March 3, 2017

The Umami Reader: Kawaii!! Japanese Animal-Shaped Donuts

by Sarah Han

Floresta Nature Doughnuts in Tokyo makes animal-shaped donuts that are pretty much the cutest fried and frosted things you can stuff in your mouth. (LadyIronChef)

Photo by Dennis Lehmann via Berlingske

– Chef René Redzepi recently announced some groundbreaking news about his 2 Michelin-starred Copenhagen restaurant, Noma. Redzepi explained Noma, known as one of the best in the world, would have a few new co-owners. The most surprising was Ali Sonko, the restaurant’s dishwasher of the last 13 years. “Ali is the heart and soul of Noma. I don’t think people appreciate what it means to have a person like Ali in the house. He is all smiles, no matter how his twelve children fare. And, by the way, my own father was also named Ali, and he too worked as a dishwasher when he came to Denmark,” said Redzepi during his announcement. Sonko, who is 62, is originally from Gambia, but has lived in Denmark for the past 34 years. (Berlingske)

The Oyako-don Lunch Set (top) from Rintaro

San Francisco’s Izakaya Rintaro has been quietly raising money for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network. Proceeds from its Oyako-don Lunch Set (Mother and Child chicken and egg over rice) has raised more than $1200 for the Mission District-based non-profit, and the restaurant will continue the lunchtime fundraiser on Thursdays through Saturdays through April. So go ahead and order that Oyako-don for lunch and feel good about treating yourself while helping out a good cause at the same time. (Izakaya Rintaro)

– ICYMI, Action Bronson and his crew of Viceland’s show “F*ck, That’s Delicious” recently visited North Oakland insitution, Lois the Pie Queen for soul food and, of course, pie. Side note: Is it just me, or do you also wish that Bronson would wear a beard net? Seeing food getting caught in that massive frizz makes me a little uncomfortable. But props for the visit to an old-school Oakland gem. (Viceland)

– If you’re a fan of Dorothy, Rose, Sophia, and especially Blanche, you’ll need to add Rue La Rue Cafe, a “Golden Girls” tribute cafe, to your list of places to visit in NYC. The new Washington Heights restaurant is co-owned by Mark Bish, the son of Rue McClanahan (aka Blanche Deveraux), and Michael J. LaRue, who was the actress’ best friend. The name of the cafe refers to an ongoing joke between LaRue and McClanahan – who passed away in 2010 – that they should marry, so she could be Rue LaRue. When she died, La Rue became executor of her estate and inherited much of her personal ephemera, some of which you can find in Rue La Rue Cafe. The restaurant also has a “Golden Girl”-themed menu, including cheesecakes by CHOCnyc created in honor of each Girl, signature coffee blends named after each character, dishes like lasagna al forno and Genügenflürgen cake (which have made appearances on the show), and recipes shared by the cast. Rue La Rue sounds like the perfect place to experience a bit of TV nostalgia, step away from the madness of the world, and thank the “Golden Girls” for being a friend to us all. (New York Times)

Trump’s preference for steak: cooked well-done with a side of ketchup. And while there are definitely many, many (MANY) worse things we can say against him, I tend to agree that the way Donald Trump eats his steak says a lot about him. Writer Helen Rosner’s take is well done… er, well stated: “A person who won’t eat his steak any doneness but well is a person who won’t entertain the notion that there could be a better way; a person who blankets the whole thing in ketchup (a condiment that adds back much of the moisture, sweetness, and flavor that the overcooking removed in the first place) is always going to fix his problems by making them worse. A person who refuses to try something better is a person who will never make things good.” (Eater)

– Here’s some news that gives a whole new meaning to the question, “What’s your poison?” There are 83 bottles of wine cited in a class action lawsuit that contain dangerous levels of arsenic. The wines came from 28 California wineries, and were bottled under 31 brand labels, including some recognizable and popular ones, like Cupcake, Glen Ellen, Korbel, Sutter Home, Beringer, and Charles Shaw. The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that these wineries and brands were aware that these wines contained arsenic at levels up to “500 percent or more than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit.” Most of the affected wines are inexpensive white or blush wines. Check this list before you pour yourself your next glass tonight. (CBS Los Angeles)

Are food writers the new rock critics? Bryan Curtis, Editor-at-Large at The Ringer takes an in-depth look at food writing, from its perks and the cult of personality surrounding its top dogs (Pete Wells, Jonathan Gold, Anthony Bourdain) to its evolution from traditional reviews to something much more nuanced that can acually change the national conversation. This is a fascinating read, and maybe an eye-opening one if you were hoping your opinionated musings about food will turn into a wildly successful money-making venture (it won’t). It also highlights some of the most popular and controversial food stories of the last year. (The Ringer)


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