|Worried about that "yoga mat chemical" in your food? Better stop eating these things--they're loaded with it (or rather, maybe you shouldn't worry so much and read Tamar Haspel's story below to find out why).
Don Rockwell: “(Response to Discussion Thread) ‘Palena, 2007 James Beard Award Winner Frank Ruta Rocks Cleveland Park - Final Service Was Saturday, April 26th’” by Poivrot Farci (Julien Shapiro).
The closing of Palena in Cleveland Park wasn’t just a big deal to me. Lots of people have been paying tribute to Frank Ruta’s restaurant. Shapiro’s wonderfully thoughtful essay takes the point of view of a former Palena employee, showing that it’s not just the diners but also the industry that feels this loss. Seriously, other notable restaurants have closed since I’ve lived in D.C. Never has one elicited this much emotion.
DC Eater: “Mathew Ramsey, the 'Burger Pervert,' Talks Technique,” by Eater Staff.
Never has the term “food porn” found a more fitting home than as a descriptor for Mathew Ramsey’s beautiful, cheeky burger creations. Eater DC profiles the self-professed “burger pervert,” whose blog, PornBurger.me features amazing looking hamburgers with names like Cali-corn-ication and Melon Monroe. He puts up a new creation every week. If I wasn’t craving a good hamburger before reading this, I’m simply salivating for one now.
Sippity Sup: “Kombu Seaweed Martini, Whaddaya Think?,” by Greg Henry.
Last week, I wrote about Henry’s book Savory Cocktails and shared a couple recipes from it. Reading his blog this week, I couldn’t pass up also noting this amazing sounding Kombu Seaweed Martini, which he describes as “mildly salty and subtly sweet…tastes just like the ocean.” His description of umami is probably the best I’ve read for this “new” fifth flavor.
Washington Post: “Unearthed: Processed Foods: The Problem Probably Isn’t What’s in Them. It’s What’s Not in Them,” by Tamar Haspel.
I hadn’t paid much attention to the “yoga mat chemical in bread” scare recently. So I’m glad I didn’t get all fired up about that before reading Haspel’s ever-sensible Unearthed column, which debunks some of the hysteria around that and other certain chemicals in food. Processed food isn’t fully off the hook though, as Haspel goes to examine where a certain amount of skepticism about processed food can be healthy for a host of reasons.
Washington Post: “Carla Hall Serves Up an International Peace Plan with Her Newest Cookbook,” by Tim Carman.
Carman turns out an engaging profile of D.C.’s most famous chef that doesn’t work in a restaurant: Carla Hall, former Top Chef contestant and co-host of The Chew, who also has a new book out.
New York Times: “A Gust of Sesame and Saffron,” by Julia Moskin.
I’m increasingly intrigued by Middle Eastern and North African flavors, the subject of Moskin’s story about how those flavors are increasingly at home in New York restaurants. I’m looking forward to diving into the Ottolenghi cookbook I got as a gift recently.
Washingtonian: “Taste of the '60s: The Way Things Were,” by Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel.
This was actually published in November, but with Mad Men back on television for awhile, the timing is right to enjoy Limpert and Spiegel’s story comparing common restaurant traditions from 50 years ago with today (example: essential chef accessory: then – a tall toque; now – a pig tattoo).
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants
This annual tradition is back and guess who’s back on top? That’s right. Rene Redzepi’s Noma is, once again, the world’s best restaurant. Eleven Madison Park is the top U.S. establishment at #4.