Tag Archives: food

Games of 2012: The Grading Game / Cook, Serve, Delicious

I’ve spent a lot of time in 2012 playing games, but not a lot of time writing about them. As I did last year, I’d like to tell some stories or share some thoughts about the ones that meant the most to me this year. I’ll be posting one a day until Christmas. See all Games of 2012 posts.

I’m breaking my own rules tonight and highlighting two games that seem like absurd things to have been made into games. Both of these games were released after I originally put together my list of games for this blog post series. In the end, I couldn’t decide which deserved the feature more – and seeing as I can’t stop playing either of them, here’s praise for both of them.

The Grading Game

The Grading Game is proof that eventually, everything will get turned into a video game. In this case, you are a poor hapless TA trying to pay off your student loans. Grouchy faculty member Dr. Snerpus is more than happy to give you sums of cash if you’ll just do one thing: flunk your fellow students.

No, really. A virtual term paper (culled from various places online) will be thrust in front of you, and your job is to tap on the randomly added errors. Typos, capitalization errors, grammatical mistakes, and run-on sentences are all right before your eyes, in an assortment of different game modes. Sometimes there’s only one error in a fairly long paragraph. Others, there’s more errors than normal, but tapping on a non-error drains your clock heavily.

As a gaming concept, I know this sounds completely ridiculous. Who would want to grade papers (particularly terrible ones) for fun? But like any good “find the hidden object” game, The Grading Game works because you’re having to process information very quickly to find the things that are out of place. The pressure of the clock and the bizarre topics for the papers (Grief houses! Sun sneezes! Jigglypuff! Shoe Throwing!) make it a tense, abstract puzzler.

Besides, is any game that can help improve your writing skills that bad? (Everyone loved Mavis Beacon way back when.)

Cook, Serve, Delicious!

Cook, Serve, Delicious! is a little more traditional, but only just – it’s a “hardcore restaurant simulator”. The daily grind of operating a restaurant is an exercise in planning and multitasking.

Take menu construction: do you go with simple foods like french fries, which you can turn out quickly for limited return? Or do you tend towards expensive soups that require more prep work? You may think maximizing profits sounds great now, but when you’re fielding three orders and a sink full of dishes during the lunch rush? Not so much.

You’ll balance the need for equipment upgrades against buying new and upgraded recipes. Health inspectors will come by. You might get robbed and have to provide an artist’s sketch of the perp. Catering gigs become available. Invites to an Iron Chef-style competition arrive. I think there’s even a dating component and some sort of Kickstarter system.

It sounds like work, and it is work. And like all work, sometimes the reward is in doing a job well. When you get a large combo rolling and juggle complicated orders without missing a beat, you feel firmly in the zone. Completing a round in Cook, Serve, Delicious! provides a lovely sense of relief and completeness.

It’s a bit reminiscent of the original Cooking Mama, but with a shorter fuse and higher stakes. Definitely worth a look.

The Grading Game is available as a universal iOS app. Cook, Serve, Delicious! is available on Windows, OS X, and for the iPad. My experiences were largely with the iPad version. Both games are on sale for the immediate future.

David Chang Producing an iPad App + Journal

New York Times, [“David Chang’s Latest: An iPad App and a Journal”](http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/25/david-changs-latest-an-ipad-app-and-a-journal/):

> Can’t get enough of the Momofuku chef, David Chang? Soon you’ll be able to carry him around with you. In late April, he plans to release Lucky Peach, a quarterly iPad app and print journal.

> “We were able to go a little deeper than we could have on TV, without being constrained by the networks,” he said. “They wanted yelling. They wanted everything but education.”

Here’s to hoping there’s some documentation of the now legendary benders with David, James Murphy, and Aziz Ansari.

(via Jonathan Greene)

Scenes from National Waffle Day

Wafels & Dinges
Cops Show Up
The Chalkboard
The Truck Keeps Going
Mr. & Ms. Wafel 2010
Today was National Waffle Day. 2009 Vendy Dessert winner Wafels & Dinges was celebrating the occasion less than a block from my office, so I brought in my camera and spent my lunch hour enjoying the scene. Rain and the NYPD couldn’t stop the crowning of Mr. and Ms. Wafel, and most everyone in line had a crudely drawn picture of the truck to exchange for a free wafel.

More photos are on Flickr.

Tokyo 2009: Akihabara Revisited + Marunouchi

Akihabara

After getting visually overwhelmed earlier in the week, we made our first stop this morning a return to Akihabara. Overflowing with multi-story electronics superstores, anime/manga retailers, and nooks packed with games, it would be a nerd heaven even without an abundance of arcades, street food, and maid cafes.

Maid Cafe Crowd

There’s a definite advantage to trekking through the area during the daytime, as the neon glow from all of the stores combined with an abundance of people makes nighttime a bit challenging for those not native to the area. That said, there is something intangibly wonderful about the area after the sun sets.

IIDX Action

After flitting through a few stores, I settled back into the second and third floor of the Taito Station to get my mandatory music gaming out of the way. One round of Pop’n Music THE MOVIE, one round of DDR X, and one round of beatmania IIDX Sirius all passed by very quickly.

