Faking It With Truffle Oil

Although this really comes as no surprise to me, the New York Times Dining section featured an article (I know, old article. But it’s news to me) explaining that truffle oils are more a chemical concoction containing 2,4-Dithiapentane than a true infused oil. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to eat fresh truffle but I have always suspected truffle oil wasn’t a completely accurate flavor profile of the fungus.

All across the country, in restaurants great and small, the “truffle” flavor advertised on menus is increasingly being supplied by truffle oil. What those menus don’t say is that, unlike real truffles, the aroma of truffle oil is not born in the earth. Most commercial truffle oils are concocted by mixing olive oil with one or more compounds like 2,4-dithiapentane (the most prominent of the hundreds of aromatic molecules that make the flavor of white truffles so exciting) that have been created in a laboratory; their one-dimensional flavor is also changing common understanding of how a truffle should taste.

Willie Nelson Covers “The Scientist” By Coldplay

As much as I love both Chipotle and Willy Nelson, I have to agree with Popdose when they say:

It’s admittedly something of an indictment of the way today’s music industry operates that this song came about because Chipotle commissioned a two-minute stop-motion short film about the evils of industrial farming, but leaving that aside for the moment, this is surprisingly wonderful. In fact, we wouldn’t mind hearing Willie do an entire album of Coldplay covers that strip back the antiseptic bombast of the originals and leave only their plaintive melancholy.

Indeed it is surprisingly wonderful. And in my opinion, one of only a handful of cover songs that is actually better than the original. Give it a listen, then go buy it (it goes to charity). You can also watch the ad that the song was made for.

(via The Denver Egotist)

Boulder, Colorado: America’s Foodiest Town

According to Bon Appétit, this years award for the foodiest town goes to Boulder, Colorado. The criteria for the award are as follows:

Our criteria for the annual report on “America’s Foodiest Town”: Small (fewer than 250,000 people), quality farmers’ markets, concerned farmers, dedicated food media, first-rate restaurants, talented food artisans, and a community of food lovers.

Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Portland, Maine were the winners of the 2008 and 2009 awards respectively. Boulder restaurants mentioned in the article include:
Dish Gourmet
The Kitchen
Salt
Frasca Food and Wine
Pizzeria Basta
Mateo
The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse
Leaf
Café Aion
Kim & Jake’s Cakes
Happy
Sushi Tora
Boulder County Farmers’ Market
Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery

The Food At Casa Bonita

You’re right, nobody goes to Casa Bonita for the food. But because buying a meal is mandatory for entrance, nobody goes to Casa Bonita without the food. Long heralded as the worst Mexican food in Denver, the dinners and lunches at Casa Bonita have become a legend in themselves. Below is a picture of the combination meal that I ordered a couple of weeks ago. Does it really look all that bad? Rest assured it tasted nearly exactly like it looks. Horrible.

Is It Really That Bad? The food at Casa Bonita

Other photos from my trip to Casa Bonita can be found in this flickr set.

Brotherly Love

I was really impressed with Philadelphia as a city. I only spent a long weekend there but I felt like I got to see most of the sights and get a real flavor of the city (though that flavor was slightly greasy [in a good way]). As soon as I stepped of the plane it was straight to Johnny Manana’s for their giant griddle of melted cheese. The queso was excellent, the margs were horrible. I then got settled into my friend’s house who were hosting me for the week, at a yummy home cooked meal and washed it all down with a few beers at the Dark Horse in the city. The Dark Horse is a Philadelphia style Irish pub with strong roots, located in a 2 story colonial rowhouse complete with dark wood, exposed brick, and one of the oldest working fireplaces in the city.

We kicked off our first full day in the City Of Brotherly Love with Philly cheese steaks of course.

One of the people I was staying with was a highschool history teacher, and a native Philly who’s in love with his city. He was the perfect tour for all of the historical sights we visited on Saturday. We spent the entire afternoon seeing all the historical sights. The liberty bell, Independence hall, First national bank, The oldest residential street in the US, the National Constitution Center, and a bunch more. I think I might have been a little bored if it weren’t for the interesting anecdotes and facts provided by our good friend/tour guide.

