March 10, 2017

The Umami Reader: Japan’s Pizza Hut Cats Are Back!

by Sarah

– In 2014, Pizza Hut Japan created a cat-tastic ad campaign. “Pizza Cat!” was a fictional Pizza Hut location run by an all-cat staff. The ads featured Tencho, Hime, Dora, and Detch “working” (aka doing cute cat stuff) at a Pizza Hut. Last month, Pizza Hut Japan brought back the Pizza Cats to promote coupons via their new mobile app. Cute, but I was hoping for a Pizza Hut Cat Cafe. (People Pets)

– If you’re more of a dog person, you’ll like this news: Columbus, Ohio-based beer makers, BrewDog, offers its employees “paw-ternity” leave, that is a week paid time-off to spend with new puppies and rescue dogs. The brewery claims “We care about two things above all else. People and beer. We also just really like dogs.” I’ll raise a beer to that. (NY Post)

– Do you drink a lot of GT’s Kombucha? If so, you could be entitled to money from a class action lawsuit alleging that Millennium Products Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc. misrepresented the content of sugar, alcohol, and antioxidants in specific GT’s Kombucha. Find out if you qualify to benefit from the kombucha lawsuit and to file a claim here.

Photo via El Piro Tax

– Under Trump’s administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been aggressively pursuing people who have entered the country illegally. They claim to be focusing on “criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities.” But then there are people like Piro Garcia, the owner of Houston’s popular Piro’s Taco Trucks, who was arrested by ICE agents last month. Garcia is currently in a detention center, awaiting deportation to Guatemala, his birth country where he has not lived for the last 23 years. His arrest stems from an old deportation order from 1994, when Garcia first attempted to enter the U.S. after fleeing Guatemala to avoid conscription into the civil war. On his second attempt, he made it into Houston, where he’s been living for the last two decades, building a life and a successful business – both of which are currently up in the air due to his arrest. While Garcia does have three minor offenses on his criminal record (misdemeanor assault, trespassing, and having a fake vehicle-inspection sticker), he is far from a serious felon, and his friends and fans are hoping to fight his deportation. They’ve created Free Piro!, a Go Fund Me page to help with his legal defense. Sadly, the chances are slim that he’ll win his case, and we will probably be hearing about more cases like Garcia’s during this era of Trump. (Grub Street)

Photo via Giant Robot

Kogi founder Roy Choi speaks with Giant Robot founder Eric Nakamura about his new taqueria, his favorite Korean and non-Korean spots, and how slightly mispronouncing “kogi” could lead you to say a word for penis in Korean. (Giant Robot)

Are planning meals around cookbooks and recipe websites the wrong way to cook? So says Tom Philpott, the food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones, who explains how focusing on meals, one recipe at a time, is inefficient, expensive, and unsustainable for our busy lives. Instead, Philpott says, we should have a “long-viewed style of cooking,” where we cook and prep a few ingredients on one or two days to enjoy for the rest of the week – say a roasted chicken or a pot of beans that can be turned in three or four different meals. Philpott notes that this systems-focused style of cooking is not new – it’s how most people around the world cook, and how Americans used to menu plan before we became recipe obsessed. (Mother Jones)

Photo by Marisa Endicott via Hoodline

– What’s the connection between It’s All Good Bakery and the Black Panther Party? The family-owned North Oakland bakery, which opened in 1996 on MLK, Jr. Way, is in a building that was once the Black Panther Party’s HQ. The BPP connection at It’s All Good runs even deeper: As a kid, bakery owner Kim Cloud benefited from the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program, which served full breakfasts to 20,000 school kids in 19 cities around the country. Today, you can see Black Panther ephemera on the walls of It’s All Good Bakery, but if you just want to go for baked goods made and served by friendly people, that’s perfectly OK. Their specialties include the 7-Up Pound Cake, Peach Cobbler, and Sweet Potato Pie. (Hoodline)

– If you’re heading to NYC anytime soon, you’ll want to bookmark New York Magazine‘s “Best of New York” page, which highlights the best pancakes, sticky buns, French restaurants, Chinese restaurants, and more. (New York Magazine/Grub Street)

– Last but not least, here are some suggestions on how to amplify the cuteness of your chikuwa (fish cake tubes) in your bento. (Rocket News 24)


The Umami Reader: Mining the internet for stuff about food worth reading and watching

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