Jenny Famewhore

Be still my heart

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on February 23, 2010

On Eric’s visit last weekend, we ate up Boston. Ate it all up. The experience was akin to those multiple orgasms that leaves you dizzy from all the blood rushing away from the brain towards more sensual organs, like the stomach.

I want to go back to languishing at: Orinoco in Brookline (Venezuelan), Helmand in Cambridge (Afghan), Neptune Oyster in the North End (Oyster bar), Sibling Rivalry in Back Bay (New American), and Sel de la Terre on Newbury Street (American).

I’ll let these photos write my thousand words for me: (click an image for slide show & commentary)

Yeah. Just hold on a sec. Need to get these pants undid.

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Thursday in the Heights: The Armaggedon Burger

Posted in Recipes by Jenny Famewhore on February 11, 2010

The Armageddon Burger

By Jenny Liu

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Originally Titled, "French Toast- Bacon Apple Turkey-Burger"

It is your last meal on earth. In these hours of armageddon, what will you eat?

I contemplated this for a while, and after toying with the concept of combining filet mignon, foie gras, and caviar into one expensive last stand, I instead determined that for a final meal, it would be more appropriate to salute America, the country whose fruitful bounty has sustained my past 20 years of existence. In keeping with the American spirit, this dish must be excessive. It should also include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for the opportunity to experience all three, one last time.

Those who are faint of heart or morally opposed to carnivorous feeding frenzies, you may want to cover your eyes.

It is irrelevant where the burger was invented and who served it first. What matters is that a burger is synonymous with the American food identity. But instead of the usual beef patties, it was only natural to include turkey and apples, as food items entrenched in American folklore with the pilgrims and Johnny Appleseed. Remember him? Who knew that his legacy would one day include inspiring recipes for heart attacks?

Instead of buns, let’s be daring and replace them with French toast, smothered in eggs and bacon grease. Did I forget to mention that there is bacon? Yes, before anything, it should be sizzling on that stove with the noble purpose of seasoning the pan with its grease for the egg-soaked bread and applesauce-infused turkey patties that are waiting to leap into that bath of piggy essence.

When the bacon, French toast, and turkey patties are cooked, assemble them in the way that is most logical to you, adding the condiments and cheese, of the American variety of course. Sprinkle the confectioner’s sugar over the French toast buns and liberally douse it in maple syrup — “like the Niagara” would be a suitable simile in this context. It would be wise to eat this monster of a burger with utensils, but then again, caution is for survivors.

After that, maybe down a few antacid tablets to ensure that the acid heart reflux will not interfere with the final pleasure of such decadence. Just in case.

You know you’re curious about how this baby was formed, continue here: http://www.bcheights.com/arts/the-scene/the-armageddon-burger-1.1124573

Btdubs, I wanna know, what would y’all eat in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

Starbuck’s Clover coffee

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on January 30, 2010

Tokyo, April 2009

I will admit that I have this shameful habit of ducking into a Starbucks to sip a saccharine, spicy chai latte, with foamy whole milk or a creamy caramel macchiato on the occasion. I should feel twinges of guilty when I go, “wee,” when the red holiday cups make its seasonal debut, or when I walked into a Starbucks in Tokyo in March and April to find sakura pastries and strawberry frappes with pink and white swirls. Pretty.

Starbucks is so prevalent in the landscape of big cities, that sometimes, I miss it when I don’t find a store across from a store, cannibalizing each other. I even get angry when I really, really, REALLY need to pee, and I can’t find one within a block and I have to resort to using the restroom at, ugh, a McDonalds. Their job is to be everywhere, isn’t it?

It’s frustrating how it’s always crowded no matter how many stores there are in the city, and when Starbucks announced that it would close a few hundred stores in NYC a few years ago, the Times sarcastically wrote, “Now, New Yorkers will ONLY have 10,000 branches to choose from.” These stores never kick anyone out either, which serves as a great procrastination space to gossip with friends, cut class, and beg the barista for free whipped cream.

Yet, the company is so evil and so sinister, that it has conditioned college students to associate their brand with the delights of coffee, caffeine, and class by embedding themselves in the dining halls (“we serve Starbucks coffee”) and using whatever currency system the university accepts. Then, when everyone graduates, they will naturally gravitate towards the same provider of liquid stimulant that they have relied on for the last four years. (more…)

New York, Je t’aime

Posted in New York by Jenny Famewhore on October 26, 2009

Like the compendium of vignettes in the newly released film, New York, I love you, my eating activities on my weekend back in my beloved town was precisely like that: a little bit downtown and a little bit of uptown.

We started in Tribeca, the old high school ‘hood– walking past Terry’s where I used to buy a turkey, brie, and avocado on a french baguette and devour it down the end of the street at Battery Park. I had not had one since graduation, and I am unsure whether my constant praises of it is biased by nostalgia or whether it was actually a blissful polygamous marriage of rich, milky cheese,  generous heapings of select deli cuts,  and crispy fresh bread.

