Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I learned a new term this week when I read about Dell's newest campaign - "Badvertising".

The post on was all about Dell's new female-centric ad launch around their new line of netbooks. Some thought the campaign took the advertising too far making it seem like women have never heard of this thing called technology and that all they do is worry about what to make for dinner and how to work off those extra pounds (Dell gave tips on finding recipes and workouts).

What's even more interesting though is how Dell ended up listening to the feedback in the end which led them to revise some of the campaign content. At this point, what's done is done but at least they listened right?

Take a read for yourself and post your thoughts on Dell's campaign. Don't forget to check out Joanna Stern's take on it at as well.

Full article:
Laptop's post:

Monday, May 18, 2009

You are what you eat

The International Food Blogger Conference wrapped up yesterday evening after a weekend of fascinating panels, presentations, blogging, podcasting, tweeting, and of course, amazing food from regional chefs and food producers.

The final panel of the day, "Passionate Purveyors & Producers" featured four speakers promised to "change the way you feel about commodity food:" Lauren Adler of Chocolopolis; Carrie Oliver from Oliver Ranch; Luke Dirks from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Karl Kupers of Shepherd's Grain. The weekend couldn't have ended on a more appropriate panel. Moderated by's Barnaby Dorfman, the panelists definately delivered on the promise to change the way you think about steak, chocolate, coffee, and even grains...foods that a lot of us consume on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Oliver convinced me not only to try hosting a beef tasting in the same manor that one might do a wine tasting, but she made everyone rethink the USDA standards for "organic." Adler highlighted the political and socioeconomic issues--and highly competitive nature--of the growing and harvesting of cacao beans.

Throughout the weekend, the International Food Blogger Conference introduced attendees to amazing foods, and of course, the best ways to share the love of food with readers through blogs. But beyond the amazing cheeses, oysters, wines (oh, the wines...) and everything else consumed, it seems that conference attendees were energized to share a renewed sense of appreciation for what we eat and where it comes from. It is, afterall, about the food. I for one am excited to see the variety of posts from bloggers who attended the conference. And for those who missed the conference, a snapshot of each session--in the form of podcasts--will be available shortly on the IFBC website.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to pack my gym bag and start Phase One of the South Beach Diet to recover. Unfortunately, portion control and carb cutting were not key topics this weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Report from IFBC Day One and Two

This weekend I was able to help out with the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) hosted by Last night I attended the cocktail party that took place in the Beamis building near Safeco and Qwest field. The night was spectacular. For starters, Northstar wines was there with several delicious wines which were accompanied by Dry Soda at the bar. I tried the Vanilla Bean for the first time and it is my new love. Also got to try the Petit Verdot, which was a type of wine I’d never had before. So amazing! In addition to great drinks, Seastar’s Chef John Howie prepared a beautiful spread which included some sushi, which of course I sampled, and an oyster bar from Taylor Shell Fish. The night finished off with coffee from Caffé Vita and Theo Chocolates which were specially made for each other. What a brilliant idea! Presenters from both companies as well as gave us the “Tale of Two Roasters” which lovingly described their collaborative efforts. Of course the highlight of the evening was hearing from esteemed author Renee Behnke and getting a peak at her book Memorable Recipes (psst…she blogs too).

This morning we made our way to the beautiful Sanctuary in West Seattle where the conference really got going. Starting the morning off with pastries from Bakery Nouveau and Stumptown coffee was really the way to go. Over the next couple hours panelists walked attendees and fellow bloggers through not only the process of turning a blog to a book but, perhaps more important, how to find your voice in writing/blogging. The panelists included bloggers, writers, publishers and more. The morning was truly inspirational and the attendees were clearly absorbed and in awe of what the panelists had to say. If you want to get a peak at what’s going on at the IFBC, make sure to checkout their website for a live web stream as well as podcasts and videos coming in the next week.

