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These Hipster Restaurant Parodies Are Spot On

These Hipster Restaurant Parodies Are Spot On


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Abbrev’s is a parody restaurant website that pokes fun at the small-plates trend. But how far is it from the truth?

If Abbrev’s were a real restaurant, we guarantee there’d be a line out the door on opening night.

Live black ants on top of langoustine, cotton candy foie gras… the restaurant world has no shortage of bizarre culinary trends, which makes it all too easy to poke fun at some of the gastronomic weirdness. Austin’s hottest fake restaurant, Abbrev’s, parodies the small plates trend, by listing a menu of gourmet “abbreviated versions of food,” that are “less than a bite, not even a morsel” and aims to leave each eater “only somewhat satisfied but thoroughly intrigued.”

The hipsterfication of food is taken to microscopic extremes on Abbrev’s website, which features real food photography of the fake menu, including “p süp,” a few dabs of pea soup on a plate, “rav n ball,” a dish comprised of a pea-sized meatball and an equally tiny ravioli, and “mostly garnish,” which is exactly what you think. The “restaurant” is the brainchild of comedians Danny Palumbo, his brother Anthony, and Ramin Nazer.

But Abbrev’s certainly isn’t the first parody restaurant to satirize restaurant trends. There was Fuds, a fake restaurant menu advertised at the Great GoogaMooga festival in 2012, featuring bizarre nonsensical food offerings like “catskins” and “Facebook fries” for appetizers and “Ten Percent Soda” which had ingredients grass, dirt, and bubble-free sparkling willow; and “clumps of turkey in a bed of tomato scum.” Delicious.

One parody restaurant, Underfinger, with such menu items as the “charcuterie glove,” and “a single slice of pear” for dessert, was so popular that it actually came to life this summer due to popular demand.


Richard Corrigan: &lsquoThose hipster, tattooed chefs with their f***in&rsquo beards? They&rsquore everywhere&rsquo

Richard Corrigan is the kind of guy you want to end up sitting beside at a wedding where you don’t know anyone, or a dinner you didn’t want to attend. “Come in, come in!” he shouts (he is very noisy – I could have heard him from Piccadilly Circus) as he welcomes me into a small office above Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, one of his three London restaurants. “Will you have a glass of Champagne? We’ll have some rock oysters later.”

A British restaurant critic once remarked, rather tartly, that if Corrigan cooked as well as he talked “he would undoubtedly be the best chef in the world”. Me, I’m ready for a chat.

On the London restaurant scene, Corrigan is synonymous with Ireland. Every year, he holds a St Patrick’s Day celebration – a giddy morning of limitless oysters, smoked salmon, Dublin Bay prawns, stout and Champagne – at his Mayfair gaff, Corrigan’s, and everybody who can squeeze through the doors does. At 10am, it’s already a heaving party.

When Corrigan, in that booming voice of his, throws everyone out at 12.30 so that the restaurant can get on with lunch service, nobody wants to leave. “Okay, that’s it. Happy St Patrick’s Day to all! Now go home!” Every year I marvel at his showmanship and generosity.

Born and brought up in Co Meath, Corrigan is a farmer’s son. They were poor – it was “subsistence living”, he says – but he loved the freedom of the countryside.

“My wife is a psychotherapist and when I tell her about drowning kittens on the farm she thinks I must be damaged, but no. We were poor in terms of cash but in other ways we were rich. We lived off the land. We had milk from the cows, fruit trees, a vegetable garden – when I was very young that was ploughed by horse – and people would bring stuff, a fish they’d caught or a bit of game.

“We had to go to the well for fresh water for tea – the water in the house was brackish – and we cured our own bacon. My mother could do great things with a cabbage, our own butter and a bit of pork. There wasn’t a lot of finesse to it, but it was good, though God, the bacon was salty. It was a good life. Sitting in the long grass listening to corncrakes, stealing from orchards, being out and about from dawn till dusk . . . that’s not cheffy romanticism, I did that.’

His first exposure to catering was in the local hotel where he got a part-time job. “I immediately loved it. I loved the chaos, the chef bellowing ‘Ten rounds of ham and salad sandwiches!’ He bangs his hand on his desk. “Now I get to manage that kind of chaos. I like bringing order to that, I love the buzz of it. I have a bit of a Generalissimo complex, to be honest with you.” He beams.

The family farm went to the eldest of his six siblings and Corrigan left for a cheffing job in the Netherlands when he was 17 (where he educated himself by reading Beckett and Flann O’Brien and started listening to the Smiths and the Dead Kennedys).

But he believes his upbringing has contributed hugely to his success. “I was raised a Catholic, but a farmer’s outlook is very Presbyterian. I am very Presbyterian about paying my bills. And my work ethic is huge. If you really want money you can find easy ways of making it, ways that allow you to sit on your arse most of the time, but that’s not what I’m about.”

He didn’t like the constant anxiety, though, of being a restaurateur. The first place he owned, Lindsay House in London’s Soho, was much loved but he never knew whether he’d make it to the next month. He believed that thinking bigger would actually be more secure in the long run (and in any case, “farmers always want to move up the hill”).

After a decade of punishing hours, partying, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Damien Hirst (“I thought I was cool, but really I wasn’t cool at all”) and hard drinking, he got serious. He bought Bentley’s, a gloriously old-fashioned, clubby seafood restaurant and bar in Piccadilly, in 2006, then opened Corrigan’s, his luxurious Mayfair restaurant, in 2009. Given that these straddled the 2008 financial crash, this could be seen as a little foolhardy. Bentley’s, once legendary, had failed under successive owners and critics were sceptical about anyone being able to turn it round, but Corrigan put it back on the map.

