Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Pouring Big Nate's Sauce on Stuff Saga

For my last job I created a viral campaign of sorts. It was so huge that it is going to be featured in zillions of future viral video text books; likely in a chapter on cheap imitators of the Old Spice Guy campaign.

Below is the entirety of the series. Enjoy the many faces (there are 0 faces) of my acting...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A One Screenshot Top Chef Recap: Week 7

In the history of Restaurant Wars, I think the Voltaggio Brother’s effort probably put out the best food, but last night the Bodega team offered the most successfully articulated concept in the show’s history.

They might both be molecular gastronomists but it was apparent why Blais is leaps and bounds a better chef than Marcel, vision. Blais uses modern technique to execute his ever-whimsical vision, where Marcel uses it because that is all he knows. Where Bodega was a novel and relevant idea, Etch was completely flaccid; Mediterranean food cooked by four losers of Top Chef is not a concept.

Marcel has been such a tragic figure this season, destined to meet his demise due to his fatal flaw, hubris. At any moment I pictured Antonia or black Tiffany turning to him and saying, “You’re not an asshole, Marcel. You’re just trying so hard to be one.”

Still the episode was about the ingenuity of the winning team, which with a simple name change, I think they would have a hit restaurant on their hands with Bodega.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Favorite Thing: December 2010

The open-faced pig jowl, slow-poached egg, cheddar cheese, radicchio sandwich from Bar Tarine

Who is a more reasonable critic: the involved enthusiast or the unbiased outsider?

I had my favorite breakfast ever on December 19th at San Francisco’s Bar Tartine. It feautred the greatest combination of five ingredients since the 1992 Olympic Dream Team starting line-up: sharp Irish cheddar cheese - pig Jowl (yep, this jowl), an incredibly flavorful and unctuous piece of meat, effectively tasting like pork belly from a pig raised solely eating bacon (in a non-creepy way) – eggs that were soft-poached, which both focused the eggy-ness and created a smooth, custard-like, texture – the radicchio, whose bitterness in harmony with its subtle vinaigrette's acidity somehow cut through the embarrassment of fatty riches – all on top of Tartine’s country bread (a thorough wax-poem can be found here). Despite all the big ingredients, the result was as perfectly balanced as it was laughably unhealthy. It is the bacon, egg, and cheese a lapsed-Kosher Jesus would eat.

This was the best brunch of my life but there is one problem, I DON’T LIKE BRUNCH. I do not like breakfast food in general so the idea of wasting a great meal like lunch on it seems like wasting a monkey paw wish on world peace (or is like wasting a monkey paw by not wishing for world peace?).

What is the value of the opinion of critics who inherently differ from a criticism’s likely reader? Why should the world demand a 11-year-old girl from Pawnee, Indiana care about the thoughts of a 34 year-old, bespectacled, Wilco-loving, Brooklyn-living, rock critic’s opinion on Katy Perry. On the other hand, if certain art is criticized only by those who enjoy it, then there would be no way to determine its comparative worth. Where would the line be drawn?

From what I remember from Philosophy 100, this mirrors the debate over relativism; should a culture of the past be judged by current standards or by the standards of its day? For example, should our forefathers be condemned or exonerated for their questionable pastimes (i.e. slavery and “Indian” diseasing).

I do not remember if my professor picked one but luckily there is a particular recent cultural phenomenon that helps achieve a balance between the two, (today’s go to cure-all) the Internet. The gap between the major critic and the blogged-layman has shrunk enough that both opinions can be heard concurrently. Leaving me free to write about my beloved breakfast sandwich without having to worry about arguing the case for its standing in the annals of brunchery.

Did I mention how utterly yummy the side of rosemary potatoes was?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Skittles, skittles, skittles, skittles, skittles, skittles, skittles

I have not eaten Skittles in awhile. Here is an assortment of thoughts related to eating Skittles

- I assume some candy big wig went into a candy staff meeting and demanded they blend Starburst technology with M&M technology. Considering, Skittles's construction is pretty shoddy; they tend to be overly chewy and gritty.

- Starburst were originally named Opal Fruits in Europe but was given the celestial name upon their American release in 1967, a time when space was the bees knees. Oddly enough, saying bees knees was also the bees knees during this bee kneeing time period.

- A few years later, all Opal Fruits were called Starburst because America is the coolest.

- Here is the ranking of the traditional Skittles flavors:

5) Purple
4) Green
3) Yellow
2) Orange
1) Red

- Before I am chastised for bias, I should tell you that in the age-old Orange v. Red candy debate, I am almost always team Orange (i.e. Tootsie Pops). Sometimes Red just works.

- Green is an unfairly treated flavor. Here are two theories:

1) There was a time when limes were less common than lemons in most of America. The result is lemon became the go to non-orange citrus flavor. So when it came time to design lime flavors they realized they had to push the taste in a certain direction so as to not taste just like lemon.
2) Green previously meant Sour Apple for hard candies. For some reason the idea of an apple flavored chewable candy seemed gross. So when trying to fill their need for a Green flavor, they had to hastily create the lime we have today.

I agree, this intellectual exercise was useless. Blogging!

A One Screenshot Top Chef Recap: Week 6

For a show rife with product placement, none has ever been as ebulliently sold as last night’s 10 minute commercial for fishing*. Seriously, has anyone ever had as much fun ever as these 12 had on their little boats?

