Food Book Fair’s Pop-up Store; Spring Dishes at Five Leaves

Five Leaves has a new spring menu from chef Ken Addington, featuring dishes like paprika-crusted chicken and a housemade cavatelli. There is a new spring cocktail list, too, which will include a grapefruit margarita and brandy colada. [Grub Street]

• The Food Book Fair will begin tomorrow with a pop-up bookstore in the Wythe Hotel. Find cookbooks and other food-related literary fare through Sunday, April 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. [Grub Street]

Chipotle Plans to Raise Menu Prices This Spring

Based on previous discussions between executives, the whole enchilada is likely going to increase between 3 and 5 percent, which isn't a lot to pay for all that sustainability, right? The changes, which the AP reports are the chain's first in three years, should begin hitting menu boards within the next month and will be in full effect by the summer. Hopefully by that time, the drug-cartel-induced lime shortage will have fizzled out and no one will even think of bringing up the "guacapocalypse." [AP, Related]

This? Just a Cake Made Out of Pizza

Not available in vegetarian.Photo: Boston Pizza

Boston Pizza, the same chain which last year brought you a series of ads based on crude and grotesque rednecks, has outdone itself with this new campaign that ostensibly lets customers vote on 13 pizza "game-changers" ("Pizza Beardkin," "Pizza Cheese Clippers") that straddle the these-days-nonexistent line between fake, plastic novelty products and edible food. One of these will actually go into production; Brand Eating notes that the "pizza cake is leading the votes with over the double the votes of second-place pizza mints." Of course it is. [Brand Eating]

City Dumps Millions of Gallons of Water After Teen Pees in Reservoir

The incident brings new meaning the phrase "waste water."

For some reason, Portland no longer wants 38 million gallons of drinking water — that's some 65 gallons per city resident — after a 19-year-old man peed in it. The deed occurred early yesterday morning around 1 a.m., and video footage shows three teens wandering around the reservoir (police refer to this as "trespassing," the trio later learned) when one heads over to the iron fence surrounding the supply and sends a stream right through the chain-link. It appears this wasn't just nature calling at a terribly inconvenient time. "You can see the sign that says, 'This is your drinking water. Don't spit, throw, toss anything in it,'" a Portland Water Bureau administrator said. "He's four feet away from that sign." The video is online, if you want to get depressed. [CNN]

Platt Chat: The Newest Critics in New York

Roberta's, which received a three-star review from Eater's Ryan Sutton.Photo: Pari Dokovic

Welcome to Platt Chat, a new column where New York critic Adam Platt will talk with Grub editor Alan Sytsma to discuss the dining world's most pressing issues. This week: Eater launches its reviews.

"...a watershed moment..." »

Alex Stupak Launches Five-Course Dessert Tasting Tonight at Empellón Cocina

The "False Passion Fruit Tart."Photo: Diana Perez/Empellón

As he suggested he might, Alex Stupak sends word that he's launching a five-course dessert tasting tonight at Empellón Cocina in the East Village. "We agree with some things we’ve read about the increasing lameness of desserts around the city and the team at Cocina wants to work in the other direction," the chef wrote in an email. He adds, "Desserts are the most fun thing to make. Flavors, colors and textures can be transmitted in a greater number of ways. It’s truly the toy department of the restaurant."

The details... »

Some Enterprising Guy Shucked Oysters on the Subway [Updated]

Anyone who's ever read Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell is well aware that early New Yorkers once gorged on oysters by the several-dozen at markets, in oyster saloons, stalls, shanties, and pretty much every filthy 19th-century nook of lower Manhattan we'll invariably have to compare to some tavern in Gangs of New York if this sentence goes on any longer. This guy, in any event, seems to be taking the revival of all that a little too far, with his shucking knife, raw bar, and condiments on the N train. It doesn't seem to be performance art, either.

He's got a Ziploc bag of lemon wedges. »

Cheerios Facebook Fans Agree Never to Sue General Mills Under Sneaky New Rule

General Mills has "quietly" updated its legal terms so that any consumer who has redeemed an online coupon for a bake mix or cereal, liked any of its Facebook pages, entered a back-of-the-cereal-box contest, or has otherwise gotten some kind of "benefit" from the company has by extension also relinquished his or her right to sue. Instead, the Times reports, those people have to go through the murky process of "forced arbitration."

