defying, for a seasonal drink.

They’re best after midnight, but I also wouldn’t be opposed to this after the biggest meal of the year.

Free Doritos! (Updated Link)

12 Nov

Maybe not entirely free. I’m currently working on a survey for my Communications Research Methods class, and it involved Doritos and media creation.We’re trying to find out what methods of humor play out in video advertising, and what methods are the most effective. Our group thought that Doritos ads in particular were a special bag.

Probably the weirdest bag of Doritos the Web turned up. I’m not sure if this is a picture of side-effects.

In the past, Frito-Lay, which produces Doritos, has a yearly contest for user-created Super Bowl ads. Fans of the orange-dusted snack chip can create their own video ad and upload online, where the internet elves (other Doritos fans) decide on what ads to pick. Doritos has often shown some pretty controversial ads, but the ones in the survey, though mildly offensive, shouldn’t start a media storm. Two of the videos we selected for our survey are user-submitted ads up for consideration.

If you have a chance, I’d love to hear some responses to this survey. All you have to do is follow this link, watch some chip commercials, and answer the surveys. Craving chips isn’t totally included.

While I can’t guarantee free Doritos, hopefully you’ll get some laughs for free out of this.

My Beef With Bourdain

9 Nov

After reading Tamar Adler’s bomb to Anthony Bourdain on, some of my own grumblings with the food personality bubbled to the surface. Adler, author of Everlasting Grace, has reason to be peeved. Her blog, a clean and crisp collection,  couldn’t be more different to Bourdain’s drug-drenched Dionysian escapades. While Adler gives a lot of credit to Alice Waters and eating clean and ethical food, Bourdain is biting into filthy burgers with filthier language. Every bite he takes is a middle finger to what’s prim and proper. And he really peeves Alice Waters.

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