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Free New Yorker articles for the rest of this summer

The New Yorker is one of my favorite magazines, and I feel that their food articles are some of the best food articles out there.

Until now, their policy had been that they kept most of their articles behind a paywall for subscribers only and release only a few of their articles for everybody else to read.

But, for the rest of this summer, the New Yorker has lifted that paywall for everybody to read, regardless if you're a subscriber or not, all the articles they've published since 2007.

Some of my favorite New Yorker food articles are the chef profiles of Mario Batali, David Chang, April Bloomfield, Yotam Ottolenghi, etc.. The Calvin Trillin article about the peripatetic Chinese chef, "Where's Mr. Chang?" (In LA, we have our version).

What's been your favorite New Yorker food article?

Jul 23, 2014
hobbess in Food Media & News

China: A Culinary Adventure

Bite of China and China: A Culinary Adventure are both documentaries that traveled all across China, exploring the different regional specialties.

How are they so different that we can't compare them?

Jul 16, 2014
hobbess in Food Media & News

China: A Culinary Adventure

A Bite of China is much, much better.

Jul 12, 2014
hobbess in Food Media & News

two broke girls

The show is no Amos 'n' Andy, but its probably one of the more racist shows on TV right now.

It was especially cringe worthy during the TCA when the creator and exec producer declared he was allowed to indulge in racist sterotypes because he was gay.

Feb 16, 2014
hobbess in Food Media & News


"IMO, there isn't any way to tell if it's right for you without actually handling (and maybe using) it."

But, what about for the guests that use that flatware when they come over?

If something is right for me, do you think it will be universally fine for my guests or is it an individualistic choice where something may be right for me but uncomfortable for my guests to use?

Jan 21, 2014
hobbess in Cookware

Wedgwood or Apilco?

What stainless tableware did you get?

Wedgewood white is bone china, which is thin but the most durable form of china you can get. If you like how it looks, get the Wedgewood because its going to be just as durable.

And, how you have you looked at Revol which Sur La Table carries. It seems that's considered to be better than Apilco, or at least, more popular in France.

Jan 20, 2014
hobbess in Cookware


Here's the set I was talking about:

Jan 16, 2014
hobbess in Cookware


I'm looking for flatware, with the ones I'm considering only available on-line so I can't touch and feel them before ordering them.

To try to minimize the costs of shipping and handling for all those options, is there any way to know just by looking at the pictures if a flatware will be off? What should I look for before buying flatware online?

For example, this Moma set:

Does anybody own this set? I'm worried that the balance and how it feels in the hand, especially that knife. I think the knife looks great with that modern shape, but I'm worried if it compromised its function for that form.

I first noticed this on some design blog, but I wonder if the writer actually ever handled this set. With the way design blogs and mags works today, it seems like you'll attract attention by giving the product a eye-grabbing shape or surprise/difference without regard to how functional the product really is.

Jan 16, 2014
hobbess in Cookware

Smithsonian: How the Hot Tamale Conquered the American South

The PR people pushing the Mississippi Delta Tamales are doing an amazing job.

The Smithsonian Magazine hasn't been the only writers to recently publish a long essay/report on the Tamales and the Tamale Festival in Greenville.

There was also Calvin Trillin, who wrote about the tamales in this month's New Yorker:


And, then, I also read about the tamales of Issaquena County and race in a recent essay from Roads & Kingdom, a website which won an award for best travel journalism:


Jan 14, 2014
hobbess in Food Media & News

Pierre Herme designed cookware

I was pretty intrigued when i heard that Pierre Herme helped to design some pastry cookware, ESSENTIEL DE PATISSERIE, for Alessi. I love the idea that you could have something both functional and beautiful at the same time.

But, I just don't get some of that stuff in the collection like this mixing bowl:


Can anybody who does a lot of pastries explain this mixing bowl to me.

I understand that they were trying to save a person from using two mixing bowls where you were mixing a few ingredients in a smaller bowl and then transferring those ingredients to mix with more ingredients in a larger bowl.

But, their idea of a mixing bowl with a little hemispherical dent on the side of a mixing bowl seems weird and not very functional to me.

That little dent seems too small to really mix anything in it. And, then the dent seems like it would be ab interference when you were mixing more ingredients in the bowl as some items would get stuck in that little dent.

And, what's up with that orange silicon bump? With that, you can't use the mixing bowl to melt chocolate with that bump.

