Hey Ma, Send Me to Beer Camp!


ATTN: Homebrewers, Self-Proclaimed Beer-Aficionados, Bearded Men, and “Self-Employed”

Sierra Nevada Brewery announced the 4th Annual Beer Camp – two days of paradise for beer lovers. Sierra Nevada is welcoming a select 20 beer lovers to their brewing campus in Chico, California. The catch? A creative, intriguing, interesting, and most likely bearded two-minute video entry illustrating why you deserve to attend beer camp. 10 submissions will be voted on by the common folk. The other 10 winners will be selected by “employees from departments all over the brewery.”

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Who is the 2010 Eater of the Year?

2011 is just around the corner, and that means it must be time for the 4th Annual Endless Simmer Eater of the Year Awards. Every December, ES asks our readers to decide which food personality has had the greatest influence on our edible lives over the past 12 months. Past nominees have run the gamut from Padma Lakshmi to John Mayer and Meryl Streep, but only one outstanding luminary can win the title Eater of the Year (Anthony Bourdain, Hezbollah Tofu and This is Why You’re Fat won the popular vote in past years). Who will take home the crown in 2010? It’s up to you. Read up on our five finalists below, then vote for your favorite at the end of the post.

And the nominees are…

Ruth Bourdain


Like everything we love, the original concept behind Ruth Bourdain was equal parts preposterous and ingenuous. Take the earnest, life-affirming tweets of Gourmet (RIP) editor Ruth Reichl and spice them up with the gutter mouth of 2007 Eater of the Year Anthony Bourdain. The result is a 20,000-follower twitter feed that reeled off some of the year’s most prescient foodie thoughts, from “I’m all for grass-fed cows, so long as they don’t eat my stash,” to “If I read another food trend list, I’m going to drink a beer cocktail, hijack a food truck, and drive a cupcake up your bacon-infused ass.” The gag grew into a daily project that soon spawned a Ruth Bourdain advice column and even caught the attention of Reichl and Bourdain themselves, who both profess to love it. Tony Bourdain says he has a suspect as to who the mystery writer is, but for now the real identity of this tweeting eater remains deliciously secret. (Any guesses?)

The Michelin Man


In an era when everyone swears the professional critic is dead and the new arbiters of taste are none other than you and I, the 2006 announcement that France’s most venerable restaurant reviewers would expand into the United States was met with a chorus of skepticism. This was, after all, the same year Time magazine declared YOU the person of the year. Who cares what the snooty writers from some 100-year-old French guidebook think when I can just read my own reviews on Yelp? The answer apparently, is everybody. In just four years, The Michelin Guide has defied the conventional wisdom of the Internet age and become the most respected restaurant review in North America (as it already was in Europe and Japan). The guidebooks’ results are reported not just on the food pages but in the main section of newspapers as genuine national news stories; the country’s most celebrated chefs pace all night before new ratings are released; and the designation of a shiny star from the Michelin Man has made neighborhood cooks from Brooklyn to Oakland into instant cheflebrities. Now everyone just wants to know where he’ll go next.

Sid Lerner


In 2003, Mad Man-era advertising guru Sid Lerner turned his back on consumer culture and took up the mantle of sustainability. He partnered with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to start Meatless Mondays, a novel initiative that encourages eaters to go without flesh one day a week, thus cutting consumption by 15 percent, lowering greenhouse gasses, helping us all live longer…you know the drill by now. It took a few years, but the Meatless Mondays mantra is now a food world commandment that has changed the way many of us eat. A-list restaurants like Dovetail and Babbo offer meatless menus every Monday; public schools systems and colleges including Yale have embraced the concept; and San Francisco is about two steps away from making meat on Mondays against the law. Thank you Sid Lerner, for giving us a way to feel good about ourselves while still eating bacon 18 times a week.

Professor Mark Haub


No civilization has ever had a more dysfunctional relationship with weight loss than America. Every year or so, we collectively decide what the new way to lose weight is. Don’t eat fat. No, wait — don’t eat carbs. Actually, eat carbs, but only before 10 a.m. Strike that — no carbs, but eat as much meat as you want and only while standing up. Of course, there’s one old-fashioned weight loss method that we never hear much about — just don’t eat so freakin’ much. But could that really work? To prove the relevance of this rather novel theory, Kansas State Professor Mark Haub spent two months eating nothing but crap — specifically, Twinkies and other Hostess/Little Debbie snack cakes. The twist is that he was only allowed to eat 1,800 calories of it a day, making the point that you don’t need some miracle food or fad diet to lose weight — you just need to eat less. Haub lost 27 pounds during two months on the Twinkie diet, and an attentive American audience vowed that each of us would never eat more than 1,800 calories in a day ever again. Nah, I’m just kidding. We shoveled fifty pounds of Twinkies in our face every day and swore we’d sue Mark Haub when we didn’t get skinny.

