Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Buddy watch.

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, or if it is a well known fact, but former Providence mayor “Buddy” Cianci has his own line of marinara sauce, which is sold around the city. (At the time I was regularly in Rhode Island, he also had his own line of coffee, but I’m not sure if he still does.)

Profits from the Mayor’s Marinara go to a scholarship fund for kids.

But in recent years, no money from the sauce’s sales has been donated to Cianci’s charity scholarship fund, The Associated Press has learned. From 2009 to 2012, the sauce made a total of $3 in income, longtime Cianci adviser Charles Mansolillo told the AP.

The AP thought this story was so fantastic, they gave it a special award. I have some reservations about this:

In 2009, they lost $2,200 on the sauce, Mansolillo said. The following year, they made $2,974, while in 2011, they lost $2,969. In 2012, they made $2,198 profit, he said. That adds up to a profit of just $3 during the 4-year period.

Is it possible they weren’t making money because former Mayor Cianci was kind of out of the public eye during this period? (He got out of prison in 2007, and had some radio and television gigs, but I don’t know what kind of public visibility those brought him. At least one of the shows he hosted was the “weekend public affairs program” Four Leather Chairs Against a Blue Background On the Record with Buddy Cianci. What kind of ratings do those get?)

Cianci and Mansolillo said sales have been hurt in past years by mismanagement from some of the sauce’s previous distributors, one of which went bankrupt. During the time when Cianci was in prison from 2002 to 2007, the sauce sometimes was not on the shelves at all.

More:

Bob Borges, gourmet manager at Eastside Market in Providence, said the sauce sells well at his store, which goes through about a dozen 12-jar cases a month. He said he thinks first-time purchasers might buy it because they think sales are benefiting children, but they wouldn’t get the repeat sales they get unless it was good. They sell it for $5.69 per jar.

This story, for some reason, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. To be fair, though, there’s a related story by the same author that’s a little more interesting. You know that scholarship fund mentioned earlier?

Since 2008, the charity has spent no more than 2.7 percent of its assets annually on scholarships, and as little as 1.7 percent.

The charity’s IRS filings show that it had $434,126 in assets as of June 30, 2013, and received around $25,000 in investment income that year. It gave out $11,000 in grants and spent $32,061 total in expenses. The year before, it had $3,862 in revenue and gave out $12,000 in grants, and before that it received $10,972 in revenue and gave out $10,000 in grants.

I hate to keep sounding like Buddy Cianci’s defender. But if this is a scam, it seems to be a very penny-ante scam. It sounds like something that started out as a PR opportunity and went a little off the rails.

(ETA: Forgot to give Romenesko credit.)

Fair food watch.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

In case you were wondering what Fried Sriracha Balls look like, they are slide number 5 in this eight slide (Warning! Slide show!) slide show (Warning! Slide show!) from the HouChron.

See also this non-slide-show article from the Dallas Eater site, which has a better description of the funnel cake ale.

(Yes, I didn’t use the “on a stick” category. That’s because none of these items is actually served on a stick, which is a huge disappointment as far as I’m concerned.)

Once again, I say: Ha! Ha! And, Ha! yet again!

Monday, June 30th, 2014

From the NYPost:

Why waiters should be replaced with iPads

(Previously. Please note that my linking this is more for my own amusement, and should not be taken as an endorsement of the article; while I think it makes a good point or two, I also think it comes close to suffocating itself in the usual entitled whining that seems to characterize far too many (but not all) New Yorkers.)

Happy Gavrilo Princip Day!

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

(And a tip of the Hatlo hat to Guffaw.)

Some advice for those of you who choose to celebrate today:

  • Archdukes are somewhat of an endangered species these days. Make sure you have the proper permits and observe the bag limit of one.
  • Princip probably didn’t eat a sandwich (as we’ve discussed before) so if you want to maintain authenticity, find a place that serves Bosnian food. That might be hard if you’re not in a large metropolitan area; in Houston, there’s Cafe Pita. In Austin…well, if you’re going to deviate from authenticity, the Noble Pig is open until 5 PM.
  • Make sure your cyanide hasn’t expired.
  • Also, know the depth of your river before you attempt suicide by throwing yourself into it.
  • Consider how long or short your grenade fuse should be. I’m really not in a position to make specific recommendations, but a ten second fuse seems a bit long.
  • If you happen to be driving any archdukes on this day, make sure you know the route. (If Franz Ferdinand’s chauffeur had a GPS, or even a smartphone with Waze, would WWI have been avoided?)
  • Also, make sure your car is tuned up. There’s nothing worse than backing up and stalling in front of an assassin.
  • It may be a little late for this, but it looks like you can pick up a reasonably nice FN 1910 for short money on Gunbroker.

