Ice Cream Season’s Coming!

Well I guess it’s that time of year again when the heat and humidity get the best of us. That’s right, it’s time to get in touch with our inner nine year old. You remember him or her, the kid who ran like a world class sprinter chasing down the ultimate in summer time feel good foods in the form of a thatched roof truck playing “The Entertainer” in the key of crazy…I see you remember now and so do I, It’s time for Ice cream.

I’ve spoken about it before and I think it’s worth mentioning again that my formative years of ice cream eating were not kind to me. If my therapist is correct, everything that has ever gone wrong in my life can somehow be traced back to that Friendly’s in Worcester Massachusetts. More specifically, that ice cream eating sidewalk that always managed to get me to part with my single scoop of strawberry.

But then again what would he know, he doesn’t believe cats can talk. A sentiment The Cat most certainly does not share, and has written the shrink several letters (letters that are now in my “permanent record” just in case something should happen) to the contrary. But aside from all my therapist’s thoughts on cats, lime flavored Jell-O and my unhealthy obsession with all things being symmetrical…let us return to the topic at hand.

After my unfortunate first impressions, ice cream decided to let bygones be bygones and came back into my life. No silly people, it didn’t just jump back in feet first as in, “I’m an ice cream cone, eat me!” It came back in a smooth and gentle manner known as soft serve.

I was perhaps six or seven and playing what most boys play in between the dreaded haircuts on the final day of school and picking out corduroys for the return to hell (translate-second grade)…that’s right…baseball. I wasn’t very good as a baseball player. Let me rephrase that… because I could throw the ball a great distance, I was always put in the outfield.

As most pee wee baseball players can attest, a six year old outfielder has as much chance seeing a ball come to him/her as I have of receiving the Nobel Prize for physics. Being A.D.D. the only action I saw in the outfield were the bugs I swatted at. The thing I liked about baseball was hitting, (and I could hit it a ton) the little containers of Tropicana orange juice from concentrate (the “Gatorade” of its day) and the soft serve we would go and get after the game.

Didn’t matter if we won or lost, we all got to pack into the back of our coach’s one ton pickup with stake body sides and go to the Creamy Cone where the coach would buy us all an ice cream. It was a bonus if we won because on the way there, we would get to scream like little banshees “We’re number one” at anybody who would listen. Yes young and gentle readers, this was at a time when sadly… kids were allowed to win or lose.

They were also allowed out of the house without a helmet, a neon yellow safety vest, glow sticks, nap sacks, allergy meds, their own personal water supply or capri sun! Besides…when you’re a six year old doing the serious business of ramp building with a two by ten and a cinder-block …all that stuff is just gonna weigh you down when you’re trying to run back to your house to have your mom douse your road rash in a bottle of Bactine, a half a box of Band-Aids and tincture of iodine. If only I managed to clear that tenth Tonka Truck…Things would have been different and I wouldn’t have been screaming like I was on fire from the application of iodine.

Anyway, I remember distinctly the first time we got to do this because we had won the game. I wasn’t aware there were rules or protocol for the ice cream ordering, so when everybody else was getting cones and I came back to the picnic table that my team was at holding a banana split (I got this out of fear of dropping my ice cream, and because I loved banana splits)…I found out this was a no-no.  But from then on it was all good.

We could only get vanilla chocolate or swirled, but then you could add “Jimmies” (some call them shots or sprinkles) multi colored or chocolate or you could add a shell. A shell was something you could dip the ice cream in that came in flavors from cherry to butterscotch…I always got vanilla dipped in a cherry shell. I’m not sure what was in “the shell” and I’m not sure they even make it anymore… but something that solidifies at less than freezing can’t be good.

After all the good times I had with soft serve I decided to repress my emotions towards hard ice cream and decided it was time to get reacquainted. I fell in love again in one fell scoop… her name was Heavenly Hash…and I was smitten. Where did this come from?! I asked…” Something your mother picked up” dad replied. My dad was a serious ice cream eater and didn’t believe in silliness with regards to his ice cream. He was a straight up French Vanilla or Coffee man.

I liked the vanilla just fine…excuse me French Vanilla. My dad sneered at plain vanilla and explained to me that French Vanilla was better…that was it…just better. I have since found out, French Vanilla is different because it is supposed to be made with real vanilla bean, have a higher milk fat content and is made from a custard base meaning egg yolks were added… all these things mean more flavor either by fat or vanilla bean…fat and flavor both get a thumbs up in my book…just as soon as I put this bowl of ice cream down.

