Archive for April 18th, 2007|Daily archive page

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Beer

…and a slice of pizza thrown at your head.

Yeah, this is definitely a food related ESPN highlight. Enjoy.

According to mattyd04 over on the Newstoday PVN, “they are calling him ‘Slice-K’ in Boston.” I like it.

And the backstory to this whole thing as posted on the Boston Herald’s website.

Jason Sole just wanted to catch a foul ball. Matt Madore was merely trying to eat some pizza.

Put the two together, and it sounds like the setup for a twisted Reese’s peanut butter cup commercial. But what started as a disagreement in the stands became the most entertaining moment of yesterday’s 7-2 Red Sox victory over the Angels.

Captured by NESN’s cameras and replayed throughout the game – complete with telestrator analysis by Jerry Remy – the scene that followed J.D. Drew’s foul pop-up in the seventh inning was downright hilarious.

“I’ve never caught a foul ball in my life,” said Brookline’s Sole, 30, between innings. “It’s been my dream to catch one. That’s the closest I’ve ever come. The pizza just thwarted it.”

Here’s what happened:

Drew lofted a foul toward Box 82, which juts into left field foul territory. Sole stretched for the ball as the Angels’ Garret Anderson reached the stands. They collided, spilling beer everywhere, and the ball bounced away.

As if the slo-mo spill and requisite grimacing weren’t enough, a large slice of cheese pizza then arced perfectly through the crowd, hitting Sole’s shoulder and face. Once he realized what hit him, he went ballistic while girlfriend Anya Ho, 29, tried to wipe off his face.

A few rows away, Madore and buddy Danny Kelly beamed. It turns out Sole had given them grief about having a large pizza in the stands just moments before the at-bat. He wanted to know where they got it.

“He turned around and said something like, ‘Your mother,’ ” Sole said.

“No,” interjected Ho. “He said, ‘The pizzeria.’ ”

Either way, all parties were annoyed.

“They had been giving us (expletive) about it,” Madore said. “Next thing I know, there’s a fly ball to left field and it goes foul and my buddy says, ‘You want some pizza now?’ And he hits him right in the face. Hey, the guy wasn’t paying attention. When you’re in the stands you’ve got to be ready for anything – a foul ball, a flying slice of pizza, everything.”

Kelly, sporting a Patriots jacket, was tossed.

“It was just a stupid thing,” he said. “It’s not something to be proud of. It was just stupidity all around.”

Madore and Sole began jawing – “He has a little bit of a temper,” Ho said – and Madore got the boot, as well.

By the time the eighth inning rolled around, however, most involved couldn’t stop laughing. Sole fielded nonstop calls from friends telling him he was on NESN, which named him “Fan of the Game.” He wondered if he could meet NESN’s Tina Cervasio.

Presque Isle, Maine, native Madore ended up at Game On, where he received a standing ovation. Friend Aaron True called the whole thing, “Pizza Bartman,” a reference to the Chicago Cubs fan who cost the team Game 6 of the NL Championship Series in 2003 by trying to catch a foul ball.

“It’s cold out here today,” Sole said. “I’m just glad something fun happened.”


A Sudden Need to Wine


All my life I’ve hated wine. Until last week. I’m not really sure why but I guess it’s been slowly building and I finally like it can tolerate it more than I used to.

And it just so happens that I found this article on why 20-somethings enjoy certain wines from last weeks’ Washington Post last week. Photo from Flickr.

I also just picked up these red wine glasses and white wine glasses from Target. Both great buys, and stemless glasses always beats stemmed in my book.

How to Tempt the 20-Somethings?
By Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg

“Wine has a stuffy image.” “Wine labeling is too complex.” “There are too many wine choices and styles.”

We’re twice the age of the 20- to 25-year-old occasional wine drinkers around the globe whose opinions above were solicited in a recent study by Vinexpo, organizer of the world’s largest wine and spirits exhibition. We’ve both earned sommelier certificates to boot. Still, we found ourselves nodding in agreement at the first two of those three opinions culled from survey results released last month.

The 100 respondents, who live in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Japan, expressed a definite curiosity about wine. The problem? They are discouraged by the amount of time and effort they think it takes to learn how to appreciate wine.

Anything that makes wine easier to understand and enjoy is a boon to 20-something wine drinkers, not to mention the rest of us.

So we applaud the entertaining new wine book “Educating Peter” (Scribner, $25), whose subtitle is “How I Taught a Famous Movie Critic the Difference Between Cabernet and Merlot, or How Anybody Can Become an (Almost) Instant Wine Expert.” It chronicles author Lettie Teague’s Pygmalionesque efforts to transform Rolling Stone magazine film reviewer Peter Travers from a “wine idiot” (according to the book’s jacket) into a connoisseur. Travers’s confidence is ultimately tested at a wine auction and in a restaurant encounter with an opinionated sommelier.

