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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

The Propaganda of Food

They don't make ’em like they used to. A slideshow of vintage World War II–era Ministry of Food posters from London's Imperial War Museum is a model for graphic designers from any era. Propaganda in the best possible sense, these posters are bright, clear, concise, and memorable.

Unicorn Meat Ad Brings Down Big Pork’s Wrath

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After running a farcical April Fools' ad for canned unicorn meat, web store ThinkGeek received a 12-page cease-and-desist screed from the National Pork Board, demanding that ThinkGeek stop using the phrase "the new white meat," thinking it too similar to its slogan "The Other White Meat."

"We certainly understand that unicorns don't exist," Ceci Snyder, vice president of marketing for the National Pork Board, told the Associated Press, which snickered over the fracas. "Yes, it's funny. But if you don't respond, you are opening your trademark up to challenges."


The Exoticism of Marshmallow Fluff

YouTube user and professional trend forecaster Simone Haruko Smith did some ethnic anthropology of the first order (wherein first means most entertaining) while traveling through a gourmet grocery store in Berlin's Alexanderplatz. She discovered (and video documented) the "American" ethnic food section. So if you've ever wandered through the Asian or undifferentiated "Latin" section of a grocery store and wondered what it would feel like to have the shoe on the other foot, here's your chance. [via The Daily What] READ MORE

A Chef Breaks Out of His Market Stall

Mateo Granados's farmers' market stall may be familiar to hounds who frequently visit wine country, but that experience only hints at what he can do as a chef. Recently, he's been doing a pop-up restaurant, Tendejon de la Calle, at various locations.

"I’ve had breakfast many times at Chef Mateo’s farmers market stand, but even with that familiarity, I was dazzled by his performance at dinner," says Melanie Wong after a dinner with Chowhounds. The intricately constructed flavors are on a par with the French Laundry's, she says.

"Evolucion de un taco," a meltingly tender concoction of goat-head cheese fried in duck fat with fava bean purée, guajillo sauce, greens, and a tangy raw-rhubarb salpicon, was wearybashful's favorite of the antojitos. Cynsa loved the cured Bolinas halibut and the green corn atole with duck egg, roasted asparagus, and preserved Meyer lemon.

Days after the chowdown, snarkygirl says, "We haven't stopped talking about the duck enchilada. Heaven." It was swathed in a house-made mole sauce that had cooked for three days for a rich, unforgettable flavor. Rabbit also gets the slow treatment, braised gently with what seems like the contents of a kitchen garden. "In spite of the exotic meat and elegant presentation, I was reminded of my grandmother's cooking somehow," wearybashful says. "It was the long slow braising of the meat that created that grandmother's kitchen flavor."

Mateo Granados [Sonoma County]
541 Fitch Street, Healdsburg

Discuss: Yucatán Chowdown Report: 12-Course Tendejon de la Calle Dinner by Mateo Granados

Super Duper Burgers

Super Duper Burgers is fast food with a pedigree—the burgers feature Niman Ranch beef—but without any gourmet pretensions. A no-frills burger starts at $3.75. balabanian raves about the cheeseburger—“perfectly cooked, juicy, great proportion of meat to bun to dressings"—and the thin, crispy fries.

Absonot really likes the chicken burger, especially with the chipotle sauce. There's Racer 5 beer on tap, and a nicer selection of desserts than at, say, In-N-Out. Strawberry shakes are made with fresh strawberries, and you can get Strauss Creamery soft-serve ice cream in a chocolate-dipped cone. A little more unusual is the sundae with chocolate chip cookies and bacon.

Super Duper Burgers [Castro]
2304 Market Street, San Francisco

Discuss: Report: Super Duper Burgers (Market & Castro in SF)

Meat That’s a Real Treat

"This is the butcher shop the Berkeley/Oakland area has deserved for all of these years," declares Morton the Mousse of the new Marin Sun Farms retail operation in Rockridge Market Hall. Those are real butchers behind that counter, and they know their stuff. It's great stuff, too: "Excellent selection of pasture raised beef, lamb, goat, and chicken (including their famous eggs)."

Rockridge Market Hall [East Bay]
5655 College Avenue, Oakland

Discuss: Marin Sun Farms opens in Rockridge Market Hall!

Overheard on the San Francisco Bay Area Board

"The crackly crisp bacon was great, and the rich, oozing mass of Jersey milk Bellwether Carmody cheese was a force to be reckoned with." – Melanie Wong on grilled cheese at the Windsor Certified Farmers Market

"We had the braised pork sandwich and the lamb burger—both of which were some of the best renditions of those dishes we've ever had." – The Dive on a great lunch at Café Bière

"But the truly outstanding mezze—so good in the first order, we had to have a second—was an unusual take on lamb stuffed grape leaves." – Joan Kureczka on Troya

Ghrelin Doomed Your Diet

You've skipped breakfast, and at noon, with your tummy rumbling, you opt for a fat slice of pizza instead of a salad. Well, duh. But a new study, presented at the Endocrine Society's annual meeting this past Tuesday, says you could numb those cravings. Enter weight-loss remedy number gazillion.


Must-Have Spices

Let's be honest. There's no possible definitive list of must-have spices. The truth is, the selection of spices that you keep in your kitchen will depend on your taste preferences. However in the interest of offering perhaps one tiny nugget of enlightenment, we've compiled a list of the items that most home cooks should have on hand. READ MORE

Don’t Forget About “Forgotten Skills”

Dubbed the "Julia Child of Ireland," Chef Darina Allen has run the renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School just outside of Cork since 1983. Set amidst a working organic farm, the school teaches students as much about the ingredients themselves as how to cook them.