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Review: ThisNext

thisnextlogo.gifThisNext is a brand new social shopping site that just officially opened last week. I have been using it for a little while now - it powers the Japanese Snacks feature you see on the sidebar of this site. continue reading...

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Food Destinations #2 deadline is Saturday!

fdshinybuttonblue.jpgA reminder that the deadline for Food Destinations 2: My Local Greenmarket is this Saturday, September 2nd. I haven't gone out to my local market yet myself, and I sure hope that the miserable grey weather we are having will clear up by the end of of the week!

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Why Hell's Kitchen is not a real food show

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon (mainly because I'm avoiding the task of Defrosting the Freezer...more about that later) and I'm sitting here contemplating TV Reality Cooking Shows.

Someone who had read my rather detailed reviews of Top Chef, as well as my adventures following the BBC Masterchef challenges, asked me recently why I didn't do similar reviews of Hell's Kitchen. continue reading...

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Let there be butter

butter sizzling

Over on my GenevaLunch blog, I've written about the wonderful taste and smell of Swiss butter. If you have a chance to come here please make an effort to try some, and if you can, melt some in a hot pan. continue reading...

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Some thoughts on food and photographs, and food photography

The Observer Food Monthly, one of the best food-related publications available online, recently held a food photography competition. The results have been posted, and all the winning and runner-up photos are terrific. The winner of the "Food Glorious Food" category, a very humorous arrangement of some jelly babies, made me laugh out loud, but the one that struck me the most is the overall winner, a beautiful black and white photo by Ikuko Tsuchiya titled "The Widow in her kitchen". continue reading...

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Food Destinations reminder

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for Food Destinations #2: My Local Greenmarket is September 2nd, a bit less than 2 weeks away. Please remember to send me an email at maki at makikoitoh dot_com OR fooddestinations at gmail dot_com after you have posted your article, pointing to the permalink. Thanks!
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New location and new design, moving pains

I have moved Just Hungry to a new server. Because of DNS issues for the next day or so you may not be going to the right location. You will know if you're at the right place if you see a new site design, without the gigantic fennel top. (Edit: oddly enough, justhungry.com seems to be resolving all over, so if www.justhungry.com takes you to Giant Fennel, please try clicking on plain justhungry.com.) continue reading...

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From the other side of the restaurant front desk

In his blog post Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, Frank Bruni of the NY Times recounts a long and unpleasant wait for a table, where he says the front desk person didn't handle the situation well. I worked for a while as one of those hapless front desk persons, or FDP as I'll call them here, at a very busy NYC restaurant. Here's my take from the other side of that front desk. continue reading...

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Produce: Pluots and donut peaches

Pluots and donut peaches Pluots in the foreground, and donut peaches to the right. In the back are a white nectarine and a white peach. continue reading...

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Food Destinations is coming back!

I had originally intended for Food Destinations to be a one-off event. But since it got such a great response, I've decided to bring it back, and make it a recurring one. For those of you who had been asking for this, please excuse my delay...I was too busy/disorganized to deal with it for a couple months! continue reading...

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The Refrigerator Buyer's Dilemma

subzero.jpg Ooh, baby. This is the Sub Zero Pro 48, aka Fridge Porn.

Our old refrigerator is dying.

It's about 15 years old, so I suppose it has a right to die. Still, it depresses me to think about it. On a list of indispensable appliances in the modern household, fridges have to be near the top. When it malfunctions, it's like your heart beating irregularly. It's really stressful. continue reading...

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Animals need ice treats too

You may have already seen this story about the animals in the Zürich Zoo being fed frozen meat and fruit "alternative ice cream" to cool them down. It seems that this isn't so uncommon. 20 Minuten, a free paper that's distributed in Zürich and other Swiss cities, has a great slide show on their web site of animals cooling down, using ice treats and other ways. continue reading...

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More about soy, manufactured food, and food trends

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Just in case you missed it, this article about soy that plume linked to in the comments to the previous entry about the anti-soy article in the Guardian is excellent.

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A problematic report on the 'dangers' of soy

There was a report in yesterday's Guardian about the supposed dangers of soy products. I am rather dubious about the claims, simply because some of the 'facts' stated about the use of soy beans in Asian cuisine, or Japanese cuisine in particular, are just plain wrong. The implication made in the article is that all soy products are fermented for a long time in Japanese cuisines, but this is simply not true. Only miso and soy sauce and like products - which are only consumed in very small quantities, since they are quite salty - fit that description. continue reading...

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What does that mean? Food terms that make me go "huh?"

Since I started this site almost three years ago, there have been a plethora of food related terms cropping up that I have no idea of the meaning of. This worries me a bit since I'm supposed to be a Serious Foodie. Thankfully, the interweb allows all of us to fake being an expert. Here are a few phrases that have entered my consciousness lately. continue reading...