Studded with Hollywood names and factoids (director Martin Scorsese’s favorite wine is Chianti), the book teaches the basics, from how wine is made, served and tasted to characteristics of wines from the Old World (Europe) and the New World (most of the rest of the globe).

It’s a hook that’s ideal for young wine lovers and movie buffs who find wine encyclopedias off-putting, given not only Rolling Stone’s mostly under-30 demographics but also the number of film-world luminaries involved in wine. Director Francis Ford Coppola owns the well-regarded Rubicon Estate in California, and many actors have put their names on bottles around the globe, from Australia (Olivia Newton-John) to Canada (Dan Aykroyd) to Italy (Lorraine Bracco) to New Zealand (Sam Neill) to France’s Bordeaux region (Gérard Depardieu, who partners with legendary winemaker Bernard Magrez).

Bordeaux is also the home of Chateau Cheval Blanc. History’s biggest fictional merlot defamer, Miles in the 2004 film “Sideways,” lost his heart to a 1961 Cheval Blanc, but one irony you don’t hear in the movie is this: The wine is a merlot blend. The much-vaunted Bordeaux Petrus, one of the world’s most expensive wines (with the 1995 vintage fetching $1,000), also is merlot-based.

But everyday merlot isn’t stuffy. It’s a soft, juicy, drinkable wine. In fact, its simplicity can be considered one of its virtues.

Merlot, like certain actors, just has an image problem. “Educating Peter” author Teague describes merlot as “equal to chardonnay as the most easily pronounceable grape and the most culturally maligned. And yet it’s not a simple grape; like chardonnay, it too is capable of producing great wine.”

Like popcorn at the movies, merlot is a crowd pleaser — especially to those who, like the 20-somethings surveyed by Vinexpo, reportedly want their wines “light, fruity and refreshing.” Merlot isn’t always as light or fruity as some pinot noirs, nor as tannic as some cabernet sauvignons.

Foodwise, it complements a broad range, including tomato-sauced pastas, roast beef and lamb, and cheese.

You’ll find some of the best merlots from Washington state, California’s Napa Valley, Chile, Italy’s Tuscan coast and (of course) France — namely, the Right Bank of Bordeaux in Pomerol, which tends to be rather high-priced, and St.-Emilion, which at least offers better prices than Pomerol.

Our advice to 20-something wine lovers, and those who concur with their opinions: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Wine isn’t inherently stuffy, although certain wine snobs might deserve that description. Bear with the changing state of wine labels, which are improving at a rapid clip to become easier to read, often with food-pairing advice. And rather than be discouraged by the variety of wine choices and styles, think of it this way: Such a wide assortment holds the promise of great pleasure yet to be experienced.

Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, award-winning authors of “What to Drink With What You Eat” and other books, can be reached through their Web site at or at

Chefs fuel a push for vegi-powered autos

Earth Day is later this month (on April 22nd in case you weren’t sure) and some LA area chefs are getting a jump on being more “green.” The original article written by Leslie Komaiko can be seen on the LA Times.

With Earth Day just a few days away, it’s gratifying to think that eating French fries might be an eco-friendly practice. How so? Well, consider veg-oil power.

Though there’s not enough of it to make a big dent in air quality, the use of recycled vegetable oil in place of gas to power your car is catching on, and restaurants are stepping up to keep supplies in the pipeline.

Until recently, most restaurants typically stored used oil in a large drum well out of customer view (welcome to the less glamorous side of the restaurant world) and then contracted with a company such as Los Angeles-based Baker Commodities Inc. to pick up the oil on a regular basis. The vast majority of this oil goes to producing animal feed, hardly an evil end. But lately a number of restaurateurs see a more noble use for the oil they use to cook fries, chicken, tempura and the like: donating it for use in veg-powered vehicles.

J.J. Needham, chef at Luna Park, the eclectic La Brea Avenue eatery, is among the growing group. Needham, who rides his bike to work most days, considers himself “semi-green.” He has just made the change from paying about $150 a month to have his oil picked up, to having it siphoned for free by locally based Veg Energy Group, an offshoot of Ojai-based Veg Powered Systems. Only pure vegetable oil can be used this way; partially hydrogenated soybean oil in blends doesn’t work in veg-powered vehicles. Other restaurants that recycle their oil with Veg Energy Group include Sake House Miro, also on La Brea; four Malibu spots (China Den, Thai Dishes, Spruzzo’s and Casa Escobar); and Good Karma in Venice, the vegan fast-food place on the boardwalk.

Nook Bistro, the stylish little West L.A. restaurant, is among several restaurants that have signed on to work with Vernon-based GeoGreen Biofuels, which will start collecting oil for biodiesel conversion next month.

“I’m stoked to finally find a company that is doing something great with oil,” says Nook chef James Richardson. “It’s just another way to make less [negative environmental] impact with the restaurant, which is our goal all the way around.”

