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Poivrot Farci

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  1. Without the written etiquette befitting of the zoo’s ape house, the article exposes Washingtonians and the general public to the dearth of otherwise common services delivering “shit” (e.g., foodstuffs and sundries) outside the spoiled bubble of the city with the highest number of establishments per capita in the US peddling such “shit” (0.4 per 100). The idea of one’s home being blacklisted from delivery in the capital of the wealthiest country in the world in the 21st century is no less newsworthy than other 1st world injustices like price of limes or preponderance of unreasonable pumpkin flavorings (if you don’t count the struggles of minorities in advanced countries to be served in the same capacity as the whites).
  2. That is an effective reactionary measure to stifle business and stick it to the employees who kind of rely on full seats to get paid, keep their jobs, build résumés. Thankfully the moral sheriffs at Eater do not investigate who in restaurant management are drunk drivers, adulterers, tax cheats and scofflaws behind on child support.
  3. Gossiping about girls' butts and baptizing cocktails after the globetrotting sexual somersaults of Beavis & Prostitutes is beyond or below the periphery of Michelin guide inspectors' humor and taste, but they are not crimes. It is unfortunate that employees at the Nats' MIC concession stands are likely to be burdened with unemployment as a consequence of their employers' insufferable obnoxiousness and moral destitution. Employees deserve a generous restitution package.
  4. While there are exceptions (tourist destinations), France bans most retail work on Sundays. Employers that are open Sundays often must pay their employees double or make employee approved concessions and mayors can apply to have businesses open for 12 Sundays each calendar year. France also has a "right to disconnect" law which established a limit between personal life and work. Personally, I prefer not to receive, send or be expected to respond to work communications/bullshit outside of working hours. Meanwhile, the US quality-of-life sausage-making involves spit-balling legislation to bring guns to school and cuts to employee safety. Depends on what employers and employees value: quality of life (free time) or greed (depressing wages and tax cuts that neuter quality of life and fundamental services) There are far too many restaurants. Humans need to eat but they don't necessarily need the luxury and convenience of having someone else feed them and clean up afterwards.
  5. Poivrot Farci