Ha!, I say. Ha! And Ha! again!

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Together with tableside tablets that allow customers to order desserts and alcoholic drinks as well as pay their bills and play games without the help of a waiter, new technology has helped Chili’s address one of its customers’ biggest complaints — slow service — and add higher-margin items to its menu.

Mr. Roberts of Chili’s said about a fourth of the customers answered a survey about their experience, providing feedback. The system is so sophisticated that it can ask different questions to customers based on their orders, soliciting opinions on a new special or dessert item. A customer who has a coupon can opt to switch on a camera that will read it, or use the camera to upload a photo to Facebook or Pinterest.

Chili’s pays Ziosk a monthly service fee, but if enough customers opt to pay to play games on the system — trivia is the most popular game at Chili’s — it can make that money back under a revenue-sharing agreement.

The new system has helped the Braintree [Panera Bread - DB] location reduce errors in orders, which could run as high as six out of every 10, in that way increasing profitability, said Chris Hogan, its manager. It has allowed Mr. Hogan to put fewer workers at the cash register and more in the kitchen.

(Previously.)

Random notes: June 6, 2014.

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The NYT obit for Chester Nez clarifies a point I was confused on:

Mr. Nez was the last surviving member of the 29 original Navajo code talkers [emphasis added - DB], who at the urgent behest of the federal government devised an encrypted version of their language for wartime use. They and the hundreds of Navajos who followed them into battle used that code, with unparalleled success, throughout the Pacific theater.

About 400 Navajos followed the original 29 to war; of that later group, about 35 are still living, The Navajo Times, a tribal newspaper, reported this week.

This should not be taken as an attempt to diminish the accomplishments of Mr. Nez, the other 28 original code talkers, or the ones who followed the first 29; I’m just trying to make sure the historical record is clear. (I felt some of the other media coverage confused this point.)

This goes out to our great and good friend RoadRich: Whiskey 7 made it back to Normandy. Briefly: Whiskey 7 is a restored C-47 transport that originally dropped troops over Normandy. It was in a museum in New York, but was invited back to Normandy for the 70th anniversary. So a crew from the museum flew it across the Atlantic…

(One of these days, I want to ride in a C-47. Or a DC-3. I’m not picky.)

Fun feature piece by John Marchese in the NYT:

Maybe it was the 50th anniversary of “Hello, Dolly” having knocked the Beatles off the top of the pop charts (May 9, 1964), but it occurred to me recently that with a little advance work, I could spend an entire day in New York with Louis Armstrong.

Things I didn’t know:

Experiments in composition.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

My great and good friend Marty recommended a Chinese restaurant named Moy’s to me. This is just a tiny hole-in-the-wall place near the Ohio State campus, but Marty was right; it was pretty darn good, and the people were very friendly. If you’re in Columbus, I urge you to give it a try.

It turns out that Moy’s was also just straight up High Street from my hotel. Waze had it at about two and a half miles; I took a cab up to the restaurant. I was going to flag one down when I left, but it was a nice night, so I decided to walk back to the hotel. The walk down High Street takes you along the fringe of Ohio State. I almost want to say High Street is to Ohio State what Guadalupe is to the University of Texas.

I didn’t bring the Nikon with me, but I did take a couple of photos with the iPhone that I thought were compositionally interesting. You might not agree, which is fine with me. I’m just messing around, trying to get better.

Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Wexner Center for the Arts

law

Those black spaces actually have quotes on them; if you zoom in far enough, you should be able to read them. I can’t find a site that transcribes them, or I’d link it here. But I do like this one from Edmund Burke: “Law and arbitrary power are at eternal enmity.”

Edited to add: I cropped the Wexner Center photo some, but the law school photo is untouched. I didn’t do anything to the exposure on either of those.

Silly.

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Our table at the banquet was only about halfway occupied, and some of my fellow diners were trying to scam additional deserts from the server. (“No, really, they just stepped outside for a couple of minutes. They’ll be right back!”)

The server brought over some extras, with the good-humored comment that “I’m not the Cheesecake Police.”

Which got me thinking:

  • How do you join the Cheesecake Police?
  • Is there a Cheesecake Police Academy?
  • Doesn’t “Cheesecake Police Academy” sound like some sort of cheap knock-off movie that you’d see on a low-rent cable channel in the 1980s? Complete with a very low rent version of Michael Winslow?
  • What’s the training like?
  • Is there a citizen’s ride-along program?
  • What do the uniforms look like?
  • What’s the duty gun for the Cheesecake Police? (Obviously, it should be some sort of Smith and Wesson.)

