Category Archives: Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up 10/20/06

So here we are, a day late and a dollar short. It’s been a hectic week that got thrown off-track by a job interview yesterday afternoon, and my timing is suffering this week. My apologies ahead of time for getting this Friday roundup out on Saturday morning.

Attention, Columbus bloggers: some started a Columbus Bloggers Yahoo group. Stop by the link and sign up if you get a chance.

My husband and I took a trip out tonight to check out the Sunflower Market that just opened up in the Olentangy Plaza on the northwest side of town. To be honest, I’m really not impressed. Too expensive (more expensive than Whole Foods, as if that were possible!), not enough local products (the only local product I saw in the whole store was eggs from 105 miles away), everything else was factory farm organic that I could get at Walmart Supercenter for a lot less cost. No prepared foods section, no fresh butcher or fishmonger, and not really anything at all that would make me go back. I know others have talked about how they love the place, but I’m just not feeling it.

Speaking of organics, over at Slashfood they’re discussing whether or not organics are on their way out. I say, if they are — great. Maybe then the focus will be more on the local sourcing of said products (I tend to prefer to buy organic meat, poultry, dairy, produce, etc, but not so much the convenience foods). I’d much rather have access to a co-op that has ALL local and artisan products than a Walmart or Whole Foods that carries row upon row of organic produce grown on factory farms half a world away. When a way of eating becomes faddish, bad things happen because everyone who can make a buck will try to. You want to eat organic? Support your local farmers. Buy a turkey from one this Thanksgiving. Make all your side dishes with local produce that will still be in season in most places. Don’t expect fresh strawberries in December.

la.foodblogging posted about Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch this past week. This was one of the places I wanted to check out when I went to Los Angeles a couple of years back, but unfortunately I didn’t get a chance. Anyone know if there’s any good soul food in Columbus?

Dispatch readers voted Columbus Fish Market as the best tuna steak in Columbus. While I’ve been to a couple of the restaurants in the Cameron Mitchell food empire, this is one I haven’t visited yet. If Cap City and Cameron’s are any indication of the quality of the food you’ll find there though, I’ll have to put CFM at the top of my list. This week, they’d like you to tell them who has the best lasanga in town. Put in your vote before Monday to enter to win a $25 gift certificate.

Lots of recipes to print out and keep for future reference from this week, like Slow Cooker Risotto with Swiss Chard from the Columbus Dispatch, Pistachio Tart with Fresh Figs and Honey Glaze from Blog Appetit, Linguine with Ham, Peas and Swiss Cheese from Cookin’ with Cyndi, Ricotta Fritters from Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once, Mini Chocolate Mocha Bundt Cakes from Cookie Madness, Cheesecake with Apples and a Brulee Top from Cream Puffs in Venice, Bittersweet Chocolate Citrus Tart from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Slow Cooker Fajitas from Eating for One, Smokey Bones Baked Apples from WhiteTrashBBQ, Butternut Squash Soup from What Did You Eat?, Chicken Tikka Masala from Taste Everything Once, Friday Pasta from Lisa the Restaurant Widow, Creamy Potato Soup with Pancetta Croutons from Pork Cracklins, Sweet Potato Leek Risotto from My Husband Cooks, Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce from La Mia Cucina, Beef Stew with Chilis and Green Peppers from kayaksoup, and Delicata Squash & Sweet Potato Soup with Hazelnuts & Sage from Je Mange la Ville

And if you’ve got some extra time on your hands, and want to learn a few new skills, Kate the Accidental Hedonist gives us some butter tips and hints, Robert of the Daily Olive clues us in on 5 Quick Tips to Shooting Great Food Photographs, Cooking Debauchery shows us how to make quick cooking easier, tomsaaristo’s Xanga gives us a list of ingredient substitutes, tommy:eats tells us how to cure hiccups, Rebecca at Potlikker shows us seasonal eating charts, Bea from La tartine gourmande shows us how to make croissants, step by step, and Venessa from The Kitchen – Apartment Therapy shows us the technique of oven-drying tomatoes.

