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Started as my journal for culinary school, I now put all my serial food writing in here. You can check out my archives for my battle with veal and a tamis, my testing traumas, but also what it's like to be a cheesemonger in San Francisco or be obsessed with Bonny Doon wine. Anything that will be an ongoing story of several parts finds room here.
Best mashed potato recipe ever. Thank you, Nora Ephron (6.27.12)
A mashed potato tribute.
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The NC Double Shot: Last Call (06.30.11)
Margarita vs. Gin and Tonic
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The NC Double Shot: The Final Pour (06.20.11)
It's Cape Cod vs. Gin and Tonics and Margarita vs. Sangria. What will be your pour?
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The NC Double Shot: E-lit Eight (06.14.11)
Mimosas must die.
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The NC Double Shot: The Sweet Hic!steen (06.06.11)
I don't like either drink and never order them. Both too sweet, both rather boring. Tough one to call winner-wise as well, but my bet is that S&TC backlash plus memories of illicit boozing in wood-paneled basements with boys named Thad gives rum-and-cokes the victory.
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The NC Double Shot Round of 32, Flight 2 (05.31.11)
Is this where the Martini meets its waterloo? Can the alcohol-free Shirley Temple hold on for another round? What drink makes Bunting want to read Hemingway? These answers and more in this round of the N C Double Shot!
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The NC Double Shot Round of 32, Flight 1 (05.27.11)
Bloody Mary vs. Black/White Russians; Cape Cod vs. Amaretto Sour; Bellini vs. Bacardi Cocktail/Rum Punch; Champagne Cocktail vs. X] and Soda / Wine Spritzer...and much more as the NC Double Shot continues.
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The NC Double Shot Round of 64, Flight 4: Pl-Z (05.23.11)
Sex on the Beach, James Bond's Vesper martini, and childhood memories of Kiddie Cocktails at the Waikiki Room in Minneapolis and Chi Psi's whisky-sour Wednesdays.
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The NC Double Shot Round of 64, Flight 3: I-Pi (5.20.11)
Today, we have some Lemon Drop confessionals and underage drinking from Bunting, as well as my promise to every one of you that if Pimm's doesn't make it through this round, I will hunt you down and make you drink expired eggnog.
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The NC Double Shot Round of 64, Flight 2: Co-H (05.18.11)
Some of my favorite drinks are featured this round: French 75, gin and tonics, Dark and Stormys, Gimlets and Greyhounds. Thirsty? Read on and vote!
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The NC Double Shot Round of 64, Flight 1: A-Ch (5.16.2011)
Bloody Marys, Americanos, Caipirinhas, and Russians of various colors in today's cocktail stare-down face-off.
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N C Double Shot: Qualifying Round A-F (04.26.11)
Cheers! Chin chin! Prost! Slainte! Drink up, me hearties, yo HO! It's the N C Double Shot!
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N Candy AA II: Fruit to the Death (11.23.10)
Nerds vs. Starburst. That's right.
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N Candy AA: The Final Four (11.18.10)
And then there were four: Starburst vs. Reese's Pieces; Nerds vs. Smarties/SweeTarts.
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N Candy AA II: The Sweetmeat Eight (11.11.10)
Sugar Daddy vs. Nerds; Saltwater taffy vs. Smarties; Skittles vs. Reese's Pieces; Kraft caramels vs. Starburst.
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N Candy AA II: Sweet Sixteen (11.08.10)
Peeps should have crushed Now & Laters, but didn't, and as much as people (myself included) love them, saltwater taffy seems to figure into far more nostalgic summer memories. I know it brings me right back to the summer of '81. Grandma and I got a peppermint piece to stretch the whole width of the living room in Stone Harbor. Good times.
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N Candy AA II: Round of 32, Flight 2 (11.02.10)
Other kids' addiction-level love of Gummi Bears is one of those things, like thinking Kirk Cameron was cute, that I just never got. I understood that it was a default sort of opinion, but I didn't share it. Gummi bears taste faintly sour to me, and the clear ones in particular have a vurpy flavor whose appeal is a mystery.
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N Candy AA II: Round of 32, Flight 1 (11.01.10)
The most annoying thing about Pixy Stix is how wet the paper tubing gets during consumption, which makes the flavored Pixy dust stick to the edges of the torn-off paper. Even when you take careful steps to keep the tube from touching any part of your mouth, it still gets damp from your exhalations. So what do you do? You chase the dry spot by frenetically tearing off more and more Pixy Stix tubing, only to find that your saliva has travelled by capillary action all the way down the tube.
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Coffee, Tea, or Blood?: Vamp Up Your Drink (10.26.10)
I should note that since my primary source was published about 16 years ago, I have no idea if this guy is still living (or still living-dead, as it were), so if this concoction makes you vomit, don't blame me.
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Beyond Garlic: Vampire Preventatives from Your Pantry (10.22.10)
If you're not a fan of the über hickey, make sure you have vampire blood, garlic, salt, lard, and various seeds on your shopping list. Why? Read on, my friend. Read on.
