The New York Times has an article called (brace yourself) The Maggots in your Mushrooms.
It talks about the allowable amounts of insect and mold parts in processed foods. When I was in college I read something along these lines about Fig Newtons and didn’t eat one again for months. I love this paragraph:
In case you’re curious: you’re probably ingesting one to two pounds of flies, maggots and mites each year without knowing it, a quantity of insects that clearly does not cut the mustard, even as insects may well be in the mustard.
Whew! Makes me want to jump into bed and hide my face under the pillows. Oh, wait… Oprah covered the number of mites in old pillows a few years ago. Haven’t been able to sleep since.
Seriously though, anyone who has worked in a restaurant knows how many bugs there are in your food. I was always interested in the miscellaneous mites and worms left in the bottom of our organic produce boxes. After a while, you get used to it.
Chop, the replacement for Viande meats has moved smoothly into place.
Chop has opened without fanfare. It’s nice, the folks behind the counter are very knowledgeable. If someone hadn’t told me about the change in ownership, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. That’s a good thing. Viande is moving across the street from Music Millennium over on 31st and Burnside, where Laurelhurst Market used to be.
Some folks still follow restaurateur Michael Hebb, so I’ll add this for you.
Gourmet published an article called “Highway Hiking with Michael Hebb” (link no longer valid). “The renegade cook leads three fellow explorers on a 32-mile walk through Los Angeles to their dinner destination: the I-5 freeway.”
But now the restaurateur has started over in Seattle with a new partner and a new obsession: cooking and eating dinner in weird places. After hosting a candlelit supper in a Seattle airport hangar and chatting about pornography with Gore Vidal in Hollywood, Hebb is now fixated on the I-5 freeway, which winds 1378 miles from Washington State through California. It is a civic space that millions inhabit collectively every day, solitary in their cars, so he wants “to imbue [the] landscape with meaning that has become utterly bereft of it.” Partnering with art curator Stephanie Snyder, he plans to stage a dozen dinners along the freeway over the next two years. I wrangled an invite for the first, excited to take part in a sort of gonzo-locavore expedition—we would forage for dinner ingredients on private property and in 7-11s alike along the way—and in perhaps the ultimate exploration of a city’s edible bounty. (Full disclosure: Michael is a distant acquaintance from Reed College, which we attended simultaneously for a few months, abating his leeriness about letting a reporter join his trek.)
Insert your own snarky comment here. This story has a huge target on it.
Marshall Manning says
I’ve been to Chop a few times since the changeover. First, I’m very glad they kept the Frog sandwich, which was one of my favorites from Viande. However, the sandwich menu mentions nothing about lettuce on the sandwich, and yet they insist on putting lettuce on it (the French would never put lettuce on this sandwich, but they might add butter!), even when I made a special request for no lettuce. This never happened with the Viande guys, so I’m wondering if someone here has a strange lettuce fetish ;-0?
“[T]o imbue [the] landscape with meaning that has become utterly bereft of it.”
Except for the millions of cars that drive it each week, and in each car, the people with their dreams and tragedies and destinations. And the landscape itself that has been worked and reworked and reworked, burnt and flooded; the miles of untold deaths and births and abandonments and escapes. Each and every one a story.
No, he wants to imbue a deeper meaning. One that can only be told cryptically, with lower case letters.
kill the freeway!
Is there a better food movie than “Big Night”?
Food Dude says
Big Night is my favorite food movie of all time, though I’ll be watching a few I haven’t seen next week.
gotta go with Eat Drink Man Woman
Dee Dee Gustibus says
Ping was good right out of the gates, I thought. The menu needs some refinement. Service was excellent. They have some unusual mixed drinks and the Pok Pok array of drinking vinegars.
Too bad about Columbia Gorge Hotel. We had a beautiful night, surprisingly good dinner and a fairly good brunch there.
The new Viande (the old Laurelhurst Market) is as NE 32nd and East Burnside. I was by there yesterday, and they’ve gutted the interior of the building. It looks like it will be a little while before it will be ready to open.
“Big night” is tops but also have to put “Babette’s Feast” right up there as well.
Lur Kerr says
“Eat Drink Man Woman” always makes me drool..
ooooh yeah…the raw egg scene.
Mostly Martha also a good food movie, Big Night for sure, Babettes Feast, The Green Butcher(Danish) kind of like Eating Raoul. Chocolat, although it is not a pure food movie, but good nonetheless. Also, Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe, back in the ’70’s I think, with Jacqueline Bisset.
don’t forget Tampopo! and sexy to boot……
If Gourmet magazine continues to publish crap like this article on Hebberoy – it is no wonder that are going under.
Note to self: contact Gourmet tomorrow and cancel subscription.
Pearl District says
Love him or hate him, he’s doing some pretty cool stuff in Seattle. He will always get press. He’s an interesting person who still has a lot of friends down here, including some of his ex-employees. Most the people who dog him have never even met him. I’m happy to see everyone moving on.
