Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tidbits Tidbits

Last week I ran into quite a few foodies, food writers, and culinary professionals. We talked about all sorts of doings in the food world and a wide variety of blogs, sites, and articles posted online. Here are some pointers and links to items that caught my eye this week -- and may have been something we discussed as well (specifically recipe copyrighting, the NYC trans fat ban and Tim Love's jalapeno margaritas!)

NYC Trans Fat Ban: The New York City Board of Health votes at the end of October on its proposed guidelines severely limiting the amount of trans fat restaurants are allowed serve. While you may agree that trans fats have no redeeming nutritional value and can be a huge problem for those fighting obesity and heart disease, you may (and should) also agree that no government has the right to tell you what you can and can't eat -- or what restaurants can and can't serve. Have a little personal responsibility, people! The Board of Health will vote to approve the guidelines for the ban Oct 30 and need no further approvals to put the guidelines in place. From the New York Times:

The city would set a limit of a half-gram of artificial trans fats per serving of any menu item, sharply reducing most customer's intake. The fats are commonly found in baked goods, like doughnuts and cakes, as well as breads and salad dressing.

Officials said that the typical American diet now contains 5.8 grams of trans fats per day, and that a single five-ounce serving of French fries at many restaurants contained 8 grams of trans fats.

The ban would be in full effect by July 2008. Update: The New Jersey session has just started and Panter has yet to introduce his ban legislation. However, he'll have quite a few more chances as the session goes on.

Food and Wine's Best New Chefs 2006: Here's yet another "best of" list -- this one from Food and Wine. The venerable magazine has named its annual list of best new chefs in the country. Look on their site for more info on the chefs, their restaurants, and recipes. Note the Chicago and Minneapolis chefs. The finalists (from Slashfood):

Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia
Jonathan Benno, Per Se in New York City
Michael Carlson, Schwa in Chicago, Illinois
David Chang, Momofuku in New York City
Mary Dumont, The Dunaway Restaurant at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Douglas Keane, Cyrus in Healdsburg, California
Christopher Lee, Striped Bass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pino Maffeo, Restaurant L in Boston, Massachusetts
Jason Wilson, Crush in Seattle, Washington
Stewart Woodman, Five in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lonesome Dove Makes it Big! Everyone in NYC is talking about Fort Worth Chef Tim Love's newly opened restaurant, Lonesome Dove. Those of us who eat in Texas will recognize Love and his signature style from his restaurant of the same name in Fort Worth. Love, a Grady Spears protege from the late lamented Riata, has taken the big city by storm in with his easy Texas way and hit jalapeno margaritas. From the New York Times:
One standout is the jalapeno-specked margarita that made its New York debut last month with the opening of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Chelsea. "Heat and margaritas obviously go together so well," said Tim Love, the restaurant's chef and founder, "so we figured out a way to get it all in one sip."

A single muddled jalapeno slice imbues the margarita with a piquant snap, a whisper of pleasurable pain. (A gentler, more refined version features roasted pasilla peppers in lieu of the Calvinist.) When Mr. Love first introduced the drink in Fort Worth at the original Lonesome Dove restaurant, customers were suspicious. "We had to give them away at first," he said. "But you get a few people suckered in, and word gets around."
Chow Goes Online: Folks who frequent Chowhound will already know, but the short-lived Chow magazine has relaunched as an online-only publication. You can find them at their newly redesigned home, Chow.com.

Copyrighting Recipes? And last but not least, Meg at meganut.com has a great post on a recent conference held by chefs and writers on the possibility of copyrighting food. From copyright notices on menus to copyrighting presentations to chefs who consciously or unconsciously re-create dishes from their peers, a few folks in the culinary world are trying to create some guidelines for what could and couldn't be protected. Maybe not a great idea -- or maybe just half-baked.

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