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N Candy AA II: Round of 64, Flight 4 (10.21.10)
If we could rank things higher than 1, I would have ranked candy corn there. It is so good; it is so perfectly chewy. It has a hint of creamsicle to it, and you know how I feel about those. Laffy Taffy, meanwhile, is stupidly named and tastes like dirty Tupperware regardless of the flavor (except, strangely, for the banana kind, which can usually be counted on to be the most revolting of any given candy style). --Bunting
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N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 3 (10.20.10)
One of my most cherished memories is finding the classic Life Savers storybook in my wooden shoe on Christmas morning. SO MANY ROLLS! SO MANY FLAVORS! If I recall, we got two rolls of regular rainbow Life Savers, two rolls of peppermint, two of wintergreen, and one each of butterscotch and wild cherry. They would last for DAYS!
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N Candy AA II: Round of 64, Flight 2 (10.19.10)
More than their flavors, I think I loved the wrapper patterns most of all. Also, DumDums were the only lollipops small enough to allow you to pull off a believable Kojak. DumDums will push on through, because who loves you, baby?
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N Candy AA II: Round of 64, Flight 1 (10.18.10)
The creepy mail-order-bride branding is problematic (and the Slo-Poke looks like baby poo on a stick -- and is named "Slo-Poke," hew), but if you like your Milk Duds sans chocolate coating, the Sugar Baby fills a necessary hole. (Hew.) We may have ranked the rhyming candy too high; it won't win.
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Of Posters and Editors: What I Miss About Television Without Pity (05.10.10)
Naturally, watching William Shatner gorge himself on scenery while totally rocking a man-girdle under his spangled uniform provided much meat for online discussion.
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Television Without Pity: 9 Years, 13 Shows (05.08.10)
I had tasted of the nectar of recapping, and it was too sweet to do without, so in order to make sure my editors remembered I was sitting around waiting for more bad TV to come my way, I bugged them with pitches and took anything they offered.
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Television Without Pity Sucks Dot Com (05.03.10)
Just remember, these types are nothing better than schoolyard bullies, and they're never going to stop or go away. And why? Because people are always going to be that screwed up, mean, and just really ugly. It's a sad way to live, honestly, and -- trite as it might sound -- I actually do feel sorry for them. Does that sound condescending? I sure hope so. But that doesn't negate my pity.
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N Candy AA: The Championship Round (05.02.10)
I like Twix a lot, but there has been no stopping this peanut butter-chocolate juggernaut who secrets delicious powers in the sharp ridges of its cupcake papered sides.
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Recapping for Television Without Pity Turned Me Into a Writer (04.27.10)
One of my editors once told me that we wrote our recaps more for one another than for anyone else. She was right. Including my editors, who also recapped, I've never known a group of writers I admired more. For me, getting their snort of approval was a major achievement.
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N Candy AA: Final Four (04.26.10)
It was a weird year for the basketball NCAA, so maybe it stands to reason that this is not the Final Four Bunting or I would have ever imagined.
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N Candy AA: The Choco-lite Eight (04.20.10)
I will listen to my mother-in-law and call this for Snickers. When all Israel heard the verdict the Keckler had given, they held the Keckler in awe, because they saw that she had wisdom from Willie Wonka to administer nougat.
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N Candy AA: Sweet Sixteen (04.15.10)
1 Butterfinger vs. 5 Cadbury Crème Eggs; 14 After Eights vs. 2 fudge; 1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup vs. 5 See's/Whitman's Sampler; 3 Peanut M&Ms vs. 2 Snickers; 8 Caramello/Caramilk vs. 5 M&Ms; 6 Kit Kat vs. 2 100 Grand; 1 Milky Way vs. 5 Twix; 3 Three Musketeers vs. 15 Lindt/Lindor
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N Candy AA: Round of 32, Flight 2 (04.07.10)
In this round, Rolo takes on Euro upstarts Lindt/Lindor, and it's a battle of the classics between Milky Way and Hershey Kiss. For some reason Whoppers/Malteasers are still in the running, but probably won't last for long against Porthos, Athos, and Aramis. Get out there and vote, people!
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Elementary, My Dear Blogger: Has Remake-Happy PBS Run Out of Ideas? (04.06.10)
I'm sorry, Watson will BLOG?! I really hope what they mean is that the Masterpiece site will host a blog that is "taken from the pages" of Watson's diary. You know, they'd parchment and quill it up with a few scatters of ink blots to give it that stamp of computer generated authenticity.
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N Candy AA: Round of 32, Flight 1 (04.04.10)
I may have just been a kid, but I was a picky kid and I hated eggs, so I wondered who in their right mind would want to eat a candy that looked like a raw egg with all its stuff spilling out. (Hey, kids are susceptible. The whole "ants on a log" snacktastrophe may actually be why I hate raisins to this day.)
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N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 4 (03.24.10)
And now for the last flight in the round of 64. We've got some heavy hitters here with Heath and Three Musketeers, and also some entrants I'd love to see melt away into chocolate smears. (Looking at you Sno-Caps and Whoppers.)
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N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 3 (03.24.10)
I went through a short-lived Nutrageous phase when I was working as a half-starved Houghton-Mifflin editorial assistant in Boston, but now I find them too much of a good thing. Way too rich, way too peanut buttery. They're Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on steroids. They're the Barry Bonds of the candy world, all juiced up with unnecessary bumps and fillings.