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Final New York notes

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Dim Sum

I understand that there are supposedly better-quality places for dim sum in New York nowadays, but those gringo-run and/or uptown restaurants require bothersome things like reservations, and personally, making reservations for dim sum just seems wrong. Waiting for a table at a garishly lit noisy restaurant with cafeteria atmosphere is part of the fun. Besides, what non-Chinese-run dim sum palace would serve stewed tripe? continue reading...

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New York food shopping fun: Trader Joe's

trader_joes.jpg OMG, the line... continue reading...

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New York food shopping fun: Japanese groceries

[Update:] See this more up-to-date and comprehensive listing of Japanese groceries and other related stores in the New York area.

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Pondering infomercials and other TV ads

I try to do various things to minimize jetlag, but my body clock is still slightly screwed up whenever I fly over the Atlantic. After all it is a 6 hour time difference. So I've found myself waking up faithfully at 4:30am every day since I got to New York. This isn't all bad...it means I can deal with all the emails waiting and so on while it's still quiet, though it does mean that by 10pm I'm already nodding off. continue reading...

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Papaya King: the best hot dog / juice joint in New York

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There is one food pilgrimage that I make without fail every time I'm in New York. It's not a visit to a famous, expensive restaurant. It's not even a bagel stop at my favorite bagel place (Ess-a-Bagel) or a trot around my favorite gourmet mega-mart (Fairway). It's a stop at the best hot dog joint in the city, if not the world, Papaya King. continue reading...

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A Celebration of Life's Simple Pleasures at the 92nd Street Y

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This evening I went to a panel discussion about food writing at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side of New York. The title of the program was "A Celebration of Life's Simple Pleasures: Good Food and Good Writing".

My restaurant review philosophy

I'm about to post a couple of restaurant reviews, but before I do that I thought I might as well put down my thoughts on how, and when, I do restaurant reviews.

I don't post a lot of restaurant reviews here. That's not to say I don't eat out - I do! Though I guess when I am at home, I don't really eat out that much, since I made a conscious effort to cook at home as much as possible. When I'm on the road as I am now, I do eat out a lot. I always make it a point to try at least one 'top' restaurant in whatever region I find myself in. continue reading...

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New York, New York - and where's the domestic olive oil?

My great plans for attacking the NYC food scene haven't gone that well, due to work and family commitments. I didn't make it to the Fancy Food Show after all (today is the last day but I had meetings...) So far my exploring has been limited to evening forays to local eateries, but since this is, after all, New York, that's no hardship at all. continue reading...

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Weekend Project: sweets from the archives

I hate to do this just after starting it, but I won't be able to post new Weekend Projects (where I suggest a food project that takes a bit of time to accomplish) for a couple of weeks, since I'm on the road. (I have a kitchen to use...but I can only find a couple of battered pots here.) There are several Just Hungry articles from the past that are great for trying out over a weekend though. Since the weekend always seems like a great time to have something sweet, here are just a few suggestions. continue reading...

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The real taste of food

I found this New York Times article article about the "bad rap" of high fructose corn syrup, aka HFCS, very interesting. Before I proceed though, here are two other opinions you may want to read: continue reading...

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Chicken karaage, the urawaza challenge!

There's a popular program on Nippon Television in Japan called Ito-ke no shokutaku (The Ito Family's Dining Table). It's a how-to / household hints type of show, which tests out viewer-submitted tips and tricks, which they call urawaza. continue reading...

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Going to New York for...sushi!

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I found out this week that I will have to go to New York in a week for about 10 days for work reasons. As much as I love New York I am sort of dreading the hot weather. But on the brighter side of course, New York is nirvana for a foodie and I plan to enjoy that side of the city as much as time and budget allow. continue reading...

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Let's hear it for ugly fruit

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A common complaint that food lovers and cooks have with supermarkets is that they sell smooth, perfect looking fruits that are hard and tasteless. Tomatoes and peaches come to mind as the top offenders. continue reading...

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World Cup Food!

I'd like to interrupt my long-winded Provence musing with a World Cup food moment. Here in Switzerland, people are going World Cup crazy (well, as crazy as the super-cool Swiss get). Most people are rooting for the Swiss team of course, especially since they are doing very well.

The stores have gotten into the act by offering all kinds of World Cup themed products. Migros, the largest supermarket chain in Switzerland, is selling boiled eggs dyed and decorated with stickers representing the World Cup participating nations. Yes, gold-colored boiled eggs. continue reading...

