Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rumors of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated

I've been thinking lately (actually, I've been reading lately) quite a bit about how much our collective pocketbook is not only wearing thin, but that it's being eaten by moths (from inside and out), while being tugged at by thieves (and people trying to stop the thieves), as if there was very much in it worth keeping (or stealing).

This all led me to conclude: I need a better budget.

Strike that.

This all led me to conclude: I need a budget.

Food naturally factors into this to-be equation, and to assist myself in keeping track of variables like recipes and costs it struck me that I should write such things down so that I could refer to them later, and it would be super if I could search through these written-down things in a quick-like manner, as to make deciding which cheap-and-easy thing to make for dinner a faster proposition, which strikes me as MEF! 2.0.

Will I actually do it? In the words of a great genius: watch this space.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Italian Wedding Soup

Granted the mini-meatballs are in fact meat-less,
this turned our far better than I had hoped.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

RECIPE! White Truffle Oil & Porcini Mushroom Cream Sauce

Truffle oil won a permanent place in my heart after our trip this summer to Italy. In Abruzzi and Tuscany, in particular, tagliatelle with white truffle oil and porcini mushrooms was easily found (and frequently ordered.)

I've tried a few variation's on the theme since returning. Sauteing dried porcini in butter and truffle oil then tossing with noodles and sprinkling with shaved Parmesan and black pepper works well enough. This cream sauce recipe owes a debt to my brother, Adam, and his ladyfriend, Elisa; he has more experience that I do with pasta sauce, and she, an Italian, outwits us both.

1-2 oz. dried
porcini mushrooms, re-hydrated
4 tbsp butter
6 tsp white
truffle oil
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
Black pepper

Melt half the butter in a saucepan over medium heat till popping. Strain mushrooms through a filter and rinse; reserve strained broth. Add porcinis to pan with butter and 2-3 tbsp mushroom broth. Reduce heat, simmer till soft, 5-10 minutes.

Stir in truffle oil, remaining butter, cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and dash of pepper. Allow to simmer over low heat, careful to not burn. Taste and adjust with mushroom broth or truffle oil.

We enjoyed this most frequently over thin, broad tagliatelle with shaved cheese, but up in Tuscany came across pinci, a thicker, hollow spaghetti-like noodle. Pinci were usually served with a stewed sauce made from wild boar. But we liked the noodles too much to not try and find them States-side. Here, we've found them called perciatelli, but only in specialty stores or grocery stores with a really big pasta selection.

But whatever noodles you choose, white truffle oil -- admittedly not a budget shopping item -- will wake them up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google Trends: Where in the World...

Google Trends, the free search tracking tool from Google, drew some attention this election cycle for it's 2008 US Election Trends page. It was even observed a few months back that by tracking Google searches for "Obama" and "Clinton" one might as accurately predict the Democratic primary as a bunch of well-paid pollsters.

I was reminded of Google Trends again yesterday after reading an article about how searches are being used to locate flu outbreaks, and with shocking speed and accuracy:

"Tests of the new Web tool from ... suggest that it may be able to detect regional outbreaks of the flu a week to 10 days before they are reported by the CDC."

I'm sure somewhere out there entire dissertations are being written on how simple search queries can mine such accurate data. In the meantime, I was inspired check out a few trends of my own:

What's next: Google EKG?

As it turns out, although historically more people search for "WTF" than "OMG" the tide may be turning; vampires are a greater concern globally than zombies (however, zombies are on more people's minds outside of North America); more Americans want to know about wine than beer; and if you're searching for some skin, you're looking for "nude" pictures twice as often as "naked" ones.

But by far the most shocking result was this:

In the summer of 2005, for reasons entirely unknown to me, more people around the world were looking for Carmen Sandiego than Osama Bin Laden.

Seriously, WTF?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Popular Vote

One of the oft-repeated lines in the wake of John Kerry's 2004 election defeat was that no other presidential candidate in history had received more votes than John Kerry, of course, save for one man, of whom it was said had finally won his first presidential popular vote.