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N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 2 (03.23.10)
Over the past ten years, I've come to accept (even love) many foods, but raisins are not one of them. Raisins are disgusting little bits of wizened chewiness that came into being only because some Friar Tuck was too drunk to remember to pick all the grapes.
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N Candy AA: Round of 64, Flight 1 (03.22.10)
This weekend, we OD'd on candy in order to bring you a thoroughly well-researched candy bracket. You and our respective dentists can thank us later. (By the way? Having Charleston Chew and coffee for breakfast is the best way to get the Chew out of your teeth. Something to think about.)
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N Candy AA: Mars Madness (03.19.10)
You got decided opinions about the heavenly delights found in a Whatchamacalit bar? Or how Sno Caps are nothing more than chocolate chips with a bad case of dandruff? Well, we want to hear about it and you need to vote on it.
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Thank You, Rose Gray and The River Cafe (03.03.10)
...but none of them will ever measure up to that honeymoon lunch at The River Cafe. That lunch caught me at a time when I was just waking up to how good food could be. It will always headline my "Best Meals of My Life" list.
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Ron FREAKING Swanson's Deviled Eggs (03.02.10)
I didn't start paying rapt attention to Ron Swanson's gastronomic leanings until he made a bizarre deviled egg request in "Leslie's House." After that, I simply had to go back and catalog the best Ron Swanson food moments. (Oh, and develop a deviled egg recipe dedicated to and inspired by Ron FREAKING Swanson's love for breakfast foods and deviled eggs. YOU'RE WELCOME.)
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Minestrone and Memories (12.17.09)
I don't remember the year, but I remember the month. It was Valentine's Day and a bunch of us were protesting not being asked to a Valentine's Dance by certain boys by having a huge girls gathering. We were all at Suzanne's house where her parents humored us by giving us the dining room and letting us eat off the fancy china.
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'Burb Burps: Howie's Artisan Pizza (11.28.09)
A pizza place that doesn't understand the importance of a sublime red sauce is as pointless as one that doesn't understand the vital importance of a good crust. Howie's understands both these points.
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Songs and Miscellany (11.20.09)
Being a parent has suddenly turned me into the lamest songwriter ever. Don't believe me? Read on.
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Mildred Pierce: Remake Heaven or Hell? (08.26.09)
Seriously? Is there anyone who likes a remake? Look, I'll admit that ever since I was a child with braids and an anxious expression, I have been extremely resistant to change, but I could count on one hand the remakes that I've actually liked: The Office, Battlestar Galactica, and...I'm out.
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Foodie Movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (08.17.09)
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs -- a movie based on the children's book of the same name by Judi and Ron Barrett -- might very well be the next Ratatouille for mini foodies and their parents.
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Toot Toot Tootsie, Hello! (07.07.09)
Thank god for crappy hospital food.
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Pregnant Pause: The Chronicles of Nausea (05.27.09)
By nature, I'm a fairly nauseous person. That is, I'm easily nauseated -- cars, cabs, planes, naval gazing, American Idol -- will all do it do me. I've been this way for awhile and so learned early on in life that Dramamine was my friend, my confident, my constant companion.
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Pregnant Pause: Gin and Tonic (05.18.09)
I decided to start my mocktail quest off with that simplest of drinks, the gin and tonic. With multiple nuances brought on by using different gins, it's probably my favorite cocktail -- biting, tart, and tinged with bitterness, it reminds me of myself on my best days.
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Pregnant Pause: Digesting Junk Food and Unwanted Opinions (05.05.09)
These same articles also tell me that I don't want chocolate because the baby is telling me to eat healthy food. So, then I gotta ask: what is said baby is trying to tell me when I crave McDonald's cheeseburgers, Safeway doughnuts, and root beer?
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Pregnant Pause: Last Ditch Dines (04.29.09)
Realistically, I don't know how many we'll get to but it's always good to have goals, especially ones as tasty as these, so here you go, 12 Bay Area restaurants we want to hit before our late-June due date.
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Pregnant Pause: Pink Grapefruit Perrier (04.26.09)
Crushing on grapefruit Perrier in the worst way. It's the the ideal antidote to hauling 20 extra pounds around in 102° heat.
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Pregnant Pause: Stop Yer Wine-ing! (02.19.09)
If you drank a glass of actual wine, then swirled water around in the same glass to catch all the dregs, and then drank that water, you'd have a very good idea of what Ariel CaberNOT Fauxvignon tastes like.
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Pregnant Pause: Faking It (02.16.09)
"...but I think you'd much rather read stuff like this instead of cooings about the purple unicorniness of pregnancy and how gestating is like sitting on a cloud of cotton candy."
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More Mariquita Farms Mystery Box Magnificence (02.11.09)
You go to a local restaurant for that week's drop-off, you pay $25, and you bring home a huge box overflowing with a variety of farm-fresh produce. Simple as that.
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Venissimo Gives Meaning to "Save Your Receipt" (1.22.09)
(First of all, can we have a little side conversation of how flippin' awesome it is to receive receipts in the mail that might be "of interest"? It's like our food geekery knows no bounds!)
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Barack Obama and the Half-Smoke (1.14.09)
Wasn't I just talking about how obsessed we all are with every little move Obama makes, including where and what he eats?
