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“I’ll Have the Special, Thanks”

So there you are—staring at a menu item that reads “Prawns Human Taste” (ah: Hunan Taste?)   According to Atlas Obscura’s fantastic piece, “Why Menu Translations Go Terribly Wrong,” these aren’t just typos. Translating the names of dishes that exist within a cultural context can be next to impossible. Some entertaining (and delicious) examples:

  • Steak on the Way Home
  • Battered Brains
  • Vegetarian Meat Floss
  • Climbing with a Hen
  • Sautéed Happy Family
  • Sad Cold Noodles
  • Lamp, Immaculately Grilled
  • Mediterranean Risotto with Smallpox
  • Nuts of Saint Jacques
  • Chicken with Special Needs

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Seriously????

To the list of all the things you can (but maybe shouldn’t) do while drinking, add this: ax-throwing. According to Tasting Table, two new ax-throwing places will open this year in Boston and ax-throwing bars already exist in Philadelphia and in Canada. If throwing an ax in between sips of pinot noir never crossed your mind, you’re, umm, not alone. But apparently ax-throwing is the new thing. The ax-throwing bars are careful to point out that safety precautions are taken and that an “axepert” supervises every throw. Co-founder of Revolution Axe company, Chris Greeno is quoted in the piece as saying. “If you and your boyfriend or girlfriend walk in for a romantic night of ax throwing, we want to accommodate you.” Good to know.

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Crafty Opossum Downs Craft Spirit

According to The Drinks Business, this merry marsupial snuck into Cash’s, a Florida liquor store, the day after Thanksgiving, broke a bottle of bourbon then drank the entire contents. The brand was not revealed. Found in a wobbly condition and looking rather pale, the opossum was taken in by the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and given a Bloody Mary–I mean medical fluids. She has since been released. Many animals are known to appreciate the uplifting effects of an occasional nip including elephants, shrews, and fruit flies.

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Edible Delirium

Okay, something is seriously wacky with the cheese people. First, pink prosecco cheese. Now this: Finlandia cheese company has created an edible cheese wine glass and edible cheese beer glass. At first, I thought, “okay, I’ll get one as a gag gift (really a gag gift) for WineSpeed’s publisher since he likes cheese.” But then I found out each eat-me glass cost $5000. And then I discovered you could only buy the glass on Facebook (beat that op-ed Amazon) and only on one day—last Wednesday. I swear if eat-me glass went viral, I’m in the wrong business. Your complimentary subscription BrieSpeed will arrive next week.

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Prosec-obsession

Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t this pink cheese bring back memories of Hostess Pink Snowballs? It’s actually Wensleydale cheese (a British classic) flavored with raspberries and prosecco (which, sigh, Snowballs didn’t have). But I don’t know, there’s something creepy about pink cheese and besides, Prosec-obsession is starting to get a little tedious. The pink prosecco cheese—already being billed as gastro-bait for millennials–is made by The Great British Cheese Company. Get it here and WineSpeed friends, report back please.

 

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Ten Aromas

Top ten aromas you don’t want to smell in your wine this fall.

Compound  What it Smells Like
Acetaldehyde Stale straw; roasted nuts
Amyl-acetate Fake candy banana flavoring
Brettanomyces Barnyards, fecal matter, gamey horses
Cork taint Damp dog in damp basement sitting on damp cardboard
Butyric acid Rancid butter
Ethyl acetate Weak vinegar, paint thinner, nail polish remover
Hydrogen sulfide Rotten eggs,  garlic that has gone bad
Mercaptans Burnt garlic or onion
Oxidation Cooked bruised fruit and walnuts
Sulfur dioxide Burnt matches

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Smoke Blunder

With the fires that have killed nearly 50 and devastated 162,000 acres of wine country not yet fully out, famous San Francisco chef Michael Mina is heralding the opening of his new SF restaurant. Its name? International Smoke. The promo copy talks about how “approaches on fire, grilling, and smoke…bring communities together.” (Yeah, no kidding). We’re pretty sure Mina’s cooking is great. His timing? Not so much.

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Calling Rambo

You can use nets. You can use cannons. You can walk around a vineyard randomly firing a shotgun in the air. But a better solution? Rambo—or one of his feathered friends. In some places like Carneros California, small birds that eat grapes (only when they’re perfectly ripe of course) are a curse this time of year. Draping the vineyard with expensive nets is only partially effective. Booming cannons scare the birds, at least until they get acclimated to the sound. But a falcon circling overhead? A falcon could eat you. Which is why grape-loving birds leave your vineyard immediately. Rambo, one such falcon, has been employed by a company called Authentic Abatement to swoop over several Carneros vineyards while looking hungry. (Apparently Rambo doesn’t really eat any little birds, preferring to be fed by his falconer master). One downside of this new “technology” for minimizing bird damage to vineyards: eagles and hawks like to eat falcons.

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Don’t-Taste

Here with a few items we’ve filed under the heading Don’t-Taste. (And, yes, the following all exist).

  • Pinot Meow—Wine for your kitty. (You’d think cat-pissy sauvignon blanc would have been the first feline varietal but, hey, cats are cool; they prefer pinot).
  • Bacon Vodka—Curious to try it? Absolut makes one. (Personally, we think Bacon Vodka ties with Fruit Loops Vodka for the TBD (Truly Bad Idea) Award.
  • Edible Wine Glasses—Riedel must be kicking themselves over missing this obvious opportunity. Solves the wineglasses-don’t-fit-in-the-dishwasher problem.
  • Brussel Sprout Soda—Taking the “grown up soda” notion a wee bit too far.
  • Ice Cream That Doesn’t Melt—Oh those opportunistic food marketers… poised and ready for global warming.

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Your Wine Horoscope

A Silicon Valley-based company has developed StarSip, a wine-horoscope app that makes wine recommendations for each sign of the zodiac. Based on an interdisciplinary approach the company calls Biodynamic Astrology, the app’s algorithm aligns solar and lunar cycles in both viticulture and cosmology. StarSip subscribers who enter their signs  are sent a list of wines that possess the most “harmonic convergence” for the month. (Ok, we made this up. But hey, it’s California where anything is possible).