American Fast Food, Harbinger of Weird

I thought I had seen the most disgusting thing that could be done with a White Castle Burger when my wife’s uncle showed up with a puree of Sliders—buns and all—which he attempted to pass off as pate for Thanksgiving.  “Just put it all in the food processor with a little Worcestershire!” he said with a proud smile. I told him to back off the Worcestershire and leave out a couple buns next time.

Anyway, proving that lows can always get lower, White Castle has trumped their fans themselves, and I/we owe George Mahe the Eagle Eye Award for passing it along.  It seems White Castle has created Slider scented candles to benefit…

wait for it…..

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Nothing’s gonna ever keep me down

Thai Fortune
I knew there was a reason I liked the people of Thailand. – fortune from Pearl Cafe.

Connecting the Dots

Photo of E.B. WhiteRecently I have been reading quite a lot, and to say I am fascinated by some people’s command of language would be a gross understatement.  Regretfully, I feel that while I can BS endlessly, I write quite poorly as a whole and am jealous of these people.

One book I’ve read recently–or reread as it were–is Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.  The forward once again captivated me in a way that the subject rarely is, and as I neared it’s end and saw who wrote it, I am embarrassed to admit that I had not previously considered that the White half of Strunk and White, is E.B. White; the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.

You see, of late I have also been reading Letters of E. B. White; all the while in shock that a man who is best known for writing children’s books writes with such grace.  Connecting the dots, it would appear I now have a new author to count amongst my favorites, and here is one food-related E.B White quote, from a letter he wrote to Bennet Cerf regarding Charlotte’s Web, that I am especially fond of.

A farm is a peculiar problem for a man who likes animals because the fate of most livestock is that they are murdered by their benefactors. The creatures may live serenely but they end violently, and the odor of doom hangs about them always.

I have kept several pigs, starting them in the spring as weanlings and carrying trays to them all through the summer and fall. The relationship bothered me. Day by day I became better acquainted with my pig, and he with me, and the fact that the whole adventure pointed toward an eventual piece of double-dealing on my part lent an eerie quality to the thing.

#stl Twits

St. Louis Restaurants on Twitter
St. Louis Restaurants on Twitter

St. Louis Restaurants on Twitter

St. Louis Restaurants on Twitter

For weeks I’ve scoured many of your Twitter feeds.  Sometimes I found the St. Louis restaurants, chefs, and other food-related accounts I hoped to. But then I also found things that would make for a bizarre demographic study of St. Louis foodsters.  Like, apparently, a lot of you are LeVar Burton fans.  At first I wondered, are you Reading Rainbow fans or Trekkies? And then I looked at LeVar Burton’s Twitter feed and along with learning that he felt The Who’s halftime show sucked and if you call him during Lost he will hurt your feelings, he has 1,607,229 followers.

But why the research?  Because Twitter blessed us with lists so that we can create organized feeds of people we don’t actually want to follow personally.  And that gave me the opportunity to waste my time assembling four lists that encompass every restaurant, chef, grocer and coffee shop located in St. Louis currently on Twitter. Word Up!

Click the links above and if I missed any, let me know @stlbites.

St. Louis Specific Updates to Food-Related Wikipedia Entries #1: Barista

While reading up on the scully cap I noticed, like many Wikipedia entries, not only was the included picture of  poor quality, it was just some random dude with a stupid look on his face.  Figuring he probably uploaded it himself, I’m embracing the power of the internet and am making accurate, St. Louis specific updates to food-related Wikipedia entries.

I begin with Barista for three reasons…

  1. There wasn’t a current barista photo.
  2. I love coffee and was trying to find an entry that was currently without a picture for sticking power.
  3. Although the barista in the photo,  Alex Brooks, is no longer a barista in St. Louis, he is a friend of mine and often wears a scully cap–which I now know is more accurately called a flat cap.

WHERE IS THE REAL BEST BURGER IN STL???????????

Andrew Mark Veety
Photo by J. Pollack Photography

On any food-related message board, in any given city, at any given time, the debate of “who has the best hamburger?” always arises.  That’s because American’s love hamburgers—to the tune of 14 billion burgers consumed per year!

Many of you have been debating this very question over the last few years, but the debate took on a new fervor last year when Mayer Slay’s staff posed the question on mayorslay.com at approximately the same time Alex Csank brought it up once again on the stlbites.com forum.  Still, there was no unanimous winner.  The question remained unanswered.  To truly answer the question it was clear some capable man or woman would have to step up and consume all these burgers because you can’t say the Newstead burger is better than the O’Connell’s burger if you’ve never had the O’Connell’s burger.

And that’s where Andrew Mark Veety comes in. He has risen to the challenge and, in twelve months time, you will have your answer.  Sort of.

Taking votes to establish St. Louisian’s top picks via twitter and his website, Veety has tabulated the data and narrowed things down to the top 12 contenders.  In reverse order, one Sunday a month, he’ll be consuming each of the burgers to lay the question to rest in what has been dubbed, The Church of Burgers.  

First up: Contender #1.