Father’s Office chef and owner Sang Yoon plans to donate the kitchen’s used vegetable oil for alternative fuel use when he opens his second bar in Culver City, most likely this summer. Shortly thereafter, he also intends to unveil a mobile Father’s Office, the working name of which is the Mofo. The vehicle, currently in the design phase, will house a kitchen and fryer and Yoon’s idea is that the oil used on the truck will be recycled to power the truck.


Food Award

I was actually going to watch these, but after all the horrendous reviews I’ve read (especially Anthony Bourdains’ take as posted on and below) I’ll probably have to pass.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a fan of the Food Network personalities in small doses, but all of them at one time might be a little much. (Picture courtesy of Nuri Vallbona/Miami Herald Staff)

by Bourdain

It is a measure of how seriously crack-brained, rapacious and evil the Deep Thinkers at Food Network must be that I find myself–yet again–in deep sympathy with their stable of stars. Last night, during the breathtakingly awful, interminable cruelty that was The Food Network Awards, I even found myself feeling bad for Rachael Ray. YES, friends. Rachael Ray. If nothing else, Rachael’s BIG now. Network talk show– doing- well- in- ratings- Big. Own magazine Big. Friend-of-Oprah Big. So, how must it have felt for her to stand up there in front of what appeared to be a halfway empty room of stunned, near comatose trout and feign enthusiasm while presenting the award for “Best Appliance”?

Do Emeril and Bobby–who, whatever you think of their shows–BUILT that fucking network, deserve to be pimped out with such casual disregard? Does anyone deserve to run the Gauntlet of Shame that was the “red carpet”, forced to waddle past the California Raisins and Tony the Tiger and a bunch of other corporate Big Heads? The overmuscled fuckwit from DINNER SLIGHTLY DIFFICULT delivered the best line: something like “This is the greatest night “ever!” If that was his greatest night ever, I suspect he would say the same thing while being publicly butt-slammed by the San Diego Chicken.

(If you’ve ever seen his show, by the way–it’s hilarious. It’s “Knight Rider Meets Leonard’s Of Great Neck “” Can four professional cooks make onion dip for 40– in time?!!!” )And Nigella, Nigella, Nigella..the strange and fabulous Nigella Lawson!! Iconic in England– and internationally…. fabulously wealthy.. a good cook…new to the Network– and this is her welcome. Surely she had no clue as to the horrors she was facing. She looked trapped up there on stage..”the information” as Martin Amis calls it, coming terribly, suddenly home with painful clarity. To be stripped of one’s dignity by one’s new masters so quickly and with such ferocity–all in the cause of some product placement cannot have pleased. My only hope is that Charles, her husband, on hearing of this atrocity, this degrading mis-use of his wife , will buy the network–in order to spare her further ill treatment.

Emeril always the good soldier, sweated dutifully through his obligations, wondering privately, no doubt, what he had done to deserve this.

The production itself–above and beyond the witless, ill-considered, just-plain stupid “concept” of an Awards show where most of the “awards” went to inanimate objects (accepting the award for Best Comfort Food is…Macaroni and Cheese!!), appliances or cities (Portland’s mayor wisely did not bother to show),–the production values–were lower than whale shit. The food styling during the “Best New Appliance” looked like some kind of 1960’s themed monkey effluence, dying, soggy, butt-ugly. Perfectly appropriate to the Info-mercial From Hell theme of the presentation as a whole–but still shamefully crude for any “Food” network. The selection and photography of “beauty plates” from winning “Delicious Destination,. Portland, Oregon (in fact a terrific food destination) looked like somebody took a dump at McFunsters. Portland for fuck’s sake! They couldn’t find some good looking plates in fucking Portland!?

You have to ask yourself: WHAT were they THINKING?? Okay…so some brain dead douche bags from Ad Sales and “creative” got together and cooked up this hybrid, fur-bearing catfish of a beast, this jackalope of a High Concept. Fine. That’s what they do. But who green lit this monstrosity? Did no one raise their voice and say, “Boss…boss..Can we really DO this to our talent? ” or even ask..”Uh…boss..Do you think this will be even remotely entertaining?” The answer, apparently arrived at the taping in Miami–where the Awards were perhaps the lone under-attended event of the South Beach Food and Wine Fest. . They couldn’t even hold on to a LIVE audience–ordinarily mesmerized simply by proximity to Sandra and Paula. In a few shots in the finished show, you can actually see the large empty spaces–the quick and the shrewd fleeing for the exits.

Did the network, upon realizing (as they surely did) that the whole thing was a hideous, stultifyingly boring cluster fuck–and a public slap to their talent–did they consider maybe having the good taste to just bury the whole thing in archives like a rotten bone? They reportedly had no trouble burying the Ripert and the Ramsay episodes of the excellent, critically acclaimed My Country My Kitchen. Have they no decency?

There’s a famous story where Robert Mitchum walks into studio head David O Selznick’s office, pulls down his pants and takes a crap on his white carpet.

I hope Emeril is pinching a loaf right now.

Speaking of Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential, a very very funny short lived sitcom based on his book, is soon to be available on DVD. Preorder yours at Amazon.