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Check, Please! Barack Obama (01.06.09)
Hm, I wonder if Howard Kurtz and other scrappy pundits will haul various food experts on their shows to chew over just what Obama's Check, Please! restaurant means to us as a nation and an American people. If so, it will be Alton Brown's chance to finally become a pundit.
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Reset Your Body with Lentil Soup (12.31.08)
After the holidays' repeated culinary excesses, my mouth, stomach, and soul are all screeching for something quite simple and healthful. This lentil soup always fits the bill.
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Christmas Movie Sob-Fest Menu (12.22.08)
How to find the best Bay Area meatloaf and mashed potatoes and Peking duck to pair with A Christmas Story and classic liverwurst sandwiches, Vermont cheddar, and hot buttered rum for White Christmas.
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Advent-ures in Chocolate (12.16.08)
If we live in an era of artisanal cheese, specialized olive oil, rare vinegar, and DIY flour, quality Advent calendar chocolate MUST exist, right? Eh. Sort of.
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Giving Thanks for Friends and Carrot Cake (12.01.08)
I am really not a carrot cake fan. Not at all. It's quite possible that hold a childish resentment against it for dressing up a vegetable as dessert (I tend to look at zucchini bread with the same jaundiced eye, truth be told), but more than that, I just never had a carrot cake I liked enough to make it myself or voluntarily choose it for dessert.
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A Proxy Thanksgiving (11.24.08)
Instead of answering the typical Turkey Day questions in my own kitchen and instead of ingesting pounds of tasty, seasonal, and cockle-warming victuals, I'll be unloading boxes and sneezing through thick reams of dust. Next year, I'll be back cooking in my upgraded kitchen; but this year, my DVD player will do the basting and carving.
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Lady in Red (11.10.08)
Over the summer, Catherine -- for whom I once designed a simple birthday cocktail to go along with her gift of St. Germain elderflower liqueur -- asked if I would shake up a special wedding cocktail. Her only request: it had to be red to match her dress.
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Getting Surly in Minnesota (10.29.08)
Furious, CynicAle, Bitter Brewer, and Bender. Just add Grumpy, Sleepy, and Dopey and they could be the Seven Drunk Dwarfs of beerland.
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The Great Potato Hunt (10.13.08)
My dad guest-blogs about being a locavore half a century before the word was a glint in the foodscape's eye.
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Jacques Pepin: More Fast Food My Way (09.30.08)
Laura told me that every morning working on this show was nothing less than a private cooking lesson with Jacques Pépin. She could not have been more right. Except, they weren't just cooking lessons, they were lifelong memories.
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Scenes from the St. Paul Farmers' Market (09.29.08)
Nestled among architecturally stunning buildings of downtown St. Paul and a few blocks away from the Mississippi, the Saturday farmers' market was decidedly populated with shoppers without being crowded by wheeled suitcases.
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N.C. Double Scoop: All Hail Mint Choc Chip (09.27.08)
Mint Chocolate Chip is the 2008 N.C. Double Scoop Champion!
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Nosh the Vote! (09.22.08)
If you're undecided about which way to go in November, buy a 1/4 pound of each and let your tastebuds decide, because unlike the actual political parties, neither of these will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
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N.C. Double Scoop: Scooper Bowl (09.20.08)
It comes down to this: two classic flavors, battling it out for supreme licks. Vote.
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Izzy's Ice Cream: A Minnesota Fairy Tale (09.19.08)
A harrowing tale of trying to find Izzy's salted caramel ice cream in the Twin Cities where the 3rd time's the charm. Thank god for Minnesota nice.
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N.C. Double Scoop: Frozen Four (09.17.08)
Cookie dough vs. mint chocolate chip. I have the same problem with cookie dough ice cream that I have with candy corn: I can't eat just one kernel, or just ten kernels, or just one heaping double handful. I eat it until it's gone, and then I feel...
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N.C. Double Scoop: Icy Eight (09.08.08)
We're melting our way to the very end now, and the pressure finally got so great that Dr. Mathra and I had to run out to Andronico's at 10:15 PM to pick up a pint of Sticky Toffee Pudding and another of coffee. Believe it or not, I had managed to hold off all cravings until then.
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N.C. Double Scoop: Sweet Cream 16 (09.02.08)
We're really getting down to the nitty-gritty here with the classic trio of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate, still pushing their way through. Personally, I'm going to be hitting refresh on the salted caramel/chocolate poll, hoping salted caramel can whip up a frozen miracle.
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N.C. Double Scoop Round of 32 (08.25.08)
Aaaaand we're back, baby! Boy, there sure were a lot of heartbreakers in that last round, weren't there? I would not have predicted a loss for AmeriCone Dream, and it ended even closer than I imagined. It's also clear that outside of restaurants, cookbooks, and Bi-Rite Creamery in San Francisco, the country's not yet ready to cuddle fringe flavors -- avocado, ginger, bacon, and olive oil -- to their breasts. (And we even cut out flavors like Parmigiano-Reggiano [totally exists] and balsamic strawberry before getting started.)
