[UPDATED with FDA Response] First Our Guns, Now Our Cheese: Is the FDA Cracking Down On Using Wood To Age Cheese?

Categories: Indigestion

Flickr user USDAgov--yes, that's right.
The best part about this photo of cheese aging on wood is that it's from the USDA, with a caption about how traditional it is.
UPDATED June 10, 2014, 3:15 p.m. The FDA responded to our questions. See the update at the end of the post.

Back in 2011, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act, which aimed to make the government agencies proactive rather than reactive when it came to securing the United States' food supply. There have been many changes in the food production world since then, and the latest may be a direct assault on American artisanal cheese.

According to the Cheese Underground (which would be an outstanding name for a raw dairy cow share), the Food and Drug Administration has taken control of cheese inspection back from the states, and cited a New York dairy for using wooden boards to age their cheeses.

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Stop Over-Distilling Tequila, Or Why Ambhar Is The Worst Tequila To Enter The Market Since Cuervo Gold

Categories: Indigestion

Distilled an unnecessarily and arbitrarily high number of times.
Because I get so many pitches from public relations people whose approach to their career is to employ the steamroller approach to e-mail communication ("Dear Food Writer and/or Blogger"), it's hard to remember which clueless human megaphone sent me the e-mail about Ambhar tequila. I do know that, as with nearly all the non-targeted e-mail I get, I threw it out as soon as I glanced over it. It was the usual rah-rah spiel, this time about some new tequila.

New tequilas are about as newsworthy as the opening of a Starbucks. "It's distilled five times for exceptional purity and smoothness," crowed this particular press release.

Then I was walking through a liquor store and I saw it, so I--do I dare admit this to the ravening hordes of public relations people?--picked it up and looked at it. It is, indeed, distilled five times. It has a jewel-like clarity (and it had damn well better with a foofy name like "platinum"). It was in a very nice-looking, surprisingly heavy bottle.

So I bought it. I plunked down $35.99 of my corporate overlords' money and I took it home and I opened it and I drank some.

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Chipotle Now Says It Tried to Invite Latino Authors for Its "Cultivating Thought" Bag-and-Cup Series: UPDATE

Its self-importance spilleth over...
See update on the bottom of the second page...

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 16, 8:03 A.M.: An ex of mine used to love the works of Jonathan Safran Foer. She pushed me to read Everything is Illuminated, which I found too precious and twee and obviously the product of someone whose biggest problems are self-imagined. So it made sense that Foer, of all the people on Earth, would go to Chipotle one day and ask them to start printing short stories on its cups by famous authors because he needed something to read while gorging on a burrito and wanted the masses to have the same opportunity. "I really just wanted to die with frustration," Foer told Vanity Fair regarding his inspiration, and isn't it a blessed life when what makes you want to leave this vale of tears is the lack of literature at a feedbag factory?

So Chipotle granted Foer his wish, even allowing him to choose 10 authors to feature on cups and bags. It's a fine-enough list--Toni Morrison and Michael Lewis are great, Malcolm Gladwell is a hack, and I can't offer an opinion on George Saunders because I always mistake her him for George Eliot. The Internet, understandably, trampled over itself to praise Foer and Chipotle...and almost everyone gave the two a pass for the sin of not including a single Latino author. Not one. Bill Hader made the cut, but not a Latino--think about that.

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Restaurant Owner Sues Taco Bell over "Live Más" Campaign, Claiming Idea was His

Kevin McCarney, founder and president of Poquito Más: The Original Taco Stand in Los Angeles, prides himself on the quality of his food and so he's not happy that, in his view, fast-food giant Taco Bell illegally stole his "más" theme for its own advertising campaign.

McCarney claims Irvine-based Taco Bell officials sought permission in early 2012 to use his federally-registered "Más" trademarks, but he declined because he didn't want to harm his company's reputation, according to an ongoing lawsuit in Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse.

Despite the rejection, Taco Bell officials nevertheless launched their "Live Más" (or, in English, "live more") advertising campaign in television, Internet and newspaper ads.

