I keep reading and rereading this, below, from Sam Sifton's farewell story in yesterday's New York Times. Is it a sentence? A paragraph? A poem? Three nights in April: one in a comfortable booth at the Dutch, Andrew Carmellini’s terrific pan-American clubhouse in SoHo, where I ate crabmeat dressed in bloody-mary sauce, a rib-eye steak and some apple pie; another at a sticky table at La Joya de Ceren on Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens, where a fried pork chop came flanked by pupusas, rice and garlicky beans; and a third at Masa, the sushi temple in the Time Warner Center. I like Sam Sifton's writing, pretty much, and he's treated me kindly and with respect in all of the few interaction I've had with him but, I don't know... Why does food writing so often have to get so... weird? And then there is the brilliance of these last two graphs: But the best meal I had on the job? It was in the garden of Frankies 457, on Court Street in Carroll Gardens, on a summer evening with my wife, ...

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Meet the Spitzenbergs. Dear Margaret-- (Can I call you Maggie?) I'd wanted the pie challenge to be between Howard and me. And, oh, okay... you. But me and my big mouth... I went and mentioned it to The Foodinista in a casual chat on Larchmont Blvd. earlier this week. She went and had lunch that day with the editor of LA Weekly. And the rest, well, the rest is just plain Out of My Hands. It is going to be an event. Not to be competitive here, but there are going to be winners and losers, and I hate to lose. (Ask H. I'm sure he knows how I feel.) I started on my apple research at the Santa Monica farmers market last weekend. I had to fight with Gjilena for four pounds of Spitzenbergs and I don't even know what they are or how to spell that stupid restaurant's name. (Who has money for extra consonants these days? That's what I want to know!). Next I have to turn my attention to crust. (Lard almighty! How I love crust!) In the meantime, let's eat. xoxo ...

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I had dinner with my friend Margaret and her husband, Howard, the other night--fried chicken at Farmshop since I know you want to know. And the chicken was good--so good, in fact, that I didn't do what I normally do with fried chicken, which is eat the fried and leave the chicken. Dessert, however, a summer berry pudding, which is stale white bread drenched in macerated berries, was just okay: the bread wasn't drenched enough, so you actually knew you were eating bread and let's face it, nobody really wants to know they're eating bread for dessert; plus, the berries weren't strained so it was just Seed City. "Did you like the dessert?" I asked Howard. "It was fine," he said. He's nicer than I am, at least when it comes to pudding. "But it's not really my thing." "So what's your thing?" I asked. "Apple pie?" I pride myself on being a little bit psychic or intuitive, or maybe just a good guesser, so I was proud when Howard said, "Yes. That's exactly right." And then he said something ...

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