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Minnesota Nice: The St. Paul Farmers' Market (08.18.09)
Living in the (comparatively) warm Bay Area has definitely softened my Midwestern hide and it's also babied my palate and kitchen. I'm excited about checking out and cooking the fruits and vegetables I would have despised in my callow youth and remembering, celebrating my sturdy roots.
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N.C. Double Scoop Round of 64: Flight 4 Write-Ups (08.17.08)
Hey! Bunting called me a "grandma"! Oh, fine. I guess I can be okay with liking the flavors of bacon, olive oil AND Butter Brickle without too much fear of suffering insta-osteoperosis. Criminy, with all this ice cream, my bones will be stronger than the Bionic Woman's.
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N.C. Double Scoop Round of 63: Flight 3 Write-Ups (08.16.08)
Hey, Stephen Colbert, where's your sense of national pride? Your duty to cone and country? Because Oregon Black Raspberry is thisclose to whipping AmeriCone Dream into a pile of melted ass cream! (I really didn't mean to make a diaper rash analogy. Sorry.)
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N.C. Double Scoop Round of 64: Flight 2 Write-Ups (08.15.08)

1 Cookies and cream vs. 16 spumoni. Okay, I admit it. I didn't know what spumoni was until Bunting put it out there for the commenters. And then I threw up in my mouth a little. Candied fruit doesn't belong in ice cream, it doesn't belong in fruitcake (which just doesn't belong period), and when it comes right down to it, I don't know where it belongs except NOT in MY mouth! Cookies and cream easily.
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N.C. Double Scoop Round of 64: Flight 1 Write-Ups (08.14.08)
Ladies and gentlemen, start your tongues! (What, that's not gross, you use your tongues to lick the ice cream all around for about an hour until it's compact and safe enough to tackle from above without fear of giving the sidewalk a sample.)
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The N.C. Double Scoop (08.13.08)
Hello, hello, hello, my vote-happy friends! Well, Bunting and I are back to bring you yet another dairy-based bracket that is sure to have you arguing and whining just as much as the last one did.
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Ginlati: A Land's End Cocktail (08.04.08)
It appears I can't escape food talk even when yanking out pernicious wild radish and avoiding tramping on (and killing) native plants at Land's End. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, because if we hadn't started talking about food, I wouldn't be able to present you with a new summer cocktail.
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Summer Suds Shortlist (07.13.08)
Michelob has really gone overboard with their Ultra flavors, because Lime Cactus? Pomegranate Raspberry? TUSCAN ORANGE GRAPEFRUIT? Are these beers or wine coolers? Look, if you didn't want your mass-produced, skanky beer not to taste like mass-produced, skanky beer, here's a tip: stop making mass-produced, skanky beer!
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On the Bubble with Golden Star Tea (06.23.08)
Having firmly established myself to you as a overly particular diner who goes around most nights with a purple mouth, I never thought I would find a non-alcoholic drink that would ever satisfy me. NON-ALCOHOLIC! Can you imagine?
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Bethenny Frankel: The Corpse Bride Rises Again (06.10.08)
Recently, the dressing room of the Wednesday taping of the Bravo A-List Awards beheld a scene straight out of The Women. Just replace Paulette Goddard's pearly whites with Bethenny Frankel's Jungle Red nails.
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Paraffin Wax? French Tips? Risotto Milanese? (06.03.08)
Do you think the PedEgg guy saw the cheese grater and thought, "Cheese? Feet!" Or did the CheeseEgg (not its real name) guy watch the happy old lady dumping her foot shavings in the trash can and think, "Wow, I'll bet that would work really well with cheese."
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NCheeseAA Final: British Cheddar vs. Mozzarella (05.06.08)
Well, here we have it, folks: the final round of the 2008 NCheeseAA. It's a great day for a game here in the Cheese House, so get out there and choose the cheese of your choice. If you want to review the bracket to see how mozz and Brit Ched got to where they are today, pop on over to the bracket.
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NCheeseAA: The Final Four-mage (05.01.08)
Blog save our sumptuous Cheese/Long live our veiny Cheese/Blog save the Cheese!/Eat her victorious/Tasty and glorious/Long to slice over us/Blog save the Cheese!/O Ched, our Choice, you bet!/Retrieve thine coronet/And wear it proud/Unwrap thy sharpest wedge/Show all you have the edge/On thee our buds we pledge/And are not cowed!
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NCheeseAA: Elite Grate (04.25.08)
Get out your boxes and your microplanes because after Mt. Tam and Cashel Blue made a stink in the last round, it is now time for the Elite Grate! We are drawing closer and closer to an American Cheesolution between British and Vermont Cheddar. Just don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes. (And no one else will get why that is funny because I am the biggest cheese nerd around.)
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NCheeseAA Quarterfinals: The Stank Sixteen (04.22.08)
Brie vs. Parmigiano-Reggiano. This is a bizarre match-up. One's a "lolling on the grass with grapes, a bottle of wine, a river, and shamisen" cheese, and the other is an ingredient. It's a vital, delicious ingredient, but when was the last time you planed off a dry wisp of Parm-Reg just because you were snackish?
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NCheeseAA Round of 32: Creamed Cheese City, Baby! (04.15.08)
(Seriously, were's Dick Vitale when you need him?) Well, after an intensely sweaty round last week, we've cut the cheese (heh) contenders to 32 and these are some pretty tough match-ups, people. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be able to choose between British Cheddar and Stilton, and the Boursin vs. Port Wine Spread is also set to be real a nail biter.