Terry's, by Google

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Godzilla burgers

Posted in Tokyo by Jenny Famewhore on October 25, 2009
Windows 7 burger from Burger King Japan

Windows 7 Whopper from Burger King Japan

The Whopper has a special place in my heart. Despite being extremely handicapped in terms of quality and flavor (unless you count the flavor of Heinz, the perennial hallmark of all fast food burgers,) the Burger King Whopper represents my Saturdays between the age of 11 and 14, where my father would futilely educate me on Chinese reading and then take me to the Burger King by our house for lunch every week without fail. I don’t know why we went so often– I disliked their food almost as much as I disliked being mind-raped by the weekly 50 Chinese characters/Kanji I was forced to memorize.

The limited edition Whopper, exclusive to Japan and only for seven days, consists of the usual whopper fixin’s pimped with 7 beef patties, each 113 grams. That is 1.74 lbs total of far below-mediocre meat processed into unnaturally gray, extremely dry hockey pucks of bovine product. It’s a monstrosity that the first 30 customers get to savor for ¥777 ($8.55), and the subsequent masochists can buy it for double the price.

"Beef Heaven"

I showed it to my roommates yesterday, excitedly watching for their reactions, and they cried, “How do those Japanese people finish it all? They’re all so thin!” Deja-vu. I had wondered the same, when the McDonald’s MegaMac (another exclusively Japanese product) was released in 2007. 2 Big Macs, 1 burger. So heinous that I could not stand to simply live vicariously through that ad– I had to experience it for myself.

It was bad, bad, bad. Never had I wished so much for a bucket of ketchup and mayo so that the extra-dry patties would actually make it down my throat. My digestive tract was probably plotting mutiny, and based on the utter disappointment that is the MegaMac, which is minor league by comparison, the Whopper 7 is the icon of artery abuse and dietary guilt. This is the point in history where all good judgement come to die.

Might want to avoid these series of Franken-burgers.

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MegaMac, September 2008, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Riddle me this: Is Japan surpassing America at its obesity game?

Thursday in the Heights: Houston’s

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on October 22, 2009

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I had been meaning to go to Houston’s/Hillstone for a few weeks (for food, for career research, for writing), so I lured Larissa into being my partner in crime with promises of expensive wine and Frank Bruni (departing NYT critic) approved burgers, and it wasn’t until last Monday 5pm, did we go on our restauranting date. 40 minutes later, we were in downtown Boston, and two hours later, we were still noshing on sandwiches of the lard-laden beef variety, triple-dipping our thin-cut fries in wasabi dressing, drinking the sweet bounty of Napa Valley, schmoozing with the staff, and getting lectured on the psychology of men by a 40 year old antique (read: used) cars salesman.

(Thank you, Larissa, for being my pillar of strength!!!)

Admittedly, I was kind of nervous. Who knew there was as much prep-work and depth of thought involved in grilling other people as there is in being interviewed yourself.

I had read all the reviews on Houston’s on menupages, NY Mag, Citysearch, industry zines, hospitality student blogs– everything within the first 300 results on Google was under my radar. I went in with enormous expectations– a loftiness usually associated with NASA space experiments; it was almost unfair.

On that note, this is my first published restaurant review in the BC newspaper, The Heights! While I was back in New York City this weekend on fooding adventures with Eric, someone (in the industry?) playfully asked us, “so which one of you is a food writer?” Eric laughingly replied, “Well, we both are.”  Word.

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Cereal: I am so confused

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on October 14, 2009

If I had to predict, 70% of students (seniors/juniors who have kitchens and no college meal plan; slumming it in the real world) earlier this morning, rolled out of bed, and poured themselves a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Maybe even jazzed it up with some milk. Inhaled that crunchy, slightly soggy, sugary delight. I did the same, at noon, but it was a first this semester. Eating cereal, that is, not waking up at noon. I had even bought my own $3 box of Kashi’s honey toasted oat cereal at Walmart (Yes, I went to Walmart. Also another first.) It took three seconds. Burnt 3 calories making it.

It’s really not good.

IMG_4724Look at this. It’s like doggy kibbles– the same artificially molded, brownish gray, crunchy and requiring back molars to pulverize into a powdery dust containing 1g of soluble fiber, 100mg of green tea, 25mg of grape seed, 4g of protein, 95mg of potassium, 85mg of sodium, and 5g of sugar. Then there are the small print ingredient items. The name of the product has more natural ingredients than the actual cereal contains.

Addressing the elephant in the room… WHAT IS CEREAL?

Seriously. What are you?

