Wednesday, 16 April 2008

True local knowledge

Robert Lawson writes in passing:

Memphis’s Interstate BBQ is the best airport joint in America btw. It’s near gate B14—look for the long line of NWA pilots!

The real reason to fly through Memphis is the Lenny’s in the main part of the B concourse (near gate B3 I think). Either way, most of the guys in line in Memphis are probably Pinnacle pilots, not Northwest folks.

As for the “goner” status of the Memphis hub for Northwest, first Delta will have to figure out how to ditch all their regional jet contracts and find a way to continue Northwest’s tradition of soaking Memphis consumers without keeping the same availability of nonstop flights and rolling out the red carpet for Southwest—all those Shelby plates on cars at airport lots in LIT and BNA are just a hint of the level of business they could do out of Memphis against a retreating Delta.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Chinese food logic

Why would you open a new Chinese restaurant about six blocks from another Chinese restaurant when there isn’t a single Chinese restaurant for two (driving) miles around my apartment? Would it kill someone in this city to open a Chinese place near Whole Foods?

Monday, 11 June 2007

Odds and ends

I got my Express Mail refund today, although it took at least 30 minutes out of my life at the Clayton post office. On the upside, I did pick up some of those fancy Jamestown 41¢ stamps while I was there, as well as having the rather amusing experience of seeing someone who had brought in at least 20 first-class letters stamped with both a 39-cent stamp and a Forever stamp.

After the postal service ordeal, I ate lunch at Lampert’s Plush Pig BBQ on Forsyth, which was reasonably good although a bit pricey (Hog Heaven in Daytona was substantially better).

EITM today was nicely bifurcated; I understood everything this morning (basically a review of mathematical statistics through Bayes’ Theorem) but a lot less this afternoon (basically a review of game theory through comparative statics), although my vague recollections of my undergrad calculus and differential equations helped somewhat. Lesson of the day: I probably should have crammed in a game theory class at ICPSR.

I also learned today that walking back home from the Metrolink station in the middle of summer at 4:45 pm while carrying a full backpack is not very much fun. Tomorrow’s plan: park and ride, the environment be (partially) damned.

Monday, 5 June 2006

Whole Foods as a fashion accessory

James Joyner has an interesting critique of a whiny piece from the New York Times Magazine on Wal-Mart’s entry into the organic foods market.

My general sense of the whole “organic foods” craze is that, like the $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks (or, better, the local “fair trade” coffee place), it is another way for the upper-middle class to avoid shopping with the riff-raff while proclaiming their moral superiority over those who can’t waste money on such accoutrements—in other words, the traditional conspicuous consumption of the well-to-do spackled with a thin layer of altruism.

Sunday, 1 January 2006

Things that are lost on me, volume 32

Prompted in part by this BBC story on Winston Churchill’s position on whether or not Gandhi should have been allowed to starve if he went on hunger strike, and the Gitmo hunger strikes, I am forced to ask about the strategic considerations behind going on a hunger strike. If a prisoner voluntarily refuses to be fed for some basis other than the food itself (i.e. I could see why a Muslim might refuse to eat pork or non-halal beef), why does their captor have an obligation to feed them? More importantly, why does anyone care?

Thursday, 29 December 2005

Bad news for Midwest attendees

The Berghoff Restaurant in the Chicago Loop is closing at the end of Februrary; residents and tourists visiting the Windy City in late April may encounter herds of disoriented political scientists trying to locate other restaurants at which they can eat.

þ: TigerHawk

Sunday, 30 October 2005

Now in your local supermarket

I present without further comment… NASCAR bacon:


Tuesday, 4 October 2005

Local shopping discovery of the week

My big find: six packs of Goose Island Root Beer at Target for $4.49 (yes, it’s pricey, but it’s worth it). Now if you could just get Goose Island Beer around these parts…

Sunday, 17 July 2005

Crash this flick

My soon-to-be-ex-colleague Suzanne and I went to see Wedding Crashers on Saturday afternoon and laughed our butts off, followed by an early dinner at Amerigo, where I think Suzanne was disappointed by her meal and, while I enjoyed the lasagna, I tend to think that Old Venice and Bravo! are better choices for Italian in Jackson.

