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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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September 2007

September 28, 2007

The World's Weirdest Soda Company

There's nothing like the nose-tingling aroma of Ben-Gay or that of fresh grass. Apparently, the wacky folks at Jones Soda Co. thought they might taste good, too. The Seattle-based biz recently released their new sports cream and natural field turf sodas as part of a limited-edition, football-themed five-pack dedicated to the Seattle Seahawks. The others flavors in the mix are perspiration, dirt and sweet victory.
    At $19.99 for a collectible set, with labels featuring Seahawks players, the drinks might seem kind of steep. But where else, asks the author of an article on CNN.com, can you take a swig of liquid that tastes salty "with a smooth, 'stinky football sock' finish?"
    This isn't the drink maker's first foray into the world of odd. Although they do produce classics such as orange and cream and root beer, they also have crushed melon, fufu berry and blue bubblegum. Even stranger, for several years, Jones put out an array of holiday sodas that included turkey & gravy, Brussels sprout and pumpkin pie. A case of their soda is like a liquid version of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (which boast fascinating flavors like: kidney beans, mayonnaise, centipede, caviar, cod, bacon, baking soda, toe nails and Worcestershire sauce).
    Wanna know what the holiday sodas are like without having to suffer yourself? Read all about one group's taste test here.
    Prior to learning about Jones Soda Co., I thought that celery soda was the most intriguing soda flavor out there...how wrong I was. But don't make the mistake, like I did, of thinking that the U.S.A. corners the market on crazy drinks. A bit more research turned up "octopus ball soda" from Japan!

September 27, 2007

Vermont Food in the Blogosphere

1) Jon Eick, originally from Vermont, is a stand-up comedian/project manager residing in Washington D.C. His blog, So Good: An Absurd Look at the World of Food, takes on topics as diverse as "Cheeseburgers = Naughty Sex" and "Mars Inc. Makes Me Want to Jab My Eye Out." Jon claims that he's "...uniquely qualified to run a blog focused on food and beverages, having eaten food on a daily basis for the last 27 years." Anyway...a few weeks ago, Jon came back to his old stomping ground and in the process, visited a childhood fave: Al's French Frys.
2) This one is tangentially food related: The Green Mountain State recently got lots of lovin' on the YERTblog. YERT stands for Your Environmental Road Trip. Apparantly, a group of activists are heading to all 50 states looking for ways that Americans "approach environmental sustainability." It appears that VT is doing a bang up job.
3) Vermont cheese guru Jeff Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, looks to be doing some travelling. A Portland, Oregon food page is promoting an October 7 dinner that will feature four cheesy courses and a discussion with Roberts. The menu includes beet and goat cheese agnolotti and apple strudel with Beecher's Flagship cheddar. Beecher's Flagship Reserve was second-best-in-show at the recent American Cheese Society conference in Burlington, and I was lucky enough to try it several times while I was there. Mmmm.
4) Goofball, a Belgian woman who writes the blog Goofballsworld and recently traveled through Vermont, thinks that Ben & Jerry's flavors are confusing, and that too many of their flavors feature chocolate. 

That's all for now...

September 25, 2007

The World's Most Expensive Dessert?

Files Would you pay $14,500 for dessert? Neither would I. But The Fortress, a Sri Lankan resort, seems to think that somebody out there is silly enough to shell out for their horribly named "Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence."

Here's a description: "The Fortress Stilt Fisherman Indulgence is a gold leaf Italian cassata flavoured with Irish cream, served with a mango and pomegranate compote and a champagne sabayon. It is decorated with a chocolate carving of a fisherman clinging to a stilt - an old local fishing practice - and an 80 carat aquamarine stone."

If you didn't already know (I didn't), cassata is a Sicilian cake with ricotta and candied fruits, kind of like a glorified cannoli. Sounds nice, but not that nice.

BUT...this is still not the most expensive dessert in the world, at least not if you count one that may have already been eaten.

There aren't many desserts with unsavory reputations, but fruitcake seems to be one of 'em. Diamond_cake There's even a site with instructions on creating your very own fruitcake joke. But a pastry chef in Tokyo clearly takes his fruitcake quite seriously. In 2005, the unnamed chef spent six months "developing" and one month actually making a fancy cake covered in red frosting and "iced" with 223 small diamonds. Until now, I thought that those controversial silver dragées were pretty fancy!

