Year In Review: Top 10 Squid Ink Stories of 2010
Next Friday evening, 2010 will tick away its final seconds taking with it 365 days of restaurant openings, (Test Kitchen, Chick-fil-A, A-Frame) and closings (R.I.P. Anisette, Grace), food truck controversy, farmer's market battles, and Top 10 compilations of everything from the foodie words we hate the most to our favorite zombie, alien, and Star Wars cakes. It's with a twinge of nostalgia that we recap Squid Ink's top posts of 2010, giving all of us a chance to revisit stories that were good, bad and just plain rude.
Much like television eateries, where food takes a backseat to the action, bars and over-21 establishments on TV aren't the place to discuss oatmeal vs. imperial stouts, how 2005 Saint-Émilions are drinking, or the merits of different aromatics and botanicals in small batch gins. They run the gamut from happy to sad places, where characters can both celebrate personal victories and wallow in setbacks. That's what friends and alcohol are for.
Who among us can claim that Homer's axiomatic "Mmmm" refrain -- mmmm, forbidden donut; mmmm, free goo; mmmm, invisible cola; mmmm, various eggs; mmmm, organized crime -- hasn't inspired very real cravings? Here we have our top 10 Simpsons food references in honor of the approaching finale of the series' unprecedented 21st season. It's part of a complete breakfast (jagged metal KrustyO not included).
A licensed product of America's own Hershey Company, the American Kit Kat is a timeless chocolate bar. It's sturdy and brown, like the logs that built Lincoln's cabin and equally exciting. Yet overseas, and in the rest of the Kit Kat-eating world, the bar is made by the Swiss corporation Nestle, which, in the last decade, has introduced more than 200 flavors of Kit Kat -- just in Japan. Aside from regional flavors like soy sauce, pickled plum, buttered corn and wasabi (which are rarely available outside Japan), national flavors are often sold in L.A.'s Japanese markets. These flavors are frequently introduced on a limited time basis, and not just for the sake of a gimmick (though there are plenty of those too). They pay tribute to athletic competitions, holidays, popular beverages, even religious ceremonies. So "take a break," and enjoy this list of the top ten Kit Kat flavors you've probably never tried.
Kit Kat Kinako Ohagi
You may have left college eating habits behind, but passing the canned food section at Ralphs leaves you feeling nostalgic for your freshman year. From Hot Pockets to dirt cheap beer, we've put together a list of our favorite college food habits.
Presented here for your edification, the 10 most disgusting alien chest-burster cakes in the galaxy. They are listed in order of ascending grossness. Let's eat!
Photo via Octopunk, a.k.a. Jeff Cross
The Burger Wars have taken a whole new direction. Like maybe into cultural irony, although that's expecting a lot from a fast food chain. Burger King has just aired -- on YouTube, as a preview to hitting the mainstream airways -- three new ads made specifically for their Middle Eastern audience featuring the same group of young people at a Saudi Arabian Burger King: two Arab men and two American women whom they've clearly just met. The women are idiots. ("You know I have a neighbor and he has a sandpit? But I know it's not like really the same thing.") The men play along with their clueless procession of stereotypes. Everybody's making fun of everybody else simultaneously, we think, and thus increasing both general good will and burger sales. Have It Your Way: It's either hilarious or deeply depressing.
Rude Food Names is an e-magazine that compiles pre-packaged international foodstuffs with unfortunate labels. While some products like Spermies, Seagull Poo and Camel Balls are intentional, most are simple casualties of translation, like Ghana's Pee Cola and Japan's Homo Sausage. Warning: Not for the easily offended.
Rude Food Names
Unless you've been living under a rock -- or in line at LudoBites 6.0 -- you may have heard that McDonald's McRib sandwich is back. The story seems to be everywhere: in national magazines, in local newsletters, and there's even a McRib Locator where fans of the sandwich report recent "sightings" of the eagerly anticipated menu item. Since we're not typically ones to trade our gastropub grass-fed beef for the processed fast food variety, we visited four L.A.-area McDonald's and quizzed drive-through employees about what's in the McRib, why it's so popular and exactly how the boneless meat achieves its signature "rib" shape.
Will you see Hello Kitty at your next AA meeting? She does have a wine now. Fortunately, Drew Hibbert, CEO of Innovation Spirits (which will be marketing the wine here in the United States) took the time to answer some of our pressing questions about cats and alcohol. And, no, you cat-haters out there, it will not taste like cat pee.
Here's a terrific photo, tweeted to us by @valeriesee, a reader with a sense of humor. The owner of this unidentified coffee shop also seems to have a pretty good sense of humor, perhaps less so than the DCFS, which would probably get notified before any unattended kids got their espresso, puppy, drum and profanity lesson. Too bad the offer doesn't apply to unattended, under-caffeinated grownups. If anyone can ID the coffee shop, let us know. We like puppies as much as espresso, and we're always on the lookout for more vocabulary.
Get the Squid Ink'd Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly food newsletter, which features top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips and a link to our print review.