There's the beef

Good news for consumers: the ban on beef imports from Canada will be lifted this week, which should lead to lower prices for beef products on both sides of the border. As I discussed before and Pieter Dorsman mentioned Friday, the import ban had little to do with the risk of BSE (or “mad cow disease”):

More than anything it was a deliberate move influenced by US meatpackers to manipulate prices. Even in Canada prices somehow remained higher than where they should have been despite the glut of beef.

Reducing this sort of rent-seeking behavior is a very compelling argument for continued progress in dismantling trade barriers in food products.

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Coke Zero

As mentioned in comments below, I obtained a 2-liter bottle of Coke Zero at Brookshire’s today. My first impression of the beverage is that it’s very good—you’re not likely to confuse it with Coca-Cola Classic, unless you just haven’t had a Coke in a long time, but it’s not in any way similar to Diet Coke and I really couldn’t discern any aftertaste. I also think it’s better than C2. I think Coke has a winner here.

It also makes a very good mixer with Bacardi Gold—too good perhaps.

Monday, 13 June 2005

Diet Coke with Splenda

Apparently, someone at Coca-Cola had the brainwave of making a beverage that tastes exactly like a combination of three ingredients:

  • Carbonated water
  • Caramel food coloring
  • Splenda

This beverage has absolutely no discernable flavor other than that of sugar water. Now, if you like sugar water, Diet Coke with Splenda is the beverage for you. Me, I’m just hoping Coca-Cola Zero actually manages to taste non-awful, although I have to say that the relaunched Pepsi One isn’t a complete travesty, though, regrettably, on the wrong side of the Coke-Pepsi divide for my palate.

Saturday, 28 May 2005

Plastic of Paris

Daniel Drezner looks at the continued genius of Hardees and Carl’s Jr. in moving from “food porn” to virtual porn (by way of Paris Hilton) as a marketing gimmick in order to gain free ads from oft-quoted “watchdog” groups. I’m not one of those people who thinks Hilton is all that hot, but I guess I’m in the minority on that score.

I am surprised that H/CJ continues to keep a split brand, however… since Federated has now assimilated all of its department store holdings under the Macy’s brand, there really aren’t that many important split brands left—Edy’s/Dreyer’s and Checker’s/Rally’s are the only others that come to mind.

Friday, 13 May 2005


I had lunch today with fellow Jackson blogger Shawn Lea at Char… the food was excellent (very good fried catfish and pecan pie) and the company delightful. We shall have to do it again sometime.

Wednesday, 6 April 2005

Dinner, dessert, but no detox

Dinner with Dirk was at the MPSA-legendary Berghoff; I thought the meal was fine, but I’m not quite sure why people who come to Midwest rave about the place—I’ve eaten better elsewhere in the city.

Also today, I finally finished reading The Lady Tasting Tea; I may or may not have a review soon. I just started Empires of Light; I’m enjoying it so far, but I agree with the reviewers that complain about the author’s overuse of adjectives and flowery language.

Sunday, 3 April 2005

Dinner, dessert, and detox

I cooked spaghetti for dinner with the lovely, talented, and pointy-eyeballed Kelly Friday night; she brought chocolate ice cream and I supplied a bottle of 1996 Gossamer Bay cabernet sauvignon that I’d somehow acquired a while back (and was very good). It was a thoroughly pleasant evening, although I spent most of Saturday recovering from the wine intake—not to mention the two pints of Bass I had earlier at Fenian’s with some other colleagues.

Update: Just to clarify (for any concerned readers): all I was really suffering from on Saturday was a lack of sleep; alcohol seems to interfere with me falling asleep.

Monday, 21 March 2005


James Joyner links to an AP article about Coca-Cola’s plans to launch a new product in June, called “Coca-Cola Zero.” He asks:

It’s unclear why Coke Zero will be different from Diet Coke or Coke C2.

Well, the obvious answer is that C2 is not a zero-calorie soda; it’s just half the calories of regular Coke. Diet Coke doesn’t taste anything like Coke. So, the moral of the story is that a “diet Coke” that tastes like real Coke would be worth having; according to Coke’s press release, that’s the plan:

“Coca-Cola Zero is exactly what young adults told us they wanted – real Coca-Cola taste, zero calories and a new brand they can call their own,” said Dan Dillon, vice president, Diet Portfolio, Coca-Cola North America. “Young people today do not want to compromise on flavor or calories and we think Coca-Cola Zero’s taste and personality will appeal to them.”