I might argue that getting press is what he does best. I’m a lot less impressed by the rest of what he’s accomplished here.
Yes, the part about his stiffing creditors and employees, and conning investors…hate when that happens.
Food Dude says
I’ve met him, and wasn’t impressed.
To MH’s credit, in Food and Wine, 1/06, at the tender age of 29: “People say that Alice Waters launched a food revolution, but they’re wrong. That was only an ingredients shift. It didn’t change the culture surrounding food.”
Ever so insightful for a young man who had yet to be born when Ms. Waters began what was indeed a revolution in the early 70’s.
Met him, worked for him, less than impressed…annoyed more than anything.
Pearl District says
Any investor who gives a bunch of money to a guy in his 20s who has never run a restaurant shouldn’t be so surprised. The missing element of the whole ripe meltdown is how young everyone was. Young city, young restaurateurs, and everyone wanted to blame Hebb and Hebb alone when the shit hit the fan. Arrogant? Perhaps. Ignorant? Not as much as his investors. Selfish? Unquestionably. If you are one screwed over by the meltdown, then you have reason to complain. If not, you’re just one of the herd of Portlanders who diss Mike Hebberoy without ever having met him. And investors and creditors get burned every day when restaurants close. Folks should know this going in; the suppliers certainly do.
What’s certain is this: The whole ripe catering/clarklewis/gotham tavern empire brought more attention to Portland’s food scene than any other single event/entity/restaurant/chef, etc. Without him, a lot of great Portland chefs simply wouldn’t be here.
As for me, I’ve never met the guy but we share many common friends.
A funny story about the Lyle Hotel…a couple of years ago their Chef decided to take a vacation and they needed someone to cover for a weekend. I didn’t have anything going on at the time so I wrote them and they invited me and my family out to see the place. If anyone has ever been there, the town of Lyle has seen better days, but the Inn itself was relatively charming and they did some nice food. The funny part of the story is that they had a lot of cats on the premesis…STUFFED cats, as in dead animals that had been taxidermied. The most bizarre of all was the mother cat and her KITTENS, all posed on a table in the waiting room, as natural as dead cats could be. For some reason I didn’t wind up filling in, but I’ll never forget those damn cats.
Also, “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” has to be right up there with the great food movies.
“What you’ve got to realize is that the clever cook puts unlikely things together, like duck and orange, like pineapple and ham. It’s called ‘artistry’. ” I think you and I have since worked with Albert. And ……. do not post me back any Georgina quotes that involve chicken. I remember.
Everyone always talks about the obvious scene in that movie, but the one that gets to me is when he stabs the prostitute in the cheek with the fork. The expression on her face is priceless.
As to 50 Plates, I found it interesting that in their latest press release touting the skills of their recently promoted sous chef, his being invited to cook at the James Beard House is described as an “unparalleled acheivement.” Really? He’s the only chef ever to have been invited to cook there?
Understand your adjectives!!
The funniest thing about 50 Plates press release is the “Culinary Director” who is the chef-owner of Jopa in Beaverton. He hails from the Shilo Inn culinary temple! Seems they hired an executive chef, sommelier, and gm with pedigrees, then ditched them after the reviews and heavy lifting of opening was done. The new Gm, that replaces the savvy pearlite Swafford, is from macaroni grill in cleveland! He’s taken over the wine program too, and it shows. 20 buck Chuck anyone?
john gorham says
I never get on the blogs, but i have to tell you all one of my favorite food movies La Grande Bouffe. Check it out!
Food Dude says
I’ve never seen it, so will check it out. Thanks!
Dude, a little known film with some big actors, Dinner Rush, is excellent. There are a lot of scenes within the kitchen during service, so any cook or chef out there will feel right at home with this movie. Also, John Corbett is in it!
I was just about to mention La Grande Bouffe – It’s really hard to find and mostly forgotten, and few people I’ve talked to have ever even heard of it, let alone seen it. Think Marcello Mastroianni and 3 other actors bored and holed up in a fabulous Chateau hell-bent on eating and screwing themselves to death. Amazing film! Worth seeing if only for the large Bavarian cream breast replica.
Food Dude says
It’s available on Netflix.
I watched Babette’s Feast last week, and really enjoyed it.
Anyone can go cook at Beard House nowadays. You just need to make a request, have a half ass press kit, pay your way there, donate food and wine (actually they give you a small stipend) and there you go.
There is no such thing anymore as “being invited” to cook at the House. I’ve never heard of anyone that was not accepted to cook there! No prestige at all.
Food movies: “La Grande Bouffe” a French movie from the 70’s. You can find it at Movie Madness… Quite amazing!
I like Tampopo. Great show. And the message in Babette’s Feast always reminds me of why I cook. Beautiful movie.