Full Disclosure: I’d never met Veety in person until he invited along a small entourage of St. Louis Foodsters to partake in the consumption of contender #1.  Via the power of the internet he always seemed like a cool guy and I jumped at the chance to put down my  keyboard and cell phone and have some bonified social interaction.  I’m happy to report he is, in fact, a cool guy and as hilarious as I figured he’d be based upon his online persona.  Plus, I obviously like hamBURGErs.

Slow Food St. Louis 4th Annual Art of Food + Menu!

Art of Food

While there’s more to the event than food, I am damn proud of the lineup of chefs I’ve assembled for the 4th Annual Art of Food. While I am completely biased, you would be hard-pressed to find an event in St. Louis with a more star-powered line up of chefs. Whether you like me and the things I have to say or not, please consider coming out this Saturday to not only support this stellar line up of chefs that are sure to dazzle, but to support Slow Food St. Louis. With the money raised from events like this, Slow Food is supporting biodiversity in our region by offering small grants to farmers growing heritage animals and heirloom vegetables. And to ensure that future generations of eaters crave these delicious foods, the funds raised will also support our current school garden projects as well as fund additional gardens in the future.

Menu and more information about the event after the jump…

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Roger Ebert on Food, Inc.

foodposter

Last Friday, Food, Inc. was released to an additional 90 theaters across America including Landmark’s local Plaza Frontenac location.  As my saying the movie is a must-see is as biased an opinion as they come, how about a snip of what Roger Ebert had to say about his viewing of the film?

This review doesn’t read one thing like a movie review. But most of the stuff I discuss in it, I learned from the new documentary “Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner and based on the recent book An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I figured it wasn’t important for me to go into detail about the photography and the editing. I just wanted to scare the bejesus out of you, which is what “Food, Inc.” did to me.

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • Visit http://www.stlmag.com/subscribe and use the promo code FBOOK9! $12 for 12 months. #
  • Drinking the 2004 Ojai Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard #
  • Drinking the NV Varichon & Clerc – Privilege Blanc de Blancs #
  • Wine tasting at 33 Wine Bar is done so now it’s time to find late night Monday #stl food that’s still tasty. #
  • Kingshighway burger @theroyale w/ dj spinning Sonic Youth and Pixies La La Love You. Pretty fine Monday #
  • With Jake, Dylan and Mike away for a bachelor party weekend, loyal 33 Wine Bar customer @Ericstl6 will be guest bartending this Fri/Sat. #
  • Bacon Salt has arrived at Schnucks http://twitpic.com/5k1vb #
  • RT @theroyale: …Royale all summer special: $2.50 drafts on all Missouri beers all day during the week #
  • RT @gutcheckstl: News from Monarch: RT @cookingkid: @gutcheckstl doing a farmer’s dinner on June 10 featuring Claverach & root Cellar. #
  • It’s Monarch v White Rabbits concert RT @gutcheckstl: Details on Monarch dinner, including menu and wine pairings: http://bit.ly/n9y5n #
  • Maplewood is busy today. Couple extra new farms and only 4 more spots available before max capacity per the market master. #
  • Broccoli from Ozark Mountain #
  • Your restaurant can only be so swank when Bel Biv Devoe’s poison is rockin’ overhead. #
  • Celebrating auction win of ‘09 Panama Esmeralda, Coffee Klatch is slashed prices on in-stock auction coffees $27.95 for the ‘08 Es http: … #
  • So much cooler when I give the link… http://klatchroasting.zoovy.com/ It’s one of the best coffees I’ve ever tasted. #
  • One giant ass red wattle Boston Butt is now awaiting it’s dry rub and smoking in the Burge annex–aka the pork and beer only mini-fridge. #
  • Why, oh why, did I have to freeze my entire right side pork loin in two huge pieces instead of cutting chops? How can I cut frozen meat? #
  • Eel at Miso last night was the most tender I’ve had in St. Louis. I can’t stop thinking about it actually. #
  • Much as I hate the word foodie, my understanding of Twitter is that if people start posting #stlfoodies that it’ll be a searchable term. #
  • Don’t forget: Michael Pollan is at the St. Louis County library headqurters tomorrow. #
  • I’ll say it again: sure Sandrinas is not the best food in #stl but duck confit & smoked trout sliders till 2am is astonishing in this town #

This Week in stlbites.com Tweets

  • Finally landed the heavier 48×30 stainless prep table for the kitchen on craigslist, and the wife is not yet sold on the idea. #
  • Drinking the 2006 Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot #
  • I had not realized till now that the pay-someone-to-farm-your-backyard-for-you concept had arrived in #stl http://www.backdoorharvest.com/ #
  • Don’t forget tonight’s Slow Food event… SLOWednesday with Gerard Craft, Dave Hillebrand and Brett Palmier http://tinyurl.com/SLOWednesday #
  • Iron Chef battling a #stl best chef is probably not the best idea I’ve ever had. Lesson learned: don’t dine w/ @twistedthreads when drunk. #
  • Last Iron Chef tweet was meant to go out yesterday because now I’m actually damned excited. It will be an awesome night. #
  • There are people doing interesting things to try and produce better Missouri wine, but it’s still just BETTER MISSOURI WINE. #
  • This is the type of new-food idea that sparks my interest most http://tinyurl.com/pwz2pa Red wine sauce w/out stock means a purer RW flavor. #