Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Food (Section) Fight!: Week 13

Food (Section) Fight! is my weekly look at The Washington Post's Food section and The New York Times' Dining section with my verdict on which section had the better content for the week.

New York Times
(Due to The New York Times' choice to cut back nonsubscribers' access to only 10 articles per month, I will no longer be linking to all Dining section stories--just select favorites.)

I'm not really into undercooked eggs, but they do make a lovely cover photo, accompanying Julia Moskin's cover story about how consumers are increasingly getting their eggs not from their grocery store's refrigerated case but from the backyard.

Surprisingly, I was much more interested in Steven Kurutz's expose on the vanishing act of pickled relish. He's right; you really don't see it much anymore. I'm not really a relish fan, but he makes a good case for it, pointing out that relish is a pretty versatile dish with potential uses beyond hot dogs.

I really enjoyed Cathy Barrow's discussion and recipe for how to make your own citrus liqueur. It sounds pretty easy. You can make Cara Cara orange liqueur, for example--not something you'd find at the liquor store.

The page 2 recipes both look tasty today. David Tanis' Parmesan Lamb Chops sound like an ideal spring entree, which he suggests serving with garlicky greens or broccoli rabe. Melissa Clark's Vermouth-Braised Short Ribs with Spring Herbs and Honeyed Shallots also sound tasty, although time-intensive. It might be worth it though.

My enjoyment of this week's restaurant reviews varies inversely with their prices. Florence Fabricant reviews the ridiculously pricy new Times Square chain Chinese restaurant, Hakkasan, which includes Japanese abalone with black truffle for $888 (although most are $22 to $88, but still). Pete Wells samples Brooklyn's Gwynnett St., which sounds delightful. I'm impressed that Chef Justin Hilbert, a WD-50 alum, also makes the pastries (and really, why is this not more common? Do kitchens employ separately soup chefs? Salad chefs? There's no reason good chefs can't be as devoted to a meal's last course as they are to all its others). What gets my appetite going the most though is Ligaya Mishan's review of grilled cheese food trucks. Now that's a meal worth paying for.

Washington Post
Not the most exciting week for the Food section. Predictably, it has an Easter focus, with an essay on ham  and a cover story on updated holiday recipes, like Cold Poached Salmon with Lemon-Tarragon Dressing. The Farro with Pea Shoots and Spring Onions recipe sounds interesting, as I've been wanting to try farro and haven't found good uses for pea shoots.

Tim Carman takes a thoughtful look at papusas, but I'm just not that into them. For her Dinner in Minutes recipe, Bonnie Benwick offers Drunken Noodles in Cashew-Shiitake Broth, which doesn't sound bad, but it's pretty similar to the Chicken-Udon Soup I made recently (the recipe seems pretty teetotaling to be "drunken"; at least the soup I made had sherry in it).

Lastly, I'll mention that Beer Madness is down to the final two: the rather exotic sounding Maui Coconut Porter and Flying Fish Exit #4. Such suspense! Shame the beer I was rooting for, DC Brau's The Public, was eliminated against the porter. And the annual BBQ sauce contest is on! Get your entry in by May 2.

The New York Times. It's not a really strong week for either section, but a few articles in the Times interested me, whereas the Post's feature stories really didn't do it for me today.

The New York Times: 7
The Washington Post: 6

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