Weekend Bites

by Matt on September 1, 2006


Health Codes and Ethnic Delicacies: The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article today on many of the Asian delis and bakeries located throughout the Southland. Items like moon cakes and banh chung often sit unrefrigerated longer than state and health laws allow. To refrigerate them would ruin the texture and flavor, it’s said. Instead of a crackdown, the state Senate and Assembly have ordered state health officials to test items like pastries and Peking duck in order to see how long they can be kept at room temperature. If they pass the test then officials would set new standards.

I applaud the State of California for their sensitivity and attention in this matter. While food safety is of the utmost concern and should always be, I’m glad that our agencies are taking the time to properly investigate and do the right thing.

I’ve always been an hightly adventurous eater and would hate to see traditional foods altered in the name of a “one size fits all” approach, especially when they have been consumed in that manner for centuries. However, having suffered a rather severe case of Campylobacter jejuni from improper  temperatures a few years back that required a week of hospitalization, I’m just a tiny bit sensitive to the topic. Probably more than you care to know about me, I’m sure!


Jeez, blogging about a commercial? But she’s so darn cute! Because I make a living tasting, marketing and talking about food from both ends of the food spectrum (natural & organic to mainstream & conventional) I usually hesitate to bite any hand that feeds me. But if you read between the lines you know that I’m personally not particularly fond of the big guys, the ones who over-package and over-process. I will happily leave it at that. So it’s with great surprise and amusement that I write about a commercial for Kraft salad dressings featuring Michelle Kwan, the most decorated figure skater in US history.


This spot has so many good things working for it. For starters, it’s casual, bright and lively, with an appearance that makes a break from standard American advertising. The type treatment is clean and elegant, and it features one of my favorite house tracks, a little number called “Otto’s Journey” by Milo. Plus there’s a little dog in there. If you want a quick way to my heart then serve me food and bring a little dog along. I’m such a sucker. And then there’s the salad, a simple combination of greens, potatoes and blueberries, tossed with Kraft dressing (of course). But hey, if it can get general America to see salads differently and experiment with a few non-standard ingredients, I’m all for it.

Whoever was the ad agency for this spot, you get a big bravo from me.

You can see it here. 


Back to School for Matt: I once had a friend with an astonishing talent: he could read and write 8 languages fluently and 2 additional languages conversationally. He couldn’t remember where he parked his car on daily basis nor what day of the week it was, but he could stop and chat with almost anyone in Los Angeles, no matter where they were from.

I’d love to be able to read the actual interview I did with a Japanese publication a while back.  I promise never to poke fun of you again, Drew.



Let’s Get Physical: Currently perturbed with my doughy waistline and shrinking wardrobe, I’ve cut back on dietary intake and have been running a few miles every morning before work. Thank god for iPods. However, I’m throwing all caution to the wind this weekend for the Long Beach Grecian Festival by the Sea, to be held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. Hey, here’s an assumption: I will indeed eat more Greek food this weekend than should be humanly allowed.  And please don’t try to stop me.



Next to food, my other big love in my life are my dogs. My newest Dog Bindi had a few minor health scares in her short little happy life, but I’m pleased to report that she’s fine and healthy and growing like a bean sprout. I’m a proud papa, what can I say?

I posted this just as I read about the beautiful Zoë at My Plate Or Yours. Do me a favor and read this touching post – I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

As dog lovers our hearts are with you and with Zoë.  She’ll be in our thoughts.