Friday, March 31, 2006

Completely unrelated to food...

but, via Powerline, this is the craziest damn thing I've ever seen.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wherein the writer attempts to repair his blog.

Since I *$&#^'d up my template the other day, I have to redo the whole, damn thing. Misery. And since my attention span is no longer than 3 or 4 minutes, it may take a while to get all the restaurants listed again.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Q: What do you get when you combine Rachael Ray with Alton Brown?

The Food Network asks in a recent commercial, promoting its replacement of the 11 PM Iron Chef re-runs with Good Eats and Rachael Ray's horrid shows.

The Answer: Half an hour of watchable television.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Reason # 1,025 that Morgan Spurlock is an asshole

In a tangentially food-related post...

Giving a speech at a Philadelphia-area high school, the balding, red-haired, pinko, douche bag made remarks about "retarded kids in the back [of the school's theater, apparently] wearing helmets." The article goes on: "The special education students in the back row were led by teachers out of the hour-long presentation."

When asked about his asinine, bigoted comments, Spurlock said "The greatest lesson those kids learned today was the importance of free speech." I'm sure the founding fathers would be proud.

The red-haired moron, of course, rose to quasi fame with his tendentious, propagandistic Super Size Me. How about freedom of choice of where to eat? If people want to eat at McDonald's all the time and get fat, that's their choice. I'm not going to stop them. And I'm not going to make a documentary criticizing McDonald's for offering the products that they do.

Wherein the writer brings together the U Chicago Law blog, a food magazine, and SpongeBob Squarepants...

A few weeks ago, U Chicago Law prof Saul Levmore wondered whether processed foods have a market advantage over things like carrots and spinach because processed foods can be more easily branded and whether there is a link to all the fat kids these days.

From professor Levmore's blog to SpongeBob's ears, Eating Well magazine writes:

Enter companies like Boskovich Farms, producers of SpongeBob Spinach. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Don Hobson hopes SpongeBob’s face will help his product appeal as much to children as to their parents. “I got the idea of using SpongeBob from my own kids,” he says. Other companies are banking on the same idea, with Dora the Explorer showing up on peeled carrots from Grimmway Farms and Elmo promoting Earth’s Best organic cereal. Even food giant Kraft announced
it will no longer advertise Oreos, regular Kool-Aid and other nutritionally challenged products during kids’ programs.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

How can I be a judge of this thing?

Newsday has an article about the 13th Annual American Culinary Federation fundraiser for the South Nassau Communities Hospital. The big winners: Pine Hollow Country Club, Butterfield's, The Bridge, and Baking by Design (located in Queens).

But this sounds disturbing:

Best entree went to The Bridge in West Islip for chef John Montgomery's veal short-rib-stuffed calamari with celeriac cake and lobster-foie gras ravioli.

Short-ribbed stuffed calamari? What on earth?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Snarky Cogitations on The Food Network

A personal chef and caterer in upstate New York tears into a number of shows on The Food Network like Rosie O'Donnell into a box of doughnuts. She's even far worse than I am!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Good Times at Tellers on March 27

From Newsday:

Eric Violante, who previously cooked at H2O Seafood Grill in Smithtown, is now commanding the kitchen at Tellers Chop House, 605 Main St. in Islip. In addition to classic dry-aged steaks, Violante's menu includes such fare as a pan-seared lobster quesadilla with avocado- cilantro salad and chipotle

On Monday, March 27, Violante will pair a four-course menu with wines from the Joseph Phelps Vineyards in California's Napa Valley. The cost of the wine dinner (which features, as a third course, a porcini-dusted rib eye paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon Insignia 1999) is $125 a person, including tax and gratuity.

Tom Shelton, president of Joseph Phelps Vineyards, will speak about the wines. For information or reservations, call 631-277- 7070.

On a side note, I've only had dinner once at Tellers, and it was a couple of years ago. So, I can't say I'm qualified to review it, now. The entree was duck breast with a side of sweet potato puree and, I think, a cranberry compote. I was underwhelmed. Hopefully, the new chef has improved things.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The boys at Powerline posted the following:
Media Post's "Publishing Insider" reports:

It's happening already. Waiters at New York City restaurants are starting to introduce themselves to customers by saying, “I’m a blogger--I’m just doing this while I wait for my big break.”

Our advice: Don't quit your day jobs.

While blogging is showing profit potential for consultants prospecting for new business and savvy marketers creating customer dialogues, the vast majority of citizen publishers aren’t making enough from their efforts to even pay for their Internet connection.

Many food bloggers seem guilty of this, posting long, over-written, pretentious restaurant reviews and other items. And it is really off-putting. I started this blog because I couldn't find anything else out there that sufficiently discussed restaurants and other food-related matters on Long Island.