We can mess with these numbers and joke about the popular vote because the Electoral College doesn't mind (a good thing, actually, but more on that another time). Though it does boggle the mind a little that the biggest, most basic approval rating we have isn't really the end-all, be-all of things, not because it offends our sense of popular democracy but because it offends our sense of popular culture.

Voting for the Stars: Can Lance Bass count on your support?

American Idol, The Oscars, baseball's All-Star Game, a new character on Heroes--you get the most votes, you win (the biggest exception being perhaps college football's BCS system, but, again, more on that another time). Not so when it comes to presidential politics. The numbers don't matter as much as a whole as they do in bits and pieces. Kind of like America, one might say.

But as we take measure of Barak Obama's uber-historic victory, it's worth taking one more look at those numbers. We've all heard the pundits celebrating the fact that more people voted this year than in any other, followed by more pundits replying: but there are more people in America this year than in any other, so, duh, more people voted.

As the numbers rolled in last Tuesday night this wasn't entirely clear--the immediate returns had Obama and McCain with fewer total votes than Bush and Kerry four years ago. But not anymore.

The outstanding ballots have continued to be counted and, as of this morning, Obama is just shy of 66 million popular votes, four million above Bush's 2004 total. Of course, the pundits would say it doesn't matter: more people, more votes. But look at McCain's total: just shy of 58 million. That's a million fewer votes that Kerry's 2004 total.

What does it mean? If you're a cynic, it might mean that despite the fattening of the voter rolls a larger part of the population bought the argument that John McCain was George W. Bush's twin brother. If you have, say, the audacity of hope, it might mean that America is not as divided and static in its beliefs as some would have you believe.

Which is more likely? I'd say we have 66 million reasons to hope it's the latter.

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Daily' Schedule

Great article this afternoon in City Room, one of the NY Times blogs, which lays out in detail a day in the life of a 'Daily Show' episode. Some highlights:
7 a.m.: About seven or eight producers start work, culling through video footage and material from the previous day, much of which is stored on a set of 15 to 20 TiVo digital-video recorders.

9 a.m.: “We’re joking around from 9 to 10. Jokes from 9 to 10 frequently end up on the show.”

11:30 a.m.: The production staff members pop in and demand the material. The writers ask for five more minutes — which they are not given, but which they take, anyway.
Certainly interesting stuff, but especially so if you live in the production world and nerd out on finding out how other people go about their jobs doing the kind of stuff you'd love to do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama

I've got a few other stories and observations to share from the past week which I spent canvassing in northeast Philly and generally digesting anything remotely election-related, but in the aftermath of last night's overwhelming win for now-President-Elect Obama I want to pass along this data:

These two maps, courtesy of the NY Times, display Republican and Democratic gains in this election compared to 2004 in all counties across America. If anyone looking at the popular vote map by county can't understand how so much red equals so much blue, this ought to explain it. Senator Obama obliterated the GOP margin of victory in nearly 80% of all counties.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"Delay Ball!"

It's official: Senator Barack Obama's Wednesday night address to America will lead-in on FOX to the re-start of Game 5 of The World Series between Tampa Bay and Philadelphia.

Major League
Commissioner Bud Selig postponed tonight's scheduled finish of rain-delayed Game 5 on account of dismal weather in Philly, setting up one final convergence of politics and sport before Election Day. It's a matchup Team Obama has played since the early days of his campaign. And right now the opportunity to reach out to voters in Florida and Pennsylvania can't be overstated.

Update: FOX has denied pushing back to 8:30 P.M. EST the re-start of Game 5, claiming they're only dispensing with the pregame show. This in response to what has become a talking point from the McCain campaign: "No one will delay the World Series game with an infomercial when I'm president." Of course, the real news here is that FOX rebutted a Republican talking point.

Because Barack Obama Really Needed A Lucky Break

I've talked before about how sports have aided Barack Obama in his quest for the White House. Well, the Senator and sports lovers were reacquainted recently, this time courtesy of Obama's multi-million-dollar major network ad buy to offer one final sales pitch to the American people.

