Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

Bad Ass Plates


The Daily Olive reminded me of a site I first saw a few weeks back. Sarah Cihat makes some of the most bad ass plates ever. She takes some of the most generic types of tattoos (ie., skull and cross, mermaid, heart with knife) and combines them with some great colors and patterns.


The Automat is Back!


Well if you’re in NY it is. If you’re not, tough luck. Thanks to BAMN! you can now get cheap, good quality food on the go. It’s a great idea for a place like NYC, where no one really has time to eat.

Bamn provides tasty, inexpensive, real food for people on the go. It’s the return of the automat, filled with bite-sized burgers, mac & cheese, pizza, chicken strips, grilled cheese, hot dogs, pork buns, and lots of other great stuff – made fresh throughout the day.

Starbucks has lost it’s romance. Aw.

Found this over at PSFK, a trend watching site. Apparently while Starbucks has been taking over the world, it’s finally realized it lost it’s romance. Living in LA, I much prefer The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (Black Forest’s are the best), but it’s always nice to see a mega-brand realize they’ve lost something while dominating the world.

An article in the Wall Street Journal suggests that Starbucks growth has damaged the brand as they tried to replace the theater of coffee making with machines that make the process fast and efficient. In an email sent by Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz entitled “The Commoditization of the Starbucks Experience” he says:

“When we went to automatic espresso machines, we solved a major problem in terms of speed of service and efficiency. At the same time, we overlooked the fact that we would remove much of the romance and theatre that was in play with the use of the La Marzocco machines. This specific decision became even more damaging when the height of the machines, which are now in thousands of stores, blocked the visual sight line the customer previously had to watch the drink being made, and for the intimate experience with the barista.”

Meanwhile, MediaBistro looks at the stats in the book publishing market and suggests that Starbucks is more influential and shifting paperbacks than Barnes & Noble.

In-N-Out Secret Menu

And speaking of “secrets,” here’s the secret menu at In-N-Out. Their corporate website only features a few secrets, so here’s the complete list thanks to Wikipedia.

In-N-Out Burger has a very simple menu. However there are also “secret” item specials, variations of the basic menu that are not listed on the menus in the stores, nor advertised. While many think the “secret” menu is limited to In-N-Out Burger, the slang nomenclature for different variations on burgers has been around virtually since the inception of the short-order cook. A few of these variations are detailed on the company’s web site for all to see. Some items on the “secret” menu have a slightly different price due to the addition of ingredients — in particular, the meat and cheese.

X by Y
X meat patties and Y slices of cheese (for example, a 3 by 3 or a 2 by 4)

Double Meat
Two meat patties without cheese.

Triple Meat
Three meat patties without cheese.

Animal Style
A mustard cooked beef patty served on a bun with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, extra spread and grilled onions. Any burger (including veggie and grilled cheeses) may be made this way.

Flying Dutchman
Two meat patties, two slices of melted cheese and nothing else.

Protein Style
Instead of a bun, the burger is wrapped in lettuce. Any burger (including veggie and grilled cheeses) may be made this way.

Veggie Burger (Wish Burger)
A burger without the meat and cheese.

Grilled Cheese
Two slices of melted cheese, tomato, lettuce and spread on a bun, with no meat.

Extra Everything
Adds extra spread, tomato, lettuce, and onions (regular or grilled).

Fries “Light”
Almost raw fries that are cooked for less time.

Fries “Well”
Fries that are cooked longer to be extra crisp.

Cheese Fries
Fries with two slices of melted cheese placed on top.

Animal Style Fries
Fries with cheese, spread, and grilled onions.

Neapolitan Shake
All three shake flavors (strawberry, vanilla and chocolate) combined in one shake.

The bulk of the secret menu revolves around the burgers. Animal Style is the most popular “secret” style. In addition to the standard toppings, Animal Style burgers include pickles, extra spread, grilled onions, and mustard fried onto each meat patty. 3×3 (3 by 3), 4×4, or variations of m × c, refers to a burger with a varied amount of meat patties (first number, m) and slices of cheese (second number, c). For example, a burger with four meat patties and three slices of cheese would be a 4×3. The largest known burger of this type was a 666×666, created for a Caltech Ditch Day stack in Ricketts House in the spring of 1997. (The purchaser had to construct a steel trough to transport it home.) There have been confirmed accounts of burgers as large as 100×100.

Although big burgers have been popular with customers in the past, as of September 2006 the company limits the size of their burgers to 4×6. Management made this decision to curb the bad publicity generated by customers who would make websites exhibiting very large burgers. Quality and packaging were also aiding factors in their decision. However, one can order one or more meat patties and slices of cheese on the side to make a burger larger than 4×6.

