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Vodka taste-off: Square One Organic Vodka vs. Russian Standard Imperia

I like vodka. I like vodka gimlets (fresh lime juice plus a splash of Rose's, up), vodka tonics, Cosmopolitans, Bloody Marys… To vodka aficionados, therefore, I am a nitwit. Vodka nerds do not dilute their precious spirit with any other tastes, any more than oenophiles drink wine coolers. Remember those...

Grass-FedEx: U.S. Wellness Meats beef, pork, and chicken

Before going to Pensacola this Christmas, I wanted to avoid some of the stress of previous visits having to do with meat. It was easier when I was a vegetarian, and my family eventually got used to thinking about swapping chicken stock for vegetable and so forth. But my "ethical carnivorism" of the past few...

White Marble Farms redux

Ethical restauranteur Jay over at the Linkery blog is having an interesting dialogue with a representative from Sysco about the White Marble Farms pork brand. Jay was the first (and pretty much only) person to comment online about the misleading marketing of this industrial meat product; I subsequently...

Deep shit: Rolling Stone reporter reams Smithfield Foods for environmental crimes

Back in 1998 Rolling Stone published the first of several articles by Eric Schlosser that would become the 2001 nonfiction bestseller Fast Food Nation. The magazine's Dec. 14, 2006 issue, the one with Snoop Dogg on the cover, has a riveting feature — titled "Boss Hog" and detailing Smithfield Foods'...

“Best of the Puget Sound” list

Not to be outdone by a list of favorites from our old stomping grounds, we here in the Puget Sound region have our own list of fine foods to celebrate. With one exception, we had not encountered these treats before 2006. 1. Fish Brewing Company's Winterfish: This seasonal, organic beer from Olympia - well...

A highly subjective “Best of the Bay Area” list

'Tis the season to make year-end lists. In honor of the last day of 2006, here are my ten favorite local delicacies. Amazingly, I had never tasted any of them before this year. 1. Marshall's Farm Marin wildflower honey: I used to think honey came in plastic bears and tasted sweet and nothing else. This...

Spit and go: 2005 Oregon wine tour

Our motto was, "Spit and go!" Our task was monumental: Ten wineries, two livers, and eight hours until our dinner reservations. This was our 2005 Oregon wine tour. Our plans changed a few times during the trip, starting with a wrong turn from the B&B that led us to our first winery. We hadn't intended...

Golden Fleece raw milk from Lecanto, FL

Proponents of raw milk claim this magical elixir can cure childhood asthma and even allergies. I'm skeptical, but the evidence is overwhelming that the unpasteurized stuff goes down easier for lactards. But it doesn't protect against stomach viruses. Although I really like Straus Family Creamery's...

Yo no quiero Taco Bell! E. coli poisoning sickens almost 40

"There's shit in the meat." That's the money quote from the movie version of Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation," released last month, that reverberated as I scanned the Google News headlines about how nine Taco Bells in New Jersey and Long Island are closed on suspicions they gave 39 people E. coli...

Digest: Must-watch movie, Coke’s cafe, Back-to-the-Landers II

New York Times*: Our Daily Bread, a new documentary opening today, takes viewers inside the industrial food chain with no narration or text. Writes the reviewer: "[It] can be extremely difficult to watch, but the film’s formal elegance, moral underpinning and intellectually stimulating point of view also...

Truth in advertising: Heritage vs. heirloom turkeys

As if Thanksgiving shoppers didn't have enough trouble distinguishing from among the labels natural, free range, organic, and heritage, now there's another distinction to watch out for: heirloom vs. heritage. (Thanks to Jack & Joanne for pointing this out, unfortunately too late for the print version...

Digest: Beef basics, ethanol dilemma, red-wine cure, grape gripes

Slate: What makes a steak taste good? In this well-done primer on beef — a must-read article for meat lovers — Mark Schatzker delivers an overview of the effects of marbling (how the USDA determines the grade), breed, feed, hormones, and aging. And then he conducts a taste test with USDA Prime...

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