The purchase of Virginia Park Lodge, an 18th-century country estate in Co Cavan, in 2013, fulfilled a dream. Built as a hunting lodge for Lord Headfort (one of Ireland’s richest men), Corrigan got married there and completely fell for it. “It was an idyllic place in my head. The main house was in a bad state, but it had 150 acres of parkland and gardens. I saw what it could be. If you come from a family that plants trees, you will end up planting trees. I wanted to create something special there.”

Corrigan went at it with his usual enthusiasm, putting in vegetable gardens, greenhouses, chicken coops, orchards and totally refurbishing the house and outbuildings. But he underestimated what it would take. “Virginia Park Lodge could really have hurt me. It could have brought me right down. There was a point last year when I just thought ‘Oh Christ’,” he puts his head in his hands. “I didn’t have enough capital to transform the place as quickly as I wanted to. The dry rot, the sheer size of the site, the fact that it’s not just a restaurant . . . It’s like a hungry baby that just keeps saying ‘Feed me! Feed me!’ I am doing things there more slowly now and it’s working but it has humbled me – in the right way.”

Ebullient again, Corrigan shows me photographs taken that day: healthy, happy looking young gardeners (there is a 10-strong team) holding armfuls of crimson beets, collecting pumpkins, picking plums and even tending grapes. In the last five months, the gardens have provided all the fruit and vegetables used in Corrigan’s London restaurants as well as the kitchen at Virginia Park Lodge. And he practises the gardening he grew up with: no chemicals or pesticides are used. “You can’t imagine the difference that makes,” he says. “I can eat a plate of kale from there just stewed in a bit of butter. I can roast roots and enjoy them as much as beef.”

What he is creating at Virginia Park Lodge, he tells me, will still be flourishing in 200 years’ time. “Really, restaurants come and go but this is what I will leave behind.”

I wonder if he is worried about being left behind as a chef. His cooking is not considered groundbreaking. He’s not fermenting this or pickling that or worrying about new Nordic influences. “I’ll tell you what the Scandinavian thing has done. It has encouraged chefs to produce some surprising stuff, and that’s good, but there’s a danger of it being imitated and imitated badly. And that chef philosopher thing? I can’t stand it. It’s so self-conscious.” His volume is increasing. “Those hipster, tattooed chefs with their f***in’ beards? They’re everywhere – from Denver to Dublin. Christ, is there a nursery just breeding them?

“I don’t want a tasting menu. I just bake my bread and cook my fish. I want young herring the way you eat it in Holland – the new season’s herring, the babies that are salted in barrels – with a bit of chopped onion and frozen gin. You don’t need any foam, and you don’t need ‘single barrel’ anything to drink with it. I hanker after a new season herring more than anything. I will allow you to put a bit of warm sauerkraut in the shell of an oyster and then put the oyster back on top. But doing anything more than that is food anarchy. You have to respect great ingredients. They shouldn’t be touched by someone with culinary ambition,” he practically chews the word and spits it out. “And I don’t want my food intellectualised.”

He’s not happy about Brexit either. Quite a few of his staff – mostly Poles – have already returned home. But he is more worried about its effect on Ireland. “I come from a troubled land. I come from the border area. And nobody here knows just how easy it is for a match – casually thrown – to set things ablaze in Irish politics. The situation there needed to be left alone for another generation. There are still too many conflicting views and hurts on both sides. I think John Major did a great job in helping to bring about peace and he did it all quietly, in a gentle, warm manner. And Paisley changed,” he smiles wickedly.

“Maybe Paisley saw what was on the other side of the pearly gates and he thought he’d better change! But seriously, the Troubles scarred us. We saw levels of hatred and violence that nobody should be exposed to, especially from the border area right up to Co Antrim. I don’t want to return to that. And when Boris Johnson talks about Brexit and compares the Irish border to one between two boroughs of London I just think ‘You cheeky f***er’. He really does have a masters in talking shit.”

I don’t imagine it’s easy for Corrigan’s wife, Maria, who he’s been married to for almost 30 years, to cope with such straight talking, such energy, such strong emotions. “Oh, Maria became much easier to live with after she trained to be a psychotherapist,” he quips. “I think that in every marriage, one of you should become a therapist to ensure longevity of the relationship.”

Maria Corrigan works for The Tavistock, one of the most reputable establishments in the UK dealing with mental-health problems. “She’s the one with the big brain,” says Corrigan. “She thinks all chefs, well, anyone in the creative industries really, is scarred in some way. And chefs are mercurial creatures. We crawl out of our holes after midnight and then we go drinking. I think a lot of us have ADHD.”

“You don’t seem that troubled to me,” I say.

“Well, I’m not too sure, to be honest with you. I think we all suffer from something or other. The dark clouds do come in.” Corrigan says he knew he was “punching above my weight” when he started going out with Maria. “I took her to the Gavroche very early on. I didn’t know I’d be able to pay the bloody bill – I was always broke – but I wanted her to see my world. They treated us like royalty – as they do everyone – and I was able to settle the bill, but I couldn’t afford a pint of milk on the way home for my breakfast the next morning. I had nothing left.”

He is tremendously proud of Maria – “It’s women who get things done, men love to talk and get patted on the back, women actually do stuff” – and their three children. The eldest, Richie, is manager of a restaurant in Hong Kong, Jessie is in restaurant PR in London and the youngest is still at school. “Maria despairs of me though,” he points at the ancient-looking donkey jacket hanging on the door of his office. ‘She always says ‘Would you look at the state of you!’”

We head to the bar downstairs for the oysters he loves, some pearly-fleshed turbot with a golden pool of herbed Hollandaise and corn – the sweetest stuff – from the Virginia Park gardens. We’re soon talking food again. He gets ideas from books – Jane Grigson, Claudia Roden, volumes from way back – as he reads widely and hungrily.

