Faves No. 196

Halloween Horror Stories - 2018

The Museum of the world most disgusting foods….The museum of “Disgusting Food” has opened in Malmo, Sweden and the Guardian has a super gallery of some of the offerings. But, I have had quite a few of these and like them. Which ones have I enjoyed you ask? Guess…(Guardian)

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Unless you are Iceland temporarily hosting 6000 service men and women….

US troops visiting Reykjavic recently drank so much beer that they nearly depleted the entire city's sudsy supply

While en route to Sweden and Finland to participate in a NATO military exercise, roughly 6,000 US sailors and Marines made a pit stop in the port of Reykjavic last week and quickly overwhelmed the bars in the relatively small capital city of 122,000 residents. The troops were only there from Wednesday through Sunday, but managed to drink several establishments dry of their beer supply and even forced others to take drastic measures to replenish their stock. (Thrillist)


Sorry Not Sorry

This didn’t exist when I was a kid, nor did it exist when I was a mom shepherding my kiddos door to door, but DAMN! this could be a nightmare for some or a complete dream for others. You decide.

But I am curious- what is the exchange rate? (CNN)


And last but not least a creepy cocktail round up. TBH, there are some good ideas here but some real nasty looking libations as well. One person’s heaven is another one’s hell I guess. (HGTV)

Sing Along Snacks: Man No Sober

It's never too early or too late for a snack so crank up that volume on your computer.

This is in honor of our resident Plaza San Miguel drunkard, wino, whatever you want to call him. We have been living in Madrid for a month now and have gotten to "know", or rather become recognized by, our local beggars and drunks. What that means is that we are no longer solicited for our spare change. Instead we get a snear and they just move on....and I'm O.K. with that.


Woooh! Man no sober
The drunkard he staggers around
The alleys of cities and towns
His sorrows he tries to drown
Solution to his problems
Can never be found
Booze is what he choose
Like a gipsy he's tipsy
He drinks too much whiskey
Like a gipsy he's tipsy
He drinks too much
A Mr Winehead stagger deh
Booze is what he choose
Watch him how topples over

Man no sober

In and out of discotheques
In and out of wine bars
Burnt out shell looks a wreck
Got to help him somehow oh
Greets bartenders drink firewater
Dance bossanova he topples over

Friday Faves No. 146

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Fruit squee — the cucamelon! (above) "Tangy, crunchy, and bite-sized—cucamelons are perfect in salads, sandwiches, and fruity salsas. Native to Mexico and Central America, Melothria scabra, or the cucamelon, is also called the mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, or “sandita,” meaning little watermelon. Originally part of the Aztec diet, cucamelons are now commonly served in Central America as a delicacy." (James Beard Foundation)

Exploring the soft power of food — What are Conflict Cafes and how do they work? (Eater)

Easily the best thing ever to be served at McDonald’s: Roald Dahl book to be given away with every Happy Meal in the UK. The fast-food chain will offer extracts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, George’s Marvellous Medicine and Matilda with its kids’ meals, in a campaign backed by the National Literacy Trust. "The scale of the campaign will reach millions of children, including many who haven’t owned a book before, inspiring them to enjoy reading and improving their life chances.” (Guardian)

The Pumpkin Beer Problem: "Yes, I dislike pumpkin beer. Sometimes I dream of seeing a veritable ocean of the stuff spilled out by Prohibition agents, the orange bottles melted down and reused to make tchotchkes for the Dutch National soccer team. But that’s obviously subjective; the numbers say I’m in the minority in a big way." (Gear Patrol)

The Rise of the Fast-Casual Cocktail Bar — Now that drinkers have grown accustomed to cocktails made with fresh ingredients and top-notch skills, bar-owners are starting to offer them in more casual settings—often right alongside their high-end counterparts. "The first wave of the cocktail movement was about educating the public that a great drink—with quality spirits, fresh juice and expert craftsmanship—was worth savoring in a reverential space. But the paradigm has shifted—now that urban drinkers have become accustomed to properly diluted drinks and fresh citrus, they expect a good drink nearly everywhere." (Punch)

