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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pledge for 2011: No More Food Excuses

Posted By on Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Oh, the burn! - BARRON/FLICKR

Sure, we've all pretended to spill wine on an article of clothing, just to have an excuse to remove it at that crucial date moment. I used to call it my signature move: a little wine on the skirt and it simply must be removed before it stains, leaving me helpless in lace chonies. Like Jamie Foxx, I'd blam the wine, though that would be like Eve blaming the apple.

Food and beverage excuses are so common it's no surprise that a food and beverage capital like San Francisco would be home to the most absurdly despicable of all: the Twinkie defense. It turns out that Twinkies were never mentioned in Dan White's trial, nor were they actually blamed for the murders of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, but the term has become a catchword for the most ridiculous excuses.

Today, excuses like the Twinkie Defense are far from outlandish. We've seen people blame fasting for groping and too much caffeine for murder. Food seems to be the go-to for trouble these days. Recently, a Florida man was allegedly masturbating on a plane from Salt Lake City to Lewiston, Idaho, causing his neighbor, a 17-year-old-girl, to switch seats and notify the flight attendants. When police questioned him after the plane landed, he said he'd spilled Tabasco sauce on his crotch and was trying to get it off. The man was arrested after being caught, but not red handed, since no Tabasco sauce was found.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Starbucks Logo Avoids Mentioning Coffee. Or Starbucks

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Evolution of the Starbucks logo. - STARBUCKS.COM
  • Starbucks.com
  • Evolution of the Starbucks logo.

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Starbucks today unveiled its new logo, one that keeps the chesty, tiara'd mermaid grasping the double fins of her tail (the company calls her "the Siren") but dumps the company name along with the word "coffee." From Seattle Weekly's Curtis Cartier:

The un-bordered, crowned siren logo stands alone, free from the bonds of reminding anyone what it means ― an undeniable icon like the Nike "Swoosh" or the Target "Target."
In a statement on the company's website, CEO Howard Schultz described jettisoning the word "coffee" this way:
Starbucks will continue to offer the highest-quality coffee, but we will offer other products as well ― and while the integrity, quality and consistency of these products must remain true to who we are, our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution.
Translation: Would you like a salumi plate to go with that venti Syrah?

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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L.A. Food Truck Becomes Setting for Porn Flick

Posted By on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 8:27 AM

flyingpinkpig.jpg

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

First it was banking ads, now it's porn. Blogs from HuffPo to L.A. Times' Daily Dish were all over yesterday's news about food trucks reaching an important cultural threshold: becoming a setting for adult films. Cal Vista and Cheeky Monkey's The Flying Pink Pig features Sunny Lane as the operator of an L.A. food truck who ― according to Squid Ink ― "must face the harsh realities of the food truck business." Presumably, there's more involved than Health Department inspections ― at least the kind we're familiar with. The film, due for release Jan. 25, was partly shot on an actual truck, L.A.'s Hello Kitty-pink Flying Pig. Director Erica McLean tells porn blogger Gram Ponante (NSFW, unless you work at Good Vibrations) there are already a couple of sequels in the works.

Of course, the collective mind of SFoodie staffers can't resist pitching a few titles for producers who might be looking northward for inspiration. Maybe an Off the Grid-like setting for Off the Pole? (Stripper pole, naturally.) How about 51st Stud? JapaHottie? Spencer on the Grow? And just think: Twirl and Dip, 3-Sum Eats, and the WOW Truck wouldn't even need name tweaks.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Outing of L.A. Times Restaurant Critic Crosses the Line

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 6:47 PM

What Ruth Reichl did to keep her identity hidden as critic of the New York Times.
  • What Ruth Reichl did to keep her identity hidden as critic of the New York Times.

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

The restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times is no longer anonymous. In an incident that's caroming around the Twitterverse like the latest from Ruth Bourdain, 16-year L.A. Times critic S. Irene Virbila was ambushed at Beverly Hills restaurant Red Medicine while she was working. Noah Ellis, one of the Red Medicine's owners, walked up to Virbila, whipped out a camera, and snapped, then posted the pic on the restaurant's Tumblr site ― but not before ordering Virbila and her companions out.

This wasn't just Eater-style guerrilla gotcha, though. From the Times' account of what happened:

Ellis said he was intentionally trying to take away Virbila's anonymity because he does not like her reviews: "Our purpose for posting this is so that all restaurants can have a picture of her and make a decision as to whether or not they would like to serve her. We find that some her reviews can be unnecessarily cruel and irrational..."

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Does Happy Meal Case Against McDonald's Stand a McFlurry's Chance in Hell?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Will California follow San Francisco in banning fast-food toy promos?
  • Will California follow San Francisco in banning fast-food toy promos?

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

SF Weekly news blog editor Joe Eskenazi looks at the class-action lawsuit filed in Sacramento yesterday against McDonald's. You know, the one that accuses the company of destroying America's children, one Happy Meal toy at a time. The plaintiff is Monet Parham, a Sacramento mom, represented by lawyers for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Eskenazi:

Monet Parham claims that "children eight years old and younger do not have the cognitive skills and the developmental maturity to understand the persuasive intent of marketing and advertising." Therefore, "McDonald's advertising featuring toys to bait children violates California law because it is inherently deceptive and unfair."
It follows on the heels of the S.F. Supes' ban, passed a month ago, of toy add-ons for meals that fail to meet a certain nutritional threshold. Does Parham (and CSPI) have a case? Can Parham's lawyers show that her 6-year-old kid, indeed, craved Chicken McNuggets just to get to the Strawberry Shortcake mini doll that came with it? Read Eskenazi's overview at The Snitch, and stay tuned.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Latino Taco Trucks vs. Upscale Street Food ― the Two Americas

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 6:46 PM

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

California Taco Trucks' Cyrus Farivar has been AWOL from his blog, but we're glad to say he's back ― and how. Farivar's posted a 15-minute film by University of Texas (and ex-Berkeley) grad student Robert Lemon, titled ¿Tacos or Tacos?