One minute he is exalting the cooking of Iran – “Aggggh, the Persians!” – then we’re onto figs and why they work well with a tobacco syrup. Of course, we end up back in Ireland, thinking about rabbits cooked in a cast-iron pan with wild garlic leaves (“eat the rabbit with your hands and share it with people who are ravishingly [SIC]hungry”) and colcannon with a lake of salty butter melting on top.

The last thing he says to me, apart from “goodbye”, is “Yum yum yum yum yum,” delivered in a low, greedy growl. God, the man loves food.

Corrigan is so up for life it’s a tonic. You don’t even need Champagne to feel happy when you’re with him. I thought about colcannon all the way home.


The 16 Most Romantic Restaurants In All Of NYC

We're all stuck at home, I know, but date night is still very possible! Looking for something to do other than stare at your phones next to each other? Great! Here are a bunch of very romantic, super New York-y, ridiculously cool, and fun restaurants for you to order in from this Valentine's Day or maybe even brave outdoor dining for. Have a blast.

This very chic restaurant from the geniuses who brought you Dig Inn is just about as romantic as romantic gets: A colorful and interesting veg-forward menu? Check. Exposed brick? Check. Even if you're just taking it to-go, you'll feel the love.

Where to find it: 232 Bleecker Street, New York, New York, 10014

To anyone who tells you there's no good food in midtown, I give you Aria. The Hell's Kitchen location is a tiny and delightful place with tons and tons of cheap, good pasta that you should absolutely pair with tons and tons of cheap, good wine. Never mind that the whole place is made of gorgeous distraught wood and lit with tiny tea lights. Never mind! For now, you can channel that vibe by lighting some tealights at home!

Where to find it: 369 West 51st Street, New York, New York, 10019 and one other location

A slightly more upscale pasta-filled experience, Bar Primi is where you order from when you want meatballs you could describe as "luscious." No bad date ever ended with meatballs you could describe as "luscious."

Where to find it: 325 Bowery, New York, New York, 10003

Who wouldn't want to order from a place with more than 50 types of tequila and mezcal on date night? (Yep, you can still get cocktails to-go!!) Plus, the salty chocolate cake is d i v i n e.

Where to find it: 408 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11215

Faun's back patio area is probably one of the most romantic spots on this list, so you should try and head there when it's patio-worthy weather. The place is tastefully overrun with flowers and string lights, making it the perfect (early fall/summer/spring) date night out. Oh, but if you do go when it's cold, no worries&mdashthe patio is heated! Or you can get take-out!! No judgment here!

Where to find it: 606 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11238

At the risk of sounding corny, who wouldn't want to make things spicy with their S.O.? By spicy I mean eating actually incredible spicy food and bonding over the fact that it is very spicy, of course. Han Dynasty is the very best to get food that will do exactly that.

Where to find it: 90 3rd Avenue, New York, New York, 10003 and several other locations

Some would argue there is quite literally nothing more romantic than this.

Where to find it: 205 E Houston Street, New York, New York, 10002

While everyone's out here raving about Lilia (and yes, sure, they are absolutely right to), you should go ahead and make a reservation at L'Artusi. You'll have an equally lovely night outdoor dining or getting delivery, I promise. Go for the orecchiette. Just do it.

Where to find it: 228 West 10th Street, New York, New York, 10014

Many will tell you Lucali's is the best pizza they've ever eaten. which means they've stood on the line that's always outside of Lucali's in order to eat that pizza. Go with someone you really care about. You know. For the experience. And to tell people you actually did. Duh.

For outdoor dining right now, they recommend: "Show up before 5. Put your name on the list. Go have a drink. We'll call you when your table is ready."

Where to find it: 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11231

Everything about Majorelle screams "quaint Parisian garden party. " Oh, and it was named as The Most Romantic Restaurant by OpenTable.

Where to find it: 28 E 63rd St, New York, New York, 10065

Come for the luxe Upper West Side pace, stay for the delicious oysters. Or don't stay! You can even take them to-go and split a dozen with your person! The Mermaid Inn is your place if you're into photogenic food and eating a lot of really good fish.

Where to find it: 570 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York, 10024

Listen. Milkflower is just delicious and adorable. The homey spot is Astoria's take on hipster neapolitan pizza. They manage to make wood-fired pies easy to eat, and, therefore, conquer to age-old issue of tomato sauce being a 'bad date food.'" Plus, what travels better than pizza.

Where to find it: 34-12 31st Avenue, Astoria, New York, 11106

I see you over there giving me eyes about the number of Italian restaurants on this list, but what do you want me to tell you? Osteria 106 is different in that it's a chiller romantic experience. You don't feel pressure to order everything and share here. Order some salmon alla mostarda and some pan-seared duck breast to-go, and you and bae will be good.

Where to find it: 53 West 106th Street, New York, New York, 10025

There's something inherently fun about reading your way through a gigantic menu with someone you love, no? Taverna Loukoumi gives you the opportunity to do exactly that while knowing anything you end up with will be fantaaastic. Bonus? People are praising their safe outdoor dining options right now!

Where to find it: 45-07 Ditmars Boulevard, Queens, New York, 11105

From the velvet barstools to the expansive whiskey list, The Spaniard is a trendy-as-all-hell spot. which would be off-putting if it weren't all so gorgeous. Though we miss sitting at the bar, eating crispy calamari and wings at home is the next best thing.

Where to find it: 190 West 4th Street, New York, New York, 10014

People love this place. L-O-V-E. That's probably because Vinegar Hill House is exactly as twee and #Brooklyn as you'd like and expect it to be. Order the cast iron chicken&mdashno more questions.

