Yes, this magnificent phoenix-like structure is made entirely of chocolate and sugar—and Joy Ramirez at Joy of Cooking has other photos just as awe-inspiring behind the scenes at last weekend's Amoretti 2008 World Pastry Team Championship at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center. The competition gathered nine teams of world-class pastry chefs from China to Russia, then judged their spectacular creations on grounds of taste, artistry and procedure. Joy drove the Italian team around town and served as their translator, which means they likely had a great time even if they came in fourth overall. We won't spoil which team won, but I wonder if the winning chef did the Michael Phelps gorilla roar when the results were announced.
• Crema, Rachel Lehman's wonderful new Hermitage Avenue coffee shop, has gotten me hooked on the savory burritos they stock from East Nashville's Sweet 16th Bakery. According to their blog, they're now carrying stout blocks of mac-and-cheese also from Sweet 16th. If they're as good as the cheddar scone I had this morning—subtly cheesy and lightly sweet, with a texture more reminiscent of my grandmother's cheese biscuits than a crumbly scone—maybe I can hit the place on the way home. Watch also for Crema's monthly coffee classes, with "Espresso 101" slated for 3:30 p.m. Sept. 27.
• For your next movie, I strongly recommend adding to your Netflix queue the 1992 Mexican film Food as Metaphor for Life ("Youngest, unmarried sister in family pours all of her energy and passion into cooking, which is so potent that it causes instant paralysis for anyone who eats it"). It is, of course, not to be confused with the 1987 Danish film Food as Metaphor for Life, the 1986 Japanese film Food as Metaphor for Life, or the 1994 Taiwanese variation Food Metaphor Life. Courtesy of the most glorious timesuck I've found in months, the Parallel Universe Film Guide. Hat tip: Miami Steve Haruch.
• Easy, stomach: Newscoma has a post about what passes for Japanese cuisine in her neck of northwest Tennessee: ham sushi rolls. (Like ours is terribly different, Lannae argues in writing about one longtime Nashville institution.) Then again, my mind was just blown by Cleveland Pete's lunchbag sandwich of choice: peanut butter and ham.