Is this mixing bowl another Juicy Sarif, something where aesthetics trumped function? At least, Juicy Sarif looked kinda cool in its own way while this mixing bowl just looks like an ugly chicken but.

Jan 13, 2014
hobbess in Cookware

Vintage dishware- Any issues?

I've decided to finally step up and get some better dishware. And, I figured I could find some good deals on some vintage dishware on Craigslist. There's gotta be so many dishware that gets registered for weddings but never really got used as our society has gotten more casual.

But, then, I read this article about the safety of eating off vintage plates:


It was specifically talking about Fiestaware, but I'm troubled by this sentence, "First, as a bit of background, FDA established and began enforcing limits on leachable lead in tableware 40 years ago. Obviously, any ware, Fiestaware or otherwise, manufactured prior to that era was not subject to FDA limits, because they didn’t exist."

Do I need to worry about this issue for porcelain and bone china dishware that's over forty years old? And, are there any other issues with vintage dishware that I should be concerned or look out for?

I saw a good deal for some old Wedgewood, even though there's way too many pieces for me. But, now I don't know if I should buy it.

Dec 30, 2013
hobbess in Cookware

Fish head muscle delicacy

For fish heads, I know that the cheeks are considered the best part for many people.

But, when I was watching Andrew Zimmern's Bizzare Foods show go up to Alaska, he was eating another part of the fish head that I've never tried.

Zimmern was saying that this was the best part, and compared it to a scallop. This muscle is behind the fish head, near the collar, where it controlled the fins and necks.

Zimmern was doing this for black cods, but wouldn't every fish have the same muscle? Does anybody know what this muscle is called?

I want to learn how to dig out that muscle next time to try it. It sounded like it might be the fish equivalent to chicken oysters- something that not a lot of people know about because its harder to dig out but the taste is worth the extra work.

Aug 09, 2013
hobbess in General Topics

WSJ: FAD FOOD NATION ("Something to Chew On" By Trevor Butterworth)

I think people have become too paranoid and overreact towards genetically modified food. Since the beginning of agriculture thousands of years ago, man has manipulated plants and animals.

All you have to do is see the original form of foods we eat today is see how much they changed once we manipulated and bred them into having the features we wanted. And, I see genetically modified food as an extension of what agriculture has always done to food. Instead, of taking hundreds of years, we've condensed that process to just a single generation.

But, I do question this statement:

[QUOTE]Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Sudan," writes Mr. Gibney, "have all rejected food aid shipments on the grounds that they might contain GM grains." ... Africans just want to be as safe as Europeans. But in this case, Africans risk literal blindness, from Vitamin A deficiency[/QUOTE]

I suspect that the real reason those African countries reject GM grains as food aid isn't because of concerns of food safety for themselves, but because they fear they will be shut out from exporting food to Japan and the European countries that shun GM foods.

When you plant GM foods nearby non-GM foods, there's a real risk of cross-breeding where the GM plants will spread and the non-GM will get 'infected'. Once that happens, it'll be hard to sell those food crops to Japan and European countries that are wary of GM foods.

Jul 18, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

Ch Ch Ch Cherry Bomb, 1st edition Woman & Food magazine

Who's the woman on the cover? That ain't April Bloomfeld...

Jul 17, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

European Union bans all shark finning.

[QUOTE]However, I did read (and, no, I don't have the citation) that as many as a hundred million sharks are killed for their fins. That seems, in any calculation, a significant number.[QUOTE]

There's no need to try to locate that citation because you won't find any citation with any scientific evidence to verify that claim.

I don't know where or how they came up with that number, but its been discredited and debunked even though I last saw that number on Gordon Ramsay's recent Sharkbait documentary. But, that documentary was obviously so distorted and wrong that I don't who would have taken it seriously.

Everybody who ever talks about shark fins always uses the data of the fisheries scientist, Dr. Shelley Clarke. When she came out with her data, it showed that the shark fin trade was much, much higher than previously estimated.

But, read how Dr. Shelley Clarke has been very critical of that 100 million number:

"There were inevitably many unknowns in the formula, and being a scientist, I did my best to bracket these with high and low estimates and to carry through these unknowns as a range. My conclusion was that as of 2000, the fins of 38 million sharks per year were being traded through the fin markets, but that the number could range as low as 26 million or as high as 73 million.

