1) "Lumped together, we get picky about crab," article by Tim Carman. Maryland crab cakes are a big deal around D.C., but as Carman writes today, the crab in them is increasingly sourced from outside the Free State. Judging from the taste test he arranged with other Food section staff and local chefs, this is a not good thing, as the Maryland crab scored much higher than its competitors from Venezuela, Indonesia and China.
2) "Blessed are the cheesemakers," feature by Martha Miller. Nuns who make cheese may sound like the start of a bad joke, but it's serious business to the sisters of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Crozet, Va. For over 20 years now, they have supported themselves financially with a small but successful foray into Gouda making. Having just made cheese myself for the first time (fresh Ricotta, you can read about it tomorrow), it was interesting to read about their far more complicated but still very hands-on process.
3) "Angels and Demons," cocktail recipe by Bonnie S. Benwick. Spirits columnist Jason Wilson is apparently away for the summer, but in his absence, Benwick has lined up a series of cocktails by local bartenders. This first one, a tequila drink with St. Germain, cilantro and habanero pepper, sounds quite tasty.
4) "Something Stuffed food truck," Good to Go column by Becky Krystal. Upstart food truck Something Stuffed offers empanadas that sound original and delicious. I'll keep my eyes peeled for them downtown.
5) "The best way to ship wine from Maryland is to drive to D.C.," Wine column by Dave McIntyre. Oh Maryland. So progressive in many ways, yet so backward in how it handles wine sales (for those who don't know, they won't even it sell it in grocery stores, which is so odd). I think the headline says it all.
New York Times
1) "When 'Local Sourcing' Means Aisle 12," feature by Jeff Gordinier. Has the locavore backlash begun? Seems like I've been reading more such articles lately. In this piece, Jeff Gordinier talks to chefs about their love of brand-name industrial food products--things like Cheetos, Oreos and Skippy peanut butter. Many of these chefs serve locally raised food in their restaurants, but acknowledge that large-scale products can have their place too. Case in point is ketchup, which several chefs (including recent James Beard award-winner and author Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune) prefer to be Heinz than a house-made version (many of which try to approximate Heinz' flavor anyway).
2) "Your Burger Will Thank You," recipe feature by Melissa Clark. Clark tackles D.I.Y. condiments, including Grainy Mustard, Bread-and-Butter Pickles and a Tomato Ketchup she claims are better and fresher than their supermarket counterparts. Say what?! Didn't Gordinier just tell me that no fewer than three accomplished chefs said they haven't come across a house-made ketchup superior to Heinz? And now Clark is saying that an amateur cook like me could make better ketchup? There's an editorial disconnect here, something I see from time to time in the Dining section (but, by comparison, not in the Washington Post Food section--interesting). Nonetheless, I am interested in giving homemade ketchup a try, just for the experience of it.
3) "Culinary School's Dining Room to Get Fresh Air," article by Glenn Collins. The Culinary Institute of America's formal French restaurant Escoffier, is being remade into a new restaurant, Bocuse, serving global cuisine with French accents. The story nicely dissects how the move is indicative of a general shift in the upper echelons of American cooking.
4) "An Homage to Texas, by the Pound," restaurant review by Pete Wells. Wells' look at the original Manhattan outpost of Hill Country (there is also one in D.C.), makes me want to stop there soon. He praises the brisket and notes that, even if the barbecue isn't authentically Texan, it's still really great roasted meat. Yum.
5) "Chivito Steak Sandwich," recipe by David Tanis. This sandwich, which is loaded with calories, fat and cholesterol (steak, bacon, cheese, mayonnaise and eggs), may not be for the health-conscious, but hey, it looks appetizing and a few bites couldn't hurt.
New York Times. Ketchup snafu aside, I thought the Times had an overall great mix of stories this week. But the Post did too actually, so I consider this a close one.
The New York Times: 13
The Washington Post: 12