Category Archives: Reading

Six Rules For Dining Out

I came across a great article in the May 2012 Atlantic Magazine by Tyler Cowen.  Its called Six Rules for Dining Out and I found it fascinating.  Amongst the rules are: in the fanciest restaurants, order what sounds least appetizing.  Sound nonsensical?  Read the article and see his logical explanation.  I also loved his take on Thai food.  It reinforces my concerns about Thai food that I’ve expressed here previously- do I really know what authentic Thai food tastes like?  Give it a read.  I also saw at the end of the article that this was adapted from his forthcoming book.  FCPL has it on order and I’m third in the holds line, so number one and two read quickly!

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Filed under Reading, Restaurant- misc., The Good Life

Scoops and stuff

Nine days after my post the Frederick News Post had an article about Bryan Voltaggio looking to open a second restaurant.  Which was three days later than the Washington Post article that referenced this blog.  OK maybe I got the possible location wrong but time will tell.  Anyway I never promised you I was a journalist.  Whole thing was pretty cool though.

PS Thanks to the Washington Post and Twitter for helping me set a new record for the most page hits per day.

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Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator is making their website free (you know how I love THAT word) from November 15th through the 28th.  I think they normally charge around $50 a year for access.  They are doing this so that people can see the unveiling of their top 100 wines of the year.  The real attraction to me is that you can check out their searchable database of over 236,000 wine ratings.

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Odds and Ends

Just received word that the magazine Edible Chesapeake is ceasing publication.  That’s sad as I always looked for it at the Common Market and enjoyed reading it.  From the release: 

I will no longer be publishing Edible Chesapeake magazine. The decision is the result of much reflection on how best to balance the needs of my family and myself as a small business owner, with the needs of the local food community of which Edible Chesapeake has been an important part since 2005. The recently published Fall 2009 issue, with the incredibly scrumptious apple cider donuts on the cover, is the last of my tenure as publisher and editor. It is uncertain at this time whether Edible Chesapeake will return under a new publisher.

Frederick Wine House is having a number of interesting looking wine classes over the next month.  The Champagne and sparkling wine course looks great!

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Farmer’s Market Book

As promised in my earlier post there is one book that I find invaluable in helping me turn farmer’s market finds into delicious food on the table.  That is Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference by Elizabeth Schneider.   This is a huge book (800+ pages!) that covers every vegetable you are likely to encounter in the United States.  Do you know the difference between true (French) shallots and most of what you find in US grocery stores?  I didn’t until I read that entry.  Alphabetically organized it covers more than 350 vegetables.  Each vegetable has its own section which goes over the history, the varieties and what to look for in selecting perfect vegetables.  Beautiful color pictures illustrate throughout.  Following each entry it gives a bunch of recipes using the vegetable and then finishes each section with chef’s perspectives on using the vegetable.   With this book if you see something, you can buy it and take it home and be confident that you will have recipes and a strong starting point to maximize your find.

veggies

You can find it here on Amazon.  Not cheap but very worthwhile.

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When I Grow Up

When I grow up I want to be a blog just like this one.  Seriously, this is a phenomenal blog that I read regularly even though I don’t do much in Howard County except drive through it.  This is a true labor of love, very informative and it shows.  A model for all wanna-be local food bloggers.  I always feel inferior after visiting here yet I still check it out regularly.

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Broadbent’s Revenge

Loyal reader(s?) may remember my review of the book The Billionaire’s Vinegar.  As a follow up to the story I saw that the venerable British wine critic Micheal Broadbent settled his libel and defamation suit against Random House, the publisher of the book.  The book was less than flattering to Mr. Broadbent.  The amount of the monetary settlement is undisclosed,  but Random House issued an apology and has agreed not to distribute the book any more in the United Kingdom.  The New York Times story can be found here.  Decanter (which he writes for) had a different take on it but did say that he was going to celebrate with a magnum of 1990 Mouton while pondering whether to seek an injunction about the film based on the book.

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Reflections of a Wine Merchant

winemerchI just finished reading Neil Rosenthal’s book Reflections of a Wine Merchant (from FCPL).   Mr. Rosenthal is a thirty year plus veteran of the wine importing business, dealing mainly in European wines and especially fine Burgundies. The book was so-so.  I almost put it down which is very unusual for me. Unless you are a hard-core wine geek (guilty!) you probably won’t get a lot out of this book.  I did enjoy Mr. Rosenthal’s views on wine styles and the modern trend of wine reviewers become raw statisticians instead of writers.  However, the majority of the book was filled with tales of soured business relationships and what appeared to me to be a settling of old scores on the part of Mr. Rosenthal.   Weirdly enough there seemed to be a lot of tragedies in this book:  early death by brain tumor, paralysis in a motorcycle accident, drowning in an upturned car in a water filled ditch to name a few.   About halfway through the book I came to the conclusion that based on the way he portrays himself in the book I wouldn’t really like Mr. Rosenthal a whole lot if  I met him and would have no desire to hang out with him.  Of course what do I know right?  I’m just some anonymous guy with access to the Internet.  But I still think that a much better example of the genre is this book, which I reviewed last summer.

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Budget Cuts and the Fourth Estate

I don’t think anyone is envious of those poor souls labouring in the newspaper business right now.  However one of my favorite abuse pinatas:  the Frederick News Post is really plumbing the depths.  Yes in their current “In Good Taste” column [Cue announcers voice: “In Good Taste reports on an unannounced dining experience and is not meant to be a critical review” they review  ,excuse me, report on…cue drum roll… the Waffle House.   Good God those budget cuts must really be hurting.

Should you have questions about the fare at Waffle House you can see the review unannounced dining experience here.  Some highlights include “the portions were generous” and “the prices were modest.”  Coming next week:  The FNP reviews McDonald’s Value Menu.

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Ethics

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about two reviewers from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate accepting trips etc. from winemakers.  One reviewer “vacationed and enjoyed lavish social dinners in the company of wine importers whose wines he reviews.”  It raises some interesting ethical questions.  I think the potential for abuse is especially ripe in the blogosphere.  After all who knows where bloggers are coming from? I’ve mulled over what I would do.  The closest I came is that I was offered a free bottle of wine from a local winery after one of my reviews.  I didn’t accept it,but I thought about what would happen if I was offered a free meal or something like that.

So far this is all just speculation.  Fred’s been looking to sell out for years, but nobody has been buying!

Link to the article here.

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Filed under Reading, Restaurant Reviews