One of the greatest meals in New York is at Di Fara Pizza. Find it. Go. We promise, it's worth it. “Only one guy is supposed to make the pizza,” Dom says. “If there’s too many people that make the pizza, [it’s] no good. It’s very hard to explain.” (Lucky Peach)

Friday Faves No. 135

our favorite finds from the front lines of food


If you ever thought you were the most cocktail obsessed person, you're wrong. The people who make ice sculptures with 3D printers (like above) and then put them in drinks win. (Food & Wine / FWx)

History of the Egg Cream "The sweet, frothy combination of bubbly seltzer, frosty cold milk and sugary chocolate syrup explains the enduring appeal of the egg cream. But the true origin of this classic American drink remains a delicious mystery. Despite the fact that there’s no egg and no cream, most New York natives have a story about the famous potable, and whether it was invented in Brooklyn or on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is a source of heated debate." The excellent song about Egg Cream by Lou Reed was a Sing Along Snack. (Imbibe)

Now available on Amazon — rental goats! Yes, really. They're "vegetation management experts" to you. (KUOW / NPR Seattle)

Gluten Free Museum Tumblr painstakingly removes gluten products from famous works of art. (Dangerous Minds)

Most irresistible headline of the week: How I Went From Being a Backstreet Boy Impersonator to a Sustainable Seafood Chef  You had us at Backstreet Boy Impersonator, but talking about working for healthy fisheries in the Bahamas isn't bad either. (Munchies)

Friday Faves No. 129

our favorite finds from the front lines of food

Even Victorian orphans are foodies now in satirical spins on classic Ladybird illustrations, like one above. (Guardian)

Bone Broth cocktails are now a thing, at least in LA. "For the broth itself, Melendrez boils lamb neck bones for eight hours then clarifies the liquid, straining it through a coffee filter. Instead of a cocktail glass, the hot savory cocktail is served in a shallow bowl garnished with toasted crostini and bits of asparagus, carrots, and cilantro leaves. Does that make it more soup than cocktail? "If you put a Bloody Mary in a bowl, wouldn’t it be like gazpacho almost?" questioned Melendrez. "I’m just trying to change people’s perceptions about what a cocktail possibly could be."' (Eater)

WTF story of the week — Is Kim Jong-Un Really Opening a Restaurant in Scotland? “North Korea is rich in natural resources and we like the taste of Scotch whisky, so [Scotland and North Korea] can be beneficial to each other.” (Munchies)

Despite their smart phone obsessions, Millennials aren't buying their wine online.  (Punch)

Time to buy an extra suitcase for your next visit home, because these are sad times for Brit expat chocolate lovers.

In better news from the UK, the Guardian's video selection was in great form this last week with these two: 

Have you tried the full English breakfast detox? (video) which really sums up what we feel about the detox trend. And then there was 

Americans try haggis for the fist time (video). Some sophisticated souls are on board, some, think of socks. (Guardian)

The Surprising Science Behind Your Favorite Flavors Did our sense of taste make us human? From evolution to culture, a new book explores the science and perception of flavor. (On Point)

Colorado inmates are turing into farmers. "All inmates have to work, whether that’s in the library, or the cafeteria, or somewhere else—you have to do something to keep yourself busy. And over 1,000 guys are on a waiting list for one of the agricultural programs.”


Friday Faves No. 89

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food

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Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 78

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food


  • Chefs as media celebrities is old news. Now chefs are becoming comic book heroes (see right). "According to the folks at Marvel, 'Fanboys and foodies are very much alike. There are similar mentalities to both kinds of fandom.' Foodies collect culinary experiences—often displayed in digital pictures—oozing with the same glory and excitement found in the eyes of fanboys (geek culture aficionados) who collect comic books." (Food Arts)
  • Ever wonder how sake gets made? The Birth of Sake, a documentary in progress and looking for more crowd funding by Erik Shirai, gives a peak into the ancient process. View a short video about the project (Food Tech Connect)

Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 74

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food


  • It's not like selling handbags: For online food startups, a challenging recipe for success "Unlike groceries, artisanal foods are generally considered a niche market. They make great gifts, as well as delicious occasional treats, but most people -- even foodies -- aren't buying high-end truffle oil too often." (Fortune)
  • Men's fashion site Mr Porter has bridged their style into food with their "The Way I cook" series, like this one with model and cake enthusiast Sam Homan. Anyone looking to make a company video for their food product, take notes. (Mr Porter)
  • Hotels and resorts want a piece of the Farm to Table movement: "In May 2012, Hyatt Hotels Corp. required chefs at its 120 full-service hotels in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean to use at least five local ingredients on their menus. The rules define local as food grown or caught within 50 miles of the hotel." And the experiment is still going. (News-press)
  • Want to know which currencies are over or undervalued? You can find the answers through Burgernomics. (Economist)
  • How to drink coffee in space at zero gravity, explained to you, in this little video made by NASA. Because, you know, it could come in really handy if you find yourself in space. (Laughing Squid)
  • San Francisco style prediction: uni is the new foie gras, with a tour of some of their favorite uni dishes, from crostini to flan to snuggled up next to a raw quail egg. (The Bold Italic)

Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 68

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food



  • Newcastle Libraries has posted a cache of UK historical images, like the fishing photos above, to Flickr. Pictured above: At left, a studio portrait of a Fisherman from Cullercoats taken c.1890. The man is wearing a waterproof coat souwester and cork life-jacket. At right, an 1897 studio portrait of Maggie Brown a Fishwife from Cullercoats. Maggie Brown is wearing her 'best' clothes which include a printed cotton or silk blouse with matching apron. A silk square is worn to fill the neckline of her blouse.
  • Some forgotten foods of the UK (from cookies to sheep) are making a come back with help from Slow Food UK's Chefs Alliance. Says Carina Contini, of Centotre in Edinburgh: “The special ingredient is always the story. Understanding where ingredients come from and how they got there allows us to connect with our environment and food chain and we love sharing this knowledge with our customers.” 
  • On U.S. farms, women are taking the reins says a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. Many are career-changers looking for a different kind of life and a way to make a difference. “We are seeing more beginning farmers coming in and I think the trend is going to continue. Women are [already] outnumbering men in owning smaller farms.”
  • Detroit's Urban Agriculture Ordinance that passed on April 15 has opened the city for urban aquaponics. Two new facilities are underway for tilapia, catfish and blue gill — although the finer points of regulation still have to be worked out. "The city is in the process of coming up with a process,” for approving fish farms, says Kathryn Underwood of the City Planning Commission. “We don't even have all of the forms quite in place yet for all of things that need to happen. We're riding a bike and building it at the same time.”


Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 41

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food

  • Pastry chefs are tough, and so are their tattoos, like the one at right of a KitchenAid mixer, easily the best of 21 Awesome Culinary Tattoos.
  • Farmers hard hit by the extreme drought are turning to twitter for news and support, but also checking in on the grain market prices via twitter.  Market information that used to take days is now a farmers fingertips. 
  • Mark Bittman, in his latest New York Times Opinionator column, eloquently urges us all to Celebrate the Farmer! " get these beautiful veggies, we need real farmers who grow real food, and the will to reform a broken food system. And for that, we need not only to celebrate farmers, but also to advocate for them."  Now if we could just get some rain...
  • If anything is worth signing a petition for it's definitely the White House Honey Ale recipe. Press Secretary Jay Carney says: "Got a Q today on  petition asking us to share WH beer recipe:  If it reaches the threshold, we'll release it"  So far (at the time we are publishing this faves edition) 6,895 have signed.....we only need 18,105 more.
  •  For those of you who didn't know that today, August 24, 2012 is  National Waffle Day, and are just kicking yourselves because you didn't fully celebrate like you think you should, well, it's not too late celebrate.  Thanks to our friends over at Laughing Squid, we found Georgi waffle-flavored vodka. This new libation was launched today, at the breakfast bar (literally!) at the Holiday Inn Express in Stony Brook, NY.  According the good folks over at Georgi in addition to making a fun addition to breakfast, they have concocted a number of waffle-inspired cocktails including the signature waffle-tini — the drink over ice, served with a mini waffle garnish on the rim of the glass.   I guess with enough waffle-tinis, just about anyone could end up with a KitchenAid tattoo!

Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 39

weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food

  • Spirits from Asia, absinthe, cocktails on tap (right) and other bar trends.
  • The age-old problem of how to carry your food and drink at a party and shake hands has now been solved by the GoPlate.


Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 27

a weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food

  • An amazing project of food, history and identity, The Southern Discomfort Tour, by the Cooking Gene. Michael Twitty explains the project in an essay entitled The cook who picks cotton: reclaiming my roots. "Slavery is not just a practice or moment in American history; it is a metaphor for our relationships to lifestyles and food systems that many of us view as beyond our control. Most of us are enslaved to food systems that aren’t sustainable, but eat we must. And because we must eat, food is a natural vehicle for telling the kinds of stories about historical slavery and the impact of “race” on how we eat, even as we critique and question our contemporary food politics. Food is our vehicle to move beyond race and into relationships and use those relationships to promote the kind of racial reconciliation and healing, our nation desperately needs."




Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 15

 a weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food

  • "Survival in the epicurean jungle was a matter of brawn and culinary skill, in which mastery of the Switchblade Spork was king. Gangs of sous-chefs and line cooks ruled the streets and no food was safe from the steely glint of their sporks."
  • In tsunami-hit Japan, microfinancing is helping food business get up and running even when banks don't want to lend. "So I wondered if maybe what we do really is important. Many people are waiting for the very original products that we select and sell. They are small goods, but they fill voids in our hearts.”
  • UN asserts that famine is predictable: "drought and famine are not extreme events but “merely the sharp end of a global food system that is built on inequality, imbalances and – ultimately – fragility.”'
  • States, like Massachusetts, are increasingly looking to create brands of provenence to market fisheries. “If we took a look at fish being landed in Massachusetts and put a mark on them ... it allows a story and to tie in what’s happening in New Bedford or Gloucester. It means something to [diners]."

Targeting Retail and the Fancy Food Show

this piece was originally published January 20 in Seedstock, the blog for sustainable agriculture focusing on startups, entrepreneurship, technology, urban agriculture, news and research.

Every year thousands of new and established producers looking for a slice of the American retail market throw down some big bucks in summer or winter and exhibit at the NASFT Fancy Food Show, which ran this past week in San Francisco.

Because of the costs of participation (booths start at $3,440, plus transportation to the show, materials, signage, staffing and samples) it skews towards large producers. As a small, farm-based producer, it would be very difficult to recoup your costs. And when you participate in a show, you join the market noise. Getting a shop onboard with your authentic product and story is better done one-on-one. 

You can talk to the retail buyers that are right for you without meeting them at a show. A little detective work can yield a better, more targeted list. Here’s how.

  • Go to the web sites of other products you admire, and that are of comparable price and quality, and check out their “where to buy” section.  That’s your starter list.
  • Look at the Edible Communities advertisers. You can find them in your local print edition or on the web sites of other regional editions. The shops that advertise here are often the kinds of shops that are looking for farm-sourced, artisan products.
  • Keep a running list of what shops are getting written about in food magazines, newspaper food sections and top blogs, likes Tasting Table and Eater. Because keeping up with this information can get overwhelming, set up a custom RSS feed reader that let’s you quickly scan headlines and organize by regions and types. (We use Netvibes, and it’s free.)
  • If your product has seasonal appeal, start way in advance. If holiday sales are what you want, start reaching out in early May. Depending on the size of the shop, they may tell you to try back in a few months, but then you’ll know their schedule and you’ll have the correct contact information in hand.

While exhibiting at the show isn’t a good value for small producers, it’s still a good place to watch for trends and newcomers. We walked every aisle looking for glimmers of authenticity, so you didn’t have to.  Below are a few of our finds.

American artisan cheese was well represented with familiar names like Coach Farm, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, and Cypress Grove Cheve in attendance. The best story here is that great American cheese-making is no longer novel, even at a mainstream show like this one.