Where to find it: 72 Hudson Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11201


4. Customers refusing to tip for "moral," often bigoted reasons.

In January, an Applebee's server got stiffed by a customer who claimed, "I give GOD 10%, why do you get 18%?" Again in October, a waiter in Kansas was denied a tip by customers who cited his "homosexual lifestyle" as the reason. Personal beliefs aside, tipping is not optional.


10 Over-Used Restaurant Buzzwords

&lsquoJumbo shrimp!&rsquo Remember the comedian George Carlin making us laugh at the absurdity of restaurants using the buzzword &lsquojumbo&rsquo in front of shrimp? What made this funny? The realization that we saw this type of thing all the time, right there in front of us, on menus, and thought nothing of it.

I thought of this the other day when I was about to have a nice meal at a restaurant and all across the menu I noticed various &lsquobuzzwords&rsquo used to try to entice me to buy the food. You have all seen them. A simple &lsquohamburger&rsquo description isn&rsquot good enough &ndash though I know very well what a hamburger is and what it will look and probably taste like. No, the simple word &lsquohamburger&rsquo is not sufficient. To lure me in and get me to try THEIR hamburger, they use buzzwords to describe it. Therefore, a simple hamburger becomes a &lsquohand-selected, free-range, grass-fed, organic, choicest beef hamburger.&rsquo Or some such nonsense. I thought to myself &ndash now here is an idea for a top ten list!

Doing some research, I was quickly overwhelmed with possible top ten choices. Hell, I could rattle off about twenty just from memory. Between eating out and reading many menus, and constant media bombardment, we all know these buzzwords. Their use (and over use) render them mostly meaningless. I mean, can a gigantic chain fast food place with hundreds of thousands of restaurants scattered around the globe really &lsquohand-select&rsquo anything they serve? But there it is, right there on the menu. &lsquoHand-select salads&rsquo or &lsquoselect prime beef.&rsquo These buzzwords must work, or why would all restaurants continue to use them? So here are ten over-used restaurant buzzwords.

At the dawn of time, before the 1970s, before there was lite beer, there was &ndash beer. Then a black obelisk of marketing appeared before man, and gave unto the world the word &ndash &lsquolite.&rsquo Meant to imply &lsquolight&rsquo (as in, not heavy), they did not even spell it correctly. But soon the idea of a light (lite) beer caught on, and sold tons of product for Miller Brewing Company. Everyone jumped on board. Not just other beer makers, everything and anything having to do with food, within a few short years, would have the post script &lsquolite&rsquo attached to it. It got so that everything could be &lsquolite.&rsquo A Mad Magazine parody of this summed it up nicely when it depicted a can of &lsquoChicken Fat Lite.&rsquo As I am writing this I am drinking &lsquolow calorie&rsquo Gatorade though it could just as easily be called &lsquoGatorade Lite.&rsquo Today, the word &lsquolite&rsquo and all it is meant to convey has taken over. Entire sections of the menu at restaurants are titled &lsquoLite,&rsquo or &lsquoLite-Faire.&rsquo Is the food really &lsquolite&rsquo? Yes? In what sense? Is it lighter? Less heavy? Lower calorie? Lower fat? Healthier or better for you? In fact, the answer could be all of the above, or none of the above. The word &lsquolite&rsquo has simply taken on a mythology of its own. The word is slapped on the product or used as a buzzword to describe a menu item, and we just automatically know what it means. Right? Don&rsquot we?

When you go to a restaurant, seldom if ever is it located inside someone&rsquos home. Yet the menu tells you their mashed potatoes are &lsquohomemade.&rsquo Seems odd? Some restaurants, especially those that really are small and family owned and operated (something that is fast disappearing from the landscape of the United States), really do serve you food that is homemade &ndash homemade as in it comes from a home recipe and is prepared by a family who may actually live at the restaurant (making it their &lsquohome&rsquo). But too often you see the word &lsquohomemade&rsquo attached to foods in larger or even chain restaurants. There is just no way this food is in any conventional sense of the word, &lsquohomemade.&rsquo Perhaps it is &lsquoprepared by hand.&rsquo You see that a lot too, but at least that accurately describes the process by which the food you are eating was prepared. Made not by a machine, but by hand. Too often the word &lsquohomemade&rsquo is used interchangeably with &lsquohand-made.&rsquo

One of my all-time favorites, the word &lsquogenerous&rsquo is usually added to the word &lsquoportion&rsquo &ndash describing the sheer volume of food that is about to be laid before you to eat. But just what is a &lsquogenerous portion&rsquo of food? Very subjective wouldn&rsquot you say? It is meant to imply that we (the restaurant) are going to pile it on! Sometimes this is the case and truly American-sized portions of food, so huge no human could eat all of it, arrives on your plate. Sometimes, not so much. The &lsquogenerous portion&rsquo turns out, upon close examination, to be pretty much the same portion of the food you would get from any similar restaurant. Have you ever seen anyone return a meal for lack of generosity in the portions? Or, can you imagine somewhere, someone wanting to return their meal and saying to the waitress &lsquoI specifically requested the miserly portion.&rsquo

I am old enough to remember when restaurants didn&rsquot care if they served &lsquohealthy&rsquo food, nor did they try to convince you the deep-fried greasy thing you were eating was anything other than what it was. People ate eggs and bacon and potatoes for breakfast, and that was that. Life was simple then. You ate food, whatever it was, in whatever portions you wanted. You worked, you smoked cigarettes, and you died. Then along comes the 1980s and all of a sudden, scientists were telling us eggs were bad! Steak was bad! Anything from a pig was really bad! Overnight &lsquoMr. Steak&rsquo turned into &lsquoFinley&rsquos.&rsquo &lsquoKentucky Fried Chicken&rsquo morphed into &lsquoKFC.&rsquo The words &lsquosteak&rsquo and &lsquofried&rsquo went from being simple descriptions of what food was being served, to words that described a perception of an &lsquounhealthy&rsquo eating lifestyle. In other words &ndash the kiss of death for chains in the 1980s-1990s when all of a sudden, people wanted to eat &lsquohealthy.&rsquo Therefore, all manner of new buzzwords had to be invented to tell you the food you were eating off the menu was not going to kill your heart and liver, it was actually good for you! Examples included &lsquowholesome,&rsquo &lsquofresh,&rsquo and &lsquonatural.&rsquo