If you’re concerned about getting the best organic bang for your buck, this handy guide posted by The Fanatic Cook tells us which foods are usually contanimated by pesticides and should be bought organically.

Until next week, folks…

Friday Round Up 10/13/06

Another Columbus food blogger has come to my attention this week: CMH Gourmand. He likes a lot of the same places I do, too. 🙂

I was really happy to see Jeni’s Ice Creams featured in a Dispatch article this week. Two interesting things. It mentions that the Ohio peach flavor is low-fat. I wish I would have known that at the beginning of the summer! 🙂 I’ll have to go see if they have any pints left since it’s seasonal and won’t be around much longer. The other thing they mentioned is that the Grandview location has apple crisp! Made with Honeycrisps! (my favorite variety of apple). I need to find an excuse to go to Grandview, and soon!

So, Central Ohio readers voted Chipotle as having the best salsa. Chipotle?? I mean it’s good, but I could whip up Chipotle salsa in my kitchen. This week, they want to know which restaurant has the best grilled tuna steak. I have to abstain on this one, unfortunately – I’ve never eaten that particular dish anywhere in town. If you’ve got an opinion on the matter, let them know and you might win a $25 restaurant gift certificate.

The recipes I found this week that tempted my palate so much that I now plan on making them: Flourless Bittersweet Chocolate Cake from A Mingling of Tastes, Fall Colors Vegetable Stew (great way to use those CSA veggies!) from Albion Cooks, Ham and Caramelized Onion Omelets from The Columbus Dispatch, Balsamic Onions from blog from OUR kitchen, Apple Cider Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting from Coconut & Lime, Twice Baked Cauliflower from Cookin’ with Cyndi, Cheesecake with Apples and a Brulee Top from Creampuffs in Venice, Gruyere Apple Grilled Cheese from Just Braise, Baked Spaghetti Squash from Eating for One, Dill Pancakes from My Husband Cooks . Whew, I think I gained weight just by looking at pictures this week!

And, because there’s always a little room to learn something new, learn all about pumpkins from Blog Appetit
, how to make the perfect grilled cheese from Slashfood, or 10 Ways to Improve Your Cooking at Spicing Up Your Senses.

I was really, really pissed off after reading an article on CarbWire. To give you an idea, here’s an excerpt from the entry:

“Why do go around making up diseases for every problem that we have nowadays? Could it be that we don’t really have a disease, we’ve just made some really bad choices for ourselves, hmmmm? Consciously choosing to do something that is detrimental to yourself in some way does not mean you are sick. Misguided, ignorant, or even bored, perhaps, but NOT stricken with an indomitable disease that cannot be overcome.”

As someone who has struggled (yes, struggled) with super morbid obesity all my life (and I mean all my life – I weighed 106 at age 5), I think it’s detrimental to those who need to lose weight to put the blame for the weight entirely on them. While eating and a sedentary lifestyle DOES have a definite impact on someone’s weight, there are tons of hormonal and chemical issues in the body that may make it difficult or near impossible for someone to lose weight. There’s tons of research on set point theory, satiety, and the effects of cortisol and gherlin on hunger and weight loss. There are some illnesses (in my case, PCOS) that have a definite adverse effect on weight loss. Even if you want to argue that it’s a mental issue (eating disorder), it’s sad to see that obesity is vilified to the level it is. As if being obese is some sort of character flaw. Unfortunately, this attitude is not limited to this one person. Even after weight loss surgery, I weigh darn near 400 lbs. And while I could use the breakdown of my surgery as an excuse, I don’t. I know I should eat better. I know I should exercise. I know I need counseling for any eating issues I have. But in the meantime, don’t seat me in the back of the restaurant so your other patrons don’t have to look at me. Don’t talk about me behind my back. Don’t act like you’re better than I am because you’re thinner. Don’t ignore me when I talk to you, as if I don’t exist at all. Don’t perpetuate the lie that the thinner you are, the better you are, and expect our young girls to reach an unhealthy ideal. Don’t generalize – not every fattie is a fattie because they sit on the couch all day eating bon bons. Even if I ever do win the battle against the DISEASE of obesity, I’ll still be a curvy girl, and damn proud to be one. *If* I lose my weight, it will be because I want to live long enough to spend the rest of my life (whatever is left of it) with my husband. Nothing more, nothing less.