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Asparagus and Sweet Valley High (04.12.08)
Because of this, Lila and Mr. Fowler take Elizabeth out to a fancy restaurant to thank her for being nosy and angelic and having a gold lavaliere. Never mind that Lila eventually went back to her rich-bitchy ways. Never mind that the main story is all about "chubby" Robin Wilson losing weight, gaining lip gloss, and making Bruce Patman walk into a door -- all I took away from that book was that Elizabeth had asparagus tips at the fancy restaurant.
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NCheeseAA: Stanke Cheese Shoppe Round Of 64 (04.10.08)
Fourme d'Amb is the chocolate of blue cheeses. It melts all over the tongue with a captivating sweetness and beckons blue-haters to the dark side. Caerphilly, meanwhile, is just plain weird: its white and yellow center smells like steamed asparagus, and, back in the day, the Welsh cheese was thought to protect miners' lungs from coal dust. Yet, there's just something about it... Both cheeses attract thrill-seekers, but Caerphilly is more of a freak magnet than the genteel d'Ambert, and might be able to convince enough voters that it's way more than just a sideshow.
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NCheeseAA: Grocery Round Of 64 (04.09.08)
Oh, yes! This is the round so many have been waiting for! We got your Baby Bel, your EZ-Cheez, your curds, and that pink and orange stuff that Hickory Farms swears has something to do with port. It's the Grocery store round and it's going to get ugly! VOTE!
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NCheeseAA: Deli Round Of 64 (04.08.08)
Yesterday was all about Whole Foods' groaning (if underwrapped) cheese counters, but today is Belly Up to the Deli day. We've got an intense Provolone/Havarti match-up that is certain to curdle some blood, but only until Fontina and Ricotta muscle their way onto first court and just stand around being boring. Personally, I'm curious whether Mascarpone can school Double Gloucester in the art of "nannie-nannie-buche-buche."
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NCheeseAA: Whole Foods Round Of 64 (04.07.08)
4 Humboldt Fog vs. 12 Roaring 40s Blue. This could be a bloodbath, actually. Those who stick a snowy wedge of HumFog in their crisper drawer for a little amateur affinage until the sticky grey "fog" ages in toward the ash-striped center are also the ones who will go nuts for the spicy edge of the wax-wrapped Tasmanian devil...POLLS ARE OPEN!
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Are You Ready for Some Cheeseball?!: NCheeseAA (04.06.08)
These days, there appears to be nothing you can't bracket. So without further ado, we bring you the proud, the mighty, the stinky: the NCheeseAA! We've got it all -- we've got stinky Italian, we've got squeaky curds, we've got spray. Hell, we've even got government cheese! We're sure you all have opinions as well, so here's your chance to get out there and rock the cheese vote.
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A New Kind of Barfly (03.25.08)
Casual drinkers beware, cocktail nerds have a new way of ordering drinks in San Francisco. No longer satisfied with set menus or even with drink specials du soir, the true cocktailian now knows how to order custom-made drinks, and it's definitely the In thing to do.
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Parpardelle, Really Bravo? (03.13.08)
I may have bowed out of recapping but I'm still watching. Have I not ears, Bravo? Have I not eyes? Have I not still a prodigious amount of judginess to weigh out? But far more to the point, Bravo: HAVE YOU STILL NOT ACQUIRED A FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION AFTER THREE MISSPELLED SEASONS?!
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Presidential Politicking Hits Bay Area Eateries (01.21.08)
Matching presidential candidates with San Francisco food.
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Cooking with Jacques: Bread in a Pot, Part the Second (01.10.09)
For those of you keeping track at home, that makes four different stages of bread prep that needed to be filmed: the unmixed ingredients, the 1-hour rise, the 12-14 hour rise, and the final product.
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Garden Grazing: Escargots (12.19.07)
That's right, people, I grew up a picky eater in Minnesota where I gagged on string beans, yet I ate snails.
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How Not to Act in a Cheese Shop (12.06.07)
DON'T bring your kid into the store on a Saturday during the farmer's market when the crowd at the counter is so thick that it starts to eat away at our oxygen just so your kid can practice his lisping questioning skills. "Ask the lady what that cheese is." "Ask the lady if you can hold the cheese." "Ask the lady why the cheese is that color." "Ask the lady why her face is turning purple and she's starting to go into convulsions."
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Vocal Local: Jen Maiser (12.02.07)
However, I absorbed the concept of the Eat Local Challenge before I did "locavore," which, in all honesty, I thought had something to do with the phases of the moon and the lycanthrope society. (It's possible I've watched one too many Frasiers.)
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Bay Area Bites: Eating Family Style (11.19.07)
Stories of serving Bing Crosby a ten-second-rule turkey and a book of deliciously fattening recipes.
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Bay Area Bites: No Crab for Christmas (11.11.07)
On November 10, commercial crabbers from Bodega Bay to Half Moon Bay voted to postpone the opening of the crab season, set to open Thursday, November 15th.