Why, yes, I am in a weird mood. Why do you ask?

Random notes: May 14, 2014.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Obit watch: H. R. Giger. NYT. A/V Club. LAT. Lawrence.

Also: Malik Bendjelloul, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching For Sugar Man”. NYT. LAT. A/V Club.

I haven’t seen “Searching” yet, but Bendjelloul’s death is depressing; it was his first film, and he was only 36.

(Edited to add this. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.)

The history of red velvet cake.

In San Francisco, where one presumes people know better, the American Cupcake bar and bakery offers chicken that has been soaked in red velvet cake batter, rolled in toasted red velvet cupcake crumbs and fried. The dish comes with garlic- and cream-cheese mashed potatoes and cocoa-infused slaw.

You know, I’d try that. It might be something I’d only want to eat once, but I’d give it a try if I could travel to San Francisco. (I don’t currently have a passport, so I can’t go to places outside of the United States.)

Walter Olson has some good stuff up at Overlawyered and Cato about the bad Philadelphia cops. Interesting development:

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey announced yesterday that Officer Jeffrey Cujdik has been suspended for 30 days with intent to dismiss, the Inquirer reported last night.

About damn time. But let’s wait and see what the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police does.

We’ve got questions.

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Over at the other blog:

What types or styles of food are missing in Austin?

What Austin restaurants do you miss?

Random notes, some administrative, for April 23, 2014.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Apologies for the extended radio silence. The past few days have been busy.

As many of the Whipped Cream Irregulars know, Sunday was my birthday, as well as Easter. This will not happen again until 2025.

Anyway, Mike the Musicologist came up late Friday night, rented a Silvercar, and we drove down to San Antonio on Saturday to do some gun shopping, tour Ranger Creek (which will be the subject of another post), and have dinner with Andrew and Lawrence at Bohanan’s (which may be the subject of another post).

I spent Easter Sunday with family, eating an excellent ham from the Noble Pig and a very good cake baked by my sister. (I don’t remember which cookbook she got the recipe from, but I thought it was very good; perhaps she’ll post here and update.)

Then on Monday, MtM and I took the Silvercar to Dallas, where we did some more gun shopping (including a stop at Cabela’s, but not that one), had a very good lunch at Chop House Burgers, and did some shopping for tacky souvenirs of pre-revolutionary America at the 6th Floor Museum shop.

So Saturday through Monday were jam packed. (For the record, I did not buy any guns. Though I was really tempted by the Sig Sauer 1911 22 at GrabAGun. I was also tempted at one of the San Antonio gun stores that had a couple of Nylon 66s, but I just can’t bring myself to pay $350 for one, even if it did have a scope.)

(Edited to add: Also, $1,300 for a K-22, even if it was an early post-war gun with the box, seems really really high.)

Anyway, I’m back and trying to get caught up on blogging. Profuse thanks to MtM for organizing the weekend.

Random notes: April 8, 2014.

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

For the historical record, your Mickey Rooney obit roundup: NYT. LAT. A/V Club.

The author Peter Matthiessen has also passed away after an illness. The only work of Matthiessen’s that I’ve read so far is In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, which made a strong impression on me at the time. Further, I say not, as I’d sound too much like TJIC. Anyway: A/V Club. NYT. NYT Magazine article published shortly before Matthiessen’s death.

Thanks to “That Guy” for providing a Houston Press link with more details about the Damian Mandola story. There’s also an update in the Statesman: Austin Eater has a story which links to the Statesman, so this may let you get around the paywall.

…security researchers say that in most cases, attackers hardly need to go to such lengths when the management software of all sorts of devices connects directly to corporate networks. Heating and cooling providers can now monitor and adjust office temperatures remotely, and vending machine suppliers can see when their clients are out of Diet Cokes and Cheetos. Those vendors often don’t have the same security standards as their clients, but for business reasons they are allowed behind the firewall that protects a network.
Security experts say vendors are tempting targets for hackers because they tend to run older systems, like Microsoft’s Windows XP software. Also, security experts say these seemingly innocuous devices — videoconference equipment, thermostats, vending machines and printers — often are delivered with the security settings switched off by default. Once hackers have found a way in, the devices offer them a place to hide in plain sight.

Heh. Heh. Heh. (Also: remember some jerk saying “Titles like ‘Restaurant IT Guy’ or ‘SysAdmin for Daniel’ are going to become a thing, if they aren’t already.”? I didn’t even think about the “Hey, let’s put malware on the server for that Chinese place that everyone orders from! That’ll give us a back door into the Federal Reserve!” scenario.)

Al Sharpton: FBI informant.