Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New Banner! Bourgeois Products...Proletariat Prices!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Nutty Nutritionist

I was watching my post-Idol, post-House, post-Law and Order SVU, post-Veronica Mars (at least for part of the season jesus Tuesday was a big night for me and Charto for a while) show, My Life On The D-list, tonight. Kathy Griffin as a poor-man's Ryan Seacrest, she would find that rich. I love the feud between her and Ryan, because most guys in my life, no matter how gay they find Seacrestina (TM Television Without Pity) and they mostly do still find him gay, side 100% with Ryan in the feud. Guys just do not like Kathy. Except of course for her gays.

Anyway, she's trying to lose 10 pounds for some stupid article that Star Magazine is doing and she hired this guy that the TV show captioned "The Nutty Nutriotionist." So I spent about 5 minutes googling the nutty nutritionist, before I figured out that probably wasn't his brand name, it was just the silly caption that the wacky producers used. Although The Nutty Nutritionist is kind of a funny name for a nutritionist.

But he didn't seem particularily funny. He advised Kathy to eat lots of twigs and berries, and he brought her a bag of groceries from Trader Joe's. In one of those hippy paper bags that I hate so much. Why do they keep pushing those awful paper bags? Those seriously have to be bad for the environment, just think of all the trees that give their life for those extra thick Trader Joe's paper bags.

I'm still waiting for TJs to make it mandatory that their customers bring their own bags. They are getting one step closer to that goal by giving everyone who brings their own bags in a chance to enter a raffle. I've entered that damn raffle three times and I don't think they have done the drawing yet. What is up with that TJs? You are just giving away a bag of groceries, which can't be more than $30. Unless some packs their groceries filled with really expensive steaks.

I do need to take a moment to acknowledge Kartik, who commented back awhile on my post about the canvas bags. Yup you were totally right about the canvas bags. They have totally gotten gross. I finally had to retire two of them to the laundry. And there is probably no laundry detergent that is actually going to clean them up that well. So I'm just going to have to tote around grungy canvas bags. And get snooty looks from all the dirty rich hippies that shop at the Toluca Lake Trader Joe's.

But back to my girl Kathy. The second best moment in the episode, after seeing the shout out to TJs? Kathy's parents bring over all these delivious baked goods from, yup, you guessed it, the best bakery in the Valley, Porto's. A perfect day is dinner from TJs (carnitas which is my favorite TJs food and is fitting since Porto's is a cuban bakery) and dessert from Porto's (the chocolate croissant is really the only dessert I've tried and it is awesome). And if TJs and Porto's combines forces they would be unstoppable and take over the world.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Menu Mondays! (6-12)

6/11 -6/17

Lunch: Porto's - If you haven't been to Porto's and you live anywhere in the area of a Porto's (Burbank or Glendale) you need to go to Porto's. And get the Cubano, the tuna melt and /or the turkey melt.

Dinner: Pot Roast and Potatoes w/Vegis - The pot roast was delicious as always from Trader Joe's. Usually I have a problem with it being a little too dry, but for some unknown reason it wasn't dry last night and I didn't feel the need to add any sauce. And the potatoes and vegis (stir fried for about 8 minutes) are so delicious that I need to remember to get them more often. Don't worry I will devote a whole post to their deliciousness.

Pad Thai with tofu - ah one of my favorite TJs frozen dinners. I wish I had remembered to pick up the frozen jasmine rice, that always makes a nice compliment to the heaviness of pad thai, but this frozen pad thai is good on its own. Actually typing about it is reminding me that I'm hungry. Hold on a second. Okay I'm back to finish posting while the microwave does all the cooking for me. Thank you Mr. Microwave. Although I do need to put a little effort into the assembly of the spinach salad.

Stuffed Bell Peppers - perennial TJs powerhouse. I haven't had it in a while so it was time to bring it back. Along with a spinach salad.

Penne with meatballs - cheap penne and cheap but tasty meatballs. Although I do need to pick up more spaghetti sauce.

Tri-Tip in Korean BBQ sauce - I haven't had this one yet, but I found it in my favorite category, "pre-packaged ready to eat after only a few minutes of microwaving meats" (see Pot Roast and Carnitas in that category). I'll cross my fingers that it tastes as delicious as I'm hoping it will. But I've never been let down before in the "pre-packaged ready to eat after only a few minutes of microwaving meats."

