Five Friday Reads 03.03.2017

  1. Mumblr Kit Kat Tumblr. Japan has over 300 flavors of Kit Kat. From Champagne to baked potato, this Australian is trying them all.
  2. Enthrophia. in Italian I recently discovered Italian fashion blogger Nunzia Cillo on Instagram and immediately loved her poetic, uplifting posts. Discussing topics ranging from foodwaste and travel to art and the nature of love, this is definitely not your average fashion blog.
  3. "How a Rogue McDonald's Franchisee Invented the Big Mac and Changed Fast Food Forever" from Adweek. The Big Mac has become an American icon since it was invented to give customers an alternative to the cheeseburger, but as health concerns regarding fast food grow, the question is if the double-stacked burger can remain relevant.
  4. "Mermaid Spa" from The New Yorker. How do you describe the food at a Ukrainian-Russian spa in Brooklyn? "Many tables stick with giant bottles of water and platters of fresh fruit. But you came for the food, so go for it."
  5. Greg Poegler on Welcome to Sweden, Dirty Lobsters and His Big Sister Amy" from Vulture. I came across a DVD of the TV show Welcome to Sweden at my local library and fell in love. It was cancelled after the second season, but you should still watch it.

Five Friday Reads 02.24.2017

  1. "Trump and the 'Society of the Spectacle'" from The New York Times. This article offers a cultural studies approach to the question we're all asking: how did an ex-reality TV star who starred in Pizza Hut's original ad for stuffed crust pizza become president of the United States?
  2. "New Brand Identity for Helvetimart by Anagram" from BP&O. Helvetimart is a gourmet food market from Switzerland that recently adopted a novel and refreshingly un-food focused approach to their branding.
  3. "Macanese Minchi" from The Foodie Baker. I'd never thought much about Macau—until I made this minchi, the country's answer to poutine.
  4. "A Bright Detroit Rental Loft Full of Local Pride" from Apartment Therapy. This gorgeous Detroit apartment embraces the interaction between the city and the home.
  5. "12 Contemporary Writers on How They Revise" from Lit Hub. I live by the adage writing is rewriting—even more so after hearing how authors such as Joan Didion and Neil Gaimon approach this sometimes daunting task.

Forget cheeseburgers, salad is taking over the menu

Falafel Salad at Taim

Ignore Bourdain. He can devour his sirloin—I’ll take his serving of overpriced restaurant salad. You should too. These salads are everywhere from Michelin-starred tasting menus to tapas-style hot spots and while Bourdain scorns them as bowls of leaves, other chefs are realizing that cooking with vegetables is healthy, cheap and delicious. Salads are transforming from an overlooked side to a must-order main.

At The Breslin, April Bloomfield’s gastropub and homage to meat in New York’s Ace Hotel, the salad boasts all the distinguishing marks of her cooking without the side of lethargy that comes with meaty entrees. You can’t blame diners for gawking at the lamb burger, served so rare it oozes blood. But while the burger stars in Yelp reviews, the subsequent food coma goes unmentioned.

The salad will keep you sprightly. And it testifies to Bloomfield’s characteristic excess. At first glance, it appears that you’ve just spent $14 on a tub of butterhead lettuce that a CIA extern threw into the large, low white bowl in an artful-but-careless manner. But then you rustle the leaves to reveal large chunks of supremely salty and creamy feta interspersed with more sunflower seeds than hide in gourmet granola. With a sprinkling of fresh mint and a generous douse of bright herb dressing, this salad will keep you full until breakfast.

Ottolenghi salad box

For those who grew up haunted by the squirmy boiled eggs that lurked beneath salad bar sneeze guards, the phenomenon of too-big-to-finish salad bowls might come as a shock. While the popularity of vegetarian and so-called clean eating diets helped popularize salads, they also offer a green counterpart to brazen burgers. Photos of salad bowls overflowing with tomatoes, avocado, and candied pecans are the vegetarian equivalent of cheeseburgers spilling their guts. With the rise of salad chains like Chop’t and Sweetgreen, this phenomenon ceases to be the niche domain of healthy living bloggers and becomes mainstream.

Keith McNally is another restaurateur who has realized the potential of including craveable greens on his well-curated menus. While a nicoise salad might seem like a boring bistro basic, the version at Cherche-Midi hits all the same creamy-salty-crunchy buttons that engineers use to engineer craveable eats. Each bite combines the crackle of perfect lettuce with slick roasted peppers and soft potato salad. These aren’t leftover ingredients thrown into a bowl. Instead, the combination demonstrates the same thought and attention demonstrated to the pricier prime rib, only in the composition as opposed to the cooking.

Cataloguing New York’s salad renaissance would demand thousands of words. Reviews laud Carbone’s theatrical Caesar salad. City Bakery’s kale salad helped make kale cool. Taim deserves praise for its balanced (but overlooked) Moroccan carrot and marinated beet salads. Sorry Bourdain, the age of the burger is over. Salad is cool.

Five Friday Reads 02.17.2017


Editor's note: I'm reviving a favorite feature from my old blog. Each Friday I'll round up five of the most interesting, thought provoking, or just down right entertaining stories I've come across in print and online in the previous week. If you have any recommendations of stories to feature, share them on twitter with the hashtag #ELLFriFive

  1. Magazine of the week: The New Yorker" from Magculture. As the media work to reconcile a Trump presidency, their visual depiction is just as important as their language.
  2. "A Liberal Wanted to Agitate Ole Miss from the Inside. He's Succeeding." on The New York Times. From the frontlines of racial tension in America, one Mississippi undergrad is challenging how his peers interact with the world—and each other.
  3. "Fictional characters make 'experiential crossings' into real life, study finds" on The Guardian. Studies prove that you're not insane for thinking of Hobie every time you step into an antique shop (The Goldfinch anyone?).
  4. "Writers to Watch Spring 2017: Anticipated Debuts" on Publisher's Weekly. Get ready to see your must-read list grow, from a story about a Bangalore spice business to a family history of Uganda, these authors want to challenge readers with unconventional and thought-provoking narratives.
  5. "Why I broke my three year clothes buying ban" on Frugalwoods. "I was using my job as an excuse to validate my unnecessary shopping. In doing so, I was subconsciously thwarting myself by–in essence–paying to work."