There’s a product website here, of course.

Friday, 11 March 2005

The appearance of (tasty) corruption

An amusing story from the AP today: a town alderwoman in Ecru (a small town in north Mississippi near Oxford) was accused of attempting to bribe voters with baked goods. I’m familiar with the concept of women getting to your heart via your stomach, but this is the first time I’ve heard of one getting you to dimple your chads.

Friday, 4 March 2005

Where's the Canadian beef?

Today’s New York Times has a piece in the business section looking at the effects of the Canadian beef import ban on both sides of the border—few of which are good unless you’re an American cattle rancher. It seems fairly clear (to me, at least) that the motivation behind those seeking to extend the ban is naked protectionism rather than concern about Americans’ health.

The small bit of silver lining in this is that, unlike on the steel tariffs, the president is on the right side of the issue, although there are many in Congress who aren’t.

Thursday, 3 March 2005

Downsize Me

Colby Cosh talks about a guy in Canada who’s eating nothing but McDonald’s food and still losing weight. Colby asks:

Is it some kind of heresy to suggest that McDonald’s may not necessarily be a temple of doom for people who want to eat right, and are prepared to go about it armed with common sense?

Clearly, yes.

Incidentally, the diet is going reasonably well; I lost about four pounds last week, with four days of 30–40 minutes of aerobic exercise, about 15 minutes a session on various pieces of weight-training equipment, with limited changes in diet that mostly add up to “don’t eat all the time.”

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Conspiracy theories and serving sizes

Some interesting thoughts on the difficulty of organizing a conspiracy:

Every time [a possible conspiracy] comes up in a class I ask the students if they’ve ever tried to order a pizza for 3 people, and if yes whether it was difficult to agree about what to get on it and how to divide it up. Occassionally a light bulb goes on over one of their heads when they make the connection that if pizza is this hard than conspiracy must be damn near impossible.

Completely unrelated: has anyone noticed that the recommended serving size of virtually any frozen pizza (so far tested with DiGiorno, Tombstone, and Kroger-brand Tombstone clone) is one-fifth of a pizza? However, dividing a pizza—particularly the “thin crust” DiGiorno, which is square—into fifths is left as an exercise for the consumer. (þ: Cold Spring Shops)

Monday, 6 December 2004

Groceries and the regulatory state

I somehow managed to purchase two frozen pizzas (“Dano’s Gourmet”—I always trust pizza from a company named after a character on Hawaii Five-O) at Winn-Dixie last week, and, upon cooking the first, I discovered to my horror that in lieu of actual mozzarella cheese, one of the toppings on the pizza is called “mozzarella cheese substitute blend.”

My question: should I be annoyed at the regulatory state for its failure to ban fake cheese from the frozen pizza market (i.e. its failure to act in the Carolene Products vein), or should I be annoyed at the regulatory state for its lulling me into a false sense of security—a belief that I wouldn’t be sold a pizza with fake cheese on it—which led me not to check the ingredients until I got home?

Or, should I be annoyed at Winn-Dixie for stocking this crap and take my grocery business to Kroger or Brookshire’s or McDade’s or Super Wal-Mart? (I’d add New Deal to this list, but I’m leery of any supermarket whose primary selling point in its weekly ads is that ”$19.99 feeds your family meat for a week.” Plus, I generally make it a matter of principle to avoid stores named after government programs…)

Sunday, 21 November 2004

Restaurant review

Will Baude is taking issue with a favorable review by Pejman Yousefzadeh of Heaven on Seven, a restaurant I had a somewhat-decent lunch at with Dirk Eddelbüttel during my last visit to Chicago after our plans to eat at the restaurant in Millenium Park fell through.

I generally agree that the restaurant only provides a facsimilie of proper soul food, but given that travel to Mr. Baude’s preferred restaurants in the UofC area would not fit in the timeframe of Loop-area office workers (or academic conference attendees desperately attempting to arrange job interviews), sometimes the substitute is preferable just because the only viable alternative is starvation.

Thursday, 18 November 2004


Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Thanksgiving dinner in a bottle

Or five bottles, to be precise. Following up on their successful turkey and gravy soda from last year, the Jones Soda company is selling a holiday five-pack: turkey and gravy soda, cranberry soda, mashed potato and butter soda, greenbean casserole soda, and fruitcake soda. (þ apostropher.)