News From Around the Web – May 21st

The earthquake over the weekend in the Bologna area of Italy may have a long-term effect on Parmesan prices. According to The HuffingtonPost, 400,000 wheels of Parmesan and Grana Padano cheeses were damaged, most of them artisanal.

In all, some 10 collective Parmesan aging warehouse and cheese production sites have sustained damage in the quake, affecting 300,000 wheels, half of which are estimated to be at least a partial loss.

“The fallen forms in some cases can certainly be recovered and moved to another warehouse to finish aging,” consortium spokesman Igino Morini said. Partially damaged wheels may be salvaged for mixed cheese products or prepackaged foods – at a fraction of their value as fully aged Parmigiano-Reggiano.

 


Bon Appetit has named Bamboo Sushi as one of the Best Sushi Restaurants in the America.

The Rose City’s acclaimed, hypersustainable Bamboo Sushi expands to a new 90-seat restaurant (with a 22-seat sushi bar) in the northwest quadrant this June. Look for fancier cocktails, a Scandinavian note in cooked dishes, and great local fish.

What to Order: The black cod with smoked soy glaze is a Bamboo staple, but nearly a quarter of the offerings here will be new, such as a seafood charcuterie platter featuring raw, cooked, and cured options.

Good to Know: Just as at the original, every fish is approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, and a portion of your dining dollars help sustain a nature preserve in the Bahamas.

You can read the rest of their article here, including a list of their other top choices.


 

This next story is loosely about food and drink, but it was weird enough to raise my eyebrows. A company called SceneTap is installing a facial recognition system in bars.

Using a free iPhone or Android App, you can get a snapshot of the San Francisco bar scene, including male-to-female ratio, average age, and crowd size — all in real time. In short, you can find out if there are enough women to hit on before you bother getting decked out for the night.

So here’s how it works, according to SceneTap: Bars place special facial detection cameras inside venues, which pick up on facial characteristics to determine approximate age and gender of the bar crowd. All your personal information remains anonymous, and nothing about you or your face is stored long-term.  Venue owners have their own stake in it. They will have access to this aggregated demographic information, and over time they can use it to measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. In other words, did that ladies-drink-free special actually draw more women to the bar?

SF Weekly has a detailed article about the system.


You may remember the 2010 Cochon 555 event, where Chef Eric Bechard  and event co-founder Brady Lowe were arrested after a brawl outside of the Magic Garden strip bar that left Lowe with a fractured tibia. Bechard was angry because Lowe had allowed a non-local pig to be used in the competition. Now, according to Michael Russell over at OregonLive.com, Lowe is suing Bechard for “more than $280,000″.

According to the suit, Lowe suffered “a broken leg, bruises, swelling, scratches, headaches, concussion, contusions, bleeding … feelings of fear for his safety and well being” and that the incident caused Cochon 555 to “experience a loss in sponsorships and a significant decrease in attendance due to the negative press.” Lowe is asking for a post judgement interest of nine percent on any damages awarded.

Want to bet that Bechard files a countersuit?

There are a lot of people in the restaurant industry who don’t like me. Let’s meet outside of Magic Garden next Saturday night. You break my tibia and I get $280,000. I can live with that. I’d do it for $100k. Queue up quietly please.


 

Does organic food turn people into jerks? Maybe not, but it can give them a judgmental attitude. From the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science,

Although organic foods are often marketed with moral terms (e.g., Honest Tea, Purity Life, and Smart Balance), no research to date has investigated the extent to which exposure to organic foods influences moral judgments or behavior. After viewing a few organic foods, comfort foods, or control foods, participants who were exposed to organic foods volunteered significantly less time to help a needy stranger, and they judged moral transgressions significantly harsher than those who viewed non-organic foods. These results suggest that exposure to organic foods may lead people to affirm their moral identities, which attenuates their desire to be altruistic.

More from Today’s Health.com

“People may feel like they’ve done their good deed,” he says. “That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It’s like when you go to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar.”

Eskine says he was surprised by the findings (“You’d think eating organic would make you feel elevated and want to pay it forward,” he says) and hopes to do additional studies that look at conditions that might prompt people to act differently.

Until then, organic eaters may want to rein in those self-righteous stink-eyes.

“At my local grocery, I sometimes catch organic eyes gazing into my grocery cart and scowling,” says Sue Frause, a 61-year-old freelance writer/photographer from Whidbey Island. “So I’ll often toss in really bad foods just to get them even more riled up.”

Have you ever checked out someone else’s grocery selection and made a quick judgement? Admit it. I have, and I’ve also found it somewhat uncomfortable when someone is obviously looking at mine. “Let’s see… natural, healthy, organic, healthy… regular paper towels! He’s an ass!”

I should do some sort of poll about this.


