August 31, 2012

The Menu: 8-31

Today we're trying something a bit new here on Catfish's Dishes.  The Menu.  Not an actual menu--I'm not going to give you advice on which appetizers go best with the theme of Labor Day--but a weekly rundown of the best food related links on the Internet.  "Why?" You might ask.  Well, it's a big World Wide Web out there, and while I can't take the time to editorialize on everything that interests me, The Menu can help me to establish a shared language with my readers.

Of course, with college football kicking off yesterday, it's not surprising that one of the first food stories to catch my eye this week had to do with the overlap of food and sports marketing.  Given their success over the past decade, it's no surprise that my hometown Boise State Broncos have experienced an explosion in marketability; they now grace watches, sheets, yard gnomes, alarm clocks--but those things pale in comparison to the new promotional campaign between Sonic Drive-In and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns.
(Courtesy of @ULRaginCajuns)

That's not a sticker on the top of that hamburger bun--it's an edible logo.  I'm familiar with the edible paper that goes on top of cakes, but this is actually baked into the bun.  For now this design is a unique arrangement, but a Yahoo! Sports article on the burger, it could soon be spreading to include the teams of the Big-12 Conference.  This, of course, follows right on the heels of other colleges who have added their logos to the frosting on Pop Tarts.

I don't mind this development; I'm a little fanatical in my love of Boise State, and I was actively happy when team-color beer cans showed up in stores last year, despite the fact that some people worried they would encourage alcoholism.  That being said, I will be keeping an eye open to see exactly how long it is before my burger doesn't promote BSU, but Sprint or Verizon.  The thought leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Speaking of encouraging alcoholism, I am thrilled to hear about the rise of Brewforia.  For those of you who don't live in the Boise area, Brewforia is a Meridian--and now Eagle--establishment that, according to the Boise Weekly, aims to be the "Starbucks of craft beer."   While visiting friends in Newport a couple of years ago, I got to enjoy what it was like to live in a town with such a vibrant beer culture, and it is great to see that sort of thing taking off here in the Boise area.  We've had Sockeye--which is expanding--and Table Rock brewing, and to a lesser extent, The Ram, but these were all restaurant/breweries.  Other than The Boise Co-Op and a few particularly well-stocked convenience stores, there just weren't good locations to buy beer for the home.  And since they also have beer on tap, you can try things in-store and then take them home with you.  Brewforia also sponsors the Barley Bros. Travelling Beer Show, which will be in Meridian this Saturday. (At beautiful new Kleiner Park, which--between a "wing-off," a barbecue festival, and this, all in the course of two months--seems to have stolen Boise's thunder.)  Having attended the McCall stop of this tour during the winter, I can attest that paying $20 for an "all you can drink" sampling of the region's best craft beers is a pretty amazing way to spend your day.  So amazing, in fact, that there is actually a "lost" blog post about the event, after my notes on different beers were destroyed  That I spilled.  In my pocket.

It's bacon on a donut.  Why only use the picture once?
On another note:  for the most part, the links that I am discussing are things that are happening right now--things that I think you might be interested in knowing as they happen.  However, I did see something from back in February that I really wanted to share, something a little bit fun.  A very colorful guide to all things donut from Serious Eats.   This quickly became my thesaurus as I worked on my review of DK Donuts earlier this week, as well as introducing me to donuts that I didn't even know existed.  If the trip to DK has caused me to contemplate making my own donuts, then Serious Eats has made me decide that said donuts need to have apple cider in the batter.  (Or apple jack, perhaps.)

I try to make my children sack lunches every day.
Now, on the opposite end of the spectrum from donuts, beer, and hamburgers, it was interesting to hear about how schools intend to go about implementing new guidelines for cafeteria food.  It is a difficult--but important--task to make our children healthier, and the worry is that kids will just throw the "improved" food into the garbage.  Now, some people have said that since these guidelines have been handed down from the government (not to mention that it is a pretty big change from the old status quo,) they are doomed to fail, but some of their ideas actually appeal to me.  It just makes me sad that it has come to this. The schools I attended growing up were never exactly bastions of health, but looking at a sample menu for the local junior highs, I noticed that they have the option to eat pizza everyday.  It may come with whole wheat crust, but we all know better, right?  While there may be growing pains as schools try to integrate foods that kids aren't eating at home, something needs to be done to ensure our new generations don't grow up in such a fashion that their children can't even identify types of produce.

Of course, what would an aggregate collection of links on a food blog be without a shout-out to other food bloggers?  Those who have been reading Catfish's Dishes for any length of time know that, hands down, my favorite food blog is Macheesmo.  While I hope you've already checked out his site, now is the time to start if you haven't.  Instead of linking to any one recipe of his, (well....ok, I will still link to his fantastic grilled guacamole, my favorite thing I've tried from his site,) this week's post is so much more than that.  A whole e-book filled with his favorite weeknight meals.  For free!  I recommend Macheesmo so highly that I will say this--I almost hate Nick.  As an up-and-coming food blogger (or so I'd like to think) it is important to keep coming up with new and tasty meals in the kitchen.  So it sucks when somebody who puts out as much content as they do at Macheesmo is constantly posting things that I actually want to cook!  I don't have time to cook other blogger's recipes.  I don't!   And yet, I kind of want to drop everything to make this black pepper tofu from the above mentioned e-book right now.

Photo by Nick Evans
A much newer discovery of mine is Sweet Remedy.  I absolutely have to try the chai ice cream she is featuring on her blog right now.  Ever since Wife turned me on to the joys of chai, it became my drink of choice on yard sale days, even over the much-needed caffeine boost of coffee, and those spicy flavors seem like they would be the perfect compliment to smooth, rich ice cream.  It's a matter of providence that I can recommend it to you, because I wouldn't even know it existed if it weren't for a mini-flame war that broke out on Macheesmo.  Some random person....let's just call her, oh...April Topfer....was trying to declare Nick a sociopath for putting bacon on potatoes and then blogging about it. Somewhere in the piling on of derision that followed, Samantha ended up commenting on my blog about grilled pizza.  I followed the link back, and what did I see?  Not only chai ice cream, but bourbon root beer floats, a fabulous looking orzo salad with Brussels sprouts (my favorite vegetable, perhaps,) and roasted tomatoes....Samantha really brings the goods, and in a concise, easy to tackle way.  I'm looking forward to getting to know her site even better, so that I can hate her too.
So that just about does it for the week, but there is one final thing I think you should check out.  There is a little podcast floating around out there called the Nerdist, and it's pretty awesome if you don't mind profanity and, well, nerds talking about nerd stuff.  That's not usually relevant to the world of food (excepting their constant war between dieting and burritos, of course,) except that this week their featured guest is Food Network's Alton Brown.  It's not heavy into the food stuff--they talk more about a shared love of Dr. Who (and as I write this I see that they have even posted an easy way to make a Dalek cake) than they do about Good Eats--but it's friggin' Alton Brown.  The man is a genius.

Well, that's it.  Did you like this trip down Internet lane?  Did you find anything interesting or new?  Or should I get back in the kitchen?  Your feedback is greatly appreciated! 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words Sir! And dont worry... there is plenty of blog love to go around. Turns out there are a lot of people who use this Internet thing. :)