August 28, 2009

Scrapin' Up the Bits... Good Weed Style

A beneficial weed? It's called kudzu...

The study found that a kudzu root extract had beneficial effects lab rats used as a model for research on the metabolic syndrome. After two months of taking the extract, the rats had lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and insulin levels that a control group not given the extract. Kudzu root "may provide a dietary supplement that significantly decreases the risk and severity of stroke and cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals," the article notes.

A double take from the PG. First, a great profile on a small farm in Carrick.

She talks about why each plant is placed in the garden: Nasturtiums nestle among squash, providing an edible flower for her customers, bringing in beneficial insects and providing ground cover. For similar reasons, Brussels sprouts share space with radicchio; thai, cinnamon and lemon basil are neighbors to tomatoes.

Radicchio? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

And next from the PG is this nerve-wracking little bit: Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff, is resigning, effective early next month. You remember Dennis Wolff, don't you, of milk-labeling fame?

The trend these days is to provide more information on food labels: "no trans fat" "free-range" "no preservatives." Mr. Wolff concluded in this case, however, that by stating what was not in the milk, these dairies were misleading consumers into believing their products were safer or healthier, something he dubbed "absence labeling."

But Mr. Wolff provided no evidence to support these claims. No public hearings were held or scientifically valid surveys conducted to assess consumers' feelings about the labels. A Food Labeling Advisory Committee reportedly held a single meeting to discuss the matter, but who was on that committee, or what they discussed, has not been revealed.

We try to limit our use of plastic bags for our kids lunches, relying very heavily on little Tupper Ware or Glad containers for fruit, applesauce, pretzels, etc. And when we do use plastic bags, we do our best to reuse them. Looks like these Lunch Skins will make things a whole lot easier...

And, finally
, Kevin Sousa -- the talented chef who is getting all sorts of praise for those fancy tacos at Yo Rita on Pittsburgh's South Side -- has had it up to his taste buds with food bloggers.

The more "foodie" blogs i read the more frustrated i get. These simple sons (and daughters) of bitches and their self righteous "reviews" of restaurants that are nothing more than yet another form of hipsterism that is spreading like shoulder pads all over my fair city. These jagoffs just want to be noticed...and have their meals comped in exchange for a good "review" as if the skinny leather tie and vest with no shirt weren't enough to make people say "hey, did you notice that dipshit with the w.a.s.p. painter's cap?"

I'm not sure if I qualify as a foodie or if my blog is considered a foodie blog. I'd like to think that my tens of adoring readers come to good 'ol Lusty Bit for more than just my adaptations of others recipes! I'd like to think that LBoN is a little bit... deeper ... than that. Heck, I'm writing about weeds and milk labels and all kinds of mixed up, crazy stuff, no?

And I've never gotten comped a freakin' thing, that's for sure. Guess you need more than tens of readers for that to happen. That said, I did eat recently -- finally -- at Yo Rita. And here is my review:

Yo Rita has good food. Yo Rita also has good drinks. Our mussels ceviche was, hmmm, all right. It had this foam on top of it that didn't really do much for the dish. The mussels seemed to be very fresh. But, overall, I was a little disappointed. IM(unpaid)O, they needed a little heat or just more depth of flavor. Perhaps the idea was to let the mussels' flavor shine through. But I tend to think that mussels do best when they are paired with bold flavors, e.g., white wine with garlic and herbs, curry and coconut milk.

My watermelon margarita was good, as was my wife's pineapple margarita. Could have slugged down a few of those in the time it took to put that foam on our mussels. My classic margarita was better. It was exactly what a margarita should be, you get the tequila, but you also get the tang of the lime and a little sweet from the liqueur.

We had four tacos. The chorizo was excellent, and, man, that chorizo was truly kickin' the heat. The duck taco, also very good. The braised pork, enjoyable, but, to be honest, the pork, which was shredded, was a tad dry. My favorite: the black-eyed pea. The peas combined with some exceptionally creamy goat cheese was a perfect combination.

I'll definitely try to make it back to Yo Rita. And hopefully nobody will confuse me for a foodie.


marzipanmom said...

That sousa fellow needs to "chillax" as my kids would say. Just reading his bitter blog post has convinced me not to go there.

Fillippelli the (Wannabe) Cook said...

Reading more of his recent posts, seems like it's been a very stressful time, and I've always read that chefs can be a cantankerous lot, so I'm willing to overlook the bitterness. I've had my moments of bitterness on this blog, so I can relate.