In 2011, with many conservation organizations escalating their campaigns and rhetoric against the shark fin trade, there are few news articles, web sites or blogs that don’t mention the millions of sharks killed each year. But I almost never see any reference to the 38 million, which was after all, my best estimate. Frequently I see “73 million” without any reference to this being my highest estimate, and almost as often I see “100 million,” an estimate that was published in Time magazine in 1997 but for which I can find no scientific basis. Even more troubling, some sources quote these figures as “the number of sharks killed for their fins”, or “the number of sharks finned” (carcasses discarded at sea), or the “number of sharks finned alive” every year.

I’m inevitably interrupted at this point by the question “Who cares about the actual number anyway?” We all should. First, we should seek to ground our positions on these issues in the best available science. Selective and slanted use of information devalues and marginalizes researchers who are working hard to impartially present the data. Second, unless our aim is to prohibit killing all sharks worldwide, we need to know how many sharks can be killed without damaging the long-term sustainability of shark populations and ocean ecosystems. These numbers are hard to calculate and getting accurate estimates of current shark catches, using fin trade data if necessary, is incredibly important to fisheries management. Third, exaggeration and hyperbole run the risk of undermining conservation campaigns. Presenting a high but scientifically unsubstantiated number like 100 million can discredit otherwise valuable advocacy for better resource management and monitoring. "


And, since that data was published, shark fin trade has actually decreased so there's no way that number could have shot up from 38 million to 100 million.

Jul 15, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

European Union bans all shark finning.

[QUOTE]just because we can't solve the whole problem doesn't mean we should do nothing[QUOTE]

If we're talking about multipronged steps that will actually do something like ban finning, then I would agree with that.

But, its when we take steps that don't actually do anything just for the sake of feeling good about ourselves is where I disagree with.

My question is do you want to actually do something that works or something that just makes you feel good?

There's a couple of problems with this thought process to do something simply for the sake of doing something to make yourself feel good.

First of all, if we're doing something that prevents better or more effective solutions from being initiated or adopted, then I don't know if that's something to celebrate.

Without shark fin soup bans, shark populations in the US, with a few notable exceptions like the hammerheads, are stabilizing and/or increasing.

If we're banning shark fin soups in the US, we're ignoring sustainable shark fisheries that have been MSC certified and hurting fishermen following best practices and regulations.

Instead of setting a standard for how other countries can sustainably manage their shark populations, we'd be telling the rest of the world not to emulate our practices.

The United States National Marine Fisheries Service, which manages the most sustainable shark fisheries on this planet, is speaking against some of these statues:

"These statutes have the potential to undermine significantly conservation and management of federal shark fisheries"


Secondly, what this ineffective feel good legislation ends up doing is that it gives a pass to people and countries that pass shark fin soup bans even though they don't consume it in large amounts.

By blaming all the shark problems on shark fin soup, it lets those countries off the hook where now they don't have to take responsibility or do anything about the various ways their actions are harming shark populations.

Studies have shown that when people buy green products, participants actually behaved worse afterwards as if buying green gave them a pass to behave poorly or irresponsibly.


Once those countries ban shark fin soup, I'll be very skeptical if those countries then also tackle all those other issues that harm sharks. Those countries will think they've solved the problem because they've banned shark fin soup, even though arguably shark fin soup doesn't even account for the majority behind the deaths for sharks.

Jul 14, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

European Union bans all shark finning.

I don't have problems with banning finning because its wasteful and cruel. It was about time for the EU to ban finning and join countries like Taiwan which haave already done that.

But, I take issues with targeting and singling out Chinese eaters for a decline in shark populations as if there weren't other factors like the ones INDIANRIVERFL posted.

Its been estimated that half of the sharks that die are as a result of by-catch, yet nobody ever talks about it as if a ban against shark fin soup will solve everything. If we're going to ban finning on the grounds that its wasteful, then how we turn around and pretend that throwing all that bycatch overboard to die isn't as wasteful too.

Or, that the biggest threat to sharks in the north-east Atlantic isn't finning, but "most of the damage is inflicted by overfishing and by sharks caught as a by-product either in nets or on long-lines."


If the real goal is to save shark populations, then we'll need a comprehensive fishing management system in place that bans finning, addresses the sharks getting killed as by-catch, prevents over-fishing of endangered species, establishes habitat protection, etc..

That will be more effective than a feel-good legislation banning shark fin soup in the US which won't do that much because it doesn't address those other factors as long as it singles out shark fin soup as the only reason for the decline of sharks.

Jul 14, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

Pepper Mill vs Salt Mill- What's the Difference?