Out? My favorite item on the menu, going out to eat. Why cook when someone else can do it for me and do it so much better? Ah, spoken like a true Jewish American Princess.

Lunch: Lasagna - one of my favorites that I haven't had in a while.
Dinner: Salmon in a bag - another one of my favorites that I haven't had in a while. Boy that two month break from cooking was good because now I get to eat all of my favorites again. Delicious pad thai is beckoning me from the microwave so that's all for now.

Regular Features Oh Yeah! (everyone please contain your excitement)

To take a page from the blog, I've decided to try to post regular features on the days of the week so people know to check back (especially the people who have no idea was an RSS feed is to tell them that I've posted new posts).

Here's what I've come up with so far

Mondays: Menu Mondays! where I post my menu for the week and talk a little about what I cooked over the weekend

Wednesdays: New Banners Are Up To Get You Over The Hump! where I post new banners that I have made around funny TJs quotes

Fridays: Food and Heating Up™ Recipes (because I have half-day Fridays so I have more time to work on these posts)

Well hopefully I will see more of you here because of the regular features (and not just because I send emails out to people reminding them to check out the blog whenever Fearless Flyers come out)

Supermarket Sleuth

Okay how awesome is this, a day after deciding that I'm going to open up my blog to talking about food and eating in general (along with the primary focus on Trader Joe's, can't hurt the feelings of my beloved Joe), a great article appears in Salon about shopping in American supermarkets.

Jun. 12, 2006 | If you've seen "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock's hilarious documentary about fast food, you've already met Marion Nestle. She's the only person in the movie who is able to offer a coherent definition of a calorie.

Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food science and public health at New York University, has long been a leading critic of the salty, fatty, sugary junk that passes for food in America, and especially the way it's hawked to kids. She blasts the U.S. government for allowing the food industry to determine public health policy on everything from the food pyramid to transfats. And her books, such as "Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health," have inspired such fear and trembling from Big Food that she's been smeared as a "diet scold" and, even more feverishly, as "one of the country's most hysterical anti-food-industry fanatics."

Nestle's new book, "What to Eat: An Aisle-by-Aisle Guide to Savvy Food Choices and Good Eating," brings her analysis of food politics into the grocery store, giving shoppers advice on what to buy and what to leave on the shelves. Armed with a notebook and calculator, Nestle spent a year in the field -- or, in this case, the produce, beverage, cereal and dairy aisles -- making observations about what's actually being sold. She came away stunned at the blizzard of choices offered up in the average Safeway or Kroger, and how easy it is for consumers to be bamboozled by marketing messages masquerading as nutritional data.

Read the entire article here.

I'm actually interested in seeing what advice Nestle give's on shopping in the typcial Safeway or Kroger (or in my case Vons and Albertsons). The silliest observation (and I've always wondered if it means anything) that I always have after a shopping trip to Vons vs. a shopping trip to Trader Joe's is how brightly colored and cheerful and fakely excited (Low Fat! Half The Fat! Half the Sugar! Half the fat none of the sugar!) all my foods are that I buy from Vons. The Trader Joe's food never screams at me. And it is usually in tastefully muted colored packages, browns and oranges and blues. Are those the colors of soothing organic farmers? I wonder if TJs did any focus groups with organic food buyers and found out that brown and blue were their favorite colors (hey I'm a market research I have to wonder)

I mean just compare the bag of Roasted & Salted In-The-Shell Virginia peanuts that I bought at TJs to the typical jar of Skippy peanut butter. Don't get me wrong I love bright orange and teal together as a color combo, just maybe not on my food. My TJs peanuts are in a clear bag with a pretty dark blue painting of the sun rising over a river next to a field where I assume that peanuts are grown (are peanuts nuts from trees? grown in a field? who knows they are so delicious, sorry to mock your peanut allergy, Nancy).

