Category Archives: Fine Dining

Chocolate

chocolate

I am supposed to like chocolate. It’s like PMS or bad chick flicks—part of the essence of womanhood. But these days, I can’t even smell the stuff without getting nauseous. No, I’m not pregnant. I might have ODed on the substance as a child.

Chocolate is like a female crutch: for celebration, for depression, for daily indulgences. It’s a staple for holidays like V-Day and Christmas. It bothers me almost every year. I’m surrounded by hot chocolate or chocolate chip cookies or flourless chocolate cake or little chocolate coins. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! But clearly we haven’t binged enough, because along comes Easter with its chocolate bunnies. Yelch.

And don’t get me started on chocolate martinis. That’s just ruining gin.

Andrea

Organic Peanut Butter

yum-(yuck)-organic-peanut-butter

After years of eating out every meal I have finally reached the point where I am starting to make my own lunches. First on my list  was the ever venerable and delicious PB and J. Working across the street from a Whole Foods and not wanting to seem callow around the office, I instinctively did the adult thing and purchased the fanciest, most organic peanut butter I could find. What a mistake. The spread was barely palatable. Thinking I just choose the wrong brand, I went back the next week and picked an equally precocious jar of organic peanut butter. Even worse. As far as I can tell, organic equals bland and disgusting when it comes to spreads.

After some considerable research (ok, Wikipedia) the only discernible difference between organic peanut butter and normal peanut butter, beyond the drop-off in taste and increase in price, is that the organic variety is grown without the use of any pesticides. And although this sounds lovely, I am not sure I want peanuts that weren’t protected from pests. That doesn’t sound good. I can’t imagine that the normal peanut farmers are just pissing away money on needless chemicals, so their must be some reason.

So, how exactly are the organic producers protecting their crops? Do they have teams of quasi-enslaved peasants on their plantations keeping the pests off by hand? Because if so, that so sounds like the enlightened and humanistic approach to the problem, as opposed to the myopic and backwards approach of employing science and decades of research to safeguard crops with carefully tested chemicals. And aren’t chemicals derived from organic compounds? Would everyone be happy if someone started producing “organic” pesticides?

And all of this wouldn’t matter, if only the more expensive and “environmentally friendly” peanut butter tasted better. But it doesn’t. So I quit this charade of acting like an adult in the kitchen. And I am though pretending to give a damn about soil integrity half way around the world. I’m coming back to you Jiffy. Perhaps the missing ingredients in organic peanut butter were your tasty Monoglycerides, Diglycerides, semi-hydrated…

Jeff

Fancy Cocktails

fancy-cocktails

I’m a fairly simple girl. It doesn’t take a lot of bells and whistles to make me happy. Which is why when I see my female comrades (and certain male friends too) order some fancy cocktail nonsense, I can’t help but cringe in despair.

I like some fruity drinks. A mojito in summer. A margarita on the beach. But you’re not impressing anyone with your four-fruit colada. As a rule, drinks should be made with as few ingredients as possible. Why must you overcomplicate a boozy night on the town? If you want something sweet, order the cake, not the chocolate ravage. It will take the bartender ten seconds to pull a pint or pour my scotch. You’re backing up the line and wasting everyone’s time with your super deluxe “martini.”

A martini should be made one way: with gin.

Or maybe I just break too many long-stemmed glasses.

Andrea

Shots

Shots

I have a problem. It’s very serious. I’m going to the University of Chicago vs. NYU basketball game tonight, and I can’t figure out how to stay pleasantly tipsy through the two-plus hours of sloppy comedy they pretend to be “basketball.” If I’m going to watch a group of nerds butcher the game so badly, I’m going to need more than a glass.

The obvious solution would be a flask. I own two. But I can’t stomach the idea of swigging vodka in the middle of a crowded gym that smells like sweat and college students. Or maybe there is a bigger problem: I just don’t like taking shots.

Shots seem like an integral part of the twenty-something experience. Bad day? Shot of whiskey. Goin’ clubbin’? Take tequila. At that horrible East Village bar you can get five shots for $10, but have fun fighting the punks for them. There are fancy shots and flaming shots and foul shots. A shot for every occasion. But not for me.

Shots and I go way back, and I think it’s time to call it quits. We had our fun when I was underage and stupid. But they led to far too many embarrassing situations, questionable men, and bad dance moves. Now 23 (and probably still stupid), I want liquor with more sophistication than a frat party. Especially before midnight.

After the emotional and intellectual torture of college, can you really blame me? I guess this is what “school spirit” gets you these days.

Andrea

That New Restaurant

that-new-restaurant

You know the one I’m talking about. It’s fusion. Adam Platt just raved about it. “Icelandic cuisine meets Ethiopia,” he says (think: a fish stuffed with finger-food…or perhaps fingers). It’s in Greenpoint or New Jersey or another unexpected neighborhood I have to take two trains to get to. Half an hour after our reservation, we’ll still be waiting at its fantastic bar drinking my week’s salary in cocktails. The model-wannabe hostess is bored and rude, and the chiseled waiters are catty—probs gay. Everything’s organic, even the napkins and tablecloths. Now I know what I’m paying for—good information, since the minimalist décor and small portions confused me. The menu changes every night and making my entrée vegetarian will insult the chef. But it’s so hip and everybody’s talking about it! You’re a real philistine if you don’t want to slip the hostess a hundo and lick some balls. (It’s just an expression, Mom, like “I’d eat a horse” or “I slept with him for concert tickets.”) Everyone there will probably just sneer at my last-season Philip Lim smock, anyway.

No, thanks. I’ll order in.

Andrea