as seen on tv

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm not a fan of the Food Network. I find it annoying that instead of showing viewers how to cook, the Food Network devotes entire shows to processed food ("Unwrapped"). I also despise Sandra Lee, don't understand how what she does can be called cooking and have no idea why anyone would want to eat any of the horrific things she semi-homemakes. And I find "Ace of Cakes" incredibly boring: Gasp, yet another near-disaster this week -- just like last week and the week before and the week before that!

But I hate "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" more than any other Food Network show. I think it's incredibly insulting that a celebrity chef can just barge in on the best local cooks and assume he can best them at their specialty -- the menu item they've spent their entire careers working to perfect. Nothing makes me happier than when he loses.

So imagine my joy when the Rathbun brothers kicked Bobby Flay's ass on "Iron Chef" a few weeks back. I've loved the Rathbuns for about two years now -- ever since I first ate at Abacus during my last trip to Texas. (And then there is also Rathbun's in Atlanta and the Krog Bar next to it -- both are amazing.) They deserve such sweet victory.

Anyway, we went to Abacus again last night -- just in time because they are closing on Saturday for a three-week renovation. The first page of the menu now has all of the dishes the Rathbuns made on "Iron Chef." (Elk was the secret ingredient.) Smackdown, Bobby Flay!

thou shalt not steal

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

... unless you are at a wine-tasting.

Tonight we poured at Mercy Wine Bar's fifth anniversary celebration. (Yes, I'm in Dallas now.)

For the most part, these tastings are fun. People show up, you introduce them to your wines, you chat a bit, share thoughts and observations, etc. And everyone feels very happy.

But then there are the vultures. These events seem to bring out the worst in some people. They start trying to steal anything and everything they can -- it's like they think a wine-tasting is one gigantic opportunity for freebies.

Tonight we saw one guy swipe an unopened bottle off of another winemaker's table. He just grabbed it and walked off through the crowd as fast as he could. Luckily, this guy got caught. I've poured at tastings where I've turned my back to grab a new bottle, and when I turned back around, one of the bottles on my table had mysteriously disappeared -- no sign of where it went.

And people don't stop at the wine. Our broker here in Dallas said he once saw a woman put an entire wheel of cheese in her purse at a tasting. In fact, sometimes people even bring Tupperware or plastic bags and load up.

We've had people steal wine glasses from our events at the work -- one woman drove away with a set of six Riedels, even after we had told her the glasses were rented and not for guests to take home. People have stolen the buffet signs from our events (I have no idea why you would swipe a buffet sign -- what the hell would you do with it?), table decorations and even sugar bowls from the coffee stand.

I just don't understand it. The people who go to wine-tastings are usually fairly well off or at least somewhat comfortable -- I mean, admission to these events isn't exactly cheap! If you have money, why the hell do you have to steal a bunch of things that you can probably afford to buy on your own? Doesn't make sense to me at all. In fact, it downright disgusts me.

still going

Monday, March 24, 2008

Now I am in Houston.

Again, another work trip -- we do several of these PR "blitzes" every year, and this is my last one for 2008. And while I really enjoy going to so many different places, I'm glad this is it. I miss home!

And sometimes the travel stress is too much. Yesterday morning, Todd's car broke down on 101 when we were on our way to the airport. I had to call a cab to pick me up on the side of the highway so I wouldn't miss my flight! (And I think I could've bought a small island for the price of that cab fare.) So insane.

But I am here now. In Houston. We had a media dinner last night at 17. (I am still dreaming about their black truffle mac & cheese.) And today we are going to visit lots of accounts (by the way, if you are ever in Houston, you should stop by Spec's on Smith -- it's an alcohol wonderland), meet with media and host a winemaker dinner. And then it's off to Dallas tomorrow for more PR fun. And straight from Dallas, I head to Montana for my brother's wedding.

A whirlwind, yes.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

There comes a time when food becomes the food-lover's worst enemy.

And no, I'm not talking about extra calories.

I'm referring to two much-dreaded words: Food poisoning.

What a day this has been.

Last night, we went to the local Irish pub for trivia night. I've spent most of this month traveling for work while simultaneously trying to move to a new house (I actually spent an afternoon in NYC last week on the phone in my hotel room, setting up utilities), so I thought a few beers, a couple of rounds of name-that-song and a big plate of bangers and mash and a side of Caesar salad would do me good.


Dear god, please make it stop.

one tasty apple

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I don't know why New York is called the Big Apple, but whatever the reason, all I have to say is that it's one freaking luscious piece of fruit. I flew in yesterday with our winemaker for a media tour, and I feel like I've been eating non-stop ever since we landed.

We did a media dinner at Picholine last night. The food was pretty much fabulous. My first course was the tuna napoleon, which was thinly sliced raw tuna layered with tapioca pearls that had been fried (genius) and some olive oil ice cream on the side. My second course was medium-rare lamb with chickpea frites. My dessert was grapefruit presented three ways. And in addition to that, there was an amuse bouche, an extra fish dish (scallop), petits fours and warm raspberry crepes. And a fantastic cheese cart with the stinkiest cheeses I have ever had in my life.

Lunch today was at Sparks, and while I am not much of a red meat girl (I think this has to do with the fact that I overdid it a few years ago with a gigantic piece of prime rib in Alabama -- but that's a story for another time), I succumbed and ordered a filet mignon. Um, yeah. Filet mignon for lunch. With five different wines. Basically I was ready to pass out in my hotel room by the time the meal was over.

For dinner tonight, we went Greek at Avra, where seafood is the specialty: octopus that melts in your mouth, delicious whole sardines with lemon and herbs, a great selection of whole Greek fish (on the way to the table, we walked past a display with all of the whole fish on ice -- fabulous -- see the photo that I pulled from their website).

Anyway, I am pretty sure that I have maxed out my caloric intake for, oh, maybe the next three months.

Good thing I packed my running shoes.

the games they play

Saturday, March 08, 2008

this could very well be

Thursday, March 06, 2008

... the last batch of cupcakes I will bake in this house. Because last night, we signed a lease on a new place. It's only a couple of blocks away from where we are now, but I feel like it's a grown-up house -- three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a linen closet, a dining room. There is actually enough room for everything we own, and then some. We get the keys next weekend. I can't wait.

Of course, the move will mean having to learn all the quirks of a different oven, but I'm game.
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