It's a sweet bit of filmmaking, not to mention a canny piece of cultural anthropology, contrasting old-school loncheras with new-style truck vendors in Austin, Tex. You know: trucks on the one hand with a mostly Mexican immigrant clientele, serving up suadero tacos and a slice of cultural identity, next to The Mighty Cone, which makes "fun" street food (cornflake-crusted fried chicken "tacos," stuffed in snow-cone skins) for South Austin's mostly Anglo clientele (organic peanut-flavored dog bones for their pets, too) ― talk about the two Americas. Please say you'll watch the whole film. Please?

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Monday, December 13, 2010

We'd Totally Buy Lunch from a Truck Called 'Long Duk Dong Bao'

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM

BaoHaus owner Eddie Huang explains why he thinks Mobi Munch still needs to find another name for its Chairman Bao truck. - THE FEAST SF BAY AREA
  • The Feast SF Bay Area
  • BaoHaus owner Eddie Huang explains why he thinks Mobi Munch still needs to find another name for its Chairman Bao truck.

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Baby-faced BaoHaus owner Eddie Huang shows up calmer on tape than he does on blog. Today the New York restaurateur tells The Feast's Tamara Palmer why it still rankles that Mobi Munch walked away with the name "Chairman Bao" for its S.F. bun truck, after Huang says he made the name famous. Check out Huang's suggestions for other inspiring figures Mobi Munch could still switch to, if it wanted: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Bao; Long Duk Dong Bao, Connie Chung Bao ― hell, even something in homage to William Hung.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sure, 'Chairman Bao' Is Punny, But Who Gets the Credit?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 6:50 PM

It's fun until somebody gets sued. - MEL B./YELP
  • Mel B./Yelp
  • It's fun until somebody gets sued.

Our favorite morsel from the Web.

Mobile Cuisine Magazine is floating an online poll, for what it's calling the punniest food truck name. There are 10 nominees, culled coast to coast, including L.A.'s Grill Em All, Miami's Miso Hungry, and Baltimore's Juana Burrito. The single San Francisco entry: Chairman Bao. As of 6:39 p.m. PST the L.A. truck Naan Stop was leading (with 133 votes), while the Chairman (16 votes) was tied for third. Ruh-roh: Considering allegations that MobiMunch ― the company that operates the bao truck ― has been accused of, um, being inspired for its name choice, and that the name's been trademarked by somebody else, this could get ugly.

Let's put it this way: We wouldn't want to be Eddie Huang's drywall.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How We Ate and Drank in 2010

Posted By on Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 6:34 PM

The rice cooker became an essential appliance in American kitchens. - ALEX.SHULTZ/FLICKR
  • alex.shultz/Flickr
  • The rice cooker became an essential appliance in American kitchens.

Our favorite morsel from the Web.

The only thing dumber than most end-of-year food trend roundups are New Year predictions, micro-predicting things like the rise of lovage, Indonesian long pepper, or lamb burgers. But Allrecipes.com's 11-point list of what it calls "the most compelling emerging trends in 2010" passes the sniff test.

In brief:

1. We didn't exactly turn away from the big-box megamarket, but we made it only one stop along a route that included the bakery, the butcher shop, wine store, and farmers' market.

2. One word: pie.

3. We turned all Sandra Lee, making semi-homemade a way of life, though ― granted ― in 2010 very few of us looked as fabulicious as Ms. Lee.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

R.I.P., Jollibee ― or Good Riddance

Posted By on Tue, Dec 7, 2010 at 6:31 PM

The "craptastic" burger from Jollibee on Fourth. - THEBURGERREVIEW.COM
  • TheBurgerReview.com
  • The "craptastic" burger from Jollibee on Fourth.

Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Live SoMa broke the news last week ― the Fourth Street branch of Jollibee was crispier than a two-day grain of rice on a woolly sweater. The Filipino fast-food chain closed Nov. 30, according to the blog, along with the adjacent Red Ribbon.

My friend Michelle, who grew up in the Philippines, says she's not surprised. "The rent was probably too high," she says. Michelle's been to the Daly City Jollibee, which stays open 24 hours and has a drive-through ― the fried chicken sells out after the bars close, Michelle says. The buko pandan shake with sago pearls is pretty good, she says, along with the pancit palabok, rice noodles with shrimp and achuete sauce. "Recently they've had fried bangus ― milkfish ― but I've never tried it," Michelle says. And the burger? She hasn't scarfed a Jollibee specimen since she was a kid in Manila.

That may be just as well, according to TheBurgerReview blog. In August, the site's Burger Busters made a swing through San Francisco, finding nothing but shitty burgers. The shittiest? One from Jollibee on Fourth:

The Jollibee cheeseburger was mercifully small, but it packed a wallop of crappiness. Steamed, rubbery, salty, searless―just craptastic.... It was barely worth reviewing―it was just a cheap, low-quality, unpleasant, highly processed bit of fast food awfulness.
Maybe you have to be drunk, at 3 a.m., to find its charms? Then again, the Burger Busters also hated the vaunted cheeseburger at Zuni. It helps to be drunk there, too.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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