So many new restaurants are opening in Portland it’s difficult to keep up, but the one with the most buzz seems to be the seafood focused Riffle, which just opened in the old 50 Plates space on NW 13th.

Dave Shenaut, expat of most of the best cocktail lounges in town is running the bar. According to SeriousEats.com, Emily Baker of rum club and Ricky Gomez of Teardrop Lounge has joined him, creating a force to be reckoned with. But wait, there’s more! Again from SeriousEats,

While water inspires the cuisine, ice inspires the cocktails at Riffle. They’ve installed an ice machine that creates 400-pound blocks of crystal clear ice that are traditionally used for creating ice sculptures. After 3 months of extensive testing, these giant blocks are destined for your drinks, whether carefully carved into crystal-clear spears to fit into a Collins glass for the Riffle Collins made with fresh celery juice, or shaped into a hand-cut sphere for the old-fashioned inspired Mayor Rock cocktail, comprised of mezcal, applejack, agave, and bitters.

The giant block of ice takes 4 days of careful monitoring to ensure perfect clarity, and is then “harvested”, and chopped with a chainsaw into smaller pieces. They have even retrofit a woodchipper to rapidly crush massive amounts of ice for use in the kitchen and bar. Shenaut is already brainstorming more creative uses for the giant ice including serving raw fish on ice plates, creating blocks to hold shot glasses for vodka flights, and other secret plans.

This entire thing has created an endless supply of jokes around town, including, of course, references to the movie Fargo, where a body was fed into a wood chipper staining the snow red. More information on Riffle here.


A few more items for you. Pok Pok Noi announced today that they are becoming a full service restaurant on May 25th.

We will have waiter service at the tables both in the dining room (at the counter and bar) and on our deck out back. The menu remains the same, hours of operation remain the same. We will not be taking reservations, sorry.

We think this will make for a more customer friendly environment, especially for the families in the neighborhood. Of course, we will still be offering to-go food for pick up.


Beaverton Foods’ mustards picked up six awards – two Golds – at the recent 18th annual World-Wide Mustard Competition. The press release was pretty run of the mill, but one section gave me pause: “NationalMustardMuseumCurator Barry Levenson added: “Beaverton Foods led all mustard makers – as it has done several times in the past – with six medals.”

Um, National Mustard Museum? My mind reels. Little known Food Dude trivia – when I was in college I collected mustard.


Slow Food USA has elected Portland Native Katherine Deumling as chair of its Board of Directors. From the PR,

A Portland native, Deumling founded and runs a cooking school and blog in Portland, Cook With What You Have, focused on making cooking with fresh, local produce an accessible, fun and creative part of people’s lives. She also works closely with area farmers markets to promote local produce, and collaborates with non-profits and public agencies to empower people to create healthy meals. Deumling lends her expertise to a handful of Community Supported Agriculture farms as well, creating weekly, customized recipes packets for their members.

Congrats to Katherine.


Finally, a reminder about the 2012 PortlandFoodandDrink Survey. We’ve already gotten over 50% of the responses needed to make it a serious survey. If you haven’t take it, jump over and do it now. If you aren’t sure about some questions, just skip them. As long as you answer at least 20 questions, you will be eligible for the random prize drawings:

  • Portland Oregon Wine.com – a $30 bottle of 2005 Bordeaux
  • Monteaux’s Public House – one gift certificate a month to try each of our 12 “country special regions”.
  • Cork Wineshop – bottle of house wine, $20 gift certificate and two Friday Night Flights tasting coupons.
  • Ristretto Roasters – a full spectrum of their offerings (6 single origin coffees and the blends). $50 gift certificate
  • NorthwestFoodandwineguide.com – Wineopoly Game, 2 nice red wine glasses, two nice bottles of wine and a box of chocolates
  • Anne Amie Vineyards – 2 tickets to their July 26th Pre-IPNC Counter Culture event – value $150
  • Storyteller Wine Company – 2 $50 gift certificates
  • Coppia Restaurant – 2 $50 gift certificates
  • Tapalaya Restaurant – 2 $50 gift certificates
  • Boedecker Cellars – wine tasting, cellar tour for four people OR an afternoon as a Cellar Rat for 2. Work in the winery cleaning barrels, racking wine and other glamorous cellar tasks. Finish the day with a glass of wine and light supper in the cellar. Value $200.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors!

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. PDX2CDG says

    I love these around the world food tidbits! Sometime it’s just enough to have a little somethin’ somethin’ to pass on at the water cooler.

  2. Lynn D. says

    I’m ashamed to admit that when I first read about the Bologna earthquake online I rushed out to Costco and bought several blocks of Grana Padano! I did read that they went right back to making the cheese the next day. Some month ago I bought a really good Wisconsin Parmesan-type cheese at Steve’s Cheese.

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