The bulk of the show is long-shelf-life packaged goods. A few years ago, you couldn’t turn around without hearing about a new pickle company, but this year the field was spare. There were a few good examples of preserves from both east and west, however. Oregon Growers and Shippers has developed into a really impressive line of jams, butter, honeys and fruit pates that bring together the bounty of the Hood River Valley and surroundings in flavor combinations that give a sense of place, like cherry zinfandel and pear hazelnut. They’re a good example of an artisan and farmers partnership, and they market their farm-sourced story well.  As an endorsement  in their materials from a local orchardist explains: “Their success is our success.” Amen to that.

With a bent towards savory cheese pairings, Virginia Chutney Co. took the time to discuss with us  the difficulties of consistently sourcing locally from small growers. Their berries come from the west coast, but they get the tomatoes for their green tomato chutney from a local farm. Their attempts to use local peaches were thwarted by the extra labor of not being able to get freestones one time, and the bears who ate the best of the crop another. (If you’re in their area with local produce to sell, why not give them a call.)

Candy, cookies and other sweets were a big part of the show, and most on offer were cheap, industrial versions of familiar items. That made goat milk caramel from Fat Toad Farm in Vermont even more delightful. In addition to fresh cheese, they turn milk from their 64-head goat herd into jarred caramel sauces, both unexpected and delicious. Their packaging isn’t flashy but shows how a few thoughtful details can create a distinct look without breaking the bank. Their logo, an image of a fat toad that looks like a children’s book illustration, and touches like burlap gift bags printed with a line drawing of a jar, feel whimsical and farm-inspired without being folksy.

Well-warn paths aren’t the only way to go. Sometimes it pays to be a pioneer. We wrote about Bourbon Barrel Foods in the context of building American regional food identities, and they were at the show in a category all their own with their Kentucky soy sauce.

The most exciting thing that we’d love to see more of is high-end vinegar. A lone example at the show was Gingras, an aged cider vinegar from Quebec. They don’t call out their farm connections nearly as much as they could, but Gingras is made from apples grown in their own orchards and aged in French oak barrels to develop the flavor. We’ve seen fruit vinegars on cocktail menus in Japan, and Gingras was sampling a rum-based cocktail during the show.

Chefs know the value of specialty vinegars in cooking, and this is a trend that could spill over more to home kitchens. Mixologists are also getting media coverage and shaping trends of their own. Across the country, the shelves of specialty food stores are stocked with European and Asian products with very little from the US. For a producer, it’s a higher value product than juice without all the regulation hassle of alcohol. And its appearance on cocktail menus opens up branding possibilities and name recognition for producers. If you’ve got a pioneering spirit and excess produce, it’s time to start experimenting.  Let authenticity and clear flavors (not quirkiness for its own sake) be your guide.


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About Alisha & Polly’s company: Polish Partnerships

Polish is a branding and communications company for the new gastroconomy. By creating strong partnerships with food and beverage producers, hospitality groups and industry innovators, we go the extra distance, transforming hopes, dreams and expectations into tangible, sustainable and polished realities.

Friday Faves — notes from the new gastroconomy, No. 6

a weekly round-up of our favorite finds from the front lines of food



  • Drinkify helps you pair music and cocktails. What to drink with Belle and Sebastian — Sipsmith Gin, on the rocks. Aretha Franklin gets her own cocktail of Vodka, Fassionola and Sprite. Serge Gainsbourg calls for nothing less than a full bottle of red wine.
  • The National Young Farmers' Coalition offers community online and with events. "Make out with another person who’s got dirty fingernails!...The NYFC aims to help farmers find each other, whether they’re looking for love or just to commiserate about their 1955 International tractor."
  • Brand early, not often is great advice. "While a business may not need strong branding to get off the ground, its chances of becoming a smash hit are greatly magnified by investing in their brand--in the form of sharp creative strategy and great design--from the beginning." If you don't believe us, check out this video about the power of the iPhone brand (warning, language NSFW).
  • Chefs are turning problems into art, like the invasive species menu at Miya Sushi in New Haven, Connecticut. “Invasive species and climate change, they’re basically brothers,” Chef Bun Lai says.
  • For turning what grows around you into dinner, from weeds to forrest treasures, listen to a full hour of Foraging Fever on NPR's On Point.