A thirty-minute Obamathon scheduled for 8:00 P.M. EST this coming Wednesday, October 29, 2008 will be broadcast on CBS and NBC, amusingly not on ABC, and will also, it's worth noting, appear on FOX. Why the spotlight on Murdoch's gang? For once it's not their political leanings, but their previously scheduled programming: Game 6 of The World Series.

That's right, FOX agreed to bump the start of Game 6 of The World Series by 15 minutes so Sen. Obama (D-IL) can address America (talk about seeing the writing on the wall!). Really, it's a win-win all around. Obama gets to moonlight in the gradeur of basesball's biggest stage, and FOX gets to pump up its less-than-awesome audience for a series that features Tampa Bay and Philly. Of course, this all assumes there even is a Game 6.

The audacity of a rain delay in Philly.

Going into tonight, Philly led the best-of-seven series 3-1, which meant a win at home and it'd be champagne and cheesesteaks for the Phillies. But you can do the math: winning the series four games to one means... only five games. No Game 6, no fun newscasts, no special anything, just a regular old landmark speech. Laaaaaame.

And, so, with rain falling hard well into the sixth inning and the Phillies up 2-1, the game was ready to be stopped, the tarp rolled out, and the curtains drawn on hopes of a Tampa Bay win, a Game 6, and a media circus at Tropicana Field. Then, fittingly, there was hope!

B.J. Upton singled with two outs! Through the driving rain, Upton took off and stole second. Come on, Rays! Then, Carlos Pena looped a single into the outfield, Upton rounded third, and crossed home. The game was tied! After the inning was over, the rain delay was called with three innings yet to be played. Game 5 lives on! The World Series lives on! Hope, for the Rays, for America, lives on!

It's all scheduled to resume tonight, weather permitting. But the weather, uh, looks not so permitting:

I guess it's not always sunny in Philadelphia.

Well, if not tonight, then Wednesday, 8:00 P.M. EST. World Series to follow.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Whaassup? Change, That's Whaassup.

HuffPost reports on a timely little trip down memory lane:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Secretary of the Dinner Table

Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food," a few weeks ago called for nationwide 'food reform' in an open letter to the NY Times, "Farmer in Chief."

Today, Pollan again called on the presidential candidates to address this issue:

“Some of the issues they have talked about — energy independence, climate change and the health care crisis — I think they will find, as soon as they get into office, that you can’t deal with any of those three problems without dealing with the food system.”

It's an obvious point to anyone who has read "Omnivore's Dillema," but one that only squirms into the national spotlight when some bacteria or the other squirms its way into our industrial food chain. Then, a fuss is raised, the contaminated food is found, and the media goes home; but the inherent problems in our food supply go unsolved, problems, as Pollan points out, that go way beyond a vulnerability to rogue bacteria.

So, Mr. President, let's talk about food.

Never Have I Been So Happy to See George W. Bush in The Oval Office

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Third Term Turmoil

Update: It's official: term limits on NYC public officials have been extended from two terms to three. City Room has the details.

I'd like to take a break, just for a moment, from national politics.

Over at the NY Times, City Room is reporting that, "The City Council’s Committee on Governmental Operations voted unanimously on Thursday morning to extend term limits for New York City’s elected officials." This would be a big step forward for Mayor Bloomberg's aspirations of running for a third term.

There's lots of righteous indignation popping up in the comments below the article, which baffles me for a few reasons:

Mayor Bloomberg is wildly popular. Even after announcing his desire to run for a controversal third term, his approval rating remains at 69%, not far from his previously recorded 71% approval rating, which was noted by Quinnipiac University in July.

Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking: Mike, you moron, mayoral approval ratings are not the same thing as wanting to extend term limits. Well, that's a fair point, which is why I linked to that Quinnipiac poll. It notes a not-so-insignificant 56% of New Yorkers are against extending term limits. Why? I suspect they're confused. I will explain.

There are two refrains I keep hearing from people:

First, that getting rid of term limits makes "a shambles of democracy." But no one is proposing getting rid of term limits, just extending them. Yes, the President of the United States is restricted to serving only two terms. But Senators and House Representatives in Congress are not. Of course, the Mayor of New York City is neither of those things, so, how about we decide for ourselves?

