Death For Food

One of our good friends, the photographer and dreamer Jaime Fritsch, has started a new series of images documenting animal slaughtering on small farms. Using a 50mm lens, Fritsch hopes the images will help the viewer get one step closer to everyday food without distorting the reality of the subject. Jaime's vision for the series is to faithfully depict the reality of the slaughtering process happening on small farms, arguably the best-case scenario in terms of humane meat production. In Fritsch's words,

This is not a series on brutal, cruel slaughterhouses; nor is it a series on ethical, humane practices. This is about the sheer act of death for food.

WARNING: The chicken slaughter in the second half of this post is very graphic, so don't scroll down if you're concerned about seeing some pretty intense imagery of blood.

The first shoot includes two pigs, eating and mulling about their pen, with eerily human eyes and cute little curly-Q tails.

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The second shoot was during a chicken slaughter, capturing some intensely graphic images of the process, including some breathtaking mid-air blood droplets unlike anything we've ever seen.

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We're excited to see how the series unfolds and would love to hear what you think of Fritsch's work.

Our Public Market

A couple months ago at Mother Sponge headquarters, we were on cloud nine when we discovered some new neighbors in the giant Frasier boiler warehouse, half a block from our doorstep – a PUBLIC MARKET! The San Diego Public Market is coming. And unsurprisingly, people are stoked. A final tally today found close to 1,400 people backed the project on Kickstarter, raising close to $150,000!

Catt White (one of our most prominent farmers' market managers) and her partner in crime Dale Steel (public market guru) have spent many years researching and plotting to make this happen, so this current and highly social chapter is actually somewhere in the middle of their story. Lots of hard work lies ahead, but these two couldn't be a better fit for the job.

Check out their Kickstarter video for more info... and we'll drop more news as things progress down here in Barrio Logan.

Misión 19

Finally. We've been slightly obsessed with Cebicheria Erizo for a few years now, so it was only a matter of time before a pilgrimage to Javier Plascencia's flagship Misión 19 would materialize. And the other day, materialize it did.

Our buds at Slow Food Urban San Diego extended an invite our way for a lunch that Javier was putting together – we did not, could not, should not decline. Here are some photos from the experience...

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Part of the experience at Misión 19 is walking through the gorgeous new building that houses the restaurant. This is a shot taken directly under a giant skylight and glass-flanked atrium that winds through the center of the building.

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One corner of the restaurant has a private dining area on a platform, with copious amounts of sunlight streaming through skylights above. I recall zero light fixtures – this is the first LEED certified building in Tijuana.

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Restaurant entrance with signage. The tagline, "cocina de autor" is an apt description – where Erizo hosts Plascencia's ceviche studies in charcoal, Misión 19 is a refined conceptual masterpiece in marble.

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The long communal table setup especially for the SFUSD board members, with MoSpo tagging along and giddy with excitement at this point.

Now, onto the food! Disclaimer: some dishes were not documented as their aroma and plating were too enticing not to dive right in.

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Steamed oyster.

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Seared ahi with mole, chicharrones, radish, grilled shishito pepper.

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Heirloom bean and Summer mushroom risotto with huitlacoche dust and epazote spume.

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Tamarind martini.

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Mezcalero with chapulin sea salt on the rim!

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Local cheeses with guava puree, candied hibiscus and honey.

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Banana brulee with oatmeal ice cream, strawberries and bougavillea.

Slow Food Urban San Diego board (and MoSpo's Sean Kelley) with Javier Plascencia atop the Via Corporativo building where Misión 19 resides. Our SFUSD buddy Chelsea Coleman took the above photo, and many others, along with great notes on the courses – check them out here.

Top 5 "Food Scenes" from Movies

As a followup to the Top 5 "Food Movies" post, here's our best of list for "Food Scenes" from the silver screen. There are so many great ones, but here are a few of our favorites:

1. Gray's Papaya Picnic on a desert mesa - Fools Rush In You betcha – the NYC legend of hot dogs gets shipped across the country in the name of love! This is the way to a man's heart, ladies. Incidentally, this movie is full of other great food scenes, including meeting your future wife while waiting for the restroom at a Mexican restaurant, a pregnant pizza dinner in a half-built nightclub, a tamale-centric family fiesta with an unexpected guest, and of course – a Cinco de Mayo debacle involving insults to the guacamole.

2. The Fake Orgasm - When Harry Met Sally Sally makes her point in front of the lunchtime rush at a busy New York deli. Writer/Director Rob Reiner's mother chimes in with "I'll have what she's having," to put a somewhat cheesy (but still hilarious given the context) end to a classic food scene.

3. Michael's Initiation - The Godfather: Part I When Michael Corleone kills Sollozzo at Louis' Italian Restaurant in the Bronx, he's gone past the point of no return when it comes to the family business. Fittingly, this character transformation takes place in a sleepy family run joint in the Bronx. The scene was shot at an old place called Luna Restaurant, and apparently featured the real-life proprietors of said restaurant.

4. The Milk Check - The Big Lebowski However subtle it may be, the opening scene of The Big Lebowski find The Dude in the supermarket dairy section, opening a carton of milk for a quick taste test to ensure the freshness that is essential for a great White Russian, only to proceed to the checkout with milk mustache in tow. This is perhaps the perfect way to introduce the character.

5. Bad Dates – Raiders of the Lost Ark Again, food plays a quick supporting role here, but the tension created is genius. You see an assassin poison the bowl of dates right before Indiana grabs one to munch. Indiana all but eats the date a few times while chatting with Sallah, always interrupted by something. He finally gets a moment to eat, launching the date into the air. Sallah grabs it just before it drops into Indy's mouth, quipping "bad dates" as he looks over at the dead monkey next to the date bowl. Good old Sallah, always getting Indy out of trouble!

Another top 5 is on the way, but instead of film we'll focus on beer pairings!

Top 5 "Food Movies"

I just watched Big Night again after several years and was compelled to put this short list together. There is something magic when great film meets food on screen eh?

1. Big Night Even with the sometimes questionable Italian accents, nothing beats Big Night when it comes to great films about food. I didn't notice this the first time I saw it, but there are a lot of scenes that feel like a Wes Anderson film – only with Italian music and a 1950s backdrop (as opposed to Anderson's usual classic British rock with a vaguely-vintage present-day setting). Bottomline – netflix this if you haven't seen it.

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Gene Wilder and a river of chocolate. Enough said.

3. Spanglish Adam Sandler makes for a believable chef, lovable yet troubled family man, and IMHO has never done anything better dramatically (while still giving a good dose of funny). The scrumptrillescent late night snack of sandwich with fried egg and a beer always makes me yearn for The Linkery.

4. So I Married An Axe Murderer Yeah, this one counts. Much of the movie takes place in food & beverage establishments, from the open-mic at the cafe and dinner at home with the Scottish parents, to the hypothetical French toast breakfast with crazy-sister Rose and the love bird shenanigans at the Meats of The World butcher shop. Sidenote: best cover of Rod Stewart's Do Ya Think I'm Sexy? ever.

5. Mystic Pizza A favorite of my parents that stuck with me. The pizza place is the family hub that keeps the main characters together. I guess that's a similar thread for many of these films – how food brings people closer to share in the human experience. What do they put in that sauce???

The next list is already in the works – Best Food Scenes in Movies. A fake orgasm in a deli is sure to be present.