Sorry to rant on about this, but it needed to be said. While I’m sure that most (probably all) of you don’t share the opinion of this one blogger, I’d be curious to know if those of you who are overweight encounter the same attitudes in society as I do.

Speaking of which, I’m throwing around the idea to do an experiment next year that has me trying 12 different ways of eating (one per month), while exercising the same amount all year, to see which one is the most effective for weight loss, which makes me feel the best personally (for example, I know I should be eating lower carb because of PCOS, but I don’t), and which one is right for my body. I still haven’t worked out all the details, though. If I do, I’ll probably do it in a separate weight loss journal while still documenting the food aspect of it here. Nothing’s definite yet.

Until next week, folks…

Friday Round Up 10/6/06

There was an excellent article in the Dispatch this week about eating local foods. Find out which area restarants support the local food movement by reading this extremely positive article that I hope will wake some people up to what they’re missing.

Speaking of local foods, we’re in the height of apple season. If you’re in the mood for Ohio apples, can’t get to the farmer’s market, and don’t trust the grocery store apples, check this chart to locate your local apple orchard.

So last week, Dispatch readers chose Cinnabon as the best cinnamon roll in town – I can’t stress how much I disagree with this, Omega’s rolls are *far* superior. Of course, I’m one of the few people who find Cinnabon far too sweet, I suppose. This week, they want to know which restaurant has the best salsa. I’m sad to see that they focused mainly on Mexican/chain restaurants on this one, while ignoring smaller places like Starliner Diner or Betty’s that have great salsa. I guess I’ll do a write in vote for Starliner. As they do every week, by putting in your input, you have the chance to win a $25 gift certificate for one of their winning restaurants.

Some recipes to try this week: Roasted Corn Chowder with Cilantro from [Gluten Free] Goddess, Split Pea Soup from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, Homemade Bagels from Jumbo Empanadas, Lisa’s Absolutely Perfect Brussels Sprouts from Restaurant Widow, and Truffle Brownies with Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans from Tomsaaristo.

Want to learn some new cooking skills? This week Kate the Accidental Hedonist shows us how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg, Aidan Brooks tells us about the nutritional powerhouse that exists in salad, and it’s all about baking bread at Smitten Kitchen.

Also instructive, but more blogosphere related than food related, Jonah on la.foodblogging, instructs us how to make your own city guide with And a great discussion on fresh vs. frozen at Limes & Lycopene. blogged about Jenny’s Caramel Corn Dittos. I *love* these, but haven’t seen them in years. Anyone know of somewhere in Columbus that has these??

Confused about the difference between sell by/use by expiration dates? That article at Slashfood will clear up the confusion for you. Me? I use the expiration dates as a rough guide. I’ll use milk past its expiration date as long as its not turned bad. Ditto with bread, eggs, etc. What about the rest of you?

Well, the great spinach/E.coli incident of 2006 is finally drawing near to the end, and I still haven’t seen a bag of spinach yet. Grr. Just lots of bags of non-spinach with stickers on them telling me they’re non-spinach. Everywhere I went (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods) tells me a few more days, and that was a couple of days ago. Maybe I’ll wander out tomorrow to see if there is spinach yet. I’m craving a spinach salad, and arugula just isn’t cutting it. The peppery flavor of it just totally changes the vibe. And frozen spinach just doesn’t cut it anymore. Is it wrong of me to say that I would have taken my chances with the spinach over the past month? Only because the chances of infection were so small, and I’ve got an iron gut that has eaten many a questionable thing and survived. Wouldn’t recommend the E.coli lottery for anyone else, of course.