The Secrets of Kitchen Stadium

This is for all the Iron Chef America fans out there. Here are the secrets in short…

  • Ingredients: The network has acknowledged that challengers receive a list of five potential secret ingredients, though by some accounts that list may be shorter, with perhaps three possibilities. Also according to, the chefs compile 3 lists of secret ingredient recipes and what they’ll need to make these, and the fridges are stocked with what they need. So no matter what the ingredient is, the chefs will be ready.
  • By the book: Food Network culinary staff are on hand to enforce a rule book based on the original Japanese show. Each chef gets $500, which must be used on a range of ingredients, not just one extravagant item such as truffles. The cash also can’t be used to purchase a higher-quality version of the secret ingredient. Chefs are allowed to bring special equipment not found in the show’s Kitchen Stadium, but their pantries are checked to ensure they haven’t snuck in any last-minute food items. “Don’t think they haven’t tried before,” says Seidel.
  • Take two: The “reveal” of the secret ingredient isn’t quite as much of a scramble as it looks. As with many elements of the show, it’s taped until the right level of drama is caught on camera.
  • On the clock: One unquestionably legitimate aspect of “Iron Chef America” is the 60-minute battle, taped in real time, with host Alton Brown recording “bumpers” where the commercial breaks will go. The hour blazes by fast, and I mean fast. But some kitchen basics are already in place before the clock begins. Simmering stock pots are already over the flame.Though both sides must complete a single version of each item on their menus before the buzzer, they receive extra time to plate their creations for the three judges and Kitchen Stadium “chairman” Mark Dacascos.
  • What’s for dinner? The judging session actually unfolds over a painstaking 90 minutes, with each chef getting 45 minutes to present his or her dishes.
  • No time to rest: The third season of “Iron Chef America” features 24 episodes, all taped over a 20-day period in January. With two episodes taped per day, there’s not much time for winners or losers to hang out.

Warhol Banana Bowl

Warhol BananaWarhol Soup

If you’ve always wanted to own a Warhol but never really wanted to spend a lot of money, here’s your best bet. Apparently the Barney’s Warhol tomato soup cans are sold out and restocking so here’s the next best thing. I couldn’t find a direct page link, but click here to go to the store and then click on tabletop.

Play with your food!

If you’re in LA, head out to Woodland Hills to visit uWink, a restaurant with no waiters or waitresses.

Like Springwise says it’s an “an innovative restaurant concept that combines modern comfort food with at-the-table entertainment.”

“At uWink, customers place orders on touch screen terminals right at their tables. There are no waiters or waitresses, but rather food runners who deliver meals and beverages. Need a refill on your drink? Extra dressing for your salad? Touch the screen. But that’s not all the high tech tables offer. Customers at uWink can enjoy games, table-to-table trivia tournaments, movie trailers, internet-browsing and more while they wait for and enjoy their meals. Bushnell’s team isn’t skimping on the food, either. The menu features upscale bistro fare made with fresh ingredients.”

Although only in LA at the moment, uWink is now available for franchising in 36 states, and was created by the founder and former CEO of Atari, so I’m sure he knows something about entertainment.

If you’ve already been, post your review.

Here’s another review from U.S. News & World Review.

The $14 Hot Dog

As see on Serious Eats, here’s the $14 hot dog in all its glory. Worth it? You can get it at Max’s Wine Dive in Houston, and here’s what it is…

“a grass-fed beef frankfurter on a Kraftsmen bun, topped with “house-made” pickled jalapeños, venison chili, cotija cheese and crispy fried onions that look remarkably like the Durkees canned onions of green bean casserole fame. The dog is served on top of a pile of hand-cut frites (that’s French for French fries) that have been garnished with more venison chili.”

Tuna Noodle Cassarole

And the second…


  • 1 box Kraft Mac N’ Cheese
  • 1 or 2 cans of drained tuna
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes (optional)


  1. Cook Mac N’ Cheese as directed. Once cooked and mixed with butter, cheese, milk, etc., set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Open and drain your cans of tuna.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the tuna with the Mac N’ Cheese.
  5. Next, toss the contents of the bowl into a large cassarole dish. The depth and width will alter cooking time, but this is something you just watch til it’s browned to your liking.
  6. Place dish into over and cook for 30 minutes, usually more. The top with brown and get very crunchy. If you can find a shallow cassarole dish, this will probably allow everything to get crunchier quicker.
  7. Once browned, I usually take a bowl (mostly the top browned part) and eat that, while I place the cassarole dish back into the over to continue to cook and brown.
  8. When ready to serve, stewed tomatoes can be placed on top, but I prefer it without.

NOTE: Both the “meat and noodles” and “tuna noodle cassarole” dishes can be kept for DAYS. When ready to eat, just microwave and serve.

Meat and Noodles

Growing up, my mother wasn’t a cook, but there were two dishes she made that are quick and really good. They’re simple, cheap, but damn tasty. I still make them to this day. Here’s the first…


  • 1 package of ground beef
  • 1 box of forkable pasta (ie., bowtie, elbow, etc.)
  • garlic salt
  • olive oil
  • ketchup


  1. Cook your pasta like normal. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on high. Toss in the ground beef and break it up as much as possible. You want little bite size pieces. Season the beef with garlic salt while it’s cooking.
  3. Once the meat has browned, toss in the pasta and mix. Add more garlic salt if needed. Mix again. Let this cook for a while til everything is starting to brown and season. Personally, I like the meat and noodles to be browned all over, but you might like it less.
  4. When everything is mixed well and cooked through, spoon into bowls.
  5. Next, top each bowl with about a tablespoon or two of ketchup and mix.