Wednesday Food Round-up

Sorry all, I’ve got quite the backlog of posts, but it’s been a CRAZY week at work.

At any rate, it’s WEDNESDAY! Which means it’s time for a round up of the best in newspaper food journalism type things:

A “Crisis of Confidence” in Food Safety [WaPo] Apparently Michael Pollan was right. We are screwed.
Japan’s Martha-Nigella-Paula Deen [WaPo] Best quote ever: Q: “Do you like wine or beer?” A: “Yes”
Double Dipping [NYT] Looks like that episode of Seinfeld was right. Also on my list of highly suspect bacteria spreaders- those blowdryer hand things on bathrooms. Just give me some paper towels.
Meat=Murder, Oil…discuss [NYT] Mark Bittman goes Michael Pollan on us, but raises a pretty good point.
Beignets and Pizza in Baltimore [Baltimore Sun] Deep frying IS like bacon!
Slovenian Wines [LA Times] I once had a Romanian wine while in Scotland. It was terrible. Apparently I was just ahead of the curve.
The Butcher of Panzano is offering lessons [LA Times] Just in case you wanted to spend your honeymoon trip to Tuscany butchering things…don’t laugh, I’d do it.

Oh, and just for fun, what I’ll be doing the next time I’m in NYC.

Urbana

I used to work on the corner of 22nd and P (no, NOT at the Fireplace). As such, I wandered around that bit of Dupont quite often- Alberto’s for lunch, Soho Tea and Coffee, Naan and Beyond (although the L Street location, close to my office now, is much better- apparently we can’t relocate unless it’s within a one block distance of Naan and Beyond.) I made it a point to hit the happy hour at Urbana, the restaurant attached to the Hotel Palomar.

I remember Palomar and Urbana when they were the Hotel Radisson and Gabriel, respectively. This came up in conversation with VT and LB over dinner at Urbana last night. After an absolutely HORRID day at work (although, it’s taken me six monthes to have my first truly bad day, so I suppose I ought not complain) I went over to PS7 for several glasses of champagne. (Worth noting- PS7 has happy hour from 5 until 7 with a couple of $4 wines along with discounted prices on the signature cocktails and bar snacks, including the first and only hot dog I’ve eaten since I was about 6 years old) While I made friends at the bar, LB, who has also been having a terrible time at work, made her way in from Virgina to meet me, and we ended up at Urbana with VT. Several years ago, I dragged LB and a few of my other friends to Gabriel for dinner. I think they were ready to kill me by the time it was over- The food was TERRIBLE and overpriced, although I very much enjoyed my “Mexican pizza.”

Thankfully, Urbana has none of these problems. They have a lovely happy hour that I used to hit quite often with Ace after work- cheap wines by the the glass, pizza and cocktails at the bar. Last night, I settled on swiss chard and ricotta ravioli with bacon and a glass of one of my favorite wines, a Costamolina Vermentino. VT and LB both opted for a pizza with Pecorino Romano, prosciutto, and arugula (most of which i picked of VT’s pizza and ate.) I tend to forget about Urbana, because it’s kind of tucked in on a part of P street I don’t frequent too often. I’m glad I did last night. We skipped dessert, and after I beat MP# at a game of rock paper scissors (the best way to make all decisions in life) we went to the Big Hunt for some beer.

In other news, I’ll be here on January 29th, if you’re looking for me. I might even take my mom.

AU under investigation

Thanks to Ace, it has come to my attention that my alma mater (American University) is under investigation for kickbacks between the school and its study abroad programs.

Shocking.

That’s right. The same AU whose president was ousted after using MY student loans to pay for his son’s wedding reception, and keep his wife soaked in gin.

I actually participated in a study abroad program at AU. Unlike some of the other programs, mine did not come with a contact in my chosen country to help me settle in- I was completely on my own in terms of which classes I could/should take, where I could live (I moved three times while I was there, and spent part of my semester living in a hostel,) everything. The AU study abroad office was kind enough to point me in the direction of the school’s website, so as to help with my housing search. Thanks assholes.

The other thing that really irritated me is that even as a foreign student, and allowing for the exchange rate, my tuition overseas was LESS than my tuition at AU. Just to recap- I paid a program fee (even though there was NO program) and AU tuition (even though my tuition that semester was less.) Did AU allow me to keep the difference? No. Did they cut me a break, since they were making money on the deal (since they sent me merrily off on my own, doing nothing but paying tuition to my chosen school)? No.

Study abroad is a great opportunity, and I’m glad I took the chance to go (although if I had it to do over again, I’d go someplace considerably warmer. That being said, the more I look back on my experiences at AU, the more disenchanted I become, and the more it’s confirmed for me that college is less and less about education, and more and more a money making enterprise.