No-gurt. »

Burning Question: Why Aren’t More Restaurant Critics Women?

"It might be time for us to get bigger hats."Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Corbis

In the past few weeks, there's been talk about a possible divide in the food-writing world: The roles of food writers and editors seem split fairly evenly among men and women, but the same cannot be said for the role of the restaurant critic, where the divide currently favors more men. In fact, LA Weekly critic Besha Rodell recently posed the exact question: "Why is there such a small percentage of female critics, especially in high-prestige positions?" In an effort to start answering that question, Grub Street got on the phone with female food critics around the country and asked them about the critical gender divide, potential hiring obstacles, motherhood, sexist reactions to reviews, and lots more. Read on to see what everyone has to say.

"Critic hours are the same as chef hours. They're mom hours." »

Mission Chinese Food Pops Up Again

Perhaps because you cannot serve a dish of Benton's country ham and rice cakes for one night only and call it at that, Danny Bowien has just tweeted that his Mission Chinese Food pop-up will return to Carroll Gardens tonight, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Frankies 457 Spuntino. If you missed out last night, your overall chances of getting some kung pao pastrami have just greatly improved. [James Daniel Bowien/Twitter, Related]

The MPAA Almost Banned This Poster for Food Documentary Fed Up

Take the blue one, or the red one. Doesn't really matter.Photo: Courtesy of Fed Up.

The often-controversial trade association tasked with deciding what you will and will not see onscreen was bothered by the "offensive language" implied in key art for the upcoming food documentary Fed Up, but now it seems like things have cooled off. Specifically, the MPAA didn't like the letters F and U stamped on these juxtaposed red and blue M&Ms, which seemed a little too much like a directive. The Laurie David–produced and Katie Couric–narrated documentary is all about how food manufacturers — "aided by the U.S. government" — allegedly worked for decades to profit at the expense of everyone's health.

"If Congress and the FDA cared as much about protecting Americans ..." »

Thomas Waugh on Dirty French, Short Shorts, and Bars That Prevent You From Getting Laid

Waugh.Photo: Bobby Doherty

Earlier today, we dissected the Cilantro, the latest cocktail to come out of ZZ’s Clam Bar. It’s the handiwork of Thomas Waugh, drinks czar of Major Food Group, the parent company of ZZ’s, Torrisi Italian Specialties, Carbone, and Parm. Waugh did time at the Alembic Bar and Enrico’s Sidewalk Café in San Francisco before he moved to New York and made a name for himself at Death & Co. and Clover Club. Perhaps you’ve noticed him behind the bar at ZZ’s? He’s the one wearing a white double-breasted military-marching-band jacket, gold bow tie, short shorts, and a terrific burst of whiskers. But we were talking about his new drink, which features chile-infused tequila and is served in an actual chile pepper. Waugh, you see, believes that while anyone can pour a cocktail into a plain old cocktail glass, it takes vision and gumption, not to mention a highly developed sense of whimsy, to serve a drink in a ceramic Buddha, coconut shell, brass pineapple, or poblano pepper, as is the custom at ZZ’s. Here, he weighs in on the local cocktail scene and shares a few details about drinks currently in development.

"...they were all laughing at me and making fun of me..." »

The Dish: ZZ’s Clam Bar’s Cilantro Cocktail

The latest from Thomas Waugh.

What you see pictured before you is not a photo editor’s conceptual representation of a spicy drink, but a cocktail as it’s actually served at ZZ’s Clam Bar in the Village. The drink in question is the latest from Thomas Waugh, beverage director of Major Food Group, the company behind Torrisi Italian Specialties, Carbone, and ZZ’s. Inside the poblano pepper is a mound of crushed ice and a mixture of muddled cucumber, grenadine, and jalapeño-infused tequila with a couple drops of a super-­concentrated essence of cilantro “made by a French guy who grows his own organic herbs,” says Waugh. In concept, sipping tequila from a chile pepper is not unlike eating butternut-squash soup from a tiny, hollowed-out pumpkin or drinking a piña colada from a pineapple, but within the surrealistic den of snuggery that is ZZ’s, the act is a lot more fun than that, not to mention unpredictable: “When you pour the drink into the poblano,” says Waugh, “it gets a little bit spicier as you go along, depending on the pepper.”

