Happy Friday! It’s been an interesting week in food news. If you follow our Twitter accounts you know some of the food & drink features Times reporters have been reading, writing and sharing over the week. If not, here’s a handy roundup:
1. Got too many tomatoes to use immediately? Daniel Gritzer at Serious Eats goes against all conventional wisdom and writes about “Why You Should Refrigerate Tomatoes and Ignore Anyone Who Says Otherwise.” Russ Parsons at the L.A. Times surveyed his research and suggested the more measured summation that “you do less damage to dead-ripe fruit by refrigerating it than by leaving it at room temperature to spoil.”
2. The minute Seattleites heard that a branch of California taproom Toronodo was opening here, toasts were held all over town. “There are bar openings and then there’s Toronado,” wrote Tan Vinh in a review rhetorically headlined “Is this the best new beer bar in Seattle?”
3. There’s an interesting debate in the comments on this look at Intermezzo Carmine, “the dolled-up new cocktail spot from the family behind Il Terrazzo Carmine.” Vinh wrote that it’s “a bit overdressed and out of place” even in fast-redeveloping Pioneer Square, and that the cocktails need work. Some protesting commenters said they were glad to see the bar (no pun intended) raised. One wrote “Personally I love the addition of such an elegant yet welcoming place to the neighborhood. Since when did beauty become a bad thing??”
4. Old restaurants never die, they just…. well, they do die, all too often these days. But one old favorite, the Mandalay Cafe, has been resurrected for a single week. Former chef Ken O’Hara is cooking southeast Asian and Indian signatures from the Mandalay menu through Saturday, Sept. 13, as a pop-up at Gastropod in SoDo. It’s a tribute to former Mandalay co-owner Erik McWilliams, who recently passed away. The menu includes lotus bread, Sumatran white nut curry, wild mushroom nasi goreng, and more on a mouthwatering list that Gastropod promised will make it “smell like Mumbai in here.” Note that there are no reservations, and the place is 21+ only.
5. Why do people in the U.S. refrigerate their eggs when most people in the rest of the world don’t? NPR’s The Salt explains over here.
6. Starbucks is considering becoming more like your other neighborhood coffee shops… at least in allowing baristas to show their tattoos. Speaking of Starbucks, no matter how you feel about the company’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, don’t miss this great read on how it “got plucked from the dust heap of market research to become a full-fledged fall obsession.”
7. Annie’s, makers of organic mac and cheese and Cheddar bunnies, has been sold to General Mills for $820 million. The CEO insists that customers don’t need to worry that the company will abandon its ideals, telling KQED “for this brand to remain authentic and to turn into a really valuable asset for General Mills, we need to both stay committed to those things.” Shades of Scharffen Berger, or is one processed snack cracker already pretty close to another?
8. Where’s the best Vietnamese food in Seattle? Naomi Tomky, the Gastrognome, did this excellent roundup in advance of author Andrea Nguyen’s trip to town to promote her latest book, The Banh Mi Handbook. Look for Nguyen at a demonstration class at The Book Larder on Sept. 15.
9. In addition to the other cool upcoming restaurants we talked about here, Big Chickie, a “modern roadside chicken shack,” opened its doors in Hillman City to serve up pollo a la brasa and all the fixings. The neighborhood’s been looking forward to this; the restaurant sold out on the first night Sept. 9.
10. Ending on a sweet note, for everyone tempted by the stunning photography and recipes at Ashley Rodriguez’s “Not Without Salt” site, the Seattle star (winner of Saveur magazine’s “best cooking blog” award) is starting to sell her signature salted chocolate chip cookie mix online. Some proceeds benefit First Aid Arts. Rodriguez is doing a giveaway contest on her site through Sept. 15, and you can also always bake them yourselves from her recipe.