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Dominique Ansel "Invents" The Waffogato, Two Years After It's Invented In Orange County

Categories: Indigestion

From Instagram account @dominiqueansel
Dominique Ansel's "invention"
Dominique Ansel, the person who popularized the cronut, that laminated-dough croissant-doughnut hybrid that has now invaded doughnut shops as low-rent as my beloved Jax Donuts in Anaheim, posted an Instagram photo of the "Waffogato", ice cream with Belgian waffle bits in the shape of a waffle drowned in a shot of espresso sweetened with espresso, according to First We Feast.

Too bad he didn't invent it.

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Troy High Students Stop Chik-fil-A From Being Sold on Their Campus--For Now

Categories: Indigestion

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Not in Fullerton schools...
Remember the Fullerton superintendent who pulled the plug on Troy High School's production of The Laramie Project, an oral history of the event surrounding the murder of gay University of Wyoming Student Matthew Shepard? Dr. George Giokarsis?

Well, Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) Gay-Straight Alliances aren't just upset with him for that--they're also upset with him over his handling of a district contract to sell Chik-fil-A chicken sandwiches on high school campuses through an independent contractor. For those of you who don't remember, Chik-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy has gone on record against same-sex marriage, and Chik-fil-A and its charitable foundation has donated money to anti-LGBT organizations.

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Irwindale City Council Unanimously Declares Sriracha Fumes a Public Nuisance

Willy Blackmore
Remember, Huy Fong's the one

Just when you thought you were safe from Huy Fong Sriracha shortages for a little while, the city of Irwindale just has to show up and ruin the party.

The Irwindale City Council voted 4-0 last night to to declare the spicy scent that leeches from the Huy Fond factory during production time an official "public nuisance," nevermind that a judge had already granted the city a preliminary injunction back in November and that the company is already working to reduce the spicy, spicy aroma.

Irwindale just wanted Huy Fong to be on double secret probation.

"The City Council is determined to assert its authority regardless of the status of the odor remediation efforts," Huy Fond Attorney John Tate told the LA Times.

So what's next for Huy Fong?

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Tyson Recalling Tons of Chicken After Possibly Shoving Plastic Everywhere

Categories: Indigestion, News

Photo by Melter
Not so delicious

Are you one of the rare, rare unicorns in Orange County that goes to Sam's Club instead of Costco? If you answered yes -- and if you bought Tyson Foods Chicken Nuggets -- you might want to check your freezer.

Tyson Foods is recalling over 75,000 pounds of chicken shipped to Sam's Club because of what the USDA calls possible contamination "with extraneous materials."

Check after the jump for identification information you can use to find out if your chicken might be extra artificial.

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Mexican Restaurants Now Charging Customers for Limes in Wake of Massive Price Hikes

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Green gold
So there I was at a local taquería, ready to chow down on four tacos al pastor, when I noticed something was missing: a lime wedge.

As I wrote last week, the wholesale price of a 40-pound case of limes from Mexico--where the vast majority of limes bought in the U.S. are grown--is reaching unprecedented levels due to chaos south of the border caused by the drug wars (although the Mexican government is putting the blame on a plague). When I wrote the post, a case cost $90; on Saturday, a local restauranteur tweeted a photo of a case costing $105. I warned in my post that customers would be feeling the pinch soon, as limes help Mexican food reach its heights from the taco to guacamole to ceviches and more.

Back to the missing lime wedge. I asked the taquero what was going on, and he said he'd give me one--but he'd have to charge me extra.

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Lime Prices Explode Due to Drug Wars in Mexico, Leading to Armed Escorts--and Robberies

You like lime on your tacos, or a wedge in your margarita? Be ready to pay more--much more.

Last month, we published a gripping story about how residents in SanTana that come from the lime-growing region of Mexico known as Tierra Caliente are helping to wage a secret war against the main drug cartel there. Though largely successful, the offensive is also waging havoc with the lime industry. Produce managers at local supermarkets tell the Weekly that they're accustomed to paying about $10 to $15 per case. Last week? $90, by far the highest price they've ever paid.

And it's only going to go up.

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