Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bland, Blander, Blandest...

I love Linda Bland-holm of the Miami Herald. There, I said it. She has done for food-writing in Miami what Leopold & Loeb did for baby-sitters. I loved her tale of the new Buena Vista Bistro, near the Design District, which is all about love. Of course, the new owners of the spot formerly known as 'A', can't be held responsible for..."When they recently Buena Vista East...they were frustrated by the lack of neighborhood places to get a good meal. Then a spot became available and they bought it...offering reasonably priced food with a French flair." Kind of reminds me of 'A' a little bit. Well, a lot. And the owners of 'A' were also a couple with a great love story, who got, ahem, screwed by their landlord and were forced out to make way for the next sucker, I mean, the new owners. The reason, I'm trying to say in my usually un-erudite way, that there was no place "to get a good meal", was that the last placed THAT THEY TOOK OVER closed. I wish them the best of luck, especially getting that wine and beer license, but Blandholm is not helping with this over-the-top blessing for the semi-retards she must think her readership is comprised of.

"Postel shop every morning and plans menus accordingly...Most days there are escargot...roast salmon...and thick rice pudding." So, as a moron, I'm guessing that each day the chef, on his way to work, turns over rocks looking for snails, fishes the cold Atlantic or Pacific Northwest for salmon, and then hits the rice paddies. Busy day.
Then comes a paragraph explaining rillettes, well, never mind, dummy, just hit Wikipedia like everybody else.
"To cater to the neighborhood Rastafarians, there is usually vegetable lasagna or another vegetable entree and salads." Salads! How inventive. And I'm guessing that Rastafarians are outnumbered by regular old vegetarians in BVE. I guess that was an attempt at humor. I failed to laugh.

Best part of LB's work are the two recipes accompanying the piece. The 'Zucchini Lasagna', and the 'Rice Pudding'. Now wouldn't it be great if these were the chef's own special recipes? Yes, but this is Madame Bland, and the lasagna recipe is from 'The Best of Bon Appetit' (1979), and the rice pudding from Saveur Cooks Authentic French (1999). Hey, maybe there hasn't been a good cookbook published in the last couple of decades by an actual chef. But then any lasagna recipe that calls for canned tomato sauce can't be all bad. What the heck are they thinking over there?

Enrique Fernandez of the Herald claims that Por Fin in Coral Gables is already earning raves on foodie websites. Well I guess that's okay to say if all of your readers probably don't even know what a 'foodie website' is. For example, I went to Chowhound, which I believe is the only 'foodie website' in Miami with any activity at all, and found exactly two people who commented on meals they ate there. It's sad that food writers not only do their research on the web, and not only steal ideas and concepts from bloggers and others on the web, but that they lie about it, knowing that their readership is probably comprised of people who, for the most part, either don't know what the internet is, or who have fallen, and can't get up. With all due respect to Enrique, who picked a bad time to go on a diet-you're a food writer, dummy!-nearly has a stroke when he encounters "Potato foam with fried spuds? Yes, and miraculously it works." Potato foam is so ubiquitous every restaurant on South Beach has it on their menu-and we're only about five years behind on that one. The old guy needs to get out more. who knows, maybe even see what's happening in other cities, with non-Latin chefs. Crazy? Perhaps. But for someone who can rave about fried eggs on fried potatoes (that's one egg at $10, 2 for $20-that's some freakin' egg!), and then tediously go on to explain that this is what "Spanish moms make for kids"-holy shit! I just called my mom and asked her what's up? How come we never ate eggs and potatoes for breakfast like those lucky Spanish kids? After slapping me several times about the head and face, she reminded me that moms everywhere, except maybe Japan, make eggs and potatoes for their kids. Oh, right. Sometimes after reading my adoptive abuelo I forget that he doesn't really know shit about cuisine. Sorry, ma. And for you wine drinkers? "A sommelier is being hired to revise the wine list." Which currently consists of, what?

Lee Klein of the New Times makes fun of Andu Lounge because it is "modern-Med-by-the-numbers". At least, according to La Lee, they get credit for not going the really repetitive path of pastas and pizzas." You mean like every other fucking Italian joint you drool over-including some joint in South Beach called Vita, just a couple of weeks ago? Where you salivate over their tortini, papardelle, and pizza? But then in trashing Andu, I guess he really doesn't want to see those precious pastas and pizzas leave the menu. Witness the loving review of yet another Italian joint this week.

And by the way, just because the calamari (who the fuck orders fried calamari anymore?) takes forever, doesn't mean it's fresh OR homemade. "Fratelli's cuisine does mimic the Old World in that it is fresh and cooked fresh-to-order. I know the latter is true because reheating food couldn't possibly take this long. On one visit, we waited about 20 minutes for an order of fried calamari. The crisply battered squid rings ultimately arrived cleanly fried, if a bit rubbery. A few logs of fried zucchini get tossed in too, all accompanied by a smooth, slightly spicy tomato sauce." Two things-first, I believe I expelled a few logs of zucchini this morning, and, second-You know, they got these bags of frozen squid rings, that everyone's got now. One trip to the kitchen, or even an actual question to the cooks would have clarified that, but that would have involved reporter-like journalism and shit you lazy a-hole. Which leads me to...

1)When did you stop caring, douchebag?
(You can insert the rest here...)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Thievery or Homage?

La Klein, Miami New Times, 5/1/08: "Upon entering Maya Grill, our eyes were instantly drawn to a cooler with "Michoacán" written on the side in blue lettering. Inside were a dozen flavors of frozen fruit popsicles that are renowned in the namesake region but have also proven to be a reliable refreshment for my constant companion and me through various trips across the Yucatán."


April 18th

"It was a nice, big, plate, which carried my constant companion and I through our first bottle of wine-a very nice Syrah-heavy Côtes du Rhône"

April 10th

"But back to Rascal House. My constant companion, as it was Thanksgiving, demanded, and got, the full works-turkey with all the trimmings, as they say"

Feb 10th

Judith Williams (right), discussing spices with my constant companion over $8/lb Stone Crab Claws"

Jan 25th

"When I go out for Burritos, I always bring one home for my constant companion."

Jan 15th

"As I begin my 21-Day raw-foods cleanse with my constant companion..."

And that's just this year. I'm not saying I invented the term, but I can tell you, my constant companion is not amused at this, ahem, homage.

By the way, LK's review had this insight: "...residents here have long been relishing Maya's tacos, which were formerly sold from a Taco Loco trailer in various vacant lots around the neighborhood. I was never aware of that tacqueria on wheels [no shit] and wouldn't have known about Maya Grill, either, had Redland reader J.L. not e-mailed me with a headsup."
Or, perhaps, Lee-seph's been doing some late-night blog-surfing 'research' again? Although at least it's great to see Lee NOT drool over another Italian joint again this week. Nice to see they reprinted his Orale! theft, too. The man has no shame.