I saw a Cole & Mason Derwent Salt Mill on sale, but I mainly use kosher salt so I don't really need a salt mill. But, I could always upgrade to a better pepper mill.

Are a salt mill and pepper mill interchangeable? I'm looking at the pictures of the Cole & Mason Derwent set of pepper and salt mills, and they identical to me like they're the same except one mill has salt in it and the other mill has pepper in it.

If I bought this salt mill, would there be any issues if I used it to grind pepper instead of salt?

May 19, 2013
hobbess in Cookware

Venice- How do these places sound?

I'm going off to Europe this week so I don't have a lot of time to really research each city so I'm going to rely heavily on travel guides. But, I need some feedback as to which is a better guide to trust for food: Rick Steves or Walks in Italy.

If I know whether or not I can trust their restaurant recommendations for Venice, it'll give me some ideas if I can trust their restaurant recommendations for the other European cities I'll also be visiting.

Rick Steves' picks for Barcelona were surprisingly sound but that might have more to do with a city like Barcelona with so many good food options. So, I figured Venice would be a better test since Venice is notorious for having so many overpriced tourist traps.

These were Walks of Italy bacari picks where to eat cicchetti:
Ca’ d’Oro/Alla Vedova
La Cantina
Do Mori
Do Spade
Cantinone–già Schiavi
Al Ponte
Banco Giro
And, they recommended Al Gatto Nero da Ruggero in Burano for a restaurant.

And, these were Rick Steves' picks:
Rosticerria San Bartolomeo
Cantina Do Mori
Bar all'Arco
Ostaria ai Storti
Cantina Do Spade
Pesce Pronto
Birreria Forst
Bar Verde
Ristorante alla Basilica

Are there any places on these lists that stand out as really good, or something to avoid at all costs?

Apr 08, 2013
hobbess in Italy

Barcelona's Cafe Viena- a perfect sanwich?

Other than Rick Steves, I've been looking at other sources for where to eat in Barcelona like the New York Times.

And, so I found a review of Mark Bittman of Cafe Viena's flauta d’ibéric d.o. jabugo where the NY Times put it out there that this was possibly a perfect sandwich and possibly one of the best sandwiches in the world.

What do you think of the sandwich? Is it a must stop in Barcelona, or is it a tourist trap and way overrated?

Mar 31, 2013
hobbess in Spain/Portugal

Mykonos- any suggestions other than Kiki's?

I'll be stopping at Mykonos on a cruise for only five hours so I won't have that much time to eat after all the sight seeing is done. This means that Kiki's is not an option despite all the good things I've heard about it because I don't have time to wait a couple of hours in line and eat.

So, are there any other good options in Mykonos? Or, is Mykonos one of those places that's overrun by tourists so there's nothing really good to eat and even the mediocre food is overpriced and expensive?

There's food on-board the cruise ship so I'd hate to spend the money and time to eat just mediocre food in Mykonos.

Mar 31, 2013
hobbess in Europe

Rick Steve's Barcelona recommendations

Wow, thank you so much.

That was much more helpful and informative than I was expecting. I was just expecting something more general, more of a general impression of those restaurants as a group to know how much I could trust Rick Steves restaurant picks.

Mar 27, 2013
hobbess in Spain/Portugal

Rick Steve's Barcelona recommendations

I'm going to Europe for a vacation with some Rick Steves' guidebooks
but I wanted to get some feedback about his recommended restaurants for Barcelona in 2012.

And, if I know whether or not I can trust his restaurant recommendations for Barcelona, it'll give me some ideas if I can trust his restaurant recommendations for the other European cities I'll also be visiting.

In general, what do you think of his recommendations:

Lunch near Ramblas:
Taverna Basca Irati
Restaurant Elisabets
Cafe Granja Viader

Near La Boqueria Market:
Pinotxo Bar
Kiosko Universal
Restaurant la Gardunya

In Barecloneta:
La Mar Salada

In Barri Gotic:
Cafe de l'Academia
La Crema Canela

Tapas on Carrer de la Merce in Barri Gotic:
La Pulperia
La Plata
Tasca el Corral
Sideria Tasca La Socarrena
Cerveceria Vendimia

In Ribera District, near Picasso Museum:
Sagardi Euskal Taberna
Taller de Tapas
El Xampanyet

In Eixample:
La Rita
La Bodegueta
Restaurante la Palmera
Restaurant Flaunta
Cinc Sentits

Tapas Bars in Eixample:
Quasi Queviures
Ciudad Condal Cervecceria
La Tamoia

And, he also recommended turron at Casa Colomina, Churros con Chocolate at Granja La Pallaresa, and homemade chocolate at Fargas.