Of all the recent food buzzwords you can find on restaurant menus, the most buzz-worthy has to be &lsquosignature.&rsquo This word is meant to imply, to the diner, that what they are selecting off the menu and about to eat and enjoy, was made by someone who put their signature to it. OK, maybe not actually made as in prepared. The cook is not going to sign your food. But someone, somewhere, maybe came up with a new recipe or a new way to prepare the food, and as such, is personally certifying, through his or her signature, that what you are getting is, well, &lsquosignature.&rsquo To be honest, I don&rsquot know what this is meant to imply really.

Premium is a buzzword used to describe all manner of things, but at least here in the USA, we associate the word &lsquopremium&rsquo mostly with gasoline. &lsquoPremium gas.&rsquo It&rsquos the most expensive button on the gas pump, the one we seldom push unless we are driving a car with an engine that requires it. Just what does the word &lsquopremium&rsquo describe when I see it on a restaurant menu? Top-of-the-line? OK. The very best? OK. But how do I know what is being served to me is in fact &lsquopremium&rsquo beef? What exactly is it that separates this chunk of cow meat from all the others and makes it deserving of the title? There was a time, not long ago, when the government decided, and enforced through regulation and inspection, certain grades of food, especially meat. To call meat &lsquoGrade A&rsquo or &lsquopremium&rsquo really meant something then. There was a described and quantifiable method to ensure that what you were getting really was &lsquopremium&rsquo (as opposed to just, run of the mill and ordinary). But today you see the word &lsquopremium&rsquo attached to all manner of food.

The word artisanal literally means &lsquoa worker who practices a trade or handcraft&rsquo or &lsquoone who produces something, usually a food, in limited quantities using traditional methods.&rsquo Wow. The word brings to mind real artisans: potters, barrel makers, monks cloistered away somewhere making beer, shepherd&rsquos churning butter and making cheese. But today, you open a menu and there you see &lsquoartisanal&rsquo cheese, or &lsquoartisanal&rsquo beer. Even &lsquoartisanal sausage.&rsquo The word &lsquoartisanal&rsquo is now somewhat interchangeable with the &lsquolocal&rsquo or &lsquoslow&rsquo food movement. Where food is prepared by hand, in small amounts, using traditional and sustainable methods. See, I used several buzzwords to describe a buzzword. But really that is what we are being sold when we pick up a menu and select an item with the word &lsquoartisanal&rsquo on it. An image that in all likelihood, is a phantom. Was the cheese you are eating really made from hand-milked cows, and hand churned? Maybe. Was the &lsquoartisanal sausage&rsquo ground up from the meat of a pig fed, well, fed what exactly? Pigs will eat anything. What makes the meat from a pig (sausage) &lsquoartisanal&rsquo? Did the sausage come from a pig that was &lsquofree-range&rsquo? Pigs are not free range animals. It does get a bit confusing. And I do not mean to make fun of the actual local food movement which I believe is a great thing and a more sustainable lifestyle would do all of us, and this world, a great favor. But really. &lsquoartisanal sausage&rsquo?

I live in the tomato capital of the world (how is that for a geographical food description buzzword?). Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and to be specific, the little hamlet of Washington Borough, PA. Some of the very best tomatoes in the world are grown right here. Come visit the annual Washington Borough tomato festival some summer and see for yourself. I would have called it the &lsquoWorld Famous&rsquo Washington Borough tomato festival, but it isn&rsquot. That would be using an inaccurate buzzword to try to get you to come to the festival. I would not do that to Listverse readers.

Now, back on topic. I am no farmer, but having grown up here, I can attest to one undeniable fact about tomatoes. You need the sun to grow them. Yet, for some reason, restaurants everywhere want me to know that the tomatoes they are serving me are &lsquosun-grown,&rsquo or &lsquosun-ripened.&rsquo Well smack me upside the head in the county square! You don&rsquot say? These tomatoes I am eating were &lsquosun-ripened&rsquo?! I am impressed. I am even more impressed when I find my tomatoes were &lsquosun-dried,&rsquo or the coffee I am drinking was made with &lsquosun-roasted&rsquo beans, or the lettuce on my salad was &lsquosun-grown.&rsquo

One of my personal pet peeve restaurant menu buzzwords. I know what a food award is, or at least is supposed to be. Some products, like certain beer and whisky brands, actually print the awards and medals they have won right on the can or bottle. Pabst Blue Ribbon beer is named after its award for goodness sake. It&rsquos right there, on the can &ndash a blue ribbon! So when I see &lsquoaward-winning salad&rsquo on a restaurant menu, I ask &ndash &lsquowell, where is the award?&rsquo &lsquoIs it hanging on the wall somewhere, maybe next to the rest rooms?&rsquo &lsquoWhat was the award for?&rsquo &lsquoGreenest colored lettuce?&rsquo Call me a skeptic and a cynic, but I won&rsquot believe the salad won any award, or at least not any award that counts, until I see it.