With vanilla I had learned to “top it” with everything from blueberries my mother canned in summer, to maple syrup we damned near had kept a keg of… so as long as you didn’t mind getting creative, vanilla was a solid blank canvas. But Heavenly hash, here was something that needed nothing but a spoon. Heavenly hash for you ignorant of this incarnation of heaven…is vanilla and chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate chunks and swirled marshmallow fluff….wait for it…and walnuts!

Yup, walnuts… and seeing’s my mother used nuts in everything from breakfast cereal to brownies to Rice Krispy treats…I was a lover of all things nutty. This might actually explain a lot of past relationships I have had. But I digress; here I was with the perfect ice cream. Oh sure I’d add the odd bit of maple syrup now and again, but for out of the box instant pleasure…Heavenly Hash was where it was at.

I was twenty or so living on a steady diet of Ramen noodles, Tanqueray Gin, and thinking of you calls from a company silly enough to give a twenty year old man-boy a line of credit large enough to buy top shelf gin and a TV. I had an oddball job working third shift which allowed me to play golf and drink beer at a time of day most people found shocking on their drive into work. The downside was that on weekends I’d be up when most normal people were sleeping or doing whatever it is normal people do.

So Saturday night was the night I liked to do my grocery shopping. Keep in mind this was before I fully appreciated food, and a shopping cart full of ramen noodles and minute rice brought no shame unto me. It just meant I could buy other important things like fresh limes and ice cream. Chunky Monkey, what in the name of fruit stripe gum is Chunky Monkey?!  Banana flavored ice cream with chocolate chunks aaaaaaaaand…walnuts…winner winner chicken dinner! In the cart it went and from then on I was a changed man.

I started on Chunky monkey which I found to be a gateway drug into other Ben and Jerry flavors. Yes, Ben and Jerry… my two newest BFF’s have been there beside me for quite some time and have rarely let me down. Sure there were the oddballs like “Oh Pear” and “Makin Whoopie Pies,” but seriously who was eating these anyway? I stuck to several favorites in my ice cream rotation.

Over the years of chronological adulthood I have fluctuated in weight and from time to time have been tempted while dieting with such things as sorbet, frozen yogurt, Italian ice, rice cream, low fat ice cream and smoothies. I decided in the end to just leave the frozen stuff alone until such a time came where I could eat super premium ice cream again.

Not too long ago I decided it was time to drop some winter weight and figured I’d give the Ben and Jerry’s Greek Frozen Yogurt a try. Yes I know, Greek frozen yogurt…how very trendy Pav! Yes it happens to be right now, but I have been eating Greek yogurt since before Archimedes knew what 2+2 equaled… ok maybe not that long, but I’ve been eating it since before it came a “style”. Style is a fancy food word people use to pretend there as good as something done the correct and probably more expensive way so they can make money off from the name and make you hate the original.

In this case the folks at Ben and Jerry (as Ben and Jerry themselves have been off fighting oppression brought on by “The Man” ever since selling the company and making more money than “The Man” himself) are just using the word Greek to coincide with the Greek style yogurt craze. As if the word Greek were magic, and would magically turn ass flavored frozen yogurt into something delicious. This isn’t a review in which I’m going to break down the three flavors I’ve tried into cute little sentences like… The fruity blueberry flavor danced on my tongue…. Or… The peanut flavor was so ethereal, I thought I saw God or at the very least one of God’s cousins…

Suffice it to say the stuff didn’t completely suck, but it wasn’t good either. I suppose from a marketing standpoint it’ll be successful but as far as I’m concerned there is just no reason to eat it. There’s no reason to eat it or the other low fat, no fat options of ice cream and it doesn’t matter who makes them. Ice cream is a cool treat to eat at any time of the year, but especially in the summer.

It brings us back to the summers of our youth, when all was good in the world and the only things considered “Diet” were skim milk, Tab and Cottage Cheese. Maybe it’s all about moderation. I envy folks who can pick up a pint of ice cream and it lasts them the better part of a decade. Me, I sit down to watch a baseball game and by the time the national anthem is over, I’m fighting to get the lid away from The Cat so I can throw the container away.