Not to be outdone by the night before, the lunch provided by a number of Tom Douglas restaurants was incredible. We were presented with an absolutely perfect salmon and salad from the Four Seasons’ ART restaurant, savory pasta and dessert from Cantinetta and a unique vegetable dish from Boom Noodle. There was also a sampling of artisan cheeses from Mt. Townsend Creamery and Willapa Hills Farmstead. I have not experienced a spread like that in a long time, maybe never. But no matter how amazing the food, the part I’ll remember to most was the excitement and passion of the IFBC attendees. Just being in the room you get a sense for how wholly they love food and sharing the experience with others. I saw old friends catching up, new friends closing mileage gaps and chefs who acquired new fans (including me).

I can’t wait to hear the report from our other Porter Novelli troopers who will be onsite the rest of the weekend capturing the amazing moments.

Ok…you caught me…I’ll REALLY remember the food too.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We’re on a roll!

We are pumped for the IFBC this weekend, so we had to kick-off Friday with Lincoln’s absolutely AMAZING cinnamon rolls.

Check out the gooey goodness!
I know you’re jealous…

Is “Ghetto Mash” an Offensive Term?

Ghetto Mash (n) – ge-tō-mash, Any dish prepared using disparate, on-hand ingredients from your pantry or refrigerator in an improvisational manner. Dishes are typically prepared in one pot/pan/bowl/skillet and most likely consumed directly from that pot/pan/bowl/skillet.

Back in the day (you know, the day) as a single guy, I’d often find myself in a tough spot when dinner time rolled around. My hunger would sometimes conflict with my desire to leave the house, so I’d be left with making do with whatever I had on hand. I’ve never been someone who kept a well-stocked pantry. If I’m going to make something for dinner and I know it ahead of time, I buy what I need to prepare that meal that day and make it, the end. This behavior leaves me with a lot of random food, surplus from meal-specific purchases.

Enter ghetto mash.

Ok…I’ve got flour tortillas…..and salsa…(promising!)…string cheese (shaky)….but no beef, or beans. “Mexican Pizza” is born.

Pasta, instant mashed potatos…these are great starting points for ghetto mash. If you’ve got either of these, you’re on to something (a heart attack, maybe?)

They’re not always winners, and I’d never server these dishes to guests, but in a pinch they’ll do. Probably the ultimate expample of ghetto mash is this so-bad-for-you thing I’ve been making for years involving rice and tuna. If the ridiculous amount of sodium involved doesn’t eventually kill me, the mercury will.

Rice’n’Tuna Ghetto Mash

2 cups rice. I usually use calrose.
3 cans solid white albacore (I’ve tried standard chunk light tuna…prefer the albacore)
Way too much soy sauce
Some hot sauce, amount depending on mood

  1. Prepare the rice using your favorite method. I always bust out my trusty rice cooker that needs to be replaced because it’s so old but I don’t have the heart to replace because I’m dumb and sentimental like that.
  2. In a large-ish bowl, empty out the 3 cans of tu-…albacore.
  3. Add the cooked rice.
  4. Dump in a bunch of soy sauce.
  5. More.
  6. A little more.
  7. Ok, that should be enough.
  8. Wait, a bit more.
  9. Add some hot sauce to preference. Might I suggest the king of all hot sauces, Tabasco®? Mix thouroughly.
  10. Grab a spoon.
  11. Enjoy.

Anyone else have any “ghetto mash” recipes? Don't leave me hangin'.

"When the Tide is Out the Table is Set"

A great article on eating local!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?!'s taken me some time to figure out what I was going to write tonight...until a very wise, albeit young, sage confirmed my topic for this post...the best "appliance" ever made...truly...the Fry Daddy.

While from the outside...this unassuming piece of plastic with a coil-lined interior wouldn't draw much attention from the average consumer...but I'm anything but the average consumer. Simply the name of this appliance...the "Fry Daddy" is enough to garner my attention whether it is sold in Walmart or Sur La Table...I gravitated.

