Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
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Friday, December 17, 2021

It’s been confirmed: Scotland is gorging itself on deep-fried Mars Bars.

You know what I bet would go great with these? That old Scot standby, haggis. A steady diet of those two delicacies should shrink your lifespan quicker than the Super Size Me regimen would.

It’s nutritionally negligible, but take note: The “Mars Bar” sold in Europe is known in the U.S. as Milky Way. Basically, the only difference between this and the American Mars Bar is the presence of almonds. And I hate almonds, deep-fried or not.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/17/2004 02:40pm
Category: Food, Society
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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Coca-Cola is brewing up some new libations for 2005:

During a Thursday conference call with analysts, President and Chief Executive Office John R. Alm said the new products are an energy drink called Full Throttle, additional Dasani water flavors, and an unnamed innovation in regular soft drinks that will be announced next year.

“Unnamed innovation”? It sounds ominous. Maybe they’re going to rip off the SmoothPour idea.

Alas, for all this flash and dash, I know Liz is disappointed over the lack of a chocolate-flavored Coke.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/16/2004 06:06pm
Category: Business, Food
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Monday, December 13, 2021

stickin' it to the man
I’ve heard of the “pot sticker” as a delicious Asian-style dumpling.

I had not heard of the “pot sticker” as a series of sales labels for bags of marijuana from the California Homegrowers Association in 1982.

Either way, now I’m hungry.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/13/2004 08:55pm
Category: Food, Pop Culture
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Rookie quarterback sensation “Big” Ben Roethlisberger is 12-0 as an NFL starter, taking the Steelers faithful by storm.

As a sign of appreciation — not to mention retail capitalization — eateries around Pittsburgh have added a “Roethlis-burger” to their menus:

Brentwood Express is selling the “Ben Roethlis-burger,” which comes with bacon, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and cheddar and provolone cheeses.

Then there’s Peppi’s on the North Side, which sells the “Roethlisburger,” a combination of beef, sausage, scrambled eggs and American cheese. It costs $7, matching his jersey number.

Sounds like this cholesterol megaton-bomb would meet the hearty approval of the creators of the Food Nazi.

The addition of those eggs in the Peppi’s version brings to mind the on-field quarterback scramble play…

And of course, in deference to the Steelers’ home stadium, you can’t properly eat your Roethlis-burger without a healthy dollop of Heinz (regardless of your ketchup affiliation).

You’d think the rookie would be concerned about this unauthorized co-opting of his currently-hot name. But, while his people are working at building Roethlisberger into a marketable star, they’re not concerned about the wildcat delicacies:

“We’ll let it run for a little while, since it’s funny more than anything,” [agent Leigh] Steinberg said. “You can get into policing it, but we probably wouldn’t do that unless a major chain started doing something.”

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 12/13/2004 07:22pm
Category: Food, Football
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Sunday, December 12, 2021

In a potential foreshadowing of a shift in global political and economic influence, advances in agronomy and land reform are turning South America into a new breadbasket. Brazil is the main stage for this transformation, but neighboring countries are also benefitting.

Why does this matter? A key part of the United States’ rise to hegemony in the 20th Century was its abundance of food products. Using surplus food as a bargaining chip is a huge advantage when dealing with the developing world. Feeding hungry mouths overseas creates political capital, which helps secure entry into those markets. America’s dominant advantage in this area has been a given for so many decades that it’s just taken for a given now.

Competition from Latin America in food exports represents a challenge in the international arena. As countries in Asia and Africa further develop in the 21st Century, they may have options other than the U.S. and its standard food-aid packages. If Brazil or Argentina supplants American influence in those zones, they can help promote markets for companies based in their countries. Suddenly, it’s a race for resources and markets.

None of this would occur in a vacuum, of course. Ties between Washington and Latin America are strong, and being strengthened by formal trade treaties and informal ties. Other players like Europe, China and Japan also factor in. And cooperative initiatives could prevail over direct confrontations. Still, developments like this always hold the possibility of fundamental new courses, which could manifest themselves dramatically in American society over the next quarter-century.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 12/12/2021 07:04pm
Category: Food, Political, Science
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Saturday, December 11, 2021

come back, one year!
I guess the Soup Nazi didn’t go into exile in Argentina after all. Recast as the “Food Nazi”, he’s in a commercial for The Center for Consumer Freedom.

The CCF is an extreme-o deregulation group that apparently wants to do away with the Food and Drug Administration, so that we can clog our arteries with Hardee’s Monster Thick Burgers without governmental impediments. Fighting for your right to deep-fry, as it were.