Which brings me to the second oft-invoked refrain: the voters of this city have already voted against extending term limits. This is true, the voters did do this... over a decade ago! In 1993 and 1996, to be exact.

So, let's take another look at that Quinnipiac poll. Scroll all the way down to the bottom, where respondants graded the performance of NYC's recent mayors. Mayor Bloomberg has by far the best A and B ratings:

73% rated Mayor Bloomberg A or B
52% rated Mayor Giuliani A or B
52% rated Mayor Koch A or B
30% rated Mayor Dinkens A or B

But I'm not listing these other mayors because it makes Bloomberg look good. What's impressive is how poorly these other mayors were viewed, in particular Mayor David Dinkens, who, by the way, got a D or F from 31% of respondants, and who, by the way, was the Mayor of New York City when voters took up the issue of term limits in 1993.

As for 1996, that was Mayor Giuliani, who wasn't yet out of his first term, and who got a D or F from 25% of respondants. Only 10% gave Bloomberg either failing grade.

My point? There are certainly arguments to be made for or against term limits, but "the voters have spoken" is not one of them. Like it or not, voting on term limits is by and large nothing more than a reflection of the public's approval of a sitting mayor. The failure of voters to extend term limits needs to be seen through this lens, as nothing less than a repudiation of Mayor Dinkens and as uncertain, at best, of Mayor Giuliani.

Should the public get to vote on term limits again? Of course, and it will. It should (and will) also have the choice to vote for Mayor Bloomberg, by far the most effective and well-regarded mayor in New York's recent history.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tales from the Beltway

Just finished up working on Beltway Unbuckled: Sex, Power, and, let's say, American History, something like that. The title will probably change, or it won't. Find it on History this coming February, a collection of overlooked and mostly untold stories from the bedrooms of D.C.'s past.

In the meantime, it's been hard not to be consumed by the all-out political war being waged. That's not to say I'm camped out in front of my cable box all day, but my internet attentions are elsewhere: polls, maps, op-eds, op-eds, more op-eds...

It's easy to get distracted.

I have, however, managed to keep up with my muffin inspiration. It's what gets me up in the morning. This week: Zucchini Bread Muffins. I can't believe I never thought of this before! These were made sans nuts or seeds, per allergen requirements of the school at which Mint is (and would like to remain) employed, and while this nut-less insistence goes against my better judgment, I've no vendetta against three-year-old I don't know, so I fell in line. Next up? Probably Pumpkin Muffins. Tis the season and all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain Wins Debate!

As much as I love a simple three-word, exclamatory sentence, I'd like to think this humble page is more modest than John McCain's latest web ad:

Tonight's results, today.

Aside from their obvious troubles with chronology, the McCain camp seems simply not to believe in hypocrisy. This is, after all, a debate which John McCain refused to attend, that is, until the financial crisis was thwarted, and, however, having not thwarted said financial crisis, has declared himself winner of the previously disavowed debate, which, by the way, he will now be attending... five hours from now.

But, naturally, there's a rational explanation for this. My sources tell me, contrary to stories stating otherwise, that John McCain and his adviser Steve Schmidt had a disagreement this morning over whether to order Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks for breakfast. Schmidt favored the former, though McCain insisted on the latter. After several minutes of vigorous back-and-forth on the merits of each option, the two decided on Starbucks, as evinced by this photo taken of John and Cindy McCain headed to Mississippi for the debate:

So, as it turns out, the "McCain Wins Debate!" ad was probably just some intern's idea of a "neat way to celebrate" breakfast. Probably.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Things that have happened since my last post (in no particular order):

- Made blueberry muffins. Great success. Also tried out a version of my long-planned molasses and ginger muffins. Dubbed them Snap! Ginger Muffins. They were basically gingerbread muffins with bits of candied ginger roaming about. Success was tempered only by the realization that gingerbread muffins with peppermint bark (or Andes mints?!) would be delicious come the holidays. Mint contends that these would be delicious tomorrow. I'm inclined to think she might be right.

