Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Flurry of Position Statements

In lieu of a post that has some sort of logical flow or connection to current events, here are three new disconnected DSRB Position Statements that came up over the course of the past week:

1) I know it's trendy, but stop burning my food

Have you noticed this? Nearly every slightly trendy restaurant seems to want to burn your food, but do it artfully so it appears "rustic". Upscale pizza places and tapas bars are the buggest culprits in this crime. Grilled bread anyone? Make sure you add some grill marks that taste like ash. Thin crust pizza? You better make that crust cindery. Hell, why don't you toss a lime on the grill too? There's a fine line here because I love a nicely browned lasagna, a well-seared steak, or a toasty piece of bread — but if I taste nothing but carbon when I bite into something, I'm not happy, nor are most sentient people. There's also this thing called "cleaning your grill" that some restaurants might engage in more frequently. End Rant #1.

You're cutting it mighty close on this one, Dehesa

2) If you don't know how to use truffle oil in moderation, please don't use it at all

My second delivery from the Cheese of the Month Club arrived a few days ago. Last month they neglected to include a goat cheese for the "Trio of Milks" theme, this month they forgot to mention a theme at all. All three cheeses were little-known Italian cheeses (I guess that's the theme right there), one of which was a white truffle cheese. This cheese tasted, well, like truffles and nothing else - in fact it's so truffley that I don't really know what to do with it now. I suppose I could grate it over some pasta or risotto, but then the pasta or risotto would taste like white truffle and nothing else. Suggestions welcome.

On Sunday, Maggie and I had a we're-not-going-out-on-Valentine's-Day-but-the-day-after-sounds-good dinner out at Pappo in Alameda. When we walked through the door, we were greeted by a gust of truffle aroma. When we sat down to the table, the food arrived for the couple sitting next to us, accompanied by an overpowering wave of truffle. I didn't need to order the truffle pasta because I got enough of a taste sitting 3 feet away.

Truffle oil is like perfume: if you can smell it across the room, you've put way too much on; if you can smell it walking by, you've put a bit too much on; if you can smell it when you're just inches away, you've got it just right. Unfortunately, because truffle oil is a symbol of extravagance, and because people attracted by extravagance are often attracted by overkill in general, restraint in the use of truffle oil is a very rare thing indeed.

3) When to buy a vowel: never

Okay, it's true, I was watching Wheel of Fortune the other evening — well what was I supposed to do when Family Feud wasn't on? Anyhow, if you're a game theory expert, feel free to prove me wrong on this, but it seems to me that only morons buy vowels. And they always seem to buy vowels that they already know are there. I've even seen contestants buy a vowel that finishes a puzzle.

As I see it, it never makes sense to buy a vowel unless you are totally stuck and you think the next contestant might be ready to solve the puzzle. Even then, it's probably a better strategy to choose the next most likely consonant. And it's called "buy a vowel" for a reason - they're not free. Grrr. If you know a vowel is there, don't buy it in hopes that it will also show up in another word, keep putting consonants up and assume the blanks will be vowels. So sez me.

I promise the next post will hold together better.


Steve said...

I have an idea for the cheese; give it to me!

andysbro said...

1. Somehow, I knew Steve would want that one. Always appropriately judicious in his use of the stuff, I might add. I see risotto, shallots, fennel bulbs, shiitakes. You have my number. 2. Never buy a vowel. Never understood that one at all. 3. Maybe restaurants use so much truffle so they can justify charging $21.50 for a plate of pasta. It is pasta, fer chrissakes. Also, don't charge me $18.95 for anything containing chicken breast meat. Actually, shame on anybody going to a restaurant and ordering chicken-breast-anything. If that's what you want for dinner, stay home. Go to FreshChoice. I don't want to see you near me while I eat. 4. No sun-dried tomatoes. If I want concentrated acid, at least give me neat light-tracers, patterns in the leaves, and naked wood-nymphs in the shag carpet.

American in London said...

You definitely don't want to waste that white-truffle cheese . . . just use it a little at a time (per your position statement analogy that a little goes a long way).

Shaved onto cooked risotto rice would be a good start.

And of course, I Loved the Wheel of Fortune visual aid.

Andy M. said...

Actually, I had a bunch of the truffle cheese last night and was more fond of it than my first impression. It helped to eat it by itself - when I was trying to taste other cheeses at the same time it just overpowered everything else.

Must save some for ris_tt_.