Bartender slang

Ben Schott does the best NYTimes Op-Arts, thought I think his previous entries had actual art... In any case, here are a whole bunch of NY cocktail bars sharing slang that's either unique to them, or common in the world of bartending. My favorite is "Boomerang".

A specially prepared drink that is sealed (say with plastic wrap or a rubber glove) and dispatched as a gift to a nearby bar. Of dubious legality, Boomerangs are a way of "having a drink" with industry friends during work. Boomerangs are often shuttled from bar to bar by regulars, who are thereby identified as guests of quality.

Crocodiles can climb trees, the party’s over.

File this with "octopus can walk on land," and then weep gently. Crocodiles and alligators can climb trees, and do.

Overall, the team found crocodiles in trees, day and night, pretty much everywhere they looked. They suggest the behavior exists as a means for regulating body temperature and surveying the environment. But the crocodiles are skittish — most promptly fell off their logs or dove into the water as observers approached.

I stuffed cookie inside an Oreo and wrapped it in more cookie. What happened next? The results may surprise you.

I've made Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies before, but I've been getting so exhausted of having my stuffed cookies only be stuffed with one cookie. I took it to the next level by stuffing the Oreo with chocolate chip cookie dough before stuffing that into another chocolate chip cookie. By getting three cookies in one, I've finally achieved cookie Turducken status. I used Double Stuff Oreos because that's what I had, but they're a bit aggressive. Regular Oreos would be just fine in this situation. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Carefully separate the Oreo cookies leaving the filling intact.
Step 2: Flatten a small amount of cookie dough in your palm and put it on one side of the Oreo.
2014 02 09 20 55 19 Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies. .jpg

Step 3: Put Oreo back on, and wrap in cookie dough. You'll need about 1.5 cookie's worth of dough.
Step 4: Bake for about twelve and a half minutes depending on your altitude and cookie recipe. (So they say)
Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie

Step 5: Eat that thing.
Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie

I would have preferred there to be more delineation between the various cookies, but they taste pretty good. Next time I'll probably try a little more cookie in the middle.

Tilapia is not super awesome

This New York Times article from 2011 lists several reasons why farmed tilapia may not be the best thing in the world. While farmed fish reduce the need to overfish wild fisheries, fish waste from the farms has a big impact on the ecosystems around them. Additionally, while tilapia provides the lean protein doctors want you to eat instead of red meats, the beneficial fatty acids are almost completely missing. In fact, tilapia contain higher amounts of a different fatty acid which may actually be harmful. In any case, it's an interesting article and look at this quote:

The growth has been abetted by the creation and marketing of new products like fleshy “tilapia loins” — even though fish do not possess that anatomical feature.

Via @jchernov

I’m sure I’ve talked about taxes before

I must have used this space to discuss how dumb our tax code is. It's confusing, frustrating, time consuming, and has an entire profession (nothing against accountants) an entire profession to deal with it. Some studies show "doing taxes" cost Americans 225 million hours a year, and costs the government $2 billion. Well, there must be a reason for it. Some industry group, MAYBE THE ACCOUNTANTS?! must be lobbying the government to keep taxes confusing so they can stay in business. Oh, it's not the accountants, it's Intuit, the makers of the online tax prep software the government could just create on their own? Well, surely they must have spent a lot of money lobbying to keep something in place that costs the government $2 billion a year. Oh, it was only $11.5 million? That's… dumb.

Historic restaurant preservation

Restaurant critic Robert Sietsema wrote in Eater recently about how historic restaurant preservation might function in a city with plenty of historic restaurants. Recently, Gray's Papaya was forced to shut down when their rent from $30K to $50K, which is a lot of hot dogs. Sietsma has a list of suggestions for what a historic restaurant preservation system would look like, and a list of 30 restaurants who might be the first 30 protected.

Let's say we appoint a committee of three, consisting of a chef, a city councilperson, and a real estate representative, who are tasked with the responsibility of selecting a list of irreplaceable dining institutions that deserve to be officially protected. The committee can make choices themselves, and also take suggestions from the public. Let's start with 30 places as a pilot program.

“Mistakes were made”

The Wikipedia entry for "Mistakes were made" features a list of 13 instances the phrase has been used in the past when it's clearly fucking obvious that mistakes were made, but come on, how could anyone be at fault for those mistakes! The use of the passive voice is supposed to remove responsibility for the mistakes. The latest entry: "On January 14, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, during his State of the State address, said "mistakes were clearly made" in reference to the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal."

Via @A_Grossman

Up Up Down Down: Side Projects That Give Us Extra Life


I'm very happy to announce Up Up Down Down: Side Projects That Give Us Extra Life, a mini conference-like event I'm putting together in a few weeks at Commonwealth Cambridge. I've been toying with the idea of putting together something like this for a year or two, so I'm excited it's finally coming together. There are currently 3 speakers, Carolyn Sewell, Darius Kazemi, and Chris Piascik, but very shortly more will be announced. The idea of a day of talks dedicated to side projects appeals to me because everything I've got going on is a side project. The projects that make up the bulk of my income still feel like side projects because I'm (luckily) never stuck working on one thing too long. That's how it feels anyway. A lot of the people I know have other stuff going on, and I was lucky enough to convince them to come talk to us.

Whiskey Rebellion is another event I've wanted to do for a long time. It's a showcase of American brown spirits, mostly rye and bourbon, but also some American single malts. Whiskey Rebellion tickets went on sale today and sold out in a few hours, but the first 20 people who buy a ticket to Up Up Down Down will get a free ticket to Whiskey Rebellion, too. UUDD attendees will also get lunch and probably some snacks and/or beer. That's still up in the air.

The UUDD name is a nod to the Konami code and the extra lives the code gets (got) you in Contra. And like most my events, I came up with the name before really having an idea for the format of the event. Thanks to Kevin, Garrett, Sarah, and even Richard, actually to pretty much anyone I talked in the last three months, for helping give shape to UUDD. Special thanks to Andrew Simone for the yeomen web design and to Chris Piascik for the logo.

Please let me know if you have any questions. It would be great if you came out!