There a fascinating story from Gina Kolata at the New York Times about how the push for redness in tomatoes led to the downfall of flavor. A similar thing happened years ago with the Red Delicious apple, which was originally pink with pale green stripes and good flavor. As plant breeders focused on making the apples more red, the flavor deteriorated; it was found (too late) that the red pigment being produced actually had a bitter flavor.
Our great Battle of the Burgers wasn't enough? National Geographic has a book out on the 10 best of everything (yeah, I know, huh?), and it includes hamburgers. Local winners are In-N-Out (well, duh), and Apple Pan (have to confess, never understood the love). They also like the burgers at Gott's Roadside in St. Helena (used to be Taylor's Refreshers) and one of my personal favorites -- Blake's Lotaburger in New Mexico (the green chile cheeseburger is amazing).
IS ISRAELI THE NEXT THAI?
OK, maybe it's a stretch, but one of my favorite cookbook authors, Yotam Ottolenghi, has a book coming this fall on the cuisine of Jerusalem (look for an interview with him in the next couple of weeks from our own S. Irene Virbila). And one of my favorite food bloggers, Paris-based David Lebovitz, is positively paroxysmic over his meal at Haj Kahil in Tel Aviv. Do not look at his photos before lunch!
-- Russ Parsons
Photo credit: All-American Selections