So make the most of these hot days and get yourself a cone or a pint. Give some random kid a buck to go chase down the ice cream truck. Go down to the Creamy Cone or Tasty Freeze or whatever it was in your town and buy a stranger a smile with the simple gift of a swirled with jimmies, and while you’re at it…get yourself one too. Oh, and if you’re a baseball coach, don’t go too hard on the little redheaded kid who mistook get an ice cream for… get the most expensive sundae on the menu board!

Foie Gras, The Writer Who Knew Too Little

You didn’t strike me as a shy person responding on my page Spence Cooper, but I’m a little confused as to why you didn’t respond on the site you wrote the story for which was Friends Eat. So that we are all on the same page, I’ll go ahead and “cut n paste” your entire response to me. Seems only appropriate as I’m convinced it’s how you “wrote” your entire story…here is your response to me and going forward your hack story (I mean story in the most rudimentary way possible) will be in bold italics:

“If I had included more quoted material from those you were in agreement with, and less from those demented “anti-meat people”, I doubt your judgment would be as harsh.”

 “And besides, duck or goose, humanely killing animals for meat is one thing, but the barbaric process of producing Foie Gras is inexcusable cruelty for the sake of momentary hedonistic pleasure.”

My judgment wasn’t on the story Spence, but rather on the irresponsible way in which it was written and presented.  It was a hack story and there wasn’t an original thought in the entire thing.  I’m not a journalist Spence so cut me a little slack here… I’m guessing two of the founding precepts of journalism are not “Remember to cut and paste.” Or “When reporting, always have an opinion and make sure your story reflects that.” 

I see you got the notes from your readers that Foie Gras can come from either Duck or Goose and also is not a Pate….Good for you for fixing that. Just one more thing Spence…and again I’m no fancy journalist like you, but shouldn’t fact checking be part of your writing “process?” After all, Foie Gras is an organ…it actually the liver. It’s a thing…Foie Gras is not made from other things to make it Foie Gras. I guess pushing an agenda can make you a bit blind to facts…. But you may want to change it again.

Now unlike you Spence, I’ve actually been to Hudson Valley Foie Gras and cared enough about the subject to learn about it… next time you do a story on something I suggest you …. Oh I dunno… maybe do some research. Since you didn’t  I’m willing to take a little time and educate you on the subject using your so called “story” to help illustrate just how uneducated both you….and the people you cut and paste from ….are… on the subject of Foie Gras.

“Foie gras production involves force-feeding restrained ducks by shoving metal pipes down their throats multiple times a day, called gavage, and pumping them full of grain, or corn and fat, which leads to acute hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, which in turn leaves ducks suffering with malfunctioning livers that are ten times their normal size”

You think a metal tube is uncomfortable Spence? How about a whole fish expanding a ducks throat to 3 and 4 times its normal circumference….yet ducks  manage to do that all by themselves…. Maybe we should pass a law regulating the size of fish ducks can swallow in the wild huh Spence?!  A Ducks Crop can hold over 3 cups of food at a time and when left to their own devices and food supplies being bountiful, they will eat that much voluntarily. But maybe with some therapy Spence, we can help them with their eating “issues.”

Hepatic Lipidosis… Wow Spence, very fancy name. Fortunately for Ducks and Geese they don’t get this disease as they are waterfowl and their livers get naturally fat just before migration, it’s an energy storage system….kinda like how us humans get a gut, our body’s way of dealing with feast or famine. (Incidentally this is the same age at which the Ducks at HVFG are being fed larger amounts of food.)

“Our lawsuit is based on the fact that the PPIA dictates that diseased animal organs are supposed to be condemned by USDA inspectors, and foie gras is — by definition — a diseased organ. Thus, USDA should do its job by banning the sale of foie gras nationally.”

Yeah except the “disease” of which they speak doesn’t occur in waterfowl….opps! Guess someone forgot to do their homework!

“Force feeding causes a number of injuries: bruising or perforation of the esophagus; hemorrhaging and inflammation of the neck resulting from the repeated insertion of the pipe to the throat; and asphyxia caused by food improperly forced into the trachea.

Quite simply, no it doesn’t…and besides that, you can’t sell and make money off an animal that is dead. A healthy well cared for animal is in the best interest of the farm.  Oh, and ducks don’t have a gag reflex so they’re not choking…. Furthermore Ducks can have the esophagus blocked fully and still breath fine… “Remember swallowing whole fish?!”  Yup that’s right… they can breath and eat at the same time….imagine that Spence.