On the same subject, I read a fascinating post this week by Lea of Copperpots on what happened to real food.There’s been a lot of fuss this month in Ohio about raw milk. Can’t say I’ve ever had raw milk, although I’ve eaten raw milk cheese and loved it (extra tangy!!). So let me get this right. The government says I can’t eat Fugu, Foie Gras, raw milk, transfats….what’s next? Are they going to say that we as a nation are so obese that we can’t have anything high-fat anymore? Are they going to make restaurants make every dish healthy, with only ingredients that they approve? I may be coming across as a bit alarmist, but unfortunately, if you give the government an inch, they’ll take a mile as far as your personal freedoms go. She also talks about the Walmartization of farms – i.e. small family farms pushed out by big factory farms. Unfortunately, the only thing I can do about that is to buy local and support my local farmers by buying into that CSA. I think that this is one of those things where consumers can vote with their dollars. Hopefully the whole spinach thing will wake a few more people up to that.

Trader Joe’s has rainbow carrots? This I’ll have to look for! Interesting…

Until next week, folks…

Friday Round Up 9/29/06

Technically, it’s Saturday now. Blame Time Warner. Sorry for the delay…

This week, Columbus Dispatch readers voted City Barbeque as the best brisket in town. I agree wholeheartedly, while admitting that my eating of beef brisket in Columbus has been rather limited. Go ahead and vote in the upcoming week on who has the best cinnamon rolls in town and you might win a gift certificate. This one? Hands down, I’d give it to Omega Artisan Bakery in the North Market. It makes Cinnabon look like Pillsbury.

I was really disappointed to find out Zandy’s Pies had closed. 🙁 Anyone know when/why this happened??

I’m still in the planning stages of my December trip to NYC, and found this great post about cheap eats in NYC at I think I’m feeling adventurous enough to wander out more than a block or two from my hotel in midtown Manhattan, but still am dead set against taking the subway after looking at this route map and being totally confused by it. Hopefully there are reasonably cheap, non-subway ways to get across town, considering I’ll only be there for 3 days (including flying time) – that only gives me one full day to explore.

Now this is what a cheesesteak is SUPPOSED to look like. I wonder how far Painesville is from Columbus? If it’s a Cleveland suburb, maybe I’ll check it out next weekend if I head up for the Polish Festival.

Adam the Amateur Gourmet presents us with an interesting essay on how people think that dietary fat itself is what makes you fat. The most interesting point of the essay, though – and what I got out of it – is that everything edible is good in moderation. I think that’s going to be my mantra from now on. Everything in moderation.

Great article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the etiquette of taking pictures of you food when you’re in a restaurant. The article prompted a discussion on Food Blog S’cool about the subject. What do I do? I do take pictures in restaurant, with flash when necessary, but try to be discreet and non-annoying about it. In warm weather, I prefer to sit outside (better natural light, no flash needed), or alternatively, I go earlier or later than the normal lunch or dinner rush so I don’t step on others toes. If someone or the proprietor asks (it’s only happened once so far), I just tell them that I like to take pictures of good meals for posterity so I can remember it. If really pushed, I suppose I would mention the blog. If someone asked me to stop, I would – but would remember that, and in the future probably not frequent the place or would order takeout. I’d love to hear your input (either here or in the discussion at Food Blog S’cool) – what do you do about taking pictures in restaurants?

Sam at Becks & Posh talking about food porn as an art form and the lengths some people go to when trying to get a good shot. I agree with Sam, the stuff I post is pretty much the way you’d see it if I set it down in front of you to eat. It’s not always pretty, but it will taste good most of the time. I would love to improve my plating and photography skills, though.

I’m still at odds about the issues on the table in New York – the banning of transfats and the calorie labeling. While I would love to see these changes be made, I think any time you get the government involved in a situation like this, nothing good can come of it. I’d like to see these changes implemented because the market itself bears it out, due to people wanting to know more about what they’re putting into their bodies. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a huge dinner out with non-diet foods is racked with more calories than you need in a day.

