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Fancy Some Fast Food?

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Sometimes you get lucky with fast food...

Sometimes you get lucky with fast food...

Believe it or not, I haven’t had much of an appetite lately. The fears that come with unemployment have put a damper on my enthusiasm for most things nosh-able. But yesterday, after sitting through four hours of “career counseling,” I was famished and dashed down to the deli on the office building’s first floor.

I ordered what I thought would be safe: a simple, warm chicken breast sandwich. Inexplicably the sandwich was served with harsh ball park-style mustard slathered all over the bun. What kind of tasteless person came up with such a combo? (It looked as disgusting as it tasted.) I wiped off most of the yellow junk and ended up with four tiny bites of food to fill my growling stomach (at a price of six bucks).

In our busy world, fast food may be a necessary evil, but does it have to be so bad for us?

At least in the world of Fancy Fast Food, what is so bad for us is looking great:

More fun with fast food:


Written by Kate Blood

July 8, 2009 at 7:07 am

Posted in Food, Unemployment

All Hail the King!

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Kosher-style Beef @ Supreme Dog

Kosher-style Beef @ Supreme Dog

Our hometown hero, Joey Chestnut, successfully defended his title Friday in the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest’s first-ever sudden death overtime (New York Daily News).

I was so excited that I ran over to Top Dog/Supreme Dogwhere Joey trains — for an all beef Kosher-style Frankfurter!

As I write this, I’m even noshing on a home dog (Bar S brand — 69-cents a pack at FoodMaxx), the breakfast of unemployed champions!

: More News About Joey Chestnut

Happy National Hot Dog Month!

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Who doesn't love hot dogs? *Frankly,* that would be un-American!

As the Fourth of July approaches, I can’t stop thinking about hot dogs — possibly because the annual Nathan’s pig out is this Saturday.

My love affair with the link is nothing new. I even run a Flickr group dedicated to world-wide weenies of all shapes and sizes: Hot Dog.

It seems that I am not alone in my obsession.

Way back in the 70’s, Mettja C. Roate wrote a cookbook devoting half its pages to tube steaks. has a forum on hot dogs, sausages and brautwursts (you have to register to access the lively discussion). Hot Dog Chicago Style has a searchable database of restaurants located across the country. In addition, the opinionated has a Hot Dog Page listing close to a hundred different joints located across this great hot dog loving nation. (Oh, and did I mention The Frankfurter Chronicles?)

I have a list of my own old favorites and “dying to try” establishments:

Before dining at any of these or any other fine dawg-serving establishments, I suggest a study of Hot Dog Etiquettte. (Unless, of course, you’re heading to the white trash trailer, ahem, restaurant, Hillbilly Hot Dogs:

Just as in the great depression of the 1930s, reds hots are, well, red hot! So far I haven’t seen a “Depression Sandwich” offered on menus (hot dog & fries for a nickle — or four cents if that was all you had — as served at Fluky’s in Chicago).

Today we have “designer dogs” and restaurants serving “Lobster Dogs.” We even have recipes for lobster corn dogs with truffled hollandaise sauce, with, perhaps, an order of duck fat fries on the side…

With all the money the weenie industry is making, I think I should join the ranks of the honorable hot dog cart vendor. The cost of running a profitable weenie stand may be high, but I would be doing something I loved. I could even prepare for my new career by simply changing degree programs. Goodbye SUNY-Empire, hello Hot Dog U: The Harvard of Encased Meats!

Major League Eating

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Hot Dog Competition

Hot Dog Eating Competition, San Jose CA

Finally, a sport I can get behind with major league enthusiasm: Competitive eating! And I’m proud to be from the same home town (San Jose, California) as world champion Joey Chestnut!

I started thinking about competitive eating earlier today when I dug up this video of a workplace Oreo eating competition at Inside Zappos. (Zappos looks like a fun place to work. I wonder if they’re hiring?)

Of course I had heard about Nathan’s yearly hot dog eating contest and I’ve seen the Big Texan’s 72-ounce steak challenge with my own eyes. As I dug deeper, I found that competitive eating has become such big business that there’s a new Wii game devoted to the subject. There’s even an International Federation of Competitive Eating!

Who knew that eating 17 pounds of cow brains could bring you fame or that a tiny, 105-pound woman can eat 11 pounds of cheesecake in one sitting and live to tell the tale?

As for myself, although I did eat three kinds of ice cream today (Brown Butter Pecan and Salted Caramel at Bi-Rite and Blue Bottle Vietnamese Iced Coffee at Humphry Slocombe), the only competitive eating contest I can image entering (and winning) is Boston’s annual bacon eating extravaganza.

Not so fast! (food)

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In-N-Out Burger Wins Zagat Survey

In-N-Out Burger Wins Zagat Survey

Fast food sales are soaring along with the unemployment rate.

Even Zagat, where the focus was formerly on upscale establishments like Per Se, has released a Fast-Food Survey.  (Unsurprisingly, In-N-Out Burger tops the “Best of” list.)

With all that money flowing into Ronald McDonald’s bank account, it is interesting to see that things are not entirely well in the world of fast food. Customers are angry and the competition is getting downright nasty.

Free Meals Ain’t Gonna Work

In Minnesota, Ariel Wade is “madder than fish grease” after a White Castle burger stand refused to serve her at the drive-thru window. Ms. Wade drives an electric mobility scooter and she’s planning to sue the chain for discrimination.

El Carne Loco

In California, the 418-unit Costa Mesa-based El Pollo Loco chain is at war with the big guy: Colonel Sanders. The Colonel’s global business recently launched a new “grilled” “chicken” offering that threatened El Pollo Loco’s business and turns out to be partly made of rendered beef fat and beef powder. As El Pollo asks in its new commercial, “how the heck do you get beef powder?

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Kneading

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Oregano Cottage Cheese BreadJune 15th: My first official day without a work place to report to. What did I do with my free time? I baked bread. There is little else in this world that is so comforting as the smell of a yeasty loaf baking in the oven.

I also continued my research, going back to Anthony Bourdain’s great Typhoid Mary to refresh my memory about life for women in the kitchen at the turn of the last century.

Bourdain notes that then, as now, “one finds oneself being defined by one’s job.”

So, how do I define myself when I have no job?

Written by Kate Blood

June 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

What in the World Are They Eating?

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Easy WaysAs I’ve been reading about the life of Clementine Paddleford, I’m learning and thinking more about how food has gone beyond the science of home economics to become a passionate pleasure. Paddleford, a licensed pilot, happily flew herself around the globe, “traveling an estimated fifty thousand miles a year” in search of tasty casserole recipes.

In my soon-to-be jobless state, I’m temporarily grounded, but I can still search the global internet for tasty examples of what people are eating.

Now I’m really hungry, so I’m going to dig into a homemade peanut butter and cherry jam sandwich before I head off to Tony Bourdain’s lecture at Flint Center: If I can sneak a few photographs, I’ll post them later tonight!

Written by Kate Blood

May 28, 2009 at 1:13 pm