You’re so processed, my brain can’t wrap itself around your existence. Does anyone else find you kind of creepy? You don’t need to be refrigerated, and have a shelf-life of 6 months. Not only that, but I also get hungry again 20 minutes after I’ve eaten you. You dominate an entire aisle in the supermarkets. Real food like oranges have to deal with sharing their space with the bananas. You’re easy. Too easy. You’re the “I overslept” food. You’re the “food I bought because it was a complete meal in itself for $3.” Explain yourself.

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Moved to Boston, ate some stuff

Posted in Boston by Jenny Famewhore on September 13, 2009

The top five things I learned about food this week:

1. Soul Fire BBQ, on Harvard Ave/Beacon Street has All You Can Eat WINGS! on Mondays for 6.99 dolla dolla billz. If Jean-Georges ever have a tabehoudai (食べ放題) of Seared Skate, this is the wings equivalent– mild exaggeration, but they produce just as much happiness points on my satisfaction curve. Under cost-benefit analysis: benefits for the win!, because these wings are unbelievably juicy (the drumsticks are less so, but still does the job) and available in four delicious homemade sauces: (ordered in descending favorites) Pit-Boss (a Soul Fire blend of bbq and a sweet n’ sour sauce); Spicy Honey; Golden BBQ; and Buffalo. Every Monday! Who! Is! With me?!

2. In a perfect universe, I would never order again at Mickey D’s in America (especially having more than my fill in Tokyo, and under peer pressure from my America-lovin’-European-friends)– but I can still watch, in abject horror, Victor do a midnight drive-thru McMassacre on this new (new to me at least, the recently re-patriot’ed) Franken-burger:

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The McGangBang.

I don’t really care enough  to remember the official name or google the ingredients composing this monstrosity, but it’s like a turducken: two beef patties flanking a breaded chicken patty, with tasteless iceberg lettuce (that may or may not have been there. Might have hallucinated it just so my mind does not explode from the overwhelming mental image of lotsa bad meat) and condiments.

IMG_44473. IHOPS still cannot poach eggs. No surprise.

4. Ghirardelli brownies made from the box (with cream cheese added) is a 4AM munchies staple.

5. Eggplants in America are LARGE. At least 5 times larger than their Japanese counterpart. This is not necessarily a metaphor for other things.

Referenced Locations:

Soul fire BBQ
182 Harvard Ave
Allston, MA 02134-2806
(617) 787-3003

Shake Shack: what all other burgers aspire to be

Posted in New York by Jenny Famewhore on September 1, 2009

Burger and Ice Cream, those words are already repeating itself like a mantra chanted by Buddhist monks at five in the morning at a temple in the Himalayas. Except that my backdrop is Madison Square Park on a cloudless blue summer afternoon. I prance up to the Shake Shack line to meet Lisa Famewhore, who is already clutching a bag of Shake Shack cheese fries and saving me a spot on the twenty person deep line. Almost immediately, my vision locks into her cup of Berry Blue ice cream, and on cue, she spoons a bite-ful of intensely blueberry flavored, milky, frosty delicious into my mouth. My eyes rolls upwards and I moaned, “MMMM, SO GOOD!” to my audience of two women behind us, who had completely halted their conversation to watch this entire exchange, and the very intently staring man in front of us who (according to TJ and his male instincts) had thought bubbles visibly emanating, “mmm, yeah, so good, that’s right. You lick that ice cream off that spoon. Now, lick each other.”

Honestly, Shake Shack is SO good, it doesn’t even require two Asian girls and borderline lesbian food play to market it. Just look at this. Instantaneous mental food-gasm. The golden ratio redefined into: 2 butter-coated buns, 1 crunchy fresh lettuce, 1 thick ripe slice of organic tomato, 1 secret sauce (my kryptonite in any food menu. Just write ‘secret sauce’ and my curiosity drives me to own it) and primo-meat (“a proprietary blend of beef by Pat LaFrieda.”)

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Every single Shake Shack Burger consumed, past and present, undoes the heinous evil of Really Bad Burgers (such as the tragic fail that is the McDonald’s Mega Mac exclusively made for Japan.) It’s like every tasty molecule is dying for our gastronomic sins. Imagine, Jesus times 300 units of energy.

Orion, my Confederate-expat (or in more P.C. terms, “Southern”) friend who entertained aspirations of culinary stardom before it was crushed by the economic shitstorm, formerly worked at the second Shake Shack on the Upper West Side where he’d punish French people for being French by forcing them to babble on in their hated language English, make eyes at the gay head-waiter at Dovetail across the street, and receive severe Shake Shack discounts as an employee. He still luuuuurves Shake Shack burgers; which is the most genuine form of compliment anyone can give as an insider to this industry (another acquaintance who had formerly worked at McDonalds, to preserve his sanity, became a vegetarian for 5 years.) Tragically, Orion has since quit, which leaves him nothing but dead to me (jaykay.)

Referenced Locations:

Shake Shack
Madison Ave and East 23rd St.
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600