Leslie of Whining & Dining posts her wish list for next year’s farmers market. For the local Columbus area, I’d like to see ramps! Did not find a one this year, and the guy who runs my CSA said I’d probably need to go down to the Athens farmers market to find them next year. Also, more grains, heirloom and strange varieties, more meat and cheese. More fruit. I can’t believe there’s only a few weeks left of this year, although I’m told that some farmers go to the North Market well into December for apples and squash and the like. My last CSA pickup is November 17th, so I’ve got a good 7 weeks left, I suppose.

Some good instructional information for those of us who are still learning new skills: The Ethicurean gives us Produce 101: Storage Tips for Newbies and how to make lard. —
Some recipes for my “to do” list: Creamy Pappardelle with Parmiggiano, Walnut & Parsley from Cumin & Coriander, Dark Chocolate & Fleur du Sel Toasts from Everybody Likes Sandwiches, Bánh Mì Thit Nuong (Vietnamese Barbecued-Pork Sandwich)from The Traveler’s Lunchbox, and Matzo Brie from {the food palate}.

Hear, hear on Alton Brown’s rant on the whole spinach fiasco. I agree wholeheartedly with every word. Spinach is finally beginning to make it’s way back into the stores here in Columbus – I found it amusing that while I was in Trader Joe’s tonight every bag of green stuff had a “contains no spinach” sticker stuck on it. I asked, and they’ll have spinach again next week. Is it too much to hope for that I’ll see some tomorrow at the farmer’s market? We’ll see.

So much to accomplish tomorrow before going to the festival. I’ve got to hit the farmer’s markets in the morning, Penzey’s and the asian market, and trying to find somewhere local that has petit pain. Off to sleep.

Friday Round Up 9/22/06

Congratulations to (sorta) local food blogger Barbara of Tigers & Strawberries on the birth of her beautiful new daughter Kat.

This week, Columbus Dispatch readers voted Giammarco’s as the best spaghetti in town. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of the place, I’ll definitely need to check them out. Now, they want your input on who has the best beef brisket in Columbus. My vote definitely goes to City Barbeque! Cast your vote and be entered to win a restaurant gift certificate.

Let’s just suffice it to say that my chicken soup experiment earlier this week was a total failure. Which is odd, because usually even though my chicken soup doesn’t usually come out great, it at least tastes better than dirty dishwater. Next time around, I’m definitely going to use Meghan of Bay Area Bites recipe for Shiksa Matzo Ball Soup.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Inspired by this post by Tania of The Candied Quince, I made a Rahmapfelkuchen (note: link broken so recipe below):



1 ½ c. all purpose flour, sifted
5 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2/3 c. butter
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. milk

½ c. bread crumbs
2 tbsp. butter, melted
4 c. tart apples, sliced
1 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. seedless raisins, soaked in ¼ c. rum for ½ hr
¼ c. rum
3 large eggs, beaten
1/3 c. sugar
1 ¾ c. milk

To make crust, mix flour, sugar and lemon rind. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk and 1 tbsp. of milk, mix gently to form a dough. Pat into bottom of a 10 inch springform pan that has sides only greased. Press dough up sides of pan for 1 inch.

To make filling, toss together bread crumbs and melted butter. Spread evenly over pastry crust. Toss apple slices, lemon juice, and ¼ cup of sugar. Spread apples over crumbs. Drain raisins, reserving rum, and sprinkle raisins over apples. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes. Beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon colored. Stir in milk and reserved rum. Pour custard over apples and bake for 45 to 60 minutes at 350F until custard is set. Cool completely before serving. Do not remove springform pan sides until cool.

and inspired (to the point of actually going out and buying bananas to purposely let them overripen) by Faith’s Ultimate Banana Bread at Mekuno Cooking, I made three loaves of banana nut bread:

Banana Nut Bread

My pics didn’t come out nearly as pretty as either of theirs, but the desserts sure tasted good! The recipes for both can be found on their blogs. If this is indicative of the cooking skills of other food bloggers, then I’m certainly impressed!

