I'd had the torchon of foie gras at Tinto (114 S. 20th St., 215-665-9150) long before local animal-rights advocates Hugs for Puppies started following chef/owner Jose Garces home and causing a ruckus outside his house, and I wondered if the taste of my beloved delicacy would be affected by the emotional nature of their protests. It wasn't. Gently poached while wrapped in the torchon — French for "dish towel," and that's essentially what they use — Tinto's is crusted with a mixture of house-dried apples, orange zest, white pepper and celery seed, and served with toasted brioche and acidic slices of plum-quince paste. Chef de cuisine Will Zuchman learned his foie gras techniques in Lacroix's kitchen, and uses Grade A duck liver from artisanal producer Hudson Valley. Though ostensibly cooked under fire, the foie exhibits the ideally silky, delicately flavored flesh and buttery texture sought by gastronomes. If you're on the fence about whether to order, Tinto will gladly provide guests with packets of third-party research on the topic. —Felicia D'Ambrosio
: Victoria Reynolds
After recently deciding to abandon vegetarianism after six years on the wagon, I have begun to gloriously revisit the tastes and textures so keen to carnivores. And, now that meat's permanently on my brain, a conveniently timed issue of Meatpaper — a quarterly art and culture magazine that gnaws at the meat industry and everything in between — has got my taste buds in a trance. Graphic designer Sasha Wizansky and writer Amy Standen, who founded the mag together, call meat things like the "Hillary Clinton of the freezer aisle," and manage to pack an wealth of beefy topics into glossy format. Just as the co-founders wrote in the first issue, which debuted earlier this month, Meatpaper is "about meat as a provocative cultural symbol and phenomenon" — and they're not afraid to ruffle feathers or rouse debates. Neither pro nor con, the latest issue features things like a how-to guide to get over the guilt that comes with consuming meat, a play-by-play (with photos) of an Italian pig slaughter and an interview with San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino, who's spearheading a movement to make offal — intestines and internal organs — part of the American diet. As much of an art book as a publication, the mag also regularly explores artists making meat-centric work, like Alisoun Meehan's visual ethnographic drawings of food in New York's marketplaces, Michael Arcega's world map made of Spam or Robert J. Bolestra's alphabet molded from raw hamburger. Still skeptical? Pick up a copy that's marinating at an area Barnes & Noble or visit them online at meatpaper.org. While a personal review left this former veghead craving a Kobe beef burger, you may have a completely different take. "There are so many ways to examine the topic of meat," says Wizansky. "It could really be a lifetime process." —Amy Strauss
"What is Big Mo'?" asks a statement on bigmo-ment.com, a Web site repping NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s new junk food line. "Sure, it's a candy bar, but it's also everything that Dale Jr. loves ... Big Mo' is being true to yourself. When you get right down to it, that's the only thing that matters — doing what you love because you love it and not needing any other reason."
In less abstract terms, "Big Mo'" ostensibly refers to two things: Earnhardt's group of friends, which he's dubbed the "Dirty Mo' Posse" (the Mo' referring to Mooresville, N.C.) and a contest you can enter to win your own "big mo'ment" — a lunch date with the man himself. Blame it on either gaydar or dyslexia, but I read it as "Big 'Mo" (note the apostrophe placement), and I don't think it was just coincidence: The candy bar could very well be Junior's first step in slowly coming out of the closet. (Subtlety isn't valued in NASCAR. Just go balls out, man.) Or maybe rival driver Jeff Gordon has moles working within Earnhardt's PR team to ruin his Bible Belt-friendly reputation. Regardless, the peanut butter version of Junior's bar tastes like a saltier, heavier Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. When you get right down to it, that's the only thing that matters. —Eileen Talone