You can’t blame Larry Thomas, the actor who played the character on “Seinfeld”, for milking it. He’s reprised the persona in commercials for TBS, and probably has gotten other gigs solely because of it too. According to IMDb, he had an official website set up called LarryThomasTheSoupNazi.com. However, as of this writing, it’s defunct, and when I checked the URL, it wasn’t even registered; so I’m guessing that’s an error on IMDb’s part.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 12/11/2021 11:58am
Category: Advert./Mktg., Food, TV
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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Not chic enough to do that chi-chi South Beach Diet? Then the Minnesota-born Northwoods Diet may be more your style.

I’d love to reference Soundgarden’s “Outshined” here, as the famously-strained lyric “I’m looking California / But feeling Minnesota” would fit oh-so-well in this context. Unfortunately, South Beach is in Florida, not Cali. (Too bad there’s not a Long Beach Diet.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/09/2021 07:37pm
Category: Food, Pop Culture, Society
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Friday, December 03, 2021

Having grown up within a stone’s throw of West Point, you hear a lot of oddities about the Academy on the Hudson. Among the more famous ones was that various ghosts, including that of one-time cadet Edgar Allan Poe, haunted the campus (although it seems that Poe’s ghost actually spooks Virginia’s Fort Monroe).

While surfing through Blog Explosion earlier this afternoon, I came across a blog (I stupidly didn’t bookmark it) that reminded me of one of the other peculiarities about the place. Thanks to the longstanding grudge against one Benedict Arnold, students at West Point don’t eat eggs Benedict for breakfast — they eat “eggs MacArthur“.

Too bad the “Benedict” in those eggs doesn’t refer to America’s favorite traitor. Besides, isn’t two and a quarter centuries kinda long to hold a grudge?

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 12/03/2021 05:24pm
Category: Food, History
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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

A restaurant that serves nothing but name-brand cereal? Yep. Seemingly just the ticket for this Peter-Pan society we live in.

So what’s the business plan?

Co-founders David Roth and Rick Bacher opened the first Cereality, a 200-square-foot kiosk in Arizona State University’s student union, last year. Besides the 1,500-square-foot Philadelphia cafe in the middle of Penn’s retail district, the Boulder, Colo.-based company wants to open more than a dozen Cerealities next year on campuses, hospital lobbies, airports and office buildings.

“We don’t see this as (solely) a college concept, we see this as being relevant to the 95% of the American public that eats cereal,” Roth said. If college students — “the most cynical market we can go after” — like it, Roth’s confident that office workers and travelers will like it too.

News flash, boys: That “cynical market” also consumes ungodly amounts of Pabst Blue Ribbon every week. I wouldn’t bet the rent on the consumer sensibilities of that crowd.

Then again, maybe there’s something useful to be gained from this cereal insanity:

Between bites of hot oatmeal with cranberries and almonds, Penn junior Alpha Mengistu, 20, said Cereality offered more than a quick carb- and sugar-load.

“I think this would be a good place for a date,” she said. “You could learn a lot about a person by what cereal they choose.”

Hmmm… It’s as good an indicator as I’ve ever seen. Like, I don’t know if I could ever date a girl who prefers Peanut Butter Crunch. But one who digs Cookie Crisp? Come home to poppa, babe!

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 12/01/2021 08:41pm
Category: Food, Society
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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Hurricanes here in Florida, torrential rains in California, pestilence in Mexico: They’ve all conspired to create a national tomato shortage, leading to poor quality and prohibitively high prices.

How high?

Feola’s Pasta Factory in Largo is going to start offering a cup of soup to customers who forgo a tomato slice on their sandwiches. J. Alexanders in Tampa, which boycotted tomatoes for a short time, is reluctantly bringing them back.

McDonald’s, Subway and Taco Bell haven’t raised prices or cut back the tomatoes on their products, but at least one fast-food giant is taking steps to cut costs. Last week, Wendy’s put up notices at its 6,500 locations saying tomatoes would be available on sandwiches only upon request.

The idea of having to actually request tomato on your sandwich cheers me no end. Why? Because I hate tomatoes, with a passion. So every time I eat out, I have to order my burger or sandwich and specifically request that no tomato be added. And no means no, as in: No putting the tomato on, then removing it, thereby leaving a disgusting residue of tomato juices. I don’t want it anywhere near my dish, period.

Thanks to this development, the tables have turned. So now, the greater tomato-loving world will have to experience the bother I do, in having to make a specific request for their perfect dish. And I can order a Wendy’s chicken sandwich from the drive-thru window without worrying about an unwelcomed tomato lurking under that bun.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/30/2004 09:35pm
Category: Business, Food
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Saturday, October 30, 2021

straight up
It’s far from comprehensive, but tbt* has a little roundup of notable martini offerings in Bay area nightspots.