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Cooking with Jacques: Bread in a Pot, Part I (11.04.07)
Yet, there I was at 4 AM following our third day of filming, reasoning how I could get bread to rise in order to save the show. (Did I mention that I didn't even have any yeast in the house?) I AM NOT A BAKER!
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Pizzetta 211: Hard to Handle (07.15.07)
Loving a pizza place even when you know you shouldn't.
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Think Pink!: Mount Tamalpais Vin Gris (06.07.07)
Even the color is fierce! None of this blush and bashful pink that's barely a whisper of color, this was wildhotcrazy lascivious pink. The pink of deep-bosomed sunsets, the pink of Barbie's dress from the 80s (you know the one I mean), the pink of Belle Watling's sheets, the discontinued pink of a Clinique lipstick I wore in high school. This Mount Tamalpais Vin Gris isn't "pink," it's "PINK!"
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Peas and Long Life (06.01.07)
A few seconds dip in rapidly boiling water and slightly longer in a shocking ice bath and my peas were ready. Firm and mouth-popping, the peas were as smooth as a freshly Botoxed baby's bottom with nary a wrinkle to be found. But what to do with them?
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Trader Joe's Guacamole Kit: The Anti-Food Porn (05.01.07)
...well, one of the avocados was doing things I've never seen an avocado do. Like grow mold. White, furry, slippery mold.
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Fat Tire: A Bodice Ripper (with Cheese) (04.26.07)
I had this odd quirking in my mouth. My tongue felt dry and edgy and my throat was clicking in a greed for something cold, bright, topaz. Something fat. Something tire.
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The Posh Diet: Pineapple and Sushi (07.18.06)
Posh's thighs, Jay-Z's champagne shun, and a new summer cocktail.
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Eye on the Pie: Pizzetta 211 (07.12.06)
Sort of looks like a crusted acid trip, doesn't it? This is probably the most lurid pizza I've ever eaten.
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Love Thy Customer (06.29.06)
I went up to Big Cheese, who was already having a stressful day, and said, "So, I've got an idea for some power marketing. We send boxes of cheese to celebrities -- Lohan, Cruise, and whatnot -- to promote our image and raise our identity." Big Cheese looks at me, half-expectant, half-probably-figuring-out-how-to-let-my-horrific-idea-down-easy. I take a deep breath and say, "We'll call it 'Ouray for Hollywood.'" RIMSHOT! Big Cheese stares at me, then looks down, shaking her head and says, "Steph, that's why I love you."
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Local S%*!t Happens (06.28.06)
Here's some news for a few of you out there: Cheetos aren't local.
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Eye on the Pie: Pizzeria Delfina (06.18.06)
Now, it has been my experience that most clam pizzas get a damp shell waved over them and call it a day, but the cherrystone pieces on the Delfina Clam Pie were so large, I initially thought they were unlisted pieces of chunky sausage.
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Eating Local Babies (05.02.06)
I see an "Oddly Enough" headline that says, "PM Eats Babies," and I'm all, "Well, at least he was eating local babies."
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How to Eat Like a Local (05.01.06)
There's also that newly opened jar of June Taylor Meyer Lemon Marmalade. I mean, does she use local sugar? Is there even such a thing as local sugar? And Izze, I can't give up Izze! Or tea!
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Pssst! Wanna Buy Some Cheese? (02.16.06)
Sure, there are stacks of firm and oozy cheeses we can't get our sweaty little hands on for various and ridiculous FDA regs that have very little to do with safe-guarding public health and more to do with buckshot happy politics, and yes, a lot of them are delicious and different and worth it. However, it is patently ridiculous to elevate all those cheeses to such god-like heights just because they are illegal.
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Chronicles of Cheese: I've Gone Crazy (01.11.06)
It was a really long day. This very sweet couple comes up to the counter and the woman says softly, "We'd like you to recommend some nice cheese to watch the birds." I automatically grab ahold of some very buttery Morbier, but as they taste it, I start to wonder, "Why? What are the birds doing that needs to be watched?"
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Doon Diary II: Tiny Bubbles (11.02.05)
Dear Doon Diary, How could you do this to me? You created a sparkling wine which left me crying in my beer because I had ordered only a single bottle! Your Il Circo 2004 "Il Giocoliere" Moscato d'Asti has spoiled me for all other sparkling wines!
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Doon Diary: BamBOOZEled (09.14.05)
Dear Doon Diary, As an anniversary present to each other, The Evil Dr. Mathra and I solemnly swore to love and be drunkards for the rest of our lives.
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The Stinky Cheese Chick (06.14.04)
My recap of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is up at Television without Pity. Writing that piece with Glark was way too much fun. Sure, it took us seven months but still, fun was had. Look for some
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Cows and Goats and Sheep -- Oh My! (05.26.04)
Last week our Spanish/Italian cheese importer with Forever Cheese dropped by to tell us a little about the cheeses we've been getting from him. Did I say "a little"? Well, the reality is, he told us
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Wrath of Doon (05.24.04)
First things first. Enterprise finale-izes this week and soon I will be free! Free! FREE! Until next fall. Because it got renewed. I'm actually happy about that, though. More so because Boss Lady Sars
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No, No, Mimolette (04.20.04)
So I "larned" my Mimolette today. I told that story, the story of Mimolette, to every customer I met. See, everyone is entranced by the look of Mimolette. Because it's orange, and bumpy, and orange.