Must have this. I love fresh soft pretzels, but mine always come out looking mutated. I know what Alton says about unitaskers, and this is a unitasker if there ever was one, but I’m still tempted.

It never ceases to amaze me exactly how much I have to learn from other food bloggers. The amount of information out there is staggering, and each week I’m humbled by the knowledge of everyone else. For example, Maria from Garlicster gives us a lesson on the different types of garlic. I just discovered hardneck garlic this summer through the CSA I belong to. I’d love to try the taste test myself. Ditto with trying different types of honey.

Maki from I was just really hungry tells us how to navigate a farmer’s market. Even though she lives in Switzerland, her advice applies no matter what part of the world you’re in.

Love, love, love this post on Slashfood that informs us how and where to store produce in a handy printable chart. Needless to say this is getting printed out and stored on my fridge. Speaking of Slashfood, I have tons of leftover rice from making fried rice last night, I really need to use it up by trying this recipe for rice pudding. I’ve never had any success with making rice pudding before (it always turns to scrambled eggs before it’s done), but this seems worth trying because it doesn’t call for any eggs and the picture looks so yummy and creamy.

Also love the concept highlighted by Miss Ginsu The Hedonista in her post earlier this week about local growers who offer online ordering. Of course, my dream store would have nothing but local produce and meat and dairy, and all other items for sale would be produced by local artisans. A girl can dream, can’t she? The farmer’s markets come close, but I’m thinking of something indoors that isn’t dependent on the farmers being there to man the stands.

I’ve been wondering what to do to promote my blog around town – meaning, sometimes when I talk to different vendors, people I run into, etc. in the course of normal conversation it comes up that I have a food blog, which always leads to them asking for my URL – so at that point, its a mad scramble through a messy purse to find a pen and some scrap paper to write down the URL. I’ve been playing around with the idea of printing up some business cards at home with just the URL on them. And then I ran into this. Flickr MiniCards. This is PERFECT. Food porn on one side, my URL on the other. You can get 10 free if you have Flickr Pro, or order 100 for $20. It’s a bit tricky to crop my existing pics to fit the format of the cards, but then again, it gives me a whole new ratio to take pictures in, too. I went with 4 each of 25 different pictures, but you can choose as many or as few pictures as you want.

I am really, really, really craving red meat. Steak. Medium rare. I don’t usually like sauces sullying up my steak, but this recipe for Filet Steaks with an Irish Whisky & Cream Pan Sauce from Sheri at Pork Cracklins has got me drooling. And Lord have mercy, a spinach salad on the side would truly hit the spot.

Speaking of spinach. I wanted to save this part for last, as I’ve got quite a bit to say on the matter, much of which has been said by so many others, and much more eloquently than I could ever put it.

I’m not making light of the people who have gotten really sick or died because of the E. coli outbreak, but personally, I think this whole spinach thing has gone from what should have been a limited recall, to out and out hysteria and overreaction. The fearmongering of the media and regulatory agencies has made it so that I likely won’t see any fresh spinach salads for far into the future. I don’t know if spinach is in season currently in Ohio, but if it is, I’m definitely going to buy my share. On the news tonight, they said that fresh spinach won’t be offered in stores until current harvesting and processing methods are improved. Frozen spinach just doesn’t cut it. This just reinforces my belief that eating local is the best. I trust my local farmers. I have much more to say on the whole subject, and am still trying to think and process the whole thing in my mind.

Until next week, folks…

Friday Round Up 9/15/06

I found another Columbus food blogger at The Holy Crepe! Cool..I wonder how many of us are out here? Maybe one day there will be enough of us to have a Columbus (or Ohio?) Food Blogger Picnic or Potluck or something.

I really want to try this recipe for Schmarren (German Omelet). It sounds interesting, like a really eggy pancake. I wonder if this would be good with apples in it?

