Month: October, 2007

Wingfest 2007

Friday, October 26th, 2007 | All Things, Eats, Friends

After our successful foray into the Japanese chicken wings last month, JG and SC thought that an expansion of the mission was in order. The call went out to the usual suspects, and we were on for Wingfest 2007 this Friday night.

SC and I had quite a time trying to calculate the appropriate number of Tebaya wings that would be required to serve 20-25 people. 6 apiece? 10 apiece? Wine, I know – standard for a dinner party is one bottle for every two guests… more if the night runs long, or if your friends are lushes – but chicken wings were a mystery to us both. Plus we had to consider the accompanying supplemental orders of juicy karaage and stomach-expanding potemochi, and one very large pot of JG’s famous cheese grits.

Unfortunately, with all the figuring, SC had failed to take into account the inevitable last-minute cancellations, which were in turn further compounded by one sudden and very nasty bout of bad weather. We ended up with a serious surfeit of chicken.

This is what a pile of 150 chicken wings looks like:

Tebaya wings

Potemochi (pan-fried glutinous potato flour cake):


Karaage (boneless chicken thighs marinated in ginger, garlic, japanese soy sauce, salt and pepper):


What to do but dig in?  We did, valiantly.

A couple hours (and several glasses of wine) later, the steadfast few remaining were rewarded with the mad spectacle of SC’s long-built up feat of eating. While SYB kept strict time, I watched my friend make astoundingly efficient work of ten chicken wings.  After an initial rough start (for which I felt partly to blame), she came close enough to the finish to earn a cool $50 from an impressed BI. Not near the pace of Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, who earlier this month downed 4.1 pounds of chicken meat in 8 minutes, but a respectable showing nonetheless, considering that the challenge was undertaken on an already full stomach. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas had better watch her back.

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Thursday, October 25th, 2007 | All Things, Eats

Papabubble, the cult-favorite candy chain from Barcelona, opened the doors to its very first stateside outpost with a Saturday night party at its new Nolita shop on Broome Street. The event generated ample buzz for the artisanal sweet shop, known for its beautiful and gourmet-flavored candies.

The original Spain store was started in June 2003 by young Australians Christopher King and Nigel Chouri; in addition to their popular shop in the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), Papabubble has locations in Amsterdam and Tokyo. The handmade sweets are made in store the “old-fashioned way”: fascinated customers are invited to watch as molten sugar is poured onto slab marble, and after being flavored with premium-quality essences, is rolled, folded and finally extruded into long logs, which are hardened and then hand-chopped into bite-sized pieces. The small vividly-colored pieces of sugar sculpture are sold by the glass jar or in refill bags, and are almost too pretty to eat. Almost…



This citrus variety tasted clean and bright: tangy, but not mouth-puckeringly so, and without the cloyingly artificial flavors that mar lesser candies. Completely addictive, too. I realized I’d overindulged when by day’s end, the roof of my mouth had that tell-tale rawness I hadn’t experienced in perhaps two decades. (Thanks for the sweet surprise, SYB!)

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Purple produce

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 | All Things

As we approach the homestretch of our CSA — community supported agriculture — season, I wanted to share here some of the more interesting items we’ve received in our deliveries this year. Purple was a theme these past few months, starting with our purple bell peppers from the summer. (I was initially very excited about those, but just so you know, the purple fades to green when the peppers are cooked. Still tasty, though.) Beautiful purple Opal basil (a cousin of sweet basil) came next, followed by purple potatoes (makes pretty hash!) and this week: purple cabbage and purple cauliflower. I’d never seen the latter before; the vivid head looks almost as fake as a dyed carnation, but is apparently all natural. The purple color is caused by the presence of anthocyanin — a component also found in red cabbage and red wine.

Purple cauliflower

Early sign-ups (with early discounts) for the 2008 season are available at most CSAs beginning this week. For those unfamiliar with the program, CSA members purchase “shares” of an annual harvest directly from a local farmer in the winter months when cash is most needed for seeds, equipment, repair, and other inputs. In this way, the farmers are relieved of much of the risk of small-scale farming through the guaranteed market created by the community’s commitment to a season of support. In return, members receive a portion of the farmer’s weekly harvest during the season: usually mid-June through late November. They share both the risk of bad weather and crop damage, and the rewards of the bounty from a good season. Members avoid costs for advertising, processing, packaging, storage and long-distance transportation, and receive an abundant assortment of just-picked, local, organic vegetables, herbs, and, if desired, fruits, for less than the market price.

By participating in CSA, members support a more equitable food distribution and help to create a more environmentally just, economically fair and healthy society… in addition to receiving fresh, locally-grown — and sometimes, pretty cool-looking — produce.

Check the JustFood website for details on a group near you.

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