A new daily column: Notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other miscellanea dredged up from the food media.
1. Cheese makers under attack? San Francisco diners haven't felt the immediate impact of the FDA's newly invigorated surveillance of artisanal cheese makers, which has resulted in the closing of two of Washington's best (truth be told, no one comes out of that story looking good). Currently, all raw-milk cheeses must currently be aged for at least 60 days to ensure they're not contaminated with listeria. The agency is considering upping that to 90 or 120 days, and in the meantime, is intensifying its inspections.
Artisanal cheese makers around the country are raising a fuss. Today, two interesting articles identifying their concerns passed through my Twitter feed. The first, an article by Ellen Perlman in Culture magazine, worries that state and federal regulatory agencies may be applying different standards, one agency giving a cheese maker the go-ahead and the other shutting it down. At Zester Daily, Vermont cheese maker Angela Miller argues that pasteurization is no guarantee against listeria contamination, since the milk emerges from the udder free of that particular bacteria. Both articles urge cheese makers to get rigorous about sanitation.
2. Really gingery ginger ale. Today, Food Curated posted a video interview with Bruce Cost, a onetime San Franciscan chef whose new, small-batch Fresh Ginger Ginger Ale just can't stop attracting attention. (Chronicle wine editor Jon Bonné also wrote about it
in January.) The video reminded me that I've forgotten to mention how
much I like the ginger ale, which I tasted last month. With its swirling
pieces of grated ginger, its fine-bore burn, and its clean, almost
herbaceous flavor, the soda tastes like something a chef, not a
large-scale processor, would make. I actually liked the fruity tartness
of the pomegranate-hibiscus flavor best. You can find Fresh Ginger at Rainbow, Real
Food, and Bi-Rite, as well as the Pasta Shop in Berkeley.
3. New world order. The Wall Street Journal reports that Subway is now the world's largest restaurant chain, with 33,749 locations as compared to Micky D's 32,737. And this comes on the heels of news that Ronald McDonald is getting pushed out in favor of McLattes. What's next? Rehab for the Hamburgler? Jared Fogel Houses? I worry.