So for those who know would assume that I would be focused on a raclette machine (which I have), fondue pot (also) and/or Kitchenaide appliances (yup!)...but one can put one's "snobbery" (I call it "instinct" and "knowledge") aside and understand that the Fry Daddy has its place amongst the best of culinary appliances and deserves some long overdue respect...granted, I also have the "George Forman" (initially excited...since done with it) well as the Jack Lelane juicer (great juice...but does the aparatus need to be the size of a NASA satellite?!)...but the Fry Daddy...oh, the Fry Daddy...provides me such comfort I can't even begin to describe it.

There have been the quick and dirty neighborhood BBQs...where hot dogs and hamburgers are the order of the day for the youngins...but once they see those Ore Ida Fast Food fries come out of that hot and smoking Fry'd think I was the Ghandi of the kitchen...or how about the long and delicious dinner...of true culinary excellence...which then turned into the 3+ hour deep conversations over bottles of wine #3, #4, #5++...which then led to the subsequent Tater Tot and Dutch Kroket EXTRAVAGANZA...and who was at the center of said EXTRAVAGANZA?! The Fry Daddy. He/She is that reliable and dependable friend...that brings satisfaction and joy to all who experience him/her (could the Fry Daddy actually be a her?! Discuss) a world where all things culinary are fancy...shiny...expensive...endorsed by the likes of Martha Stewart and Wolfgang vote is for the under-appreciated...under-utilized...and under-funded $19.99 special called the Fry-Daddy...don't be a hater! ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

West Seattle. The New Food Mecca?

Us West Seattleites, swelling with pride over our little beach town feel, have been hard pressed to ever feel proud of our dining scene. From the Husky Deli to Poggie Tavern to Zatza Better Bagel (what kind of name is that?) our restaurant options have been slim.

But, it's all changing. And changing fast. Might West Seattle become the place for a nice dinner out and a lovely stroll among the neighborhoods? It seems likely.

Our first decent option, Ovio, opened years ago, and was a lone stalwart among taco shops and pub food. Though it was never quite the same after moving from its charming beginnings to a more cavernous Alaska Junction location, they still made a decent martini and knew the difference between medium and well done. But they weren't meant to be--expansion lost the character they started with and the space turned into an oyster bar (albeit a very hip 1950's style oyster bar).

But Ovio paved the way for our increasingly sophisticated taste buds. The short-lived, but excellent, Beato which took over the old, old Ovio spot was everything a restaurant should be: great wine, incredible service, cozy atmosphere, and normal size (not Claimjumper) portions. It was perhaps a bit too smart, and portions a bit too small to make it, but it gave us hope of good things to come.

Recently opened Springhill took the best of Ovio and Beato and has made a decent go of it. The very cool interior and reliably good food that's a bit different than the norm--think spicy pork belly, hen of the woods, smoked king clam crumbs, and Tokyo turnips--make you wonder how it landed in West Seattle. And on Monday nights they do a simple "supper" menu--limited options; good, hearty food; a decent price; and cheap wines by the glass. A perfect to start the week.

On the other end of the spectrum is Beveridge Place Pub. With a dedication to beer (several hundred on tap or in the bottle), it's what Cheers could have been--cool. A chill attitude, communal tables, lots of pool, and piles of games make it a perfect place for any afternoon. Along with their no attitude rule is one of the best ideas to ever hit a bar: they have a binder of takeout menus and you can call and have food delivered to the bar. Seriously. Hungry for Chinese with your IPA? Done. Want a little Greek? Easy. How about a pizza? Zeek's is right next door. Call and order from the bar and walk down and pick it up when ready. We've even taken our own appetizer with us from home--a steamed artichoke and fresh baguette.

We got the baguette from Bakery Nouveau, the best thing to happen to me in my baked goods life. You know these guys are serious when you see the 2005 Coupe de Monde Boulangerie (World Cup of Bread) sitting pretty in the front window. Basic translation--these are the best of the best, of the best. If you're one of the five or so people left in Seattle who haven't been over to check it out--do so fast. This place is amazing-macaroons (the real kind), handmade chocolates, twice baked almond croissant (sinful), and bread, sandwiches, and everything else to make a trip from nearly anywhere worth it.