 “Wounds of the esophagus may subsequently become infected. Force feeding also results in numerous illnesses and disease, including hepatic lipidosis, bacterial and fungal infections, malnourishment, and lameness. For these reasons, mortality rates for force-feed ducks are 10 to 20 times higher than those for non-force fed ducks.”

Well pigeons “MIGHT” fly out of my ass dragging barbed wire Spence… The beginning of the paragraph is saying things that might happen. Hell with the same logic, people might spill hot coffee on them and get burned. Does that mean we should pass a law saying coffee cups should have warnings…oh, so you’re the guy they did that for!

Mortality rate for Ducks at HVFG is about 3 percent… If you think the ducks in the wild are living better than that Spence. You’re delusional! Hell, there are whole countries of people that don’t have mortality rates that good! The USA infant mortality rate average for the last three years  is 7.07…does this mean we should ban having babies Spence?!

You cut and pasted (THEN BURRIED): “…USDA would not allow a diseased organ to be sold, and called the production of foie gras “a reversible, healthy process in an animal, beyond question.””

HOLY SCHNIKES …The only fact based piece you bothered to put in your story Spence…good boy!

Look, let’s cut the crap and call this ban what it really is… one step closer to banning all meat. If you read PETA and National Humane Societies propaganda, you’ll see they are against all killing of animals for meat or otherwise. This isn’t a ban on Foie Gras, it’s a ban on meat eaters Spence…Wake up and smell the hamburgers before you’re eating tofurkey on a gluten free bun. Can the foie industry use regulation or at the very least oversight? Perhaps. Does it need to be banned outright…. No way in hell.

Look the bottom line is this Spence; these animals are raised for human consumption…period. If you find that hard to swallow then grab a granola bar (minus the honey) and speak up. Otherwise, don’t tell me what I can and can’t eat. The best we can do while they are being raised, is to do so in a respectful and reasonable manner. But in the end…they will look nice, and taste delicious with some reduced red wine sauce and Pommes Anna. Oh and Spence…don’t use the word “hedonistic”, especially when you wrote a story on Foie Gras and you don’t even know what it is to begin with. It only makes you sound…moronic.

Bon Appetite!

GOOD FOOD, BAD FOOD

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but every now and again I think it’s good to lick a finger and stick it…. In the air to gauge which way the wind is blowing in the world of food. There are a lot of good things happening that have drawn some negative attention, and in my opinion a lot of crap still getting the usual praise. Let’s dispense with the negative so that we can all put down our forks from anger, and extend a cold pressed olive oil in peace.

Let’s start with pink slime and three cheers for getting rid of something I think we can all agree is truly evil. Thank heavens there is only one remaining plant still open and we have managed to put hundreds of people out of work! I’m just glad there is no other food product out there that is just as awful…like say… mechanically separated poultry (a.k.a. MSP).  Oh…. wait just a minute!

How is it pink slime got such a black eye and yet MSP got a pass? Now both are gone from the nightly news and everybody’s happy?! We are eating MSP in record amounts, and everybody is petting each other on the back for downing the evil “pink slime” while shoveling MSP into their faces in the form of chicken patties and cheap assed hot dogs.

 Nice going America! Due to a little one sided reporting and knee jerk reactions you managed to put a bunch of people out of work…just what this country needs. The good news is that now these folks are out of work, they will have to cut back on their food budgets and buy those cheaper hot dogs and processed chicken patties…maybe they can eat their way into a job in the MSP industry!

Milk, we need another milk like Taco Bell needs another way of stuffing the same five ingredients into a tortilla! When I was a kid we had whole milk which most people drank, and skim milk which near as I can tell nobody but kindergarten teachers and already too thin people drank. Milk actually had body and taste to it and now drinking milk is like having sex in a canoe…f’king close to water!

Then you look at the variety and types of milk available as if cows weren’t doing a good enough job in the milk production market. We decided to milk goats and sheep, why stop there?! I mean hell, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and cats aren’t doing much…. Let’s get them in on the game! Of course animal milk wasn’t good for the lactose intolerant crowd, which is oddly growing by leaps and bounds each year…so we started creating other milks.

So we started making milk from Soy, Almonds and Rice. I’ve tried soy milk and if I’m being honest, I’d rather drink hamster milk. I think somebody realized how bad soy milk sucked so they started adding vanilla to it to make it palatable. They could add bacon and fairy dust to it and I still won’t drink it.