How much was he asking for the confection? $1.65 million dollars. No word on whether it sold or not. It was mighty pretty, though.

Goldenopulencenord For the somewhat-less-ridiculous-but-still-extravagantly-wealthy folks out there, there's always the $1000 Golden Opulence sundae at Serendipity 3 in New York. 

Here's what it's made of: "5 scoops of the richest Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream infused with Madagascar vanilla and covered in 23K edible gold leaf, the sundae is drizzled with the world's most expensive chocolate, Amedei Porceleana, and covered with chunks of rare Chuao chocolate, which is from cocoa beans harvested by the Caribbean Sea on Venezuela's coast. The masterpiece is suffused with exotic candied fruits from Paris, gold dragets, truffles and Marzipan Cherries. It is topped with a tiny glass bowl of Grand Passion Caviar, an exclusive dessert caviar, made of salt-free American Golden caviar, known for its sparkling golden color. It's sweetened and infused with fresh passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. The sundae is served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet with an 18K gold spoon to partake in the indulgenceserved with a petite mother of pearl spoon and topped with a gilded sugar flower by Ron Ben-Israel."

Apparently, they sell about one of these a month. And customers get to keep the fancy glass.

Retroactive Vacation Notification

So, I was on vacation last week, and in the rush to get ready to go, I didn't have time to throw up a post to say that I was leaving.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a slew of exciting dining experiences over that week, 'cause I spent most of it moving to a new apartment and scarfing down all kinds of take-out, not "dining" or cooking.

There were two culinary high points, though. One was a dinner at The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, which I'll describe in detail in another post. The other was a meal cooked over a campfire at Groton State Park.

After failing to catch any fish, or even see any fish, we cheated by driving a couple miles to a convenience store and buying a frozen elk steak. We thawed it in the lake while we canoed, seasoned it with salt and pepper that we'd taken from the store in a mini envelope made from a napkin, and served it with couscous mixed with canned peas and yams. The couscous could have used something else to spice it up, but the smoky elk steak was really, really good.

Anyway, now I'm back, and can commence blogging again...

September 11, 2007

Vermont Food in the Blogosphere

Yep, I've been a bad blogger...but here's a new exciting feature that I'll attempt to deliver regularly.

In my incessant search for food news, I notice many posts about Vermont products on blogs based all over the country. Sometimes I've referred to these posts in my Side Dishes column, but they don't all fit.

So, each week I'm going to compile a list of these tidbits for your reading pleasure.

Here goes...(click on the name of the blog to see the Vermont specific post)

1) The very thorough and likely toothless folks at Candyblog takes a look at VerMints. What do they learn? That neither the friendly little tins nor the candies inside are actually made in Vermont. WTF? Does the fact that Vermont spring water is an ingredient make this acceptable? I'm not sure. In better news, the Candybloggers think the mints taste pretty good.
2) On a blog called The Queso-Files (ooh, funny), they put together a virtual cheese plate of the week. On the week in question, Jasper Hill's Bartlett Blue made the grade. Of the four chosen cheeses, it was the only one from the U.S. The others hailed from Scotland, Italy and Spain.
3) If you've read the Julie/Julia Project blog, you might get the slightest sense of deja vu when you check out French Laundry at Home. Like Julie, blogger Carol is determined to cook her way through a culinary masterpiece (The French Laundry Cookbook, in her case; Mastering the Art of French Cooking, for Julie). But I have a soft spot for everything FL related, since I had the best meal of my life there on my wedding night, and I've even made a couple of complicated recipes from the cookbook. But the main reason I'm mentioning FLAH here is that Carol uses Vermont mascarpone, creme fraiche and honey when she cooks.
4) After learning about the new organic maple liqueur from Green Mountain Distillers, the dude at Martini Groove came up with a special drink called "The French Toast" to celebrate. But beware...according to his post, he hasn't actually tried his own recipe.
5) Technically, this article from the Washington Post doesn't belong on my list (as The Post isn't a blog)...but who cares. The article is mainly about chicken suppers, and makes our little state sound oh so quaint.

O.k...I think five is enough to start with, but stay tuned for more of these posts in the future!

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