Some of these “specialty” drinks… I mean, come on: Strawberry Shortcake martini, with ice cream and pureed berries? You don’t belong in a bar if you’re drinking that, you belong at the nearest Ben & Jerry’s, spiking your sundae with shots from your smuggled-in fifth of Jack.

I don’t mind downing a kooky chocolate-laced concoction on occasion, but generally, I stick with the traditional gin or vodka (gin 80 percent of the time), hint of vermouth and speared garnish. Any variations can come from standard bar ingredients.

Actually, one of my favorite martini options used to be available at The Rare Olive in Ybor. It was actually just a particular choice of garnish: Instead of the staid olives or cocktail onions, they offered a pickled baby octopus for soaking in your gin/vodka. Tasty! And damned chewy. More importantly, it was quite the conversation-starter. Sadly, the last time I tried to order it, a couple of years ago, they no longer had it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/30/2004 06:45pm
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Yes, the carb-free diet works on kitty-cats too, as Fidget the feline dropped half his body weight by going on a “Catkins” regimen.

What did you think I meant? Pervert.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/20/2004 09:56pm
Category: Food
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Friday, October 15, 2021

Love your java, but not the caffeine rush that comes with it? Never fear, science is here: Researchers at Emory University are developing bacteria that would eat the caffeine out of coffee plants, leading to “naturally” decaffeinated beans.

There’s some level of irony in Emory doing this, since it owes it’s university status to one of the world’s biggest caffeine fixes: Coca-Cola.

I guess those bacteria bugs will have the permanent shakes due to this bioengineering. Bad enough being a lower life form, but to be perpetually wired, too…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/15/2004 05:24pm
Category: Food, Science
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Saturday, October 02, 2021

I invited my friends Tom and Amber (and their infant, Kaya) to downtown St. Pete today to have lunch at India Grill (scroll down). It’s a new restaurant in an old space; it was formerly occupied by an Austro-German (self-described) eatery called Cafe Vienna.

The food was okay. I was surprised that it served beef — that seems anathema for Indian cuisine (I guess some Indian restaurants do, and some don’t, depending on their market). We all indulged in the modest buffet that was set up, with lots of different curries and stuff like tandoori chicken. I especially liked the long-grain rice. Chief complaint: Fairly tiny drink glasses, which we kept draining well ahead of the wait staff’s ability to refresh.

All through the meal, I kept glancing at the decor, which was dominated by woodwork. I got the feeling it was still in transition, but couldn’t really put my finger on it.

Then, when we got up to leave, I looked back at the picture that was hanging behind me the whole time. It was an illustration of a Baroque-like German language public-notice poster. I looked at the picture that was hanging on the adjacent wall, and noticed it was a peasant/burgher scene from Middle Europe.

So it hit me: India Grill’s owners hadn’t taken down all of the Cafe Vienna stuff! In an Indian restaurant, you’re surrounded by portraits of Wolfgang Mozart and the like (I noticed the Mozart portrait, and somehow assumed it was of an Indian man — d’oh!).

Assuming the place is successful, I’m sure they’ll get around to taking down the last vestiges of the former occupants and replace them with more congruent pieces. Until then, it’s a hell of a juxtaposition: Eating a lunch of curry chicken while eyeing Austrian-inspired wall hangings.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/02/2021 07:36pm
Category: Florida Livin', Food
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Friday, October 01, 2021

Behold the Indoor Picnic, as offered by Stump’s Supper Club:

A bucket of Fried Chicken, Stump’s Pulled Pork BBQ, Country Fried Steak and a Full-Stump of BBQ Ribs, family style servings of four Southern Sides and cornbread. Serves four persons.

Feed your table of four for just a shade over fifty bucks. A true gastrointestinal adventure, I’m sure.

My coworker alerted me to this smorgasborg of fried goodness. She’s especially impressed with the whole bucket of fried chicken. It seems that whenever she and her husband go out to Stump’s with another couple, the men insist upon ordering this item. They even joke about ordering two of them.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 10/01/2021 04:54pm
Category: Food
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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Feeling a little gooey inside? It’s probably because of all that cheese you’re putting away, my fellow American — more than 30 pounds a year, according to a handy industry survey commissioned by the California Milk Advisory Board.