But really if you buy the main argument that most food is marketed to kids (and to the kid in all of us) then it makes sense that our foods are packaged in cheery bright fake colors. I never feel good about bringing home all that fake happy packaging because I know that most of it I shouldn't be eating. Yes I'll admit that this weekend Paul and I had an accidental overdose of El Monterey Taquitos in a happy red package that if I had really read closely I would have seen that my taquitos were now 50% LARGER which seriously when you factor in the fact that we didn't even need to overdose on taquitos in the first place did we really need taquitos that were 50% larger?

Well the taquitos just went in the trash, the happy red packaging just went in the recycling and I'm going to renew my pledge to eat only foods that come packaged in muted earth tones.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Chez Panisse

Okay note to everyone, I think that I'm going to morph this blog into something where I primarily talk about Trader Joe's but also every once an a while talk about food and eating in general. Because most of the interesting blogs that I've been reading (and I've been reading a bunch because I'm trying to get Blogistan to take notice of Paul's band Dialtone, jesus who knew there were so many flippin' blogs?) post everyday on something. And that something isn't always related to the topic. Although most music blogs are pretty general (I like Indie Rock more than you, you stupid hipster fucks) so something can usually relate back to their blogs. And really all I've got in my title is Trader Joes, so I'm a little limited. Except of course if I change the about this blog statement. Hee.

Back to the title of this post. Has anyone out their heard of Chez Panisse? If you are from the Bay Area, you probably know about Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. She's totally a celebrity up there. She's this chef who opened this restaurant called Chez Panisse in 1971 and it's really awesome. Or something. I'm not sure if I have actually gone to it. I go to a lot of snooty patootie restaurants in the Bay Area because my aunt Marlene lives up there and she's a foody and me and my family would always visit her and go to really yummy tasty expensive but socially concious restaurants. And then we would go to the exact same restaurants in Los Angeles but they wouldn't be socially concious, they would mostly just have a couple of D-list celebrities hanging around hoping to get off the D-list (shout out to Kathy Griffin whose new show is on Bravo again check it out).

Again back to the title of this post. I was reading the in-flight magazine on Delta back in April and there was this long article about Alice Waters and Chez Panisse and this foundation she has started called the Chez Panisse Foundation. Through the magic of google you can read the article here. Jesus what did we do before the Internet and cell phones? The article talks about her edible schoolyard program which I will let them explain better than I ever could:

The Edible Schoolyard, in collaboration with Martin Luther King Junior Middle School, provides urban public school students with a one-acre organic garden and a kitchen classroom. Using food systems as a unifying concept, students learn how to grow, harvest, and prepare nutritious seasonal produce. Experiences in the kitchen and garden foster a better understanding of how the natural world sustains us, and promote the environmental and social well being of our school community.
Aw I really like that idea, gets kids thinking about the environment and eating and the community all in one. I'm totally inspired by this idea so now I have to think of more ways to get involved other than just donating a portion of my paycheck. Which is really the easiest way since I'm lazy and barely able to make dinner for myself on a regular basis, so I think I'm going to start slow and give money and think of the edible school yard every time I harvest fresh food from my local Trader Joe's and cook it myself (or have help from the microwave).

See technically this post really is about Trader Joes.

The bioregion hippy jam band

Does Trader Joe's count as harvesting food locally? They seem like the type of grocery store that purchases locally. Like does everyone remember that post that I wrote about the Gala Apple Juice that was farmed up in Oregon or Washington (is there really any difference between those two states? Ha! Just Kidding! Not Really! or in internet speak H!JK!NR!) Well whatever Oregon and Washington are in my mind local.

Food Ways | Eat Where You Live

Last year, Jessica Prentice and Dede Sampson, Bay Area chefs, and Sage Van Wing, a writer, started Locavores, a group in San Francisco dedicated to eating foods grown within a 100-mile radius of home (like the yogurt above). In an attempt to raise awareness about the globalization of the food supply, members invite people to register online ( and to eat locally for at least one month out of the year. MELISSA CERIA

Okay I went and checked out the website. I like some of their ideas, especially about how we use lots and lots of fuel to transport food. And they have my favorite term, bioregion. That should definitely be the name of a hippy jam band. I'm not sure if I can actually do that locavore (I'm just so damn lazy when it comes to food, I'm lucky if I make it to Trader Joe's instead of Del Taco) but it's something to aim for.