- Made a version of a fennel salad we had at Paloma a while back. This involved a chopped fennel and grated radish cole slaw of sorts tossed in lemon juice and olive oil with some pieces of orange. This was placed atop a few spoonfuls of white bean and honey paste. (Note: paste is a disgusting word. Let's use a different one next time, yes?) It was a bit like hummus, but sweet, which helped with the peppery radish.

- Greenpoint Market Deli has a sign that says it will be returning. That would be nice. They always had the ginger beer that Mint likes, and it means that it won't be something I don't want on the corner, like another Duane Reade. I know there's already a Duane Reade across the street now, but you never know. That chain is worse than Starbucks these days. I'm waiting for a Duane Reade to open inside another Duane Reade. It'll happen. Just wait.

Today is National Punctuation Day. Not everyone is aware.

- Spain's La Liga is going again, which is wonderful. What's more wonderful is that Time Warner is suddently carrying GolTV, which carries La Liga matches. Finally, after five years here, I can watch something other than Premiership teams on the weekend. But speaking of La Liga, Barca put a 6-1 hurting on Sporting Gijon last weekend. This week, Real Madrid downed them 7-1. I enjoy the one extra goal, you know, not against Sporting, but as a little shot at Barca. What, couldn't get seven?

- Politics increasingly make my head hurt, but I find my rising blood pressure tempered by increasingly obvious revelations that sanity may well prevail for once. All the backhanded shots are landing wide (for now), and the tiny bursts of red-rage momentum seem to flame out quickly. Even Bill Kristol doesn't make me as violently ill anymore, which isn't really true, but sometimes.

- Bourbon has replaced whiskey as my drink of choice. This concerns you far less than anything else I've mentioned here. Unless, of course, you're out drinking with me in the near future. In which case, we'll see.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Returned: Thoughts on Football & Barack Obama

A RAMBLING POST to catch up on a few bits of the everything I've forsaken since heading off at the beginning of this month to drive aimlessly among Italian towns. The food on the trip was memorable to say the least, so expect a recap in the days to come.

In today's Times, however, I caught this article, which refers to an item I had also seen mentioned a few days ago and further leads me to believe:

Barack Obama will be elected in no small part thanks to America's seasonal obsession with football.

I make this ridiculous claim with meager scraps of supporting evidence to back me up at present but will hopefully put together a better argument and report back. In the meantime, if you'll remember, Sen. Obama (D-IL) first announced his "candidacy" in 2006 on Monday Night Football:

Okay, I understand that's hardy an official campaign kick-off, but it's only funny 'cause it's true, right? And if you want to point to the beginning of the media's so-called infatuation with Mr. Obama, you might as well start here. I mean, how many U.S. Senators are given the lead-in to what is weekly one of America's most highly-rated television programs for a political inside joke?

Fast-forwarding nearly two years, the Obama camp decides to move its nomination acceptance speech to Invesco Field, formerly known as Mile-High Stadium, home of the NFL's Denver Broncos. Before you scoff at the pigskin connection--obviously the attendance capacity is higher at Invesco Field than Pepsi Arena, reason alone to move the venue--let's consider an entirely football-connected item: Skycam.

This fly-over camera, which, by the way, aside from being Emmy award-winning was developed for televising football games, won't be at the GOP convention in St. Paul, and would hardly have had the same effect inside Pepsi Arena as it will soaring over Invesco Field.

Think Kennedy-Nixon: the pragmatic Nixon shrugged off makeup for his debate with the upstart Kennedy in front of those newfangled television cameras and Kennedy shrugged off Nixon. The power of an image is well-established in our political culture. Don't think for a second that spectacular, never-before-seen aerial footage of Saint Obama ministering to tens of thousands won't inspire more than a few doubters.

And blame it
partly on football.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I'M ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS as to what inspired this present obsession of mine, but about four weeks back I arrived at the realization that muffins were a brilliant idea and I should make many of them. I sought out a basic non-dairy recipe and went to work on my first muffin-making attempt: blueberry. The results were a bit flat. They tasted great, especially topped with a quick roll in some cinnamon and sugar, but they were literally flat-topped, which for a muffin I find to be entirely unacceptable.

