Truffles Grow Amongst My Roots

My mother sent me this article, which had made its way onto the most emailed list, about the growing of black truffles in a small town in the corner of East Tennessee. It is, in fact, Chuckey, a small town in which my grandfather, Judd Allen Bolinger, was born and raised.

From the Times: “Chuckey is not the sort of place one expects to find the holy grail of the food loving world. But on the edge of town, perched on a south-facing slope overlooking the birthplace of Davy Crockett, an orchard of 350 hazelnut trees has begun to sprout Périgord truffles, the fragrant black fungi that can send epicures, as well as routing pigs and dogs, into fits of frenzied greed.”

Little Debbie is Very Very Naughty. But Good.

Where’s My Jetpack has a funny post about one of my favorite food brands, Little Debbie, along with the above hilarious photo of Debbie having a drag off a cancer stick. I was recently having a discussion with a work colleague, who’s from Florida by way of North Carolina, about our mutual love for Little Debbie snacks, including, but not limited to: Star Crunch, Nutty Bars, Fancy Cakes and Oatmeal Creme Pies.

There was, however, a recent recall of Little Debbie Nutty Bars. But it goes to show you how something seemingly negative like a food industry news alert can generate nostalgic blog posts celebrating sugary snacks!

And just in case you were wondering, the Little Debbie site lists their top selling items:

1. Swiss Cake Rolls
2. Nutty Bars® Wafer Bars
3. Oatmeal Creme Pies
4. Fudge Brownies
5. Honey Buns
6. Zebra Cakes
7. Devil Squares®
8. Fudge Rounds
9. Star Crunch® Cosmic Snacks
10. Chocolate Cupcakes

And the Oscar Goes To

The entries at our Oscars party on Sunday; everyone had to bring a dish that they named for an entry or nominee. I will note that the entrants with bean dip, “The De-Farted,” were unable to attend, but are recognized nonetheless.

And the nominees are:Black Forest Whitaker Cake
The Good German Chocolate Cake
Oats on a Scandal (oatmeal cookies)
Dreamgrills (White Castle sliders)
Noodles on a Scandal (casserole)
An Inconvenient Tabouleh
Pitas of the Caribbean (pita chips & dip)
Dreamgirls Jennifer Hummus
Tower of “Babel” Bagels (bagels on a Fisher-Price tower toy)
Afudgalytpo (brownies)
The Queen-ois Salad (quinois grain salad)

Caroline was not able to complete her entry: the Devil Wears Prada snack tray, which was to consist of chewing gum and cigarettes.

23. Wrong Number.

As Verna Broccoli knows, and my buddy Todd Beeton, it’s really all about the number 22. Which why reading the awful reviews of the Jim Carrey, Joel Schumacher flick, “23,” is perhaps so pleasurable. What’s interesting on the 23 rating page is how many reputable rags (New York Times, Hollywood Reporter, USA Today to name just a few) call the movie “laughable.”

Which may qualify it for the cultish “so bad it’s good” must see.

[sidenote: I think SNL has been really funny lately.]

Gas Station of the Future

BP has opened up a new gas station at the corner of Olympic & Robertson up the street from our place. It’s been cloaked behind giant fabric walls printed with green blades of grass for months – which hints at it being something polluting, right? Finally revealed, it is strikingly modern and, frankly, quite beautiful for what it is. White jumpsuit wearing pr hires were walking around the lot behind a white picket fence, looking like members of the Dharma Project from LOST. It’s not clear from the outside what makes it a particularly ‘green’ gas station, but this LA Times article tells us that it has solar panels, low energy lighting, concrete mixed with recycled glass, and a rain collection system to irrigate plants nearby. Interesting on the solar, but hey, it doesn’t rain all that much in Southern California, guys. The article points out that the station offers no alternatives to carbon fuels.

But it’s nice to look at, and since there was a gas station there previously, it’s nice to have something so sharp looking as a neighborhood upgrade. Of course I will soon fall victim and will be lining up there to buy some gas. Which is exactly what BP is hoping I would do.

The Grove’s Trolley of Terror!

Do not get on this contraption. Above everything else in LA, nothing reminds me more that people have a false sense of security about terror attacks than the trolley at The Grove. If Department of Homeland Security officials want creative thinking in helping to uncover potential terror targets, then might I suggest the corner of Fairfax and Third Streets? As a friend of mine pointed out, the biggest target in Iraq seems to be marketplaces, and in Israel it’s buses and bus stops, and in London it was double decker buses, so why the hell would anyone get on this crowded double decker trolley in a shopping center? On the weekends they’re crammed in there like sardines. Anyone can get on, there are crowds of people everywhere you could melt into, the place is practically open to the street, and you could pretty much have a shopping bag of any size and no one would probably even notice it on the trolley.

And one of the most blogged articles on the New York Times is an editorial discussing the need for policy to counter the fact that Al Qaeda is undergoing a resurgence, and warns of a potential for more targets in the West.

America, for Spacious Aisles.

There’s a new WalMart Supercenter out in Rosemead, where I had headed out for a client meeting. It’s so huge, it’s overwhelming. It also smells like the inside of a new piece of cheap plastic luggage. It would take hours to roam the aisles. At first it seemed like a good idea (and they did have some great prices on HDTVs), but after about 15 minutes under the warehouse flourescent lighting, I started feeling sick. I did pick up some baby food (also inexpensive) and some other crap I had kept forgetting to buy (e.g. shoe polish). To add insult to injury, I had to push my cart past the overwhelming yeasty-bun smell of a McDonald’s on the way out the door. It was super big, for sure, but in the end it was super depressing. Oh, and the grocery store had a lot of organic produce, though. That was suprising.

Scene from a Freeway

On the way out to the San Gabriel Valley for a client meeting, I was stopped on an exit ramp in Rosemead. We had some cold rain for a few days, and now the skys are crystal clear, and there are uninterrupted (by smog, that is) views of the snow-capped mountains. The vista is hard to capture on a mobile phone.

If you watch this weekend’s NASCAR races out at the California Speedway, you should be able to see some of the same, especially if you have a high-def television.