Fame Bites - Aubrey Plaza
February 7th, 2011
06:00 PM ET
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Fame Bites goes inside the belly of the entertainment beast. We're dishing out where the celebrities are eating, what they're eating and who they're eating with.

Aubrey Plaza currently stars as the deadpan intern, April Ludgate, in NBC's mockumentary-style comedy "Parks and Recreation" alongside the likes of Aziz Ansari and Amy Poehler. She has also appeared in films like "Funny People" and "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World."

Just because she's got a dry sense of humor, doesn't mean the girl lacks flavor.

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Filed under: Bite • Columns • Fame Bites

5@5 - Jeff Segal
February 7th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

On Valentine’s Day, also known as next Monday (commence Medusa-like shrieking), Jeff Segal wants you to think outside the box of chocolates and consider the bottle for your lady friend or gentleman caller.

Segal is the owner of Heart wine bar, restaurant and art gallery in San Francisco - a spot perhaps most notably known for its unconventional "Mason Jar Manifesto" of serving wine out of mason jars. In the words of Segal: "Respect the grape, and the human hands behind it, not the stem."

Five Wines for Every Valentine's Day Personality: Jeff Segal

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Filed under: 5@5 • Holidays • Sip • Think • Valentine's Day • Wine

Podcast – Out to Lunch: Tacos beyond the box and Bell
February 7th, 2011
03:45 PM ET
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Many of us grew up eating out-of-the-Ortega-box shells and spent our pocket change on cheapo "seasoned beef" at Taco Bell. We never dreamed that there was a whole flavor world beyond neon cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce.

Taco trucks and blogs abound around the country, but unless you take a step away from the chains, you're never going to know what deliciousness awaits just over the border.

There's plenty more to chew on, but it all starts with the first bite. Come out to lunch with Eatocracy.

Listen and subscribe on iTunes and subscribe to the Out to Lunch with Eatocracy RSS feed

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And yes, I do assert that Tacos Nuevo Mexico is my favorite taqueria in all the land - and Top Chef's Bryan Voltaggio didn't hate it one bit. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it - but also, school me on your favorites. We'll share a list in a future post.

Bargain bourbon: Wham, dram, thank you ma'am
February 7th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
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Call it the Mad Men effect: retro fashions, debonair dinner parties and especially classic drinks - like bourbon - are back with a vengeance.

"Despite the recession, consumers decided they wanted to drink better," says Frank Coleman, senior vice president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Last year, sales of super premium bourbon (the highest price category) were up 17.7% from 2009, according to the council, while total bourbon sales grew at a rate of just 4%.

So what makes a bourbon "super premium"? Well, better often means older. Older whiskeys spend more time aging in an oak barrel, which is how they get their caramel color and much of the flavor.

Read "Great bourbons at a bargain" on CNNMoney.

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Filed under: Business and Farming News • News • Sip • Spirits • Trends

Lunchtime poll – sending it back
February 7th, 2011
01:30 PM ET
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It took a while for my bluefish and tostones to show up this weekend. No worries - I had some sparkling Chilean wine and was still coming down from a spicy anticuchos appetizer. Close quarters, so it was easy for me to determine pretty quickly that the couple sitting nearby were kind of...jerks.

I like to like people. The world is much nicer that way. New York City restaurant seating makes that difficult sometimes because you're squashed up against each other so tightly, it's almost as if you've got extra, uninvited dinner companions. Sometimes, that's not a bad thing - I've developed some ongoing friendships with people I've met sitting at restaurant bars.

These people, though...these people... The gentleman sent his steak back - not because there was anything fundamentally wrong with it (my husband had the exact same dish and it was pretty darned delicious), but rather because it just kind of wasn't what he wanted, and because it turns out, that's just what he DOES.

February 7th, 2011
12:15 PM ET
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CNN: Tell me about being vegan.

Simmons: I've been vegan for more than 10 years. It's maybe the worst disaster in human history - 15 billion suffering farm animals. And I don't want to participate in it. I'm 53 years old, and do I look sick to you? I don't eat animal or animal products, and I feel fine. I feel pretty healthy.

CNN: What are your favorite dishes?

Simmons: I like this spicy tempeh dish. I like that a lot. People ask my favorite stuff, and I say the thing in front of me a lot. Right now if I weren't on a liquid diet, if I had an avocado roll and some soy sauce, it would be that.

Stephanie Chen talks money, bliss and much more with the hip-hop mogul

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Filed under: Animal Rights • Food Politics • Vegan • Vegetarian

Box lunch
February 7th, 2011
12:00 PM ET
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Sink your teeth into today's top stories from around the globe.

  • To some, squirrels are cute and cuddly. To Ian Knauer, they're mean, vicious and downright tasty. - Big City Country Boy

  • Think you can eat a dozen doughnuts then run four miles? Consider the Krispy Kreme Challenge. - News & Observer

  • Robert Parker, one of America's premier wine critics, is handing down his corkscrew. - Vinography

  • Table for one on Valentine's Day? There doesn't have to be shame in that game. - Esquire

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Filed under: Box Lunch • News

February 7th, 2011
10:25 AM ET
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Washington (CNN) - A California company has recalled more than 3,000 pounds of fresh ground beef patties and other packages of ground beef products that may be contaminated with the E. coli bacteria, the U.S. Agriculture Department said Saturday.

The department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said it became aware of the problem "when contacted by another federal regulated establishment who believed they had received suspect product."

American Food Service of Pico Rivera recalled the products, which were produced on January 31, the USDA said in a press release.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number "EST. 1913" inside the USDA mark of inspection. They were sent to restaurants throughout Southern California.

Read the rest of "Company recalls ground beef due to possible E. coli contamination" on CNN Health.

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Filed under: Health News • Meat • News • Recalls • Tainted Food

February 7th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Tommy Andres is an associate producer at CNN. He's great at making lunch for other people.

In the rich, creamy center of the country, there is a certain category of dish that helps usher in life’s most meaningful moments. As hearty as the Midwest itself, these mixtures of all things good rival the importance of cake on birthdays, cookies on Christmas and turkeys on Thanksgiving.

They fit cozily into any occasion where meals are passed and smiles are shared. The craftings of Crock-Pots and Corningware adorn family tables on holidays, picnic tables in summers and office tables during potlucks. They can be a risk to try, a reward to savor or an endeavor to regret, but they are always served with a big spoon and good intentions.

Casseroles have the power to do magic. Don’t believe me? Have you ever heard of another food that can turn a condiment into a main ingredient? My mom makes a dish called Chicken Divan, which in her version is somewhere between 60 and 70 percent Miracle Whip. I think I just heard Jillian Michaels pass out.

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Filed under: Books • Casserole • Dishes • The Sixties • Vintage Cookbook Vault • Vintage Cookbooks

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