by Jim Ridley
Finally, a movie awards ceremony where the stars may be hams, but the speeches are mercifully brief. The tastiest surprise at the Cooks' Den's Culinary Cinema Awards is their depth of knowledge: nominees include the usual cutlets (Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate, Babette's Feast) but offbeat fare such as Oldboy, the Stephen Chow comedy God of Cookery, the delectably nasty Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, and one of our favorites in any category, Luis Buñuel's sublime The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. Bonus points if you can identify the movie pictured here without peeking.
• "It's not until you sink your teeth into the barbecue pork sandwich that you understand. Simplicity is what this restaurant is all about. The toasted French roll crackles on first bite. The savory pork is understated and tasty. Then you have a crisp, fresh snap of cucumber and cilantro...." That's Eric at Nashville Restaurants (minus Katie the Veggie Eater, left home by the lack of vegetarian options) at the cleverly named Far East Nashville on Fatherland. Check out the description of the pho. So many East Side restaurants, so little time....
• Pickle soup? Believe it, sez Joltin' Django at A Man's Gotta Eat: "I wasn't expecting much prior to eating it; indeed, I envisioned pickle soup as nothing more than sliced pickles in a vinegar 'broth.' Well..." He even scares up a recipe. Don't boil that sour cream.
• There's no need for me to even try making the salmon burger spotlighted on Ezra Pound Cake, because mine will never look as inviting as the one in the picture. For the first time, the words "ground fish" and "photogenic" belong in the same sentence.
• Say it isn't so: Melissa at Rhino Legs/Strawberry Beret, whose posts we've always enjoyed, drops the news that she and her husband are probably leaving town. Don't we have troops to prevent this sort of thing? At least before she goes she's offering another reason to get behind the Metro Chicken Bill.
• Here's a fun bit of culinary Black Ops: a guide to secret food items that aren't listed on the menus at Taco Bell, Chipotle and other fast-food joints. And I think I know why they're not listed, after learning the existence of the Wendy's "Meat Cube."