Attempt two was banana nut. I added more mix per muffin in the baking tray and yielded larger, more rounded muffins. I'm not a baking expert by any stretch of the imagination, so I'm always pleased to find that basic principles such as "add more batter, get more muffin" hold up at 350-degrees.

The latest round were lemon poppy seed. I guessed the juice of four lemons required extra flour to offset the added liquid. I guessed a bit high on exactly how much. The muffins were the right size, but a little too firm. Live and learn. I'll pass along the recipe when I get it right, and I've got a great idea for a muffin flavor combo to perfect. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mike (Almost) Eats Wingnut

Post has been updated below.

IT'S NOT SO much that I narrowly escaped losing my teeth to chomping down on this little guy as is was head-shaking to have found it where I did: buried in an order of Brooklyn Label french fries. And while it's far from the most unsanitary thing I could have found hiding my food, it's also, you know, a freaking wingnut in my french fries.

I've made four or five visits to Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin St, Greenpoint, Bklyn; 718-389-2806) over the past two moths, each to some degree of disappointment. There was the unlabeled, uneatable hot sauce. The tempeh ruben just isn't what it used to be. No more onion rings or mac n' cheese. The menu is half its previous size and scope. BL's brunch seems to still draw a sizable crowd, but I can't bring myself to pay for another halfhearted meal just to find out if its worth the trip.

The elusive Wingnuti brooklynlabelus in its natural habitat.

The wignut fiasco has closed the door for me. I'm not refusing to eat there ever again, but I've no reason to seek it out. There are just too many other options around, ones that make the same stuff just as well, and certainly ones with kitchens that take the time to keep hardware out of the fries.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Probably not.

Note: Attempting to check the address for this post I stopped by BL's website. Yeah, when I talked about a 'halfhearted' effort, that's exactly what I was talking about. It's the little things, people.

Update, 7/23: BL has offered it apologies for the incident and weighed in on the website malfunction over on the comments page. I've also been informed that BL's new menu has been released, so despite my ambivalence, perhaps you should, in the words of the sage LaVar Burton, "don't take my word for it" and check out the new goods anyway.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Best Quote Ever - 07.10.08

Jason Giambi's batting average dropped to futile depths in mid-May, when Giambi grew a mustache to "break the monotony" of his slow season. Since sprouting the whiskers, Giambi's batting average has bounced back and was recently the inspiration for All Star Game fan voting.

Aaron Perlut of the American Mustache Institute:

“Baseball has a thick, rich, luxurious history with the mustache... And we’ve tried to be as visible and supportive as we can of Giambi. Not only do we think he’s a great baseball player, but he’s also a great ambassador of the labia sebucula — which is Latin for lip sweater.”

Dinner And A Movie: Hellboy II & Habitat

CAUGHT A SCREENING of Hellboy II last night with Sir Hitchcock and Mr. Golden. Considering that Pan's Labyrinth is likely the standard-bearer for Guillermo del Toro's work of late, a couple things stood out: First, the go-bump-in-the-night imagination on this guy is something special. The death of a plant God and, later, an incarnate of Death itself are breathtaking. You gotta think del Toro has a leg up on Burton these days, at least as far as creepy-crawly ghouls go.

Second, speaking of stories, Pan's Labyrinth was an exceptionally carefully wrought fairy tale. Del Toro makes good use of his dramatic flair in Hellboy, too, but he's not nearly as meticulous about it and I suspect it's because the characters and plot lines aren't wholly his own. The best ones in Hellboy are the ones he brings to life himself. The mechanization of the golden army is good, but the everyday, otherworldly interactions in the troll market are great. Kinda makes you wonder what's gonna he's gonna do with the Hobbit.

And after the movie I finally paid a visit to Habitat (988 Manhattan Ave; Greenpoint, Bklyn; (718) 383-5612).

Kevin has been raving about this place for weeks, as have several other Greenpointers I've bumped into. The decor is something like a backyard patio tucked away inside what appears to be minimalist concrete facade, but given the suburban overtones of the interior, maybe it's just the basement foundation. It's all very inside-out (and with Planet Earth DVDs constantly playing above the bar).