My #1 choice for overused food buzzword. Tuscan. Tuscan. You see it everywhere. Tuscan this, Tuscan that. What is it supposed to mean? I think it is supposed to implant in my mind some sort of vision of a sunny Mediterranean villa, with the light glistening off the sea and open air markets of fresh produce &ndash the Tuscany region of Italy and the various Tuscan forms of cuisine from that area. But does what I am ordering off the menu have anything remotely to do with the Tuscany form of cuisine? And thus, more and more things on the menu bear the title &lsquoTuscan.&rsquo Deserved or not.

Advertising is a cruel game. Especially in the fast food chain restaurant business. People want, or expect, something new from these chains, all the time. And marketers and advertisers are challenged with coming up with these new food choices. One of the latest developments I have seen, mostly on pizza and Mexican fast food advertising is the proliferation of words to describe the food, or food titles that simply make no sense at all. What is &lsquogreen tomatillo sauce&rsquo? A Pico de Gallo? An Enchirito? What is a P&rsquoZolo? Or a P&rsquoZone? Who comes up with these words? They are tossed out there at you, in the fast-paced TV advertisement, usually with the food literally flying through the air too! They sound Mexican, or pizza-like, so they must be actual foods, right? Quick, did you see it? Flying across the TV screen through a perfect sheet of flowing vertical water. It was a P&rsquoZone!


30 People Are Making Fun Of Hipsters’ Melodramatic Captions Adding Their Own Endings

Mindaugas Balčiauskas
BoredPanda staff

Hipsters have made a name for themselves as a group that lives outside mainstream culture - proudly flaunting ironic old-timey clothing, elaborate beards, and mustaches while sipping on craft beer and snacking on artisanal, organic foods. While it's easy to spot a hipster on the outside, what goes on inside their brains? - some pretty deep melodramatic thoughts. This list is full of emotional hipster captions that someone decided to parody, and the edits are so much better than the originals.

The term 'hipster' or 'hip' is documented as going back as far as 1902 in America. The New York Tribune published a quote at the end of the 1920s that includes the term, referring to the original 'hipsters' who were people who carried hip flasks around during Prohibition. Flasks full of liquor, what could be more hipster than that?


The 27 best restaurants in Edinburgh you need to try

March 2021: Fingers crossed, it won&rsquot be long until Edinburgh&rsquos restaurants can swing open their doors again. I n late-April Scotland will prepare to move back into its tiered level system, with restaurants gradually opening up again from late spring as areas move down the numbered levels. Further details on exactly how this unlocking will happen are due to be announced this month. In anticipation of being able to eat delicious dishes without having to do the washing up afterwards we&rsquove updated our list of the best restaurants in Edinburgh. From Michelin-starred heavyweights and much-loved old-school joints that have stood the test of time to exciting new ventures changing up the city&rsquos culinary scene, here are the hottest tables in Edinburgh we think you should be booking once lockdown lifts.

Culture, history, architecture and hills &ndash Edinburgh has it all. Chefs flock here to pay homage to Scotland&rsquos world-class larder and that means you can definitely expect to taste some brilliant local produce while in town. Beautiful shellfish from crystal-clear waters, fairly reared meat and gorgeous bread are all very much present and correct. Plant-based food takes a starring role, too, so whether you&rsquore veggie, vegan or just plain flexi, you&rsquoll easily find creative meat-free cooking here.

Like any city, Edinburgh has her share of chain restaurants, but with our handy list it&rsquos easy to support local (don&rsquot say we&rsquore not good to you). So if you fancy planning your itinerary solely around where you want to eat, crack on. We won&rsquot judge.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here.


Let White People Appropriate Mexican Food—Mexicans Do It to Ourselves All the Time

My thoughts on cultural appropriation of food changed forever in the research for my 2012 book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. One of my personal highlights was discovering the restaurant that Glenn Bell of Taco Bell infamy had cited in his autobiography as being the source of “inspiration” for him deciding to get into the taco business. How did he get inspired? He’d eat tacos the restaurant every night, then go across the street to his hot dog stand to try and recreate them.

Bell freely admitted to the story, but never revealed the name of the restaurant. I did: Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, which is the oldest continuously operating Mexican restaurant in the Inland Empire. I was excited to interview the owner, Irene Montaño, who confirmed Bell’s story. I was upset for the Montaños, and when I asked Montaño how she felt that Bell had ripped off her family’s recipes to create a multibillion-dollar empire, I expected bitterness, anger, maybe even plans for a lawsuit in an attempt to get at least some of the billions of dollars that Taco Bell has earned over the past 50-plus years.

Instead, Montaño responded with grace: “Good for him!” She pointed out that Mitla had never suffered a drop in business because of Taco Bell, that her restaurant had been in business longer than his, and “our tacos were better.”

It’s an anecdote I always keep in mind whenever stories of cultural appropriation of food by white people get the Left riled up and rock the food world. The latest skirmish is going on in Portland, where two white girls decided to open up what the estimable Willamette Week called “a concept that fits twee Portland”: a breakfast burrito pop-up located within a hipster taco cart. The grand sin the gabachos committed, according to the haters, was the admission that they quizzed women in Baja California about how to make the perfect flour tortilla.

For their enthusiasm, the women have received all sorts of shade and have closed down their pop-up. To which I say: laughable. The gabachas knew exactly what they were doing, so didn’t they stand by it? Real gumption there, pendejas.

But also laughable is the idea that white people aren’t supposed to—pick your word—rip off or appropriate or get “inspired” by Mexican food, that comida mexicana is a sacrosanct tradition only Mexicans and the white girls we marry can participate in. That cultural appropriation is a one-way street where the evil gabacho steals from the poor, pathetic Mexicans yet again.


As we say in Mexico: no se hagan.