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Addendumpling (07.15.03)
Just in case y'all thought that graduation meant an end to my "Tales of the Undigested," you could not be more wrong if you ordered a steak well-done. I have so many more school stories under my new a
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The Straw that Broke the Caramel's Back (07.14.03)
Where was I? Oh, yes, I pulled the recipe, planned my culinary attack and everything was pretty bumps-a-daisy. I knew I had long day ahead of me in a hot kitchen with two kinds of pastries to make and
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I'm Still Here! (07.07.03)
Man, has it been awhile or what? Nearly three months? How embarrassing. Well, my only defense is that it's been a hoppin' two months: exams, Harvard graduation, win a site award, exams, get an apartment
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The Noble Snail (03.15.03)
I'm going to preface this entry with a little nod to the world situation. Without getting too much into my personal rhetoric, I think it is absolutely ridiculous that people are shunning French-origin
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Penises on the Pavement and Whore Pasta (01.26.03)
Or, in other words, Campania and Capri. First of all, I want to thank everyone out there that sent me email and hysterical e-cards cheering me on during my studies in hell. I definitely think all the
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Midterm Reflections: They Come Right in the Middle! (01.20.03)
If there's one thing my tenure in culinary school has taught me, it's patience. Don't laugh, Mom, I'm serious. That's not to say I always stop and carefully consider every move I make in the kitchen.
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Testing Traumas (01.08.03)
I am sitting behind a stack of index cards that rises three-and-a-half inches in the air, and if that doesn't seem very thick to you, I encourage you to take a second glance at a ruler and get back to
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Whine Exam (02.11.03)
As I sit here perched on the eve of what will be the culmination of my intensive five week study of wine, I find myself quickly coming a part (apart? I can't even SPELL anymore! The other day I was
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Class Notes: Piedmont (12.18.02)
Now that we're in "the regions" of Italy and things are supposed to get molto hardo, I'm thinking it's a good idea to transcribe my class notes. I don't really expect anyone to read these or be interested
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Syllabub (12.17.02)
Stephanie Vander Weide Food History Whenever I saw syllabub mentioned in my university and present-day studies of historical English society, sources appeared to differ on whether it was a drink or a
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Basic Weeks Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen and Mountains of Mushrooms (12.15.02)
Portabellos. That's what Bill and Judy sent us today. Portabellos! This summer it was fresh, fat, fuzzy peaches from a Maryland orchard, several baggies of sungolds and roma tomatoes from their garden
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Weeks Ten & Eleven: Conscience Catch-Up (11.26.02)
Long time no update. Well, it's holiday time and it's also sweeps AND that Horrible Terrible No Good Very Bad Food Management Project took up far too much of my time. I'm still too annoyed to even write
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Weeks Eight & Nine: I Need a Stomach Pump (11.10.02)
Love Lamb and Prosper Lamb is the reason why I could never be a vegetarian. I love the chops, the kabob, the legs, the stew -- all of it. In fact, it's also the only gravy made from meat juices I like
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Seventh Week: Porky Pig Doesn't Live Here Anymore and Here We Come A-Streuseling (11.01.02)
Basics: Porky Pig Doesn't Live Here Anymore Because he's in my stomach. Yul Brenner got infected with trichinosis after eating underdone pork tenderloin at a famous New York restaurant. That's my earliest
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Sixth Week: Dry Heat Cooking and Bread (10.16.02)
Steak is a dish best served cold Fall finally drags its lazy ass up to Boston and greets me by belting me a good one right in the sinuses. Yep, I hab a code. Snotty, stuffy, whiny, and crabby is how
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Fifth Week: Moist Heat Cooking and Coffee Accessories (10.11.02)
Hasta! Pasta! Got our quizzes back. I knew I made a couple of dumb mistakes, which resulted in me getting an 88%, but I guess that's not too bad for a first test. Let's hope it's the lowest score I get
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Fourth Week: Chicken and Pastry Review (10.02.02)
This is NOT the Colonel's Secret Recipe! Gah. I'm in a rotten mood. I don't know if it's because I studied incredibly hard for my Food Basics test but still couldn't list all the things that can affect egg coagulation
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Third Week: Soups, Sauces and Puff Pastry (09.25.02)
Now We're in the Soup I love soups. Even if I personally don't like the flavor of this one or that one, I am enchanted by the idea of them. I've made butternut squash soup with nutmeg and chipotle
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Second Week: Soufflés and Pâte Brisée (09.16.02)
The Day the Soufflé Fell The Day the Soufflé Fell With apologies to, but a great deal of reverence for, James Thurber. Soufflé Day. Been looking forward to this date with much trepidation. After the
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First Week: Eggs, Eggs, Cream Puff Swans, oh, and by the way, EGGS! (09.09.02)
Leave it to Massachusetts to pick my first day of culinary school where I'd be spending eight hours in a roasting kitchen, walking fifteen sun-withered blocks in my clogs, socks, and long checked chef
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Fitting and Kitting (08.29.02)
Classes haven't started, nor has orientation taken place, yet I feel like today was my first day at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. At nine o'clock, I had my first meeting with accounts payable
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Stephanie Vander Weide Lucianovic