Almond milk I’ve had on accident and found it to be surprisingly good. But given the fact I don’t drink much milk these days in lieu of a diet low in bland milk and high in Jameson, I doubt I’ll be lining  up for almond milk anytime soon. As for rice milk I mean really, what’s the point?! The only milk product I buy on a regular basis is half and half for use in my crappy coffee each morning.  I’d rather buy double cream, but they don’t sell it in half gallons.

Pie pops and cake Pops. First off let me set the record straight by saying popsicles sucks. The only food worthy of sticks that doesn’t suck… is meat! Popsicles from my childhood bring back nothing but memories of falling chunks of sugar water covered in ants and chills up my spine from trying to bite into them…the same chills I get today by the mere mention of popsicles or seeing a political ad.

So when the same A-holes that brought us cupcakes in the form of tiered wedding cakes, bunny rabbits or precious little cupids started jamming sticks in balls of cake and selling them for a dollar or more a piece. I hated them instantly and more intensely than anything I have ever hated before…well except perhaps for the hate I feel towards people who insist on putting flax seeds in everything…

Pie pops are cute and I’m sure they are tasty, but to fill my need for pie I’d have to eat a dozen or so of these little bastards. What did that pie ever do to you to make you want to shrink it and shove a stick in it?! I pray in the name of all things that are good and delicious to eat, that when you die and go to the giant pie in the sky… a slice of blueberry shrinks you down, shoves a stick in your ass (to replace the one that was always there) and drops you in a precious display vase for other pies to eat. Stick with torturing cupcakes and leave the damned pies alone!

I’ve heard that the filled donut will be taking the place of the cupcake and for my money they can’t do that soon enough. I just feel bad for what must be thousands of fondant factories that will have to be shut down. I like the thought of filled donuts being the next trend. I picture them filled with things like maple cream and bacon lardon then turned into a tower of croquembouche awesomeness.

It’s bad assed and bad for your ass, so it makes it harder for some putz to start futzing with it. Well of course, first will come the eyes…then a tail…maybe a few little licorice arms and legs…then the damned fondant…. Oh for the love of Pete…fire up the damned fondant factories, miss cupcake over here’s got an idea! Anyway, enjoy the crème brulee filled donuts while you can.

Pig parts are something people like to bitch about as being overdone, and if the parts were dry tasteless and covered with fondant I’d say you got yourself a point. The fact of the matter is, it’s delicious, comes in a bazillion cuts and breeds, is moist and flavorful, goes better in bahn mi or an Italian sub than a pie-pop, and the kicker of them all is it’s just so versatile! I mean seriously, anything that goes with chocolate, ice cream and maple syrup then can stand alone in Korean BBQ…sign me up.

Bunnies and Goats…oh my! That’s right folks, make way for fluffy the bunny and kid the goat. I know what you’re thinking people and you’re right, bunnies and goats are cute…and if they weren’t delicious they’d make good pets. This is kind of like saying if frogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their asses when they jump…who cares… it’s delicious.

Brace yourself for the coming of delicious and cute little critters. Asshole California Anti Foie people make a note… cute animals should be your next target on the “We want to tell you what you can eat campaign!” Goat makes quite possibly the best chili I ever had, and if bunny will make it better, I’m all in.

The last good thing that needs to continue in spades is Korean food of all kinds…from BBQ to Kimchi and everything in between.  We need some bold flavors like that added to our boring diets. I think we’re ready for it. I mean after what seems like nearly 20 years of testosterone fueled macho B.S. for all sauces hot and Buffalo wings that can melt your face, our palates deserve something spicy and flavorful like Korean food. Now if we could just get rid of the tough guy who dares you to make it too hot to eat…here’s a ghost pepper…bon appetit!

What is on your food radar my dearest warm, sensitive and gentle readers? What foods do you want more of, and what foods do you wish would take a hike? Where are you on Scotch eggs? Thoughts on Sriracha? Food Bloggers? Cookbooks and Cookbook Authors? Things made out of Rice Krispies? Fancy Gelatin desserts? Sushi? Things covered with fondant? What’s that shit on my Pizza? You tell me… I’m pretty good with most things as long as they are genuine, and not tortured or contrived. Hit me with it now, as there is only one post left before I’m ass deep to a ten foot gorilla in the St. Louis food scene…

St Louis…Can’t Wait!

Since I was a kid I always loved going to new cities and finding out what new and wonderful things there were to eat. On a Trip to the Canadian Rockies I discovered Rocky Mountain Oysters, My brother discovered Giardia. Giardia for those of you fortunate enough not to be in the know is a lovely little infection caused by a microscopic parasite. It basically turns you into a human sea cucumber, where you are turned inside out faster than a turtleneck on wash day.

