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Shelley (Pink House)

Question of the Day: What's the best cheese for your grilled cheese sandwich?

I like a combination of cheddar cheese, provolone, and a bit of grated asiago. It's good paninied.

Bagel Love

You are lucky as NY does have the greatest bagels. I'm thinking H&H must be the place on the upper west side kind of near Zabar's? We went in there and were kind of disappointed with the PLACE, but ordered bagels to go and they were tasty.
Also: Sesame bagels MUST be toasted to bring out the seedy flavor.
We are lucky enough to have two from-scratch bagel places in our town that are not too terrible, but nothing like NYC. My favorite combo is: Toasted Everything Bagel (savory) with chive cream cheese and a slice of cheddar that starts to get soft because of the warmth of the toasty bagel. Yum.

Gourmet Genesis

Very very clever. I love it best made with sourdough bread.

Coffee Culture

I agree with not bashing Starbucks - because really, they are the ones who set the standard for a comfortable coffee shop environment with quality coffee, soothing music and lighting etc. The little guys are great, but they were weren't the original. Before Starbucks there were diners, but they didn't have the same culture we're talking about.
Also, even though I have a nice quiet house to work in on my desktop and in my studio, lately I have taken to going to the local coffee shop to work for a couple of hours in the afternoon. It's a fine balance between distraction and focus when it comes to working - but what I like best is the opportunity to observe people and listen to their interactions (a must for a writer!). I usually do this twice a week or so and feel comfortable being alone - earphones or not.

Also - on XM radio there is a station which you can only pick up on your computer (not your car) called "Hear Music" which is "the music of Starbucks". I LOVE to work at home with this playing - it does something to me psychologically...

Meeting Mario

Wow! That is very cool! You're lucky...but I guess you've earned it.

Who's your most/least favorite food personality on Food Channel?

Favorites: Barefoot Contessa and Giada (although I get tired of her describing every vegetable as "so sweet".)
UNfavorites - that weird Sandra Lee (oh my gosh, I can't believe she got a show when she doesn't actually cook and talks about her matchy-matchy kitchen and "tablescapes". But she's fun to hate.) and Emerill even though he'd a great cook, he's getting old and we're tired of his tricks.

The Food Bully

oh my, I have never heard of Equal in wine. That is....scary. I put Equal in my tea and oatmeal...but never in coffee and certainly NEVER in wine. Or Sprite...although that's probably a variation on homemade wine coolers.

I guess I've been a bit of a "food snob" over the years but the fact that I don't push or boss others into my choices may save me from being a "food bully". A few months ago I discovered what it felt like to be on the receiving end of food bullying and it was NOT fun. I was actually offended....I went on a business trip with friends and we stayed at family of one of the gals. one night we wanted to cook the host couple's a nice dinner as a thank you (the guy didn't like to eat out and was tired). So we three guests headed to Wild Oats (similar to Whole Foods) to buy our ingredients...we tossed around some ideas and no one seemed to like mine. Mine were kind of simple/casual gourmet...the two of them only liked their ideas - lemon chicken, salad, and sourdough bread. Finally I offered to make a couple of appetizers and buy the wine (I do know my wines) - but then they wanted to know what kind of appetizers? So I even had to have that approved by them. It was a very strange experience and I realized how it must feel to be on the other end of food bullying. It ended up NOT being a great meal either...just basic and the chicken was overcooked...but the wine tasted mighty fine!

In restaurants my husband always selects items that are more basic than the ones I choose. And I don't mind - its what he enjoys. And he doesn't bother me about what I want to order. We rarely share dishes because of this.

The Power of Food Blogging

Interesting. I've been blogging about restaurant meals for about two years...and I've never received an email or letter from restaurant management about any article. And yes, I am a nobody. However, this past summer about two weeks after I wrote a positive post about a product that I'd purchased, I received an email from a VP in their corporate headquarters thanking me for the positive publicity and asking for my shipping address so that they might send me a thank you gift. It arrived about a week later...more products totaling about $50. I never mentioned THAT in my blog.... This also happened when I wrote a positive review of a shop that I had visited and liked. I received an email, and then later a gift card for that shop. Again, I didn't write more about it. So when is it a "thank you gift" and when is it a "bribe"?

Also - I use food bloggers' restaurant reviews almost exclusively before I travel to decide where to make reservations. I especially like it when there are photos. I much prefer a "real person's" (like me) honest review over a professional food critic. Before my last trip to New York, I read through Amateur Gourmet and Gotham Gal's blogs to select my restaurant choices (rather than reading the NY Times reviews).

Give the Gift of Noshing

Oh my gosh. I want one of everything. You New Yorkers better be eating a lot just to satisfy the rest of us.

Starbucks Breakfast: Doomed from the Get Go

I'm thinking that you are probably not their target customer, Mr. Ed Levine, Food Critic of the New York Times. However, my teenage son apparently is their target customer because last summer in Seattle he sampled one and thought they were "really good!" So much so that a couple of days later (we were traveling in the Seattle area) he wanted to find another Starbucks for breakfast. Since he's not a coffee drinker, I thought this was kind of strange, but I agreed to go since I AM a coffee drinker. When he ordered the breakfast sandwich and the gal took one out of a back frig and stuck in in a microwave (why can't they at least panini it?), I thought it was a bit of "bait and switch", but my son still liked the taste. To him, it was an upgrade from Micky D's breakfast sandwich. To me, it does look something like airline food, but I didn't taste it. I do think Starbucks is mainly concerned with appealing to their younger customers than us old guys with more refined tastes. And we don't all live in NYC with a great deli around every corner. Where we live there is a Starbuck's around every corner instead.

Have site feedback? We want to hear it!

Wow, I'm really excited about this. Some of my favorite food people all in one place. At first glance, the website is a bit "busy" and confusing about where to look first, but I'm sure I'll find my way around. It looks fun!

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