Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Obamamania

Ever see a cup of tea interrogated? Watch this

We recently asked whether tea was the new coffee -- and boy, did we get a debate brewing.

Many of you offered advice on how to make the perfect cuppa. And some of you scoffed at the very idea that coffee could be outdone. Yet there is something about tea right now. Our new president drinks it. And since everyone seems to want to get a piece of Barack Obama — be it art or other merchandise, perhaps more Americans will be inspired to sip the leafy beverage.

The tea industry certainly hopes so.

The Tea Council of the USA recently held its annual Calm-A-Sutra video contest, in which the organization ask students to submit two-minute videos that educate viewers about the health benefits of tea. The grand prize is a $20,000 scholarship. Not bad, eh?

The most recent winner was John Ford, a student at the American Film Institute here in L.A.

Check out his short, “Interrogation.”

'Cause if we really wanted to get to the bottom of tea’s health benefits, why not ask the tea itself, right?

-- Lori Kozlowski

Sampler Platter: Barack Obama eats a burger on Air Force One

Obamaeatscheesesteak Back in the swing of things with tasty tidbits...

  • Barack Obama orders a burger (medium well) with cheese (cheddar) on his first trip aboard Air Force One. National Geographic via A Hamburger Today
  • Making dessert with cigar butts? Not only can it be done. It's delicious! Alinea At Home
  • Don't mess with China's baby formula. Seriously. It's not worth your life. LA Times
  • All those flushes, detoxes and cleanses? They're a load of -- well, you know. Literally and figuratively. NY Times
  • Swiss researchers claim that "gourmand syndrome," marked by a preoccupation with food and a problem with impulse control, is caused by a brain lesion. PubMed

--Elina Shatkin
Photo: Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, dig into cheesesteaks and fries at Pat's King of Steaks. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

'Top Chef's' Tom Colicchio has a hero moment

Colicchio_2E! Online reports that while most celebs were spending the days leading up to the inauguration partying around Washington, D.C., "Top Chef" chieftain Tom Colicchio was busy saving lives.

Photo: "Top Chef's" Tom Colicchio, left, and Padma Lakshmi. Credit: Bravo

What's for Obama's inaugural lunch?

Site of Obama's inaugural lunch

After Barack Obama takes the inaugural oath of office and delivers his address, he and Vice President Joe Biden and other members of his team will do lunch. It's a tradition-laden affair, held in the gorgeous Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, and has sparked a lot of interest. Here's a look at the Abraham Lincoln-inspired menu:

First, a seafood stew. The main course,  pheasant and duck served with sour cherry chutney and molasses sweet potatoes. As for dessert, the Obama lunch will end with an apple-cinnamon sponge cake topped with sweet cream glace.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee hosting the lunch, made sure that all the wines will be from California, including the champagne served with dessert.

Read more here.

Is tea the new coffee? Ask Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama drinks Honest TeaThere’s no doubt that coffee holds a unique place in our culture. You know the routine by now. A colleague wants to talk to you about a project — let’s have coffee. You want to catch up with an old friend — let’s have coffee. Someone wants to ask you out on a date, but is either too chicken or doesn’t really want to pony up that much cash — let’s go get coffee.

But tea -- cold or hot -- is giving coffee some competition. It is the second most widely consumed beverage in the world. (The first is water.) We’ve recently been bombarded with messages about the ancient drink’s health benefits. Starbucks is unveiling a new line of tea drinks — London Fog Latte, anyone? And as it turns out, bottled tea beverages are one of President-elect Barack Obama’s favorite things.

However, Seth Goldman, president and co-founder of Honest Tea –- a bottled tea favored by the president-elect -- rejects the notion that tea is the new coffee.

“Tea is the new tea," he said. “Tea is the world’s second most popular drink. It has been around for thousands of years. People are moving away from soda and looking for healthier options. Tea is its own thing.”

Goldman said Honest Tea came together about 11 years ago, when he and co-founder....

Continue reading »

Barack Obama on a cupcake -- and a lollipop

Obama

Prepare to see a lot more of President-elect Barack Obama.

And we're not just talking about the White House, CNN and the front page of every newspaper in America because Obama has managed to transcend race unlike anyone else in the history of the world.

Mrs. Beasleys has Obama cupcakes and cookies to order. Ken Harris, the company's chief executive, is marking the moment with this sentiment: "Mr. Obama’s inauguration is a momentous occasion for all Americans. And we’re happy to know that these cookies and cupcakes along with our other baked goods will become a part of many celebrations, small or large."

Obama's likeness is being immortalized on lollipops made by Chocolate.com. (These lollipops are not being sold ready-made at the site -- they were prepared to launch their new line of edible chocolate art. That said, they've made several batches to order for inaugural events on the East Coast.)

I wonder what Obama the food critic would say about these.

-- Rene Lynch

Photos: Mrs. Beasleys, Chocolate.com

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.