News From Around the Web For January 28th

Metrovino

The owner of Metrovino in the Pearl District has announced sous chef Victor Deras will be replacing departing chefs Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñonez. According to Oregon Live,

Deras has worked around Portland, but “really grew with us,” Steele says. The sous has experience running the show when Denton and Quiñonez went on vacation.

“People might be waiting with baited breath to find out if I’m going to bring in someone who staged at the (French) Laundry or something,” Steele says. “I put a lot more value on someone who has kind of just dug in, and Victor certainly has.”

Denton and Quiñonez are opening Ox, their own Argentine-inspired restaurant in N.E. Portland.

I’ve liked Metrovino owner Todd Steel, ever since he chased me down when I was walking past, and gave my poor dog a bone. For years after that, Food Dog always wanted to sniff around their front door.


From TheAwl.com (I’ve never heard of them either), “The Scourge of Pour-Over Coffee”. If you frequent Portland coffeehouses, you’ve probably seen pour-over coffee; It’s all the rage these days. It also takes a long time to make a cup of coffee, which is why I never drink it. Well, that and I can barely taste the difference, but I’m a coffee neophyte. Alert: hyperbole ahead -

It was a little over a year ago that The New York Times heralded the arrival of pour-over coffee in a trend story titled “Coffee’s Slow Dance.” The writer Oliver Strand described the method by which pour-over coffee is created—water is poured from a specially made kettle into a suspended cup of coffee grounds, through which the coffee seeps to the waiting cup below (that the specialized equipment needed comes from Japan likely will not surprise you). While allowing that the process might sound “precious or tedious” to some, he enthused that the resulting coffee was, in the intricacy and delicacy of its flavor, like “picking up a drafting pen after only writing with Magic Markers.”

Excuse me while I roll my eyes.

The article was sparked by the departure of Blue Bottle Coffee from the Brooklyn Flea Market. Again, from the article,

What had broken Blue Bottle’s nearly yearlong run at the Brooklyn Flea? What was the root cause of this rage and frustration? The answer: pour-over coffee, a seemingly simple but incredibly time-consuming method of coffee assemblage which wreaks destruction wherever it appears, a gastronomical ascot whose chief benefit seems to be that it roughly triples the time it takes to make a cup of coffee and allows consumers to then imagine that they can taste a difference.

The article seems awfully snarky. So unprofessional. Don’t know any serious writers who would take such cheap shots.

Cough.

It’s an entertaining read. You can view it here.


 

Hamburger from French McDonalds

One strange looking burgerThe “McTimber”

According to NPR, France is McDonald’s number two market. Go figure. I’m thinking the EU must have some rules about food styling, because that picture above from the French McDonald’s website looks like it has worms on top. Anyway, back to NPR -

Even in these harried times, the French spend more than two hours a day at the table. Sitting down to a meal is a cornerstone of French culture, and McDonald’s seems to get that. French McDonald’s are spacious, tastefully decorated restaurants that encourage people to take their time while eating. And the cozy McCafe’s with their plush chairs and sofas have become an extension to many restaurants.

…And if you like good meat (who doesn’t?!), then McDonald’s France is clearly superior. In the U.S., McDonald’s says its cattle are mostly corn-fed. While the company doesn’t address on its site whether growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics are added to the animal feed consumed by the animals it buys, it’s a reasonable assumption that they are.

French cattle are all grass fed, which many argue makes them tastier. Growth hormones are illegal here and each animal has a passport showing where it was born, raised, and slaughtered, according to McDonald’s France. That’s called traceability, and we don’t yet have such a national system in place.

As for chicken nugget lovers, French chickens, unlike some of their American counterparts, are not rinsed in chlorine to disinfect them. The regular use of chlorine in the U.S. chicken industry is why poulet americain has long been interdit in the European Union.

All of this got me to browse the French McDonald’s menu. They do seem to pay more attention to ingredients. To wit,

WHEAT

Its tight crumb, the crust thin and uniform color is obtained thanks to the use of a quality flour. It is obtained by milling wheat harvested strength particularly in the Beauce, the Gâtinais, Ile de France, but also in the Rhone-Alpes, Auvergne, Burgundy and Midi-Pyrenees (for harvest 2010).

SALADS

EACH BAG OF SALAD, HIS IDENTIFICATION CARD

From a bag of salad ready to use, our supplier Crudi can recover quickly and accurately the number of plots, the origin of plants from which it came, the amount and type of fertilizer and treatment products it received. We can even know what time it was collected. All this information is then recorded. And each bag is identified with a use-by date and lot number that provide traceability of the finished product.