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Back Home, and the Essence of June

I'm back home after spending an amazing two weeks in Provence, not to mention the three days before that in the Bourgogne (Burgundy). My sunburned skin feels a wee bit tender and is about the color of milk tea - brown with a decided reddish undertone. My head is bursting with ideas and thoughts and recipes, and I have more than 4,000 photos to sort through (not all of them of food, but a good amount are!) Chances are, you'll be reading a lot of these beautiful areas of France in the next few days around here. continue reading...

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Fantasy Strawberries

Although we can get mediocre strawberries now year-round, and even decent ones from warmer climates starting in late April or so, around these parts and in many of the chillier areas of the northern hemisphere, June marks the real start of the season. continue reading...

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Konnyaku Day

I am about to leave for a short trip to the Bourgogne (Burgundy) region of France, though via the magic of delayed postings you should see a couple of new articles while I am gone. In the meantime though, you may want to take a look at konnyaku day, hosted by Jason of Pursuing My Passions. continue reading...

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Top Chef Episode 12: The Finale

Watching the final episode of Top Chef was like reading a reverse-murder mystery, where you know who the murderer and/or the victim is already (think Sunset Boulevard), but you want to know exactly how it happened. All the conventions of reality television pointed to Good Guy Harold winning, with Bad Girl Tiffani getting her just desserts, pardon the pun. It did in fact happen that way, but nevertheless it was an entertaining ending to the season. continue reading...

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Late Spring Makeover

smallfennel.jpgIt’s been more than a year since the last design for this site was implemented, so it’s about time for a new one. I managed to break the whole site horribly earlier today, especially in Internet Explorer, but it should be fine now. If the pages look wonky please try clearing your browser cache. It should look rather green, since at the moment I am really into green, especially of the vegetable variety. continue reading...

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Top Chef Episode 11: Cooking in Vegas

The challenges for the penultimate episode were to make dishes for particular types of customers that are typically Las Vegas: high rollers, poker players and circus performers. Unlike previous challenges, the contestants had a kitchen stuffed full of all kinds of luscious looking ingredients. It was rather funny when Harold complained that it was "a little too abundant". continue reading...

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Food Destinations: The Roundup!

Update: Food Destinations is back! Click here for details on FD #2.

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Food Destinations: Restaurants in Zürich

Posted by Max continue reading...

Food Destinations: Today is the deadline!

Just a quick reminder - today is positively the deadline for Food Destinations - whenever it stops being May 17th around the world! (I still have to post mine too...!!) If you're a bit late though and still wrote about it please send me your link anyway though.

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Top Chef Episode 10: The Reunion

Since this episode didn't have any actual cooking, there is no need for me to review it totally. So here are some short observations about the reunion show, plus my overall opinion of the show now that we are nearing the finale.

First, about the reunion episode itself: continue reading...

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Another Reminder About Food Destinations, and Summer Travel Plans

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The picture above is of the World's Best Baguette (I swear, it is the best baguette I have ever had) perched on top of a map on top of the dashboard of our rental car last summer. continue reading...

Top Chef Episode 9: Truffles and Wine

topchef_daveandtruffle.jpg Dave sniffs out the challenge

Despite the fact that my girl Lee Anne was eliminated in this round, the show redeemed itself in some respects from the debacle of the last episode. One big reason for this is that the judges for the main elimination round, a group of chefs from Napa Valley restaurants, had some good and fair comments. continue reading...

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Food Destinations Update

A quick update on the Food Destinations event: I've extended the deadline by a week, to the 17th, but by all means if yours is done by the 10th please send it in! The reason I'm extending the deadline is simply that I'm unexpectedly busy beyond words and I don't think I can reasonably summarize the entries soon after the 10th. continue reading...

Introducing a new author

I would like to introduce a guest author to Just Hungry. Some of you know him and love him.. he is The Max. Max will bring some Authentic Swiss Flavor to Just Hungry, plus his vast knowledge of wine and spirits.

He’s jumped into the Hungry Pool with both feet by making his first entry an IMBB one!

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Top Chef Episode 8: Disillusioned

Let me state this right off the bat: I absolutely hated this episode.

There is a tendency to lump together all unscripted television shows as 'reality'. This isn't quite right. A true reality show has these characteristics: continue reading...

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Food Destinations reminder plus news

I wanted to remind everyone that we have about 2 weeks to go for the Food Destinations event. A few entries have already come in. By the way, a few people have mentioned that they already have several existing review-type entries on their blogs. If that fits you, what about a re-review/index that points to your past reviews? If you do put together an article like that (or already have), please send me the link! The main objective here is to have a listing of reviews from foodies around the world, after all. continue reading...

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The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra

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Veggies are good for you. They are also pretty to look at. But did you know you can also listen to them?

The First Vienna Vegetable Orchestra (Das Erste Wiener Gemüseorchester) is an Austrian group that makes music with vegetables. continue reading...

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