A second example was a trip to Baltimore to visit family, and I found “The Crab Cake”… My brother found something that more closely resembled “The Trots.” I felt bad for my brother on that trip because I got the chance to go see my Yankees Play the Orioles in the old Memorial Stadium. I got to see Goose Gossage pitch, a two dollar hot dog, a power outage during the game, the Yankee’s winning, and lots of boxing after the game in the parking lot… which turns out not to be boxing at all. My brother got a fever and hallucinations that made him think he was being poked by purple monkeys…either way, we both got to see something new.

That was the summer of seventy-eight and darned near every summer since then I have gone to a new city and tried new and different foods and experiences. Last summer was a bit of a mixed blessing as I was in Knoxville, TN. I hate saying that because the people of Knoxville were so wonderful and inviting. The city itself is well laid out and the nightlife was FABU… but then there was the food… or lack thereof.

Now before you start hating, there was some good food going on. The bacon and smoked jowl from Benton’s in Madisonville is in a word amazing. Café 4 on Market Square does some pretty plates and the brunch was without a doubt…great! I Loved Soccer Taco for their Lengua, Cachete, Pastor, Bouche, and Chorizo Tacos… plus their Sunday menudo to help fend off the occasional demon that was trying to split my head open and made my eyes look like two tomatoes in a bowl of buttermilk .

Ali Babba’s on Kingston Pike for…well for damned near everything! Downtown brewery has some good beers. Sangria’s on the square shouldn’t be missed for all the tastiness they offer. The Shrimp Dock on Kingston Pike does a nice Po Boy and thankfully had some Cajun ingredients worth checking out. Last but not least, Preservation Pub… I never ate there, but the people and the vibe are awesome plus they make a mean Guinness so, thanks for that!

That all being said I can’t recommend a single place for breakfast because beyond Cracker Barrel, IHop and Waffle House, there are very few “breakfast” places. I drove from one end of Kingston Pike to the other one morning looking for a “Diner” style dive, and was directed to go downtown for Pete’s… it wasn’t bad, but it was a much uninspired menu.

There is another actual “Diner” in the Knoxville area that I went to but it felt like more of the same and I never went back. Not sure if “corned beef hash” or hash in general is a northern thing… but someone in that town should look into it. Biscuits, ham, bacon, sausage, gravy, toast, hash browns and eggs are not a complete breakfast menu for the love of….PETE?!

I’m not a sushi fan to begin with really, but the three places I went to used more cream cheese in their sushi than a cheesecake factory…Seriously, cream cheese in sushi?! I am far from what people would consider an expert in the world of sushi, but even I know there is something criminal about this concept. No matter,  Knoxville isn’t what one would call “coastal” so for my money, the importance of a good sushi restaurant is nil.

So goodbye Knoxville for now, and hello St Louis! I have been talking with many people in St. Louis and I have to say, I’m super thrilled to be going there. It seems to be nearly the antithesis of Knoxville from a food standpoint. But that’s not saying a lot as Knoxville isn’t a very high bar to surpass. In all fairness you’re talking about a city that is less than half the size of St Louis so it’s not a good comparison and I’m sure there will be things I miss about Knoxville that St. Louis can’t offer. But from what I’m hearing so far, I can’t imagine what that would be.

So let’s see what I’m thinking of trying in St Louis, and you tell me what I’m missing:

Beer: Schlafly is the biggest of the craft beers in town, wides selection and it has two brew pubs, both with good food.  The better food is probably at the Tap Room but the Bottleworks has the Wednesday afternoon farmers’ market.

Perennial is one of the newer craft breweries.  Large format, probably most creative assortment out there.

Urbanchestnut:  Great rehab on their midtown building, beers are good styles most German in nature.

4 Hands:  Down around the Soulard area, they have hosted a few food truck nights.  Plus they have good beer.

Farmers’ Markets:  complete rundown the Post Dispatch website, probably on their Off the Menu blog section.  Wednesday is the Bottleworks afternoon market, really good stuff there with usually a live bland and you can drink beer while your shop.  Saturday morning has the Tower Grove market where there is a little bit more ready to eat food, KDHX live performances, and some good growers.  Soulard is a crapshoot.  You need to be able to see the people who are sellers and who are growers.  There are some good farmers there, most on Saturday.  It’s technically open Thursday through Saturday, but most of the booths are open on Saturday.  There are also Kirkwood, Ferguson, Clayton, and Ellisville markets.