What these culture warriors who proclaim to defend Mexicans don’t realize is that we’re talking about the food industry, one of the most rapacious businesses ever created. It’s the human condition at its most Darwinian, where EVERYONE rips EVERYONE off. The only limit to an entrepreneur’s chicanery isn’t resources, race, or class status, but how fast can you rip someone off, how smart you can be to spot trends years before anyone else, and how much money you can make before you have to rip off another idea again.

And no one rips off food like Mexicans.

The Mexican restaurant world is a delicious defense of cultural appropriation—that’s what the culinary manifestation of mestizaje is, ain’t it? The Spaniards didn’t know how to make corn tortillas in the North, so they decided to make them from flour. Mexicans didn’t care much for Spanish dessert breads, so we ripped off most pan dulces from the French (not to mention waltzes and mariachi). We didn’t care much for wine, so embraced the beers that German, Czech and Polish immigrants brought to Mexico. And what is al pastor if not Mexicans taking shawerma from Lebanese, adding pork, and making it something as quintessentially Mexicans as a corrupt PRI?

Don’t cry for ripped-off Mexican chefs—they’re too busy ripping each other off. Another anecdote I remember from Taco USA: One of El Torito founder Larry Cano’s lieutenants telling me Larry would pay them to go work at a restaurant for a month, learn the recipes, then come back to the mothership so they could replicate it. It ain’t just chains, though: in the past year, I’ve seen dozens of restaurants and loncheras across Southern California offer the Zacatecan specialty birria de res, a dish that was almost exclusively limited to quinceañeras and weddings just three years ago? What changed? The popularity of Burritos La Palma, the SanTana lonchera-turned-restaurant. Paisa entrepreneurs quickly learned that Burritos La Palma was getting a chingo of publicity and customers, so decided to make birria de res on their own to try and steal away customers even though nearly none of them are from Zacatecas.

Shameless? Absolutely. And that’s what cultural appropriation in the food world boils down to: it’s smart business, and that’s why Mexicans do it, too. That’s the same reason why a lot of high-end Mexican restaurants not owned by sinaloenses serve aguachile now: because Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria made it popular. That’s why working-class Mexicans open mariscos palaces even if they’re not from the coast—because Sinaloans made Mexican seafood a lucrative scene. That’s why nearly every lonchera in SanTana serves picaditas, a Veracruzan specialty, even though most owners are from Cuernavaca. That’s why a taqueria will sell hamburgers and French fries—because they know the pocho kids of its core clients want to eat that instead of tacos. And that’s why bacon-wrapped hot dogs are so popular in Southern California—because SoCal Mexican street-cart vendors ripped off Mexicans in Tijuana, who ripped off Mexicans in Tucson, who ripped off Mexicans in Sonora.

To suggest—as SJWs always do—that Mexicans and other minority entrepreneurs can’t possibly engage in cultural appropriation because they’re people of color, and that we’re always the victims, is ignorant and patronizing and robs us of agency. We’re no one’s victims, and who says we can’t beat the wasichu at their game? And who says Mexicans are somehow left in the poor house by white people getting rich off Mexican food? Go ask the Montaños of Mitla how they’re doing. Last year, they reopened a long-shuttered banquet hall, and the next generation is introducing new meals and craft beers. They cried about Bell’s appropriation of their tacos all the way to the history books.


The new hot spot: Lauderdale-by-the-Sea draws younger crowds

It’s 9 p.m. beachside and you’re feeling the breezy buzz of a few natural craft cocktails. You stop, look around, adjust your vision and realize the majority of people aren’t tourists, 65 and older.

LBTS, that very chill, ocean-kissed location where Commercial Boulevard meets colorful beach chairs, has long been known for snowbirds, seniors and New England Patriots fans.

But like a sexy finger luring in a crowd, several LBTS destinations are bringing a vibe equally attractive to a mix of youthful locals and visitors, and it shows. Stephani Moravi, a server at 101 Ocean restaurant and bar, says she has seen a gradual change of demographic over the past six years.

“There were usually older people between 40 to 60. It was a retirement area I feel like. Now it’s gotten where. you see a lot of younger people here because they work here and a lot of people do go to school in this area,” said Moravi. “I see a lot of 18- to 25-year-olds just hanging out and being part of the area as well.”

These days, sidewalks on weekends are often packed with a multi-generational mix of people. Even teens have claimed the place as a popular hangout, wandering around in TikTok-ing packs.

“I definitely see that shift,” said Gregory Genias, also known as BootlegGreg, the mixologist who created the beverage program at the newly opened Even Keel Fish Shack.

The restaurant opened on the southeast corner of Commercial Boulevard and Ocean Drive. The team’s goal is to bring an elevated culinary experience with fair prices — scoring high with tourists, but winning over locals too.

“You still have the Arubas and Mulligans. They’ve been around in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea for a long time and they still have that clientele that go there. Then you have us, on the cutting edge. What we think Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is eventually,” said Genias, who was born in Jamaica and brought a fresh island outlook with him.

The mixologist’s beverage menu highlights health conscious cocktails like his Gin & Juice made with Glendalough Botanical Gin, mango, turmeric, ginger and tarragon ($12). And the push for better ingredients doesn’t mean higher prices. Genias and the team at Even Keel are aiming for an experience many can enjoy, not a select few.

“I think we are starting a trend where other restaurants will be forced to look at what they are doing and see that they’ve been doing the same thing for a bunch of years and it’s time for a transition and we are leading that charge,” said Genias.

Chef-owner David MacLennan helped conceptualize the casual spinoff of Even Keel Fish and Oyster restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, which closed in December because of the pandemic. His approach to food is also about inclusivity and fresh, local ingredients.

“Doing stuff that’s modern American, chef-driven in that moderate price point where it’s not a total dive, but it’s also not a sit-down-and-order a $45 snapper dish,” said MacLennan.

And he’s placing his bets, not on the traditional tourists, but on the burgeoning locals.