The Dispatch wants to know Who has the best spaghetti in town?. Too bad Carfagna’s isn’t a choice. If I write it in, will it count?? (Since they aren’t technically a restaurant). Cast your vote, and you might win a $25 gift card. BTW, last week readers chose Cap City Fine Diner as the best meatloaf in town. Do you agree or disagree? I’ll admit, they came to mind as the best, until I remembered the EXCELLENT chicken meatloaf at North Market Poultry and Game. Yum.

Speaking of the Dispatch, their restaurant reviewer gave Tropical Bistro (or as I like to call it, Kahiki Lite), a scathing review. Way too brutal. I can’t say I’ve ever been to Kahiki, so I don’t know how it compares, but the times I’ve been there at dinner time, the food was excellent, the drinks were inventive, and the presentation was superb. I do review restaurants on my blog from time to time, and before I write a bad review, I’ll visit a restaurant at least twice, during two different times of the day. While I’ll admit that lunch at Tropical Bistro probably was off when he visited, it’s a shame that Jon Christensen wasn’t patient enough to give it one more try before writing a review that can make or break a new restaurant, that at least for me, fills the void that the closing of Kahiki left in the Central Ohio restaurant market. But then, of course, I disagree with Jon Christensen on many of his reviews. To each his own, I suppose. But take it from one foodie to another, don’t let the Dispatch review put you off, give it a try at least once (preferably at dinnertime, when it’s sit down rather than buffet), and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s as much about the experience as it is the food.

Lots of good instructive food blog posts this week. Alanna from A Veggie Venture teaches us how to make salad dressing, and Kate from Accidental Hedonist tells us about the different types of butter.

I guess I won’t be buying any bagged spinach for a while. While Ohio isn’t one of the states listed, I’m not taking any chances.

I’ve found a way to use those heirloom cherry tomatoes that we got at last weekends farmers market, thanks to Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

I’m going to New York in December for a vacation I won, and frankly, I’m a little intimidated by the size of the city. It’s way outside my comfort zone – I’m used to getting where I need to go in a car, finding sufficient parking (even valet parking in LA freaked me out a bit), planning out where I’m going to go before I get to the vacation destination, etc. But for some strange reason, New York seems like a foreign country to me – a foreign country where I’ll stand out like a sore thumb, because while I’m no country bumpkin, I’m no urban type either. I’m unsure about the subways, the safety factor, etc. And I’m probably just being paranoid. But Adam, The Amateur Gourmet wrote a entry about his experience at Le Cirque that has me really worried. Why? Because there’s no doubt, I’m the person that they’d seat at the bad table. Hell, it happens here in Columbus from time to time – fat folk like my husband and I get stuck in the corner all the time. But in New York? We’ll both stick out like sore thumbs.

So, I put the call out to any New Yorkers that read this blog. We’ll be staying at the Westin New York at Times Square at the corner of 43rd and 8th. Can anyone recommend a place within 1-2 blocks of there that has great food and no attitude toward non-beautiful/rich/elegant people? Just good food and good service? I have to say, I looked at the menu for Le Cirque, and I wasn’t impressed. $24 for a pea appetizer at lunch time? Are they high? While I can certainly afford it, I’d rather spend my money on good take-away if need be. Ethnic food is a plus, and a good deli (with good food at a decent value) is a must. I’m open to any/all suggestions, just as long as they don’t involve a subway ride.

Now that there’s a slight chill in the air, why not whip up some September Soup? Christine from Christine Cooks tells us all about her yearly ritual. It sounds like a great way to use all those CSA and farmer’s market veggies to me! And if you’re in the mood for something a little more spicy, L of Cookbook 411 offers up a recipe for Kitchen Sink Green Chile Stew that would really hit the spot.

I think a road trip to Cleveland is in order soon. Between this excellent review of Balaton on Blogging Ohio, and the reminder of why I love the West Side Market by Skillet Doux, the two hour trip must be made soon. There’s two places in the West Side Market that have food that I’m craving – the Pierogie Palace (because I love the ‘rogies, and they have tons of different flavors), and some shop that has UK delicacies like pasties and scotch eggs and bridies that I can’t remember the name of right now. Besides, it will give me a chance to see friends while I’m up there.

