I got into Cornell!

First off, I apologize for being so unproductive with posts lately.  As you may have guessed from the title, the reason for the lag is my recent acceptance into Cornell for grad school!  This May I’ll be starting the one year Master of Management in Hospitality program.  But before that, some very necessary paperwork has to be filled (hence the lack of time).   I will return shortly, though, and I’ll have a lot to say when I do.

The Beer List: Philly to Ithaca

This week is a send up to two local breweries. Well, sort-of local breweries… regional, we’ll say.  I’ve written about Victory Brewing and Ithaca Beer Company before, but haven’t really given them the spotlight they deserve.  Aside from being two of the Northeast’s best, they represent distinct approaches to the world of brewing: one traditional and one regional.  Both, in their own way, showcase the versatility and character of American beer.  Continue reading

Mmm… REAL cookies!

What do you look for in a chocolate chip cookie?  Melty chocolate chips?  A texture that’s nice and chewy?  How about a tangible presence in the natural world?

Confused?  So was I when I saw a box of Chips Ahoy! last night.  Apparently, the marketing team really wants us to know they’re REAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.  Thanks?  I was talking it over with my roommate, and there seem to be a couple of ways to interpret this.  All of them weird.  Continue reading

The Golden Rule

For breakfast: American ingenuity.

Yesterday in Starbucks, I overheard a couple of women talk about changing their diets. The new year would be different.  They deserved better.  Complete overhaul.

I could relate to them. Omnivore’s Dilamma was a wake-up call for me, making plain a lot of things I’ve always chosen to ignore.  In short terms, every element of the American eating experience has been severed from its natural context.  What isn’t obviously contrived (those Pop-Tarts) is just masked by a sheen of agro-industrial pretense (that “farm-fresh” steak). Now that I know, there’s no going back.    Continue reading

The Beer List: A Black Canvas

About 2 months ago, I reviewed Sierra Nevada’s Stout and found it to be abjectly unpleasant.  Caustic, sharp, foreign, offensively dry – it wasn’t really my thing.  What’s more, when I looked it up online, I found the beer got rave reviews across the board.  Not only could I obviously not handle this particular stout, it was pretty clear I was in need of some schooling on the style in general.

Since then I’ve done my homework (both in the books and in the bottle).  For one, I’ve found just how tasty stouts really are.  More surprisingly (if not entirely as important) I’ve discovered how accessible and malleable they can be as well.  The notion of the big bad stout is misguided – it’s like thinking every sculpture one earth is Mt. Rushmore.  Sure, it’s as dark as stone is hard, but that and its general toastiness are pretty much the only necessary criteria.  From there, the brewer – like the sculptor – can take the media wherever they want to go.

This week, I was lucky enough to try some of the most well-crafted and delicious stouts out there.  Like a walk through a sculpture garden, it showcased the common virtues and imaginative versatility of the style.   Continue reading

brewing goodly!

The Supplies

the supplies

This week was a big one for me – my first real attempt at brewing my own beer!  I was incredibly given two home-brew kits from my girlfriend and sister for Christmas, and I officially put them to use with Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Chocolate Maple Porter (how good does that sound?)  BBS has a great website with a lot of helpful videos and instructions for homebrewing, so I figure I don’t need to walk you through it.  Instead, I was so compelled by the spirit of King Gambrinus that I put the whole process to poetry.  Enjoy!

Brewing Goodly

Cooking the mash.

It all starts with a heap of grain,
a metal pot, an oven-range,
And disinfectant sprayed on every
single thing in sight.  Continue reading

Parsnips? For real?

How is it that a vegetable as over-the-top delicious as a parsnip can fly so under the radar?

I admit I haven’t always been the veggiophile I am now.  I also admit it’s not my first time hearing about these things.  But still – why on earth did it take 24 years to realize just how tasty the parsnip is?

If you’re as in the dark as I was, a parsnip is basically a sweeter, paler carrot.  Doesn’t sound that exciting, does it?  Taste one and get back to me.  I suggest cooking them the same way I did – it’s easy, simple, and weirdly delicious:    Continue reading