All aboard the dinner party train!

Photo from The New York Times

Rush hour or not, I daresay the L train is probably the least likely place I’d want to participate in (a) eating and (b) a showy NYT-covered stunt.  But they did one, and it looks like I’m not alone in thinking it wasn’t a great idea:

There was no sign of the police or even a conductor, but officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, reached on Monday, were not amused. “A dinner party on the L train?” said Charles F. Seaton, a spokesman for the authority. “No. Subway trains are for riding, not for holding parties.”

If you have had the pleasure of living off the L train in the past 5 years, you’ve also had the pleasure of experiencing Williamsburg’s overpopulation problem’s finest side effect:  not being able to get on the damn train.  I would actually find it extremely funny to see what would happen to a party like this at 8:30am at Lorimer, but of course I love a good riot.

PS.  I wonder what grade this would receive from the health department?

Raising the Sports Bar

The crowd goes wild for pan-seared ramps and garlic pastry puff concubine salad!

The NYT reports that sports bars are pulling out all the stops and providing highbrow, foodie-esque dining options:

The food is from-scratch, fresh and even locavore. Behold, then, the Springer Mountain free-range chicken from north Georgia proudly referenced on the menu of Dantanna’s Surf and Turf in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta — along with Creekstone and Allen Brothers beef and Niman Ranch pork. Note the butternut squash bisque at the Hype Lounge, and that roasted brussels sprouts side at the Ainsworth, both in Manhattan. Then meditate on Emeril Lagasse’s steak BAM’Wich at his Lagasse’s Stadium in Las Vegas: grilled sirloin on herb focaccia dressed with blue-cheese slaw and balsamic-braised onions, served with truffle-Parmesan steak fries.

Most of this makes sense, yeah, ok – sports fans are foodies, etc. I love chicken wings and hot dogs and beer too. What I do *not* understand is the butternut squash bisque. I cannot possibly see how that sounds appealing to someone who is gearing up for a rowdy, athletic night. YEAH! WE’LL GET PITCHERS AND WINGS AND SOME FRIES! Then Lilith speaks up, “You mean frites.  And I’ll just have the butternut squash bisque. Is that locally-sourced butternut squash by the way?”

My favorite quote:

Alert customers certainly appreciate the effort.

Because those that are passed out in the back? Not so much.

Can You Spare a Dime, New York Times?

photo of an iced coffee

The Times has a loving post up about the Toddy Brewing System for iced coffee. It’s essentially a redux of the how to cold-brew iced coffee story they ran in 2007, with the addition of using the Toddy instead of your own filters. But what neither story noted is that making coffee this way is almost three times as expensive. Here’s the math, based on the current piece.

The Times recipe calls for 16 ounces of coffee, which yield 48 ounces of concentrate. The writer recommends using concentrate and coffee at a 1:1 ratio, so you’ve got 96 ounces of iced coffee, or 12 8-ounce cups.

If you were making regular coffee, those same 16 ounces, or 32 tablespoons, would give you 32 cups of coffee, using the general 1 tablespoon of coffee per cup. That’s nearly three times as many. Even if you are a profligate spendthrift and use 2 tablespoons per cup, you’d still get 16 cups, 25% more.

I’m not saying don’t cold brew your coffee if you want to. It’s a (mostly, kinda) free country! But it’s irresponsible not to note the big leap in cost here. It really fascinates me to see how much the Times dining—dining! not eating—section, in the same paper where I read about the economy on a daily basis, rarely notes prices or costs in any kind of real-world way. They just started giving nutrition info on recipes, I think they should start giving estimated costs.

I admit to being slightly paranoid that I did the math wrong here but I think it’s right.

Dear FloFab, Can I answer? Love, Meatball


Do you ever read the “Dear FloFab” in Diner’s Journal?  Some of the questions remind me that there always is a crappier person out there, waiting to poo-poo on your platter.  For example:

Q:  I have relatives who perpetually comment on their perceived costs of the entrees served by me. If it is turkey, they advise fellow guests that it must have been purchased frozen at Thanksgiving time when frozen birds are inexpensive. Ham? They advise that it was on sale at the market two weeks ago. Steak? They comment that I must have purchased marked down meat. What to do?

A:  Serve pasta.

My suggested answer would be to either not invite said rude relatives, or to possibly throw the meat in their laps followed by a glass of wine and then smearing it around a bit with the tablecloth.

Here’s another:

Q:  When my friend and I go out to eat, she invariably tries to pick the restaurant, even when she asks me where I would like to go. I would suggest a place and she would make a counter suggestion. Once I invited her out to dinner and suggested we try one restaurant, and she made reservations at an entirely different one. How do I assertively suggest a restaurant without sounding like a control freak?

A:  Your friend is the control freak. I would have a frank discussion about it and suggest that you take turns choosing the restaurant. Or, if you want to let her keep a little control, she picks two and you pick one. Just figure out a different system.

My suggested answer is to stop going out to dinner with that nutjob and go with someone who actually values your opinion and/or lets you choose half the time.   I’m positive this sort of behavior carries over into other realms of this “friendship” – and at the heart of it is your friend disrespects you.  DEALBREAKER!

I could do this all day!  More, more, more!

Needless Nettling

(Video of Nettle Eating Championships in England)

In The Moment’s Grass Fed: Stinging Nettles, Peter Meehan discusses… well… eating stinging nettle.  In salsa verde.  So, is this a new thing?  Others have been eating nettles as a dare, and there’s even an eating contest in England (because it is so difficult to eat) – however, I thought the plant was semi-toxic? Not to mention, COME ON PEOPLE, JUST MAKE SALSA WITH CHILES.  Jeez.


For instance, as budget-conscious consumers stayed home to eat, companies like ConAgra, General Mills, Heinz, Hershey, Kraft and Smucker increased ad spending in the first quarter by 12.4 to 81.2 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to data from the Kantar Media unit of WPP.

From the NYT piece on the upcoming Dash mag/insert.

When I read statistics like this, I can’t help but wonder – how much of this extra spend in advertising has affected me and my peers?  Are we staying home to eat because we want to, or because subconsciously we’ve gotten the glossy approval of mass media?