"I knew I wanted to try to put a drink in a poblano pepper." »

City Grit’s Sarah Simmons Opening Restaurant Serving Fried Chicken and Champagne

Simmons

The talented Sarah Simmons, whose City Grit not only functions as a venue for pop-up meals, but also as a restaurant incubator and a space for chefs to meet their peers who normally toil behind the line in kitchens throughout the country, is opening a standalone restaurant. Bird & Bubbles will open in a space near City Grit and will, as its name suggests, serve fried chicken and bubbly, and they'll also serve "elevated Southern dishes" and a lots more to drink. Eater notes that Simmons and her crew are serving a menu preview at a Sunday Supper event on April 27. [Eater NY, Related]

Sriracha Creator Is Very Serious About Moving His Factory

Why did the rooster cross the road?Photo: Amazon

From that giant "No tear gas made here" factory banner to statements like "I have had the bad luck to move into a city with a government that acts like a local king," it's clear to everyone that Sriracha owner David Tran is tired of — by way of his sauce, at least — being called a public nuisance. So clear, in fact, that offers coming in from around the country from would-be hot-sauce welcoming committees are just getting more and more comical.

Read more »

Guy Fieri Wasn’t That Impressed With the Food at Guy’s American Kitchen Either, Apparently

Stand and taquito, my man. Stand and taquito.Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Guy Fieri's got himself a brand-new restaurant in Las Vegas, where the General Tso's chicken arrives in lollipop form, fried onion rings are served threaded on lead pipe, and there's a separate bar that serves 20 kinds of chilled shots, no ice. Though Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar, which opens today, marks the beginning of a new chapter for the celebrity chef, the spike-headed Fieri is still seeming a little bristled by Pete Wells's brutal 2012 takedown of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, his Times Square opus. The interesting thing now, however, is that as he maintains there was "nothing realistic about what was being said" in the paper's review, Fieri seems to have moved on and thrown that restaurant's cooks under the dragon-chili-cheese-fry-themed bus in the process.

"Also, remember it’s a licensing deal ... " »

Zachary Feldman Takes Over Long-Vacant Village Voice Restaurant-Critic Role

Almost one year after the alt-weekly fired veteran food writer Robert Sietsema and co-critic Tejal Rao resigned, the Village Voice has named Zachary Feldman as its new food critic. (Rao is now writing about restaurants at Tasting Table, while Sietsema is reviewing for Eater NY.) While the paper has been running informal reviews — some written by Feldman — since last spring, it has not had a designated critic. "People want the Village Voice to succeed," says editor Tom Finkel on the shift. [Capital NY, Related]

Dallas BBQ Workers Sue Over Alleged Locker-Room Surveillance

Embroiled.

The Post says workers at the Downtown Brooklyn branch of Dallas BBQ have filed a lawsuit against the chain restaurant's owners, alleging that managers watched employees change in and out of work uniforms on closed-circuit cameras installed in locker rooms. Plaintiffs in the class-action papers say they were told the surveillance was part of a "loss prevention" scheme — in other words, the higher-ups wanted to make sure no one was absconding with brisket. Less pervy claims include employee tip-skimming and uncompensated overtime, something Dallas BBQ has been sued for in the past. [NYP, Related]

04/16/14

Emily Launches Lunch; Easter Brunch at M. Wells Steakhouse

• To celebrate Easter, M.Wells Steakhouse is offering a traditional brunch on April 20, with reservations available online. The spring kitchen will provide take-home options that include rabbit royale and maple pie. [Grub Street]

Emily launched lunch service today, which means a slew of new menu items. [Grub Street]

Il Buco Alimentari has launched a Greenmarket prix fixe lunch menu that will change daily. For $35, you can eat green asparagus with fried egg, housemade pappardelle, and gelato. [Grub Street]

Read more »

Washington, D.C., Restaurant Says ‘at Least Half’ of Its Customers Use Phones at the Table

"The gentleman, throughout the entire meal did not acknowledge me," says a server at the Red Hen in Bloomingdale, of a customer who wouldn't look up from his screen. "And I'm like, I'm here for you, I want to talk to you, I want to engage. But you won't even look up at me. What are you doing? Why are you here?" Remember back in 2010, when our biggest concern was diners who stored their mobile phones on the table itself because it took away space for the servers to set down food? Things seem to have gotten worse. [All Tech Considered/NPR]

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