SALADS GROWN PRIMARILY IN OPEN FIELDS

- Our salads are grown mainly in the field and brought to maturity in about 45 days in summer and 110 days in winter.
- The plants used are all from non-GMO seeds (there are, to date, the Union European GMO no salad allowed the production or marketing).
- Crude promotes good practices on the basis of a quality charter. For example, fertilizers and treatment products should be subject to reasonable use.
- 3 hours on average after the harvest, the salads are transported to a cooling unit.

THE BET: ABSOLUTE FRESHNESS

- Maintaining between 1 ° C and 4 ° C, a bath of chlorinated water, followed by a bath of ice water can eliminate microbial contamination and to ensure better conservation.
- To slow the oxidation process leaves of iceberg, a little air is removed from the bags. And no additive is required *.
- For salads from our salad boxes, different ingredients are mixed separately prepared each day in the restaurant for a better preservation of taste.

So there you have it. Next time I’m in the mood for McDonalds, I’m flying to France.


Yum!

Speaking of McDonald’s fine food (smooth segue, I know), we return to that disgusting pink meat product! You may remember slime from such stories such as “Rethink Your Burger“. McDonald’s has announced that they have altered their ingredients and removed the processed ingredient from their menus. Not only does the meat mixture look disgusting, but it is full of ammonium hydroxide, which is used to convert “fatty beef offcuts into a beef filler for [McDonald's] burgers”.

Jame Oliver, one of the few television chefs that seems to give a damn about anything other than their bank accounts, is one of the biggest forces behind this change.

From the Daily Mail -

‘Basically, we’re taking a product that would be sold at the cheapest form for dogs and after this process we can give it to humans’ said the TV chef.

Jamie showed American audiences the raw ‘pink slime’ produced in the ammonium hydroxide process used by producers named Beef Products Inc (BPI).

‘Pink slime’ has never been used in McDonald’s beef patties in the UK and Ireland which source their meat from farmers within the two countries.

Now after months of campaigning on his hit US television show McDonald’s have admitted defeat and the fast food giant has abandoned the beef filler from its burger patties.

Todd Bacon, Senior Director of U.S. Quality Systems and Supply Chain with the fast food chain, said: ‘At McDonald’s food safety has been and will continue to be a top priority.

‘The decision to remove BPI products from the McDonald’s system was not related to any particular event but rather to support our effort to align our global beef raw material standards. ‘McDonald’s complies with all government requirements and food safety regulations.

‘Furthermore, we have our own food safety measures and standards in place throughout the entire supply chain to ensure that we serve safe, high quality food to every customer, every time they visit our restaurants.’

You’ll be glad to know that Taco Bell and Burger King quit using this stuff a while ago.

You can read the entire article, complete with a video of Jamie Oliver recreating the nastiness here.

Thank god we don’t have to pay attention to these things – the USA has only had a few cases of Mad Cow Disease. Whew.


The Portland Mercury has announced the name of their new food critic.
Say hello to your new Mercury Food Critic… Chris Onstad!

As many of you already know, Chris is the highly acclaimed author of the webcomic Achewood (which also ran in the Mercury for a while), and is a consummate lover and preparer of all things delicious. He was also the topic of a feature written by former food editor Patrick Coleman (about the proper preparation of yak and buffalo testicles), and his writing has been published in such lofty journals as Saveur, The New Yorker, GQ, Vice and more. Happily he also happens to have an encyclopedic, obsessive knowledge and regard for the local food scene.

Welcome to the fray, Chris!


Here is an old story you may have missed: A newspaper was ordered to pay $160,000 due to a faulty recipe. It seems that 13 people in Chile were burned when the churros they were making from a recipe in the newspaper exploded. The instructions called for heating the oil to 482 degrees(!), which turned the dough into “projectile objects”. As an interesting follow-up, the Washington Post ran a survey of how much money newspapers spend on testing recipes.

The money required to test recipes is probably not going to drain a paper’s budget. The food editors who were willing to share their figures — even ballpark ones — threw out numbers ranging from about $1,500 a month (San Francisco Chronicle) to $200 to $700 a week in groceries (Associated Press). The Washington Post spends more than $15,000 annually on testing for the entire paper


I finally have an ad space available on the top row, front page of this site. If you are interested, drop me a note. It tends to have a very high CTR. That’s a good thing.

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