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Tuesday, March 27, 2007 

The power of "The Blogs"

An interesting article I saw the other day in the San Francisco Chronicle, and also forwarded to me by "Sara" at Blogabarbara.

If you think restaurant critics from mainstream newspapers, television and magazines are tough on the food industry, you haven't spent much time in cyberspace. Online message boards, gossip columns, city restaurant guides and food blogs are proliferating and having a profound influence on where consumers spend their eating dollars. The once-genteel discipline of restaurant reviewing has turned into a free-for-all, celebrated by some as a new-world democracy but seen by others as populist tyranny.

Many restaurateurs say these amateur critics don't even give them time to press the wrinkles out of their table linens before posting negative write-ups. They long for the days when they had to contend only with mainstream critics, who generally wait at least 30 days before reviewing a restaurant so chefs and staff could work out the glitches.

But, bloggers believe they are doing a public service. Eating out is costly, they say, so why shouldn't buyers be forewarned before plunking down good money?

..."There's a depth of obsessiveness in these blogs that's making them fun to read, and they can have instant impact on a restaurant," said David Kamp, author of "United States of Arugula," a book about the evolution of the American food culture.

To change with the times, restaurateurs are doing what any smart businessperson does -- listening to their critics. They're also wining and dining powerful Internet food writers. - SFGate

I don't walk into a place and say "I'm a blogger. Cater to me" as I have seen some folks do. I'll leave that to them, although I will post some personal experiences that might not sit well with the owner of a place. I'm not a "completely fanatic foodie"...I enjoy that basics without the "airs." But, I'm more interested in the news behind the food industry...and sharing some recipes that I stumble upon. Hopefully that makes for good ingredients of a "tasty" blog experience.

Forget the "foaming at the mouth" reviews...I want "foamy in the cup" delish.

Velvety Foamy Chocolate in a Cup

Serves 4

Nancy Coupal of the Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto, Beverly Hills and Caracas, Venezuela says you can use nonfat milk in place of whole milk.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/4 cup bottled water

3 tablespoons fine cocoa powder (Valrhona or Scharffen Berger)

3 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate (Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, Guittard, Lindt)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Instructions: Combine the milk and sugar in a saucepan and heat slowly. Blend the cornstarch into the water and then whisk into the milk. Continue whisking. When the mixture is hot, add the cocoa powder and chocolate. Whisk until chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and blend for 1 to 2 minutes with an immersion blender. Tilt the saucepan and keep blending until liquid really foams up and thickens.

If you do not have an immersion blender, use a regular blender but lift lid about 1/4 inch in a corner and cover with a towel.

Using a large serving spoon, spoon the chocolate into cups carefully so you do not lose the foam. The flavor improves if you make the chocolate the day before serving.

Store in refrigerator and heat before serving and re-froth. Serve with churros, cinnamon toast, or buttered sourdough toasted so it is dark around the edges.

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And since dark chocolate and some brands of cocoa powder (I forget just which) are packed with flavinoids (sp?), this recipe should be extremely good for your physical health. That it's good for your mental health is self-evident.

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