I'm not expecting this list to be the best possible restaurants in the city. But, I'm looking for good, tasty food that's going to be near the tourist attractions.

With limited time, I'm not going to go see a tourist attraction and then make a separate trip all the way across the city for lunch if there's no nearby tourist attraction near lunch spot.

Are there any places on this list that stand out as really good, or something to avoid at all costs?

Mar 25, 2013
hobbess in Spain/Portugal

What do you think of eGullet these days?

Doing all that must truly be harder than it looks if you look at all the updates Chowhound has made to its boards in the past couple of months.

Feb 24, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

T&L: "Best Chinese Restaurants in the U.S."

I like Chung King, but I suspect its on the list because that place would be on Jonathan Gold's list for top Chinese restaurants in LA.

Looking over the list, it struck me as an amalgamation of various other best Chinese restaurants lists- there's Chung King and Sea Harbor from Jonathan Gold, Koi Palace from Chandvakl's list, and Yangming from Chinese Restaurant Association list where you could pay your way onto the list.

But, a lot of the choices seemed to come firectly from Clarissa Wei's top 50 Chinese restaurants because that list was also trying to be geographically correct and was thus also flawed- San Tung in SF, Gourmet Dumpling House in Boston, Shangdong restaurant in Portland, Single Pebble in Burlington, etc..


Honestly, I wonder if the writer even actually ate at all 27 Chinese restaurants? Say what you will about Chandvakl's list, but he actually ate at over 6000 Chinese restaurants...

Feb 24, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

T&L: "Best Chinese Restaurants in the U.S."

I hope this list satisfies all the people who were whining that Chandavkl's list for his best Chinese restaurants in America was dominated by California restaurants.

This is the type of list you deserve when you try to be geographically correct, where you don't allow one area to dominate.

By limiting it to only a few San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurants for a list of the 27 best Chinese restaurants in America, readers won't feel excluded because there will be a Chinese restaurant from their region too on that list. Otherwise, a majority of the restaurants on that list would have been from SGV.

So, that's why a Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake City, run by a Greek-American Angel Manfredini and her 84-year-old father, can make this list.

I guess Chandvakl will have to rethink his arguments about the importance of demographics when a Chinese restaurant in Salt Lake City can be regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in the country even though the Chinese probably make up less than 1% of the population in Salt Lake City.

Feb 24, 2013
hobbess in Food Media & News

Juniors Deli is Closing:(


With these stories, everybody tends to side with the plucky owner against the greedy landlord, but it wasn't rising rent that shut this place down.

Instead, it seems like a fatal combination of changing consumer attitudes and increasing food costs for a not great enough food product which led to decreasing customer demand that killed the place.

The landlord had already given Junior's several breaks over the past few years, accepting less money than the amount owed in the lease. And, when it came to renew the lease, the landlord decided they couldn't continue to keep offering those same rental concessions but were willing to rent it for lower than what Junior's had been supposed to pay.

But, to survive, Junior's wanted a lease that was well-below market rates. With the economy turning around and rents going up, no landlord is going to lock themselves in with those low rents to support a business that would always struggle to survive.

I'm sorry but if a business can't make it work, you can't expect the landlord to come in with a sweetheart deal to sustain the business. And, LOL at Junior's not paying rent since Nov. for 'negotiating purposes.'

Dec 29, 2012
hobbess in Los Angeles Area

Ensenada, near Cruise Port: What's Not to be Missed?

So, how far is La Guerrerense from where the Princess Cruise docks at? I've found the address of La Guerrense, but can't find the location of where the boat docks at.

How long would it take to walk there? Or, do you need to rent a taxi to get there?

Dec 27, 2012
hobbess in Mexico

Shark fin extravaganza

Are there any chinese restaurants doing anything special to celebrate shark fin before the upcoming shark fin ban like how all those restaurants were doing foie gras specials before foie gras got banned this year?

Dec 27, 2012
hobbess in Los Angeles Area

Farmer's Market for Asian Vegetables

What's the best farmer's market in LA if you're interested mainly in Asian vegetables and fruits?

Alhambra Farmer's Market on Sundays?

When I went to Santa Monica's Farmer Market, I was a bit surprised about the paucity of Asian vegetables, fruits, or Asian vendors.

Oct 28, 2012
hobbess in Los Angeles Area