    The Trite Food List

    Trite kitchen apparel submission: Form-over-function designer $90+ cross-back aprons that one must “get into” over the head with the help of a chamber maid or Jeevus the obsequious dishwasher. While an indignant no-frills apron belies kitchen hierarchy, the weight concession might allow for more efficient and effective “hustle”. Rocky would have been impeccably lethal if he had trained under the duress of a husky cross-back apron.
  6. Yes, but lamb ribs (breast) are anywhere from 1/3-to-1/5th the price of rack of lamb which is always going to be different shades of expensive (BLTsteak's & Prime Rib's double cut lamb rack are $47 -don't know the size) compared to other cuts -however, the Aussie/NZ cuts that are shipped from the other side of the planet are much cheaper. Either way, lamb is going to be expensive and it might not be an ideal benchmark for the cost of food. I gauge costs based on wholesale/retail pricing which fluctuates throughout the year but don't have all the markups of a restaurant, and even then, I once saw Sunkist blood oranges priced at 3 for $2 at the Harris Teeter and later that day the same Sunkist blood oranges priced 2 for $3 at Whole Foods.
  7. I don’t know where Tosca’s or Fabio’s lamb comes from, but rack of lamb is a premium cut and the price can very well be a matter of supply (droughts have limited the stock) vs demand (people like lamb chops and lamb is the harbinger of spring menus) and perhaps they pay their staff very well or affluent customers subsidize their absurd rents. Lamb is an expensive proposition to begin with and overall is the most expensive of common land food animals (pork/beef/poultry). They demand lots of work, health checks and sheering for most breeds -much more husbandry than pork and beef. Elysian Fields charges north of $40/lb retail for rack of lamb. It is unfortunate that Tosca does not list the provenance of the lamb (neither the beef nor the veal), because if it is grain-finished Colorado commodity and the staff at Tosca is paid a miserly wage then there are suckers for lamb happily being fleeced. Food has been devalued by industrialization. Quality food (by all metrics of quality) will cost more but the baseline appears to be frighteningly cheap. At the supermarket today, both commodity apples and pork chops are $2.99/lb. Chicken is even less. It stands to reason that there are far more resources, energy, manpower and waste management needed to bring a pig and it’s most valued cut to market than apples. Either apples are too expensive or pork is too cheap. Either way, our food system is fuuuucked in every direction and dimension. And there is a stunning amount of deceptive menu labeling and outright fraud -maybe that should be one of the James Beard Foundation’s “values” worthy of a trophy. Last year we had a fella* scoffed at the cost of his breakfast sandwich at our store. He ultimately drove away pleased, in his Mercedes-Benz. Depends on what you value. *The owner of fast casual Fresh & Co in NYC, who causally and liberally uses “organic” on their “about” page while most of the ingredients on the menus are anything but and by way of California, Mexico and factory farms in between. Satur farm is indeed a local operation and the owner is a reliable customer, but it is curious that no one ever has to weed their perfectly manicured rows. It’s like nothing else grows but the greens they intend.
  8. Executive Summary: Nitrates prevent botulism and keep the meat nice and rosy. Nitrates are in saliva, beets and spinach. There are more nitrates in 2oz of celery than in 2oz of bacon. If your bacon had absolutely no nitrates, it would look grey/brown and you’d suspect it was spoiled. It is unlikely that the USDA would approve a “bacon” without nitrates for retail sale in butcher shop. Nitrate-free is generally bullshit-full. Most who do the no-nitrate shell game use nitrates in the form of celery juice powder or something else that actually has more ppm than conventional #1 curing salt (6.25% nitrite). The nitrate concentration is so high in the powders that is has to be used in minuscule quantities which can make it unreliable (works with industrial-sized batches of bacon) and it also needs to be activated by an enzyme -generally present in meat. Therefor the USDA does not deem it to be a suitable “curing agent” and give it the thumbs down. So the deceptive practice is to use the powdered juice of vegetables high in nitrates (beets, celery, spinach) then write “no added nitrates* other than those naturally occurring in whatever” which is consequently “uncured” because it is not a legal curing agent and people feel like they aren’t eating nitrates*. What/how the Organic Butcher labels the bacon is between them and the bacon producer and perhaps the label deserves more scrutiny or additional words. *But there certainly are nitrates. Lots more even. Nitrates have been used for well over 2-3 millennia (China, ancient Rome, Central Eurasia) and usually came from saltpeter. Saltpeter (the primary ingredient in gunpowder) naturally has nitrates and was widely used throughout the dark ages, but when introduced to other agents it can go boom in your face and the nitrate content varies. Up until the 1900’s curing was still irregular (not entirely safe) so a more reliable method of manufacturing and using nitrates was developed. The curing mix available on the market (#1, heat activated “Prague”) is 93% table salt and 6.25% nitrite and 2g of that is enough for 1000g. The manufacturing process is no different than how they make baking soda. Granulated sugar doesn’t exactly pour out of sugar cane so the natural vs manufactured/processed reasoning is moot. Nitrates are safe, make food safe, make it look appetizing and lend a characteristic “cured” flavor. “No nitrates” is nothing more than a marketing ploy, like the “no growth hormones” on chicken labels. Growth hormone usage has been illegal in US poultry since Eisenhower but consumers still need reminding -like unleaded gas and the “no smoking” sign in planes. When was the last time you asked for unleaded gas or saw someone light up on a flight? Nitrates work by bonding to myoglobin (what makes certain meats red) and replace the oxygen which would otherwise oxidize during cooking and turn the meat dark grey/brown, similar to the oxidation in apples, potatoes or artichokes when they are cut an exposed to the air. The nitrate in sodium nitrite (#1 curing salt) is heat activated and while it initially turns the meat brown, it turns pink when it reaches a certain temperature, upwards of 150F. (Sodium nitrate used in shelf-stable dry-cured meats is time activated). “Curing” is drawing out moisture through osmosis with salt and making the protein inhospitable to harmful micro-organisms. Once fully cooked, and refrigerated (different from shelf stable dry cured meats like prosciutto), it has an extended shelf life and the color is preserved, though it surface will oxidize a bit over time. Poly-phosphates are an industrial curing agent and will keep ham pink if you leave it in the trunk of your car for a month. In France, any charcuterie labeled “superior” quality (primarily deli hams) is strictly forbidden by law from using poly-phosphates. I don’t think there are regulations like that here, other than how much bacon you must eat to get a free T-shirt somewhere. You could salt a belly and smoke it and it might very well be delicious, but it would not have a very long shelf life (USDA would be hesitant to allow you to vacuum seal it) and by the time it got to market and then to someone’s home and then their plate, it would begin to deteriorate and then someone gets sick and there is panic and lawsuits…In New York state they are trying to regulate and redesign Tide Pods because there are paranoid fantasies of kids eating laundry detergent. If someone got sick eating bacon and hotdogs there would be chaos. Bacon (cured belly) has existed since ancient times and up until the 16th century, all pork products that were cured were called “bacoun” which was Olde German/French for anything coming from the back of the pig. Smoke houses remain a traditional method of preservation north of the warmer Mediterranean where it was too cold to dry cure over the winter. “Bringing home the bacon” came from a 12th century story about a town chuch in England that rewarded a husband a side of bacon if he did not have any tussles with the missus for 1 year. Might be worth dusting off that tradition. I don’t know exactly when the superstitious avoidance of nitrates became fashionable, but it probably has to do with faulty causation/correlation of cancer rates among those who eat cured meats. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that nitrates are the culprit in a heavy diet of cured meats. There are plenty of other factors and if someone is eating salty meats thrice a day, nitrates are the least of their problems. The greenwashing “no-...” buzzwords are a testament to flimsy labeling regulations, ignorant consumers and the prowess of marketing in a society that has been conditioned to be wary of food in general (after 50 years of crap) and treats it like medicine or with complete indifference.
  9. If they truly do not use nitrates, it is not truly bacon. Its smoked, salted pork belly with a limited shelf life and likely an unappetizing brown appearance. Bacon by definition is and has to be cured (nitrates of some form). If the bacon was an appetizing pink, nitrates were invariably used. It is a deceptive (and lucrative) practice.
  10. Poivrot Farci