Over There

For dinner we went to the tasty but slightly overpriced White Dog Cafe. A restaurant known for there social activism as much as their food. The atmosphere was cool and a little fancy. It made for a great “nice night out”.

Sunday I slept in and had a leisurely breakfast then went to the Mütter Museum. This has to be one of the most interesting museums I’ve ever been to. It was filled with biological/anatomical oddities – conjoined twins, casts of heads suffering from acute, a 30 foot colon, the soap woman, the Chevalier Jackson collection of over 2,000 objects swallowed and removed from the trachea, celebrity body parts, encased longitudinal slices of the head showing the brain. It’s all enough to make you gasp and then get a little queasy. Muffled shouts of “My God, look at that BABY MONSTER!” are often heard and quite appropriate.

Then it was off to the impressive Philadelphia Museum Of Art. I must have spent nearly four hours exploring this place.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

On Monday we spent the morning hiking around the Wissahickon Creek. It’s so great that Philly has a such a large, heavily wooded park right next to the city.
Thomas Mill Road Covered Bridge
In fact, Philly was filled with parks and was one of the many things I found attractive about it. Anyway, our trip ended shortly after with a flight back to Denver that seemed to take forever.

SLC

Alabaster

I recently returned from a little weekend vacation in Salt Lake City and have a few recommendations should you ever decide to visit.

  • Meet old friends. These old friends will be incredibly gracious to there guests and are generally just a ton of fun to be around. Spend the entire time with them.
  • Relax for the full length of your time there. Remember, you are on vacation.
  • Go get mole from the Red Iguana. Get many different types of mole. Eat until it hurts. Then drink margaritas.
  • Briefly tour downtown.
  • Go to the Japanese festival to feel like you are in some warped scene from SLC Punk.
  • Take your dog for a walk down in Parley’s Hollow/Tanner Park
  • Get a pitcher of bud light and a garlic Burger at Busy Bee Bar & Grill
  • Check out Cocker’s in the Sugerhouse district (I’m pretty sure it’s the only place in Salt Lake City you can buy a butt plug without having to purchase club membership).
  • Spend the afternoon, and evening, drinking away in The Bayou. Sample all sorts of framboise, ipa, tripel, and maker’s shots.
  • Visit the Tabernacle, preferably with an ex-mormon so you can get the secret about the LDS and tips to avoid the onslaught of missionaries.
  • Spend an entire afternoon watching kids play in the park.
  • Come home refreshed.
  • Hawaii Day 5: Kipu Falls / Honolulu

    Kipu Falls

    Pina Coladas On Waikiki

    After a late night we slept in as long as we could. We checked out, did a little shopping (unfortunately I was just a little too early to enjoy one of the famous puka dogs), and then headed straight to Kipu Falls. The falls are off in the country a ways and they take a short hike through some cane fields to get to but they are popular with tourists and locals alike. And rightfully so. Besides the natural beauty of the falls there is a giant rope swing and cliff jumps here too. In addition, the swimming hole is really large, mellow and glassy.

    After a few jumps and a quick swim we rushed off to the airport changing out of our swimsuits on the way. We puddlejump over to Oahu and were in Waikiki in about three hours.

    While in Waikiki we stayed at the gorgeous Sheraton Moana Surfrider. We immediately hit Waikiki Beach for a quick dip, pina coladas, and people watching.

    For dinner that night we went to a hidden gem for dinner and drinks (When I remember the name of it I’ll put it here. It was an izakaya style restaurant located in a strip mall next to a Papa Johns. It was super friendly, had like a 15 page menu and authentic gyoza. It was a lot of fun and had a great atmosphere to boot. Most of the locals we talked to were surprised and a bit disappointed we found out about this place (probably because they wanted to keep it to themselves). Our check-out guy told us it was one of his favorites. Go there if you can.