Plate It or Hate It

Recent food world discoveries the ES crew is loving and hating

Plate It: Creamed Honey

We love honey. We hate how it sticks all over everything. Creamed honey is pure honey that is crystallized so that it changes texture; you get a smooth, creamy product that spreads like butter and doesn’t drip-drip-drip all over everything like that pedestrian un-creamed honey. Brilliant. (Available at http://www.shopbot.co.nz/)

Hate It: Push Pop Cakes

The latest mom blogger craze picks up where cake pops left off. Come on, foodie moms — please stop sacrificing practicality for cuteness. That is not how you eat a cake. Push it up and things start to fall apart once you take your first bite.  (Photo: kristin_a)

Plate It: Travel-Size Brie

Finally. We no longer have to fly with just Laughing Cow. Quality doesn’t compare to regular brie, but it’s sure better than no brie. (Available from Ile de France)

Hate It: Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off

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The Oktoberfest Survival Guide

Oktoberfest kicked off on September 17th in Munich, Germany. Unlike last year, I won’t be in attendance this time around. But in case you will be (or will be attending one of America’s faux celebrations), I want you all  to be prepared with my professional tips.

1) Be prepared for the ride

If you’re traveling to Munich via train, you might find yourself in a car with 10 men from the same “village” who have multiple kegs, loud music and an underage 15-year-old.  They will all be offended if you don’t drink beer and/or take shots with them, so just do it. Don’t plan on resting up during this voyage.

2) Eat whatever everyone else is eating

Look around. What are the old men and the bavarians in leiderhosen eating? Order that, no matter how good everything else sounds. If you can’t figure out the German menu, ask for an English version. They have them.

3) Order a pretzel the size of your head

You will not find anything like this in America no matter how hard you try. Plus, you’re going to need some carbs to aid with the 10 liters of beer you will inevitably drink.

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Alert Isaac Newton: Gravity-Defying Apple Found in Cleveland

I’m a 1950s housewife these days. I’m writing (unemployed-ish) and therefore find my schedule fairly flexible. Bennett signed up for a work training in Cleveland, but since he would finish by 4pm and we have our friend Heather living there now, I decided to jump along for the Midwestern vacation. I know that’s what my grandmother (housewife) would do when my grandfather traveled for work.

On vacation I rarely think about choosing healthy foods. Fuck it, right? I’m on vacation. But my aunt said something during last Thanksgiving that (unfortunately?) stuck with me. It’s easy to think of a special reason to turn to treats—birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, holidays, break-ups, fights, good days, bad days—so soon every day there can be an explanation to eat dessert or go for that second helping.

So for my second lunch in Cleveland, where the first screamed indulgence, I chose a light dish at Lucky’s Cafe. Something I could be proud of: yogurt with berries and house-made granola. Heather oozed with excitement after I placed the order and my worries of a boring meal on vacation soon diminished. (Heather, by the way, keeps an eating-in-Cleveland blog.)

We sat outside on a wooden picnic table, under an umbrella and next to the restaurant’s large garden.

Then the yogurt came and holy shit.

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Four Things to Freeze Before Vacation

I just got back from Chicago for a quick birthday vacation. Besides packing plenty of warm clothing and deciding on restaurants: iNG, The Bristol, The Publican, C-House, XOCO and Bari I also prepared my kitchen for a few days’ absence. But one more Chicago plug — Twisted Spoke, plenty of interesting, local and international beer, plus…inescapable ’70s porn. Enjoy a mustache with your Goose Island.

Anyway, here are some ideas on how to quickly prep your kitchen for a more welcome return.

Four Things to Freeze Before Vacation

1. Freeze Bread

There’s usually some sort of bread around my house looking for a quick toasting and buttering, or a nan looking for a dip in lentils. Either way, I rarely ever finish a package before its time is up. Before you see mold – and before you go away – toss the bread into the freezer. If you don’t have time for anything else on this list, this is the least you can do to save your food for future use.

2. Freeze Fruit

In this time before spring’s strawberries and summer’s, well, everything else, I’ve been leaning on the banana (especially in my double almond oatmeal).  I used to throw the whole banana in the freezer, peel and all. But soon the skin would blacken and turn slimy, and make the whole thing a mess. Now I peel the banana, slice it and throw it in a freezer bag. So far the banana hasn’t turned too dark. I added the frozen banana right into a new batch of cooking oatmeal, letting the banana warm up and soften into the oats. A frozen banana is also fab blended straight from the freezer with some Greek yogurt and topped with raw oats.

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