    Is José Andrés Still a Great Chef?

    José was likely one of the more tolerant and charitable millionaire attendees of the Alfalfa convention (faulty AC and killing sneaking Communists in the jungle notwithstanding, José Andrés has sweat buckets of equity & integrity, much of the recent batch being benevolent) and that absolutely should entitle him to crash a fat cat after-party where members’ ideology would otherwise banish half the people picking, packing, shipping, cooking, clearing and cleaning up the $25 veg plate. Makes the smooth handed elite look a smidge less soulless when they rub shoulders with a Cava drinking working class hero speaking broken English from another land burdened by 17% unemployment. While most flaunting opulent wealth suffer from selective social autism -unable to apply fundamental courtesy when interacting with the great unwashed- José always said hello and shook hands when he came into the kitchen (Palena). I have heard stories of vacillating temperament but his presence alone at the latenight Alfalfa dénouement mixer would withhold my raging desire to spike their douchey punch bowl with laxatives, crop dust Jarvanka and sprinkle clumsily cut pubic hairs on the passed hors d’oeuvres.
  11. In any reasonable society with a modicum of compassion for their citizens resigned to plastic spoons, such a charitable individual would be welcome and revered like a saint by aristocrats itching to buff-up their philanthropic photo-ops, provided he wear plastic bags (2 x $0.05 bag tax) on his shit-stained working-man’s hands. Also, Cafe Milano erroneously translates Black Cod as Merluzzo Nero (pollack). It should be Cornuto Cazzo dell'Alaska.
  12. A bored consumer regulator could mount a fantasy fraud case on their lunch break, if “sustainable” had any legitimate standards or merits and slapping it on your menu meant anything to fashionably conscientious consumers who really couldn’t care less. I don't know what the crap “natural-cut fries” are, but I want some, and whatever inspired this insipid variety of deliciously fishy slapstick concept. Totally stoked to see how many trout permutations there will be at the Idaho location.
  13. Poivrot Farci

    To Whom Are You Drinking Right Now?

    A toast my sister (WWF Germany) a dear friend at USAID and another from Miriam’s Kitchen/GW Hospital who have selflessly and nobly been to the least prosperous places on earth -plundered by empires and devastated by nature- in a daunting effort to snuff out little bits of rampant crimes against humanity, nature and animals; merciless corruption, civil rights abuses and hopelessly inadequate medicine all while witnessing elements of daily life that would totally reset your standard of reality and comfort. Their contributions to humanity are sobering. The depths of my shame as an American citizen are worth mollifying with triple pours of liquor and donations.
  14. Despite the menu marquee, the Chesapeake Bay does not appear to be bountiful if oysters and quail eggs are the only items deemed representable from a 64,000 sq mile watershed (not even the crab cake gets MD designation). Might as well pave portions of the bay for parking and drill for oil in the rest.
  15. Poivrot Farci


    The District Fishwife might have some fresh. Not sure if she pickles her own. If The Partisan or another "charcuterie" focused place doesn't have them this time of the year, well that is unfortunate. Same applies for a kitchen specializing in fish. But the herring may be too far north a this point. The herring are running in the Long Island Sound. I bartered 30lbs of freshly caught Atlantic herring from a fisherman in exchange for some finished pickled product. Some with red wine and red wine, the rest with white wine vinegar and lemon juice. The fisherman in question catches them by the ton, to the tune of 1-3 each day. He sullenly sells them for bait ($0.13/lb) or to the local aquarium for food. This is a legitimate tragedy, that such a plentiful, nutritionally beneficial fish which has low levels of mercury is being caught and sold for lobster bait.