The third floor of Taito station is interesting as it seems to be mostly populated not by native Japanese, but by tourists from around the world. I suppose that after 10 years of DDR floating around the world, foreigners are most comfortable with these games, and are expecting some sort of show. (Fighting games are a floor higher; the “girly” music games like Pop’n and Taiko no Tatsujin are a floor below.)

A little bit more store browsing later, and we were on our way out of the area to head to Tokyo Station.

Under The Tokyo Station

Underneath Tokyo Station lies a maze of shops and restaurants, in addition to at least eight more train lines. It is frantically busy, especially on a day like today where much of the country seems to be traveling.

While wandering here, we found Katsugen in the “Kitchen Street” restaurant area, and we were ready to check another food off the list. I opted for the *Katsuzen* set lunch – red clam miso soup, rice, pickles, the mandatory pile of shredded cabbage with citrus yuzu dressing, and a healthy sized portion of katsu – and a mug of draft beer; Katie went for a different set that she had hoped contained crab croquettes but instead had katsu-fried oysters. (She did not complain.) It would be hard to call this anything other than my ideal Japanese meal.

Marunouchi

The day then turned a bit sour, as our planned shopping destination – the Pokemon Center – was not to be found where our guidebook indicated it would be. We beat up and down the back streets in the hopes that we just weren’t finding the entrance, but to no avail. After a while, the wind began to pick up, a headache began to set in, and we fled the area. (Later, research would prove that the store at that location closed in 2007; the new location is a few stations away. Will try again on Saturday.)

A little wandering around in Shinagawa allowed us to procure desserts and sweets for later tonight. Naps followed, as did a quiet sushi dinner at the proper hotel restaurant.
While it may be fun to traipse to Roppongi to hole up in a bar and ring in the new year, or to push through the cold towards a temple for the midnight bell ringing, we are taking the remainder of New Year’s Eve in our hotel room, quietly enjoying the TV. Happy new years!

Quick Thoughts – Ma Peche / Momofuku Midtown

I was overjoyed this morning to see Zach Brooks from Midtown Lunch reporting that Má Pêche (aka “Momofuku Midtown”) was serving food on the mezzanine level. (The full restaurant is not yet open.)

Being in the middle of Project Momo – where I am inadvertently visiting every Momofuku establishment in a ten day time span – I would be remiss in not going and trying out Má Pêche, even in this limited capacity.

Continue reading Quick Thoughts – Ma Peche / Momofuku Midtown

Things I Learned While Eating Poutine With Pat Kiernan

Poutine with Pat Kiernan at Pomme Frites

Friday evening , I got to meet NYC’s favorite morning news anchor, Pat Kiernan, over poutine. If you’re looking for some sort of a reason why, follow these links in order. Longtime readers may remember my professed love from 2004, which did not go unnoticed. The group of six – three “winners”, two Gothamist staff, and Pat – spent two hours talking about practically everything. A condensed list of things worth mentioning:

* Poutine is a “delicacy” of Eastern Canada; Pat, being from Calgary and Edmonton prior to moving to NYC, has no particular attachment to the dish.
* Pat began working for TimeWarner at Pathfinder, which may have been one of the first major dotcoms to implode in the mid-90s. Pat’s primary project on the site – the Fortune Business Report – was brought to NY1, where it still regularly airs.
* Because Pat’s Papers hadn’t quite launched yet when I posted about it, I appear to have given Pat’s Papers its first inbound link, which caused it to finally appear in Google’s search results.
* The sleep schedule of someone who has to be in to work at 4AM can only be described as a meticulous science.
* I actually like poutine. I always find chili overpowering on fries, but a splash of gravy works pretty well. The cheese curds also give you a little more control over the cheese/potato ratio than standard cheese fries. That said, the bottom of the cup does get kind of congealed.

Possibly the world's first 'poutine toast'.

Gothamist has more.

(Photos in this post mostly taken by Tien Mao.)

The Tour at Alinea

Alinea: The Tour

This past Friday night, Katie and I dined at Alinea, Grant Achatz’s restaurant in Chicago. Alinea is currently listed by Restaurant Week as the #10 restaurant in the world, calling it “arguably the most cutting edge food in America”. What follows is a list of what was eaten during our twenty-three course Tour menu. Page numbers are provided for reference where the dishes are listed in the Alinea book where applicable. Photos are not provided (save for one dish) as I as too focused on the food, but if you need visual accompaniment, two of my friends – Kathryn Yu and Ryan Adams – have Flickr sets from their tastings, and there’s certainly some overlap in the dishes.

Continue reading The Tour at Alinea

Hot Truck Memories

Reflections In The Glass Facade

The big project for my department (and the entire Medical College) at the end of 2006 was the launch of our new clinical care building at 1305 York Avenue. For much of the length of the project, those of us in the IT shop simply referred to it by the most appropriate acronym: it was the new York Avenue Building, so it became YAB.

But eventually, the building was given a more donor-friendly name, and it became the Weill Greenberg Center. The appropriate acronym became WGC.

I refer to it now, as I did then, as “YAB”. Sometimes “1305”. But never “WGC”.

“WGC” still only means one thing to me: Wet Garlic and Cheese.

Continue reading Hot Truck Memories