Food:  Lots of food trucks lately, look for the Sauce Magazine food truck friday when you get here.

BBQ — Pappy’s and Bogart’s specialties to look for would be rib tips and snoots.(I’d like a few more recs on BBQ)

Sandwiches – Winslow’s Home is a great general store, serves great breakfast and lunch.  Blues City Deli has a great selection of sandwiches.  Gioias Deli for a hot salami (this one just makes me chuckle for many sophomoric reasons…and in ordering it I hoping they have a number system!

Breakfast/Diners/Donuts -Look into Donut Drive in, World’s Fair Donuts, etc.  Brand new is Pint Size Bakery, and while they don’t have donuts, they have a lot of great pastries.  For diners, there is a great tradition in STL for these, like Eat Rite Diner (notice bullet holes about the juke box).  The Slinger is a must, but then again, you must be drunk to truly appreciate it.  Other Breakfast spots would be Half & Half.

Good Food:  Sidney Street, Niche is great, wonderful ingredients with great execution.  Farmhaus is casual, small plates.  Very good flavors. Salt is somewhat new, also small plate like 5 Bistro is very locavore, somewhat Italian in approach and really good. Harvest and Riverbend

Seafood Market: Bob’s

Pizza: Pi Pizzeria The Good Pie. Joanie’s

Sausage:  G&W Sausage.  Go on Saturday morning, you’ll be greeted by a can of Busch beer.  Salume Beddu has heritage breed meat going into their salumi.  Farmer’s Larder sells at local farmers’ markets and they make great sausages and bacon.

Mexican can be found all over town, the main hub is on Cherokee.  La Vallesana is the grand daddy of them, but it recently got a facelift.  So, I miss the grime a little and the menu has gotten a little americanized.  There are plenty of other good places down cherokee, including a grocery store.

Asian – Look into the Thai get together in Florissant, I think it’s the 3rd sunday of the month at  a local temple.  For Vietnamese, I like Mai Lee.  There are plenty of other ones, but Qui is a madman and will take good care of you.  There’s good Korean, I like Korea House but also look into U City Diner.

Chop Suey Shops get a St. Paul (when I saw this I thought it was secret code for something, but apparently Chop Suey culture is strong in St Louis and so is a sandwich called a St. Paul…I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself)

These are recommendations and a few notes from Bloggers, Friend’s and Chefs in St Louis, but if you have something I need to see, drink or eat I’d love to hear it! Meet you in St Louis…Louis….sorry, I did the musical when I was a kid and I think of it every time I hear the city mentioned.

Response to a "Foie Gras" Hater

This is in reply to a meat hater…oops! I mean “Foie” hater…but really what’s the difference?! The person is Amy Rebecca, a blogger. The following is a rant mostly how she is appalled by the mudslinging and people being insulted by foie gras proponents. The story is here LAist

I am truly appalled at the mud slinging and verbal harassment that the pro foie gras chefs resorted to. I have not been as involved in the fight to ban foie gras, but after participating in the demonstration outside Melisse and witnessing the way they treat people, I’m all in. After reading all of the comments on the Facebook event, I decided to take screen shots and document what these people were saying. After I told Chef Dan Moody (Daniel Rogers on Facebook) to behave like a gentleman, hewrote a preemptive blog accusing me of breaking the law. I guess Dan didn’t know I’m a blogger and I don’t take shit from anyone. As much as I truly despise everything about foie gras and the killing and torturing of any animal, I would never attack the opposition in such a crude, vindictive way. What I say to my friends is one thing, but what I say online is strategic. Anything you write online can come back and bite you. I know I’m fighting for what’s right and I don’t need to fight dirty. I have the truth on my side. I know that foie gras will get banned, and these online assaults are a testament that the other side is scared. Bullying is always done out of fear and insecurity. This is a classic case. What I find highly inappropriate is that Dan, a chef and businessman, would choose to represent himself and the content of his character in such a negative light. If foie gras really isn’t bad, then why would they need to call us names? Now I highlight Dan because he was the most vicious and vocal of the lot, but there were others. After a pro foie gras twitter account retweeted me, another swarm of chefs and foie gras lovers began attacking me online. Why are they so defensive? Do they not realize they’re fighting for diseased liver?!Chris Liberti decided to take it upon himself to throw every possible derogatory term and logical fallacy he could think of on twitter. How is this kind of childish behavior going to help the pro foie gras cause? It takes a certain type of person to advocate for such horrific animal cruelty. It’s no wonder why they’re throwing such verbally abusive attacks at me. I’m asking Dan Moody to apologize for his incredibly rude remarks, not only to myself, but to the other women on Facebook who were attacked. According to his website, “Chef Dan believes that food and the act of cooking are also important ways of expressing love, showing hospitality and ultimately bringing people together.” I beg to differ. I ask people to boycott Dan Moody until he learns to have respect and compassion for other people and animals.