In light of this, I think we need to revise that “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” jab we reserve for the French. And stop ordering extra cheese on our pizzas.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/22/2004 04:16pm
Category: Food, Society
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Monday, September 20, 2021

hell with the lid off
Blondelibrarian is a Coke fiend, and she’s okay with that.

I currently drink more soda (not pop) than I should — an average of two cans a day, usually Coke. It’s far less than I used to drink, especially while growing up; I clearly recall downing something like a six-pack per day while in high school (back when my skinny-boy metabolism could still process that amount of crap). It’s the same old excuse: It just seems to be the easiest option, especially during a working lunch and such. Combine that with the overdose of caffeine from all the tea I drink on weekdays, and it’s a questionable liquid diet.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/20/2004 08:13pm
Category: Food
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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Tampa Bay, get ready to slurp up some Bad Ass Coffee.

I was going to include the logo of The Bad Ass Coffee Company of Hawaii (which is actually headquartered in Utah). But frankly, it’s a pretty lame logo, so I don’t want to waste my bandwith on it. The company itself looks pretty shifty as well, so I’m not counting on it putting Starbucks, or anyone else, out of business.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/15/2004 08:17pm
Category: Business, Food
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Monday, September 13, 2021

Is it soda? Is it pop? Is it Coke, even?

Far more demographic information than you’d ever want on the subject. Of course, despite the statistical jargon and academic allusions, the site collects its data via highly unscientific methods, so take it all with a heavy dash of salt.

Not to mention that the conclusion they come to is dead wrong: It’s soda, hands down. “Pop” is an idiotic Midwestern concept, and “Coke” for anything with bubbles in it is too provincial to take seriously.

(Via Follow Me Here…)

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/13/2004 10:30pm
Category: Food, Society
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Thursday, September 09, 2021

When the Beef Council introduced cheeseburger fries a year ago, Director of New Product Development Betty Hogan conveyed these sentiments:

“We want beef in dessert if we can get it there.”

Those words proved to be prophetic, for cheeseburger-flavored ice cream has been realized — in Venezuela, along with the other 811 (and counting) flavors at the Heladeria Coromoto ice cream parlor.

There is smoked trout-flavored ice cream and tuna ice cream, along with shrimp, squid, ham and cheese, meat, whiskey, beer, champagne, wine, crab, rice, pumpkin, roses, black beans, ginger, asparagus, chili, spaghetti and cheese, garlic and corn - and many more.

The garlic ice cream carries a sharp, strong taste like, well, garlic. The black bean flavor looks like thick, dark goo but tastes like black beans, but much sweeter.

You can spot little chunks of white tuna in the tuna ice cream, and the meat ice cream is made from something akin to mashed filet mignon.

“The key is that we use no chemicals,” said [store owner Manuel Da Silva Oliveira], who works the cash register and clearly relishes his quirky fame. “It’s all natural. If you eat the spaghetti with cheese ice cream, it has real spaghetti and cheese in it.”

Given the breadth and depth of flavors, could you make a meal out of the right combination of scoops? You sure can:

Some customers are looking to score a quick meal by mixing and matching flavors.

One popular combination is shrimp and beer ice cream. Dried fish and potatoes is another favorite double scoop. One local asks every day for cazuela de mariscos, or seafood stew, a Venezuelan staple.

“I make it with five balls of different fish flavors,” explained Oliveira, who charges about 50 cents per scoop.

But of course, all of Oliveira’s avocado and orange-blossom infusing skills wouldn’t be worth a thing if he couldn’t also cook up a Viagra-inspired scoop of frozen goodness:

“There is no Viagra in it, but there are two aphrodisiacs - honey and pollen,” explained Oliveira.

How effective is it? “I have just taken a small bite of Viagra and it’s given me incredible strength,” read one note posted in the shop.

I’m thinking the same thing you’re thinking: Watch out, Ben & Jerry!

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/09/2021 09:34pm
Category: Food
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bottoms up
You’d have to like martinis a lot to devote an entire website to them.

Of course, if I were to devote an entire website to them, I’d take care to not litter it throughout with atrocious spelling and grammar. Image is everything, after all — straight-up or on the rocks.

The other thing that hurts the site’s credibility: It avows devotion to a perfect martini — yet considers the recipe of said “perfect martini” (even the URL for “recipe” is misspelled, Christ) to be that of… a vodka martini.

Vodka. Are you kidding me? I don’t mind an occasional vodka martini, or vodka in general. But when you’re talking about the ideal martini, in all its splendor, it’s gin all the way, baby.

Still, warts and all, A Perfect Martini is local, based out of Tampa Bay. So I’ll give them the linkage (in this post only).

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/09/2021 07:48pm
Category: Food
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