Opening soon is a new creation in Alaska Junction by the folks from Herban Feast. A sneak peek at the new menu for The Fresh Bistro looks perfect for rainy nights or warm summers: beet salad; oxtail bourguignon; spring pea soup; and so on.

And if you don't want to eat out but would rather throw your own party, check out the happening event space in an old church, The Sanctuary. It was just voted the best venue by 400 party planners and caterers in the state. It's really the perfect fit for West Seattle--understated, intriguing, and the place where everybody wants to be, but nobody wants to admit just how cool it is...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sea Salts

The ROI from getting a product placed in Daily Candy has to be impressive. Last month I spent $40 on a “wonder” bar of soap. My latest purchase: gourmet sea salts—Coconut Garam Masala, Vanilla, and Cumin Pineapple Chili—featured in yesterday’s e-mail. After all, I do need to stock my spice cupboard now that I have a newly remodeled kitchen. And these salts look irresistibly tasty.

Anyway, the PR morale of this story: Get your new product or service featured in DailyCandy and it will sell.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bay Area Bakeries

To many people, bakeries are a hobby. For some reason, my love for sweet things explodes when I travel, making it impossible to pass up a bakery of any sort. My recent trip to the San Francisco Bay Area was no exception.

My first stop was ICI – alright, it’s not a bakery, but it is the most popular creamery in Berkeley proper. I waited in line for 45 minutes for a single scoop, and to be perfectly honest, Seattle’s Molly Moon takes the ice cream cake. ICI was great – I had the pine nut praline – but its flavor variety was poor.

THE BEST part of my trip was the day I spent in Mill Valley, a city located across the Golden Gate Bridge that is home to some friendly folks named George Lucas and Tyler Florence.

In Mill Valley, I found the world’s greatest cookies and cream cupcake (see picture above) at the cupcake boutique, Frosting. Janna, the owner’s teenage daughter, let me peak in the back room to spy on the bounty of uneaten cupcakes. I wanted them all. She didn’t quite understand my eagerness. shrugs.

The final stop was Champagne, a French bakery café. After spending oh, 30 minutes deciding what to order, I picked out a mushroom and brie Panini. Il a été incroyable!

I also went to Tyler Florence’s cooking store where I found his wife working behind the counter. She made the recommendation to eat at Champagne. What a lovely lady.

Those are the highlights of last weekend. I know I only skimmed the Bay Area bakery scene, so let me know what I missed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Some things are as they seem

In a world of spin, elaborate media campaigns and endless social media experiments, this photo makes me wonder what the world would be like if we truly let the products we represent speak for themselves. Granted, I may not have as much fun doing my job as I do, but would I have ever purchased a Wii or my iPhone without the “PR” push behind them. Who knows?

Top 100 Women in Seattle Tech

Today TechFlash posted their list of Top 100 Women in Seattle Tech. I am amazed at what these women have accomplished. Take a look a see how many you recognize.

Top 100 Women in Seattle Tech

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Mom is on Facebook and It Sucks

This morning I had an email from my mom. This isn’t all that notable except for what she wrote:


I see you deleted the comment on facebook. Don’t really understand your explanation but that’s okay. Just wondered what kind of ocd I exhibited. Think you tap dance pretty well.


WTF was my mom talking about? And where did she get this snarkiness? I “tap dance pretty well”? Anyone who knows me knows I can’t dance, much less tap! But let’s turn back the clock for some context...

A few weeks ago, my older brother introduced our mother to Facebook. Why? I don’t know. My brother does a lot of questionable things, like voluntarily living in Arkansas, but I guess he thought it would be a way for Mom to reconnect with her friends and family. I learned about this decision by way of a friend request…from my mom.