My problem is that I'm too lazy to really make this website into what it could be. So I just post stuff when I have the time. And if someone surfing the Net happens across the blog and finds something useful, then good.

But, God, bloggers doing this sort of thing to find their "big break"? Why not, you know, go to journalism school or major in it in college and actually make a career out of writing and providing information?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Enough Already

Has anyone seen this piece of crap? Actually, I'm probably the only one. There are a lot of big egos on that show for a bunch of nobodies, and I find everyone annoying for one reason or another. The only thing the show has going for it is its hottie hostess Katie Lee Joel:

Who, it turns out, is a local and apparently writes a column, "East End Girl", for Hamptons Magazine. I wonder if she's ever crossed paths with this humble blog?

Seriously, enough already with the reality cooking shows, especially the execrable The Next Food Network Star. No more, unless they're going to bring back Hell's Kitchen. Which they are on June 2. Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This month's Men's Fitness rates "The 20 Fittest Foods." Number 14: Milk

OK, this photo was actually from a different part of the issue--an interview with Sarah Shahi. But I'm just trying to help the editors out.

The list is a bit odd. For instance, it includes spinach but not kale, which Eating Well described as "spinach on steroids." Besides, it tastes better. There are few things better than a soup made simply by simmering kale in chicken broth/stock.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pizza Review: Mary's Pizza

Mary's has two locations--one in Massapequa, the other in the dingy hamlet of Islip Terrace. The Islip Terrace location is in the Terrace Plaza Shopping Center, a strip mall that has all the warm, fuzzy ambience of a Bronx ghetto.

"Voted 'One of the Best' Pizzas on Long Island" the box and telephone listing boast. For 1999. Someone needs to buy them a damn calendar. The pizza is decent but is notorious for its lack of cheese. To get the same amount of cheese you'd get at any other place, you'll have to order extra, which puts the price at $13.55.

The squalor of the dilapidated exterior of the shop and its environs are surpassed only by the filthy, repellant interior. And considering the various body parts of the staff that are pierced, one seriously has to wonder about the sanitariness of the product.

But, hey, if you're willing to spend $13.55 on a plain pizza, risk the damage to your car driving over the myriad potholes in the parking lot, and put up with the idiot teenagers who serve you, then, enjoy.

2 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Review: The Gatsby

In the cultural wasteland known as the Town of Islip, there are few fine-dining options. One of the new-ish comers is The Gatsby, located on Main Street in Islip.

It's located in an enormous building that used to be a Chinese restaurant. And, apparently, there was a closet full of miso around when the new owners came in, because about half the menu (well, not really) has miso this or miso that. Even the side dish of spinach (ordered separately) is prepared with miso, for God's sake. The owners might want to change the name to "Miso Palace" or "House of Miso" or some damn thing.

Appetizers: the mussels and cockles with chorizo is not great--the chorizo flavor in the broth completely overwhelms the shell fish. It's better to be soaked up with the complimentary bread. The crab cake is good and has a number of different flavors going on, but is pricy for its size ($13 for one). The prosciutto is not bad and has a lovely fig marmalade.

Entrees: the filet mignon au poivre is executed well, but, come on, it's pretty standard stuff. The prosciutto-wrapped shrimp is also good. But the orcchiette with lobster is a disaster. The color itself, a kind of dull tan/light brown, is unappealing. I couldn't quite place the flavors in the dish, but it was kind of sweet and heavy and also overwhelmed the few bits of lobster. I suspect it is yet another item infested with that horrid miso.

Desserts: the dessert menu is boring and about what you'd expect to see on the menu at Friday's or Applebee's, just a few bucks more, and those places do it better. The peanut butter sundae is average, at best. The cheesecake is good, but, again, nothing different than what you'd get at Friday's.

If The Gatsby ever expects to compete with the big boys on Long Island (quality-wise, that is--we went on a Saturday night, and the place was packed, so they are apparently not hurting for business), they are going to have to change the menu, seasonaly or daily. Also, the menu is lackluster (at best) and is, basically, dull. If I'm going to spend a decent hunk of cash on a meal, I want some unusual, creative, interesting flavors.

On the night we went, we were 3, and after tip it came to $200. So, two people, plus tip, should be around $135--about $30 cheaper than many of the top restaurants on the island.

The restaurant has a website. I'm not saying it's slow, but if you start loading it in the morning, go to work, come home, take a nap, watch a movie, and take the dog for a walk, it will probably be finished.

3 out of 5 stars*

The Gatsby
712 Main Street
Islip, NY

(*5 stars meaning the best restaurants on Long Island get a full 5-star rating)