Welcome to our brand new food column, Hot Links, where VICE employee Dan Meyer explores the neglected culinary stars of YouTube. Each week, Dan will present a selection of videos highlighting specific food themes from amateur cooking, to local restaurant commercials, to elderly drinking buddies, to kitchen disasters, to the infinite supply of odd YouTube wonders in the food category. We encourage you to fall into this culinary video k-hole, and include your own comments and contributions below.
Here are my top seven selections for local restaurant advertisements. Watching these clips should mentally transport you to a run-down motel room in somewhere, USA, where the TV’s blaring with low-budget tourist trap commercials on a loop. Get familiar with the theme, crack a cold one, and watch these hot links.
Creed’s Seafood & Steaks—King Of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Restaurant owner Jim Creed loves wine, and is proud to be the boss at the longest independently owned fine dining restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania—since 1982. Every time I am in the suburbs of Philly driving around the parking lots of a shopping mall, I find myself wondering, where could I possibly find a nice steak, in a lively setting, prepared by a real chef? Luckily, Creed’s is the answer.
If you have any questions about things like love, drugs, sex, food, pets, psychological and physical disorders, friendship, enemies, revenge, reconciliation, family, suicide, pyrotechnics, working, working it, pets, babies, kids, college, moving, travel, transitions, modern dance, how not to be made a fool of, how to have the upper hand in any situation, how to keep cool under pressure, how to get any job, how to impress anyone, how to be taken seriously, how to assemble a perfect cheese plate, how to age appropriately, how to not give a fuck what other people think, how to do drugs without getting sick, how to transport drugs without getting caught, what to do in any emergency, how to be a woman who gets taken seriously, how to be a man who doesn’t suck, how to grow up, how to stay young, how to do most things on a budget, how to allow yourself to feel pleasure without feeling guilt, how to throw a perfect party, how to be alone, how to be in a relationship, how to be more independent, how to live well with others, how to finally get along with your mom, how to eliminate toxic people from your life forever, how to know when to quit your job, how to make money when you don’t have a job, how to know when to never forgive someone, how to work like a maniac for the thing you want most, how to relax, how to break up with an old friend, how to live in the woods, how to live in a penthouse, etc., email them firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Think You Can Survive on ‘Junk Food and Cigarettes’ You’re an Idiot
The Daily Mail has been trailing a new book this week by “leading science writer” Tony Edwards. Titled The Good News About Booze, which sounds like an off-license run by a Jehovah’s Witness, it tackles three of the middle class’s greatest obsessions: dying of cancer, mediocre sex, and drinks that middle-class people like. The first extract from the book, published last week, gave the paper a valuable opportunity to address the important question of whether red wine causes or cures cancer.
The book (or at least the extracts—the email I sent requesting a review copy remains unanswered) is exactly what you’d expect. Edwards claims to have conducted an “in-depth study of around half-a-million scientific papers about alcohol”, which is basically impossible unless he has an army of minions in his basement. In the best traditions of Malcolm Gladwell, he takes a banal and well-known truth—that drinking a moderate amount of red wine is healthy—and pretends it’s some kind of shocking revelation that some indefinable cabal of wine-hoarding misers don’t want you to know about. Throw in a few silly exaggerations for added measure, like “red wine may well be one of the most effective ‘medications’ in history” or “I’m just an averagely intelligent science journalist,” and you have a perfect piece of click-bait for the lazy editor to shove in the paper.
Kyrgyz Your Enthusiasm – Fresh Off the Boat: Moscow, Part 2
In Fresh Off the Boat - Moscow part two, Eddie further immerses himself in Russian culture. He learns what it was like to live under Soviet rule, shares tea with Kurdish immigrants, and begins to understand the issues that connect people, regardless of the invisible lines which separate them.
These two ads from a new campaign for Swarovski jewelry feature bony models getting “caught” buying and—gasp—even damn near eating food. Ladies? Better get yourselves some shiny baubles to deflect attention away from your disgusting habit of consuming life-giving sustenance.
In part one of Fresh Off the Boat - Moscow, Eddie takes his first shot of Russian vodka, chows down on some “communist dogs” with one of the few black Muscovites, and discusses the country’s diverse generation of millennials and their evolving ideologies.
We Went to the McDonald’s Build Your Own Burger Test Restaurant
On the outside, the McDonald’s in Laguna Nigel, California looks like every other store in the chain. There’s sad white walls, three kids running in circles while their parents beg them to stuff more fries into their faces, and the prominent golden arches luring you inside to get your weekly grease injection. Upon further inspection, this McDonald’s was like no McDonald’s I had ever been to, because it’s the tester restaurant for their new build-your-own-burger gimmick.
My first thought was “damn, this place is clean.” It was clean, you guys. The counter was shiny, and the walls were painted with stripes to look futuristic and European. What shocked me the most, however, was the sheer friendliness of the employees. Three teenaged girls in white button-up shirts greeted me instantly with big smiles. “Welcome to McDonald’s!” They were like the Stepford Wives, but a fast-food employee version.
This McDonald’s is the McDonald’s of the future. I’m not saying that just because it’s really clean and people are happy. I’m saying that because this McDonald’s has iPads! What do these iPads do? They are the tool with which you customize your burger order. With this magic iPad, you’re able to order such exotic menu items as an “artisan roll,” and “guacamole.” Yeah you heard me, a McDonald’s that serves guacamole. Welcome to the 21st century, fuckers. Obviously, little things like “clean dining areas,” “friendly service,” and “freedom of choice” are not features that can be rolled out to every McDonald’s all at once. No, those things have to be “tested,” and Laguna Nigel is the only place where you can enjoy the aforementioned amenities.
VICE Japan correspondents Kentaro and Masakazu travel to Beijing, China to check out Guo Li Zhuang, the local go-to penis restaurant in the city. First on the menu is raw donkey penis, followed by “Golden Pike of Iron Horse” (horse penis), “Dragon Moving Through Fire” (Yak penis), “Digging in Sand” (goat testicle and snail penis), and last but not least, a soup made up of some more penises. Watch and learn more about the healthy medical effects these dishes can have.
In the next episode of Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie goes to Moscow and falls in love with Russian kabobs, learns the difference between American and Russian vodka, and explores the underlying racial tensions that modern Russian youth are fighting to overcome.
Moving to New Orleans from Florida in 2000 seemed a really sketchy thing to do at the time. Plenty of my old friends had gotten the hell out of the Sunshine State, but none of them had moved to the South’s murder capital. I figured the city’s vibrant music culture and cheap rents (the key to personal freedom) made it a risk worth taking, and New Orleans looked like the perfect place to hide out as the rest of America marched forward into the corporate maw.
Alas, in the last few years New Orleans has fallen victim to the same kind of gentrification afflicting every other “cool” city. Waves of relatively well-off, seemingly rootless young people have flooded in and co-opted and perverted and “improved” everything from the rents to the cuisine. The trendier parts of New Orleans now feel like Austin, which is to say a bit like Brooklyn, or Portland or… you get the idea. Invited here by politicians and other opportunistic natives, money and its attendant cultural trappings have more or less killed our blessed isolation and, in turn, a bit of the romance of living here. Where New Orleans’s landscape was not long ago dotted with beautiful, naturally occurring acts of originality by many different races, nowadays you can’t throw a gluten-free small-plate entrée without hitting a young, healthy, upwardly mobile person intent on creating something “cool.”
In times like these I’m thankful that fishing will never be cool.