No warning, no “Hey, I’m hooking mom up on Facebook.” email ahead of time so I could decide how to handle it. But it’s mom. You can’t deny a friend request from your mom…can you?

So I accepted and decided I’d just be more “aware” of my Facebook behavior. That lasted about a day.

There was no way I could “un-friend” my mom, so the next step was quarantine. I’d already had my brother and his wife semi walled-off, so I added mom to the “Family – Arkansas” list I’d created and tightened up the restrictions even more, rendering the whole intent of Facebook (constant, personal connection) pretty much useless for my family and I. Victory!

Except for the whole “feeling like crap because I just shut out my mom” thing.

Unable to live with myself after dropping the Facebook hammer on my family, I decided to compomise. I left the restrictions in place but I created a family page and invited all of them to be members. FB, I guess,realized a lot of folks are going to have the same sort of conflicts I just had and conveniently created “Family Pages” to solve the problem. Now I can put videos and pics of my daughter there, have private discussions with my family and not have to worry about my personal life being exposed to mom and my hopefully adopted brother. Everyone wins! Drinks all around!

But something was wrong. Apparently despite the walled garden I had created, despite the special restrictions I had set in place to prevent mom from seeing anything I posted on Facebook, she still saw links. I can’t explain why except to say that Facebook are damn dirty liars when they say “Status and Links”. They mean “Status”.

The fact that my mother could see links I posted wasn’t by itself a horrible thing. It’s not like I’m posting links to horrible, shameful stuff or photos of me SOOO WASTED LAST NIGHT! It’s just that the conversations that might come up as a result are not necessarily ones I’d want to have with her. (a quick review of my posting history proves I really don’t have anything all that embarassing. Maybe some dumb status messages. Guess I’m just paranoid. Not sure that’s better.)

So now we’re up to yesterday. I came across a nice link via about a graphic designer who for fun was taking the complete discography of the Wu-Tang Clan (both as a group and solo efforts) and reworking the covers into the Blue Note style of old jazz albums. Pretty great stuff. In fact, when I posted the link to FB, I wrote “Pretty great…” and that was it.

But Facebook likes to do you a favor and include a bit of text from the site you link to. It throws in the first few lines to give a bit of context to folks. The lines for this particular post turned out to be:

“A little while ago I put a bunch of Wu-Tang (both group and solo) albums on my computer. 21 of them, in fact. I inherited some mild OCD from my mom, and as anyone who has seen my iTunes can attest to, it manifests itself in weird ways.”

Again, that’s from the site, not me. As far as I know, neither my mother nor I suffer from OCD. Though, to be fair, I don’t think we’ve been properly tested, so, who knows.

Sometime later after posting the link, I notice a comment from my mom. How is this possible? I thought I blocked mom from seeing this stuff? (see above about Facebook being dirty liars). Her comment:

"Whaddya mean, you inherited some "mild OCD" from your mom!"

Oh hell. With no way to tell if she was joking, I decided to assume she was and help her out:

Haha, Mom. 1. I thought I had set FB so you wouldn't see links I posted, so...that's fun. but 2. I only wrote "So great...". The part you're reading comes from the site I linked to. FB grabs the first few lines of text when you link, for context I guess. So no OCD from you.

All good, right? Case closed? Nope. This morning I get that email:


I see you deleted the comment on facebook. Don’t really understand your explanation but that’s okay. Just wondered what kind of ocd I exhibited. Think you tap dance pretty well.


So now, thanks to a combination of my brother, Facebook and mom’s limited grasp of social networking, my mother thinks I can tap dance. Well, even. 

UPDATE: I responded to her with a mom-friendly version of "WTF?" and she apologized for not understanding how stuff works and for generally being a crotchety old lady. All is right in the world again. But I'm giving serious thought to un-friending her and my brother.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Enough is Enough TSA

A freind of mine captured this at SeaTac airport this morning. You've got to draw the line some where.