January 13, 2017

The Umami Reader: Would You Wait 8 Hours in the Rain for Pliny the Younger?

by Sarah

– Calling all beer nerds: Pliny the Younger, Russian River Brewing Company’s beloved triple IPA with a 10.25% ABV, is coming back to the brewery’s taps on February 3-16. For the last 14 years, this seasonal favorite has been brewed once a year and released on the first Friday in February. It will be available daily during that two week span at Russian River Brewing Company’s Santa Rosa brew pub and at a “handful of select draft accounts,” according to the RRBC website. But if you expect to just walk in and order a glass, you’re in for a rude awakening. There will be lines, long lines, for as long as an eight-hour wait. And if it rains, that means no outdoor patio and less available seating. And… yeah. This is some beer! Read all the details, rules, and regulations here. (Via Karen Reardanz)

– Speaking of hard to get beers, here’s another one that’s more gimmicky. Sweden’s PangPang brewery released Shower Beer, a 10% ABV bottled pale ale that’s meant to drink ice cold in a hot shower. It immediately sold out, but PangPang and creative firm Snask are looking to bring Shower Beer to the U.S. (Thrillist)

Last week on The Umami Reader, I featured the New York Times’ zero-star review by Pete Wells of LocoL, Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson’s fast food joint located in downtown Oakland. ICYMI, Roy Choi responded on Instagram with a long and self-reflective comment, which includes what he says he told friends after the negative review came out. A few days later, LA Times food writer Jonathan Gold offered his own commentary on Wells’ review, wondering whether some restaurants are unreviewable. Gold, who believes Wells was “ungenerous” for penning the review writes, “The question wasn’t how Locol’s $5 Fried Chicken Burg might compare to the vastly better $9 fried chicken sandwiches at Night + Market Song or Oakland’s own Bakesale Betty. It was why the New York Times was using its main restaurant column to gripe about bland turkey chili in an Oakland burger stand whose mandate was to feed a community with limited access to good, nutritious food.” If you’re a LocoL believer and happen to be in L.A. on MLK Day (1/16), check out their One Year Anniversary Party at LocoL in Watts. (Tasting Table, LA Times)

– Arthur J. Robinson, aka Mr. Okra, the 73-year-old singing vegetable vendor of New Orleans is my new hero. (60 Second Docs)

– If you’re vegan, a baker, or just a fan of nutty cheese replacements, you’ll want to know this piece of news: The EPA is cracking down on the making of nutritional yeast. On Dec. 28, the EPA cited that a probable carcinogenic pollutant, acetaldehyde, is emitted during the manufacturing of nutritional yeast. The companies that produce nut yeast will be asked to install monitoring technologies to comply with environmental standards. Of course, the cost of those upgrades will go to consumers. So, stock up on your nutritional yeast before prices go up. (VegNews, Washington Examiner)

The best cocktail of 2016? Turns out it’s a cocktail we loved in 2009. According to New Yorker writer Emma Allen, the Painkiller, a nutmeg and coconut spiced rum-based “Slurpee cocktail” that you can find at Johnson’s in Bushwick, N.Y.  Or as linked to in the NPR transcript of Allen’s interview on All Things Considered, you can make it yourself by trying Paystyle’s 2009 recipe on the Umami Mart blog! (NPR)

– Watch the video above to find out what happens when an architect makes desserts. TL;DW: Pastries that are almost too pretty to eat, but super-mesmerizing to watch the process of their making. See more photos of Ukranian pastry chef/architectural designer Dinara Kasko’s edible eye candy here. (Bored Panda via Architecture & Design)

– I don’t watch “MasterChef,” but this piece of news struck me as worthy of reporting: Earlier this month, Kal Penn won “MasterChef Celebrity Showdown” and will donate $25,000 to Palestinian refugees. The actor, most famous for his role as Kumar in Harold and Kumar, was able to choose a non-profit to receive the winnings. Penn, who also worked for the Obama administration from 2009 until 2011 as an associate director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, picked the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Penn explains, “Much of our own media attention is focused away from the human stories of children and families who are suffering due to displacement against the rule of international law, terrorism, and violence from so many sides. So having the chance to cook to benefit refugee families on MasterChef seemed like the right thing to do.” Thanks, Kal! (NBC)


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