Food Dude says
(loading up netflix queue)
Netflix doesn’t have la Grande Bouffe. But Movie Madness does!
The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover – Joisey beat me to it. I hated profiteroles after that movie.
that was one disturbing movie….gave me nightmares for a few years!
BTW, I prefer the movie “Big Night” for drooling worthy good food on screen –
‘Like Water For Chocolate’! I love the notion that how we feel when we’re cooking affects those who eat our food.
What about No Reservations? Joking.
I liked Spanglish, thought it was great. And I’m not much a Sandler fan, more of a Tea Leoni fan, not to mention the star of the show, Paz Vega.
Try watching Mostly Martha, the original movie that No Reservation ripped off. Excellent movie. Hopefully your German is good or you don’t mind sub-titles. The side bit in Spanglish where Thomas Keller shows Adam Sandler how to make the best BLT in the World is good.
I ate at Ping last night (2/17) which was, apparently, their first night of being open to the public. I don’t think anyone really knew as it was only about half full. I think they are keeping it on the DL a bit to make sure everything runs smoothly before they get buried. If you like Pok Pok (and, really, who doesn’t?) you will like this incarnation as well. It is like going into a Japanese diner (it even sort of smells like a diner) if said diner happened to be designed by W+K. Lots of interesting skewers (meatballs, buffalo w/pineapple, baby octopus, etc.) that would seem to fall into the self-describe “Japanese pub food” category. There is also a sort of Chinese comfort food aspect (semi sweet steamed buns filled with that shredded pork they do for lunch at Pok Pok as well as a pork-chop sandwich). Then there is the more Pok Pok style food (bowls of noodles loaded with good stuff). Good drinks as well. We split a multitude of dishes (7 or 8 between 2 people) and each had 2 cocktails and the tab was $82. It is less appetizer/entree than Pok Pok and more order a bunch of things and have at it style of dining. People will figure out it is open and I bet it gets super busy so I would go before it hits the press.
I ate there. I waited for a friend and we got seated at 4:30pm. Only a couple tables were seated. By the time we left, about 6pm, it was full except the counter. After an hour at Ground Kontrol, there looked to be people waiting outside. So if they were keeping it on the DL, given it was in all the papers and blogs and they sent out a notice to both Pok and Ping email lists, they failed.
I don’t think anything was Japanese pub food, though it’s similar in style to what you’d find in a kushiyaki/yakitori joint. It was more like skewers you’d find in Malaysia or Thailand on the street, but more refined. Put up a report here:
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (the gazpacho!)
I was forced to watch Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in my Spanish III class in High school, and had no idea what to make of it. Barbiturate spiked gazpacho? yikes.
Food Dude says
Everyone needs to spend the next week watching food movies (It would be interesting to see if it affects Netflix ;). We’ll have our own vote next week.
Amelia Hard says
Jacques Tati’s “Play Time” (1967): not exactly a food movie, but it ends with the self-destruction of a snooty restaurant on its opening night, a scene of blissful anarchy. It’s full of terrific sight gags: my favorite laugh-out-loud moment involves the insufferable maitre d’ and a bottle of wine which the chef has marked with burnt cork to find out who’s been nipping at it…
I haven’t seen “La Grande Bouffe” but am looking forward to it. However, I don’t think any one’s mentioned my favorite food movie so far – “Ratatouille”. Does an animated film count?
Good Food For Me says
Babette’s Feast, brilliant!
Food movies…how could I have forgotten “My Blueberry Nights”? Wonderful tribute to the healing powers of pie…
“Animal House” is the greatest movie of all time, as most thoughtful folks are already aware. The cafeteria scene is especially sensitive and moving, and should give Animal House claim to high honors in the food movie genre.
Cuisine Bonne Femme says
The absolute best food movie I know, well it’s not really a movie but a tv show, is the Korean soap opera Daejanggum. I’m not kidding. I’ll just let Amazon.com explain about this “historical drama based on a true story, Dae Jang Geum tells the tale of Jang-Geum, the first woman to become the King’s personal physician. In a time when women held little influence in society, young apprentice cook Jang-Geum (Lee Young-Ae of Joint Security Area and One Fine Spring Day) strives to learn the secrets of Korean cooking and medicine in order to cure The King of his various ailments. But palace intrigue and politics impede Jang-Geum, as her fellow ladies compete to earn the King’s favor and secure the top female positions in the Royal Kitchen. But Jang-Geum is far from ordinary. With her remarkable determination and wisdom, she takes on even greater odds, challenging numerous foes and even society to achieve a position never-before-held by a woman in Korean history!”
This show has it all – palace intrigue, love, sex, food, murder, more food, birth, death, more food, history, war, more food, including over the top cooking sequences a la Iron Chef.
Just watch it. It’s amazing and riviting and highly addictive: http://www.amazon.com/Dae-Jang-Geum-vol-1/dp/B0009WSO66