“Anywhere you go, if you live in a good neighborhood, you are not going to stray from that too often,” said the chef whose lobster rolls are getting most of the attention.

And just across the boulevard sits Taco Craft Taqueria and Tequila Bar, which marked a major tide shift for LBTS two years ago. The tall Day of the Dead façade and brightly colored umbrellas gives the northeast corner of Commercial Boulevard and Ocean Drive a vibe that’s hard to miss and if you’re local - you definitely noticed.


The 10 Best Cooking and Dining Chatbots for Foodies

Chatbots — we’ve all used them at one time or another. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you’ve interacted with them and were none the wiser. Whether it was to ask for technical help, to seek answers about a product before buying, or for entertainment through an IM-based tool like iGod, the possibilities are seemingly endless.

Bots are used more and more to help us with our problems. Instead of waiting around on hold, listening to the same ridiculous music for hours, a bot might allow you to get answers or perform an account query with little to no wait or auto-reply to an email you sent to a brand or support team.

Believe it or not, a chatbot can also tell you what and where to eat. This is becoming increasingly popular among restaurants showing up in local search results.

These chatbots can recommend a restaurant to dine at, a recipe to cook for your next meal, or even the supplies you’ll need to make your favorite dish. Want to check ’em out and see what you can do? No problem. Let’s take a look at some of the best food-themed chatbots around.

The Food Network has a chatbot integrated with Facebook Messenger. Just log on to the Facebook website or open the Messenger app on mobile.

There are several ways to communicate with this chatbot. You can search the Food Network Chatbot for recipes filtered by:

· Emoji or emotional response

For example, want to really be wowed by a recipe? Then click on the shocked emoji. If you know your cooking skill basics, this AI makes it easy to find the perfect recipe to prepare a meal.

We know, we know, who in their right mind would associate a cat with food? Mica, however, is a hipster-themed cat bot, so we’ll let her off easy.

She’s ideal for those times when you are in a new city or state, and you’re looking for the “hippest” hangouts nearby — think restaurants and coffee shops. Just type in the name of your current location, such as “Tampa, Florida,” and Mica will share some great hangouts where you can find all the other cool cats. If no Mica-approved venue can be located within your area, she’ll even send a funny picture to cheer you up. Kik is the preferred channel for conversing with this trendy bot.

Ah, good ol’ Betty Crocker. Who doesn’t love a delicious, homemade-style dish? It’s a great resource for those times when you just want to hang out at home, cook a yummy meal, and save some money. Sadly, there’s nothing worse than getting halfway through preparation only to discover you don’t a crucial ingredient. The solution is to say to Alexa, “Ask Betty Crocker for…” and you’ll receive an appropriate substitution. No need to run to the store or scream in anguish.

Want to swap ingredients in a recipe so that it’s vegan-friendly? Make It Soy is a vegan-friendly bot that can convert common ingredients such as eggs and butter to animal-free ones. It’s an Alexa “skill,” which means you simply need to interact with Amazon Echo to take advantage of it.

Having a food intolerance is never fun or convenient. Can I Eat This is a voice-enabled bot, thanks to Alexa, that will tell you if a new recipe you found is compatible with your special diet or not. If not, you can swap out ingredients for something else. This allows you to plan your entire shopping session or ingredient collection before you get to the store. It also eliminates the worry of dealing with a serious food intolerance.

Halal food can be tough to find, especially in certain areas. Some countries or regions don’t even stock it. Locating something nearby that’s compatible becomes nearly impossible in those situations.

Luckily, there’s a Facebook Messenger chatbot you can interact with to find Halal Food Trucks support. You no longer have to worry about where you can purchase your food. Just ping the bot, fire up a question or tell it your current location, and find out where the nearest Halal Food spot is.

Spoonacular is a chatbot on Telegram that allows you to find recipes and menu ideas. It can help you locate certain groceries you may not be able to find in an everyday food store. Not only that, but it will also provide nutritional information, ingredient and size conversions, and can also deliver trivia questions or jokes centered around food.

Know Your Food is yet another Amazon Echo-based chatbot that will share nutritional facts about your food. By interacting with it, you can learn more about the food you buy and consume, and you can also build a personal knowledge base on the benefits, or cons, of said meals.

Obviously, knowing the nutritional value of your food can lead to a healthier, happier you, so it’s a great tool for the health-conscious. Next time you’re in the kitchen, just ask Alexa to call out nutrition facts for the ingredients you use.

Ninety percent of us waste 40% of food each year because of confusing expiration labels. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an automated system that keeps track of it all for you?

Food Tracker does that, and it will help you monitor expiration dates for the food in your house. It works with Alexa, so all you have to do is say, “Alexa, create an expiration date for [item] on [date].” The Echo will archive the information for recovery later, and will even send notifications or alerts when the time is right. This Alexa skill is best used while unpacking groceries after getting home from the store.

Like most of us, you probably have your favorite takeout restaurant or location where you order the same foods or meals. Seamless is an Alexa skill that can help you order said food, with little to no fuss.

All you have to do is call out to Alexa, tell her you’re hungry and want to place an order through Seamless, and it will be sent through Grubhub. She will read back your order, so you can be sure it’s accurate. Just confirm, and find something to do while you wait for your food. How awesome is that?

Restaurants Are Using Chatbots Too

Chatbots are also being used by restaurants to engage with customers and draw in new business. Nitro Cafe in Los Angeles, for instance, relies on a chatbot to boost orders and communicate with customers. The technology truly is something else for brands and consumers alike.


Watch the video: Τα ΚΑΛΥΤΕΡΑ και τα ΧΕΙΡΟΤΕΡΑ πράγματα στην Ελλάδα η Ελλάδα σας #1 (May 2022).