I wrote a few weeks back about how arresting it was to see the overwhelming cordialness of the contests this season. This episode seemed to kick it up a notch (food catchphrases, natch), as they looked like a bunch of idiots on vacation, not reality show competitors cooking for their lives.

Apparently, most of the cheftestants view the season as exactly that, a vacation. Save crazy Jen, if you watch most of the Exit Interviews it is clear that a lot of these chefs came on not to win but to have fun and do the show in the right way. White Tiffani more than anyone else made it known from the get-go that she just wanted to show that she has grown-up**.

I for one am glad that the season was not reduced to a cooking version of the Real Word/Road Rules challenge, packed with attention starved, emotionally stunted, jerkstores clinging to the limelight like flies to a light-light. That being said, next week is Restaurant Wars, so this feeling might all go to hell in a produce basket (sponsored by Whole Foods).

*Though Blais seemed to really enjoy saying “…we jump in our Toyoto Siennas and head out,” as if it is a normal human thing to say the full brand name of one’s vehicle every time you go somewhere.

**There is something to be said about the need to go on TV to show the world how mature you have become instead of just being more mature that is kind of iffy. I think baby steps are still applauded considering how dragon-like she was once.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Hey guys, you know what are great? iPods!

Seriously, how amazing are iPods? For example, my iPod has ALL of my favorite songs on it.

I was “famously” slow to adopt the technology – I resisted until my Sony discman broke 4.5 years ago – but once I received my 30GB with my name and phone number embossed (in the case of a 2nd thought having petty thief), I have never looked back*.

Case in point, this morning I accidently selected “Shuffle Songs” instead of “Now Playing” and boy did the floodgates of awesome open upon me. Here is the playlist that followed:

Broken Social Scene “Lover’s Spit”

A prototypical BSS bizarro-world sex jam ostensibly about blow jobs. Think of it like D’Angelo’s “Untitled” for people who listen to “This American Life”.

John Legend “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

A super-great live recording of the Nina Simone (The Animals) song, which I thought I removed from my iPod two years ago. Praise the fates that that was not the case.

Annie – “Heartbeat”

The indie-dance classic that I have listened to maybe twice since Christina Kim put it a on a two-disc mix after I told her I might love electronic music. I was wrong. Still, this morning I realized I should really listen to this song way more.

The Beatles “For No One”

I have 146 Beatles songs on my iPod and as a result this song completely fell off my radar. I have listened to it a total of 0 times. The song is near flawless and further proof why Paul was so overrated that he is now the most underrated Beatle.

Newsies Cast – “The World Will Know”

It might not be “King of New York” or “Seize the Day” but any Newsies song is a wonderful song to drive to work to. Especially such a triumphant one with the geniusly old-time New York sung “we got plent of rotten fruit and poifect aim”.

Death Cab for Cutie – “What Sara Said”

Possibly, DCFC’s most kick-to-the stomachly sad song. Highlighted by the “Who’s going to watch you die” refrain. Only my iPod would think to put such a song in the same mix as “Lover’s Spit”. Maybe it is trying to tell me with this mix to live life to the fullest while there is still life to be fully lived. Or maybe it is just a little cube filled with sprockets, wires, and a little hamster on a spinning wheel, either way it was a fantastic start to the morning. Thanks iPods!

You can download this inspiring mix here but sssssshhhhhhhhhh don't tell the infamously bad at sharing Beatles.

*I am aware that my iPod is now a technological relic as well and I should have at least 12 iPads by now. Ever since I learned what an early-adopter was in Markting class my junior year, I knew it was not in my cards.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Surreally Acute Racism of the San Francisco Vintage Paper Fair

Yesterday, I went to the San Francisco Vintage Paper Fair (yep, these things really happen here). More accurately, it should have been titled the San Francisco Fair of Aggressively Forward Racist Imagery of the 20th Century. I guess that was too long of a title.

I do not want to editorialize too much but it was damn astonishing to see these images in these days of Post-Racial America. That first picture is of a postcard. A POSTCARD! I imagine at least fifty birthday celebrating American children received that card and a nickel from their grandparents. 'Tis Amurica!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A One Screenshot Top Chef Recap: Week 5

There is a lot of debate (no there's not) about whether this episode will remembered as the one where Tom actually cooked or the one where a room full of Chinese families made fun of the cheftestants.

Considering that I have eaten and shortly worked at his restaurants, I did not need to see his skills validated, I am aware he is an actual top chef*. Not to mention that he had a huge advantage of having plenty of time beforehand to know what he wanted to cook.

So the episode was more about these idiots inability to make dim sum. Like they did in episode 3, the chefs should have considered the venue and appealed to its standards. Grand Harmony is a cart-based dim sum house, which means more than anything (including flavor) it demands volume. If the customers featured on the show were regulars of Grand Harmony, than I imagine they are used to premade/re-heated fascimiles of the dim sum greatest hits. Thus, the screenshot above is as much mocking the food for being overly fussy as it is implying it is bad.

The idea of chef's gussying up dim sum sounds delicious yet save Asian Dale and hangs-out-with-Asians Angelo's dishes, everything seemed like as Tom put it "a waste of calories." filmed an event for this year's New York Food & Wine Festival called Dim Sum Disco, in which top asian-cooking chefs of New York made their takes on dim sum. This is how it is done.

* I am also aware that "top chef" is not a term that anyone used to talk about anyone before this show.