The Bruni Digest

In which I sit on a dirt mound somewhere in Brooklyn with my ears pricked, waiting for New York Times head restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who I imagine to be a Venetian count in a huge ruffled collar, to dole out stars from the inside breast pocket of his brocaded chamber robe. This blog is predicated on the suggestion that every Wednesday, in the Times Dining Out section, Frank lays a huge faberge egg of hilarity.

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Location: New York, New York, U.S. Outlying Islands

I am fiscally irresponsible, which means I have weak bones and a dorsal fin. And a penchant for dining out, even though I am, in the words of many rich people, a "poor people". I make a different face when speaking each of the foreign languages in which I am shittily proficient.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cookshop: Like UNICEF but more delicious

Frank’s review of Cookshop this week begins with a focus on the restaurant’s sanctimonious streak:

At Cookshop, “they don’t list daily specials." Instead, they “celebrate the restaurant's ‘favorite farmers,’ an honor roll of principled stewards and good shepherds who aren't exhausting their land, immobilizing their livestock, tweaking genes or toying with hormones.”


Candyslot Van der Muff: sadly not among this week’s gold-star organic champions.

“Along with an elite fleet of chosen fishermen, these farmers stock Cookshop's larder, and they are more or less local, or at least regional; the governing religion demands it."

Religion?...Frank has a habit (much mocked here) of using religious language to talk about food-- the sins of flesh, the redemption of sauce--


"In Habitus Homo Smokus" as the Latin goes.

But this week, that tendency hit its pinnacle:

"On a given night the number of them on those boards may rise as high as 10, just like the Commandments.”

10, just like the Commandments! I was hoping to this sort of exclamation would be repeated(the chicken was nailed to a plancha—just like Jesus!) but alas, the references remain general: cookshop is “selling virtue,” and is “suffused with it,” from domestic oak tables to recycled menus. But you want to know what I think when I think virtue? I think BORING. There’s a reason everyone loves hookers, cable, and the Netherlands, and it has nothing to do with being made out of thrice-processed domestic balsa mulch.


Boring loser.


American Hero.

“So you can sip, sup and simultaneously congratulate yourself, all of which might be a bit much but for this: You can also have a merry, heedless time.”

When I go out with my friends, there’s nothing I want to do more than SIP, SUP and be MERRY, even HEEDLESS. Additionally, nothing makes me more jubilant than putting ribbons in my hair, skipping about in my pinafore, and waiting for papa to return from the Franco-Prussian War!

Jules and her Boo, ready to get crunk.

No matter how anachronistic the slang, the point here is, Cookshop is as purely enjoyable as weirdly ethical. Frank is getting poetic about it!

“With the exception of those chalkboards, Cookshop renders its call to conscience as a murmur, audible to anyone soothed by the sound and ignorable by those who just want to chow down.”

And now, I will finish the poem that Frank started:

It’s hard for a hard-hitting journalisto,
A J-school man with talent ‘nuff to flaunt
To find his pride burned like neglected frito misto,
To find he’s a for-hire bon vivant!



I used to have John Paul and Berlusconi,
Not to mention Dubs and all his crew,
On my Buddy List under the title “Homies”
And now I spend my time with saumon cru.


And I’m dropping like three thousand dollars nightly
On the world’s best kitchens, (not to mention cellars!)
My compunction is acute ‘til I remember
That the money in the end is all Bill Keller’s. (phew!)


So a place like Cookshop feels like a cold compress
Pressed against my horseback-riding rash.
It makes you feel like Ol' Mamma Theresa
Except your makeup's better (obvie, natch!)


So: delicious? Yes, it is! But that’s not why
I’m giving Cookshop stars galore and raves:
I applaud their bold not-serving Snowy Owl,
And their moralistic not-hiring of slaves!


Cookshop, says Frank: "a place where eating well and doing good find common ground."


Hey hey hey! Retract your awkward dog paws, Mister Owl: you're 100% safe here!

13 Comments:

Blogger SuperAmanda said...

Oh I just love to see all those day laboring swarthy hordes who wash my raddichio leaves and make argula orgamis ducks for me.
I love to hear them singing and when I buy one of them a Russian Caravan latte because he defended me from one of his horny out of workout cohorts who was wearing a lime green Member's Only jacket I know it's not a handout-shush!
It's a trade off. After all I'll never know the joys of Frank chasing me through the Bosnian chocolate plantation asking me if it's bittersweet or whole nut....

6:24 PM, December 01, 2005  
Blogger Bethles said...

Ha ha. Totally worth waiting for. That owl really creeps me out though, with its scary, Gremlin-like feet!

4:13 AM, December 02, 2005  
Blogger Justin Kreutzmann said...

The Last Temptation Of Bruni.

10:09 PM, December 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading your digest and find it quite funny. I'm from Texas and had no earthly idea who Frank Bruni was but if I ever see him on the streets of Houston, I will definitely stomp a Texas-size mudhole is his ass.

12:58 PM, December 05, 2005  
Blogger cloois said...

jules -
i just happened upon your most fabulous posts by way of ms. caroline frost's tasteful blog. i must say, i'm most indebted to ms frost for the link. your erudition and sympathy drip from each re-review like the hard-earned sweat that rolls glistening from the furry nape of a master greco-roman wrestler wrangling an admired foe to the floor in a heady orgasm of ecstacy and soft regret. which isn't to say that your words appear to require effort, much to the contrary, but simply that occassionaly i'm poked in the eye by an errant boner as i delight over your divine genius.

1:34 PM, December 05, 2005  
Anonymous yoah said...

BAAM!!!!
BAAM!!!
BAAM!!!!

police..... open the door!!
hands up ... against the wall please...

you are under arrest for failed to report your self in time.

By the law, you have the blah...blah....blah.........

5:12 AM, December 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had surfed into your site a few weeks ago when Reuters reported on your blog.

I came back for more today and it's still outrageously funny. You can be sure that the pompous Mr. Bruni is shaking in his boots every week as he submits his restaurant reviews dreading your brilliant parody the next day. What makes it so funny is that you actually managed to "out-Bruni" Bruni.

Keep up the great work.

1:08 PM, December 09, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had surfed into your site a few weeks ago when Reuters reported on your blog.

I came back for more today and it's still outrageously funny. You can be sure that the pompous Mr. Bruni is shaking in his boots every week as he submits his restaurant reviews dreading your brilliant parody the next day. What makes it so funny is that you actually managed to "out-Bruni" Bruni.

Keep up the great work.

1:10 PM, December 09, 2005  
Anonymous mightyone said...

I know "PITHY" when I see it!

8:23 PM, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know pithy when i see it! Mightyone

8:25 PM, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous mightyone said...

I know pithy when I see it!

8:27 PM, December 10, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm starting to get the shakes...13 days without a fix?!? help!

2:46 PM, December 14, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this was just one giant frittata of laughter, honor roll to dog paws. Rule on, Ms. Jules. Rule on.

raucousraven

1:24 AM, December 15, 2005  

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