Here is my response: 

Amy, that was the most brilliantly organized pile of disingenuous babble I have ever read.
Nicely played “Women of FB” card…after telling readers “I don’t take shit from anyone!” of course this was after poor little ole you asked someone to behave like a gentleman…So which are you? A wounded fragile flower “Woman of FB”… Or a bad assed blogger with a mouth like a sailor? You can’t have it both ways.

What you don’t know about waterfowl livers astounds me, and I’d venture to guess you don’t bother to do any research…so allow me to enlighten you. The USDA specifically prevents “diseased” livers from entering the food system and has gone as far as to say that enlarged waterfowl livers are NOT diseased. But why mess up a nice little story with facts. So much for having truth on your side.

I might be more inclined to be against Foie Gras if animals were raised solely for the liver and then everything else was discarded… but it’s not. Every part of the animal is used…from the feathers to the meat. This brings me to the real reason you’re hiding behind the “Ban on Foie”…The best part is…you said it yourself.

“… the killing… of any animal…” You threw in torture as an afterthought, but I and everybody else… knew what you meant. That’s fine that you don’t want animals to die for the sake of human consumption.

It’s a rational thought to have and people grapple with this every day. But don’t drape yourself in the fabric of a”just cause” and pretend it has to do with suffering and torture, because you have seen plenty of film footage showing you this isn’t the case. Instead you’d rather force your beliefs of a “Meat Free World” on everybody, disguising it as a fight for poor cute little ducks. Who wouldn’t get behind that…right?!

So in the end, let us have rational, honest discourse using facts. Let’s not resort to verbally abusive attacks against each other or attacks against others families or loved ones as has been done. But most of all, let us all be honest and call this what it really is… a fight for the right to eat meat. Meat of any kind…The lucky ducks just happen to be a cute animal. Where is the outrage over grass fed beef?!

Foie is just one little battle for the greater cause and it’s a slippery slope…let’s not go down it. Because in the future after all the meat has been banned, somebody might just want to ban you from eating fiddleheads because of the screaming they hear when the fiddleheads are picked…and that someone is going to be me…someone get me some vinegar to go with these screaming fiddleheads…

As an afterthought to my response…The fact that she asked people to boycott a restaurant which would not only effect the owner and Chef… but also all of the restaurant’s employees…just goes to show how compassionate these people really are. I pick on Amy but in all fairness it’s not just her who feel this way. It’s a vast majority of the so called “anti foie” people.

Most people who think they are anti foie are so, because they saw some tired film footage the media pulls out every time Foie is protested. We have all seen it, of the birds in cages or a dead duck lying on a dirty floor in some dark barn. I mean if that’s all I knew of foie gras, I’d be against it too. Fortunately for me I have seen places like Hudson Valley Foie Gras and have seen the light…as in well lit barns with well cared for ducks in a clean environment.

If the anti foie gras folks were honest with themselves and everyone else, they would show how these ducks are truly raised and slaughtered, then let people decide for themselves. But that wouldn’t help their cause would it? I’m not trying to force people to eat foie gras. It’s not for everyone, and if they decide not to eat it then so be it. But if you decide to eat it, these people would like to force you not to…even if that means verbal or physical attacks. Hmmm, harming humans in defense of ducks…how truly sad. 

Before you decide if you’re for or against it… get the facts, and maybe visit a place like Hudson Valley Foie Gras. And before you listen to some person tell for the millionth time how ducks are fed having a metal funnel jammed down a ducks throat, ask yourself this question…. are these anti foie people stuffing food down their own throats with plastic….or metal utensils? The metal funnels by the way, do not puncture the ducks esophagus and they can breath fine…it’s how they are able to swallow fish whole in the wild.

So thanks Amy for showing me this side of you. I’d like to say it was enlightening…. but in the end, it was just more of the same.