Until next week….

Friday Round Up 9/8/06

Benjamin Christie offers some great advice to new bloggers or those looking to increase their visibility and traffic in his Food Blog Aggregator and Content Syndication article. Lots of good pointers and links to places to submit your food blog.

Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb brings up an interesting discussion in the article Obesity: A Product of Affluence or Poverty?. He brings up interesting points about personal responsibility for one’s weight despite their ability to afford “good” food. My take??

I’ve been poor, I’ve been rich. I’ve had to live on a grocery budget of $105/month for 3 people, and I’ve had unlimited access to buy as much food as I want. The trends I’ve noticed?? When I was poor, I was buying lots of high-fat, high carb food like spaghetti, ramen, mac and cheese, potatoes, etc. I would buy 70% lean meat. Very little meat, produce, or protein. Lots of fast food because it was cheaper to eat every other day from the dollar menu than to buy groceries and make something. Surprisingly, I didn’t gain weight during this time – ONLY because of my level of activity. Since I didn’t have a car, I’d have to walk to get groceries, or to work, or to run errands.

Now, when I’m more comfortable financially, I’m eating much better (lots of organics, free-range, produce, etc) but my weight is fluctuating up and down — all directly related to my activity level. My diet is more balanced, but I’m not losing weight. I’m also not exercising, so there you go.

So, while I do think that being poor does contribute to obesity because of the cost of better-for-you food, your activity level has way more to do with it.

My solution is probably silly. I’m thinking back to the days where people (like my grandparents) had a backyard garden and grew their own fruits and veggies. Cheap enough to start (seeds or seedlings – from my $1 tomato plant alone I must have got $30 worth of tomatoes this year), bountiful, lots of exercise tending to the garden, and the abundance can be canned/preserved for less bountiful times. For those with no backyard, community gardens can acheive the same thing. Share the work, share the bounty.

Oh, and fast food is evil and what I think is the biggest contributor to obesity. Hubs wanted something from Baja Fresh yesterday. I took one look at the nutritional info and almost had a heart attack – from what is supposedly “healthy” food. Your average Chipotle burrito has 1,000+ calories.

I’m fat, was fat when I was poor, and am fat now. And always will be until I get off my duff and exercise more and eat less.

Jeanne at Cook sister! posts a picture that gives a whole new meaning to food porn! Hee hee…

Nicky from Delicious Days gives us a rare view behind the scenes of food manufacture.

Redhotjezebel from A Variety of Fine Pickles posts about getting ready to go to the Texas State Fair this year. I *love* fair food, and unfortunately missed the Ohio State Fair this year because I was under the weather last month. Sigh. What I wouldn’t do for something on a stick or a funnel cake right now.

As a budding locavore, I read with great interest the article posted by Leah from Good Shmeats, entitled Local is the New Organic: What on Earth Am I Supposed to Eat?. Personally, that’s why I prefer buying my produce at farmer’s markets or buying into a CSA. That way, I know what I’m buying, where I’m buying it from, when it was picked, etc. And yes, there is a difference in taste between a fresh peach and a supermarket peach? Don’t believe me? Go to your farmer’s market tomorrow and buy one of the last peaches of the season. Your taste buds will thank you. 🙂

Küchenlatein posts a pic of a bratwurst of epic proportions. Lord have mercy, I really need to go to Germany next year if it kills me. I’ve never seen a brat that size in the US.

In Columbus news:

The Columbus Dispatch thinks that Rooster’s has the best wings in town, but I have to disagree. I much prefer BW3’s or Quaker Steak and Lube over Rooster’s. What about the rest of you locals? Who do you think has the best wings in town??

The Dispatch also wants you to vote on who has the best meatloaf in town. Cast your vote by September 11th and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. Personally, I’m crazy about the Cap City Fine Diner meatloaf, so much so that I’ve dug up the recipe and make it regularly at home, but then again, I’ve never had the meatloaf from any of the other choices.

Until next week, folks…