Sarah Palin


For a few months following the 2008 election, it seemed possible that Miss Wassila 1984 would fade quietly from the national scene and head back to a simple life of moose chili cook-offs. But that was not to be. Fortunately for freedom-loving foodies everywhere, Sarah Palin repositioned herself as the anti-Michelle Obama, anti-Michael Bloomberg food crusader. Wherever there was a seemingly noncontroversial food issue this year, Sarah Palin was around to spice up the argument. The healthy kids act? Not on her watch. Curbing childhood obesity and addressing the rise of diabetes rates? Sounds like a bunch of cookie-hating commie bullshit to Sarah. Whenever foodie elites like the Meatless Mondays crowd started to overreach, Sarah was there to refudiate them with red meat quotes like “If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?” Finally, a politician not afraid to endorse cannibalism. Give ’em hell, Sarah. (Photo: Momlogic)

Also receiving votes: Gail Simmons, USDA Dairy Management, Sandra Lee, The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project. Vote for the winner — or write in your own candidate — below.

2009 Eater of the Year: This is Why You’re Fat
2008 Eater of the Year: Hezbollah Tofu

2007 Eater of the Year: Anthony Bourdain

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Groupon Madness


Hey ESers — the friendly folks at Groupon are still throwing their hard-earned money at ya’ll.

This week, another Endless Simmer reader will be chosen to win $20 in free groupon bucks, which gets you a free meal or drink at a groupon establishment of your choice (this week’s options will include Habana Room in NYC and Sweely Estate Winery for you DC drinkers).

All you have to do to enter is follow ES on twittter and RT any of our tweets giving you a headsup about this week’s groupon deals (hint: like this one!)

PS – Congrats to last week’s winners, GoGastronomy and ASH811.

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All About Mark Bittman

It’s all about Mark Bittman this week. First we rave about his iPhone app and now some lucky DC reader (and friend) will get to hear him talk food, talk recipes, talk sustainability, talk minimalism, talk Jew. Maybe.

Bittman will be shilling for his book The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living. DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue is offering TWO FREE TICKETS to the chat on October 5th at 7pm.

Email info (at) endlesssimmer (dot) com with “All About Bittman” to enter. Emails must be in the box by Monday at 3pm EST.

More: Event Details

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An ES Video Interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon

Maybe it was the flamboyantly dressed and incredibly intense Asian gentleman simply called “The Chairman.” Maybe it was the exotic ingredients like river eel and udon. Maybe it was the hastily dubbed frenetic pace of kitchen stadium. Whatever the reason, Iron Chef was the first show that truly sparked my interest in cooking and the limitless options cooks have when they use their imagination. To be fair, I was in college when I came upon the Iron Chef series, when my diet consisted of things like Easy Mac, the cafeteria salad bar and PBR, so it was all outside my small comfort zone. But still, it was amazing.

This was the time when the Food Network was beginning to gain a foothold and many of the programs were as much about technique as the recipes.  Shows like Iron Chef, A Cook’s Tour, Good Eats, Food 911, etc.. really sparked a whole generation to step into the kitchen. Unfortunately since then, much of food television has moved towards personality and recipe driven programming. Even Top Chef seems to be shifting this way.

Today, my favorite food related show airs on the Travel Channel, but I still catch some others and I’ve really enjoyed the 2 seasons of The Next Iron Chef. Through that competition and Michael Ruhlman’s book The Soul of a Chef, I have come to  appreciate the way Chef Michael Symon approaches food. While this appreciation is nowhere near TVFF’s foodie man crush on Season 2 Next Iron Chef winner Jose Garces,  I still jumped at the opportunity to speak with Chef Symon about his new shows, Philly cheesesteaks, and his thoughts on tofu bacon. Click play above to watch my video interview with Michael Symon.

The Next Iron Chef premieres 10/3 on the Food Network. Michael’s new Food Network show, Food Feuds premieres 10/14. His current show, Cook Like an Iron Chef, airs Thursdays on the Cooking Channel. Phew.

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Follow ES for the Best of Groupon (and some freebies!)


I’m sure lots of you ESers are already fans of Groupon, considering it’s, um…the fastest growing company in the history of the whole world wide webs. If you’re not familiar, Groupon has local versions in a whole bunch of cities now, each one offering a single daily deal — usually in the neighborhood of half-price — at restaurants, cafes, bars, and more.

And starting today, your ES editors will be giving you an advance headsup every time Groupon has a great deal going on at a restaurant that we love. Start checking out our twitter feed for the news now.

To get things started, we’re giving one lucky reader $20 worth of Groupon Bucks, which can be used on a Groupon of your choice in any city. To enter, just start following ES on twitter. Already following us? Simply retweet this post to enter.

Update! Don’t forget to keep checking our twitter feed for more prize announcements (hint…look now).

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