There's food to be had (though, does one really want to eat while watching Planet Earth?). Pairs of sliders, baskets of waffle fries, mac n' cheese, ham and swiss, etc. I had the black bean and cheese empanadas, a term usable for any fried, pastry-encased food classier than a Hot Pocket. I'm not saying they were bad, they were actually quite good, reasonably priced at $6 for a pair served with mixed greens. The beer list was interesting if not ambitious, $5-7 a pint.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Perhaps. The wood slabs served up as coasters are neat.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Mike Eats What?

After a long absence, I've decided it might be time to revisit this poor little un-updated site. The mission won't be refocused as much as it will be less focused, less attention paid to my every meal and more attention turned on my immediate surroundings: Greenpoint.

Lots of factors have played into this decision, not the least of which is the simple fact that I now have an occasional spare moment. Sure, I've missed writing and blah blah, but I've also found myself as of late, as I told Mint last night, "uninspired" making meals, to which Mint responded with a rather defeated, "awww." So, let's just call that moment my tipping point. Fitting, really, as she was the tipping point the first time, too.

But there was also a moment last weekend which drew this decision quite a bit nearer. You'll hear about it soon enough. It involves the subject of my last post (some four months ago), a box of fries and a rogue wingnut. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out the plot, but it definitely deserves its own post.

So, stay tuned! Mike Eats Food is back, but this time it's Greenpoint.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

News: Bklyn Label Chef Bows Out

Chef Cody Utzman, previously of Brooklyn Label fame (note: "previously"), posted the following comment in the annals of Mike [Ate] Food on March 4, 2008:

To my Loyal customers and fans: On Feb 1st 2008, I resigned my position as Founder/Head Chef/Owner of Brooklyn Label, due to un-reconcilable differences with Financial business partners. Since then I have noticed numerous comments on quality and service throughout blogs and web reviews and want to let my loyal customers, friends and neighbors know that I have left the trust of your favorite neighborhood cafĂ© in the hands of my ex partners and crew, and I wish them the best and most success possible. As many of you know I was a regular feature behind the counter or in the kitchen making sure all your needs where met and your food was “excellent” every time. I fully intend to complete my mission statement of bringing the most “excellent” products, services, coffee, and neighborhood business improvements to Greenpoint. I am currently working on a really exciting project that should be open summer of 2008. Thank you again for all your support, rave reviews, and friendship in the past year. I look forward to welcoming everyone to my new place that will be the very best you’ve seen yet!!

I am creating a mailing list to notify you all of my future projects. If you would like to join, send an email with “Brooklyn” in the subject to
Please feel free to repost.

Cody Utzman

I've only paid one visit to BL (and one unaware of this development at the time) since Utzman's February 1 step-down, and I should say that the only remarkable difference I found was that the hashbrowns were of unusually large quantity. Perhaps Utzman believed in more modest portions and he will be outraged to have heard of it, but, it's true, the hashbrowns were huge.

Nevertheless, all best to the good Chef, and Mike [Ate] Food promises to stop by whatever future venture Utzman has in the works.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Great Hiatus

Dear Friends, Family & Loyal(ish) Reader,

Mike Eats Food! is full. Its chair has been shoved back from the table, its belt loosened, and the promise of dessert is making it slightly queasy. Time for a nap.

It's been a good run. In the end, this daily diary, complete with annotations, observations and a modest collection of concoctions, was perhaps a bit much of an undertaking for this modest one-man army, but eight months-plus of marching is certainly nothing at which to scoff. The journey was well worth the while.

Amidst all the inactivity of late, I've found myself returning to the site to double-check recipes and dig up a few pictures to forward along to friends. It's made me realize this site has a functionality and lasting usefulness far beyond what I had imagined. Perhaps this will encourage me to check in from time-to-time.

In the meantime, until the idea for another blog worms its way into my brain, there will be scattered pics at and weekly videos from BTLmedia posted for your viewing pleasure.

Until we eat again,